“You can tell someone is right for the job by learning what they care about and whether they say ‘I’ or ‘we.’”
Last month, as I geared up to teach my daughter “Bug” to code, we built a better map of our neighborhood than Google had. On one level, it was a moment of empowerment. But on a deeper level it was a lesson about the futility of fighting Mountain View: The Fusion Tables my 6-year-old and I used to build our map are just one of a suite of Google Drive apps, and all the data we manually pulled together went back to the mothership.
Kids generally (and Bug specifically) get this. If you want a peek into how deeply they trust consumer-facing brands, drive them to McDonald’s and order them something new, and note their willingness to try anything Ronald boxes up in a Happy Meal. Now attempt to swap generic oat circles for the big yellow Cheerios box.
Kids today want to trust brands, and that’s why digital companies are trying to break into the Happy Meal demographic. Google is reportedly aiming to build child-friendly versions of its services, and the Instagram-for-kids app Kuddle raised millions in funding. This all suggests a move toward a Nickelodeon-ization of the Internet that allows you to plant your kid and walk away.
Can cities reduce traffic congestion and emissions with a private transit network?
The best way to describe JPods, a new form of public transit soon to be tested in New Jersey, is “something out of the Jetsons.” At least that’s how one city official described the solar-powered pods, which are a combination of light rail and self-driving car suspended above roads. Imagine something like a ski lift running above our existing streets and you’re getting close to the right mental image.
But there’s one sticking point: The JPods are a private transit system. Will investors be willing to fund a network of pods that compete with light rail, buses, subways, and other current public transit options? And if the capital was there, would municipal governments let this happen?
“At its core, it’s a story about the nature of competition and market leadership—how business leaders can achieve it, and how it can be snatched away.”
Call it the Internet of things you hate losing.
Apple wants to be the hub for your health data, just the way it became the hub for your music, movies, and photos. But like the world before iTunes, it’s hard to imagine what our lives could be like with centralized health app data. To find out, we dug into Apple’s HealthKit framework and spoke to some top iOS developers. What we found could change the health care ecosystem even more than we expected.
To outsiders, Silicon Valley work culture seems almost like a joke: college kids pretending to be adults in unkempt hair who show up to business meetings wearing wrinkled T-shirts with jeans. But for the people entrenched in it, what could be better?
Glassdoor on Friday released its first report on the companies with the best work culture and values, as determined by reviews and ratings by former and current employees. Not only does Twitter top the list, but tech made a strong showing overall, filling 11 of the 25 spots. Aside from the microblogging service, the list also includes Google at No. 3, Facebook at No. 5, and Apple at No. 15.
What is it that Twitter employees love about their workplace?
"We knew we wanted a chalkboard robot, and it turns out there is a guy that makes them," says Danielle Engelman, director of programs at Long Now.
If you condense the images of the Internet, you get an orange smear. But nobody is sure why.
Today, Jim Bumgardner is the director of application development at Disney Interactive Labs. But almost 10 years ago, he stumbled across a puzzle that would confound him. When layering hundreds of Flickr photos, he found that, again and again, the images became a consistent, bronze blur. He named his montages Bronze Shields. They looked like pizza shells.
To this date, neither Bumgardner nor anyone else has proven why the images of the Internet, when layered and averaged together en masse, round down into a tarnished orange glow Bumgardner dubbed “emergent orange.” But Bumgardner, collecting ideas from researchers and peers across the web, has suggested four theories:
The self-destructing photo app is experimenting with pushing TV and movie clips.
When Snapchat turned down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook, critics thought it was foolhardy hubris. How could a messaging platform that makes photos and videos disintegrate after a few seconds possibly be worth anything to advertisers?
Now we have our first indication of how Snapchat plans to make its billions, and—surprise!—it might not be so silly after all.
Save your battery, while you still can!
Firstborn’s Dan LaCivita argues that technology alone isn’t enough to prevent a preventable tragedy and issues a call for the marketing industry, startups, and others to get involved.
Each year, we hear the headlines on television news, read the stories online at our desks, and discuss the details around our kitchen tables. We shake our heads in sadness, we hug our children tighter, and we fail to comprehend how a parent or a caretaker could just … forget.
I was in one of those places, my dinner table, when my own family began discussing one of the most recent tragedies—two-year-old Cooper Harris—and his murky, but still senseless death. As my own 20-month-old son, Eli, ate (well, played with) his own dinner nearby, my wife, my mother and I discussed how this sort of thing can still happen. We asked, why, with all the amazing technology that we have in this world, is there not something for a parent to purchase to prevent this from accidentally happening to their son or daughter? Why isn’t there a device or product that has the ability to save the lives of 38 children each year?
Turns out, there are a lot of reasons why. And none of them are very good. Here are some of these “barriers” I uncovered and who can help break them down:
Salmon have serious swimming skills—some travel thousands of miles to return to their original homes to breed. But even though they can jump as high as 12 feet in the air, they can’t manage to get over massive concrete dams that we have built to block their journeys back to their homes. Now one new idea could give them a boost. The plan involves whisking the fish through a long vacuum tube at speeds up to 22 miles per hour and then shooting them out the other end like a cannon.