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Updates from Paul Spain

Facebook Watch: Taking on Netflix, Youtube and Pay TV

So, Facebook have just announced their newest product, Facebook Watch. No, I’m not really talking about one of these. Facebook are not launching a smartwatch, I’m talking about Facebook’s new video-streaming service. So, what’s this all about? Are they taking on TV stations, Netflix, Youtube? Could this be your chance to make your millions by producing content and streaming it through Facebook Watch? Or, do you think Facebook’s ulterior motive is to get you to spend even more time on Facebook?

My Thoughts

So, Facebook launched in 2004, quite a small social network, focused on universities in the U.S. They grew very quickly, right now they have over two billion active users.

Every month, every day more than a billion people log into Facebook and the very large majority of those are accessing Facebook from a mobile device. Well, what’s Facebook’s next plan to capitalise on that?

Well, that’s all about Facebook Watch. They’re hoping, this is the thing that’s going to increase their earnings and have a big impact on other players on the online space.

So, they’re definitely gunning after Youtube, and they would very much like to have an impact on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon video, traditional pay TV providers too. So, that’s what they’re working on.

How is it going to work? Well, you will have a watch icon come up on Facebook.

For now, this is just limited to certain Facebook users in the U.S but very soon, it’s going to spread across U.S, across the world, everybody will have access.

Now, the opportunities here are pretty interesting. For those who create content, create good videos, and one who actually create series, TV-like series, well, there’s going to be some interesting opportunities here from an earning perspective because Facebook will be putting adverts in the middle of these programs.

So, a little bit like traditional TV. We don’t know yet whether they will have some variations on a model where you could pay to get rid of the ads, certainly no suggestion of that at this stage.

Well, what will be interesting though, I think, for advertising on Facebook Watch, of course, is that Facebook knows so much about you, that I would expect that they can deliver much more pinpointed advertising, therefore, advertising that isn’t so annoying because it’s actually, somewhat relevant to you.

So, let’s hope they get that piece right and let’s wait and see how it works out. But at this stage, if you’re into video content-creation, you want to watch the space.

If you like watching content, then, this is going to be another thing where Facebook try and take up your time. It’s not that they’ve taken enough of it.

Alright, that’s it for me this week. You can catch me here on Facebook, of course, each week with my weekly videos and at paulspain.com/updates.

Can Tesla Model 3 and Elon Musk change the world?

So, this last week, Elon Musk and his team at Tesla unveiled the first Model 3. Now, what stands out about the Model 3 of course is, this is the world’s first semi-autonomous vehicle that is mass market. It’s also maybe more importantly, an electric vehicle. This is really set to stir things up. So, is Elon Musk the next Steve Jobs? Or is he going to be a whole lot more? Of course, he has big ambitions in terms of changing the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and even ambitions to go to Mars.

My Thoughts

So, who is this Elon Musk?

Well, born in 1971, moved to North America in 1989 and it wasn’t too long before he founder X.com that became PayPal, and ultimately solved for 1.5 billion dollars.

He’s got a history of doing fairly well. Since then, of course, he’s launched a number of other businesses and they’ve generally been incredibly successful.

So, let’s look at each of those. What are these companies?

SpaceX, a ground-breaking company, working out how to recycle rockets and they’ve been quite successful in doing so, recovering these used rockets that in the past, every space launched has needed new equipment other than the few exceptions such as the space shuttle. Well, SpaceX has changed that.

They’ve also got some ambitious plans going to the moon in 2018 with a flyby and then future plans for going to Mars.

What else? Well, there’s Neurolink which is a company that’s working on a brain-computer interface. Hooking up brains to technology and well, hopefully, this isn’t something that goes too far down the matrix track but very interesting all at the same to see what’s coming there.

And then there’s Solar City. Solar City has moved in and is now part of Tesla, a company that’s been very successful in building solar cells and of course, hooking these up to Tesla batteries in recent times.

So, Elon Musk is someone who is really going places, ground-breaking things in the past, and no doubt in his future. And then, of course, there’s the boring company.

No, I’m not talking about a company that’s dull and boring. I’m talking about a company that is drilling underneath cities. So, they’ve already started in Los Angeles to try to make a quicker route to the airport.

The next thing for the boring company is a hyperloop. A high-speed transportation system between New York and Washington DC.

So, their risks on getting on-board with Elon Musk’s visions? Well, sometimes he certainly sets deadlines that seem a little lofty and he doesn’t always manage to have his teams deliver on those deadlines.

But in general, he seems to be getting there and innovating, delivering some incredible technology, some really incredible results that are quite different from what others in the market are doing.

