Business Techonomy Events

How Soon Will Big Data Yield Big Profits?


Big Data is “the next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity,” says McKinsey & Company. But companies and executives rushing into data collection and analysis expecting immediate payoffs are bound to be disappointed. Most companies are years away from being able to effectively profit from data—and not simply for a lack of technology. Instead, at least three entrenched challenges need to be addressed before Big Data can have real impact.   More

E-Commerce Techonomy Events

Shutterstock’s Jon Oringer on Data, Disruption, and Network Effects

Photo by William Hereford

At its core, our stock photography agency, Shutterstock, is a technology company. Forty percent of our nearly 300 employees are technologists—programmers, product specialists, and data scientists. People all over the world depend on us every day for images, videos, and instruction, or as a source of income for licensing their own creative work. But we’re essentially in the business of building two-sided marketplaces that are driven by network effects. Our business leverages data and network-effect mechanics to disrupt and grow.   More

Global Tech Techonomy Events

Data and Crisis: The Information Revolution in Humanitarian Response

(Image via Shutterstock)

Almost nothing makes gathering robust information harder than a natural disaster. But new services and infrastructure emerging globally promise to revolutionize humanitarian response. The edge of the network is alive with open-source technologies, open data, mobile and social computing, cloud services, open GIS, microblogging, sensing, homemade unmanned aerial vehicles, open analytics, and visualization. These will all contribute to a revolution in humanitarian and development affairs over the next 10-15 years.   More

Partner Insights Techonomy Events

Ericsson: Mobility Report Tracks Global Interconnectedness


This report is more than a bunch of stats about cellphones. It is a window into the transformation of our planet. The growing interconnectedness of the human race is a historic turn. We are entering an era of inclusiveness, in which the vast billions of humanity, most of them heretofore sequestered in their villages away from progress, from health, from education and information, and critically, from earning power, are suddenly being thrust into the thick of the global economy.   More

Global Tech

Weibo: Google’s Schmidt Eyes China Gadget Market


The microblogging realm has been buzzing these past few days with speculation on a brief China visit late last week by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, who checked out counterfeit goods at a gadget market in Beijing’s Zhongguancun high-tech area. Equally interesting was the inclusion in Schmidt’s group of two former Google executives who now work for Xioami, the fast-rising smartphone maker that hopes to someday become China’s equivalent of Apple.   More

Cities Techonomy Events

Open Sourcing the Neighborhood

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Image via Shutterstock)

Rapid change in cities creates highly legible moments: the material reality of new buildings, expanding transport systems, modest shops replaced by luxury shops and modest middle-classes displaced by the rich professional class, or a bike-path where there had been none. And when rapid change happens simultaneously in several cities with at least some comparable conditions, it makes it possible to see how diverse the spatial outcomes can be in spite of similar underlying dynamics, such as the rise of mega-structures or of one-way streets.   More

Techonomy Events

Nanosatellites Will Give Everyone Access to Space

The author display a Nanosatisfi CubeSat.

In the future, everyone on Earth will have ubiquitous access to outer space. That might seem to be a bold statement or to border on science fiction, yet a glance back in time at the influence and trajectory of technology in our lives makes it seem almost inevitable. The nascent commercial space industry is reliving the exact same pattern seen during the late 20th century computer revolution.   More

Government Techonomy Events

U.S. Elections Face a Crossroads on Rights and Technology

Most of the American electoral system functions as it has for hundreds of years, relying on manual processing of paper records.

Most Americans believe that voting is their right, like freedom of speech or freedom of religion. But the right to vote doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution. Americans have historically faced legal obstacles to voting based on race, property ownership, gender, or age, while others were limited based on procedural confines such as poll taxes and literacy tests. Regardless of when or how certain groups have won enfranchisement, election administrators, voters, and advocates need to consider how technology can be an empowering force to ensure eligible voters have easy access to the process.   More


The Unhealthy Truth About Obamacare’s Contractors

(Image via Shutterstock)

On July 16 of this year, Sarah Kliff posted a prescient piece on the Washington Post's Wonkblog. The post, “Meet Serco, the private firm getting $1.2 billion to process your Obamacare application,” reported that 90 percent of Serco’s U.S. business is with the federal government and that the 25-year-old firm pretty much owes its existence to government contracting. She also noted that Serco's experience is in paper pushing, not healthcare. Nonetheless, Serco won a contract that will pay it $114 million in 2013 and that eye-popping number of $1.2 billion over the next five years.   More

Jobs Techonomy Events

Why Millennials Won’t Become Corporate Serfs

Millennials may be happier defining and creating their own work environment. (Photo via Shutterstock)

Whatever the recession rendered Millennials—cautious, cynical, underemployed, overeducated, boomerang kids who couldn’t be more grateful that debtors’ prisons have gone out of style—most of all, it made us aware. It showed us just how disloyal corporate America can be, no matter how loyal its staffers have been. It proved that security doesn’t exist, however prestigious your background or business card. And it forced us to interrogate the motives that had pushed our economy past its breaking point—to ask ourselves what work ought to be and mean and yield.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

Should You Have the Right Not to Know Genetic Information?

