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Monday, March 18, 2019

A Question of Ethics — March 18, 2019


I'm not pulling any punches with the lack of ethics in some tech companies; how CMOs are using A.I.; fixing the robocall problem; the cost of autonomous vehicles is a concern; social video ads need your attention; a social media influencer study worth noting; some conditions in Amazon warehouses are brutal; Facebook's rough week; the hottest chat app for teens is...; the significant podcast statistic hiding in plain sight; the Spotify-Apple battle royale; phone numbers aren't good authentication data points; a new take on the data/oil analogy; your spouse doesn't know you as well as someone else; how museums are rethinking the way they collect art; and more in the A Question of Ethics edition of The Full Monty for the week of March 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

Scott Monty Strategies leverages my time as an executive at Ford Motor Company and the counsel I've been giving to brands and agencies since. I've worked with digital communications teams, customer service leaders, and C-level executives at companies like Walmart, McDonalds, T-Mobile and IBM on issues related to strategy, crisis communications, customer experience, and digital, social and content strategy. I welcome the opportunity to explore a relationship with your team.
Let's have an introductory chat. Or maybe you'd just like to pick my brain for an hour.


Top Story

"All the world's a stage"
— William Shakespeare (As You Like It)

The world saw the impact of a terrorist unleashed in two mosques in New Zealand late last week. Rather than try to describe the situation in my own words, I'll borrow from The New York Times:
"On Friday, a gunman strapped on a helmet camera, loaded his car with weapons, drove to a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, and began shooting at anyone who came into his line of vision. The act of mass terror was broadcast live for the world to watch on social media."

The original video was removed within the first hour, but by then, the damage was already done. Around the world, people copied and uploaded the horrific video to their own accounts and to additional platforms. And the tech companies had difficulty in taking them all down.

The A.I. that they've developed was too slow in flagging and shutting down violent videos. Some will say, "That's just how A.I. works. It's easier to match to known and expected things." Maybe so. But share a nipple on Instagram or a copyrighted song on YouTube and it'll get yanked immediately. Not to mention that Facebook says it can now detect revenge porn automatically.

The sad reality is this:

Tech companies don't care enough about curbing hate speech and violence. If they did, they'd have made this a priority.

“The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.” 
– Albert Schweitzer

Tech companies have engineered a reality in which conspiracy theories and hate are allowed to fester and then go viral, both online and in real life. The power they have unleashed is beyond their comprehension (or at least their expectation). But hate and anger is what fuels the social web. And that drives clicks.

We've long believed that with great power comes great responsibility. And yet Mark Zuckerberg — who has operated Facebook by apology — wants to control the encrypted conversations of nearly a third of the world's population.

At some point, we need to hold such companies to account — not from a regulatory perspective, but from an ethical and human angle. Where is their moral compass?

At this point, their True North seems to be profitability and user growth. They worship at the altar of the golden calf. Sadly, the only way they may pay attention is from an exodus of users and advertisers.

Speaking of exodus, that's the book in the Torah and Old Testament that includes a story about the people worshiping a golden calf while waiting for Moses to return Ten Commandments.

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: Garrit de Wet painted The Adoration of the Golden Calf in the first half of the 17th century to memorialize the scene described in Exodus in the Torah and the Old Testament, in which Aaron and the Israelites constructed a golden calf to worship while Moses went to Mount Sinai, from which he eventually descended with the Ten Commandments. 



Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

The latest in A.I., machine learning, and bots; mobility and autonomous everything.
Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ

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
  • The psychology behind brand storytelling should be apparent by now. Creating empathy and using social proof are helpful in that regard. (AdWeek) But all too often, brands forget this: don't always make it about you.
  • And if you're going for empathy, the link between brand and leadership means connecting with your heart. How do you do that? (Foster Thinking)
  • If you work in influencer relations, you'll want to download this social media influencer study from Trust Insights that looks at engagement by platform, and by audience size. (Trust Insights) Bottom line: larger audience means less engagement.
  • Are influencers ignoring your emails? There's something you can do about it. (Agility PR) I receive a lot of pitches; one bit of advice is this: please take the time to read and understand the people whom you're pitching. Don't cut and paste.


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. 



If you haven’t taken a moment to recommend The Full Monty in the past month, please find a couple of minutes. Three effective tactics (do one, two or all three):
1. Share the URL smonty.co/fullmontysub with a group of your friends at work, a community of practice that is relevant, on Slack, a Facebook Group, etc. with a recommendation.
2. Write a review on your blog, LinkedIn or in your column.
3. Tweet a recommendation. You could try this one or create your own.


