ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우

The State of European Tech 2017 – interesting primer on tech in Europe, obviously read it in a critical manner

Amazon Alexa for Business Platform planned | CNBC – big implications for verticals like healthcare

$20 Jeans, $800 Tees: In Fashion, Prices Are Out of Control — The Fashion Law – interesting that so much marketing is price based from ‘fashion’ high street brands

Sonos Agency Review Aims To Expand Global PR Roster | Holmes Report – they need to get this in place in advance of the Alexa powered onslaught and HomePod

Inside Speedfactory: Adidas’ Robot-Powered, Shoe Production Facility | WIRED – interesting explorations in automation and customisation

Amazon (AMZN) just released an AI-powered camera. But it’s not for you — Quartz – interesting implication about pushing data processing towards the edge and away from the cloud

Twitter reportedly testing ‘Save for Later’ feature | The Drum  – social bookmarking moves beyond niche usage?

German Economy Seeks a Tech Upgrade – WSJ – or is prudent compared to the headlong dash made in other countries? (Paywall)

Apple MacOS High Sierra Security Flaw Lets Anyone Get Root Access, No Password Required | WIRED – holy cow Batman! There is a security update

E-commerce – Look East. | Radio Free Mobile – China far ahead of the US on m-commerce

SoftBank Is Said to Offer to Buy Uber Shares at a Steep Discount | NY Times – not terribly surprising (paywall)

3 Must Know Trends of Affluent Millennials In Shanghai | Jing DailyThe post-90s generation is also eager to engage in experience-based shopping, and many are adventurous FIT travelers. According to the report, 56 percent of their travel expenditure is on overseas trips, and their overseas spending has increased more than 40 percent in the past two years – at the expense of e-commerce

Opinion: How Chinese innovation is going global | Techinasia – China becoming more global a la the way Silicon Valley’s hardware companies have

Facebook explains ad policies to users, but industry wants more | Advertising | Campaign Asiathe post is focused on empowering users to take action, leaving them with the onus. The post, she continues, acknowledges that Facebook does not have the ability to police and manage the content that is produced and shared in its different environments, and requires a concerted effort from end users to brands to their agencies and beyond. “Does that address the demands asked of Facebook to take greater responsibility for the content on their platform? Unlikely,” she said.

China, US, Korea to lead global FMCG e-commerce growth – Kantar

Ten years of the Kindle

Amazon Kindle & Sony eBook

Amazon is celebrating 10 years of the Kindle so it makes sense to reflect on the device and the service.

Rather like Apple products Kindle is a combination of hardware, software (including content), payment infrastructure and the Whispernet global mobile virtual network.

Like Apple, Amazon came in and refined an existing business model. Companies like Sony made very nice e-readers, but they didn’t have the publisher relationships and market access that Amazon had.

Context rather than convergence

In a time where consumer electronics thinking was all about convergence, from the newly launched iPhone to the Symbian eco-system Amazon were determined to come up with a single purpose device.

Amazon resisted the trend and created a dedicated device for reading. That is why you have a black-and-white e-ink screen and an experience exclusively focused on seamless content downloads.

Yes, they’ve rolled out tablets since, but even the latest range stick to the original Kindle playbook. Some of their decisions were quite prescient. The Kindle was deliberately designed so that it didn’t require content to be side loaded from personal computer like an iPod.

The Kindle has survived the smartphone and the tablet device as a reading experience.

Using the U.S. legal system to clear the field

Amazon was helped out by the US government prosecuting Apple under the Sherman Act. Wikipedia has a good summary of this case. On the face of it Apple was doing a similar structured deal with publishers on book pricing to what it had done previously with record companies for iTunes music.

This case effectively stalled Apple book store momentum and lumbered Apple with overzealous US government overwatch. The consumer benefit has been minimal – more on that later. The irony of all this is the way Amazon has leveraged its monopolistic position to decimate entire sectors of the retail economy.

The interesting thing about this case, say compared to the Apple | Qualcomm dispute is that Apple still kept Audible audio book sales in iTunes throughout this dispute and didn’t look at ways to bounce the iPad Kindle app from the app store. Audible is an Amazon-owned company.

By comparison, Amazon bounced Apple’s TV from its own e-commerce platform and has taken a long time to support the AppleTV app eco-system – long after the likes of Netflix.

Piracy in China

Amazon hasn’t had it all its own way. China had a burgeoning e-book market prior to the Kindle and Chinese consumers used to read these books on their laptops.  Depending which store you used; it might have more books at a cheaper price because intellectual property wasn’t ironed out.

A cottage industry sprang up that saw Kindles acquired in the US and Japan shipped back to China and reflashed with software that made them compatible with the local app stores.

The Kindle brain phenomenon

I moved from the UK to Hong Kong to take up a role and tried to lighten my burden by moving my reading from books to the Kindle. I found that I didn’t retain the content I read. I enjoyed the process of reading less and did it less often. I wasn’t an e-book neophyte I had enjoyed reading vintage pulp fiction novels as ebooks on Palm devices and Nokia phones in the early 2000s as a way of passing them time on my commute.

