Google's I/O announcements include a wave of AI, including visual search; Amazon puts Alexa in TV; Ford fired its CEO amid a shift to mobility and underperforming stock; why we're not ready for self-driving cars; what digital transformation requires; corporations and storytelling — disparate tales; Walmart's very good Q1; the rise of the NYT and WaPo; the health impact of social media on the young; report: Social Sharing in the Mobile World; Biz returns to Twitter; Facebook's moderation guidelines are inconsistent; people aren't interested in VR; Spotify is losing more money; net neutrality is on the line; secure your IoT devices; more turmoil at Uber (what else is new?); Lyft is doing a number of things right; Airbnb is playing nice with cities; four key questions to ask about your marketing metrics; something everyone can do to help themselves learn; and more in the autonomous CEO edition of The Full Monty. We're sure you subscribe to The Full Monty podcast, and don't forget check out where Brain+Trust is speaking (final section below).
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Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning / AutonomousThe latest in AI, machine learning, bots, and autonomous everything.
- There are 22 companies who have joined Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft in the Partnership on AI in a bid to ensure that artificial intelligence is developed safely, ethically, and transparently.
- Think AI is only going to replace blue collar jobs? Gartner says that some skilled practices could become utilities. These include medicine, law, and IT. Among their recommendations: CIOs should use the enterprise's five-year vision to develop a plan for achieving the right balance of AI and human skills.
- At its I/O conference, Google will be launching a cloud computing service that provides exclusive access to a new kind of artificial-intelligence chip designed by its own engineers. The new processor trains and executes machine learning systems that are behind the rapid evolution of image and speech recognition, automated translation, robotics and more.
- Google is remaking itself as an AI company, a virtual assistant company, a classroom-tools company, a VR company, and a gadget maker — but at its heart, it's still primarily a search company. Although now, search extends to the camera.
- Amazon Echo is on top of the voice-enabled speaker market. But as a species, we're more inclined to following visual cues. Could Google Lens shift the balance of power to more visually-dominated search?
- What's even more ubiquitous in homes than voice-enabled speakers? The television. And Amazon is using the TV as a Trojan horse for Alexa.
- Ford has fired its CEO Mark Fields. Replacing him will be James Hackett, chairman for Ford Smart Mobility, a subsidiary Fields created to coordinate work in car-sharing, ride-hailing, autonomous driving and other emerging trends. Investors and the board lost confidence in Fields as the company tried to straddle its traditional role as a truck leader and the future of mobility.
- If driverless cars enjoy widespread adoption, Uber and Lyft will likely become mere cogs in the autonomous vehicle machine. It's auto manufacturers that will be able to build at scale.
- Pittsburgh welcomed Uber's driverless car efforts, with the expectation that Uber would return the favor. Uber turned out not to be such a good neighbor.
- While Tesla makes it seem like driverless cars should be all over the road now, there are three good reasons why we're not ready for fully autonomous cars yet. And one more: other drivers.
- The state of car operating systems, including Blackberry's QNX, Windows Embedded Automotive, and custom Linux and Android Open Source Project operating systems. It's clear that the auto industry needs a good UX/CX lesson. One glaring issue: even with on-board LTE and Wi-Fi, no car attempted Internet-augmented navigation.
- What is digital transformation, and what does it require? The focus should be on setting a clear goal for the future, then setting a strategy based on that vision. And it's something that Brain+Trust Partners (my company) focuses on.
- An NBC executive reflects on media mix and the need to bring together linear and digital in the age where Facebook and Google dominate.
- Facebook's News Feed is getting crowded, leaving less real estate to work with. And that's frustrating many advertising executives. New formats may or may not be the answer.
- Reebok has become a master of reactive storytelling. An interview with head of Reebok's Global Newsroom, Dan Mazei.
- And a contrarian piece by Mark Schaefer that will make you think: an assessment of corporate storytelling. Coca-Cola and Newell, as well as a slew of comments on this article make it worth considering.
- Twitter co-founder Ev Williams reflects on what the social media service has wrought on society and how he is trying to change things with Medium, the publishing site. Alternative title: "I broke the Internet, and I'm sorry."
THIS WEEK IN RETAIL:
- Walmart (client) had a really solid Q1, particularly with its ecommerce business — thanks to the acquisition of Jet.com. So much so that Jim Cramer says Walmart is giving Amazon a run for its money.
- Macy's is a different story. The beleaguered retailer is rolling out self-service kiosks in some departments. Is this is the end of the department store as we know it?
- A history of the rise of Amazon in five charts.
THIS WEEK IN FAKE NEWS:
- The Washington Post is now earning in excess of $100M in digital ad revenue and added hundreds of thousands of digital subscribers in Q1. The paper, along with the New York Times, is seeing a resurgence of interest, particularly in its investigative journalism. So much for fake news.
- Facebook says it's now limiting News Feed distribution of posts that withhold or exaggerate information at the individual post level, to combat clickbait.
- Speaking of fake news...Here are the four phases that pro-Trump media goes through to turn a negative story around in under 24 hours.
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PlatformsNews to know about relevant social, virtual, and augmented reality platforms that may affect your business.
- The Royal Society for Public Health has released a new report on social media and young people's health. The report includes a listing of social media platforms according to their impact on young people’s mental health.
- Edison Research's Social Sharing in the Mobile World report is out. Some highlights from this study of 1,571 American smartphone owners aged 18-54:
- 80% of American smartphone owners use social media apps every day
- The average smartphone owner uses 14 types of apps
- 70% of smartphone owners who use social media say they use Facebook every day
- More than six in ten Facebook users say they belong to local Facebook groups or other online local groups
TWITTER / PERISCOPE
- Twitter changed its privacy and data settings, including the ability to see more about your Twitter data to give you the most transparent access to your Twitter information — including demographic and interest data, and advertisers that have included you in their tailored audiences on Twitter. This includes the elimination of the "Do Not Track" option. Be sure to update your personalization and data settings accordingly.
- Twitter has hired advertising technology veteran Bruce Falck as its new general manager of revenue product, where he'll give a boost to the advertising tools in the microblogging platform. He had recently been CEO of Turn, an ad-buying technology company.
- Twitter is using deep neural networks and leveraging modeling capabilities and AI to give users more relevant timelines through natural language processing, conversation understanding, and media domains.
- Twitter co-founder Biz Stone penned a Medium post on his return to Twitter, where he'll guide the company culture. This is not a replacement, but a new role. First Jack, now Biz. When is Ev coming back? And when's Jack going to step up to own the CEO role full-time?
FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / WHATSAPP
- Facebook is uniting three of its apps with cross-app notifications. You think one red number pop-up is annoying on your phone? Try it across Facebook, Messenger and Instagram!
- Instagram added more Snapchat-like features: style face filters, an eraser tool for drawings, and hashtags for Stories. Is there anything left at Snapchat that hasn't been copied?
- Instagram is testing a new Location Stories feature that compiles publicly shared Instagram Stories posts tagged with a location sticker. Finally! A feature that Snapchat doesn't have!
- Facebook updated its live streaming policy to ban videos using static images and polls with inanimate material. You'd think that live videos should be...live videos.
- Facebook released guidelines advising publishers that its users value meaningful stories, respectful behavior, and authentic content. You know, like real humans. Kind of sad that publishers need to be reminded, isn't it?
- The Guardian has discovered 100+ internal training manuals and other documents that show guidelines for Facebook content moderators on topics like violence, hate speech, terrorism, p*rn, self-harm. Given that there's a significant lack of consistency and a number of double standards, these leaked documents may fuel debate about ethics.
ALPHABET / GOOGLE
- Google uses its increasingly (and scarily) prescient machine intelligence to preview your email and cherry pick three likely responses you can instantly send. Mine are "Yes," "No," and "Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you."
- Google for Jobs will include a feature in search that collects and organizes millions of job postings from all over the web to make them easier for job seekers to find.
- At its I/O conference Google announced standalone VR headsets from Lenovo and HTC. Look out, Oculus.
- It turns out that cost isn't the only reason people aren't buying VR headsets. Many people just aren't interested in them. And when you look like this using them, who can blame them?
MediaThe latest in the world of streaming video, audio, and the advertising, pricing and bundling models related to them.
- Disney is seeing the shift to streaming video as "sobering," according to one analyst. Recall that ESPN is a Disney holding.
- Facebook signed a small deal to broadcast 20 Major League Baseball games this season, or about one game per week.
- Streaming financial video broadcaster Cheddar has raised $19 million with Raine Ventures and other backers in a Series C round that valued the startup at $85 million.
- Spotify has seen its annual loss double at a time when subscribership has increased by 50%. The company is expected to list directly on the NYSE in Q4 2017 or Q1 2018.
- Meanwhile, Spotify bought a French AI start-up Niland that has a unique approach to music recommendations. The company is in a race with Apple and Pandora to use AI and other methods to give music customers the best music-discovery experience.
