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Oh, VW. What a mess.
The other day I wrote about the chances its CEO would last the week and avoid going to jail. If you've been living under a rock for the past few days, it was recently revealed that VW has been programming its diesel-powered vehicles -- and those under at least one other nameplate, Audi -- to cheat when measured for emissions requirements. That cheat has shipped on millions of vehicles over six years, so the numbers of people who have been involved must be pretty stunning.
The axe fell hard and fast. CEO Martin Winterkorn was gone within hours of me asking that question, along with a ton of other executives.
And the bleeding still hasn’t stopped. Investigations as to who knew and participated are ongoing. I won’t be shocked if someone goes to jail. But that will all play out in due time.
On Thursday, Wired Magazine had an interesting point -- we should open up the Internet of Things to avoid such problems and also to make them more secure:
I agree. Over and over again we learn the positives behind open source and how it enables people to fix bugs, add features and better understand systems.
It’s going to be interesting to see how far this goes. Now it’s being reported that government officials knew:http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/09/24/german-ministers-reportedly-were-warned-vw-test-beating-software/.
I imagine the ones that will really get harmed here are the engineers. They don’t have golden parachutes and expensive lawyers to protect them. Even if they only lose their jobs, they will find it hard to get rehired, since they're tainted with this scandal/syndrome, and many may have to spend months in court as this plays out.
I can’t defend them. If the company I worked for asked me to break the law, I’d refuse and make a big stink. Shame on engineers who coded these kinds of law breaks into products.
One of my favorite memories was attending the original Maker Faire a decade ago. I’ve been several times since and each time I am inspired by people who make things from small jewelry, to wondrous robots, to amazing pieces of art. This weekend, Maker Faire visits New York, and that’s brought a slew of new product announcements along with it.
3D printers are having their “laser printer moment.”
Remember back in 1985, when Apple showed the world the Laser Writer? A $7,000 printer that changed desktop publishing?
Before today, the sub-$5,000 3D printers produced items that had a crude feel to them, or were hard to use.
Well, this week Formlabs brought us its new Form 2 printer. This printer makes much higher resolution objects than other extrusion-based printers can do. Here, you can see how it’s easier to use, and can make objects with soft and tough materials too:
https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/10153608656544655/ This is the printer I want to own. It gets rid of the negatives of previous printers.
It isn’t alone this week either. Glowforge showed me a laser cutter that can cut through ¼-inch-thick organic material (wood, plastic, leather, etc.) and can etch metal. Here you can see their new printer:https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/videos/10153613547769655/
Why are these important? Because so many entrepreneurs rely on them to make prototypes and other products. Watch for them to pop up at future Maker Faires like flies on honey.
Here’s some other things I saw and did this week:
This week I traveled to Brazil to meet executives and startups. I was quickly pointed to NuBank by a customer who told me that people are waiting six months to get one of its credit cards.
Why? The credit cards from Nubank are awesomely integrated into the mobile lifestyle that so many of us are getting used to with our smartphones. This Sequoia-backed company (makes my heart warm, since Rackspace was Sequoia backed too) is the hottest startup in Brazil and is growing so fast they don’t know where to put new hires:
The three founders showed me around and gave me a unique look inside its customer-centric culture (another thing Rackspace shares a love for) and explained why there was such demand. Their credit cards are free, for one thing, and they work to keep expenses very low. But everything is designed for the mobile-centric user, from their welcome kit to the notifications that show up in real time after you make a transaction. I posted some screen shots here:https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153607833564655
You can see the care it takes and why customers are very evangelistic about this company and its credit card.
Oculus shows off its latest: http://techcrunch.com/2015/09/24/ready-to-rift/
This is the most important product introduction since the first iPhone. Now, most of you won’t agree with me there. At least not until about 2017. Then we’ll look back on today’s announcements as far more important than we can currently recognize. This isn’t an upgrade of an already loved product, like the iPhone really was (a lot of us had Palm Treos or Blackberries or Nokia Phones back then, and the iPhone just was a more usable version).
No, this is a new category of products. It's a category no one has in their homes yet, so its real usefulness won’t be recognized until later. That doesn’t make it any less important. Imagine being around on the day the Apple II was announced. Barely anyone in society cared. But we can all look back on that day and know it was a very important one for the industry and all of us. Same will be true here.
Shel Israel’s new book, “Lethal Generosity” is getting great reviews:https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153606756449655 (I wrote the foreward, it’s a great follow-up to our earlier book, “Age of Context” which is still relevant two years later).
Web Summit moves to Lisbon. This move shocked a lot of people because Ireland is the home of Web Summit (my favorite startup conference, which will have 30,000 attendees this year in Dublin). I’m skipping this year’s because I was asked to keynote another conference back in San Francisco, but I will be at Web Summit’s “Collision” event in New Orleans next year as well as the first Lisbon event:
Pebble ships a new watch:
There are rumors on the street that Pebble will get bought by a big company soon. I think that makes sense. Pebble has a great brand, demonstrated in that it can ship great products, but to really get to the next level, it needs the integration with a bigger partner. It’s hard to take Pebble too seriously when the big companies like Samsung, Microsoft and Apple are shipping great products in this space too. But there are companies, like Facebook and Amazon, that don’t yet have a play in wearables. I wonder if they're ready to make the move?
Facebook’s new 360 video showed off in Star Wars video:https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153613733914655
A basketball with sensors:https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153605388719655
Apple Watch saves someone’s life:https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153605798254655
Big data nerds: Rackspace now is offering managed Cassandra:https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153609199534655
Curiyo, content discovery system and app:https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble/posts/10153613733914655
I’m off to speak in New York next week at http://www.tapconference.com/ and also will be seen at BetaWorks on Thursday where we’ll be broadcasting Gillmor Gang.
As a Rackspace futurist, I keep my finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley and global trends, to offer insights into what’s coming next in tech and why it’s important to you.
Since 2009, I’ve traveled near and far, meeting with startups, innovative companies and visionaries, as well as evangelizing the Rackspace managed cloud story.
I read all my email at email@example.com and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble.
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And props to Hugh Macleod and team for creating art each week. Find more athttp://www.gapingvoid.com