Al Green's popular song "Let's Stay Together" may be about personal relationships, but its title is probably more like the secret wish some retailers have towards consumers who have abandoned them in favor of online retail.NBC 4 Washington has a disturbing list of retailers said to be under threat.Other mall-anchor retailers have been close behind with sales struggles – Nordstrom's and Macy's notably – or are fighting tooth and nail to discover new opportunities.Amazon, which has been at the forefront of the eCommerce retail movement, is experiencing a modern day version of the Sears' evolution beyond its mail-order catalog.So what lessons should retailers consider as the fate of Sears unfolds?That contrasts with the strategy from Sears' parent company Sears Holdings, run by real estate mogul Edward Lampert.
The High Court has decided that a red-and-white "candy cane" house in Kensington can keep its unusual paint scheme, after the humourless local council told the owner to repaint it white.The house has been that way since 2015, reports the BBC, and the owner's been battling The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea pretty much ever since.The council told the owner – who's almost inevitably named Zipporah Lisle-Mainwaring – that the stripes were "incongruous" and had to go.But Mr Justice Gilbert overruled them, declaring the decoration "entirely lawful."He went on to say the council was overstepping its mandate in using Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to decide how people can paint their homes.
The more hoops an idea has to jump through the less likely it is to retain its integrity or even run at all, no matter how determined and skilled at hoop jumping the agency is.Jumping through hoops is the advertising equivalent of a multi-fold accumulator and, as any bookie will tell you, the odds lengthen dramatically with each bet because the chances of winning diminish significantly with each additional link in the chain of gambles.(Unscathed is the operative word here.Ideally there should only be two approval hoops as well, one to approve the idea and one to approve the finished ad, both managed by a senior client who knows what he or she is doing and who is empowered to make decisions.And ideally there should be one execution hoop, namely the artistry of a skilled practitioner to breathe life into the ad, elevating rather than deflating the idea in the process.Even if an agency has a hoop-jumping success rate of 90%, meaning that it gets an ad through one of those five hoops nine times out of ten, the probability of it successfully negotiating all five hoops from brief to final approval with a great, unscathed idea is just 59%.
Tencent’s WeChat, China’s dominant messaging app, is turning up its game in mobile search.In an internal email announcement, WeChat has set up a new department to focus on search and application development, Sina Tech reported on Monday.With this new department, the tech giant is making an all-out effort to develop search related services including in-app and outbound link search, content recommendation, AI development and application, data mining and analysis, and so on.It didn’t come as a surprise that WeChat has decided to go deeper in the search engine battle.Although WeChat has laid low in past years on its search service development, it started to build its ambitious plan two years ago when it launched its off-site search feature where users can search articles that are redirected to Zhihu, Sohu and FTChinese.com – just to name a few.WeChat mobile search feature (Screenshot from WeChat)Dominating the mobile social networking market in China, WeChat is able to acquire a humongous amount of user data which the company leverages to push out its “WeChat Index” service, a tool integrating search and browsing behavior data on WeChat personal and official accounts.According to Tencent’s financial statements, WeChat’s monthly active user numbers have amounted to 889 million in 2016, with half of these users spending about 90 minutes on the app everyday.This means that WeChat is off to a promising start with its large and stable user base.However, China’s largest search engine operator Baidu is still the front-runner in search services, and is still active in the mobile search war.The company’s financial statements showed that its mobile revenue accounted for 63 percent of the total revenue in 2016, according to local media.While Baidu’s position at the PC end remains unshakable, the war over mobile search has just begun.If WeChat successfully optimizes user experience for its search service, the company will likely reach its next milestone in dominating the mobile search market.
Fewer would consider targeting the post at people who are interested in Conway Twitty or Cristiano Ronaldo, though.The Los Angeles-based startup Ranker does, and that’s been a major reason for its climb on Facebook.The site, with more than 26 million readers a month, according to comScore, uses its data gathered from readers’ votes to see how much affinity fans of celebrities, movies, athletes and other pop cultural entities have for other similar entities.Knowing this not only informs Ranker’s content strategy but helps it target readers more effectively on Facebook.“Nobody gets their entire audience on Facebook to see their content,” Ranker founder and CEO Clark Benson said.“But if you can tell Facebook what to target inside that 1 or 2 percent [that sees it], you can get a lot more lift.”
In a little over two years, a fleet of driverless cars will make its way from Oxford to London, completing the entire journey from start to finish without human intervention, including on urban streets and motorways.A driverless transport trial started this month in Greenwich, south-east London, with members of the public invited to climb aboard Harry – a version of the pod vehicles used at Heathrow’s Terminal 5, souped-up with lasers, sensors and £20,000 worth of autonomous technology.Harry was doing a careful 15mph beside the Thames when an oncoming jogger swerved right in front of us, forcing the vehicle to a sudden halt.Harry had saved him a trip to A, and had not even given him a self-righteous earful.In this GATEway – Greenwich Automated Transport Environment – experiment researchers will examine how humans will interact with completely autonomous vehicles, whether preconceptions shift and what might impede the introduction of the technology.The roadmap from here to autonomy, as defined internationally by engineers and transport authorities, locates car users now at level two, where some of the driver’s tasks are automated and assisted.
