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All the Things! Android inventor and longtime Silicon Valley technologist, Andy Rubin has launched a new hardware incubator/investment fund called Playground. Rubin’s insight is that for the Internet of Things to be a meaningful concept, we need smart objects more than we need infrastructure. His company will provide not only investment and advice (table stakes in the venture capital world) but also the expertise and experience of long-time hardware developers. Application to Marketing: The marketing industry has an unfortunate tendency to arrive late at the party and forget to bring a hostess gift. Marketers boast about their relationships at Facebook or LinkedIn as if that were evidence of cutting-edge digital knowledge. These are multi-billion dollar companies. They are the innovators of the previous decade. A savvy marketer would create relationship with a company like Playground. I’m not one of those people who believe that hardware is the new software. But between IoT, AR, and VR, hardware is about to undergo a period of intense evolution. As marketers, we need to build the bandwagon, not ride on it. Availability: Playground is open and investing Read More The Internet of You Personalization has always been one of the promises of digital technology. But personalization, up until now, has been rooted to the device. From a digital perspective, there is no practical difference between you and your computer or your smartphone. A new generation of hardware and software technologies are placing the physical individual as the central pivot in a galaxy of connected devices. In the article below, Christopher Caen of Readwrite discusses how this “emergence of the connected you” is already shaping our world. Application to Marketing: Marketers dream of the ability to target individuals accurately and consistently. But cookies reflect a device-based approach to personalization. Every consumer is an amalgam of behaviors and preferences. An individual wrapped in the warm, virtual embrace of their preferences and associations can be targeted much more effectively. Let’s all have the self-awareness to be happy and horrified about that. Availability: True behavioral targeting of individuals in a device-agnostic way is probably 3-5 years off. Read More Information and Expertise The transformation of knowledge from page to bits has had a massive unintended effect. As long as knowledge was safely contained in the physical world, it could be controlled and parceled out on a “need to know” basis. Virtualized knowledge is much harder to contain. The effect of this loss of control is an identity crisis on the part of experts across all fields. Some people call this the democratization of knowledge, but it would be more accurate to call it the democratization of information. Interpretation without expertise is a mixed blessing. In this vein, a new company called Sure Genomics is offering a full genome sequencing with optional genetic counseling for $2,500 and the FDA is predictably upset by the possibility of medical diagnosis without a medical degree. Application to Marketing: The pharmaceutical industry has become a dominant influence on the advertising world. But advertising agencies, at their best, can provide clients with a window outside of the corporate bubble; providing knowledge of changing consumer behavior in a changing marketplace. The cat is decisively out of the bag for genetic testing. There will be long term implications for the increasingly arbitrary separation between consumer and professional pharmaceutical marketing. Reinforcing the information monopoly of the experts has not proven to be a sustainable business model in any industry. Availability: If you have $2,500 to spare, you too can understand your personal cancer risk. Caveat emptor. Read More Mo Data, Mo Problems Cheap storage, improved database technology and ecommerce have encouraged companies to amass more sensitive information about their clients than ever before. The promise of big data is an improved level of customer knowledge and the ease of single-click purchases. This is exciting stuff for any company. The problem with big data is that hacks quickly become mega breaches, where millions of customers have their data compromised and companies suffer permanent and perhaps irreparable damage to their reputation. Application to Marketing: First, protect your customers. An audit of your data security should be an annual exercise. But the larger lesson of this year’s mega breaches is that reputational damage outweighs the possibility of financial fraud. Sony was horribly compromised by internal emails that were dismissive of key entertainment industry figures. Ashley Madison managed to ruin thousands of lives with their non-existent security. The best approach: assume your security will be compromised and don’t assume any digital conversation is private Availability: Schedule that security audit. Avoidance only makes it worse. Read More

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