Author Archives: John Koetsier

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VR Needs More Social: 77% of Virtual Reality Users Want More Social Engagement

77% of people who use virtual reality want more social engagement in VR, according to a new survey of 4,217 consumers. And while many of their headsets don’t get regular use, most intend to use their VR headsets more in the future.

“Led by Generation Z and Millennials, 77% of respondents who own a VR headset say they are interested in interacting socially with other people in VR,” says Greenlight Insights, which ran the survey. “Playing games, watching videos and video communications ranked highest as social VR activities of interest.”

That’s interesting, because VR can clearly be an isolating technology.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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If data is the new oil, prices just went up

As part of my consulting for TUNE, I helped out CMS Wire on a story about GDPR and artificial intelligence.

The full quote:

If data is the new oil, prices just went up, John Koetsier, a mobile economist at TUNE, a mobile marketing measurement company in Seattle, said. GDPR makes collecting data harder and more expensive, and that will have an impact on artificial intelligence. The most pain, however, will be felt by small organizations who are trying to build AI systems but who do not have huge streams of incoming first-party data. The big tech companies tend to have access to never-ending data from their own customers, making it much easier to get consent.

Always happy to help out a reporter or blogger!

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AI Assistants Ranked: Google’s Smartest, Alexa’s Catching Up, Cortana Surprises, Siri Falls Behind

Google Assistant is the smartest AI assistant. Microsoft’s Cortana is surprisingly good, coming in second. Alexa is learning faster than any other assistant.

But Apple’s Siri?

It’s still struggling.

Digital marketing firm Stone Temple tested Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri via an exhaustive list of 4,942 queries. For each, the company checked if the assistant answered, if the assistant understood the question, if the answer was wrong, and if the answers were sourced from a database or a third-party source, like Wikipedia.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Trump’s Jacked-Up USPS Rates Could Cost Amazon $1.3B More on $13.3B In U.S. Shipping Costs

If President Trump gets his way, Amazon will soon be paying more to ship parcels. $1.3 billion more, to be exact. That amount that would reduce the company’s profits by 1.4%.

“Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer?” Trump tweeted in December last year. “Should be charging MUCH MORE!”

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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USA Ranks 9th In Global Robotics & Automation Job Loss Report, After Korea, Germany, Japan, Canada

South Korea, Germany, and Japan are most prepared for the coming wave of automation, according to a new report by The Economist. The U.S., on the other hand, ranks ninth out of 25 countries.

And the most-at-risk countries?

Mexico, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Looming advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, and automation threaten to make many jobs obsolete over the next few decades. In worst-case scenarios, 800 million jobs could be lost globally; in best-case scenarios, robots squeeze humans out of just a few at-risk occupations.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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22 Questions About GDPR We’ll Answer In Our Webinar Next Week

GDPR is coming, and it’s coming fast.

Companies and marketers who aren’t ready yet have just one month to prepare for its May 25th implementation. And given that penalties for noncompliance are severe — a fine up to €20 million or up to 4% of the annual worldwide turnover of the preceding financial year — getting it right is critical.

Which means it’s a good time for TUNE’s latest webinar: TLDR on GDPR.

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

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8 Of The Top 10 Most Profitable Smartphones On The Planet Are Made By Apple

In a new report released by Counterpoint Research, global smartphone profits declined by 1% last quarter, thanks to a maturing mobile market. But an astonishing eight of the top ten phones by profit share were made by Apple.

One of the most expensive phones on the planet, the iPhone X, leads the way with 35% of global smartphone profits, followed by Apple’s other new models: iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus.

Two year-old models, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, are fourth and fifth.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Multiple Million-Plus-Follower Instagram Influencers Report Hacking; Emir of Qatar Possibly Affected

Multiple large Instagram accounts are reporting sophisticated hacking attempts by attackers who seem to know their passwords, leading some to believe that Instagram servers have been compromised.

“Six of my Instagram influencer friends just had their accounts breached. These are five-million-follower pages or more,” developer and instagrammer Albert Renshaw told me tonight. “And tons of other influencers are reporting this too … it seems someone cracked Instagram’s system or somehow got everyone’s passwords.”

Renshaw runs @Beautifulplannett, which has almost 300,000 followers, plus multiple other large accounts. He also runs secure email services for Instagram influencers.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Insights from the Future: Billion-dollar eSports Team Suspended For Illegal Use of Performance-Enhancing Drugs

Insights from the Future, chapter 3:  PEDs in eSports …

Once again, looking for your input, insights, and predictions for timeline, reactions. I will feature the best ones in the book, with attribution.


