Author Archives: John Koetsier

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How Sendgrid Uses AI To Deliver 1.5B Emails Every Single Day (And Kill The Spammers)

Email is 20 years old and everyone claims to hate it … but it still tops the charts as a leading marketing channel. Today’s email, however, is not your grandma’s “You’ve Got Mail.”

For one thing, there’s a lot of AI behind the message.

The reason: to protect the future viability of the medium.

“We have had to invest an incredible amount of time and people and process and time in protecting email as a channel,” Sendgrid chief executive officer Sameer Dholakia told me today at Traction Conference in Vancouver, Canada. “We have numerous AI systems in place to determine: are companies a good customer at sign-up, and 100 different variables that tell us: is this mail actually wanted.”

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

Follow all of my martech/adtech stories at Inc …


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Apple Kicks Off Massive Digital Payments Promotion In San Francisco; Big Discounts With Apple Pay

Apple kicked off a major digital wallet promotion in San Francisco today. This is just days after CEO Tim Cook reported that the company tripled Apple Pay transactions this year, hitting more than $1 billion in annual volume.

That’s bigger than Square and more than Paypal’s mobile transactions, says Apple.

And it has some saying that Apple is now a major fintech player.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

Follow all of my fourth industrial revolution posts at Forbes …

 


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Amazon Echo, Google Home Installed Base Hits 50 Million; Apple Has 6% Market Share, Report Says

The U.S. installed base of smart speakers has hit 50 million, according to a new report released today by research group CIRP.

The market share leader?

Amazon, unsurprisingly.

Amazon invented this market in 2015 and still has a majority market share: 70%, according to the study. Google, however, which has seen sales leadership in some quarters, has 24% market share. And Apple, which launched HomePod earlier this year, now has 6% of the market, according to CIRP.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

Follow all of my fourth industrial revolution posts at Forbes …


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61% Of Consumers Will Share Personal Data For Personalized Marketing Communications

61% of American consumers say they’ll share more data with a company in order to get customized communications from them. 48% of UK consumers agreed.

The key: having control.

“While today’s technology allows companies to easily collect a tremendous amount
of customer data behind the scenes, more stringent privacy laws are putting more and more control over this data back into the hands of the consumer,” says a new study from Smart Communications. “To entice them to share the personal details necessary to make communications as meaningful as possible, companies must first prove that it will be worth it.”

Get the full story in my post at Inc. …

Follow all of my martech and adtech stories at Inc. …


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Modern Luddites Smash $15M Industrial Robots, Claim They Were Forced To Train Metal Replacements via “Skinning” Process

This is the fourth chapter of Insights from the Future, a book I’m writing about technology, innovation, and people … from the perspective of the future.

LOS ANGELES — Fifteen workers at the LAX Distribution Center in Los Angeles were arrested Monday for alleged robot-smashing: destroying nine robots worth an estimated $15 million.

The warehouse workers don’t deny the charges, but insist that what they were forced to do was inhuman and unfair, violated their collective bargaining agreement, and were simply protecting their families.

“The company forced us to wear skin suits that collect data on every motion,” one worker who declined to provide her name alleged. “They were training the robots that were going to take our jobs with our very own bodies.”

The new technology is called skinning.

Get the full story at Medium …


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8 Reasons “Hey Google” Is A Genius Assistant Wake Phrase (Versus Alexa, Hey Siri, or Hey Cortana)

Assistants are a big part of the future of human-computer interaction. So how you address the your artificially intelligent friend in the cloud is important.

Star Trek’s “computer” is accurate, but cold and sterile.

Of the current leading assistant technologies, three have aimed at friendly first-name approachability. Amazon has Alexa, which sounds fun, female, and friendly. Apple’s Siri is a bit more exotic, but is still approachable (and has a slightly wicked sense of humor). Microsoft’s Cortana continues the female trend, but adds a touch of geek with by referencing the helpful AI in Call of Duty.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

Also, follow my Forbes column for all my fourth industrial revolution, AI, and related stories …


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UnDigital Is AdTech Without The Tech, Selling Ad Space In The Billions of Packages E-Commerce Generates

Today UnDigital launched a platform for buying ad space in packages. The company is a unique adtech startup: it doesn’t do programmatic, doesn’t offer AI, has no new digital ad formats, and offers no new ads-to-consumers targeting technology.

