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.

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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

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

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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

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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. 

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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
  • 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). 


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

  • 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
  • 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.

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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.
  • 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)


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    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)


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