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Jul 28, 2017

Amazon's new messaging app anytime

Here's an article that I disagree with on many levels - it may very well be that Amazon's Anytime aspires to be the WeChat of the West (while the article says it "will"), and that it may even achieve it. But based on messaging, group chatting, not needing to know numbers and "SMS disruption" (didn't that happen during the last one and a half decades?) it won't get there. My take is that if Amazon manages to integrate Anytime with their media and especially their commerce offering, they may be onto something. And maybe this is a major defense play to prevent Messenger becoming a shopping destination through bots with integrated commerce, on- and offline? Still an interesting read.

McKinsey on Artificial Intelligence

Interesting collection of research, studies and statistics about AI from McKinsey. As always, handle the numbers with care, but they give us a good impression on how the field develops. For example, I would hate to be the CRM and loyalty guy at Netflix trying to come up with human intelligence solutions, when AI improves search results in a way that cancellations were avoided worth about a billion dollars. More here: 

Computer-predicted results of startup-success

Take 50,000 companies that received venture capital. Compare the fields/industries they are in, and see how influential and bigger investment firms spread their money across these industries and across the 50,000 companies. Do some math, and voila: the predictions are stunning. 

Transitional business platforms

Ultimately, all businesses are transitional in some ways as markets, consumers and environments change. But some are transitional in a sense that they change or create markets. Great article by Kellogg Innovation Professor Robert C. Wolcott that leads to four characteristics of these businesses:

  • they substantially outperform the status quo from the customer's perspective
  • they tend to violate traditional constraints
  • they build brand presence before markets have been clearly defined
  • they enable adaption as conditions change

Read the details here:

More insights into Magic Leap

Magic Leap, the billion-funded uber-secretive AR/VR startup that the world is waiting for, published a paper called "Towards Geometric Deep SLAM". As it is all gibberish to me, i found this article that explains the stuff they are talking about in English. The article is pretty short, so I fail to summarize it without just copy-pasting 80% of it. Read for yourself:

The success of Buzzfeed's Tasty

By the time Buzzfeed started "Tasty", many publishers had already realized that food was a strong and promising area to create a vertical for. I have seen many try, also earlier than BF, but not really succeed. So how did Tasty do it? Good article on NYT about their explorative and data driven way of approaching things.

The Golden Age of UX is over

Berlin's own Jonathan Courtney from AJ & Smart argues that UX became more or less a commodity because "good UX" is - compared to a few years back - relatively easy to achieve, given the free tools that are accessible to anyone. Besides his interesting view on what a design agency should do next, the article is filled with links to great resources. Must read/bookmark.  

Spotify vs. Netflix

Interesting take on revenue per subscriber and subscriber growth in a comparison of Netflix and Spotify. What the article ignores is that Spotify doesn't really have any meaningful "original content" as the wide majority of its contents is available on any other subscription service, too. Therefore, market share and subscriber growth might be of much more strategic value to Spotify, even if it means to take hits with regards to average revenue per subscriber by integrating into telco-models and a "household" subscription on a service that is meant to be of individual use (I love my Spotify Discover weekly, and if it would mix up with what the kids do and listen to, I would get each their own subscription or cancel entirely).

Tesla seen as a technology company

I have read this a few times now: Maybe Tesla isn't actually disrupting the car industry with new means of motorization, but copying their model of unit sales and "might modify this a bit when your self driving car can earn revenues for you while you are not using it" - which in the end means a complete implosion of the car manufacturer business model. Maybe they are building something entirely different, that just happens to "accidentally" destroy the car industry as we know it in order to establish a technology platform and traffic and energy infrastructure? The sooner you get as many cars on the street as possible, the sooner you get as many batteries on the grid as possible, the bigger your advantage will be against any incumbent. Maybe this is Tesla's priority.

Ho Waze sells mobile display ads for 25 USD CPM

Nice piece about Shazam and Wazen and how they manage to create an inventory that actually generates mobile display ad revenue, something most publishers struggle with, and do this without absolutely destroying the user experience. To me, just another example of how the times for easy-to-scale, low effort display advertising (that does its job) are over - at least if you don't have billions or trillions of impressions in your inventory.

Jul 4, 2017

India goes digital

Remember how developing countries leapfrogged the PC and went to mobile phones directly? India is way too diverse to see it as a developing country, but they are making a big effort to do a similar thing in administration and infrastructure: 95% of the population have a digital proof of identity, and they are on their way to a cashless society, with more than 270mn bank accounts opened in the last 3 years to process cashless payments.

Jul 2, 2017

Cameras will be the next big platforms

The camera as a development platform is not an entirely new concept - Snapchat calls itself a camera company, avoiding terms like "messenger" and "social network" in their mission. Facebook launched its camera platform earlier this year. I am very careful with the term "game changer", but added with AR tech the camera - being a software product not necessarily based on OS - can really lead to entirely new apps & features. Here's a bunch of first demos from iOS11, and as it is said in the article, "if this is what developers can put together in just a few weeks, imagine what type of wizardry awaits us once iOS 11 officially drops later this year."

And I wrote a longer piece about this on my blog: