Chaos in the Valley

Posted in advertising, business, digital, Uncategorized by thenextwavefutures on 20 September, 2017

On the strength of a long review of several recent tech books by John Lanchester in the London Review of Books, I read Antonio Garcia Martinez book Chaos Monkeys, which is mostly about his time as a willing hand in Silicon Valley, first in a startup and then as a product manager in Facebook’s ad department. 

Chaos Monkeys takes us from Goldman Sachs to Facebook, and out the other side, via a digital ad business called Adchemy,  the start-up ‘school’ Y Combinator, and the startup, AdGrok. Mostly Martinez is a good guide; especially to the world of venture capital and startups. Martinez persuades a couple of engineer colleagues at Adchemy, which is clearly struggling, to pitch to Y Combinator, the start-up hothouse then run by Paul Graham. Going in, they have a product concept that probably isn’t going to work, but that doesn’t matter because Y Combinator, like much of the rest of Silicon Valley, is as interested in teams as it is in products. 


Why isn’t their product going to work? This is a flash of innovation insight that’s worth the price of the book and quite a lot more.

When confronted with any startup idea, ask yourself one simple question: How many miracles have to happen for it to succeed? 

If the answer is zero, you’re not looking at a startup, you’re just dealing with a regular business… To be a startup, miracles need to happen. But a precise number of miracles.

Most successful startups depend on one miracle only. For Airbnb, it was getting people to let stragers into their spare bedrooms and weekend cottages. This was a user behavior miracle. For Google it was creating an exponentially better search sevice than anything that had existed to date. This was atechnical miracle. For Uber or Instacart, it was getting people to book and pay for real-world services via wesites or phones. This was a consumer-workflow miracle… 

The classic sign of a shitty startup is that it requires at least two (or more!) miracles to succeed. (P50-51)

Y Combinator is particularly good at getting its progeny in front of investors, but even allowing for that the commitment, rat-like cunning and persistence needed to get it across the line with investors and an eventual acquisition is more or less complete. As he says when he has the chance to pitch to a potential buyer and has a computer glitch, rule #1 of the start-up is “Always be closing”. 

VCs at work

The history of AdGrok, and its eventual acquisition following some initial investment, is almost a case study in VCs at work, and Martinez is pretty good at explaining the mechanics of how the VC business works (and the different and sometimes conflicting things that different types of VCs want from the eventual deal), even if you sometimes have to go back and check on some of the technicalities. This focus on the mechanics of the start-up reminded me of Jerry Kaplan’s 1990s classic Startup.

I hadn’t realised before I read the book of the extent to which the big Silicon Valley companies use startup acquisitions as a way of acquiring talent rather than software or patents. The rationale is that acquiring good product managers and engineers is difficult, and they come expensive, so using discussions about their product is a good way of assessing cultural fit. And bringing in people who have been through the startup mix, rather than looking first for a long-run career at a big company, injects some energy into the culture, and that energy is worth paying a premium for.  

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

In the end (spoiler!) Martinez has the chance to go to Twitter or Facebook. He chooses Facebook because of the full-on nature of the demands that the business makes of its staff, compared to Twitter, and this was partly learned from a casual remark from a Twitter engineer, when Martinez asked him what he liked most about Twitter.

“Well, you know, in companies like Facebook and Google, they serve you breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here at Twitter, they only serve you breakfast and lunch.”

I cringed inwardly. So the big selling point was that nobody worked late into the night…? (P237)

And after two years (more spoilers) after his live adserving product FBX loses out in an internal power struggle, he’s gone again:

I could barely remember what my life was like before Facebook, and there was a trail of destruction I had caused by spending m entire life there: two children neglected, two different women whose worthy love I’d spurned, two boats rotting in neglect, and anything like an intellect or a life outside campus rotting in neglect due to indifference and my dedication to the Facebook cause. (P458)  

If he’d stayed with the rest of the AdGrok team and gone to Twitter, he’d also have been about $1m better off and would not have burned his bridges irrevocably with one of his investors.       

And no: nowhere in the book does he make the connection between these outcomes and his disdain for Twitter’s failure, at the time, to serve dinner.

