The VUCA Observatory

By Martin Spindler

The VUCA observatory is weekly newsletter, documenting the network transformation unfold. Insights on Strategy, Business Models and Competition in everything that’s touched by networks. Martin has been crafting digital business strategies for the better part of the last 10 years. He’s currently... Read more

The VUCA observatory is weekly newsletter, documenting the network transformation unfold. Insights on Strategy, Business Models and Competition in everything that’s touched by networks.
Martin has been crafting digital business strategies for the better part of the last 10 years. He’s currently a Senior Strategist for hy - the Axel Springer Ecosystem company (

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🛰 Smart Home Competition, Amazon Ads, Longer VC – The VUCA Observatory #27

Let’s say for a moment that you fully buy into the notion that Software is Eating the world. Everything that can be improved by migrating to software processes will be. I’ve been watching this bear out in the Smart Home space for years in slow motion now. For…


🛰 #BigHack and GEs Downturn – VUCA Observatory #26

Hoo boy. The denials to Bloomberg’s Big Hack story have come in, and the sound of “No” is deafening, with Amazon, Apple, the DHS, and the GCHQ all in unison proclaiming: the Bloomberg story’s bogus. So what’s going on?To recap: Bloomberg published a story det…


🛰 Facebook Resilience, Changing VC, Auto Antifragility – The VUCA Observatory #25

Whoever is running Investor Relations at Facebook is doing one hell of a job. Facebook had a bit of a week: two high-profile tell-alls of Execs that left the companies the social networking giant had bought, after long tenure and with leaving considerable mon…


🛰 The VUCA Observatory - Amazon, Data, Uncertainty

If last week was Apple’s week, this week undoubtedly belonged to Amazon. The retailer/infrastructure provider/AI company/uberplatfrom announced a large line up of new Alexa-infused products which has many analysts scratching their head about the future direct…


🛰 Tech Regulation and new loci of innovation – The VUCA Observatory

On the back of the EuroParl vote approving the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, and especially the controversial Art 13, I think it’s interesting to contrast the generally tensioned responses to the vote with Bruce Schneier’s notions on in…


🛰 VUCA Observatory - Restart

Gartner announced its latest Hype Cycle. Predictably, the internet lit up with commentary or self-congratulations. And yet, the discontent with Gartner’s model seems to be rising. First, the methodology seems inconsistent – always a bad sign for a model that’…


🛰 Software Engineering Licenses, AI Chips, Negative Power Prices – IOP Observatory #21

I guess one of the last things you want to hear on a Friday night is the sound of civil defence sirens. If you’re a resident of Dallas, you weren’t so lucky. There, the Tornado sirens had been activated, and went, for just a little under two hours. Initially …


🛰 Hardware in China, Blockchain, and Second Order Effects of Cars – IOP Observatory #20

Have you heard? Ikea is getting into the Home Automation game. The Swedish furniture giant has announced a ZigBee LightLink-based lighting solution, available some time in April. That might be just the move consumer IoT needs for more mass-appeal. Ikea can mo…


🛰 John Deere & Hacked Firmware, Hacked Dishwashers, EV variability, Flat CO2 Emissions – IOP Observatory #19

So where do we start? With the John Deere story? Farmers, Firmware hacked in the Ukraine, the smell of monopoly power – it’s got all the necessary ingredients for righteous indignation, doesn’t it?At the heart of the story is, of course, software. After the E…


🛰 Spammy Home, Microgrids, Disengagement numbers – Internet of People Observatory #18

I guess it was only a matter of time. Back when Google first announced their Pixel-exclusive Assistant, which also powers Google’s Echo competitor Home, Marcel and I wondered on our podcast what Google’s business model might be with regards to an AI-first wor…


🛰 Security, Self-driving consolidation, AI in Energy – Internet of People Observatory #17

It feels like hardly a week goes by without announcements of major security breaches or leaks. And while we’re not in the business of keeping tabs on individual breaches (egregious ones, like unsecured databases that contain millions of voice recordings, like…


🛰 Terms of Service apply, Voice ID, Tesla’s Beta Test, and faulty smart meters - Internet of People Observatory #16

Last week, it transpired that UBER had a system in place to automatically flag city officials who were trying to enforce local laws and regulation by looking for patterns, such as credit cards that could be linked back to city governments. This was part, as t…


🛰 Haunted Homes, Haunted Cars - Internet of People Observatory #15

If you invite a microphone into your home, you might want to consider the consequences. After we spoke about the German network regulator ordering connected dolls destroyed, this week comes another privacy disaster. A US company producing teddy bears that are…


🛰 Fire-Spewing Drones, Surveillance Dolls, Re-Bundling, and Dirty Air - IOP Observatory #14

There’s a famous truism in the tech industry. Coined by Jim Barksdale, CEO of Netscape, it’s “There’s only two ways I know of to make money: bundling and unbundling.”Now that the industry discourse around the unbundling powers of the internet has run its cour…


🛰 The effect of Network Effects, Renewables and Carbon Taxes, Regulated Mobility - IOP Observatory #13

Let’s start this week with having a look at network effects. This phenomenon is arguably the most important component of this brave new world of the internet economy, and if my core hypothesis is right, will drive transformation in many industries that softwa…


🛰 Voice Hype, Future of Privacy, Crude Renewables, Electric Cars and Public Benefits - IOP Observatory #12

Innovating on Inputs or Outputs?


🛰 The World-Sized Robot, The Tip of the Iceberg, The Vanishing Point - IOP Observatory #11

On the eve of another executive order, this time concerned with “Cyber Security”, it seems befitting to investigate the impact and possible vulnerabilities of the systems we building. To set the scene, Bruce Schneier is expanding his work on IoT security and …


🛰 IOP Observatory - IoT and Electricity, Base-Cost Renewables, & Self-Driving Car Behaviour

Yeah, I know. Another week looking at Alexa. But it is the big new kid on the block, although its future seems far from as rosy as one might be led to think. We’ve talked in last week’s issue about the data ecosystems that voice-activated assistants need to b…


🛰 IOP Observatory - Voice Computing, Speeding AI, & China scrapping coal

The US Department of Commerce published its green book on the Internet of Things.[1] How this survives the transition remains to be seen, but the proposed actions read like a toothless tiger. Meanwhile, the EC started a consultation on Building the European D…


🛰 IOP Observatory - CES, Vehicle Stacks, Clean Energy Momentum

The annual showcase of post-christmas season consumer electronics, CES in Las Vegas, happened last week. And with it came a plethora of announcements of connected products. Some contrived, like Mattel’s Voice assistant for kids[1], or Withing’s connected hair…