Techonomy http://techonomy.com Sat, 25 Oct 2014 20:32:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Techonomy 2014 Conference Looms–And We’re Ready http://techonomy.com/2014/10/techonomy-2014-conference-loomsand-ready/ http://techonomy.com/2014/10/techonomy-2014-conference-loomsand-ready/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 12:27:01 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=19163 In a couple weeks our Techonomy conference continues the dialogue we began in 2010 on how tech transforms business and society. We've moved from Arizona to a beautiful cliffside location at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco. It will be our best ever.

The post The Techonomy 2014 Conference Looms–And We’re Ready appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
Ritz_HalfMoonBay_00143_Galleries_1280x720

In a couple weeks our Techonomy conference continues the dialogue we began in 2010 on how tech transforms business and society. We’ve moved from Arizona to a beautiful cliffside location at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco. It will be our best ever.

We’ve assembled a superbly interesting and diverse crowd of leaders, ranging from LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner to Leroy Mwasaru of Kenya, whose Human Waste Bioreactor converts you-know-what into methane for cooking and heating. But what makes the meeting is how this amazing group interacts with a program we’ve worked on for an entire year. We underscore areas of tension that emerge as tech transforms business and society in myriad ways. Our program director Simone Ross says it’s like a living version of a magazine—with long and short elements, and vast diversity. (The metaphor works especially well since both of us worked for years at Fortune Magazine.)

We’ve got so many unexpected and idea-rich sessions, with such unique combinations of people and themes, that as I scroll through our program it’s hard to decide which ones to tell you about.

Some highlights are obvious. Our opening panel is Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel together in conversation—they went to college together and have conspired on many projects, including Facebook. Later that afternoon we’ll hear from Patrick Collison of Stripe, as well as a panel of thinkers about how biology changes business as much as tech.

I’m eager to see the after-dinner session—”Can Tech Bring Equality and Peace?” It’s a tendentious title, or maybe an apocryphal one. We’ll find out, as Genevieve Bell, an anthropologist and top strategist at Intel, joins serial tech inventor Jack Dorsey, former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband (now president of the International Rescue Committee), and Indian tech leader Nandan Nilekani. The New Yorker’s Jim Surowiecki moderates.

The next two days bring sessions touching on how business is being transformed by tech and how tech itself is morphing. One on the Chinese Internet includes Imran Khan of Credit Suisse, who wrote much of the recent IPO prospectus for Chinese tech star Alibaba, Miciek Piskorski of the IMD Business School in Switzerland, who is writing a book on the subject, and longtime China-based VC Gary Rieschel, among others.

One session asks how we’re doing facing mankind’s grand challenges. Another looks at the changing cultures for corporate innovation. The World Economic Forum will host a breakfast on the fragmentation of the global Internet, a topic on which we also have several sessions of our own, including an interview of ICANN chief Fadi Chehadi by Washington Post journalist Barton Gellman, one of the Snowden confidantes.

David Marcus, who heads Facebook Messenger, will appear in public for the first time since he left his job as PayPal’s CEO. The leaders of the three parts of EMC also make their debut public appearance together. They will argue no doubt about why Wall Streeters are wrong to call for the breakup of their relationship.

Other speakers will include Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, Idealab’s Bill Gross, tech satirist (and Reputation.com CEO) Michael Fertik, Citi Chief Innovation Officer Debbie Hopkins, Juniper Networks CEO Shaygan Kheradpir, Erica Kochi of UNICEF’s Innovation Lab, Ijad Madisch of Berlin startup ResearchGate, Visa President Ryan McInerney, Tony Marx of the New York Public Library, and Coke CTO Guy Wollaert.

Journalists on the scene, many moderating, include Matthew Bishop of The Economist, David Callaway of USA Today, Emily Chang of Bloomberg Television, Tom Gardner of the Motley Fool, Connie Guglielmo of CNET, Zachary Karabell of Slate, Jessica Lessin of The Information, and Robert Scoble. On Monday night Issac Slade and Joe King of The Fray will play some of their great music and chat with the intrepid Kara Swisher of Re/code. 

Our final morning, Tuesday, November 11, begins with virtual realist and tech-predation-warner Jaron Lanier. A session on the future of work and automation moderated by John Markoff of the NY Times precedes the Marcus interview. Then we conclude with a conversation with Marc Benioff of Salesforce on technology’s social obligations, how the intersection of technology and work are changing, and the future of enterprise software. (The word “cloud” will probably be uttered.)

Benioff is a fitting closer since he has advised us from the beginning on how to make Techonomy succeed. In fact so has Reid Hoffman. So we’re bracketed by allies, both of whom, like so many at this conference, are passionate believers that if we take a firm grip on technology we can build a better world. That, in the end, is what this whole event is about.

The post The Techonomy 2014 Conference Looms–And We’re Ready appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/10/techonomy-2014-conference-loomsand-ready/feed/ 0
How Data Is Failing Marketers http://techonomy.com/2014/10/data-failing-marketers/ http://techonomy.com/2014/10/data-failing-marketers/#comments Sat, 25 Oct 2014 12:25:04 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=19165 For decades, data has promised to revolutionize business, allowing marketers to become more customer-centric, develop more personal campaigns, and create more efficient processes. In the early 1990s, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers predicted the impact of data and the Internet, outlining the end of mass marketing and the dawning of a “one-to-one” age. But this glorious future remains a fantasy. Instead, companies spend less time than ever interacting directly with customers. Rather than offering an easy means of communicating with customers, data has encouraged us to chase quick wins and marginal gains in revenue.

The post How Data Is Failing Marketers appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
(Image via Shutterstock)

(Image via Shutterstock)

We asked several participants in the upcoming Techonomy 2014 conference to write an article for us on what they are passionate about right now.

Peter Drucker famously argued in the 1950s that data would allow us to “know and understand [the] customer so well, products [would] sell themselves.” For decades, it has promised to revolutionize business, allowing marketers to become more customer-centric, develop more personal campaigns, and create more efficient processes. In the early 1990s, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers predicted the impact of data and the Internet, outlining the end of mass marketing and the dawning of a “one-to-one” age. But this glorious future remains a fantasy.

Instead, companies spend less time than ever interacting directly with customers. Rather than offering an easy means of communicating with customers, data has encouraged us to chase quick wins and marginal gains in revenue. This is the dark side to data. A long-term perspective focused on positive customer experience, lifetime value, and sustainable growth has been overtaken by an epidemic of “shor-termism.” Reversing this trend will be essential for businesses that hope to stop simply applying analytics and instead start competing with data.

In 1991, the Web was released from local CERN servers and made available to the wider world. Already, people were thinking about this novel technology’s disruptive potential in communications, media, and business. By 1993, Peppers and Rogers had identified a striking feature of digital marketing—their book “The One-to-One Future” outlined how data generated by customers could be captured, analyzed and applied to create strikingly personal experiences for each individual. It was a bold prediction, but one which at the time seemed nearly tangible. More than 20 years later, however, this glorious future remains an unrealized fantasy. Though marketers today have access to more data than ever, the connection between the business and customer has, in many cases, grown more distant.

To understand how this happened, it’s helpful to recall the 1950s. During this industrial and consumer boom, the average company lifespan was 90 years—long enough for brands to become intertwined in the entire life of a customer. The effectiveness of advertising and mass marketing appeared boundless. Reaching the largest possible audience, the logic went, increased exposure to the brand and product. Increased exposure would lead to increased sales. More often, however, the returns on these investments were nebulous. Advertising and retail pioneer John Wanamaker summarized it famously when he said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”

Indeed, even at the peak of mass marketing, many wondered if there was a better approach. Data, segmentation, and targeted marketing presented a promising alternative.  The difference between Drucker’s data-driven vision and the undifferentiated approach of mass marketing is the source of the traditional split between direct and brand marketing. More data, Peppers and Rogers predicted decades later, would allow marketers to finally abandon the mass approach completely. The focus would shift from share of market to share of customer. Brands could target their best customers. Communication would no longer be limited to broadcasting but, instead, become conversations.

Yet more than 20 years after the publication of “The One-to-One Future”—and more than 60 years after Drucker articulated his vision—marketers still fail to engage customers in a direct and personal way. Today it’s not due to a lack of data but rather a surfeit of it. Buried under an avalanche of customer information, digital marketers and e-commerce retailers rarely actually meet customers. Without this personal element, it’s easy to become fixated on incremental metrics, devoting resources to increasing clicks, shopping cart sizes, order rates, and revenues. Instead of using data to fortify businesses for the long term, we have become fixated on marginal improvements measured over days and weeks—and at best, a quarter. This short-termism is pervasive. It’s one of the reasons the average lifespan of a company has dropped to just 15 years. The dark side of data is assuming that everything can be measured and, as a result, only noticing what can easily be quantified. This approach is holding us back from achieving the true potential of big data.

A software services company, for example, wanted to reduce the rate at which users cancelled subscriptions. After analyzing the data, it was clear that the most significant problem on the page was the big cancel button. Through a series of tests, the company gradually reduced the prominence and size of the button. Each test reduced the cancel rate, but did so at a gradually diminishing margin of improvement. Finally, the testing team discovered the optimal solution: By replacing the button with a phone number, online cancellations dropped to zero. However, the call center was overloaded with requests from angry customers.

This case illustrates the dangers of short-termism precisely. Using powerful techniques like data analysis, testing, and optimization as a means to a narrow end may improve short-term metrics but can damage customer relationships.

Data, at its best, is the channel through which digital marketers and e-commerce retailers communicate with customers. It’s the means by which we create relevant, personal experiences for users. It’s how we build trust and encourage loyalty. But realizing all these great promises of data takes time, courage, and vision. It requires businesses to embrace testing as more than a means to incremental wins and focus instead on the potential to learn about customers, their behaviors, and their fundamental needs.