- SiriusXM is reportedly in talks to acquire Pandora. Pandora Premium's March launch is already yielding results, but Pandora's active listeners were 76.7 million at the end of Q1 2017, down from 79.4 million a year ago.
- And SoundCloud will be available on Google Home.
- Mike Francesa is tired of radio after 30 years. He thinks he can solve all of the problems of podcasting. Despite never having listened to a single podcast.
- Program of the Week: The Wall Street Journal's The Future of Everything looks at how science and technology are revolutionizing business, industry, culture and society. Do you have a program to recommend? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts.
- And don't forget to subscribe to our show via email or on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spreaker or SoundCloud.
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Regulatory / SecurityBusiness disruptions in the legal, regulatory, and computer security fields, from hacking to the on-demand economy and more.
THIS WEEK IN HACKING:
- A new report highlights the dangers of hacked factory robots. With 2.6 million units expected to be in place by 2019, this has the potential to be a significant issue that can disrupt global manufacturing.
- The FCC is moving ahead with its plan to scrap net neutrality rules. Silicon Valley and telecom giants have opposing views of how web traffic should be treated on the way to reaching consumers — an increasing issue now that digital content is supplanting nearly every other format. The next step is a period when the public can submit comments on the proposal.
- Facebook lied to the EU about its ability to match data between WhatsApp and Facebook profiles. And now it's paying a €110 million fine.
- An 11 year-old boy hacked into the Bluetooth devices of the audience at a cybersecurity conference, showing them how he could weaponize a teddy bear. It demonstrated the wider issue of the lax security in a number of Internet of Things devices.
|"I think back to that Christmas morning and I wish I'd just gotten a Teddy Ruxpin."|
- Uber Freight launched, aiming to connect companies that need goods transported across the country with available drivers. It's only a matter of time before this too becomes driverless.
- Uber needs a new general counsel, as the previous one becomes the Chief Legal Officer. Who undoubtedly has her hands full with HR issues.
- Such as Uber's CTO and board director who are both under under pressure regarding the sexual harassment issues that have come to light.
- And Uber is threatening to fire Anthony Levandowski if he does not cooperate with a court's order to return any files he has back to Waymo.
- While Uber gets most of the press (and mostly negative press, at that), but Lyft is doing a few genius things that are worth noting.
- Juno was supposed to be the union-friendly alternative to Uber, offering its drivers ownership in the company. Well, Juno sold to Gett for $200 million and then management promptly canceled drivers' part-ownership agreements before the deal closed.
- Airbnb is learning to play by cities' rules. The home-sharing concern is collecting taxes, settling lawsuits, and working with landlords.
- Speaking of playing by the rules, from the New Yorker: Please Make Yourself at Home in My Airbnb and Have Sex.
Measurement / Analytics / DataThe future is not in plastics, but in data. Those who know how to measure and analyze it will rule the world.
- Sometimes, it pays to address the basics: what is a key performance indicator (KPI)? Don't be surprised or offended; it's a widely misunderstood term.
- Identify the core goal of a design to meaningfully measure it. An excellent piece on getting insights, not numbers.
- You've determined what your goal is, you've got your KPIs in place, and now you want to move on to marketing metrics. Here are four key questions to ask about your marketing metrics.
Mental NourishmentOther links to help you reflect, improve, or simply learn something new.
- In case you're grappling with all-consuming issues, wondering about what will affect your next quarter's performance or how to recalculate those KPIs, here's some perspective in the form of a tediously accurate map of the solar system.
- Did you know that talking out loud to yourself can help you learn? I was just telling myself this the other day...
- If you've done any amount of writing in your time, you'll be familiar with Strunk & White's Elements of Style. It's a classic. Now, an updated classic: Trump's Element's of Style from McSweeny's.
- For some beautiful shots and microstories of the past an present of the country, please check out Richard Binhammer's Roadside America and get yourself a copy. He also has a wonderful photography site with prints available for order. Tell him you heard about him in The Full Monty.
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Upcoming Brain+Trust Speaking Engagements
- Keynote at the CEO Communications Summit at Concordia University's John Molson School of Business in Montreal, June 13-14, 2017. (Scott)
- Keynote at Health:Further in Nashville, August 23-25, 2017 (Frank and Scott)
- Can we speak for your organization? Drop us a line.
Brain+Trust Partners doesn't believe in gobbledygook — we use common sense strategic guidance to help you master the evolving marketplace. From strategy development to technology and data vendor selection, to digital transformation and streamlining processes, our focus is on the customer experience. And our decades of experience working for major brands means that we deeply understand the challenges you're facing. Let us know if we can help you.