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Where were you when the Internet went down?; AT&T and Time Warner did a deal since our last newsletter; the newspaper industry is preparing for a shift as advertising revenue drops by nearly 10 percent; shifts in Facebook advertising you need to know; Google will be tracking your PII; Airbnb listing in NYC may be illegal; Uber has 40M MAUs; self-driving cars are not five years away; there's an AI war on and it involves Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft and even the U.S. government; the difference between influence and persuasion; a to-do list for Silicon Valley from the president; and more in this week's edition of The Full Monty. Trivia and the poem of the week are now exclusively on The Full Monty podcast.
Virtually everything you need in business intelligence. If you’re on Flipboard, you can get these links — and those that didn't make the cut for publication — by subscribing to The Full Monty Magazine at smonty.co/fullmontymag.
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
- I'll be speaking at the Richmond AMA chapter on November 16.
- And at a company event in Miami on November 29.
- AT&T purchased Time Warner for $85 billion. Wow! Didn't see that one coming.
- The last time Time Warner did a major deal, it was the worst in corporate history (with AOL). What's in it for them? For starters: content packaged with data connections, a shrinking DirecTV business, and competition with Verizon, Facebook, and Google.
- Then again, here's why it doesn't make sense for AT&T to by Time Warner: a company that owns pipes, whether over the air or through the ground, doesn’t actually benefit from owning the content flowing through those pipes. Maybe not, but they stand a better chance of growing their subscriber base when they can make some of that content available to stream free over their network, as other carriers have done with music and video.
- You should care about the deal. Why? Competition, net neutrality and a variety of content types are under their control now.
- Global spending on newspaper advertising is expected to drop by 8.7% in 2016, and publishers are cutting costs and restructuring. It's particularly troublesome, given that the overall global ad market is expected to grow 4% this year to $529.1 billion, with a 14% acceleration in digital-ad spending. The Wall Street Journal is consolidating sections in its print editions and the New York Times is looking to significantly boost digital revenue by 2020.
- A fascinating related thought: what if the newspaper industry made a colossal mistake by giving away its content online? This ignores the fact that the IT era - of word processing and electronic layout - paved the way for more efficiencies while revenue was rising. The newspapers were fat cats at one point; the entire linchpin of the newspaper business model was controlling distribution, and when that linchpin was obliterated by the Internet, it was inevitable that the entire apparatus would collapse.
- Meanwhile, NBCUniversal is doubling its investment in BuzzFeed with another $200 million.
- Streaming video continues to rise, as indicated by Netflix's 20 percent increase in subscribers and Walmart's Vudu launching free movies and TV shows.
- If you'd like to reach viewers with digital video, the best time is between 3 a.m. and 12 p.m.
- If you're not yet subscribing to Christopher Penn's Almost Timely newsletter, don't waste another moment.
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TWITTER / PERISCOPE / VINE
- One columnist thinks that Twitter's issues are so pervasive that the service doesn't have more than six months left. We agree that Twitter seems devoid of a strategy (and of a communications plan to accompany it), but is it that bad? This commentator thinks they'd go private before they collapse.
- Disney opted not to buy Twitter primarily because of the clash of cultures. Twitter could hardly be called "the happiest place on earth."
- Twitter fired its new head of VR because he called the San Francisco homeless "degenerates." On Facebook. Because Twitter didn't think to check Facebook before they hired him.
FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / WHATSAPP
- Advertising on Facebook is always changing. With that, here are five major shifts in Facebook advertising all marketers should know about.
- You'll soon be able to reach users on Facebook with push notifications, thanks to their Analytics for Apps mobile analytics solutions.
- Messenger will suggest "Conversation Topics" for you to chat with friends about. Because you're too daft to know what to talk about with your own friends.
- Instant Articles will feature video and 360-degree images. Part of Facebook's further push into VR and video.
- Think I'm kidding? Be on the lookout for Facebook Live video being advertised on TV, billboards, buses and more.
- In keeping with its parent company, Instagram is trying live video. We can't escape it.
- Facebook debuts live video scheduling, scheduled broadcast sharing, pre-broadcast lobbies to verified Pages, with plans to expand to all Pages in coming weeks.