“We can’t realize our potential as people or companies,” Jeff Bezos famously wrote to Amazon shareholders in 1997, “unless we plan for the long term.” This was true more than 50 years ago when Peter Drucker envisioned a personal relationship between customers and businesses. It was true at the dawn of the Internet when Don Peppers and Martha Rogers outlined a more authentic process for brand communication. And it’s true today, a moment in which endless stores of data can be collected, analyzed, and optimized through the expert use of powerful testing platforms.

Escaping the dark side of data requires a monumental shift in thinking. It requires a commitment from executives, marketing directors, product managers, and analysts. It requires a culture driven by innovation, measured risk, and customer-centricity. As we move into 2015, the most successful businesses will work to reverse the influence of short-termism. Those with the audacity to embrace learning and long-term thinking will stop simply applying analytics, and instead use data as a tool to gain a deeper understanding of consumers and forge a closer relationship with customers.

Brooks Bell is the founder of Brooks Bell, Inc., which brings scientific disciplines of testing and optimization to the traditionally subjective field of marketing. She speaks regularly on entrepreneurship, analytics, and marketing, and serves as a judge and mentor for Duke University’s entrepreneurship programs.

The post How Data Is Failing Marketers appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/10/data-failing-marketers/feed/ 0
Everybody’s Finally Piling into Digital Health http://techonomy.com/2014/10/everybodys-finally-piling-digital-health/ http://techonomy.com/2014/10/everybodys-finally-piling-digital-health/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 18:22:08 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=19157 A number of factors are driving the digital health revolution: Healthcare reform is changing business models; high costs and an aging population are creating demand; iPads, sensors, genetics, and big data are getting cheaper; and socially conscious thinkers and entrepreneurs graduating from the world’s best schools are opting to create companies in healthcare rather than things like gaming. As a result, healthcare is drawing attention from newbies, those living the system, and corporate entities—all at once.

The post Everybody’s Finally Piling into Digital Health appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
(Image via Shutterstock)

(Image via Shutterstock)

In 2013 interest increased in digital healthcare, with everyone from Apple and Google to Ford and AT&T making investments and announcing they intended to enter the sector. But 2014 will be remembered as the year digital health got serious.

Our latest StartUp Health Insights report shows that the $5 billion in funding for digital health during the first nine months of 2014 is nearly double what investors put into the category last year. More companies are putting more money into diverse areas of digital healthcare, suggesting 2014 will be a landmark year. At StartUp Health, we are experiencing this moment of creative destruction first hand. Since 2011, we have been building an army of healthcare entrepreneurs and digital health innovators who are reinventing what’s possible in healthcare, and this year there has been a palpable lift.

A number of factors are driving the digital health revolution: Healthcare reform is changing business models; high costs and an aging population are creating demand; iPads, sensors, genetics, and big data are getting cheaper; and socially conscious thinkers and entrepreneurs graduating from the world’s best schools are opting to create companies in healthcare rather than things like gaming. As a result, healthcare is drawing attention from newbies, those living the system, and corporate entities—all at once.

One major signal of change is that entrepreneurship in digital health is increasingly being led by women, minorities, doctors, and global innovators within the health system who contribute unique and powerful perspectives. Women lead close to one-third of the companies in StartUp Health’s portfolio, and more than 40 percent are led by an MD or PhD. Increasingly diverse funding sources mirror the profile of the entrepreneurs.

That said, the funding, and in some cases the push into healthcare itself, is increasingly coming from corporate America. Apple declared its desire to be heard in healthcare when it opened up market opportunity to many more entrepreneurs through its HealthKit in the latest version of iOS 8 and announced the much-anticipated Apple Watch. Other companies including Microsoft, Samsung, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have made similar proclamations. But perhaps most interesting are the efforts by unlikely companies such as Ford, which is entering the market by integrating glucose monitoring into auto entertainment systems.

Growing investment in digital health outside the Bay Area and New York—historically the sector’s major markets—offers more evidence of an expanding footprint. Boston (26 deals through Q3) and Washington ($536 million in funding) may not surprise you as close followers, but Los Angeles (9 deals, $341 million) and Minneapolis (3 deals, $242 million) are also emerging as hotbeds for company formation. Nor is investment in digital health any longer U.S.-centric. Sixteen percent of StartUp Health’s portfolio is outside the U.S., in six different countries. We estimate that more than 5,000 startups around the world are developing new solutions in digital health.

Where are all these VCs, private equity funds, and corporations making their bets? Everywhere from big data and analytics to sensors and patient engagement, and including more in-the-weeds subsectors like tools to navigate the care system and genomics. At least 10 subsectors have each received over $200 million in funding to date.

At StartUp Health we’re driving as well as witnessing this historic moment. In the last five years we have seen company formation, funding, and attention in the digital health marketplace surpass our expectations. We’re excited by all that’s to come as the industry begins to touch the consumer—whether with wearables, invisibles, or solutions that make consumers smart buyers of healthcare. We look forward to being surprised much more in 2015.

Unity Stoakes is co-founder and president of StartUp Health, a global growth platform for entrepreneurs transforming healthcare.

The post Everybody’s Finally Piling into Digital Health appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/10/everybodys-finally-piling-digital-health/feed/ 1
Media Advisory: Fifth Annual Techonomy Conference Moves to Half Moon Bay, November 9-11 http://techonomy.com/2014/10/media-advisory-fifth-annual-techonomy-conference-moves-half-moon-bay-november-9-11/ http://techonomy.com/2014/10/media-advisory-fifth-annual-techonomy-conference-moves-half-moon-bay-november-9-11/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:58:46 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=19130 Techonomy, a New York-based media and event company, hosts its fifth annual Techonomy conference November 9-11 at The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California. Techonomy will convene leaders from diverse industries and social sectors to discuss technology as a driver of productivity and social progress. The invite-only conference provides a meeting ground for technologists, innovators, business leaders, government officials and academics to explore the ongoing societal transformation driven by technology, as well as the challenges and opportunities that creates.

The post Media Advisory: Fifth Annual Techonomy Conference Moves to Half Moon Bay, November 9-11 appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
Techonomy, a New York-based media and event company, hosts its fifth annual Techonomy conference November 9-11 at The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, California.

Techonomy will convene leaders from diverse industries and social sectors to discuss technology as a driver of productivity and social progress.  The invite-only conference provides a meeting ground for technologists, innovators, business leaders, government officials and academics to explore the ongoing societal transformation driven by technology, as well as the challenges and opportunities that creates.

Participants include:

  • Carl Bass, President and CEO, Autodesk
  • Genevieve Bell, Vice President and Intel Fellow, Intel Labs; Director, User Experience Research, Intel Labs; Director, User Experience Research, Intel Corporation
  • Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, salesforce.com
  • Mark T. Bertolini, Chairman, President and CEO, Aetna Inc.
  • Jim Breyer, Founder and CEO, Breyer Capital; Partner, Accel Partners
  • Patrick Collison, CEO, Stripe
  • Giovanni Colella, Co-founder and CEO, Castlight Health
  • Scott Cook, Founder and Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit Inc.
  • Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square; Chairman, Twitter
  • Pat Gelsinger, CEO, VMware, Inc.
  • Margo Georgiadis, President, Americas, Google Inc.
  • Geno Germano, Group President, Global Innovative Pharma Business, Pfizer Inc.
  • David Goulden, CEO, EMC Information Infastructure, EMC Corporation
  • Reid Hoffman, Co-founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn; Partner, Greylock Partners
  • Deborah Hopkins, Chief Innovation Officer, Citi; CEO, Citi Ventures
  • Shaygan Kheradpir, CEO, Juniper Networks
  • Erica Kochi, Executive Director on Innovation and Co-founder, UNICEF Innovation
  • James Manyika, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company
  • David Marcus, Vice President of Messaging Products, Facebook
  • Ryan McInerney, President, Visa Inc.
  • David Milliband, President, International Rescue Committee
  • Amit Mital, Chief Technology Officer, Symantec
  • Rima Qureshi, SV, Chief Strategy Officer, Ericsson
  • Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
  • Peter Thiel, Thiel Capital
  • Ken Washington, VP Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford
  • Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn Corporation
  • Margit Wennmachers, Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
  • Guy Wollaert, SVP, Chief Technical and Innovation Officer, The Coca-Cola Company

The conference emphasizes dialogue, and brings together diverse perspectives about how technology is driving change. Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel will make a rare joint appearance on stage. David Marcus, who oversees Facebook Messenger, will make his first public appearance since leaving PayPal. Former British Foreign Minister David Milliband will join Indian tech leader Nandan Nilekani and Intel tech sociologist Genevieve Bell in an after-dinner discussion about whether and how tech can contribute to equality and peace. Additionally critical current themes like security, mobile, and the Internet of Things will be touched on.

Other sessions will include:

  • A Future without Industries: Tech and the Internet blur borders between industries. What “industry” is Uber in? Airbnb? Tesla is a car company, software company, and energy company. These ambitious organizations take their definition from problems that need to be solved, not legacy business structures. What does the new landscape mean for incumbents and disruptors?
  • Preemptive Innovation: Innovation is happening faster and getting better organized. Incubators are sprouting up all over the world, and large corporations are building startup labs. Leaders can’t just wait for inspiration to strike. They have to seek it out or grow it themselves. Senior execs from Citi, Visa and Coke join serial entrepreneur Bill Gross.
  • How to Meet the World’s Grand Challenges: How can businesses focus on the world’s most urgent problems, like healthcare, food, water, energy and education? How can it partner with governments and NGOs? Where can tech play a role?

Conference partners include Autodesk, Bloomberg TV, Citi, eBay, EMC, Castlight Health, Ericsson, Ford, McKinsey & Company, and Edelman.

