How good UX wins

… the most important factor determining success is the user experience: the best distributors/aggregators/market-makers win by providing the best experience, which earns them the most consumers/users, which attracts the most suppliers, which enhances the user experience in a virtuous cycle.

—Ben Thompson in ‘The Bill Gates Line

Platforms v Aggregators

… the most important distinction between platforms and aggregators: platforms are powerful because they facilitate a relationship between 3rd-party suppliers and end users; aggregators, on the other hand, intermediate and control it.

— Ben Thompson, in ‘The Bill Gates Line

Continue reading Platforms v Aggregators

Curiosity or distraction?

Consider the words we use to describe the result: human error, distraction, lack of attention, sloppiness–all negative terms, all implying the inferiority of people. Distraction, in particular, is the byword of the day–responsible for everything from poor interpersonal relationships to car accidents.

Curiosity: It’s a natural human trait. My curiosity frequently leads me to insights that have helped me in my career. So why is this wonderful, creative trait of curiosity given the negative term “distraction”?

—Dan Norman, in ‘Why bad technology dominates our lives

Cognitive scientists (I am one) have long known that the human nervous system is very sensitive to changes in the environment. As a result, we are naturally curious. This sensitivity keeps us alert to environmental changes, both good and bad, that might affect us. It also allows us to notice novel patterns and opportunities. Curiosity is a great source of creativity, as studies have shown.

Curiosity is, on the whole, a virtue. We have evolved to be curious. Our nervous system is especially sensitive to change, and changes in the environment attract attention. But the technology-centered view labels this natural, creative trait as a liability: Curiosity is renamed as distraction. A human virtue is now turned into a liability.


Cash is bad — Reed Hastings

“It’s horrible how mismanaged most Silicon Valley companies are in capital.

Microsoft always wanted to have a lot of cash on hand. Apple had no cash 15 years ago in 2000. Who did the most innovation? The cash does not help. The cash insolates you in a bad way. It’s a bad thing that companies store cash.”

Reed Hastings (Netflix), to John Doerr (KPCB)

Why biometrics are not passwords

All ‘passwords’ should be replaceable. If your credit card gets stolen, you can block it and get a new card. If your Aadhaar number and fingerprint are leaked, you can’t change it, you can’t block it.

Aadhaar uses fingerprints, linked to bank accounts: Is your identity safe?, April 3, 2017, at 01:37 PM

Asking the wrong questions

This isn’t exactly an uncommon observation – lots of people have pointed out that vintage sci-fi has plenty of rocket ships but all the pilots are men – 1950s society but with robots. Meanwhile, the interstellar liners have paper tickets, that you queue up to buy. With fundamental technology change, we don’t so much get our predictions wrong as make predictions about the wrong things.

Asking the wrong questions, January 24, 2017 at 12:08PM