Amazon + Teva = A Marriage Made In Heaven

Amazon+Teva.jpeg

Amazon has upended so many industries–and you can basically buy almost anything there.


And yes, what you can’t buy today, you will be able to buy tomorrow. 


What started as books and DVDs is now virtually synonymous with e-Commerce itself!

Next up for Amazon is pharmaceuticals!


Some people may think that Whole Foods gives Amazon the footprint it needs to sell these and dominate.


But what people aren’t considering is that Amazon can sell the pharmaceuticals online.


Amazon can do what other online drug distributors can’t.


Why?


Because Amazon has the most unbelievable distribution network in the world. 


Currently, people can order drugs through the mail, but these tend to be for regular reoccurring prescriptions that have lead time. 


However, Amazon can outdo these mail order pharma companies, because they can get you the drugs you need when and where you need it. 


– You don’t feel well and can’t make it to CVS, Amazon will deliver to your door. 


– Need same-day delivery, no problem. 


– Plus do all your shopping together in one fell timesaving swoop. 


My prediction: 

Amazon the low cost, efficient online seller of everything to everywhere is going to partner with Teva Pharmaceuticals, the #1 world leader in low cost generic drugs.


Teva already produces 120 billion tablets and capsules every year, operates in 80 countries, and currently fills 1 in 6 generic prescriptions in the U.S. 

Together, Amazon and Teva can make beautiful music, that is medicine + money!


Who needs CVS when pharmaceuticals perhaps soon can be gotten at Whole Foods or at your Trusty Amazon.com.  


One more time, I see some radical disruption–and this time it will bring you cheaper and more convenient drugs–make a l’chaim to your health. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)


(Endnote: I am a big fan + investor in Teva, and of course, all opinions here are my own.)

Facebook Is Dead!

Facebook.jpeg

So folks, here is my absolutely contrarian prediction. 

Facebook Is Dead!

Who in their right mind would say something like that?


Facebook has 2 billions users! 


Well I am one of those users.


But even though I use it. 


I recognize that it is essentially useless and a waste of time. 


Yes, there are cute videos and messages and photos on there. 


But basically if you’re honest, it’s mostly a lot of garbage and time sink!


Twitter has a newsfeed purpose. 


Instagram has a photo sharing purpose. 


LinkedIn has a professional networking purpose. 


But Facebook is a glorious made-up fad!


I believe that people are getting tired of the:


– Meaningless, mind-numbing posts of what they had for breakfast today (and every other fart, literally). 


– Phony self-branding veneer as if everything is always perfect in their lives (look I’m on another vacation skydiving!)


– Virtual relationships rather than genuine friendships and real connections (I’m fiends with over 3,000 people!)


– The millions of empty slogans, political statements, and impersonal wishes to everyone for every occasion (have a really happy birthday!)


Frankly, I think that people are reaching the point of realization where they want more from the time they spend online.


– More depth of feelings


– More substance of thought


– More reality than superficiality. 


Yes, we all need some downtime too to mellow and just laugh a little, but I am fairly certain that the time people are putting into Facebook is not really meeting their true social networking needs. 


In the end, we will find out that Facebook is the epitome of the greatest fool theory–where everyone dumps their shit from the day, hoping that there is some greater fool who will superficially lopping it all up. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

The Pundits Know Sh*t

big-mouth

If you haven’t seen any of the many videos flying around about everyone who said “Trump will never be president,” then you should.


Presumably, these were people in the know–senior politicians and statesmen, experts galore including scientists and professors, news media, talk show hosts, comedians, and Hollywood stars.


Virtually none could even imagine him winning as they “promised” and “guaranteed” it and even swore they would leave the country otherwise.


But as we all now know, they were completely wrong and misguided. 


Similarly, in a book review today in the Wall Street Journal of “Public Intellectuals,” the big mouth know-it-alls out there or what my friend’s father used to call “intellectual idiots” failed to predict all the black swan events.


