‘Going against the grain’ is getting some surprising endorsement in the rarefied upper strata of professional industry analysts
Until the day before yesterday, it was the toast of the gaming hardware world: today, John Carmack’s illustrious involvement notwithstanding, maybe the Rift is just toast.
Do startups fail as a result of the founder’s attitude towards doing things they don’t think they need to do?
Digital brains are just too big, slow and unreliable to interact seamlessly with the fast-moving natural world. Human interaction may be the only phenomenon slow enough to make digital look impressive
Could our increasingly online lifestyles morph smoothly into self-employment if today’s culture of ‘employee-based careers for all’ gradually fades into oblivion?
The long-awaited update to the clinician’s guidebook DSM-V was released on May 18th, affecting mental healthcare for billions worldwide. How well is it keeping up with the latest developments in science, technology and ideas?
Yes, you’ll find some pretty lame excuses for also including some (admittedly awesome) clips which are sometimes more about exceptional inspiration than innovation
Moore’s Law is rapidly putting the entire third world online. This fact, combined with MOOCs, may just turn the rest of the world upside down
Video journalism may need to break the (TV) habit of a lifetime
A fashionable return to 19th century teaching methods is being challenged by astonishing findings on the impact of online games culture upon ‘hopeless’ struggling learners
‘Adopt lean startup methodologies’ is seen by many as the best advice to give startups, but how do we know if this advice is making a substantial positive contribution to the wider economy?
Cheaply improving diagnosis in the developing world has an impact which is simply staggering. There’s a vast backlog of breakthrough science and technology waiting to be applied
Is the BBC’s long-established domination of ‘serious’ talk radio finally seeing a serious challenge?
Startup accelerators, returning alumni: Why?
Puzzles are (deliberately) bad user interfaces. We’re told to love the look of things which have ‘invisible’ interfaces, because designers love simplicity. Hide those countless features, make it look simple. But this turns things into games with hidden rules. Not everyone wants to play.
Ever wondered what would happen if anyone actually bothered to check out those incessant claims everyone makes that ‘customer service standards are constantly improving’?
The more you think about what she’s saying, the more shockingly unthinkable it seems: can we now really see what an eye sees without us needing its brain in order to see it?
Science is ‘going virtual’ in a big way: rapidly escalating computing horsepower is turning lots of real-world research into simulation-based experimentation. Is this helping or hindering the latest open science initiatives?
Are so-called ‘clone startups’ (those hoping to be acquired by the mothership after creating a successful, ‘local language lookalike’) too easily dismissed as ‘non-innovators’?
In places where prosperity has seemingly reigned forever, sometimes all the big employers and retailers can suddenly disappear: welcome to the startup-only economy. We probably need to start looking at places where this already exists
Ty Danco’s ludicrously improbable but riveting tale definitely belongs in the history books, alongside AirBnB’s legendary ‘survive by literally eating your own marketing material’ yarn
It all begins with an existential crisis: Professor Marinelli tries to Google himself (just before Google exists) and learns of the man who, in 1909, founded the futurism movement, Filippo Marinetti
No, you don’t need to be a brain surgeon to find this fascinating: bio-integrated electronics is full of unimaginably weird but useful things you can do with things like, you know, live brains. It’s all about making electronic things rubbery
Even if you don’t know what on earth a Demand-Side Platform (DSP) is, this panel video offers fascinating insights into the latest things that are keeping people in the online display ad world awake at night
Just trying to describe why over two million viewers think this frivolous-looking video is jaw-dropping will inevitably come out sounding like gobbledygook to all but those who already fully appreciate the sensational breakthrough it represents
Investors treat ‘startup founders entrepreneurial inexperience’ as an occupational hazard. Accelerators ‘parachute-in’ entrepreneurial experience in the form of ‘startup acceleration mentors’. Isn’t it time to ask some big questions about this?
Computer Bowl 1990, pitting the East Coast against the West Coast (apologies to any other legends present but not listed above)
If McKinsey’s believe in it, then even if you are unsure, you’d better get the best briefing you can: these videos may raise just as many questions as answers, but they’re a good starting point
Are astonishing recent successes with word-free math teaching making a mockery of the traditional textbook approach?
Startup mentoring is education. Why can’t existing government-backed student loan schemes be extended to include startup founders attending accredited startup accelerator programmes?
Is prohibiting this pursuit an infringement upon the freedom of the individual? Should we make this something that anyone should be able to do, wherever they are in the world?
