What was most depressing for many (including me) about the Horse_ebooks revelations was that this magical bot, which appeared to have no purpose other than unintentional hilarity and randomness, was just a marketing pitch for a book or movie deal. It’s a bit like hearing your favorite old rock-and-roll or punk tune used as the backdrop for a shoe commercial — there’s almost an implicit sense of betrayal.

We often think of the internet enables you to do new things. But people just want to do the same things they’ve always done.

Live. Do some stuff. Go outside. Walk. Read. I know, I know, get off the computer now and again, not always, certainly not always, but sometimes. Every once in a while free yourself from the chains of feeling like you must report back on all you do to the sucking maw of the Internet, feeling like you must be part of the conversation lest you fail to exist entirely. And then, when you return to it, all will be well and you will feel like you really did live, just a little bit, differently than before.

You know what drives me crazy? It’s all these people talking about how great technology is, and how it saves all this time. But, what good is saved time, if nobody uses it? If it just turns into more busy work. You never hear somebody say, ‘With the time I’ve saved by using my word processor, I’m gonna go to a Zen monastery and hang out.’ I mean, you never hear that.

Jesse (Ethan Hawke) in Before Sunrise. (via parislemon)

We live in a bubble, and I don’t mean a tech bubble or a valuation bubble. I mean a bubble as in our own little world.

Eric Schmidt | America’s New Oligarchs 

In a post-Internet, post-mobile world of one click access, the distribution of products has all but ceased to be the issue. When one of something can be efficiently shipped to anyone, anywhere, the question of where the sale takes place is rapidly becoming moot. In other words, in the long-term, sales of product simply can’t be the primary strategic purpose or metric for the store.

Some of the world’s largest retailers are struggling with this jarring reality already. ‘Stack it high and watch it fly’ has abruptly turned into ‘stack it low and hope it goes’ as big box stores scramble to lower inventories in the face of flat or declining sales. The knee-jerk reaction among some is to simply downsize and marginalize the role of the store. Others are adopting the buzzword of omni-channel – resigning to the idea that all channels now act as one – which I would argue risks oversimplifying what’s really happening.

You see, what’s actually evolving is a new and far more complex role for the store, and online brands like Google, Bonobos and Warby Parker are affirming it, as they each embark on creating their own, branded, physical stores. They along with a growing number of other online pure-plays recognize that in order to ‘fully actualize’ their brands, they need to animate a physical presence and visceral experience for their consumers, not to move products but more critically, to move hearts and minds – to sell the idea, essence and values of the brand – all of which has more traditionally been viewed as the role of media. And therein lies the critical point.

The physical store is becoming media.

What will it take to build emotive-and-empathic data experiences? Less data science and more data art — which, in other words, means that data wranglers have to develop correlations between data much like the human brain finds context. It is actually not about building the fanciest machine, but instead about the ability to ask the human questions. It is not about just being data informed, but being data aware and data intelligent.