21 Industries Other Than Auto That Driverless Cars Could Turn Upside Down

CB Insights:

It’s all but a certainty that autonomous or driverless vehicles will be widely used in the United States at some point over the next two decades. Already, over two dozen major corporates including Google, Apple and Mercedes Benz are hard at work building their own self-driving vehicles. Tesla’s Model S already includes an autopilot mode where the car drives itself on highways.
 Clearly tech and auto companies stand to gain, but many other industries could face serious upheavals unless they are able to adapt to the many changes self-driving cars will bring to the market.

How REI’s Co-op Retail Model Helps Its Bottom Line

Bourree Lam:

For a few years retailers have been facing some big challenges: falling in-store sales and the shuttering of big box stores. That’s led many to wonder how outdoor specialty retailer Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) could be doing so well, as seemingly similar companies, such as Sports Authority, go bankrupt. REI’s annual revenue grew by 5.5 percent in 2016, and the company reports healthy sales growth for both its brick-and-mortar and online stores.
 The answer to all these questions may have something to do with the company’s business structure: REI is a retail cooperative, meaning it’s owned by its members. The company has created somewhat of a community by offering memberships, offering its over 6 million active members a dividend for future purchases at REI and one vote in an annual board of directors election for $20. That might seem innovative, but perhaps what’s more surprising is that, in many ways, REI is just practicing old-school retail wisdom.

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The retail apocalypse has officially descended on America

Hayley Peterson:

The US has 23.5 square feet of retail space per person, compared with 16.4 square feet in Canada and 11.1 square feet in Australia, the next two countries with the most retail space per capita, according to a Morningstar report from October.
 Visits to shopping malls have been declining for years with the rise of e-commerce and titanic shifts in how shoppers spend their money. Visits declined by 50% between 2010 and 2013, according to the real-estate research firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Why Augmented Reality Will Be the Next Revolution in Retail The Pokémon Go craze may have faded, but it provides clues to how retailers can use technology to engage consumers

Kamil Klamann and Sekoul Krastev

In the summer of 2016, pedestrians on New York’s Fifth Avenue encountered crowds of (mostly young) people, hastily running into Central Park, smartphones in hand, shouting out Pokémon names and cross-street locations. Within days of its release on July 6, 2016, Pokémon Go, an app that brought the 1990s gaming craze to virtual life, became a phenomenon. Its 40 million daily active users (at its peak) surpassed those of Tinder, Snapchat, and Twitter and created a level of in-app engagement that Facebook could only envy. It took complete control of the commutes, lunch breaks, and social gatherings of legions of people around the world. Intent on “catching” Pokémon in the wild, gamers thronged into museums, streets, even Arlington National Cemetery.
 Although the Pokémon Go fad now has predictably faded, it holds important lessons for companies intent on reaching and engaging consumers where they are, especially retailers: The game, the first truly social augmented reality (AR) experience, enthralled the new breed of omniconnected consumers as nothing else had done previously. Players not only shared an insider world where they could fight each other, but they also walked together and gathered at PokeStops in the middle of the night. The people who embraced the augmented reality of Pokémon Go live in a world where the line between real and digital is so blurred that they essentially became one and the same — constantly augmented and improved by invisible technologies. And they are hungry for better, more personalized experiences.

The retail apocalypse has officially descended on America

Hayley Peterson:

More than 3,500 stores are expected to close in the next couple of months.
 Department stores like JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears, and Kmart are among the many companies shutting down stores, along with middle-of-the-mall chains like Crocs, BCBG, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Guess.
 Some retailers are exiting the brick-and-mortar business altogether and trying to shift to an all-online model.
 For example, Bebe is closing all of its stores — about 170 — to focus on increasing its online sales, according to a Bloomberg report. The Limited also recently shut down all 250 of its stores, but it still sells merchandise online.

Inside Hearst’s turbulent quest to build a Snapchat brand

Jessica Schiffer:

Sweet, Hearst’s social-only publication created in partnership with Snapchat Discover, launched to lots of hype in November 2015 — but since, it has barely made waves.
 The once-secret project has experienced a series of layoffs, including the quiet firing of editor-in-chief Luke Crisell in July, and a rapid turnover. What began as an ambitious attempt to create a daily culture magazine for digital — filled with one-off artist features, author interviews and more — has instead slid into the territory of generic viral content like “There’s More to These 6 Candles Than Meets the Eye.”
 Four former Sweet employees, speaking on the condition of anonymity, paint the publication as an ambitious experiment hamstrung by Hearst’s numbers game.

