Author Archive for Frank Gilbane

Gilbane Advisor 5-19-17 — e-commerce, meta-platform, summarization and ML, design

E-commerce: What China reveals about the future of shopping

China’s e-commerce market is the world’s largest and fastest growing. It is also more mobile and more integrated with relevant platforms than those in the West, allowing for smoother customer experiences. This goes beyond WeChat e-commerce capability, the envy of western messaging platforms.

China's Digital Ecosystem - source BCG

There are reasons eastern and western e-commerce may continue to evolve in differently. But there is a lot to learn from China’s experience. BCG and Alibaba dig in. Read More

Digital assistants drive new meta-platform battle

Bob O’Donnell riffs on the intersection of digital assistants, the voice interface, and platform value. This weeks’ keynotes at Google I/O, and last week’s at Microsoft Build both provide useful context to several of O’Donnell’s points.

… digital assistants … have the potential to completely devalue the underlying platforms on which they run. To put it succinctly, if I can use, say, Alexa across an iPhone, a Windows PC, my smart home components and a future connected car, where does the unique value of iOS or Windows 10 go? Out the door… Read More

Improving summarization with machine learning

That this would happen should be expected, especially after the dramatic improvement to machine translation due to ML. MIT Technology Review’s Will Knight reports on developments at Salesforce following their acquisition of MetaMind, which is what we point you to below. But you might also be interested in the more technical description of how the algorithm works — at least scroll down past the technical paragraphs to see useful sample results. Read More

Mobile First, Desktop Worst

Designing for an optimal user experience is extremely difficult even with a single screen because of the variety of media, layout, and use cases. Multiply the number of screens by n, and it seems like an impossible task. On top of this fiendish complexity, there are compromises to be made between developer objectives and brand directives. No wonder design is often dumbed down to be simply useable across devices rather than optimal. This may not be a solvable problem, though better tools, perhaps informed by machine learning, will certainly help. In the meantime, it pays not to expect too much from simple approaches. Read More

Gilbane Digital Content Conference
Call for Speakers Open

Content and digital experience technologies and strategies for marketing, publishing, and the workplace.

Proposal deadline is June 2, 2017

Conference: November 28–29
Workshops: November 30
Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel

Also…

Know what you’re getting… A marketer’s guide to the tricks and hacks of influencers via Digiday

Have Web Standards on Mobile Caught Up to Phonegap in 2017? A look at some specific recommendations via Telerik developer network

ICYMI, Scott Brinker’s latest… Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2017): Martech 5000 via chiefmartec.com

Not-science-fiction – thinking a bit ahead… Open Water – The Internet of Visible Thought via Edge.org

Frank Gilbane’s Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. More or less twice a month.

Gilbane Advisor 5-3-17 — SaaS era, Watson vs Einstein, e-commerce AI, FB monopoly

Why the SaaS era of journalism will be our most exciting yet

During the first quarter century of the commercial internet, digital journalism has already gone through three eras: the portal years, the search years, and the social years. Each era advanced storytelling and presented new revenue streams, but I would argue that digital journalism is now entering its most exciting period yet. Think of this as the stories as a service era, where journalism will be paid for by readers, for readers… Digital journalism has been commoditized, creating new market opportunities at the bottom of a new disruption curve that is not yet “good enough”. (italics added). Read More

The SaaS era - Stories as a Service

Parsing the IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein deal

But aren’t Watson and Einstein competing? In short, the deal is about more data; it’s a complementary marriage of Watson’s broad unstructured data capability and Salesforce’s structured data focus on their application and customer experience. Well, that’s what caught my interest anyway. But there is more to it and James Governor sorts it out… Read More

How Germany’s Otto uses artificial intelligence

Otto is the largest e-commerce merchant in Germany after Amazon. Their use of AI goes beyond pure marketing to reduce shipping, returns, and inventory costs, and improves customer experience. An instructive example of what is already being done with machine learning, and without human hands on, their system…

analyses around 3bn past transactions and 200 variables (such as past sales, searches on Otto’s site and weather information) to predict what customers will buy a week before they order… has proved so reliable—it predicts with 90% accuracy what will be sold within 30 days—that Otto allows it automatically to purchase around 200,000 items a month from third-party brands with no human intervention. Read More

How our publisher tracked down his online troll and changed our comments for the better

MIT Technology Review is determined to keep the value of comments alive. Jason Pontin reports on his efforts and current strategy in this thoughtful and thorough piece. Read More

