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Laurent Haug's newsletter, issue 9

This week: India's largest ecommerce company abandoning their website, newspapers losing their fight

Laurent Haug

May 3 · Issue #9 · View online
News and thoughts on society's ongoing transformation.

This week: India’s largest ecommerce company abandoning their website, newspapers losing their fight with the 21st century, ideas on what the Swiss government should do to go digital, artificial intelligences to schedule meetings and clean up embarrassing social media posts, a small browser extension that prevents phishing, a wallpaper that turns your home into an offline paradise, and how to teach entrepreneurship to your kids using a soda machine. Happy reading, and a big thank you to those of you who forward this newsletter to their contacts. I got several messages from people who received an issue via a friend, asking where they could subscribe. So here is the link: Have a great week!

Mobile is now the primary platform
I said at 200ideas that it was time to go from doing a mobile version of your website to doing a desktop version of your mobile site (video, in French). In china, mobile has surpassed desktop traffic in 2012, and the switch happened in 2014 in the US. Now the next logical step is coming: people stopping their websites in favor of apps. Flipkart, one of the world’s largest online retailer operating on the indian market, just announced they would shut down they website within a year. Of course their decision is dictated by the fact they operate in India, a country were owning a smartphone is much simpler than getting a broadband connection installed at home. Yet I can’t help but think this is another signal that the era of mobile-first is firmly upon us, and that what happens in India will end up happening in the West in a few years.
India's Flipkart to shut down website within a year, thanks to popularity of mobile
Newspapers are losing their fight with the 21st century
After a year of slight gains, newspaper circulation fell again in 2014 (though tracking these data is becoming more complicated each year due to measurement changes). Revenue from circulation rose, but ad revenue continued to fall, with gains in digital ad revenue failing to make up for falls in print ad revenue. Despite widespread talk of a shift to digital, most newspaper readership continues to be in print. More info on Pew’s 2015 state of media.
Comments on the digital strategy of the Swiss Federal Council
I was invited this week to address the commission monitoring the progress of Switzerland’s digital strategy, a rare and interesting interaction with the government, for someone like me who is more used to advise businesses. I tried to contribute by pointing to the gaps I am seeing from my entrepreneur/investor point of view, and my presentation focused on four things:
1) the need to create a religion of innovation
2) the need for a better entrepreneurial framework
3) the need for better infrastructures
4) the need for better politics
Overall, I was surprised to discover the government does not need to know WHERE to act (they have identified that pretty well) nor WHAT to do (again, quite a lot of ideas on this). What they need is input on HOW to do things. People like me come and tell them “turn government into a platform on top of which developers can build whatever they can think of” and what they need is a detailed plan to action.
More information can be found on the Swiss digital strategy here.
This week's best inventions
The wallpaper that blocks wifi
The wearable jungle gym
The Semantic Listening Table
What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades
Ikea: 7 Predictions For What Your Home Will Look Like In 2020
Startups and tools
Clara Labs
Password Alert (Chrome extension)
Idealist, save and develop ideas
Spylight, shop TV and Movie Fashion
What big data taught us this week
Do People Stop Listening To New Music After Age 33?
This week's link for parents
My dad taught me cashflow with a soda machine
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