I think you can have a fair degree of confidence in many of the things that Elon is talking about. And certainly, when it comes to the new Tesla Model 3, I think there’s a lot to like here.

What are the standout things about Tesla’s Model 3? Well, for me, it’s that, it is a semi-autonomous vehicle that is going to be updated overtime to become fully autonomous for those that ordered that option.

Comes in it is starting price of US 35,000 dollars and it’s really been mentioned that there are some 500,000 initial orders or people who have puts deposits down now. Some, 60,000 of those cancelled those orders and it is going to take some time to deliver these initial vehicles.

There are people that, for instance, say, in countries like UK, Australasia, India, and so on where their right-hand drive vehicles aren’t going to be shipping until at least 2019.

So, a little bit of a delay there and a delay for other people ‘coz it’s going to take some time to ramp up the manufacturing, of course, the Model 3 isn’t an all-electric vehicle, 220, or 350-kilometer range on the base models are pretty capable.

Overall, I think this is an exciting vehicle. I think it’s going to spur on a change. This move away from traditional combustion engine vehicles to the more environmentally-friendly electric vehicles.

Certainly, more environmentally-friendly in some markets such as New Zealand, where most source of the electricity is generated from renewable means today.

The other thing that stands out for me is that all of Tesla’s vehicles get continuous software updates, so most car manufacturers will make a car and sell it and they’ll come up with some new software, some new changes, most of those innovations go into the next models. You have to sell, get rid of your older model to take advantage.

Tesla will take advantage of a different approach and they’re continuing to do software updates for older vehicles. So, very positive.

So, I think Elon Musk, look, he’s doing some great things for us and for the planet, very exciting things ahead. But let’s watch the space and let’s see just how well he does.

Thanks for joining me, I’m Paul Spain. You can follow my future updates at paulspain.com/updates.

Can AI save lives by helping to find Cancer and other illnesses earlier?

Today, we’ve heard about 1492, the secret Skunkworks Lab from Amazon. What’s this all about? Well, it seems that’s like Amazon is investing heavily in the future of healthcare through Artificial Intelligence and Cloud data storage. So, are they the first? No, they’re certainly not. We’ve got Google, IBM, Microsoft among other players working in their space. They’re trying to solve the big issues like cancer. So, are we going to live forever? What is this technology going to do for us?

My Thoughts

So, we know that Amazon has been developing all sorts of technology over the years. They now a half-trillion-dollar business.

Their founder Jeff Bezos, was today, actually, highlighted as briefly being the world’s richest man. This is a company with a leader that is not fearful of trying new things, dominating new spaces.

The healthcare areas with something like three trillion dollars annually, so, from their perspective it’s worth investing into. There have been lots of developments in the space, though.

Microsoft, some months ago, talk publicly about their developments trying to solve cancer through accessing masses of patient records, putting all this information together, trying to deliver results that can’t be delivered by individual doctors. And that’s one of the possibilities of this technology.

Google will be working here through their acquisition of deep mind. They’ll be working with one of the largest hospitals in the world, in the UK, with their analysing data that are collected when they’re testing people’s eyes.

Now, by utilising Artificial Intelligence technology, they expect to see a big reduction in the number of people that are impacted with blindness through age-related macular degeneration.

So, Artificial Intelligence technology can really deliver some great stuff. In terms of us living forever, well, I’m not too sure about that one but we certainly will see continuous improvement going forward.
Amazon are also within their developments that appears, looking at how to store patient records and that information.

Once that stuff is stored centrally, it makes it makes it easier for you to get access to it when you’re travelling, when you’re in different locations, if you change who is your primary doctor then that should benefit you.

Yes, there’s some risks around security of information that we’ll need to think about. Cyber-security, what will a big company like Amazon do with our data.

Looking back a few years, we heard about target in the U.S who looked at individual shopping habits and in one case was able to pick that a teenager was pregnant before she even knew about it based on the thing she was buying.

So, data can do some incredible things when, the sort of technology is applied. So there, we got great things ahead in the space. A very, very interesting area to watch.

My recommendations for you? Keep a track on what’s happening, encourage your healthcare professionals to be utilising technology, maybe they can provide you with your personal healthcare records, digitally share those with you.

There really are lots of possibilities. Try out things like a health tracker or fitness tracker, so, you get used to collecting your own information. See how that can encourage you to be healthier.

For businesses that are in the healthcare space, whether they’re doctors, medical specialists and so on, well you should make sure you keep at the forefront of technology to deliver the best results for your patients and make sure you keep secure from that cyber-security perspective.

