Masdar was supposed to be Utopia. Celebrated starchitect Norman Foster would preside over the design of the world’s first “Zero Carbon City” that would rise out of one of the most inhospitable environments in the world: the middle of the Arabian desert, near Abu Dhabi.

That project kicked off in 2006, and a decade later, things have taken a slightly more realistic approach in order to avoid become the world’s greenest ghost town. Foster + Partners is no longer at the helm, having been replaced by Boston-based CBT Architects. According to FastCo Design:

Although it is being billed as the “next step in the evolution of Masdar City,” phase two marks a decided shift away from Foster’s original plan, toward something more attainable. You may notice a subtle change in terminology: Once touted as the first city to zero out on carbon emissions, Masdar is now being described as “low-carbon.” When I speak with [CBT principal] Varanasi, he initially glosses over the change in plans, maintaining that the overall vision of building a sustainable city is still the same. But when asked outright, he admits that the zero-carbon goal has been scrapped. Instead, he says, the goal of CBT’s phase two master plan is to build on Foster’s plan to create a city that is “highly sustainable and commercially viable, providing a high-quality lifestyle” for resident. […]

One of the ways CBT’s plan most strikingly diverges from earlier master plans for Masdar is the way it breaks up property. Where the old plans called for very large plots to be developed by one single entity, the phase two master plan will see lots of private lots sold off to developers who will design and build their own buildings. This is how most city plans work, and the thinking from CBT was that it shouldn’t be different just because a city is meant to be sustainable. “There is still a regular day-to-day market economy aspect to phasing in sustainability,” says Varanasi. “There are 50 blocks in phase two and maybe 50 different developers and architects building it. It’s a real city.”

The other day, I shared that Facebook was forced to admit that it had falsified a key marketing performance indicator related to amount of time users spent watching videos by advertisers. Now comes word that the Media Rating Council (MRC) has revoked accreditation of two of Google’s advertising metrics, according to Business Insider:

MRC announced Tuesday the accreditation status of Google DoubleClick for Publishers (DfP) “mobile web served display ad impressions” and certain desktop display ad measurements were suspended in September 2016. The MRC says it expects to reinstate accreditation once DoubleClick becomes compliant again.

Unlike the situation with Facebook, however, in which numbers were being inflated, the issues that Google faces have to do with recently revised criteria adopted by a consortium which includes MRC, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Mobile Marketing Association. Google expects to have things fixed within a few months.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that Google is essentially “working both sides of the fence,” selling services to both publishers and advertisers, without allowing much opportunity for third-party validation of metrics. According Mike Caprio, who works for a marketing technology company called Sizmek:

Independent measurement has always been vital to our industry, so the buy and sell side can have a fair market to do business. The industry needs independent, impartial measurement and campaign management that is uniform and balanced across all parties and through all forms of buying anywhere around the world.

I concur.

Just kidding! Samsung appears to be following the maxim often associated with P.T. Barnum that “there is no such thing as bad publicity” to time their product releases. But they sure seem to be asking for trouble.

Boy Genius Report reports that sandwiched in between news about Samsung’s exploding Galaxy Note 7 disaster, and the latest updates from the Apple v. Samsung trial, the company recently announced a new product that is clearly yet another blatant copy of an Apple product:

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the trash can design in the image above. Until you realize it’s a Samsung PC that’s clearly inspired from Apple’s Mac Pro trash can design. Now we have a problem considering Samsung’s history. Yet again, Samsung is copying Apple. Or it’s being a fast-follower. Although in this case, Samsung certainly took its time to come up with this “unique design.”

A Samsung lawyer somewhere would probably argue that Apple doesn’t own trash can design. And he or she might be right. But this Samsung ArtPC Pulse — oh yes, it’s an Art PC — is clearly a Mac Pro ripoff.

Ironically, just as Samsung tries to sell this Mac Pro clone for at least $1,200, the Supreme Court is hearing Apple and Samsung in a patent case where one of the parties is accused of copying the other’s iPhone.

Samsung’s PR team deserves hazardous duty pay…


This whole Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle would be really hilarious, if it didn’t represent a major risk to life and limb for consumers.

Adding insult to Samsung’s injury, and in an effort to prevent injury to both consumers and postal workers, Samsung took the unusual step of sending out flame-proof containers for people to return their devices as part of the recall. According to Ars Technica:

The kit contains a special “Recovery Box” that’s lined with ceramic fiber paper to provide some protection against incineration. Samsung warns that some people will have a bad reaction to this lining, so the recovery kit also includes some gloves to protect your hands. They don’t appear to be flame retardant, so if your Note 7 is currently ablaze, we’d suggest minimizing contact with it.

For a little background, after initial reports of spontaneous combustion of the flagship devices started popping up, Samsung started to replace devices. But then, the replacement devices began exploding and causing injuries themselves.

So on Monday, October 10th, Samsung took the embarrassing but responsible step of recalling ALL Galaxy Note 7 devices, ending production. The move will likely cost the company up to $9.5-billion in lost sales, eating up nearly $5.1-billion in lost profit.


