Tech-Freitag: kommentierte Links aus der Woche

Ich lese jede Woche eine Menge Tech-Geschichten – das ist der Versuch, ein paar der Sachen zu kuratieren, auf die ich stoße (Links aus der vergangenen Woche hier)

This is not the downturn you are looking for (Pando Daily, $)
Sarah Lacey:
„There were only five US IPOs in all the first quarter, and zero US tech IPOs. The number of exits overall has declined every quarter in 2015, with the trend continuing so far this year. This is not a blip. This is one reason hedge funds and mutual funds are leaving. The question is whether other sources of capital – like WeWork’s headscratching China deal or Gawker and Uber’s sketchy Russian Oligarchs – can continue to make up the balance.“

Die Marktbedingungen deuten weiterhin nicht darauf hin, dass Tech-Startups der rote Börsenteppich ausgerollt würde. Wie also geht es weiter? Weitere Downrounds? Kompromiss-Preise bei M&As oder Verkäufen an den eigenen Corporate Investor? In vielen Firmen steckt zu viel Geld, um sie bereits zu liquidieren (Warum es keine Blase, sondern eine Korrektur ist und wie die Mechanismen funktionieren, habe ich letzten Sommer mal aufgeschrieben).

Instagram and the Cult of the Attention Web: How the Free Internet is Eating Itself (Jesse Weaver via Medium)

„An algorithmic feed changes the ability of influencers and brands on Instagram to reach people. It changes the ability of accounts to be discovered. Instagram is making this move just when brands are really starting to figure out how to leverage the platform. Strategically this makes sense for the business because brands have found the value of the platform, so when the new feed starts to erode that value, they’ll be more likely to stay and pay for promoted posts. The same scenario has already played out on Facebook (Instagram’s parent). And it works. Facebook is doing pretty well from a revenue perspective. And so, Instagram will continue to head down the same road. And, as has happened with other services, as the Instagram experience falls deeper and deeper into the attention web’s monetization trap it’s likely the magic will fade.“

Mit Aufmerksamkeit locken und diese dann künstlich verknappen – ein Klassiker. Deswegen müssen Marken bei Facebook bezahlen, um garantiert alle Menschen erreichen zu können, die Like auf ihrer Seite geklickt haben (und es fällt ihnen nicht mal mehr auf, dass das Versprechen einst ein anderes war).

The Day Everything Changed At Compaq (Sean Burke via LinkedIn)
Sean Burke war lange Jahre Compaq-Manager und 1992 ohne sein Wissen Teil eines Management-Coups (eigentlich wollte er nur strategische Alternativen ausloten). Und er stieß dabei auf ein bekanntes Großfirmen-Problem: Politik bzw. die Loyalität zum Status Quo.

„We had plenty of fights with vendors and internal Compaq organizations that really wanted us to fail. We changed the core supplier base for a number of commodities. We selected Quantum as a new drive supplier over Conner Peripherals. Compaq had an investment in Conner and they made up a large percentage of Compaq’s hard drives. I remember a meeting with Conner’s VP of Sales. He told me that he didn’t have the drive capacities I wanted nor could he support my aggressive price targets. He said that I would ‚have to take‘ what he had. I told him that we were sticking to the original requirements and if he didn’t have right products Conner would not get the business. I could tell that most of the Compaq people in the room remained quiet and were more supportive of Conner’s position than mine.“

Von vorne bis hinten lesenswert, als Zeitdokument und Management-Lehrstück.

What if Apple is wrong? (MIT Technology Review)
Brian Bergstein:
„The argument for opening smartphones to law enforcement is not that we should make police work as easy as possible. In a free society, some criminals will always slip away because of restraints on investigation that are necessary for balancing liberty and security. Evidence is always lost to time, to decay, to confusion, to incompetence, and to murky memories. We will always keep secrets in safes, in encrypted files, and in our minds.
But we need to ask whether too much evidence will be lost in smartphones that now lock away all that they hold—not just message traffic but also calendar entries, pictures, and videos—even when police have a legal right to view those contents. Apple will eventually close the hole that the FBI found into the San Bernardino phone, and now it is exploring ways of cutting off its avenue for giving police data backed up in the cloud, too. What if these new layers of secrecy undermine the justice system without even increasing your privacy very much?“

Unideologisches, gut recherchiertes und argumentiertes Stück zur Verschlüsselungsdebatte. Meine Sorge ist immer noch die Tür, die damit geöffnet wird. Gibt es einen Kompromiss, der beide Seiten berücksichtigt?

Google Sees AR, Not VR, as the Real Goal (The Information, $)
Amir Efrati:
„Baby steps toward AR are coming soon. Later this year, Google has said it will launch a Lenovo-made phone embedded with Google’s ‚Tango‘ software that allows people to hold the phone up while its motion-tracking camera and other sensors are on, in order to use it to measure the distance between two points in a room or overlay dots on a city street to help them navigate. The phone also comes with special depth sensors and other hardware that helps the phone sense spaces around it so a person can map an area in 3D. Google, for now, is charging developers more than $500 to be able to build apps for Tango-enabled devices. Tango comes from a new group run by Mr. Bavor, the senior Google executive. Undoubtedly, in the future he will look at ways for people to use this software hands-free, with a head-mounted screen.“

AR verbindet Informationen aus der physischen Welt mit digitalen, und von beiden hat Mountain View genug, dazu stecken sie viel R&D in Mikro-Projektionsflächen für digitale Elemente. Sehr viel interessanteres Stück als der Nonsense über ein Google-Interesse an Yahoo, der heute rumgeistert und meiner Meinung nach von interessierter Seite (Yahoo? Bank, die das Geschäft abwickelt?) kommen dürfte.

Can A Startup Be Good? (New Republic)
Max Rivlin-Nadler über eine Accelerator-Woche:
„Over a matter of days, I saw altruistic business ideas—to encourage people to provide healthy meals to low-income communities, for example, to recycle better or to help high school athletes connect with other players—altered drastically to emphasize profit to generate as much investment as possible. Ideas were quickly divorced from whatever benevolent sentiment spawned them, and instead tailored to garner insane and inaccurate valuations. I watched as one startup projected a billion dollar revenue in a few years time, even though they were just two guys with a laptop. (That startup won the competition. They’re still in business, but are well short of their billion-dollar goal.) The administrator who organized the accelerator was aghast, and wondered aloud why a seemingly harmless initiative meant to develop nascent businesses had devolved into an exercise about who could make the steepest and most daring revenue projections. But we should have seen it coming.“

Leider hört der Text auf, bevor er richtig beginnt. Aber die Debatte über die Kultur hinter Tech ist für mich weiterhin eine der wichtigsten der digitalen Gegenwart.

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