For more on the program and participants, please visit: http://techonomy.com/conf/te14/.

On Facebook at www.facebook.com/techonomy, on Twitter @techonomy and via hashtag #Techonomy14 .

About Techonomy Media

Techonomy is a media company with a mission: to elevate the dialogue about the central role of technology and innovation in business and social progress. Our annual flagship Techonomy conference brings together leaders of tech, business, government, science, academia and NGOs to cross-fertilize and share both enthusiasm and alarm at the pace of tech-driven transformation. At our annual Techonomy Detroit, we conduct a more US-centric dialogue about tech’s role for competitiveness, jobs, and urban revival. Next year we will also plan events on the Life Sciences and on Policy. Through our events, daily editorial coverage and video content, we seek to accelerate progress and productivity in business and society. See www.techonomy.com for more information or follow on Twitter @techonomy.

The post Media Advisory: Fifth Annual Techonomy Conference Moves to Half Moon Bay, November 9-11 appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/10/media-advisory-fifth-annual-techonomy-conference-moves-half-moon-bay-november-9-11/feed/ 0
Apple’s Surge in iPhone Sales Matched by Mac http://techonomy.com/2014/10/apples-iphone-sales-surge-matched-mac/ http://techonomy.com/2014/10/apples-iphone-sales-surge-matched-mac/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:13:13 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=19126 “No company gets attention like Apple. No company,” says Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick—whether it be from the development of new products like the Apple Watch and Apple Pay, or from news of the company’s profits and sales. On Tuesday, the tech colossus reported its fourth-quarter earnings, announcing some formidable figures, including a whopping 21-percent jump in iPhone revenue. It’s no surprise that that increase was due in large part to high demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. But what did surprise some is the fact that that surge was matched by a 21-percent increase in revenue from none other than the Mac.

The post Apple’s Surge in iPhone Sales Matched by Mac appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>

“No company gets attention like Apple. No company,” says Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick—whether it be from the development of new products like the Apple Watch and Apple Pay, or from news of the company’s profits and sales. On Tuesday, the tech colossus reported its fourth-quarter earnings, announcing some formidable figures, including a whopping 21-percent jump in iPhone revenue. It’s no surprise that that increase was due in large part to high demand for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. But what did surprise some is the fact that that surge was matched by a 21-percent increase in revenue from none other than the Mac.

“Nobody talks about Macintoshes,” said Kirkpatrick, also a contributing editor at Bloomberg, on “In the Loop with Betty Liu” Tuesday morning. “But if Mac sales are up 21 percent this quarter, that says something new. They have broken out of a range they’ve been in, and I think it’s a very big deal.” By converting PC users and taking a bigger share of computer sales, Apple can benefit from an area that may not be sexy, but is “very high margin and very high price,” Kirkpatrick said, adding, “I think that could be the growth business for Apple that people aren’t paying attention to.”

What’s foremost on pundits’ minds at the moment is Apple Pay, the company’s new contactless payment technology, which Kirkpatrick believes could see success. “There have been so many efforts to try to do contactless payment,” Kirkpatrick said, citing attempts by credit card companies and Google. “It may be that Apple’s extraordinary brand … may actually do something for payments that nobody else could do, and I hope it’s true. I would love to see payments get easier. We all would benefit.”

The post Apple’s Surge in iPhone Sales Matched by Mac appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/10/apples-iphone-sales-surge-matched-mac/feed/ 0
Money That Aims to Pack a Positive Punch http://techonomy.com/2014/10/money-aims-pack-positive-punch/ http://techonomy.com/2014/10/money-aims-pack-positive-punch/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:42:47 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=19084 Impact investment funds, initially created by foundations like Rockefeller, Gates, and the Omidyar Network, seek to convert money destined for pure philanthropy to more strategic and business-driven investments. The returns on these investments are more measurable than those on philanthropy. Even while aiming to achieve financial gains, they support solutions for some of the world’s most pressing challenges around sustainable agriculture, affordable housing, accessible healthcare, literacy, employment, clean energy, and financial inclusion.

The post Money That Aims to Pack a Positive Punch appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
(Image via Shutterstock)

(Image via Shutterstock)

Impact investing is all the rage in billionaire circles. Unless you’re a billionaire, you might ask: “Why do I care?” I’ll tell you: Because this phenomenon is changing the face of both philanthropy and finance and has the potential to radically impact our communities, the causes we care about, and the world at large.

Impact investment funds, initially created by foundations like Rockefeller, Gates, and the Omidyar Network, seek to convert money destined for pure philanthropy to more strategic and business-driven investments. The returns on these investments are more measurable than those on philanthropy. Even while aiming to achieve financial gains, they support solutions for some of the world’s most pressing challenges around sustainable agriculture, affordable housing, accessible healthcare, literacy, employment, clean energy, and financial inclusion.

Enlightened investors, who recognize that the health of their businesses is inextricably linked to the long-term prosperity of their clients and communities, are increasingly interested in getting in on the game. The value of global business opportunities in social and environmental markets is projected by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to be upwards of $3 trillion annually by 2050. That’s a lot of public good that can be generated via private funds.

Impact investors commit to measure and report their social and environmental performance, making them more transparent and more accountable for their decisions. This structure makes proof of impact a priority.

As marketers and innovators, we tend to look to the Googles and Teslas of the world for some of the most exciting and disruptive innovation. But impact investing mechanisms and models are eliciting some real creativity from the finance sector. New York City and Goldman Sachs have been experimenting with social impact bonds (SIBs) to finance a cognitive behavioral therapy program for young offenders at Riker’s Island, in hope of breaking the cycle of recidivism without putting tax payer dollars at risk. Although there is some debate about the wisdom of privatizing such programs, this kind of experimentation finances initiatives that otherwise might not have seen the light of day.

More innovative still, Barclays has created a Social Innovation Facility to serve as a catalyst for  commercially viable and socially impactful new product development for the bank itself. The goal is to develop sustainable revenue streams from new offerings that would otherwise be considered too high risk or too long term to meet the current hurdle rates established by the bank. Barclays’ leadership believes such initiatives may represent the future. This facility has already funded programs including the creation of a mobile social networking platform to help students connect with mentors while starting to save for college. (Recent data suggests that kids from the lowest income families are four times more likely to graduate if they have saved just $500.) Its work also led to a partnership with the Grameen Foundation to develop viable mobile financial-service products in Uganda, as well as funding for this past summer’s launch of the Women in Leadership index on the NY Stock exchange. According to Barbara Byrne, vice chairman at Barclays, the Women in Leadership index capitalizes on the growing body of third-party research suggesting that gender-diverse leadership may correlate with relatively stronger corporate performance. (Disclosure: the author’s firm does marketing consultancy work for Barclays.)

Impact investing isn’t just limited to the financial sector. Vodafone’s M-PESA mobile payments platform in Africa provides services to the previously “unbankable” by allowing users with a national ID card to deposit, withdraw, and transfer money easily with a mobile device. And B Corporations like Warby Parker and Etsy are legally committing to achieve social as well as business goals in their bylaws.

But despite all of the encouraging signs, the impact investment movement is still progressing slowly. The pipeline of investible deals is still thin because many social entrepreneurs aren’t aware of these new avenues for funding, or don’t know how to get started. It is also still hard to measure impacts and outcomes that would allow these funds to accurately report their performance.

Marketing and Analytics as Catalysts

Interestingly, many tools used to measure and market mainstream products can also be applied to address these issues. Danone Communities, the social business incubator of Danone, is perhaps the most famous example of a private corporation leveraging both its funds and its brand to advance social good. Coke’s #5by20 program is another. The term “impact investment” has itself driven heightened awareness and interest in the field, especially among millennial investors. A 2013 Spectrem group survey found that 35 percent of the ultra-wealthy below the age of 45 consider social responsibility a primary investment selection factor, compared with only 19 percent of ultra-wealthy investors overall.

Today’s data analytics that evaluate new media impacts can also help investors measure whether their funds are being put to good use. Basic analytics are built into virtually all digital platforms. However, there are also specific tools being developed in each sector to provide richer measurement and feedback loops. Two examples are Wegowise—a service that tracks, aggregates, and benchmarks utility use in North America to measure ROI on green building investments—and Movercado, a platform that virtually distributes health commodity vouchers in several African countries and then tracks their purchase/use. Today it is thus possible to tally how many more girls are reading in Tanzania as a result of a digital literacy app or how many of the healthcare vouchers for pre-natal checkups are being redeemed. Jeff Martin, CEO & founder Tribal Planet, a company that develops intelligent databases behind mobile applications, talks about creating a Yelp of social investment to help all investors judge whether we are really making a difference.

Despite the obstacles, the prognosis for impact investment is good. The will of a new generation of investors to make a positive difference, the acceleration of innovation in financing mechanisms, and the growing ability to measure impact are clearly pushing us into a brave new world where, as the Case Foundation expresses it, “Money becomes more fearless in delivering its disruptive potential.”

Leslie Pascaud is the executive vice president at Added Value, a marketing consultancy.

The post Money That Aims to Pack a Positive Punch appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/10/money-aims-pack-positive-punch/feed/ 1
Could DNA Tools Help Manage Ebola? http://techonomy.com/2014/10/dna-tools-help-manage-ebola/ http://techonomy.com/2014/10/dna-tools-help-manage-ebola/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:04:26 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=19077 Recent innovations in DNA analysis have given scientists and epidemiologists new ways to track and treat outbreaks, and many of these tools are already being deployed in the battle against Ebola and other diseases. Technologies at work today, as well as those expected in the years to come, will be of real utility in helping the biomedical community understand these pathogens better, provide a real-time warning system about outbreaks, and trace their source and spread over time.

