Betting on the AI Revolution in Business and Government

Betting on the AI Revolution in Business and Government

 

I’ve been reading Ray Dalio’s brilliant new book Principles. What a genius that man is. Not only smart and an absolute original but also quite an eccentric. His company, Bridgewater Associates, the most successful hedge fund in the world, has been an innovator in algorithmic decision-making since its inception. Data, AI and algorithms provide the company with the tools to make decisions unencumbered by emotion or swayed by internal politics (this is a huge deal for Ray Dalio, he talks about it frequently in the book).

But now, finally, AI is being touted as the technology of our age. As big a deal as electricity was 100 years ago.

  •  AI is a huge market. The global artificial intelligence market had an overall valuation of US$126 billion in 2015. The market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 36.1% through 2024 when it is expected to reach an overall valuation of US$3,061 billion.
  • Fingers crossed, we’ll see AI replacing much of the government. Can you imagine how much more streamlined and efficient governing would be? No more gridlock, brinkmanship and general craziness when it comes to things that matter to all Americans: infrastructure, education, health care.

Read on below for more examples of how companies and industries are using AI for greater efficiency and competitive advantage. It’s a MUST READ.

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Cashless is Where It’s At and I Couldn’t Be Happier

Cashless is Where It’s At and I Couldn’t Be Happier

 

Are you using cash less often these days? I definitely am. Since May (when I started using Venmo), my ATM visits have dropped from once every 2 weeks to once every 2 months!

  • My credit card usage has not changed but I am using Venmo constantly both to pay and receive money.
  • Even my cleaning person now accepts Venmo which has been a huge plus (and the biggest reason for the decline in my ATM usage).

I only need cash now for my forays into Chinatown to do my fruit and vegetable shopping. Street vendors are keeping it real and staying cash-only – at least for now.

But cash’s days are definitely numbered. Even restaurants which have historically preferred to be cash-only, are now going cash-free.

Read on below for more on the trend to cashless and the brands and countries leading the way.

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Social Media Trends for 2018: Real-Time Selling Is the Most Intriguing

Social Media Trends for 2018: Real-Time Selling Is the Most Intriguing

 

I’m currently tracking and evaluating several trends for the coming year but livestreaming as it exists in Asia is absolutely fascinating. It is worth watching because it is creating a new online culture and disrupting how consumers and brands use social media as a marketing tool. The U.S. is lagging far behind.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs have predicted that China’s livestream video market will grow from $2 billion in 2015 to $15 billion in 2020.

  • Livestreaming is creating a new online culture and producing new modes of real-time selling, as well as spawning new on-air personalities.
  • Livestreaming video is monetized by real-time consumer purchasing, virtual gifting, and ads vs. on-demand video which is monetized primarily by ads.
  • Top livestreamers attract over 100,000 viewers per session.
  • They generate money through purchases of virtual stickers and filters as well as through micro-transactions e.g. small gifts and donations by fans in real time during the livestream.
  • Livestreaming creates new opportunities for fame as Asian millennials broadcast their everyday lives equipped only with smartphones and selfie sticks
  • Marketers are taking advantage of this phenomena too.
  • 70% of over 100 beauty brands with operations in China use livestreaming as a marketing and advertising tool for product launches, fashion shows, and real-time buying links.
  • Maybelline sold 10,000 lipsticks within two hours by livestreaming its products using a Chinese influencer (Angelababy, pic above)
  • Alibaba’s Taobao and JD.com, two of China’s biggest online shopping sites, have both launched their own livestreaming platforms
  • The stage is set for livestreaming in the US as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and other channels enable livestreaming across their platforms.

Source: ZDNet

Read on below for three additional social media trends.

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I Want My Social Media Verification So Bad!

I Want My Social Media Verification So Bad!

 

I had a conversation about instagram and twitter verification a while back with a friend who is a high-level tech exec. She was trying to convince her CEO that he needed to get verified.

  • That was the first time I heard about the blackmarket for social media verification. And also the first time I realized what a status symbol it had become.
  • Up until then, I thought those little blue checks were merit-based, assigned thru an algorithm.
  • Little did I know that verification is the social media equivalent of the velvet rope. Know the right people, pay the right price, and that velvet rope magically opens and you bypass the line.
  • Only 7% of the accounts I follow on Instagram are verified.

In case you’re not familiar, I’m talking about the little blue check marks next to people’s names – especially on twitter and instagram. It’s designated for public figures, celebrities, and brands and it gives users a prime spot in search.

Great article on the subject in Mashable. Worth a read.

I’ve summarized highlights below. And just FYI, my friend has still not gotten her CEO verified.

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Why Does NOBODY Accept Apple Pay?

Why Does NOBODY Accept Apple Pay?

 

I am so frustrated that nobody – except Whole Foods and Duane Reade – accepts Apple Pay. When I first downloaded the app and used it at Whole Foods I was ecstatic.

It is so easy, so convenient. I don’t need my wallet or charge cards and I shop at Whole Foods almost every day directly after the gym as a result.

But that’s pretty much where it begins and ends. Now, whenever I see a digital payment logo, in a taxi for example, I no longer get excited in anticipation of using Apple Pay because 99.9% of the time, the system isn’t working.

What happened?

All the research indicates people aren’t interested in turning their phones into digital wallets when they check out in a physical store.

I don’t believe this is true.  The facts don’t support it. How are people expected to use Apple Pay when there’s no place offering to take it. Apple has done an atrocious job of selling in this concept.