Talking to friends their experience was similar. I now read on the Kindle or listen to audio books only for pleasure. I tend to buy my reference books in the dead tree format. There is something more immediate about the process of reading from a ‘real book’ rather than an e-book.

It seems that digital natives aren’t ready to give up books just yet. Studies about the use of digital technology and e-books in education are mixed and anecdotal evidence suggests that technology industry leaders liked to keep the level of digital content in their children’s lives at a low threshold.

The Kindle hasn’t replaced the bookshelf and the printing press yet.

Pricing

Disposing of the medium didn’t mean that we got cheaper e-books. On Amazon it is worth looking carefully to see what is the cheapest format on a case by case basis. Kindle competes against print books and secondhand books.

Secondhand books win hands down when you are looking at materials beyond bestsellers. A real-world book is easier to gift and Amazon Prime allows for almost instant gratification. The Kindle starts to look like Amazon covering all the bases rather than the future of publishing. This may change over time, a decade into online news was a more mixed media environment than it is now – but Kindle feels as if it has reached a balance at the moment.

More information
New study suggests ebooks could negatively affect how we comprehend what we read | USA Today
Shelve paperbacks in favour of E-books in schools? | BBC
Study challenges popular beliefs on e-reading | The Educator
Are Digital Textbooks Finally Taking Hold? | Good eReader – makes the case for a heterogenous book environment of standard textbooks, e-books and used books
Do ‘Digital Natives’ Prefer Paper Books to E-Books? | Education Week
Our love affair with digital is over | New York Times (paywall)

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ICYMI | 万一你错过了| 당신이 그것을 놓친 경우

Amazon marks 10th anniversary of original Kindle, the ’18-month project’ that took 3 1/2 years – Kessel said the team was determined to keep the Kindle a single-purpose device – something where you could lose yourself in a book, rather than a multipurpose piece of hardware that might create distractions.

They were also focused on making it easy for customers by ensuring they could access new books without connecting a cable to a computer for download. That dedication, which lead to a built-in cellular data connection and, eventually, the ability to sync your books across Kindle devices and app, was no small feat. “We said books needed to download in less than 60 seconds, but it definitely didn’t work that way at first,” said Kessel.

Patience was something the team was forced to learn.

“Originally I told Jeff (Bezos) it would take us about 18 months to build the Kindle and we could do it with a couple handfuls of folks. It took us three-and-a-half years and a lot more than a couple of handfuls of folks.”

The Motherboard Guide to Not Getting Hacked – Motherboard – really interesting guidelines

Do Facebook and Google have control of their algorithms anymore? A sobering assessment and a warning | Poynter – is this a ‘SkyNet’ moment? How would you troubleshoot? A lot further out, if you got to sentience at a later date how would you know, particularly if the machine learning system goes down the root of the logic outlined in Cixin Liu’s ‘Three Body Problem’ trilogy

There’s a Digital Media Crash. But No One Will Say It – Talking Points MemoProblem #1 (too many publications) and Problem #2 (platform monopolies) have catalyzed together to create Problem #3 (investors realize they were investing in a mirage and don’t want to invest any more)

Monodraw for macOS — Helftone – OmniGaffle but for ASCI art

Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo & Doug McMillon, Walmart talk about the intersection between brand and product

This is from last year and there is a lot of filler but interesting discussion about the intersection between brand and product.

Is your PR plan good enough (part six)?

PR plan

In part five I focused on tactics in terms of creative, channels and calendar. In this final part I am going to look at resourcing and commitment.  At least the plan should have an outline of what resources are needed and the investment required.

  • Schedule of activity – I would also recommend a critical path analysis to see if there are any potential bottlenecks. This also reduces the level of management oversight required, as it can be just focused on the co-dependencies which might cause bottlenecks
  • Budget
  • 1-pager outline of plan to get sign off from the person deemed ultimately responsible
  • Signed commitment by all parties. I am not talking about the legal agreement, instead a simple written agreement by everyone involved in delivery. Behavioural economics research has shown that owning a commitment increase the chance of someone actually doing it

Appraising ‘resources and commitment’ in a PR plan

  • Do you understand from the plan what can delay implementation and how much that delay looks like?
  • Is there a clear understanding of resources and priorities?
  • Is the amount of effort (and budget) realistic for the outcomes desired? (PR since it depends to a certain extent on earned media  is always a game of chance)
  • Have all the people on both agency side and client side needed committed to delivering on the activity in writing?

This is the last post in this series. I have put up a workbook for those assessing PR plans here. In the meantime if you need assistance in developing a communications plan or want an existing plan thinking validated get in touch.

More information
Is your PR plan good enough (part five)?
Is your PR plan good enough (part four)?
Is your PR plan good enough (part three)?
Is your PR plan good enough (part two)?
Is your PR plan good enough (part one)?
Workbook for assessing your PR Plan
Critical path analysis introduction on Wikipedia
Stephen Waddington’s original post on ‘how to write a PR plan in ten steps’