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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Episode 60: Reflect on This

You've got your plans, you've made your resolutions, and the new year is upon us. The sky's the limit!

Not so fast.

Somewhere along the way, there's going to be a glitch. Someone's going to find a way to slow your project down, to put up objections. You're going to self-sabotage and fall short on your resolutions by March. It's inevitable.

We all experience failure. The thing is, it's what you do with that failure and how honest you are with yourself that will give you a path forward.

"Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous." 
– Confucius

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Monday, January 7, 2019

New Year, Old You — January 7, 2019

One bite at a time

New Year's resolutions normally don't stick - unless you approach them differently; A.I. and its effects on humans; humans go to war against autonomous vehicles; five phases of digital eras; five content marketing trends you can't ignore; real influencers with fake sponsors; the photo that Walmart's CEO keeps on his phone; feeling bad for Facebook; get your sales team to use social media; which streaming service is better for films or television; podcast predictions for the year; the biggest tech challenges ahead include security and privacy; who's winning ride hailing; differentiated data will help win machine learning races; what attention actually is; and so much more in the New Year, Old You edition of The Full Monty for the week of January 7, 2019.

The Full Monty makes you smarter faster, by curating the essential 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.


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


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

It's a new year, as you know. And that's typically when we make pledges to ourselves in the form of resolutions.

Do they work? Well, the jury is out on that. If you're anything like most humans, the new habits may stick for a while, but you'll find that you simply slip back into your old ways.

There's nothing wrong with that. It's just the way we're wired. So stop trying to change.

It's difficult to tackle something new and different if we haven't properly prepared ourselves for it. That could range from beginning to exercise, developing a new strategy, taking some operations back from agencies, a leadership role, or more.

If you haven't been warming up and you try to just jump in, it's going to be hard going.

"We must undergo a hard winter training and not rush into things for which we haven't prepared."
– Epictetus

The alternative is to adopt Atomic Habits. That is, begin with the smallest things and build from there. So, rather than pledging to stop drinking alcohol entirely in 2019, try cutting back to one drink a week. Or instead of giving up carbs at once, cut back your servings per day. And don't expect to figure out the analytics of your entire department in one quarter; begin with the metrics around one specific part of the operation.

It's human nature to want to make drastic changes to show our commitment to change. But those changes are more likely to stay with you if they're done bit by bit, over time.

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: Goya depicted the story of god Saturn (the Titan Cronus in Greek mythology) eating his children upon their birth, as he feared he would be overthrown by them. His wife Ops eventually hid his third son, Jupiter, on the island of Crete, deceiving Saturn by offering a stone wrapped in swaddling in his place. Jupiter eventually supplanted his father just as the prophecy had predicted.

Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

The latest in AI, machine learning, and bots; mobility and autonomous everything.
Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ
  • Experts say the rise of artificial intelligence will make most people better off over the next decade, but many have concerns about how advances in A.I. will affect what it means to be human, to be productive and to exercise free will. (Pew Research Center)
  • A look Five Standards for Responsible A.I. Use through the eyes of CEOs in industries that will be affected by it. (strategy+business) Ultimately, this is an exercise in many areas beyond the technology; namely, ethics, operations, risk management and more.
  • A smartphone that detects your sadness? A car that knows when you’re tired? Experts in "affective A.I." are building emotionally intelligent technology. (Wall Street Journal) Quite a feat when there are humans that have a hard time with even emotionally intelligence.
  • We're on the cusp of widespread facial recognition. But tech companies know that implementing it comes with a wide array of toxicity. (Venture Beat)
Aᴜᴛᴏɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs / Mᴏʙɪʟɪᴛʏ

Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy

Industry developments and trends, including advertising & marketing, journalism, customer experience, content, and influencer relations.
5 eras of the digital age
Sᴛʀᴀᴛᴇɢʏ / Mᴀʀᴋᴇᴛɪɴɢ / Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ
Jᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟɪsᴍ / Cᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs / Rᴇᴘᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ


IRI Webinar

  • How does personalization at scale grab you? It's really all about knowing your audience and serving them up what matters to them. But how are you supposed to know exactly what to deliver if you don't know their purchase history? IRI has the answers and shares them in their latest FREE webinar: How to Improve Audience Targeting for Your CPG Ad Campaigns. (IRI Worldwide) 

Retail Apocalypse

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

"Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy." 
–Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

Just a quick moment to thank those of you who have recommend this newsletter (publicly) to friends and colleagues. You've helped countless others discover these stories and learn from them.
Please consider doing it again, as the new year is upon us.


News to know about relevant social media and technology platforms that may affect your business.

