I’m speechless …
Pretty safe to say that with about 3 million views and over a million shares, this is my most popular story of all time.
I’m speechless …
Pretty safe to say that with about 3 million views and over a million shares, this is my most popular story of all time.
Everyone’s seen them: friends posting pictures of themselves now, and years in the future.
Viral app FaceApp has been giving people the power to change their facial expressions, looks, and now age for several years. But at the same time, people have been giving FaceApp the power to use their pictures — and names — for any purpose it wishes, for as long as it desires.
Get the full story in my post at Forbes … which has gone viral itself, with more than 700,000 views.
We already know that actionable insights are CMOs’ top priority in 2019. AI is a big way they’re planning to get there.
One big reason: the need for performance at scale.
One of Singular’s customers, N3twork, tests 50 new videos a week. Another, Yelp, needs to analyze hundreds of campaigns and even more creatives … in real time. Ilyon already had hundreds of millions of app installs, but wanted a massive 98% growth in the last year.
A CGO is a growth catalyst who brings together almost every department in a company to stimulate growth, including product development, customer support, sales, and yes — of course — marketing.
But how do they drive growth? And, how different is a company with a chief growth officer than one without?
Here’s three key differences that our recent survey of 700 companies found. CGO-led organizations are investing much more heavily in:
Amazon’s mid-summer consumer extravaganza is almost over, but the fact that the company has managed to invent its own shopping holiday speaks volumes of its dominant position on top of the retail landscape. Which is probably why Amazon was rated “best” by 21% of American consumers in a mammoth 7,000-person study for the second year in a row.
Meanwhile, Walmart was rated “worst” for the second year in a row.
Zoom just released a software update that removes an open web server that it used to install on Mac users’ computers. The web server was open to malicious attacks which could enable hackers to remotely turn on your webcam and record you in your home or office.
“We are discontinuing the use of a local web server on Mac devices,” Zoom’s release notes for the new version of the software, released today, say. “Following the update, the local web server will be completely removed from the Zoom installation.”
Facebook’s Oculus Quest is a game-changer device that puts us back on track for Ready Player One experiences.
Of course, a full Spielberg’s Ready Player One experience is still in the far future. But now it’s easy to see the path forward, mostly because Oculus Quest has fixed the single biggest problem with VR: the five-minute fix.
Why are you not reaching your maximum level as a marketer?
Your goal as a marketer is to drive your company’s growth performance. That might be user acquisition. It might be customer retention. It might be share of wallet, revenue, or some other metric that is critical to you.
Your goal is to beat the competition. Here’s ten reasons you fail to win.
This is the eleventh chapter of Insights from the Future, a book I’m writing about technology, innovation, and people … from the perspective of the future. It is a collaborative exercise, and you are invited to participate.
August 17, 2025
Three Alabama men are in hospital today after a woman opened fire at an electric vehicle charging station in the Walmart parking lot in Bessemer, Alabama. Two are in stable condition while a third remains critical, doctors said.
According to early police reports, the woman was upset by how long the men were taking to charge their Nissan Leaf electric vehicles.
Her own electric car, a Chevy Bolt, was critically low and needed a charge to get home, but the men were still charging their vehicle. An SUV with an internal combustion engine was blocking the second charging station.
“It happens all the time,” a bystander told local reporters. “The rule is that you can charge for one hour only, and only while you’re shopping. Those guys were on their third hour, and basically just tailgating and drinking beer until their car was fully charged.”
“Which doesn’t mean it was right to shoot them, of course.”
According to the Pew Research Center, electric charging shootings have jumped 1300% in the last three years. The problem is simple: under-supply and over-demand.
“Electric vehicle sales have spiked 10 times in the last year as gas prices have continued to rise,” Pew analyst Alexandria Justice said today. “That means that home charger installers can’t keep up, and people are forced to charge at public stations.”
With competition increasing, some take longer than the stated allowable charging times, leading to conflicts. In one case, a Tesla pickup truck spent seven hours in a shopping center charging slot, leading frustrated EV owners to take matters into their own hands and vandalize the vehicle.
“When you add guns to the mix of impatience, frustration, and range anxiety, bad things happen,” Justice said.”
Police have a suspect in custody. The woman allegedly shot at the tailgating Leaf owners 17 times, hitting all three men multiple times.
Bail has not been set.
Alabama governor Mitch Jones promised to build more EV chargers as quickly as possible, saying that additional level one chargers are needed, which can charge an electric vehicle to full in just 20 minutes.
I’m writing this book as a collaborative exercise. Many chapters are 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.
CRM vendor Salesforce is releasing new AI-powered shopping experience design tools today, along with updated email marketing tools and new messaging tools that will allow companies to communicate to customers on virtually any messaging channel customers prefer.
Three times faster development, according to Bobby Amezaga, Salesforce’s senior director of product marketing.