Here’s the “news” story:

*****Billion-dollar eSports Team Suspended For Illegal Use of Performance-Enhancing Drugs*****

The entire L.A. Lightning eSports team has been suspended for the balance of the Kraken IV season following positive drug tests for Kwik, a banned intelligence and mental speed boosting drug.

“We run clean games at Kraken IV,” league commissioner Ivy Lang said in a press conference this morning. “No teams are above the law, even the top teams in the league.”

L.A. Lightning, the highest-paid team on the planet, has long been controversial.

eSports kingpin Drake Owen put the team together five years ago, luring the best gamers from seven different eSports leagues with the highest player salaries in history, and a total annual team salary of over $1 billion. Top team member D3r3k 37 would have made over $75 million this season alone, and the massive payouts have prompted calls from other team owners for a league-wide salary cap.

Now, however, D3r3k 37 and all other L.A. Lightning teammates will forfeit all salary for the year, and team owner Owen will be forced to pay the largest team fine in league history: $100 million.

“This was a systematic effort by the team,” Commissioner Lang said. “A doctor with the program revealed everything.”

The banned drug, Kwik, is a nootropic that has long been shown to increase intelligence, mainly by speeding up brain function and accelerating reaction time. Side effects, however, include headaches and an increased risk for brain cancer. Unsubstantiated reports indicate several heavy users have also experience heavy brain bleeding leading to multiple strokes and eventual death.

Owen’s methods were long questioned by other eSports teams, but to this point concerns have largely been attributed to envy.

L.A. Lightning has won the Kraken IV cup the last three seasons, a result Owen had said was simply the result of selecting the best, treating them the best, and training the hardest. Lightning team members live on five floors of Owen’s residential tower in Beverly Hills, and are famously pampered. According to one former team member, the plumbing water is Evian, the food is prepared and served by a team of Michelin-starred executive chefs, and the suites are largely decorated with objects constructed from precious metals.

Owen did not hold a press conference or respond to inquiries, but did release a short statement via eSports Times:

“There seem to be penalties for success in the Kraken IV league. I have no doubt my team will be vindicated shortly, and we will return to capture the cup again this season. While I respect Commissioner Owen, she has overstepped her authority here, and the L.A. Lightning legal team will be taking this matter to the courts.”

eSports will grow to eclipse traditional sports in economic impact and participation

15-20 years

Top gamers will get larger salaries than the best NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL players. The incentive to cheat — including with PEDs — will be high.

I’m writing this book as a collaborative exercise. Each chapter is posted to my Facebook and LinkedIn feeds before going live. If you’d like to participate in critiquing and improving these posts, connect with me there. Alternatively, join my Telegram group here.

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Postback 2018 Agenda Revealed: 15 World-Changing Topics You Can’t Miss

Postback 2018 is almost here, and the agenda is getting very close to complete.

So what can you expect, besides 1,500 smart mobile marketing attendees, execs from the biggest tech companies, midnight parties, truly world-class influencers, and top journalists in attendance?

Amazing food, cutting-edge bands, incredible conversations with smart people, and some celebrity visits (remember Richard Sherman?) are pretty much guaranteed. But we’re also going to get some cutting-edge insights from people on the very front lines of digital commerce, mobile marketing, and customer engagement.

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

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Weatherbug’s New AI-driven Forecasts Include Air Pollution Forecasts Down To The City Block

125 million Americans live in areas of high ozone or particle pollution, and Weatherbug’s new and improved mobile app is now using AI to help them manage their exposure.

Some of the worst cities?

Bakersfield, Fresno, San Jose, San Francisco, and — of course — Los Angeles are on the top-ten list of of most-polluted U.S. cities for atmospheric particle pollution. But New York, Las Vegas, and Phoenix are all on the list for ground-level ozone pollution.

But the problem is that cities are big — hundreds of square miles in some cases — and air quality is not the same everywhere.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Amazon & Kohls: Frenemies And ‘Coopetitors’ Fighting The Retail Apocalypse Together

Late last year Kohl’s allowed ecommerce giant and retail rival Amazon to set up Amazon Return centers in select locations across Chicago and Los Angeles. At first blush, this seems insane.

After all, why would a competitor help an enemy?

Especially one accused of ushering in the retail apocalypse. Amazon’s ecommerce and mobile commerce success are unprecedented, and increasingly bleeding into bricks-and-mortar retail.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Massively Popular Fortnite Game Down Globally Thanks To Epic Games Database Issues

Millions of gamers around the planet are having a bad day, mostly because Epic Games is having a very bad day.

