Quotes of the Week 030

Michael Ronen (Managing partner, Softbank investment): on innovation:

"What's happening in China … cannot be described in words"

Marc Allera (EE) on the lack of 5G business case:

"the reality will be that we will have to assume that consumers and businesses will be prepared to pay a little bit more for faster, higher quality access to the internet"

Tom Nolle (CIMI corp):

"I think that the deciding truth with 5G is that a lot will happen with it, if we can just get it started, but most of the happening is out four or five years into the future"

Park Jin-hyo (SKT CTO) on vRAN:

"…the technology, it is good, but in terms of operations there are some challenges, e.g. if we use open hardware and software, who can guarantee the combination, as well as safety and configuration"

Nick Hunn on the NB-IoT chip market:

"…there is a decent expectation that silicon will be hitting $3 – $4 by 2020, with modules between $6 and $10"

Jason Matheny (IARPA) on example ethical questions when building AI:

"'If we succeed in building this, would we regret it?' and, 'Under what conditions would we regret it?'"

Greg Peters (Product Chief, Netflix):

"117m account members watched on 450m devices & with 300m user profiles. Essentially we create 300m different versions of Netflix... No two of those experiences are exactly the same"

Zahid Ghadialy on MWC:

"I have to be honest, haven't seen a WOW demo yet at #MWC18. While there are lots of interesting stuff, it's all the same, old and tired stuff"

Seth Godin on technology and unintended consequences:

"Technology destroys the perfect and then it enables the impossible"

Tim O'Reilly on applying AI:

"Don't replace people: augment them"

Tim Wu:

"An unwelcome consequence of living in a world where everything is "easy" is that the only skill that matters is the ability to multitask. At the extreme, we don't actually do anything; we only arrange what will be done, which is a flimsy basis for a life"

Singapore Minister discussing crypto currencies:

"Blockchain is a solution looking for a problem"

Jutta Steiner (Parity.io) on blockchains & meeting GDPR:

"The way [public decentralized network] architecture works, means there is no such thing as the deletion of personal data. The issue with information is once it's out, it's out"

Paul Ford on BitCoin & blockchains:

"Most things that the blockchain promises to do can be done more easily with other technologies, including good ol' fiat currency. But I know a mind virus when I see it"

Brad Templeton on autonomous cars:

"Every human accident teaches us something about the way people have accidents.  Every robocar accident teaches us about a way robocars will never have an accident again"

Quotes of the Week 029

Ulrika Jägare (Ericsson) on their AI products impacting jobs:

"I see a significant impact in terms of reduced size [of telco organizations] and reskilling"

Chris Schmidt (Verizon) on 5G:

"(we) will be first with both fixed and mobile 5G in the US, starting with fixed 5G in the second half of this year and then moving to mobile 'as soon as possible'"

Mike Wright (Telstra) on 5G & CORD:

"(we) plan to close 2,500 local exchanges and repurpose remaining facilities as distributed, local data centers and build new data centers, to support 5G rollout"

Bruno Jacobfeuerborn (Deutsche Telekom) on 5G ORAN:

"RAN costs must fall by around 50% to make widespread 5G rollout economically viable. RAN technology currently accountS for about 70% of overall 5G spending"

Börje Ekholm (Ericsson's CEO ) on Cisco's vRAN announcment:

"The Open vRAN initiative is something we will need to look into… the partnership with Cisco has not delivered as originally hoped during the past couple of years"

Ajit Pai (Chairman, FCC) on 5G:

"We will need smart networks, not dumb pipes. Dumb pipes won't deliver smart cities. Dumb pipes won't enable millions of connected, self-driving cars to navigate the roads safely at the same time"

McKinsey on 5G network sharing analysis (European example):

"To proceed alone, network investments would have increase by up to 60% with a significant increase in operating expenses, doubling total costs from 2020 - 2025"

GSMA's 'Mobile Economy' report:

"Two-thirds of the world's mobile connections will be running on 4G and 5G networks by 2025"

Syed Rafiul Hussain on his joint paper showing vulnerabilities in LTE:

"Our paper discusses in detail how anyone can perform the attacks in practice"

Andre Fuetsch (CTO AT&T Labs) on their IoT strategy:

"We have the leading fiber position. Because at the end of the day, it's all about how fast you can get the bits off the air and onto the fiber"

Telenor ASA explaining their annual results:

"automation and digitization will deprive 6,000 employees of their jobs by the end of 2020"

Ben Thompson (Stratechery) on Dropbox's IPO:

"The question of which company controls the future of enterprise computing remains an open one. Is it Amazon via infrastructure, Microsoft via infrastructure and identity and email, Slack via chat? Google via all-of-the-above?"

