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How to Navigate Investing in A.I., From Someone Who’s Done It
March 2, 2019 | The New York Times | By Katie Robertson.

Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn and a prominent venture capitalist, said at The New York Times’s New Work Summit in California that he looked very carefully at A.I. ventures to see how they were making new, interesting things possible and how he could bet on them early. He said current machine learning techniques, which are transforming fundamental industries, gave an amazing glimpse of the future.

“My ideal investing is stuff that looks a little crazy now and in three years is obvious or five years is obvious,” Mr. Hoffman said.....voiced some concerns around how A.I. could transform the global landscape, likening it to the shift from the agricultural age to the industrial age.

“You’ll see enormous changes from where the bulk of people find jobs and employment,” he said. “The first worry is what does that transition look like. That intervening transition is super painful.”....Mr. Hoffman recently released the book “Blitzscaling: The Lightning-Fast Path to Building Massively Valuable Companies,” which details his theory that the rapid growth of a company — above almost all else — is what leads to its success.
artificial_intelligence  blitzscaling  books  competitive_landscape  machine_learning  Reid_Hoffman  scaling  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  vc  venture_capital 
march 2019 by jerryking
Apple’s Executive Shake-Up Readies Company for Life After iPhone
Feb. 18, 2019 | WSJ | By Tripp Mickle.

Apple Inc. is shaking up leadership and reordering priorities across its services, artificial intelligence, hardware and retail divisions as it works to reduce the company’s reliance on iPhone sales......The primary reasons for the shifts vary by division. But collectively, they reflect Apple’s efforts to transition from an iPhone-driven company into one where growth flows from services and potentially transformative technologies......Apple has also trimmed 200 staffers from its autonomous-vehicle project, and is redirecting much of the engineering resources in its services business, led by Eddy Cue, into efforts around Hollywood programming......The competitive landscape could complicate Apple’s efforts to diversify beyond the iPhone. Media services like Netflix Inc. and Spotify Technology SA have a head start and more subscribers; Google’s autonomous-vehicle initiative has logged more miles on the road; and Amazon.com Inc.’s Echo speakers have put Alexa into millions of homes.

Apple spent $14.24 billion on research and development last year, a 23% increase from the year prior........Though the iPhone still contributes about two-thirds of Apple sales, the company has encouraged investors to focus on a growing services business, which includes streaming-music subscriptions, app-store sales and mobile payments.....The services business also is key to preserving iPhone loyalty. Just as Amazon has used media and music offerings to increase the value of Prime membership, Apple executives view its mobile payments, music service and coming video offering as ways to encourage current iPhone owners to buy future Apple handsets.....Apple is also expected to lean on its artificial-intelligence team to personalize the services on people’s devices.
actors  Apple  App_Store  Apple_IDs  artificial_intelligence  autonomous_vehicles  celebrities  competitive_landscape  hardware  Hollywood  iPhone  leadership  mobile_payments  overreliance  priorities  R&D  retailers  services  smart_speakers  streaming  subscriptions  Tim_Cook 
february 2019 by jerryking
Technology has upended the world’s advertising giants - Mad men adrift
March 31st, 2018 | The Economist |

The world’s advertising giants are struggling to adapt to a landscape suddenly dominated by the duopoly of Google and Facebook. Some of their biggest clients, such as Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Unilever, are also being disrupted, in their case by smaller online brands and by Amazon. They are cutting spending on advertising services, and also building more capabilities in-house. Consultancies with digital expertise such as Deloitte and Accenture are competing with agencies, arguing that they know how to connect with consumers better, and more cheaply, using data, machine learning and app design.......This month Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer of P&G, criticised their (i.e. the ad giants) model as a “Mad Men” operation that is “archaic” and overly complex in an era when campaigns and ads need to be designed and refined quickly across lots of platforms.

Technological forces are buffeting this model.

(1) The first big challenge is disintermediation. Despite the growing backlash against the tech giants, Google and Facebook make it easy for firms big and small to advertise on their platforms and across the internet via their powerful ad networks.
(2) The second headache is the rise of ad-free content for consumers, especially on Netflix, and the corresponding disruption of ad-supported television, which has declining viewership globally.
(3) Third, Amazon’s e-commerce might, and the growing clout of internet-era direct-to-consumer upstarts, have weakened the distribution muscle and pricing power of the advertising giants’ biggest clients.....cost discipline among clients is driven partly by the influence of thrifty private-equity investors like 3G, the Brazilian owner of AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer......Sir Martin argues that the budgetary pressures that have forced his clients to cut back on advertising are a cyclical problem, not like the structural challenges posed by technological disruption.

