Monthly Archives: September 2017

We Know About the iPhone X

Given the opportunity, Apple product reveals are all about the fanfare, and release of its tenth anniversary iPhone X in early November was no exception. So if you’re in the market for a new smartphone, pride yourself on being an early adopter of all the latest, or just wondering why it costs so much, here is what we know about the tech giant’s latest device.

The company pulled out all the stops. The company revamped the design, doing away with the home button, adding a glass back and an OLED screen. It swapped out the Touch ID for facial recognition technology and creating a bezel-less display — meaning those black bands around the screen — and attaching the most expensive smartphone price tag on the market, starting at $999.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said back in October that he wasn’t going to be running right out to get one.”I’d rather wait and watch that one. I’m happy with my iPhone 8 — which is the same as the iPhone 7, which is the same as the iPhone 6, to me,” Wozniak told CNBC. “For some reason, the iPhone X is going to be the first iPhone I didn’t on day one — upgrade to. But my wife will, so I’ll be close enough to see it.”

But others jumped at the chance. The first run that went on sale on Friday, October 27th sold out in minutes, even though it went on sale at exactly 3:00 am EST.

Some prospective buyers who got in early enough to pre-order the phone to get it delivered on the November 3rd release date took to eBay to sell the devices to the highest bidder. According to Fortune, at the end of October, one device was on sale for a whopping $60,000. Though currently, it seems that the price is hovering around $15,000 to $16,000.Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer told Time that the reason for the increased price — of $999, not the mark up on eBay — was simple. “As you would expect, there’s a financial consequence to integrating the sheer amount of processing power into such a small device.”

Ive also explained thought process that goes into developing a device like the iPhone X, and leaving behind technology, like the home button, that has worked to this point.“I actually think the path of holding onto features that have been effective, the path of holding onto those whatever the cost, is a path that leads to failure,” he said. “And in the short term, it’s the path the feels less risky, and it’s the path that feels more secure.”

Time-saving Technology

IndieBound 34 million Americans play video games an average of 22 hours a week, and another 5 million play for 40 hours or more, according to Vulture.com. These include adults — not just children. Never before have so many had so much of their time consumed by play.

But, you have to question why other forms of play don’t take nearly as much of their enthusiasts’ time. Few weekend duffers are logging 22 to 40 hours a week on the golf course. Most casual bridge or poker players get in just four to eight hours a week.

The fact is, these other activities aren’t engineered to be addictive; video games are. Gamers are famous for so losing track of time and becoming so immersed that they forget to eat, sleep or go to work — just the same as a heroin addict camped in a crack house. And it’s not just gaming that’s got us addicted.

The author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, Dr. Adam Alter put it this way in a New York Times interview, March 7, 2017:

“In the past, we thought of addiction as related to chemi­cal substances: heroin, cocaine, nicotine. Today, we have this phenomenon of behavioral addictions where people are spending three hours a day tethered to their cell phones. … These gadgets are the perfect delivery devices for addictive media. Games (and social media) were once confined to our home computers. Now, portable devices allow us to engage with them everywhere. Today, we’re checking our social media constantly.”

Participation in social media has been meticulously engineered to be addictive in every respect. Behavioral scientists, neurologists, psychologists, computer scientists and others have invested all their combined knowledge into creating and promoting a collection of activities we think of as social media, purposed to hijack more and more of your time, to provide incentives and rewards more significant and stimulating to you than all other activities and to ultimately rewire your brain to be incapable of participating in other activities. Imagine how susceptible we are to something deliberately designed for that purpose!

Join the resistance movement
At a private breakfast with David Sax, author of The Revenge of Analog, I asked him what he thought of the digital takeover of people’s minds and lives and my book’s subjects of time management and productivity. He said what seemed most revealing was that, even as the availability of cheap and free technology had grown explosively, productivity had stayed stubbornly flat. Most studies, he said, showed productivity basically flat-lining for the past decade while the tools, media, instant access and specifics like easy, cheap video conferencing had proliferated like rabbits on Viagra.