Peter Gutman on CA emailing 23,000 private keys to it's CA vendor:

"I think 20 January 2017 was the last time I saw so much fail packed together in one place"

@kpkelleher on ICO projects:

"531 ICOs that appeared in 2017 have already vanished. Together, they raised $233mln"

Helal Saeed Almarri (DG Dubai Tourism) on launch of hotel blockchain:

"…aims to increase tourist numbers by offering more of Dubai's inventory in real-time, at the right price while allowing smaller players to have equal opportunity in attracting customers"

Professor Eiríkur Rögnvaldsson on Icelandic language versus the Internet:

"It's called 'digital minoritisation', when a majority language in the real world becomes a minority language in the digital world"

@swardley on Amazon's success:

"The ONLY reason that Amazon is as big as it is today and continuing to grow rather than being constrained is because competitor executives have utterly failed to adapt. This is not a market failure, it's a failure of executives"

@ginablaber on system design:

"Best thing to do as an architect: ask awkward problems.  Like: what problem are you really trying to solve?"

STARS Singapore 2018: follow-up links

On behalf of my employer, I was a honoured to be a guest speaker at this year's STARS symposium, Singapore held (28th Feb -4th Mar).  STARS are a "a neutral, independent, not-for-profit organization registered in Switzerland" with the vision to "develop better leaders of the next generation and wants to be the premier platform for these future leaders".

The overall theme was "Global Risks - Impact and Opportunities” and I was presenting on Innovation. The subsequent panel was fast moving and explored the opportunities and risks of AI, including:

  • risks to the workforce and job security
  • comparisons between AI & human capabilities
  • AI's ability to generate original ideas
  • ethical issues
  • possible abuse such as lethal machines of war
  • predictions of achieving the singularity by 2040

Another area of common debate was around privacy, abuse of data and unintended consequences of a connected world.

I won't repeat all my arguments here but as back-up and further reading, here are links on these issues:

AI & Machine Learning:

Automation and Work




Quotes of the Week 028

Cisco on 5G:

"5G should provide the opportunity to drive adoption of "neutral host" and shared infrastructure business models – perhaps involving innovative local industry/public sector/community collaboration models"

Stacey on IoT:

"We keep saying that data is the new oil, but oil is not a wholly harmless substance. We need to accept that data isn't, either"

Tien Tzuo (CEO Zuora via VentureBeat) on Amazon vs. Walmart:

"Selling products to strangers doesn't cut it anymore. To succeed in retail today you need to start with the customer, not the product"

New Yorker Magazine on the Internet of Athletes:

"Snowboarders in the Olympics attach transponders around their legs so the judges can know how high each contestant rises in the air. Bigger air, bigger scores"

Jeff Bezos (Amazon):

"Your margin is my opportunity"

Alex Blowers (Cityfibre) on OfCom's regulatory priorities:

"(OfCom) will not contemplate any course of action that drives short-term price increases for consumers, even if the long-term benefit would be a healthy competitive marketplace with much lower prices"

The Drum (marketing publication):

"nine out of 10 B2B and consumer audiences surveyed agree that brand experiences that deliver stronger personal interactions are more compelling"

Upton Sinclair (via Daring Fireball, on Facebook & fake news):

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it"


"I've worked in finance for several SaaS companies…  infrastructure is never the biggest cost, it's sales and marketing and most of that spend is a mystery in terms of attribution, so blended CAC is not terribly useful"

Michael Leszega (Magna Global) on fall in TV advertising:

"The peak of the TV ad market was two years ago.  TV doesn't have fraud or viewability problems, but the prices are just so high now"

Shan Wang on The Wall Street Journal's smart paywall:

"…refining a subscription prediction model that allows it to show different visitors, who have different likelihoods of subscribing, different levels of access to its site"

Technology Obsolescence (Update)

Updated list of technologies I have abandoned, by year:

1979 5.25" Floppy discs
1984 8" Floppy discs
1985 Compact cassettes (data)
1985 Vinyl records
1989 Compact cassettes (audio)
1996 SCSI Disk drives
1998 VHS tapes (year last bought)
1999 Books (from bricks'n'mortar bookstores)
2000 Magazines
2001 CDs (audio)
2002 3.5" Floppy discs
2002 Apple LocalTalk networking
2002 CRT displays
2003 802.11b only wireless
2003 Dial-up Internet
2003 10Mbps-only networking
2004 Photographic film
2005 OS updates by physical media
2005 Win95SE
2005 Paper books (bought online -> eBooks)
2006 AM Radio
2007 CD-Rs  (-> HDD & cloud)
2007 DVD player  (-> ripped to Apple TV)
2008 MacOS 9
2009 CRT TV
2009 Software in shrinkwrap
2009 VHS (last used, ripped to DVD)
2009 Candybar phones    (-> iPhone)
2011 Printing at home   (-> print shop or work)
2011 IDE disk drives  (-> SATA)
2013 HDDs in laptops
2015 10/100Mbps networking   (-> GE)
2015 Incandescent light bulbs

Remaining notably stubborn are FAX (last used 2016) and postage stamps (2017?)