Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Businessweek & Fast Company Features

There were a few pieces that stood out from recent issues of Businessweek and Fast Company.

The latest BW had two feature stories of note including "A Pet Food Store Fights to Survive Sandy" by Karl Taro Greenfeld. He's one of those writers whose work I look for (along with Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone as other frequent Businessweek contributors) and provides in this piece a thorough and compelling view into the storm aftermath for one wiped out Staten Island business and it's owners.

Also from this issue was the interesting Devin Leonard piece "Is Concierge Medicine the Future of Health Care?" about doctors taking on patients on a monthly fee basis rather than billing insurance carriers for exams and basic services. Very interesting notion with lots of different service derivations and costs ranging from extremely high to quite affordable.

From Fast Company recently a feature that particularly stood out was "IBM's Watson Is Learning Its Way To Saving Lives" by Jon Gertner. Fascinating look at the ever-improving supercomputer (of winning at Jeopardy fame) and it's potential applications in any number of fields including finance and medicine. Interesting in the piece was the description of Watson (with it's computing power coming from software as much as hardware) being positioned for medical diagnosing purposes as a tool providing possibilities and %s of likely success rather than end all be all intelligence. While information from Watson may wind up being better than from a doctor, it could speed adoption of the computer to understate how it might replace a doctor's evaluation.

Two other things of particular interest from Fast Company lately were mention of of a Social Media expert (a nebulous phrase to be sure) and feature story on a well known website and it's founder. The Social Media expert mentioned was Clara Shih and seeing her in the "Leadership in a Time of Chaos" Dec/Jan cover story reminded me of a March 2012 Businessweek piece that referenced her book The Facebook Era. The website and it's founder Fast Company feature was "Not Just Another Web 2.0 Company, Yelp Basks In Its Star Power" by Max Chafkin. I'm fascinated by Social Media companies and how some seem to make much more sense than others... with Jeremy Stoppleman's Yelp appearing to have a lot of staying power.