This week we are publishing D2D Issue #22, reporting back from our trip to China. Drop us a line or send us an e-mail if you would like to be added to distribution for the full report.
Below are some of the highlights of our report:
D/D #22: Asia, Trade and Technology
We traveled to China last week, and as always learned a lot. The view from China is different than from the Valley, and it is good to get beyond the Echo Chamber. In many ways China has moved ahead of the rest of the world especially in payments and related models. There is tremendous interest there in data centers, autonomous cars and many other topics. We report back on several and touch gently on the issue of Trade Policy.
Does Trade Policy fall apart in the era of Big Data?
We have been reading Joseph Studwell’s “How Asia Works” whose central tenet holds that protectionist trade policies have played a key role in the industrialization of all successful, large economies. These policies come with a price but one that can be worked out as an economy grows. However, in the age of Artificial Intelligence, the price of protectionism can lead to walling off companies from the large datasets the global competitors have. It looks like protectionism may short circuit the software ‘flywheel’.
China leads the world in mobile payments
China’s mobile payment systems are so advanced that you can buy pretty much anything with them. This is one area where China is far ahead of others. We would like to see someone develop an app that lets users outside of China tap into that system.
Need a parking space in Beijing? A driverless car doesn’t
Autonomous cars can do more than free drivers from the waste of long commutes. They can also save billions in real estate, and erase another headache of the modern era.
Technology is built by people who dive deep to optimize every detail. But products need trade-offs, and the best companies can embrace the entire ‘system’ that customers eventually buy. The history of technology is one of products merging into systems. The trick for companies is to build continuous ‘systems thinking’ into their development
Bubble Trouble – where did all those bikes go?
An encounter with an ‘aspiring entrepreneur’ looking to combine China’s craze for bike sharing with the musical “The Producers” highlights the trouble with Bubbles. Capitalism needs people who can persuade us to take risks. In frothy times, our filters for persuasion get looser and let the unscrupulous in.