The Weekly – 7.13.12

The Weekly 7.13.12

This week we look at a twist on frat-boy advertising, the McRib, why Canada should be annexed to the US, and self-learning computers that will eventually enslave us.  Luckily machines like me, so if you’re my friend, you’ll be fine when the robot overlords come to take the luddites away.

Fear No Susan Glen
In the world of advertising, I like this pivot by the Axe guys (famous for their … questionable ads in the past).  It’s a little 60 second story of unrequited love spoken from the vantage point of a much older and presumably wiser Jack Bauer.  Worth a watch to see how something synonymous with frat boys  can execute a very nice pivot with a single ad.

Roger McNamee Calls Everyone in FB IPO Criminals

Really good article where Roger (who is head of Elevation Partners, Bono’s venture fund among others) calls out JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley’s behaviors leading up to and during the IPO event.  No one escapes unscathed – from automated high frequency traders to the underwriters who artificially boosted demand, he does the best job I’ve seen explaining just how questionable tech IPOs are for the general public and how they seem to be simply vehicles for founders and early investors to cash out rather than their intended purpose (‘sup Groupon!).

Fake Meat and a Japanese McRib
Gizmodo did a nice expose on why it’s hard to create really great fake meat.  As someone with a number of vegetarians in his life, I’m always looking for something we can all eat together while I’m getting my carnivore fix.  Sounds like I’ll be waiting for a while.

On a related topic, a Japanese McDonalds knockoff is reintroducing the Greatest Sandwich of All Time to the land of the rising sun.  McRib – welcome back.

UN Declares the Internet as a Human Right

I think those of us in Canada for the WPC conference this week can relate to this.  I felt naked, jittery, and more than a little irritable when I can’t get my internet.  Hearing my pleas for cheap roaming, I assume the UN took up my charge and laid down the law saying internet access is a universal human right.  Take that Rogers Telecom.

Square is the new Black for Small Businesses

I spent a good part of last week in small town Michigan and was floored by the number of local merchants using Square to handle payments.  Most had iPads on the counter that served as their register and would simply hand it to you to complete the transaction.  I really wonder, with Square’s flat 2.75% fee and ease of use, how much Verifone and others are feeling the pinch.  Apparently they are growing insanely well , hitting 2 million users and $6BB in annual charges.  Pretty impressive for a two year old company with a cheap plastic dongle and an app as their main product.

A Much Better Top Trends List of 2012

The ever smart Richard MacManus lists his companies and technologies that will make up the top trends for 2012.  The main categories he talks about are the Visual Web, the Consumer Cloud, social video apps, and video on tablets.  I’m not sure I buy social video apps (they remind me of social reader apps which cratered after a massive spike earlier in the year), but the rest are very good.

A WarGame movie reference will always make The Weekly

Remember Watson?  Well, this is nothing like this really but has some similarities in that Dr Kaiser has built a system that can watch 2 minutes of humans playing a board game and then deduce the rules, play the humans, and beat us at our own game.  The machine learning shown here is highly impressive – even more so that it was built on a single-core processor with 4GB of RAM.

Lions, Tigers, Intelligent Agents, Oh My!

Last, a great infographic that shows the other intelligent agents competing for mindshare against the Siri juggernaut.  It’s nice to see innovation in the space even if the vast majority have very little usage.  It does go to validate our vision of helping people get things done with Bing.

Enjoy the weekend and hopefully now you have some fodder for your weekend cocktail parties (do people still have these?)



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