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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Technology is anthropology

The interesting thing about the technology business is that, most of the time, it’s not the technology that matters. What matters is how people react to it, and what new social norms they form. This is especially true in today’s era, well past the midpoint of the deployment age of smartphones and the Internet.

People — smart, thoughtful people, with relevant backgrounds and domain knowledge — thought that Airbnb and Uber were doomed to failure, because obviously no one would want to stay in a stranger’s home or ride in a stranger’s car. People thought the iPhone would flop because users would “detest the touch screen interface.” People thought enterprise software-as-a-service would never fly because executives would insist on keeping servers in-house at all costs.

Thees people were so, so, so wrong; but note that they weren’t wrong about the technology. (Nobody really argued about the technology.) Instead they were dead wrong about other people, and how their own society and culture would respond to this new stimulus. they were anthropologically incorrect.

This, of course, is why every major VC firm, and every large tech company, keeps a crack team of elite anthropologists on call at all times, with big budgets and carte blanche, reporting directly to the leadership team, right? (Looks around.) Oh. Instead they’re doing focus groups and user interviews, asking people in deeply artificial settings to project their usage of an alien technology in an unknown context, and calling that their anthropological, I’m sorry, their market research? Oh.

I kid, I kid. Sort of, at least, in that I’m not sure a crack team of elite anthropologists would be all that much more effective. It’s hard enough getting an accurate answer of how a person would use a new technology when that’s the only variable. When they live in a constantly shifting and evolving world of other new technologies, when the ones which take root and spread have a positive-feedback-loop effect on the culture and mindset towards new technologies, and when every one of your first twenty interactions with new tech changes your feelings about it … it’s basically impossible.

And so: painful trial and error, on all sides. Uber and Lyft didn’t think people would happily ride in strangers’ cars either; that’s why Uber started as what is now Uber Black, basically a phone-summoned limo service, and Lyft used to have that painfully cringeworthy “ride in the front seat, fist-bump your driver” policy. Those are the success stories. The graveyard of companies whose anthropological guesses were too wrong to pivot to rightness, or who couldn’t / wouldn’t do so fast enough, is full to bursting with tombstones.

That’s why VCs and Y Combinator have been much more secure businesses than startups; they get to run dozens or hundreds of anthropological experiments in parallel, while startups get to run one, maybe two, three if they’re really fast and flexible, and then they die.

This applies to enterprise businesses too, of course. Zoom was anthropological bet that corporate cultures could make video conferencing big and successful if it actually worked reliably. It’s easy to imagine the mood among CEOs instead being “we need in-person meetings to encourage those Moments of Serendipity,” which you’ll notice is the same argument that biased so many big companies against remote work and in favor of huge corporate campuses … an attitude which looks quaint, old-fashioned, and outmoded, now.

This doesn’t just apply to the deployment phase of technologies. The irruption phase has its own anthropology. But irruption affects smaller sectors of the economy, whose participants are mostly technologists themselves, so it’s more anthropologically reasonable for techies to extrapolate from their own views and project how that society will change.

The meta-anthropological theory held by many is that what the highly technical do today, the less technical will do tomorrow. That’s a belief held throughout the tiny, wildly non-representative cryptocurrency community, for instance. But even if it was true once, is it still? Or is a shift away from that pattern that another, larger social change? I don’t know, but I can tell you how we’re going to find out: painful trial and error.


Source: TechCrunch

Cómo conectar a todo el planeta a internet con solo cuatro satélites

Frente a las megaconstelaciones compuestas por miles de unidades y con cobertura limitada, este estudio afirma que cuatro dispositivos a gran altura podrían dar un servicio prácticamente global, aunque más lento. Para lograrlo, los satélites aprovecharían para estabilizarse las fuerzas que normalmente los desplazan
Source: MIT

El error de concentrar la inversión en IA en proyectos militares

A EE. UU. le aterra que China lidere la inteligencia artificial. Pero estimación sugiere que la inversión del país asiático se destina principalmente a investigación básica y la robótica mientras que la de Estados Unidos prioriza la investigación en defensa, algo que podría poner el riesgo los avances del campo entero
Source: MIT

WWE Royal Rumble 2020: How to watch, full match card, start time and WWE Network – CNET

Who can toss out Brock Lesnar?
Source: CNET

Coronavirus death toll rises to 56, five US cases confirmed: Everything we know – CNET

The new coronavirus, which now claimed 56 lives in China, has now been identified in California and Arizona.
Source: CNET

NBA great Kobe Bryant and teen daughter Gianna die in helicopter crash – CNET

Emotional tributes pour in for the former Lakers star killed in Southern California.
Source: CNET

Gauging email success, invite-only app launches and other growth tactics

We’ve aggregated many of the world’s best growth marketers into one community. Twice a month, we ask them to share their most effective growth tactics, and we compile them into this growth report.

This is how you stay up-to-date on growth marketing tactics — with advice that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Our community consists of 1,000 startup founders and VPs of growth from later-stage companies. We have 400 YC founders, plus senior marketers from companies including Medium, Docker, Invision, Intuit, Pinterest, Discord, Webflow, Lambda School, Perfect Keto, Typeform, Modern Fertility, Segment, Udemy, Puma, Cameo and Ritual.

You can participate in our community by joining Demand Curve’s marketing webinars, Slack group or marketing training program.

Without further ado, on to our community’s advice.

Remember, use ads to find the best copy

Insights from Matt Sornson of Clearbit

Sure, you could use surveys to ask customers which marketing copy they respond best to. But what people say is often different from what they do.


Source: TechCrunch

Exercise at your standing desk with 30% off this under-desk treadmill – CNET

The LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 fits under most any desk and is now priced at $706, down from $1,000.
Source: CNET

Rock your next party with a JBL PartyBox 1000 for $900 – CNET

This monster speaker is almost four feet high and does karaoke, Bluetooth audio, connects to musical instruments and has a built-in DJ pad.
Source: CNET

Original Content podcast: Apple’s ‘Little America’ chooses uplift over anger

“Little America,” a new anthology series on Apple TV+, has been widely described as the best show on the fledging streaming service.

Here on the Original Content podcast, we aren’t ready to go quite that far, particularly since a couple of us are big fans of “See.” But we were pretty impressed.

The series, which counts “The Big Sick” writers Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani among its executive producers, tells eight separate stories (all based on real-life profiles in Epic Magazine) about immigrants to the United States. For example, the first episode focuses on a young boy whose parents end up returning to India in the face of deportation, leaving him as the de facto manager of their motel in Utah.

At a time when immigration remains a hot-button issue on the national stage, this might sound like the setup for a righteously angry and political show. Instead, “Little America” largely eschews overt politics, aside from its insistence in depicting as immigrants from all over the world as individuals with their own idiosyncrasies and ambitions — in short, as real human beings.

This makes for a funny, engaging show that never gets particularly dark or depressing. Perhaps that’s our only real criticism — that the stories seem so carefully chosen to emphasize uplift over anger that they can start to feel a bit formulaic.

In addition to our review (which includes some mild spoilers for early episodes), this episode takes us all over the place, covering everything from Netflix’s new method for reporting audience size to a lawsuit alleging that M. Night Shyamalan stole the idea for his TV+ series “Servant.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:

0:00 Intro
0:27 Netflix audience metrics
15:52 “Little America” review (mild spoilers)
45:59 M. Night Shyamalan lawsuit discussion
56:31 “Encore” discussion
1:02:07 “Bachelor” discussion


Source: TechCrunch

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