My son was just a few weeks old when I got my Blackberry. He turns 15 in two weeks. Risking repetitive stress injury to my thumb, that device allowed me to keep a $500-million R&D campus construction project moving forward, while still being able to go to doctor appointments and spend time with my young family.

It was when I successfully declined a meeting invitation and then rescheduled that meeting for a later time—from the comfort of a blanket on the beach—that I finally realized what a profound impact the Blackberry’s functionality would have on people’s lives. It took Apple showing the world what was truly possible with mobile technology, and Blackberry’s repeated missed opportunities have now led to its downfall, according to CNET:

BlackBerry’s decision closes a significant chapter in one of the most storied franchises in the phone industry, and it puts an even higher premium on the company’s shift of focus to software and services. BlackBerry was among the high flyers in the early days of mobile phones. Legions of “CrackBerry” addicts in the white-collar workforce tapped away at its trademark physical keys in the early 2000s.

Like many other companies, BlackBerry failed to anticipate the rise of Apple’s iPhone and of phones running Google’s Android software, which knocked BlackBerry back on its heels for years. Consumers have paid little attention to its phones despite the company’s attempts to modernize the BlackBerry software and, in a last-ditch effort last year, to embrace Android.

It’s been an unstoppable descent. In 2009, BlackBerry controlled one-fifth of the phone market, just behind Nokia. Today, it holds a tiny fraction of 1 percent, according to Gartner.

It is Awards season again—no, not the Emmy’s or even the Country Music Awards or whatever—I’m talking about the always entertaining Ig Nobel Prize ceremony held last night at Harvard.

Every year, for the pasts 26 years, researchers in unique and obscure niches are awarded prizes celebrating their scientific achievements. Just like the real Nobel Prize, winning an Ig Nobel means cash, and lots of it. $10-trillion in fact.

Too bad the money is minted in hyper-inflated Zimbabwe making it almost worthless…

Associated Press has more:

Ahmed Shafik decided rats needed pants.

He dressed his rodents in polyester, cotton, wool and polyester-cotton blend pants to determine the different textiles’ effects on sex drive. The professor at Cairo University in Egypt, who died in 2007, found that rats that wore polyester or polyester blend pants displayed less sexual activity, perhaps because of the electrostatic charges created by polyester. He suggested that the results could be applied to humans.

The study did not explain how he measured a rat’s waist and inseam.

Zweig Group’s Christina Zweig Niehues just left the stage at the annual Hot Firms opening keynote at the iconic Arizona Biltmore hotel where she implored attendees to unlock the hidden data our collective firms hold. As head of research for Zweig—the nation’s leading management consulting firm for companies in the architecture, engineering and construction consulting industry—she has a bird’s eye view of how successful companies remain successful.  

Her research indicates that less than 0.5% of the data that most companies have ever gets analyzed and made use of. To help illustrate that point further, ENR’s Kaela Torres wrote a fantastic piece on Unlocking the Data Treasure Chest

Construction technology leaders and software developers are preparing for a massive storm of innovation as the industry moves its data and processes to the cloud. The trend is breaking down data silos and opening company operations to penetrating, real-time analysis of the rivers of data flowing from traditional software processes, as well as newer ones supported by an explosion of field-collected data and mobile devices. The data is revealing how construction actually works and how projects really get built.

“In the next five years, the industry is going to be transformed through data. It’s an unprecedented, perfect storm of cloud, mobility and an incredible amount of collectors and data science converging together,” says Pat Keaney, director of BIM 360 Enterprise Products at Autodesk. “It’s really going to move the needle in ways we couldn’t have dreamed of five years ago.”

The delivery of construction software and services via the internet, or software as a service (SaaS), exposes the industry’s vital signs. Developers say data patterns are emerging that can improve software, designs, project management, supply chains and safety. And the magic is only just getting started.

Learn more about the Zweig Group’s annual conference for A/E/C professionals at their website. 

Altimeter’s Brian Solis reports that when it comes to digital transformation within a company, the effort will most likely originate with the top marketing executive, rather than an I.T. executive or even the CEO. Of businesses surveyed for the report, Solis found that 55% reported “evolving customer behaviors and preferences” were driving the need for change.

Via TechRepublic:

On Tuesday, Altimeter analyst Brian Solis released his 2016 State of Digital Transformation report, which outlined why companies are pursuing digital transformation, how they’re doing it, and who is leading the charge.

On the business side of the equation, one of the more interesting points of the report is who exactly is spearheading digital transformation. According to the report, digital transformation is led primarily by the CMO, who is leading in 34% of organizations.

On the contrary, the CIO and CTO, who are the expected leaders, only led the effort in 19% of companies, while the CEO led in 27%. According to the report, this is to be expected, as researchers found “that digital transformation is now about people first and technology second.”

To download the full report, visit Altimeter’s website.

As someone who is responsible for overseeing both marketing and I.T., I can say with confidence that my I.T. decisions are absolutely informed by my understanding of the clients’ needs. When conflicts arise between what is better for the business (reduced expenses, increased profit, convenience, etc.) versus the client (customer experience, perception of value, fostering a longterm relationship), I’m always going to come down on the side of the client.