Mapping the Networks of Business

Through the years, I’ve seen more “value chains” than I care to remember. “Where do you see yourselves in the value chain?”, is a VC question ranking up there with “Are you burning enough?” and “Would you people consider yourselves to be a [fill in the blank: infrastructure, content-only, aggregator, consolidator, etc.] company?” in a series that look even more amusing in hindsight than they did at the time (BTW. the correct answer to the last question is “Yes” regardless of everything. You’ll just have to find a way to rationalize it later on in the conversation.)

But in reality, there are no value chains. Every single company in the world is a part of the same, huge, value web. And it’s not only money that makes such connections, so does the flow of information and ideas, staff recruitments and mutual board members or financers.
Continue reading

Man or a mouse

Few things amuse me more than pointing out to people how predictable we humans are. Our imprinted view of ourselves as almost not a part of the animal kingdom is of course very arrogant. Our animal-like behavior is however often quite apparent and one of the best examples is in crowd movement. Pictures from malls and crowded streets often eerily resemble ants working mindlessly in their colony.

Nature Science Update reports yesterday on the use of mice to simulate people trying to escape in a panic situation. The research, conducted by Caesar Saloma and colleagues at the University of the Philippines is studying escaping mice to help improve computer models of escape in panic situations.
Continue reading

And there was a map…

Collective intellect (or stupidity) has always fascinated me and the Web allows curious people to test many such concepts with ease. Such interest was in part the reason for making my Are you random? test. Now, Douwe Osinga has come up with a brilliant collective mind project, where Internet users try to draw a map of the world. His introduction to the project touches some interesting subjects. Please cast a few votes to help the project (the site has been experiencing some trouble because of overload, so it might need some patience).
Continue reading