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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Episode 65: The Purple Tutu




Authenticity lives at the intersection of transparency and reputation.

Why try to conform to the expectation of others? Why aim for the middle? Why strive for mediocrity?

Well, you probably don't aim to be mediocre, but perhaps a series of compromises ultimately lands you there. If you were true to your brand and true to your ideals, you'd be unique and different.


"Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be."
– Henry David Thoreau


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Links:


Credits:

Theme songAfternoon by Maestross is on a royalty-free license from Jamendo.com.

Incidental musicNocturne No.3 in G minor - I. Allegro - Adagio espressivo by Louis-Emmanuel Jadin, performed by Felix Skowronek
Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Image creditDiogenes by Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1859 (public domain)

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Digital OG — February 18, 2019


Facebook's culture continues to dominate; experts comment on the executive order for A.I.; Volvo's subscription service is under fire; winning the hearts and minds of consumers; the importance of building trust; what the store of the future should be like; a new Twitter tool will create citizen video journalists; Netflix may lose subscribers over its price hike; podcasting deserves a larger share of advertising; the absence of leaked Equifax data is terrifying; Uber's latest numbers are in; a breakthrough in GDPR-compliant data analytics; improve yourself by reading old books; and more in the Digital OG edition of The Full Monty for the week of February 18, 2019.



The Full Monty makes you smarter faster, by curating essential digital business intelligence every week. Links are below with commentary in italics. Please sign up for our email updates to make sure you don't miss a thing.

Contents:

Announcements
Top Story
Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous
Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy
Retail Apocalypse
Platforms
Media
Privacy / Security / Regulatory
Measurement / Analytics / Data
Mental Nourishment

Announcements

Have you signed up for updates from my main blog, Timeless Wisdom? That's where I share insights on current issues, through the lens of what great figures of history, philosophy or literature have taught us. Please add this essential to your inbox.




Top Story

Well, what do you know? It's Facebook back in the news, and not for a good reason. It's a continuation of the Cambridge Analytica / government questioning story line, and in this case, the U.K. Parliament and its Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

The Committee said that Facebook representatives "deliberately misled" them or were not properly briefed themselves. Either way, it amounts to obfuscation by Facebook. Hey, add that to complexification from last week!

In fact, they went even further, stating in no uncertain terms that they considered Facebook to be skirting along the criminal world: “Companies like Facebook should not be allowed to behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world, considering themselves to be ahead of and beyond the law.” They also called for Facebook to be investigated by the U.K.'s data watchdog.

This is a particularly sensitive time, as Facebook is also negotiating with the Federal Trade Commission for a multibillion dollar record fine.

Even if we can forgive Facebook's decisions in the years leading up to the election and chalk it up as lack of foresight or a result of a lack of coordination internally, it's getting more difficult to overlook the transgressions above. The leadership has been given ample opportunities to come clean, and at every turn, they're guided by their moral compass, which is expressed through a series of delays, denials, and deflections.

Even as Mark Zuckerberg continually expressed his idealistic desire to make the world a more connected place, the constant hunger for data and profits drove the company forward, ethics be damned.

Peter Drucker once said that culture eats strategy for breakfast. Facebook's culture continues to cast a shadow over its strategy. Or perhaps it's a perfect reflection of it.

“And those that deceive upon hope of not being observed do commonly deceive themselves, the darkness in which they believe they lie hidden being nothing else but their own blindness and are no wiser than children that think all hid by hiding their eyes.” 
– Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan


If you enjoyed this commentary, please sign up for Timeless Wisdom in addition to this newsletter and I'll send you a couple of more items a week.

About this week's image:
Justice and Divine Vengeance Pursue Crime by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon shows a dead man lying sprawled across the foreground while blood seeps into the ground from a wound in his neck. His murderer flees with the victim's belongings in his arms. Above, Divine Vengeance, illuminating the way with a torch, and Justice, armed with sword and scales, pursue the criminal. Prud'hon made this study for a monumental painting destined to hang behind the judges' bench in the criminal courtroom of the Palace of Justice in Paris. 


Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

The latest in A.I., machine learning, and bots; mobility and autonomous everything.
Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ
  • A detailed study by McKinsey suggests that Europe is falling behind China and the U.S. in artificial intelligence, while its digital gap continues to widen. (McKinsey)
  • President Trump created an executive order on America’s A.I. policy. The national strategy was released by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and includes five key goals: redirect funding, create resources for researchers, establish standards, retrain workers, and engage internationally. Four experts weighed in on the policy. (IEEE Spectrum)
  • Microsoft's A.I. pipeline goes from research to reality. It’s not enough to have brilliant researchers and a bunch of popular products. You’ve got to have a system–or several systems–for melding raw technology into experiences that make a difference for businesses and consumers. (Fast Company)
 AI for Marketers
Be sure to download a copy of Christopher Penn's AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer (Second Edition). You'll find the kinds of questions you should be asking vendors, five practical applications of AI for marketing, what it will take for you to succeed on your journey, and more. 

Aᴜᴛᴏɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs / Mᴏʙɪʟɪᴛʏ
  • Volvo's new car subscription service is meeting with some opposition: California auto dealers, who call it an illegal marketing scheme. (The Verge) I know, big surprise. Car dealers are resistant to change.
  • Self-driving car company Aurora has raised more than $530 million, on a valuation of $2.5 billion. (Reuters) The autonomous market continues to get more crowded, with payoffs years (or perhaps decades) away. Is there a surefire bet on any one of them? Stay tuned.
  • Meanwhile, robot delivery startup Nuro raised $940 million from Softbank. Nuro is one of the few companies operating entirely driverless vehicles on the road. (The Verge)


Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy

Industry developments and trends, including advertising & marketing, journalism, customer experience, content, and influencer relations.


Sᴛʀᴀᴛᴇɢʏ / Mᴀʀᴋᴇᴛɪɴɢ / Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ
Jᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟɪsᴍ / Cᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs / Rᴇᴘᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ


Sign up for email updates




Retail Apocalypse

Humans are a transactional species, and the practice — if not the very notion of what retail is  is undergoing a historical metamorphosis. 



Would you like to help other people get smarter faster?. Please consider recommending this newsletter with a tweet (or by sharing on whatever platform of your choice).


Platforms 

News to know about relevant social media and technology platforms that may affect your business.
Fᴀᴄᴇʙᴏᴏᴋ / Iɴsᴛᴀɢʀᴀᴍ / WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ
 Tᴡɪᴛᴛᴇʀ
Oᴛʜᴇʀ



Media

The latest in the world of streaming video, audio, and the advertising, pricing and bundling models related to them.

Vɪᴅᴇᴏ
  • IAC Chairman Barry Diller, the former CEO of Paramount and Fox, talks about the diminished power of movie studios and why “Netflix has won this game.” (Recode)
  • After the latest price increase 27 percent of Netflix users say they could cancel, and many would welcome a cheaper, ad-supported version of Netflix. (Streaming Observer) Netflix needs to be careful, as they walk a fine line here. With so many streaming options now, they stand a very real chance of losing subscribers if they increase prices too much or too frequently. Fickle vewers can get their streaming content elsewhere just as easily. Another reason why Netflix's own programming needs to be superior.
  • TiVo's Video Trends Report found that nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of adults in North America use their televisions to watch TV shows, while close to half (45 percent) use their TVs to watch live sports. And one-third (33 percent) of teens use it to watch YouTube. (Marketing Charts)
Aᴜᴅɪᴏ

Please subscribe to The Full Monty podcast, 7 minutes of weekly business commentary, many times with a historical or literary twist. It's like Paul Harvey for business. New episodes every Wednesday.

Try this at home: "Alexa, play the latest episode of The Full Monty."


Privacy / Security / Regulatory

Business disruptions in the legal, regulatory, and computer security fields, from hacking to the on-demand economy and more.

