Global Tech

LinkedIn Takes New Step in Slow Road to China

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Online professional networking leader LinkedIn took a big step towards entering the lucrative but tricky China market last week when it created a new China chief position and filled it with an industry veteran as it explores a formal service launch. The move was just the latest in the company’s slow and careful approach to China, and could boost its chances of success in a market that has proven difficult for other global giants like Google, Yahoo, and eBay.   More

Government

Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Vital for American Innovation

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Open borders brought Andrew Carnegie and Andy Grove to the U.S. They also brought Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger, a slew of German theoretical physicists to work on the Manhattan Project, and countless investors and entrepreneurs, including me. Immigrants to the U.S. have been transforming the industrial geography and the technology landscape since the 1860s when Scottish-born Andrew Carnegie launched Keystone Bridge Company, which became the cornerstone of his mammoth steel empire.   More

Analytics & Data Business

How Data Will Drive Business Strategy in 2014

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Among all the recent year-end roundups and summaries was a surprising piece of business news. Blockbuster, the last surviving sentinel of the video rental industry announced that it would close its remaining 300 or so company owned stores across the United States. Many have been quick to credit Netflix with the decline of the once formidable Blockbuster. The case of Netflix versus Blockbuster shows that disrupting an entrenched industry requires much more than competitive pricing and improved service: it requires a complete reorientation of business strategy based on a more thoughtful use and understanding of data.   More

Government Startup Culture

Should Politicians Be More Like Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs?

Should all politicians have to launch a startup before entering politics? That’s the question I asked California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, at the latest Ericsson and AT&T hosted FutureCast event held at the AT&T Foundry in Palo Alto. Newsom, the author of "Citizenville," a kind of digital manifesto for 21st century networked politics, didn’t beat around the bush. “Yes," Newsom replied, sounding more like a startup guy than a career politician.   More

Business Finance

Cash Is Trash: The Future of Mobile Payment

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Just as the magnetic strip revolutionized payment by plastic credit card, near-field communication and other fast-evolving technologies will facilitate the move to payment using mobile technologies. NFC chips inside most mobile phones can transmit banking and payment data when placed near readers. Unlike a debit card, a mobile phone can display interactive payment details. And, instead of the credit card application process of filling out paperwork and waiting for the mail, using a mobile phone to pay requires only the download of an app and linking to bank details. PayPal president, David Marcus, calls it Money 3.0.   More

Global Tech

Chinese Microblogging: Weibos May Be on the Wane

Sina-Weibo

New data is highlighting an online trend that I wrote about last year, namely that microblogs have peaked in popularity and are starting to decline, in a bad sign for leading Web portal Sina as it rushes to monetize and list its popular Weibo service. Frankly speaking, I’m not too optimistic anymore about the prospects for Sina Weibo, which is really just a copy of U.S. social media pioneer Twitter and hasn’t shown much ability to innovate in the rapidly changing social networking space.   More

Business Security & Privacy

Cybersecurity Startups Aim to Anticipate Attacks

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In the cybersecurity world, the term "antivirus" is out of favor. ("McAfee" is even more so, thanks to its namesake's behavior, but that's another story.) Software and firewalls designed to detect and eradicate viruses on your system or business network—such as what Symantec, McAfee (now known as Intel Security), Cisco, and Check Point provide—still leave customers vulnerable to attacks, according to Nicole Perlroth's report in the New York Times.   More

Analytics & Data Internet of Things

The Internet of Infants

The convergence of faster and less expensive bandwidth, cheaper storage, data and analytics, and advancements in sensor technology has enabled rapid growth of the Internet of Everything. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show it seemed that every booth featured some type of wearable or connected device. One company, SensibleParent, is building a sensor that attaches to your sleeping newborn via a customized onesie that monitors and reports ambient temperature, movement, and even your baby’s position (face up or down) to your network-connected smartphone or tablet.   More

Learning

Tech Toys at CES: More Than Meets the Eye

The Sphero 2B.

Spending time in the various Vegas casinos alongside last week’s CES, I was reminded that play isn’t just for children. But how we play in our youth has the potential to mold our long-term interests and even influence our career choices. For many, carrying the playfulness of childhood into adulthood is a sign of good health and a robust imagination. As I approached the Orbotix booth, I saw a large group of adults itching to control a small translucent ball as it rolled through a series of tunnels, ramps, water hazards, and other obstacles—all using their smartphones.   More

Manufacturing

China’s Auto Export Drive Sputters in Detroit

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A slew of year-end news about China’s auto industry is shining a spotlight on the tough times that domestic car makers are facing not only at home but also abroad as they grapple with tough competition and other market factors. Domestic nameplates like Geely, Chery, and BYD have steadily lost share in their home market over the last few years to big foreign names like GM and Volkswagen, but posted strong export gains as they looked to overseas markets to partly offset the declines at home. But now even the export picture is looking bleak, with the latest word that no Chinese car makers will attend the industry-leading North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week.   More

Manufacturing Techonomy Events

A Technoskeptic’s Take: Makers Are Suckers

Stewart Brand at the Techonomy 2013 conference near Tucson, Ariz.