Hey, that’s it for me this week. Look, I can’t give you an answer right now with the technology and Artificial Intelligence is going to help you live forever but look, we’re hitting on the right track. You can get more from me on my updates paulspain.com/updates.

The two faces of Social Media: It’s changing how we interact and not always in a good way

Let’s talk about Facebook and other forms of social media. Look how good they are for keeping in touch. Friends, families, especially when people are travelling but so many users. And great is you don’t have to spend all those hours on the phone like we used to be. When you have issues, nowadays, you can do most of that online. And of course, businesses love social media for connecting with people too. But is there a dark side? Is there an underbelly to social media? Well, we’ve heard recently, people are getting hit with fines for what they post to social media. So, can you get in trouble? Should you be worried? What about online addictions? How should we address these matters?

My Thoughts

So, we definitely have some issues with social media. Very easy to fall into negative or bad practices with social media.

Maybe sharing stuff that really isn’t so positive or getting tied up in, when you got lots of likes. Lots of shares and re-shares, tweets and re-tweets.

And of course, there’s that temptation to share information that maybe isn’t quite right, isn’t quite accurate.

Recently, we heard of an individual in the UK, who, across boarders from the US was fined over a quarter of a million dollars for doing what they thought were doing anonymously which was sharing a terror threat against an airline that were maybe disgruntled with and of course, they weren’t going to carry this out.

But ultimately, it’s going to put them in a pretty difficult spot with such a big fine. In New Zealand, there was a case, around a million dollars was in question.

Now, this was settled out of court but one of the results of it was that we now believe, that people could be held liable for just simply liking a Facebook post.

A Facebook post maybe that’s libelers are wrong. So, we need to be really cautious around what we do online.

And then we have businesses that are spending huge amounts of money to protect their reputations online, to promote themselves online and sometimes shoving junk down our throats, quite frankly.

So, what should we do? Well for individuals, I think it’s really important within our homes, within our families, we think about how do we get the best out of social media, and how do we leave the negative side effects behind?

Some families, that means putting in place some formal constraints about where and when devices and gadgets and social media are getting used, where they don’t get used. In some homes, that means no devices at the dinner table, in bedrooms and you know, certain times only for doing the social media.

And then there’s thinking about what do you post online and you know, I guess my thought there is I would encourage positive use of social media.

Think of a social media interaction just like an interaction with an individual in person. Bring your best to the table.

Bring something positive and uplifting. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

We see way too much where people are being bullied and hurt online from horrible comments. That’s just not needed.

Now, for businesses, what should you be doing? Well, think of how you can help, how you can serve your customers.

What can you share that’s going to help them? Put that before your thoughts about how you promote and sell. Serve your customers through social media first and foremost. If you get that right, then the sales, they will come.

Hey, that’s it for me this week. I’m Paul Spain. You can find my updates – paulspain.com/updates.

AI (Artificial Intelligence): Who’s doing it, and how can you take advantage of it?

Artificial Intelligence or AI. It’s a term that we hear actually, a lot today. Particularly in reference to new things that are merging or coming through, like autonomous vehicles. But what is it? What’s it all about and why have Microsoft, Google, and even Obama, being in the news, about recently?

My Thoughts

So, it’s just been in the news, that there’s fake footage of Obama.

This was generated, using Artificial Intelligence technology that took his real voice, took some footage of him and then adjusted that footage to say what was said in the recording.

Obama: Symbolizes some progress at least within the small confines of the legal community….

But this could’ve just easily been somebody faking him, his voice and then, by putting his lips, and motions and movements to those words. So, Artificial Intelligence is very powerful.

Microsoft has just announced that their Microsoft Research Division is putting one-tenth of their staff to focus on artificial intelligence. This is a massive area for the future. And we looked at who the companies are, that is, really, heavily investing in this.

It’s Facebook, it’s Google, it’s IBM, it’s Microsoft. Really, the big technology players are investing heavily in this. What’s exciting though, is that their investments don’t lock everyday individuals and businesses out because most of them are making those advances available.

So, anybody can draw on their technologies. So, we have some exciting things ahead. What sort of things can you expect?

Well, autonomous cars are already mentioned. They’re very much reliant on this Artificial Intelligence technology.

We are already starting to see now personalized tutors. So, these are tutors that would be smarter than an individual person to gauge where you are and how you are progressing with your learning.

That’s coming through right now, from a company here in New Zealand, where I’m based. So, really, there is a huge amount of development where you see, of course, things like facial recognition.

Right now, we now utilize something like Siri on your smartphone or the competitive products from Google, Microsoft, Amazon.

Well, these are using Artificial Intelligence on their background, to figure out what you’re saying and to understand that even if there’s another noise or if you’ve got an unusual accent.

