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Shannon Holman
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Complete. Beginner.

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“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true."

[Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005]

Photo credit: Steve Jobs via Mike Matas @ http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150344003354357.371772.500729356&type=1
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"We spent a good deal of time thinking about how accident, disruption, distraction, and difference increase the motivation to learn and to solve problems, both individually and collectively. To find examples, we spent time with a dance ensemble rehearsing a new piece, a jazz band improvising together, and teams of surgeons and computer programmers performing robotic surgery. We walked inside a monkey's brain in a virtual-reality cave. In another virtual-reality environment, we found ourselves trembling, unable to step off what we knew was a two-inch drop, because it looked as if we were on a ledge over a deep canyon."

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The funny thing about this is that the human brain is woefully inefficient, redundant, and tangled, like a legacy system full of bolt-ons and kludges. A modern god would spend the first five days of creation complaining about the poor job the previous developer did. That's the funny ha-ha thing. The funny peculiar thing is that it's this very same structural inefficiency that enables us to be human in every significant sense of the word; that is, to invent god and declare god's death; to idealize; to judge; to want what's "good for us" but be derailed by desire; to be a fiercely interested observer of the solitaire ping pong match between our Apollonian, gargantuan, Johnny-come-lately frontal cortex and our quick little lizard amygdala.
Two prototype "cognitive computing" chips have already been fabricated and are being tested by IBM. These chips replicate the structure of the human brain. "If this works, this is not just a 5 percent leap . . . This is a leap of orders of magnitude forward. We have already overcome huge conceptual roadblocks.” Truly fascinating article about chips that can analyze and learn. Blade Runner or Singularity? I'd never even thought about AI from a hardware angle. Amazing! IBM is on the verge of creating a true "electronic brain." Does this mean IT support staff will also have to be trained in psychology?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html?_r=2&pagewanted=7&smid=fb-share

Fascinating article that goes far in explaining why my 4 pm meetings are always total clusters.

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And just in case anyone needs a refresher:

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via Quora, I found Rakesh Agrawal's post on the Google-Motorola deal, which is the best analysis I've seen so far. In my experience it's rare to be able to bring together the product, analytic, and legal perspectives with such clarity and focus. Highly recommended.

Quora post: http://www.quora.com/Rakesh-Agrawal-2/Google-Motorola-Mobility-Acquisition-August-2011/My-thoughts-on-Google-Motorola-Facebook-and-antitrust

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"companies that have massive amounts of data without massive amounts of clue are going to be displaced by startups that have less data but more clue"
Really great post by +Alistair Croll making the case that companies that have massive amounts of data without massive amounts of clue are going to be displaced by startups that have less data but more clue, who will put in place the dynamics to make the most of the data they have and to collect new data in self-reinforcing applications that get better the more people use them.

This is really the premise of our Strata series of conferences - trying to teach companies how to join the data-driven revolution. I think it was about 2003 that I first wrote "Data is the next Intel Inside"; When I wrote What is Web 2.0? in 2005, I really tried to get across the idea that collective intelligence and data driven applications were the key to the future, but it's only now that it's become widely understood.

When +Edd Dumbill and +Alistair Croll proposed the Strata conference to me, it seemed so clear that now, finally, it was time to get off the soapbox, and to put together an event that was practical, and would help developers and executives make sense of how to build cloud data applications.

As Alistair says in this post, "Big data: use it or lose it."
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