Do-it-yourselfers with access to advanced tools and technologies are poised to democratize manufacturing, enable a bottom-up industrial revolution, reinvent retail, even remake America—at least that’s been the optimistic take. Evgeny Morozov offers a contrasting negative view on the so-called Maker Movement. In the context of a historical summary of the Arts and Crafts movement in early 1900s America, Morozov, a Belarus-born writer and Harvard history of science PhD candidate, suggests that modern "makers" are unwitting corporate pawns.   More

Energy & Green Tech

A Recipe for Less Waste in the Food Service Industry

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Think twice before you throw out those leftovers—or maybe even take a picture. Globally, one-third of all food is wasted—1.3 billion tons of food in total. The U.S. alone trashes 40 percent of what it could consume, and much of this comes from the food service industry itself (which loses between $8 and $20 billion through food waste every year). Luckily, Andrew Shackman and his 10-year-old company, LeanPath, has found a way to change the way food service industry thinks about waste.   More

Analytics & Data E-Commerce Partner Insights

How Businesses Get ROI from Social Sharing

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Social-media-savvy businesses are turning their best customers into direct sales forces online. By leveraging the social networks of their biggest brand advocates, retailers can extend the reach of their product promotions. It’s word-of-mouth advertising at a massive scale. Some companies have been using this “social sharing” approach for several years to build brand awareness and drive sales. Until lately, though, such initiatives were hampered by unsophisticated methods for managing and engaging customers as well as tracking return on investment. Now, new tools and apps are available to develop a smart social sharing strategy that enhances customer experience while providing true ROI data based on sales conversions.   More

Cities Energy & Green Tech

Ford’s Farley Wants P2P Sharing and Electric Cars for Urban Mobility

As the urban population soars, city streets are growing increasingly traffic-clogged and difficult to navigate, impeding our ease of transit and, more critically, harming our environment. At our Techonomy 2013 conference, we talked to Jim Farley, EVP of global marketing at Ford, about the car industry and using shared ownership to tackle urban mobility. While business-to-consumer models (think Zipcar) have thus far dominated the shared-ownership market, they have struggled to succeed financially. Farley believes a peer-to-peer system of sharing vehicles is more promising. Electrifying the car industry, he added, will be an important part of developing this peer-to-peer system, enabling us to be more economical, more efficient, and kinder to our Earth.   More

Business Partner Insights

Collaborating Across a Multigenerational Workforce

Evolving Workforce Think Tank at Dell World

Most managers who work alongside recent college graduates know first hand that communicating and collaborating with this new breed of subordinates can be tricky. Dave Buchholz, director of consumerization for Intel IT, recalled a time a new 20-something employee proposed an idea via instant message. Buchholz said he has no problem with IM—but the employee was only a few feet away. Buchholz said he replied, “I think you should come over here and talk to me about it,” before looking in the employee’s direction and sarcastically waving hello.   More

Business

The Snapchat Saga Continues

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Right now Snapchat, the popular messaging app that makes users’ photos and videos disappear, might be wishing it could make something else disappear—all the bad publicity that’s been swirling around it since the start of the new year. Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick appeared on Bloomberg West Tuesday to talk with host Emily Chang about the Snapchat saga. “I’m not saying the Snapchat guys are jerks,” said Kirkpatrick, a contributing editor at Bloomberg. “I just think that they certainly are awfully confident considering the scale of their achievement.” He added that while Snapchat is reported to have 30 to 40 million active users, messaging app Whatsapp has 10 times as many.   More

Global Tech

China: Xiaomi, Huawei Set 2014 Goals, ZTE Adjusts

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The start of a new year is seeing two of China’s top smartphone and telecoms equipment makers lay out their new goals for 2014, with fast-rising Xiaomi aiming to continue its explosive growth as the more mature Huawei targets more modest gains. Meanwhile, another leading telecoms player, ZTE, is also detailing a major reorganization aimed at rekindling growth as it tries to diversify beyond its core business of building networks for big telcos. All of these plans are consistent with previous signals from each of the three companies, and in that regard aren’t very surprising. But they do provide a hint of where priorities will lie in the new year.   More

Security & Privacy

Is Snapchat a Security Sieve?

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A New Year’s Eve leak that exposed the usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million Snapchatters confirmed what researchers had been forewarning since August—Snapchat is a security sieve. Hackers used a public security report, issued by researchers at the Australian-based Gibson Security in August 2013, to download the database of Snapchat user information and publish it as “SnapchatDB.” According to the hackers, their aim was to force fixes and send a message. Message received? With Snapchat’s slow response and so-slow-it-may-never-come apology, it’s hard to say.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Learning

Microsoft’s Mundie: Governments Impede Progress in Health and Education

With technology making transformative strides in business, communications, transportation, space, and beyond, why do two of society's most important sectors, healthcare and education, continue to lag so far behind? According to Microsoft's Craig Mundie—who as senior advisor to the CEO has spent years speaking with global leaders on the company's behalf—government may be the root of the problem. "The reason these two sectors have been resistant to change is because in almost every country [they] are controlled by the government," Mundie said in an interview at our Techonomy 2013 conference.   More

Government Learning Partner Insights

Will All Schools Have Nanotechnology Labs?

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gets a lesson in nanotechnology from Wheeling High School student Drakkari Lott. (Photo: Ed.gov)

Setting up high school students with atomic-force microscopes and optical profilers so they can study nanotechnology may seem like a science teacher’s dream, but it’s already happening in at least one school in the United States. And the amount of outside financial support received by Wheeling High School in Illinois to make the lab a reality, coupled with efforts to encourage teachers to emphasize the field, suggests that more labs may soon be cropping up. The focus on nanotech in Wheeling and elsewhere speaks to its potential.   More