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A fresh start | On urban mobility and fixing the internet

Hello there 👋🏻 Welcome to the very first issue of my newsletter. As writing and publishing a newslet
On My Mind
A fresh start | On urban mobility and fixing the internet
By Martin Wiesemborski • Issue #1 • View online
Hello there 👋🏻
Welcome to the very first issue of my newsletter.
As writing and publishing a newsletter is completely new to me, I have a lot to learn - and I will take you with me on this journey. So buckle up and let’s do it.
P.S. I would love to hear your feedback, so please let me know what you think :)

About this newsletter
With me going freelance, I heard that it’s important to “build a brand” and to “put myself out there”. That’s why I decided to give this whole newsletter thing a new chance. And this time for real. Like for real real.
https://gph.is/2mwqdW2
https://gph.is/2mwqdW2
So brace yourself for hopefully regular updates, probably every two weeks? What frequency do you prefer? And do you think it’s albern that I write you in English instead of German? I think it kinda is but then again: think big - think international.
Ok, enough chitchat - let’s try to actually put some real content in this issue. In each issue, I’ll feature one or two topics that I want to explore in more depth and then just give you a brief overview over what happened in the last few days in the media / design / tech landscape.
This week we start with the topic of mobility as well as …the future of the web? Wow, kleine Brötchen backen I guess.
Part I: The future of mobility
Intro
It’s been the week(s) of new urban mobility with the more or less anticipated MOIA service officially starting in Hamburg, the actually highly anticipated Uber IPO getting real with the S-1 filling, as well as some changes to mytaxi match in Hamburg ahead of the MOIA launch. And let’s not forget the crazy IPO lyft just managed to pull off a few weeks ago.
With all these news it once again becomes clear that a major shift in how we think about (urban) mobility is happening and it’s happening fast.
While the investigation into Martin Winterkorn, former CEO of Volkswagen, is starting, the German Bundestag is debating about a new law that could allow E-Scooters on German streets - and thereby closing “the last mile” gap. The old players are slowly fading and new ones are emerging quickly. Soon, the streets might be filled with Lime E-Scooters, MOIA shuttles and… Lilium (get to it, Frank Thelen!)?
Last but not least, Elon Musk and Tesla are a few days away of announcing new details about the future of Auto-Pilot, the software-hardware upgrade for Teslas that allows for a more convenient driving experience - at least for now. They have been talking about launching an autonomous car sharing service for a while now and could potentially announce a more detailed timeline at the 22nd of April Autonomy Investor Day.
Deepdive
lyft
lyft has been the anti-Uber with less to no scandals, a North-America-only expansion and an overall positive public perception. Now, it’s beating Uber in going public - with an impressive validation.
Uber
S-1 is a form that companies in the US have to file when they want to go public (IPO = initial public offering). It’s a public document because it is of general interest and allows you to get an inside look into how a company works, what they think about their competition, what they think about their future and their industry’s future and is most of times really interesting.
How big is Uber? Well… 💰💰💰
The company brought in $11.3 billion in revenue last year — five times as much as its chief US rival, Lyft (which is only mentioned six times in the whole document).
Uber battles its own history in a historic IPO filing - Recode
Tesla
On April 22nd Tesla is going to present the current state of autonomous driving and what is has planned for the future. Elon Musk said on Twitter that many groundbreaking features have been in the working for some time now and that Tesla is only waiting for regulatory permissions.
What’s so amazing about this, is that most Tesla cars already have the necessary hardware installed (or only need a small computer upgrade) to allow for these new capabilities. Musk revealed that the computer inside Tesla cars currently only uses 5% of its performance capacity - so there’s a lot of computing power available. And with Tesla’s over-the-air (OTA) software updates, many customers will wake up some day only to find out that their Tesla has a bunch of new tricks up it’s sleeve.
Side note: The actual usage is 10%, because inside these computers run two independent neural networks that perform every calculation on their own, at the same time, while checking the results of the other neural network. Mind = blown 🤯
Second side note: Although these updates can be installed over the air, they will not be free - which is reasonable considering the car’s value is increasing as well.
Elon Musk
The Tesla Full Self-Driving Computer now in production is at about 5% compute load for these tasks or 10% with full fail-over redundancy https://t.co/fTseO2JyVp
9:35 PM - 8 Apr 2019
MOIA
Spiegel Online wrote about their first impression of MOIA, the new “car-sharing meets car-pooling meets e-mobility” service by Volkswagen. I’ve been following the evolution of MOIA for a while - and help launch their new website a few weeks ago - and I’m interested to see the acceptance for concept as well as if it’s going to work.
Es wird spannend zu beobachten, ob Moia wirklich für weniger Verkehr auf den Straßen sorgt.
Lilium
Backed by “Höhle der Löwen” star investor Frank Thelen, Lilium tries to solve urban mobility not on the streets but in the air. They are working on some sort of jet that is able to vertically take-off and land again and it actually looks quite promising. We’ll see…
Lilium
E-Scooooooters
Part II: Trying to fix the web
Thanks to all the news articles in the last few days, you could get the impression that “the Internet” has been broken for years - and now everyone is suddenly interested in “fixing” it.
Dark patterns
