Are the costs of maintaining control of the seas worth it?

Interesting analysis on the cost-benefit analysis of keeping sea lanes open using military power. The result is surprisingly low benefit which does not seem to justify the large naval expense. However, I am sure one could argue for additional benefits (geopolitical/security) other than just impact on trade.

Innovation insight

Good (although with an advertorial bent) behind the scenes insight into the development of Amazon’s Echo here.


  • The development process was long and hard with debates about its eventual market appeal and perfectionist ideals
  • Received top level support and backing but this also increased demands and expectations on the development team
  • Focus on a couple of key well-defined goals e.g. latency of voice recognition software that would provide cross-platform capabilities
  • Fundamentally different concept to competitor products
  • Lots of human testing to get user-experience right
  • Specification change following market feedback (e.g. music playing capabilities)
  • Pre-orders much greater than expectations demonstrating market demand but still focus remains on product improvement rather than sales growth
  • Team felt that they were working towards a “cool vision” even if they knew it would be difficult to achieve

Climate change scenarios

Some interesting research by Shell and MIT here looking at the climate change impact of various energy scenarios.

Rather alarmingly the work estimates that the world outlook is for 3.5 degrees of warming by 2100 based on the current COP21 promises. Even in Shell’s outlook and mountain scenarios warming is well above 1.5 degrees with approximately 2.5 and 2.75 degrees of warming respectively.

All scenarios are relatively close to each other up until around 2030 so it will be difficult to see which pathway the world is taking but by 2050 there is significant divergence.

Digital Disruption

6 interesting graphs on the impact of digital on the various sectors of the media industry.

6 charts help explain the digital upheaval in media

Interesting inflection point in newspaper ad sales in 2009. And I am surprised by the continuing popularity in TV ad sales.

And some interesting data on the taxi industry in New York (data only covers about 1 year though so probably too early to draw any major conclusions):

Taxi Uber Lyft usage New York city

Total trips per day have remained fairly constant over the past year whilst total number of vehicles dispatched has increased by ~50%. This seems to be a result of Uber and Lyft drivers working a lot less hours per week than traditional taxi drivers.