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
  • An AT&T executive recently said that Netflix has a brand problem. Does it? (Variety) Does it even matter? Side note: no one is saying "HBO and chill."
  • Netflix subscribers watch an average of two hours per day across multiple devices. (Variety)
Aᴜᴅɪᴏ

If you're not already, 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
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 

    I'm pleased to be heading to the Adobe Summit as an Adobe Insider. And you can join me — just use the code S19SMPC to save $200 on registration or watch the live keynotes here.

    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.
    • Ramin Djawadi may not be a household name, but you've most likely heard his music. He's the composer for Game of Thrones and this is how his music helped make the show a hit. (The Atlantic) Side note: he's also behind Westworld.
    • The 50 best spy movies of all time. (Vulture) I strongly agree with their #1 pick.
    • Comedian isn’t the first word you associate with Machiavelli. Most familiar today as the godfather of Realpolitik and as the eponym for all things cunning and devious, the Renaissance thinker Niccolò Machiavelli also had a lighter side. (The Public Domain Review)
    • With storage spaces filled with works that may never be shown, some museums are rethinking the way they collect art, and at least one is ranking what it owns. (The New York Times) No, the Marie Kondo effect hasn't reached museums, but they all have limited space, and bequests and gifts make it difficult to manage. They have to make some hard decisions.
    • How to avoid sources of stupidity and make smarter decisions. (Farnam Street) 
    “I regard it as a criminal waste of time to go through the slow and painful ordeal of ascertaining things for one’s self if these same things have already been ascertained and made available by others.” 
    —Thomas Edison


    Top image creditThe Adoration of the Golden Calf by Gerrit de Wet, first half of the 17th century (Wikimedia Commons - public domain)

    Wednesday, March 13, 2019

    Episode 68: [Facebook] Data Is the New [Standard] Oil




    For the extremely ambitious, too much is never enough. The battle on the field of commerce is a game to be won at all costs, crushing the competition at every turn.

    Occasionally, the business world is met on the battlefield by a general who is a titan of industry. Who knows more about his industry than anyone else, including the loopholes and hidden opportunities that are exploitable.

    John D. Rockefeller was just such a man. And a century later, so is Mark Zuckerberg. Is Facebook on a collision course with regulatory and anti-trust authorities?


    “Malefactors of great wealth.”
    – Theodore Roosevelt

    Download now (4.5 MB, 9:30)

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


    Links:


    Credits:

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

    Image creditMan at the Crossroads by Diego Rivera (via Gumr51 CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

    Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSoundCloudSpotify, or Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

    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, March 11, 2019

    Private (To Us, at Least) – March 11, 2019


    Facebook opts for more intimate, private conversations; cameras under the watchful eye of A.I.; darker skin and autonomous vehicles don't mix; the percentage of marketing executives who'll increase their budgets this year; advertisers continue to overlook women over 40; retailers are eliminating innovation labs; the hotly anticipated Infinite Dial 2019 shows a dramatic increase in podcast consumption; Facebook's reputation took a hit last year; the only growing social network; Airbnb is going mainstream; one network's attempt at quashing anti-vaccination content; businesses are collecting a 'rolling hairball' of data but have trouble with insights; the problem with nostalgia; and more in the Private (To Us, at Least) edition of The Full Monty for the week of March 11, 2019.

    Special thanks to colleagues who inspired me with link-worthy stories: Chris Brogan, Tom Webster, Jay Baer, Ann Handley, Jason Falls, Mark Schaefer, and Josh Spector. All of these fine folks crank out some amazing content on a regular basis. Check them out.


    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

    On March 12, 2019 at 1:00 pm ET / 10 am PT, I'll be giving a webinar for AdWeek in conjunction with Sprinklr titled Is Your Corporate Culture Transformation-Friendly? What's at Stake.
    In it, I'll share the elements of a successful digital transformation plan. You’ll find out:
    • The building blocks of strategic transformation
    • Ways to change your culture to prepare for digital transformation
    • How to move digital transformation beyond marketing

    Register Now


    Top Story

    It was inevitable.

    In the last decade, we've spent so much time accumulating friends and followers on various social networks that it's become impossible to truly follow all of them. This is a vestige of our DNA: in Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind, Yuhal  Noah Harari referred to "the tens of thousands of years during which our ancestors hunted and gathered."

