François Pinault, which among many other things owns Gucci, is trying to buy Suez, France Energy Company (here the news in French). This reminds me that it is not a coincidence that german magazine “Der Spiegel” has also runned an article about how financial conglomerates are taking over many things in Germany as well. I wonder if we already live in a world of capitalist-kings, where everything we do depends on a handful of men and women absurdly rich, but not necessarily wise. The World Owners group.

François Pinault

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I.B.M. and Siemens have won a 7.1 billion euro contract to modernize and manage the nonmilitary information technology systems of Germany’s armed forces reports today The New York Times.

It seems that the guys at IBM and Siemens knows where the money is. And it is not in the quote web 2.0 unquote.

Lazy December

December 27, 2006

This is a lazy month. Winter time here in Germany and tomorrow I´ll be off to Portugal. So I´ll just list some cool stuff I´ve been reading about what is likely to happen next year. Kind of 2007 meta-predictions. So here they are:

In the US the Chumby will take off.

The Music industry will carry on losing billions of dollars.

We all will be fed up with the term “web 2.0”.

Many web 2.0 companies will run out of money.

Someone will buy Digg and maybe Metacafe.

AI scientists will keep the good work to conquer the world (not this year though).

Google stock price is finally going to drop a little.

There won´t be no big ideas bought by 2 billions dollars this year.

Quintura is a visual search engine that has yet another use for the increasingly popular tag cloud scheme. Quick facts about the company:

  • Define their product as a community-powered online search engine.
  • Based in Alexandria, Virginia in the U.S., but doing research and development in Moscow, Russia.
  • Patent-pending technology based on Neural Networks and AI (they fail to specify what kind of AI, actually many would consider Neural Networks a sub-field of AI).
  • Everybody in the board of directors seems to be russian (or at least has a russian surname). That pretty much explains why they develop their application in Moscow.
  • In August, 2006 they were featured in Business 2.0.
  • In their words: “(In 2006) Quintura looks for significant venture capital funding.

The Netflix prize offers anyone who can beat their recommendation algorithm for selecting good movies to their users a prize of US$ 1 million. Until now there are 16600 contestants from 124 countries. Giving that the contest started in October, we might say that it´s been a hell of a success.

Now imagine how much would cost Netflix (in terms of money and time) to hire the right team that would eventually come up with a solution: they are expecting a 10% increase in the performance of their algorithm, that´s a tough goal (imagine how many man-hours have been already spent in ther own system).

So they figured out a much smarter strategy:

Instead of looking for those bright people, they just let them come to Netflix searching for the gold. The result you saw above. It´s like tapping into the global pool of academic talent hanging around on their dorms and say: Hey let´s have a game! And in the end you might also make a buck.

Oh, and apart from this algorithm I bet they´re surely hiring the guys that will do it. So it seems that Netflix will have the cake and also eat it.

World Map Of Happiness

December 6, 2006

Adrian White, an analytic social psychologist from University of Leicester, has come up with the first world map of happiness. And the champions are:

1 – Denmark

2 – Switzerland

3 – Austria

So I think Europe has the lead ;o).