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Laurent Haug's newsletter, issue #24

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Laurent Haug

September 15 · Issue #24 · View online
News and thoughts on society's ongoing transformation.

Revue (the app I’m using to send this newsletter) says in their guidelines “it’s much better to send your newsletter on the same day every week”. Well, I admire people who are able to do that, but so far it’s not been possible for me. Happy Tuesday everyone, the bets are open as to when the next edition will be on its way to you!

Apple's language problem
I’m increasingly puzzled by the language Apple uses in their giant advertising sessions keynotes journalists of the world are fighting to attend and cover word for word. Last time Apple launched a truly revolutionary product was 2009 (and I’m nice cause it might well be the iPhone in 2007), yet they are still using the same semantic field as if they were unveiling something totally new and unheard of. Last week, the new iPad pro was presented as “epic”, “huge”, “unique”, adding “another dimension”. The pencil is “entirely revolutionary”.
Well, sorry but iPad pro is basically the same thing as before, just bigger. And it’s extremely similar to what Microsoft unveiled three years ago.
I wish someone could tell Tim Cook and his crew that until they launch a truly new product (car? VR headset? health device?) they would be better off using the semantic field of incremental innovation (a perfectly honorable and useful thing) rather than the one of disruptive innovation.
The obsession with recreating the Silicon Valley
It’s interesting to see the obsession from various governments of the world with recreating Silicon Valley. In the past two years, I’ve seen an incalculable number of articles titled “X is the next Silicon Valley”. It’s been Dubai, Paris, London, Berlin, Singapore, the whole Europe, Boston, Los Angeles, Austin, Las Vegas, Bangalore, China, Tel Aviv, Zurich, etc etc.
I recently met with someone working in the entertainment industry, who was telling me that the focus of people funding movies was to find projects inspired by past successes. To get money, directors should always start their pitches with “this project is [blockbuster A] meets [blockbuster B]”. This culture of replicating past successes to seemingly avoid taking risks can only lead to mediocre results. People, companies, countries, all those who have reached the top did it because they thought differently, took risks nobody else wanted to take, saw a shift ahead of the pack. It’s fascinating how hard most people try to escape this harsh reality, and think they can succeed by just redoing, three decades too late, what someone else has done.
Instead of trying to replicate the model of the past, we should try to see how a country like Korea has managed to race ahead of Silicon Valley, mostly betting on the world’s most advanced broadband/mobile infrastructure. Koreans are the only developers in the world that have to dumb down their products if they want to take them to the US market!
“Korean developers often have to strip down their software if they want to take it stateside. Nicole Kim, chief executive of a file-sharing service called Sunshine, said the service had to be adapted to inferior American broadband.”
Copying what the americans did leads to things like Quaero, the EU funded Google killer that was getting much attention this past decade, and that is ironically a reminder that the right to be forgotten is actually doing pretty well (never heard of Quaero in the past 5 years).
Somehow echos with this comment from singer Grace Jones in a recent interview where she talked about the new generation of singers:
“They dress up as though they are challenging the status quo, but by now, wearing those clothes, pulling those faces, revealing those tattoos and breasts, singing to those fractured, spastic, melting beats – that is the status quo. You are not off the beaten track, pushing through the thorny undergrowth, finding treasure no one has come across before. You are in the middle of the road.”
Sign of the times
The 2014 Swiss entrepreneur of the year is a farmer
Whitney Houston Hologram to Tour World in 2016
First head transplant patient schedules surgery for 2017
Obama cancels traditional Waldorf Astoria hotel stay after Chinese takeover
NFL is pushing into big data
Tencent's robot reporter 'Dreamwriter' churns out perfect 1,000-word news story - in 60 seconds
Google Flu Trends calls out sick, indefinitely
Cool stuff
R2D2 visitor tracker
Flow , all your team’s communication, clear and organized
Bottle loft magnetic hanger
Jerry's Brain
Smartwatches, the long road to relevance
Health care app uses Apple Watch to ID doctors, follow privacy law
A closer look at that fancy new Hermes Apple Watch band
Samsung’s Gear S2 can make me a believer in smartwatches
First state legalizes taser drones for cops
Dydo rolls out vending machines that deliver messages in the boss' voice
Why drivers in China intentionally kill the pedestrians they hit
Porn app took secret photos of users
On a personal note
Face blindness
This week's link for parents
Parenting shouldn’t be about self-sacrifice, whatever your income
“Truthful words are not beautiful. Beautiful words are not truthful.”
Lao Tzu
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