Having a Digital Is Not Just About Technology

Are you scrambling to make your company more digital? If so, you’re not alone. Yet, many companies make the mistake of equating digital with technology, when in fact technology is just a catalyst for business changes that run much deeper.For each of the past six years, MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Digital have surveyed thousands of global executives and managers to understand what their companies are doing to become more digitally mature. This year’s survey revealed five key practices that differentiate the most digitally mature companies from their less advanced counterparts. No matter your size, focusing on these areas can help your company successfully adapt and compete in a digitally driven market.

1. Look at business strategy through a digital lens.
A digital strategy seems like an obvious first step to maturity, but not all companies have them in place. According to our survey, companies at the high end of the digital maturity scale are over four times more likely than less advanced organizations to have a clear digital strategy (80 percent vs. 19 percent), making it the single biggest differentiator.
2. Think ahead. Way ahead.
One way that small companies become big ones is by identifying the important digital trends in advance and capitalizing on them. Yet, according to our study, only 13 percent of early stage companies look out at least five or more years when setting their strategy. Furthermore, only 11 percent of businesses with 100 or fewer employees look out five years or more.
3. Weave digital into your DNA.
Whether small or large, digitally maturing companies use digital technology to do business in dramatically new ways — not just to improve efficiency. They have a culture that embraces risk, rapid action, agility and collaboration. And they are organized differently, with a much greater emphasis on cross-functional teams.
4. Aggressively build on success.
What sets the most digitally mature organizations apart from other companies is that they are willing to fail fast and often, but aggressively scale up when they succeed.

Cardinal Health, for example, regularly cuts initiatives and reports on what was learned. In interviewing them for our study, we heard from Brent Stutz, senior vice president of commercial technologies and chief technology officer of Fuse at Cardinal Health: “I’m not afraid to create a slide that describes 42 failures and four successes. The sooner we stop working on an idea that isn’t panning out, the faster we can move on to the next, better solution.”
5. Become a talent magnet.
Today’s top talent understands the importance of digital, not only for the company but for their own personal career development. Companies at the high end of the digital maturity scale have a huge advantage in attracting and retaining the best talent — in fact, VP-level talent is 15 times more likely to stay in a company if it has strong digital capabilities.

Emerging Markets is a Frontier of 3D Printing

On its surface, 3-D printing seems like a failed gamble. Technologists once envisioned that it would open a world of opportunity: Simply input the design, spool up the 3-D printer, and sit back to watch as your imagination became plastic. However, due to a range of economic and practical factors, 3-D printing has yet to find the widespread successes that some may have hoped for.

Still, it’s too early to call 3-D printing a failed technology. Instead, 3-D printing offers some unique opportunities for entrepreneurs interested in expanding into emerging markets. To succeed, however, startups will have to pivot to more specialized uses — such as printing apartments to address rising housing demand or prosthetic limbs for amputees.

The flaws of consumer 3-D printers.
For consumers, avoiding 3-D printers is a logical decision. They’re tricky, temperamental machines which require a lot of special knowledge and care — and more time and money than the average person can afford. Even hobbyists enroll in shared makerspaces rather than buying their own machine.Consider how much work it takes to effectively use a 3-D printer. A team at Mashable experimented with 3-D printing — to their dismay. First, the printer was finicky about what types of files it accepted; the team had to convert their design into several file formats before finding the right one. Next, the device wasn’t exactly forgiving; any mistakes required an immediate do-over, which wasted plastic, time, and electricity. Six attempts and 24 hours later, the team finally gave up.

The challenges of emerging markets.
But for all its annoyances, 3-D printing does have promise for emerging markets — which might seem counterintuitive. After all, if richer nations reject 3-D printers, why would it be any different in less prosperous ones?

Yet first impressions are misleading. In emerging markets, 3-D printing technology is expected to become a $4.5 billion industry by 2020, growing by some 37.4 percent between 2014-2020. Most of this growth is expected to take place in India and China.

So what gives? The appeal of 3-D printing lies in its potential to solve several lingering problems common to emerging markets. The most common issue is an infrastructure gap (a lack of roads, medical clinics or schools); by nature, these projects require plenty of capital, time and skilled labor, all of which emerging markets may lack.
As a result, 3-D printing can be a shortcut. Not only does it build durable, workable solutions for far less money — but it is also a form of leapfrogging, where emerging markets can take advantage of exciting new technologies (such as blockchain) while bypassing early stages of development.