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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)

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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)

    Wednesday, February 6, 2019

    Episode 63: You See But You Do Not Observe




    If you're interested in how your business is performing, it's essential that you're measuring the right things. But you need to know where to look when setting up your KPIs.

    Often times, we're looking in the wrong place. Or looking in the right place, but simply not asking the right questions or interpreting the data correctly.

    Sherlock Holmes had some ideas about how to apply our minds to answering questions that some people haven't even considered asking.

    "How ever did you see that?"
    "Because I looked for it."
    – Arthur Conan Doyle


    Download now (3.8 MB, 8:20)

    Would you consider leaving a rating or review for the show on Apple Podcasts? It help other people find us.


    Links:


    Credits:

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

    Incidental musicViolin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 - III. Rondo: Allegro by Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performers: Uncredited violinist, US Marine Chamber Orchestra
    Publisher Info.: Washington, DC: United States Marine Band
    Copyright: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

    Image credit

    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 4, 2019

    Capacity for Opacity — February 4, 2019


    Transparency can go a long way toward trust; facial recognition may be getting better; A.I. for Marketers ebook; integration of mobility services is seen as key to success; global digital trends for 2019; creating value with marketing; the future of journalism is questioned; digital grocery loyalty is time-dependent; how to increase your Instagram followers; Twitter may be nearing an edit function; five executives doing social media well; Apple's streaming service coming in April; Spotify may be acquiring Gimlet for a huge sum; the percentage of companies that sell your data; which words are best to use with customers, as analyzed through big data; advice on thinking, decision-making and banking; and more in the Capacity for Opacity edition of The Full Monty for the week of February 4, 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

    In our last edition, I talked about lack of trust — in particular, how Facebook (once again) fell afoul of our trust, and how many of last week's links concerned breach of trust in some fashion.

    But it got me to thinking about what's at the root of distrust: that is, why we end up being duped, willing or otherwise. Part of it exists within our own desire to believe, but it's exploited by companies that decide to withhold information, or make it particularly difficult to determine the truth.

    Case in point: Facebook (sigh, again) has been accused by ProPublica of cutting off access to tools that let the public see exactly how Facebook users are being targeted by advertisers. That is, ProPublica and others such as Mozilla and Who Targets Me created a means for consumers to see how their data are being used — something you'd think that Facebook would have created and made apparent and easy to use.

    Facebook's response? "We regularly improve the ways we prevent unauthorized access by third parties like web browser plugins to keep people’s information safe," according to a spokesperson.

    Oh, they're protecting us. But "Rebuilding trust is the company's total focus," right?

    These slippery explanations are designed to obscure the truth: that Facebook wants control over what you see and discover, and even the most well-meaning public watchdogs are not welcome.

    If they bothered with even a little transparency, we might be inclined to trust them. Even McDonalds brought us inside a facility to see how Chicken McNuggets are made, in an effort to build trust and make the truth known.

    Transparency doesn't mean giving away your secrets. Transparency means confidence in your business operations that lead to a willingness to be honest and show how the sausage (or McNuggets) are made.

    It's abundantly clear that Facebook prefers being opaque.

    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:
    James McNeill Whistler completed Nocturne of Grey and Gold - Picadilly in 1883. The image may evoke fear and mystery, with obscured buildings and people, and the knowledge that something—many somethings—must lurk beyond what is visible. For artists, the fog is beautiful, as Whistler attests in his Ten O'Clock Lecture (1885): "Nature, who, for once, has sung in tune, sings her exquisite song to the artists alone." But for others, the fog is a shroud that disguises the poverty, commercialism and squalor in the city on any other day.


    Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

    The latest in A.I., machine learning, and bots; mobility and autonomous everything.
    Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ
    • Summit, the world's most powerful supercomputer, broke a record for the fastest-running machine learning experiment. The experiment used algorithms to detect extreme weather patterns such as hurricanes out of a huge dataset of climate simulations. (Wired) These kinds of experiments set the ground for other uses of machine learning across industries.
    • IBM released a new, annotated dataset for facial recognition called Diversity in Faces, or DiF. The dataset contains 1 million facial images sourced from Creative Commons that are labeled using ten different coding schemes. (Venture Beat)
    • In what appears to be an effort to condition searchers to use voice, Google added voice input and spoken results to mobile web search. (Search Engine Land via Pam Moore) Given that voice search works on all phones, Google is more likely to be the winner in voice search than any other platform. Right, Alexa and Siri?
     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
    • Could Waymo be the de facto victor in the autonomous vehicle race? (Financial Times) Perhaps, but they still need to get their vehicles from somewhere...
    • Argo A.I. has a permit to test autonomous vehicles in California. California is the fifth state where Ford's A.V. partner is now allowed to test its technology. (TechCrunch) While some debate the efficacy of OEMs vs. tech companies in autonomous vehicles, Ford's hybrid approach is one to watch.
    • Autonomous vehicles could make urban transit more efficient, but what's really needed is intelligent digital platforms to integrate different modes of transportation into a personal travel plan that's optimized for consumer preferences, like shortest travel time or lowest price. (Axios) There's no one-size fits all approach for A.V.s, even within a seemingly homogeneous place as a city. Multi-modal mobility options are essential.
    • Amazon is hauling some cargo in self-driving trucks from Embark. Embark integrates its self-driving systems into Peterbilt semis, rather than building its own vehicles completely from scratch. (CNBC) Kind of like Waymo...


    Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy

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


    • We Are Social and Hootsuite revealed the latest annual report Digital Trends 2019: everything you need to know about mobile, internet, social media, and e-commerce use around the world in 2019. (The Next Web) 



    Sᴛʀᴀᴛᴇɢʏ / Mᴀʀᴋᴇᴛɪɴɢ / Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ
    Jᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟɪsᴍ / Cᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs / Rᴇᴘᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ
    • With layoffs at BuzzFeed, HuffPo and other big digital publishers, we're left to ask what went wrong with digital media? (The New York Times) There's plenty of blame to go around, over a long timeline. Perhaps we should look toward successful digital pubslishers like The Guardian, The New York Times, the Washington Post., etc. and ask what went right.
    • Journalism is changing. First, the pivot to video. Then, the pivot to podcasting. Now, the pivot to subscription. (Medium) What's next?
    • How can journalism survive? A good mini-history of what got us here. Here being consolidation, layoffs, and a disinterested public. (The New Yorker)
    • Instead of seeking out stories, a better option is letting stories come to you, preferably through email. Going all Marie Kondo, Mat Zucker suggests bringing joy to your inbox with these newsletters. (Forbes)


    SPONSOR

    IRI Webinar

    • Personalization is needed more than ever. But how do you do it at scale? It's really all about knowing your audience and serving them up what matters to them, ideally based on what you know - such as their purchase history. IRI has the solution 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. 



    You know what would be great? If you could help other people discover these stories and learn from them, just like you. 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
    • If you want to get away with posting fake news on Facebook, just change your website domain. This has allowed a number of previously debunked sites to fly under the radar of fact-checkers. (Poynter) 
    • Researchers at New York University and Stanford University found that deactivating Facebook for just four weeks could alter people’s behavior and state of mind, making them less informed but happier. (Washington Post)
    • Desperate for data on its competitors, Facebook has been secretly paying people to install a “Facebook Research” VPN that lets the company suck in all of a user’s phone and web activity. (TechCrunch) But trust them.
    • How to increase your Instagram followers without resorting to hacks, buying fake followers, or unscrupulously turning your profile into an egg. (Medium via For the Interested)
     Tᴡɪᴛᴛᴇʀ
    • Twitter's head of content partnerships says the social media network wants to work closely with publishers to ensure Twitter is correctly handling content they are creating. (AdWeek)
    • According to CEO Jack Dorsey, Twitter is trying to figure out editable tweets. One possibility is having the original still show. (9to5Mac)
    • Twitter cut off access to its API for follow/unfollow services including ManageFlitter, CrowdFire and StatusBrew. (TechCrunch) While helpful for finding and unfollowing spam and bot accounts, these services have been gamed to allow unscrupulous users to follow and then unfollow accounts quickly, to boost their own numbers.
    • People who tweet are more open-minded than those who only post on Facebook. But they also tend to be more Machiavellian as well. (Insider) But not you—you're better than that.
    Oᴛʜᴇʀ



    Media

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

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

    Do 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.


      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. 
      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.


      Top image credit: Nocturne of Grey and Gold - Picadilly (public domain, Whistler House Museum of Art, Lowell, Massachusetts)

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