Adidas steps away from TV advertising as it targets $4 billion growth

Karen Gilchrest:

Adidas is leaving behind TV advertising as it seeks to quadruple its e-commerce revenues by 2020, Chief Executive Kasper Rorsted told CNBC.
 Rorsted said the firm would focus primarily on digital channels to capture younger consumers, a crucial demographic for the sports clothing line.
 “It’s clear that the younger consumer engages with us predominately over the mobile device,” Rorsted told CNBC Wednesday.

Apple store creator Ron Johnson on Recode Decode


That people can’t grab stuff. Although, now they can.
 They grab stuff … In the walls, but it was very spartan. It was just computers and that was it, because we didn’t have other products and they were just hooked to the internet, and people came, and what do you do? It’s an inviting, beautiful environment, I might as well put my hands on a product.
 Then you used glass and wood.

Who shared it counts for more than who published it

American Press Institute:

When Americans encounter news on social media, how much they trust the content is determined less by who creates the news than by who shares it, according to a new experimental study from the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
 Whether readers trust the sharer, indeed, matters more than who produces the article —or even whether the article is produced by a real news organization or a fictional one, the study finds.

Where Zillow (sort of) disses SEO

Rich Barton:

Branding is back, folks. Geeky grandson of Draper is here. If you’ve been living unhealthily off SEO and are feeling the pinch, go hit the gym. Start building new muscles. Your arms are skinny from disuse. Performance marketing. Social media marketing. PR. Branding. Look at your unaided awareness numbers. If you don’t know what that means, go figure it out. Start bulking up. Oh, and you’ll probably need money, too. Good luck.

z-estimate was brilliant PR, despite its lack of substance in many cases. However, Zillow has also embraced seo tactics.

The blockchain could help advertisers lock up our attention

Eric T.K. Lim and Chee-Wee Tan

While technology has been making more devices “smart”, and we carry phones with all sorts of sensors, these haven’t yet been systematically applied to advertising’s central problem – engagement. The blockchain, however, will make advertising much smarter.
 Traditional advertising – think of posters on bus stops and TV commercials – is easy to ignore and its effectiveness is hard to measure. Even online advertising has problems measuring engagement. But with the blockchain, advertisers will be able to tap into the data in our devices, automatically pull together multiple sources of information, and even offer rewards to consumers.
 What is the blockchain again?
 Think of the blockchain as a kind of a public spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is stored simultaneously on a bunch of different computers and is encrypted.

McDonald’s begins testing Mobile Order & Pay ahead of nationwide launch

Sarah Perez:

Initially, mobile ordering is available in 29 restaurants in Monterey and Salinas, California, through the company’s mobile application. The test will then expand to 51 more restaurants in Spokane, Washington on March 20, McDonald’s says.
 By Q4 2017, McDonald’s plans to have mobile ordering live in its 14,000 U.S. restaurants. In addition, 6,000 others in Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Australia and China will receive the technology by year’s end, Reuters noted.

Another Decade, Another Miracle

Bob Hoffman:

In the 70’s, the miracle was marketing. Suddenly every agency was flush with freshly minted MBAs right out of the best schools in the country. Mostly they were nicely scrubbed frat boys who made us street rats feel somehow inadequate. They had actually read books about advertising and spoke a language that was impressive if you didn’t listen too closely. Sadly, they were mostly dumber than stumps but luckily they weren’t allowed to do too much damage.
 By the 80’s the frenzy over the MBA’s had grown stale as it turned out that their only reliable competence was for choosing the right wine. The 80’s gave us the miracle of research. Out of some dank and pungent caves in the basement of your client’s headquarters emerged a new species of researcher. They were proto-nerds. They had all the characteristics of nerds but none of the charm. They had no idea what any meeting was going to be about but somehow came armed with studies to refute whatever it was you were planning to advocate. It was a kind of bizarre and evil ESP.
 Bless Jay Chiat’s heart, he saw to it that by the time the 90’s rolled around the client research people were sent to bed without dinner as the research function was cleverly ripped away from them through the genius of account planning. See, you research geeks view everything from the company’s standpoint. We ad geniuses see it from the consumer’s standpoint. This became one of the greatest misdirection operations in advertising history and the power of its brilliance can be seen in many agencies yet today as account planners are still allowed to walk the halls and, in some compassionate agencies, even speak.
 But planning’s Decade Mirabilis ended abruptly as the year 2000 approached and online advertising became the new miracle. The web was the answer that everyone needed. The agency industry was tired and lifeless. Clients were restless and cranky. Advertising was stale and expensive. We needed something new, modern, exciting, and cheap. We also needed something that no one had a fucking clue about so we could make shit up. Something that we could build all kinds of dreamy expectations around. Online advertising was a godsend for everyone. Until it turned out to be a devilishly clever bento box of lies, fantasies, crime and mark-ups.

