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Weekly links to knowledge…Blockchain, AlphaZero, Future of Work and the Power of Focus.

Here are some links to knowledge I came across last week with some commentary I added in social media. I tend to be most active on Linkedin if you care to link with me. Pity to leave these commentaries die in the graveyard of social feeds so here they are for your enjoyment on my blog…

Uber banned from Itali, (almost) London and now Israel … disruption must be followed by construction if these technology innovators are to reach sustainability in the long term. Countries and communities have strong immune systems just like living organisms. Any foreign intruder who upsets the balance and makes the ecosystem sick will be rejected by the immune system or the ecosystem will suffer and ultimately have to adapt or die. Government and regulators and the disrupted incumbents are also part of this ecosystem. It’s not just the consumer and direct community. In the end, life finds a way.

Amazon is getting into just about every industry and now also in AR, VR and 3D rendering tools to empower businesses. What’s next? Self driving cars? Or do they build those already? They already build rockets… Should a company be allowed to cross over into any and all sectors? That’s what is happening here…

Coinbase Ordered to Turn Over Identities of 14,355 Cryptocurrency Traders to the IRS and the the Bulgarian government is sitting on $3 billion in bitcoin. Increased regulatory and close watch on cryptocurrency holders is bound to grow as people try to capture value via cryptocurrencies. And beware… very soon, more than 2/3 of all bitcoin owners will own under $100 in “value” (if you could call it that) and plan to do NOTHING with it. True value in bitcoin happens from usage (movement of the coin)… if it stands still … it will lose value. Bitcoin as with most things digital, follow a power law dynamic. Of the 30m or so Bitcoin addresses (holders), at least 111 hold more than $100,000,000, 2,400 hold more than $10,000,000 and nearly two-thirds hold less than $100. You can find the data here.

Signs that we are overdue for a tech bubble correction as early stage VCs funding dries up. Time till tell as stormy Clouds definitely show themselves on the horizon. You can read this man’s predictions for 2018… If you have not done so yet, start planning for a rainy day. It’s going to rain at some point… 2018?…2019?… 2020?… who knows… But something will come down. And likely sooner than later. Some sound strategic advice: “Hope for the best and plan for the worst.” And remember: in times of volatility is where all the opportunity is… so be prepared to move fast when things come down and catch your opportunities before someone else does.

Nice read on the increasing difficulties of International expansion by publishers. As ROI for publishers get squeezed, investing in new markets becomes riskier. Focus will shift from quantity to quantity. User retention over user acquisition. Building trust over manipulation. Building consumer trust as digital news sources continue to overwhelm and sometimes manipulate consumers will be a key to successful publishing and attracting quality brands for advertising.

A great example of placing to customer last from both Google and Amazon … the childhood like risk these companies take can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Amazon and Google acting like children 👶 At the cost of the consumer. Is this consumer centricity? Was Amazon’s mission not to become the most consumer centric brand on the planet? Well withholding Google products like chromcast and Nest from this platform in order to slow down their competition sounds like fowl play to me… so in retaliation Google is pulling YouTube off of all Amazon decides like fire TV as of January 1st.

This AR technology is going to be everywhere in a few years. Check out how Amazon is getting in on this… huge opportunity for retail if done correctly in a way that is helpful for the consumer to consider products before buying.

Google’s Deepmind just built a new AI program (a version of AlphaGoZero) which taught itself how to play chess in four hours and beat the current world champion chess playing software. You can read the research paper here. This maybe very significant for our future as a species… these programs (running machines) do not learn in months and years like humans… they learn in minutes to hours.

This is beautifully scary and you can read all about it here. What happens when our silicon helpers decide to learn on their own with little to no supervision … do you think they will solve our problems? Or theirs?

Found this to be an excellent read! I am definitely the creator type and this article touched me…I am going to star focusing more and blocking off distractions that do not help but instead slow progress. And within this articles was a great quote by Seth Godin to remind us all of the power of focus and keeping your eye on the prize:

Interesting hurdle for smart bag manufacturers. American, Delta and Alaska airlines have all announced that as of Jan. 15, travelers may no longer check smart bags unless their batteries can be removed.

Nice Infographic in this article on how markerters think AI is going to affect the industry.

Some limitations in the short term but time will tell as to blockchain’s application within the advertising industry.

Good time to be graduating from an computer science degree with an AI focus. There will be a bizarre demand for AI talent the coming years. If you put your head down, you could probably pick up the required basic skills from self study in AI and machine learning … everything you need can be found via a google search. 6-12 months of hard applied study (build something!!) and you are probably good to go.

And finally, the latest study by Mckinsey on what the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages.

Have a great week. Find your focus. Priorities what is most important. And get it done.



PS. I may (just may) start to send out a weekly newsletter with my knowledge findings for you to enjoy from your inbox. If your interested you can signup on the newsletter form at the bottom of this post.


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