    So, we hunted and gathered on social networks as well, to the point where we've got more than what Dunbar's number suggests we can handle. And now, like any pendulum, it's beginning to swing the other way.

    Mark Zuckerberg's 3,200 word manifesto on the future of Facebook indicates that it will increasingly shift its focus away from public posts to private, encrypted, and ephemeral communications on its trio of messaging apps (Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp). How they'll be able to sell advertising against fewer public data points is something that Zuckerberg hasn't addressed. But Zuckerberg was more emphatic in his focus on safety and the spread of misinformation.

    Here's the thing: while it may make users more comfortable that their data aren't public, the fact remains that users' data will still be on the platform. Facebook might as well have said, "Your secret is safe with us." Not to mention that by forcing publicly odious opinions and fake news to go underground via private messaging, it's going to be even more dangerous and insidious because of Facebook's (or anyone else's) inability to track it.

    Bottom line: Facebook isn't doing this because they heard our concerns about privacy and are now turning over a new leaf. Facebook's plan is to dominate private messaging.

    But if you've shared a secret on their platform, your secret is out. Given their past performance on data and trustworthiness, is it reasonable to expect them to perform differently under these new circumstances?



    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”  
    – Benjamin Franklin 


    If you enjoyed this commentary, please sign up for Timeless Wisdom in addition to this newsletter. I'll be sharing some additional thoughts about this move by Facebook.

    About this week's image: The Raft of the Medusa is the work of Théodore Géricault, who took a contemporary news event and transformed it into a timeless icon. In 1816, the French naval vessel Medusa sunk off the coast of Africa, which left 147 sailors adrift on a hastily constructed raft. That number dwindled quickly, with only 15 remaining after a 13 day ordeal at sea that included incidents of cannibalism among the desperate men. The larger-than-life-size painting captures the moment the raft’s emaciated crew spots a rescue ship.



    Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

    The latest in A.I., machine learning, and bots; mobility and autonomous everything.
    Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ
    Aᴜᴛᴏɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs / Mᴏʙɪʟɪᴛʏ
    • Tesla is dealing with the failure to achieve full self-driving vehicles by moving the goalposts, as it continues using its customers as unpaid safety drivers for its technology. (Ars Technica) Did we say you'd be able to summon your car autonomously to Los Angeles from New York by 2018? We meant "future use of these features without supervision is dependent on achieving reliability far in excess of human drivers as demonstrated by billions of miles of experience." Or something.
    • Researchers have developed a smart stop sign that will flash a light at the right moment to make sure drivers don’t roll past the sign altogether, therefore raising the risk of an accident. (New Atlas)
    • A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology found that individuals with darker skin are 5 percent less likely to be detected by autonomous vehicles. (Vox) Good grief. Algorithmic bias, most commonly reflecting human biases, is a big problem in the world of A.I. and machine learning. That's because the algorithms rely on training data from the real world—including content from media outlets like Vox.
    • BMW and Mercedes Benz maker Daimler recently announced that they’ll collaborate on ride-sharing and mobility services as part of a €1 billion joint investment. (CNBC)


    Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy

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


    Sᴛʀᴀᴛᴇɢʏ / Mᴀʀᴋᴇᴛɪɴɢ / Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ
    Jᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟɪsᴍ / Cᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs / Rᴇᴘᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ
    • Women have never been more engaged, more motivated, more in control of their lives than ever before. And brands are missing out as they continue to overlook women over 40. (AdWeek) Interesting finding during the week that included #InternationalWomenDay.
    • People would not care if 77% of brands disappeared. However, more than three-quarters (76%) of consumers expect brands to contribute to their quality of life and well-being, according to a new report on meaningful brands. (Havas) It's time to start making consumers care – by caring about what matters to them.
    • New research finds that as Generation Z and young Millennials exhibit much greater price sensitivity and much lower brand loyalty than prior generations—a challenge for brands looking to grow loyalty with this elusive group. (Agility PR) As if we didn't have enough generational challenges already.
    • And if you need a positive boost about the power of humanity as a new brand gets off the ground, check out this Twitter thread. (Twitter)


    Be sure you're signed 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. 


    If you haven’t taken a moment to recommend The Full Monty in the past month, please find a couple of minutes. Three effective tactics (do one, two or all three):
    1. Share the URL smonty.co/fullmontysub with a group of your friends at work, a community of practice that is relevant, on Slack, a Facebook Group, etc. with a recommendation.
    2. Write a review on your blog, LinkedIn or in your column.
    3. Tweet a recommendation. You could try this one or create your own.


