Monthly Archives: January 2017

Companies Learn Your Secrets

Description: Andrew Pole had just started working as a statistician for Target in 2002, when two colleagues from the marketing department stopped by his desk to ask an odd question: “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that? ”

Source: NYTimes.com

Date: Feb 6, 2012

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The desire to collect information on customers is not new for Target or any other large retailer, of course. For decades, Target has collected vast amounts of data on every person who regularly walks into one of its stores. Whenever possible, Target assigns each shopper a unique code — known internally as the Guest ID number — that keeps tabs on everything they buy. “If you use a credit card or a coupon, or fill out a survey, or mail in a refund, or call the customer help line, or open an e-mail we’ve sent you or visit our Web site, we’ll record it and link it to your Guest ID,” Pole said. “We want to know everything we can.”

Also linked to your Guest ID is demographic information like your age, whether you are married and have kids, which part of town you live in, how long it takes you to drive to the store, your estimated salary, whether you’ve moved recently, what credit cards you carry in your wallet and what Web sites you visit. Target can buy data about your ethnicity, job history, the magazines you read, if you’ve ever declared bankruptcy or got divorced, the year you bought (or lost) your house, where you went to college, what kinds of topics you talk about online, whether you prefer certain brands of coffee, paper towels, cereal or applesauce, your political leanings, reading habits, charitable giving and the number of cars you own.    READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Reflecting on this article, does ther ever come a time when you feel there is too much data out in the public sphere about you?  Why or Why not?

2.  What are some applications of this BIG DATA technology that you would find exciting as a manager of a business?

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Economic Payoff From Technology Is So Elusive

Description:  Your smartphone allows you to get almost instantaneous answers to the most obscure questions. It also allows you to waste hours scrolling through Facebook or looking for the latest deals on Amazon.  But for several years, economists have asked why all that technical wizardry seems to be having so little impact on the economy.

Source: NYTimes.com

Date:  June 5, 2016

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But for several years, economists have asked why all that technical wizardry seems to be having so little impact on the economy. The issue surfaced again recently, when the government reported disappointingly slow growth and continuing stagnation in productivity. The rate of productivity growth from 2011 to 2015 was the slowest since the five-year period ending in 1982.

One place to look at this disconnect is in the doctor’s office. Dr. Peter Sutherland, a family physician in Tennessee, made the shift to computerized patient records from paper in the last few years. There are benefits to using electronic health records, Dr. Sutherland says, but grappling with the software and new reporting requirements has slowed him down. He sees fewer patients, and his income has slipped.  read rest of story

Questions:

1. Why is the Economic Payoff From Technology Is So Elusive?

2.  Can you think of any industries or examples where the payoff from technology has been felt?Why?  or why not?

Alexa, Siri, & Google Assistant Will Make Money Off You

Description:  Apple, Amazon, and Google say their virtual helpers—Siri, Alexa, and the less snappily named Google Assistant—can make our lives easier by acting on our commands to book cabs, order pizza, or check the weather.

Source: technologyreview.com.com

Date:  May 31, 2016

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 But like all the other free-to-use goodies that tech giants offer up, these new personal assistants must also earn their keep. The companies aren’t saying much about exactly how their automated personas can boost their bottom lines, but they have clear potential to open up new lines of revenue. Perhaps most important, they could significantly increase the data that companies have on our preferences and everyday lives.

“A deeper profile of the customer is possible,” says Sridhar Narayanan, an associate professor of marketing at Stanford. “Already Google and these others have a lot of information about us—this is one new source that is different.” read rest of story

Questions:

1.  What is the revenue model to earn a revenue stream with these virtual assistants?

2.  Which one do you anticipate being the most successful? Why?

Cloud Business Lifts Amazon’s Record

Description: Helped by its fast-growing Amazon Web Services business, the company jumped to the most profitable quarter in its nearly 22-year history.

Source: NYTIMES:COM

Date: April 28, 2016

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Amazon often flip-flops between showing profits and losses, depending on how aggressively it decides to plow money into big new business bets. Investors have granted the company much wider leeway to do so than other technology companies of its size often receive, because of its history of delivering outsize growth.

