Special guest Horace Dediu joins The Talk Show for the first time. Topics include the state of the maps industry, Apple’s functional organizational structure, what the WWDC keynote said about the state of the company today, and more.

The Talk Show: They Buy a Hole in the Wall.


  • stefnagel

    Spot on, Horace. Algorithms must defer to philosophy, and philosophy to mind. Just today, a nice piece on Simone Weil: “If the algebra of physicists gives the impression of profundity it is because it is entirely flat; the third dimension of thought is missing.”

    Besides faith, there is thought, common sense, sensibility, culture—truth—almost entirely absent in these narrowly scientific, commercial endeavors. See also Thomas Nagel and Mary Midgley for terrific writing on this issue.

    • neutrino23

      I followed the link and read the posting. I would disagree strongly on several points, but then I was trained as a physicist not a philosopher. Professor Sklar at Michigan taught classes on philosophy of physics and philosophy of space and time. I wonder what his take would be on this?

      Mathematics (aka algebra ) is not just some convenient tool for cleaning up the details of one’s work. Mathematical thinking is the clearest, truest expression of the discovered relationships.

      The enormous strides that have been made in physics have taken us to realms where our vocabulary and daily experience are not very useful.

      • stefnagel

        All good points. I looked briefly at Sklar’s book on the philosophy of science. Nice bit here: “Time and time again philosophy that tries to reason a priori, without reliance on the data of observation and experiment and to come to conclusions about how the world must be has seen itself embarrassed by the revelation of science.” Too true. But then science is embarrassed by these revelations as well.

        Simply put, science creates the new; in fact, it cannot not create the new, regardless of how horrifying and destructive.

        Philosophy creates the arguments for choosing what elements of what’s new to support or abandon, as pertains to our best understanding of life and love—and not all these understandings are quantitative; they are qualitative, what we know from our millennia long human conversation. Again, common sense, culture, values, faith.

      • actualbanker

        Philosophy is required as not all natual phenomena are accessible to the scientific method.
        – logical axioms,
        – historical events
        – meaning
        – symantics
        – that I exist / that others exist
        – that the world has a history
        – right & wrong
        – aesthetic values
        – final causes

      • stefnagel

        You would be hard put to find anyone in science or philosophy who agrees with you.

  • Steve O’Dell

    Fantastic episode. Start to finish, just gripping.

    Retired Army here, so the compare/contrast there was fascinating. My two cents, you were spot on across the board, and yet there was nuance in there I’d love to discuss over half a dozen beers.

    Again, great discussion with John G. Hope to hear you back again.

    • Chris

      Yes agree, great episode. One small point, just to clarify, not to be nit-picky. I’m currently in the Air Force.

      The U.S. military also has a huge “divisional structure” to it, as described in podcast at . The “geographic” Combatant Commands divide up the world into regions. Each region has a Commander called a “Combatant Commander” or “COCOM” – These are the generals who actually fight our wars. They are in charge. Gen Petraeus was COCOM for U.S. Central Command. As was Gen Schwartzokpf in Desert Storm. So to clarify your example from the podcast at 57:50, we actually do have “the general who fights in the middle east”.

      And yes – there are definitely resource battles between COCOMs. As you might expect, CENTCOM wins a lot of those battles lately.

      Of note – there are also “functional” combatant commands that handle things the way you described. For example U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is a functional command not tied to a geography, Gen McChrystal used to lead SOCOM.

      Not nitpicking. Great episode and comparison! Just trying to do my part to bridge the civil/military divide!

  • bloftus

    I wonder what is the state of Maps for android in China. Do you know anything about this?