    Platforms 

    News to know about relevant social media and technology platforms that may affect your business.
    • Part of Edison Research's Infinite Dial 2019 (see more below in the Media section) included social media usage. Here are nine key discoveries in 2019 social media research. (Convince and Convert) This one may surprise you: only one network grew last year.
    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
    • There's only one Blockbuster store left in the world. What's its secret? (CNN Business) Hint: there's one kind of content is provides that Netflix and Amazon don't.
    • The new streaming service from Disney, Disney+ will feature the company's entire catalog –including items that have long been in its vault. (Collider)
    • Netflix is a threat to the entire Big Media establishment – and Big Media is coming for Netflix. (Axios) It's not just coming from one direction. With Hulu, Disney+, Amazon, WarnerMedia, and others, this is an ongoing battle
    Aᴜᴅɪᴏ
    • Program of the Week: The featured show is Consider Our Knowledge, an award-winning home for the best NPR parody that we know of- where the news is fake, and the jokes are real.

    If you're not already, 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
    Rᴇɢᴜʟᴀᴛᴏʀʏ / Oɴ-Dᴇᴍᴀɴᴅ Eᴄᴏɴᴏᴍʏ
    • Airbnb is finally entering the hotel industry by buying HotelTonight. (Quartz)
    • Regarding the sharing economy: ‘sharing’ was supposed to save us. Instead, it became a Trojan horse for a precarious economic future. (OneZero) Virtually none of the sharing economy startups have demonstrated a cash flow-positive business model. At the center of it all: when you leave decisions up to society as a whole, people will chose the cheapest alternatives, and things will tend toward chaos rather than order.

    ⛰

    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.



      Top image credit: The Raft of the Medusa by Jean Louis Théodore Géricault, 1818-19 (Wikimedia Commons - public domain)

      Wednesday, March 6, 2019

      Episode 67: The Futility of Uninformed Predictions




      We live in amazing times. We're so much more advanced than we were even a decade and a half ago. So why should we bother looking at anything that happened before?

      Predictions require data. And there are millions of volumes that have been written that contain data, stories, lessons, and cautionary tales.

      They're there, just waiting for us to consume and put them to use for our modern means. This week's show has a story about the failure to do just that.


      “The old wheel turns, and the same spoke comes up. It’s all been done before, and will be again.”
      – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


      Download now (3.2 MB, 6:59)

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


      Links:


      Credits:

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

      Image credit: Alexander Consulting the Oracle of Apollo by Louis Jean Francois Lagrenée, 1789 (Wikimedia Commons - public domain)

      Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSoundCloudSpotify, or Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

      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, March 4, 2019

      Too Much of a Bad Thing — March 4, 2019


      An excess of technology may be negatively impacting us—particularly the younger generation; A.I. made a significant impact to the global economy; scooters are a bad deal; consumers prefer voice ads; should influencers be regulated?; pick your Amazon Day; the secret to Best Buy's success; why Facebook and Google won't change; a consumer revolt against cable is brewing; Spotify is powering more podcast listeners; how seriously your privacy is actually taken; Lyft's IPO and recent financials; Nielsen's move toward a product-driven technology company; charisma, charm, and the ability to persuade; and more in the Too Much of a Bad Thing edition of The Full Monty for the week of March 4, 2019.

      Special thanks to colleagues who inspired me with link-worthy stories: Tamsen Webster, Heidi Cohen, Christopher Penn, Michael Rubin, Ann Handley, Mark Schaefer, and Ken Burbary.


      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

      On March 12, 2019 at 1:00 pm ET / 10 am PT, I'll be giving a webinar for AdWeek in conjunction with Sprinklr titled Is Your Corporate Culture Transformation-Friendly? What's at Stake.
      In it, I'll share the elements of a successful digital transformation plan. You’ll find out:
      • The building blocks of strategic transformation
      • Ways to change your culture to prepare for digital transformation
      • How to move digital transformation beyond marketing

      Register Now


      Top Story

      Have we taken technology too far?

      Smartphones in particular have become an appendage, and in doing so, have created a sort of dependency that we can't seem to shake. It's one thing for generations who didn't grow up with these devices, who have become what we once used to call "digital immigrants." But it's entirely another for the digital natives.

      In particular, teens are seeing depression and anxiety as a major problem among their peers. They feel pressure from the usual places: academic performance, appearance, social acceptance. But it's likely that these areas of concern are amplified, thanks to technology — the ubiquity of social media and messaging apps being the prime suspects.

