Follow by Email

Search This Blog

Dec 12, 2016

Step by step guide to Blockchain for beginners

Neufund, a startup founded by serial entrepreneur Zoe Adamovicz, set out to redefine venture capital. Their secret sauce is to integrate blockchain as a concept for decentralized economy and governance. They have created an onboarding tutorial for new hires as a step by step guide for blockchain beginners and made it available publicly. Great resource.

Mobile is eating the word - Update & MUST read

"Software is eating the world" and "Mobile is eating the world" were two of the most influential publications in recent years. Now Andreessen Horowitz updated the last one, and it is stunning again. Mobile is not about tech/digital anymore, it is about the economy as a whole. Highly impressive numbers and a great resource to understand what will happen in the coming years. Includes machine learning, AI, frictionless computing, cars and more. A MUST read.

Oct 13, 2016

Chatbots overview

I am still waiting for that breakthrough chatbot on Messenger, but everyone I talk to is excited about bots - so am I, but I believe we are still in the stone age of bots, even though I have worked on their then-equivalent some 15 years ago. There's enough reason to be optimistic about the future of chatbots, and here is a good overview on the bot environment and list of links to useful resources at the end of the article:

[German] Auslandswachstum der deutschen Fußball Bundesliga-Vereine auf Facebook

Sehr nett aufbereiteter Überblick über das Fan-Wachstum der Fußball-Bundesliga-Clubs auf Facebook - aus dem Ausland.  Der Anteil deutscher Fans auf den Facebook-Seiten von Bayern München liegt unter 7%, bei Dortmund unter 12%, Tendenz sinkend - im Hinblick auf Auslandsvermarktung aber eine gute Nachricht. Bei Klubs wie Leverkusen oder Bremen treiben Spieler (Chicharito, Pizarro) Horden von Fans aus bestimmten Märkten auf deren Seiten, aber man sieht wenig Anstrengungen seitens Club oder Liga, diese dann in allgemeine Bundesliga-Fans zu konvertieren, wie die entsprechenden Spieler weiterziehen. Und für das Auslandsgeschäft wird es wichtig sein, neben der in der Champions League vertretenen Spitze Vereine wie Köln oder HSV im Ausland mit Profil und Anhängerschaft zu versehen.
Schöne Zahlensammlung, leider wenig Interpretation hier:

Importance of software for automotive companies

Car makers are good at building tradtional, "machine engineering" software. Software that optimizes how the tires behave while driving a curve, while breaking, or software that checks the status of the engine or any other functional part of the car. When it comes to consumers, car software always sucked. The "onboard computer", it feels, has barely left the C64 stages only in recent years. It is still way easier to bring my music on my phone and then connect the phone via bluetooth to my car speakers, than - what an innovation - just synchronize my music collection with some hard drive in my connected car, or, imagine that - stream from Spotify or Soundcloud or anywhere right in my car. And why don't I have a Amazon Echo/Alexa or at least Siri Assistant in my car for years? And despite all the progress made by car companies, collecting, analyzing and acting upon data, ideally in real time - compare Waze for example - is a whole new game. Hiring? Takes too long. Acquiring? Yes. Integrating? Pray and hope for the best. Here's an interesting overview from a venture capital perspective, on deals made in the past and companies that may succeed in this area in future:

Publishers on Instagram & Snapchat stories

It is hard to convince companies and especially publishers to invest in their Instagram and Snapchat teams as monetization or traffic generation is far away from the levels Facebook can provide; therefore, many agree to "play around" on these channels, but are reluctant to really invest in resources and learnings without getting an immediate return. Seen from Germany/Europe, the situation in the US seems to be a bit different. Here are two interesting links:

How Snapchat is used by publishers, with statements from HuffPo, Mashable, NPR, TheVerge and others:

And here's why Business Insider favours Instagram stories over Snapchat:

Online vs. TV: Presidential debates

We always use highlights - Superbowl, breaking news, or presidential elections - to measure the state of digital in comparison to other, traditional media channels. I believe we need to careful with these, but they are still great indicators about how (audiovisual) content is distributed. This article shows a nice overview of numbers for the second presidential debates. While TV reported a viewership of 63 million (let's ignore for a moment how they measure it, and how many unique viewers these were, or how many minutes were watched per unique vier per average), the Facebook live stream reached 7.4mn viewers. And YouTube's videos round the debate aggregated some 124 million views (although here too, we don't know the uniques). While TV viewership from debate I to debate II declined 20 percent, the YT views went up 40%. Maybe that's an indicator for a viewing behaviour of people who, if they don't follow the full event on TV (or something else on TV), using YT and other digital channels to catch up and watch highlights. Overall, YT views for presidential debates grew sixfold compared to the 2012 views. More numbers here:

The problem with open floor plans

I haven't regularly worked in an office for more than 10 years now, and of the 10 years before, I maybe spent 2 or 3 years on an open floor. For the rest of the time I had the luxury of an own office. When I visit clients, I realized that in recent years, even high executives moved to open floors. It is supposed to be a more transparent, open atmosphere, a more communicative environment, everyone is accessible. If you ask me, for someone who tries to get things done (other than emails or signing invoices), this doesn't really help productivity. Although putting together strategy presentations in PPT and coding may be two very different things, I can at least relate to the programmers being tired of constant interruptions in their work. Studies have shown that a programmer needs 10 to 15 minutes to get back to being productive after an interruption, and that on average, they only get one 2-hour-uninterrupted-session per day. God save the home office.

