This week start here:

Gerry McGovern declares war on martech and the hyper-efficient modern organization (8min) (and he’s so painfully right it hurts):

Technology, as it is being used by many organizations, is creating a barrier to entry. It’s not a barrier to entry for competitors, but rather for customers. It’s harder for employees to get out to the customer and it’s harder for customers to get into the organization.

That’s because relationships are seen as a cost. While potential customers are seen as an opportunity, current customers are seen as a cost to be managed down. Organizations are doing everything possible to reduce the points where employees and customers interact. The result, taken to its extreme, is a type of disconnected, sterile efficiency. The result, from a customers’ perspective, is disloyalty and the desire to switch.

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Nick Hunn is asking some really great questions about the smart home (8min), suggesting that while data protocols will get sorted out with time, other challenges are taking a back seat:

A bigger interoperability question is how to commission and maintain the devices.  That’s about how to add, remove and replace the smart stuff in your home.  It’s not trivial.  It’s the elephant in the smart room which the industry is trying hard to ignore.

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Elizabeth Newton in a wonderful piece for The New Inquiry on our changing relationships with audio fidelity (7min):

If you listen to Steely Dan as a 128-kbps MP3, do you really hear it?

Your author is inclined to argue that Steely Dan, in particular, improves with compression, and that their entire catalogue (especially ‘Black Cow’) should be compressed to 1-kbps and then deleted from all of your cloud-based and terrestrial devices.

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You should absolutely read James Archer’s post on graceful degradation vs. progressive enhancement (16min) before you start bandying-about an insistence on ‘mobile first’ at your next meeting.

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Margalit Fox wrote a lovely obit for Adrian Frutiger (5min) — designer of typefaces you’ve been incorrectly kerning for decades. File under ‘old-world European troubles':

As a youth he hoped to be a sculptor, but his father discouraged him from plying so insecure a trade. Apprenticed to a typesetter as a teenager, he found his life’s work.

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Bookmark away: Michael Dain’s pulled together an incredibly useful chart that answers the question ‘what prototyping tool should I use?’ (2min)

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Warren Ellis is incredibly right (3min) about this, even if he hasn’t quite found a label for it:

There’s a ceiling on what people can achieve on their own through the old “guerrilla marketing” paradigm, and it’s lowering.

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Just some aerial quadcopters assembling a rope bridge, that’s all (5min)

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The opportunity to help share (Whitney Houston’s) spectacular gifts with the world again is exactly what I hoped for when I built the hologram business (4min)

is the new

we’re making the world a better place through Paxos algorithms for consensus protocols (2min)

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If you missed Sara Wachter-Boettcher’s talk (45min) last month at the Design and Content conference, it’s absolutely spectacular. Take a few minutes with the video or transcript, but this is going to stick with you:

every single field we collect, everything we ask for, carries weight. Because forms demand us to define ourselves. They demand that they we reveal ourselves. And sometimes that’s okay…We can’t always change that. We can’t always predict when somebody is going to ask a question that’s going to have a reaction.

But whenever we ask about identity, whenever we ask about history, we take on risk. And the best thing that we can do to accept that risk is to ask why. We need to ensure that what we’re doing is for a good reason, that we’re not collecting data just because we want to or just because we can, or just because, “don’t forms always ask for that?”

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The money pouring into technologies that can read our emotions (6min) is too-often predicated on the idea that our emotions are logically connected to our intent.

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The inevitable writing desk + word processor, imbued with empathy (7min).

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Mike Bracken, on his way out the door (6min) at the GDS:

As we take digital transformation wider and deeper, we need leaders who can explain why digital really matters.

Until next week.