I build technology companies. Sometimes I found them, sometimes they found me. Most recent Karma and previously Shapeways.

This is my playground. I write a lot, sometimes it ends up here. My original articles go into my blog and interesting articles I find on the internet go into my notebook.

LATEST

  • Microsoft’s change to a Chromium-based browser is a major win for open source
    Last week, the news came out that Microsoft is replacing their web browser Edge with a chromium-based version. This is excellent news for open source. Chromium is an open source project headed up by Google but is used by myriad companies and projects like Electron and Opera. Open source makes more efficient software development possible. Regardless if it’s a community-driven project like the Linux kernel or a company-driven project like Chromium. Chromium is spearheaded by Google but it’s not a win – or loss – for Google. It’s a win for everyone involved. By pooling resources in software development and making it open source, we create an open environment where innovation can foster while we save money and time for everyone involved. The value created by the participating people is shared with the world. You’ve to understand a bit of the history of web browser development and especially web browser engine development how we got here. It all started with KHTML and KJS which was the browser and javascript engines developed by the KDE project – an open source desktop environment – back in 1998. Then Apple forked the code, cleaned it up for code portability and ported it to OSX in 2001. It became WebKit with WebCore and JavascriptCore. Even though Apple released the code back as open source, they weren’t cooperating or participating with the community. They just did what they had to from a licensing perspective. In 2008, Google adopted WebCore – as part of WebKit –  for their first release of the Chrome browser. The open source version of the browser was called Chromium. Chrome itself is based on Chromium with some closed source components like Widevine DRM which allows video streaming digital rights management for sites like Youtube and Netflix among others. The browser came with a new Javascript engine called V8. Then Google forked WebCore and created the Blink web browser engine. Both V8 (for Javascript) and Blink (for web rendering) are still used today and actively developed as open source. They form the basis for Chromium, Chrome and most alternative web browsers like Opera. It’s an active open source community with proper governance. Google leads but is cooperating well with the other participants. I think that Apple and Google realized is that the value created on the internet is not the browser engine. They understood that browsers are part of the infrastructure. Infrastructure investments work better when they’re shared among the participants. Think of it as roads. It’s kind of silly if UPS, USPS, and FedEx all would build their own roads. The internet infrastructure is much the same. With open source, we’re doing the same thing with software. The Linux kernel and all its operating system components have changed the world because of it. Most people in the world own at least one device which runs on Linux. Open source software is the next step of the information technology infrastructure. I’m happy Microsoft is joining. It’s a win for everyone.…
    CONTINUE >
  • Reducing risk in insurance pools
    When you talk about insurance, you talk about pooling risk with a group of people. That’s the essence of what insurance is. The insurance industry has always been creative in reducing the risk in their pool. There are in general two options to reduce risk: reduce the risk of your existing pool of customers raise the quality of the risk profile of applicants The first one could be a free smoke detector with your home or renters insurance. The faster you can detect the fire, the faster it can be put out and thereby limiting the size of the claims. The second one is more controversial. You focus on a particular group of people who have inherently a lower risk profile. Because of that lower risk profile, you can entice them with lower policy rates. The problem though is that the insurance pool is dynamic. Inherently, if some company acquires a large group of people with lower risk profiles, it will automatically increase the risk profile of the people left in the pool. That ultimately translates into higher rates and that’s not always fair and has unfavorable outcomes. The people who need it the most get shut out of insurance because it becomes unaffordable. You see this dynamic clearly in the US health insurance market. ACA insurances are terrible – expensive given the limited coverage. The pool this insurance is targeting are the leftovers. It’s one of the reasons that universal health care works better – especially for something for which there’s a universal need. One of the interesting aspects of the US lending market is that age discrimination – plus race, color, national origin, marital status or sex – is prohibited. Now insurance is not federally regulated and nothing of the sort exists for insurance products. Each state has their own rules. There’s an opportunity to make insurances more universal by law. One could be just that anyone can get any insurance regardless of their background. It would lower the rates for most and increase the rates for some, but in general, we find ourselves on both sides of the table in our lifetime.…
    CONTINUE >

POPULAR

  • Peak attention
    Random Thought

    We've reached peak attention on the internet. Time spent online is not significantly growing anymore. The internet has generated 4 champions (Google, Apple, Facebook & Amazon) who together dominate for the most part how you spent your time online. These companies are now at their peak and they have the momentum to buy, absorb or change their tactics to fend off any competitor. 

    CONTINUE >
  • Web vs native apps
    Random Thought

    The big promise of web 2.0 was that eventually all applications would run inside a web browser and that native apps would go away. This was in early 2000s. We’ve come a long way since then. Mobile hardware and networks significantly faster today. Web technologies have matured as well. Can web apps take over native?

    CONTINUE >
  • Future platforms
    Random Thought

    The major platforms emerging at the end of 20th century were computers and the internet. Both are approaching maturity levels. Each platform created new champions. Let's explore a bit on possible future platforms and what they could be.

    CONTINUE >
  • Artificial scarcity in the broadband market
    Internet

    The broadband market is changing. Consumers — and especially the younger demographics — are ‘cord cutting’. The cable companies made lots of money with offering Triple Play packages (Internet, TV and telephony) but now they are confronted with changing behavior which leads to price erosion.

    The cable industry is fighting back by putting artificial data-caps in place so they've a way out to increase prices down the line.

    CONTINUE >
  • The post-finishing waste land
    3D printing

    When you show a 3D printed product to someone who has not seen a 3D printed piece before, there is significant chance that the conversation will be about the material. And that is not surprising. 3D printed pieces look rough, show “printing lines”, and feel different than regular materials.

    CONTINUE >
  • Download a human
    Random Thought

    I do not believe in a Star Trekian future. Seriously I do not think it is a plausible future that we space travel as humans beyond our solar system. I think even Mars is quite a stretch.

    Instead I think it makes much more sense to download our human brain into a computer and send that computer instead.

    CONTINUE >
  • The hardest thing is giving away
    Random Thought

    You always end up with less when working at an early-stage startup. The company grows and you've to give away roles and responsibilities to others. It is inevitable for a growing company. But it's ok.

    CONTINUE >
  • Nobody cares about customization
    3D printing

    One of the major learnings of building a 3D printing online service, is that the demand of personal customization of products is overblown. People are just not that into it.

    CONTINUE >
  • Where we manufacture and the impact of 3D printing
    3D printing
    In my series on the impact of 3D printing, I wrote about my views of the impact on supply chain and product design. In today’s post, I write about manufacturing locations. This topic has already been partly covered in the post about supply chain, but I think there is more to say about it.
    CONTINUE >
  • Impact of 3D printing on supply chain
    3D printing

    If 3D printing becomes mainstream, I expect it will have a major impact on many aspects of manufacturing and design processes. This is a first post in series of posts on what impact 3D printing can have. Today, I am writing about the impact on supply chain.

    CONTINUE >
  • Endless forms of iterative design
    3D printing
    Hod Lipson and his team brought the concept of iterative design to the next level with their EndlessForms website. They combine evolutionary algorithms and generative encodings with crowd sourcing of designs. The results are interesting.
    CONTINUE >
  • Why AI is hard
    Random Thought

    Artificial intelligence was one of the first buzzwords I can remember from the previous century. It promised a future with intelligent computers or devices which could understand you and act autonomously.Up until now we still do not use AI-enabled devices in our daily life. Why is that?

    CONTINUE >