Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category


In Smarter Than You Think, tech journalist Clive Thompson argues that digital technology is dramatically changing the ways people think and act. While he is not the first person to make such a claim, Thompson’s perspective on the matter is unique in that he believes these cognitive behavioral changes are largely positive. By investigating some of today’s most cutting-edge innovations and the transformative effects they have on work, relationships, education, and society as a whole, Thompson demonstrates that the rise of intelligent machines should be embraced rather than feared.

According to Thompson:

  • Technology is transforming people’s cognitive behaviors. By providing new ways for people to store memories, collaborate, and communicate, digital technology is upending existing mental habits.
  • The rise of intelligent machines should not be feared. Despite the fear that digital technology will render the human brain obsolete, it is actually making people smarter and society stronger.
  • The more connected people are to one another, the more they can accomplish. By facilitating widespread collaboration, the Internet enables people to tap into the power of collective intelligence and develop innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems.
  • Technology is drastically improving literacy. In addition to creating a culture of avid writers, the Internet has facilitated the rise of data, video, and photo literacies.
  • For technology to create lasting social change, people must fight for their digital rights. Online activists need safe spaces on the Internet to conduct civic discourse.

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ASwipedIn Swiped, Adam Levin warns that while identity theft may not be completely preventable, people can mitigate the dangers through the Three M Strategy: minimizing risk, monitoring their identity, and managing the damage. A nationally recognized expert on identity management, Levin offers practical advice and real-life lessons to individuals and corporations on spotting, thwarting, and recovering from identity theft.

According to Levin:

  • A person should not wait to become a victim. Nearly everyone’s most sensitive data is already accessible, and perhaps already compromised, so identity theft needs to be thought of as a likely scenario–but one that can be handled.
  • Convenience should not outweigh security. A system is only as secure as its weakest link, and the weakest links are generally people, whether through carelessness, ignorance, or deliberate malice.
  • Identity theft cannot be stopped. People should focus on making themselves narrower targets and on establishing recovery plans before anything happens.
  • A cultural change. The world needs change at the enterprise level in how data is stored, but people also need to change how they handle their personal information.
  • Be smart about social media. People should never reveal anything online that they would not share in front of a scam artist, and should always assume the bad guys are listening.
  • Tax ID theft and medical/healthcare-related scams are on the rise. These are easier to conduct than some financial/credit-related scams, and usually carry shorter prison times (if any).
  • Build the possibility of postmortem identity theft into every estate plan. The lag time between death and estate closings makes carefully thought out plans a necessity.

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Digital to the CoreDigital technology is upending entire industries within a very short time, and there is considerably more change to come. In Digital to the Core, Mark Raskino and Graham Waller of Gartner, Inc. demonstrate how leaders today must bring digital to the center of everything they do. The authors examine how digital business will cause greater disruptions and demand more significant business changes than the Internet technology of the past did. Taking digital to the core requires “remastery” of one’s industry, enterprise, and self, and it promises to be the only way leaders can help their organizations both survive and thrive.

Too few companies have acknowledged how radically digital and information technology will disrupt and transform their industries. At each level of business–industry, enterprise, and leader–the following three digital disruptive forces require change and adaptation:

  1. Resolution revolution: Precision in understanding data and in controlling objects, services, and outcomes is increasing exponentially. The ability of sensors, 3D printing, cloud computing, and remotely controlled objects to deliver greater detail and accuracy improves every year and creates a myriad of new business opportunities and challenges.
  2. Compound uncertainty: Digital change upends the mind-sets, organizational structures, and practices that business leaders were once successful with. Uncertainty is compounded by being spread across three key areas: technology, culture, and regulation. Success requires finding a triple tipping point where the three areas are ready to adapt or be revolutionized.
  3. Boundary blurring: The intersection of the physical and digital worlds blurs many boundaries. A company’s core product, its value proposition, its designated industry, its division of responsibility among departments, and more all become blurred by digital business. Digital is no longer a support function controlled by an IT department; it must permeate the whole enterprise.

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Elon Musk

Thanks to pioneering firms like SpaceX and Tesla Motors, Elon Musk has become one of America’s leading businessmen. He is often compared to Steve Jobs in terms of his vision and drive. Many are curious how Musk attained his success and what is next for his companies. In Elon Musk, Ashlee Vance provides a biography of the business giant and offers insight into his work and personal life.

