Making Things, Reporting, and Valuations

Michael Schrage on Culture
Making Sense:

Online, in social networks, making sense of news has become more complex — increasingly it is about providing context along with fact-checking. Complexity underpins all of our systems, including currencies.

  • puts its social-first journalism model to work covering the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Nieman Lab: Over the next 18 hours, Carvin and his small team divvied up the coverage, with an eye towards providing context but also playing to the strengths of certain channels. As Carvin told me, one of the biggest goals of is fitting coverage to the right platform — finding what kinds of storytelling works best on Twitter versus Reddit, for example.
    But the work of is more than simple aggregation and amplification. A large part of their work is trying to verify and factcheck reports already circulating.
  • Article: Swiss Currency Has Shot Up 15% So Far Today. Here’s Why That Matters. MoneyOkay, so it’s been a big day for currency traders—and anyone planning on a ski trip to the Alps. But what’s this mean for me? The wildness in the market underscores the big economic story of the moment: Europe’s slide toward a recession. In a globally connected economy, weak demand in Europe could weigh on the recovery in the U.S.

Making Do:

Seriously, what happens when all listings for a service have the same number of stars? What happens when you have no access to the person you want to talk to about their work? What happens when your revenue strategy needs rethinking?

  • Review Inflation: What Happens When Everyone Has 5 Stars? Greg SterlingBusinesses are starting to become much more sophisticated about online reviews as well. They understand the importance of these consumer trends and are increasingly asking customers provide feedback and review them on Yelp, TripAdvisor and other key local sites.

  • Frank Sinatra Has a Cold – Gay Talese – Best Profile of Sinatra. EsquireIn the winter of 1965, writer Gay Talese arrived in Los Angeles with an assignment from Esquire to profile Frank Sinatra. The legendary singer was approaching fifty, under the weather, out of sorts, and unwilling to be interviewed. […] Talese remained in L.A., hoping Sinatra might recover and reconsider, and he began talking to many of the people around Sinatra — his friends, his associates, his family, his countless hangers-on — and observing the man himself wherever he could.[…] The piece conjures a deeply rich portrait of one of the era's most guarded figures and tells a larger story about entertainment, celebrity, and America itself.
  • On the way to $220M in funding, Instacart quietly changed its business model. GigaOmin the last year, the company shifted its revenue strategy. It is allowing some grocery store partners to price their own goods on Instacart. In return, the grocers pay Instacart a fee to service their locations.  It explains why for some grocers the products cost the same on Instacart as they do in store, but for others the price is more (or, confusingly, less).

Making It:

Making things is having a come back — from learning how to experiment with code, all the way to making actual products and all kinds of stuff in between. This is much more than the DYI movement, it is the Maker Movement gaining momentum.

  • O listicle! My listicle! Dave Winer: You want to learn how to code? It doesn't get much simpler than this, at least for real-world examples. Please, use my code to learn from. That's one of the reasons I put it out there. To help budding developers, of all ages, genders, races, or country of origin.
  • General Motors may 'kick the tires' on Google's self-driving car. C|Net: In a statement to The Wall Street Journal last month, Chris Urmson, the head of Google's autonomous vehicle project, said that the prototype relies on 64 lasers that scan across 360 degrees, a camera and GPS map data to generate a map of its surroundings and drive safely. Google uses software and algorithms to make the car react to predictable and unpredictable scenarios. That GM is at least considering working with Google on a self-driving car is good news for the search giant.

[quote by Michael Schrage; h/t Bud Caddell]