A mixed collection of materials looking at societal trends and the impact of technology on the way we live.
Slate looks at separatist movements in Europe in light of the recent decision by Scotland to maintain its ties with the United Kingdom:
McKinsey’s forecast for the luxury market points to the growing role of emerging economies. Luxury brands shouldn’t count on a free ride though with Chinese consumers proving less receptive to Western luxury brands than in the past according to a report in The Guardian:
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, venture capitalist Bill Gurley has raised concerns about the ‘burn rate’ of startups and the potential risks of a tech bubble bursting. We may not see this happen in the immediate future but a correction does look increasingly inevitable.
The Financial Times profiles the emerging FinTech sector and the challenges it poses to the incumbents in the banking and financial services sector.
Bitcoin is one of the technologies that is providing a disruptive force in the financial services sector, with Fred Ehrsam from Bitcoin wallet provider Coinbase giving an introduction to the cryptocurrency:
GlobalWebIndex figures confirm the commonly held view that tablets are frequently shared whilst mobile phones are more closely associated with the individual:
Comscore research points to mobile apps taking a dominant role in the time American’s spend with their smartphones with pointers on the when where and why of app usage:
Results from Shopify points to 50.3% of traffic coming from mobile and just 49.7% from computers among customers using their eCommerce solution. Whilst this doesn’t purport to represent a statistically sound sample of all eCommerce transactions, it does provide another data point supporting the need for companies to adopt a mobile first strategy:
Code and Theory’s Dan Gardener and Mike Treff call for an approach to responsive design that goes beyond the screen size of device use, encompassing factors such as location, time of day and duration:
The social network Ello launched in March of this year but is now beginning to reach critical mass, with consumers attracted by the promise of a system that isn’t based on pervasive tracking and surveillance. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its critics with Andy Baio pointing out the funding provided by venture capital which may see its more ethical policies watered down with time.
eMarketer figures point to social media taking a growing overall figure and share of UK’s advertising spend, with Facebook dominating brand’s spend on social networks:
ReadWrite looks at which countries have the fastest internet with South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong taking the top three places:
Ezekiel J. Emanuel provides a fascinating opinion piece arguing that we should be placing more emphasis on quality rather than quantity of life. Putting this into a more personal context, he stresses that we would like only palliative rather than curative care after the age of 75:
But here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.
Mark Buchanan, drawing on Jaron Lanier’s Who Owns the Future, warns of societal problems associated with the internet with the concentrations of power and the disenfranchising of large sectors of society. Another book to add to the reading list.
We’re seeing telecommuting increasingly promoted as providing flexibility to employees with the potential to better combine the demands of work and home, but it’s not a one sided coin. Lenika Cruz provides a personal account of how working from home aggravated her agoraphobia:
To be clear: Working from home didn’t cause my agoraphobia, it just enabled it. As someone who already had latent anxiety issues, I lacked incentive to prove myself wrong about all the imagined catastrophes that could occur if I were “trapped” somewhere. Telecommuting offered me the retreat I craved, but it helped to reinforce my avoidance patterns. And so the agoraphobia blossomed.