All of that is being dealt with by Artificial Intelligence and the reason that this is moving forward so quickly right now is because of the massive increasing computing power.

If we look back just a few years, we have an absolute fraction of the amount of processing power that we have today that continues to grow at a somewhat exponential rate.

So, we can expect to see Artificial Intelligence just become a normal, everyday thing over the next few years ahead. And some of those things, well, we’re already used to living with right now.

So, what’s next? What do you need to be prepared for? Well, my suggestion is to keep a lookout on what is happening in Artificial Intelligence.

If you’re an individual, then play around with those things like the little assistant that’s on your smartphone. Get a feel for how Artificial Intelligence can work to help you.

I personally use that technology when I’m in my car and I’m driving, so that I can be safe but still communicating with people, have messages read to me and I transcribe messages back to them. And I’ve been using that technology for five years or so, so very helpful.

In businesses, well, there are lots of opportunities. And businesses should be looking to tap into the power of the leaders in that space.

Tap into what IBM, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and so on are doing and be inspired by watching what the top players are doing, how people are invading and think about how could this apply to your organization.

Hey, thanks for joining me. This has been Paul Spain. You can track me down for further updates – paulspain.com/updates.

Amazon vs Retail – what does their supermarket purchase mean?

Amazon has announced that they are buying Whole Foods Market. Now, Whole Foods is one of the biggest supermarket chains in the U.S. Now, Amazon, is huge. They are a behemoth. They’re worth nearly half a trillion U.S. dollars. So, this move is certainly something that shakes up the retail world especially those that are running supermarkets around the world. In fact, stock prices, some of these are already plummeting. So, what does this mean for you? As a consumer, or somebody in business?

My Thoughts

Let’s look back. Last year, Amazon showed off a new concept in retail where you would walk into a store, just scan your phone and then grab whatever you wanted off the store shelves and walk out again. No cashier, no checkout.

AmazonGo is the name of the first version of this concept. And it’s something that sounds quite transformative in terms of retail. We, of course, know that Amazon will be working on lots of other things to change the buying experience for consumers.

For instance, you have the ability of Amazon to ship goods for free, some things delivered within one hour. Groceries, books, electronics, all sorts of products.

So, they’re really are stirring things up. Add in the sorts of technologies that they’ve been experimenting with and using a new practical basis for a number of years like robotics, drones, of course, comes into that experimental feel for them.

They’re really leading the charge in terms of change in the area of retail, both in the U.S and around the world. Leading to massive disruption over the years.

Uniquely, Amazon tend to be quite comfortable to operate without making a profit. So, this is another thing, obviously scares some other retailers who are already dealing with thin margins, finding it hard to make a profit, competing to a company that doesn’t seem too interested in making profits.

What’s happening now is, this is a thirteen-billion-dollar acquisition for Amazon, not too much money for them to have acquired Whole Food in the scheme of it. What it means is that, we will see probably an acceleration of what Amazon have been doing in terms of trying to turn the retail world upside-down within a direct online selling.

This really put’s them squarely into people’s neighborhood, certainly in the U.S where people will see those stores.

Now, we don’t know exactly what they’re going to do and of course, in the past, Amazon have taken some different approaches.

Zappos, purchased quite a number of years ago, they’ve let that operate fairly independently from the Amazon as their peer on. So, there’s no guarantee on what they’re going to do, but I think certainly, there will be a number of organizations that are feeling a little bit uneasy.

So, what’s my recommendation for you? Well, as an individual, I think, look, it’s important that we keep an eye on what’s going on out there.

We utilize the best of technology that’s coming through. Don’t be scared about the changes that are taking place.

Sure, if you’re working in the supermarket and the retail world, well, think about how you can add more value on what you do so that you’re a valuable player regardless of what happens in terms of disruption to that industry so that you’re super valuable wherever you’re working and will be valuable in another industry too. So, that’s important.

If you’re not working in that space, well, you get to kind of watch and enjoy the ride of wave where the technology is taking us. If you’re in business, well, if you’re in the retail space, then you want to do what I recommend for all businesses just to stay in the forefront of technology, utilizing what’s happening, know what’s coming, what changes are happening in your industry and work on how you can differentiate your business, how can you deliver something that’s unique and better and really serves your customers in a fantastic way.

If you’re doing that, you minimize what the impact is of these big, global players as they start coming in and try to eat your lunch which is not something you probably want.

Alright, well, that’s it for me this week. So, thank you for joining me on the video. You can of course follow me on social media and you can find my updates by registering at paulspain.com/updates.

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