2018: Disrupt Your Thinking

The holidays provide valuable time to spend with family, friends and to re-charge our batteries as we enter the new year. One of the favorite holiday activities is reading a good book. I have the great pleasure of recommending five books that will provide valuable lessons and insights as we enter the New Year.

Grant by Ron Chernow was selected as it represents the finest example of the importance leadership and character. The current sexual harassment crisis highlights the importance of character in business and government.

Raven Rock by Garrett Graff was selected as it highlights a sixty-year effort by the government to protect itself from nuclear disaster. Innovations in construction, telecommunications, computer science and organization were created as a result. Today’s challenge is superiority in quantum computing. How the government responded in Raven Rock provides insight into how the government will approach quantum computing.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles Mann. Much of what we know about America before Columbus is limited or inaccurate. Like Grant, it is important to know where we came from to know where we are going.

A World Without Mind by Franklin Foer highlights the threat created by big tech which is already integrated into every aspect of our business and private lives.

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert points to the five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly ended. Experts around the world are monitoring when the sixth extinction may occur. The predictions call for the devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Grant by Ron Chernow
Grant is one of the most important figures in American history. He was one of the most successful generals in the history of warfare. It was Grant’s focus and character as President that healed the wounds of the Civil War. Grant was written by Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Chernow, author of Hamilton.

The author states that “Ulysses S. Grant’s life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and an inept businessman, or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War. But these stereotypes don’t come close to capturing him, as Chernow shows in his masterful biography, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency.”

Raven Rock by Garrett Graff

The shocking truth about the government’s secret plans to survive a catastrophic attack on US soil.

Graff highlights “the eye-opening true story of the government’s secret plans to survive and rebuild after a catastrophic attack on US soil — a narrative that spans from the dawn of the nuclear age to today.

For sixty years, the US government has been developing secret Doomsday plans to protect itself, and the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program takes numerous forms — from its plans to evacuate the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia and our most precious documents from the National Archives to the plans to launch nuclear missiles from a Boeing 747 jet flying high over Nebraska.”

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles Mann

In this book this Charles C. Mann alters our basic understanding of the America before the arrival of Columbus in 1492.

Mann adds “Contrary to what so many Americans learn in school, the pre-Columbian Indians were not sparsely settled in a pristine wilderness; rather, there were huge numbers of Indians who actively molded and influenced the land around them. The astonishing Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan had running water and immaculately clean streets, and was larger than any contemporary European city. Mexican cultures created corn in a specialized breeding process that it has been called man’s first feat of genetic engineering. Indeed, Indians were not living lightly on the land but were landscaping and manipulating their world in ways that we are only now beginning to understand.

A World Without Mind by Franklin Foer reviews what would happen if ideas were extinguished?

Foer sees “in the past few decades there has been a revolution in terms of who controls knowledge and information. This rapid change has imperiled the way we think. Without pausing to consider the cost, the world has rushed to embrace the products and services of four titanic corporations. We shop with Amazon; socialize on Facebook; turn to Apple for entertainment; and rely on Google for information. These firms sell their efficiency and purport to make the world a better place, but what they have done instead is to enable an intoxicating level of daily convenience. As these companies have expanded, marketing themselves as champions of individuality and pluralism, their algorithms have pressed us into conformity and laid waste to privacy. They have produced an unstable and narrow culture of misinformation, and put us on a path to a world without private contemplation, autonomous thought, or solitary introspection — a world without mind. In order to restore our inner lives, we must avoid being coopted by these gigantic companies, and understand the ideas that underpin their success.”

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

The author highlights “why and how human beings have altered life on the planet in a way no species has before. Interweaving research in half a dozen disciplines, descriptions of the fascinating species that have already been lost, and the history of extinction as a concept.

Intelligent disruption in luxury is trend to watch: Luxury Daily- December 29, 2017

As we conclude 2017 and begin another year, is there a phrase or thought that can focus our attention for the luxury business as we enter 2018? I submit to you two words: intelligent and disruption.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, disrupt is “to break apart, to throw into disorder, to interrupt the normal course of unity.”

Range of change
Clayton Christensen, author of “Innovator’s Dilemma,” wrote that “disruption is a process, not an event, and innovations can only be disruption relative to something else.”

The rise of Bitcoin (intelligent currency), 5 billion people connected via mobile phones (with intelligent sensor packed phones), computational intelligence in smart products, and the Internet of Things (IoT) and services produced are evidence of the process of intelligent disruption.

