Sustain #66 — All Jokes Apart
“In God we trust, all others bring data” — W. Edwards Deming
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A data scientist, an economist, and a dyslexic walk into a bar.
The bartender says he only has 2 beers
The data scientist says he has a 66.7% chance.
The economist says he too has a fair chance.
The dyslexic shoots the economist and says beer for all for economists can’t predict tish!
Jokes apart, the study of economics is beautiful but the application in the real world is ugly. Economists have a bad track record of forecasting real world economic problems. In fact, the IMF has a superb record of failure when predicting recessions. So, are we facing a crunch in the near term? Economists say there is a 60% chance that a US recession will happen in the next 4 years. Simple past data will tell you why this isn’t a great prediction.
In the 20th century, there were 20 or so recessions or on an average 1 every 5 years. So, if you or I predict a recession, we might say there is an 80% chance for it to happen in the next 5 years. For 4 years, it’s 60%. But the bad part is even with the odds at 80% every 5 years, economists missed the 1990, 2001 and 2007 ones.
You’re better off assuming recessions will happen like its cold in winter and warm in summer. Just try to stay relevant in the job market. If you’re an economist, please check out data science. The brilliant analytics skills you’ve gained will find great applicability there.
Technology and Business!
- Intel forms a separate division to focus on self-driving cars. They also have a focus on drones.
- Self-driving trucks have begun real world tests in the US on Ohio highways. Trucks will be autonomous before cars.
- Ford launches a weather factory to test tough weather scenarios for cars. Plenty of auto tech news from last week.
- NASA launches balloons in the Antarctic to study cosmic rays and neutrinos. Interesting — this pursuit for knowing the secrets of the universe.
- The hacker behind comma.ai open sourced his autonomous car software for the public. Recently he pulled back from building the car due to the federal regulations.
- Nicola launched a hydrogen powered semi-truck. Alternate fuels and self-driving capabilities are the key technology disruptions in the auto tech space.
- There are now 4 new elements in the periodic table — Nihonium (Nh) element 113; Moscovium (Mc) element 115; Tennessine (Tn) element 117 and Oganesson (Og) element 118. Row 7 of the table is now complete.
- Costa Coffee will start recycling cups in the UK. Good move as billions of coffee cups end up in landfills every year.
- Phillip Morris launched a cigarette alternate called Iqos in the UK. It is similar to vaping but uses real tobacco and is not burnt but heated. The device isn’t cheap and the company uses a printer-cartridge sales model. The best option is to quit.
Deals and Updates
- ProductHunt was bought by AngelList by $20 million. Ryan Hoover of Product Hunt explains why.
- Fitbit bought Pebble for $40 million. Citizen was interested in buying Pebble for $740 million in 2015. Valuations and acquisition prices are very transient in the current startup environment.
- Flipkart’s valuation was marked down to $5.5 billion by Morgan Stanley. If Walmart paid $3B for Jet in the US, $6B for a big name in the Indian market sounds feasible. Alibaba could do the same thing for its India entry.
Predictions and Results
- I had earlier wrote in Sustain #49 that HPE will lean up to go private or sell. Since I wrote that, HPE sold its software unit to Micro Focus for $8.8 billion; services unit to CSC for $8.5 billion. Last week, Micro Focus owned SUSE bought HPE’s OpenStack and Cloud Foundry assets. More wait and watch to see if the prediction comes true.
- Nvidia is growing beyond its GPU days and becoming a force to reckon with. Typically acquisitions aren’t a major part of its playbook, but could be looking at one or more strategic buys for consumer data and/or computing consolidation. Lets see how this one pans out.
Cities, States, Countries, Worlds, Universe and Multiverse
- Athens, Paris, Madrid and Mexico City will ban diesel vehicles by 2025. Major! Link
- Iceland: is suing a supermarket in the UK for using the country’s name as the name of the shop. Link
- Dallas: building Americas largest urban park (10,000 acres and 10X the size of NY’s Central Park). Link
- Vela supercluster, a giant collection of galaxies about 800 million light years away was discovered only last week. Just behind Milky Way but was hidden so long that only now scientists have found them. Link
Some other things I found interesting from the last week
- How Google employees uses Google. Link
- How LinkedIn employees uses LinkedIn. Link
- 52 things I learned in 2016 by Tom Whitwell. Link
- 6000 years ago, the Sahara Desert was tropical. Link
- The illustrated guide to the Indian food tech industry. Link.
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I manage research and consulting at Arcluster, an innovation design and market consulting firm that serves global clients with actionable market intelligence and growth advisory. On a daily basis, I work with clients in helping them understand and monetize micro emerging trends. You can reach me on twitter at @anirmal or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.