Transatlantic Spread, Dusklit and Fintech Periodic Tables

Back in action after a few weeks of work, travel and lots of art exhibitions. The opportunities NY provides to explore avant-garde art installations and concepts were just too tempting to pass up on. As a result, this week’s edition has a heavy bias to these events. That being said – have included the usual sections on interest rate, data visualization and the world’s next oligopoly.

The Transatlantic Spread – the ever widening gulf and divergent monetary policy between the Fed and ECB is at it’s highest. The Fed has signaled interests to increase the rate from current range of 1.75% to 2.0% in September while ECB has indicated holding interest rates at the current 0.4% through summer of 2019. The CME group published a great article on the difference in central bank approaches and the reasons.

Land of the walking dead – drastic situations (financial crisis) require drastic measures (quantitative easing ). The last year’s uptick in the market and overall strong economic growth is evidence of the short term success. That being sad, the impact of years of QE and eventual reversal is yet to be determined. A good example of issues that don’t always surface – thanks to the cheap,easy money available, the percentage of zombie companies   is as high as one of five companies in the US. Are we sitting on a massive debt crisis?

Periodic Table of Disruptive Technology – found this fascinating representation of technology using the age old periodic table. The further we travel along the x-axis, the farther off into the future the technology is predicted to emerge. The y-axis is indicative of the societal impact of technology.  The color coding are also interesting!

Periodic_Table

Technology Oligopoly (Sneaky Centralization) – I read an excellent data backed research piece from Michael Tauberg which talks about the Power Law in the media industry (also known as the Pareto distribution of power) – where 20% of the participants hold 80% of the power. This piece covers films, books, and music and shows the same pattern across the media industries.Micheal mentioned how in the media line success creates success – the exponential power of informal networks is immense.

It got me thinking – how technology would line up on this Power Law. How much of the total software space is controlled today by the Big Five? And is it on the rise (yes, rhetorical question).

What was stunning was the yawning delta in productivity between the top firms and the other firms. And this stems from the lack of free market technology diffusion which used to ensure the entire industry could improve. I loved  Christopher Mims comment on what if Excel was a piece owned  as part of the internal infrastructure of a firm which never was shared with the industry.  Sobering thought!

productivity.png

Source: Wall Street Journal

Blast from the Past – Spent the weekend in Buffalo visiting my cousin, who just joined the University of Buffalo. A ride on the canal with tens of abandoned grain elevator factories was a grim  reminder of the need to keep up with the times. For the longest time, Buffalo was a critical piece in the transportation of grain. While most of these factories now lying idle, many of them have been re-purposed from ethanol plants to adventure sports factories a la Fear Factor.

It did get me thinking which of our current great cities would one day lose it’s relevance? I’m also intrigued by the belief some folks have in real estate – there is only one way it will trend and it’s up.  Nothing is constant!

Buffalo factory

Champion Challenger Model – I have been working on a software product design concept in the recent few weeks. My specific focus area has been to create a feasible solution to make the champion challenger model work.  It has been my belief that not enough work has gone into the champion challenger model to make it work within business models.

While there are overheads (especially sourcing challenger data), the rewards and the opportunity to constantly validate sandboxes in a real business context is a powerful one. Would love to hear from anyone of their thoughts and practical challenges on integrating the concept into the organizational DNA.

Dusklit and Narcissus Garden

Recently spent time at the Dusklit festival – an unique interactive art event which features the setting sun as the canvas for many of the installations. Fascinating was the installation showing the internet as the spider’s web. Photo album…

I was also fortunate enough to  be able to view Yayoi Kusuma’s Narcissus Garden at the Rockaways. The shiny balls of course are reflection of the narcissism which exists within all of us. A really great work of art.

narcissus

A moving poem …

Read this at the museum at Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park.

soldier.jpg

Restaurant Recommendation

I’m stunned by how few people are aware of the restaurant week that runs in many cities in August including both NYC and DC. It provides a great opportunity to visit some really great restaurants and sample their delicious offerings.

And as always – Altius, Citius, Fortius!

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