MIT MBA students tour Silicon Valley as tech campuses expand — Shany Alon

MIT Sloan MBA '16 Shany Alon

MIT Sloan MBA ’16, Shany Alon

From Xconomy

It’s easy to catch the technology bug. After all, tech companies are pretty much everywhere. I became hooked when I worked as an IT consultant at Accenture after college, and plan to work at a technology company after I finish my MBA. So when I had the opportunity to participate in a Technology Trek at MIT, I jumped at the chance of visiting some of the leading market players recognized globally for their entrepreneurial and technological innovation.

I was very curious about what it’s like to work at a larger technology company, especially big ones with more resources like Facebook and Google. What is their culture really like? What kind of impact can a recent MBA graduate make? During our Technology Trek last week with 27 other MIT Sloan MBA students, I was able to get some answers.

First up was Google’s Mountain View campus. I had never seen it before, and was taken by the size of campus, the people I met, and the general atmosphere. In addition to the famous Google bikes that employees use to get around, we also saw the Wellness Center complete with nap rooms, yoga studios, and a juice bar. During our tour, we learned that Google is opening new offices just a few miles away. It’s pretty big now, but soon it will double in size!

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How companies will make you want a mobile wallet in 2015 — Sharmila Chatterjee

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Sharmila Chatterjee

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Sharmila Chatterjee

From Yahoo! Tech

One of the most fascinating business stories this Christmas season isn’t about how much people are spending or even what they’re buying — it’s about how they’re paying. Although a lot of people are familiar with using their phones to pay for a latte — think Starbucks — few people in the United States have started using a “mobile wallet” to any significant degree. The biggest players in the field are trying to change this by offering up holiday incentives to bring customers into the fold.

Google Wallet, the mobile payment system unveiled by the tech giant in 2011, is trying to entice customers by offering those who purchase gift cards using its system a $5 coupon in return. Customers who link the competing Apple Pay system to a Chase credit card can opt for a free music download. Softcard, the telecom companies’ mobile payment system, has also been attempting to woo customers with a variety of incentives and discounts.

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Can mobile apps build brands? — Glen L. Urban

MIT Sloan Professor Glen Urban

MIT Sloan Professor Glen Urban

From Fortune

In the past, companies sought to please old customers and entice new ones by offering small holiday gifts. They gave away refrigerator magnets, calendars, and Christmas ornaments emblazoned with the company logo.

But in today’s geo-encoded, app-enabled world, sophisticated companies are trying something new to build trust and relationships with customers. We call them ‘benevolent apps.’ Unlike some apps that are designed to generate sales and promote special deals, benevolent apps are created to offer useful information or otherwise help with decision-making. The idea is not simply to sell products or services, but instead to build trust and relationships that eventually will lead to economic success.

One good example comes from Sea Tow Service International, a company located in Southold, New York. Sea Tow offers emergency towing and rescue services for boaters in the United States, the Caribbean and Europe. The free Sea Tow app supports boaters’ navigation needs by offering information about local tide tables, detailed marine weather forecasts, GPS coordinates and bearing and speed.

Read the full post at Fortune.

Glen Urban is the David Austin Professor in Management, Emeritus, Professor of Marketing, Emeritus, Dean Emeritus, and Chair of the MIT Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management. 

Why the future of digital security is open — Lou Shipley

MIT Sloan Lecturer Lou Shipley

MIT Sloan Lecturer Lou Shipley

From TechCrunch

The topic of digital security often brings to mind the image of bleak and dark future, where computers, mobile devices and other systems are riddled with malware and cyber criminals lurk, ready to steal our data and crash our systems. We have good reason to be nervous. We’ve seen plenty of cyber-security breaches in the past few years, like credit card thefts at Target and password issues at sites like LinkedIn.

Digital security is a major concern. Few other issues affect everyone, from individuals to companies to entire nations. So what is the future of digital security?

One discussion thread centers on email encryption, prompted by Yahoo joining forces with Google and Microsoft to develop an encrypted email system. While encryption is a step in the right direction, it’s probably not sufficient by itself. In addition to usability issues — like compatibility of platforms and the human tendency to reuse the same basic passwords — email only covers a portion of the digital world. It’s a partial “attack surface.”

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Taking a wait-and-see approach with disruptive innovations — Matt Marx

MIT Sloan Asst. Prof. Matt Marx

From TechCrunch

There’s been quite the brouhaha lately about disruptive innovation. On one side is Harvard Prof. Clay Christensen (author of The Innovator’s Dilemma) and his long-prevailing theory about how disruptive innovation drives incumbents out of the market. On the other side is Jill Lepore and her attack of Christensen’s theory in The New Yorker. It’s an interesting issue: Do disruptive innovations almost always lead to the downfall of incumbent companies? Is their only hope to “disrupt” themselves?

Along with Joshua Gans of the University of Toronto and David Hsu of Wharton, I conducted a study on the speech recognition industry over the last 58 years. We found a surprising pattern among entrants that adopted disruptive technologies: Instead of always going head-to-head with incumbents, they often adopted a dynamic commercialization strategy in which they started out competing against them, but later switched to cooperating with them (e.g. by licensing their technology). To understand how this can happen, we need to review what it means for a technology to be “disruptive.”