The post Could DNA Tools Help Manage Ebola? appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
shutterstock_208141390

The Ebola virus (image via Shutterstock)

Ebola probably hasn’t gotten you to change your travel plans much yet, but the ongoing outbreak of enterovirus 68 or the invasion of Chikungunya-carrying mosquitoes in Florida has at least given you pause about sending your kids out to play. Infectious diseases are always a global issue, but this particular combination of outbreaks has many of us on edge.

Recent innovations in DNA analysis have given scientists and epidemiologists new ways to track and treat outbreaks, and many of these tools are already being deployed in the battle against Ebola and other diseases. Technologies at work today, as well as those expected in the years to come, will be of real utility in helping the biomedical community understand these pathogens better, provide a real-time warning system about outbreaks, and trace their source and spread over time.

For example, as DNA sequencing has gotten faster, cheaper, and more accurate, scientists have been able to analyze the genomes of the pathogens causing these outbreaks. To those just watching breathless CNN coverage, all Ebola looks the same; but to scientists who specialize in it, certain genetic markers may offer important clues about which treatments will be successful or how virulent a certain strain might be. For example, genomic analysis has shown that the current outbreak was probably started by an infected human, rather than by exposure to infected animals as is often the case for Ebola.

As a strain morphs over time, developing slight genetic differences as it spreads from host to host, DNA sequencing can be used to determine the exact transmission path, to distinguish between related and sporadic infection events, or to detect precisely when a pathogen acquires resistance to medications. Knowing the transmission path of an outbreak is enormously helpful to scientists; this type of work was recently used to figure out whether an outbreak at the NIH Clinical Center began with a hospital-acquired infection or with a previously infected patient who got a false-negative on a routine screening test.

Establishing that path of transmission can have consequences beyond medicine: such analysis was used during the cholera outbreak in Haiti a few years ago to defuse a growing political crisis about who was responsible for bringing the disease to the country. Based on DNA sequence, scientists determined that the outbreak strain was more closely related to strains seen in south Asia than those endemic to Latin America, lending weight to the theory that peacekeepers from Nepal had sparked the epidemic.

Years ago, studies like this would have been prohibitively expensive and taken far too long to make any difference during an outbreak. Today, sequencing is so cheap and fast that it’s close to being ready for mainstream clinical use. The CDC directed millions of dollars this year alone to find ways to deploy DNA analysis tools in outbreak investigations. We’ve learned valuable information about virtually all pandemics in the past several years by analyzing them with DNA sequencing during the outbreak. One of the earliest was SARS in 2003, when scientists used the most advanced DNA tools of the day to identify the virus wreaking havoc in Asia. Having that information could ultimately be used in the development of a SARS treatment or even a vaccine.

In the future, DNA sequencing and other analysis tools will provide information that will be important for regular folks, not just infectious disease experts. Google has already made a mark with its flu-tracking map, updated continuously to show regions where more people than usual are searching for information about flu-like symptoms. The map offers an at-a-glance view of where flu activity is likely to be highest. It is widely expected that DNA will also be used for this type of early warning system; data could be compiled to create a similar sort of mapping to chart, and even predict, the spread of infectious diseases.

Tracking pathogens by their DNA in more and more locations will be critical to this type of advance. (We really like one example of scientists and volunteers using genomics to identify pathogens found around New York City, reporting them in this handy map.) Such mapping will ultimately include the most micro definition of locations: individual households. Some scientists predict miniature DNA-reading technologies that could analyze human waste passing through toilets, detecting non-human genetic signatures and beaming back relevant updates about microbial genomes. That information could be used within the household to alert someone to, say, very early evidence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria gaining traction in his gut—but could also be pooled with other data to identify neighborhoods where foodborne illness, for instance, was becoming a problem.

While the ultimate goal of the biomedical community is disease prevention, being able to predict the spread of infectious disease is an ambitious next step. The ability of DNA-based tools to identify health problems early, and the use of big data to mine that information for trends and patterns, will be critical to the development of an early-warning system that could significantly reduce the impact of outbreaks.

The post Could DNA Tools Help Manage Ebola? appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/10/dna-tools-help-manage-ebola/feed/ 1
Xiaomi Hit by Apple’s Ive, Lifted by Qihoo’s Zhou http://techonomy.com/2014/10/weibo-xiaomi-hit-apples-ive-lifted-qihoos-zhou/ http://techonomy.com/2014/10/weibo-xiaomi-hit-apples-ive-lifted-qihoos-zhou/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:11:38 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=19024 Publicity savvy smartphone maker Xiaomi was making awkward noises in the blogosphere this past week, as it found itself stinging from critical remarks made by a top executive at Apple, the company’s role model. At the same time, the company got an unexpected show of support from another source, as controversial Qihoo 360 CEO Zhou Hongyi defended the smartphone maker over a different brouhaha involving involving an embarrassing data security investigation in Taiwan.

The post Xiaomi Hit by Apple’s Ive, Lifted by Qihoo’s Zhou appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
xmlogoPublicity savvy smartphone maker Xiaomi was making awkward noises in the blogosphere this past week, as it found itself stinging from critical remarks made by a top executive at Apple, the company’s role model. At the same time, the company got an unexpected show of support from another source, as controversial Qihoo 360 CEO Zhou Hongyi defended the smartphone maker over a different brouhaha involving involving an embarrassing data security investigation in Taiwan.

In separate news, TV giant TCL Chairman Li Dongsheng was talking up a potential electronic payments alliance, with word that his company is discussing a tie-up with UnionPay, operator of China’s leading electronic transactions network. Just last week, I commended Li for taking some new risks a decade after two disastrous partnerships with European companies. But this latest chatter is starting to get a bit worrisome, as Li seems to be thinking in quite a few directions that are increasingly scattered and lack any common theme. 

Let’s begin with Xiaomi, which has risen rapidly over the last two years on its trendy smartphones and savvy marketing campaigns by co-founder and chief executive Lei Jun. After years of largely positive media coverage, Xiaomi has suddenly found itself in the less familiar position of some negative stories stemming from a string of minor scandals. One of the most recent of those occurred last month, when word leaked out that the company was being probed by Taiwan for posing a security risk because its phones sent some of their user data to off-shore servers in China.

Now the company has come under fire again, this time from comments made by Apple senior vice president and lead designer Jonathan Ive, who accused companies like Xiaomi of stealing from true innovators like Apple. The criticism is especially sharp in this case, since Xiaomi’s Lei Jun has long considered Apple his company’s role model and likes to think of himself as China’s version of Apple co-founder and tech legend Steve Jobs.

Ive’s remarks came during an event in which he discussed Apple’s design process, and were in response to a question on what he thought about Xiaomi. Ive reportedly responded that he didn’t see the actions of companies like Xiaomi as flattering, but rather viewed such companies as thieves for stealing from innovators like Apple that poured years of work and huge sums of money into their produce development.

Lei Jun would only address the issue indirectly on his microblog, saying it was important for people to understand that his company was still in its formative stages and needed time to develop. But the uneasy nature of his remarks reflected the hurt that he almost certainly felt on being labeled as a copycat by his biggest role model. Meanwhile, Tang Mu, an executive from Xiaomi’s router division, expressed his own respect for Ive, but added that the Apple executive didn’t completely understand his company.

While Xiaomi executives were licking their wounds from the unexpected criticism, the company got some unexpected moral support from Qihoo 360′s Zhou Hongyi on the Taiwan investigation, which was big news at the end of September. Zhou noted that in the digital age of cloud storage, everyone needs to get used to having their data moved around and stored in a wide range of places. He added that Xiaomi’s biggest error was its failure to notify customers of that fact, and that all companies in the future will have an obligation to make such disclosures.

Next let’s look quickly at Li Dongsheng, who was in the headlines last week when TCL announced a new cloud computing joint venture with U.S. networking equipment giant Cisco. That particular deal came after Li recently hinted at another potential tie-up with faded Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC, and came a year after he also formed an Internet TV partnership with search giant Baidu.

Now Li has disclosed on his microblog that his company is in talks for an electronic payments venture with UnionPay, which itself is a joint venture between China’s major banks. Li made his disclosure at the end of a longer post about the growing popularity of third-party payment services, and didn’t provide any details on what TCL’s own new tie-up might look like. I suspect it would be some kind of service built into TCL’s two core product lines in TVs and smartphones.

But as I’ve said above, this latest foray is starting to make Li look like a traditional industry executive scrambling to catch up with younger rivals like Alibaba and Tencent founders Jack Ma and Pony Ma. That kind of imitation can be a dangerous game if you don’t know what you’re doing, leading me to worry that Li’s increasingly divided attention could cause him to make some poor business choices.

Doug Young lives in Shanghai and writes opinion pieces about tech investment in China for Techonomy and at www.youngchinabiz.com. He is the author of a new book about the media in China, “The Party Line: How the Media Dictates Public Opinion in Modern China.

The post Xiaomi Hit by Apple’s Ive, Lifted by Qihoo’s Zhou appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/10/weibo-xiaomi-hit-apples-ive-lifted-qihoos-zhou/feed/ 0
Cultures of Innovation http://techonomy.com/2014/10/cultures-innovation/ http://techonomy.com/2014/10/cultures-innovation/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 14:02:23 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=18935 Big and venerable companies around the world are increasingly confronting a vexing problem: They’re too big and venerable.
The ironic truth: To get even bigger, they have to learn to act small. Executives increasingly believe that new ideas and innovations that can generate growth are most likely to emerge in organizations like small start-ups. So the mandate for large companies is to find ways to replicate the culture and practices of smaller companies inside their walls.

The post Cultures of Innovation appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
shutterstock_184359812

Big and venerable companies around the world are increasingly confronting a vexing problem: They’re too big and venerable.

The ironic truth: To get even bigger, they have to learn to act small. Executives increasingly believe that new ideas and innovations that can generate growth are most likely to emerge in organizations like small start-ups. So the mandate for large companies is to find ways to replicate the culture and practices of smaller companies inside their walls.

