Socialism and Individualism

Via The Guardian – here the full piece.

There are several reasons why rampant individualism sits at the core of the Tory project. Individualism promotes the idea that our successes in life are purely down to our own efforts. That rationalises inequality, because it perpetuates the myth that the wealthiest are the brightest and hardest working while the poorest are the stupidest and the laziest. Inequality simply becomes just desserts, rather than the sign of a society rigged in favour of a lucky minority. Tax becomes a punishment for success rather than a contribution to the collective kitty.

Individualism transforms social problems such as poverty and unemployment into personality defects, rather than the ills of a poorly constructed society – to be cured by a change in an individual’s attitude rather than by collective solutions, such as a welfare state. It erodes a sense that the majority have shared interests and aspirations, which are not only different from those of the elite, but on a collision course with them. It is fatal to the logical conclusion of this sentiment: that the majority should deploy their collective strength to challenge the concentrated wealth and power of the few.

As a dogma, this form of individualism is a formidable obstacle to socialism. But in practice it has increasingly resulted in insecurity: no wonder, then, that solidarity is so hankered after by so many. Labour has an opportunity to fashion a new individualism, with the promise that only socialism can liberate the individual.

2016 Marketing Technology Landscape

The updated 2016 Marketing Technology Landscape has been released. It’s a monumental collection of solutions and companies active in MarTech.

Landscape Supergraphic in pdf is available here.

Landscape Supergraphic in jpg is available here.

Interesting enough, this year landscape is about 3,874 marketing technology solutions (!) which is approximately 87% growth over last year. That’s really amazing when you consider how large the landscape was last year already. The Landscape Supergraphic listed 150 solutions in 2011, about 350 in 2012, about 1000 in 2014 and 2000 in 2015.

The top 5 largest categories, by number of solutions included, are:

  1. Sales Automation, Enablement & Intelligence (220)
  2. Social Media Marketing & Monitoring (186)
  3. Display & Programmatic Advertising (180)
  4. Marketing Automation & Campaign/Lead Management (161)
  5. Content Marketing (160)

One thing is certain though: marketing technology is a fascinating space.

Global 2015 M&As: a summary

Interesting piece summarizing Global 2015 M&As, with very cool visuals. Short extract below.

This year, global mergers and acquisition volumes have surged to a new record level, with the total value of announced transactions climbing to $4.6tn, compared with $4.3tn eight years ago, according to Thomson Reuters data.

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(…)

Wilhelm Schulz, head of M&A at Citigroup for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said it would be harder to replicate the level of activity seen in the US in 2015, after deal values rose 64 per cent year on year, to $2.3tn, according to Thomson Reuters data. However, he noted the Emea region remained well below its 2007 peak and was likely to see some growth.

Full post, here, via FT.com.

Uber and the sharing economy

Because of my personal and professional habits I have been exposed to the sharing economy and its services, since the beginning. I have been using Uber in London, Paris and Milan; I have been watched airbnb, I have investigated other apps and services (the new parking apps).

Uber, my first experience and attempt to understand more. I am still using the service and I have been watching the protests raised all over the globe, so close to me, in Milan, Paris, now London in a few days, against the new service. Change always brings pain, and Uber represents change. And it’s not just Uber: there is a new plethora of smart-phone apps that will bring  a driver to your door in a few minutes. All tentative of resistances from old European super-regulated lobbies – taxies are just the most visible example – won’t change their fate. As Archie Bland commented, on his article on the Independent few days ago:

Uber argument that the regulation of most taxi markets is based on a model that smartphones have made irrelevant, seems credible. And it’s hard to escape the feeling that whatever bumps may be in the road, Uber is an idea that has fundamentally changed things, and that sooner or later, the black cab as we know it will be extinct.

It’s would be smarter, at this stage, to fight and compete on the same ground instead of preparing to fight useless battles.

Uber could be killed so easily from a so massive quantity of cabbies in London and taxis in Paris and Milan, re-adapting and using its same technology weapon, and making advantage of a better presence in the territory and a competitive price. But taxi drivers have chosen to fight using old tactics and weapons: strikes and protests. They are not focusing on customer satisfaction and benefits. They are instead putting all efforts in a desperate defence of their old (even if regulated by local laws) privileges.

At the very end, I am aware about Uber’s premium price but I am too aware about his tremendous efficiency. And I make my choice based on two main criteria: the ubiquitous use of credit cards, and the easy-to-use app with its stylish info-maps.

Only one cab over 6-7 (I’m personally making this statistic) accepts credit cards in London. Some of them state to accept cards and then apparently discover that the machine doesn’t work, once at destination. Same situation in Milan, where at least radio-taxis are starting to be equipped with card machines – emails and apps still represent the future.

It’s not just Uber. Still Mr. Bland on the subject:

They all (sharing services, my note) propose to remove the middle man, but even that’s sort of old hat: eBay and the like have been doing it for years. What’s new is the promise to exploit spare capacity with a structure that means that anyone can be a business (…). This is happening; it’s unstoppable. I guess the sharing economy, or a version of it, became inevitable from the moment that Steve Jobs presented the first iPhone.

From the periphery to the core

Via @FT, Euro crisis is still not over. Full piece is here (it might require registration).

When I asked one of Europe’s most influential economic policy makers recently whether the euro crisis really is over, he replied: “No, it’s just moving from the periphery to the core.” The argument is that while worries about Portugal, Greece, Ireland and Spain have become less acute, concerns about Italy and even France should actually be rising. The statistics for Italy, in particular, are shocking. Since the onset of the crisis in 2008, Italy has lost 25 per cent of its industrial capacity and the real level of unemployment is now, according to senior Italian officials, about 15 per cent. Italy’s scope for economic stimulus is limited by EU rules and by the fact that the country’s ratio of debt to gross domestic product is now more than 130 per cent. France’s economic statistics are less bleak but unemployment is still in double digits and the national debt is creeping up to the symbolic level of 100 per cent of GDP.