We’re watching more video, just not on TV

Sara Fischer:

A new Consumer Technology Association study finds that video viewership has increased more than 30% over the past five years to 16.8 hours per week, but almost half of all video viewing is being done on devices other than television (smartphone, laptop, desktop, tablet, etc.) — the highest rate its ever been. According to the study, that near 50/50 split represents a dramatic change from just four years ago, when consumers viewed TV video 62% of the time. Desktop video viewership has also declined by over 50% since 2012.
 Why it matters:

Complexity and Strategy

Terry Crowley:

 I struggled with how to think about complexity through much of my career, especially during the ten years I spent leading Office development. Modeling complexity impacted how we planned major releases, our technical strategy as we moved to new platforms, how we thought about the impact of new technologies, how we competed with Google Apps, how we thought about open source and throughout “frank and open” discussions with Bill Gates on our long term technical strategy for building the Office applications.
 I want to explore the issues I faced then and how our approach was influenced by how I thought about complexity.
 I’m currently rereading Melanie Mitchell’s “Complexity: A Guided Tour” and am heartened that even professional academics who study complexity full time have a hard time defining or measuring it. No breakthroughs here, I’m afraid, but let us try to construct a mental model that we can use to explore the topic.
 When we think about enhancing a software system, we can consider the curve that measures aggregate functionality against the aggregate cost required to achieve it. My impression from reading journalists and analysts writing about software is that they believe you have a linear curve that generally looks like this:

The Blockchain Will Do to Banks and Law Firms What the Internet Did to Media

Joichi ItoNeha NarulaRobleh Ali:

Even years into the deployment of the internet, many believed that it was still a fad. Of course, the internet has since become a major influence on our lives, from how we buy goods and services, to the ways we socialize with friends, to the Arab Spring, to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Yet, in the 1990s, the mainstream press scoffed when Nicholas Negroponte predicted that most of us would soon be reading our news online rather than from a newspaper.
 Fast forward two decades: Will we soon be seeing a similar impact from cryptocurrencies and blockchains? There are certainly many parallels. Like the internet, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are driven by advances in core technologies along with a new, open architecture — the Bitcoin blockchain. Like the internet, this technology is designed to be decentralized, with “layers,” where each layer is defined by an interoperable open protocol on top of which companies, as well as individuals, can build products and services. Like the internet, in the early stages of development there are many competing technologies, so it’s important to specify which blockchain you’re talking about. And, like the internet, blockchain technology is strongest when everyone is using the same network, so in the future we might all be talking about “the” blockchain.

You don’t get AMP


AMP the Google Search carrot
 The Search team will try to weasel out of this claim, but AMP results do get prefrential treatment. It’s almost impossible for something to rank above the Top Stories carousel, unless you’re searching for something like “facebook”, which, yeah, the top result is going to be facebook.com.
 This is the aspect of AMP I’m by far least comfortable with, but Google gonna Google. They’ve been dangling carrots in front of publishers for twenty-one years. And the now-ubiquitous ⚡️ has pretty good user recognition. It’s a pledge: “This site is fast; in fact, it’s instant. This site won’t jump around under your thumb. This site doesn’t have obtrusive ads. This site won’t try any shenanigans like redirecting you to the App Store page for Clash of Clans”.
 You can’t make those promises with 100% bulletproof statically verifiable certainty without AMP.

ARMing the Cloud; Qualcomm’s Centriq 2400 Platform will power Microsoft Azure instances

PC Perspective:

Qualcomm have already announced Windows 10 support on their Snapdragon, but the fact that Microsoft are internally running Windows Server on an ARM v8 based processor is much more impressive. Intel and AMD have long held reign in the server room and have rightfully shrugged of the many times in which companies have announced ARM based servers which will offer more power efficient alternatives. Intel have made huge advances at creating low power chips for the server room; AMD’s recently announced Naples shows their intentions to hold their market share as well.