The $52-billion-a-year health insurer Aetna, for example, has doubled its stock price in the last two years even as its CEO Mark Bertolini has emphasized breaking the company down into smaller units. “We’re 163 years old,” said Bertolini at last year’s Techonomy conference in Arizona, discussing the impact of tech on his business. “Is that a plus or minus?” a moderator asked him. “That’s a minus,” he replied. “Some say we have actuaries who’ve been around 163 years. So it’s difficult moving the model. You have to create separate organizations inside the company that are driving these technologies.” He described how Aetna has located several new businesses remotely from the corporate offices, and given them distinct compensation systems, management processes, and abilities to raise capital. Bertolini was blunt about what he hopes such groups will contribute to the legacy health insurer. He said he wants them to “disrupt the core.”

To create a more fertile environment for innovation, big companies face the challenge of rethinking corporate culture in several ways. David Kidder, whose start-up Bionic is explicitly devoted to helping big companies build cultures and processes for innovation, says they typically need to alter how they hire and reward talent, how they identify problems to solve and build new offerings, and even the physical environments where employees work. Bionic’s clients include GE, Boeing, energy producer Exelon, and Tyco International. “Big companies have an incredible bias around what they already make,” says Kidder. “They’re addicted to being right. Their challenge is that entrepreneurs are really good at asking unbiased questions that lead to solutions to customer problems.”

A renovated culture for innovation almost always involves bringing in new employees. “Many companies have eradicated, fired, or demotivated the entrepreneurs in the organization who are by nature builders and had the willingness to take risks,” continues Kidder. PepsiCo is one major company focusing hard on getting the right people for innovation, according to President Zein Abdalla. “You’ve got to get much more of a culture of ‘best idea wins’,” he says. “But the people who know how to run some of these processes are new and different thinkers than what we’ve traditionally had in the company.”

Similarly, Allstate CEO Tom Wilson two months ago hired Howard Hayes to the new position of chief innovation officer. He had spent a number of years at a digital mapping company and most recently led big data initiatives for a big industrial products-maker. He’s building a team both to help existing groups at Allstate develop innovative ideas and to come up separately with “disruptive” ones. “One key principle,” says Hayes, “is to blend in outside-the-industry talent. We want at least one outsider for each Allstate person we put onto the team.” Allstate just launched a usage-based car insurance app called Drivewise, which collects data from a driver’s cell phone about the car’s travels, but Hayes notes the company needs more people who can build such products.

The physical location and environment where ideas percolate also matters, these experts emphasize. Says PepsiCo’s Abdalla: “We set up a new design center but didn’t plunk it down in our corporate office where the people would start to look and sound like me. Instead, we put it in the middle of Manhattan and let them build a very different kind of space than we’ve traditionally had at Pepsi.” Kidder’s Bionic operates its own space near Manhattan’s Columbus Circle with furniture and office designs purpose-built by Steelcase, where teams from client companies come for stints of various lengths. “If you get these people out of the office for four days and give them new lenses, they just start simply thinking and acting digital,” says Kidder.

“The key to creating a culture of innovation is to have lots of people who can build backwards from customer pain and translate that into economic exchange,” Kidder adds. Among the other tools Bionic introduces into big companies are financing models that operate more like seed funding for start-ups. “Companies are afraid to fail because it’s usually super-expensive,” he says. “We want to make failure cheap, bringing in an internal venture capital model.” It’s not impossible to create responsive, risk-tolerant cultures where innovation thrives. The big are getting better at acting small.

Original article published in Thomson Reuters Exchange Magazine.

The post Cultures of Innovation appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/10/cultures-innovation/feed/ 0
Breakout Labs Aims to Take Science from the Lab to Supercharge the Economy http://techonomy.com/2014/10/breakout-labs-aims-take-science-lab-supercharge-economy/ http://techonomy.com/2014/10/breakout-labs-aims-take-science-lab-supercharge-economy/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 15:08:49 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=18888 How do scientists working on radical new ideas translate ingenuity into sustainable business models? And how do entrepreneurs find the science they might need to create a breakthrough biotech product? Lab coats have to brush up against business suits. Breakout Labs, a seed fund project of Peter Thiel's Thiel Foundation, makes it happen. The fund seeks to help early-stage science and technology companies "break out" of the lab and into the business world with grants of up to $350,000. This helps companies achieve “very specific scientific milestones,” says Breakout Labs Executive Director Lindy Fishburne.

The post Breakout Labs Aims to Take Science from the Lab to Supercharge the Economy appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>

How do scientists working on radical new ideas translate ingenuity into sustainable business models? And how do entrepreneurs find the science they might need to create a breakthrough biotech product? Lab coats have to brush up against business suits. Breakout Labs, a seed fund project of Peter Thiel’s Thiel Foundation, makes it happen. The fund seeks to help early-stage science and technology companies “break out” of the lab and into the business world with grants of up to $350,000. This helps companies achieve “very specific scientific milestones,” says Breakout Labs Executive Director Lindy Fishburne. It puts them, she says, “in a much better position to try to attract either government grants, angel investors, start to move towards a Series A, and maybe strategic partners.” We spoke to Fishburne at the Techonomy Bio conference in Mountain View, Calif. She said entrepreneurs who want to “engage in the intersection of technology and biology” (the theme of Techonomy Bio) have many new opportunities to do so in efficient, cost-effective ways. Companies Breakout Labs supports are working on things like biofabrication—Modern Meadow is a one that produces synthetic versions of meat and leather in a lab. Fishburne says “points of access” like Techonomy Bio that bring together the tech and biology worlds are essential to help scientists better understand how to build groundbreaking bio startups.

The post Breakout Labs Aims to Take Science from the Lab to Supercharge the Economy appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/10/breakout-labs-aims-take-science-lab-supercharge-economy/feed/ 0
Southeast Asia’s Health App Explosion http://techonomy.com/2014/09/southeast-asias-health-app-explosion/ http://techonomy.com/2014/09/southeast-asias-health-app-explosion/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:37:57 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=18809 Millions of Southeast Asians today lack access to affordable, quality healthcare. Improving Southeast Asia’s healthcare systems will require billions of dollars in new infrastructure, but putting all that money to work will take time that millions don’t have. As more people gain access to connected devices, however, entrepreneurs, companies, and organizations across the region see potential to speed improvements to healthcare delivery with new web and mobile applications.

The post Southeast Asia’s Health App Explosion appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
digital doctor - 123rf

Millions of Southeast Asians today lack access to affordable, quality healthcare. As connected devices become increasingly ubiquitous in the region, however, many companies and NGOs are developing innovative eHealth apps to address the problem.

Southeast Asia’s healthcare systems today face an acute shortage of funding. Total public and private healthcare spending accounted for only 3.9% of Southeast Asia’s GDP in 2012—lower than any other region in the world. While the average American and European drops thousands of dollars on healthcare each year, per capita spending in most Southeast Asian countries averages less than $250 annually.

Low spending deters much-needed investment in new hospitals, equipment, and the information technologies that power modern healthcare systems management. It also contributes to the region’s shortage of skilled healthcare professionals. A few of its more developed areas have sufficient numbers of doctors, nurses, and midwives. But large swaths of the region fail to meet the World Health Organization’s most basic healthcare workforce standards.

These problems are especially acute in poorer countries and rural areas. While healthcare hubs like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok offer world-class service that makes them medical tourism magnets, public hospitals in Vietnam, for example, cannot sufficiently address local needs. In the region’s more remote areas, treatable infectious diseases like malaria and dengue continue to needlessly claim lives in the absence of the most basic healthcare services.

Improving Southeast Asia’s healthcare systems will require billions of dollars in new infrastructure, but putting all that money to work will take time that millions don’t have. As more people gain access to connected devices, however, entrepreneurs, companies, and organizations across the region see potential to speed improvements to healthcare delivery with new web and mobile applications.

Virtual clinics and pharmacies

Some of these apps transform connected devices into portals for clinical care, allowing patients to communicate virtually with clinicians and receive health advice. These “telehealth” or “eVisit” apps can streamline or even automate the consultation process, saving time and costs for everyone.

Telehealth services, though gaining popularity in North America, generally face challenges in developing countries, where bandwidth constraints, low smartphone penetration, lack of experience with digital services, and other factors inhibit their adoption. Even so, several telehealth services now operate in Southeast Asia. Some focus on local markets, like Dokita and Dokter Gratis in Indonesia, while others see potential across the whole region.

“Southeast Asia has all the right ingredients for telehealth to go mainstream,” says Justin Fulcher, CEO of Ring.MD, a Singapore-based telehealth startup that recently received fresh funding to grow its regional footprint. “High-speed networks are increasingly getting deployed and many governments have policies in place to support telehealth adoption.”

While companies like Ring.MD want to improve access to doctors, others seek to improve access to pharmaceuticals. One example is mClinica, a mobile platform that connects drug makers with pharmacies and physicians.

“Pharmaceuticals in most developing countries get distributed through fragmented networks of independent drug stores,” says Farouk Meralli, mClinica’s Founder and CEO. “This makes it difficult for pharmaceutical companies to access markets efficiently, raising costs and limiting access for millions.”

Founded in Silicon Valley, mClinica recently established operations in the Philippines, seeing exceptional opportunity there. It now has its sights on Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Apps for public health NGOs

A growing number of public health NGOs and development agencies also use eHealth apps to support their work in Southeast Asia. InSTEDD, an American nonprofit that makes open-source software for the development sector, wants to help even more of them harness the power of digital technologies.

Based in Silicon Valley, InSTEDD is a global organization with a strong presence in Southeast Asia. From its office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, it offers a range of software platforms and tools that support development campaigns across the region. Tharum Bun, InSTEDD’s communications lead for Southeast Asia, says the group is especially active in healthcare.