In private, however, a senior executive at a rival ad-holding firm rejects much of this optimism. Technological disruption and disintermediation, he says, will only deepen. The efficiency of targeted digital ads means companies can spend less for the same outcome in branding. ....The advertising firms are responding by hiring away talent, acquiring businesses (in 2015 Publicis bought Sapient, a digital consultancy, for $3.7bn) and gradually changing how they make money. Their plans mostly boil down to two things: investing in digital services and consolidating their collections of businesses so that they can provide a range of services to one client more cheaply under one account.
advertising  economics  marketing  advertising_agencies  Martin_Sorrell  digital_strategies  WPP  Google  Facebook  Amazon  competitive_landscape  P&G  Unilever  disruption  Deloitte  Accenture  Publicis  Omnicom  via:sparkey  ad-tech  programmatic  direct-to-consumer 
april 2018 by jerryking
The Retailers That Can Resist the Amazon Onslaught
AUG. 28, 2017 | The New York Times | By JENNIFER SABA.

The Amazon vortex won’t suck in everyone. That’s the verdict of investors in the retail sector.

Among potential competitors to the e-commerce juggernaut founded by Jeff Bezos, some – including Ross Stores, Home Depot and AutoZone – may have the wherewithal to withstand Amazon. The market is conferring on them valuations commensurate with, or better than, the one accorded to Amazon.........The auto-parts chain AutoZone may represent another retail slice that is somewhat resistant to Amazon. The $19 billion company trades at 1.5 times 2020 sales, a recognition that it has created a supply chain that minimizes inventory without crimping a timely ability to fulfill customer orders.

Even in apparel, there are bright spots. At 1.4 times projected 2020 sales, Ross Stores, which sells reasonably priced clothing through more than 1,500 outlets, fetches an enterprise valuation close to Amazon’s. TJX Companies, operator of TJ Maxx and Marshalls, lingers at 1.1 times sales. That’s below Amazon but well above peers like Macy’s and Kohl’s. Bargain hunting may offer some respite from online price choppers...........Once he is done crushing the grocery business, Mr. Bezos may seriously set Amazon’s sights on car parts, cheap clothes and home-improvement accessories. For now, though, the market is betting on a few pockets of calm.
retailers  e-commerce  Whole_Foods  competitive_landscape  contra-Amazon  apparel  Home_Depot  AutoZone  valuations  Amazon  home-improvement 
august 2017 by jerryking
Diversification key for mall developers as retail landscape evolves
Feb. 7, 2017 | Retail Dive | by Kenneth A. Rosen and Eric S. Chafetz.

Traditional anchors like Sears/Kmart and Macy’s are beset by competition from all sides, from freestanding big-box outlets (think Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond), to stores attracting fashion-forward yet price-conscious consumers (Target and Kohl’s) to mounting online competition from Amazon and others.

This is leading to the loss of mall tenants, especially anchor tenants, which are major drivers of all-important foot traffic.....Mall owners are (or should be) rethinking the very definition of a mall. New tenants such as high-end restaurants, amusement parks, spas, health clubs, online pickup locations at traditional retailers and upscale movie theaters increasingly are essential components........Reshaping malls into mixed-used developments might run counter to a business model that worked for decades, where mall owners and developers could simply be mall owners and developers. However, these entities must realize that the need for new thinking and investment in new types of amenities and features is greater than ever to drive foot traffic......Technology is also key, with some mall owners now allowing customers to text them questions and get real-time answers. Other malls have implemented mobile apps to provide turn-by-turn navigation from store-to-store in a mall and directions to their parked cars. ........Consider a successful shopping center developer, in this case seeking opportunities for growth. The developer might look to acquire store leases at malls owned by competitors where an anchor has closed and redevelop the space into a cluster of smaller stores or into a mixed-use property (restaurants, movie theaters, urgent care centers, spas, etc.)......The transformation of malls will continue, and usher in changes that would have been unfathomable a decade ago. Last year, two mall owners — Simon Properties and General Growth Partners — teamed up with Authentic Brands and a few inventory liquidators to purchase hundreds of Aeropostale stores out of bankruptcy. The justification from the mall owners was that they were not merely trying to save a tenant, but based on the bargain basement price that they paid, believed they could make a profit. As 2017 unfolds with the expectation of additional retail Chapter 11s and store closures, mall developers and owners also may look at their competitors with an eye toward new opportunities.
diversification  redevelopments  shopping_malls  REITs  department_stores  big-box  cost-consciousness  e-commerce  Amazon  foot_traffic  reinvention  competitive_landscape  mapping  retailers  store_closings  offensive_tactics  transformational 
august 2017 by jerryking
The Amazon-Walmart Showdown That Explains the Modern Economy - The New York Times
Neil Irwin @Neil_Irwin JUNE 16, 2017