Facebook and the cost of monopoly

Facebook may have a monopoly in social networking, and while that may be a problem for Snap or any other would be networks, Facebook would surely argue that … society as a whole shouldn’t be too bothered… The problem is that Facebook isn’t simply a social network: the service is a three-sided market — users, content providers, and advertisers — and while the basis of Facebook’s dominance is in the network effects that come from connecting all of those users, said dominance has seeped to those other sides… Facebook passed Google as the top traffic driver back in 2015, and as of last fall drove over 40% of traffic for the average site, even after an algorithm change that reduced publisher reach… So is that a monopoly when it comes to the content provider market? I would argue yes, thanks to the monopoly framework above. Read More

Also…

The history of Instant Articles’ path to Instant Recall, via The Verge

For fun and profit… Alexa learns to talk like a human with whispers, pauses & emotion via TechCrunch

Nobody is going to own podcasting. Well, at least there’s that. via Doc Searls

New technologies’ second order effects… Ten Year Futures via Benedict Evans

Staggering numbers natch… How Google builds web frameworks via freeCodeCamp

Gilbane Advisor logo

Conference: November 28–29
Workshops: November 30
Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel

Gilbane Digital Content Conference

The Call for Speakers is Open!

Deadline is June 2, 2017

Frank Gilbane’s Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. More or less twice a month.

Gilbane Digital Content Conference 2017 – Call for Speakers

Content management, marketing, and digital experience

How to submit a speaking proposal

  1. Review the conference and track descriptions below.
  2. Read the Speaker Guidelines. If you have questions not answered in the guidelines email us at speaking@gilbane.com. Don’t worry too much about which track you suggest for your proposal, unless it is for a post-conference workshop.
  3. And…

Submit your speaking proposal

The deadline for proposals is June 2, 2017

Conference Description

The Gilbane Digital Content Conference is focused on content and digital experience technologies and strategies for marketing, publishing, and the workplace. We help marketers, IT, business, and content managers integrate content strategies and computing technologies to produce superior customer experiences for all stakeholders.

Track Descriptions

The conference tracks are organized primarily by role/function as described below. We encourage proposals on all relevant topics.

Track C: Content, Marketing, and Customer Experience

Focused on… how to overcome challenges and implement successful strategies and practices to reach, engage, and retain customers with superior content and digital experiences.

Designed for… marketers, marketing technologists, social marketers, content strategists, web content managers, content marketers, content creators and designers, business and technology strategists focused on customer experience and digital marketing.

Track E: Content, Collaboration, and Digital Workplace Experience

Focused on… tools and practices for building agile, information rich, collaborative, and distributed digital workplaces to meet the demands of modern organizations and the changing workforce.

Designed for… content, information, technical, and business managers focused on collaboration, knowledge sharing, intranets, enterprise search, social, and internal, field, and backend content applications.

Track T: Technologies for Content, Marketing, and Digital Experience

Focused on… what you need to know about evolving, and potentially disrupting, content and digital experience technologies for marketing and the workplace.

Designed for… technology strategists and executives focused on near-term and future software for creating, managing, and delivering compelling digital experiences across platforms, channels, and form factors.

Track P: Re-imagining Digital Strategies for Publishing and Media

Focused on… the business and technical challenges facing information, publishing, and media organizations creating, managing, and delivering content across the growing number of competing platforms and channels.

Designed for… publishing and information product managers, marketers, technologists, strategists, and executives focused on digital transformation, new channels and business models, and managing digital assets.

Post-conference Workshops

These are intensive three hour sessions.

Submit your speaking proposal

Remember! The deadline for proposals is June 2, 2017

Gilbane Advisor 4-18-17 — chatbots, nextgen IT, AR, marketing data, CX and distribution

What to do about the chatbot crisis

It’s never been clear that messaging apps had a future as platforms. It is also a stretch to think of voice as a platform, at least in any general purpose sense. In either case it seems like a misuse of ‘platform’. Messaging and chat systems will continue to proliferate because they are relatively simple communication tools with simple interfaces, and because there will always be heavy competition for control of the final short distance to eyes and ears. Even with only 3-4 major platforms, countless use cases, devices, and integrations guarantee severe user experience challenges. (Cartoon by XKCD)

And that’s before adding chatbots to the mix. As amazing as the progress of machine learning is, no none knows when, or perhaps if, a general purpose AI will be available, and the better a general purpose AI gets the more unpredictable and less understandable it will be. John Brandon takes you through his enlightening experience using multiple chatbots daily. Read More

