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From Surf to Serf

Digital sharecroppers, unite!

3 min read
illustration of 1s and 0s.
Illustration: Greg Mably

It seems like only yesterday that we were extolling the virtues of such socially produced wonders as Linux and Wikipedia. These communal endeavors heralded a utopian age of unparalleled access to systems and information at little or no cost, and converted Web 2.0 from a mere collection of technologies to a system of liberation and empowerment.

But the road to Utopia all too often ends up detouring through the business district, and Web 2.0 has been no exception. By offering the means of production free to their users, other leviathan sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have generated enormous amounts of content at almost no expense. Even better, this content is a gold mine for targeted advertising.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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