  • People love using Venmo –“I’ll venmo you” is as much a part of the vernacular today as “google it”
  • And then there’s Walmart Pay – of course only usable at Walmart but people love it.
  • Per pymnts.com first-time use of the Walmart Pay app increased 53.5%.
  • In one year, Walmart Pay usage is higher than Apple Pay’s after 3 years! But, you use the card at the store vs. Apple Pay which you can use nowhere.
  • Frequency of usage with Walmart Pay also suggests people are very interested in using digital wallets.
  • 47% of Walmart shoppers said they use it every time they can.
  • But what appears to have made Walmart Pay sticky isn’t only the ability to pay using the app at the store — but rather the portfolio of value-added solutions (e.g. coupons) wrapped around the act of paying at checkout.
  • AND  being in LA for the last few days, I am excited that quite a few more retailers out here use the app – but it’s still not universally accepted. And some that have it aren’t entirely sure how to use it.

Read on below for more from Business Insider on digital payments.

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Can You Be an Instagram Success Story Without Being a Sex Symbol?

Can You Be an Instagram Success Story Without Being a Sex Symbol?

 

On the first anniversary of Instagram Stories, the company released a ranking of the fashion names with the highest engagement rate. The ranking is based on the cumulative number of story views over the past year among top accounts with over 10 million followers.

  • For those of you who may not be familiar with the scope of InstagramStories: their global audience has reached 700 million users of which 250 million use it daily, easily surpassing Snapchat.

Not being a devotee of the model/fashion scene, I had to do a bit of research to figure out what’s going on e.g. why does Cara Delevingne with 40.7 million followers rank #5 for engagement while Emily Ratajkowksi snags the top spot even though she has almost a third less followers?

  • At first blush, most of the girls are epic sex symbols.
  • They are today’s Playmates, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models, Video Vixens, and Supermodels – all rolled into one and all available on everyone’s cellphone 24/7
  • Their  sexual game is obviously very strong
  • They’re notorious for taking controversial positions on everything from sexuality to religion

What I am stunned by, however, is how many of my female friends are following these girls. I will be checking in with them to get the inside scoop on what they find so intriguing about them.

Top 5 in Fashion

#1: Emily Ratajkowski (14.8 million followers) – Pics above

  • American model/actress/activist
  • Came to prominence after appearing on the cover of the March 2012 issue of erotic magazine treats!, which led to her starring in controversial music video: “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke
  • In 2013, Esquire named her “Woman of the Year” and Rolling Stone listed her among its twenty hottest sex symbols.
  • She appeared in the 2014 and 2015 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues.
  • Made her professional runway modeling debut for Marc Jacobs at New York Fashion Week in 2015.
  • Appeared in a Buick Super Bowl commercial during Super Bowl 50.

Read on below for more on the top 5 as well as the full list of the 15 rankings.

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Foursquare City Guide: Why You Should Get On Board!

Foursquare City Guide: Why You Should Get On Board!

 

Seven years after Foursquare launched, I find the app more useful than ever. Usage among my friends is definitely down but a sizable core group uses it consistently and I get a sense that it may be getting rediscovered.

Here’s how I use it:

  • When planning trips: For example, my upcoming week-long scouting trip to Los Angeles has been largely built around Foursquare recommendations.
  • Same thing for my recent Atlanta trip: that’s how we discovered Swan House.

My step-by-step guide on getting the most out of Foursquare when traveling:

  • Click on “Things To Do” and where e.g. Downtown Los Angeles
  • Scroll through some of the categories on top e.g. Historic Sites, Art Galleries (the categories vary based on the city)
  • Set the filter for top ratings.
  • This is how I discovered the Bradbury Building in DTLA, which led me to the LA Conservancy’s Downtown Walking Tour (booked!)

In NYC, I also prefer the Foursquare reviews for restaurants and bars. They most closely reflect my tastes and preferences.

  • Again, recommend starting with the ratings and then check out the most current reviews.
  • Because I value their recommendations, I ALWAYS write one for every place I check into.
  • The only other app that comes close is The Infatuation but they’ve misled me on a couple of restaurants lately so taking a watch and see stance with them
  • Note: if Yelp is your go-to and you like them, Foursquare may not be a good fit.

Foursquare also just launched a new restaurant/bar app called Marsbot.

  • It’s a secret lurker app that sends you notifications about places it thinks you would like based on your history. It’s brand new so hard to judge at the moment but that reco space seems pretty crowded.

For those of you not familiar with Foursquare and Swarm:

  • They’ve had over 11 billion individual check-ins since launch.
  • The number of check-ins per user is up 33% since they split into two apps in 2014: Swarm for check-ins and Foursquare for recommendations/reviews etc.
  • The data from check-ins has been a goldmine for understanding societal shifts and trends in how people move through the world. They’re able to predict random things e.g. the rate at which Filipino food is trending in the U.S., or how international leisure tourism to the U.S. has changed since October 2016.

Also check out this excellent interview with Foursquare founder, Dennis Crowley I love this guy – he’s very responsive, always answers tweets re foursquare. In the interview, he provides great insights on what’s happening with data and location-based software. He also shares the best advice he ever got from his parents about doing a start-up. Spot on!

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Top Lipstick Trends from Around The Globe

Top Lipstick Trends from Around The Globe

 

July 29th was National Lipstick Day. And  I totally missed it – which is really weird since lipstick is my thing!! It’s the only cosmetic product I use.

In celebration of National Lipstick Day, YouCam Makeup, a leader in virtual lipstick try-ons released their  global lipstick study based on findings from their 280 million users, 23.5 million of which use the app daily.

Here are the top trends based on users from around the globe:

The two-toned lip is the fastest growing trend globally – UP 74%

  • While ombré lips became popular last year, two-toned lips (different colors on top and bottom lips) are now the fastest growing trend.
  • Two-tone lips were first noted on the New York Fashion Week runway in Jason Wu’s Fall 2017 collection, and now beauty brands such as Estée Lauder and Laneige have released two-toned lipsticks

Read on below for 3 additional trends. Read More >

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