The decision by Amazon and Walmart to compete for my grocery business — as well as for space in my closet — is a tiny battle in a war to dominate a changing global economy.

And for companies that can’t compete on price and technology, it could cost them the shirt off their backs.....[Amazon's purchase of high-end grocery chain Whole Foods places it] on a collision course with Walmart to try to be the predominant seller of pretty much everything you buy.

Each one is trying to become more like the other — Walmart by investing heavily in its technology, Amazon by opening physical bookstores and now buying physical supermarkets. But this is more than a battle between two business titans. Their rivalry sheds light on the shifting economics of nearly every major industry, replete with winner-take-all effects and huge advantages that accrue to the biggest and best-run organizations, to the detriment of upstarts and second-fiddle players.....in turn...this has more worrying implications for jobs, wages and inequality.

Amazon vs. Walmart

Both want to sell everything!!!!

Walmart is buying Bonobos, an omnichannel innovator. Its website and online customer service are excellent, and it operates stores in major cities where you can try on garments and order items to be shipped directly. Because all the actual inventory is centralized, the stores themselves can occupy minimal square footage. The acquisition helps Walmart build expertise in the very areas where it is trying to gain on Amazon.

Walmart and Amazon have had their sights on each other for years, each aiming to be the dominant seller of goods via omnichannel.

Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods helps it to understand the grocery business which has a whole different set of challenges from the types of goods that Amazon has specialized in heretofore.

A Positive Returns-to-Scale World
The apparel business has long been a highly competitive industry in which countless players could find a niche.....any shirt-maker that tried to get too big rapidly faced diminishing returns.It would have to pay more and more to lease the real estate for far-flung stores, and would have to outbid competitors to hire all the experienced shirt-makers. The expansion wouldn’t offer any meaningful cost savings and would entail a lot more headaches trying to manage it all....in the digital economy, rather than reflecting those diminishing returns to scale, show positive returns to scale: The biggest companies have a huge advantage over smaller players. That tends to tilt markets toward a handful of players or even a monopoly....The apparel industry...is moving in the direction of being like the software business (high fixed costs, zero variable costs, enormous returns to scale)..... the reason why Walmart and Amazon are so eager get into the shirt business is because retailers know that they need to figure out how to manage sophisticated supply chains connecting Southeast Asia with stores in big American cities so that they rarely run out of product. They need mobile apps and websites that offer a seamless user experience so that nothing stands between a would-be purchaser and an order....Larger companies that are good at supply chain management and technology can spread those more-or-less fixed costs around more total sales, enabling them to keep prices lower than a niche player and entrench their advantage....large companies will invest in automation/robotics...the future of clothing/apparel might be a handful of companies with the very expensive shirt-making robots---and everyone else shut out in the cold.

What It Means for the Economy

A relative few winners are taking a disproportionate share of business in a wide range of industries....in turn may help explain why the income gap has widened in recent years. How much on income inequality is driven by shifting technology — as opposed to changing corporate behavior, or loose antitrust policy — is an open debate.
increasing_returns_to_scale  winner-take-all  fixed_costs  variable_costs  Amazon  Wal-Mart  Whole_Foods  retailers  economics  Bonobos  shirts  mens'_clothing  omnichannel  apparel  digital_economy  automation  robotics  competitive_landscape  market_concentration  barbell_effect  income_inequality  antitrust  market_power  corporate_concentration  grocery  fresh_produce  supermarkets  large_companies  UX  inventory-free  global_economy 
june 2017 by jerryking
If you want a good PR person, hire a soccer player -
AUGUST 26, 2014 | PRConsultants Group| By Margaret Nathan, Partner at Strategic Communication, Inc.