Pʀɪᴠᴀᴄʏ / Sᴇᴄᴜʀɪᴛʏ / Hᴀᴄᴋɪɴɢ
  • “We are caught between two extremes: a weak regulatory system in the United States that refuses to so much as investigate the Equifax breach and a fine-based scheme in Europe that is so harsh that regulators will never be able to impose the maximum allowable penalties. Neither of these systems comes close to striking the right balance of financial penalties mixed with corrective security measures. And until they do, companies will continue to escape serious consequences for their breaches." Why It's So Hard to Punish Companies for Data Breaches (Medium | The New York Times)
  • Now 17 months after the Equifax data breach, none of the personal information of the 143 million customers has made its way to the web. Investigators suspect that a nation-state is behind the breach, for spying purposes. (CNBC)
  • A look at the six tenets of data privacy in connected vehicles for OEMs, data providers, service providers, and consumers, according to otonomo. (via Lisa Joy Rosner)
  • The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends GDPR-like privacy laws in the United States to give people more control over their data. (Engadget) Facebook is now 15 years old. It's time for users to have more (or at least clear) control over their data.
Rᴇɢᴜʟᴀᴛᴏʀʏ / Oɴ-Dᴇᴍᴀɴᴅ Eᴄᴏɴᴏᴍʏ

⛰

Measurement / Analytics / Data

The future is not in plastics, but in data. Those who know how to measure and analyze it will rule the world.


    Speaking 

    How can you energize your team and give them actionable ideas for boosting customer engagement? It's all about applying Timeless Wisdom to your process — practical and relatable lessons drawn from historical and literary contexts, updated to inform business growth. 
    Combine this with Fortune 10 executive experience and some great stories, and you'll be happy that you spent a fraction of what it costs to send your team to a major conference. I'll spend anywhere from an hour to a whole day with your team and give them the power to develop trusted, lasting relationships with your customers.
    Let's chat and see if I can customize a session for you.


    Mental Nourishment

    Other links to help you reflect, improve, or simply learn something new.
    “If you join at eleven o’clock a conversation which began at eight, you will often not see the real bearing of what is said.” 
    — C.S. Lewis (tweet this) 

    Top image creditJustice and Divine Vengeance Pursuing Crime by Pierre-Paul Prud'hon, 1806 (Getty Museum)

    Wednesday, February 13, 2019

    Episode 64: Reputation Is Everything




    Henry Russell Sanders, the UCLA football coach, once said, "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." The same could be said for reputation, whether it's your personal reputation or the reputation of your company.

    What do we need to do to ensure our reputation isn't tarnished? At the turn of the last century, a well-heeled woman who wanted to retain her socialite status had to think twice before she asked for a divorce. One in particular endured a very public spectacle, but emerged not only with her reputation in tact, but in a position to advise others.

    Ultimately, character (or, in business terms, culture) plays an oversized role in the building and keeping of our reputation.

    "Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation."
    – George Washington


    Download now (3.8 MB, 8:14)

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    Links:


    Credits:

    Theme songAfternoon by Maestross is on a royalty-free license from Jamendo.com.

    Incidental music: Ragtime Dance by Scott Joplin (1899)
    Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution 1.0 (public domain)

    Image credit: The Valley of Wyoming by Jasper Francis Cropsey, 1865 (The Met, public domain)

    Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSoundCloudSpotify, or Stitcher.

    Or try this: ask Alexa or Google Home to "play the latest episode of The Full Monty podcast."


    If you find this program valuable, please consider supporting it on Patreon. It covers the cost of hosting, email, music and more.

    Monday, February 11, 2019

    Apoplectic Complexifier — February 11, 2019


    Transparency and reputation are closely linked; the 100 most promising A.I. startups; A.I. may have a larger impact than the internet; ride-hailing companies struggle for profitability, despite AVs; the latest Inc. 500 social media study reveals confidence and concerns; customer-centricity should be central to digital transformation; Sears gets saved—for now; why online groceries are difficult; look beyond social networks to boost traffic; Marie Kondo your Twitter feed; Fortnite and the future of entertainment; hot takes on Spotify/Gimlet; discovering your reused passwords; compliance laws cloud influencer marketing efforts; other bnbs besides Air; living a life of liquid modernity; and more in the Apoplectic Complexifier edition of The Full Monty for the week of February 11, 2019.



    The Full Monty makes you smarter faster, by curating essential digital business intelligence every week. Links are below with commentary in italics. Please sign up for our email updates to make sure you don't miss a thing.

    Contents:

    Announcements
    Top Story
    Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous
    Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy
    Retail Apocalypse
    Platforms
    Media
    Privacy / Security / Regulatory
    Measurement / Analytics / Data
    Mental Nourishment

    Announcements

    Have you signed up for updates from my main blog, Timeless Wisdom? That's where I share insights on current issues, through the lens of what great figures of history, philosophy or literature have taught us. Please add this essential to your inbox.




