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April 13 2017

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April 09 2017

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April 04 2017

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from What the heck is digital strategy? 

“It’s pretty well documented what the commercial internet has done to the business landscape. Four changes in particular come to mind:

  1. Enabled new business models, particularly connecting consumers to providers.
  2. Consumers have more power to research and review, which has changed the traditional purchase funnel.
  3. ‘Best in class’ experiences such as Uber are raising consumer expectations (but platforms like this are difficult to develop).
  4. Products are evolving into services, as consumers want greater control and transparency.”

April 03 2017

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John Hopkins - Diversity Wheel

“The center of the wheel represents internal dimensions that are usually most permanent or visible. The outside of the wheel represents dimensions that are acquired and change over the course of a lifetime. The combinations of all of these dimensions influence our values, beliefs, behaviors, experiences and expectations and make us all unique as individuals.”

March 28 2017

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Via QZ “Athletic Footwear Warfare: Surviving in an Oligopoly,” by Samsung Economic Research Institute

March 21 2017

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Mario Castillo’s mural depicting the Maya goddess Mayahuel at the National Museum of Mexican Art. Photo: Sally Ryan for The New York Times

March 11 2017

Beware of feminism lite |

“Beware the danger of what I call Feminism Lite. It is the idea of conditional female equality. Please reject this entirely. It is a hollow, appeasing and bankrupt idea. Feminism Lite uses analogies like “He is the head and you are the neck.” Or, “He is driving but you are in the front seat.” More troubling is the idea, in Feminism Lite, that men are naturally superior but should be expected to “treat women well.” No. No. No. There must be more than male benevolence as the basis for a women’s well-being.”

March 09 2017

How commerce content sits uneasily alongside newsrooms - Digiday

“After The New York Times bought gadget-recommendation site The Wirecutter for around $30 million in October, Karron Skog, a senior editor at the Times, spent several months introducing Times editors to their Wirecutter counterparts, allowing them to become aware of their respective coverage plans on their own.

Over time, Times desks have begun to integrate Wirecutter features and content into editorial packages and use them in planning them, too. One recent result involved the Times integrating reviews from Wirecutter’s sister brand, The Sweethome, into a service package about the essentials of French cooking. In another, the Times tech section debuted a column called “Ask the Wirecutter,” where editors from both publications discuss what kinds of products to buy.

“We’re thinking about it in terms of collaboration, not integration,” said Skog, who added that more verticals will be adding Wirecutter content in the coming months.”

February 24 2017

Artificial Intelligence Is Not a Threat--Yet - Scientific American

“As Harvard University experimental psychologist Steven Pinker elucidated in his answer to the 2015 Annual Question “What Do You Think about Machines That Think?”: “AI dystopias project a parochial alpha-male psychology onto the concept of intelligence. They assume that superhumanly intelligent robots would develop goals like deposing their masters or taking over the world.” It is equally possible, Pinker suggests, that “artificial intelligence will naturally develop along female lines: fully capable of solving problems, but with no desire to annihilate innocents or dominate the civilization.”

February 20 2017

I’m learning now how technology can make people’s lives more efficient and delightful and even fully transform them. “Life 2.0" startups a la Uber (“everyone’s private driver”) and Postmates (one-hour on-demand delivery service!) in San Francisco can seem frivolous, services for the 1% or even 0.1%, but they illustrate how technology, artfully applied, can completely change the character of one’s day-to-day schedule — I can see eventual applications of this service model in more efficient job marketplaces. Beautiful apps like Flipboard and Paper don’t really seem necessary for anything, but they push the envelope in user interface and interaction design — I can see eventual applications in intuitive education software designed for self instruction, distributed on cheap tablet devices to the economically disadvantaged, who may not have access to good, if any, teachers or classrooms.
— Tracy Chou, “When are you going to start your own company?
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February 16 2017

Twitter users vs. non-users

“When we surveyed the people and interviewed the people who love Twitter all over the globe, consistently, they said the same exact thing, more or less: Which is, ‘Twitter shows me what’s happening in the world’;Twitter shows me what’s up’; 'Twitter keeps me on the pulse’; 'Twitter keeps me informed.’”

Among non-users, however, Berland cited three “key barriers”:

  • “People did not know what Twitter is for.”
  • “People thought Twitter was a social network … They thought you were there to connect with friends and family members, look for ex-boyfriends from kindergarten, and share baby photos, on and on.”
  • “People believe that to use Twitter they must tweet … They have this perception of: If you’re not tweeting, if I don’t know what to say, is Twitter really for me?”

WARC - Twitter brings clarity to its brand

February 14 2017

Why we keep making TV ads that suck

So should we be rushing to change our advertising development frameworks? I think the answer to the question is yes, and we should do this with urgency.

The reason why this has to be done - other than to improve our overall TV viewing experience - is because we are sitting on a metric tonne of knowledge and evidence, which runs in the face of our legacy beliefs about what makes great, effective ads.

And in this particular case, the evidence suggests that the ads that are interesting and engaging to watch are the very ads that help sell more stuff.