From the fall of the Soviet Union to 9/11, the Internet bubble and recession of 2001 to the mortgage meltdown and financial collapse of 2008, from the Arab Spring to Brexit…the pundits are all left looking like schmendricks!


Whether this is caused by personal biases, shortsightedness, herd mentality, or incompetence, the educated intellectuals just don’t seem to be able to see around that next bend anymore than the rest of us. 


Moreover, because of their walled-off elite status, they are functioning and talking through loud speakers from their ivory towers rather than from the real man’s world of everyday hardships and challenges. 


As I often tell one of my esteemed colleagues, it’s not how often or how loud you say something, but how sincere it is. 


The pundits typically miss it (although they seem so smart when talking with 20-20 hindsight about what happened and why), and as contrarians already know, it typically pays to do the opposite of what the so-called experts tell you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Robots, Who’s Telling Whom What To Do

Robot
There was an interesting quote about jobs of the future by Tom Preston-Werner in Bloomberg Businessweek:



“In the future, there’s potentially two types of jobs: where you tell a machine what to do, programming a computer, or a machine is going to tell you what to do. You’re either the one that creates the automation or you’re going to get automated.”



Already, we’ve seen manufacturing get outsourced by the millions of job to cheaper labor oversees or automated in factories by machines and robotics.



Similarly, agriculture has seen a large decrease in small family-owned farms, in lieu of mega farms run by multinationals and run by automated farm equipment with GPS and drones. 



The military is moving quickly to warfare by drones, robotics, and people geared-up in high-tech exoskeletons. 



Now in the sacrosanct service sector, where it has been said that it could never be done by anyone by local people in the communities, services are moving in the direction of robotics.

 

Perhaps even in government we can ask, can there be a future where robots can govern better than we can–and get things done speedily and efficiently!



In one Sci fi hit after another, from Star Trek to Battlestar Galactica to Terminator, a future of humanity embattled by cyborgs predominates. 



Like in the show, Lost in Space, where the robot in wont to say, “Crush, Kill, Destroy,” perhaps we can understand this as not jsut a physical threat as people’s lives, but also to their ability to earn a living in a world where automation challenges us with the children reframe:



“Everything you can do, I can do better. I can do everything better than you. Yes you can, no you can’t…”



At this point, I am not sure it is really a debate anymore, and that Preston-Werner is predominantly right…technology is the future–whether we are end up being eaten alive by it or are its earthly masters. 😉

From Pepper Spray to Champagne

From Pepper Spray to Champagne

Shhh! This is the story of drones.

Drones continue to go from battlefield to backyard.

Initially, developed for advanced persistent surveillance and later weaponized for targeting terrorists, we heard the like of Jeff Bezos promise drones for Amazon delivery.

Once again, the double-edge of drones continues…

This week we saw the introduction of scary, “Riot Control Drones” developed by Desert Wolf (a military contractor) that can shoot 4,000 rounds of pepper spray, paint balls, and non-lethal plastic projectiles, employs bright strobe lights and blinding lasers, and issues commands and warnings through loud speakers, and monitors crowds of protesters by high-definition and thermal vision cameras.

At the same time, we saw drones being used as Flying Bel Hops in the luxury Casa Madrona hotel and spa in California for delivering champagne, treats, toys, and even sunglasses to their $10,000 a night guests on their guest deck or even to a boat out on the bay.

And we are still only at the beginning, with drones, and robotics in general, moving to revolutionize our world.

Robots will surveil, they will attack and kill, and they will serve people everywhere from restaurants and retail to hospitals and homes.

You can’t shush the robots, they are on the march and they will have the means to help and hurt people–it won’t be simple, but it definitely will be completely invasive. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Kurzweil, Right and Wrong

Kurzweil, Right and Wrong

Ray Kurzweil the famous futurist is an amazing person, but like everyone he has his good and bad days.

When it comes to the Singularity–Kurzweil had a very good day.