      Is it any wonder? A recent story on NPR indicated that emotions can spread like viruses: in particular, anger is contagious online (as are other emotions). When teens, whose brains are not yet fully evolved, feel the lure of technology and addictiveness of social media, combined with their fluctuating emotional states, it's a dangerous combination. And because they might have a harder time creating boundaries or limitations on themselves, they're at a higher risk.

      A group of researchers decided to get off of Facebook for four weeks to determine the effects. They discovered four things: (1) people spent less time on technology overall, and more time with friends and family; (2) they were less informed, but also less politically polarized; (3) those who gave up Facebook felt “small but significant improvements in well-being”; (4) those who left Facebook said they planned to spend less time on it after the study concluded.

      Perhaps it's time that we reassess our priorities and put our attention where it can do the most good. While we don't have to go to the extreme of giving up technology or Facebook, we should determine just how much of it is good for us.

      "Out of moderation a pure happiness springs." 
      – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


      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 Glorification of Art and Diligence and the Punishment of Gluttony and Earthly Pleasures by Jeremias van Winghen depicts the dual nature of humanity: virtue and vice. The arts are prominently represented among the virtuous group in the foreground. A gentleman carves a sculpture while behind him another pair of men sketch in red chalk. Vice, on the right hand side of the canvas, is filled with gluttonous individuals consuming alcohol, being lustful, and eating excessive amounts of food.



      Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

      The latest in A.I., machine learning, and bots; mobility and autonomous everything.
      Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ
      • Robots took on a record number of jobs in U.S., Canada and Mexico last year, according to the Robotic Industries Association. According to the RIA’s data, 35,880 robots were shipped in 2018 to the U.S., Canada and Mexico, up 7 percent from the previous year — and half went to non-automotive companies. (CNBC)
      • A.I. contributed $2 trillion to the global GDP last year, according to a report. The industry could contribute $15.7 trillion to the world economy by the year 2030. (PwC) Who stands to gain the most? China, with its improving technology and momentum-happy economy.
      • A.I. in content marketing: what it is, how to use it, and companies to demo. (Marketing AI Institute) We could all use some practical advice.
      • Microsoft unveiled an A.I. camera at Mobile World Congress. The Azure Kinect is “new intelligent edge device that enables developers to create a wide range of A.I.-powered experiences." (CNBC) Other companies such as Amazon and Google have their sights set on the A.I. camera market as well. A.I. Uses for grab-and-go retail, healthcare, and gaming await.
      • How recommendation algorithms favor conspiracy theories and outrage over fact. (NBC News) The squeaky wheel gets the link?
      • Letting your customers know when they're dealing with bots would be helpful. Then they can decide how to engage. After all, "spam decorated as human interaction is still spam." (Seth's Blog)

      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
      • Given the debacle at the Fyre Festival and the usual blatant disregard for FTC guidelines, is it time to regulate social media influencers? (Mark Schaefer) My take: no, because enforcement is nigh impossible; brands need to step up and ensure the influencers they're working with aren't being duplicitous.
      • Today's influencer economy can be shared by a Victorian-era economic theory. In the 1899 book Theory of the Leisure Class, the author writes: “The motive is emulation—the stimulus of an invidious comparison which prompts us to outdo those with whom we are in the habit of classing ourselves.” (Quartz) TL;DR — even those in the 19th century wanted to keep up with the Joneses.
      • Whether you're an employee or a manager, here are seven communications skills you need in the workplace. (Fast Company)
      • How to build a crisis-ready communications team before you need them. (Agility PR) I did a fair bit of crisis work in my corporate days, and speak on the subject. LMK if you'd like to chat.


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      Retail Apocalypse

      Humans are a transactional species, and the practice — if not the very notion of what retail is  is undergoing a historical metamorphosis. 
      • Amazon is planning to open dozens of grocery stores at a lower price point than its subsidiary Whole Foods in cities across the country. (WSJ) The grocery wars are heating up, and it isn't yet clear whether this will cannibalize Whole Foods.
      • More than half of U.S. households will be Amazon Prime members by the end of 2019. (eMarketer) New membership is driven by expanding Prime categories such as grocery, apparel, and media.
      • Prime members can pick an Amazon Day — a single day of the week when all of their Amazon packages are delivered. (CNET) A clever play by Amazon — predictability, and a lower chance of package theft — that will help reduce shipping costs. The question is whether logistics will make this possible
      • More than 300 store closures were announced in one day by J.C. Penney, Victoria's Secret, and Gap. (Business Insider)
      • J.C. Penney pulled the plug on its subscription service. (Reuters) I hope you'll join me in shock when I say, "J.C. Penney had a subscription service?"
      • While other retailers have struggled against Amazon, Best Buy has managed not only to stay afloat, but to thrive. How? (CNN Business) Best Buy has focused on customer services (like in-home tech support) to boost sales, and is matching prices fulfilling online orders at stores


