Links of the day | 在网上找到

Perkbox raises $8.6 million for its employee engagement platform | – well deserved funding round that isn’t Tech City BS

brandchannel: Mercedes-Benz and SXSW Bring meConvention to Europe – is it just me or does this feel like marketing festivals have jumped the shark?

Hard Drives Started Out as Massive Machines That Were Rented by the Month | Vice – and the industry is moving back to this approach with cloud services

Publishers are switching affections from Snapchat to Instagram | Digiday – similar moves with creators

Confessions of a former agency innovation head: ‘It’s all smoke and mirrors to get more money’ – elements of the truth with a dose of skepticism

This Is Why China Hasn’t Jumped on the Smart Speaker Bandwagon – Bloomberg – interesting comments on conversational Chinese, AI also struggles with many variants of conversational English

China’s economy grows 6.9 per cent in second quarter, beating market expectations | South China Morning Post – mixed news here. Top line number is good, the problem is that it’s reliant on steel production (where China has a glut in capacity) and construction – further inflating the property bubble. Coal production also picked up – again contrary to the direction the government has outlined in terms of high value growth

Most popular iPhone models in the wild: CHART – Business Insider – a couple of things on this. The iPhone is obviously a durable item, many of these handsets will be secondhand or hand me downs. Many people’s upgrade will be a newer secondhand model

Facebook Plans to Unveil a $200 Wireless Oculus VR Headset for 2018 – Bloomberg – scaling down from the gaming PC powered rig to compete with Google Daydream and the myriad VR headsets out of Shenzhen

Amazon Prime does more for northern food security than federal subsidies, say Iqaluit residents – North – CBC News – positive PR for Amazon, the question is whether it is worth their while providing Prime as a universal service or not?

The music industry according to super-producer Jimmy Iovine | FT – no amazing business insights but interesting commentary on Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run album – which Iovine engineered. Apparently getting the drum sound perfect had been an issue. Born To Run ended up being Springsteen’s breakthrough album

What was it like to be at Xerox PARC when Steve Jobs visited? – Quora – I hadn’t realised that Alto and the other Xerox PARC technologies had been so widely discussed in the mainstream media prior to the visits by Microsoft and Apple respectively

France wants hardest Brexit, says City envoy to EU | FT – makes sense. At least some countries would see the negotiations as something closer to a zero-sum game for a few reasons. Holding the EU together, and the opportunities for at least some new jobs in their country. As the UK economy slows down, the country becomes less attractive as a market for exports. So the calculus moves from partnership to strip mining. Finally, it will be traumatic for supply chains so there is an incentive to rebuild them in your favour (paywall)

Under the Hood of Shell’s $100 Million Loyalty Program | CMO Strategy Columns – AdAge – interesting read, especially on the decline in geographic penetration at the pump of (other) oil companies (reg wall)

QR code takes a baby step in world conquest as group adopts global cashless payment format | SCMP – interesting counterpoint to NFC solutions from Google and Apple

Apple’s ‘installed base’ of iPhones has stopped growing, says Deutsche Bank (AAPL) | Business Insider – basically the market is saturated and has reached its equilibrium

The Influence of the KPM Music Library | WhoSampled – great guide to the famous library music label

US and European leaders finally agree on something: suspicion of Chinese takeovers | Quartz

Weak pound helps bring record tally of tourists | Business | The Times – so basically tourism hasn’t improved the country is an arbitrage play for travellers

Links of the day | 在网上找到

How Baidu Maps Leads People to a Privately Owned Hospital | Whats on Weibo – Baidu can’t catch a break

Paris-Based “it” Store Colette to Close its Doors | The Fashion Law – this is sad. I love their carefully curated website and shop.