With the accelerating speed of technology change, the advent of super intelligence and superhuman powers is already here (and continuing to advance) with:

Smartphones all-in-one devices give us the power of the old mainframe along with the communication capabilities to inform and share by phone, text, photo, video, and everything social media.

Google Glass is bringing us wearable IT and augmented reality right in front of our very eyes.

Exoskeletons and bioengineering is giving us superhuman strength and ability to lift more, run faster and further, see and hear better, and more.

Embedded chips right into our brains are going to give us “access to all the world’s information” at the tip of our neural synapses whenever we need it (Wall Street Journal).

In a sense, we are headed toward the melding of man and machine, as opposed to theme of the Terminator movie vision of man versus machine–where man is feared to lose in a big way.

In man melded with machine–we will have augmentations in body and brain–and will have strength, endurance, and intelligence beyond our wildest dreams.

However, Kurzweil has a bad day is when it comes to his prediction of our immortality.

Indeed, Kurzweil himself, according to the Journal “takes more than 150 pills and supplements a day” believing that we can “outrun our own deaths.”

Kurzweil mistakenly believes that the speed of medical evolution will soon be “adding a year of life expectancy every year,” so if only we can live until then, we can “Live long enough to live forever.”

But, just as our super intelligence will not make us omniscient, and our superhuman powers will not make us omnipotent or omnipresent, our super advances in medicine will not make us, as we are, immortal.

Actually, I cannot even imagine why Kurzweil would want to live forever given his fear-inspiring Singularity, where advances in machine and artificial intelligence outpaces man’s own evolutionary journey.

Kurzweil should knock off some of the pills and get back to humankind’s learning and growth and stop his false professing that humans will become like G-d, instead of like a better humans. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Colonize And Survive

Colonize And Survive

It was interesting to read in Popular Science (12 April 2013) that the famous physicist and futurist, Stephen Hawking, stated that humans would face extinction on planet Earth within the next 1,000 years.

Hawking says we need to colonize other planets–and I believe that is sound advice.

While Mother Earth has an incredible ability to rejuvenate and self-heal, let’s face it, the planet cannot sustain us forever in our current state.

According to the United Nations, the world population is expected to hit 9.22 billion by 2075, and life expectancy is expected to rise varying across countries from 66 to 97 by 2100.

Moreover, according to research institution, Transatlantic Academy (May 2012), over the next 10-20 we are likely to see “accelerating demand for most natural resource commodities…increasingly volatile markets, [and] scarcities are likely to be more common.”

In the absence of major technological breakthroughs, increased social equity, and peaceful coexistence on this planet, we will need to find resources outside of Earth and colonize other planets–this is our future.

Already, as reported by National Geographic (10 April 2013), the administration has funded NASA to capture an asteroid and set it in orbit around the moon to not only study and develop capabilities to help protect our planet from a collision, but also to eventually be able to mine asteroids for precious minerals.

As much as we love Earth–although sometimes we don’t show it by being gluttonous with its resources, polluting, destroying the ozone, and generally not following sustainable practices–we need to have a “Plan B” whereby we explore for water, food, land, minerals, and energy elsewhere and be ready to make a move to survive another 6000 years and more. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Really Smart Cities

This is unbelievable design work by Jacque Fresco–architect, futurist and only 96-years old!

As you watch this video, you just have to ask yourself, why didn’t we think of that sooner?

His design for the city of the future just seems so intuitive–and in aggregate looks almost like the Internet with a mesh design of interlocking cities working together harmoniously.

Great concepts:

– Circular cities–with a city center or central hub of essential services (medical, fire, police, etc.) and shopping, and radiating bands of living quarters, agriculture, and recreation.

– Build from the ground up–rather than build piecemeal, you build the entire architected city from the ground up–first underground infrastructure then building foundations, structures, and all modular, interlocking, interchangeable, and constantly maintained.

– Transportation Conveyers–transport up, down, and around by speedy conveyers or between city hubs by underground maglev trains.