Would you invest in founders pitching a project that you didn’t really believe in, for reasons you didn’t tell them about?
The practical essence of your personality will soon be surprisingly easy to steal. The coming generation of virtual reality will be able to appropriate so much of what it is to be you, that things could get seriously out of control
It would have no problem with repetition, but it might find avoiding hesitation difficult and preventing accusations of deviation pretty much impossible
Today’s occupiers are in many ways no less ethereal that any lingering spirits which might still be roaming the lonely corridors and passing silently through walls
Arts authorities caught publicly admitting to experimenting with ditching the ‘waterfall ‘ approach (where committees endlessly prepare vast unread(able) reports before anyone even considers trying anything new) only to discover that they can get strategic projects done quickly and well after all. Gasp!
They have another mission-critical job that you probably didn’t know about. They are required to make air travel on this planet safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly for everyone
And all that was BEFORE she got into the VC business, and not just the old-style VC business: she does mentoring at TechStars, invested early in UStream, and is CEO of Get Satisfaction, a 50,000+ customer startup which uses social media to support customer relationships
The current term cunningly implements its own strategy: it conveys trivialisation to the uninitiated, conveniently excluding the ignorant and preserving its power for the enlightened few
An Intensive Care Unit where it’s needed. In every home. Millions already connected. He cashed out two startups, spent some exit money (he’s still got $7 billion left). The Steve Jobs of healthcare?
What are the implications for those of us outside of the games business of Gabe Newell’s claim that his customers are better innovators than his best creatives
The last time it was declared broken, it was Web browsing behaviour that totally invalidated ‘traditional’ usability testing: this was soon fixed with new metrics, but now there’s another elephant in the usability lab
Job titles like ‘interactive storyteller’ or ‘narrative designer’ do little to convey the joys and nightmares of today’s videogame writing experience: we’ve found writers eager to share an inside perspective
Why the dream of a mobile with a huge slide-out screen is still just a dream
What special skills can an economist bring to help innovative startups explore new business models more effectively?
It’s time to ask whether recent technological advances should make us revisit some long-abandoned dreams about interactive content
Why additive manufacturing isn’t expected to take over large scale industrial production any time soon
From the ‘innovation priorities in serious need of attention’ department
Founders having an innovative idea, a fruitful search for a solution, generous early investors: what could possibly go wrong?
There are hundreds of other robot-themed projects on Kickstarter, I’ve just left out out the books or films about robots, as well as most art, education, hobby and toy projects
Two important new introductory talks about the background and latest developments in ‘lab on a chip’ technology
What makes a struggling online learner struggle?
What new things should a growth-hungry economy be doing about coming up with new ideas?
It’s 1996: students experiment with being cyborgs. That strange circuitry covering one eye? People imagine they’re disabled, offer them chairs. Nowadays you’d need to pry our ubiquitous connections to the borg collective (er, sorry: ‘cloud’) out of our cold, dead hands. So are we there yet?
If gamification is about ‘applying the art of games design to things other than games’, marketing metagamification takes what games designers do when they ‘go beyond the boundaries of a defined game’ and apply THAT to branded social apps
Today’s dark satanic mills may soon turn darker still, once we start printing everything in three dimensions. Far less satanic, tomorrow’s mills may be our homes, as ‘economy of scale’ becomes uneconomical and mass production goes niche
Am I the only one in the world who thinks the motor-tuned $4,000 Firebird has the best guitar shape ever?
Renowned educational critic Steve Peha is unconvinced that any of the current or proposed major educational reform initiatives will change anything. Ever.
There’s a growing interest in introducing an entrepreneurial approach to innovation, whether its happening inside or outside the established organisation
This is about using what The Economist calls artificial artificial intelligence (like Mechanical Turk, which uses people as artificial computers) to enhance (artificially intelligent) machine vision
If Artificial Intelligence is going to automate the world’s entire workforce, we’re all going to need to give up any hope of employment and become startup entrepreneurs and innovation investors instead. They couldn’t possibly automate those, could they?
Neuroscience offers the prospect of an incontrovertible record of the intentions behind everything we do, so jury trials may eventually be deemed unnecessary. But no chip implanted? Guilty as charged!
Startups from Y Combinator, TechStars, Dave McClure’s 500 Startups and Idealab tell us what life feels like, including being rejected by Y Combinator and successfully reapplying!