The iPhone Is an Ideal Machine for Exerting Intellectual Property Control – Motherboard – interesting piece to read, with valid points BUT diminishes itself by playing fast and loose with some of the facts

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Korean Analysts Tracking Samsung Smartphone Sales Report that the Galaxy S8 is Selling 20% below last year’s S7 – not terribly surprising, the market is mature and Samsung will be losing sales to the Chinese Android players like OnePlus, Huawei and ZTE

Malaysia Airlines ties up with LINE | Marketing Interactive

Twitter lets you avoid trolls by muting new users and strangers | TechCrunch – interesting implications for trying to grow account follower numbers organically

Bell Pottinger Dismisses Lead Partner & Apologises For Gupta Scandal | Holmes Report – At various points throughout the tenure of the Oakbay account, senior management have been misled about what has been done. For it to be done in South Africa, a country which has become an international beacon of hope for its progress towards racial reconciliation, is a matter of profound regret and in no way reflects the values of Bell Pottinger.

Facebook Slashes Oculus Price For Second Time As World Refuses To Adopt Virtual Reality | Zero Hedge – the problem is supporting hardware and content. Oculus requires way to high a spec machine and there isn’t compelling content

The real fight in the TV streaming wars is not over you. It’s over your kids. | Quartz – its the medium rather than the content in reality

Conference speakers are now presenting during attendees’ flights to the events | Quartz – why not just stay at home and watch it on YouTube in this case

A bank replaced a fax machine with blockchain. Was it worth it? | Quartz

Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates For The United States by Piketty, Saez and Zucman – interesting data on economic distribution

Google’s research chief questions value of ‘Explainable AI’ – Computerworld – but that won’t deal with the legal and regulatory challenges

What NASA Could Teach Tesla about Autopilot’s Limits – Scientific American  – “What we heard from pilots is that they had trouble following along [with the automation],” Casner says. “If you’re sitting there watching the system and it’s doing great, it’s very tiring.” In fact, it’s extremely difficult for humans to accurately monitor a repetitive process for long periods of time. This so-called “vigilance decrement” was first identified and measured in 1948 by psychologist Robert Mackworth, who asked British radar operators to spend two hours watching for errors in the sweep of a rigged analog clock. Mackworth found that the radar operators’ accuracy plummeted after 30 minutes; more recent versions of the experiment have documented similar vigilance decrements after just 15 minutes. – human factors 1, technology nil

Why Some Men Don’t Work: Video Games Have Gotten Really Good – The New York Times – this is frightening

A new candidate for world’s worst media law – Columbia Journalism Review – reputatiion management must be a doddle in Myanmar

Making media fun again: why we must free our industry from outdated models | Campaign LiveThe threat to agencies is not the ANA or procurement or consultants, it is their own addiction to dated models and an inability to conquer the three rants and create something new.

The clients don’t want a world that dwells solely in the lower funnel. Any new business model embraces both upper and lower funnel, both brand and demand. It is both about the big idea and the 1,000s of iterations of that big idea – it’s just that the vast majority of clients aren’t doing that very well or systemically. They don’t want us building a data monster dwelling in the lower-funnel data lake. (paywall) – well worth a read

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Jaw-boned: Wearables biz Jawbone shuts down | The Register – pretty sad end for the wearables company that pioneered noise cancelling Bluetooth headsets. With the rise of AirPods, surely this should have been Jawbone’s time to own BlueTooth headsets?

Nokia Branded Phones to Get Zeiss Branded Cameras | – Nokia’s handset business getting the gang back together

Hong Kong women spend over HK$4,000 on beauty products | Marketing Interactive – I guess it depends on how you define beauty products

Nokia, Xiaomi sign patent sharing agreement | ZDNet – Nokia and Xiaomi will work together on optical communications solutions for data centers, IP Routing for the Nokia FP4 processor, and a data center fabric solution

Staring down internet trolls: My disturbing cat and mouse game – unremittingly grim

Alibaba Challenges Google, Amazon With New Echo-Like Device – Bloomberg – Interesting that they are using the Tmall brand rather than TaoBao

China Is About to Bury Elon Musk in Batteries – Bloomberg – what’s this going to do to the price of lithium?

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week:

Back To The Future with pugs

Winston and C-Milk currently live in Southern China and put out regular content on live in China. Their video discussing China’s ecosystem of fake Nintendo Famicom (NES) machines. Video games were banned for 15 years in China, so piracy stepped in to fill the vacuum. Check out the clone of Nokia’s Snake but with NES vibes.

