Category Archives: Innovation

The Proof They Missed

Fascinating article in Wired about an important mathematical proof that took a surprisingly long time to be noticed.

https://www.wired.com/2017/04/elusive-math-proof-found-almost-lost/

One of those moments that tells us a lot about how hard ideas have to fight to be heard even if they are right.

If you’re interested in how to get ideas across, you might like my book.

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Today’s Quote: Bowie on going deeper

If you feel safe in the area you’re working in, you’re not working in the right area. Always go a little further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little bit out of your depth. And when you don’t feel that your feet are quite touching the bottom, you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.

David Bowie

If you like being challenged, you might like my book.

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Today’s Quote: 17 March 2017

“This second, we can sit down and do our work.”

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March 17, 2017 · 7:34 am

Trump’s FDA Pick Could Be Inspired

Trump’s willingness to surprise continues with the people he is considering to head America’s medical watchdog, the FDA.

Yesterday Trump met with two contenders. One was Balaji Srinivasan, a brilliant and thoughtful man with deep ties to Silicon Valley and Peter Thiel, a key Trump backer.

Thiel’s justified frustration with the FDA is longstanding. When I interviewed him six years ago, he told me that if the tech industry was regulated that way, it wouldn’t exist.

As he said to me, “Imagine if Twitter had to go through the FDA drug approval — how efficacious, how does it affect the brain, phase II, phase III trials.”

And Srinivasan is of a similar mind, publishing a tweetstorm in March last year criticising the FDA’s chilling effect on innovation.

One example:

“New tech allows far better regulation than the FDA.”

Which means that Srinivasan even being considered for the role is a sign that priorities at the FDA are set to change. Fantastic. Because freeing things up will save thousands of lives.

Srinivasan is an experienced, successful biotech entrepreneur and venture capitalist. But more than that, he is incredibly thoughtful and original in general. His tweetstorm on “the cloud versus the land”
is one of my favourite reads on the year so far.

Trump’s first 100 days just got even more interesting.

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City A.M. is continuing to innovate to bring you business news with personality

Who would have thought newspapers worth reading could be free? Yet today they are firmly established as a prominent feature in London’s media landscape. In less than ten years, City A.M. itself has become an essential part of the morning commute for London’s discerning professionals, with more than 100,000 copies ready for you every weekday. Continue reading

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Listen to Peter Thiel: Politicians must embrace the fact there’s no money left

MORE must cost less. In his new book Zero to One, entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel observes that the dream of globalisation – expanding the affluent consumption habits of the western middle class to more and more of the world – demands we also commit to radical technological innovation in order to reduce that lifestyle’s environmental cost. Continue reading

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Amazon’s Twitch purchase heralds a new age of creative consumption

It’s enough to make an accountant develop a nervous one. This week Amazon snapped up Twitch, a video platform and community for computer gamers, paying the princely sum of $970m (£585m) in cash. That’s a lot of money for something many people have never heard of – more than three times the amount Amazon spent to pick up DVD and streaming video service Lovefilm in 2011.

But Twitch is something very different. Instead of a provider of films created by large studios for a mass audience, it is a niche platform where the customers create their own content. It has 900,000 unique broadcasters and accounts for 1.8 per cent of peak internet traffic in the US, ahead of Facebook (1.5 per cent) and Amazon (1.2 per cent). Its success demonstrates seismic changes in consumer behaviour and the previously unimaginable opportunities they offer attentive firms. Continue reading

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Who’s back: The Doctor is the unexpected freedom fighter our civilisation still needs

Look who’s back. Tomorrow night Peter Capaldi, formerly swear-master Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It, takes his place at the Tardis console.

What makes Doctor Who so enduring? It’s thirty years since it made me cower behind my childhood sofa, but after its bold regeneration in 2005, this bizarre TV series seems like its irrepressible hero, as full of life as ever. Continue reading

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Iran’s female Fields medalist is a reminder of prosperity’s liberating power

Amid all the horror and hard choices dominating the global news this summer, it’s important not to miss the brighter trends as well. So it is worth taking a moment to salute Maryam Mirzakhani, who became the first woman to win a Fields Medal, the Nobel of maths, this week. Continue reading

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How one man battled the bureaucrats to save a billion lives

THE 1960s was a decade of explosive change, but the most important revolution wasn’t sexual: it was green. While Western intellectuals looked the other way, lost to well-meaning doom-mongering, one visionary saved a billion lives. Private foundations supported his work; rich governments’ aid programmes often thought it was wrongheaded. But Norman Borlaug (it’s pronounced Bor-log), born 100 years ago this week, triumphed anyway. Continue reading

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