Voice and text messaging service Discord has 250 million users who send 315 million messages a day. Is its private social model just the future that Facebook, with its recent push for groups, group sharing, and more limited sharing in messages is trying to build?
Private social, which Facebook is pushing hard right now, is the living room, not the town hall.
It’s the water cooler, not the stage.
A circle-the-date event in the technology world is analyst, venture capitalist, and technologist Mary Meeker’s annual state-of-tech Internet Trends Report. Some call it the most anticipated slide deck in Silicon Valley.
Meeker’s latest uber-deck on the state of all things digital weighs in at a staggering 333 slides.
You heard that right. 333 slides.
(And you though Bob-in-Finance’s deck was long.)
Like true partners in your success, we here at Singular have taken the hit and read each and every slide in that endless deck — including the fine print and sources at the bottom of the pages — so you don’t have to.
You’re welcome. (Just don’t test us. Please.)
We searched high and low for the slides that are the most relevant, most important, and most actionable for mobile marketers, and gathered them here for your TLDR; enjoyment and edification.
This is the tenth chapter of Insights from the Future, a book I’m writing about technology, innovation, and people … from the perspective of the future. It is a collaborative exercise, and you are invited to participate.
October 11, 2037
The Ethiopian government has accused the Chinese manufacturer of its military AI of intentionally losing its recent war with Eritrea. According to the prime minister, Ethiopia turned down a major China-led investment in the months before what people are calling AI War 3.
“They told us there would be consequences,” Ethiopian PM Ahmed Siad said today at a press conference in Addis Ababa. “We didn’t know they would kill thousands of our citizens.”
AI War 3 is now over, with the UN having brokered peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia. But the aftermath is just beginning, and evidence is beginning to emerge that suggests the war may have been not just fought by AI, but ignited by Ethiopia’s military AI.
And, according to Ethiopian military sources, intentionally lost by Ethiopia’s China-sourced military AI.
General Abraham Katemi, for instance, said yesterday that there were multiple signals of impending hostilities from neighboring Eritrea that the Ethiopian military AI saw as evidence of preparation for war. However, it’s not clear that the signals were real, or that they necessarily were indicative of battle preparations, and Eritrea denies initiating the war.
Residents of the border zone between Ethiopia and Eritrea have refuted the AI’s claims that the Eritrean army was massing near Badme, Eritrea.
American artificial intelligence experts have been examining the data and attempting to determine what the AI saw and why it interpreted the data as evidence of hostile intent. However, understanding precisely why an AI draws any given conclusion remains a murky task, researchers say.
The Chinese manufacturer of the military AI suggests this is all grandstanding as a result of a defeat.
But Panda AI also supplied the Eritrean military, and there’s evidence that in the weeks before the war, Panda AI gave Eritrea a free upgrade to the latest version of its artificial intelligence. Ethiopia’s military AI, on the other hand, was several months out of date — an eternity in the fast-moving world of generative AI.
Jiang Li, CEO of Panda AI, says that’s just a coincidence.
“We update our software regularly, and sometimes the sales division will reward a good client with a free update. Ethiopia was actually scheduled to be updated months ago, but had missed a royalty payment.”
The investigation continues, but China has filed a formal protest with the Ethiopian government over the presence of American experts in the country.
In other news, major Ethiopian stocks were massively shorted the week before the war.
Some conspiracy theorists are suggesting that the opportunistic investors can be traced back to Panda AI insiders, who may have had insider awareness of the coming conflict … and perhaps even knowledge, they allege, of which country was scheduled to win.
This is the ninth chapter of Insights from the Future, a book I’m writing about technology, innovation, and people … from the perspective of the future. It is a collaborative exercise, and you are invited to participate.
September 13, 2037
10,000 people are dead in eastern Africa as an AI war has spun out of control. The building hostilities between Eritrea and Ethiopia have been increasing for years, but now the war has spilled over their borders.
Hospital systems have been disrupted, power generation has stopped, and traffic systems are in chaos as each country has hacked their other’s control mechanisms. 350 were killed in Addis Ababa alone as Eritrea’s military AI targeted the city’s traffic systems, resulting in simultaneous green lights from opposing sides of intersections all over the city, and sending oncoming streams of traffic hurtling right into each other in variable flow rush hour lanes lanes on the Meganana bridge.
Self-driving cars were the worst enemy, however, as they went berserk, mowing down Ethiopian citizens on sidewalks and public squares.
Over 3,700 people were killed in as many as 973 incidents, causing mass panic. Locals have started to pre-emptively attack any self-driving cars they see. In response, Ethiopia has enacted an emergency law against any self-driving cars.
Unfortunately, the viruses and intrusions each combatant’s AI created have spread beyond the countries. Nigeria’s medical and traffic control have been impacted, as have Angola’s and Nimbia’s.
