The Tree Rings of Competition

I’m fascinating by the evolution of mature markets and how competitors engage in said market to obtain mind share.

Many people question why Founders choose to enter certain markets. Onlookers tend to see juggernauts and feel as if the space is off limits. In my experience, the opposite is true. It’s very rewarding to carve out a niche inside a much larger market than it is to be the high-pressured innovator that is forced to make things up as they go. For one, the market has been validated by someone else, and you may have an advantage having observed what hasn’t worked for those that came before you.

Competition is healthy. And according to a recent article I read about market shifts over the past two decades, it’s the brands that come in later on that end up taking over the market. As proof, consider this list of market shifts from one leader to another juggernaut:

  • Coca Cola (1886) - Pepsi (1893)

  • Yahoo Mail (1997) - Gmail (2004)

  • MSN Messenger (1999) - Skype (2003)

  • Basecamp (1999) - Asana (2008)

  • Myspace (2003) - Facebook (2004)

  • Todoist (2007) - Wunderlist (2011)

  • GitHub (2008) - GitLab (2011)

  • HipChat (2009) - Slack (2013)

The lesson here is don’t be afraid to enter a market to compete for your own subset of customers inside a saturated vertical. Sometimes that’s where the best businesses change the world.

Ben Horowitz on Blockchain

As most people continue to obsess over the term “crypto” representing the financial instruments, Ben Horowitz thinks of it as the latest form of computing.

In the below clip from a recent interview, he very eloquently describes its importance in a way I have not been able to verbalize myself.

I especially love the piece about innovative technologies “being worse at first but with better features.” That’s a common trend we’ve seen with all startups and technologies over the past few decades.

The Future of Genetic Engineering

In most ways, I'm late to the party on this. But in others, it's still super early. 

Thanks to my friend, Austin, for bringing this craziness to my attention last week. I've since gone down the rat hole. 

 

 

 

GDPR is Here

I'm sure you're feeling pretty annoyed by now. Your inbox has probably received dozens, if not hundreds, of GDPR-related opt-in or "Privacy Policy" update emails. 

As you can probably tell from that flood of emails, the GDPR updates should not be taken lightly. 

With so many security concerns and privacy-related issues in the world right now, I see GDPR as the first step toward a more harmonious way for data to be gathered and for honest transactions to ensue online. 

If you are a consumer, you can use this opportunity to opt-out of any of the email newsletters you don't actually want to receive anymore. You could also strengthen your privacy settings in your browser or move over to the amazing Brave browser. 

If you're a company, it's already a bit too late to start doing something. By now, hopefully you're mostly prepared. Technically companies have until tomorrow, May 25th, to get into compliance with GDPR.

If you have customers or users in Europe, you must comply with GDPR. Many smart forward-thinking companies, though, are taking the approach that they will be GDPR compliant with ALL of their customers, regardless of their geography.

This is in line with the "only do it once strategically" for when these rules apply to everyone on the web eventually. 

My hope is that the US and other countries copy some of the better parts of GDPR, but disregard some of the heavier unnecessary elements of it.

Don't expect your email or inbound marketing revenue to be up for the next few quarters. Customers will have to opt back in and startups everywhere will be sending far fewer promotional emails out. 

In my opinion, that’s a justifiable price to pay for a giant step toward better user rights. Now, let's keep moving in that same direction. 

Your Memory in Moments

Facebook wisely announced a slew of updates at their F8 Conference this week. Among them was Oculus Go, a dating functionality, and increased privacy settings (of course).

One technological advancement that received less attention is their 3D Photo Memory capability.

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With this release, Facebook will essentially be bringing 3D illustrations and models to the News Feed. It’s also going to turn standard 2D photos into VR memories, or 3D environments you can explore using a pretty slick mosaic cloud design.

Facebook obviously wants to stay ahead of content visualization trends moving forward. It's these types of subtle improvements that will keep the moat around them when it comes to sharing personal moments for years to come. 

3D Printing Homes

We've come a long way as a society if we are printing homes for the homeless.

This is a perfect example of using our advancements in technology to solve the world's crises. 

Let's continue using technology for good and reach out our hands to help those that don't have the resources to help themselves. 

#SheInspiresMe

I was so impressed with Twitter's first-ever television commercial when it aired during the Oscars on Sunday night. 

If you didn't see it, Google it.

I was less encumbered by the political stance, and more inspired by the wordsmith-ing. It's based on a fantastic poem by @DenicefRohman.

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I-C-Oh!

