The eighth annual University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) Education Business Plan Competition, co-sponsored by the Milken Family Foundation, was held on campus on April 25. As a Penn GSE graduate, I have been involved with the competition as an early- or finals-round judge since its inception, and APUS has sponsored a major $20,000 Venture Path prize for the past six years.
In Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future, Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, and Jeff Howe, assistant professor and founding director of the Media Innovation program at Northeastern University, accurately describe the state-of-the-art in technology through nine organizing principles whereby adaptive individuals and organizations can respond to ever-accelerating technology advancements. In the introduction, the authors write, “our technologies have outpaced our ability as a society to understand them [and] now we need to catch up.” They note that the principles are not intended to be rules or laws, but rather complementary, unranked guidelines for achieving this goal.
At the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, North Carolina, drones are used for many purposes ranging from photography of marine animals, weather and mapping to other oceanographic research and observation needs. The same autopilot system that guides the drones guides an autonomous ground rover, boat and submersible.
Last week, serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban created a stir with his statement at the SXSW (South by Southwest) conference that the world’s first trillionaire will be someone who masters artificial intelligence (AI). In the past, Cuban has been an avowed proponent of the value of a liberal arts degree for its ability to teach critical thinking. However, at SXSW, he advocated the study of computer science, stating, “Whatever you are studying right now, if you are not getting up to speed on deep learning, neural networks, etc., you lose."
If I value a book section based on the number of pages I have highlighted, the winner would be Part IV of the Content Trap, which rightfully advances and supports the points made previously with both evidence and conclusions.
Dr. Bharat Anand writes about Mark McCormack, the legendary founder of International Management Group (IMG), who recognized that athletes could earn as much or more off the playing field, as on it. In signing Arnold Palmer as its first client, IMG grew to become the largest talent agency in golf and from there expanded to tennis, motor sports racing, track and field, baseball, football, fashion models, authors and musicians. The reason for IMG’s success was its ability to manage connections across products.
Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration is known for its case study methodology. In the Content Trap, Dr. Bharat Anand describes several corporate users, their industries, and the ways in which these companies improved their connections to enhance their growth and success.
We have witnessed declining newspaper readership over the past few decades, and many believe that the culprit is digital alternatives. Dr. Anand notes that this decline has been underway for more than 60 years, caused by multiple technologies from radio and TV networks to cable TV and 24/7 news channels. The impact of the Internet is no greater on readership than the technologies that preceded it. The other two sources of newspaper revenues are classified and retail ads. Classified ad revenues declined precipitously during the past decade (2000-2010) and the reason is that sellers and buyers favor products with more connections.
Bharat Anand, Henry R. Byers professor of business administration at Harvard Business School and author of The Content Trap, states in his afterword, “I knew that many things around us would change by the time I had finished it [and they did].” He recognizes, in an era of massive digital content generation, that content has not changed as much as the art of managing it, thanks to technology and the way in which connections are created. He sets the stage by explaining how content is valued and consumed by billions of people daily. As a result, businesses try to produce the best and most relevant content. The proliferation of content -- five exabytes (five billion billion bytes) are generated every two days -- creates “the problem of getting noticed.” The extremely low cost of digital content distribution, in turn, creates “the problem of getting paid.” The combination of the two problems is deadly.
The fourth conference organized by the Policy and Internet Journal (PIJ, founded in 2009) and the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) was held at the Mathematics Institute at Oxford University in late September. I was pleased to attend and represent American Public University System. The following recaps some of the presentations.
“We move from one online platform to another as part of our daily lives,” said Professor Helen Margetts, OII chair.
Wally Boston glances back to when he acquired his first camera and later down the line, his first digital camera. As technology in this area evolves and becomes more sophisticated, so do consumers' needs for devices that can keep pace. Boston says that while he can only speculate on the power of government-operated facial recognition software, the power distributed to the person on the street through their phones and online software platforms is notable.