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Undersea Internet

Google owns undersea cable infrastructure - four cables in total. I didn't know. The FASTER Cable System recently went online between the US and Japan. If you need it faster and more reliable, just build it. Just lay it? Link.

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You'd buy this, and use it

I've often wondered why cars don't do this with phones. This Kickstarter project (hope it's real and can deliver) suggests that your phone should be the guts to your laptop. Plug and go. 

If they succeed, it should follow that cars could have simple built in functions and become all the more robust when you plug your phone into them. This and so much more is certainly the promise of Project Titan at Apple. Link.

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When You Have Data

You can do cool cool things with data. You just have to have it and slice it.

Foursquare was the laugh of many jokes. Remember? "Check in"? Are you serious? Well, actually, they were. They have heaps of data and they know how to slice it. Look out. 

Check out the data they have on Trump-Branded business across the last two years. Foot traffic fell 14% YOY. Dang. Link

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Solid Introductions

Check these mini profiles of China based tech companies. It's refreshing to think beyond the shores. What characteristics or strategies that you find among these companies could your company employ next quarter or beyond? Could you make a product here and only sell it outside the US? Link.

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You Don't Even Use WeChat

In my experience, the US and China are not only different cultures but totally different operating systems for life. One way this is expressed is in the way they employ and embrace mobile tech as a culture. I found this article from The Information to spark a number of ideas. Maybe you will too. Check points 4 (at job fairs) and 9 (customer focus groups) for especially curious uses of WeChat. Link.

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Paid Actions

Facebook is now willing to get paid for actions after mobile app installs. So, what does that mean for you? Maybe, buy more stock? 

Their ad platform is now empowering not only the download of a new app but an action within it. Facebook gets paid, or paid more, when you get a new app through the platform and do a key action. 

This is a strong signal that their targeting is maturing. Link.

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AI for Rent

Let's say you're running or designing an app and you want to know if people are angry in the comments, in app. Or, let's say you want to empower your users to talk in a text field and get text back (not via Siri on iOS or in native Android). Viola. Sentiment Analysis and Speech to text APIS are now available from Google Cloud Platform, for simple rent. Link.

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A Solid List of Mental Models

Came across this fantastic list of Mental Models put forth by Gabriel Weinberg. He has organized them into useful sections. Do click and spend +3 minutes scanning them. Consider a bookmark-and-return approach if you don't have 32 minutes to read them now. 

Some of these models are used regularly by many of us:
Leverage - “The force amplification achieved by using a tool, mechanical device or machine system.”

Others are really good to recall and wonder how to put to work:
Hanlon’s Razor - “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by carelessness.”
Pygmalion Effect - “The phenomenon whereby higher expectations lead to an increase in performance.” 

Some may provoke you to approach a current issue differently:
Power Law - “A functional relationship between two quantities, where a relative change in one quantity results in a proportional relative change in the other quantity, independent of the initial size of those quantities: one quantity varies as a power of another.”
The Third Story - “The Third Story is one an impartial observer, such as a mediator, would tell; it’s a version of events both sides can agree on.”
Forcing Function - “A forcing function is any task, activity or event that forces you to take action and produce a result.”
Luck Surface Area - “When you do something you’re excited about you will naturally pull others into your orbit. And the more people with whom you share your passion, the more who will be pulled into your orbit.”

Enjoy the list. Which one can you put to work today to make a project or relationship you're working on better? Which one is for next week? Link.

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The Absolute Best Post We've Seen Regarding Autonomous Mobility

Jan Chipchase is a design researcher we've been following for sometime. He and team constantly deliver new insights. Thanks all!

Go read his recent post regarding autonomous cars. Fresh new ideas can be found like: 

• Car baiting - Where a drone messes with an autonomous car.
• ConvoyAds - Where Ad agencies co-op the driverless to blanket cities with messages.
• Captcha Street Furniture - As a way to detect the robot cars in the road and turn them away. Going vinyl, ADWB and more. 

This one is very worth the read. Link.

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You Don't Have to Drive a Van.

After observing one of these chair cranes in action over the weekend (so cool) I wanted to find it online. It seemed like it would be sold by a unique one-off company where this product was their only product - the plausible result of a Kickstarter campaign.  

Turns out this awesome design solution, for the constraints of using a wheel chair while also driving a truck, comes from what seems to be an old boring company. What cool thing should the old boring company you're involve with make next? Link.

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Show Your Face. Get Your Meds.