The second coming of IT

It is easy to forget that the center of gravity for commercial computing and software innovation used to be in, mostly large, businesses focused on solving purely business information technology problems. Consumer applications only trickled out slowly after personal computers had been around for awhile. This was mostly due to cost, and capability, not necessarily lack of imagination. Sam Lessin makes the case that for many of the same reasons, businesses will again be the first to benefit at scale from machine learning and AI. Read More

The first decade of augmented reality

This article by Benedict Evans has something in common with the two articles recommended above — that while there are amazing technologies promising profound business and consumer benefits, we are still in the early stages learning what they can do and how to build products and use them. Evans is one of best at asking original questions, 38 in this this post. A sample…

It does seem to me, though, that the more you think about AR as placing objects and data into the world around you, the more that this becomes an AI question as much as a physical interface question. What should I see as I walk up to you in particular? LinkedIn or Tinder? When should I see that new message – should it be shown to me now or later? Do I stand outside a restaurant and say ‘Hey Foursquare, is this any good?’ or does the device’s OS do that automatically? How is this brokered – by the OS, the services that you’ve added or by a single ‘Google Brain’ in the cloud? Read More

Why distribution still matters in the internet age

Abhishek Madhavan cautions about taking the “distribution is free in the digital age” mantra too literally, or out of context. Distribution of physical products is not free, and last mile physical distribution is a critical, sometimes the most important, component of customer experience. Building a digital business that does not include a way to control the cost and physical distribution experience is risky business. Read More

5 data assumptions that marketers should avoid

Brand managers, striving to maximize spend and performance, have an opportunity to embrace advanced marketing analytics and positively impact collaboration, real-time decision-making, and revenue. This starts by removing the perceived barriers to entry for working with data. Read More

Also…

Very cool machine learning aid for those of us drawing-challenged… Fast Drawing for Everyone via Google

A more thoughtful take on the issue than most… We Need More Alternatives to Facebook via Technology Review

It’s complicated. Danny Sullivan digs in… A deep look at Google’s biggest-ever search quality crisis via Search Engine Land

You Don’t Get AMP, it’s more than one thing. via 153.io

A unique and useful resource… Global 5000 Database Update — Q1 2017 via theglobal5000.com

Gilbane Advisor logo

Gilbane Digital Content Conference

Mark your calendar! Call for papers coming soon.

Conference: November 28–29, 2017
Workshops: November 30
Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, Boston, MA

 

Frank Gilbane’s Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. See previous issuesSubscribe to email or feed. Contact.

Gilbane Advisor 3-28-17 – customer experience, millenials, ad agencies, software complexity

Next-generation customer experience

How do you link customer experience operationally and improve CX beyond individual touchpoints to succeed throughout the customer journey? Read More

McKinsey-Customer-Journey-Experience

 

Three millennial tech myths busted

Ben Bajarin shares findings from a recent study of mostly 18-24 year olds. Many of you are likely to be surprised by at least one of the “busted myths”, that: “Millenials are Done with Facebook”, “The PC is Dead to Millenials”, and “Face to Face Meetings are not Desirable”. Read More

Complexity and strategy

and cost and return in building software products. This is both fascinating as an inside look at Microsoft Office development and competitive strategy, and important for software development and product managers new to large complex products.

I struggled with how to think about complexity through much of my career, especially during the ten years I spent leading Office development. Modeling complexity impacted how we planned major releases, our technical strategy as we moved to new platforms, how we thought about the impact of new technologies, how we competed with Google Apps, how we thought about open source and throughout “frank and open” discussions with Bill Gates on our long term technical strategy for building the Office applications. Read More

Ad agencies and accountability

…if Google and Facebook have all of the responsibility, then shouldn’t they also be getting all of the money? What exactly is WPP’s 15% being used for? … If ad agencies want to be relevant in digital advertising, then they need to generate value independent of managing creative and ad placement: policing their clients’ ads would be an excellent place to start. Read More

How AI can solve 3 pain points in marketing

Lots of hype around AI technologies solving everything (before taking over that is). Time to focus on use cases. Three in marketing are: “lack of reliable, centralized data”, “talent bottleneck”, (or cognitive overload), and the “inability to calculate ROI”.  Read More

Also…

Think of all the helpful apps for aging boomers… DeepMind Finds Way to Overcome AI’s Forgetfulness Problem via Bloomberg

Handy, one each for B2B and B2C… The Startup Idea Matrix via Medium 

Yes, JavaScript is still #1 but where do all the others stand?… The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2017 via RedMonk

Ever hopeful… Publishers see long-term potential, short-term hurdles in messaging platforms via Digiday

You’d think they would have tested first… WhatsApp brings back text Status it replaced with Stories via Techcrunch

Gilbane Advisor logo

Gilbane Digital Content Conference

Mark your calendar! Call for papers coming soon.