The importance of context for innovation

Great interview with the author of one of my favourite books, "The Innovator's Dilemma", Clayton Christensen. The book is from 1997 and can still be adapted to today's business world (show me another book about innovation that does that). Christensen talks about necessary additions to his theory of disruption, mostly social and emotional dimensions of products/services that may have more impact than we thought so far. Interesting red. 

Oct 3, 2016

[German] Traffic Quellen

Die Zeit hat in der Auseinandersetzung mit dem diabolisch genialen Digital-Guru Günther "Neo" Oettinger ihre Trafficquellen veröffentlicht. Interessant dabei, dass Search&Social weniger als 25% des Traffics ausmachen (Facebook nur 10%, Google nur 22,5%), und wenn man Dark Social radikal rechnet, auch nur knapp an 40% kommt. Direct Traffic: über 57%. Das kann man jetzt so lesen, dass die Besucher dort im Schnitt halt 109 Jahre alt sind und ein Internet von 2006 verwenden, oder dass es in den Bereichen Search und Social noch enorme Wachstumspotenziale gibt. Spannend auch, dass viele (wie ich) sich über den hohen Anteil Direct Traffic wundern - das ist sicher nicht mehr der Normalfall. Interessant ist es allemal:

Pokemon Go reached 500mn revenue faster than any other game

Winter is coming up, we want be outdoors that much, Pokemon fatigue is setting in and I see all these people arguing that PokemonGo was merely a "one hit wonder". If so, i'd like to have one too, please: No other game app ever reached 500mn revenue that fast. In fact, it reached that milesstone more than 3 times faster than Candy Crush Saga or more than 6 times faster than Clash of Clans. So no matter how the winter goes, we can't say that thing was a flop, can we?

Facebook Newsfeed algorithm overview

Good overview of what we currently know about Facebook's newsfeed by Techcrunch. I guess it still comes down to engagement, engagement and engagement as the three main criteria to expand organic reach, but it is interesting to see how this thing evolves over time.

[PDF] Stanford study on artificial intelligence

The report is named "artificial intelligence and life in 2030", and of course, since these areas grow exponentially, predictions are hard to make. Plus it is a long read. The Exec summary closes with:

"If society approaches these technologies primarily with fear and suspicion, missteps that slow AI’s development or drive it underground will result, impeding important work on ensuring the safety and reliability of AI technologies. On the other hand, if society approaches AI with a more open mind, the technologies emerging from the field could profoundly transform society for the better in the coming decades."

Let's be open minded, but careful... these are powerful technologies.

Interview with Dan Rose, Facebook - about how Publishers can make money on Facebook

Interesting long read about Facebook's plans for publihers. It obviously can't be their primary objective to become the most important traffic source for publishers - and then? It is way smarter to enable publishers to make money on FB. Some of the plans are discussed in this interview, among others mid-rolls in videos and larger ad units in Instant Articles.

A/B Testing on Netflix

Everyone agrees that A/B (or more variants) testing makes sense and helps to automate decisions otherwise done by (naturally biased) humans, but I know embarrassingly few companies who have actually implemented this in theor day-to-day operations. While A/B testing sounds pretty easy, it's often complicated to set up and run it in a meaningful way. Always interesting to see how others do it, this post from Netflix's tech blog offers an in depth view on how they do it.

Sep 7, 2016

How long it takes for an innovation to seep into culture

Very interesting post that points out how it is not technology that drives change, but our collective response to the options and opportunities presented by technology. It shows a path of seven steps for big breakthroughs, and postulates a time frame of around 30 years:

- First, no one's heard of you
- Then they've heard of you but think you're nuts
- Then they understand your product, but think it has no opportunity
- Then they view your product as a toy
- Then they see it as an amazing toy
- Then they start using it
- Then they couldn't imagine life without it

Replace "they" with "we", as a market, as a society. I don't necessarily agree with the 30 year perspective as the examples given in the post are not from our digitized area, but still the article is inspiring and worth reading.


Sep 2, 2016

Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and others call on AI/machine regulation

Artificial intelligence, robots and self-learnig machines are making incredible progress. But what few people think about is that if we have self-driving cars, we can also have self-driving tanks. Robot armies would be a terrible, terrible thing, deciding on their own judgement whether to kill or not to kill etc. Plus - we don't really know how long we will have full control over self-learning systems. So some smart minds have put together an open letter, and it is really worth reading, not only if you are interested in AI or science fiction for that matter:

Remember Isaac Asimov's laws of robotics? We need something like those.

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

11 reasons to be excited about the future of technology

The great Chris Dixon lists 11 technologies that are indeed exciting. To be not only excited about the future of technology, but about the future of humanity - when access to these technologies is widely distributed and they are regulated in a way that societies in general benefit from them - we have still some work to do. But just reading through the list makes you a bit more optimistic:

We should work less - and work better

I had a German post in this blog on an experiment in Sweden with six hour work days. Now they seem to have introduced it (english link). But it is not only the nordics who seem to strive for less work for maybe political reasons - scientists recommend less hours for more productivity, better health, less turnovers in the workforce. The world economic forum quotes scientists who believe 25 hours a week would be the magic number (Facebook video & link):

We need to act on robots & machines - now

Technology is our friend - as long as we, just like in real life, work on that friendship. I have the feeling we don't, or just insufficiently. I am currently reading "the second machine age" and freaking out a bit (Chapter 1 as PDF here): If we know all this, why aren't we working on reforms for our schools, professional life, organization of society? Here's an interesting take on what may happen:

Robots may bring on a "permanent underclass":

We still need to learn about effects of targeting

P&G took parts of their targeted advertising off Facebook (still spending huge amounts there) and just yesterday a German "Head of Digital" and "Senior Media Manager Europe" from Müller Milch (a dairy FMCG) published a rant about how digital sucks (link in German). What no one seems to care about that targeting on a level that is possible on Facebook is relatively new. We have to learn how to build media plans that include offline, traditional online and targeting. Seems to be a complicated thing, and I am happy about any data we get that offers some insights. Like this article, where for example it is stated that if you bombard a consumer with 40+ views of your banner within a month, sales actually decline.