Google isn’t actually tackling ‘fake news’ content on its ad network

Ginny Marvin:

Google continues to profit from ads served on hundreds if not thousands of sites promoting propaganda, conspiracy theories, hoaxes and flat-out lies. Some are fairly well-known publishers; others popped up during the election cycle and appear to exist solely to earn money from ads.
 Here’s what advertisers should understand about what Google’s “Misrepresentative content” policy means and doesn’t mean.

Technology’s Purpose

Ian Bogost:

“No… it’s a magic potty,” my daughter used to lament, age 3 or so, before refusing to use a public restroom stall with an automatic-flush toilet. As a small person, she was accustomed to the infrared sensor detecting erratic motion at the top of her head and violently flushing beneath her. Better, in her mind, just to delay relief than to subject herself to the magic potty’s dark dealings.

U.S. consumers now spend 5 hours per day on mobile devices

Sarah Perez:

The shift into apps can be attributed to many other factors, as well — increased selection in the app stores, better and more available Wi-Fi and mobile broadband and the rise in messaging apps, which sees apps taking over typical phone functions like texting and phone calls, among several other factors.
 But as Flurry has noted in the past, apps have grown more popular than watching TV — something that speaks to users’ interest in apps for more than just utility.
 In fall 2015, the firm found that U.S. users were spending more time using apps than watching our big TV screens in the living room. The indication here is that apps are sucking up more of our “downtime” where we would have otherwise been passively engaged with television programming. Plus, we’re turning to apps to serve as our means of “watching TV” in many cases, thanks to the availability of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu and others.

The first on-site house has been printed in Russia

Apis Cor:

In December 2016, the Apis Cor company in cooperation with PIK proceeded to print the building using a mobile 3D printer. Construction took place at the Apis Cor company’s test facility in the town of Stupino, on the territory of the Stupino aerated concrete factory. Printing of self-bearing walls, partitions and building envelope were done in less than a day: pure machine time of printing amounted to 24 hours.

How Google Street View Images Reveal the Demographic Makeup of the U.S. – MIT Technology Review

MIT Technology Review:

But how does the population of vehicles in an area relate to the local demographics? To find out, the team trained another deep-learning algorithm to learn the correlation between vehicle types and the data from U.S. Census and presidential election voting patterns in each precinct (an area of about 1,000 people). This training data set consisted of the data from 35 cities.
 They then used the rest of the data to test the deep-learning algorithm. The question they wanted to answer was: given the pattern of vehicles in an area, could the algorithm accurately predict the demographics as recorded in the U.S. Census and presidential voting data?
 It turns out that the deep-learning algorithm can do this remarkably well. “Using the classified motor vehicles in each neighborhood, we infer a wide range of demographic statistics, socioeconomic attributes, and political preferences of its residents,” they say.

I Subscribed To Push Notifications From 12 News Outlets For 3 Months — Here’s What I Learned

Cassie Dogostino:

That equates to roughly 66.5 million Americans, based on U.S. population at the time of the Pew Research Center survey, who receive push notifications, but do not click through or search for any more information. To put that number in perspective, 66.5 million people is more than the population of: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming combined.
 That statistic is simply alarming.
 News bites can suffice at times, but updates and headlines are predominantly messages that lack context, are sensationalized, or are deliberately misleading. Ideally, to address these concerns, we would all seek out information from various credible sources and would have a comprehensive nationwide conversation about media literacy. However, as found in Nic Newman’s News Alerts and the Battle for the Lockscreen, many users already regard push notifications as ample information that delivers a considerable value.

Google & Facebook ad traffic is 90% useless

Omid Sadeghpour

As a result I have stopped all my Google and Facebook campaigns on You Exec and have focused on growing the service more organically via social sharing and friends. Has anyone else experienced this as well? I’d be happy to share videos or more details, but the difference is clearly noticeable. I’d be interested to see if Fullstory has any high-level analysis of this or if they can verify this behavior.
 The videos above have been speed-up 4X so you can get the picture quickly. After watching 100s of sessions, I have to admit, about one out of 10 visitors from Google & Facebook ads seem legit.

Mobile overview Report


The MOVR (Mobile Overview Report) provides timely data about device usage trends – focusing on smartphone, tablet and feature phone usage – drawn from a sample of our internal data sources averaging over 1 billion hits per month.

