Technology, by age

A discussion of payment apps turned into a revelation on a line in the sand on social. The editors at QZ noticed a pattern at the over-and-under-30 age line — over 30 didn’t understand why Venmo would have a public timeline of payments; under 30 liked it.

Pando expanded on the subject a bit, and it got me thinking.

If the “social-digital” line is around 30 years today, in late 2014…

…in 2024 the age line will be around 40…

…in 2034 the age line will be around 50…

…in 2044 the age line will be around 60…

…in 2054 the age line will be around 70…

I imagine that the line will be blurred as time goes on, but these are rough target dates.

What life events happen at different points? At what date is a critical mass of this social-digital line going to arrive at certain things?

I’m not foolish enough to think that this social-digital line is going to move smoothly throughout the ages, but there’s definitely reason to think that later-in-life products haven’t been created yet, or that the market for an otherwise-good-idea hasn’t been created…yet.

The most Apple-ish things

WWDC14 keynote was today. New software, no new hardware. The voice messaging via text is something that I’ve wanted for a long time. Interested to see how it affects texting-while-driving habits, and the resulting effect on accident rates. Will iPhone users get in less car crashes?

I wanted to put an idea out there. It’s something that I’ve thought about for a while with mobile phones, and I’m hoping for in the new iPhone.

The most natural way to hold a phone is vertical (portrait). The most natural image format to us is horizontal (landscape).

Why not allow people to take landscape pictures while holding the phone vertically? Why must I hold the phone awkwardly (and risk dropping it) anytime I want a decent picture?

There are a few ways of solving this.

The first is to simply take the existing image sensor, rotate it 90 degrees, and call it a day. This would work, but it’s not Apple-ish. It means you would have to hold the phone sideways if you actually wanted a portrait shot.

The other option (that I like) is to put a bigger image sensor in the camera, and downsample the image taken via software. That way you could have a massive picture (if you want), but easily get the type of picture most people want from a camera.

Service people’s defaults as the default case. This seems the most Apple way to do things.


Real Problems vs Manageable Problems

Last month, during the height of the backlash against Uber over fares reported at seven times the usual during a New York snowstorm, Kalanick told WIRED that the bad publicity his company faced over surge pricing would pale compared to the impact of Uber not being able to offer a ride at all.

“If you are unreliable, customers just disappear,” he said. “The thing is that nowhere in any of the press are you hearing about us being unreliable.”

Such stubbornness is often seen as arrogance: the hotshot, elitist startup that believes it’s above the rules. But Uber has made the choice that getting bashed on Twitter — or by City Hall — isn’t as bad as customers opening up the app and seeing no rides on the map. The first threat is manageable. The second is existential — customers just open up another ride-sharing app to see if an Uber competitor has cars instead.

Dropbox and Uber: Worth Billions, But Still Inches From Disaster, by Marcus Wohlsen

Russian roulette is boring

Google Ventures put +$200 million into Uber. Google is also working on a self-driving car.

The self-driving car is really good. I saw one on the road a while ago, and the safety person behind the wheel looked AMAZINGLY bored. Said another way: the person whose life was in the hands of a robot was bored of making sure the robot wouldn’t kill them. That kind of trust only comes from consistent results.

It’s reasonable to think that in the not-too-distant future we’re going to have driverless Ubers.

Designer Apps

You know how celebrities use their social/star power to  invest in restaurants, clubs, fashion lines, and other businesses that would be commodities, if not for the celebrity name?

Bieber has a photo sharing app.

I think this is different from the Ashton Kutcher investment strategy, and the MC Hammer search engine. This is a social app where the celeb is transferring their social cred onto the business in a relevant way. Monetization is left as an exercise to the reader. ;)