Aug 9, 2016

WeChat and VR in China

I toured with a talk about messengers [link / German] in the first half of 2016, speaking about their differences to social networks and the opportunities that may open up through bots, and the feedback was great. But the most interesting thing for the audiences was the part about WeChat - given its size and impact on life in China it gets surprisingly little coverage in Europe and the US, and since we can't experience the services ourselves from here, there are a few myths about it, but also many chin-dropping facts that most people are simply not aware of. Here is one good, newer article about WeChat:  

Also, speaking of China, it has a short but great history about hardware, and WeChat shows that software and platform development have caught up to our standards. Put the two together and don't be surprised that there's a myriad of VR hardware and platforms we have never heard of, and that some of the big innovations in VR may come from the far east.

7 futurists predict the next decade

We have read all those things 20 years ago, and 10 years ago, only now they seem to be more realistic: Futurists predicting that wearable tech will change our understanding of our bodies, that better diagnostics will change the way we treat diseases, that scientists will be able to hook our brains to computers and so on. The most interesting bit in my eyes is the last statement by Mark Stevenson: It is not the technology, but what society does with it - and in the end, it is about how we organize ourselves. Facebook organizes information in a unique way (although that's Google's mission, and Facebook wants to connect the world - but it does so by organizing information), Uber organizes empty car seats, Airbnb organizes empty beds, Amazon is less an online seller than an excellent organizer of stock and logistics. It's all about using information technology to organize our lives, our societies, us.

Instagram portrait

This article is from before Instagram introduced stories, but it's a great read and gives some nice insights and numbers about the service. They make over 1 USD per user annually and still have the biggest growth momentum among all social networks.

App & Bot Discovery

The app ecosystem is somewhat dysfunctional, and many people think that bots might replace apps in the mid term. We're nowhere near of being able to predict that, but at least bots seem to have that potential - and that's huge in itself. Still, as long as bots have to be discovered like apps and "installed" inside your messenger, we may run into the same dynamics as with apps - that people will spend 80% of their time with 5 bots instead of five apps. Nice read about how a bot ecosystem could / should be designed:

[German] Onefootball Portrait

Die Headline des Artikels - "Wie Onefootball zur weltweit größten Medienmarke im Fussball werden will" ist ein wenig übertrieben - zur weltweit größten Medienmarke im Fussball wird es ohne Medienrechte an Bewegtbild nicht kommen, und Onefootball ist davon so weit entfernt, dass dieses Szenario im Artikel gar nicht erst auftaucht. Aber ein sehr interessanter Einblick in die Funktionsweise einer erfolgreichen App in einem Markt, in dem jeder gesagt hätte "Finger weg, viel kompetitiver geht es nicht". Geht eben doch. Vor allem die Entwicklung tragfähiger Geschäftsmodelle in einer Welt, in der Display Banner keine Rolle mehr spielen werden und in der - in einem schiefen Verhältnis von Video-Rechtekosten versus Video-Werbeeinnahmen - auch Prerolls wenig beitragen können, ist Onefootball eher zuzutrauen als einem der Giganten aus den großen Verlagshäusern.

How Facebook prevents office politics

There's not much to say about this article. Really interesting read about Facebook's approach to get things done in a fast growing, huge corporation. Anyone with some experience in bigger organisations will find some inspirational thoughts there:

First numbers on PokemonGo

Slice Intelligence and App Annie were among the first to put together some statistics around PokemonGo. Since the game is so new - not even a month old, we have to be careful with these numbers, but they give us an idea about the impact the game may have. Slice points out that PokemonGo lures new players into the mobile gaming market - 53% of those who made a purchase in the Niantic-run AR game had "one or fewer" in-app purchases within the last six months. App Annie assumes the game makes around 10 million USD a day - and does not cannibalize other games (which supports the Slice observation in some sense). It could be a real breakthrough for location based /alternate reality / augmented reality apps of all kinds.

Jul 18, 2016

The stone age of bots

All of us are excited about bots, but we don't have our "PokemonGo" moment yet, the one bot everyone gets batshit crazy about. So it is hard to pitch bot ideas to management when, if you were honest, in most business case columns you would have to write "we have no clue". You can rather win budgets with "gathering insights, learnings, experiments" and "it won't do harm to our core business" currently. Evidence? Try out these: "8 bots you should add to your Facebook messenger app". And then tell me which one is great: 

None is. The long term vision may be that people will text businesses rather than call them. And that not a person, but a computer will answer them. I am excited about the possibilities, too. But until the computers texting back aren't smarter than people - "if you want this, press one" - until then, letting people talk with people will be a major customer service advantage. Check for example the experiences of Indian heavyweight "Helpchat". I mean, it's even in their name, but they clearly found out where a chat helps - and where not.