"...the best PR people are always the ones who know the playing field cold, the ones who know where all the bodies are buried and who can feel the space and timing of a great opportunity or a good story, who know the best people in the company from whom to get information and how not to hide, but to explain.

As Critchley writes, “Soccer is a collective game, a team game, and everyone has to play the part which has been assigned to them, which means they have to understand it spatially, positionally and intelligently and make it effective.” A good PR person or public relations firm operation is the same.

I frequently get asked from clients why isn’t my acquisition, my product, my company front-page news. Well now I can explain it. If you have the “product” and your company runs the “right formations to control the space” and your competitors are in awe, you probably have a great story.

Good PR people should be able to help your company run the “right formations” and structure the right timing and space around the company and then always be able to provide three to four options for the company to run with. While baseball is also a team sport, it is primarily driven by individual achievement. “The team who performs the most individual tasks well will probably win the game,” according to Brooks. But the question is can they win it for the long haul.

“Once we acknowledge that, in life, we are playing soccer, not baseball, a few things become clear. First, awareness of the landscape of reality is the highest form of wisdom. It’s not raw computational power that matters most; it’s having a sensitive attunement to the widest environment, feeling where the flow of events is going. Genius is in practice perceiving more than the conscious reasoning,” said Brooks.

So I would encourage everyone who is hiring a Public Relations firm to ask yourselves are these guys’ soccer players or a baseball team? If the PR firm or the PR person is not constantly re-evaluating your business, introducing you to new ideas and people to drive your business then go find someone who will. Go find a soccer player.
spatial_awareness  soccer  public_relations  wisdom  collective_intelligence  sophisticated  competitive_landscape  generating_strategic_options  professional_service_firms  long-haul  Simon_Critchley 
september 2016 by jerryking
The Evolving Automotive Ecosystem - The CIO Report - WSJ
April 6, 2015| WSJ | By IRVING WLADAWSKY-BERGER.

An issue in many other industries. Will the legacy industry leaders be able to embrace the new digital technologies, processes and culture, or will they inevitably fall behind their faster moving, more culturally adept digital-native competitors? [the great game]

(1) Find new partners and dance: “The structure of the automotive industry will likely change rapidly. Designing and producing new vehicles have become far too complex and expensive for any likely one company to manage all on its own.
(2) Become data masters: “Know your customers better than they know themselves. Use that data to curate every aspect of the customer experience from when they first learn about the car to the dealership experience and throughout the customer life cycle. Having data scientists on staff will likely be the rule, not the exception.
(3) Update your economic models: “Predicting demand was hard enough in the old days, when you did a major new product launch approximately every five years. Now, with the intensity of competition, the rapid cadence of new launches, and the mashup of consumer and automotive technology, you may need new economic models for predicting demand, capital expenditures, and vehicle profitability.
(4)Tame complexity: “It’s all about the center stack, the seamless connectivity with nomadic devices, the elegance of the Human Machine Interface.
(5) Create adaptable organizations: “It will take a combination of new hard and soft skills to build the cars and the companies of the future. For many older, established companies, that means culture change, bringing in new talent, and rethinking every aspect of process and people management.
Apple  automotive_industry  autonomous_vehicles  ecosystems  Google  know_your_customer  adaptability  CIOs  layer_mastery  competitive_landscape  competitive_strategy  connected_devices  telematics  data  data_driven  data_scientists  customer_experience  curation  structural_change  accelerated_lifecycles  UX  complexity  legacy_players  business_development  modelling  Irving_Wladawsky-Berger  SMAC_stack  cultural_change  digitalization  connected_cars  the_great_game 
april 2015 by jerryking
The incredible shrinking retail sector - The Globe and Mail
BARRIE McKENNA
The incredible shrinking retail sector
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Feb. 12 2015

Entire categories of products are moving online, making many bricks-and-mortar stores redundant. Video and book stores are all but gone. Office supply, electronics and department stores are in retreat. A future without auto showrooms and movie theatres may be coming.

The era of the big-box store has peaked as city dwellers move back downtown, where space is at a premium.
Barrie_McKenna  retailers  size  mergers_&_acquisitions  downsizing  small_spaces  grocery  supermarkets  pharmacies  proximity  convenience_stores  store_footprints  post-deal_integration  bricks-and-mortar  consolidation  distribution_channels  Target  Wal-Mart  Loblaws  competitive_landscape  e-commerce  fresh_produce  perishables  big-box  supply_chains 
february 2015 by jerryking

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