Monday, August 31, 2020

Our Minds on Facebook Algorithms


As a futurist, I write often about the advantages of digital transformation for organizations and how early adopters gain extra advantages that aren’t available to laggards. One of the best demonstrations of this point was when Brad Parscale, the digital director of Mr. Trump's 2016 campaign, shared that using Facebook was an important factor in their win.  In his words, "Facebook moved the needle for us."  He understood how Facebook's computer algorithms worked before others did.

Let’s pause a moment to define what computer algorithms are. A computer algorithm is software code written by people - in this case Facebook employees.  Algorithms consist of rules and code that enable software to perform automated reasoning.  How does Facebook use them?  Kevin Roose, a technology columnist for The Times, describes it as follows, "The platform [Facebook and its algorithms] are designed to amplify emotionally resonant posts, and people and organizations that are skilled at turning passionate grievances into powerful algorithm fodder win.”  

Facebook’s algorithms are programmed to amplify content based on these rules: controversy wins, and negative content beats positive content.  Facebook’s algorithms love arguments, debates and agitation.  Parscale understood this before his opponents.  A recent Forbes article also supports this view, "The recommendation algorithms on social media might be complex and somewhat mysterious, but they generally favor engagement; thus, controversy."  If you want to attract a mass audience on Facebook or many other social media sites be controversial - that's how the algorithms are programmed.  It's not truth or virtue, it's whatever causes audience engagement (i.e. high blood pressure).  Higher audience engagement, not surprisingly, equates to higher ad revenue for Facebook.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

A Pandemic's Impact on Innovation, Industry and the Future with Author and TCS Expert Ved Sen

In this episode, I catch up with TCS’ innovation and digital transformation expert Ved Sen just 24 hours after his return from India.  We discuss the pandemic's impact on innovation, priorities, industries, and consumers around the world.  This future-focused deep dive discussion is special and gives insights into what is happening in Europe, Asia, and North America.

 

Interview Questions and Answers: Q1: What is it like to do international travel in the age of COVID? What was your experience? A1: 0:52 Q2: What is the mandate of your group there? What are you tasked to do? A2: 2:26 Q3: How do you see the Covid-19 pandemic really affecting digital transformation? A3: 5:06 Q4: What industries do you see that are really being impacted the most, right now, due to Covid-19? A4: 11:07 Q5: How do you see that impacting the world of the future of work? How did TCS address this change in the work environment? A5: 17:40 Q6: Consumers are changing their buying behaviors, what are you seeing from your perspective? A6: 25:26 Q7: What technology did you have your eye on and how has it changed after the pandemic? A7: 31:17
************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Politicization of Everything

We find ourselves today in a hyper-politicized environment that business leaders must recognize, understand and be prepared to address.  Increasingly a business’ brand, mission statement, identified purpose, marketing themes, suppliers and the executive team’s social media activities are all being scrutinized to reveal political positions to either support or oppose.  Whether intended or not, or true or not, claims made by pundits and popular social media influencers can quickly lead to market segmentation that may have a direct impact on a business.  

Prudent business leaders will think through these issues before they happen.  They will want to discuss the most likely trouble spots and identify the most likely scenarios and impacts.  The goal of these exercises is to create a playbook on how best to respond when it happens.  When it happens, the speed at which it can impact your business necessitates foresight and planning.

Earlier this year in Boise, Idaho, new owners of a pizza joint immediately faced a huge challenge as a result of the pandemic.  Not only did the pandemic shut down restaurant dining, but disagreements with the staff led to a walk-out, public protests and a social media campaign that politicized the disagreement.  No one wanted or expected these challenges.  No one was prepared and everyone suffered.

In another local Boise, Idaho, example, a beloved French bakery received threats as a result of asking customers to wear masks.  This was widely reported in the news and on social media and much of the community united in support.  The baker had no desire to be involved in politics, but politics found her.

Some businesses embrace selling to a subset of the market that closely identifies with a well understood political persona.  Other enterprises and brands, however, wishing to maximize their market size and potential, attempt an apolitical position.  

In the past marketing messages and positions could be closely controlled.  Today, in a world of “cancel culture” where just about everything can be politicized, it’s wise to prepare.  It is shocking how many objects and brands have already been politicized.  
  • Tire brands
  • Shower heads
  • Medical tests
  • Rice brands
  • Toilet flows
  • Masks
  • Church attendance
  • Sports brands
  • Hospital vacancy rates
  • Vegan food
  • Live wrestling
  • Fried chicken brands
  • College football
  • Mortality Rate Data
  • Pandemics
  • Pancake syrup brands
  • Disease names
  • Automobile brands
  • Craft and hobbies store brands
  • Hotel brands
  • Pizza joints
  • Definitions of fact
  • Social media platforms
  • Theology
  • Borders and Walls
  • Photos in front of church buildings
  • Vaccines
  • Sustainability 
  • Plasma treatments
  • Sneaker brands 
  • Home improvement store brands
  • Birth certificates
  • Medicines
  • Nutritional supplements
  • CDC 
  • News channel brands
  • FDA
  • University brands
  • Hawaiian shirts
  • Canned bean brands
  • Brutality
  • Historical monuments
  • Recreational equipment and clothing brand choices
  • Playing sports during a pandemic
  • US Postal Service
  • US Census
  • E-commerce sites 
  • Newspaper brands
  • Scientific methods and processes
  • Voting methods 
  • Opening Schools
The ubiquitous nature of social media and social media influencers has resulted in an environment whereby businesses are always just a tweet away from chaos.  Businesses must understand this reality and have a plan.