In addition to developing software, InSTEDD organizes community events, including Epihack, a series of hackathons dedicated to fighting infectious diseases in remote and under-resourced Southeast Asian areas. These events bring together stakeholders from across the healthcare ecosystem to prototype solutions for collecting, tracking, and sharing data on emerging disease pandemics.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) also hosts events to support eHealth innovation. Earlier this year, its annual Mobile Solutions Forum in Bangkok featured a competition to identify high-potential ICT4D (ICT for Development) programs in the region. Several finalists were healthcare projects.

One such finalist was CommCare, an online open-source platform that supports field workers in a range of sectors, including healthcare. Created by Dimagi, a social enterprise based in Boston and with offices around the world, CommCare facilitates data collection, patient case management, and workforce mobilization. The platform has been deployed in more than 40 countries, including Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, and Myanmar.

Another USAID finalist was The Fansipan Challenge, an application that uses games to promote HIV prevention and care in Vietnam. Designed by FHI360, a group that co-organized the competition with USAID, this app incentivizes drug users, sex workers, and other at-risk populations to get tested, enroll for treatment, and encourage peers to do the same. Participants accrue points that can eventually be converted into prizes.

More innovative apps on their way

Many more eHealth apps are being deployed in Southeast Asia, including in areas like biotech, hospital information systems, and medical education. I plan to to continue writing about this topic in coming months, so if you are an innovator or expert in this arena, please contact me and tell me what you’re doing.

Will Greene writes about digital trends and development in Southeast Asia. He researched this article with support from BDG Asia, an advisory firm that helps international companies do business in Southeast Asia. He is based in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

To read about how U.S. doctors are using a new web platform to discover information about preferred treatments, click here.

The post Southeast Asia’s Health App Explosion appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/09/southeast-asias-health-app-explosion/feed/ 4
This Social Medicine App Helps Doctors Find Cures Together http://techonomy.com/2014/09/social-medicine-app-helps-doctors-find-cures-together/ http://techonomy.com/2014/09/social-medicine-app-helps-doctors-find-cures-together/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:30:11 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=18815 Medical professionals are increasingly embracing mobile apps. They enable patients to track and share their metrics with doctors, and let caregivers monitor treatments and guide patients following surgery or other procedures. Now an app released earlier this year targets the core function of doctors—helping them diagnose and treat diseases.

The post This Social Medicine App Helps Doctors Find Cures Together appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 4.53.13 PM Medical professionals are increasingly embracing mobile apps. They enable patients to track and share their metrics with doctors, and let caregivers monitor treatments and guide patients following surgery or other procedures. Now an app released earlier this year targets the core function of doctors—helping them diagnose and treat diseases.

Doctors have long relied on a host of reference tools—including the weighty Physician’s Desk Reference (PDR), medical journals, and input from colleagues—to help them diagnose and treat patients. And in the Internet age, a range of websites and apps offer what the medical profession calls clinical decision support.

But Andrew Brandeis, a licensed naturopathic doctor working at Care Practice, a small private clinic in San Francisco, concluded that even these new tools weren’t enough. He discovered the information he was getting from his personal mentors in the medical profession often conflicted with what he could access in clinical references on the Web and in books.

“My mentors were making choices based on experience, using treatments that always worked for them,” he says. “But the tools available in reference sources, including Epocrates, a medical app offering drug and disease information, weren’t always keeping up. Many were out of date. These tools don’t change very often, which means their information could be years behind current research. Or it could be information many doctors don’t agree with.”

How could a doctor bridge the gap? Brandeis’ first attempt to address the issue was to create a Dropbox account which over time brought together about 50 physicians who shared ideas about treatments.

The approach was unwieldy. “What we needed was a Yelp for medicine, easy to use but up-to-date,” says Brandeis. “One that would let doctors rank treatments and comment on them, but which also would allow them to add non-traditional treatments that might not involve drugs. These could be shared with the community, which could give feedback.”

Brandeis and Benoit Carrier—a system administrator, application developer, and project manager in the medical informatics industry—launched SharePractice, a collaborative medicine mobile app for practicing healthcare professionals across a range of disciplines. The app gives them the ability to search thousands of illnesses to find preferred treatments based on the experience of others in the field. For now the mobile smartphone app is free, but Brandeis thinks he can develop it into a business.

SharePractice essentially creates a feedback loop allowing doctors to share content with each other. Unlike apps like Epocrates and UpToDate, which offer clinical data but aren’t social, or HealthTap and doximity, which are social but have no clinically relevant data, SharePractice offers both. “It’s a point-of-care clinical reference with information about 20,000 drugs and 10,000 supplements,” says Brandeis. “Doctors curate the content, putting forth their best ideas.”

It’s become a reliable source of information for treating acute illnesses now that doctors with specialized niches are sharing their techniques and protocols. Brandeis believes acute illnesses too often proceed to chronic and terminal phases because of inadequate or inexact treatment.

SharePractice also allows for open discussion of uncommon treatments—such as using the antioxidant glutathione for Parkinson’s disease patients—and off-label uses for drugs, creating case studies that might spur the FDA to launch studies for the new uses of drugs already on the market.

“It’s all about trust, and evidence-based medicine,” says Brandeis. “This isn’t always available in journal articles, trial outcomes, and drug company studies, which often have certain biases, though many doctors rely on them.”

SharePractice layers experience-based data on top of all that. “Experienced practitioners are essentially downloading their brains via the app, and younger ones benefit. Doctors who are retired after decades of experience, with a vast amount of knowledge, now have a channel to share it,” says Brandeis.

The site has drawn users from around the globe, but it’s primarily focused on the U.S., where it’s easier to verify medical solutions. And because the app isn’t consumer-facing Brandeis doesn’t have to worry about regulators. It is essentially a social site for doctors, who use it voluntarily. If SharePractice continues to catch on in the medical profession, reference books like that gigantic PDR may just gather dust on the shelf.

To read about how entrepreneurs, companies, and organizations across Southeast Asia are developing web and mobile applications to speed improvements to healthcare delivery in that region, click here.

The post This Social Medicine App Helps Doctors Find Cures Together appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/09/social-medicine-app-helps-doctors-find-cures-together/feed/ 0
Magisto App Powers Techonomy-Ford “Love My City” Video Contest http://techonomy.com/2014/09/magisto-app-powers-techonomy-ford-love-city-video-contest/ http://techonomy.com/2014/09/magisto-app-powers-techonomy-ford-love-city-video-contest/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:07:48 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=18806 In the weeks leading up to our Sept. 16 Techonomy Detroit event, we collaborated with Magisto and Ford to launch the #LoveMyCity video contest, inviting members of our community to create and share Magisto videos that showcase what they loved about their city. (To learn more about the technology underlying the Magisto platform, read David […]

The post Magisto App Powers Techonomy-Ford “Love My City” Video Contest appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
In the weeks leading up to our Sept. 16 Techonomy Detroit event, we collaborated with Magisto and Ford to launch the #LoveMyCity video contest, inviting members of our community to create and share Magisto videos that showcase what they loved about their city. (To learn more about the technology underlying the Magisto platform, read David Kirkpatrick’s interview with Magisto CEO Oren Boiman.) The contest was a roaring success, with hundreds of submissions from cities in the U.S. and around the globe. We received entries from budding filmmakers in NYC, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Chicago, Paris, London, Milwaukee, Rome, Taipei, and beyond. Even team Techonomy created a video.

Shockingly, our video failed to capture the top prize. (Apparently it’s bad form to win your own contest, but we’ll be back next year!) From the stage at Techonomy Detroit, Magisto CMO Reid Genauer announced and screened the winning video by Erin Henigin of Michigan. Erin’s video features the unique landmarks of the Motor City, encapsulating the spirit of Detroit in one jam-packed minute of moving images and music.

We were amazed by the huge number of contest entries and the passion people showed for their communities. It made choosing the winner a tall order. Here are a couple of contenders that narrowly missed the prize.

For a complete overview of the contest and its contestants, visit the #LoveMyCity album and see if you can spot your city!

partner-insights

The post Magisto App Powers Techonomy-Ford “Love My City” Video Contest appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/09/magisto-app-powers-techonomy-ford-love-city-video-contest/feed/ 1
Manufacturers Struggle to Turn Data Into Insight http://techonomy.com/2014/09/manufacturers-struggle-turn-data-insight/ http://techonomy.com/2014/09/manufacturers-struggle-turn-data-insight/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 14:55:48 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=18777 Let’s tone down the hype about the Industrial Internet of Things. While the concept shows promise—building smart machines that use sensors and Internet connectivity to improve performance and catch problems—the far more pressing opportunity is learning to make better use of the mountains of data that factories already generate each year, data that manufacturers today often discard after a production run or store unexamined.

The post Manufacturers Struggle to Turn Data Into Insight appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
While many types of factory equipment produce real-time production data, the data is short-lived and little-used. (Image from Sight Machine client site.)

While many types of factory equipment produce real-time production data, the data is short-lived and little-used. Here, a tray of bolts goes into a heat treater for hardening. (Image from Sight Machine client site)

Let’s tone down the hype about the Industrial Internet of Things. While the concept shows promise—building smart machines that use sensors and Internet connectivity to improve performance and catch problems—the far more pressing opportunity is learning to make better use of the mountains of data that factories already generate each year, data that manufacturers today often discard after a production run or store unexamined.

I recently visited an auto plant that is facing enormous pressure to reduce defects in a critical component. For each part produced, sensors at a single machine measure 50,000 data points looking for defects, while other machines capture x-ray and heat treatment data. Separate databases track supplier data and quality data.

