A Blog by Jonathan Low


Jul 28, 2016

Police Robots Already Out On Patrol Around the World

It will be interesting to see if the societal and risk awareness of police drones is any different from that of police officers. JL

April Glaser reports in Wired:

Law enforcement across the globe use semi-autonomous technology to do what humans find too dangerous, boring, or just can’t. In Dallas earlier this month police strapped a bomb to an explosive-detonation robot, and boom: a non-lethal robot became a killer. Human rights activists worry these robots lack social awareness crucial to decision-making.

Reddit Will Let Brands Sponsor Posts From Regular People

Marketers are seeking ways of avoiding being blocked or ignored by trying to enhance their authenticity and quirkiness. It could work. But social users are a prickly lot, especially those on Reddit, so the challenge will be to do this in a way that attracts rather than alienates them. JL

George Slefo reports in Advertising Age:

Promoted User Posts give marketers the ability to sponsor user posts. If someone creates a giant replica of a TacoBell hot sauce packet and shares it on Reddit, the chain could sponsor that. Reddit will display it on its website and target users the brand wants to reach. Reddit will seek permission from the person who created the original. The company will have a team who will work with brands to inform them of organic posts that have potential. The move to generate revenue will ruffle some feathers among Reddit users

What It Takes To Be A Superstar At Google (According To Its Retiring VP of People Operations Lazslo Bock)

Achieving perfect performance is viewed as evidence of having set goals that were too easy.  JL

Shana Leibowitz reports in Business Insider:

Google encourages employees to fall short of some of their goals. Superstar Googlers set goals that they know will be ridiculously hard to achieve. Each Googler sets a goal and three key outcomes that result from achieving that goal. They get a grade between 0 and 1 on each key result. The ultimate aim is to land between 0.6 and 0.7. If you score a 1, your objective was too easily achievable.

What Can A Hacker Do With Your Genetic Information?

Use it against you? JL

Kaleigh Rogers reports in Motherboard:

If you were vying with (someone) for a job, you could try to use that information to suggest that they might be unfit. You could be in a custody battle where DNA could suggest there’s a predisposition to psychiatric illness. For people concerned about genetic privacy, know the laws in their home states for getting DNA removed from a police database, and read through the agreements before they send a sample off to a consumer site.

How Has Customer Loyalty Changed In the Digital Era?

Consumers appear to believe that the plethora of offers for their personal information in return for services constitutes a kind of market in which they are free - or obligated, depending on your point of view - to negotiate the best deal they can find from whoever they can get it.

Loyalty increasingly depends not just on rewards, but on quality of service across multiple platforms, making it as much operational as financial. JL 

Jess Wells reports in Genesys:

In a world where disruptive offerings and the constantly morphing mobile platform are proving a challenge to all businesses, relationships are becoming increasingly thin and fragmented. Data (from financial services) shows that since 2010, customers expanded the number of firms they use by one-third or more, putting significant pressure on profitability

Why Marissa Mayer's Talent Acquisition Strategy Failed

Yahoo had a strategic plan. But, as the following article explains, the problem appears to have been that it was better at planning than executing.

The challenge for all enterprises - startup to established - is realistically forecasting expenses as well as revenues and then putting the post-merger-integration systems in place to optimize the performance of the organizations acquired by making sure, beforehand, that the talent will be put to its best use. JL

Cale Weissman reports in Fast Company:

Over the course of her four-year tenure, (Mayer) acquired more than 50 companies and spent more than $2 billion. (But) Yahoo did not have the system in place to cultivate the new talent and make them feel part of the new company. Yahoo has a bad habit of killing the products [it buys]. (And) Yahoo didn't have a systematized way of analyzing what a company is worth and whether or not the serious financial investment would lead to promising returns.

Jul 27, 2016

California Closes Steve Jobs License Plate Loophole

The loophole permits a California car owner to drive a newly purchased or leased vehicle without a license plate for six months. It was made famous by Jobs, who - among his other idiosyncracies - apparently hated license plates and serially leased Mercedes SL55s so he wouldnt have to put said plate on his car.

Closing it will gain the state $19 million a year in revenue. Which says a lot about the economic value of identification to those who control it, if not those who identification it is. JL

Jonathan Gitlin reports in ars technica:

Steve Jobs was famous for his refusal to put a license plate on the back of his car, a Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG. Jobs spotted a loophole in California DMV regulations allowing six months of grace before a license plate had to be attached to a new car. As a result, the Apple supremo maintained a rolling six-month lease on a series of new SL55 AMGs, replacing one with another just before the grace period ran out.