I have just returned from holidays in Jervis Bay, a stunning region set in a marine national park a few hours drive south of Sydney. It is one of those places scattered around the world that feels magical in some inexpressible way.
Image credit: Hadi Zaher
It was just a one week holiday, my first proper break in the last year, which has been perhaps the most intense year in my life. Victoria and I did take a little time off between this last Christmas and New Year but I ended having to do a some urgent client work and many interviews including Sunrise, Today, and Morning Show over New Year so it wasn’t a real holiday.
During the holiday I was almost completely switched off from digital world, with limited connectivity where we were staying helping me avoid more than very briefly glancing at email or Twitter every day or so, though I did need to respond to a couple of enquiries.
Continue reading On the importance of energizing holidays for entrepreneurs
Bitcoin surpassing a valuation of $1,000 yesterday is a real landmark, giving the currency a market capitalization of almost $12 billion and 75-fold growth in value this year.
However Bitcoin is not the only digital currency, simply the most prominent. As Bitcoin’s value has soared, partly driven by a positive response from Senate committees last week, participants have looked further afield to see whether there may be other alternatives that have not risen by so much already.
The second most prominent currency is Litecoin, with a market capitalization of over $1 billion. After that Peercoin and Namecoin currently have capitalizations of close to $80 million, followed by a number of others from $20 million and down in a long tail, with the 23rd ranked currency, Goldcoin, still valued at over $1 million.
Litecoin is over 10 times its value from just 10 days ago, with Peercoin growing 4-fold and Namecoin 12-fold in value over the same period.
The following chart is a snapshot from Coinmarketcap, which provides real-time information on digital currencies. The table shows the largest currencies by market cap, with the chart on the right hand side showing growth over the last 90 days.
The speed at which we can access the internet is important. Very important.
I’ve written before on the evidence that internet bandwidth is a key driver of economic growth and online participation, and there is plenty of other research to point to its role in social value creation.
A decent source of data on internet speeds across countries is Speedtest.net, which aggregates the data from all the tests it does for its users. In quite a few countries it does not have extensive usage, however with a few exceptions the data usually appears to be fairly representative.
It has just provided a new update of Internet bandwidth country comparison data on its NetIndex site, including a chart of speeds over the last 2 1/2 years.
A selection of the data is shown below.
In my keynotes I often reference 1997 as the year that a chess grandmaster was first beaten by a computer, with Deep Blue outplaying Garry Kasparov.
Before that happened many believed that chess was the domain of ingenuity, imagination, and human insight that computers could never match. Yet brute processing power plus some improved algorithms did the job.
The power of computers has soared by around 1000-fold since then, and computers are moving deeper and deeper into the domain of what we consider to be fundamental human capabilities.
Last week I spoke on the potential of crowdsourcing at the EngageTech conference, an event focusing on how government can best use technology to engage with community and citizens.
One of the very interesting conversations that emerged at the event was on how interested and informed citizens are on government decisions.
It’s a truism that representative democracy is not very democratic.
One of the primary reasons that we elect representatives is that the vast majority of people do not have the interest or time to have informed opinions on the many things on which government must decide and act.
However the rise of a hyper-connected world has fundamentally changed the relationship between citizens and government.
Continue reading Could online lobbying be the future of government?
This morning I attended the Innovation Bay breakfast on Where to for retail now?.
It was a fascinating discussion, which was definitely useful as I develop my forthcoming Future of Retail framework. (Still working on it, I don’t know when it will be ready for the public, more later.)
Michael Fox, founder of the highly innovative and successful Shoes of Prey, spoke about some of what they envisage for the future of retail.
One of their internal initiatives is an app they dub “Shoezam”, which acts like Shazam in that people can take an image of a shoe they like in the street, which the app analyzes so that users can immediately order that shoe for themselves.
Continue reading “Shoezam” app mimics Shazam to image, identify, and replicate shoes on the street