Inflation

Stuck at home, people have been unable to spend all their money and their bank-balances have swelled. But once they are vaccinated and liberated from the tyranny of Zoom, exuberant consumers may go on a spending spree that outpaces the ability of firms to restore and expand their capacity, causing prices to rise. The global economy already shows signs of suffering from bottlenecks. The price of copper, for example, is 25% higher than at the start of 2020.

I don’t really understand things like inflation – I mean, I know what it is, but with all macro stuff, it seems so outlandish and hard to prove causation that I don’t understand the mechanics.

The above sounds like a good example of that. I mean: really? People wanting to buy things is bad? Is the alternative better?

Original source: The world economy – After the pandemic, will inflation return? | Leaders

Vendor lock on aspirations, versus reality

One recent Bain & Company survey found that two-thirds of CIOs say they would prefer to use cloud services from several different vendors to avoid lock-in. Yet 71% of those companies still rely on only one cloud provider. The remaining 29% that do manage to pull off a multivendor strategy still spend an average of 95% of their cloud budget with one provider, effectively creating de facto lock-in.

Original source: Should we really be worried about vendor lock-in in 2020?

The electric car lifestyle

How quickly? Pandemic aside, Tesla would be on track to sell half a million cars in 2020, all of them electric. By contrast, GM sold almost 3 million cars last year, almost none of them electric. But by 2025 or so, GM plans to sell a million electric cars, a year that the company think might be a tipping point toward electrics. Why? To quote one executive, the better driving and owning experience. “When you get used to charging your vehicle like a phone at night, when you charge it, and you don’t worry about it, you never have to stop at a gas station. There’s a lot to be said for that kind of lifestyle.”

Original source: Can Detroit Catch Tesla?

Bank startups, features

The service today competes with a range of mobile banking apps, offering features like free overdrafts, no minimum balance requirements, faster direct deposits, instant spending notifications, banking insights, check deposits using your phone’s camera, and other now-standard baseline features for challenger banks.

Original source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/11/24/mobile-banking-app-current-raises-131m-series-c-tops-2-million-members/

“Cloud Native,” survey

But there’s still confusion about the term. A survey of 1,000 developers and IT decision-makers by software maker Lightbend found that a plurality of respondents (41.7%) ranked writing applications that specifically leverage underlying cloud infrastructure as the most important aspect of cloud native, but a majority picked the other two options: utilizing Kubernetes and containers (34.5%) or moving to a cloud infrastructure provider (23.8%). In other words, most respondents still prioritize where applications run over how they’re built.

Original source: Developers vs. Executives: Cloud Native Confusion Is Real

Uber Delivery making more money than taxi stuff

The company infamously rose to prominence as a scofflaw taxi-killer and later added delivery services and freight as substantial sidelines that in Q3 2019 delivered $863m compared to the $2.9bn won by ride-sharing services.

One year and one pandemic later, delivery and freight delivered a combined $1.74bn of revenue compared to ride-sharing’s $1.37bn.

Still a $1.1bn loss that quarter.

Original source: Uber is now a food delivery company with a substantial sideline in taxis

No one knows what they’re doing, but people get shit done nonetheless

Humanity is divided into two: on the one hand, those who are improvising their way through life, patching solutions together and putting out fires as they go, but deluding themselves otherwise; and on the other, those doing exactly the same, except that they know it. It’s infinitely better to be the latter (although too much “assertiveness training” consists of techniques for turning yourself into the former).

Original source: Oliver Burkeman’s last column: the eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life

Tibco acquiring Information Builders

The takeover deal, said by Reuters to worth about $1bn, was justified because it offers Tibco the opportunity to “access to a broader set of analytics and technology,” said Dan Streetman, chief executive officer at Tibco. “The blend of our two companies, with strong and complementary capabilities, will further unlock the potential of real-time data for making faster, smarter decisions.”

Also with a brief history of Tibco…

Original source: Dotcom era data wrangler Tibco to buy Information Builders, reportedly for a whopping $1bn

Pay decisions, manager tools

This means that, in theory at least, managers should benefit from the automation of mundane tasks and the support provided by ‘technology augmentation’ even if it means significant changes to their job spec — as long as such ideas are thought-through; presented in a non-threatening way they can buy into, and finally that they are provided with appropriate levels of training to help them make the most of it.

I hadn’t had enough coffee to sort out all the survey numbers and assertions in this write-up. However:

  • As I’m fond of pointing out, most “management” and office work stuff (where the work is oriented around The Meeting where project status will be reviewed or business decisions made) has very little tools (beyond Office) or process.
  • People spend a lot of time on low-value decisions: “Another issue is that they spend inordinate amounts of time working out what amount to small pay variations.” This is a kind of, I don’t know, “local optimism.” You think that spending a lot of time on this decision will create a lot of value, but it’s actually just over a few points of improvement that don’t payoff on the time spent.

Original source: How tech will change the role of the line manager, according to Gartner

On-premises kubernetes, or edge, or ROBO

You will be deploying sets of microservice applications on fleets of edge locations, and so will need to think about and invest in deployment strategies for a variety of applications.

Questions you will need to answer include: How do we do canary deployments? When do the updates actually propagate to locations? Where does the container registry that holds all the applications sit? It’s even more important that the non-production development environment is as close to identical to the hundreds or thousands of edge sites to avoid bugs in production. It’s also imperative that application and operations teams work together to automate the blueprint using GitOps or a similar approach for the entire stack—to the point that a disaster recovery strategy can be backed by bootstrapping edge environments and applications from scratch in the event a site gets corrupted or damaged.

Original source: VMware Tanzu at the Edge: Solution Architecture for ROBO Topology

Everything is production, T-Mobile and kubernetes

The other thing that we do for our internal customers is we don’t evaluate things in terms of production and non-production. Everything’s production to us. All of our customers are important, whether it’s just internal developers who are trying to meet deadlines for their project, or whether it’s external customers who are interacting with the website to buy or upgrade a phone.

Original source: How Communication Helps T-Mobile Keep Its Applications Up

Case: IRS using lean design

This is a case I’ve used a lot over the years to demonstrate the value of doing user testing, and having a small batch, lean designer mindset in place.

One of the big elements of lean methodology is to determine what in your plan might be an assumption rather than a fact and then come up with a way to test those theories before fully building out a product.

And:

While the product is still new and continues to be considered a soft launch, taxpayers have initiated over 400,000 sessions and made over $100M in payments after viewing their balance.

Original source: “Your IRS wait time is 3 hours.” Is lean possible in government?

When “multi-cloud” means “standard interface”

Kubernetes Provides a Common Interface – Another big benefit we didn’t totally expect when first using Kubernetes is the simplicity a common interface offers. Right now, CockroachCloud runs on GCP and AWS, and we have plans to expand. Kubernetes offers a consistent way of running production across clouds. And that’s powerful.

There’s a distinction here between something like “portable executable” and “common interface, API, and architecture.” I get tired of my own analogy here, but kubernetes has the potential to be like J(2)EE as leveler for One Architecture.

For example:

Reading between the lines, it seems that the advantage of using Kubernetes in flight is that it allows multiple software packages to be run on the aircraft’s mission systems (the ones used for working the onboard cameras, basically) without being dependent upon a single hardware environment – or requiring long and costly recertification of multiple software packages running on that single hardware environment.

I’m not sure it’s positioned that way, nor used that way enough to know if it’s true or good, yet.

Original source: How to Run a Software as a Service on Kubernetes

Domestic terrorism in the USA

In hearings last month before the House Homeland Security Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau conducts about 1,000 domestic terrorism investigations a year—“well north of 1,000” this year. Most of these cases, he said, involve white supremacist groups—contradicting Trump, who has claimed that leftists like antifa commit the most crimes. But Wray also said that the most “lethal” attacks come from “anti-government, anti-authority, anarchist” extremists. “We don’t think in terms of left or right,” he said. “That’s not how we view the world.”

Original source: The Michigan Kidnapping Plot Wasn’t About Trump. It Goes Deeper Than That.