Simplexity Analytics Framework

Simplexity Analytics Framework

In 1985, Neil Postman published a book ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’ which provided an interesting juxtaposition between two authors who predicted dystopian futures, George Orwell (with Nineteen-Eighty Four) and Aldus Huxley (with Brave New World).

“We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares.

But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.”

This juxtaposition provides the perfect metaphor for the debate about data in the world right now. Data is being influenced by ‘the three V’s’:

  1. Volume: the sheer amount of data that is being generated digitally at exponential rates
  2. Velocity: the unprecedented rate at which data is moving and being collected
  3. Variety: the vast and diverse types of data that are being generated from different sources

On each succeeding year, we create more data than all of the preceding years of humanity combined. With the growth of global online access, and new networked channels like social media, this data is also becoming a technologists nightmare - unstructured, complex and variable.

You can’t read any sort of marketing prediction article without stumbling upon the apparent holy grail of “Big Data” - a concept that inevitably touches on the fears of Orwell. On the other side is “Small Data”, or the conventional data that every organization should be focused on. Invariably this suffers from the Huxley metaphor, and the threat of drowning in the sea of irrelevance or egoism.

In this essay, I’ll examine some of the defining factors of big and small data, and run through a simple framework to build a digital data ecosystem that can actually deliver actionable results for organizations.

Weekly Roundup: 31 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.

Six of the big tech giants all reported on their fourth quarter earnings this week, and it makes for a fascinating case study on the way consumer behavior is evolving. There are several strong lessons here for businesses of all kinds, so it's worth reading between the lines to see where we are headed.

Firstly, Apple. The company's first quarter was its biggest so far, at $74.6 billion in revenue and $18 billion in profits. And it's continuing to grow. The iPhone is the big cash cow here at 69% of total revenue - they are creating and selling 75 million of them each quarter, bolstered by the introduction of the bigger screen Plus (which turns out to be a very good move).

With the iWatch launching soon, Apple will own screens of every size, and are proving how much the world is shifting to be mobile first.

Microsoft isn't dead yet. It's still huge, growing and profitable. The company is making a slow (and very big) transition to a cloud subscription model, but what's crazy is how profitable the old subscription model remains in the market. Cloud subscription will remain a big deal moving into the future.

Google is massive, but its $18 billion in profits was below analysts expectations. It is interesting to see the core paid click business is faltering a bit due to shifts to mobile, as consumers prefer apps in this space. Search is also being threatened by a lot of new players from all angles. This however is being bolstered in other ways, with YouTube revenue growing by more than 100%. YouTube and video are going to be huge this year. 

Amazon is up a lot more than expected, posting a very rare quarterly profit. The main driver behind this is Amazon Prime, which is providing to be a hugely lucrative 'moat' strategy. Prime users are super loyal, and order twice as much as non-subscribers, and pretty much order everything and anything with the service. A great example of understanding your customers lifetime value, and investing in loyalty.

Yahoo didn't grow, but spun off its very lucrative stake in Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant as a separate entity. They still feel like they have an identity crisis; it will be interesting how they evolve.

Lastly, Facebook. The company has made a phenomenal shift to mobile, understanding consumer behavior perfectly. Mobile now represents 69% of total ad revenue. User growth has slowed, but they are extracting more revenue per user. And it is really emerging as a video streaming platform, with 3 billion videos watched per day - expect the platform to shift in new ways to adapt to this.

As seen in Google's earnings, YouTube is becoming a monster of a platform. Last year the highest paid earner made $4.9 million dollars - and they did it simply unboxing Disney toys.

Last year, iOS app developers earned more than Hollywood did from the box office in the US. Apps are swamping other forms of entertainment in a massive way, and consumer expectations are forever changing.

Interested in the financials around building app games? The team behind the beautiful Monument Valley reveal the cost and reward of creating their hit application. 

Google Ventures have updated their Design Sprint methodology into a handy blueprint. Also, keep an eye out for the upcoming book on the subject.

A great article on the dozen lessons learned from Chris Dixon on Venture Capital and Startups. Great advice for entrepreneurs and savvy business people.

To finish up, Squarespace really won the Internet this week with their new advertising campaign. Sleeping Tapes sees Jeff Bridges release an album designed to help you fall asleep. Not only is it crafted exceptionally well, it does what all brands should be doing - creating a great product, and then selling it by providing real, tangible utility.

