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.












    Sources of Inspiration

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

    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    Episode 59: Visceral Impacts

    When we market our wares, it's easy to get caught up in the Holy Trinity of content: text, video, audio. But humans have five senses; why are we stopping with just two of them?

    The experience people have with your brand is bound by more than one or two senses at a time. And if you can pay attention to that, activate the ones that matter, or even have them harken back to the memory of a sense from years ago, you'll be creating a stronger bond with them.

    "The most lively thought is still inferior to the dullest sensation." 
    – David Hume

    Download now (2.7 MB, 5:56)

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

    ImageThe Senses by Rembrandt, 1624 (Wikipedia - public domain)

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    Monday, December 10, 2018

    Now Trending — December 10, 2018

    A trend in outsmarting consumers doesn't seem all that smart; top A.I. research of 2018 and predictions for 2019; trends in mobility; digital marketing strategies for building your brand; digital publishers are for sale; what 2019 holds for the future of retail; Facebook's annus horribilis; the tone-deaf tweets of the chief twitterer; the top-earning YouTuber; the streaming media business is getting crowded — and contentious; podcasts come to Pandora; Lyft and Uber have both filed for IPOs; how smart cities are turning a mountain of data into insights; the strange and wonderful hidden musicals that powered corporate America; and so much more in the Now Trending edition of The Full Monty for the week of December 10, 2018.

    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


    Just an advance notice: next week is the last official edition of The Full Monty for 2018. With Christmas and New Year's Day falling mid-week, there will be interruptions delivery service. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

    Top Story

    What is it about companies that they think it's acceptable to deceive people? I've talked about this a number of times before (see: Smoke and Mirrors and Why We Fall For It Every Time).

    We like to think we're smarter than that, so when we see someone else get caught up in a deception, it's entertaining (especially when it's caught on camera!).

    Just in this last week, we Dunkin' fooling foodies in Portland with an espresso pop-up. The coffee was actually Dunkin', but it was made to seem as if it was a hand-crafted espresso that wouldn't be expected to come from a chain.

    And as we reported in last week's newsletter, Payless Shoesource made a fake luxury brand and tricked fashion influencers into spending $640 for their discount shoes — an 1,800% markup on shoes that normally retail for around $35.

    The prevailing thought here is alternatively a jab at the "experts" who can be easily taken in, or a self-congratulatory back pat for the brand. Either way, it feels off, you know?

    This "hey look, we fooled you/them" isn't really anything new. The Pepsi Challenge undertook that in first in 1975, and Folgers famously switched the coffee in fine restaurants with its own instant crystals in the 1970s and 1980s.

    This may seem clever or entertaining, but it's hardly new. And because it's built on deception, it stands on about as solid ground as the mistress who becomes a second wife: you never know when your spouse is going to cheat on you again.

    P.S. The results of these switcheroos don't always turn out as expected.

    Related: Episode 52 of The Full Monty.

    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: Stańczyk, painted by Jan Matejko in 1862 depicts the court jester when Poland was at the height of its political, economic and cultural power during the era of the Renaissance in Poland, during the reign of King Sigismund I the Old who reigned from 1506–1548. Stańczyk was a popular figure; besides his fame as a jester he has been described as an eloquent, witty, and intelligent man, using satire to comment on the nation's past, present, and future.

    Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

    The latest in AI, machine learning, bots, and blockchain, mobility, and autonomous everything.
    Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ
    Aᴜᴛᴏɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs / Mᴏʙɪʟɪᴛʏ
    • Three trends to expect in mobility services next year. They center around autonomous, 5G and scooters. (AdWeek) If you can get a self-driving scooter via 5G, more power to you.
    • An interview with Ford CEO Jim Hackett, who explains how to sell driverless cars when drivers are your best customers. (Newsweek) Not sure the message is getting across. When asked to define what a 'mobility company' is, this was his answer:
      • "Henry Ford brought us mobility. But for the first time in history, you’ve got the confluence of technology that will let the vehicle drive itself, the ability for the vehicles to communicate with each other and all talk to the cloud. The cities will also communicate with the cloud, which then connects with the vehicles in ways that actually help choreograph traffic."
      • Our 'Mulallified' version: a mobility company handles data, hardware, and software that connects vehicles to each other and the grid, and helps people more easily go from place to place. #FixedItForYou
    • The anatomy of a connected car owner — from their banking habits to their social network use and more. (otonomo)
    • Waymo introduced its commercial self-driving service, Waymo One. That's right, a driverless taxi. (Medium) Like Total Recall, but with no robot driver.
    • May Mobility is an autonomous vehicle company, but their focus is on providing “a better level of service and we’re solving real transportation problems.” (Wired) 
    • Congress is getting serious about autonomous vehicles as well with the AV Start Act, which would collect crash information for Level 2 systems like Tesla’s Autopilot. (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


    • 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.

    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 busy season is upon us.


    News to know about relevant social, virtual, and augmented reality platforms that may affect your business.


    Fᴀᴄᴇʙᴏᴏᴋ / Iɴsᴛᴀɢʀᴀᴍ / WʜᴀᴛsAᴘᴘ


    The latest in the world of streaming video, audio, and the advertising, pricing and bundling models related to them.
    Please subscribe to The Full Monty podcast, our own 5-minute weekly business commentary.
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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.

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      Mental Nourishment

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

      Top image creditStańczyk by Jan Matejko, 1862 (Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

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