Banded DNA sequence image via Shutterstock

Affordable genome sequencing has brought with it a host of ethical debates. Who owns the data? Who can access the data? Should we sequence children? But the debate most likely to directly affect you in the next few years is this: what happens if your physician has your genome sequenced and finds something that she wasn’t looking for?   More

Internet of Things Partner Insights

Beyond Things: The Internet of Everything Takes Connections to the Power of Four


Many people are familiar with the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT). Not only does it have its own Wikipedia article, but last month the Internet of Things was added to the Oxford dictionary, which defines it as “a proposed development of the Internet in which everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data.” So it’s not surprising that people might be confused when we start talking about the Internet of Everything. What’s the difference? Is IoE simply a rebranding of IoT?   More

Techonomy Events

What Does It Mean to Be in the Revolution Business?

Techonomy 2013 is 11 days away, and as we prep speakers we're getting excited. Those who join us outside Tucson will hear Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini explain how he's building the "Intel Inside of healthcare." Stewart Brand explores the ethos driving tech. Tim O'Reilly and Max Levchin delineate the coming world. Tony Hsieh talks about companies intersecting with cities, especially Zappos' own Las Vegas. A 14-year-old explains Minecraft, and the ZZ Ward plays her soulful music. That's just the start.   More

Global Tech Government

Myanmar’s Promising Experiment with Internet Freedom

An Internet user in Myanmar. (Photo: Reel Media Myanmar)

After decades of rule by a brutal regime known for imprisoning cyber-dissidents, internet freedom in Myanmar expanded dramatically over the past year, according to a recent report by Freedom House. The report warns that the Internet in Myanmar is still “not free,” however, and that major obstacles remain to further improvement. One is a legacy of repression that casts a shadow on the reform process.   More

Government Techonomy Events

Getting the Digerati to Double-Down on Civic Challenges


I have spent the better part of the past year investigating civic life in America. Last spring, on behalf of the organizations TurboVote and Reboot, I embedded for a week at a time in six different elections offices across this country, ranging from Brattleboro, Vermont, to Travis County, Texas. I met public innovators working hard behind the scenes, but I also found lumbering bureaucracies dependent on legacy technology systems.   More

Finance Techonomy Events

Why Disruptive Change Points to a New Humanism in Banking

Value is being redefined, and many are rethinking what constitutes real wealth and well-being, beyond money and GDP. We have to rethink how we measure wealth. Robert Kennedy said: “GDP measures everything ... except that which makes life worthwhile." Happiness indicators like Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness, the OECD’s Better Life Index, and the UK’s Happy Planet Index are already helping the world define well-being and wealth beyond money.   More

Government Healthcare

A Healthcare Death Spiral Caused by Bad Website Design?

Media coverage of the debacle is plentiful, but two of the more poignant pieces to describe the cause and possible aftermath of the failed website rollout appeared in the New York Times in the past four days. Last Thursday, Clay Johnson, lead programmer for Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign, and Harper Reed, the former chief technology officer of Obama for America, gave an insiders' perspective on why only a small fraction of the 20 million Americans who have logged onto have succeeded so far in obtaining insurance. Johnson and Reed blame "the way the government buys things."   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Hope Seen in Chromosome Therapy for Down Syndrome

A spectral karyotype of the human genome

There have been any number of approaches to managing Down syndrome or reducing its symptoms. But developmental biologist Jeanne Lawrence and her team at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have taken a different tack, borrowing a biological mechanism honed by thousands of years of evolution and creatively applying it to try to nip Down syndrome in the bud.   More


Sensors Take a Big Step Closer to Human Touch

A smartphone screen can detect where it’s being touched. But the SynTouch sensor works the other way around: It detects what it is touching. SynTouch LLC, a Los Angeles-based startup that began in a University of Southern California lab, has developed what it says is the first sensor that enables robots to replicate human touch. The company has been named a 2014 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer for its main product, the BioTac, a fingertip that can sense force, temperature, and vibration—in some cases more accurately than a human finger.   More