Are you willing to take political positions with your business?  Will supporting or opposing a particular politicized issue help or hinder your business?  Is your target market aligned with a political position?  Does it align with your organization’s?  How does your leadership team and employees feel about it?  Are they both in agreement?  Is it possible to remain apolitical on an issue?

I believe social media and social networks are now a permanent fixture in our society, as such, it appears this challenge will be here for the foreseeable future.  Choosing how to position your business in a politicized environment has now become both a reality and a priority.

Very funny video on Cancel Culture in 1238 AD.

************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Reality is Required

If you have spent any time working on IT projects you will have heard the statement, "The solution is only as good as the data." It's true.  If you lack enough good data to generate an accurate output, stop and find it before moving forward.  I remember having so many good ideas for process improvement when I worked in IT.  Almost all of them, however, were shut down with the words, “We don’t have good data for that.”

Truth is important.  If your data does not reflect reality – digital solutions won’t work.  Many technology projects fail when they move from the whiteboard to reality because they were designed on a notional view of the world, rather than on the state of things as they actually exist.  

Understanding what reality is can often be helped by developing a digital twin.  A digital twin is created by integrating sensors into a thing or series of things for the purpose of capturing enough good data to clearly depict reality.  Sensor-supported digital twins fill in the blind spots. Where previously we operated on conjecture and false assumptions, we can now operate with an improved view of reality.  

Reality, however, is more than data.  Sixty-degrees is a good hiking temperature if it is measured in Fahrenheit, but it would kill you if the results were measured in Celsius. A 500% increase in your annual sales sounds impressive, unless you started with 25 cents. Data that reflects reality must also include context. 

************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Driving Innovations, Enhancing Customer Experiences and Collaborating with Customers at SAP with Expert Matt Laukaitis

In this episode, I get to learn from Matt Laukaitis, EVP/GM of Consumer Industries at SAP.  He has been my friend for over 20 years and is a talented and inspirational leader.  He works closely with large SAP customers as they innovate, provide solution feedback and collaborate on the solutions of the future.  

************************************************************************
Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, August 03, 2020

Innovation in Live Streaming Video with Vislink Technologies Expert, CEO & President Mickey Miller

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced dramatic changes in the economics and business models of live sports and other live events - perhaps permanently.  As a result, new ways of consuming sports and personalizing it through innovations in live video feeds is required.  It involves advances in video compression, cameras, security, data transmission and production models.  Vislink Technologies is right in the middle of this vortex of innovation supporting the media and entertainment, the military, first responders and other industries.  In this episode, we get to take a deep dive into this innovation with CEO and President of Vislink Technologies Mickey Miller.
Read more on Covid-19 business impacts here:
  • Covid-19 Responses and Marketing Strategies with Retired VMware CMO Robin Matlock
  • Customer Experience Trends During Covid-19 with SAP Expert Shalini Mitha
  • Microsoft in the Right Place at the Right Time During the Pandemic with Expert Dr. Tomer Simon
  • Moving Physical Interactions to Digital During a Pandemic
  • The Covid-19 Pandemic Impact on the Global Supply Chain with Expert Roger Blumberg
  • The Covid-19 Impact on Digital Transformation with Expert Nadia Vincent
  • Business-as-a-Service a Resilient Response to Pandemics
  • Speed, Accidents and Pandemics
  • State and Local Supply Chains Challenged by the Pandemic
  • Paying the Piper In the Midst of a Pandemic
  • What is the Destination of Technological Progress?
  • Protecting Our Global Economic Network from Pandemics
  • Post-Pandemic Risk Strategies for Supply Chain and Procurement Leaders
  • Superstitions, Spaceships and Covid-19
  • Covid-19 and the Value of Ideas
  • Six Degrees to Contagion - Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic
  • Ecosystem Commerce and Pandemic Supply Chains - Interview with TCS Expert Rich Sherman
  • Covid-19 and the Role of a Futurist
  • Pre-Pandemic Assumptions and Presumptions
  • A Mid-Pandemic Interview with Supply Chain Risk Expert Joe Carson
  • Space, Pandemics, Roman Roads and Air-Conditioners
  • Navigating a Pandemic with Dropbox's CMO Tifenn Dano Kwan
  • Thinking Like a Futurist During a Pandemic with Frank Diana
  • Napoleon, True Competition and Pandemics
  • Covid-19, Demographics, Risk Analysis and Mobile Apps
  • A Pandemic Inspired Tsunami of Channel Switching
  • Ahead of the Curve - Pandemic Responses and Business
  • Pandemic Resilience is Knowing When to Quit
  • Using Data and Deming in a Pandemic
  • The Steps Required to Stop and or Live with the Pandemic
  • Flattening the Curve of a Risky Future
  • A Faustian Bargain Involving Privacy, Pandemic and a Functioning Economy
  • Leadership and Mental Biases in a Pandemic
  • ************************************************************************
    Kevin Benedict
    Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
    View my profile on LinkedIn
    Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
    Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

    ***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.