Friday five: u-turns, polls and no more cash

The usual roundup… No pretence at limiting myself to five any more…

Back at ya, babe… The push web – from Techcrunch


This is actually pretty huge: we don’t need to search for information quite so much anymore. It comes to us. Customize goods, minimize waste. Retail, manufacturing media are trying to anticipate our needs. It’s not that personalization is back, it’s that personalization is everything.

“In order for companies to survive in this new custom-everything world, they need to both co-exist with current aggregators and harness the data they collect within their own user platform to get direct, one-to-one connections to their customers. Rather than rely solely on the few successful, third-party power aggregators like Facebook, for the sake of fair competition, companies should invest in retaining control over their own data and customer experiences. From there, any connected device can serve as a conduit for one-to-one communications. The smaller the screen and more personal the customer experience, the more opportunity there is for the push web to thrive.”


Don’t trust the polls – from Politico

So, in spite of the polls yesterday showing a resounding Labour victory, the Conservatives won. I don’t live in the UK, and I can’t vote there, but my parents do and so it does matter. It’s relevant, too, since we have elections coming up in Spain soon, with certain tenuous similarities. I can’t vote here, either, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to get excited…

This is the best analysis of the UK elections that I’ve seen so far.


Who needs cash, anyway? – from Quartz

The boost to business from a cash-less society: less need for security (lower operating costs), less time spent counting out change (better labour efficiency), fewer black-market transactions (better deficit balance and greater possibility of reducing taxes)… and let’s not even start on the health cost of germs the coins and notes carry (yes, tongue-in-cheek). Last year the Danish Central Bank announced that it would stop printing currency, and many bank branches (themselves heading for extinction) no longer carry cash.

And, Denmark is following the other Nordic countries’ lead. It’s creeping south, people!



Crowdfunding pushing out the VCs (to some extent, anyway) – from TechCrunch

I wrote last week about crowdfunding pushing out some traditional VC business. Here’s more, focussed on the hardware startup segment:

“Of 128 companies that had campaigns that broke the $100,000 threshold used in this analysis, 65 percent were hosted on Kickstarter and 35 percent were on Indiegogo. The gap between the two platforms is quickly shrinking, and while Kickstarter captured the majority of the dollars thanks to a single blockbuster campaign, the median dollars raised on Indiegogo were actually higher. In other words, the long tail of Kickstarter is longer than that of Indiegogo but the fat tail isn’t as pronounced as it once was.”


The fintech revolution – from The Economist

Yes! Yes! Very exciting… Most of this could have been written a year ago, but still, welcome.

“This kind of data-driven lending has clear advantages over decisions based on a single credit score or meetings between banker and client. Humans are more prejudiced than algorithms: Italian banks charge female owners of small businesses more than male owners, even though the women have lower failure rates. The cost of relationship lending encourages bankers to chase big customers rather than small ones. For young businesses and borrowers on the fringes of the banking system, risk assessment that scours the online world for information is better than a loan officer in a branch.”

Really???? Women business owners get charged more than male ones??? Even though they have lower failure rates???


In Code We Trust – from The New York Times

What do we mean by “money”, anyway?

“They do their best to hide it, but today the world’s central bankers are in something like a state of panic. Money is, quite clearly, uncontrollable. This manifests in large ways — like the six years of continuous crisis that have roiled the eurozone — but also in smaller, more technical matters. For example, the Federal Reserve has no idea how much money is out there, at least in all its digital forms, or how fast the overall supply is growing. This is alarming, because the whole concept behind the Fed is to monitor and control the money supply. That was a much easier task in an era of physical banks and highly regulated savings accounts. But today, each of us has the power to increase the money supply by simply carrying a balance on a credit card. (If you ever meet a central banker and want to get her stammering, ask this question: “How much money is there, precisely?”)”



An original success checklist – from TechCrunch

I really hate “how to be successful lists”, because, you know, if it were that simple… But this is one of the more original ones I’ve seen (I love #1, “No assholes allowed”), and has a few gems that I haven’t seen before and hadn’t thought of.

Startup marketing is all about experimentation and educated guesses. It’s also about constant iteration. Everything from product pricing to the color of the free download button on your website can be tried, tested and changed based upon feedback. Don’t tell others you’re experimenting; that sounds indecisive. Say you’re running a pilot; it sounds better.


It was never a dress – from MyModernMet

This is refreshingly in-your-face: a new interpretation of the traditional bathroom signs!



An extraordinary animation…   

…with pins and thread, set to Son Lux’s “This Moment Changes Everything” (via Colossal)


Have a great weekend!

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