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Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

What does the next decade hold?

I write a weekly newsletter Exponential View about technology and the near future, and I’m sharing below the perspective I previously shared with my readers, commenting on the ten years ahead of us and what they’ll hold. If you find this valuable, subscribe to EV, it’s free and loved by 38,000+ people.

Making predictions is complicated once we understand that the system we are trying to predict is a complex one, of interwoven forces that affect each other, each layering one atop the next. …


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Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash

Turning flows into stocks

I’ve written a newsletter, called Exponential View for the past few years. EV, as we call it, is a curated newsletter, a combination of links constructed in a narrative and against a set of theses.

People really seem to love it. I thought I’d share how it comes together.

The challenge is flows vs. stocks.

The job of a curator is to gradually turn on a flow of information, a fast moving flux of deep thinking intermingled with clickbait, into something more considered, more organised, that throws light on a number of different hypotheses.

I’ve been trained on flows and figuring out how to turn them into stocks.. Having been a voracious reader of everything from an early age, I was trained on scanning IRC channels and Usenet in the 1990s, before working as a journalist at The Guardian and The Economist for four years. Once you’re trained, you don’t forget, so I took these skills forward as a corpoate executive, entrepreneur and investor. …


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Photo by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

Scaling companies 101

A fast changing world, driven by staggering breakthroughs and new fissures opening up. Can we make sense of patterns of change across the globe during this time of exponential technology?

Every week, I speak to some of the most brilliant minds building, investing in or analysing the near future. Subscribe to get notified of future columns and let me know what you think — and to stay in touch for good, sign up to my email newsletter.

I had a pleasure to speak to the founder of Linkedin, Reid Hoffman. In our hour-long conversation, Reid and I discuss the concept of blitzscaling, the spillover of this internet-enabled phenomenon in other industries, and how it creates efficiency improvements. We also discuss innovation, government and the culture of Silicon Valley — but I’ll leave that for the second part of this post. …


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The entire Chinese life has become digitally-injected in a way not imaginable in the US or Europe

A fast changing world, driven by staggering breakthroughs and new fissures opening up. Can we make sense of patterns of change across the globe during this time of exponential technology?

In this weekly series, I speak to some of the most brilliant minds building, investing in or analysing the near future. Today, I’m in conversation with the Chinese investor and executive Kai-Fu Lee. For the first part of my conversation with Kai-Fu about China’s entrepreneurial combat, go here.

If you’d rather listen to my conversation with Kai-Fu Lee, you can do so on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Breaker, Overcast or wherever you get your podcasts. …


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Lessons in going big, yet remaining focused

Every week I speak to some of the most brilliant minds building, investing in or analysing the near future. I will be publishing notes from these conversations regularly. To stay in touch for good, sign up to my email newsletter.

I was lucky to speak with Kai-Fu Le, a Chinese startup-investor and globally-recognised expert in AI, on entrepreneurship, and AI in China.

China is home to 82 of the world’s tech unicorns, companies which have reached $1bn in value or more. …


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Photo by Zhen Hu on Unsplash

The terms “hard skills” and “soft skills” are problematic.

Jeff Wiener, the boss of LinkedIn, says that computers are not going to be taking all our jobs quite yet. “We’re still a ways away from computers being able to replicate and replace human interaction and human touch.”

The result? Most in-demand, according to Wiener, are the so-called “soft skills” of human interaction, communication and conflict resolution. While, recent US data still shows that most in-demand roles are emphasising highly technical, “hard” skills like engineering, IT and trucking, I would agree with Jeff. These soft skills are paramount. But I think they have the wrong name.

One way to understand Jeff’s comments is to recognise we actually live in a world populated by people. We need “soft skills”, like communication and leadership. …


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The EU Parliament seems not to understand the 29-year-old World Wide Web

Last week’s vote in the European Parliament on the EU Copyright Directive will create enormous new rights for news publishers, and turn the clock back on how the internet works. Some key implications:

  • Article 11 was intended to allow publishers to make money when online platforms link to their stories, by demanding a paid license. The article has also been dubbed a ‘link tax’. Similar attempts have been unsuccessful in Germany and Spain, where it hurt publishers more than helped them.
  • Article 13 or ‘upload filter’ says that platforms “storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users” are obliged to filter out any materials without copyright license. Critics say that this would add more burden to startups as they try to keep up with filtering the content while at smaller head-count and overall resources. …


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Photo by Simon Caspersen on Unsplash

I wanted to share four power tools I have been using for the past months, in some cases years. This is a short selection of things I use that save me time managing my various commitments.

  • VoxSciencesvoxsci.com — converts voicemail to text and emails. Costs £5 per month, saves me at least 45 minutes a month, so just net positive. This is one of the best work investments I make every month. It allows me to screen, prioritise and respond to voicemails dozens of times faster than having to listen to them.
  • Otter.AI — otter uses ML to transcribe meetings to text. it is really not bad and gives 10 hours of free transcription per month. Can’t do phone calls unless you use Android (or Zoom, see below). I do use it in meetings from time to time. Note — I always ask participants if I can have Otter listen in to our discussion. “Do you mind if Otter, my AI assistant, listens in and takes notes?” is a nice conversation starter.
    The quality of transcriptions is getting better and better. I recently subscribed to Otter Premium which costs $80 per year and gives me 100 hours of transcription per month. …


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Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

“Data is seldom just about us. Society should benefit from it too.”

I’ve been lucky enough to get to know the work of Jeni Tennison and The Open Data Institute a little during the past year or so. They are thinking very deeply about how to build trusted institutions and systems around data.

I believe this is vital work. A world where citizen-consumers understand the value and risks of data may get us to a higher energy level where we can use data to tackle causes of disease, unhappiness & inequality while maintaining a healthy balance of power between the individual, family & community and business. One where we (and policymakers) don’t understand the range of ecosystems we can build around data (and the rules that govern them) lends itself to our lurching with ill-informed knee-jerk responses to real or imagined data abuses. …


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Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Governments must step in to regulate platforms — or workers will lose it all

This week, I invited the co-founder and director of The Family, a pan-European investment firm, Nicolas Colin, and writer and speaker on the future of work and consumption, Laetitia Vitaud, to guest-curate my weekly newsletter Exponential View.

Laetitia wrote one of my favourite pieces of the last couple of years, an analysis of why Taylorism can’t apply to cleaning. Nicolas is well-known for his work exploring what a new worker safety net should look like in the entrepreneurial age.

Below is an excerpt from their thoughtful essay on the future of platform work — full essay available here.

Platforms and worker empowerment, by Laetitia Vitaud and Nicolas Colin

In the Fordist era, salaried work was a “bundle”, with many benefits attached. By contrast, self-employed workers, some of whom use platforms regularly, often lack the empowerment, social protection, and decent wages that once became the lot of workers in Fordist manufacturing industries. …

About

azeem

Entrepreneur, inventor and creator — curator of The Exponential View

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