    Top Story

    I feel like I'm a week ahead of myself. Last week, I mentioned how the week before I talked about the lack of trust, then I continued the theme, focusing on transparency. This week, it's about reputation.

    And what do you know? Last week, the bombshell Jeff Bezos Medium post became a lesson in complete transparency. By going public with his response to the questionable legal approach and idiotic business move that AMI, owner of the National Enquirer took ("What's that? You want me to stop investigating you or you'll release my naked selfies? I'd like that in writing, please."), Bezos pulled the rug out from under them.

    In doing so, he managed to keep his reputation fairly unsullied. The texts were already out there, so he really didn't have much to lose. Not to mention that as the world's richest man, he has the resources to back him.

    The true story behind the Bezos mishap?

    But it's an interesting lesson in going on the offensive before your opponent does. It's a classic political maneuver: define yourself before someone else can. That way, your reputation is still within your control.

    A related piece worth reading is Shame Storm (via First Things). It helps put into context these ever-escalating pitchfork-and-torch incidents online. The more online shame cycles you observe, the more obvious the pattern becomes: everyone comes up with a principled-sounding pretext that serves as a barrier against admitting to themselves that, in fact, all they have really done is joined a mob.

    If you think we're any different now with the Internet at our back, we really aren't. We're nothing if not consistent, and frankly, human nature is pretty dark (via Aeon): Schadenfreude sets in by the age of four, we view minorities as less human, we are vain and overconfident, we're moral hypocrites and potential trolls, and more. But we can overcome those baser instincts.

    Pick your friends, colleagues, and counselors carefully. For their character may rub off on you, for better or worse.

    “Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation.” 
    – George Washington


    If you enjoyed this commentary, please sign up for Timeless Wisdom in addition to this newsletter and I'll send you a couple of more items a week.

    About this week's image:
    The lithograph above is Album Comique. L'Apoplexie foudroyante by Ambrose Tardieu. It pictures sudden apoplexy: a large man stretched out on a chaise lounge attended by a doctor and servants. August Ambrose Tardieu was a French medical doctor and preeminent forensic medical scientist of the mid-19th century. Apoplexy is a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke, and Tardieu would have been interested in the pathology underlying the condition.


    Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

    The latest in A.I., machine learning, and bots; mobility and autonomous everything.
    Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ
     AI for Marketers
    Be sure to download a copy of Christopher Penn's AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer (Second Edition). You'll find the kinds of questions you should be asking vendors, five practical applications of AI for marketing, what it will take for you to succeed on your journey, and more. (Disclosure: affiliate link)


    Aᴜᴛᴏɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs / Mᴏʙɪʟɪᴛʏ


    Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy

    Industry developments and trends, including advertising & marketing, journalism, customer experience, content, and influencer relations.


    Sᴛʀᴀᴛᴇɢʏ / Mᴀʀᴋᴇᴛɪɴɢ / Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ
    Jᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟɪsᴍ / Cᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs / Rᴇᴘᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ


    Sign up for email updates




    Retail Apocalypse

    Humans are a transactional species, and the practice — if not the very notion of what retail is  is undergoing a historical metamorphosis. 



    Would you like to help other people get smarter faster?. Please consider recommending this newsletter with a tweet (or by sharing on whatever platform of your choice).


    Platforms 

    News to know about relevant social media and technology platforms that may affect your business.
    • With slippage of traffic generated by Twitter and LinkedIn, where are your readers/visitors coming from in 2019? Flipboard is one promising platform. (Nieman Lab) It's time to look beyond social platforms to others, where you have more over control the narrative and algorithms.
    Fᴀᴄᴇʙᴏᴏᴋ / Iɴsᴛᴀɢʀᴀᴍ / WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ
     Tᴡɪᴛᴛᴇʀ
    • Twitter disclosed its daily active user numbers for the first time, revealing the platform hit 126 million DAUs in the fourth quarter, a 9.5% increase from the same period in 2017. It also noted that video is the fastest-growing ad format. (MediaPost)
    • Periscope (remember Periscope?) will allow broadcasters to accept request for viewers to make audio calls to the show while it's live. (TechCrunch) First-time / long-time. Twitter is clearly upping its live video game to compete with Facebook. This could actually make live video much more engaging on Twitter.
    • Marie Kondo your Twitter feed today. Tokimeki Unfollow shows you recent tweets from one account you follow at a time (from your earliest follow, your latest, or randomly—your pick). 
    Oᴛʜᴇʀ



    Media

    The latest in the world of streaming video, audio, and the advertising, pricing and bundling models related to them.

