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Just do it: from Nelson to Nike

Kiwi Matt Holmes was recently out from Nike Portland to receive the prestigious John Britten Award from The Designers Institute (presented to him by guest Hamish Carter). On the eve of the Awards Matt spoke to a design audience on life at Nike; on all things swoosh; how kiwis gave Bill Bowerman “jogging” which he took home to the U.S. and made fashionable; and his story from growing up in small town NZ to meeting Johny Ive and a phone call that set him up designing the shoes for leading athletes including Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal among others. 

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Peter Day from the BBC writes today about ‘Celebrating the joy of craftsmanship' highlighting Cremona's violin makers and their burgeoning Asian clientele.
“My brief stay in Cremona was a vivid reminder of the value of craft and the handmade in a world which now prizes superbly mass-produced goods, and instant networks of friends and communication.
Individuality is an important component of being human. Craftspeople have wonderfully individual stories to tell about the things they make, slowly and carefully. In an industrialised world, they still have a lot to tell us about being properly human.” 

Peter Day from the BBC writes today about ‘Celebrating the joy of craftsmanship' highlighting Cremona's violin makers and their burgeoning Asian clientele.

My brief stay in Cremona was a vivid reminder of the value of craft and the handmade in a world which now prizes superbly mass-produced goods, and instant networks of friends and communication.

Individuality is an important component of being human. Craftspeople have wonderfully individual stories to tell about the things they make, slowly and carefully. In an industrialised world, they still have a lot to tell us about being properly human.” 

30 tests from one drop of blood. Theranos is ushering superfast diagnosis and preventive medicine.
Caitland Roper from Wired explains "Elizabeth Holmes (30), dropped out of Stanford and founded a company called Theranos with her tuition money. Last fall it finally introduced its radical blood-testing service in a Walgreens pharmacy near company head­quarters in Palo Alto, California. (The plan is to roll out testing centers nation­wide.) Instead of vials of blood—one for every test needed—Theranos requires only a pinprick and a drop of blood. With that they can perform hundreds of tests, from standard cholesterol checks to sophisticated genetic analyses. The results are faster, more accurate, and far cheaper than conventional methods." 

30 tests from one drop of blood. Theranos is ushering superfast diagnosis and preventive medicine.

Caitland Roper from Wired explains "Elizabeth Holmes (30), dropped out of Stanford and founded a company called Theranos with her tuition money. Last fall it finally introduced its radical blood-testing service in a Walgreens pharmacy near company head­quarters in Palo Alto, California. (The plan is to roll out testing centers nation­wide.) Instead of vials of blood—one for every test needed—Theranos requires only a pinprick and a drop of blood. With that they can perform hundreds of tests, from standard cholesterol checks to sophisticated genetic analyses. The results are faster, more accurate, and far cheaper than conventional methods." 

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Niel, impostor or hero? Is Free the most innovative telco in the world? He just pitched T-Mobile for $16B. 
CITEworld explains ”France’s Iliad S.A. has made a bid for T-Mobile, the Wall Street Journal reports. Haven’t heard of Iliad? I can’t blame you. But they are the most innovative telco in the world. Iliad, whose consumer brand name is Free, has been shaking up the French telecommiunications market since it was founded in the late 1990s.
Free Mobile didn’t just lower prices in the mobile phone industry, it also changed the game by endeavoring to free people from expensive and locked long-term contracts. At Free, you don’t buy a phone with a contract. You just buy the subscription. You can buy expensive smartphones on credit from Free.
Xavier Niel, a high school dropout and technical genius who began his career making hook-up sites for the Minitel, France’s forerunner of the internet. In many ways, Niel’s playbook follows Jeff Bezos’s: cut prices. And then cut them some more. And then cut them some more. Like Bezos, Niel even owns a major newspaper.”

Niel, impostor or hero? Is Free the most innovative telco in the world? He just pitched T-Mobile for $16B. 

CITEworld explains France’s Iliad S.A. has made a bid for T-Mobile, the Wall Street Journal reports. Haven’t heard of Iliad? I can’t blame you. But they are the most innovative telco in the world. Iliad, whose consumer brand name is Free, has been shaking up the French telecommiunications market since it was founded in the late 1990s.

Free Mobile didn’t just lower prices in the mobile phone industry, it also changed the game by endeavoring to free people from expensive and locked long-term contracts. At Free, you don’t buy a phone with a contract. You just buy the subscription. You can buy expensive smartphones on credit from Free.

Xavier Niel, a high school dropout and technical genius who began his career making hook-up sites for the Minitel, France’s forerunner of the internet. In many ways, Niel’s playbook follows Jeff Bezos’s: cut prices. And then cut them some more. And then cut them some more. Like Bezos, Niel even owns a major newspaper.”

Boom. @Xiaomi announces $13 USD #MiBand. More at Xiaomi Facebook.
"A fitness tracking wrist band that monitors your fitness and tracks your sleep. Featuring the industry’s most power-efficient Bluetooth chip and accelerometer, the Mi Band can be powered for 30 days on one charge, and also doubles up as an alarm clock. You can even pair it to unlock your phone without a password."

Boom. @Xiaomi announces $13 USD #MiBand. More at Xiaomi Facebook.

"A fitness tracking wrist band that monitors your fitness and tracks your sleep. Featuring the industry’s most power-efficient Bluetooth chip and accelerometer, the Mi Band can be powered for 30 days on one charge, and also doubles up as an alarm clock. You can even pair it to unlock your phone without a password."

PSFK Presents The Future of Health by Piers Fawkes "Given the rising costs associated with the treatment of chronic lifestyle diseases and the looming shortage of doctors, the healthcare system is at a tipping point. The current model can no longer sustain the inefficiencies associated with business as usual, leaving an industry ripe for innovation."

Interviews with 13 leading innovators in the fields of medicine and health technology, including Jay Parkinson, the CEO and co-founder of Sherpaa who talks about “Orchestrated Care”, one of the four main themes of the report.

You can buy the full The Future of Health 2014 report here.

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I dropped in for the final hour of the Wearable Technology Show 2014 at Olympia this week to do some scouting for clients. Tucked away on the third floor of the Conference Centre, it was an intimate affair. 

A handful of big brands like Intel, Samsung and Garmin were mixing it up with up-starts and hackers. The sports theme runs strong, so no suits here. Strictly jeans and tees.

The energy in the maker space is palpable, and as a trained product designer and sports fan, I find the physicality addictive.

The show had three distinct tribes:

  • The Accelerometer Crew
  • The Embedded Brigade
  • The Imaging Meisters

The Acceleromonitors still have to make the R&D jump from sports mode/activity to tracking the specific manoeuvres of a specific sport. Once prices drop and power rises the hardware can be loaded permanently into our footwear and equipment…and us.

Embedders are easily identifiable as chunky tech strapped awkwardly to shiny Lycra. More seamless integration will come but until then the Embeddeds are the Frankenstein monsters of the wearables world. Mbody is less ugly than most, and their analytics for quads/hams looks promising.

The Imagers is where all the action is. Optinvent is carving a niche as the workers Glass. Likewise the Kickstarted vrAse is the poor mans Rift or Morpheus, leveraging smart phones for virtual reality.

The fourth group was The Watch Weirdos, but we don’t talk about them.

For anyone with a good idea this summer, Intel is launching Make it Wearable. A global competition with $1m+ in cash prizes. For “tech makers” that want to build a following plus a bank balance, then CrowdRooster launches in April.

Guardian coverage here, and a blow-by-blow account from ITProPortal here. Also a commentary by Charles Lowe from Telecareaware here.