Mobile Acts as a Nerve Center of the Canadian Shopping Experience


It’s almost impossible to go anywhere without seeing someone texting, video chatting or making a call from their smartphone. But smartphones aren’t just used for keeping in touch and playing games. Today, consumers also use the technology at their fingertips to research, run price checks and read reviews for a growing array of products they use in their daily lives.

From initial search to providing feedback, mobile shopping expands the e-commerce universe for consumers, retailers and manufacturers alike. Mobile users rely on their devices along the path to purchase either through an all-online process or through an “online-to-store-to-online” process. Even if consumers exit their online pathway to buy offline, mobile is still a vital stepping stone in the shopping journey. This includes searching and using coupons on their mobile device and using lists for shopping (wedding registry, etc.) created either on their mobile device or saved on apps.

In many ways, mobile is giving savvy retailers a leg up over their competitors. That’s because consumers are using the online sites to do everything from find a store to check for discounts and promotions before they make their journeys. These retailers know that in today’s connected world, it’s rare for consumers to make a purchase without going online first to do their homework.

Saving 80% in 90 Seconds? | Lemonade


A report by IBNR Weekly, one of the most respected publications in insurance, alarmed many industry-insiders:
 “In an attempt to better understand Lemonade’s “killer” pricing, we “applied” for renters insurance through the Lemonade and Bungalow websites… the pricing was dramatically different as Bungalow’s annual price was ~5.6x Lemonade.” (IBNR Weekly, September 29, 2016)
 Incumbents find the idea of a 560% price gap unsettling. Understandably. Beyond self-preservation jitters, some raised concerns about Lemonade’s ‘killer prices’ looking a lot like ‘suicidal prices.’ After all, they reasoned, insurance companies pay out in claims over 40% of the fees they collect. So if Lemonade charges 80% less (same as saying others charge 5x more) Lemonade will be paying out in claims more than it receives in premiums! Lemonade must be recklessly naïve or worse, they surmised, and insolvency just a matter of time.
 I get it. That’s why I’m writing this post.

U.S. iPhone users are spending more on apps

Kia Kokalitcheva:

U.S. iPhone users are increasing their spending on premium apps and in-app purchases, according to data from mobile analytics firm SensorTower. In 2016, they spent an average of $40, up from $35 the previous year.
 Games rule the App Store: Gaming apps generated 80% of that revenue, according to the data. The average iPhone user spent $27 last year on games, versus only $3.60 on music apps—the second biggest category after games. And while entertainment apps like Hulu and Netflix saw a 130% bump, revenue from that category is still only $2.30 from the average U.S. iPhone user.
 The flip side: In contrast with revenue, which is growing, SensorTower found that the average U.S. iPhone user installed 33 apps, down from 35 the previous year. The trend was present across all app categories, including games.

From Netflix to rented homes, why are we less interested in ownership?

Ian Leslie:

In 2008 the anthropologist Daniel Miller published a book based on an intimate study of 30 households on a single street in south London. The Comfort of Things ­explored the different kinds of relationships people have with what they own.
 Miller described a retired couple’s house, cluttered with furniture, framed photographs and knick-knacks accumulated over decades. Down the road, a self-employed man called Malcolm had rented a flat. Malcolm preferred a spartan existence: he kept his belongings in storage, the better to travel at short notice, and conducted as much as possible of his life online. His home was his email address. His central material possession was his laptop.

Housing Finance at a Glance

Urban Institute:

The GSE’s credit risk transfer (CRT) program is growing and tapping into a more diverse investor base, reducing the costs of CRTs and improving liquidity in this market. At the same time, the continued reliance on back-end transactions is cause for concern.
Freddie Mac‘s first two capital markets CRT transactions of 2017 have been different from previous Structured Agency Credit Risk (STACR) transactions in one important way. Unlike the pre- 2017 deals, in which the first loss piece (Tranche B) was 100 basis points thick, the first loss piece (Tranche B2) in the latest transactions is only 50 basis points thick while second loss piece (B1) is also 50 basis points thick. Splitting the old B tranche more granularly in this manner is a noteworthy development for a few reasons.

