Here goes our weekly magazine of stories curated from around the world. In this edition: Inside Google’s Secret Lab, Dirty Medicine and the Ranbaxy Scandal & How to Give a Killer Presentation by Chris Anderson.
New new world
Call Girl: What I Learned During My Year as a Customer Service Representative: “If you think you’re talking to an expert when you call a customer service center, you’re probably not,” writes Gabriella Paiella who spent a year as a customer service representative for an e-commerce company. Read more here.
Leaving Behind the Digital Keys to Financial Lives: BOB GINSBERG, a retired production manager for an educational publisher, is worried that he does not know any of the logins and passwords for online accounts belonging to his partner or brother and they do not know his. At 72, he said his concern was not about Facebook or e-mail. It was for their financial lives, which have migrated online, making paper account statements anachronistic. Now, when people die without disclosing their financial affairs to anyone, there is often no paper trail for heirs to follow. More here.
Big Data Gets Personal: Big data and personal information are converging to shape the Internet’s most powerful and surprising consumer products. They’ll predict your needs, store your memories, and improve your life—if you let them. Read the set of articles on Technology Review here.
Inside Google’s Secret Lab: In this long piece of skillful writing, Brad Stone of Bloomberg Businessweek talks about Google X, the secretive research lab of search giant Google. The inside look talks about self driving cars to polymath engineers and scientists who work there. The company’s moonshots and more. Read the story here.
What Marissa Mayer Doesn’t (and Does) Get About White-Collar Work: When Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer banned her employees from working at home earlier this year, she sparked a culture war over How We Work Today. “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home,” the head of Yahoo HR wrote in a memo. “We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together.” More here.
How to Give a Killer Presentation: Chris Anderson, the curator of Ted, explains the secret to giving a killer presentation. He writes about framing the story, planning delivery, working on stage persence, multimedia and putting it all together. More here.
10 Eye-Opening Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read: These books reveal the truth of how organizations really work, and it’s not pretty. More here.
The solace of quantum: Eavesdropping on secret communications is about to get harder, writes The Economist. CRYPTOGRAPHY is an arms race between Alice and Bob, and Eve. These are the names cryptographers give to two people who are trying to communicate privily, and to a third who is trying to intercept and decrypt their conversation. Currently, Alice and Bob are ahead—just. But Eve is catching up. Alice and Bob are therefore looking for a whole new way of keeping things secret. And they may soon have one, courtesy of quantum mechanics. More here.
The $1.3B Quest to Build a Supercomputer Replica of a Human Brain: Even by the standards of the TED conference, Henry Markram’s 2009 TEDGlobal talk was a mind-bender. He took the stage of the Oxford Playhouse, clad in the requisite dress shirt and blue jeans, and announced a plan that—if it panned out—would deliver a fully sentient hologram within a decade. He dedicated himself to wiping out all mental disorders and creating a self-aware artificial intelligence. Jonathon Keats writes on neurologist Markam’s quest for Wired. Read the full story here.
What Yoda Taught Me About 3-D Printing: Inexpensive 3-D printers aimed at consumers are toys, not the factories of the future writes Jessica Leber. More here.
Big Picture (420 edition)
Rajat Gupta’s Lust for Zeros: Anita Raghavan puts together an article adapted from “The Billionaire’s Apprentice: The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund,” to be published by Business Plus. The fascinating turn by turn account uncovers the motives behind Gupta’s greed for more. Full article here. Dirty medicine: Katherine Eban, DOris B urke and Frederik Joelving uncover the epic inside story of long-term criminal fraud at Ranbaxy, the Indian drug company that makes generic Lipitor for millions of Americans. Earlier this month, Ranbaxy peaded guilty on seven criminal counts of selling adultrated drugs with the intent to defraud, failing to report that its drugs didn’t meet specifications and making false statements to the government. Read the story here.