The tragedy of PokemonGo

Interesting article on The Atlantic that puts PokemonGo into a gaming history perspective. I personally believe that, more than "augmented reality" and "location based gaming", the Pokemon franchise is the reason for its success. People who are 32 today have had great afternoons and evenings playing Pokemon on their 90s consoles. Kids know the franchise from their Nintendos. it is just the perfect brand and set of characters to move Nintendo away from the consoles and onto the mobile phones, although Niantec probably did the hard part of the moving: But without the Pokemons, it wouldn't work that well - it would just be another interesting experiment and not such a mass phenomenon.

But maybe Pokemon will be the ice breaker for similar apps or augmented reality in a business context as already now I am being asked what to learn from PokemonGo's success, but for now, after having the game for a week, I guess the answers are a lot simpler than one would expect:

1. The power of an established "love"-brand

2. The power of the consumer - even if you plan to launch in different countries subsequently, they will simply find the APK from other countries and start playing

3. Don't ignore the history of games that have paved the way, this success does not come out of nowhere (esp. in game concept/tech side), see link

4. Don't underestimate, even in 2016, the tech & server power needed for realtime, location based games on a global scale

5. Don't think that without any foundations (Niantec's Ingress database & experiences, Nintendo's Pokemon brand) you could build a similar app for your bank or chain of supermarkets and could put "if we only reach 4% of PokemonGo players" in your business plan excel sheet, you would succeed

Jul 4, 2016

Danish agency uses AI to make advertising (media) decisions

There has to be something about Denmark and Mathematics. If you like football (not "handegg" like they play in the US), the name "Midtjylland" probably rings a bell. Yes, that Danish club that made it to the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. Its owner, Matthew Benham, made his fortune with mathematical models predicting the results of football matches. He started to manage the club on statistical models and was vastly successful, winning the league.

Now we hear of Blackwood Seven, a media agency founded in 2013 in Copenhagen. It is not really a media agency, though: Thy consider themselves a software and analytics platform, charging their clients a software fee, no kickbacks, No media commissions, no gut feelings: You feed the algorithm with your KPI's and budget, and the thingy uses predictive modeling to try and determine the best media mix incl. TV, OOH, and of course digital. This approach won them the huge Volkswagen account in Germany, and it threatens the whole way media agencies make their business. Not only the kickbacks and the special rates which are often not disclosed to clients - meaning companies like Blackwood Seven make the whole market more transparent - but also when it comes to media planning decisions. When computers beat the best Chess (long time ago) and Go (recently) players in the world, why shouldn't they, fed with Big Data, beat your media buyer, who most probably isn't the best in the world?

More about Midtjylland:
"How data, not people, call the shots in Denmark"


More about Blackwood Seven:

The messenger platform gets an update - and a blog

Messenger bots are for now not as exciting as we have imagined them. It is so important to remember how new the whole thing is, although we have seen chatbots around for more than one and a half decades now. But given some time, we will have a few "blockbuster" bots. In the meantime, Facebook continues to develop the platform and, because there seems to be a lot of need for communication, a blog to let businesses and developers follow closely what they could do on Messenger.

Update/new features:

Messenger blog:

The Washington Post is a tech company now

Remember when Jeff Bezos came and we all wondered what he would do with the Washington Post? A few years later, the company has a CMS from which it not only powers all its digital products, it licenses it to other publishers and someday wants to make 100 million USD from this business alone.
"I want the NYT to call me and say 'Holy shit, I want that', says the Post's head of ad product and technology, who also produces products that will solve ad problems for other publishers, too. Interesting read, especially when yuo notice how little this whole article talks about journalism:

[German] 30 Stunden Woche - scheint zu funktionieren

6 Stunden Arbeit am Tag. Das klingt für viele wie "Ferien" oder "Wochenende", ist aber offenbar ein Modell, das man sich genauer anschauen sollte - denn die Produktivität scheint in vielen geeigneten Arbeitsbereichen die des 8-Stunden-Arbeitstages zu übersteigen. Aus meiner Sicht sehr gut vorstellbar, dass das funktioniert. Häufig sehe ich - außer Manager, die den ganzen Tag durchgeplant sind und in Meetingräumen sitzen - viele Menschen, wenn ich denn mal Unternehmen besuche, die zwar 8 Stunden im Unternehmen sind, aber de facto vielleicht fünf bis sechs wirklich arbeiten, und das oft mehr schlecht als recht - denn "das Unternehmen" ist eben ein Zeitfresser, macht Hobbies fast unmöglich, lässt einen nur am Wochenende mal eine Boutique von innen sehen usw. Wissenschaftler argumentieren wohl schon länger so und sagen, dass sich niemand (oder nur sehr wenige Menschen) 8 Stunden lang wirklich konzentrieren und auf hohem Niveau arbeiten kann. Konzentrierte sechs Stunden plus einer halbstündigen Pause in der Mitte - kann ich mir als ein spannendes Modell vorstellen. Die Schweden auch:

You need 17,000 units (and a few streams) to be No. 1 on US Music Charts

Rihanna's album "Anti" is No.1 on the US "Billboard 200". Overall, it says there were 54,000 units moved last week, which is low already for probably the biggest music market in the world. But since last year, they add up streams and units (I guess physical and download) = 1,500 plays of an album count as "one unit sold" apparently. In Rihanna's specific case, the breakdown shows 17,000 units sold, the rest comes from streaming. Forbes says it's the lowest selling No. 1 ever.