VistaJet is now the first international private jet operator that lets clients book flights on WeChat.The company hopes its newly launched service on the mobile platform can replace the convenience of owning or renting a private plane by allowing affluent Chinese consumers to charter a private jet virtually in an instant.“For Chinese customers who require guaranteed aircraft availability 365 days a year, WeChat could genuinely become an alternative to ownership — merely instant message our team, and we’ll organise the rest, to your own specific taste.” Vista Jet founder and chairman Thomas Flohr said in a statement.The launch comes amid the rapid expansion of VistaJet’s business in the Great China region in 2016, where the number of Chinese clients now makes up 17 percent of their current global customer base.Heading into the year of 2017, the company’s growth has continued in the first quarter, when sales of flight hours doubled compared to the same period the year before.Flohr said VistaJet intends to use the WeChat service to continue this expansion by reaching out to China’s digitally active consumers and simplify the way they charter a private jet.
A moth caterpillar commonly bred for fishing bait feasts on polyethylene plastic, scientists have discovered, raising hopes the creature can help manage the global problem of plastic-bag pollution.“This discovery could be an important tool for helping to get rid of the polyethylene plastic waste accumulated in landfill sites and oceans,” said Cambridge University professor Paolo Bombelli, co-author of a study published Monday in the journal Current Biology.Taking many years to biodegrade, these objects constitute a serious hazard for the environment, especially for sea life, when they are not recycled.The promising discovery centres on the wax worm - the name for the caterpillar larva of Galleria mellonella, or greater wax moth.In its pre-caterpillar form, the species is commercially raised as maggots to provide fish bait and aquarium food.The find happened by accident at the home of the study’s lead author, Federica Bertocchini, a biologist at the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria in Spain.
Nielsen Social Content Ratings for the week of April 17, as the latest El Clasico soccer match—FC Barcelona 2—generated 5.051 million interactions across Facebook and Twitter.National Basketball Association playoff tilt Thursday night, in which the visiting Indiana Pacers 119-114 (1.994 million total interactions across the two social networks), as well as another soccer match, Real Madrid’s 4-2 victory over Bayern Munich, at 1.635 million interactions.topped the television series and specials chart, with 549,000 interactions across Facebook and Twitter, followed by USA Network’s WWE Monday Night Raw (333,000).Image on homepage courtesy of juanrvelasco/iStock.
NASA’s long-lived Saturn probe, Cassini, has paid its final visit to the planet’s largest moon, Titan.The moon is larger than Earth’s and bigger than the planet Mercury.It’s covered in thick haze and smog, contains seas of liquid hydrocarbons, has a crust made of ice — and just might be habitable to alien life.Cassini flew by the giant moon and photographed it on Saturday, less than two weeks after the probe captured an awe-inspiring image of Earth through the rings of Saturn.The latest batch of images started arriving at Earth-based radio dishes on Sunday, after travelling 878 million miles through deep space.Scientists are now taking the raw black-and-white data and processing it into colour photographs.
The larvae of the Galleria mellonella, also known as the greater wax moth, could hold the key to solving our plastic bag problem.Scientists from the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria (CSIC), Spain and the University of Cambridge's department of Biochemistry have found that the caterpillar version of the moth has the ability to digest and break down polyethylene, the material most commonly used in plastic bags, according to Phys.org.That's good news for science, because recent discoveries, such as a gut bacteria, aren't able to do it as fast as the worms can, who munch their way through the bag while digesting them.And to ensure that it's not just a simple case of them eating the plastic without actually properly biodegrading it, scientists also mashed up the worms (ewww) and smeared the remains on the plastic, and discovered that the polymer chains in the plastic are actually being broken down.Instead of breeding horse-sized caterpillars to digest plastic, though, researchers plan to figure out just what exactly in the caterpillar -- be it the salivary glands or a symbiotic bacteria -- is breaking down the plastic.Once that's solved, it's possible to replicate the solution on an industrial scale.
Hong Kong has a growing number of developers which are making our stylish life easier, one app at a time.The online street-style magazine has taken the millennial generation by storm.The app keeps you up to date with everything, from the latest sneaker launches to the hottest gadgets available.Shopping made easy – the snap and shop app combines celebrity style with e-commerce.What’s not to love about the winning combo?Snaptee turns your Instagram shots into wearable art.
AVA Advisory, a Thai-owned fintech start-up, is planning the commercial launch of its first robotic adviser app for the financial sector in Singapore in the fourth quarter, aiming to create an entirely new breed of smart wealth and investment management activity.Using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms in the robotic adviser or automated financial advice tools, the AVA Alpha Fund app can help customers manage and optimise their wealth and investment portfolio.“After spending 50 million baht (US$1.45 million) in developing the AVA Alpha Fund in the past 12 months, we’re ready for the commercial launch of our AI robotic adviser service in Singapore as the first country in the fourth quarter,” said Miranda Songpatanasilp, chief financial officer and co-founder of AVA Advisory.AVA Advisory is a Thai company but is registered and based in Singapore.Ms Miranda said the global robotic adviser will have US$8 trillion worth of assets under management by 2020.The emergence of AI will play an increasingly important role in financial investment services in Thailand, she said.