Conference: November 28–29, 2017
Workshops: November 30
Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, Boston, MA

 

Frank Gilbane’s Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. See previous issuesSubscribe to email or feedContact.

Gilbane Advisor 3-14-17 — voice, wearable machine learning, chinese CX, blockchain

CX and the age of the appacus

This Economist article about fintech in China is important not just for economists or financial technologists, but for customer experience professionals. China is “far and away the biggest market for digital payments, accounting for nearly half of the global total”. Beyond digital payments, there is Chinese fintech support throughout the ecommerce ecosystem, for investing, consumer lending, and small business last mile distributors, reducing friction and increasing market channel and consumer reach. The arguably superior CX of the ecommerce ecosystem already at scale in China makes lots of western ecommerce experiences look creaky at best.

Many of you are familiar with attempts by Facebook Messenger and other messaging apps to become platforms in the way that WeChat has in China. But success will require going beyond a simple transaction bot to a more complete integration with the full ecosystem. Western ecommerce ecosystems have a different set of challenges, but China is experimenting and learning a lot quickly. Studying the massive scale and rapidly evolving Chinese experience will no doubt provide valuable insight. Read More

economist china and clickaholics

Voice and the uncanny valley of AI

As part of our recurring ‘right tool for the job’ theme, we point you to Benedict Evan’s analysis of the notion of voice as the next platform.

This tends to point to the conclusion that for most companies, for voice to work really well you need a narrow and predictable domain. You need to know what the user might ask and the user needs to know what they can ask… You have to pick a field where it doesn’t matter that you can’t scale. Read More

The blockchain will do to banks and law firms what the internet did to media

Banks and law firms may face the most existential disintermediation threat, but all corporate strategists need to think about the potential impact of blockchain technology. MIT’s Joi Ito, Neha Narula, and Robleh Ali enlighten. Read More

The potential for blockchain to transform electronic health records

Lot’s of potential here. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and MIT Media Lab describe their pilot program. Read More

On-Device machine intelligence

“What if you want machine intelligence to run on your personal phone or smartwatch, or on IoT devices, regardless of whether they are connected to the cloud?” You can… Read More

machine learning on your watch
Gilbane Advisor logo

Gilbane Digital Content Conference

Mark your calendar! Call for papers coming soon.

Conference: November 28–29, 2017
Workshops: November 30
Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, Boston, MA

Also…

A little fun… Metaphysics of the Marketing Hub via Gartner

Helpful how to… Comparison Tables for Products, Services, and Featuresvia Nielsen Norman Group

Want to understand estimates from your developers?… The Software Engineer’s Essential Time Estimation Guide via Hackernoon

It’s not easy… As Messenger’s bots lose steam, Facebook pushes menus over chat via Techcrunch

The case for digital reinvention The effect on revenue and profit and why. via Mckinsey

Solves multiple problems for them… Forbes rebuilt its new mobile website as a Progressive Web App via Nieman Lab

Last but not least… I invented the web. Here are three things we need to change to save it via The Guardian

Frank Gilbane’s Gilbane Advisor curates content for content, computing, and digital experience professionals. See previous issuesSubscribe to email or feed. Contact.

Gilbane Advisor 2-28-17 — digital twin, IoT, wearables, product-market fit, CX

IBM Watson IoT and the digital twin. Industry 4.0.

James Governor pulls together some thoughts and interesting examples of the digital twin model. His post was inspired by an IBM event with large industry customers, but as he suggests, the model has broader relevance. I would say the proliferation of IoT and integration with back-end and front-end applications means the digital twin model may be useful for understanding the digital transformation potential of any physical product — well, at least as a thought experiment.

