Weekly Roundup: 24 Jan 2015

The world keeps moving faster and faster. It’s increasingly hard to filter out the most important 'signals from the noise' with the time we have available. Below is a summary of the most interesting and relevant topics that have passed through my signal filter over the past week.

While anyone can make predictions, few people are in a position to say that they are putting a serious amount of money on these bets. VC firm Andreessen Horowitz have released their 16 Things list, a key set of themes based around their current founder investments that they believe will be shaping the immediate future. 

Check out the article for a run down of the key topics of Virtual Reality, Sensorification of the Enterprise, Machine Learning & Big Data, Full-Stack Startups, Containers, Digital Health, Online Marketplaces, Security, Bitcoin, Cloud-Client Computing, Crowdfunding, Internet of Things, Online Video, Insurance, Dev Ops, and 'Failure'.

I have been posting a lot of First Round Review content lately, but their thinking is just that good. Adam Pisoni has a great article on a simple framework for creating more responsive organizations, and how letting go of efficiency in favor of transparency, experimentation and empowerment is a key to business success.

Note, this doesn't just apply to tech startups. The article includes a great case study on Zara, and responsiveness within a traditional brick and mortar business.

Keen to get an insight into other leading responsive organizations? Undercurrent have released their 20 Most Responsive Companies of 2014 List, which features some great case studies on what differentiates the Operating Systems of these businesses from legacy institutions. Think faster growth and greater employee satisfaction.

Being more responsive is not just important on the business side, it is also affecting agencies and their output. Craig Mawdsley outlines some key themes to tackle in 2015 for Agency Planners & Strategists to tackle the radical change on the horizon.

Could this start to become a big trend in the world of design agencies? There has been some big news around established organizations acquiring some top UX and Design firms.

First up, Teehan+Lax close down to join the Facebook Design Team.

Next, Capital One acquire design firm Adaptive Path.

Design thinking and UX are increasingly becoming big keys to competitive advantage, so we may see more organizations building or acquiring their own departments. Could this signal a broader trend to internalize more traditional agency functions?

Could one of the key skills for journalists and editors soon become being able to code? An interesting article on the New York Times plan to redesign news.

Persado have created an AI to apply machine-learning to writing copy. Starting with email headlines, it plans to build up to any sort of actionable message. Could this spell the end of the copywriting profession (or the explosion of more terrible click bait headlines)?

How to make $85,000 in an instant. Come up with a stupid Internet idea, get an unexpected explosion of traffic, and then flip it to a (sucker?) entrepreneur. The story behind Ship Your Enemies Glitter.

There is no doubting that we are becoming a remix culture. Online tools make it exceptionally easy to capture, cut, remix or redefine media in the blink of an eye. If you create anything as a person or a brand, you need to expect people will play around with it however they see fit.

A great example is The Hobbit: Tolkien Cut. A fan was unhappy with Peter Jackson taking liberties with the plot of the recent trilogy by creating new scenes or manufacturing love interests that didn't exist in the printed version. The result is a 4-hour unofficial re-cut that has been making waves online.  

I write a lot about mental models on my blog through the lens of marketing, advertising and business strategy. A big inspiration for this was originally Shane Parrish and his Farnam Street blog, check out a recent revised article by him titled 'How to Think' which gives a great rundown on the theory.

Don't forgot to check out my own Mental Model list to build on your own latticework.

To finish up, a bit of fun. Two new ad campaigns caught my eye. Firstly, the Bud Light Superbowl Ad brings on the 80's Nostalgia with Real Life Pacman. I would pay a fortune to have this experience.

Second, Terry Crews is back with a new Old Spice campaign. I won't explain anything here. Just watch the mind explosion.