    Vɪᴅᴇᴏ
    • Fortnite's Marshmello concert was a glimpse of what the future of entertainment might look like. (The Verge) Immersive, 
    • Much has been said about Fortnite’s revenue, users, business model, origin and availability. But these narratives are overhyped. It's fundamentally a story of rebundling and how Epic Games combines Fortnite with other successful entertainment lines and creates a Metaverse. (Redef)
    • How the sports OTT landscape in the U.S. is disrupting TV. Disruption is coming from several areas: subscription-based streaming services from the top leagues, standalone services run by broadcasters and independent startups, linear OTT services that deliver live TV content over the internet, and social and digital media companies that have enough capital to buy coveted streaming rights. (eMarketer) TL;DR: it's complexifying
    Aᴜᴅɪᴏ
    • Three solid reads on the Spotify/Gimlet/Anchor announcement from last week:
    • Program of the Week: Money. Romance. Tragedy. Deception. The Dropout from ABC Radio is the story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos, as told through exclusive interviews with former employees, investors, and patients, and for the first-time, the never-before-aired deposition testimony of Elizabeth Holmes.

    Please subscribe to The Full Monty podcast, our own 5-minute weekly business commentary. New episodes drop every Wednesday.

    Try this at home: "Alexa, play the latest episode of The Full Monty."


    Privacy / Security / Regulatory

    Business disruptions in the legal, regulatory, and computer security fields, from hacking to the on-demand economy and more.

    Pʀɪᴠᴀᴄʏ / Sᴇᴄᴜʀɪᴛʏ / Hᴀᴄᴋɪɴɢ
    Rᴇɢᴜʟᴀᴛᴏʀʏ / Oɴ-Dᴇᴍᴀɴᴅ Eᴄᴏɴᴏᴍʏ

    ⛰

    Measurement / Analytics / Data

    The future is not in plastics, but in data. Those who know how to measure and analyze it will rule the world.
    • When it comes to business analytics, it pays to think like Sherlock Holmes. (Timeless Wisdom)
    • Oracle has spent billions of dollars and years tracking people around the web, but it didn't see the data reckoning coming. The result: layoffs from its Data Cloud division, responsible for its advertising software. (Bloomberg)


      Speaking 

      How can you energize your team and give them actionable ideas for boosting customer engagement? It's all about applying Timeless Wisdom to your process — practical and relatable lessons drawn from historical and literary contexts, updated to inform business growth. 
      Combine this with Fortune 10 executive experience and some great stories, and you'll be happy that you spent a fraction of what it costs to send your team to a major conference. I'll spend anywhere from an hour to a whole day with your team and give them the power to develop trusted, lasting relationships with your customers.
      Let's chat and see if I can customize a session for you.


      Mental Nourishment

      Other links to help you reflect, improve, or simply learn something new.
      Francisco de Goya, “Saturn Devouring His Son” (1819–1823) and Sarah Scullin, “Kronos Rex” (2019)
      • Most personality quizzes are junk science. Take one that isn't. It measures the Big Five of psychology: openness to experience, extraversion, negative emotionality, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. (FiveThirtyEight)
      • Try Reddit's best tips for reading more books. (Lifehacker)
      • Colorize your black and white photos with Colourise. Historical images, family photos — it's breathtaking.
      • This commencement address by Harvard Law graduate Pete Davis is perfect. He identifies how we live in liquid modernity — or "infinite browsing mode" in Neflix or social networks. This is in direct opposition to selecting a direction or making a commitment. (YouTube) It's not only a great object lesson, but it's a masterful delivery of a speech, done without notes. It's only 8 minutes long, but well worth your time.



      Top image credit: Album Comique. L'Apoplexie foudroyante by Ambrose Tardieu, 1822 (British Museum)

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