Despite all that data, too many defective parts escape detection and get installed into vehicles. The plant manager wants to identify correlations within these heterogeneous sets of data, but lacks the tools to collect, condition, and analyze the information.

Last summer he hired interns from a nearby university to look through the data with Excel spreadsheets in search of useful insights. His conclusion: “We have two orders of magnitude more data than we had five years ago,” he told me. “We need three orders of magnitude improvement in our ability to understand it.”

Across industries, companies are grappling with how to make use of production data. They’ve come to believe there’s great value hidden in their data but they haven’t yet figured out how to find it. Unlike in industries such as marketing and finance, which have over the past decade developed sophisticated big data tools for turning bits of data into value, few such applications have been built for manufacturing.

In the words of one engineer we know, manufacturing is “DRIP”—data rich, information poor. Manufacturers generate data across massive, distributed operations, but the data lives in silos. Until we can make use of the data we already have, collecting ever more data just buries us deeper.

While many types of factory equipment produce real-time production data, the data is short-lived and little-used. In a typical example, images of a weld are captured by a factory floor camera and scanned to look for defects. Once the part is cleared, or the production run is complete, the data are deleted to make room for the next batch.

Why is this? Factory floor automation has always been dominated by hardware makers, who have adopted few of the innovations commonplace in software-dominated businesses—ubiquitous connectivity, unlimited and inexpensive data storage, and cloud-based processing. The model behind much of the information technology on the factory floor was developed three decades ago when storage was too expensive and data transmission too costly to even think about capturing, storing, and analyzing high-volume data.

Manufacturing is also inherently a higher stakes endeavor than industries like advertising that have embraced big data techniques. Unlike bad advertising, bad manufacturing can kill people. Large-scale manufacturing plants can’t run on beta versions of software. A halt on an auto production line can cost thousands of dollars a minute. Defects cost auto manufacturers millions and sometimes billions of dollars.

The opportunity for digitization in manufacturing is massive—it is an $11 trillion sector with very low penetration of digital technologies. Manufacturing dwarfs industries already permeated by digital technology, including telecom ($2 trillion) and advertising ($500 billion). It is larger even than healthcare ($7 trillion), which until recently was nearly as “undigitized” as manufacturing is today.

Move beyond the factory to the industry level and the need for better manufacturing data analytics becomes more compelling. Manufacturers across industries are grappling with faster product cycles, increasingly complex global supply chains, rapidly rising offshore labor costs, mass customization, and regulatory demands for traceability. In industries such as pharmaceutical and food and beverage, new regulations require companies to track and analyze products from the point of manufacture to the point of sale.

Even in the most traditional industries, manufacturers are scrambling to make better use of their data to improve quality and efficiency. Despite investing billions of dollars in quality control, automakers remain beset with quality problems. General Motors has recalled 25 million vehicles so far this year, and Toyota 29 million in the last four years. Even in good years, U.S. automakers regularly set aside reserves equaling half their profit to cover defects.

Google and Yahoo gained huge advantages over incumbent advertising platforms by applying big data techniques that turn consumer mouse clicks into high-value information. In manufacturing, where minor differences in efficiency and productivity can determine which companies thrive and which fail, the first companies that figure out how to convert their data into actionable information will gain a similar advantage.

Jon Sobel is CEO and co-founder of Sight Machine Inc., which provides cloud-based data analytics for manufacturing quality, traceability, and operations.

The post Manufacturers Struggle to Turn Data Into Insight appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/09/manufacturers-struggle-turn-data-insight/feed/ 0
Five of China’s Top Ten Richest Are Techies http://techonomy.com/2014/09/five-chinas-top-ten-richest-techies/ http://techonomy.com/2014/09/five-chinas-top-ten-richest-techies/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 14:08:14 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=18764 The headlines are buzzing about the latest Hurun Report listing the richest people in China, which has a decidedly tech flavor this year that hints at trouble ahead for the overcharged Internet sector. The report has become a gold standard for gauging the latest business trends in China, but is also famous for focusing on industries that have become overheated. That’s not too surprising, since it’s often such overheating that leads to huge surges in company share prices, which are most often the main foundation for calculating individuals’ wealth. This year half of the top 10 richest men in China come from the tech sector.

The post Five of China’s Top Ten Richest Are Techies appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
Jack Ma (image via AlibabaGroup.com)

Jack Ma (image via AlibabaGroup.com)

The headlines are buzzing about the latest Hurun Report listing the richest people in China, which has a decidedly tech flavor this year that hints at trouble ahead for the overcharged Internet sector. The report has become a gold standard for gauging the latest business trends in China, but is also famous for focusing on industries that have become overheated. That’s not too surprising, since it’s often such overheating that leads to huge surges in company share prices, which are most often the main foundation for calculating individuals’ wealth. This year half of the top 10 richest men in China come from the tech sector.

All five of these tech titans have become household names for many Chinese, led by the charismatic Jack Ma, founder of the newly listed e-commerce titan Alibaba, whose personal fortune worth $25 billion makes him China’s new richest man. Jack Ma is followed by Internet arch-rival Pony Ma, chief executive of social networking giant Tencent, whose fortune worth an estimated $17.6 billion makes him China’s fifth richest man.

The other three tech executives in the top ten are: Robin Li, chief executive of search leader Baidu, whose fortune worth $17 billion makes him China’s sixth richest man; Richard Liu, chief executive of recently listed e-commerce giant JD.com, whose $8.6 billion net worth makes him the nation’s ninth richest man; and Lei Jun, co-founder and chief executive of smartphone sensation Xiaomi, who was China’s tenth richest man with a personal fortune worth $7.3 billion.

Perhaps more revealing than the actual monetary figures was how much each of the tech executives’ fortunes has grown over the past year. That growth is mostly due to huge surges in share prices for the listed companies, and new listings for companies like Alibaba and JD.com that have pushed their valuations up to stratospheric levels. All of the tech executives except for one saw their net worth more than double in the past year, with Richard Liu topping the gains with an eight-fold increase in the value of his fortune. The only tech executive who didn’t see his net worth double was Tencent’s Pony Ma, whose fortune still grew by a considerable 75 percent.

That means all these tech companies except for Tencent have more than doubled in value over the past year, and in some cases have grown by much more. To put that in perspective, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index is up by about 20 percent over the last 52 weeks, while the Hang Seng Index, which closely follows China’s economy, is up just an anemic 3 percent over the period.

Some of the huge run-ups in valuations are probably justified since most of the China tech stocks languished for the previous two years after a series of accounting scandals at several firms undermined confidence in the entire sector. What’s more, China’s e-commerce and social networking sectors—two of the main growth engines for most of the big tech companies—have seen explosive growth over the past year fueled by the rapid rise of the mobile Internet in China.

So, what’s an investor to make of all this information, including the huge wealth suddenly accumulated by these tech executives? In the past no one wanted their name to appear on the Hurun list, after several such high-profile executives found themselves in trouble with the law after such appearances. That stigma seems to have faded in recent years, and I doubt we’ll see Jack Ma or Robin Li in legal trouble anytime soon. Still, investors could easily start to wonder if perhaps these tech legends have become just a little too rich, and I do suspect most of these high-flying stocks will be due for some corrections in the 20-30 percent range over the next year.

Doug Young lives in Shanghai and writes opinion pieces about tech investment in China for Techonomy and at www.youngchinabiz.com. He is the author of a new book about the media in China, “The Party Line: How the Media Dictates Public Opinion in Modern China.

The post Five of China’s Top Ten Richest Are Techies appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/09/five-chinas-top-ten-richest-techies/feed/ 0
Ray Ozzie’s Latest Invention Has Everybody Talking http://techonomy.com/2014/09/ray-ozzies-latest-invention-everybody-talking/ http://techonomy.com/2014/09/ray-ozzies-latest-invention-everybody-talking/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 13:32:47 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=18736 Ray Ozzie is betting the next phase of his career on reinventing the phone call. Ozzie yesterday launched Talko, a voice application that is built with an Internet foundation. "We feel voice calls are ripe for a rebirth," says his Talko co-founder Matt Pope. "We start from a reconceptualization of what a phone call could be and weave messaging elements into that." Ozzie is one of the great tech visionaries of the modern era. In the 1980s he invented Lotus Notes, an enterprise PC app that in many ways laid the groundwork for the social and sharing-oriented world we live in today. It was the first widely-used collaborative software, or groupware.

The post Ray Ozzie’s Latest Invention Has Everybody Talking appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
Credit: James Duncan Davidson/O'Reilly Media, Inc. via Wikimedia. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Credit: James Duncan Davidson/O’Reilly Media, Inc. via Wikimedia. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

It’s the kind of thing I expect from Ray Ozzie—to point out something I have completely ignored that immediately afterward seems obvious. “As the smartphone took off, what application had the least innovation?” he asked as I sat with him at lunch recently. His answer: “The phone itself.”

In his view, the reason we all talk on the phone so much less these days is not because we don’t want to communicate with voice, but rather because other communications tools emerged that are more convenient and modern. “Everything else we do today is based around the way the Internet works,” he continues. “But the voice paradigm is 100 years old. Voice has been waning because people don’t want to interrupt other people, and don’t want to be interrupted.”

Now he is betting the next phase of his career on reinventing the phone call. Ozzie yesterday launched Talko, a voice application that is built with an Internet foundation. “We feel voice calls are ripe for a rebirth,” says his Talko co-founder Matt Pope. “We start from a reconceptualization of what a phone call could be and weave messaging elements into that.”

Ozzie is one of the great tech visionaries of the modern era. In the 1980s he invented Lotus Notes, an enterprise PC app that in many ways laid the groundwork for the social and sharing-oriented world we live in today. It was the first widely-used collaborative software, or groupware. Notes is why IBM ended up buying Lotus for $3.5 billion in 1995. At the time that seemed like a lot of money.

