October 31, 2014

11 articles that I enjoyed reading this week

Some reading tips for the weekend. If you do not want to miss future posts, subscribe via FacebookRSS or E-Mail.

» Emerging and Developing Economies Much More Optimistic than Rich Countries about the Future
Highly inspiring and eye-opening statistics gathered by PEW reasearch on how people in different countries see the economical future, about their values and ideologies. Judging from this, Vietnam is about to become a major force.

» The Laborers Who Keep Dick Pics and Beheadings Out of Your Facebook Feed
Thousands of workers in offshore locations make sure that our social media experience stays clean and tidy. That’s definitely not a dream job.

» The case for cases: why it doesn’t matter what your phone looks like
Great point: Smartphone design does not matter anymore, because most people use cases. If you want to make money, start to create neat cases.

» Why Google wants to replace Gmail
Traditionally, email is a rather “dumb” technology that does not offer much monetizing and enhancenment potential for Internet giants like Google. That’s why they try to find ways to introduce new ways of using email.

» Gut instincts: The secrets of your second brain
Some of the body’s features are especially fascinating.

» Assange: Google Is Not What It Seems
Julian Assange explains how he met Google chairman Eric Schmidt and subsequently learned how close the US government and Google work together towards implementing American ideas on a global scale.

» I’m Terrified of My New TV
The rise of smart TVs means TVs are aware of what people are doing at their homes, and they might send this data to third parties.

» The future of the book
The Economist gives a good summary about the past, current identity change and future of the book.

» Why is it so easy to dehumanise a victim of violence?
Often when groups of people fight or even kill other groups of people, they use the tactic of dehumanizing their victims first, e.g. by calling them “cockroaches” like in Rwanda in the 90s. That’s an important aspect behind the psychology of people who participate in genocides.

» Porsche: The Hedge Fund that Also Made Cars
Very interesting piece about how Porsche tried to take over Volkswagen with a financial scheme that at first appeared to be extremely smart, but did backfire in the end: Eventually it was Volkswagen that took over Porsche.

» Aboard a Cargo Colossus
Your chance to learn something about a quite important industry that does not get so much reported on.


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October 25, 2014

12 articles that I enjoyed reading this week

Some reading tips for the weekend. If you do not want to miss future posts, subscribe via FacebookRSS or E-Mail.

» Amazon is doing the world a favor by crushing book publishers
Great piece explaining why one should not easily buy publishers’ complaints about Amazon’s power in the (e-)book market. Money quote: “Amazon’s view is that since “printing” an extra copy of an e-book is really cheap, e-books should be really cheap. Publishers’ view is that since “printing” an extra copy of an e-book is really cheap, e-books should offer enormous profit margins to book publishers”

» The End Of Apps As We Know Them
The time in which we interact with mobile apps mainly by directly accessing them from the home screen (or search) might soon be over.

» Apply Pay Overview: How To Set Up and Shop
For customers of certain US banks, Apple has launched its much anticipated mobile payment service Apple Pay. This post explains how it works (and who can use it).

» Twitter’s Audacious Plan to Infiltrate All Your Apps
This sounds like Twitter’s biggest strategy shift so far.

» The autonomous Google car may never happen
It’s possible that some people and much of the tech media is too optimistic about when self driving cars will hit the market.

» In Facebook’s Deals for WhatsApp and Oculus, Lessons on Stock vs. Cash
When tech companies like Facebook buy startups for billions, they often pay in shares instead of cash. That leads to overpaying and other potential side effects.

» The Western Model Is Broken
I find it tempting to agree with this extensive analysis about the political and ideological state of the world in 2014.

» How America lost the Middle East
Related to the previous link, highlighting one specific aspect of the diminishing influence of the West (in that case, specifically of the U.S.).

» What the Ebola Crisis Reveals About Culture
Intriguing article about the unpleasant psychology effects of Ebola on people in Western cultures; cultures that have distanced themselves from death as far as possible

» America is Becoming Less Religious
Something one might not guess when listening to US-politicians.