I believe that the process of intelligent disruption for luxury will accelerate into the next decade. Those unprepared will be left behind as they will not see intelligent disruption, are not prepared for it, and by the time they understand what has happened it will be too late.

Disruption is a part of natural evolution, as Charles Darwin wrote in the “Origins of the Species.”

Darwin’s words apply to business today. He said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Media baron Rupert Murdoch, summing up his business philosophy, recently said “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.”

How we got there
The telegraph, telephone, transcontinental railroad, wars, economic booms and busts, the automobile, electrification, satellite, air travel, communications, Internet, smartphone, space travel and computers all had their roles in disrupting the ways of people and business.

One of the greatest commercial inventors of the 20th century was Thomas Edison. Edison’s approach to rapid change and intelligent disruption applies to today.

Edison would take a needs-first approach to intelligent disruption versus an ideas first approach. He would ask what was the practical application for his intelligent disruption efforts.

History shows us that industries that adapted grew. New industries and companies were created, while others faded.

The last decade (2007-2017) was the smart decade. It was a period of unprecedented rapid growth.

Mobile phone users grew from 2 billion in 2007 to 5 billion, according to a 2017 report from the GSMA.

Smartphone connections increased rapidly over the last decade to 5 billion in 2017, from 179 million in 2007, according to the GSMA.

Each year for the past decade, smartphones have gotten smarter with the increasing addition of smart sensors.

Ray Kurzweil, head of engineering for Google, explained that the rate of change today is exponential. He said this “translates to us experiencing 20,000 years of change in the 21st century.”

What can you do?
How you can harness the power of intelligent disruption for growth today?

Luxury brands need to understand technology and its resultant impact on these organizations, products, customers, user interface design, service and their employees.

There are five “THINK” actions that luxury brands can take to stay on the cutting edge of intelligent disruption.

Think differently about participation in industry events outside of the luxury business such as CES, World Economic Forum, Mobile World Congress and National Retail Federation’s Big Show. They are excellent venues and opportunities to keep up with the pace of change.

Careful pre-event curation yields highly productive insights, business and connections. It can move organizational mountains and provide the needs insights and view of the world.

Help companies facing similar business challenges where knowledge and know-how can be shared.

Innovate with pilots in the marketplace to trial products and services to gather feedback.

Non-industry partners can aid research, such as academic organization and think-tanks.

Keep close with customers, partners and competitors, and understand their challenges.

WHILE THE PACE of change is accelerating so is the ability to capitalize on these trends and to rapidly expand your business and profitability.

Intelligent disruption in luxury is trend to watch

As we conclude 2017 and begin another year, is there a phrase or thought that can focus our attention for the luxury business as we enter 2018? I submit to you two words: intelligent and disruption.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, disrupt is “to break apart, to throw into disorder, to interrupt the normal course of unity.”

Range of change
Clayton Christensen, author of “Innovator’s Dilemma,” wrote that “disruption is a process, not an event, and innovations can only be disruption relative to something else.”

The rise of Bitcoin (intelligent currency), 5 billion people connected via mobile phones (with intelligent sensor packed phones), computational intelligence in smart products, and the Internet of Things (IoT) and services produced are evidence of the process of intelligent disruption.

I believe that the process of intelligent disruption for luxury will accelerate into the next decade. Those unprepared will be left behind as they will not see intelligent disruption, are not prepared for it, and by the time they understand what has happened it will be too late.

Disruption is a part of natural evolution, as Charles Darwin wrote in the “Origins of the Species.”

Darwin’s words apply to business today. He said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

Media baron Rupert Murdoch, summing up his business philosophy, recently said “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.”

How we got there
The telegraph, telephone, transcontinental railroad, wars, economic booms and busts, the automobile, electrification, satellite, air travel, communications, Internet, smartphone, space travel and computers all had their roles in disrupting the ways of people and business.

One of the greatest commercial inventors of the 20th century was Thomas Edison. Edison’s approach to rapid change and intelligent disruption applies to today.

Edison would take a needs-first approach to intelligent disruption versus an ideas first approach. He would ask what was the practical application for his intelligent disruption efforts.

History shows us that industries that adapted grew. New industries and companies were created, while others faded.

The last decade (2007-2017) was the smart decade. It was a period of unprecedented rapid growth.

Mobile phone users grew from 2 billion in 2007 to 5 billion, according to a 2017 report from the GSMA.

Smartphone connections increased rapidly over the last decade to 5 billion in 2017, from 179 million in 2007, according to the GSMA.

Each year for the past decade, smartphones have gotten smarter with the increasing addition of smart sensors.

