Davos Newbies Home

Looks like a Batmobile

I remember industrial design nerds enthusing 20 years ago about heads-up displays, the high-tech military hardware that enables fighter pilots to see projected displays on the windscreen. It’s taken time, but it now looks like it can be combined with night-vision technology in production cars.

Such inventions take time to filter through, but night vision strikes me as more valuable than a lot of gadgets that are becoming the norm in a family car.

Second-order effects

Alan Cooper has some interesting reflections on the second-order effects of wireless technologies. A friend introduced me to this concept in the early ’80s by pointing out that no one foresaw that a prime use of home video players would be to pacify children.

Alan is a good guy, and his The Inmates are Running the Asylum deserves more readers. But someone should tell him that registering expressions like Goal-Directed analysis tools is cheesy and beneath him.

High returns for seadogs

On a very lowkey basis, I followed the TV Turnoff Week last week (pace Brent). As a result I missed what sounds like an extraordinary programme about pirates.

The privateers which hounded the pirates were an early (the earliest?) example of venture capital. Apparently, Francis Drake returned 4,700 per cent to his backers after his successful raids along the Spanish Main. Since his backers included queen Elizabeth, the result did neither his career nor his pocketbook any harm.

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