Jun 14, 2016

Apple introduces App store search ads

... and many people think that apps are obsolete anyway, as stores are fundamentally broken and apps have in no way managed to become accessible (through search and/or interplay among each other) in a way a digital economy would benefit from. An interesting take on all this here on Techcrunch:

A good description of the product on Search Engine Watch:

News use on Social Media by US adults

Great statistics by PEW Research Center about the relation between news and social media, (for us: unfortunately) focused on US users. This is an update to a 2013 study and it shows steep growth of people who access news within social newsfeeds instead of going to homepages of news destinations - a trend that we can observe in Germany, too. Full numbers here:

Facebook video rise at the expense of engagement

Facebook (native) video is still growing and will get a lot more important to publishers once Facebook introduces serious monetization models (probably when display and app install ads will start slowing down). The rise of video obviously happens to the expense of engagement (comment, like, share), as shown in a study by NewsWhip. They monitored the top 10 English speaking publishers, including natives like BuzzFeed or HuffPo and traditional publishers like NYT, Guardian or BBC.

Are websites a model of the past?

We are discussing this for quite some time now. Apps made that question come up first, but no one can seriously think that with their limited discoverability and limited accessability on our phones they could make up for a website - unless you are running a pure app business. But distributed media, where content, advertising and dialogue is distributed over 3rd party platforms, and now messengers, where even more business functions can be "outsourced" to where the customer is, instead of him moving to our websites, the question is valid. Here's a voice from Facebook, a major driver of this development:

7 business models for bots

For all we know, bots will be a big business. But currently, this is only an assumption - it's the early days. Time to try out things and see how they go. As a first overview, this VB article shows 7 different models that can be used for a start, including retail/sales bots, cost per conversation/task, bots leveraged affiliate marketing and more. 

CNNs experiences with Facebook's messenger bot here:

Snapchat launches advertising API

We will see Snapchat "growing up" - not in terms of filters, but making a (left hand) real messenger with according business models and a (right hand) real newsfeed, too (read my view on Snapchat here). One major step must be the Snapchat advertising API as decribed in this article here. Also, there are a number of interesting stats, like 150mn MAU, 66% of them posting (!) daily, 60% smartphone penetration among US 13-34 year olds. More:

May 28, 2016

Automotive Startups Overview

This is less of a great article and more of a helpful overview if you want to research the current state of automotive industry disruption as many startups are listed in this landcape type image (link below). What I like most though is the headline "Startups that are unbundling the car". That's how digital disruption always works: Since the analog world is based on material, we often had to buy bundles that we would have never chosen if we really had a choice. I have thousands of songs I don't like on vinyl records and CDs. I bought tens of thousands of articles in magazines I never read. We were often forced to buy stuff we would not choose: I bought audio and navigation systems at ridiclous prices from car companies that were realy terrible products, but it was just those that came with it -  bundle. So "unbundling" often is one key process in digital disruption, and this thought may even be worth more than this overview here:

Facebook tracks non-users

I remember a time when Facebook used to deny that the like button on millions of websites would not track and fingerprint users. Today, this is common knowledge. New is to use this ggantic resource to fingerprint non-users. FB's display abilities are so far ahead of any competition, it's incredible. And they have so much more potential.

May 12, 2016

How traditional media companies buy their disruptors

We all know this "disrupt yourself"-blabla any digital transformation consultant will give you, because death, tomorrow. And so on. I know this sentence wasn't fair, but anyway: most media companies have understood that it is way easier to use the cash they generated to invest cleverly in new, natively digital media companies rather than trying to boldly transform their own business in a hurry - they do that kind of transformation, too, but they can take their time and run their (still) profitable businesses as long as possible. Here's one good article with nice graphics about who invests where in media, especially the US media giants, but also Bertelsmann, Springer and others:

And also, there's this nice one picture that sums it all up:

May 9, 2016

Spotify pushes for (original) video

Why shouldn't Spotify try to attract users for their subscription with more than just re-playing music that probably all other streaming services have, too? In Germany, they dropped a bomb by signing Sanft und Sorgfältig, a hugely popular radio show from public broadcast. But they also push for video, which, in my eyes, makes it clear that "the Netflix market" will end up in an oligopoly with 3,4 global services to satisfy your entertainment needs, and maybe - just maybe - some local or niche offerings. It really looks like "go big or go home".

Libération on Instant Articles

The French publisher put all their stories on Facebook Instant Articles and share learnings after two months. Some very interesting insights in this LinkedIn piece. Overall: Traffic from Facebook did not suffer, monetization per article compared to mobile website is on par. 

A bot that could be you

Bots are the big thing currently and I love to observe their development, being involved in chatbot projects more than 15 years ago (like this one). One product I have always dreamt of: A chatbot that emulates me. As a person. Here is one:

Although this is built too much around messenger. What I would like is a standalone cloud code that could serve websites, apps, messenger bots, whatever, and let's me feed it with information. With stories of my past, photos, videos, with my views on politics, love, philosophy, whatever. I could feed that thing until my last days, but then, it would be there for later generations of friends or whoever to be able to talk to me and learn about my life and ideas and whatnot. Anyone wants to build that as a product?

And this looks to complicated for me right now .-)

Psychographics vs Demographics: Netflix says forget age, gender

40 is the new 30, 50 year olds listen to the music their children like... we all know that nowadays, a 44 year old guy could be me (eternal 29) or the oldest dude around. Still, many companies define target groups along with demographics. Netflix says that age and gender cannot be used at all to predict taste (may be pretty important when you design products or create advertising for "target groups"). And Netflix doesn't care about Geography either (but for advertising and marketing, I think, Geography is a different case).


