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Polymathic Monthly - Issue #18: Autonomous Vehicles & Immigrant Tales


Polymathic Monthly

February 25 · Issue #18 · View online
A curation of articles, tech, books and innovation strategy to enrich your career and personal lives.

Many companies are working on autonomous vehicles (AV). Tesla, Uber, Waymo, Voyage, GM, Volvo, Nissan, Ford, Toyota, Didi, Proterra, (some say) Apple, Mercedes etc. all pouring billions of dollars into the development of both the hardware and software required to get these vehicles on our roads pretty soon. 
What we’re not seeing is billions of dollars going into the public infrastructure projects, smart highway tech, material science investments for advanced batteries that provide extended AV range, AV auto repair infrastructure, large-scale urban redesign pilots/funding etc. There doesn’t seem to be the funding appetite for these less ‘sexy’ elements of the ecosystem. Without those parallel investments, this whole AV experiment will fail. I’ll actually suggest that there are more opportunities in those ecosystem opportunities than in the AV market itself. If only those with the money would recognize that instead of competing in the obvious fleet sales business…
More articles than books this month.
  1. Shaun Tan does a masterful job of artfully representing the disorientation that immigrants feel in his textless graphic novel 'The Arrival’.
  2. I’ve been looking at the utility industry through the 'Jobs to be Done’ framework, and the innovation gaps are even wider than I thought. Learn more about the framework from reading Clayton Christensen’s 'Competing Against Luck’.
  3. Another graphic novel about immigrants and our shared humanity, The Best We Could Do, by Bui Thi was one of Bill Gates’ favorite books of 2017.
  4. A few readers reached out asking for systems thinking book recommendations after the last PM newsletter. The Systems Bible by John Gall is a good one. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come as an eBook.
  1. Walking by Henry David Thoreau. Just because it’s awesome.
  2. Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, asks businesses to reconsider the short-termism that is prevalent in business today.
  3. While we are far from it, I believe we will come to a time when software programming will go the way of bean counting; there will be some experts but everyone can do it because there are tools that allow even newbies to build their own software. We are some ways away from that as this Wired article points out
  4. Wired guide to Artificial Intelligence 
  5. This is how a woman is erased from her job. 
  6. As a teenager, my friends and I would joke that we should drive or walk carefully because we never had any money to handle any issues/accidents we might get involved in. It was funny then. But it’s not funny when 2/3rds of Americans (and probably across the world) cannot afford an emergency that requires a $1000 cash
  7. Jazz as seen through British eyes between the two World wars.
  8. Age of Rudeness talks about the decline of manners in the UK. The author uses several airport examples. I traveled this past week and I’d say the decline is also evident in the US.
Almost everything on this month’s list is a recommendation. Thanks for reading and sharing. 
Note: book links are Amazon affiliate links.
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