Fᴀᴄᴇʙᴏᴏᴋ / Iɴsᴛᴀɢʀᴀᴍ / WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ
  • It's kind of a nuanced ethical question: despite everything that's gone down, is it okay to feel bad for Facebook? (Six Pixels of Separation) Here's the thing: it comes down to your belief in their intentions and the usefulness of the platform to you. You need to be comfortable with those.
  • Facebook shelved plans for a product that would have promoted civil discourse. Evidently, conservatives would have thought it was biased against them. (The Verge) I'm still trying to make sense of that last sentence.
  • While the social network will face serious problems with user engagement, Facebook, in tandem with Google, will continue to dominate digital ad revenues. (eMarketer)
  • Instagram is testing a new set of promo buttons for brands to use on posts. (Mashable)
  • Instagram launched walkie-talkie voice messaging. This will place it in competition with other messaging services like Messenger, WhatsApp, and Telegram for voice services. (TechCrunch) My teenager hangs up on friends to text them, so I don't know how well-received this will be.


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

    Speaking Engagements

    Are you tired of hearing about the latest thing you have to chase from executives or so-called gurus who love shiny objects? The platform du jour, the latest trend in influencers, stunts, and the like? 

    Then allow me to wow your team with Timeless Wisdom — lessons drawn from historical and literary contexts, combined with my Fortune 10 executive experience, that still apply today. You'll walk away with a sense of reassurance after hearing some of my stories. I connect the dots between digital and analog, pointing out the universal human truths that drive us all, with insights that will help your team better connect with your customers.

    Mental Nourishment

    Other links to help you reflect, improve, or simply learn something new.

    Top image credit: Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco de Goya, c. 1819-1823 (public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

    Monday, December 31, 2018

    Upon Further Reflection — December 31, 2018

    In this special year-end edition of The Full Monty, we bring you some of the best links from 2018. Kind of a meta-curation.

    The selection standards are completely subjective — much like the rest of the editions — I pick the links I think are important, interesting, or simply worth your time. And rather than restrain the stories to individual sections, below you'll find the best of each month's links.

    Ultimately, the goal is the same: to help make you smarter quickly, by saving you from roaming all over the Internet (or our Archives) looking for these stories.

    As we move into 2019, I'm still working on a premium version of The Full Monty. 
    These kind of "best of" round-ups will be part of that model. I have an extra set of bonus links coming later this week just for Full Monty Patreon supporters — don't miss a chance to see these extra-special stories. Sign up at any level if you'd like to receive them.

    I hope this year was a rewarding one for you and that 2019 brings you more of your heart's desires.

    About this week's image: John William Waterhouse painted Echo and Narcissus in 1903. In the Roman myth, Echo fell in love with the beautiful Narcissus, who was desired by men, women and gods alike. But Narcissus, on seeing his own reflection in a pool of water, became infatuated with it and consequently rejected Echo. She then pined away until only her voice remained.

    "Learning without reflection is a waste. 
    Reflection without learning is dangerous." 
    – Confucius



    • Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase joined forces to address issues in healthcare for their three companies. The initial focus, they said, will be on "technology solutions that will provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent health care at a reasonable cost." (Live Well Nebraska)
    • Wired's Complete Guide to Artificial Intelligence. From its origins in 1956 to the latest advances in health technology, it's an excellent overview of where we are. (Wired) It's also refreshing to see them admit that A.I. is overhyped.
    • Machines aren't the answer, and as they continue to be inserted into processes, it's not about replacing humans. As with any technological advance, there's going to be a pendulum swing, and Christopher Penn has an idea of a hybrid approach as the Human Backlash Against A.I. Is Coming. (Awaken Your Superhero)
    • In an IQ test between Amazon Echo and Google Home, who wins? (Wired) Spoiler alert: consumers do.
    • Twitter posted its first-ever quarterly profit for Q4 2017. (Quartz)
    • L.L. Bean's return policy was legendary, as they were willing to take back any item that they ever sold, if it was damaged or worn out. However, the Maine company is imposing limits on its return policy, citing consumer fraud. This is why we can't have nice things. (Associated Press)
    • How podcasts are breaking through on video-obsessed social media. (Digiday)
    • From the world of practical ethics: times are challenging, philosophy can make your head hurt, and no one likes quizzes. Put them all together and you get this quiz to test how moral (or immoral) you are, or the Oxford Utilitarian Scale. (Quartz)


    • IRI combines highly comprehensive data sets — including consumers’ actual purchase behavior — advanced analytics, and robust technology to offer clients 3-4 times sales uplift and up to 70% improvement on return on advertising spend. Click here for more information on the impact of online ads to offline product sales. (IRI Worldwide) If you ask me, that's the Holy Grail of measurement.












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      Image credit: Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse, 1903 (public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

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