A Blog by Jonathan Low


Feb 27, 2017

What Happens When Robots Become Role Models?

Who's influencing who? And how might that effect personal and financial interactions not just between humans and machines, but between humans, such as sellers and buyers, advisors and clients, providers and receivers? JL 

Jamie Condliffe reports in MIT Technology Review:

As personal robots increasingly enter the home, robots may not just do our bidding—they might also become role models, too. Some parents have complained that Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant is training their children to be rude. Alexa doesn’t need people to say please and thank you, will tolerate answering the same question over and over, and remains calm in the face of tantrums. In short: it doesn’t prime kids for how to interact with real people.

How Come eBay Is Returning To China?

Chinese consumers are buying more foreign goods at higher prices. And the government, to create jobs and stimulate trade, is providing tax advantages as well as expedited storage and shipping for foreign companies. Jl 

Adam Minter reports in China:

In 2016, Chinese shoppers made $86 billion in online purchases from vendors in other countries. Globally, such trade was growing at 25%, faster than domestic e-commerce. Companies taking advantage of this trade can get several benefits, including expedited imports and tax breaks. More crucially, they can set up bonded warehouses to store imported goods for quick dispatch to customers -- thereby reducing shipping times by as much as 80 percent.

Artificial Intelligence's Impact On the Future of Fashion

Competitive advantage increasingly relies both on anticipating customer preferences and taking costs out of the supply chain in order to deliver better selling products faster.

AI offers that opportunity. JL

Hilary Milnes reports in Glossy:

Using AI to track customer behavior, high- and low-performing products, popular silhouettes and color patterns to predict what new categories and pieces will sell.“The smarter we get with AI, the longer our customer stays with us (and) the better we get at improving product.” Dig(ging) through customer data to find insight in product development faster (creates)more options for high-performing products. Its inventory strategy reduces waste.

The Reason Private Equity Is Losing Out to Cash Rich Corporations On the Big Deals

Corporate acquirers are called 'strategic buyers' because their reason for making an acquisition is ostensibly tied to long term future growth rather than short term financial gain.

But they are also noted for overpaying. Which raises questions about the validity of those strategies. JL

Javier Espinoza reports in the Financial Times:

Companies have become more willing to spend top dollar because they are sitting on cash and are seeking to use acquisitions to boost revenue growth. (They) are also becoming more confident.Strategic buyers are willing to pay higher prices in auctions when they can find cost-savings through synergies, while private equity groups often do not have that option unless they already own a similar company.

Data Dial: How Your TV Is Watching You Watching It

Data about consumer TV habits can provide useful insights into what's selling and what isn't. Nielsen has dominated this service for years, but newer, high tech approaches are delivering better information faster. JL

Sapna Maheshwari reports in the New York Times:

Information gathered by companies like TVision can help advertisers steer marketing toward shows with the most engaged audiences  not just the largest ones.What is oftentimes missing is the quality of the audience: what are they doing in today’s era of multitasking? “The big thing for TV advertisers and the networks is: Are you actually looking at the screen or not? What you looked at is interesting, but the fact that you looked away is arguably the most interesting.”

Why You Never Do Your Best Work Alone

Despite the enduring myth of the lone genius, it turns out that the increased productivity which delivers the scale required for long term financial and operational success is dependent on a collaborative approach to problem solving.

Because two minds, to say nothing of 15, really are better than one. JL

Jeff Goins reports in Fast Company:

We need significant amounts of time with people who can guide us in doing better work. Otherwise, creative output becomes a much slower, more grueling slog than it needs to be. Our success is contingent on our ability to work well with others—which may be just one reason why employers seem so desperate to hire people with high interpersonal skills.

Feb 26, 2017

Attention Spans Dwindling, Processing Power Increasing. Are We Becoming More Like Our Primal Ancestors?

If true, the larger question may be, is that a bad thing? JL

David Sable reports in Huffington Post:

What cost has risen the most dramatically for U.S. businesses in the last 25 years? It’s not the cost of health care or taxes, or even executive compensation. It’s advertising, more precisely the cost of commanding consumer attention, which by my calculation has seen a staggering seven- to nine-fold increase in real terms since 1990.