Welcome to the New NewCo Daily


Today in the NewCo Daily, we’re trying something different. We’re committed to publishing detailed stories of business and positive change at stories.newco.co, and we’ll let you know about them as we do. In the Daily, we’re aiming to do what many of our favorite newsletters do best: share a curated view of the last 24 hours with our own unique, NewCo point of view. We’re eager to find out what you think, especially in the next week or so as we figure out how to make the new format work best for you.

Microsoft Opens Up
The move from closed to open is becoming inevitable among even those tech companies whose success is due to a proprietary platform. Yesterday Microsoft announced that it is expanding its SQL Server so it could run on the open source operating system Linux (New York Times) as well as its proprietary Windows. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella put it, “Data is the core asset now.” It’s fascinating watching the archetypal technology company of the PC era embrace, first hesitantly and now with enthusiasm, the new world of open. (We’ve previously covered the Microsoft reboot.)

The Secret to Better Customers
Anyone who’s ever worked at a place that delivered on its mission knows that smart decisions in one area often have positive ramifications in others, sometimes in unexpected ways. For example, a McKinsey study says the best way to delight your customers is to put your employees first. The study offers useful prescriptions, some of them obvious (listen to your employees), but one really stood out for us: “Instill frontline workers with purpose, not rules.” Bingo. Focus on what you need to create for your customer more than the rules for delivering it. Best practices, not rules, will win the day.

Straddling Sides in the Privacy Wars
How do you respect privacy yet accommodate the problems that respect will bring? That’s what’s happening in the world of Tor. Turns out more and more websites are blocking users of the anonymous browser (Internet Society). Privacy advocates are condemning CloudFlare for making Tor users go through an extra step (Softpedia) before they reach their desired sites. CloudFlare maintains it doesn’t block Tor but acknowledges that what his company is doing has “made browsing the internet much more difficult for Tor users, and we hate that.” The Tor network has become home to bots, spammers, and malware distributors, as well as law-abiding individuals who need or want anonymity. But CloudFlare’s current Turing tests seem buggy (The Register). That’s the first place the company should act: improve necessary security measures so they’re a minor annoyance rather than a deal breaker.

Shaking Off the Rust
While we’ve been preparing for NewCo Detroit (only five weeks away), we’ve been knocked out by how that city has picked itself up after being counted out. Thanks to the work of James Fallows and others (The Atlantic), people are starting to realize that the future belongs to former industrial cities as much as it does to areas like Silicon Valley. The future isn’t in any particular city so much as it’s in cities overall.

One More Thing …
Are you ignoring everything? Perhaps you should be. (Washington Post).

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