I think there were only two more chapters to go, when I started to google the facts in Michael Lewis’ „Flashboys“. The story about a transparent exchange that fights intransparent market places and high-frequency traders (HFT) just seems unbelievable. But as promised by the author, all the characters really exist. Well, of course, it is a non-fiction book. But the inconceivability of the story unfolding, as well as the sheer amount of money shifted in HFT globally, and the way Lewis portrays the fight of Brad Katsuyama make it hard to believe. But I guess, it is just pretty well written.
„The unit of trading was now milliseconds, but the records kept by the exchanges were by the seconds. There were one million microseconds in a second. It was if, back in the 1920s, the only stock market data available was a crude aggregation of all trades made during the decade.“ (81)
In most parts „Hatching Twitter“ reads like a soap. It is hard to believe how many assaults and revolutions are involved in the becoming of Twitter. The book’s subtitle is „A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal“ – and it really delivers enough stories to justify that. On the other hand, Nick Bilton’s book is a great manual when it comes to growing your community, building strategic partnerships and growth-hacking. Reading the book, you will also meet many of the key players in Silicon Valley.
„Then there was the hashtag, the pound symbol that until then had primarily been used on telephones while checking an answering machine. On Flickr, the photo-sharing site, people sometimes used the hashtag symbol to group similar images. In one instance, people had been using Flickr to share pictures of forest fires in San Diego, California, and had started to organize the newsy pictures with a tag that read „#sandiegofire.“ Chris Messina, a designer who lived in the Valley and was friends with many of the Twitter employees, started using the same symbol on Twitter, and before long it was picked up by others on the site.“
When Evgeny Morozov and Shoshana Zuboff already had a certain standing in Germany, Jaron Lanier was pretty much unknown. But he might just become the leader of the „We own our data“-movement of people such as Max Schrems. What Lanier does in his book is introducing the so called „Siren Servers“ and highlighting how we manage to ignore Terms and Conditions of online services and how these service providers trick us into not caring.
“We want free online experiences so badly that we are happy to not be paid for information that comes from us now or ever. That sensibility also implies that the more dominant information becomes in our economy, the less most of us will be worth.”
Albert-Laszlo Barabasi and his team managed to publish some impressing findings about network sciences in the millenium years. If you hear them today, you sometimes subconsciously conclude, that this all doesn’t sound to new. But only because of the reason, the results of the group were picked up so fast and answered so many pressing questions about links in society, biology or economics. The book „Linked“ is a summary of their findings and a setup for new researches.