A Blog by Jonathan Low


Jun 23, 2017

The Reason AI Digital Assistant Bot Startups Have Perky Names But Not Much Capital

Aiden, Riley and Mya seem to be copying Alexa and Siri, don't they? But investors are not flocking to their no-doubt terminally hip workspaces.

And the reason may be that the savvy now expect most of the significant development will be done by the Gang of Five: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft. 

Joanna Glasner reports in Tech Crunch:

So far, the popular kids haven’t raised much venture capital. At least three-quarters of the companies on the list are seed stage, and ones that are still private have collectively raised about $35 million in the past year. There are other startups developing bot technologies that don’t have human names and that boosts the venture funding total to at least $62 million. Those are small numbers for the VC industry. It’s less than 5% of the total VCs put into food delivery startups in the past year.

Why Amazon's Nike Deal Took $1 Billion Out of Other Retailers

Due to the increase in Amazon's stock as a result of its latest acquisitions, they are essentially self-financing: the rise in value more than offsetting the cost of the companies purchased.

How do you compete with that? JL

Rani Molla reports in Re/code:

J.C. Penney and Foot Locker saw the biggest single-day declines at about 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Nike, on the other hand, saw its stock increase 2 percent. Amazon is the clear winner in all these deals. Since last week it has gained $18 billion in market cap — or over $4 billion more than it needed to buy Whole Foods.

Is the Foreign Visa Crackdown Putting Americans Out of Work?

The unintended consequences of ideology vs practicality. JL 

Jesse Ellison reports in Bloomberg:

Temporary workers support the creation of higher-paying positions for U.S. citizens. “Many American businesses could not function without the H-2B program.” One in three businesses would be forced to close or reduce operations if they couldn’t get H-2B workers. A study from the conservative American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy found that adding 100 H-2B workers would result in an increase of 464 jobs for Americans.

Wordpress Closes Cool San Fran Office - Because Not Enough Employees Use It

The most interesting question is whether employees are not using the workspace because they prefer to work from home - or because the open plan design is less productive. And maybe even drives them crazy. JL

Oliver Staley reports in Quartz:

The office at 140 Hawthorne went on the market after CEO Matt Mullenweg came to the realization not enough employees used it. (It) has always given its 550 employees the choice of working remotely; the San Francisco space was an optional co-working space. Five people go in it and it’s 15,000 square feet. They get like 3,000 square feet each. … There are as many gaming tables as there are people.

How Much Are People Actually Making From the Sharing Economy?

Not much. JL

Price Economics reports:

84% of all gig economy workers make less than $500 per month. Reasons for the low income could vary—some workers may be simply trying the platform, or put in very few hours. Lyft, Taskrabbit, and Airbnb seem to beat this “84% under $500” average. The key question is how many of these workers are utilizing these platforms to make a little extra cash as a side-gig versus trying to forage a full-time living.

Jun 22, 2017

Inside Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence Comeback

Having learned from its failure in mobile phones, Microsoft has learned the value of collaboration - and commitment. JL

Jessi Hempel reports in Wired:

Windows alone has the capability to establish itself as AI’s third giant. It's a company that has the resources, the data, the talent, and—most critically—the vision and culture to not only realize the spoils of the science, but also push the field forward. Microsoft (now has) a direct line to one of AI’s top resources for ideas, talent, and direction. And it’s a strong sign that Microsoft actually has a shot at making the ruling AI duo into a trio.

The Reason Marketers Shouldn't Design For Emotion in Customer Experience

Experience is subjective. Data are indicative. JL

Adrian Swinscoe reports in Forbes:

Experience is both subjective and contextual. Instead of trying to design emotion into their customer experience, companies should focus on making their customer experience easy, pleasant, consistent, proactive, surprising, valuable and useful. (Marketers) should pay close attention to how their customers are feeling and what they are saying by using research and tools like surveys and voice analytics. They can use insights to gauge what is working (which) gives the best chance of generating the positive emotions, loyalty and advocacy they desire.