Innovation and Technology in the news
- E-scooters have been in the UK news this week. While they have been legal in many (but not all) European countries such as France and Germany, they have remained illegal to use on public roads and paths in the UK – for now. Have regulators have seen the green side-effect benefits to the covid-19 lockdown, and have decided to revisit e-scooters as a potential solution to returning traffic in our cities? After 4th July, trial locations across the UK will allow provisional or full car or moped license holders to access approved rental schemes. I don’t think this is a foregone conclusion – we have safety challenges protecting cyclists already, but it’s good to see this being looked at seriously. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/escooter-legal-uk
- Lots of brands have been suspending/boycotting advertising spend on social media platforms in the fallout from BLM protests where platforms have been forced to consider the content they propagate again. It’s a bit of a policy tightrope for the social media giants to walk, but perhaps having an evolving policy rather than none, and taking more responsibility is now the expected standard. Over recent years, I had pondered (and hoped) that the internet and social media was in its infancy, and like awkward pre-teens, was struggling with its emotional maturity being behind its mental capabilities. I’m personally a bit pessimistic about our ability to grow up and take accountability for our content and our exchanges over the internet like we do (more of) in person, but at least the debate is in public view. Are brands using this as an excuse to reduce or reset advertising spend? Maybe, but some do seem pretty authentic on their reasoning. Ben & Jerry’s is somewhat of an activist here, and has maybe helped pull their parent brand Unilever into action? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53146256
More brands jump on the movement here: https://www.marketingweek.com/coca-cola-starbucks-unilever-join-facebook-ad-boycott/
Much of Facebook’s revenue actually comes from SME’s, so it will be interesting to see the impact here, and if SME’s can afford/choose to join the movement too.
Articles & Reading
- Sequoia (when will I ever be able to spell that first time around?) posted on Medium an article about their investment in Neeva, arguing that information search has been subverted by advertising based monetization models.
- We may as well make this heavy on the platforms this week given the news and my recent reading on Platforms and Hyperscaling organisations. This article on Pando titled ‘The trouble with Platforms’ highlights that GAFA didn’t get to their dominant positions overnight and that all of them share characteristics such as being marketplaces, being advertising heavy hitters. Make sure you read down to the media pyramid suggested consumption graphic – it’s not the thrust of the article, but it resonated for me as we emerge out of lockdown, where it’s certainly made it clearer to me about the issues on our mental health with social media overconsumption.
Tech Spotlight – interesting and disruptive startups on my radar
Instabase are in this week’s spotlight. Their platform focuses on the automation of document processing, bringing features such as computer vision and feature extraction into a low-code platform to enable enterprises to automate document workflows.
Instabase are largely the first automation/low-code startup I’ve seen recently who have focused in this space – others have been focused on wider systems integration and orchestration or end-user automation (RPA). Their platform also seems pretty elegant and capable of handling enterprise complexity and management.
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