Instead, UnDigital calls itself the “industry’s first package insert marketplace.”

In other words, you buy something. The package comes.
And inside is a little 5″ x 7″ card with an ad.

Get the full story in my post on Inc …

And, follow my Inc column for all my adtech and martech stories …


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Amazon Sells 1M+ Smart Home Devices On Prime Day; Apple Deletes Smart Doorbell Category

Amazon had its biggest smart home sales day yesterday in history, selling over a million smart home devices, the company said. On pretty much the same day Apple deleted the entire smart doorbell category from its list of HomeKit-compatible devices.

Insult to injury?

Ring, the smart video doorbell that Amazon bought for $1 billion in February, had its best sales day ever on July 16th and sold out. Yesterday, of course, was Amazon’s Prime Day, a sales event for Amazon Prime customers.

Amazon is in a privileged position in the smart home industry.

Get the full story at Forbes …


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Amazon Selling Amazon: 15 Of 16 Most-Promoted Prime Day Products … Are From Amazon

Smart homes, smart TVs, smart speakers, tablets, and more: you can get them all cheaper today, at Amazon’s now-iconic Prime Day. Interestingly however, 15 of the top 16 products Amazon is pushing for the company’s invented shopping holiday … are from Amazon.

The only one that isn’t?

A Toshiba TV with Alexa built in.

Get the full story in my post on Forbes … 


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Elon Musk Proves Once And For All: Don’t Tweet Tired

Tweeting tired is not a good idea. It’s not as bad as driving drunk, but it could have similar impact on your career.

Ask Elon Musk.

The car-building solar-power-generating space-conquering genius has feet of clay just like the rest of us, as a recent episode of since-deleted tweets reveal.

Musk and his engineers built a tiny unpowered sub that could have been used to help rescue the Thai soccer team that was stranded in a cave. But British cave diver Vern Unsworth, who helped Thai authorities with the search and rescue operation, called it a PR stunt.

Then Musk insinuated that Unsworth was a pedophile.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …


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Advertising Has To Solve Its Lying Problem (Or Die Trying)

Social media has had its “fake news” come-to-Jesus moment. Now it’s time for advertising.

Tony Robbins is dead, don’t you know? And he was murdered by one of his own followers, no less.

At least, if you believe ads.

Estimates for how many ads we see each day range from 4,000 to 10,000. More credible sources we’re exposed to 1.59 hours of advertising on traditional and modern media, each and ever day.

The question is, how many of them are out-and-out blatant lies?

Get the full story in my post at Inc …


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Google Home, Chromecast Are Glitching Worldwide (Goodbye Virtual Assistants … And Entertainment)

Updated 4:04PM PST: Google Home is back up (for me). All devices will be back up in the next few hours, but you can accelerate the process by unplugging it and then plugging it back in.

Google Home is down globally for many users. The problem might be a glitched Google update for its assistant that was intended to increase privacy, but the update has bricked many devices (including mine). Music, timers, smart home controls, and more Google Home functionalities are down for many users.

Right now, all they hear is this:

“Sorry, something went wrong. Try again in a few seconds.” Alternatively, Google says: “There was a glitch. Try again in a few seconds.”

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …


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This European City Just Digitized Itself For AR, VR, Games (Think Fortnite In A Real City)

Second Life was a fantasy world, a frontrunner in creating virtual worlds for human creativity to thrive. Modern technologies like augmented reality and mixed reality, however, are combining real and virtual elements to create exciting new possibilities for fun, work, and media.

A particularly impressive example was just announced today: virtual Helsinki.

50 square kilometers of Helsinki is now digitized into a 700-gigabyte texture-mapped 3D mesh that graphics optimization and AR cloud vendor Umbra can stream to AR and VR headsets … or even your web browser.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes … 


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Salesforce Chief Product Officer: Only 15% Of Companies Prepared For Fourth Industrial Revolution

In the beginning was steam. Then electricity, and most recently computing. But the fourth industrial revolution, Salesforce chief product officer Bret Taylor says, is characterized by the rise of  intelligence.

And only 15% of companies are ready for the shift.

“We’re currently in the fourth industrial revolution,” Taylor said this week at Salesforce Connections, a company conference in Chicago. “But it’s not about bits and bytes … behind every one of our connected devices is a customer.”