If he were chocolate

There are things not to like about Chaos Monkeys. It’s readable, but it’s too long; a competent editor could have taken 80 pages out of it without blinking, and improved it a lot. For example, I didn’t need to know about an inconsequential fling with a Facebook colleague in a company stationery cupboard, nor his streetrace in a carshare Tesla; I already knew he was reckless and competitive by then. He tries not to be, but he’s too pleased with himself a lot of the time. The lawyer who bailed AdGrok out of a hole may have agreed to a terrible deal (he accepted equity in the startup with no risk premium) but I’m not sure why Martinez needs to rub his face in it. 

There are too many footnotes, all too long. He tips his hat in a look-at-me sort of way to Michael Lewis’ Liar’s Poker without really understanding what made that such a fine book (well written, aware of his own shortcomings as a bond salesman, telling anecdotes, watching the start of deep transformation in the way investment banks work.) Martinez is a good observer, but if he were chocolate he would eat himself.

Saving Facebook

The reason that the advertising market and its monetisation became so important to Facebook in that period was because of its IPO–its revenues were flat and it needed to show growth to its new shareholders. The solutions that were attempted were basically a develop of Facebook’s existing, but closed, ad platform, and FBX, Martinez’ project, which was an open platform. Facebook’s culture and model is about closed systems, and that approach commanded most of the resources. The FBX platform, with its small team and limited resources, was essentially an insurance policy, although Martinez, for all his smarts, never seems to realise this. 

But the thing that saved Facebook’s financial position was neither of these things. It was the rapid shift in 2013 towards mobile and device use. If the shift was expected, its timing and speed were not. This allowed Facebook to insert ads profitably into user feeds on mobile.

News Feed Ads rode to success atop a tsunami-esque wave nobody had predicted, or at least hadn’t predicted to arrive right then and so quickly. In this case, that wave was mobile, which in the space of a few months in 2013 suddenly constituted the majoriy of Facebook usage… [D]ata and high quality formats and placements, meant that Facebook dominated mobile like few oter incumbents had managed to. (P483, 487-8)

Carthage must be destroyed

Despite being fired by them, Martinez clearly remains a fan of Facebook. He defends its position on privacy vociferously (they’re not a threat to your privacy, he says) and he admires the focus that Zuckerberg has on avoiding complacency. When Facebook moves into Sun’s former buildings in Menlo Park, Zuckerberg left some of the old Sun signs up, as a reminder, as it were, that this too could pass. When Google launched Google Plus, a clear bid for Facebook’s market space, the phrase Carthage delenda est (“Carthage must be destroyed”) became a company catchphrase.

John Lanchester, on the other hand, is not such a fan. He sees Facebook as the exemplar of a new form of surveillance capitalism. More on that in the next blog post. 



Posted in Uncategorized by thenextwavefutures on 13 August, 2017


Kantar Futures, where I work, has just launched a podcast, co-hosted by our executive chairman J Walker Smith and me. The first edition, which went live last week, has us talking about “The Third Age of Consumption,” among other things. 

The podcast can be downloaded here.

There’s a page of references and links on the blog.



Hans Rosling, 1948-2017

Posted in data, Uncategorized by thenextwavefutures on 9 February, 2017

Hans Rosling, the Swedish statistician who transformed the way we think about development and data, died this week of pancreatic cancer, at the relatively young age of 68. I haven’t got the time to do a proper tribute to him, but Gap Minder, the research group to which he devoted the last ten years of his life, has assembled a formidable collection of resources which show how wealth and life expectancy have been transformed over the short and the long run.

The youtube video at the top of this post, filmed by the BBC, shows Rosling in action, with his 200 year history of the world, which is worth five minutes of anyone’s time.

The chart he’s using there is on the Gap Minder site, and lets you explore the trajectories of different countries or groups of countries. There’s a host of valuable resources on the site, such as the ethnographic work of Dollar Street, going into the homes of people across the world to see what different incomes mean in different places in terms of everyday living standards.

I’ll also miss Rosling’s Twitter contributions, which often were a reminder of how fast fertility rates were falling across the middle-income and lower-income nations of the world. Typically this is far faster than the comparable rate of change at a similar stage in most European countries, and his tweets were a reminder that the rate of global population growth was slowing down rapidly.


Dirty lenses

Posted in Uncategorized, future, research by thenextwavefutures on 18 October, 2016


Gillian Tett had a column (may need registration) in this weekend’s Financial Times in which she reflected on trying to find a bar in upstate New York to watch one of the Presidential debates. It turned out the bars weren’t keen, and not just because there was a big football game on at the same time. The barmen observed that showing the   debate would cause unnecessar rancour between their customers.

