Stuff Worth Reading – September 2017
Welcome to our second post highlighting articles relevant to entrepreneurs in New England and beyond. As you drink your pumpkin spice coffee, please let us know if you find an article you would like to have us feature by sending it along to Baiyin at Ascent. And join us on Twitter at Baiyin Zhou (@BaiyinVC) and Eric Schultz (@ericebs).
Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies is out, Louis Columbus at Forbes writes, with eight new technologies added (including 5G, Edge Computing, and Deep Learning) and several (like Virtual Personal Assistants and Personal Analytics) getting the boot. “The three most dominant trends,” Columbus says, “include Artificial Intelligence (AI) Everywhere, Transparently Immersive Experiences, and Digital Platforms.” He adds, “Gartner believes that key platform-enabling technologies are 5G, Digital Twin, Edge Computing, Blockchain, IoT Platforms, Neuromorphic Hardware, Quantum Computing, Serverless PaaS and Software-Defined Security.” There are a number of other interesting conclusions; do read the entire article.
In “What Makes and Internet of Things (IoT) Platform Enterprise-Ready?”, Columbus writes that nearly $300B will be spent on the Internet of Things in 2020. Despite this 40% CAGR, just 14% of IoT platforms are enterprise-ready according to the Boston Consulting Group. “The real test of any vendor’s IoT platform is to see if it supports application enablement, data aggregation and storage, and connectivity management,” Columbus adds. “In reality the majority of IoT platforms today can’t provide this level of support to business strategies.”
Investment by retailers in AR/VR may reach $30B by 2020, according to Surabhi Ghosh Chatterjee in “How Retail Industry is Winning at Customer Experiences With Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality.” This includes technologies that simplify search, assist customers while shopping in-store, helping customers make informed decisions, and delighting customers. Meanwhile in Hangzhou, KFC customers can now “smile to pay” via a facial recognition system offered by Alipay.
Marketing, Operations, and Culture
Scott Kirsner of the Boston Globe did a piece on the High-Growth CEO Forum, a “hidden secret of the New England tech economy” that meets quarterly at a Boston-area hotel. Keys to getting invited are not too much ego and a willingness to listen.
In The Upshot, Claire Cane Miller takes on “Tech’s Damaging Myth of the Lone Genius Nerd.” This is an especially destructive narrative because we know that entrepreneurs get their best work done in community. “Collaboration, communication, empathy and emotional intelligence are essential to the job,” Miller writes, advice that squares with our own experience working with CEOs and leadership teams at Ascent.
How long is your commute? While people are driving further to get the lifestyle they want, Wendell Cox at New Geography tells us that only about 9% of U.S. workers spend sixty minutes or more getting work–and only 2.2% travel ninety minutes or more. Boston ranks as having the 5th longest commute in the country–14.8% of all workers commute 60 minutes or more each way–behind New York, Washington, San Fran-Oakland, and Riverside-San Bernardino. Cox also notes that work-at-home is rising, despite press reports to the contrary, helping people both live and work where they want.
Some Stuff We Just Liked
Here are the latest “35 Innovators Under 35” identified in the current MIT Technology Review. The list represents a broad selection of ideas and technologies, including social entrepreneurship. And it maps pretty nicely into the Gartner Hype Cycle technologies shown above. Based on the health of the Boston ecosystem alone, we know that this list could probably be duplicated four or five times more–just locally–and dozens of times around the country and world. (Meanwhile, Eric is waiting for the “60 Under 60” list; a guy can hope, after all.)
This is a 2016 reminder from Verena von Pfetten in “Read This Story Without Distraction (Can You?)” that multitasking makes us stupid. “A 2014 study found that interruptions as brief as two to three seconds — which is to say, less than the amount of time it would take you to toggle from this article to your email and back again — were enough to double the number of errors participants made in an assigned task,” von Pfetten writes. The moral of the article: Just. Stop. Multitasking.
With Dunkin Donuts already selling Pumpkin Spice coffee, can the holiday season be far behind? In “What to By to Look Like: A Venture Capitalist in Silicon Valley,” Lauren Schwartzberg of New York magazine suggests the gifts you’ll be asking for to keep up with the “status” of your “tribe.” (You’re going to have to learn to love Kombucha, we’re afraid.)
Promoboxx is hosting its annual Aligned Conference (Sep 20-22), which brings together marketers and executives from over 100 brands, retailers, and the agencies that serve them. This year’s theme is Back to the Start: Why Your Independent Retail Channel Matters. With the recent headlines of big box store closures and the shifts happening in the retail environment, the sessions will focus on how brands can empower their local retail partners and keep their businesses thriving. Sign up and check out the full agenda and attendee list here: http://alignedcon.com
Do you hate networking events? Check out out An Evening Out for Introverts (Oct 5), a free event celebrating Morra Aarons-Mele’s new book Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introvert’s Roadmap to Getting Out There. Morra will lead a conversation around how to build your network and personal brand in your own, non-extraverted way. You’ll also receive a free copy of her book!