Get the full story here in my post on Forbes …


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Amazon Prime Day Is Coming. Here’s How Brands And Retailers Can Win On (And Off) Amazon.com

Amazon Prime Day is about a month away. It’s Black Friday in July, Christmas in the summer, and a massive orgasm of consumers consuming consumables.

But there’s one big question for retailers.

How do you get your share of the business … whether you’re on Amazon or not?

Get the full story in my story on Forbes …


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Marketing Analytics Is Broken. Salesforce Is Fixing It With AI (And IoT)

Marketers use only 1-3% of the data they collect, a research scientist for a major marketing cloud recently told me. And yet data is critical to personalizing experiences, targeting offers, and boosting relevancy of communications.

Salesforce thinks it has the solution.

It’s called Einstein, the AI that Salesforce is layering throughout all its tools. Today, the company is unveiling new segmentation and multivariate testing tools driven by machine learned which, it says, dramatically increases marketing effectiveness.

Get the full story in my latest post at Forbes …


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Facebook After PrivacyGate: What’s Changed?

eMarketer just released a major report highlighting some of the key changes following social media giant Facebook’s recent privacy scandals. 

One thing that’s changed?

Consumer trust is down — significantly. But social media usage, not so much.

Only 24% of U.S. internet users think Facebook will do enough to protect privacy in the future, according to a YouGov and The Economist study that eMarketer cites. Trust is lowest where Facebook has the most trouble attracting users: the young. In a similar study, the number of those who agreed that Facebook was protecting their privacy dropped from 79% in 2017 to just 27% after the Cambridge Analytica news broke.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes … 


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The New CMO Challenge: How to Respond to Consumer Expectations to Take a Stand

I’ll be moderating this session next week at Salesforce Connections in Chicago:

From the Salesforce blog:

At the core of any successful marketing strategy lies the consumer. And this modern consumer is a digitally savvy researcher, an empowered buyer, and a connected device user. They pay attention to how brands act, especially when it comes to social and political issues. More than that, they often buy from or abandon a brand based on its social stances and actions.

In our upcoming Connections session, “The New CMO Challenge: How to Respond to Consumer Expectations to Take a Stand,” we’ll talk to Carla Dunham, VP of Marketing at Equinox, and Harris Beber, CMO at Vimeo, about their insights on how to stand behind brand values and respond to rising consumer expectations.

Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll learn in this can’t-miss session facilitated by Forbes columnist, John Koetsier …

Join me!

(And, if you’re going to be there, ping me so we can meet up.)


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Study: Buying An Echo Increases Amazon Purchases 29%, Especially CPG

A new 40,000-person study of smart speakers and their connection to retail purchases shows that Amazon Echo buyers increase their spending at Amazon significantly after purchasing a smart speaker.

“We surveyed over 40,000 Amazon customers,” says Adam Marchick, CEO of Alpine.AI, which help companies build integrations with Amazon Echo and Google Home. “For people who have Echos, in the past 12 months they’ve significantly increased spending on pet food and treats, baking and cooking, grooming, and health and beauty products.”

Not only have people increased spending at Amazon, Marchick says, they’ve actually decreased spending elsewhere.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …


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Install or Reinstall? 42% of Mobile App Installs Are Actually Reinstalls (And In Some Categories, It’s 75%)

Today TUNE is launching new technology to help mobile marketers understand one of the hidden secrets in the mobile app install ecosystem: a massive fraction of app installs are actually reinstalls. Those new downloads in your marketing dashboard? Many of them are actually re-downloads.

We’ve been testing and studying this phenomenon for six months while in development.

Here’s what we’re seeing:

  • in some app categories, reinstall percentages are as high as 75%
  • 98% of smartphone owners have reinstalled an app
  • search drives 65% of all app reinstall behavior
  • games are reinstalled 55% more frequently than non-game apps
  • large brands own 70% of the most-reinstalled apps on the iOS App Store

Get the full story in my post on TUNE’s blog …


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Smart Speaker Users Growing 48% Annually, Will Outnumber Wearable Tech Users This Year

The number of smart speaker users is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 47.9%, according to a new report by eMarketer. That’s faster than any tech product since the smartphone, and will result in more smart speaker users than wearable tech users this year.