Just look at this thing. It'll give you the appropriate pills. Given that this is a crowdfunding campaign, it's likely still too early for high reliability. But the day is coming faster and faster that we'll all have similar devices on our counters? Link.

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It's Bigger than Black Friday

Amazon has created a Holiday. Did you know? It's July 12th. Get ready. Walmart has been preparing. They recently made their 2-day shipping service, ShippingPass free for 30 days. No thanks. I'll take Prime any day.

What a crazy thing. The Winter holiday shopping season is smaller for a merchant than a holiday created by the merchant. Link

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When You See Your Friends Posts You Share More

While the average number of shared posts per user is down (theoretically because folks are following more brands than before) check out these other Instagram stats:

"The amount of time that people spend on Instagram also has held steady since 2014 at an average of 21 minutes per day, the company says."

"Overall, usage of Instagram is looking healthy. The number of monthly active users hit 500 million last week, up from 100 million in 2013. Sixty percent of monthly users now open the app every day, up from 50% at the beginning of 2013."

"Instagram has noticed that people share more when they see more of their friends’ posts..." Link

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Your Dataset + Some AI Equals?

Gogo, the inflight Wifi company, has partnered with Watson and IBM's weather data to create a sort of automated Waze for Airlines. Say what? When the instruments on the planes in front of yours record turbulence, the data is uploaded and crossed with weather data on the fly. The result, if it is turbulence, can then be sent to your plane via the Gogo data connection. You get a re-route and the airlines save an estimated $100M a year.

What dataset or sets would you like to cross with some Ai to make something new? Link

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You Didn't Know Your Phone Is A Dashcam.

For the super nerds out there, the fact that Nexar exists is "old" news from the week. Started using yet?  

For the rest of us, Nexar is a dashcam application combined with .ai. It's just getting started and there are implications all around. 

So, what can it do? It can record things. Think... If some driver is crossing the line, braking weird, or generally being wacky, you can tap once to record video in front of the car. Or, think... your driving for Lyft or Uber or Arcade City in Austin and a passenger goes crazy. Tap with two fingers to record an event inside the car. Cool. 

Now what? Upload it. The app can then build a database on bad drivers (via license plates). This will empower the app (and anyone they sell the data to) to alert you of known risks around you in the future. It's crowdsourced driver/passenger quality on some level.

What implications are there when the driverless cars know your history before you even get in front of them? What about the driver driven cars? Maybe your insurance goes up based on what people capture you doing with your car, bike, semi? What else might the reality of Nexar impact? 

On one hand, duh. Of course this exists. On the other hand, it's another advancement to the context Dave Eggers writes about in The Circle. What are your initial reactions? 

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If Everyone Had Basic Income

The notion of a basic income for everyone is moving from theory to action.  Y Combinator is funding and running a research project in Oakland, Ca. From their blog it appears they are taking the steps to be very serious about the process and the results. Jump over there, check it out and maybe even help out as they design the project over the next few months.

"We want to run a large, long-term study to answer a few key questions: how people’s happiness, well-being, and financial health are affected by basic income, as well as how people might spend their time." Link.

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Stop or I'll Ghostbot You

Let's string together a few ideas here.

1) Phone numbers are widely believed to be "owned" and connected to you. We go out of our way to transfer them from carrier to carrier, etc. 2) What if they were not connected to you? 3) Then, you could do all kinds of neat things with them like, rent them for interacting with strangers. Until now I've only contemplated using them for selling things on Craig's. The service of choice, Burner.

Now, let's say you're on the dating scene. Sometimes you meet people that are just annoying. It's an unpredictable world out there. So, you need to connect by way of text to meet new people but why not give them your Burner number. If they are wacky, you can dump the number and they can't get back to you. Cool. 

But wait, what if the current craze of "Bots" was mashed up with your Burner number(s)? That's what the folks at Burner just did with Ghostbot. You can now apply Ghostbot to handle your unwanted texts. The Artificial Intelligence, er... Bot, configures their reply and handles your unwanted contact. You can keep your number to meet the next stranger but you also have an ace in the hole if the next one goes sideways. 

Oh, technology. Fantastic. 

Found on the Burner Blog Link.

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Grab an Olli

Would it be worth a flight to Regan just to swing south for 20 minutes and hit up National Harbor? No. But, what if you were going to see an Olli? Then it might be worth it. Olli is an autonomous local shuttle powered by Watson. If any of you happen to be out there soon... I'm looking forward to your experience report. Link

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