Notes from the Field #1: Sales Lessons from A Most Violent Year

Last night, I went to see J. C. Chandor's film 'A Most Violent Year', a beautifully told story of one man's struggle to stay pure against the backdrop of violence, corruption and decay in New York in 1981.

This film got so many things right. The warm, retro inspired golden color palette. The sparing use of music. The placement of the camera at odd angles to heighten the mood of the characters.

Oscar Isaac was perfectly cast as the protagonist Abel Morales, an anti-gangster reminiscent of a young Al Pacino from the 1970's, deep emotion conveyed through the twin extremes of outburst and stoney expression.

One of my favorite scenes was the sales lessons imparted by Abel to a group of young recruits to his company. If you truly believe in your product, and know how it is positioned, you will not falter when you stare your customer in the eyes and tell them the truth.

From the film:  

He reaches over and opens the small door. A fire is burning inside. On cue the instructor hands ABEL a crisp clean white handkerchief.


"When this door opens you begin to close. It must always be spotless. If they see you have ever done this before it is over."

He takes it and reaches up into a small exhaust chimney. 


"Now, you do this and only this... You look down at the cloth and don’t say a word... You just keep staring at the cloth and then you slowly just start shaking your head. Very very slowly and small. Don’t look up at them. Just at the cloth." 

Then ABEL makes a small clicking noise. 


"Do you hear that noise... that’s the noise." 


"What noise?"


"It means you are close... Then after sitting in silence way longer than is comfortable, you turn. And say “I’d love to run a few numbers for you. Is there somewhere more comfortable we could sit.” They will almost always take you to the dining room table and will offer you something. And whatever it is you always take the fancy option." 


"Can I get you a coffee or tea?" 


"A tea please." 


"We have some homemade lemonade or a soda." 


"I’d love a lemonade, thank you." 




"Because, we are never going to be the cheapest option, so we have to be the best. And they want... no, need... to feel that you want the best too. That’s why our trucks are the newest or cleanest, and our drivers are approachable." 


"I gotta go, but the final point I will make is the hardest one. Once you have done the math and shown them what we can save them over the long haul through proper maintenance, you need them to sign. And the problem is by hiring you that means they are firing someone else. And that’s never easy. So to get them over the line you need to close them. So when you show them the number look up at them both... and just stare at them…" 

ABEL begins staring at the recruits. He continues to stare. 


"You stare longer than you should. Because this is not a joke. You will only keep this job if you close. And that’s not funny to you. And I am only interested in this company growing, and when it isn’t I don’t think it’s funny at all. These people work very hard for their money and these other guys are ripping them off, treating them poorly, because they don’t know... so when you look them in the eye you have to believe that we are better, and we are, but you will never do anything as hard as staring a person straight in the eye and telling the truth."


The second lesson seen later in the film was used to explain Abel's drive to be successful, as told to a young bank manager. 

From the film:

"When it feels scary to jump Ian... that is exactly when you must jump... or you risk ending up staying in the same place your whole life... and that I can’t do."


Do you currently feel safe, content, and at ease? It might be time to find a new challenge outside of your comfort zone, and throw yourself into the void.

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.

Weekly Roundup: 17th 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.

Take a look, and don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter.

Great VC's are all about creating connections and giving out great advice. Rob Hayes from First Round Capital dishes out some excellent tips for first time founders - get good at hiring, don't run out of money, and always have a north star.

When you think innovation at your company, do you spend months planning and creating powerpoint decks, or do you get right into hacking solutions? This amazing story from the history of eBay shows how having the initiative to innovate at the edges is more often than not the keys to success (and in this case that equals $50 billion worth).

Speaking of innovating at the edges, Amazon has a dedicated skunkworks tasked with exploring and creating new product lines for the business called Lab126.  Check out their story, it is amazing to see just how the Kindle came into existence.

Organizational design is at a crossroads. Traditional models are being challenged by the need to create more responsive and flexible models to allow rapid adaptation in our increasingly complex world. One of the more interesting new ideas is Holacracy - this article does a great job of explaining it, and the difficulty in adopting this social experiment by the team at Zappos.

Connectedness begets complexity, complexity begets uncertainty, and uncertainty begets chaos. In this environment, how can modern organizations prepare for events they can’t foresee? Bud Caddell explores this topic in this great Ted Talk explaining the science of complex adaptive systems. Always think in the grey.

