The following provides a roundup of some of the articles, thought pieces and content which have got me thinking recently.
I still require some convincing on whether Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp makes financial sense. There has been a lot of talk of how WhatsApp will retain much of its management independence and will honour existing privacy arrangements including not collecting user data for advertising. These restrictions will hamstring the service’s utility for Facebook, but the service’s astonishing growth may make the question moot as these figures from Om Malik suggest.
The Flurry Blog looks at the growth of Android personalisation apps such as Facebook Home and Yahoo’s Aviate as being the next mobile battleground. Rapid growth, albeit off a small base and an interesting counterpoint to the growing attention to mobile messaging.
Casey Research takes a critical view on Bitcoin, pointing out that the system is only as strong as its weakest link with a shortage of security and trust likely to encumber the currency for the time being.
Marc Andreessen provides some of the more intelligent commentary on the technology sector and his forecast for the media sector definitely provides food for thought. As a counterpoint, the Columbia Journalism Review takes a less rosy view of the disruption technology is bringing to the sector.
The Wall Street Journal points to the continuing dominance of bricks and mortar in America’s retail sector – Amazon (and other eCommerce operators) still has plenty of opportunity to take a greater share of the pie.
Microco.sm has publicly launched its online forum offering, providing some much needed competition to Vanilla, vBulletin and Invision PB. It’s worth adding that despite all the talk of social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, forums retain an important role in enabling conversations with customers as profiled in research published in the Journal of Marketing Research and profiled in Convince & Convert.
The Government Digital Service (GDS) has done some great work making Britain’s public services more available online. The GDS‘ dashboard provides a valuable window into what devices consumers are using in the UK.
The Financial Times looks at how automation is making growing inroads into white collar employment as software increasingly eats the world.
Most societies at least play lip service to the issue of social mobility, so its interesting to read Professor Gregory Clark’s research which points to mobility as being comparatively unaffected by social policy. We are better off addressing the results of inequality rather than expecting social reforms to enable the move from barrow boy to banker.
The featured image is Caffarena 86 by Nelio from La Boca, Buenos Aires.