Ray Kurzweil, head of engineering for Google, explained that the rate of change today is exponential. He said this “translates to us experiencing 20,000 years of change in the 21st century.”

What can you do?
How you can harness the power of intelligent disruption for growth today?

Luxury brands need to understand technology and its resultant impact on these organizations, products, customers, user interface design, service and their employees.

There are five “THINK” actions that luxury brands can take to stay on the cutting edge of intelligent disruption.

Think differently about participation in industry events outside of the luxury business such as CES, World Economic Forum, Mobile World Congress and National Retail Federation’s Big Show. They are excellent venues and opportunities to keep up with the pace of change.

Careful pre-event curation yields highly productive insights, business and connections. It can move organizational mountains and provide the needs insights and view of the world.

Help companies facing similar business challenges where knowledge and know-how can be shared.

Innovate with pilots in the marketplace to trial products and services to gather feedback.

Non-industry partners can aid research, such as academic organization and think-tanks.

Keep close with customers, partners and competitors, and understand their challenges.

WHILE THE PACE of change is accelerating so is the ability to capitalize on these trends and to rapidly expand your business and profitability.

Exponential Change In Action at CES 2018


CES (http://www.ces.tech) Consumer Electronic Show (CES) will take place in Las Vegas from January 9-12, 2018. CES is the global stage where next-generation innovations are featured. CES has served as the “proving ground” for innovators and breakthrough technologies for more than 40 years. The keynotes this year will feature CEOs from Intel, Ford, CTA, Huawei and Lyft.

A note to executives in the advertising agency, creative and branding fields, the pace of technological and consumer change is exponential. CES offers a real time and critical view of these changes which are driving the advertising and branding worlds. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s Director of Engineering and one of the worlds most respected futurist explained that rate of change is exponential. This translates to us experiencing 20,000 years of change in the 21st century. He cited Alan Turing who said “those who can imagine anything, can create the impossible.” AI (outlined below) is featured at CES,

CES 2018 Highlights: I attended the CES Unveiled New York event in November which is a preview to CES and am happy to report that CES has the most comprehensive group of thought leaders, sessions and exhibitors over the four day period.

Artificial Intelligence and the systems that learn to do the things we can’t program them to do are featured at CES. This includes deep machine learning, neural networks and narrow vs. general AI. CES projects that AI integration will generate large societal impact. CES highlighted Calorie Mama which uses deep learning and image classification technology to quickly and accurately identify food items. Google Deep Mind Health uses AI searches of retinal images and detects signs of diabetic retinopathy- like a highly trained ophthalmologist. AI applications in auto for sensory perception, data processing will feature the Ford Alexa and the NVIDIA Drive PX2. Intel will be featuring their Nirvana NNP ( Neural Network Processor). There will be extensive conversations regarding what’s next including smart fabrics made from Graphene. The next phase of AI is about building trust and for AI to explain to us why it is making recommendations. It is also about the use of AI in voice and the use of conversations to build relationships. 2018 also marks the 50th anniversary of the classic AI movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. After 50 years is Hal finally here with Artificial Intelligence and Big Data which are featured extensively at CES 2018.

5G Industry Roadmap: 5G is an important technology that will facilitate the IOT, AI and the connected car industries. CES highlights the importance and role of 5G and the deployment of enhanced mobile broadband and the industries that it will create.

Robotics in the Consumer Marketplace: Robots now have names and you will meet Kurl, Leka, Ubtech, Smarttech, Hub and Airbot at CES. These next generation robots listen, speak and do household tasks.

Sensing Technology: A full suite or biometric technologies will be featured at CES. Digital fingerprinting, Voice, DNA, Facial Recognition, Retina, Hand and Ear biometrics will be featured this year.

AR & VR Go Mainstream: Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s goal is to get a billion people using VR. VR and AR are expanding rapidly in sports, in health, learning , warehouse management and shopping.

Retail Tech: Retail tech will feature the AR, VR, use of voice for shopping, chat bots, smartphones, shopping apps, social experiences, and home or office delivery.

Smart Cities: The use of smart technologies to monitor and manage cities is rapidly growing. It is already in used to manage traffic, test pollution, security and planning.

The exhibits for Design & Source, Eureka Park, CES Sports Zone, Extreme Tech Start-Up Challenge and the 2018 Innovations Awards Showcase will be featured in our CES planning article two weeks before CES.

Key Locations to visit at CES:

Tech East: Las Vegas Convention and World Trade Center (LVCC), Westgate Las Vegas (Westgate) and Renaissance Las Vegas (Renaissance). In these locations you will find innovations in audio, drones, gaming, augmented and virtual reality, vehicle technology, video, wireless devices, wireless services, digital imaging/photography or anything “i” coming to market. It’s also home to many international exhibitors.