Touch screens had already been around for ages on that day in 2005. He was well aware that if you had just put one on a phone, it wouldn’t have been worthy of the Apple logo
After my initial TED-talk-inspired enthusiasm, I became seriously disheartened by the seemingly unanswerable criticisms of Khan Academy’s fairly unadventurous ‘talk and chalk’ style tutorial videos as not really representing a genuine step forward in education. But…
We’d all be forgiven for imagining that TechCrunch Disrupt and the DEMO Conference were the only regularly held innovation competition events worth talking about, as far as the tech media were concerned. So imagine my surprise…
“There are venture firms here in The Valley that won’t even fund a company unless they employ lean startup methodologies”
Jason ‘Mr. Startups’ Calacanis may not do patents, but he has just done an episode of his weekly TV show where he brought in a seasoned patent attorney and a prolific inventor to take us through the latest developments on the US patent scene
Intrapreneurship is not for the fainthearted. Inside established organisations, officially-sanctioned bastions of executive dragon slaying can sometimes be found, filled with fearless risk-takers discretely licensed to systematically shred the company rulebook in their tireless search for innovation
Nature chuckles at our feeble, stumbling efforts at computation. Its analog computing resources effortlessly deliver dazzling practical intelligence at microscopic scale with zero tolerance for wasted power
The move away from traditional VCs to Angels features strongly in talk about startup investment. So this seemingly contrary view from the very heart of Silicon Valley is intriguing
At that speed, you can see things that you shouldn’t be able to see at all, things that the camera isn’t actually pointing at. Wherever light has been, as it bounces around our world, it can tell us a story about its journey, letting us ‘see around corners’
What do you do when your own disruptive new ideas bump into The Innovator’s Dilemma in the large organisation that you work in? Geoffrey ‘Crossing The Chasm’ Moore thinks that this is not necessarily ‘game over’ after all
“What do you want to do here?” Get a job. “Sorry, but you’ll need to go straight back home right now, next please. So, what do you want to do here?” Start a business, employ people “Great! please sit over there with the others”
Why not create an independent fund with a mission to found startups which are exclusively aimed at disrupting your core business?
From the ‘this shouldn’t be innovation, but unfortunately…’ department. You need to be able to answer all of these questions. Don’t wait for the users to ask them
An onstage tournament in which in-house advocates from either side make their case in front of a live audience and we all try to read between the lines
Every major factory on earth depends upon a network technology you’ve never even heard of. Ok, maybe you don’t care about factories, so how about cars? Different network, built into every mass-produced car for decades, the same ignorance
Yesterday’s light switch just works. Dark? Click. Light! Today, ‘Just works’ is lame. I want things that can see, hear, remember and tell me what they’re doing. In fact, I want anything with a switch on it to be able to do whatever I want, maybe even before I know I want it to do it
Squeezing bigger crop yields out of the soil by just upgrading to larger, heavier, more powerful machines doesn’t look sustainable. Up to 90% of the energy used in crop cultivation is wasted on dealing with the damage caused by the cultivation equipment itself
Promoting Valve’s quirky employee handbook as a manifesto for unfettered workplace creativity set Gabe Newell on a collision course when he hired the legendary geek goddess
Google TV, Apple TV, Facebook TV, Netflix, you need to watch your backs. A more ‘socially optimised consumer experience’ may give Valve’s Steam an unbeatable edge over other contenders for tomorrow’s TV
Screencast videos are almost all painfully harder to watch than they need to be: here’s our top 5 suggestions for making screencasts infinitely more watchable, mostly just by adding a little bit of post-production.
Covering an innovation story? Re-hashing a press release may be better than nothing, but doing it whilst maintaining full disclosure and explicitly adding your own specialist perspective? Journalism!
His YouTube channel alone is an eye-opener: is a new standard for consumer technology review videos being set?
Apple TV, Google TV and let’s not forget Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft or Sony. Here at the iij, our money is on someone else.
Microsoft has ditched the window metaphor in order to make its OS feel like a mobile app, but Apple’s desktops, tablets and phones all still use a window metaphor
The educational world, terrified by Massive Open Online Courses, is putting on a brave, smiling face and joining in, because it sees them as unstoppable and hopes it can somehow survive and even benefit from them
The list of services that an officially accredited UK mentor is NOT allowed to provide just boggles the mind
There is no Wikipedia article on this subject at the time of writing, but it is now a well established field which cries out for a much wider public understanding
Counter-intuitive way of reducing unnecessary pressure on students? Stop telling them how easy it’s going to be.
Don’t let the impenetrable jargon put you off. Social Impact Bonds, which bring “only paying for success” to public funding for privately-run social projects, are genuinely innovative. But will they make a real difference?