The US government is working on a new legislation that tries to eliminate “dark patterns” or dark UX. What’s dark UX you ask? Here’s a great article by Krisztina Szerovay explaining how online services are trying to manipulate their users.
This new initiative by US senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) comes one year after the congressional hearing of Mark Zuckerberg. You know, the one started a lot of memes:
The problem: How do you define a dark pattern? How do you monitor such behavior? And how effective can this kind of law actually be - especially on a nation-wide level?
The proposal doesn’t offer any answers to these questions and it will probably take some months if not years to turn it into real legislation but it shows the renewed interest of politicians in “the internet”.
You can read the press release here: LINK
European Copyright Law
Uff, this is big one and I don’t want to bother you with my take on why this new European copyright law, especially article 11 and 13, is bullshit. I try to see the positive side in that so many young people care about this issue and went on the streets to protest. Just like they’re doing it now to fight against climate change. You rock, millennials!
But with the European Commission approving the law that already went through parliament last month, it’s official now: The Upload Filter is coming. And with it potentially massive changes to how Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and many other platform are going to operate - at least in Europa.
Danke Merkel.
Fixing AMP
AMP is an initiative by Google to also fix the web, especially the Mobile Web. Under the AMP foundation, Google is offering several ways to enhance the mobile performance of websites, e.g. by caching and delivering the website from Google servers and by reducing the amount of “trash” (ad tracker, JavaScript libraries, etc.) AMP Pages can load.
Now, Google is fixing one of the most annoying things about AMP: the URLs. By delivering your website through Google servers, Google changed the URL to something like www.google.com/your-real-url - which sucks if you want to have a strong brand with a clean URL.
A good read on AMP, it’s problems and the announced changes offers The Verge
U.S. Web Design System
And lastly, a way of fixing the internet I actually approve: with design.
Under the Obama administration the US government started to rethink how a government in the 21st century should look like and how it should serve its people. And so, Obama hired a lot of great designers, engineers and “thinkers” (from places like Google and Apple, with many of them volunteering) to work on that vision. More on that: Link
Fast-forward to today and a small team of designers launching USWDS 2.0 - an update to the design system that is already empowering over 200 federal websites. With the new update comes a new typeface, called Public Sans, that is open-source and designed with accessibility in mind, as well as a bunch of improvements and refinements.
I’m a huge fan of design systems in general and especially in this case. Federal websites mostly suck, so this is great!
Part III: Design Updates 🎨
Rumors about iOS 13 are starting to spread, with a new, system-wide Dark Mode being the feature I’m mostly looking forward to. I love the Dark Mode in Mac OS and with the OLED screens in the iPhone XS black is truly the new black.
Talking about Dark Mode: Sketch announced version 54 and with it comes a new way to toggle and customize Dark Mode. Yes, 53 started to offer Dark Mode - but only if you had it turned on in the system settings. Now, you can activate it independently and also change the canvas color. Yay!
Figma - the exciting browser-based design tool I will probably write about in a future episode - launched version 2.0 of designsystems.com, a great platform all about design systems. Go check it out.
Design Systems 2.0
Superhuman
This week in “Micro-interactions to fall in love with”: Superhuman (also a potential topic for a future episode)
littlebigdetails
When resizing the @Superhuman window in macOS, the navigation buttons revolve down to vertical position while the arrows stay upright—just like a compass needle. 👌 that’s #detail https://t.co/edU9W1qCIE
9:20 PM - 30 Mar 2019
Why do so many brand starting to look alike?
Come on designers, you can do better than this!
ᴠᴀɴ sᴄʜɴᴇɪᴅᴇʀ
I call it the "shared brand equity" universe. https://t.co/lxdnig7wm8
1:47 AM - 15 Apr 2019
bobby
this is what graphic design is now. https://t.co/hmNWP5qW8n
3:33 AM - 26 Feb 2019
David Diamond
I've never used a ladder for my job as a designer, am I doing something wrong? https://t.co/Nem0fkqe5U
4:29 PM - 2 Jan 2019
Brianne Kimmel
Oh no! Not @github 😳 Brand matters in B2B, but very few get it. https://t.co/GsvvAQIaGD
11:38 PM - 8 Nov 2018
A “neue” Helvetica - Helvetica Now
Monotype redesigned Helvetica for a digital-first usage - the first time in centuries. If you’re a typeface nerd, you should definitely read this interview with Charles Nix, the type director at Monotype. It’s amazing to learn how much effort, how much passion and just how much attention for even the smallest details went into redesigning the now-famous Helvetica font.
My favourite quote:
I spent an inordinate amount of time making the sterling work really well at 3pt and maintain its quality. When you look at it, it’s like an impressionist painting of the form.
Part IV: Websites I love ❤️
If you made it this far, I have some goodies for you. Amazing websites that launched in the last few weeks that I want to share with you.
Ark Shelter | Home
Noodle.ai
LE CAB' COM | Agence digitale collaborative à Paris
Pheew, that's it
https://gph.is/29kR5qk
https://gph.is/29kR5qk
I hope you enjoyed this “first” issue. It startet short and then got longer and longer - but hey: Easter weekend is ahead.
So, happy easter and happy reading!
Until next week (or the week after that),
Martin
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Martin Wiesemborski

I'm a freelance UX designer, information architect, and digital consultant. Think of this newsletter as everything that is on my mind (hence the name): New and emerging tech and design trends, tools and ideas that I stumble upon and think are worth talking about.
📬 Sent out every Friday.

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