Tech West: Sands Expo (Sands), The Venetian, The Palazzo, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn (Wynn/Encore). These locations feature the innovative power behind the industry’s emerging technology, including revolutions in fitness and health, the Internet of Things, wearables, smart home, sensors and other high-growth technologies changing the world. It’s also home to Eureka Park, the startup community at CES.

Tech South: ARIA, Cosmopolitan and Vdara. Together, these locations are the CES epicenter for the advertising, content, marketing and entertainment communities, hosting a variety of C Space activities, including conference sessions, networking events, exhibits and hospitality suites.

Driving Economic Growth in Northern Norway with Sustainable Data Centers Background

The “Norway 2030-2040 The Business Opportunity Report” stated that “a dramatically changing climate presents an urgent and pressing human challenge, demanding action from all parts of society. But while climate change is most a problem to be solved, the transition to a low-carbon economy also represents a commercial opportunity.” The report highlighted the “high tech opportunity” as Data Centers. The report stated that “drawing on our hydropower, our advanced technology and a highly skilled workforce, we could build up domestic high-tech industry across sectors likely to be central to the low carbon economy. Our research and conversations with Norwegian companies points to data center solutions, aluminum manufacturing and the production of offshore wind technology as particularly exciting prospects.”

Why Northern Norway?

Northern Norway with its abundance of renewable energy, proximity to dark international fiber, cool climate, secure locations and highly educated workforce provides the key elements for the development of a robust data center industry in Northern Norway. Elon Musk added “Norway has a tremendous structural advantage with the Fjords and being able to generate immense amounts of hydropower. That’s something that I think can be done in a way that’s aesthetically in harmony with the environment and doesn’t disrupt the local ecology.” The region’s electricity production is already decarbonized and is 100% based on renewable energy, mostly hydropower. Norway and especially Northern Norway, is expected to have an increasingly large surplus of renewable energy in the coming years. Norwegian hydropower is a superior renewable source for a data center, with zero CO2 emissions and because of its ability to deliver power continuously.

What is the role of the Data Center?

The Data Center is the brains of the Internet and the engine that facilitates commerce and the global economy. Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and many governments have large data centers that operate their businesses and governments. All other companies worldwide use open colocation data centers. Data Center companies are under scrutiny by environmental NGOs because of their increasing power consumption and carbon footprint. Google has stated that it will run 100% on renewable energy in 2017.

What is driving Data Center Growth?

Data Center growth is being driven by a 24/7 intelligent always-on global economy. The growth of smartphones which numbers in the billions along with millions of self- driving vehicles, the consumer and industrial Internet of Things, nano-technologies, defense spending, university research, smart building and homes, entertainment and more. A recent report by Kleiner Perkins report shows data growing from 12 ZB in 2015 to 163 ZB by 2025.

How will Data Centers Drive Economic Growth in Norther Norway?

A report by Boston Consulting Group “Digital Infrastructure & Economic Development – An Impact Assessment of Facebook Data Center in Northern Sweden” looked at the impact of large-scale data centers to the Swedish economy. The analysis highlighted economic development and job creation locally, as well as the implications for the overall Northern Swedish economy. Given that many of the same business conditions exist in Northern Norway, this is a projectable study for comparison. Boston Consulting estimates “the establishment of Facebook’s data center is estimated to generate a total of SEK 9 billion in full economic impact (direct, indirect, and induced impacts) and to engage 4,500 full-time workers over the course of ten years nationwide; about half of the economic benefits will accrue locally. In 2012 alone, Facebook contributed as much as 1.5 percent of the local region’s total economy. Furthermore, the establishment of Facebook’s data center has laid the foundation for Sweden’s competitive advantage in attracting additional data-center investments.”


Data Center Demand Very Strong in Western Europe

Boston Consulting estimates that “global data-center demand will continue to increase, with more than sixty new large data centers expected in Western Europe by 2020. Norway can compete for these investments building a world class a substantial data-center industry. 