Full feature:

A view into Magic Leap

Magic Leap has, before launching a commercial product, raised 735 million USD in a Series C at a 4.5bn valuation. Crazy. But I imagine that investors who believe a 4.5bn valuation may have some insights, and probably product tests, that we have yet to experience. Even if the numbers were half, they would be unbelievable. So I am always keen to get to know more about what exactly they are building. If they fulfill half the promise from this video: give them a 10bn valuation.

[German] Snapchat verdoppelt Penetration bei Teens in einem Jahr

Bravo Jugendmedienstudie: WhatsApp ist mit Abstand meistverbreiteter Service bei Teens in Deutschland mit 91% Penetration. Es folgen YouTube, Instagram und - Snapchat. Von 17% auf 35% Verbreitung in einem Jahr. Damit hat Snapchat Facebook bei Teens überholt.

Apr 25, 2016

Native & mobile will dominate digital display by 2020

According to a study by Facebook and IHS, native will make up more than 75% of all digital ad spend by 2020, and 63% of that will be on mobile devices (please note that in this context, "native" is pay-to-play-advertising that appears in form and function as content; this includes the "sponsored post" on FB, although the study puts emphasis on the Facebook Audience Network as the main driver of growth).

I could not find the full research, but in these articles you will find interesting numbers and statistics about the study:

or the German takewaway on the stats here:

Blockchain as an infrastructure technology/philosophy

Quote: "A blockchain is a ledger of digital events with no central database. It runs simultaneously across thousands of computers, distributing the record across the world. The blockchain is like a collective brain that no one controls and everyone can view. It's both private and public. As a user, you encrypt your personal information, only allowing that data to be revealed when you make a transaction."

Sounds like the internet should be, huh?
I can't describe "blockchain" in easy words and I can't say I fully understood it, but I can say that anyone in digital should at least start to make themselves familiar with the concept. Here's a good way to start:

Facebook recipe videos

The Washington Post made fun of all these recipe videos on Facebook, but I think you can actually learn something for all Facebook videos:

  • Make it square for the newsfeed and autoplay
  • Make it work without sound
  • Add clear, short headlines/subtitles
  • Most importantly: speed it up!!
  • Give me a reason to share, meaning: to express myself by sharing it

Watch it here:

and more about Facebook recipe videos, especially about Buzzfeed's Tasty with more than 8bn video views in barely a year:

The other side of distributed media: publisher panic

Search for "Buzzfeed" on this microblog (Strg+F) and you will find all you need to know about distributed media. The other media paradigm, "destination media", is getting more and more under pressure as the web ad business (banners) declines in price and probably even in volume and audiences are on mobile and social platforms, not typing in "" to get their content - content comes to them. Interesting piece on NYT:

Also interesting: the fight for attention within social feeds and how Buzzfeed's watermelon stunt marked a milesstone, also on NYT:

One minute on the internet [INFOGRAPHIC]

Numbers none of us can comprehend, but still (or therefore) very powerful in presentations. In any given minute (April 2016):

  • 293.000 Facebook status updates are published
  • 300 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube
  • 47.000 apps are downloaded (Android/iOS)
  • 119,000 USD of goods are ordered on Amazon


The art of pricing

Quote: "Pricing strategy is a huge part of many businesses, but - in the world of product and service design - it's relatively rarely discussed. There was no panel at SXSW 2016 discussing pricing strategy."

My experience is the same. We think about building great digital products, but after that out of nowhere comes a guy with a 100page spreadsheet and says that the app, the service, the product will cost an amount of X, and no one really questions this.

Very interesting article about pricing here:

and another one on Netflix' pricing strategy here:

Both at the price of reading minutes, both a bargain!

Do we enter the post-writing web?

Lengthy, yet interesting article with an emphasis on Buzzfeed and their video business (BFMP). The larger question is that with Instagram fully visual, Snapchat fully visual, Facebook more and more video focused - and at the same time video & native being the only advertising areas where prices are good (for publishers), are we entering an era where the simple article consisting of written words and maybe some images becomes (economically) less and less valuable?

Read an article of written words on it: 

Bots vs. Apps

When Facebook says something like "threads are the new apps", it is hardly a coincidence when people start yelling "apps are dead". Quote from this Facebook news release:

"We're seeing a paradigm shift in how people engage. At Messenger we're thinking about how we can help you interact with businesses or services to buy items [...], order rides, purchase airline tickets [...] in truly frictionless and delightful ways. It is so much easier to do everything in one place that has the context of your last interactions, as well as your identity - no need to ever login - rather than downloading apps that you'll never use again and jumping around from one app to another"

Brace yourselves for the "bots vs. apps controversy". I haven't really made up my mind yet, but right now I think that with bots the way I imagine them, I can easily do without a number of apps that I only use infrequently and for very specific purposes. Here's a different, yet interesting take:

If you want to know more about bots, here's a nice overview on VentureBeat:

And one on Medium about different types of bots:

Apr 13, 2016

Speed affects your web KPIs

We all know that, but it is always good to get your hands on numbers & statistics (there are not too many studies and researches accessible to me on this) that can prove his point. In this FT blog post we can see how your site performance impacts key metrics like page impressions per visit. Every second of slower load time costs a few percent:

Apr 10, 2016

Slack has 2.7mn DAU and 800k paid seats

I like Slack. But I uninstalled it because as much as it helped communication, it added too much to my stress level with constant notifications. However, in other work contexts than my specific one, it seems to be highly successful. It has an 8.3 billion evaluation, users spend 10 hours per weekday plugged into Slack... more nice numbers & stats in this TechCrunch article:

Product design help: The "Unstuck Map"

We all know these "business canvas" and "ten types" templates which are great in a strategic context. if you are actually working, like hands-on, on a product, these fall short on so many levels. Here's help: "The Unstuck Map". Really like it.