Massively popular multi-platform game Fortnite might just be a victim of its own success. Players have been complaining all day of slowness in joining games, and it’s been getting worse, with downtime approaching six hours.

“It’s an hour-long queue to join a game,” my own son — an avid Fortnite player — just complained to me. “One friend had a three-hour queue. He waited for the three hours, and then the timer just restarted.”

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Smart Speaker Penetration Just Exploded 50% In 3 Short Months

Apparently lot of people heard an Echo on Christmas morning, or said “OK, Google.” Smart speaker penetration exploded 50% between early December of 2017 and February of 2018, according to new data from comScore.

Amazon and Google won big.

Apple, on other hand, lost ground thanks to delayed HomePod availability.

“Recently-released comScore Connected Home data from February show the penetration of smart speakers is now at 20 percent of Wi-Fi homes,” says Susan Engleson, senior director of emerging products at comScore. “In just three months, that’s more than a 50 percent increase to an astounding 18.7 million U.S. homes using a smart speaker.”

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Comcast Challenges Amazon’s, Apple’s, and Google’s Leadership In Smart Home Tech

Alexa, Siri, and the Google Assistant just got some additional competition — from the TV. And your phone. And your smartwatch.

Today Comcast announced a package of updates for technology that connects with its voice-controllable home entertainment Xfinity platform. An updated mobile app, Stringify, configures it all, its Android smartwatch integration enables home automation from your wrist, and new integrations with electronics and lighting giant Lutron and home furnace and A/C manufacturer Carrier centralize control of your smart home.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Why Every Amazon Meeting Has At Least One Empty Chair

Amazon is a retail giant, a technology leader, and one of the world’s top brands. But there’s something missing at every single meeting in the company.

No, it’s not an agenda.

But it does have something to do the overall company’s agenda.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is famously obsessed with customers. He’s famous for saying “start with the customer and work backwards,” and that’s the reason that every project or product at Amazon starts with the press release with sample customer quotes. It’s something that has stood the 20-year-old “startup” in good stead.

“Obsessing over customer experience is the only long-term defensible competitive advantage,” Bezos has said.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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Apple Music Just Hit 40M Paid Subscribers, Gaining Ground On Spotify’s 71M

In a very quiet announcement on Twitter, Apple released some very significant news today. So quiet, in fact, that most people missed it.

Apple Music just hit 40 million paid subscribers.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Interviewed by Amy Peck from UploadVR on Genesis Reality

The amazing Amy Peck of Upload VR interviewed me at CES … but I just saw the video today! In it I talk about a startup that Stewart Rogers and I are working on in our copious spare time.

For more info, see Genesis Reality.

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Apple Poaching Google’s AI Chief Says Apple Is All-in On AI (But Who He Reports To Is More Critical)

Siri has long been the butt of personal assistant jokes, probably unfairly. In numerousstudies, tests, and examples, Siri has drawn about even with Amazon’s Alexa assistant, but significantly trails Google Assistant in knowledge and ability to answer customers’ questions.

With Alexa’s unmatched third-party penetration — more than 25,000 skills— and Google’s massive knowledge base thanks to a decade of search experience, that’s a bad place to be.

That could be about to change.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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New Research: How to Find and Nurture Your Best Customers via Mobile Measurement

Every brand wants to find and nurture more quality customers — the kind that buy frequently, stay loyal, and are easy to work with.

But how do you accomplish that?

By mastering mobile measurement, according to a March 2018 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of TUNE, “Master Mobile Measurement to Transform Customer Relationships.”

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

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State of Digital Advertising 2018: Adobe Analyzes 345B Emails, Website Visits, And Video Views

A comprehensive analysis of 183 billion website visits, 12 billion video views, 150 billion emails, and 1,000 consumers says that most marketers think their ads are relevant.

The problem?

Most consumers completely disagree.

Adobe just released its 2018 State of Digital Advertising, based on a massive amount of data captured by the Adobe Marketing Cloud. One of the insights is that while 74% of marketers think they are driving relevant ideas to potential prospects, very few of the people who see them agree.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Why Robots Won’t Kill Jobs: The World’s Largest Robotics Company Says More Robots Means More Jobs

93% of investors say that artificial intelligence is going to destroy jobs, and smart robots are putting 10.5 million U.S. jobs at risk, according to one report.

But a division president at perhaps the world’s biggest robotics company says robots won’t kill jobs.

In fact, just the opposite.

