Innovations in 5: Mary Meeker on wearables, China, and the Internet trends to watch

May 30, 2013

Here’s what we’re reading/watching today:

1) Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Beyers general partner Mary Meeker has released her Internet Trends report and, where last year the fast rise in mobile usage emerged as the highlight, this year, it appears to be wearable tech (slide no. 49).

UP by Jawbone. (PRNewsFoto/Jawbone)
UP by Jawbone. (PRNewsFoto/Jawbone)

“Internet growth remains very strong,” said Meeker — with emerging markets driving much of the growth. Meeker presented the findings at the D11 conference on Wednesday. “There’s a lot to learn” from China (slide no. 66), she said, and, in the report, she and co-author Liang Wu offer some perspective on KPCB’s high-skilled immigration report (slide no. 83).

Regarding China, the number of iOS and Android users there have surpassed that of users in the United States, with the Chinese spending more time on mobile and the Internet than their U.S. counterparts. Americans, the report shows, spend more time watching television and listening to the radio. The report also identifies the emergence of a number of service apps, including those for taxicabs and delivery, as well as the growth of the Chinese social media network Sina Weibo.

The report shows that eight of the top 10 global Internet properties are American-owned with over 80 percent of the traffic to those sites coming from outside the United States. The report also finds that Americans are “sharing underachievers,” (slide no. 28) coming in well below the world average.

Even as Americans are “underachievers” in sharing, the rapid growth of Snapchat indicates a potential change in attitude among Web users, with many showing an eagerness to keep their data from being tagged and tracked. And still, according to the report, hiding one’s identity has become even more difficult. On the Web today, finds Meeker, “everybody knows you’re a dog.”

That said, people are eager to gather and leverage data about their behavior to improve their health, with behavior, according to data on one slide, being the leading contributor to premature death in the United States in 2007 (slide no. 25).

2) Businesweek’s Joshua Green has a fascinating report on Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt’s role in curating the Obama campaign’s data brain trust and then, in the form of Civis Analytics, preserving it:

“The plan is to bring the same Big Data expertise that guided the most expensive presidential campaign in history to companies and nonprofits.’The model of innovation in technology are these very young teams that have a brand-new idea, like each other, and work incredibly hard,’ says Schmidt. ‘Venture capitalists are competing all over for these people. When you find them, you figure out what they want to do and you back them.’”

3) Wired’s Adam Mann outlines why we still can’t send a human being to Mars, and the potential solutions:

“The good news is that there’s nothing technologically impossible about a manned Mars mission. It’s just a matter of deciding it’s a priority and putting the time and money into developing the necessary tools.”

4) It’s a short read, but The Big Think has a piece by Tara Sophia Mohr on “why we resist our inner calling.” Ultimately, she writes, “for most of us that resistance can last a very long time and what you want to work toward is just recognizing the resistance and letting go of it.”

5) In a recently-released TED Talk, Museum of Modern Art senior curator of architecture and design Paola Antonelli outlined why she believes today is “the age of design” and that “design is so much more than cute chairs.” Antonelli also describes what happened when the Museum of Modern Art acquired the source code to Pac Man, Tetris and Sim City 2000. As she put it, “all hell broke loose.” (TED via Wired)

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