Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Winter Is Coming — January 21, 2019

Scene in the Arctic by William Bradford (1880)

Difficult is worthwhile; the human mind is still elusive from A.I.; Ford is shutting down Chariot in favor of micromobility solutions; the guide to growing your audience; flyover influencers; what will solve almost every business woe; personalization at scale; traditional retail is in a golden age; Amazon's aims are big; chronic social media use is a societal problem; Facebook and Google put $300M toward news; Netflix and Hulu growth numbers; what it will take to double podcast listening; LinkedIn was used in a Russian spy effort; what CMOs are mostly concerned about; how to have a practical, humane approach to life; and so much more in the Winter Is Coming edition of The Full Monty for the week of January 21, 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


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Top Story

The first workday after a long weekend. Getting out of your toasty warm bed on a frigid morning. Walking to the nearest public transit stop in windchill temperatures below zero.

All of these things are hard.

You know what else is hard? Doing your own thing when the crowd is doing another. Focusing on quality work while your competition is churning out vast quantities of work. In short, doing great things.

The seemingly inextricable situation in which Facebook currently finds itself — thanks to product engineering that outpaced ethics — is not going to be easy to address. But society (and perhaps soon, government) demands it.

It's also the case for the politically-fraught topic of toxic masculinity that Gillette chose to address in its controversial ad. The topic deserves discussion, but it's going to be hard going for those willing to stake their brand on it.

There are rewards available to all of us. The question is whether or not you want to put in the work.

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:

Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous

The latest in A.I., machine learning, and bots; mobility and autonomous everything.
Aʀᴛɪꜰɪᴄɪᴀʟ Iɴᴛᴇʟʟɪɢᴇɴᴄᴇ / Mᴀᴄʜɪɴᴇ Lᴇᴀʀɴɪɴɢ
  • “Today, A.I. is not as good as you hope and not as bad as you fear." That may soon change — but AGI, or general A.I., remains elusive. "There's a lot about us that we don't understand…that's not explainable in terms of neural networks and computation algorithms." (60 Minutes) The human mind is more complex than we can understand.
  • The future of voice assistants is more likely to come through your car than your phone or your home devices. (Recode) I've been talking to my Ford and Lincoln vehicles for 10 years, through the SYNC system. My dad's been talking to his cars for 60 years...
  • Ford invented a robot to mimic your sweaty rear end when testing its seats. The name? Robutt. (Motherboard) Some of these headlines write themselves.
  • Japan's robot hotel laid off more than half of its robots after they created too much work for humans. (The Verge) And here we were, fretting about losing jobs to robots. I wonder if there's an automated process in HR for these kinds of layoffs
Aᴜᴛᴏɴᴏᴍᴏᴜs / Mᴏʙɪʟɪᴛʏ
  • Ford is shutting down its on-demand bus service, Chariot, after lagging demand. The company is instead focusing on scooters. (The Verge) Just goes to show that in some cities in the U.S., public transit is a hard sell.
  • Scooter startup Bird is raising $300 million in its bid to dominate micromobility. (Axios) Looks like Ford's decision makes sense.
  • The two biggest things holding back autonomous vehicles don't have anything to do with technology, but rather how we grapple with the changing landscape of mobility: risk and trust. (Axios)

Communications / Marketing / Business Strategy

Industry developments and trends, including advertising & marketing, journalism, customer experience, content, and influencer relations.
  • Executives are watching these 2019 consumer trends. (CMO.com)
  • Which issues are keeping the most CMOs and brand managers up at night? (MarketingCharts) The top three are ROI, big data/tech/security, and establishing trust.
Sᴛʀᴀᴛᴇɢʏ / Mᴀʀᴋᴇᴛɪɴɢ / Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ
Jᴏᴜʀɴᴀʟɪsᴍ / Cᴏᴍᴍᴜɴɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴs / Rᴇᴘᴜᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ


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. 

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
  • Twitter has made updates to improve 'conversational health' on the platform. The updates include a new design for threads, meant to make it easier to follow conversations as they unfold, as well as completely new features like statuses and presence indicators that could indicate when someone is online or when someone is typing. (Mashable)


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

  • Fifty-three million U.S. adults now own a smart speaker. (Edison Research)
  • Nearly one in 10 people got a smart speaker over the holidays. (Recode) "Alexa, send a thank you note."
  • What will it take to double podcast listenership? That's the question posed to Tom Webster, Senior VP of Marketing at Edison Research and 'podcast guru', who said, “We are talking about a medium that is knocking at the door of mainstream America.” (Medium)
  • Program of the Week: Retropod, a show for history lovers, featuring stories about the past, rediscovered. Host Mike Rosenwald introduces you to history’s most colorful characters - forgotten heroes, overlooked villains, dreamers, explorers, world changers.
Please subscribe to The Full Monty podcast, our own 5-minute weekly business commentary. New episodes drop every Wednesday.
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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.


    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: Scene in the Arctic by William Bradford, 1880 (public domain, Wikimedia Commons)


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