- What Paul Graham is Missing About Inequality (Tim O’Reilly) — When a startup doesn’t have an underlying business model that will eventually produce real revenues and profits, and the only way for its founders to get rich is to sell to another company or to investors, you have to ask yourself whether that startup is really just a financial instrument, not that dissimilar to the CDOs of the 2008 financial crisis — a way of extracting value from the economy without actually creating it.
- 2016 The Year of Conversational Commerce (Chris Messina) — I really hope that these conversations with companies are better than the state-of-the-art delights of “press 5 to replay” phone hell.
- Society of Mind (MIT) — Marvin Minsky’s course, with lectures.
- Trust vs Transparency (PDF) — explanation facilities
can potentially drop both a user’s confidence and make the process of search more stressful. Aka “few takers for sausage factory tours.” (via ACM Queue)
The first of three public workshops kicked off a conversation with the federal government on data privacy in the US.
Thrust into controversy by Edward Snowden’s first revelations last year, President Obama belatedly welcomed a “conversation” about privacy. As cynical as you may feel about US spying, that conversation with the federal government has now begun. In particular, the first of three public workshops took place Monday at MIT.
Given the locale, a focus on the technical aspects of privacy was appropriate for this discussion. Speakers cheered about the value of data (invoking the “big data” buzzword often), delineated the trade-offs between accumulating useful data and preserving privacy, and introduced technologies that could analyze encrypted data without revealing facts about individuals. Two more workshops will be held in other cities, one focusing on ethics and the other on law. Read more…
Strategic brick-and-mortar retail campaigns to battle Amazon, Square ends NYC taxi pilot, and Isis prepares for launch.
Here are a few stories that caught my attention in the commerce space this week.
Strategic maneuvers aimed at Amazon
Retail competition against Amazon is starting to heat up coming into the holiday shopping season. On the heels of Wal-Mart’s recent moves to square off against Amazon, two other big box brick-and-mortar retailers have announced strategies targeting the Internet retail giant.
Ann Zimmerman reports at The Wall Street Journal that Best Buy not only will price match with Amazon this holiday season, but will also offer free delivery for products that are out of stock. Target has its sights set against Amazon as well. In a report on Target’s planned holiday strategy, Natalie Zmuda at AgeAge notes that tactics include “a price-match guarantee against a group of competitors that includes popular online retailers such as Amazon.” Target also is using QR codes in its holiday campaign to combat “showrooming” on the top 20 selling toys.
In somewhat related news, the US Post Office also is making moves into the e-commerce market. Victoria Stilwell reports at Bloomberg that starting in November, the US Post Office will begin testing its same-day delivery program, called Metro Post, in the San Francisco market. The service is aimed at local physical retailers, which could in turn give them a leg up against Internet retailers like Amazon. Stilwell reports that to participate in the Metro Post test, retailers need 10 or more physical locations throughout the US, with one or more within the test market boundaries.
Data for the public good, the coming health IT revolution, big data in the cloud.
This week on O'Reilly: Alex Howard examined data's civic role, Dr. Farzad Mostashari discussed health IT and patient empowerment, and Edd Dumbill surveyed big data cloud offerings.
Retailers accept mobile's in-store presence, Android developers are keen on Kindle Fire, and Square rewards loyalty.
Brick-and-mortar retailers adopt the "if you can't beat 'em …" attitude toward mobile devices. Elsewhere, Android developers are intrigued by the Kindle Fire, and Square wants to put loyalty program punch cards out to pasture. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)
Abandoned shopping carts, Intuit cuts AT&T subscribers a break, and PayPal dips its toe into NFC.
In the latest commerce news: Online retailers want to reunite customers with their abandoned shopping carts, Intuit aims at Square with a deal for AT&T subscribers, and PayPal takes a baby step toward NFC. (Commerce Weekly is produced as part of a partnership between O'Reilly and PayPal.)
Three commerce startups from TechCrunch Disrupt. Also, daily deals and the feature phone endure.
Three commerce startups from TechCrunch Disrupt feature alternative forms of payment for digital goods. Also, daily deals and the feature phone endure.
Nobody knows you as well as you do. Or do they? Let's run a test. Do you
know what percentage of your food bill went to processed products? Or
what type of coupons (store coupons, newspaper coupons, etc.) is most
likely to get you to switch brands? I bet someone out there knows.This kind of data mining is the modern companion to Customer Relations Management, which is the science of understanding customers and trying to get repeat business. CRM can offer many valuable benefits, but ultimately the control lies
with the vendor. A Vendor Relationship Management workshop at
Harvard looked at what it would take to leave control with the