There have been isolated reports of impacts in other parts of the world as well, but Ethiopia and Eritrea’s military AIs are fairly rudimentary — nine-month-old models that cannot compete with protections from the newest and most high-tech systems most Asian, European, and North American countries employ.
The staggering loss of life in what is being called the 3rd AI War has renewed calls for AI arms control and the reduction if not outright banning of weaponized artificial intelligence.
UN ambassador Khofi Annan, a nephew of the former UN chief, called on both to control their AIs and stop any further carnage. A million marched in Cairo, calling for AI weapons to be banned, and protestors demonstrated at both Eritrean and Ethiopian embassies around the planet.
But the Chinese manufacturer of the AI systems said the protections were necessary, and that without their battle AIs, countries would be defenseless against attack.
“We provide protection for major governments from enemy attack,” said Jiang Li, CEO of Panda AI, while appearing at a trade show in Shanghai. “How they use our software is up to them.”
If there is a silver lining in the chaos and death of this third AI war, it might be that both countries have had little success in throwing their physical armies at each other. With communications down and transportation severely limited, it has been challenging for military leaders on both sides to command their forces.
Ethiopian prime minister Ahmed Siad has vowed revenge, however, as his country has been disproportionately impacted.
In related news, Tesla stock is down 10% over the last few days.
Apple’s World-Wide Developer Conference was bigger than usual this year, with huge hardware announcements such as the most expensive Mac in history — yes, more than the 20th Anniversary Mac (and if you remember that, you’re old) — and massive platform updates like Sign in with Apple. In addition, Apple updated and/or announced not three, not four, but a record FIVE operating systems at WWDC.
Count them: iOS, MacOS, watchOS, tvOS, and the new iPadOS.
In all those updates there are plenty of goodies for mobile app developers and publishers that should expand your markets, boost your installs, make development easier, and ultimately … make you more money.
Here’s the top 16 that I saw:
1: Watch OS grows up
Watch OS now has its very own app store. That means it’s easier for people to find and use apps for their Apple Watch, but also means a bigger total addressable market for Apple Watch apps.
Because Apple Watch is no longer tied to iOS devices. Android users and others can buy an Apple Watch and immediately get full functionality, which should increase the number of people in the ecosystem.
Building, distributing, and monetizing Apple Watch apps has been challenging, but the device’s bigger screens in recent models and this new increased opportunity should lead to improvements.
It’s obvious that artificial intelligence is already impacting the way we live. Every time we ask Siri to do basic math or Alexa to turn up the heat, we’re using AI.
But it’s unclear how AI is going to disrupt the way we work.
But even as AI, with automation and robotics, destroys jobs, it should create new ones as well. That might be scant comfort for the tens of millions of workers whose jobs are likely to be eliminated, but it does give us hope that as a society, we’ll survive the massive change that is coming.
Tesla’s new lane-changing feature is far worse than humans at changing lanes and does so in ways that violates state laws, according to a new report from Consumer Reports today.
As a result, it creates safety risks, CR says.
“We found that Navigate on Autopilot lagged far behind a human driver’s skill set,” Consumer Reports says. “The feature cut off cars without leaving enough space and even passed other cars in ways that violate state laws, according to several law enforcement representatives CR interviewed for this report.”
Even worse, Navigate on Autopilot doesn’t react to brake lights or turn signals.
Walmart isn’t competing with Apple. Walmart is competing with Amazon.
Walmart is releasing three sub-$100 tablets under its Onn store brand this week. They include an 8″ screen model at $64, a 10.1″ model, and the larger one with a detachable keyboard for $99. Each model has 16 GB of storage and uses Google’s Android operating system.
But the Walmart tablet isn’t about the tablet.
And it’s not about the top-selling tablet, Apple’s iPad, either. Rather, it’s about Amazon.
don’t feel guilty at all.
That’s because the drone I piloted had zero chance of impacting an aircraft. In fact, it can’t fly at all — except underwater. There, in its native element, it flew, in a sense.
Or swam, like a fish in water.
Last week Google announced the cancellation of its popular Works with Nestprogram, which allowed smart home technology to integrate with its Nest line of thermostats, cameras, and other products. Today it’s backing off that cancellation.
But only somewhat.
In 2013 when Adobe launched Creative Cloud, the company broke with selling boxes and refocused on selling subscriptions (software as a service). At the time, the company had about $200 million in annual recurring revenue. Today, Adobe has over $5 billion in recurring revenue.
That’s important, because from an investor standpoint, recurring revenue is twice as valuable as non-recurring. This is something that doubles its enterprise value compared to a company that has to sell a new widget every month, quarter, or year. The reason is simple: Keep your customers happy, and the money keeps flowing in. No further sales efforts are required.
The story of how Adobe managed to accomplish that has been told, but what did the company learn in the process?
