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The Critical Path #163: You Say You Want a Revolution

Horace discusses politics and disruption with Michael Tofias. Is disruption of government possible? Michael pursues the study of American political institutions, elections, Congress, and computational political economy to reveal how disruption might play out within governments.

Source: 5by5 | The Critical Path #163: You Say You Want a Revolution

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The Critical Path #161: Who’s Jack Dorsey

Lots of talk about cars, Elon Musk et. al. and even Twitter.

Source: The Critical Path #161

Metamorphosis: The Critical Path #160

On what it means to be great, Apple’s 13 Million iPhone weekend and the iPad Pro and a lot of listener questions on the 160th episode of The Critical Path.

Source: The Critical Path #160

What it means to be great

What makes a product great? I struggle with this question because being great is not just being better than good. Greatness is to goodness as wisdom is to smarts. Just like getting smarter and smarter may never make you wise, getting better and better does not mean ever becoming great.

Greatness is transcendental. It’s hard to pin down. It inspires debate. It divides as much as it unites. It creates emotions as much as thoughts. It builds legends. It engages and persists. It lives in memory and penetrates culture. It implants itself in our consciousness persistently, to linger and dwell in our minds while we are bombarded with stimuli.

We use words such as “iconic” or “epic” to capture this permanent “mental tattoo” that we get from greatness. As important as this notion is, we struggle to define it. We don’t even have a proper word for it. Perhaps it is what art tries to be, or what drives us to achieve beyond surviving. As vague a notion as it may be, it is one of the most important notions I can think of. Greatness is the cause, perhaps, of our ascent.

In the absence of any measurement of greatness, how do we spot it?
It may just be down to “knowing when we see it”. But not everybody does.[1]

  1. Language is another indicator. When people attach brands to entire categories we get an indication of ubiquity and permanence. As much as the brand owner fears it, the genericization of a trademark is very probably an indication of greatness in consumer products. Aspirin, iPod, xerox, jell-o and app are examples where brands became words. []

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Meaningful Contribution

What if Apple did make a car? How significant could their products be? What would it take to influence the industry’s architecture?

The global market is forecast to reach 88.6 million vehicles in 2015 and there are many ways to segment it. One could look at geography or at product configurations or the emergence of new powertrain technologies.

One could also look at the participants.

In 2014 Toyota was the top selling automaker with a total sales volume of 10.23 million vehicles. The following graph shows the leading 15 producers and the percent of total production.

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 9-25-2.19.47 PM


Critical Path #159: The Appification of TV, Revisited

Horace and Anders revisit Apple TV and answer listener questions in this special 2 hour episode.

Source: 5by5 | The Critical Path #159: The Appification of TV, Revisited

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