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Archive for the 'ranting' Category

AppleTV + HomePod

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

Dear Apple,
The HomePod is cool and all, after all the Echo is cool, and I’m sure it would be awesome in the bedroom. But… what I really want is a mashup of the HomePod and another Apple product. The AppleTV.

Rather than have an AppleTV and a HomePod in my living room I’d like to have a soundbar-esque AppleTV that incorporates the HomePod functions.

Thank you,

Big Data and a Brown Paper Bag

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

So, Amazon bought Whole Foods. I haven’t read much analysis — just seen a lot of jokes about Alexa misunderstanding Jeff Bezos and buying it for him. I think it makes total sense for a couple of reasons and I’ve been intending to write a post one one of those reasons since before Amazon opened the Amazon Go store (yes, I’m slow writing and posting things here…).

The first reason I think Amazon-Whole Foods makes sense is that Whole Foods gives Amazon a perfect platform to take AmazonFresh national. Whole Foods shoppers are exactly the type of people that would use the AmazonFresh service so Amazon gains access to these people. Whole Foods stores and the local contracts allow the currently limited service to to launch the nationwide.

The second thing — the one I have been meaning to write about — is about fundamentally changing the model for supermarkets and how we shop is about the data.

I’ve been talking about this with a colleague at work for a while. The discussion basically comes down to “Supermarkets business model is dead. Because… Data. If they don’t embrace the data then someone else will and they’ll put us out of their misery”.
At issue is the basic supermarket business model, as I understand it. That is getting people into the shop to buy the staples goods they need and selling them overpriced extra goods they don’t need. As far as I can tell this model has not changed since the 50’s. In order to enable this buiness model supermarkets need to be huge and stock everything and use every psychological trick in the book, and invent a few more over the past half century, to get you to put that extraneous stuff into to your cart.

But supermarkets have been sitting on a treasure trove of data, from their loyalty programs, that they are basically ignoring. Millions of people have loyalty cards for their shopping and every time they swipe it the supermarket can link their purchases to a person. Think about how they could use that data. They know what you purchase and how often. They know I buy milk every week, they know the brand. They know I buy cloths detergent every month. Why don’t they take the initiative?

Why don’t I get a message from them every week that my regular purchases are ready for delivery or pickup at my regular store? They could offer me specials that I have purchased in the past or similar offers. They could offer to delivery my regular basket. Would I like to add this weeks super-special-only-for-me to my basket. They could turn week-in, week-out grocery shopping into eCommerce and take advantage of a whole new back of tricks.

By taking the initiative they could streamline their logistics chain and maybe reduce their physical store sizes since they don’t need to keep all that just-in-case stock. Lowering they rent bill needs to more than make up for the losses for those impulse buys. Has someone done this analysis?
This model relies on selling me the things I need with greater convenience. Increasing the margins on those sales and not relying on impulse buys. I think the traditional supermarkets are blinded by their established business plan. They survived the dotcom bubble and the various grocery delivery startups that popped up them and maybe they don’t think the time is up for the current model this round. But I think big data will kill the supermarket (as we know it) and I expect to see Amazon disrupting the supermarket landscape quickly once this deal is closed.

Viral Post

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

I was recently discussing with a development line manager on one of my projects an aspect of the solution I was proposing. The line manager seemed to think this was an incredibly hard development job. I think it was simple for any mid level developer.

I got to  thinking about the code problem and later that night I posted an update to LinkedIn:

Anyone in Singapore want to hire an underpaid Solutions Architect to be an overpaid Software Engineer again? I miss writing code.

I know I can’t make a decent living writing code in Singapore, but it is all I ever really wanted to do. So…

Anyway. This post is by far the most viewed and commented thing I have ever posted to linked in. And I suspect it is more cowered than anything here or on Facebook (maybe some stack overflow questions/answers have more):

So, Capgemini, Optus and Ericcson – got any development jobs in Singapore?

Like it or not; he is your president

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

I don’t agree with the theme of the anti-Trump protests held on Presidents Day. All the “not my president” slogans are wrong. Like it or not Trump is The President. With a capital “T” and “P”. You can disagree with every policy, with every word, with every mannerism and he’s still The President — your president. “Not my president” is how the republicans objected to Obama. It’s how the pro-Trump masses were groomed. Don’t go down that road. Respect the office. Fight the man but don’t institutionalize the idea that he does not, and cannot, sever The People — including those that didn’t vote for him. We must get back to a functioning government and that means politicians who can reach across and govern for all The People. Hold the president accountable but recognize that he is The President, like it or not.

RIP Hans Rosling

Friday, February 10th, 2017

It’s sad to hear about Hans Roslings death. Hans Rosling was my introduction to Big Data before the term existed via his early TED talks [].

Only 68. He didn’t make it to 100 to see if his predictions came true.