Sponsored Content on Facebook

We have seen sponsored content on Facebook for quite a while now. Not a single Football club that wouldn't do this, and "native" efforts from Buzzfeed to small publishers would also need Facebook posts to reach a significant audience. Now Facebook makes this a "real" category with some nice features like the sponsor being able to directly access the post stats and more.

Apr 9, 2016

[German] Wie sich Facebook Reactions im Newsfeed Algorithmus niederschlagen

Endlich! :-) Erste Erkenntnisse sind da, wie der Newsfeed Algorithmus mit den Reactions umgeht - den neben "Like" können wir ja jetzt auch "Haha", "Love" usw. clicken. Es war fast zu vermuten: Die Geschichten, die starke emotionale Reaktionen hervorrufen, werden mehr angezeigt. Wobei das eine sicher die Folge des anderen ist, aber die Reihenfolge ist unklar .-)

Fanpagekarma hat sich 1,3 Millionen Posts angesehen und Stats&Research&Study gespielt. Neben einer hübschen Infografik hier ein paar Fakten:

  • Videos mit Wow/Haha Reaktionen werden 6,5x häufiger angesehen
  • Sorry-Links werden 4x häufiger geklickt
  • Angry-Posts haben 50% mehr Kommentare
  • Love-Posts werden 5,5x häufiger geteilt


People share less on Facebook

I am not one of those guys who think Facebook's end is imminent and who is convinced that if MySpace lost 250mn users in a few years, Facebook could easily manage to lose a billion in half the time. I think all of this is complete BS, which is why I am always sceptical when I read headlines that predict that Facebook will go down soon etc. But this article here has at least a few interesting stats and numbers in it, and frankly about something that many of us have noticed, but never had any measurable proof for it:

The article says that from 2014 to 2015, updates from users that consist of their own words and images and videos, have declined by 21%.

My personal opinion is that these contents have gone to messaging, and Facebook is well positioned with Messenger and WhatsApp, but for Facebook, the newsfeed, this has to be indeed bad news. Maybe live sharing and - mentioned in the article - algorithm changes that give "original" content by users more reach can slow this momentum down, but my theory is that we are just splitting up the content we produce:
Users now have the choice to decide what they want to "broadcast" on a public social network and what they want to share in flexible micronetworks - messengers. This has to happen on Facebook Newsfeed's expense as previously we just shared everything there. Nice read (unfortunately without the messenger angle):

Intercom's first pitch paper that raised 600k

Intercom is one of the most interesting companies out there when it comes to new, digital forms of CRM, customer interaction, systematic development of better customer relations. And i love their blog, by the way (click this link for their blog) - many smart people seem to work there.

The recent blog post is not typical for its content, but interesting for anyone who wants to pitch an idea to potential investors... the first deck that raised 600k (they recently had an investment round for 50mn, so ... they used the 60k wisely). It is 7 (!) slides plus the title page.

Emoji Interpretations - Study

Very interesting research conducted about Emojis and what they mean to their recipients - especially since they are displayed differently when sent cross-plattform (i.e. from Apple to Microsoft). Short article here:

Full paper, PDF:

Mar 12, 2016

US Pay TV subscribers down 385k in 2015

Following 150.000 subscribers lost in 2014, and 100.000 subscribers lost in 2013, according to research from Leichtmann Research. The annual study shows a clear and accelerating trend. The statistics count cable, satellite and telco TV as "subscribers" (most Europeans do it differently), so coming from 94 million "subscribers" overall, 385k does not seem much. But the trend accelerates, and my interpretation is that this is not good news for pay-TV as we know it in Europe. Clearly, OTT services with Netflix leading will, at some point in time, substitute our cable, telco or whatever subscription, and will offer the same or even better programming with the cost of internet connection plus OTT service, in most cases much less than cable TV plus packages with exclusive content. If OTT providers are cash-rich and bold enough to outbid traditional pay-TV on sports rights, the avalanche will start.  

Mar 10, 2016

There are sites with 9digit numbers of monthly visits, and you can't track down their owners

Of course it's about adult sites. I find it strange that you cannot include them in any analysis about trends or UX or web developments for obvious reasons, but clearly porn sites are in probably the most competitive area of the web and therefore adapt to change quicker than any other industry. However, isn't it strange that a site with more than 500 million visits in December 2015 has an owner who is very, very hard to track down? But my text messages are saved, stored and analyzed by multiple agencies in a variety of countries?
Interesting piece about adult websites and how they mnage to hide their owners:

Facebook and Amazon bid for NFL live streams

I thought this would take a bit longer, especially after Yahoo's NFL experiment did not go so mega-great, with 2,3mn viewers on average (per minute) and 15mn reach overall - but these would include "tune ins" from autoplay homepage stream. On the other hand, video is the advertising future and both Amazon and Facebook don't really have a cash (or performance) problem, so why not? Keen to see whether this will affect TV rights prices and/or ratings. My guess is: not much. 

SEO experiments and new developments in Google's algorithm

Super-interesting SEO experiments reveal stuff that most people don't know (at least I didn't) about search. For example that CTR, reminds me of Facebook-style engagement metrics, seems to have very high impact on ranking, and the quality of the clicks (session duration etc.), too. Also, outbound links help your ranking (I once learnt the opposite) and many more findings.

