The Great Debate UK
from The Great Debate:
To much fanfare, Apple announced Tuesday that Angela Ahrendts is resigning as chief executive officer of Burberry and joining the inner circle in Cupertino, California. “Apple-polishing” has become the headline du jour. Picturing the soignée Ahrendts surrounded by geeks in jeans and hoodies, we might be forgiven for wondering why Apple feels in need of a fashionista buff-up. After all, there is hardly a product line more shiny-bright than Apple’s -- or one with less affinity to the cold exclusivity of the world’s great fashion houses.
But the extraordinary affection that iPhones inspire is different from the anxious ostentation surrounding high fashion.
However sublime couture may be, it is neither lovable nor practical. Nor does using it feel like participating in a major human advance. There is something wondrous about Apple products in the ease and pleasure they afford their users, connecting us in unprecedented ways to other people, to our surroundings and to the world of ideas.
In contrast to beautiful, yet exclusive and often unaffordable fashion products, “Apple was the first company that took high design and made it mainstream,” Phil Libin, Evernote’s chief executive officer, explained. “It taught the world taste.”
–Juha Ylä-Jääski (D.Tech.) is President and CEO of Technology Academy Finland. The opinions expressed are his own.–
The 2013 Nobel season is once again gorging on a Grand Cru vintage of scientific achievement. Today, the Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to three scientists, Levitt, Karplus and Warshel, whose multinational collaboration laid the foundation for the computer models crucial for most advances in chemistry today. Yesterday, Peter Higgs and Francois Englert won the Nobel Prize for physics for conceiving the so-called “God particle” which explains why the Universe has mass. Another trio were recognised on Monday when the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was awarded to Rothman, Schekman and Südhof for solving the mystery of how the cell transports crucial cargo.
By Dr Juha Ylä-Jääski, President and CEO, Technology Academy Finland
– The opinions expressed are the author’s own –
Don’t let them be the lost generation.
The young have borne the brunt of the current economic malaise afflicting Europe and much of the developed world, with chronic levels of unemployment and gloomy prospects. At the same time, many are equipped or have the potential to be equipped with the digital skills that can transform our economies through innovation, qualities that their elders often struggle with.
We are failing to grasp this opportunity, however, with demand for tech skills outpacing the ability of educators to provide for it, opening a digital divide that is holding back our economies and our young people.
–Amanda Jobbins is Group Chief Marketing Officer of The Sage Group. The opinions expressed are her own.–
Start-ups are hot on the business news agenda. Their importance to the UK, and the economic recovery, has been emphasised by the vocal support David Cameron’s government has repeatedly voiced for start-up initiatives. The decision to employ Facebook’s former Vice President Joanna Shields as CEO of Tech City is a clear demonstration of the government’s investment, while the Conservative Party launched its own ‘Start Up Hub’ competition in Manchester earlier this year, which provides entrepreneurs with an opportunity to showcase their ideas.
–Dirk Jan van den Berg is President of Delft University of Technology, and was formerly the Dutch Ambassador to China and the Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. The opinions expressed are his own.–
Despite much media attention on disagreements, ranging from Taiwan to alleged cyber-attacks, as Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama prepare for their first major summit meeting in California, there is a relatively new and growing basis for warmer ties: scientific and technological collaboration.
–Ian Winham is Chief Information Officer of Ricoh Europe. The opinions expressed are his own.–
Cloud computing is widely regarded by policymakers and business leaders to be one of the biggest keys for unlocking business growth in Europe today. So much so that the European Commission is currently formulating a cloud strategy to promote cloud use across the private and public sectors across all of Europe.
The words ‘tech bubble’ have been bandied about since the Apple share price really started to climb at the end of 2011. Earlier this month, its market capitalisation hit $600 billion dollars, only the second company to see its market cap get that high. So it appears like everyone wants a bite out of the proverbial apple.
There is a dangerous precedent for markets’ believing that tech stocks can only go in one direction. The dotcom bubble back in 2000 caused havoc in the equity markets and also contributed to the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates incredibly low, one of the contributing factors to the housing crisis in 2007.
from Paul Smalera:
Lately Internet users in the U.S. have been worried about censorship, copyright legalities and data privacy. Between Twitter’s new censorship policy, the global protests over SOPA/PIPA and ACTA and the outrage over Apple’s iOS allowing apps like Path to access the address book without prior approval, these fears have certainly seemed warranted. But we should also remember that Internet users around the world face far more insidious limitations and intrusions on their Internet usage -- practices, in fact, that would horrify the average American.
Sadly, most of the rest of the world has come to accept censorship as a necessary evil. Although I recently argued that Twitter’s censorship policy at least had the benefit of transparency, it’s still an unfortunate cost of doing global business for a company born and bred with the freedoms of the United States, and founded by tech pioneers whose opportunities and creativity stem directly from our Constitution. Yet by the standards of dictatorial regimes, Internet users in countries like China, Syria and Iran should consider themselves lucky if Twitter’s relatively modest censorship program actually keeps those countries’ governments from shutting down the service. As we are seeing around the world, chances are, unfortunately, it won’t.
–Joe White is COO of Moonfruit.com. The opinions expressed are his own.–
All this week Seedcamp, a UK-based internet startup accelerator, has been running its headline annual event Seedcamp Week in London.
As an accelerator, Seedcamp has mimicked a successful process established in the U.S. by Y Combinator, Techstars and others of taking early stage internet entrepreneurs and running them through an intense programme of mentoring and business development. Mentors are laid on from different disciplines and work with the entrepreneurs each day. They cover founders, product experts, venture capitalists, marketing specialists and more. The best ideas at the end of the programme get funding to get started. Seedcamp Week brings the best of the best from the Seedcamps throughout the year and around the world for a final London mentor and pitch feast.
– Jeff Smith is Senior Director Infrastructure Services, Global Crossing EMEA. The opinions expressed are his own.–
For many years now, number crunchers have obsessed over the growth of data, marvelling at the way that the computer age has generated enormous amounts of content and IT types have speculated as to how disks, tapes and other storage devices would need to evolve to accommodate this. Now, however, the problem has spread and the new fear is greater: could the digitisation of the world’s information lead to catastrophic communications breakdown?