Digital News Weekly Roundup: March 8th

News, updates, new takes on trending subjects and things get a little meta! Here are 5 happenings and some think pieces that you should dig into right now. 

Spotify Files to Go Public

Big moment in the music tech world as darling Spotify prepares to be listed on the NYSC. After years of haters questioning its business model, Spotify has incrusted itself across the world and counts over 71 million paying subscribers. Now it plans to see what the market really has to say.

Spotify is not going to ring any bells with an IPO, it’s going to take an alterantive route called a “direct listing.” This is probably because of the tightrope it has to walk between delivering an amazing customer experience (all the music all the time everywhere? Fuck yeah!) and not earning too much money – that’s right, not earning too much money. The minute that Spotify is seen as profiting too aggressively off the backs of starving artists, well, the labels are going to demand even more money.

Spotify is hands down the best thing that has come from connectivity for me. I still remember the day when my friend Tim showed me the beta 7 years ago at his apartment in Hoboken. It was a sunny day. The sun has been shining in my ears ever since. Way to go Spotify!

Big Data is Great, but Don’t Forget About Small Data

The rising importance of big data – both in terms of data collection and our ability to process ever-larger data sets – is impossible to ignore. Big data promises to provide never-before-seen insights and find breakthroughs anywhere that it can be applied. A lot of it is hype but a lot of it is true.

Big data can segment populations and compare seemingly independent information to find causal relationships that can be exploited by businesses. But Liz Luckett argues that there is a missing link. She calls it small data.

Small data are intangibles in the sense that they don’t fit into the cases of big data. As an example she cites credit scores that are a culmination of data that works well when people have a normal job with payment histories. What about people who have varied work and are often payed in cash irregularly? This is small data, and it has an outsized effect on low-income populations who are less integrated into the systems that make up big data. It’s hard to collect, highly individual, but a crucial piece of the social pie.

The question about small data get even more pertinent when the scope includes developing nations where data collection has been more or less non-existant throughout recent history. The Social Entrepreneur’s Fund where she works is focused on bridging this gap and invests in companies that focus on small data. A fascinating take on the problematic reality of the promise of big data.

Instagam to Add Calling? Well, It’s Already Built in to the App

Would you call someone on Instagram? You might soon get the chance. Developers have unearthed some code in the Instagram app that has a video and audio calling option that is hidden in the app.

Isn’t your phone for calling already? That might be so, but in the constant battle for user minutes, Instagram wants to steal some time away from Facetime, Whatsapp, or Viber. Considering the success of Instagram stories and the roll out of Instagram Live, it isn’t much of a leap to imagine being able to connect with one or many people in a live video chat. You could play with the filters, send fun GIF messages, and draw on the screen all while talking to your friends.

My last prediction that Instagram stories would degrade the Instagram experience was off the mark, so I’m going to withhold judgement here until we see if it gets launched.

Where Do You End and Your Smartphone Begin?

Going to get a little metaphysical here but it’s a timely discussion to have. Considering how important our smartphones have become, and how deeply they are integrated into our lives, can a smartphone still be considered a mere object, or are they an extension of ourselves?

Hear me out. Our smartphones contain records of our activities, where we have been, what we have done and who we have interacted with. What’s another word for that? Oh yeah, memories. Our phones are certainly an extension of our cerebral capacities. Some philosophers argue that smartphones – and more particularly the way they help us with information – are a part of our conscience.

This brings a whole new set of ethical questions to the unlock the phone debate that pits tech companies against the government. A mindblowing read no matter which side of the debate you’re on.

Are You a Millenial?

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the word millenial during marketing meetings, I wouldn’t have to go to marketing meetings anymore. It’s the coveted demographic, the target that every brand wants to get in bed with. Win the millenials and you have won life.

Babyboomers, on the other hand, love to complain about millenials, how they have no work ethic, are morally loose, narcissistic, all of the arguments that every generation makes about the next generation since the ancient Greeks (and probably before).

Millenials don’t necessarily want to be classified as millenials, and that can be tricky since everyone seems to have a different definition of what a millenial is. The newer definition is that you are a millenial if you are between 21 or 37 years old in 2018. That should answer your question.

 

 

 

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