19th century-style Steampunk innovation
To achieve this, a system (involving people and machines) should be constructed so that it can ultimately, in some relevant ways, become ‘smarter’ than any of its individual (human) participants
Using the dynamics of games as a way of improving engagement in such things as work, marketing and education shows great promise, but something relevant that gamers do is being ignored
Shortages of easily-tackled unsolved problems are a first world problem: elsewhere, countless established ‘solutions’ are just unaffordable, each one a gift to any problem-seeking would-be entrepreneur
This video reveals something shocking about Old Media: they are doing more new media stuff than any New Media operation: Why? They have much greater resources and they’re scared
Which side are you on? Are you a ‘connectomist’ who believes that once we fully map the connections in the brain, all it’s secrets will be revealed? Or are you ‘connectome-quizzical’ and looking for a wider range of perspectives before taking up a position?
A roller-coaster ‘how we got to where we are today’ tour by the US government’s Director of Research, starting with a look back to the point eleven years ago when the momentous results of the Human Genome Project were made public for the first time
Google’s Schmidt talked about ‘morphing’ a project, but watching this Marissa Mayer video today, as she describes her boss’s suggestion three years before Ries’s, although the idea and the approach are different, the outcomes feel uncannily similar
A serious attempt to clarify some of the things which make vest and vesting a bit mind-bending for startups
A strategy for recovering your confidence and fixing the problem when struggling with confusing course material
If it’s a tough time to be a scientist, maybe that’s more than just a branding issue. Nonetheless, scientists would probably be unwise to ignore thoughtful advice about presentation from someone highly regarded in both the arts and sciences
Health and safety rules? Hiring and firing legislation? Tax?
Startup founders, while their venture is still revenue-free, are not really self-employed. Unless they’ve also got a day job, they’re technically unemployed. This fact opens up opportunities for some really imaginative startup incentives
MySpace ex-CEO launches one, Dave ‘colourful language’ McClure hosts an LA Acceleratorfest, TechStar’s Brad Feld on Accelerators vs. Incubators, Cisco’s in-house guy goes solo, and much more
So I’m calling it: the margin of costs beyond a founder’s living expenses is now officially zero. What next?
One irony is that Fred Gage is one of the world’s leading figures in neuroscience, a discipline which was largely spurred by Phineas Gage’s miraculous survival. Another relevant irony (noted in the Wikipedia article about Fred) is that Phineas (1823 – 1860) had no children
They often seriously hate each other, administration and street folks. But some people out there just don’t care who hates them: they help these seemingly implacable haters help each other, they save lives and they save everyone money
Justin Romack’s demo has to be slowed down quite a bit for us sighted folks watching the video
A new report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is being mistakenly interpreted as showing that startups are creating fewer jobs. This view somehow manages to completely ignore those odd things investors call ‘exits’.
He just said: ‘I hate the term “minimal viable product.” That’s like telling me “we’re shipping without any features because, well, our investors and advisors told us to ship and fix the product later.”
Is it just all about ‘making the right noises’, or can they make a real difference?
At least five of these forthcoming titles major on a healthcare or safety aspect, illustrating just how far this particular management approach has come from its original niche
Government is understandably fed up with being blamed by society when it doesn’t handle things perfectly, so it wants to be seen to be handing at least some of the responsibility for doing things back to society, but…
He asked some industrial designers to come up with something that was “Bob Dylan songs”. His cryptic demands have been described as ‘intentionally unreasonable’. But maybe that’s why they worked
When we call something a gimmick, we’re describing a feature which seems unimportant to us. But we can be so very wrong
Just ‘gigging, recording and getting discovered by a record company’ is yesterday’s intro to a musical career. Nowadays, you need to be able to build your own online TV channel that does justice to your best songwriting and performances.
Solutions to just about every hard engineering problem in robotics can be found in the biology of animals, where nature seems to be telling us to ‘take a softer approach’
Start looking for ways to ‘transcend physical user experiences’ by liberating your device’s mobile app from the constraints of the real world
Lean startups use wild speculations about imaginary products to start conversations with customers aimed at eliciting real requirements. Critical Design aims to make things which provoke enlightening responses. Snap?