For the first quarter, which ended March 31, Amazon reported net income of $513 million, or $1.07 a share, up from a loss of $57 million, or 12 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.

Revenue at the company rose to $29.13 billion from $22.72 billion a year ago.

Amazon’s share price jumped more than 12 percent in after-hours trading after the results were released. Investors were happy to see the company show profits after the disappointing run of reports from Apple, Google, Microsoft and Intel.

“The fact that they’re profitable is a big deal,” said Christian Magoon, chief executive of Amplify Investments, a fund manager that counts Amazon as a top holding. “It’s more of a big deal after some of the disappointing numbers from Apple and others.”  Read Rest of Story

Questions:
1.  What is making Amazon more profitable now?

2. ” Amazon is the rare technology company of its size to still deliver double-digit revenue growth.”  Do you feel that AWS can keep them profitable going into the future  Why or Why Not?

Everything Changes with the Internet of Things(IOT) ?

Description: Currently in the business world we are witnessing something like the epic collision of two galaxies — a rapid convergence of two very unlike systems that will cause the elements of both to realign. It’s all thanks to the Internet of Things.

Source: Harvard Business Review

Date: May 7, 2013

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If you are not familiar with the term, the Internet of Things refers to a dramatic development in the internet’s function: the fact that, even more than among people, it now enables communication among physical objects. By 2015, according to my own firm’s projections, not only will 75 percent of the world’s population have access to the internet. So will some six billion devices. The fact that there will be a global system of interconnected computer networks, sensors, actuators, and devices all using the internet protocol holds so much potential to change our lives that it is often referred to as the internet’s next generation.
For managers, this development creates challenges both long-term and urgent. They need to envision the valuable new offerings that become possible when the physical world is merged with the virtual world and potentially every physical object can be both intelligent and networked. And, starting now, they must create the organizations and web-based business models that can turn these ideas into reality.  READ REST OF STORY

Questions for discussion:
1. What is the INTERNET of THINGS and why is it important?
2. List some market technologies that you see around you that are part of this INTERNET of Things

The Continuing SEO Industry Evolution

Description:    According to Google, a media outlet that has old content is akin to selling out-of-date food at a grocery store. It’s a big no-no and, if caught perpetrating this type of content, it will be punished by receiving a significant drop in search engine visibility – and rightly so.

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Source: Forbes.com

Date: May 31. 2016

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While we know Google has been a naysayer about old content for some time and raised the bar on what defines good content by going after content farms, companies with static websites, and even big brands like eBay, this move to strike out at some of the biggest publishing brands in the industry, including Apple, The Washington Post, Time and The New York Times, tells us Google is at it again by making major changes to its algorithm. Some of the bigger hits included a nearly 80% drop in SEO visibility for TheAtlantic.com and a 65% reduction in mobile visibility for Wired.com.  read rest of story

Questions:
1.  Why is the SEO feeling a need to evolve?

2.  Should you manage your SEO within your organization or outsource it to an SEO firm?  Why or Why not?

Alibaba and Amazon Bet The Future On Supply Chain Management: Invest Big In Logistics

Description:  The world’s largest retailers are planning to not only grow into the world’s biggest logistics companies, but to completely revolutionize the industry.

Source: Forbes.com

Date: May 31. 2016

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Both Amazon and Alibaba have recently made significant investments to their supply chain capabilities and in the not distant future they will soon handle more shipments than most specialist delivery postal and courier companies.

In effect, these companies are building their own streamlined delivery systems that may replace the more established specialists.

Earlier this month, Amazon signed a new deal to lease more cargo jets, in effect doubling the size of its fleet. This is partly a response to increasing demand (shifted 27% more units in last quarter) but also a part of a grander plan.

The aimfor these internet giants is nothing less than the obliteration of all alternative forms of retail. When it comes to sales, Wal-Mart dwarfs Amazon by a factor of four. Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, plan is to undermine these lead by competing for consumer attention in ways that Wal-Mart can never match. That is, by offering a nearly infinite menu of goods, same-day delivery and liberating from the tiresome trip to the busy out-of-town store.    read rest of story

Questions:
1.  How do Amazon and Alibaba plan to revolutionize the logistics industry?

2.  Do you feel these companies will be successful in this strategy?  Why or Why not?