More than nine out of 10 companies are investing in voice technologies, including voice-based commerce, according to an Adobe study released today.
Unfortunately, most of them are making a crucial error: They’re letting IT lead the project.
Just over a fifth of the 401 companies surveyed have released a voice app, and almost half (44%) plan to unveil one this year, according to the study. Most are playing the field, with 88% building apps for both Amazon’s and Google’s smart speaker and assistant solutions.
“Alexa, say ‘Thanks’ to Google.”
We won’t see any message like that in the near future, but Amazon executives should be very happy right now. And the massive ‘Works with Alexa‘ program should build on its dominant marketing position in smart home technology to grow even stronger.
Google just took a big step backward from being the glue that ties a smart home together.
In the simplest possible terms, a chief marketing officer’s role is to implement strategy that ultimately increases sales. A chief growth officer’s role is even simpler and more explicit: grow the company.
And what tools do they need to achieve those goals?
Singular is privileged to work with growth marketers at companies like Lyft, LinkedIn, Rovio, Wish, AirBnB, DraftKings, StitchFix, plus many more. We’ve seen what the best growth marketers the planet do, and we know what technology they use.
We also know how much data they have.
In a recent survey, 200 CMOs told us that their biggest challenge isn’t marketing data. Quite the opposite, in fact — they have plenty of data. They have avalanches of data.
And that’s the core challenge.
Tesla spends $0 on advertising, according to a new report from BrandTotal. But competitors such as Toyota, BMW, Porsche, and Ford spend heavily on the major social platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.
Toyota, for instance, spends 62 percent of its social budget on Facebook. Porsche, on the other hand, allocates only 14 percent of its budget to Facebook, preferring instead to use 47 percent of its major social platform spend on YouTube.
The United States had the biggest drop in smartphone shipments globally in the first quarter of 2019, according to IDC.
U.S. shipments were down 15 percent as global smartphone shipments declined 6.6 percent, the research firm said. Total shipments in the quarter were 310.8 million units globally in the sixth consecutive quarter of decline.
But there were some bright spots.
We have a lot of smart home devices today. I have a Nest, an Amazon Echo, a Google Home, garage doors I can control with an app, and multiple other smart home technologies. But can you really call a home smart if it doesn’t know whether or not your most critical environment is safe?
After today, the answer is no. At least for me.
My home furnace was venting exhaust into my house for at least three to five months and I had no clue. Until I started using a home air quality sensor.
September 4, 2022
This is the eighth chapter of Insights from the Future, a book I’m writing about technology, innovation, and people … from the perspective of the future. It is a collaborative exercise, and you are invited to participate. More details below the story.
I really don’t know what to do.
I’ve been having a long-distance relationship with a guy from Wisconsin for almost a year. We didn’t often video chat because he lives in a very rural location with extremely slow internet, so it was mostly text and audio.
Unfortunately, I recently discovered the audio was a complete lie.
Last week, my boyfriend’s voice completely changed! I was super-confused, but he acted like nothing had changed. When I kept asking why, he finally confessed: it was due to a Google Duplex update.
Apparently he’s really really shy, and never talked to a girl that he wasn’t related to before me. So he used Google Duplex, which sounds incredibly human, to type what he wanted to say to me, and Google Duplex said it in real time. Apparently Google uses artificial intelligence to create super-realistic human voices. I never had any clue it was fake.
It was so wonderful at first … he was so romantic, and said things just like I imagined lovers should.
But he could never come out to see me, and it was never the right time for me to visit, and it turns out that it was all a lie. I still don’t even know what his real voice actually sounds like.
Last week Google updated its voices, and all of a sudden my boyfriend’s “voice” changed. It got deeper and added a slight accent.
I’m not sure what to do. He’s begging me for a second chance, but I feel so betrayed. And I wonder why he couldn’t tell me months and months ago.
What should I do? Thanks for any advice you have!
-Confused in Vancouver
What is the future of games?
One thing we know: it’s going to be lucrative. The top 25 public game companies generated over $100 billion in revenue last year, according to a recent story on VentureBeat featuring data from Newzoo.
The largest, Tencent, had almost $20 billion in estimated game revenue. Sony, Microsoft, Apple, and Google are on the list. Activision hauled in almost $7 billion, and names like France’s Ubisoft, Korea’s Netmarble, and Japan’s Square Enix all generated more than a billion in 2018 revenue.
To state the obvious, games are a big deal.
But what’s changing in gaming?
Apple’s spending heavily on Amazon this year. But it’s not TVs or health food or smart speakers: Apple is a top Amazon Web Services customer.
According to a new report, Apple spent $350 million on AWS last year, and is on track to increase that to $360 million this year. In addition, Apple just signed a contract with Amazon committing to spend at least $1.5 billion on Amazon cloud services over the next five years.