The Problem with AMP


How software is eating the banking industry

Ari Levy:

 Ethan Bloch was in junior high school in Baltimore during the dot-com boom.
 For his bar mitzvah — the ceremony that welcomes 13-year-old Jewish boys into adulthood — Bloch received $7,000 in cash.
 It was 1998 and, like so many amateur traders at the time, he plunged his wealth into the stock market, mostly software and telecommunication names like Lucent and Nortel.
 He quickly tripled his money. By age 15, it was all gone.
 “This knocked me over the head and left a burning curiosity that I still carry today,” said Bloch, now 31, from the San Francisco headquarters of his financial-tech start-up Digit. “I realized I didn’t know s— about how any of this was working.”

Meet the man who sold the world on credit cards –

Claire Tsosie:

When Matty Simmons first heard about multipurpose credit cards in 1950, he wasn’t impressed.
 At the time, Frank McNamara, who came up with the idea, and Ralph Schneider, his business partner, were trying to persuade Simmons to join their new company, Diners Club. The concept of a credit card didn’t seem especially useful to Simmons, who was doing public relations for restaurants and nightclubs at the time.
 “What concerned me most was that I would be asked to not only publicize this new conception but to persuade restaurants to honor it,” Simmons wrote in his 1995 book “The Credit Card Catastrophe,” a firsthand account of Diners Club’s early days and the evolution of the credit card industry.

Surfing, metrics and creation: Facebook and Snap

Ben Evans:

Snapchat and a whole bunch of other apps are much more mobile-native than they are mobile-first, and have the tabula rasa freedom that they can target only the billion or so people with lots of bandwidth and high-end phones, rather than Facebook and Google’s commitment to reaching everyone. That creates a great many possibilities for the completely new idea.

U.S. household debt near record levels, Federal Reserve report says

Ed Adamczyk:

Total U.S. household debt climbed to a near-record $12.58 trillion by the end of 2016, a Federal Reserve Bank of New York report says.
 February’s 33-page “Quarterly Report of Household Debt and Credit” shows that every category of debt measured — including mortgages, credit cards, student loans and auto loans — saw an increase. The total increase of $460 billion in 2016 was the largest in a decade. Mortgage balances, now at $8.48 trillion, made up 67 percent of the household debt.

P&G exec on dodgy ad tech

Mark Ritson:

First up was the increasingly dodgy world of programmatic, and specifically the long list of ad tech vendors who each “punch their ticket” and take a significant slice of the client’s media investment long before it ever reaches a publisher or platform.
 “We serve ads to consumers through a non-transparent media supply chain with spotty compliance to common standards, unreliable measurement, hidden rebates and new inventions like bot and methbot fraud,” Pritchard announced.

Autonomous Vehicles and the End of Privacy

Ernest Oppetit:

Everything, everywhere, will soon be continuously recorded and uploaded to the internet. This will start with dense, urban areas, but over time every single square meter of every part of the globe will be recorded. Advances in computer vision & AI mean this data will be usable at scale, which will revolutionise advertising, law enforcement, and bring us back to a pre-privacy world.
 (and yes, you guessed it, the movie to pair this post with is Minority Report)

These cities are the most and least affordable for renters Diana Olick

Diana Olick

The good news for renters is that landlords today are less likely to raise the rent by a lot. The bad news is, rents are still high and unlikely to fall anytime soon. As with all real estate, though, rents are local, and some unexpected markets are heating up, while some hot ones are cooling off.
 Austin, Texas, for example, is one of the most affordable rental markets in the nation, even though home prices there are rising fast. The reason is that job growth and wage growth are strong in the new tech hub, and rents are still comparatively low. It would take just 23 percent of the average resident’s monthly household income to pay the average monthly rent, according to a new study by AppFolio, an apartment management company which commissioned data from Axiometrics, a real estate research firm.

P&G Tells Digital to Clean Up, Lays Down New Rules for Agencies and Ad Tech to Get Paid

Jack Neff:

Procter & Gamble Co., the nation’s and world’s biggest advertiser, is laying down the law for digital media players and agencies in a five-point program that will take effect this year as outlined by Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard on Sunday evening at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Annual Leadership Meeting in Hollywood, Fla.
 “The days of giving digital a pass are over,” Mr. Pritchard said, urging the rest of the ad industry to follow P&G”s lead. “It’s time to grow up. It’s time for action.”

Desktop dies on weekends

Sarah Fischer:

Web traffic from desktop computers plummets on weekends as people spend most of their time on mobile once they leave the office on Fridays, according to a Parse.ly study.
 The ratio of mobile to desktop traffic stays somewhere near 1:1 throughout the week, but on weekends, the ratio changes dramatically — nearing closer to 2:1. Check out the grey dips in the chart below.