» The Kitchen Network: America’s underground Chinese restaurant workers
From the department of “How things work that many people use but never think about much”.

» Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin, Blows Everyone’s Mind
If that’s not inspiring and motivating, what is?!


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October 17, 2014

13 articles that I enjoyed reading this week

Some reading tips for the weekend. If you do not want to miss future posts, subscribe via FacebookRSS or E-Mail.

» Here’s Why Public Wifi is a Public Health Hazard
I constantly witness people connecting to public Wifi networks without any safety concerns or protection. Fortunately, now there is a good post explaining the risks (full protection might be tough to achieve, but using a VPN should be rule number one).

» The SIM card is about to die
This can be good (less hassle) or bad (less portability of mobile carriers) depending on how it is being done.

» ‘Back-up husbands,’ ‘emotional affairs’ and the rise of digital infidelity
A study showed that many Facebook users in relationships have “back-burners” in case they end up being single again.

» Yes, even your child: New study shows sexting is the new first base. But don’t panic yet
Among teens, sexting is the new foreplay before the foreplay.

» Steve Ballmer and the guy from the time machine
Predicting who rules the technology world in 10 years is damn hard, as this post illustrates.

» Note To Struggling Bands And Singers: Sorry But Most Of Your Fans Don’t Care
This might be hard to swallow for some but I think it is the reality.

» How Much Does It Cost to Visit Every Country in the World?
For an estimated $150,000 you could go to all 193 countries of the world. Not at a bad deal.

» Turks but not Berliners?
Germans are bad at excepting people that do not look German as Geman, as this text correctly points out.

» Why Learn “Useless” Things?
Humans are bad at imagining the usefulness of new knowledge.

» Average number of languages spoken by the EU population
Interesting map.

» How compact cities help curb climate change
An often overlooked fact of compact cities: They might be better for the environment because of major efficiency gains.

» Venture capital and the great big Silicon Valley asshole game
In the Silicon Valley technology industry, loud-mouthesd jerks get the big money, not nice guys.

» The Three Letter Word Driving a Gender Revolution
About the Swedish gender-neutral pronoun “hen” (which by the way is not meant to hide the gender of a person whose gender is known but to be used in situations when the gender is unkown).


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October 13, 2014

The most and least Internet savvy countries in Europe

At the end of last week, the federal association of the German ICT industry, BITKOM, published a ranking showing the percentage of people with good or average Internet skills in different countries, based on numbers by Eurostat.

The results are nothing but embarrassing for my country of origin Germany, which ranks at position 27 out of 31. Germans might be known for their engineering talent, but when it comes to the Internet and compared to most European neighbors, they really do not care. That obviously means that in the digital economy, Germany won’t have the best chances.

Here is the ranking:

1. Iceland (77 % of the population has good or average Internet skills)
2. Denmark (71 %)
3. Sweden (68 %)
4. Finland (64 %)
5. Luxembourg (61 %)
6. Lithuania (59 %)
7. Slovakia (58 %)
7. UK (58 %)
9. The Netherlands (57%)
9. Norway (57 %)
11. Estonia (56 %)
12. Hungary (55 %)
13. Latvia (54 %)
14. Belgium (53 %)
15. France (49 %)
16. Spain (47 %)
17. Czech Republic (46 %)
17. Austria (46 %)
17. Slovenia (46 %)
20. Cyprus (45 %)
20. Portugal (45 %)
22. Ireland (43 %)
22. Italy (43 %)
24. Greece (42 %)
24. Malta (42 %)
24. Poland (42 %)
27. Germany (38 %)
27. Croatia (38 %)
29. Bulgaria (37 %)
30. Romania (28 %)
31. Turkey (20 %)

One interesting aspect: Turkey is the country with the highest percentage of daily active users on Facebook in Europe. That tells us about one of the major strengths of a service like Facebook: You do not need to be Internet savvy to be able to use it.


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October 9, 2014

Weird hipsteresque stuff startups do

If you nowadays want to be taken seriously as a startup, you need to have a sleek, hipsteresque video presenting your product or service. At least that’s what the founders believe.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, there is one specific production studio called Sandwich Video that regularly is being tasked with video production by local startup entrepreneurs.