Kolos To Build World’s Largest Data Center in Northern Norway

Kolos To Build World’s Largest Data Center in Northern Norway
Cool, connected, secure: surrounded by a moat and powered by hydropower
Press Conference in Ballangen, Norway, on August 18, 2017
Ballangen, Norway, Aug. 18th — Kolos, a U.S.-Norwegian company, is building the largest data center in the world in Ballangen, Norway, 225 kilometers (140 miles) north of the Arctic Circle.
The Kolos facility — slated to open 2018 — is a brand-new class of hyper-scale data center, with sustainability, cost-effectiveness and security at the core of its design, construction and operations.
The massive climate-cooled facility, powered by Norway’s abundant hydropower, will scale beyond 1,000 megawatts of computing power, servicing the rapidly growing global data market. High-speed traffic to continental Europe and as far off as the United States’ East Coast will be routed from the Kolos node through high- performance fiber in neighboring Sweden.
Kolos’ announced “green” facility in northwest Norway is the latest iteration in a boom of Nordic data centers servicing major network-centric Internet companies. These include a big Facebook facility in Sweden with a second Facebook center in Denmark, a large Google facility in Finland, two Apple data centers in Denmark, and a recently opened center in a former mine in Norway used by IBM. Typically, the world’s largest data centers to date – including major facilities in China – have ranged from 100MW to 200MW in terms of total power consumed to power the extensive servers contained within these mega centers.
Havard Lillebo, co-CEO of Kolos, said: “We analyzed locations around the world and identified Ballangen as unique, due to Norway’s competitive green energy, the country’s cool climate and its large technical workforce, as well as access to international high-performance fiber and the site’s secure moated property.”

The planned Kolos facility will stretch over some 600,000 square meters and is designed as a four-story structure integrated into the natural environment.
Mark Robinson, Co-CEO of Kolos, added, “The team understood the importance of building the world’s most powerful data center with respect for the community and natural beauty.”
Within 25 kilometers of the planned site is access to a huge amount of excess clean hydropower, far more than any data center location in the world. “We can scale up to two gigawatts of consumable renewable power. That’s a massive size that our competitors can’t touch,” Robinson noted.

Numerous transformative technological waves – from mobile to cloud to the Internet of Things, all generating massive amounts of electronic data – are driving the growth in global demand for data centers and the climate-controlled housing of heat- producing high-volume servers. The government of Norway, the town of Ballangen and many of the country’s top business leaders have identified data centers as an area of green growth for the local economy with its power surplus.

An artist’s illustration of what the new Kolos data center in Ballangen, Norway, will look like when it is completed. (Source HDR)

Kevin LeMans, Principal at HDR Inc., the Omaha-based design and engineering firm contracted for the project, said the Kolos plant represents a new and exciting era in data-center design. “Our objective was to integrate the community, surrounding natural beauty, sustainability, performance, security and scalability into the design.” Kolos’ unique location allows for precise temperature-control inside the facility — with its massive stacks of computers — via water from the fjords and from chilled ambient air.

Kolos is working with Headwaters MB, a leading investment banking firm in the U.S., one with deep market knowledge and a strong track record of successfully sourcing capital in the technology, telecom and infrastructure space.
Paul Janson, President and COO of Denver-based Headwaters, observed: “The Kolos management team is developing the most innovative, cost-effective and environmentally friendly data center in the world. We are excited to be partnering with a firm that is a true pioneer in the industry and poised for long-term growth.”



A Discussion with Ray Kurzweil on AI & The Pace of Change at Cannes Lions 2017

Artificial Intelligence with Ray Kurzweil

Bill Gates said that Ray Kurzweil is “the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence.” I had the opportunity to meet Ray Kurzweil and here are the key highlights of the discussion. Like Kurzweil, Consumers in Motion Group sees a shift to an Artificial Intelligence first world.

Over the next thirty-six months will see an increase in the rate of change unmatched in human history (see below) whereby we will experience the equivalence of hundreds of years of technical development and knowledge changing annually.

Key Trends That Will Transform People & Business*

o A connected population of five billion people for the first time in humanity. 

o The rapid connectivity of the world’s objects from cars, houses, refrigerators, offices buildings, medical devices and much more.

o More industries joining the industrial Internet of Things.

o A global 24/7 information always-on economy.

o The industrialization of the cloud and the rapid growth of data centers.

o A mass commercialization of Graphene for use by industries is a game changer. 

o Entering an AI (Artificial Intelligence) First World

*Source: Consumers in Motion Group 2017

Advertising: A Brand is a Pattern

Kurzweil says “a brand is a pattern, it’s a logo, representing a brand. A simple pattern. But for a brand to establish itself, it tried to associate itself with a certain pattern that people will identify with. Like, this brand is fun, and this brand is reliable. And the essence of your intelligence, the essence of our neocortex, which is part of your thinking, is recognizing patterns. It’s based on patterns and brands take advantage of that, so we recognize a certain pattern of activity. And we need brands to help guide us through all the information resources. And the brand is a pattern. It’s a pattern of reliability. We use them as guide posts. We’ll continue to do that as we extend our brains” in a AI first world.

