Andy on Twitter

  • Well, I’m furious at him and the equally draconian policies of NSW Govt. Seems you can do whatever you like in Gov… ,
  • Impression is Govt as a whole knows how to implement draconian policies with no public engagement or addressing dow… ,
  • And why not fix the crappy Covid App and make it a requirement to have it and your mobile with you at all times so… ,
  • I’ve just done 14 days self isolation on returning from Vic. Isn’t hard to do. And would have been happy to pay for… ,
  • This is just another example of heavy handed Govt policies with little thought for business or personal impacts. Al… ,
  • NSW latest move to force residents returning from Vic into mandatory isolation is poorly thought out. Instead just… ,
  • NZ needs this, Australia needs this. Instead of heavy handed Government policies implemented in the main without a… ,
  • Well, my Mac is over at the Apple Hospital being repaired - keyboard failure... iPad is worthless as a business too… ,
  • It's time to Dub on Telstra - more on the Dubber news from yesterday. ,
  • Big move by in going native on the Telstra network for Liberate, TIPT and SIP. Game changer… ,
  • Ummm... Yep... mess is an understatement 'A complete mess': angry business demands clarity from Victoria -… ,
  • Great piece from Stephane on Tokenized Banking and how it creates a better banking experience. Great prod… ,
  • Yep, those are the questions to ask. ,
  • Might just be me but feels like has descended into product and app anarchy. An S1 controller and now I need… ,
  • Gald to see this. The amount of corrupt marketing undertaken by Bitcoin companies is staggering. Steve Wozniak sues… ,

Archive for the ‘Required Reading’ Category

  • Connect

It’s Time to Build

Great essay from Marc Andreessen. Well worth a read.

Part of the problem is clearly foresight, a failure of imagination. But the other part of the problem is what we didn’t *do* in advance, and what we’re failing to do now. And that is a failure of action, and specifically our widespread inability to *build*.

  • Connect

Hey & Highway Robbery

Watching the scuffle with Apple and HEY playout is interesting. Am wondering if we have reached that watershed moment when Apple will have to acknowledge their incredible market power (not a monopoly but at least a duopoly) and how punitive pricing punishes rather than enhances the developers we all depend on to create the next big thing.

Does the world’s largest company really get to decide how millions of other businesses can interact with their own customers? In fact, Apple’s policy distances you from your customer.

I get Apple’s argument – it is our platform, play by the rules, we know what is best for customers. Without denying Apple’s right to make money – and they are pretty savvy at that – perhaps its time for them to acknowledge they can’t hide behind that mask and its time for fair and equitable pricing? They’ve got a distribution chokehold on the community.

So what do we want? I’m not saying IAP shouldn’t exist, or shouldn’t be an option. For some businesses, it might make sense. If Apple is sending you all your customers, it probably does make sense. The 30% rate is still highway robbery, as Congressman Cicilline recently said in an interview, but the fundamental problem for us is the lack of choice.

Apple, please just give your developers the choice! Let us bill our own customers through our own systems, so we can help them with extensions, refunds, discounts, or whatever else our own way. It’s our business, not your business. And Phil Schiller’s suggestion that we should raise prices on iOS customers to make up for Apple’s added margin is antitrust gold.

It’s one thing to argue what is right for customers but as the subscription economy continues to boom, its another to exercise total control over it in a dominant ecosystem. And if they are they need to give us as consumers much better control and transparency. Dealing with, for instance, family purchases and subscriptions is a nightmare for most parents.

The simple answer is a small commission for marketing and enabling the sale of the app, then the consumer chooses how they want to subscribe. When you publish an Android app you can freely choose between using Google’s subscription mechanism and paying them a cut, or implementing your own solution and not paying Google anything.

The argument that developers could just stop making apps for IOS is weak. Apple simply has too much market power and reach to ignore. What developers could do is stage a mass walkout, perhaps, but at what cost? Ultimately Apple needs to take a fresh look at what is right for consumers and developers.

One thing is clear beneath all this. The rules don’t apply equitably and are at best nebulous. in some cases popular apps don’t function as they should – The Audible app has no in-app subscription mechanism, Kindle doesn’t let you buy books through the iOS app. Subscription-based email apps like Microsoft Outlook are permitted on the app store without Apple getting a cent.

So, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, Microsoft are all companies with enough size and power that Apple could be in serious danger if any of them decided to pull their apps from iOS, and even more potential trouble if they decided to challenge Apple’s practices from a legal standpoint. If you are too big to fight, you get a free ride. If you are smaller, obey or get out of the store.

This issue goes beyond just the HEY skirmish. It’s time they reviewed their approach to subscriptions, not just products, and do better for developers and consumers.

  • Connect

Feels Good!

Almost daily I get someone asking me how they can best keep their coffee fix going during isolation. Social distancing is possible. Coffee distancing, not possible.

That inevitably leads to questions about which machine to buy.

One of my favourites is the La Marzocco Linea Mini. Affordable, great quality, and gets you fully armed with an iconic machine for the years to come. Now, you want to get a grinder to go with it and while you could drop a heap on a “status grinder” – you know, the kind that any barista would look at and regard you as legit, I’m finding the Breville Smart Grinder well worth it.

Turns out my favourite roaster, St Ali has cooked up a cracker of a deal.

No lines, no queues, not too hot, not too cold. Your own tunes, your own cup, open early and open late. Be your own barista at home with ST. ALi and La Marzocco.