- Instagram Stories are now part of the Explore feature. This will be a personalized selection of Stories from across its global userbase. Look out, Snapchat!
ALPHABET / GOOGLE
- Google has dropped its long-standing ban on tracking personally-identifiable information. They're latest tech company to drop the wall between anonymous online ad tracking and users' names. Yes, it's just as creepy as Facebook's. Here's how to disable it.
- The new Pixel phone is getting good reviews. But there's one flaw it exposed: Google's confusing messaging app strategy. Duo, Allo, Hangouts and Messenger have some overlap and simply don't work together.
- CBS is launching a Web TV service in 2017 and Google signed on, ostensibly for YouTube to host it. Just like Facebook Live going all-in with broadcasters, this is the new TV.
- YouTube took a swipe at Facebook, saying that 96% of its users watch rather than scroll, and they do so with the sound on. Facebook meanwhile is trying to get advertisers to create video that account for silent viewing. Makes sense, as YouTube is a video destination, while video is a distraction on Facebook (for now).
- Like Snapchat, Pinterest is working on an Explore section for publishers and advertisers to create video and multimedia posts.
- Chipotle turns to Snapchat as part of its reputation management plan with an edgy new show called "School of Guac." This might be helpful in winning back a younger crowd after their food safety issues.
Collaborative/ Autonomous Economy
- Groupmuse is Uber for classical music. More specifically, it's a network of some 1,200 musicians who will perform chamber music in homes, a calendar of events, and the ability to sign up to host concerts in your home. It's chamber music the way it was originally conceived.
- And if you'd like conducting lessons on demand, none other than Maestro Leonard Slatkin, musical director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, can teach you.
- In New York, Governor Cuomo signed a bill into law that bans rentals of less than 30 days in a multi-unit building if the tenant is not present. Hosts caught listing their apartments could be fined up to $7,500 a year.
- Airbnb immediately filed a lawsuit against New York.
- Be sure to check out this contest being promoted by Airbnb: two people will have a chance to stay in Bran Castle, the real-life inspiration for Dracula's castle in Transylvania — the first time since 1948 that anyone has stayed overnight. Just submit what you'd say to Count Dracula if you met him. Or to Governor Cuomo.
- Travis Kalanick says Uber has 40 million monthly riders. This cohort spends about $50 a month on the ride-hailing service.
- Uber's ultimate goal is to become a robotics company, in case any drivers were curious.
- All Tesla vehicles being produced will now have full self-driving hardware. And you'll want to watch this Telsa driving itself from home to work. Now if we could only get it to stop and pick up an In-N-Out burger for us.
- Meanwhile, Apple scaled back its autonomous vehicle program to only focus on the software, not the creation of vehicles themselves.
- In Singapore, one of the perfect cities for testing autonomous vehicles, one was in an accident with at truck. This demonstrates some of the challenges still facing the industry.
- Which should make it clear that, despite what Silicon Valley breathlessly predicts, self-driving cars are not five years away. The challenges to be answered are not technological in nature, but legal, regulatory, ethical, behavioral and more. You know, the human stuff.
- Is the self-driving car un-American? Given that so much of our culture has been car culture, the advent of autonomous vehicles may reframe our view of the self.
- People keep asking: "Where's my flying car?" Fortunately, Airbus has a secret flying car plan called Vahana.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE / BOTS / BLOCKCHAIN
- Seen as revolutionary in the world of finance, the blockchain’s software code can let banks, investors and others in the market transfer and record assets and exchange information without an intermediary.
- There is confusion in the marketplace around AI technology and the terminology used to describe it.
- Microsoft has reached "human parity" with speech recognition technology. This is a significant step forward in AI, as voice-activated systems proliferate. As long as the humans don't mumble.
- Apple hired its first director of AI research, an associate professor of machine learning. He's been trying to get AI to learn from raw data — the Holy Grail of machine learning.
- Google's AI can now learn from its own memory independently by combining external memory with neural networks.
- IBM is betting on Watson and its putting a great amount of resources into it, as the company determines how to build a business around AI.
- Three brands discover some very human lessons from chatbots with customers — namely, seamless interactions make for happier and more engaged users who want to keep coming back.
