Thought Starters: potential for micropayments, notifications and a closer look at WeWork

The following is a look through articles, infographics and opinion pieces highlighting interesting trends, developments and changes in the world you and I live in, with an emphasis on technology.

As the online media sector grapples with the impact of ad blockers on their business model, we’re likely to see growing interest in micropayments. Frédéric Filloux profiles Dutch platform Blendle and how their business model takes a collaborative approach with media operators:

“Blendle benefits from exceptionally favorable trade winds. The traditional advertising model is crumbling under the pressure of programmatic buying and of the pervasiveness of adblockers. In addition, Blendle also takes advantage of limitations in paywall models that mostly target the heavy, affluent users segment, but exclude the younger audiences that are Blendle’s main target (today two-third of Blendle users are under 35). From the legacy media perspective, this makes the paid-by-the-article system more attractive than ever.”

Figures from comScore in the US point to mobile and tablet app usage following the power law with a few apps monopolising consumers’ attention:Time spent per app

John Borthwick profiles the role of notifications as the smartphone becomes the centre of our digital lives:

“Right now we are witnessing another round of unbundling as the notification screen becomes the primary interface for mobile computing. It’s easy to get fixated with notifications as a feature — they are a feature for an app. But they are also part of this broader unbundling cycle and they are part of an architectural shift from pull to a push. It’s an interesting time.”

Steve Cheney looks at how Apple has used its expertise in microchips to carve out a competitive advantage in smartphones with potential to do the same in other market categories.

WeWork is positioning itself more as disruptive tech startup rather than traditional property company as a means of buttressing its market valuation. Nitasha Tiku takes a closer look and asks whether the company is really that different from more traditional commercial property providers:

“These slides show how easy it is to create a good-looking growth curve — not just for WeWork, but for all of its peers in the current tech climate. “You put together a model. It spits out whatever it spits out based on the inputs,” Sussman told BuzzFeed News. “I always say, ‘If you gave David Copperfield or Harry Potter Microsoft Excel, they could do even more amazing magic.’” The basis for WeWork’s five-year forecasts, he said, all rests on its assumptions. “Key metrics like membership growth, pricing, and square footage leased drive the whole model. Change those inputs and everything changes.” Input in, pivot out.”

On the topic of startups and their respective valuations, the following slide provides an interesting look at how Slack is miles ahead in terms of the value of each customer according to L2:

Valuations per user

Having grown up (at least initially) with the printed word, it’s fascinating to see the growth of YouTube as an information channel for the under 55s according to Ofcom research:

Sources used when looking for information online

The Pew Research Center has released figures looking at how social media usage has changed over the last 10 years. No great revelations but an interesting window into how usage has grown and how it does (or doesn’t) vary by age, gender, education and income:

Social Media vs Income

Corporate taxation (or the lack thereof) continues to pop up in the headlines with Facebook apparently paying out just £4,327 in tax UK despite giving out £35m in staff bonuses according to a Guardian report. Among the tricks of the trade are the use of offshore shore bases which The Economist highlights with FDI inflows:

FDI inflows as percentage of GDP

Using figures from the American Community Survey, the United States Census Bureau points to women overtaking men in having a bachelor degree or higher in the US (although pay equity looks much further off):

Comparison of Gender vs Tertiary Qualification in US

Whilst Britain’s role in Europe may be in question with talk of Brexit, English becomes increasingly dominant among languages taught in primary schools in the European Union according to the Pew Research Center:

Growing dominance of English language in Europe

The featured image is Dark Perimeter / Basic Primary Shapes by the Argentinian artist Elian Chali for Nuit Blanche in Brussels and published in StreetArtNews.

THOUGHT STARTERS: CONTENT THAT HAS GOT ME THINKING 19

This week is a varied collection of resources. Topics include a look at Japan, Europe’s leading economies, the growing role of mobile, Tesla’s sharing of its intellectual property, collaboration across different industry, rising costs in the tertiary sector and the role of the European white working class. I hope you enjoy it.

David Pilling looks at the intertwined relations of Japan and China in their role of neighbours and competitors and how this reflects Japan’s self image.

Europe’s ten most competitive economies according to the World Economic Forum, with the Nordics definitely coming out ahead.

Europe2020 Competitiveness ReportMarc Andreessen argues that we don’t need to worry about robots eating all the jobs, with technology based innovation providing greater opportunities for modern society.

GlobalWebIndex looks at what devices we are using to get online, PC still on top but mobile growing.

GWIGrowing signs of mobile’s significance as key markets within Europe pass 50% smartphone penetration market according to eMarketer figures.

Smartphone Penetration Europe

The growing penetration of smartphones is reflected in rapid forecasted growth in mobile data and mobile ecommerce reported on in the Ericsson Mobility Report.

Mobile data growth

Mobile Commerce Growth

Whilst they say a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes a words are more appropriate. Econsultancy have pulled together a strong collection of quotes looking at mobile and mobile marketing.

In today’s modern world, people are either asleep or connected.

Janice H. Reinold, Rosetta Marketing

Bubba Murarka looks at the current and future evolution of mobile advertising which he sees as happening over three stages.

Gartner Digital Marketing Transit Map is over a year old now but provides a window into increasingly elaborate world

Gartner Digital Marketing Transit Map

Intellectual property is viewed by many companies as an important economic moat, providing a barrier against encroaching competitors. So it’s been interesting to see commentators response to Tesla Motors sharing its electric vehicle technology, with Sarah Gray pointing out that the brand’s competitor could be more readily defined as petroleum powered car sector rather than other brands’ electric powered vehicles.

Whilst a lot of attention is currently being given to social media, you need to also bear in mind the capabilities of search and email marketing, as reflected in Custora research publicised on Pamorama.

Acquisition Channel Growth

Box have surveyed different industry sectors collaboration pointing to the fact that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all forms

Industry Collaboration

Tertiary education appears to be on an inexorable growth in costs which Thomas Frank takes a critical look at. This growth in costs is putting a university education out of reach of more and more people and is leaving the sector ripe for disruption from organisations like Coursera and Udacity.

Education Inflation

Simon Kuper looks at Europe’s white working class in light of the surging popularity of anti-immigration populists in the European elections drawing on research from the Open Society Foundations.

The Howard Griffin Gallery is fast turning into one of my favourites, with an interesting selection of artists and an intelligent use of their space on Shoreditch High Street. The Bob Mazzer exhibition is no exception.

Clockwell

The featured image is a piece by Matt W. Moore from Brooklyn, New York.