According to a Monday report in Bloomberg Businessweek, Square has acquired the "five- to ten-person" engineering team of Yik Yak for $3 million.That leaves just a handful of employees at the Atlanta-based social networking startup.In December 2016, the company already fired 30 of its 50 employees.Its Twitter account hasn’t posted since January 4, and its corporate blog has not posted since a month before that.According to Bloomberg, Square has not acquired any other companies since it bought the food delivery startup Caviar in 2014.(Square was founded as a mobile payment company in 2009 by Jack Dorsey, who also founded Twitter.)
Dynamics 365 integrated enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management system completed a new integration with LinkedIn.Microsoft executive vice president, cloud and enterprise group Scott Guthrie that Dynamics 365 for Sales can now deliver insights from LinkedIn Sales Navigator.announced last June that it would acquire the professional networkclosing the transaction last December.announcing with LinkedIn new integration that will help salespeople deliver better outcomes using insights from LinkedIn Sales Navigator and LinkedIn’s 500 million professionals.Sales Navigator with Dynamics 365 will dramatically increase the effectiveness of salespeople by tapping into their professional networks and relationships, giving them the ability to improve their pipeline by:Leveraging signals across email, CRM and LinkedIn to get contextual recommendations for the next best action within Dynamics 365 for Sales, facilitating introductions directly through the company’s network and sending InMail, messages and customized connection requests.
Artificial intelligence and other technologies will cause people “more pain than happiness” over the next three decades, according to Jack Ma, the billionaire chairman and founder of Alibaba.“Social conflicts in the next three decades will have an impact on all sorts of industries and walks of life,” said Ma, speaking at an entrepreneurship conference in China about the job disruptions that would be created by automation and the internet.A key social conflict will be the rise of artificial intelligence and longer life expectancy, which will lead to an aging workforce fighting for fewer jobs.Ma, who is usually more optimistic in his presentations, issued the warning to encourage businesses to adapt or face problems in the future.He said that 15 years ago he gave hundreds of speeches warning about the impact of e-commerce on traditional retailers and few people listened because he wasn’t as well-known as he is now.“Machines should only do what humans cannot,” he said.
I don’t want people to think I enjoy having my picture taken.Even when I slavishly follow an instruction to smile, I try to make sure my eyes betray a little resentment.I may be saying cheese, but my face is saying: I hate cheese.FaceApp uses “deep generative convolutional neural networks” to turn your frown upside down.It is meant to be more realistic than previous selfie filters, making subtle adjustments to the eyes and the rest of the face to produce a look of genuine merriment, instead of a cheese-hating grimace.It’s a bit disconcerting to see a picture of yourself smiling, using what are demonstrably someone else’s teeth.
According to David Chitel, the CEO and founder of NGL Studios, 43 percent of millennials come from a multicultural background.To that end, Latino video marketing company NGL Studios is entering this year’s NewFronts presentations to show advertisers the different ways their branded content can connect with that generation.“This audience is a critically important sector of the population and is often overlooked,” said Chitel.“We’ve created award-winning work for our advertising partners over the last five years, and now it’s time to really shine a light on what we can do.”NGL Studios, part of NGL Media which was co-founded by actor John Leguizamo, creates “culturally relevant branded content for millennial and multicultural audiences,” said Chitel.NGL Media has also created it’s own distribution system, built on a proprietary tech stack, so it can distribute its original content across platforms.
Omnicom has hired a new chief creative officer to lead We Are Unlimited, the agency dedicated to McDonald’s that opened in Chicago earlier this year.Toygar Bazarkaya, who held the role of chief creative officer of the Americas at Havas before leaving in March as the network reorganized its leadership teams around the world, begins his new role on May 15.This marks the first major hire for Ari Weiss, who became DDB North America’s first chief creative officer in February and oversaw We Are Unlimited’s creative work in that role.Bazarkaya will report to Weiss and work alongside CEO Brian Nienhaus and the rest of the We Are Unlimited executive team.“Toygar is one of those rare creative leaders who moves mountains,” Weiss said in a statement, citing the new chief’s work for brands like Mercedes, Gillette, Dos Equis and Visa.“I can’t wait to see what he does with the Golden Arches.”
this past Saturday with profile picture frames from nonprofit organizations and an Earth Day-themedNearly 1.6 million users planned to participate in Earth Day activities via Facebook events.More than 1 million are members of Earth Day-related groups.People used nature-related emojis twice as much during Earth Month (April) than in March.The top topics co-occurring with Earth Day were happiness, love, climate change, Earth and environmentalism.The top languages used to celebrate Earth Day were Spanish (Día de la Tierra), German (Tag der Erde), Italian (Giornata della Terra), French (Jour de la Terre) and Vietnamese (Ngày Trái Đất).