Randy Murray gets poetically hyperbolic on Steve Jobs and the future of Apple:
Isaac Asimov wrote a very interesting series of novels called “The Foundation.” In them, his character, Hari Seldon, developed a science called psychohistory, with which he was able to accurately predict the large scale course of human events. It’s a great series, and was added to by some other popular science fiction writers over the years.
This idea, that one man could both predict and influence human events, is both fascinating and incredible.
And yet we have our own Hari Seldon. It’s Steve Jobs.
Raymond V. Gilmartin over at Harvard Business Review says CEOs need a new set of beliefs:
In my experience, these beliefs have led managers and boards to take actions that have had unintended, destructive consequences. When observing the behavior of management and corporate boards, when reading the management literature and the business press, and when assessing the outcomes of management behavior, it seems as though CEOs are recognized and rewarded handsomely for downsizing and outsourcing, acquiring or merging, and making the quarter — all justified by the responsibility to maximize shareholder value.
Any of these actions can be necessary in certain circumstances; most of us have taken one or another. My concern is that these actions have become the standard by which CEOs are expected to manage. Furthermore, these actions are taken seemingly without regard to the consequences for the community, the employees, the survival of the company as an institution, or the creation of long-term firm value.
Aza Raskin recounts the story of Henry Kremer and the competition for the first plane powered by human and how Paul MacCready approached it in a much different way than everyone else:
A decade went by. Dozens of teams tried and failed to build an airplane that could meet the requirements. It looked impossible. Another decade threatened to go by before our hero, MacCready, decided to get involved. He looked at the problem, how the existing solutions failed, and how people iterated their airplanes. He came to the startling realization that people were solving the wrong problem. “The problem is,” he said, “that we don’t understand the problem.”
The problem was the problem. Paul realized that what we needed to be solved was not, in fact, human powered flight. That was a red-herring. The problem was the process itself, and along with it the blind pursuit of a goal without a deeper understanding how to tackle deeply difficult challenges. He came up with a new problem that he set out to solve: how can you build a plane that could be rebuilt in hours not months. And he did. He built a plane with Mylar, aluminum tubing, and wire.
Carscoop on how technology is making our cars more vulnerable to attack:
The modern automobile is a microcosm for our networked society. Everything from the brakes to the dual-zone climate control and from the windscreen wipers to the CD player is connected through a Controller-Area-Network (CAN) bus.
Like the nerves in our bodies, this network passes information from one component to another. It allows the anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control to work in unison, disconnects the cruise control when you step on the accelerator and allows the headlights to switch themselves on in low light conditions.
Like all networks, however, the ones in our cars are vulnerable to attack from hackers. Last year, researchers with the Center for Automotive Embedded Systems Security (CAESS) at the University of California San Diego and the University of Washington demonstrated how a car could be hacked through its ODB-II port.
Totally important and valid point.
The counterpoint to this is that cars have always been vulnerable to attack. Screwdrivers in tumblers, hotwiring, slim jims. Those are yesterday’s tools.
Today’s have gotten more sophisticated is all.
Ellis Hamburger over at Business Insider says Facebook is losing it’s identity because they’re hiding the ‘Poke’ button.
This is bullshit.
Facebook isn’t losing it’s identity, it’s growing up. It’s no longer the site requiring a college email address to sign up for. It’s a multi-billion dollar company.
You don’t see me driving across lawns or joining hacky sack circles like I did in high school. Doesn’t mean I’m losing my identity.
Malcolm Gladwell on The Nets and NBA Economics:
One of the great forgotten facts about the United States is that not very long ago the wealthy weren’t all that wealthy. Up until the 1960s, the gap between rich and poor in the United States was relatively narrow. In fact, in that era marginal tax rates in the highest income bracket were in excess of 90 percent. For every dollar you made above $250,000, you gave the government 90 cents. Today — with good reason — we regard tax rates that high as punitive and economically self-defeating. It is worth noting, though, that in the social and political commentary of the 1950s and 1960s there is scant evidence of wealthy people complaining about their situation. They paid their taxes and went about their business. Perhaps they saw the logic of the government’s policy: There was a huge debt from World War II to be paid off, and interstates, public universities, and other public infrastructure projects to be built for the children of the baby boom. Or perhaps they were simply bashful. Wealth, after all, is as often the gift of good fortune as it is of design.
via Missile Test