  • Childhood. Elon Musk was born in 1971 in Pretoria, South Africa. At age 17, Musk left for Canada. He attended Queen’s University in Ontario and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania where he earned degrees in economics and physics.
  • First start-up. Musk and his brother, Kimbal, founded Global Link Information Network in 1995. The company created a searchable directory of businesses and integrated the information with maps. The company was rebranded as Zip2 and was eventually bought by Compaq Computer.
  • PayPal. After leaving Zip2, Musk founded the online bank X.com in November 1999. X.com merged with Confinity—a startup that offered the PayPal service. Musk was pushed out of the CEO role. He stayed on as an advisor and received $180 million after taxes when eBay purchased PayPal in 2002.
  • SpaceX. After the PayPal sale, Musk founded SpaceX. The company’s goal was to build its own rocket engines more cheaply than others by applying lean startup methods. In 2008, the company launched the first privately built rocket to reach orbit. In 2012, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule successfully docked with the International Space Station.
  • Tesla Motors. Tesla has successfully developed electric cars that consumers are eager to own. Tesla has released the Roadster, the Model S, and the Model X. It plans to release the more affordable Model 3 in 2017.
  • SolarCity. Musk is the chairman and largest shareholder in this company founded by his cousins. SolarCity installs and leases solar panels to consumers. By 2012, it was the largest solar panel installer in the United States.

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The End of AbsenceIn an always-on, constantly connected digital environment, the appreciation of solitude is becoming a dying art. Yet some of life’s richest rewards result from periods of solitude — or what author Michael Harris refers to as absence. In The End of Absence, Harris explores the benefits and risks of today’s digital existence. In doing so, he both warns readers of the consequences of the impending end of absence and offers thoughtful insights on how to recapture the solitude that threatens to be lost forever in a digital world.

According to Harris:

  • The digitization of society has created the end of absence. As digital technology becomes ubiquitous, individuals lose the opportunity to enjoy silence and solitude.
  • New technology is always a trade-off. Whenever there is new technology, consideration must always be given to what will be gained and what will be lost.
  • In the digital age, absence must be engineered. Because people (young people in particular) are constantly bombarded by digital input, individuals must plan periods of solitude. Solitude cannot be left to chance.
  • Technology changes the brain. The brain is “plastic” in the sense that its functioning can be altered. Using digital technology has been shown to change neural patterns in the brain.
  • The Internet dilutes expertise. Information- and opinion-sharing technology allows anyone, and thus, no one, to be an expert.
  • Access to everything encourages the exploration of nothing. Because the digital world serves up a constant deluge of increasingly personalized information, individuals have become passive and do not explore new material.
  • Absence is a choice. Controlling the use of digital technology is up to each individual.

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Free RideThe Internet has enabled creators—musicians, film producers, artists, journalists, authors, and others—to reach a wider audience than ever before. It has also made it harder than ever for them to be compensated for their work. In contrast, technology companies, which rely on the work of creators and the media business to thrive, have received the greatest financial benefit from their work. In Free Ride, Robert Levine takes an in-depth journey through the systemic struggle of media companies and artists who cannot collect enough of the revenue that their work is generating while those who distribute and aggregate their content, legally and illegally, are experiencing exponential growth.

According to Levine:

  • Music has become so easy to copy and distribute–legally or otherwise–that people forget how much effort is involved in making it. Digital music takes away the cost of making plastic discs and shipping them to stores, but otherwise has not made the cost of producing music any less expensive.
  • Journalism can no longer rely on advertising revenue to support as much of its business as it once did. Major news aggregation websites, like theHuffington Post, generate money with far lower reporting costs. This sets up a disincentive to create original stories and ultimately rewards behavior that hurts the industry as a whole.
  • Roughly 40 percent of the revenue cable companies receive is divided among channels as “carriage fees” that smaller channels rely on to produce high quality, scripted shows. As more people look to the Internet to fulfill their demand for television, legally or illegally, the cable model, and consequently television’s overall quality, is under threat.
  • Movie studios are not in the business of selling tickets to movies as much as they are in the business of selling various rights to show them later. Piracy undertaken via online locker services, or file-hosting services, presents the greatest threat to the industry.
  • Technology companies are primarily interested in cheap and accessible books as a means to another end. Consumers must remember that while the cost of distributing e-books is less, the task and high costs of writing, editing, publishing, and marketing have not changed.

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Topic: The Risk-Driven Business Model

Who: Karan Girotra, author, professor of technology and operations management at INSEAD, and founder of Terrapass, Inc.

When: Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Time: 1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

Register Now



Most companies think of innovation as being about new technology or developing new products— but the most disruptive organizations of the 21st century have innovated much more than their products or technology. From Ford Motors to Toyota to Uber the automotive industry among many others has been continually disrupted by companies that change the way they “did things,” or their business model.

This WebEx will explore the following questions:

  • How new business models can be an even more disruptive force than new technology?
  • Where the biggest business model innovation opportunities lie?
  • How to create an organization that identifies these game-changing opportunities

Based on Karan Girotra’s co-authored book The Risk-Driven Business Model. Coming Soon to BizSum.com.

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