- Uber Would Like to Buy Your Robotics Department (NY Times) — ‘‘If you’re well versed in the area of robotics right now and you’re not working on self-driving cars, you’re either an idiot or you have more of a passion for something else,’’ says Jerry Pratt, head of a robotics team in Pensacola that worked on a humanoid robot that beat Carnegie Mellon’s CHIMP in this year’s contest. ‘‘It’s a multibillion- if not trillion-dollar industry.’’
- What the Heck is Angela Ahrendts Doing at Apple? (Fortune) — Apple has always intended for each of them to be a community center; now Cook and Ahrendts want them to be the community center. That means expanding from serving existing and potential customers to, say, creating opportunities for underserved minorities and women. “In my mind,” Ahrendts says, store leaders “are the mayors of their community.”
- Imitation vs. Innovation: Product Similarity Network in the Motion Picture Industry (PDF) — machine learning to build a model of movies released in the last few decades, We find that big-budget movies benefit more from imitation, but small-budget movies favor novelty. This leads to interesting market dynamics that cannot be produced by a model without learning.
- Enlightened Imagination for Citizens (Bret Victor) — It should be painfully obvious that learning how to program a computer has no direct connection to any high form of enlightenment. Amen!
Local retail revival won't hinge on online-style consumer data intrusion; it will require getting back to basics.
About a month ago, IBM published its five tech predictions for the next few years. They’re mostly the sort of unexceptional things one predicts in this sort of article — except for one: the return of local retail.
This is a fascinating idea, both in the ways I agree and the ways I disagree. First, I don’t think local retail is quite as dead as many people thought. Now that Borders is no longer with us and Barnes and Noble is on the ropes, I see more activity in local bookstores. And the shopping district in the center of my town is full; granted, we’re talking reasonably prosperous suburbia, not Detroit, but not too many years ago there was no shortage of empty storefronts.
What surprised me was the reason IBM thought local retail would return. They observed that many of the same techniques that Amazon and other online retailers use can be applied locally. You walk into a store; you’re identified by your cell phone (or some other device); the store can look up your purchase history, online history, etc.; it can then generate purchase recommendations based on inventory; and send over a salesperson — with an informed view of who you are, what you’re likely to buy, and so on — to “help” you. Read more…
Trust your customers to do the right thing and you'll earn their business.
A DRM-free world is one where retailers will find it much harder to create a monopolistic position that locks you into their device or format.
Deep discounts need to be associated with some sort of return.
Joe Wikert says publishers should move away from one-product deep discount campaigns and start thinking about how to build a much more extensive relationship with customers.
Magento fills out eBay's platform ambitions and a report predicts $50 billion via NFC by 2014.
eBay's latest acquisition, open-source commerce platform provider Magento, clarifies its ambitions to become a partner for retailers of all sizes. Also, Juniper Research predicts $50 billion in NFC mobile payments by 2014.