I really only just want to put my fingerprints on this video. This is very representative for how I have felt the past year. As always, I leave it to people much smarter than me to articulate and make sense of the cryptocurrency zeitgeist.

RSS, QR, and Other Acronyms

When I logged into my AOL Reader this morning, I was disappointed to be prompted with a notification that the product would be closing at the end of 2017.

I understand that this is an exercise in passing the buck, but this is getting old. I was a Google Reader user many years before they announced it's expiration. That's when AOL took advantage of the opportunity. Since they're a big company too, they probably now understand why it's not an ideal business to support.

But why is that?

Am I the only one still relying heavily on RSS feeds? 

Technologies that change the internet one day can become obsolete the next. The lack of excitement for an RSS reader reminds me of the rise and fall of the QR Reader. Remember the hype surrounding that?

So here I am - left trying to find my next RSS Reader. Where will I end up and how long will it last? 

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CS Education Week

It's that time of year again.

It is CS Education Week.

CS Education Week exists to celebrate the growing K-12 Education movement specific to Computer Sciences.

I personally enjoy the Hour Of Code, which is where the students, teachers, parents, and community members all contribute an hour of code during the school week. This brings everyone together to overcome the struggles to understand the importance of programming.

I will be volunteering to lead an Hour Of Code at a local school this week.

I encourage you to do the same.

Here is a guide on how to help a local school.

Here are some activities you can do for your hour of code.

Here are some ways to volunteer.

Machine Translating Music

With my background in web globalization, I found this article interesting.

If you can look past the marketing gimmick, there could be something here. I foresee interactive music experiences that span dialect. All the audience would have to do is put on their own in-ear monitors that connect directly with the audio feed of their native language.

Now all of the sudden, the entire world can enjoy one concert - all at the same time.

AR in the Sky

Air Craft is an innovative augmented reality company paving the way for the future of drone travel.

Check out the video below. The sky truly is the limit here.

Making Everything Newsworthy

It doesn't take a marketing ninja to promote a big brand's movements into supposed new frontiers. Amazon Key is a perfect example of a powerful company putting a few existing concepts together to call it a unique service.

It's weird enough to promote...

Let a stranger into your home!

But many smart lock owners have been doing this for Amazon deliveries, and their cleaning ladies, for years. It's hard for technologically savvy individuals to consider this product launch very "newsworthy." 

When you're a company like Amazon, you have the ability to brand everything. I can't knock them for taking advantage of something that obviously turns so many heads. I'm writing about it here, aren't I?

Symmetreat

It's pleasing to the senses when everything looks tidy. Disarray is stressful.

Yet, there is so much beauty in purposeful misalignment.

This observation can be compacted into something like...

What is beautiful to whom is not as beautiful to whomever. 

It's all an art, not a science. 

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Google Wifi

I'm currently considering the best ways to make my at-home network as fast and secure as humanly possible. 

I have a standard modem with an Almond smart router (which I love), but I'd like to find out if there are more superior options for my area. 

If anyone has used Google Wifi (their mesh network connection), I'd love to gather your feedback on them. 

Google Wifi

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I would need 3 of them to cover my home so I am wondering if they will be worth the investment. 

Your honest feedback is appreciated. 

AR Will Change in a Snap

Apple's new AR Kit is going to change the way we interact with our phones, with our apps, and most importantly, our environments. 

Where engaging selfie-driven apps have thrived, superior technology will take over. As capabilities become innate in hardware itself, there are less hoops to jump through to get to an output. 

I'm not saying that these apps will die with these hardware improvements, but you will certainly see unprecedented adoption rates in other (more accessible) places. 

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Unmeasurable Viewership

Everybody saw it coming, but no one (other than the technologies leading the evolution) prepared for it. 

As Disney cries about a massive downturn in viewership, not just of ESPN but also the Disney channel, the media is acting as if this is a newsworthy surprise. 

  • Do you know anyone anymore that hasn't considered cutting cable? 

  • Do you know anyone anymore that don't subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, or otherwise?

  • Worse yet, do you know anyone that doesn't have a jailbroken unlimited content device? 

All signs have continuously pointed to free and web-based content over the past few years. While Netflix and Hulu have the power to measure their engagements, many downloaded and pirated content are left untracked (and not advertised against). 

This leaves only one option. Content creators will continue to flock to streaming services while companies like Disney panic to try to figure out what to do with their original content. They'll need to act fast before these other juggernauts create something better and more interested to the viewers seeking simple and more cost-effective alternatives these days. 

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