Yet another way the mobile web is saving the world

Have you noticed how people don’t lose their cool when kept waiting? In the old days, it wouldn’t take much of a delay for your average “very important and very busy” person to get angry at unexpected delays…Now, thanks to smartphones and 3G, every idle moment is welcomed as an opportunity to catch up on…

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The link between cultural complexity and innovation

Prof Cesar Hidalgo of MIT recently argued that a country’s level of economic complexity (and therefore wealth) is linked to its cultural complexity. By cultural complexity, he means the variety of “humanities” in a country, ie: theatre, movies, games, music, art, writing, religion, restaurants, etc.The theory goes that the reason America and France are amongst…

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SA is winning the currency war

(tongue in cheek post)Many publications are reporting that the USA has started a global currency “war” by printing more money, thereby accelerating inflation and weakening the US Dollar, allowing for stronger exports and the reduction of its national debt in real terms.The USA is made stronger by a weaker currency.It seems the South African government…

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3 reasons why teams fail

3 reasons why teams failI’ve just finished a short executive education course during which we had the obligatory team project, and having survived relatively unscathed I have some observations on why teams fail (MBA’s are famous for the unhappiness caused by bad team combinations!)1.             LeadershipEither the leadership is weak or there is no leadership. Both…

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How the middle class affects political unrest

Ishac Divan of the Harvard Centre for International Development has an interesting theory on the cause of the Egyptian revolution.After comparing stratified inequality data over the past couple of decades, he argues that the reason for the political unrest was not the growing inequality between the poor and the elite.The reason was rising inequality between…

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3 keys to maximising collaboration between people

The people must get along at a personal level. There must be a common language. Collaboration is maximized amongst people of the same discipline (this plays to the first 2 points). Ignore at your own risk.

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Start-ups vs Government on innovation

Comparing tech start-ups and the government is strange, I know. Nevertheless, having just finished a short course on economic development, I’m quite sure there are some parallels in the thinking of professors and civil servants in charge of the economy, and the thinking of the likes of Eric Ries of Lean Startup fame.The first thing…

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Using economic theory for innovation in your company

This post is an adaption of a theory know as The Product Space used by Hidalgo & Haussmann to describe economic complexity & innovation within a country.The company is a forest.The trees are areas of product knowledge (either datasets or individuals).The monkeys are the products.There are different types of trees; the “type” is determined by the productive…

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3 reasons government should pay attention to big business

 Dear government,Please don’t forget small business (i.e.: me), but pay attention to big business.Yours truly, Alan   This is a counter-intuitive statement, but it is true.If government is trying to spur entrepreneurship and create employment, it should spend more time helping big businesses.Why? Big business is the target market for most small to medium sized…

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Apples vs Apple

(Repeated from a presentation by Professor Cesar Hidalgo of MIT Media Labs)   The apple of Adam & Eve fame was first in the world and then in our heads.The Apple of Jobs was first in his head and then in the world.Apple is human imagination manifested in the real world.Everything that is man-made is…

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The 4 types of people in an audience

Whilst in the midst of a short course, I’m immediately reminded of the four categories of students: 1. The guy who is waiting for a chance to tell everyone how much he knows. He does this by ostensibly asking questions, and rather turning it into a lecture drawing on his deep pool of wisdom. I suspect…

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The web is like beer and coffee

It is trending towards personalisation. In America at least, the days of everyone drinking Budweiser and Starbucks are fading. People are moving towards micro-breweries for their beer, and local baristas for their caffeine.Why? It’s probably a case of affordability of the means of production. It used to be economically unfeasible for micro-brewers and local coffee…

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