Or Super Mario 10 featuring Confucius

I’d also recommend their perspective on China’s role in VR. President Xi Jin Ping said that VR was the cornerstone of development, and that China would pursue VR with everything it’s got. Gadget makers have piled in to make Samsung Gear-like googles.

Social Cooling – really interesting hypothesis on how social platforms are changing consumer behaviour over time.

Finally feast your eyes on Per Eklund’s record breaking ascent of Pikes Peak back in 2001 in a car that looked superficially like a Saab 93. It weighed just 1,000Kg and had 850BHP and four wheel drive. Eklund was 55 when he did this and still drives today alongside peers like Stig Blomqvist.

Here’s a documentary (mostly in Swedish) about how they did it. It’s a surprisingly basic effort

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Instagram and Nike Want to Show Fashionistas How to Shop – Bloomberg – really soon after the deal with Amazon

Amazon Launches Customized Kindles With China Mobile | China Tech News – interesting deal with China Mobile. Jailbroken Kindles have been going around in China for years

It’s the end of an era: Channel 18 cancels international format that served generations of L.A. immigrants – LA Times – a sad indictment of media economics

发现新大陆 – amazing marketing for McDonalds’ spicy chicken wings

North Sea becomes burden on taxpayers | Business | The Times & The Sunday Times – this is down to lower oil prices and tax relief against investment (predominantly decommissioning platforms) which will accelerate over the coming years. This will squeeze the UK government hard in the face of Brexit

Why the Future of Stuff Is Having More and Owning Less | Singularity Hub – but all the wealth will flow to the suppliers ie generation rent – its the first step on the way to serfdom

How AI Boosts Industry Profits and Innovation by Purdy & Daugherty – Accenture white paper looking into the machine learning crystal ball and what it means for businesses (PDF)

Azeem Azhar, entrepreneur | China will win AI race – China are also more focused on pragmatic usage of machine learning rather than flailing around like western startup eco-systems

Crypto Miners Hated by VR Players as Graphic Cards Sold Out in China | NEWS.8BTC.COM – which gives you an idea of how much crypto currency mining happens in China now

Chat app Kakao raises $437M for its Korean ride-hailing service | TechCrunch

The Japanese Company Betting Billions to Prepare for the Singularity | Wired – I think that Softbank have overreached on the vision here

Apple is suspiciously interested in Fisker’s electric car – BGR – the Fisker Emotion appears to be a technical marvel, with a fast-charging system that enables the vehicle to charge up in just nine minutes. As we noted a few weeks back, the Emotion’s impressive battery system is based on supercapacitors using graphene as opposed to the more traditional lithium-ion batteries used in vehicles like the Tesla Model S

The Awful Truth Behind the Glamorous Facade of the Chinese Live-Streaming Host – not that different to modern record label practices or the Hollywood (and Hong Kong) studio system of the past

Bidders gear up for Li Ka-shing’s fixed-line network business | South China Morning Post – interesting no bit from China Telecom or any of the other Chinese SOEs

Cision IPO – Great guns for brand situational awareness | Forrester – but it needs to do a better job with its brand and PR people

I Cannes | No Mercy No Malice | Scott Galloway | L2 – so much to read about here

US army spin-off GPU database bags $50m Series A funding • The Register – interesting use of GPU technology

How (FMCG) markets grow | Kantar World Panel – interesting read

Chinese site Weibo to ban ‘bad talk’ about Chinese affairs – CNET – not clear if this is an addition move on top of the recent regulations to clean up the web

Links of the day | 在网上找到

The Beautiful, Impossible Dream of a Simpler Smartphone | WIREDThe Apple Watch’s purpose (at least at first) was to quieten the demands of the iPhone

Ends, Means, and Antitrust – Stratechery by Ben Thompson – worthwhile reading with regards Google’s EU antitrust trouble

Apple Should Buy IBM | Forrester Blogs – Forrester seems to have a far higher opinion of Watson than many people I know in the industry. This comment from Max Pucher shreds Colony’s argument: As an ex-IBMer, Apple afficionado and Machine Learning expert I could not diisagree more. Apart from the immense cultural clash there is no need to buy IBM to get Watson. Watson is a marketing stunt that sells a consulting package to create a custom ML setup. What won Jeopardy was a glorified full text search engine that can’t be used for anything else. Siri is not grand but a lot more powerful than Watson.