Everyone’s looking for the UK’s next startup hotspot, but they might not be looking in the right place
She was seeing a 5 to 10x spike in teacher referrals for students with epilepsy, ADHD and OCD symptoms: mysteriously, those symptoms failed to show up outside the classroom. Did they come from changes to teaching methods? What she found made her switch careers, twice
Few news editors would claim that they are not an endangered species, so even the most whimsical-sounding ideas are no longer quite so easily dismissed as being irrelevant or unnecessary
Because giving away a free 3D printer with every big ticket hardware sale could ultimately cut support costs
We wisely use our ‘self-restraint muscle’ to get things done, but research shows that even exercising it just a little bit can turn the most robust of minds into momentary marshmallow
Hardware crowdfunding successes from under a thousand to well over half a million dollars
Can we mitigate risk whilst pursuing benefit to humanity?
We’re told endlessly how ‘running everything from the cloud’ shreds costs for startups, so does this mean that even government could be run cheaply, if they do this too?
What makes people good at pivoting? 21 things which, if you can’t do them well, will probably keep your career in the world of innovative startups short and disappointing
And you thought AirBnB’s Chesky’s early switch into repackaging breakfast cereals which he eventually had to eat in order to survive would clinch it? Nope. Not improbable enough.
What kind of problem would YC have suggested for these prospective startup founders to work on?
The ‘teach yourself to program’ site is just not equipped to have an intelligent conversation about any problems you’re having as you go along. What impact is this having on the dropout rate?
It turns out that claims of causing “Death by PowerPoint” may conceal a far more pernicious offense: our unpardonable ignorance of how human attention actually works
What will hold startup founders together through those ‘sense of impending doom’ moments? The fact that the business idea is great? Y Combinator’s Paul Graham thinks not: the relationship between founders has to be more important than the venture.
We pay your wages, but the IP rights for anything you create in your 20% time are 100% yours
Paltry numbers of computer scientists are women. Christine Alvarado helped QUADRUPLE those numbers at Harvey Mudd College, whose reputation for excellence rivals MIT: this video offers insight into how she did it
Here’s concrete proof that Windows 8 is a puzzle that its intended users cannot solve unaided. Reverse gamification suggests that ultimately, this fact probably won’t make the slightest difference to its prospects for success
Scientific creativity. An engine of growth and innovation, held back by a lack of market focus and managerial discipline? So a stricter commercial regime should turn science into a lean, mean, innovation machine, right? Well…
Why is neuroscience suddenly such a hot topic right now? Is it just that the latest brain scan technology allows us to see more detail? The answer is yes, but the implications are far bigger
The interaction between startups and startup mentors has a fundamental difference from ‘apprenticeship’, something which has major implications for the future of innovation
What’s happening to bioengineering, in the ‘post-life-synthesis-announcement’ era?
There’s so much talk of biologically inspired innovation, I thought it was about time to start tracking down briefings on ‘how nature got there first’
Jessica Livingstone offers her own feelings about what Y Combinator wants and I try to read between the lines
Small traditional businesses? They’re already ‘inside’ the startup world, aren’t they? No. They typically know nothing about such things as Lean Startup, Startup Weekend or Y Combinator, and even when they do, they think it has nothing to do with them. Are they right?
Disappointingly, behaviour change through ‘just gamifying your own health tracking’ doesn’t always work very well. Why not? It just might turn out that, for most of us, personal health tracking is not really a single player game.
At 12 am one night in 2007, a revolutionary engineering idea popped into Michelle Khine’s head. The rest is history (and chemistry, physics, biotech, nanotech, solar: she seems unstoppable)
If much higher-than-expected numbers of students join the ranks of the long-term unemployed, most student loans are going to remain unpaid indefinitely. Is the risk of student unemployment higher than the risk of failure for a startup accelerator-boosted founder?
No dead cows, just real, sustainable beef, made with nothing but yummy stem cells and a touch of magic! All yours for a sizzling €250,000 each. And they’ll get cheaper and cheaper with every passing year (can we call that Moo’s law?)
Overall verdict: a bit of a ‘best kept secret’, offering more than enough insight into less-widely covered sectors of the startup investment scene to justify watching out for next year’s event
Industrial energy waste turns out to be the most surprisingly overlooked opportunity to make outrageous returns on investment. Energy efficiency in industry is a shockingly untapped market. Modernisation at a single large industrial plant can free up an entire power station
The range of startup titles has expanded dramatically this year, and whatever economic surprises may be in store for us in 2012, this particular sector is looking unstoppable.
Die-hard sceptics still regarding it as little more than a convenient excuse for a lack of interest in or dedication to study may be surprised by this video, which reflects impressive academic achievement in a discipline which simultaneously challenges, derives value from and provides support for the cognitive distinctiveness that dyslexia represents