Cool Things I’ve Seen This Week

Kicking off this week with a lot going on over at Google. Having more data than pretty much anyone else in the world they are partnering with The American Heart Association to bring ‘new approaches to reaserch’ into the causes, treatments and prevention of heart disease. They are trying to kill off VR headsets like Oculus Rift before they even get going by giving Cardboard an upgrade in the same week that they announced that YouTube will now support VR and 3D video on mobile. They have also released a full open source version of their AI machine learning tool TensorFlow, only geeks need click this one. The fight back has begun….

Meanwhile across the road at Facebook most of the chatter has been about their stellar Q3 ad revenues which totaled $4.3bn, up 45% YOY. What is the most interesting thing about these results is that they are almost entirely fueled by their mobile properties and when you consider that they were born on desktop and had to adapt to mobile, it is all the more impressive.

Speaking of Facebook, I was at the mothership this week to hear about their new retail products and how they can target locally through geo-fencing with bespoke creative and then track purchase journeys through mobile, desktop and then into store. The most provocative talk however, was from the Director of Retail Insight at IGD who questioned whether, in the ‘VUCA’ world that we live in, it was even worth planning for 2016. He suggested agile, real-time marketing teams that create emotional engagements and movements who think of solutions not lines (above, below etc) would be far more effective.

The rise of the East continues with Alibaba posting the single biggest day of trading on singles day with sales of $14.3bn. To put this in perspective Cyber Monday, the biggest trading day in the states hit $1.35bn. They have also bought the Chinese version of YouTube, Youku Tudou, for $3.7bn, how this will be effected by the new crackdown on online music and other content by the ever relaxed Chinese government remains to be seen.

I am a fan of anything that helps people get into coding and jumping on the bandwagon of all things StarWars is Code.Org. They have created a branded Java programme that teaches the basics based in the world of the force awakens. Enjoy.

Mixed week for Evan Spiegel and the team at Snapchat. At the start of the week the FT were waxing about their 6bn daily video views, but by the end the only fund manager to invest in them (and they are a pretty important one) Fidelity Investments, wrote down the value of its investment by 25%. Ouch.

Most of you are too young to remember, but I hold out hope that some will remember Betamax. No? Tumbleweeds? Anyway, they have finally been axed by Sony.

Stat of the week – $5m. The amount of money Sam Mendes reportedly turned down when Samsung offered an android phone for Bond saying ‘Bond only uses the best’. Snap.

And finally….

I am no fan of reality TV, but this is pretty cool. Over in South Africa, SA’s Got Talent has just finished and it was won by a 3-year-old DJ. Yep