Episode No. 2 from the Bistrocast is live, and live you can listen to it with the embedded player below. It’s an interview with my colleague Will Barkis about the state and future of Smart Cities technology. There’s more info on the OSV blog.
As of August 8, I am happy to say that I can add podcast host to a line somewhere on my LinkedIn profile. Over the course of my adult life, I have been a podcast guest and devoted listener, but never a producer and host. To hear what that means, just check out the Orange Silicon Valley Bistrocast, which debuted this month. It features a conversation I had with my colleague Mike Vladimir about the state of Internet of Things technologies for consumers and the enterprise. New episodes are currently in the works, but you can expect to hear about other types of connective tech, including smart cities, fintech, and much more as I invited the tech and business analysts at my office to step into the studio and discuss their work.
I’ll have more subscription options available in the near future, but for the time being the series is hosted on SoundCloud and playable in web browsers using the embedded player below or the SoundCloud mobile app. This was a pilot episode, so I welcome any and all feedback.
Seven days after getting back from a half-recreational, half-business family trip to Milan, Italy, I think I’ve finally got the sleep hours re-banked to share some short insights. I’d been to Italy along the Italian Riviera and in Venice before, but this was my first time to Milano — and my first time trying to make a weeklong trip abroad work while exploring one-on-one with a 16-month-old.
It was a great expedition. The architecture, the artwork, the history, and the people were overwhelmingly beautiful on a daily basis. I’d hoped to have some more sunlight, but unfortunately the rain drove us inside for much of four out of the six days that we got to spend there. The nice side of that deal was that we got to learn how few Milanese patrons show up to the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna on an alternatingly overcast and rainy day.
And by the way, see the modern art museum in Milan. The Picasso, Gauguin, and Boccioni works were all rich and worth the visit, but the real surprise of the day — in addition to the yard of flamingos down the street — was the slender hallway of Toulouse-Lautrec items, including some ink illustrations that brought me a few steps closer to the personalities in his faces than I’d ever been before.
The rain again put a damper on the Naviglio Grande, a spot that some friends had highly recommended. As a result the sidewalks and bridges were a little empty when we arrived, but I did catch the end of a storm at the right moments as sun came through and cafes began setting up for the their aperitivo customers. (Sidenote: Aperitivo time is one of the best reasons to spend time in Milan, for the socializing, for the small plates of incredible things that come served alongside the drinks, and for the people-watching that can be done on any given patio. Moreover, you can by three-packs of single-serving Aperol spritzers at the grocery stores, which just wonderful.)
As for the architecture, the Duomo di Milano was every bit as impressive as people say, though the many other churches and basilicas throughout the city are worth a reasonable, meandering walk to seek them out and experience the flow of the residential areas into piazzas, business districts, and other public spaces. The Basilica di San Lorenzo was especially worth the hike; and when you see it, take note of the colonnade out front that’s left from the structure that used to lead up to the old Roman road system. The complex itself is a magnificent three-dimensional view of the historical periods that built and folded together to make Milan what it is today.
And though the rain did keep us out of the parks for a few days, I was happy that we saved up the Friday full of sunny skies to visit Castello Sforzesco, the castle up the street from the Duomo that was built in the 15th century by the former Milan’s former duke, Francesco Sforza. It’s got works by da Vinci and Michelangelo among its treasures, and there’s a sprawling Parco Sempione behind it is a wonderful place to let a small kid burn off some energy and yell back and forth at a pond full of ducks.
Originally, I’d gone into the week hoping to make a day trip or two out of the city by train — Lake Como came up as the most likely option. In the end, however, I got a little shy over the weather and not wanting spend the hours of transit time necessary to end up in yet another storm.
Fortunately, Milan had plenty to offer, especially at Potafiori and Note di Cucina, the two real dining out experiences we got to experience as a family, the latter of which was for our wedding anniversary.
Apple shares (NASDAQ: AAPL) went into a funk this week after slowing iPhone sales gave the stock its worst week since 2013 and high-profile investor Carl Icahn announced that he had completely sold his position in the Cupertino-based company due to concerns in China. On the far periphery of Apple’s consumer tech interests, however, is another product that generated huge waves up hype in 2016 – and that’s the Apple Watch.
Wearable tech – including smartwatches – is still a niche category without a clear path to challenging smartphones among consumer tech products right now. But Apple’s command over marketshare is still impressive. And a new report that came out on Thursday from the research firm Strategy Analytics shows where Apple stood in that marketplace as of the first quarter in 2016.
Apple shipped 2.2 million units in the smartwatch category in Q1, down from 5.1 million during Q4 in 2015, according to Neil Mawston, the executive director at Strategy Analytics. Those numbers may not be surprising to some observers noting that Q4 including holiday shipments, but Apple’s marketshare also dipped from Q4 of 2015 going into 2016, going from 63 percent to 52.4 percent.
Apple is obviously still the king of the space (as seen in the chart below), but slowing iPhone activity together with this marketshare drop mean that there’s going to be added pressure on the next Apple Watch to outperform its predecessor. (On a personal note: I’m still among the unconverted.)
2016 has been a rough year for losses, both in my personal life, for a few of my close friends, and in the public sphere for some great artists and entertainers. One of the toughest things to deal with after losing a loved one can be wondering after the fact if something could have been done to save them – if only someone would have said something in a different way, urged the person to see a different specialist, or even just spent some more time listening.
In the cases of old age, long-term battles with cancer, and auto accidents, there isn’t usually an answer, but sometimes in the cases of of suicides, intervention is possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week released a troubling report on U.S. suicides that showed significant rises, both overall and in various categories. In fact, suicides across the board were up 24 percent in 2014 from 1999.
If you or someone you know need help, there’s a 24-hour hotline available by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
As always, the best way to follow my new work posts is to follow me on Twitter or watch the Inno sites directly. Here’s a quick overview of new stuff I wrote in February, though:
- 5 Things Besides VC Funding That Matter When Startups Choose Cities – because venture capital isn’t for everyone, and (even if it is) strengths and weaknesses vary by company, founding team and sector
- Why DC Public Transit Was Just Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. – and for many good reasons should not have been honored in a such a manner
- Your Startup’s Funding May Depend on the Size of Your City’s Airport – some research that shows how new connections can pay off in very real and quantifiable ways
- How Will Tech Startups Fare in 2016? Watch Non-VC Investment – why the bigger roles that non-VC investors have been taken on in funding rounds for venture-backed companies in recent years means that the current climate of lowered valuations will be an important test