… “digital twin” – a digital model of the product and service from design to production, service and support. GE has been touting the concept for some time, and it’s a compelling idea. For companies trying to understand the implications of digital transformations, with a heritage of systems modeling, digital twin makes a great deal of sense, and it looks likely to be a key buying concept across a few industries. Read More

Not unrelated…

Rethinking wearable computing

Bob O’Donnell points out that wearables have lost momentum: “I don’t see a big future for the individual products that we currently count as wearables, but I think the idea of several linked components that work together as a wearable computing system could have legs”. I think watches have the potential to succeed on their own as a successful product, and are the best candidate to compete with smartphones as the computing hub we always have with us. As he says, tying all potential wearables together is a ways out, and initially will certainly be limited by proprietary interests. Read More

12 things about product-market fit

There are lots of opinions about how to achieve product-market fit, what do you focus on and in what order, how do you know when you’ve got it, and how do you maintain it. Tren Griffin’s collection is a worthy read for product managers and founders. Read More

Your first 1000 users on mobile

Speaking of product-market fit, Eric Seufert has some advice specifically for mobile app developers…

… a mobile developer should endeavor to onboard a first cohort of 1,000 users that could conceivably look like their first million users — that is, to test the viability of their app using marketing channels that can be scaled up to produce a very large user base in the context of a growth strategy that can support a big business. If the first 1,000 users were onboarded by accident, or by luck, or by the generosity of a YouTube celebrity, the developer knows less about their business than they do about 1,000 random strangers. Read More

CEM success starts with employees

Customer experience management (CEM) is a now focus for companies, but many are missing is the value of beginning their CEM strategy at home, with their employees. Read More

CEM - customer experience management success

Also…

Right strategy for the job… Optimizing for Context in the Omnichannel User Experience via Nielsen Norman Group

Another dimension to CX integration challenges… Bots and Humans Strain to Get Along on Messenger, Twitter via The Information

Hey founders, consider this!… Why we choose profit via Signal v. Noise

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2017 with staying power. Not your casual list via Technology Review

All in on AMP?… Google AMP is now half of Swiss publisher Blick’s mobile traffic via DigiDay

Handy resource… Social Media Research Toolkit via Social Media Data Stewardship

 

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for our community of content, computing, and digital experience professionals. Subscribe to our newsletter, or our feed.

Gilbane Advisor 2-15-17 — Apple and Web Standards, Gen Z, AMP links, Cognitive Overhead

Next-generation 3D Graphics on the Web

Thanks to Benedict Evans for noticing this. From his newsletter:

Apple proposed web standards that give web pages access to the smartphone (or PC) GPU to run ‘general purpose computation’ (i.e. machine learning) as well as graphics. Very surprising – I’d have expected this from Google or Facebook rather than ‘everything should be an app’ Apple…

This is good news for the open web, and I don’t find it surprising at all. The open web is under attack from many directions, but it is not going away even in an all mobile world. The question is its relative share with proprietary channels, and neither Apple, Google, or Facebook knows just how that will evolve. The article is a bit technical. Read More

Marketers note… Gen Z Rising Fast

Millennial entrepreneur Brit Morin…

… lately, I’m beginning to feel like I’m no longer part of the popular crowd at school. The focus has shifted to a new group of kids in town: Generation Z. … Last year, I sat in on an internal strategy discussion at a Fortune 500 beauty brand where the CEO spent 30 minutes discussing this new generation; the term “millennial” seemed to be used in the past tense. … Gen Zers are more diverse than past generations in both psychographics and demographics, and can’t be reached by traditional business tactics.

And to think how far behind so many companies are even providing a good mobile experience! Read More

Google makes it easier to see and share publishers’ real URLs from AMP pages

This is an example of the ongoing tug of war between platforms and publishers for control over content. This is not a war someone wins, but a long sometimes painful rebalancing. This concession addresses a big concern about AMP, but will it be enough to attract a critical mass of publishers? Read More

Cognitive Overhead is Your Product’s Overlord

No one intends to build a product with large cognitive overhead, but it happens if there isn’t forethought and recognition for it. “We saw the value being added with Flock’s predictive abilities — and a small group of users really loved them — but it was a cognitive maze for the rest of the world,” says Lieb. “The moment you assume people understand the value you’re adding — especially when it’s a new concept — you dive into cognitive overhead territory.”

David Lieb has some interesting, perhaps counter-intuitive, ideas for navigating this problem. Read More

Software Startup Markets Raising the Most Capital in 2017

Hopefully some validation rather than a surprise for investors, startups, and of course analysts. Read More

Software investment 2017

Also…

The best kind of case study… A Year of Running a SaaS “Side Business” via Priceonomics

So many big data opportunities… The Greatest Public Datasets for AI via Startupgrind

One example, but what is the future of app stores? Making More Outside The App Store via the Rogue Amoeba Blog

A little geeky but fun… Amazon is eating the software (which is eating the world via Hackernoon

A slightly subversive way to research Technical Leadership Indicators via Winton Technology Blog

The Gilbane Advisor curates content for our community of content, computing, and digital experience professionals. Subscribe to our newsletter, or our feed.