She is a good reporter, and once she’d got over her surprise that others were less interested in the debate than she was, she reflected on the experience using her training as an anthropologist.

[O]ur biases are important. And that, in turn, suggests we could all benefit by looking at a concept that I first learnt about when I was studying anthropology: the “dirty lens” problem.

This “dirty lens” tag refers to the idea that when scientists peer at an object through a microscope, their view can be distorted by a clouded lens. In a laboratory, smudges and smears can usually be wiped away with a cloth. But in the social sciences, the “lens” is our mind, ears and eyes, and it is harder to spot and remove our mental smudges. There is no cloth.

There are, however, some exercises you can do to clean the lens.

In anthropology classes at university, we were urged to do four things. First, to take the obvious (but oft-forgotten) step of recognising that our lenses are dirty. Second, to consciously note our biases. Third, to attempt to offset these biases by trying to see the world from different perspectives; we must listen and look without preconception. Last but not least, to remember that our personal lens will never be perfectly clean, even if we take the first three steps. We must be humble and remember the limits of knowledge.

There are some obvious lessons here for futurists as well.

The solar transition

Posted in energy, trends, Uncategorized by thenextwavefutures on 12 August, 2016


Although futurists aren’t supposed to make predictions, the notion that our energy system is switching much more quickly than expected from fossil fuels to renewables, and that solar energy will be at the front of that change, suddenly doesn’t seem so controversial. Of course, the speed of the change still matters, certainly in terms of global warming outcomes.

And yet until recently the notion that solar energy would be the leading energy source was a possible future that was, broadly, regarded as impossible.

As Jeremy Williams notes in a recent review of Chris Goodall’s new book, The Switch, at his blog Make Wealth History:

The International Energy Agency didn’t think that solar power would ever be affordable at any great scale, and didn’t include it in its projections. In 2013, George Monbiot wrote that “solar power is unlikely to make a large contribution to electricity supply in the UK.” Goodall himself admits that he didn’t think it had much to offer until very recently.

Or, as Bloomberg put it:

The best minds in energy keep underestimating what solar and wind can do. Since 2000, the International Energy Agency has raised its long-term solar forecast 14 times and its wind forecast five times.

So what’s happened? The answer, in headline form, is in the chart at the top of this post.


Tagged with:

The EU referendum and the England problem

Posted in politics, Uncategorized by thenextwavefutures on 22 June, 2016


The left case for Brexit, or so called Lexit, has been well articulated during the referendum by Tariq Ali, John Hilary, and others. Paul Mason made it in one column, then rowed back again in another. A number of notable Greens have been leavers: Rupert Read, who changed his mind, and Jenny Jones, who made her case in the Guardian.

In the most recent edition of New Left Review, Susan Watkins summarised this case succinctly:

[A] vote to remain, whatever its motivation, will function in this context as a vote for a British establishment that has long channelled Washington’s demands into the Brussels negotiating chambers, scotching hopes for a ‘social Europe’ since the Single European Act of 1986… A Leave vote… would not bring about a new golden age of national sovereignty… But the knock-on effects of a leave vote could be largely positive: disarray, and probably a split, in the Conservative Party; preparations in Scotland for a new independence ballot.

And God knows, it’s hard to hold progressive views and not have one of Polly Toynbee’s famous clothes pegs over your nose as you approach the EU. [Update: Or to vote Remain through gritted teeth.] Peter Mair’s argument that the EU has the form of a democratic organisation but none of the substance is hard to argue with. The Lisbon Treaty, with all of the shenanigans involved, shifted the centre of gravity of the EU sharply towards neoliberalism and away from the social market; Germany’s imposition of ordoliberalism on the Eurozone and the brutal bullying of Greece was plain ugly.

The notion that the EU “needs to be taught a lesson”, put to me last week in a bar in France by a woman who said she’d vote Leave if she was British, has an obvious attraction.

But there’s something deeper going on, and that’s why I think that progressives have to vote Remain despite the EU’s evident problems.


Paint it black

Posted in future, history, methods, Uncategorized by thenextwavefutures on 7 May, 2016


One of the purposes of good futures work should be “to make the future strange,” to push people out of their assumption that what is normal now will go on being normal in the future. One of my favourite exercise for this is Douglas Coupland’s “Reverse Time Capsule“, published in Wired magazine in the 1990s, that listed things in the present that would have seemed unlikely, or worse, 20 years previously. One favourite example from his list: the Japanese luxury car. 