The reliance on one specific player has a strange side effect though: Watch these two videos by two completely different startups, Coin and Final, aiming at reinventing the credit card:

Yep, that’s the same guy, presenting two competing products.

Sandwich video might be the best product pitch company in the world, and this bearded guy who appears in many of the company’s productions, might be the best choice for that kind of purpose ever. Who knows. Still, it does not make sense that seemingly nobody cares about that the same dude is showcasing competing products. neither the production studio nor the second credit card startup that hired Sandwich video (Final).

This “incident” is one of the many oddities of the Bay Area’s startup circus. To me, it does not feel professional but only screams “hype”.


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October 4, 2014

11 articles that I enjoyed reading this week

Some reading tips for the weekend. If you do not want to miss future posts, subscribe via FacebookRSS or E-Mail.

Since I am currently traveling, this week’s link list is uncommented.

» Hong Kong’s unprecedented protests and police crackdown, explained 

» Will China Crush the Hong Kong Protests?

» To Beat China Censorship, Hong Kong Protesters Flock to Off-Grid Messaging App

» 15 Lessons from 15 Years of Blogging

» Songdo, South Korea: City of the Future?

» This is the last photo we’ll ever run of the NYSE trading floor

» Cockroaches: The insect we’re programmed to fear

» How the Shinkansen bullet train made Tokyo into the monster it is today

» What It’s like to Fly the $23,000 Singapore Airlines Suites Class

» You Call This Thai Food? The Robotic Taster Will Be the Judge

» 8 Lessons Learned from Visiting Every Country in the World


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September 28, 2014

8 articles that I enjoyed reading this week

Some reading tips for the weekend. If you do not want to miss future posts, subscribe via FacebookRSS or E-Mail.

Since I am currently traveling, this week’s link list will be uncommented.

» Facebook Messenger is actually a monster hit

» Podcasts are back — and making money

» Top 20 Reasons Why Startups Fail

» The definitive case for paternity leave

» The iPhone 6 Plus is the pocket computer I’ve been waiting for

» Thoughts On Alibaba

» Peter Thiel: ‘We attribute too much to luck. Luck is an atheistic word for God’

» Why The Islamic State Is Not Really Islamic – The Intercept


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September 20, 2014

13 articles that I enjoyed reading this week

Some reading tips for the weekend. If you do not want to miss future posts, subscribe via FacebookRSS or E-Mail.

» Who is Jack Ma, the man behind the largest ever tech IPO?
The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is finally talk of the town even outside China. Time to learn about the person who created and runs the company.

» Silicon Valley’s Contract-Worker Problem
Lots of fast growing startups offering delivery and services on demand, often almost instantly. But that comes at a cost – for the people performing the tasks. It’s a serious issue.

» Apple Watch: Initial Thoughts and Observations
The best analysis about the Apple Watch that I have read.

» Understanding what Minecraft really means to Microsoft
Microsoft bougth the Swedish company Mojang for $2.5 billion. Mojang is better known for its legendary video game Minecraft, which excites children and some grown-ups alike.

» Praise feels good, but negativity is stronger
Humans are hardwired to give negative thoughts more attention, as this interesting article explains. Interestingly, the Dutch seem to be an exception.

» Why Germans pay cash for almost everything
Every time I visit my home country, the cash culture and lack of acceptance of international credit cards annoys me.

» CD-Loving Japan Resists Move to Online Music
The stereotype of Japan as the country of high-tech is only true in regards to the usage of machines and robots. On an end consumer level, people are quite conservative. Many still buy CDs (and as a recent visit to Tokyo taught me, feature phones are still quite common in generations older than 30).

» The Weird World of Airline Crew Crashpads
I didn’t know that such thing even existed.

» The Paparazzi Business
About the evolution of the Paparazzi business and how the rise of Social Media has changed it.

» Living Simply in a Dumpster
That’s a bold experiment in minimalist living: A professor in Austin is living in an upgraded Dumpster.