With ML-Kit in the next Apple software releases it will empower the Apple ecosystem to use machine learning extensively and widely. With Watson ML needs 50 IBM experts to do some pattern recognition application. At Apple a million creative developers will jump at the opportunity to use the embedded power of audio, image and video recognition in the platform.

Apple’s GPUs will play a significant role in that.

IBM is all AI hype and no substance snd while buying IBM would possibly be good for current IBM customers, Apple would not gain anything. But it shows how good IBM is in that form of marketing. IBM did the same stunt with Deep Blue when Joel Benjamin won against Kasparov with the help of a machine … that wasn’t AI either …

The iPhone Was Inevitable – The Atlantic – interesting how much testing of concepts went into the iPhone

London Luxury Home Values Fall 6.8% in Year Since Brexit Vote – Bloomberg – by the looks of this the luxury home market is splitting. The track funded by banking and related professions is in decline. But luxury homes funded by inward foreign property investment seems to have suffered less, if at all

Moore’s Law’s End Reboots Industry | EE Times – really interesting analysis of slowing process in semiconductors

American Chipmakers Had a Toxic Problem. So They Outsourced It – Bloomberg – technology’s tabacco moment is already upon us

Internal Memo: Sir Martin Assures WPP Staff That Everything Is Fine in Wake of Cyberattack | AdWeek – WPP’s love of Windows left so many people exposed. Insistance on proprietary encrypted USB sticks would make working from home harder

The global ransomware attack weaponized software updates – The Verge – this is epic

Activist investor calls Hong Kong market rout | Reuters – network of mainland business people running a ‘pump and dump’ scheme on Hong Kong small caps market

Tencent OS Ceases Services This Week | ChinaTechNews – Tencent finally wrapping up its distribution of Android. With WeChat’s dominance the OS has become a burden rather than an asset

Facebook video ad viewability rates are as low as 20 percent, agencies say | Digiday

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

What a week we’ve had, I was thankful that I wasn’t affected by the latest hacking which took out WPP’s agencies around the world. It would have been an unproductive week.

Let’s get on with the things that have made my day this week:

Ten years of the iPhone. The iPhone was announced ten years ago this week. This has been reflected on in the technology press. More about my thoughts and experiences on this in a separate post. Here’s Steve Jobs’ introduction of the device. It doesn’t feel like this was a decade ago now

Cumulative iPhone sales over the past 10 years via Statista

Infographic: 1.2 Billion iPhones in 10 Years | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

How the iPhone affected Apple’s finances

Infographic: How the iPhone Changed Apple in 10 Years | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

Part of the innovation was hardware, part was software and the third part was getting carriers to allow iPhone users to consume much more data than handset manufacturers had been previously allowed.

This month also marked 20 years since the first camera phone. Conscious Minds put together a great documentary featuring the inventor Phillipe Kahn about how he developed the first cameraphone as a kludge to share the birth of his new child.

Kahn founded Starfish Software with his wife. Starfish pioneered device and data synchronisation that underpinned smartphones. They were founding members of the SyncML standard, which underpins the modern smartphone address book to this day.

When I started working in London, I worked with an agency called The Weber Group. We were considered to be a PR agency, but in reality the role we played varied enormously. For some clients we helped them define market size, opportunity and strategy. For others we were a press release factory. I used to sit in a row of account managers – people who where the day-to-day client contacts and drove accounts along. I worked alongside a lady called Heather; between us Heather and I were responsible for looking after some of the key companies in the genesis of the modern smartphone:

  • Starfish Software
  • Palm – the Palm Vx PDA was like non-wireless prototype for modern smartphones
  • PalmSource / Access Software – Palm’s unsuccessful effort to build a modern iOS-esque operating system on top of Linux
  • Vindigo – a turn by turn navigation app for the Palm. This was pre-GPS, but did on device route plotting for major cities, in many respects a prototype of what Google Maps looks like now

Jed Hallam’s Love Will Save The Day is another music experience I’d recommend, sign up here.