Exponential Change Example: Predictions on the Human Genome Project 

Ray discussed the human genome project. He said “that halfway through the project, seven years into a fourteen-year project, one percent had been completed. Most observers declared it a failure and said, I told you this wasn’t going to work. In seven years, one percent, it’s going to take 700 years, just like we said. That was linear thinking. My reaction was one percent, we’re almost done, because one percent is only seven doublings from 100 percent.” He concluded that it was finished seven years later. We’ve continued that trajectory. These technologies are now ten thousand times more powerful than they were fifteen years ago when the Nano project was completed, and that was the enabling factor which has turned health and medicine into information technology. It’s called biotechnology. We’re reprogramming the software underlying life. It’s already reaching clinical practice. We can now grow organs with new DNA, and all of health and medicine is going to be transformed by this. These technologies will be another thousand times more powerful than they are today, a decade from now. We’re seeing a triple in clinical applications that will be a flood over the next ten years.

Smart Technologies to Change Fashion, Food and Building

Kurzweil said “When a girl in Africa spends $50 for a smart phone, it counts for $50 of economic activity. Even though it’s literally a trillion dollars of research development and communications infrastructure to create information services which count for nothing because they’re free. Okay, this is fantastic gains in digital technology, we know all about that. But you can’t eat information technology, you can’t wear it, you can’t live in it.  So, I said, all of that’s going to change. We’re going to put that clothing at pennies per pound in 2020’s with free open source cool designs. We’ll still make money from fashion, because if you look at other technologies which have done this with products, like things like movies and books, you can now get all these fantastic free products but people still spend money to read Harry Potter or get the latest blockbuster.”

“They’ll do the same thing with fashion and every other industry but it’s a great leveler. We’ll be basically printing out food with vertical agriculture or grow food in vertical buildings controlled by AI, very inexpensive. We’ll stem together houses and buildings with 3D modules, LEGO style, printed out on 3D printers. This was demonstrated in Asia recently. They put together a three-story office building in a few days. It was a demonstration but that’s going to be the nature of manufacturing and construction in the 2020’s. So, indeed we will be able to wear, eat, live in, information technology. It’s basically a 50 percent deflation rate.”

Artificial Intelligence & Consciousness.

Question: Can you talk about the whole area of artificial intelligence. We want to talk about a very specific area of AI, which is about the consciousness. You predicted, that we will connect our brains to non-biological neurons with a simple graft. And in that scenario, we wanted to now, what role does consciousness play? And are the non-biological neurons conscious? 

Ray said, “so I’ve written a lot about this. It is not a scientific question. There’s no falsifiable experiment, that’s the basis of science, that you can create that you can create that would definitively say this entity is conscious and this one isn’t. You can’t build a consciousness detector, slide it in to the inner gray line, because okay this one’s conscious, this one isn’t, that doesn’t have some philosophical assumptions built into it. 
Non-conscious entities are only important insofar as they affect the conscious experience of consciousness. So, then the whole important moral issue is who and what is conscious. The whole debate about animal rights has to do with people’s disagreements about whether animals … which animals are conscious … the nature of their conscious experience. So, I believe it’s important, but it’s not a scientific question Which is only to say that there is still a role for philosophy. Furthermore, I say that we can’t get up in the morning and go about our day without taking a leap of faith, as to what and whom we believe is conscious. So, I share my leap of faith, which is, if it seems conscious, if it has the subtle behavior that we associate with subjective states, that it is conscious. That’s a leap of faith. So, we believe that human beings are conscious. At least, some human beings seem to be conscious. And the essence of my prediction, that machines will pass a valid Turning test and be able to handle human intelligent activities like language at human levels by 2029. Except they will be conscious. So, you can have a machine today, like a calculator or a virtual reality game, that says, “I’m very angry at you,” and we don’t believe it because it doesn’t have the subtle behavior we associate with that subjective state. The essence of my prediction is by the 2030s, they will have those subtle behaviors.

