Effective today, our team moved to a different office. The distance from the old one is less than four kilometers, but the difference is huge – unfortunately for the worse. The first and foremost reason being that this place, Karaportti, is in the middle of nowhere with poor transportation options. Anyhow, when moving it’s always good to clear up some of that “to-read” pile which inevitably grows bigger and bigger each passing month.
So in that spirit, here’s a collection of the most interesting stuff that I encountered from within the accumulated stacks of paper:
Mobile payment is coming – again?
People have been talking about the imminent rise of mobile payments for many, many years already. I should know, I was involved in the business some 10 years ago. It never materialized to the extent some expected, but that’s not to say it never will. Recently some new signs of mobile payments and paying with the phone have again emerged after a hangover of a few years:
- Mobile Payments: Mobile Operator Market Opportunities and Business Models by Diamond Management & Technology Consultants
- Payment habits and trends in the changing e-landscape 2010+ by Bank of Finland
Meanwhile elsewhere in the telecom world..
A lot of other stuff is going on in the mobile space also. One of the bigger clouds on the horizon for operators are the declining voice ARPUs and the worry whether new data services in particular (and/or mobile advertising) will save the day. My personal view? Some elementary math will show that even if the predictions of mobile advertising being a $14B market in four years or so will be true, it will hardly matter to the global ARPUs and certainly will not help them from falling. Data services are quite another thing, but judging from the quality of the services so far out there, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
- Caution – work ahead by Arthur D. Little (downloadable via their archives after registration)
- Tanla Mobile Marketing and Advertising Guide by Tanla Mobile (ditto)
What about the environment?
Peak Oil is no longer quite that unknown an idea as it was just a couple of years ago – but obviously a lot of awareness work is still ahead of us. Portland, Oregon, had already more than a year ago put some thoughts and action plans in place. The following excerpt is a simple truth, but in how many cities is this being taken into account when planning the city structure?
Of all the impacts from rising oil prices, the clearest are those on transportation, which will experience profound pressure to shift toward more efficient modes of travel. For personal travel, this means transit, carpooling, walking, bicycling and highly efficient vehicles. Transportation of freight will become more costly and either decline or shift modes from air and truck to rail and boat. Population may shift to city centers, and density and mixed-use buildings will increase.
On another timely note, Finns are generally guide good at recycling stuff like paper and bottles (not least because of the deposits charged for the bottles). But how much good does it actually do to recycle? The Economist had an interesting article about recycling, the associated technologies and the economic numbers worth checking out.
Finally, there’s a v3.0 out of Lester Brown’s awesome book “Plan B”, the earlier version of which I reviewed earlier. Get the new “Plan B 3.0” book online and save some paper in the process.
- The truth about recycling from the Economist
- Descending the Oil Peak: Navigating the Transition from Oil and Natural Gas by the City of Portland Peak Oil Task Force
- Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization by Lester R. Brown.
It’s all in your head
Turning a bit more inwards, there were a few fascinating articles focusing more on psychology that I ran into. The first, shortly, shows that:
People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it.
The second article looks at the interesting problems facing the management & motivation of the most talented individuals and how to spot early signs of problems in their work. The third focuses on business ethics and contains one of my favorite quotes of all time:
If you are not prepared to resign or be fired for what you believe in, then you are not a worker, let alone a professional. You are a slave.
- Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments by Justin Kruger & David Cunning / Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
- Crisis at the Summit by Parsons & Pascale / Harvard Business Review (needs access rights or can be bought)
- The Ethical Mind: A Conversation with Psychologist Howard Gardner / Harvard Business Review (needs access rights or can be bought)
Go cook some real food for a change!
If you think the “functional foods” that are all the craze these days are what you should be eating, check out the first article below. It hopefully makes you look at eating in a new light and avoid those TV dinners..
But cooking from “scratch” is complicated and takes a lot of time, you may say. Wrong. Check out the second article below, which lists some simple and delicious and healthy foods perfect for the upcoming summer (or winter, depending on your location).
- Unhappy Meals by Michael Pollan / New York Times
- Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less by Mark Bittman / New York Times