Specifically, as of today, we can be certain of the following:

  • Advertising causes sales via delayed response by building and refreshing branded memories, thereby increasing probability that the advertised brand would come to mind first in a purchasing situation;
  • The most sure-fire way for advertising to build and refresh branded memories is to generate a strong, preferably positive, emotional response in the viewing audience;
  • In order to achieve strong emotional response, ads must feature an emotionally engaging story that grabs attention early and keeps viewers constantly engaged;
  • Emotionally engaging brand-centric narratives can be built around functional attributes of products they advertise, but they absolutely do not have to;
  • In any case, recall of functional benefits and any RTBs that support them is likely to be weak unless the claims are novel enough to generate a strong…wait for it…emotional response!
  • Finally, strength of brand attribution and recall of functional benefits are not independent of emotional engagingness of the narrative, but are rather amplifiedor diminished by the latter.

The evidence that supports these ideas comes from various parts of academia and reputable research business. Here are a few examples that are just the tip of the iceberg:

  • Published studies and popular works by psychologist Daniel Kahneman, behavioural economist and mathematician Amos Tversky and neuroscientist Antonio Damasio conclusively prove that human beings are irrational decision-makers whose actions are driven primarily by emotions;
  • Works by Dr Robert Heath of University of Bath (UK), Erik du Plessis (currently chairman of Millward-Brown South Africa), Prof John Philip Jones of Syracuse University, Les Binet and Peter Field unearth an enormous amount of research-based evidence proving that emotions are also a pathway to memory, and advertising that elicits stronger emotional response generates more long-term memories;
  • BrainJuicer, a research house whose ad testing products are powered by the latest evidence coming from neuroscience and behavioural economics, have amassed a staggering amount of ad tests conclusively showing that quality of storytelling will have the greatest impact on the overall effectiveness of ads;
  • Ehrenberg-Bass Institute of Marketing Science frequently integrates and systematises most of this evidence in academic journals (i.e. Jun'09 issue of Journal of Advertising Research is fully dedicated to advertising and edited by Byron Sharp and Yoram Wind) as well as popular works (How Brands Grow I and II; Marketing: Theory, Evidence, Practice).

February 13 2017

Chinese factory replaces 90% of human workers with robots. Production rises by 250%, defects drop by 80%

“According to Monetary Watch, the Changying Precision Technology Company focuses on the production of mobile phones and uses automated production lines. The factory used to be run by 650 employees, but now just 60 people get the entire job done, while robots take care of the rest. Luo Weiqiang, the general manager, says the number of required employees will drop to 20 at one point. Despite this reduction in staff, not only is the factory producing more equipment (a 250% increase), but it’s also ensuring better quality.”

The Four-Letter Code to Selling Just About Anything

“ In the 1960s, the psychologist Robert Zajonc conducted a series of experiments where he showed subjects nonsense words, random shapes, and Chinese-like characters and asked them which they preferred. In study after study, people reliably gravitated toward the words and shapes they’d seen the most. Their preference was for familiarity.This discovery was known as the “mere-exposure effect,” and it is one of the sturdiest findings in modern psychology. 

Across hundreds of studies and meta-studies, subjects around the world prefer familiar shapes, landscapes, consumer goods, songs, and human voices. People are even partial to the familiar version of the thing they should know best in the world: their own face. Because you and I are used to seeing our countenance in a mirror, studies show, we often prefer this reflection over the face we see in photographs. 

The preference for familiarity is so universal that some think it must be written into our genetic code. The evolutionary explanation for the mere-exposure effect would be simple: If you recognized an animal or plant, that meant it hadn’t killed you, at least not yet.But the preference for familiarity has clear limits. People get tired of even their favorite songs and movies. They develop deep skepticism about overfamiliar buzzwords. In mere-exposure studies, the preference for familiar stimuli is attenuated or negated entirely when the participants realize they’re being repeatedly exposed to the same thing. For that reason, the power of familiarity seems to be strongest when a person isn’t expecting it.

The reverse is also true: A surprise seems to work best when it contains some element of familiarity. Consider the experience of Matt Ogle, who, for more than a decade, was obsessed with designing the perfect music-recommendation engine. His philosophy of music was that most people enjoy new songs, but they don’t enjoy the effort it takes to find them. When he joined Spotify, the music-streaming company, he helped build a product called Discover Weekly, a personalized list of 30 songs delivered every Monday to tens of million of users.

The original version of Discover Weekly was supposed to include only songs that users had never listened to before. But in its first internal test at Spotify, a bug in the algorithm let through songs that users had already heard. “Everyone reported it as a bug, and we fixed it so that every single song was totally new,” Ogle told me.But after Ogle’s team fixed the bug, engagement with the playlist actually fell. “It turns out having a bit of familiarity bred trust, especially for first-time users,” he said. “If we make a new playlist for you and there’s not a single thing for you to hook onto or recognize—to go, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a good call!’—it’s completely intimidating and people don’t engage.” It turned out that the original bug was an essential feature: Discover Weekly was a more appealing product when it had even one familiar band or song.”

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