When I run workshops, I sometimes get people to bring objects that would have seemed unlikely in the mid-1990s, while discouraging the obvious consumer-techno choices. Having re-read some of the early history of the AIDS epidemic recently, and the way in which it wasn’t taken that seriously at first because the main victims were gay men and drugs users, in 2016 gay marriage seems a strong candidate for the current reverse time capsule.

The past is strange

But it’s also useful to remind people that the past is also strange, and there were two good examples of this in Bill Bryson’s book on Shakespeare, which I cantered through recently, both on the colour black.

The first is that black clothes, as seen in this portrait (probably) of Shakespeare, were a sign of wealth and status. The reason for this was that black dyes were much more expensive than other dyes. This was at a time when–according to James Wallman’s book *Stuffocation*–it took two months’ work to make a shirt, which would cost the equivalent of arounf £2,000 ($3,000) at current prices. 

The second is more surprising. Sugar arrived in Britain in the Elizabethan period, but again it was expensive, and therefore only the well-off could afford it. The result: they ended up with blackened teeth (dentistry didn’t catch up until a few hundred years later). So the less affluent would blacken their teeth to pretend that they too could afford sugar, and were therefore wealthier than they were.

The image of Shakespeare is from Wikimedia. It was painted sometime between 1600 and 1610, perhaps by John Taylor.    

Jobs and productivity, from the Economist

Posted in history, Uncategorized by thenextwavefutures on 19 January, 2014

Long, considered account from the Economist, looking at the long-term history (back to 1770) as well as the trends and prospects.

I’ll highlight some extracts when I’ve had time to digest.

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1964: James Meade and the automation problem

Posted in Uncategorized by thenextwavefutures on 19 November, 2013

A good post by Stuart White at Open Kingdom looks back at the work of the left-centre economist James Meade, who was concerned in 1964 that automation would cause a crisis of work.

Meade’s book, Efficiency, Equality and the Ownership of Property, “was motivated immediately by a concern about future technological and economic development. The scenario he contemplated was one in which automation of production reduces the demand for labour”, writes White.

Meade’s hypothesis:

‘This could happen if, in spite of the net accumulation of capital equipment, the new labour required with the new automated machines was actually less than the growth of the labour force plus the labour made redundant by the scrapping of physically worn-out old machinery’ (Meade 1964, pp.25-26).

So, notes White: “Even if wage rates are not depressed in absolute terms, the automation process could lead at least to a shift in labour’s and capital’s shares of output, a higher share going to capital.”

Of course this view is all but mainstream now, at least in some places – and hence this blog. What’s interesting about Meade’s book is that it has scenarios in it about how a society could respond if this happened.

White’s article describes it like this:

Meade’s 1964 book considers four possible responses: ‘the trade union state’; ‘the welfare state’; ‘property-owning democracy’; and ‘the socialist state’.

Under the first heading, Meade means any action, whether through collective bargaining or legislation, to maintain a ‘minimum real wage’. He is sceptical of this approach on the grounds that it will come at the expense of jobs.

Under the second heading, Meade has in mind tax-transfers which shift resources from the capital-holding rich to the wage-earning poor. Again, he is sceptical that this approach can go far by itself. The tax rates necessary, he thinks, could undermine economic incentives.

It is the latter two responses that Meade advocates. If the return to capital is rising relative to labour, then the way to prevent this leading to growing inequality of income is to democratise claims over wealth – over returns to capital. [My emphasis] This can be done in two ways.

First, the state can enact policies to encourage a wider dispersion of privately-held wealth. This is what Meade means by ‘property-owning democracy’. Meade himself puts a lot of emphasis on designing an inheritance or accessions tax in a way that will break down large concentrations of wealth and encourage people to give wealth to those who have yet to receive much from this source. One can readily imagine other, complementary policies to help with this goal. In one interesting response to Paul Krugman’s article on the ‘rise of the robots’, Noah Smith argues along Meade-type lines, suggesting the idea of a universal capital endowment as a right of citizenship. (Back to the Child Trust Fund?)

Second, the state can itself build up a stake in national wealth and distribute this as income to citizens. For much of his career Meade was an advocate of what he termed ‘Topsy Turvy Nationalization’. He was not supportive, in general, of the state buying up private sector firms and then trying to manage them. But he did strongly support the creation of a state investment fund. The state would own a portfolio of assets across the economy. The return on these assets could then be returned to the citizenry, e.g., as a uniform social dividend or basic income. One might call this a Citizens’ Trust. …

In his ideal scenario, he envisaged the community owning 50% of national assets as a Citizens’ Trust and using the return to provide a social dividend for all. In Meade’s utopia – or what he himself called his ‘agathatopia’ (a good, if not perfect, place) – a downward shift in the return to labour, e.g., due to automation, has a more limited impact on the overall distribution of incomes. If there is a change in the relative reward of labour and capital, then while one source of an individual’s income (wages) falls in relative terms, other sources of their income (the returns on more widely held private and shared public assets) will correspondingly rise.

One place where such a Citizen’s Trust has been created is Alaska, oddly, where a community fund was created which channels a modest citizens’ income from oil royalties. (Karl Widerquist, Open Democracy, 24 April 2013). Arguably (my note, not White’s) is that Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund works in a similar way, although disburses public benefits and public assets rather than a citizens’ income. Scottish politicians have been talking about a similar model, post-independence. (Angela Cumminem Open Democracy, 6 November 2013).

Work & automation: a festival of links

Posted in Uncategorized by thenextwavefutures on 18 November, 2013

This post is extracted from one by Izabella Kaminska, written in December 2013, who was one of the first people to dive into this area – and took quite a lot of flak for doing so. The links are all hers.

There’s an important theoretical point buried implicitly in here, one that David Harvey makes in his readings of Capital, that only human labour can create value. It’s quite technical, though, and I need to spend time on it to understand it better

One of her theories – that we have a crisis in the value of work because we are being too productive with our leisure time is interesting – and a bit Clay Shirky, though I’m not completely persuaded. But the point of a research blog is to catch all this stuff.

It took almost a year for me to be taken seriously on the “technology is undermining capital” front, so it was extremely exciting to see the debate blast off in serious economic circles during the last quarter of 2012. I thought it might be useful, as a result, to provide some links to the most recent developments — since the debate really is moving quickly now. …

One of the criticisms I face all the time, meanwhile, is that all this tech innovation has been going on for centuries. Why should there be a crisis of capital now? What makes this time any different? And what makes my sudden focus on tech relevant?

For starters, what I feel is new is the idea that the financial crisis was born out of the tech crash. If not for the dotcom bubble, we would not have had the conditions to create the subprime crisis. The China outsourcing phenomenon and imbalance situation may also have been born out of a need to replace mechanised labour — which compromised capital — with human labour, which still ensured profit and the preservation of capital. It was in a sense, an artificial scarcity response… designed to spread spending power to secure return on capital, rather than extinguish it.

I wrote a “Man in the high castle” type piece on FT Alphaville earlier this year, imagining what might have happened had the West not outsourced labour as extensively back in the 1990s. The conclusion was that the West may have been Japan-ified much earlier on.

But what really makes this time different, I would argue, is that a lot of the competition is now coming from a) the voluntary and crowd sourcing/open source arena and b) it’s only artificial scarcities (patents, monopoly interests) which are preventing complete democratisation of technologically-fueled abundance across the world. It is thus because monopoly power is slipping, challenged as it is by free alternatives rather than cheaper ones… that the crisis is beginning to manifest.

In a nutshell there is too much leisure time being devoted to productivity. We are too productive at ever cheaper (or free) rates, and as a consequence the pool of salaried jobs (those which must offer a good salary to attract specific skills) is diminishing quickly. … That, at least, is my entirely non-substantiated theory.

Anyway, enough drifting. Here are the links as promised:


Rise of the Robots – Paul Krugman (Dec 8)

Technology or Monopoly Power? – Paul Krugman (Dec 9)

Robots and Robber Barons – Paul Krugman (Dec 10)

Technology and Wages, the Analytics (Wonkish) – Paul Krugman (Dec 10)

Human vs Physical Capital (Krugman’s “mea culpa” moment) (Dec 11)

Is growth over? – Paul Krugman (Dec 26)

Capital-biased Technological Progress: An Example (Wonkish) – Paul Krugman (Dec 26)

Futurism and Policy – Paul Krugman (Dec 27)

Policy Implications of Capital-Biased Technology: Opening Remarks – Paul Krugman (Dec 28)