» Why so many Koreans are called Kim
I just spent a week in Seoul, and conveniently that explainer showed up on my radar.

» France is ditching the ‘Islamic State’ name — and replacing it with a label the group hates
This is a tiny change, but an important one. If people stop calling this group “Islamic State”, it will lose a lot of weight in the public debate. What remains is a barbaric terror organization that does no good to anyone.

» Does dopamine create religious experience?
This piece explains how dopamine influences religious experiences, and it gives one explanation to why some people respond well to extremist ideas. They brain simply is rewarding them with Dopamine.


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September 12, 2014

9 articles that I enjoyed reading this week

Some reading tips for the weekend. If you do not want to miss future posts, subscribe via FacebookRSS or E-Mail.

» How Andreessen Horowitz Is Disrupting Silicon Valley
Despite being fairly young, Andreessen Horowitz is one of the most successful venture capital firms in the Silicon Valley. This article explains one major factor for its rise. Definitely worth reading if you are somehow interested in the Internet economy.

» The World of Competitive Rock Paper Scissors
Apart from the apparent silliness of professional rock paper scissor playing, some serious strategies and think-processes are going on.

» Frank Sinatra’s views on organized religion were decades ahead of his time
Sinatra nailed it.

» A Conversation Between Two Atheists From Muslim Backgrounds (Part 3)
And while we are at the topic of religion: I found this exchange highly insightful and informative.

» How to see in to the future
Interesting piece about the business of economical and political forecasting and how to get it right.

» Apple Insider Spills Secrets: ‘This Isn’t PR. This Is Something Else
About how Apple does what usually is called PR – but here not really deserves the name.

» 10 Space Myths We Need to Stop Believing 

» How to Be Alone: An Antidote to One of the Central Anxieties and Greatest Paradoxes of Our Time
I’m the biggest fan of being alone, but many people are not. I can very much relate to this.

» There’s A Fly In My Urinal
I have noticed the fly a couple of times, but never wondered about it (which I now find very odd). So to me reading this was an eye-opener.


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September 5, 2014

10 articles that I enjoyed reading this week

Some reading tips for the weekend. If you do not want to miss future posts, subscribe via FacebookRSS or E-Mail.

» Twitch CEO Sees Game Tournaments Vying With Major Leagues
I see Twitch, newly acquired by Amazon, as the future of live TV. This piece explains how Twitch could take over e-sports and make it really big. Imagine 100 million people simultaneously watching a soccer video game. I believe that will happen.

» The problem with “takes” is the business model of mass media
An essential piece containing a couple of not necessarily new, but to the point recommendations and advises about the future of online journalism and media in only a few paragraphs.

» 3 mutations that created the Ice Bucket Virus
Semi-scientific analysis on the viral characteristics of the Ice Bucket challenge. Makes a lot of sense.

» Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order
The political world order is changing, and Henry Kissinger describes that pretty well.

» Dutch Woman Uses Facebook to Deceive Family and Friends She Is on Trip to South-East Asia without Even Leaving Amsterdam
What this woman did seems to be a bit funny, an interesting experiment and a huge waste of time.

» How St. Louis County, Missouri Profits from Poverty
A quite depressing piece describing a system where people who already have little are being criminalized in order to pay the fines that the local administration needs in order to finance its law enforcement activities. Helps to understand the frustration that the local community of St. Louis must feel.

» Why haven’t China’s cities learned from America’s mistakes?
For long, China failed to built cities that are planned with the challenges of the future in mind. Instead it copied some failed concepts from elsewhere, like putting the car in the center of mobility needs.

» Made In Kenya, Assembled In America: This Amazing Internet-Anywhere Router Company Is Innovating From Africa
Innovation made in Africa. While startups and tech companies from the wealthy countries focus on convenience and entertainment products, the developing world produces actual problem-solvers.

» Robots With Their Heads in the Clouds
Future robots will be smart because they will be connected to the cloud, being able to access other robots knowledge and “experience”.

» The secret of Minecraft
What started as a seemingly meaningless video game has become quite a fascinating success story, and one that stimulates the fantasy.


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