How crowdfunding is competing with insurers

Lovely image courtesy of Wikipedia

Almost half of the projects on GoFundMe, the fundraising website, are to pay for medical bills. That’s $930m out of $2bn (Source: Business Insider).

That’s over 250,000 campaigns a year, raising $450m per year (Source: GoFundMe).

Another way to look at this, is that consumers now prefer to have cheaper, or no insurance, and raise funds after a claim would have arisen.

Note: this applies to the UK, not just the US.

Privacy: the update

Personally I’d rather see a bike advert

Since the early days of Internet services such as Google and Facebook, we’ve accepted that in return for these amazing services, we have to give some of our data away. It’s a value-exchange. We get to perform a search about anything, or store and share photos for free in return for the website having some data about us and selling that to advertisers. It’s a fair value-exchange.

It’s value because our advertising tends to be personalised toward us. I’d rather see relevant adverts, for example new bicycles products from my favourite brands, rather than tampons. Continue reading Privacy: the update

Amazon Alexa vs Google Home under one roof

When the iPhone was launched, industry commentators predicted that everything would have a touch screen. And then Alexa came along, and those commentators predicted nothing would have a screen – everything will be Internet-enabled and voice controlled.

And the latest version of Alexa – has… a screen! Sometimes I think Amazon’s product strategy includes Jeff Bezos’ sense of humour.

We have had a Google Home device in our house for a year now. Actually, my son bought it and it stays in his room. Everyone in our house has an Android phone, and the Home device tries to be extra clever by automatically linking our phones to the speaker. I remember the first time I worked from home after he bought the Google Home and I kept hearing something upstairs. When I went to investigate, all my alerts were being announced by Google Home in his room!

My favourite use of his Home device is when I wake him up in the morning by asking Google to play some music that he doesn’t like, at maximum volume. Continue reading Amazon Alexa vs Google Home under one roof

Facebook’s data privacy issue

I bet they don’t at the moment

The reaction to the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data story has been more divided than any other technology I can remember. (Real-life) friends have closed several web accounts, beyond just Facebook, formally requesting their entire data to be wiped clean. And some friends don’t care.

Shadow profiles

But even if you quit Facebook and ask for your data to be deleted, it probably won’t. This is because Facebook stores shadow profiles about people anyway. This is one of the ways that Facebook seems to make accurate friend recommendations on the platform. Continue reading Facebook’s data privacy issue

The three waves of robotic automation

We are currently between the second and third waves of robotic automation. For the first two, we underestimated how it would affect us. For the next wave, its importance can’t be underestimated again.

Wave one: physical labour

The first wave was physical automation. If you asked a car factory worker in say, the 1960s, “What is the fastest time a car can be assembled?” their answer would probably have been in the several days, maybe hours. Continue reading The three waves of robotic automation

Google’s moral advertising flaw

The problem with censorship is XXXXXXXX via Flickr

The news about Google will stop allowing cryptocurrency companies to buy advertising demonstrates how we still haven’t cracked content censorship on the Internet.

Has Google become a content provider that can ban certain types of advertising? Until now, Google was purely a search engine selling pixels on user’s search results. They weren’t responsible for any of the signposted or copyrighted content.

(The same applies to Facebook and pretty much any other advertising funded content platform).

Note that my issue isn’t with the cryptocurrency companies. My issue is that Google and Facebook have shattered the professional journalism industry, only to then lay down their own moral advertising code of conduct when they are among the last remaining mass publishers.

Continue reading Google’s moral advertising flaw

The future for smartphones, digital media and AR

The 30 second summary of this year’s Deloitte TMT Predictions

On Tuesday I went to the Deloitte TMT predictions (that’s Telco, Media and Telecommunications) event at CodeNode in London.

I’ve covered several of Deloitte’s events in the past – they’re often thought-provoking and insightful, based on some decent consumer research and with a good amount of humour thrown in.

Smartphones

“We’ve entered the beige phase” of mobile phones – they’re all looking the same, with consumers unable to differentiate new features.

One of the stand out quotes was that smartphones are now in an area of “invisible innovation”. That is, the connectivity (e.g. 5G), camera, processors and so on, are all improving, but consumers don’t see these. Continue reading The future for smartphones, digital media and AR

2018 Digital Predictions

Here are my predictions for the ‘digital’ industry for the coming year. I’ve been making digital predictions since 2010 and at the end of each year I review how the predictions fared – see the digital predictions for 2017 and work backwards.

1. Tesla share price to drop significantly

The Tesla Roadster 1 – yes it’s lovely. What will 2018 have in store for the car company? Photo credit: randychiu.

Each quarter, Tesla’s costs keep increasing by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Its profit margin keeps slipping further into the red.

Other companies, both traditional and new entrants, will catch up to Tesla in 2018.

Finally, 2017 was generally a good financial year, and if consumer confidence drops in 2018, people will buy fewer cars. There’s also the debt pile-up in the US car loans industry. Total auto loans in the US have increased 70% in the last 7 years to $1.17 trillion – and much of it is subprime, with some buyers opting for 7(!!) year loans (think about the value of the car at the end of 7 years).

We’ll see Tesla’s share price drop by at least 30% this coming year. Continue reading 2018 Digital Predictions

Review of 2017 predictions

Time to look back on the 2017 predictions from 12 months ago…. how many of the predictions came true?

1. Everything On-demand

If there was one on-demand service that was in the headlines this year, it was Uber. And it wasn’t always for the right reasons. Uber and Deliveroo also led to a debate on the gig-economy and workers’ rights. Continue reading Review of 2017 predictions

Weekly news round up 9 November 2017

Here’s a summary of interesting stories I’ve seen over the last week. I try to concentrate on the stories which aren’t necessarily mainstream.

Finance

The Spanish Bank, BBVA, approached its latest mobile app in a totally different way. They reduced the size of the team to 15 and incorporated Design Thinking (for more information about Design Thinking, read this excellent article from the UK Design Council). The results have been very impressive:

  • Credit card applications increased by 80%
  • Current account openings by 20%
  • Sales of investment funds up 50%
  • Sales in pension plans, health insurance and home insurance doubled
  • Car insurance tripled
  • People carrying out mortgage simulations tripled.

https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/31304/design-thinking-pays-off-for-bbva

Technology

Warning: fake WhatsApp apps started appearing this week
Warning: fake WhatsApp apps started appearing this week

It’s been a shameful week for security with two large public scams. The first was a fake WhatsApp app appeared in the Google Play store. It would have taken a very keen eye to spot any problem with the fake app. And the second scam was fake supermarket vouchers being distributed among WhatsApp users. The problem with the voucher was that it took users to a landing page which asked for personal details. Continue reading Weekly news round up 9 November 2017