Kenneth Rogoff

Innovation Crisis or Financial Crisis? – Ken Rogoff (Project Syndicate) (Dec 4)

Marginal Revoluion (Tyler Cowen)

What is the potential for 3-D printing?  (Dec 23)

Are robots and aging demographics self-cancelling problems? (Dec 28)

Peter Thiel and Gary Kasaparov (FT)

Our dangerous illusion of tech progress  (Nov 8)

Noahpinion (Noah Smith)

Rise of the cyborgs   (Dec 26)

Pragmatic Capitalism (Cullen Roche)

Robots Suck, No Robots Rule – What Say Ye? (Dec 10)

Reformed Broker (Josh Brown)

Own the Robots, Bro, Trust Me. (Dec 27)

Laurence Kotlikoff and Jeffrey Sachs

Smart Machines and Long-Term Misery (pdf) – NBER (Dec 2012)

David Graeber

Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit – The Baffler (June 4)

Robert Gordon



The Patent Problem (13 November)

Climateer Investing

Artificial Intelligence is the Key to Future Growth — Or Stagnation – (Dec 27)

A Roundup on Robots, Capital-biased Technological Change and Inequality (plus how to tell if a person is a fiduciary) – (Dec 18)

The Next Time You Bitch and Moan About the Lack of Jetpacks, Remember Disposable Diapers!” – (Dec 17)

Robots Raise a Row(e) in Economics Land – (Dec 16)

The March of Robots Into Chinese Factories – (Dec 6)

The Paradox of Profit Margins and Another Look at the Theory of Everything – (Sept 24)

The Road to Serfdom: Where the Robots Are Taking Us – Climateer Investing (Dec 11)

The theory of everything – (August 11)


Enough is enough of the age of consumption – FT (July 4)

And my tech-related stuff (includes refs or features work of others)

[Alphaville, free, needs registration]

In an economy not so far, far away – FT (Dec 28)

The FT Alphaville podcast, with Dylan Grice – FT Alphaville (Dec 21)

Defending the Romans – FT Alphaville (Dec 12)

The robot economy and the new rentier class – FT Alphaville (Dec 10)

The personalised pricing revolution – FT Alphaville (Nov 21)

Whose idea is it anyway – Towards a Leisure Society (Nov 16)

Money as a passion, not a standard – FT Alphaville (Oct 10)

Welcome to the ‘Desert of the Real’ — a postmodern economy – FT Alphaville (Oct 09)

Rubik’s Revolutions – FT Alphaville (Oct 03)

The case against idea monopolisation – FT Alphaville (Oct 03)

The decline or the redefinition of labour? – FT Alphaville (Sept 26)

A time of hoarding and inflation fears, 1930s edition – FT Alphaville (Sept 24)

Beyond happiness – FT Alphaville (Sept 20)

The BoE on Britain’s productivity puzzle – FT Alphaville (Sept 19)

Are UK companies hoarding labour? – FT Alphaville (Sept 12)

How technology is killing the Asian growth miracle – FT Alphaville (Sept 10)

Towards a steady-state economy? – FT Alphaville (Sept 04)

Time to resurrect the ‘missing variable’ – FT Alphaville (Aug 31)

3D Printing: Rise of the machines – FT Alphaville (Aug 10)

Negative rates as a precursor to the death of banking – FT Alphaville (Jul 31)

China flash PMIs — the employment factor – FT Alphaville (July 24)

China as a post capital economy – FT Alphaville (July 12)

Pariah profits in an age of ‘negative carry’ – FT Alphaville (Jul 05)

The negative carry universe – FT Alphaville (July 04)

On abundance, post-scarcity and leisure – FT Alphaville (Jun 20)

On price stability during an ‘abundance shock’ – FT Alphaville (June 26)

Shopping in the future – FT Alphaville (Jun 14)

Redefining labour – FT Alphaville (Jun 12)

The end of artificial scarcity – FT Alphaville (Jun 03)

Space opera, beyond finance edition – FT Alphaville (Feb 29)

Economics, a space opera – FT Alphaville (Feb 03)

Others from Alphaville 

Robots! No Robots! – FT Alphaville

Ahhhh! No robots! – FT Alphaville

Beyond Scarcity – FT Alphaville (series)

On price stability during an ‘abundance shock’ – FT Alphaville

Is that robot going to steal your job? – FT Alphaville (Sept 14)