Cannes Lions 2017 CMO Highlights: Axel Schwan, CMO – Burger King


Axel Schwan, Chief Marketing Officer, Burger King won the Cannes Lions Creative Marketer of the Year at Cannes Lions this past week. Earlier in the week at The Economist panel discussion Axel Schwan, Chief Marketing Officer, Burger King   offered his thoughts on the BK Way CMO

The Details Matter

Axel offered, “I’m really fascinated by how the role of the CMO has not only changed but expanded significantly in the last few years, and the fact that kind of thinking about door handles and the menu design, falls under your unit, is striking.” When asked about strategy and focus he said, he thinks of the restaurants as “they’re our homes.” “We feel that we have 15,000 homes around the world, and think about yourself, right? When you invite a guest to your house, probably it will smell well, the restroom will look nice, and everything is in good shape, and this is what we need to do to make our guests happy. We take good care of them. And therefore, all details matter. Therefore, we have to drive sales on the one side to be really looking at the right part, right venue, architecture, all of that. So, this is partly when you have the whole communication side and restaurant design, with all the elements. “

The BK Way: Study-Plan-Execute

The CMO offered “What we like to do at BK is study-plan-execute. Studying is really, important because when you also think about … We have franchises and have a franchise system. We have hundreds of franchises, and our partners invest their own money in this brand, so it’s always for the long term, and so I’ve got to make sure with my teams that the stuff that we recommend to the world makes sense. This is why studying, learning, doing research, embracing research is important, and of course, we must be able to read the research then and pull the right conclusions.
Moderator question: “Did your kind of have that reset, where you tried to develop the language and the thinking of the hospitality business?”

We Serve Our “Guests”

Alex responded “Yes, we actually made a change in our organization a couple of years ago when we started using the word “guest” much more than “consumers.” I killed it out of our vocabulary in the organization, so actually “consumers” is a forbidden word at BK. Because, you have to embrace the idea of inviting people and treating them well, genuinely, and not just there. Our work is not done if we do a nice TV spot or we do certain media campaigns. This is just where the works starts for us in marketing because then we have to deliver on the restaurant level, and we marketers sometimes over complicate things in our industry. Why?  simply because we innovate a lot, and that makes life in our kitchens a lot more complex. We cannot over-complicate things in our kitchens because also something that I learned a lot over the years in this industry is the best marketing can sometimes completely screw up operations. My best friend at BK is our head of operations globally because we are in this together. We would only win if we don’t over complicate the restaurants.” “Everything starts with insights. Everything starts with the people. I don’t think of consumers, because I don’t think that if you think about people as consumers, if you think about them as we are ourselves. The insights inform us about how we should shape the marketing support that will meet the expectations.”

Our Agencies Are Our Partners, Not Vending Machines

Alex said “We need to build a true (agency) partnerships that we have. We need to partner with them (agencies). So, if you want to be a good client, don’t be a client, be a partner and to always work in a relationship, to always talk very openly, about the business side of life, the branch side of life. Agencies are not vending machines. You cannot throw in money and then hope that creative work comes out. It doesn’t work like this. So, you always have to be very close and it is sometimes a challenge. And first, we have to look at ourselves. What can we do better? And it always starts with a dream. Man, when I look back at a transcript that I had written and like 10 pages long, terrible, and we have to be very precise in our briefs, specially what you try to do at BK is bring it down to one line. And that is inspiration. Inspiration is a spring board from a creative point, that works for us and we cannot write pieces.”

Video links
Part 1: https://vimeo.com/223023710
Part 2: https://vimeo.com/223024386

EXPO Tours at The NRF Big Show Off To A Strong Start

NY National Retail conventionPublished in Medium on January 22, 2017

In its first year at The Big Show, the NRF in partnership with Consumers in Motion Group launched EXPO Tours. There were 148 which companies which participated including L’Oreal, Tommy Hilfiger, Nine West Group, Halston Kate Spade, Lladro, Richemont, Shiseido, Apple, Nordstrom, Carrefour, GAP, Amazon, The Home Deport, Adidas, Under Armour, Levi Strauss, Unilever, Starbucks, Nestle, Barnes & Noble, The Coca-Cola Company and many more.

The attendees included CEOs, CMOs, CIOs, CTOs, EVPs and SVPs on innovation, retail, product marketing, IT and many other specialties. Over 480 tours were booked during the three-day period. The executives were from Europe, Asia, Africa, South and North America.

There were four themes tours; The Small Business Essentials, Big Data & Customer Insights, The New Retail Customer Journey and E-commerce & Omnichannel. The companies selected were from Sweden, France, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain and the United States. Each tour featured seven companies, which were selected based on the overall theme.

The feedback was very positive. All of the tour groups got to meet each other before the tour departed. “This was my first time at The Big Show and the tour really helped me enjoy the overall experience at The Big Show” said a Brazilian retailer. Another leading CPG said, “that I would not have found these companies on my own.”