- The U.S. government wants to weaponize artificial intelligence. Why not? They've already weaponized the ever-oxymoronic military intelligence.
Virtual Reality / Audio
- USA Today Network has a new weekly program called VRtually There, the first-ever branded news experience, exclusively in partnership with YouTube and Toyota.
- The NBA will broadcast more than 25 games in VR this season. At least one game a week will be in virtual reality as part of a new, multi-year partnership between NBA Digital and VR production company NextVR. My jump shot will still suck in VR.
- Even though Apple is seen by many as the leader in technology, CEO Tim Cook is more bullish on augmented reality (AR) and says "there's no substitution for human contact." Tell that to my 13 year-old.
- NPR is expanding and restructuring Story Lab — a multi-part initiative that includes teams from programming, NPR’s internal News Lab, NPR Training, and the listening app NPR One — in order to build up its next generation of shows and podcasts.
- A new app Bumpers aims to allow anyone to create podcasts directly from their phone.
- Here's a look at how the biggest players in podcasting are monetising the platform.
- EarPrint headphones will provide a custom audio experience for you and you'll realize just how poor your hearing actually is.
- Program of the Week. This week, we take our recommendation from Esquire, who have the 25 essential pocasts for 2016. Do you have a program to recommend? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts
- And don't forget to subscribe to ours via email or on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spreaker or SoundCloud.
Content / Customer Experience / Influencer Marketing
- The game of content marketing is changing, and you're about to see a ton of trends lists published soon — but this isn't your typical trends article. It's the most meaningful content marketing trends and how they'll influence 2017, Part 1 and Part 2.
- We talk a lot about influence, but what is the true goal of influencing? Persuading. This stellar discussion on The Marketing Companion gets to the heart of the difference and how it is done.
- You know who your content is appropriate for? Forget Millennials. Your target is Perennials. Yeah - in other words, people.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- Early Friday morning, major Internet portals such as Twitter, Reddit, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon and others were taken down by a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS). The attack came in three waves, but caught many companies unaware, as it became clear that someone is learning how to take down the Internet.
- That someone is still unknown, but their methodology was eventually discovered: millions —perhaps as many as 10 million — Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as cameras, DVRs, and the like, were compromised. Given the adoption of such devices, this could just be beginning of a bleak future.
- Dyn, the company that sustained the attack on its DNS servers, gave a statement indicating that this was "a sophisticated, highly distributed attack involving 10s of millions of IP addresses...across multiple attack vectors and internet locations." Essentially, because the devices still contained their factory passwords, it was fairly simple for the hackers to set off this attack. The lesson: change the passwords on all of your connected devices.
- Americans increasingly appreciate and understand the danger of being hacked, but few are doing anything to prevent it.
- Some of the information we're getting from Wikileaks were from John Podesta and Colin Powell's Gmail accounts were hacked, and it was with their unwitting help. Don't shake your head like that; it could happen to you. Would you click on these fake Gmail alerts?
Measurement / Metrics / Data
- The science of headline writing determines whether A/B testing actually works. It can also be applied to email subject lines.
- Mix up your metrics with these offbeat alternatives.
Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- President Obama has a to-do list for Silicon Valley. Among the items are tackling inequality, strengthening cybersecurity, and ensuring that AI helps (not hurts) us. And a flying car.
- GM has a to-do list for Silicon Valley: move to Detroit. By reinventing its culture, the old-line automaker hopes to attract those looking to shake things up, rather than conquer them. You know what they say: if you can't beat them, get them to join you.
- New York is really a microcosm of the world. BuzzFeed proves it with How to Walk Around the World Without Leaving New York City.
- Maria Popova brings us 10 learnings from a decade of writing Brain Pickings. Here are the ten, but click through to read her insightful comments and to learn from the many links she provides to great minds of literature, philosophy and more.
- Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.
- Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone.
- Be generous.
- Build pockets of stillness into your life.
- When people tell you who they are, believe them; when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.
- Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity.
- “Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.”
- Seek out what magnifies your spirit.
- Don’t be afraid to be an idealist.
- Don’t just resist cynicism — fight it actively.
- And we close with 11 of literature's best closing lines.
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