For years Bill Gates called Ozzie “the best programmer who doesn’t work for Microsoft”–until he bought Ozzie’s last startup, Groove. (It got absorbed into the borg, more or less.) Then when Gates himself retired, he gave Ozzie his own title of Chief Software Architect. Ozzie struggled at Microsoft, a tough-guy organization for which his relatively gentle constitution was never well-suited. He did spearhead the creation of cloud service Azure, increasingly a Microsoft centerpiece. But he’s a lot happier making things on his own. Even with Notes he didn’t actually work for Lotus, but licensed the work of his independent company Iris Associates.

Talko, for now, is a free iPhone-only app that reverses the traditional method of making a call. You use its IP-telephony to initiate a connection with someone, and start talking before they pick up. So if they don’t come on at all, you’ve left a message. If they do pick up, you either repeat yourself or just continue. They can later rewind and listen to what you said at the beginning if you want, because everything is recorded. Once you’re live with one or many others, Talko allows you to text and send photos while you talk. It’s primarily intended for workgroups and families or groups of friends. It creates an ongoing and persistent voice conversation much like a group text string, but with audio. Whatever you say on a Talko call remains, regardless of whether anyone ever picks up. If you want to permanently erase anything, you can. But you have to do so deliberately.

It takes a little getting used to. I’m not sure I have, even after my own small company Techonomy has used it, mostly for meetings, the last month or so. While we are all dazzled by the quality of the voice connection-—WAY better than any typical regular or IP phone call–some of its features and foibles are jarring. The worst—if you get a regular call on your iPhone it temporarily kills the Talko conversation. (That, says Ozzie, is an unfortunate iOS design choice he hopes to be able to address.) And of course everybody has to be using an iPhone. Talko’s business model will be to charge businesses to use it for groups. For now it’s free, and for individuals Ozzie expects it to remain so indefinitely.

He knows it has flaws, but his aim now, after a couple years of work, is to get the product into the market so he can improve it with real-world feedback. An Android version is coming soon. Many of Talko’s features were challenging to create. Just getting its IP-telephony working on a cloud service provider had never been done before. (It uses both Azure and AWS.) Ozzie says if that hadn’t worked there wouldn’t be a Talko.

The thing he found odd about voice, once he focused on it a few years ago upon leaving Microsoft, was that while every other sort of data is essentially permanent in the age of the Net, voice conversations are almost always ephemeral (except to the NSA, of course). “WeChat, WhatsApp, Google voice–they all persist the text but not the voice,” Ozzie marvels.

His solution to ephemerality is another non-intuitive one: “You have to kill the ring.” He explains: “It’s only valuable in an emergency. In 99% of calls, the ring is an obstacle. I determined the best way to remove the ring is to provide persistence. You can always use a text message today to suggest initiating a call, but if you want to get a point across without waiting and waiting, do you want to be able to just start talking? Yes.”

“There will be a new world of voice that is searchable and one with the web,” he says, and he’s not alone in thinking that. A consortium known as Hypervoice.org, which includes communications heavy hitters like Ericsson and Telefonica, has a manifesto that basically says the same thing. Ozzie calls Talko “a hypervoice app.”

“I’ve always had a core passion to help people work more productively, whether in person or at a distance,” Ozzie explains. He rhapsodizes about “using tech as an augmentation device–a superconductor between our minds and hearts.”

Ozzie will be forever a visionary, and he always comes back to talking about the big-picture implications of getting people talking again: “People use text in email to set up a wall between them and you. In companies, passive-aggressive behavior emerges because you can control your words. Time and again we resolve issues by saying ‘Let’s take it offline and talk to each other’. You have more empathy because you can hear what the other person is saying to you. With Facebook, people manage their external image. That promotes a world of control freaks who control how they are seen.”

While it has major uses in business, Talko is also a consumer app–the first time Ozzie has ever built one. “It is not just another messaging app,” he says. “Talko aims to make it so people talk to one another more readily. What are the tools, that if created, will shape society in the right way, and help people to empathize? What causes real barriers to fall is real empathy. I want tools that encourage realtime unvarnished unblemished engagement with one another. We were built with ears and eyes and mouths, and to the extent we can still use those there will be more connection.

“If everyone on earth will have a smartphone and be using their voice, it won’t be through phone calls. So who’s your phone company going to be? Will it be Microsoft? Or Facebook or Google? Or Talko?” The answer is not obvious, but I’m glad he’s asking the question.

Original article published at LinkedIn.

The post Ray Ozzie’s Latest Invention Has Everybody Talking appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/09/ray-ozzies-latest-invention-everybody-talking/feed/ 0
Startups, Cities, and Sustaining Innovation http://techonomy.com/2014/09/startups-cities-sustaining-innovation/ http://techonomy.com/2014/09/startups-cities-sustaining-innovation/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:49:01 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=18649 The ideas are flowing fast, as is the money. Young (and old) the world over are increasingly drawn to entrepreneurship, and inventive tech solutions are emerging everywhere. Is “Silicon Valley” a spirit rather than a place? What makes a city attractive for company incubation? Is this energy likely to continue, or will cities like Detroit have trouble sustaining it? Will the successful companies of the future stay put or move elsewhere? In this session from our Sept. 16 Techonomy Detroit conference, angel investor Jill Ford, Josh Linkner of Detroit Venture Partners, VegasTechFund's Andy White, and Venture for America's Andrew Yang join moderator Andrew Keen examine how cities can grow and retain talent and innovative companies.

The post Startups, Cities, and Sustaining Innovation appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>

The ideas are flowing fast, as is the money. Young (and old) the world over are increasingly drawn to entrepreneurship, and inventive tech solutions are emerging everywhere. Is “Silicon Valley” a spirit rather than a place? What makes a city attractive for company incubation? Is this energy likely to continue, or will cities like Detroit have trouble sustaining it? Will the successful companies of the future stay put or move elsewhere?

In this session from our Sept. 16 Techonomy Detroit conference, angel investor Jill Ford, Josh Linkner of Detroit Venture Partners, VegasTechFund’s Andy White, and Venture for America’s Andrew Yang join moderator Andrew Keen to examine how cities can grow and retain talent and innovative companies.

The post Startups, Cities, and Sustaining Innovation appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/09/startups-cities-sustaining-innovation/feed/ 0
Can We Train America to Train its Workers? http://techonomy.com/2014/09/can-train-america-train-workers/ http://techonomy.com/2014/09/can-train-america-train-workers/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 15:18:51 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=18643 By 2022 the U.S. is projected to need 1.4 million new programmers, but at the current rate only 400,000 IT grads will emerge to fill them. How America tackles this disparity will help determine its ongoing global competitiveness and the economic success of all Americans. Codecademy has developed innovative training tools, and the White House is turning to this issue with great urgency. In this session from our Sept. 16 Techonomy Detroit conference, Techonomy's David Kirkpatrick talks to Brian Forde of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Codecademy CEO Zach Sims about how to close the looming skills gap.

The post Can We Train America to Train its Workers? appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>

By 2022 the U.S. is projected to need 1.4 million new programmers, but at the current rate only 400,000 IT grads will emerge to fill them. How America tackles this disparity will help determine its ongoing global competitiveness and the economic success of all Americans. Codecademy has developed innovative training tools, and the White House is turning to this issue with great urgency.

In this session from our Sept. 16 Techonomy Detroit conference, Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick talks to Brian Forde of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Codecademy CEO Zach Sims about how to close the looming skills gap.

The post Can We Train America to Train its Workers? appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/09/can-train-america-train-workers/feed/ 0
The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance http://techonomy.com/2014/09/responsive-city-engaging-communities-data-smart-governance/ http://techonomy.com/2014/09/responsive-city-engaging-communities-data-smart-governance/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:50:35 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=18637 What is citizenship in the digital age? Policy experts Susan Crawford of Harvard University and Jennifer Bradley of the Brookings Institution discuss themes from Crawford’s new book about civic engagement, innovation, and the role of tech and the Internet for Detroit and other major cities.

The post The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>

What is citizenship in the digital age? Policy experts Susan Crawford of Harvard University and Jennifer Bradley of the Brookings Institution discuss themes from Crawford’s new book about civic engagement, innovation, and the role of tech and the Internet for Detroit and other major cities.

The post The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/09/responsive-city-engaging-communities-data-smart-governance/feed/ 0
Establishing a Firm Foundation http://techonomy.com/2014/09/establishing-firm-foundation/ http://techonomy.com/2014/09/establishing-firm-foundation/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:06:22 +0000 http://techonomy.com/?p=18626 What has philanthropy achieved in Detroit and America’s cities, and where will it go next? Join the heads of the Case and Kresge Foundations for a conversation on the role of foundations in the revival of urban life. How do they see their role in bolstering partnerships and collaboration in the communities they serve? How do they enable a new notion of civics, and civic leaders driven by the use of tech for social good?

In this session from Techonomy Detroit 2014, Nolan Finley of The Detroit News interviews Jean Case of The Case Foundation and Rip Rapson of The Kresge Foundation about how the non-profit sector can drive partnerships for change.

The post Establishing a Firm Foundation appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>

What has philanthropy achieved in Detroit and America’s cities, and where will it go next? Join the heads of the Case and Kresge Foundations for a conversation on the role of foundations in the revival of urban life. How do they see their role in bolstering partnerships and collaboration in the communities they serve? How do they enable a new notion of civics, and civic leaders driven by the use of tech for social good?

In this session from Techonomy Detroit 2014, Nolan Finley of The Detroit News interviews Jean Case of The Case Foundation and Rip Rapson of The Kresge Foundation about how the non-profit sector can drive partnerships for change.

The post Establishing a Firm Foundation appeared first on Techonomy.

]]>
http://techonomy.com/2014/09/establishing-firm-foundation/feed/ 0