Luxury Daily Features Mobile World Congress 2017 Custom Curated Experiences

Luxury Custom Curated Experiences culls curated knowledge from Mobile World Congress classroom
February 18, 2016

By JEN KING

Navigating the ever-changing pattern of consumer behavior and understanding the impact of the Internet of Things are some of the foremost challenges luxury houses are faced with today.

Technology changes rapidly, and luxury houses have been notoriously slow to adapt alongside the latest technological advances, but a new program offered during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Feb. 22-25 is setting out to improve the industry’s understanding of IoT and its impact on consumer experience. Luxury Custom Curated Experiences is intended to assist luxury brands attending Mobile World Congress to better grasp IoT and how mobile and technology touchpoints can be implemented through strategy and tactic.

“Consumers in Motion Group is launching Luxury Custom Curated Experiences in collaboration with the Mobile World Congress Tour Program at Mobile World Congress next week in Barcelona,” said Dan Hodges, CEO of Consumers in Motion Group and co-founder of Luxury Custom Curated Experiences.

“Europe is the center of the luxury world and we are pleased with the participation of global luxury brands this years at Mobile World Congress,” he said.

Game plan
Created by Groupe Speciale Mobile Association, the annual four-day Mobile World Congress brings together vendors from across the sector, including 800 telecommunications operators and others from the broader mobile ecosystem. Participants include handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as those in adjacent industry sectors.

Bringing together the world’s technology and thought leaders in one venue offers luxury houses an opportunity to learn about the possibilities the sector can offer their business. But with so many vendors and topics of discovery, a course of effective action may be hard to narrow down.

Mobile World Congress is attended by the global inventors that are shaping tomorrow’s future, offering innovations that will serve as models and inspiration for businesses going forward. Commonly, brands and agencies attend the summit and find themselves asking, “How do you find out about the technologies and the business problems that have already been solved?” and “How do you find out what you do not know and find out what you are missing?”

Neiman Marcus Memory Mirror comparison

Memory mirrors are among the technologies seen at Mobile World Congress (Image courtesy of Neiman Marcus)

Luxury Custom Curated Experiences hopes to serve as the aggregate to these questions by helping businesses fine-tune their time at Mobile World Congress. Using the event as a classroom,Luxury Custom Curated Experiences offers highly curated experiences for executives looking to maximize their four days spent at Mobile World Congress to advance business development goals, network and learn.

The curated experience offers hands-on knowledge needed for luxury brands to advance their strategies, goals and objectives. Essentially, participating in a Luxury Custom Curated Experience achieves months of high-level meetings, business development and immersive learning all during the duration of Mobile World Congress.

When partaking in a Luxury Custom Curated Experience, first a brand’s goals and objectives for Mobile World Congress are identified. The next step assesses the companies attending and evaluates them based on the participant’s stated goals and objectives.

The third step works to facilitate and attend meetings. Luxury Custom Curated Experiences provides briefing documents to assist with this step, ensuring a productive outcome. Lastly,Luxury Custom Curated Experiences provides a follow-up summary for the meeting.

In its inaugural year,Luxury Custom Curated Experiences counts an automaker and European brand as participants. For more information and to book aLuxury Custom Curated Experience at Mobile World Congress 2016, click here.

Mobile musts
Technological innovations have infiltrated the luxury industry across verticals. For luxury brands to be successful in today’s landscape, a grasp on consumer behavior in relation to multilateral innovation is needed.

Many of these innovative solutions are rooted in mobile and social technologies.

For instance, department store chain Barneys New York is offering its consumers an elevated shopping experience by embracing in-store technologies at its newly opened Chelsea flagship.

According to the retailer, it is the first luxury department store to launch iBeacon technology within a bricks-and-mortar space. Barneys plans to use iBeacons to share rich multimedia content such as videos, look books and interviews with designers to inform and entertain its consumers while creating a seamless and efficient in-store experience (see story).

Likewise, a well-adapted use of social media also falls into the bracket of current consumer behavior.

During New York Fashion Week, retailers have been embracing Snapchat as the latest and greatest social media platform.

A number of retailers have noticed the change in relationship consumers have with fashion week and have responded accordingly, becoming active on Snapchat just prior to New York’s 2016 edition. Almost half of the platform’s audience is between the ages of 18-24, rates at least double those on Instagram and Twitter, making it an ideal platform for reaching a consumptive audience (see story).

With all industry eyes on Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, it is the hope of Luxury Custom Curated Experiences to offer participating brands a chance to streamline the experience to benefit their business practices.

“Companies achieve four months of high level meeting and business development at Mobile World Congress in four days,” Mr. Hodges said. “It is the place where the center of the global luxury industry meets the world’s most innovative companies.”