If robotics were going to kill jobs, Sami Atiya ought to know. He’s the president of Robotics in Motion, a division of the $34.3 billion ABB Robotics. ABB has 135,000 employees in 53 countries, and an installed base of more than 70,000 control systems connecting 70 million devices, including 300,000 robots being used in factories all over the planet.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Netflix Growing To 262M Subscriptions And 72% Of America, Analysts Say

Netflix will grow to 262 million subscriptions within a decade, including 72% of the United States, says Citi Research.

That’s a big jump from its current 118 million.

“At a high level, our $305 price target implies that in ten years Netflix has 262 million total subs (representing 72% U.S. penetration, 37% penetration of other developed markets, and 21% penetration of emerging markets ex-China),” say analysts Mark May and Hao Yan.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Top Brands Getting 25X More Social Media Engagement, Thanks To March Madness Advertising

The NCAA basketball tournament may be March Madness for college basketball fans, but it’s apparently also brand insanity for sponsors, who are collecting huge payoffs in terms of social engagement on Facebook and Twitter.

Capital One saw a massive 2,573% social media lift. Unilever jumped 1,665%.

And Intel saw 1,232% social lift.

Social lift is an increase in mentions, likes, comments, and retweets, and it’s indicative of how central a brand or topic is to our collective digital consciousness. Numerous brands have collected hefty top-of-mind bounties, thanks to the annual NCAA tournament, according to data collected by 4Cinsights, a marketing analytics company.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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Digital Duopoly Declining? Facebook’s, Google’s Share Of Digital Ad Dollars Dropping

Is the digital duoplogy in danger? Facebook and Google’s share of the U.S. digital ad market will decline in 2018 for the first time in years, according to a new eMarketer projection.


Blame Amazon’s ad business — and Snapchat — for growing faster than expected.

“The two companies will capture a combined 56.8% of US digital ad investment in 2018, down from 58.5% last year,” eMarketer says. “Smaller players such as Amazon and Snapchat are experiencing faster-than-expected growth.”

Get all the details in my post at Forbes …

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Amazon HQ2: Herndon VA and Cambridge MA Are Prime Choices Based On Recent Hiring Patterns

With 13,494 job openings in February of this year, Amazon is aggressively growing. According to a recent Citi Research report, those growth patterns suggest two cities which might be at the top of the list for the company’s second headquarters: Herndon, Virginia, and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Amazon announced its search for HQ2 in September last year and narrowed it to 20 top contenders in January.

Among those announced contenders are Northern Virgina and Washington, D.C. — both close to Herndon — and the city of Boston. Cambridge, of course, is in the Boston metropolitan area.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …

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30% Of Marketing Budgets Wasted? Time To Panic … Or Just Get Smart

Good news gets trumpeted from the rooftops. Bad news gets buried in the back yard.

Welcome to the back yard.

Six years ago when Scott Brinker’s martech landscape was considerably less insane — 350 marketing technology vendors rather than today’s 5,000 — and marketers were considerably less stressed out, Gartner made a prediction.

By 2017, Gartner said, the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO.

That might actually have come true.

But it may not stay true, if marketers continue to waste 30% of their budgets.

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

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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Just Proved That All Those Rich And Famous Do-What-I-Do Stories Are Nonsense

Sometimes, luck wins.

“How to be successful” returns 843 million results on Google. “I will teach you to be rich” is an actual website. And we can’t go a day without seeing how four habits will make us successful, or seven things the most successful people are always doing, or, from the astonishingly loquacious and for the above-average attention span, 37 secrets only successful people know.

All of it is nonsense.

Don’t get me wrong: there’s a lot of good advice, and there’s a lot that can help people. Go ahead: read one of these every day. Just don’t believe that they will make the entire difference between you living on $45,000/year and building the next Facebook.

Because … luck.

Get the full story in my post at Inc …

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When your latest story becomes a LinkedIn trending topic …

It’s always gratifying when a story resonates. But this is the first time I think one of my posts at Forbes or Inc has hit LinkedIn’s trending topics … “what people are talking about now.”

Cool 🙂

Here’s the post, btw …

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Amazon Is Hiring More Developers For Alexa Than Google Is Hiring For Everything

Amazon is hiring 1,147 people for its Alexa business unit alone, says Citi Research in a new report. That’s more than Google is hiring for product and technical roles across the entire Alphabet conglomerate, including YouTube, Waymo, Google Fiber, and — of course — the main money maker in the Alphabet empire: the original Google.

“Key takeaways from the job openings at Alphabet include that the company’s pace of hiring relative to its current headcount (3%) is among the lowest in our coverage,” say Citi analysts Mark May and Caleb Siegel.”

That could bode well for Google’s margins, Citi says.

It also could mean that innovation is slowing.

Get the full story in my post at Forbes …