Supercell numbers are crazy

Most people may not know Supercell, but their titles "Clash of Clans" or "Clash Royal" should ring a bell, because they are always among most downloaded and, more importantly, top-grossing apps in any appstore. With less than 200 employees and basically 3 games titles, the company based in Helsinki makes 2.3bn USD in revenue in 2015 - and almost a billion of that is profit. Made from 100mn people who play their games every day. Amazing.

Read more here:

or check their funny video (Tuvalu!!) here:

Mar 7, 2016

Some Netflix resources

Every now and then it makes sense to collect numbers on Netflix - because they change so quickly. There's an article where the some VP of NBC says that OTT services like Netflix would not be a threat to traditional TV - I don't think he is delusional, it just shows how many new narratives TV needs to be taken seriously. And the NBC way of doing it is to reveal numbers. Apparently, Amazon's most watched streaming show, "Man in the High Castle", reached 2.1mn viewers (USA). Jessica Jones on Netflix reached 4.8mn viewers per episode, and Narcos 3.2mn. But we should be careful - the numbers are not from Netflix, and not from Amazon, but from a third party using audio recognition on mobile devices (called Symphony), and according to NBC, 18-24year olds spend 62 hours watching linear TV and 12 hours watching YouTube (per month).... so, TV is greatest shape ever and everything will stay the same for the next few decades. Ahem. Here's more:

A bit more on how these numbers are perceived:

Going further, Netflix will spend 5bn on content in 2016, incl 60mn for a Brad Pitt movie. In comparison, HBO spent 2bn in 2015.

More interesting than that mere fact is how Netflix will spend all this money. Is it a myth that everything they produce in the creative department is still data driven? It is a really long read, but extremely interesting about the influence of data on the creative process.
Worth the time to go through.

Feb 17, 2016

Revenue / Profit of Internet Giants in realtime

Embeddable and nice for presentations. Would have loved to see BMW, Exxon, Walmart, Goldman Sachs and Lufthansa in comparison.

WeChat 101

Here are three articles that give a good overview over that one service that is among the top5 downloaded apps (regardless of pre-installed apps like Google on Android) that dies not belong to Facebook: WeChat. Messengers are big, China is big, WeChat is huge. It now celebrates 5 years and - be strong now - made more transactions over Chinese New Year than PayPal made in the whole year of 2015.

Here's a good overview of the 5 year history of WeChat:

April 2015: great article about WeChat's influence on publishing:

WeChat NYE transactions in numbers:

How to Snapchat like a boss

Funny piece on BuzzFeed about Snapchat and how teens and millenials use it. Want to be even more afraid of using it than you are now? Read this. And then think of how representative research with n=1 is.

BuzzFeed and Distributed Media

I wrote a lot about Buzzfeed and many others did, too. Because it is simply impressive and we can learn so much about the workings of today's digital media. One core aspect of all this is the decreasing importance of destinations and the increasing importance of distributing your content, meeting the consumers wherever they are. Here's a good article that explains in detail how BuzzFeed does that (today, because tomorrow, this may change completely).

About the API Economy

If you read one 5-min article today, make it this one. It is not the deepest, but well written and to the point. I strongly agree with most points that it makes (and forget Uber as such, it's just an example). We have to think about building platforms and systems instead of destinations and applications (almost two years ago, May 2014, I first saw a bigger-scale expirement like this in Germany, "About me"/Otto - Link here).
I don't know if having the right API strategy will determine the success and survival of companies, though, like the article concludes. Too many companies heard way too often that survival is at stake, they are all still there, moving at their own pace, and are neither culturally nor in their access to respective resources (developers etc.) ready for such moves that almost everytime touch the core of these corporations. But I agree that almost every company should develop and evaluate their view of API strategy approaches very frequently in the coming years.

[German] Alles zum Facebook Newsfeed Algorithmus, Stand 2/2016

Die Grundzüge von Affinity, Weight und Decay halte ich für wichtiges Basiswissen für jeden, der damit beruflich auch nur am Rande zu tun hat. Meistens reichen die aber auch. Wer tiefer bohren will, findet hier zumindest eine Aufstellung weiterer Faktoren, die auch alle (irgendeinen) Einfluss auf die organische Reichweite von Facebook-Posts haben. Immerhin.

[German] Artikel Optimierung mit User Feedbacks / Tagesanzeiger Datenblog

Ich sage es ungern, aber für mindestens eine der Grafiken empfehle ich einen PC statt Smartphone. Mit der #12-Auswertung herumspielen macht dafür doppelt Spaß. Insgesamt ein hoch interessanter Artikel über Daten, die nicht aus Beobachtung, Algorithmus-Magie und Facebook-Profil kommen (nicht, dass das immer etwas schlechtes wäre), sondern aus direktem User-Feedback. Und was man aus diesen lernen kann. Was mich immer wieder zu meiner aktuellen Haltung bringt: Journalisten sollen das tun, was sie am besten können - spannende, interessante, tolle Inhalte produzieren. Und wir müssen ihnen mit Informationen, Handwerkszeug und Distributionswegen helfen, ihr Publikum zu finden.

BMW Labs is how it's done

I am quite impressed with BMW Labs. Because I found them through a friend's post and then was reminded again by driving in a friend's BMW, and not through that 19page Wired-Special with 17 chief executives taking credit for the world's innovation efforts in general, and then showing us their loft offices in Palo Alto, Helsinki and Munich. Nope, all you get to see is a website, a service here and there (being a fan of IFTTT, I admit I am biased) and a text that states that the services from labs are not ready, may not always work, may disappear etc. If you have ever worked for a big brand that considered itself leading, you know how tough it will have been to get that approved. Check: