Tagtalk

IoT Communities & modes of production

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For Retune Festival 2016, I gave a quick overview of IoT communities and their modes of production. Heads-up, this is quite subjective: The IoT communities featured here are the ones I personally find most interesting and/or am most fond of.

The extra short version is this: Exploring IoT in its various facets can be done in many ways, from the often un- or under-funded (art) to the often highly funded (startup) and everything in between. I argue that startups, while currently a hugely popular vehicle to explore ideas, aren’t for everyone: There are some things and contexts that I think are better explored outside a startup context, through self-funding, third party funding, or as a sustainable independent business.

Hope it’s useful for you.

O’Reilly Solid: On IoT Startups & the Mittelstand

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At O’Reilly Solid I gave a talk exploring one questions: What Can IoT Entrepreneurs and the Mittelstand Learn from Each Other?. Here are my slides:

 

 

I’m the first to admit that the 20 minutes didn’t allow to really explore the phenomenon of the German Mittelstand. Rather, I tried a bit of a playful exploration of the culture & mindset that defines this whole beast, particularly by differentiation from Silicon Valley startups.

 

tl;dr: Just like the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem is a unique phenomenon, so is the German Mittelstand. Favoring a long-term perspective over quick growth can yield great results. Culture matters.

 

Enjoy!

3D printing in the pets toys and food industries

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Wednesday and Thursday I was in Amsterdam for a talk at PETS Global Forum, a big annual gathering of the pets toys, accessories and food industry. They had hired me to talk about the impact of new technologies (mainly 3D printing, but also the internet of things) on the pets industry. It’s an industry I knew very little about going in — before starting to prep for the talk — so I was very interested to learn more while I was there.

In a packed ballroom at gorgeous Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky smack in the center of Amsterdam, the 200 or so attendees were the decision makers of that industry around the globe.

 

The winter garden of the hotel doubled as expo hall.

 

Turns out that pet-related industries are largely immune to external market crises: People spend money on their pets, no matter what. In fact, throughout the global financial crisis over the last few years, the pets industry has been constantly growing.

That said, obviously if you’re in the business of selling plastic and metal products as well as prepared food, technology is kind of high on your agenda – hence the interest in 3D printing and related technologies.

What I tried is to look beyond the hype of 3D printing and give an honest view on the kind of impact — and the market opportunities — that 3D printing might have on these industries. No hand-wavy futurism and 3D print utopia, but very down-to-earth estimations and advice.

Here’s what I came up with:

 

The slides were made, by the way, with the Deckset app I mentioned on this blog before.

 

Of course I’m always happy to look at the impact and opportunities emerging technologies have at various industries. If you’d like to have me speak, the best way is to contact Tessa over at The Next Speaker (who represent me for these kind of gigs), and if you’d like to take a closer look at your company and its strategy, get in touch about an advisory role.

Bruce Schneier: The Battle for Power on the Internet

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The fantastic Bruce Schneier gave an excellent talk at TEDxCambridge: The Battle for Power on the Internet:

 

 

In it, he explains in his usual clear, easy-to-understand way how power is distributed in the web, and how this distribution has changed over the years. More concretely, how have distributed actors gained and wielded as opposed to centralized, institutional actors – and then goes on to think about how we can find a balance between both types of power to make sure the internet keeps being a force for positive social change in the world.

Please do take the 12 or so minutes, it’ll change the way you see the web and where it’s headed.

Bruce Sterling at Reboot11 (some belated quotes)

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Earlier this summer I went to Reboot11 (and loved it). Sadly, I never really got around to write down all the stuff we talked about there. But here’s a few quotes from the particularly great Bruce Sterling talk.

The quotes are actually not from the talk itself but from David Weinberger’s live blogging summary:

Sterling on geeks and favela chic in the context of different “quadrants of the future”:

The other side of Reboot in power is low-end: Favela chic. You’ve lost everything but you’re wired to the gill and still big on Facebook. Everything you believe as geeks is Favela thinking. This venue is itself a stuffed animal. The unsustainable is the only frontier you are. You’re old in old-new structure, a steam punk appropriation.

What can I say? He’s spot on. I’m writing this from our coworking space Studio70, a lofty, industrial-style Berlin backyard office, where we all sit on table differently arranged every day, working from our laptops, shoving data and information back and forth. We’re sharing desks and meeting room, improvising with every new gadget and feature we build in here, in the room next door a makerbot is being assembled. In other words: it’s a steam punk appropriation.

And on sustainable lifestyle in a geek context:

You’re going to be dead much longer than you’re alive. So you need to do stuff that you can do better than your dead great grandfather. How can you do this, he asks. A geek-friendly approach to consumption. For people of your generation, objects are print-outs. They’re frozen social relationships. Think of objects in terms of hours of time and volumes of space. It’s a good design approach. Because if you’re picking these things up — washing it, storing it, curating it — these possessions are really embodied social relationships: made by peole, designed by people, sold by people, etc. Relationships that happen to have material form. You might argue that you ought to buy cheap things or organic. That’s not the way forward. Economizing is not social. If you economize, you’re starving someone else. You need to reassess the objects in your space and time.

Also, here’s the whole talk, and so worth watching: