image credit: Pensacola News Journal

Week of July 11, 2016


“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Arthur C. Clarke

Author of “2001: A Space Odyssey”

who pioneered the concept of the telecommunications satellite.

The Man Who Rented Cars

In a world where we’ve come to think of great fortunes being associated with tech startups, it’s refreshing to remember a man who built a great company by taking an old product (the automobile) and making it available to an underserved market.    Enterprise Rent-a- Car founder Jack Taylor died at age 94 this week.   This WWII fighter pilot began as a car salesman at a Cadillac dealership in St. Louis and from an initial fleet of seven cars built a business today with almost $20 billion in annual revenue including rental car brands Alamo and National. 

Mr. Taylor gave away hundreds of millions to charity before his death. His obituary in the New York Times will give you a quick history of the challenges that were successfully met by a great CEO, a great entrepreneur and a great human being. 

You and Big Data

Kitty Hawk to the Moon…..Henry Ford to Tesla….. Watson and Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA to mapping the human genome; every technology has its story, but information technology’s story is impacting more people faster.   Technology writer Robert X. Cringely is featuring a “must read” series in his blog, “I, Cringely”, that explores IT’s latest and most compelling chapter, “Big Data” and how we got there. It is well worth your time.

Cringely writes “Personal computing changed America, the Internet changed the world, but Big Data is about to transform the world. Big Data will drive our technological development for the next hundred years.”    

If you’re not a digital native, this series of blogs will put IT’s big developments in perspective for you; if your birth occurred after the PC’s advent, these articles will introduce you to the IT world before the advent of the microprocessor, and perhaps provide a new appreciation for a world you may be taking for granted.

There are three articles in this series “Thinking About Big Data,”  Part 1  and Part 2 were posted this week.   They are not short, but are well written, generally avoiding “geek speak.” Those who would like to understand what is perhaps the most important aspect of IT today, will be well rewarded by investing some time on Mr. Cringely’s blog.   I’ll send Part 3 when it becomes available. 

Does this man have the future ‘Wired”? 

…and speaking of technology…..Kevin Kelly is famous as the founder of one of the best technology magazines on the market, “Wired.”  Smithsonian recently conducted did a brief interview with him about our technological future and he concludes that we’ll share more, own less and spend far more time on our devicesThe interview summarizes many of the points in his recent book,  “The Inevitable:  12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.”    

At the end of the article, Kelly is featured in 55 minute video from the SXSW conference where he provides additional commentary about the aforementioned forces. 

Econ Recon:  Four Ways to Create Wealth

Britain left the EU two weeks ago and many forecasters warned of impending doom.  Since then the Dow has recovered from the Brexit pull back and surged past 18,000 to close on Friday in record high territory, and the US employment report last week was very strong. What can we learn from this?  Economist Brian Wesbury suggests some useful perspectives to keep in mind when assessing economic news and events. Check out his recent one page article ”Watch Earnings, Not Fearful Forecasts” , especially his list of  “Four Ways to Create Wealth”.