– Recycle Everything–this is an environment where nothing is wasted and everything gets recycled.

– Energy Sustainability–all buildings have photovoltaic or solar cells for generating their own renewable energy resources.

– Clean Water/Air–vital resources like water and air is piped in, cleaned, and constantly monitored for safety.

Wow, this is a day and night difference from any city that I have ever seen–wouldn’t this be the type of place you’d like to raise your family in the future.

Maybe there are times when starting over with a fresh architecture perspective versus just tinkering with the old is necessary to make a bold leap forward–do you think this one of them? 😉

Technology Forecast 2013

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I am an avid follower of everything technology and trends, but am tired of hearing about cloud, mobile, and social computing.

It’s time to get over it with the agenda of the past and get on with it with the future of technology.

In the attached graph is my Technology Forecast 2013, and here is where I see us going forward:

1) Service Provision–Cost-cutting and consolidation into the cloud is a wonderful idea and it has had it’s time, but the future will follow consumer products, where one flavor does not fit all, and we need to have globalization with a local flavor to provide for distinct customer requirements and service differentiators, as well as classified, proprietary and private systems and information.

2) Service Delivery–Mobile is here and the iPhone is supreme, but the future belongs to those that deliver services not only to remote devices, but in wearable, implantable, and even human augmentation.

3) Human Interaction–Social computing epitomized by Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and many more is a cool way in interact with others virtually, but wall posts, email, and chats are getting cliche–next up conjoining with others with capabilities such as telepathic communication, mind melding collaboration, and even virtual sex for the outlandish.

4) Robotics and Artificial Intelligence–With something like 10,000 drones flying the friendly and not-so friendly skies and even drones that autonomously land on aircraft carriers, the next robot is coming to the ground near you–drones will become (an)droids and will eventually have the AI to become part of our everyday society.

5) Service Assurance–Enough playing defense with a sprinkling of offense against our worst enemies–it’s past time to move from trying to stop-gap infiltrators and do damage control once we’ve been robbed blind, and instead move to a hunter-killer mentality and capability–the price of being a bad boy on the Internet goes way up and happens in realtime.

6) Data Analytics–Big data isn’t a solution, it’s the problem. The solution is not snapshot pretty graphics, but realtime augmented reality–where data is ingrained in everything and transparent realtime–and this becomes part of our moment-by-moment decision processes.

7) Biotechnology–Biometrics sounds real cool–and you get a free palm reading at the same time, but the real game changer here is not reading people’s bio signatures, but in creating new ones–with not only medical cures, but also new bio-technological capabilities.

8) Nanotechnology–Still emerging, quantum mechanics is helping us delve into the mysteries of the universe, with applications for new and advanced materials, but the new buzzword will be nano-dust, where atomic and molecular building blocks can be used on-the-fly to build anything, be anywhere, and then recycled into the next use.

Overall, I see us moving from mass produced, point-to-point solutions to more integrated end-to-end solutions that fit individual needs–whether through continued combinations of hardware, software, and services, man-machine interfaces/integration, and building blocks that can be shaped and reused again and again.

From my perspective, there a seeming lull in innovation, but the next big leap is around the corner.

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Not A Cloud In The Sky

Not_a_cloud_in_the_sky

I thought this picture was sort of humorous.

This lady is walking down the street with this big green umbrella, but there is NOT a cloud in the sky.

In fact, you can see in the upper right that it is a beautiful and clear sunny day.

Also, where she is walking, it is clearly shady and cool–so the umbrella is not needed as a sun screen either.

From a technology annoyance perspective, it is long past time to invent something more creative than a cheap, crappy umbrella–like from Charlie Chaplin and The Umbrella–to protect us from elements.

Someone, please come up with a push-button protective bubble that envelops us–clear for visibility, of course–and keeps us dry and temperate.

A beautiful, futuristic clear dome over the city would be nice too, but probably cost prohibitive and not as adjustable for each indiividual and their respective needs.

Hopefully, someday soon. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)