Bureaucracy and Trust

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Yesterday, I spent the day at a meeting on “city innovation” at Harvard’s Kennedy School, with 30 or so CIOs, CTOs, and other technology executives from around the country. I did a short presentation on predictive analytics and cities (slides here) — thanks so much to everyone who sent in comments and who emailed me… Read more »

Predictive Analytics and Cities

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It’s been a big year for predictive analytics.   I’ve been following Nate Silver’s blog on the election, and his deep data analysis cut through the noise, was consistent, and ultimately proved correct.   And to look at another (eerily prescient) example, look at this 2006 prediction of what a major coastal storm could do… Read more »

Striking the Right Balance

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It’s hard to find the right balance when bringing technology into our lives.  I do think lots of us suffer from some form of internet / social media addiction, and it’s getting easier and easier every day to bring all of that with us everywhere we go. This will only continue to accelerate (and I… Read more »

Analog + Digital, Revisited

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I’m still frustrated with how book buying works. Totally randomly, we ended up watching the Tom Wolfe documentary on TV Friday night.  It was really great — incredible to get a behind-the-scenes look at how he operates.  He is clearly a master of the interview and a master researcher.  He has an incredible way of… Read more »

The Taxi Business & Working for Sellers & Buyers

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I am writing this from 30,000 feet on my way to San Francisco. I have a great car service which I use every week when I travel.  This morning, I ended up having a long conversation with Reda, one of my regular drivers, about Uber and how it’s shaking up the taxi and car service business…. Read more »

Getting Closer

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Last night, Andy Murray won the US Open — his first grand slam victory — in an epic 5-set match (tied for the longest ever).  I was on a train and missed the whole thing, unfortunately.  But the story is great — Murray won the first two sets, then dropped the second two, only to… Read more »

Tennis, Psychadelics, and Entrepreneurship

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I’ve always thought of tennis as perhaps the most difficult of sports.  It’s like hitting a baseball, but while you’re running, and with 90% of the addressable target area out of bounds (in the net, outside the lines, etc).  To top that off, you’re a team of one, battling yourself, inside your head.  So it’s… Read more »

Instant Magic

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Yesterday afternoon, I caught up for a coffee with Andrew Parker.  After a wide-ranging and enjoyable discussion about app ecosystems and tech policy, we talked a bit about speed.  This post (which I’ll keep short, in its own spirit) is about why speed is so important, awesome, and magical. I wrote recently about reinventing the… Read more »

Reinventing the Home Row

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I have been intrigued recently by apps that give a new spin on what have previously been stock features of the phone.  Apps that a) improve upon in minor ways or b) really try and re-invent some of the basic things we do every day. Above is a snapshot of my new “home row”.  Sort… Read more »

Stuck on the Bus, or, Civic Engagement in a Networked World

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Amazing things happen when people are stuck on a bus together. More on that in a bit. I spent yesterday afternoon with Chiefs of Staff and Chief Information Officers from about 10 US cities, at an event convened by the Harvard Kennedy School and Living Cities (a collaborative of large funders who focus on issues affecting low-income… Read more »

When Paper is Better

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Last week, I spent some time shopping for a new health insurance plan for our family. Two takeaways: 1) The new Massachusetts Health Connector is really great — the health connector is a state-run exchange that helps you find, choose, and purchase a health plan, either a state-run plan or a private plan.  My experience… Read more »

The Kickstarter Protocol

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It’s no secret that Kickstarter is radically changing the way people think about launching new products.  They are on a such tear helping projects get funded by the crowd (the latest being OUYA, an open gaming platform, which has raised $5mm so far, 5x its goal), that it’s no surprise that the model is spreading…. Read more »

digg: Sold for parts, in a good way

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I haven’t been following the story of the Digg acquisition too closely, and have no perspective on the economics of it, but it does seem kind of awesome in a way.  In that, the acquirers of the various parts of digg seem to have each gotten something uniquely valuable (to them) and likely have the… Read more »

Learning new things

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I have two kids — a three year old, Theo, and Brieza, who is one.  It’s been amazing watching both of them grow. What’s funny about little kids growing is how it seems to happen in spurts.  Everything will be going along, normal day to day, and then all of a sudden you stop and… Read more »

Investing vs. getting in debt

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I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to invest lately.  I’m not just talking about investing money, in savings or stocks or whatever; I mean investing in a broader sense, in yourself and in everything you do. I am without question an urgency addict — as a general rule, I procrastinate, let things build… Read more »

Hacking Patents

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Last week at the Media Lab, we had the pleasure of hosting USPTO Director Dave Kappos and several members of the PTO’s senior staff, to brainstorm ways that we might use technology in creative ways to help the patent office work better, and to help the patent system work better in general.  The meeting was… Read more »