In the U.S. alone, that number will be over 90 million.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …


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5 Things Google Duplex Means For The Future Of Chatbots

The unveiling of Google’s Duplex a few weeks ago was a game-changer: that almost everyone can agree. But what game did it change?

For one: chatbots.

For me, I’m hopeful I’ll never have to waste time on simple transactional phone calls with companies ever again. Of course, that’s some time off. But eventually, each of us will have the capability of telling Google, Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Bixby, or whatever AI assistant we use to get things done.

And they will, even if it means interacting with an API-less “real” world.

For now, Duplex means five things will change about bots and chatbots.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …


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Taps, Clicks, Bricks: Part 5 – Five Critical Components for Retail Success

When Walmart offers home delivery, when Amazon buys a grocery store, and when trendy mobile commerce startups open chic bodegas in NYC and San Francisco, you know something is changing about retail, commerce, and customer behavior.

And we’ve been unpacking those changes for about a month now.

Finally, here’s the payoff: five critical components for retail and brand success.

Get the full story in my post on TUNE’s blog …


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Massive Reversal: Google Home Sales Explode 483% To Beat Amazon Echo For Smart Speaker Crown

In the first quarter of 2017, Amazon owned almost 80% of the smart speaker market, while Google sipped up just 19.3%. But in the same quarter this year, Google sold more than a third of all smart speakers, while Amazon’s share plummeted to 27.7%.

That’s a massive reversal.

And it’s in the fastest-growing consumer technology market: nine million devices sold in Q1 2018 versus 2.9 million last year.

Get the full story in my post in Forbes …


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May 2018 Is The Great Newsletter Die-Off (And The Executioner Is GDPR)

Over the past few weeks, maybe 15 to 20 companies that I barely remember have reached out via email with one of the cheery versions of the same message:

“Don’t let it end like this!”

“We still love you; do you love us?”

“Click here to stay in touch!”

What’s happening is GDPR: the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation. And what it’s causing is a flood of emails from companies that currently have your contact information and may have been sending you newsletters in the past. GDPR requires active, clear consent for the use and even the storage of personal information such as email addresses.

Get the rest of the story here in my post at Forbes …


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Programming As Art: How Blockchain Can Help Artists (And Save Art)

Can blockchain save art?

Last month I spent a week in Moscow where I spoke at the Skolkova Robotics Forum on Smart Matter: 4 Things That Are Making Every “Thing” Smart. While there, I happened to visit a very unique gallery in the heart of Russia’s top cybernetics institute, the National University of Science and Technology, or MISiS.

There, I met Anna Karganova, the director of the Russian Abstract Art Foundation, and Olga Uskova, its president. (Olga is also a scientist, CEO, and self driving car technologist.)

After viewing some of the art, our conversation surprisingly turned to blockchain.

Get the full story in my post on Inc., right here …


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SF, NY, and DC Are The Top 3 American Cities For $100K Jobs (Here Are The Rest)

Where are the most $100Kjobs in America?

Well, if you guess San Francisco, thanks to techies and startups, you’d be right. But New York with its finance jobs — and a growing tech sector — is just behind the west coast city.

And a number of them might surprise you.

Here are the top 15 cities in America for $100K jobs, according to high-end employment site Ladders:

Get the full story in my post at Inc. …


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Blockchain Is Over-Hyped … And A $4 Quadrillion Opportunity: Vonage Founder Jeff Pulver

Blockchain technology is over-hyped. And, it’s a $4 quadrillion opportunity.

Vonage founder Jeff Pulver said both those things today on-stage at Destination Experience Visionaries Summit in Kingston, Jamaica. One of the creators of our voice-over-IP protocols, Pulver is not insane, and not unaware of the tension between those statements.

So how does he reconcile them?

Get the full story in my latest post on Forbes …


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Report: Amazon India Worth $16B With 30% Market Share, Will Hit $70B GMV In 2027

Amazon India is currently worth $16 billion and has the same 30% marketshare as local competitor Flipkart, according to a new report from Citi Research. That’s in a country which has a $2.6 trillion GDP growing at 6-7% annually.

Flipkart, of course, just accepted a $16 billion investment from Walmart for a 77% share of the company.

“After disappointing results in China, Amazon – led by its founder/CEO Jeff Bezos – has been determined to win in India,” say report authors Mark May and Hao Yan. “India is poised to be one of the largest and fastest e-commerce growth markets for the next decade.”

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …


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