Summary of My Meeting with Google AMP Team after “Google may be stealing your mobile traffic” post

Alex Kras:

Two weeks ago I wrote a blog post with a controversial title Google may be stealing your mobile traffic, where I outlined some criticism of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project. Shortly after Paul Bakaus (a developer advocate for AMP project) invited me to join him and Malte Ubl (product manager for AMP project) for lunch to further discuss my concerns.
 My original post was a bit confusing and should have been 2 separate posts. 90% was simply me outlining mistakes that I’ve made implementing AMP on my site. The other 10% I believe to be a valid criticism of the AMP project.

Starbucks says popularity of its mobile app has created long lines at pickup counters & led to drop in transactions.

Wall St

Starbucks Corp. says it has become a victim of the success of its mobile order app.
 The coffee chain created the app to reduce long lines at the cash register, but Starbucks Operating Chief Kevin Johnson said Thursday the lines have just shifted to the pickup counter.
 “The success of mobile order-and-pay has created a new challenge,” Mr. Johnson said in an interview.
 Mr. Johnson, who will become chief executive in April when Howard Schultz steps down to focus on building high-end Starbucks stores, said long waits have driven away some potential customers. The number of transactions in the company’s fiscal first quarter were down as a result.

Internet Health Report

Internet health report:

The Internet is an ecosystem. A living entity that billions of people depend on for knowledge, livelihood, self-expression, love…. The health of this system relies on – and influences – everyone it touches. Signs of poor health in any part impacts the whole. We’re all connected.
 How healthy is our Internet? How might we understand and diagnose it? We believe this is a timely and necessary conversation, and we hope you’ll join in.
 Our individual actions shape the health of the Internet ecosystem. Only by recognizing where the system is healthy can we take positive steps to make it stronger. Only by understanding where it’s at risk can we avoid actions that weaken it.

Behind the Stars A Concise Typology of Michelin Restaurants in Europe


The Michelin star system in Europe is the best-known and most respected ranking system for high-quality or haute cuisine restaurants. This study examines Michelin’s grading procedures and how chefs and res- taurateurs perceive the ranking system and the Michelin awards. The study surveyed chefs in thirty- six restaurants ranked as having two or three Michelin stars over the period of ten years in France, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. The chefs iden- tified the following key factors that attributed to the success of their restaurants: investment and invest- ment types, sources of financing, pursuit of excel- lence, and culinary craftsmanship involved. While the Michelin star chefs were tremendously successful as culinary artisans, this study revealed that the financial success of the Michelin star-rated restaurants was far more heterogeneous.

The spreading of misinformation online

Michela Del Vicarioa, Alessandro Bessib, Fabiana Zolloa, Fabio Petronic, Antonio Scalaa,d, Guido Caldarellia,d, H. Eugene Stanleye, and
 Walter Quattrociocchia,

The wide availability of user-provided content in online social media facilitates the aggregation of people around common interests, worldviews, and narratives. However, the World Wide Web is a fruitful environment for the massive diffusion of unverified rumors. In this work, using a massive quantitative analysis of Facebook, we show that information related to distinct narratives––conspiracy theories and scientific news––generates homogeneous and polarized communities (i.e., echo chambers) having similar information consumption patterns. Then, we derive a data-driven percolation model of rumor spreading that demonstrates that homogeneity and polarization are the main determinants for predicting cascades’ size.

“40% of adults now use voice search once per day” according to comscore

Mike Jeffs:

“Mobile voice-related searches are 3X more likely to be local-based than text” via Search Engine Watch
 “Home Alone and Elf were the most requested 2016 holiday movies with Alexa.” via Amazon
 “Customers use Amazon Echo for many purposes, with one-third using it as an information provider responding to questions and over 40% as an audio speaker for listening to streaming music.” according to CIRP.
 “Nearly 50% of people are now using voice search when researching products.” via Social Media Today
 “High consumer usage of voice assistants in autos (51%) and household (39%) indicates increased comfort with the technology” – according to Activate via WSJ.

Google Uses Its Search Engine to Hawk Its Products

Jack Nicas:

Alphabet Inc.’s Google runs the world’s largest advertising business, selling space atop its search results. Google is also among the biggest buyers of those ads, promoting products from its music service to its app store.