      If you haven’t taken a moment to recommend The Full Monty in the past month, please find a couple of minutes. Three effective tactics (do one, two or all three):
      1. Share the URL smonty.co/fullmontysub with a group of your friends at work, a community of practice that is relevant, on Slack, a Facebook Group, etc. with a recommendation.
      2. Write a review on your blog, LinkedIn or in your column.
      3. Tweet a recommendation. You could try this one or create your own.


      Platforms 

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

      Fᴀᴄᴇʙᴏᴏᴋ / Iɴsᴛᴀɢʀᴀᴍ / WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ
      • Without a doubt, the must-read of last week was Casey Newton's widely circulated piece on The Secret Lives of Facebook Moderators in America. Facebook relies on third party contractors, sparing the sensibilities and psyches of its own employees. (The Verge) My take: if you've created the conditions that allow the basest instincts of humanity to surface, you should do your own dirty work.
      • Facebook has rolled out a new feature across the globe that enables users to combine Stories with events. (AdWeek)
      • Facebook is offering a Fan Subscriptions feature, but wants a 30% commission, compared to Patreon's 5%. (TechCrunch) You would think that with Facebook's size and profit margin, they'd undercut Patreon, not make a blatantly greedy grab for six times Patreon's fee.
       Tᴡɪᴛᴛᴇʀ
      • eMarketer has raised its outlook on Twitter, estimating that its U.S. ad revenues will grow 22.8% between December 2018 and December 2020 to $1.62 billion.What's driving it? Having seen increased spending in the 2018 midterm elections, they predict that the 2020 elections will have a similar impact. (eMarketer)
      • Twitter confirmed that it is working on a Hide Tweet feature. It functions as an alternative to muting or blocking a user, while still offering some control over a conversation. (TechCrunch)
      • Users can apply to a Beta test group to preview new features coming to Twitter. (Social Media Today)
      Oᴛʜᴇʀ


      Media

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

      Vɪᴅᴇᴏ


      Aᴜᴅɪᴏ
      • New podcast listener growth is happening, thanks to Spotify. (Panoply)
      • Apple Podcasts issued a new rule last week: that podcast creators should refrain from using episode numbers in their shows. They later clarified, saying that creators should ideally use the iOS season and episode tagging features. (Apple Insider)
      • Pandora launched Pandora Stories, which will allow artists to intersperse spoken tracks with their music almost like an annotation. It will appeal to creators who wish to tell music-driven stories, made possible because the feature provides access to Pandora’s catalog of fully licensed songs to use in Stories. (TechCrunch) This is an interesting and smart play to leverage their music in the quest for more podcast relevance.
      • Dipsea has raised $5.5 million for its app that features short-form erotic stories. (TechCrunch) Quick — someone give me $5.5 million and I'll read Penthouse Forum into a microphone.
      • Program of the Week: The featured show is Should This Exist? hosted by Caterina Fake, who invites the creators of radical new technologies to set aside their business plan, and think through the human side

      If you're not already, 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
      Rᴇɢᴜʟᴀᴛᴏʀʏ / Oɴ-Dᴇᴍᴀɴᴅ Eᴄᴏɴᴏᴍʏ
      • Ride hailing company Lyft filed for its IPO, showing a 39 percent market share versus Uber in the U.S. (CNBC) While it lost $911 million last year, one thing to note is the cash burn as a percent of revenue: the three-year trend is going in the right direction.
        • Year / Revenue / Cash burned / Cash burn as % of revenue
        • 2016 / $343.3 million / -$682.8 million / 199%
        • 2017 / $1.1 billion / -$688.3 million / 63%
        • 2018 / $2.2 billion / -$911.3 million / 41%
      • Both Lyft and Uber are considering giving pre-IPO stock to some of their earliest drivers. (Marketplace)

      ⛰

      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.



        Top image creditThe glorification of art and diligence and the punishment of gluttony and earthly pleasure by Jeremias van Winghe (Attr.), c.1580-1600 (Wikimedia Commons - public domain)

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