Luxxury dropped an ideal playlist for summer via  radio station KCRW Santa Barbara’s website

Finally, I dipped into Google Talk for the first time in ages and came across Joel Primack’s presentation on galaxy formation


Links of the day | 在网上找到

We Analyzed 100 Million Headlines. Here’s What We Learned (New Research) | Buzzsumo – probably the most depressing post on data driven content strategy in a while. (Rocks with head in hands whilst having no respect for audience)

Nestle Targeted by Dan Loeb in Activist’s Biggest-Ever Bet – Bloomberg – Third Point up to its usual tricks, or something more?

Where Technology Meets Culture: Week 1 of Living in Beijing – not news to readers of this blog, but a great summary of the WeChat economy in action

The Vault Of The Atomic Space Age – amazing 20th century tech photography

China’s New Cybersecurity Law: The 101 | China Law Blog – interesting requirements laid down for data protection including use of encryption

North Korean Restaurants in China Close Amid Regional Tensions | Radio Free Asia – quality of food or politics?

Twist is Slack without the annoying distractions | TechCrunch – more of a feature that Slack can replicate rather than an alternative app?

Coffee Ripples – Home of the Ripple Maker – there is something soul destroying about this product

WeChat Developer Error Codes | Grata – so handy for English-speaking  developers

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Harbin beer and Starcom join hands to push China’s e-Sports | Marketing Interactive

Brands are learning millennials’ language for luxury: “organic,” “sustainable,” “ethical” — Quartz – oh god

Owl Labs Meeting Owl – cute product design for… – I am reminded of the wood cut faces on the beneath the facias of old Nokia 5110 handsets

Macron wants limits on Chinese investments, takeovers in Europe’s strategic industries – smart move, there is a strong case for a ‘China reciprocity law’ forcing technology transfer to the EU and restricting investment in strategic industries

Unstoppable at home, Ramdev’s Patanjali gets a reality check in Nepal | Quartz – Ramdev’s products have given the likes of Unilever a scare in India, interesting to see his brand has limits

Inside Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence Comeback | WIRED – interesting article on two levels. Firstly, Microsoft’s approach and direction on AI, secondly the classic approach to storytelling from a PR perspective. Not surprisingly they are focused on Facebook and Google

Group M downgrades UK ad growth forecast in part due to brand safety fears | Campaign LiveAdvertisers are increasingly taking a more measured view toward digital as they grapple with developing data strategies; setting more coherent objectives; attribution considerations; increased brand safety and accountability expectations and the appreciating trade-off between risk, price and performance

Americans won’t wait more than four minutes for a slightly less disgusting hamburger | Quartz – which funnily enough was the time that the McDonald’s restaurant I worked in for six weeks at the start of my working career aimed to surpass

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week:

Publicis’ technology infrastructure vision for a more flexible agile business. So much in here to unpack including an unintentional dystopian vision of future work life.

I went along to watch Linda Yueh chair a discussion on Brexit at the London Business School

Notes from #lbsbrexit session chaired by Linda Yueh

10 years ago Steve Jobs launched the iPhone

Beyond Good and Evil trailer

Download More than 2,500 Images of Vibrant Japanese Woodblock Prints and Drawings From the Library of Congress | Colossal


Links of the day | 在网上找到

The Political Kindling of the Grenfell Fire – The Atlantic – Britain has slipped to sixth in the economic rankings. Yet either position, fifth or sixth, is misleading: Broadly speaking, Britain is an economically average country, with one exceptionally rich region—London, which is reportedly home to more multimillionaires and billionaires than any other city in the world, and serves as the country’s economic engine. Of the EU’s 15 strongest economies, none rely as heavily on one area as the U.K. does: London’s per capita GDP is almost two and a half times Britain’s national average. But London’s enviable self-confidence, its robust financial services sector, and glittering facade, obscure the devastating inequality that plagues the U.K. While the city is Britain’s lone representative among the 10 richest regions in northern Europe, the country also includes a stunning nine of northern Europe’s 10 poorest regions. – One paragraph deflation of British hubris that underpins the likes of the Leave campaign and a great argument for London becoming a city state.