We’ve teamed up with our friends at La Marzocco to help bring ST. ALi home. Grab a La Marzocco Linea Mini today for $5990 and we’ll set you up with a 1 year ST. ALi Orthodox Subscription, with a bunch of goodies thrown in by La Marzocco. Need some help brewing and Melbourne-based? We’ll also send you latte art legend, competition wizard, and all-round nice guy Shinsaku Fukayama for three hours of training, hazmat-suited if need be.

So, the machine should pretty much pay for itself… over whatever period of time reflects your fueling. Two great brands and one great deal. What’s not to like. And St Ali also sells the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.

And, you get to support an amazing Roaster and a bunch of really good people.

  • Connect

Fake News & Fake Humans

It’s always interesting to sit with a client and watch the fake news spew forth from CES.

Today’s from Samsung is a doozy.

Their announcements validate Soul Machines pioneering AGI Research and their fully autonomous digital teammates already deployed with leading global brands and corporations like P&G.

Humanizing AI isn’t easy. Soul Machines has been at it for over seven years  – researching neuroscience, developmental psychology and cognitive science to create of the world’s first digital brain. To autonomously animate digital characters in a hyper-realistic human-like way, they need a brain. So that in the same way we as people use our human brain to interact, behave, engage with others and learn, Soul Machines digital people use a proprietary digital brain to do exactly the same things. The Five Levels of Autonomous Animation clearly lay it out.

It’s super interesting that many of the Neon videos appearing on Youtube are interspersing video footage of Soul Machines BabyX and digital people powered by our HumanOS™ It begs the question: is the hype and the marketing from Samsung NEON at CES  little more than highly scripted CGI and video manipulation? Some are clear that what we are looking at is little more than vaporware at this point.

It’s hard to see any evidence of a digital brain working – but you can see that here and even engage with a digital hero. Many varieties of digital puppets already exist today – avatars, scripted CGI, chatbots and more.

Creating digital heroes requires a combination of advanced animation (Soul Machines Digital DNA Studio™ makes this possible) – and – a digital brain (Soul machines Human OS™). The combination enables a hyper-real experience that goes beyond look and feel to embrace conversational AI, learning, and more.

They are well outside the lab, commercially deploying the world’s first digital heroes with brands globally.

Time will tell what Samsung has beyond a science experiment in a lab and marketing hype is just another Digital Puppet or something more.

Validating technology is a good thing. Not sure pretending is as good.

  • Loved

Humanizing Brands

 

Given Brands are made by humans, how have so many become so, well, inhuman?

Many of today’s brand challenges stem from not being human enough resulting in a chasm between the brand and the consumer. Turns out that the solution to ending what are highly robotic brand responses and interactions is a robot.

Efforts to achieve this typically require massive investments in human capital – and while this will remain the ultimate solution, it hinders brand engagement and comes with a raft of issues such as cost, consistency of service and experience, and time.

Digital has long been touted as the solution to these issues – as providing an infinitely scalable way for brands to reach and touch more consumers. In the purchase funnel that might be partially the case – but what about before and after? How do brands address the complex task of engaging and advising the consumer across their entire journey?

Early advances to address this have resulted in a raft of chat-bots, animated digital puppets and “hot cartoons”. These have proven to be little more than PR stunts. They attract eyeballs but don’t engage to deliver any value to them. Operating to rote scripts and responses, consumers have been rewarded with little more than sizzle without the steak.

That’s about to change.

By fusing advanced general intelligence – a type of AI – with a hyper-realistic animation engine, brands can now create human experiences, quickly and at scale. And this will advance brands into a new world of artificial general intelligence. AGI is the intelligence of a machine that could successfully perform any intellectual task that a human being can. That means, the new face of a brand – a Digital Human – can operate autonomously and in human ways.

YUMI, unveiled today at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity represents the world’s first autonomously animated Digital Influencer. Developed by Soul Machines and P&G’s SK-II, a global prestige skincare brand, YUMI marks the birth of the first fully autonomous digital influencer capable of interacting as a human would but with the control brands need and expect. The technology advances are significant, as are the implications for marketers:

The Rise of Digital Influencers & Celebrities

YUMI will be the first of thousands of new Digital Influencers – some unique, some founded on actual Digital Celebrities – that express a personality unique to them and the brand. Unlike current, information and interaction poor Digital Puppets, their integration with information and AI will enable them to present meaningful information, in a human way, contextualized to the consumer rather than a pre-programmed script. Digital Humans go beyond current PR Stunts with limited ability to interact and engage. They can evolve over time, humanizing the brand across multiple campaigns, products and services.

Crossing the AI Chasm

Today most marketers’ efforts with AI are confined to mining data that is then used to tailor offers and creative to be delivered in the right place and the right time. Digital Humans represent a new opportunity to fuse this data with customer interactions in real-time. Whether you are a Digital Agency, a Data Agency or Creative Agency, the Digital Human becomes the means to converse at scale.

New Creative Solutions

Current Digital Puppets are created through traditional animation techniques that cost as much as the time they take to create. Higher quality equates to higher cost. Solving this problem through an advanced CGI studio enables Digital Humans to be created with, until now, unseen quality, in days.

A New Interface

Digital Humans aren’t just a new face for brands, they are a new interface for any digital environment. Rather than clicking, scrolling, or searching we chat with a Digital Human who does the work for us. Interactions are simplified and humanized.

Digital Humans, like YUMI, humanize the brand by being human. They are imperfect but perfect. They possess knowledge. They respond to you based on emotion and intelligence. They listen, engage and react – autonomously and at scale. They are serious and funny. Importantly, they break from scripts and engage in conversation – and through this conversation, they do the work of presenting relevant information.

But more than anything, the new wave of Digital Humans will humanize brands by thinking and communicating like a human. And in the process, reinvent customer and brand experience.