Pretty much every really successful person touches on the importance of having a mentor on the road to success. Ryan Holiday writes a great article on why you don't have a mentor - and what you can do to fix it.

Podcasting is so hot right now. Reddit are jumping into the Podcasting game as a very interesting strategy to build their network. Check out this insight into the strategy.

Drones. Love them or hate them, they are rapidly making greater and greater appearances in our lives, which means they need to fight through a huge amount of government red tape. CNN just took a big step by getting FAA approval for the first use of commercial drones.

A very interesting insight into how Beats By Dre. rose to prominence, and how Monster lost the world on the deal. Read it, and learn how not to lose a billion dollars.

Organizational messaging is a huge growth area, with many businesses trying to eliminate the over-dependence on email while fostering collaboration. Facebook just threw its hat in the ring by launching 'Facebook at Work' to take on Slack and Asana.

If you made an investment in Bitcoin, you are probably feeling a little sick right now. A great article explaining the details around the controversial currency, the recent free-fall, and how it is starting to seem like one big giant Ponzi scheme. 

Interested in getting your head around A/B testing? Short answer - you definitely should be! Zapier have written a great article introducing the concepts as applied to email marketing, with some great tips, tricks and tools.

To finish out, a great piece of storytelling from Ancarani Studio. Beretta 'Human Technology' shows the supreme craftsmanship that goes into creating one of their shotguns. Irrespective of your view on guns, this is a captivating and beautiful piece of content.

Technology Trends & Predictions: 2015 and Beyond

Right now we are in the middle of prediction season. Everybody under the sun is scrambling to put to paper their opinions on what the future will bring us in terms of trends and technology now that we have moved into a new year.

Pretty much everyone agrees on a few commonalities - in 2015 mobile will continue its meteoric rise, wearable tech will take off (although most underestimate the time required to create the app ecosystems to support it), social media will continue to fragment, and everything will become a lot more complex. What they don’t tend to do as much is get too deep into anything past 2016, predicting the longer term societal shifts on the horizon.

Contagious Magazine as part of their tenth anniversary edition (you can download it for free online) have cobbled together an amazing timeline of far reaching predictions based on a number of deep thinking sources including BBC Future, Cisco, Elon Musk, Erik Eckholm,, IBM, IHS Janes’s, NASA, NBC News, Princeton University, Ray Kurzweil, Thomson Reuters, and the Touro Law Review. I have added these to the post below for quick reference.


  • Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19bn and Oculus Rift for $2bn.
  • Alibaba floatation raises $25bn in IPO.
  • Airbnb valued at $10bn.
  • Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch.
  • China overtakes the US as the world’s largest economy. Adjusted for purchasing power, China’s GDP overtakes US GDP by 0.2%.


  • Excessive heat from devices is recycled.
  • Electric car ownership reaches 1 million worldwide.
  • Personal biometric scanners for online banking.


  • Sea levels will have risen by one foot since 1986.
  • Spaceship Juno finally arrives on Jupiter.
  • Spaceship Dragon V2 takes astronauts to International Space Station.


  • Facebook dies out completely.
  • Smartphones have a sense of smell.
  • Personal devices allow you to touch and feel virtual objects.
  • Digital tastebud implants encourage healthy eating.


  • Nearly 1 million minutes of video content cross global IP networks every second.
  • The number of devices connected to IP networks is nearly as high as the global population.
  • Robot insect spies are used in military use.
  • Drug created to prevent obesity.


  • High-resolution bionic eyes on sales, customizable by size and color to suit every face.
  • The total power of all computers equals the total brainpower of the human race.
  • Glasses for the deaf convert words into text, and music into images.
  • The first human-robot couples emerge as simulated personalities become more lifelike.


  • A $1,000 computer will have the same processing power as a human brain.
  • Humans wear devices that record and file all their conversations.
  • There are 50 billion connected objects.


  • Military drone market worth $82bn.
  • Downloadable 3D printable fashion designs are commonplace.


  • Copyright on Mickey Mouse expires.


  • People regularly upload their brain to a computer.
  • First manned mission to Mars is launched.


  • Teleportation enters testing phase.
  • Solar is the primary source of energy.
  • Electric air transportation takes off.
  • DNA mapping at birth allows diseases to be identified.

There are some very interesting predictions in here. Are you ready for the next decade of technology innovation?

Weekly Roundup: 9 Jan 2015

Happy New Year from!

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 few weeks.

Take a look, and don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter.

Predictions, predictions, predictions! It's that time of year, so pretty much everyone under the sun has thoughts on what 2015 will bring us. I'll touch on the one's I have found most useful. 

Firstly, I really like what Huge have produced - instead of making predictions why not go out and make things? The future is now. 

Can you believe it's been 10 years since Contagious Magazine first launched (I know I can't). You can download their tenth anniversary edition for free on their site. A fantastic roundup of the last decade, and a view to 'the first light of dawn' on the horizon in 2015.

Forbes have a nice comprehensive list of 11 Marketing Trends for 2015. I especially like no. 2 - CMO's will need to become Chief Simplification Officers. Dust off your editing skills, and keep applying first principles.

What has web design got in store for 2015? The Next Web take a crack at predicting what design and UX aesthetics will hold sway. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!

The 99u really do create some of the best inspirational content for creative types and budding entrepreneurs. Check out their list of the most popular articles from 2014 to supercharge your new year.

The National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest winners are in. Very interesting to see the Grand Prize Winner and People Winner going to a photograph of tech addiction.  

Finally, if you want to understand the Zeitgeist of 2014, check out the Google Trends 'Year in Search' experience. Looking at the site, Google yet again prove they are the kings of storytelling.

Speaking about Google, they have updated their Customer Journey to Online Purchase Tool. This is a fantastic resource to see the influence of different channels along the purchase funnel in a variety of industries and locations.

Sony Hacks. North Korean Cyber War. Lizard Squad DDoS Attacks. The world went a little crazy in December, but one of the most interesting outcomes was the first same day VOD release by a major studio. Could this be a content delivery turning point?

Marketing Tech. Tell me that infographic doesn't look a bit frothy. It's enough to make you go cross-eyed. A visualization of the current landscape. 

New Year's Resolution. Practice more creative consistency. It's time to start shipping more frequently. Let's pull up that anchor.

I wrote an article on the Five Whys, a deceptively simple technique to get to the root cause of problems or insights. Check it out if you haven't already read it.

Some fun stuff to finish. The end of the Serial Podcast left a gaping hole in my heart, but luckily fafu filled it with this mashup of the theme song with the Notorious B.I.G. Bedroom producers keep getting better and better. 

If your either in peak summer or very much missing it like I am, check out this retro found footage experience from Poolside.FM. So much nostalgia, and some very chill beats.

The Five Whys

The Five Whys

Getting to the root cause of something can be difficult, but it is a necessary requirement when developing strategy or addressing problems. Unless you narrow down to first principles, you have the potential to introduce risk or irrelevancy.

A deceptively simple strategy to combat this is the Five Whys technique, originally created out of the Lean Startup Methodology by Eric Ries. In this essay I will outline two use cases for this technique, firstly, as a way to run root-cause analysis of problems as they arise (as a defense strategy) and, secondly, to find the emotional insight at the center of products or campaigns (as an offensive strategy).

Root-Cause Analysis

The methodology behind Five Whys is simple - ask a ‘Why?’ question five times in a row. By the time you answer the fifth question, you should be very close to the deeper insight behind the problem at hand.

Ries uses the following as an example in relation to a technology product.

A new version is released, which caused a key feature to be disabled and in turn a ton of customer complaints. Five Whys are then answered in the following order:

  1. A new release disabled a feature for customers. Why? Because a particular server failed.
  2. Why did the server fail? Because an obscure subsystem was used in the wrong way.
  3. Why was it used in the wrong way? The engineer who used it didn’t know how to use it properly.
  4. Why didn’t he know? Because he was never trained.
  5. Why wasn’t he trained? Because his manager doesn’t believe in training new engineers because he and his team are “too busy”.

What was initially believed to be a pure technical fault is actually revealed to be a very human management issue, which as a root cause may have been masked from the outset.

Proportional Investments

In startups or newer agile focused organizations, the goal is to move the business through the build, measure, learn feedback loop as fast as possible to drive validated learning.

A paradox exists here however - while we strive to get an MVP in the hands of customers as fast as possible, shortcuts taken in product quality, design or infrastructure today may wind up impacting on learning in the future. If we have bugs, missing features or poor design, we may not be getting honest feedback.

Ensuring that these missteps don’t appear requires both discipline and process & procedures, but agile organizations either won’t have time to have defined these due to speed to market requirements, or will try and keep these as loose as possible to automatically adjust over time.

The analogy here is an engine. We put the pedal to the floor and speed up, but as we go faster and faster discipline slips. Problems start to appear which compound upon each other, and we rapidly come to a grinding halt.

A solution to this is to use Proportional Investments to build process and procedures as we drive the engine forward that don’t allow for costly over-investment or over-engineering. The Five Whys root-cause analysis can be a cornerstone of this strategy.

Moonshots: Space, Colonization and Conquering Human Nature

Moonshots: Space, Colonization and Conquering Human Nature

Space. The Final Frontier.

Those often quoted, pop culture cemented words are thought to have been developed from a White House pamphlet “Introduction to Outer Space”, disseminated in the aftermath of the Sputnik 1 launch in 1958.

“The first of these factors is the compelling urge of man to explore and to discover, the thrust of curiosity that leads men to try to go where no one has gone before. Most of the surface of the Earth has now been explored and men now turn on the exploration of outer space as their next objective.”

I went to see Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” on a 70mm IMAX print, and couldn’t help but think of this quote as I watched one of the last great celluloid features. The sheer audacity of vision was astounding; the pacing, music and mise-en-scene towering 76 feet above the audience.

At its heart, Interstellar is about an extreme need to explore that final frontier. We have conquered all the mountains on Earth. We have explored its jungles and deserts. We have even gone to the deepest depths of the ocean. All that is left is to look out.  

Right now this vision is closer than ever. Private companies like Space X and Virgin Galactic have rapidly advanced our current rocket innovation, and if we follow a linear improvement in technology we could see commercial exploration happen in as little as 30 years.

A moonshot is an idea that lives in the grey area between an audacious project and science fiction. It’s essence is a proposal to address a huge problem with a radical solution that leverages breakthrough technology - instead of a 10% gain it strives for a 10x improvement.

Perhaps the greatest moonshot idea today is the need for space colonization in order to guarantee the safety of the human race. Some of our smartest and brightest minds are thinking deeply on this problem in order to find a radical solution we can progress towards.

“Robotic missions are much cheaper and may provide more scientific information, but they don’t catch the public imagination in the same way, and they don’t spread the human race into space, which I’m arguing should be our long-term strategy. If the human race is to continue for another million years, we will have to boldly go where no one has gone before. Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers ... I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go into space.”
Stephen Hawking
“I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multi-planetary, in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen, in which case being poor or having a disease would be irrelevant, because humanity would be extinct. It would be like, “Good news, the problems of poverty and disease have been solved, but the bad news is there aren’t any humans left.”
Elon Musk

There is something romantic about this idea, a sort of cosmic destiny that triggers memories of great men and women conquering new worlds within uncharted waters. Like these explorers before us, space travelers will have to face one of the thorniest problems facing humanity - our need to control our primitive instincts and inherent human nature.

Weekly Roundup: 5 Dec 2014

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 in the past week. Take a look, and don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter.

So often the technology debate sits at two extremes - everything is changing, or nothing is. The reality is a lot more nuanced. Jeremy Heiman and Henry Timms make a great case for viewing current technology as a shift from old power to new in this fantastic HBR article, mapping the shift across a participation scale and new power framework. 

Marc Andreessen, king of the tweet storm, provides clarification on disruptive innovation, a concept many people fail to properly understand. Big hint - disruption doesn't mean destruction, and it's entirely pro-consumer and pro-shrinking inequality.

While Facebook is more often than not thought of as the king of social sharing, a new report by Radium One shows that 69% of sharing occurs on 'Dark Social', or tools like email and instant messenger. Check it out for some interesting tactics on getting around tracking issues.

Speaking of social, Tumblr just overtook Instagram as the fastest growing social platform, while Snapchat is the fastest growing app.

Want to build a $100 million dollar business with technology? There are really only five ways, and they involve hunting very specific types of animal...

Time release their 25 Best Inventions of 2014. I can't wait to see the YouTube videos of uncoordinated man-children stacking on their Hoverboards. 

Bloomberg release their Billionaire List, ranking the world's richest people. Some nice tools to segment, profile and visualise the data.

Speaking of data visualization, Medium create an open source tool to quickly make any data look pretty. Great to see an organizations sharing their IP, and allowing anyone to build on it.

I wrote a post on the Eisenhower Matrix, a very simple framework to help distinguish between urgent and important decisions. Check it out, and add it to your lattice of models.