Cathay Pacific still ranks among top five airlines in the world, with other Hong Kong carriers also taking home accolades | South China Morning Post – despite all the problems

WATANABE KATSUMI: “GANGS OF KABUKICHO” | #ASX – amazing portrait images

China’s total number of cinema screens now exceeds the US | Marketing Interactive – why Hollywood makes odd casting and big spectacle films

Apple Culture After Ten Years of iPhone – Monday Note – The First Trillion Dollars is Always the Hardest

P&G Malaysia goes on LINE to grow online following | Marketing Interactive – probably very big in Thailand for this as well

The Car Was Repossessed, but the Debt Remains – The New York Times – For low-income Americans, the fallout could, in some ways, be worse than the mortgage crisis. With mortgages, people could turn in the keys to their house and walk away. But with auto debt, there is increasingly no exit. Repossession, rather than being the end, is just the beginning. “Low-income earners are shackled to this debt,” said Shanna Tallarico, a consumer lawyer with the New York Legal Assistance Group

Why is Japanese customer service so amazing? Because in Japan it’s one strike and you’re out | SoraNews24

China’s Biggest Gaming ‘Whales’ Are Werewolves — The Information – I was introduced to Werewolf in the early noughties by some of my geekier friends

Sunrise preps 2G switch-off | total telecom – interesting move by the Swiss carrier. Greater focus on in-building and long distance performance of LTE

WPP folds Neo@Ogilvy into Mindshare | Campaign Asia – interesting move to bring all paid media inside GroupM

Tim Cook was right to fight the FBI | TheNextWeb

Minecraft’s New 4K Textures Don’t Even Look Like Minecraft | Extreme Tech

It’s business, and it’s personal: How Amazon Web Services decides to enforce non-compete contracts – GeekWire – sounds like most non-compete clauses

Robots are doing the work of $326,000-a-year Goldman Sachs employees – Axios

Roam like at home? Not so fast – POLITICO – interesting exceptions

Targeting and the F3EAD Process | Havok Journal – interesting perspective with key focus of reducing time to insight and action

Design in the Era of the Algorithm | Big Medium

Investors step in to play risky role of lender | WSJ City – at what point does this become similar to China’s shadow banking practices?

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Politico has got a great way of processing shares of charts and diagrams, take for example this chart on UK post-Brexit inflation driving the UK towards a brecession

It includes responsive formatting

Nestle mulling sale of its nearly US$1 bn confectionary business in the US | SCMP – really interesting move that shows Nestle following a trend that PepsiCo tried to go down a number of years ago

Dentsu Aegis Second Big Shop To Downgrade 2017 Ad Expansion | Mediapost

7 of the top 10 smartphone suppliers headquartered in China | Electroniq

Common Sense: Did the Jack Welch Model Sow Seeds of G.E.’s Decline? | New York Times – interesting read, I wonder whether this will discredit other parts of ‘Neutron’ Jack’s legacy

Busting Thieves One Dyetonator At A Time |

Nokia Touts NPU for Internet’s Next Chapter | EE Times

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week:

Louis Vuitton’s personalisation feature is really interesting. It brings NikeID magic to their retail experience. I think that it will also impact secondhand sales – flair is much more of a personal decision.

Scott Galloway manages to get his academic colleague Adam Alter to highlight some of the techniques used to make apps as digital catnip

The soundtrack of my week has been this mix by Jennifer Cardini

This is probably old news, but it was the first time that I noticed it in my feed. Instagram has an email collection facility that reminded me of Twitter cards. Its a great idea that can help tie Instagram engagement closer to e-commerce sales


Flickr has been tweaking its design and has improved its search. These changes have largely happened under the radar. In my experience, the biggest move was that the ‘camera roll’ has been depreciated in menu positions so that you no longer click on it by accident. It’s good to see the continual improvements in a time of substantial change at Yahoo! / Oath or whatever Verizon calls it. Flickr talked about the changes it made to the user’s profile page on its blog.