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Laurent Haug's newsletter, issue 8

Back in writing mode after a couple of weeks off, and having to deal with a severe case of email over

Laurent Haug

April 29 · Issue #8 · View online
News and thoughts on society's ongoing transformation.

Back in writing mode after a couple of weeks off, and having to deal with a severe case of email overload as I came back online. This week, very interesting developments in the digital world, as someone might finally have figured out a way to counter Uber-like platforms. Google is investing to gobble up even more user data, robots might soon be planting billions of trees and guarding Dubai’s streets, e-sport is emerging as the next big thing in entertainment, and a virtual nurse is now ready to interact with real patients. Happy reading and don’t hesitate to reply to this message to start a conversation.

If you can't beat Uber, become Uber
Very interesting development in the music world, that could be a sign of things to come in so-called “sharing economy”. Several A-list artists, unhappy with the royalties they get from streaming services, decided to collectively launch Tidal, a Spotify competitor. Depending on who you trust and how you count, it is a flop or not, but what’s interesting is the big idea behind.
Disrupted by an emerging actor whose importance is growing, incumbents finally decide to get together (Tidal is owned by Jay-Z, Beyonce, Madonna, Rihanna, Kanye West, Calvin Harris and Daft Punk among others) and propose a competing service, in hopes of being the intermediary instead of the intermediary. In my opinion, this is the only smart answer there is to the emergence of these new platforms trying to get between artists and listeners, riders and taxis, travellers and spare rooms.
Take the case of Uber: instead of trying to stop the US giant’s emergence in court, taxi companies should have been working for years on launching a better looking, more efficient app, to try to beat Uber at its own game.
Unfortunately, too often incumbents tend to try to prevent innovation from emerging in court (see Hollywood/Music industry suing their clients for downloading their content) instead of working on proposing a better alternative. The lesson here is: always fight positively, the only way to beat the innovators is to innovate more than them.
Tidal, high fidelity music streaming
Google moving up the food chain
It is really interesting to follow Google as they move up the food chain. Remember the key to Google’s business model is data on users (to better refine advertising). Now look at what happened this past decade: they started as a search engine, collecting data on user’s queries. Then they launched Google Analytics to get data on how much traffic websites were getting (and from who). Then they launched a browser, which allowed to also get data about websites not using analytics. Then came operating systems (Android, ChromeOS), to collect data on even more places, like apps. The next step? The pipes themselves! Because if you own the pipes you see everything that’s happening, even when someone is not using your OS, not using your browser, not using your service, etc. This makes perfect sense, and remember Google is also working on fiber in several american cities.
Project Fi, Google's virtual mobile operator (US only)
Robots of the week
The robot butterfly
This Drone Startup Plans To Plant 1 Billion Trees A Year
'Fully intelligent' robot police will be on the streets by 2017
The next multibillion dollar tech trend from Asia: E-sports
Your bank will soon know you better than your partner
Apps, Video Games, And Wearables: A Vision For The Future Of McDonald's, virtual nurse
Startups and tools
OneTab for Chrome, save up to 95% memory and reduce tab clutter
Smile Suggest Web extension for Chrome
Bonfire: Receive, evaluate and act on RFPs
Ugly Email
Pencil sketches turn paper into a sensor
Eye candy of the week
Stunning Projection-Mapped Performance (Video)
“Chance favors the prepared mind.”
Louis Pasteur
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