John's Newsletter Blurbs
Automakers for years have been downplaying speed and engine performance while emphasizing in-car entertainment, navigation and connectivity, so maybe the announcement this week that France will ban all gas and diesel vehicles by 2040 will be met by most, as simply something inevitable and a much needed direction for the environment that all countries should follow.
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Yesterday I was in Detroit, Michigan. The last time I was in Detroit was thirty years ago and the memory from that visit were police with rifles on every corner of what was then known as the Motor City Entertainment District. Like many of you, I have been reading about Detroit's revitalization, a city that in 2013 made headlines as America's largest municipal bankruptcy in history.
So here's what I can tell you about the Fidget. It started as a Kickstarter campaign by a company called Antsy Lab's Fidget Cube that raised $6.4 million in 2016 although they had set the fundraising bar at $15,000. The Fidget Cube offered a bunch of dials and didn't really do anything but give those requiring a distraction something to do, eventually morphed in to a spinner, a metal circle with bearings that again, does nothing but spin.
Last year we stumbled upon a story in the Daily Mail UK, sharing that Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft generate a combined profit of $2,000 every second or $140,000 for every minute of every day. Numbers that I guess would need a healthy raise now that Apple has surpassed $800 billion in capitalization.
According to IBM, every single day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data that arrive from everything from our social media activity, digital pictures, purchase transaction records, cell phone GPS records and even sensors that collect climate information. We create so much data that IBM estimates that 90% of all the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This is what is called Big Data.
I had a great experience last week that I'd like to share. Next month I will be attending a Global Press Conference in Lisbon and seeing that I am flying so far to attend, and never having been to Lisbon, I have opted to tack a couple of days at the end of the conference for sightseeing.
Approximately 80,000 new businesses start every year in Canada of which half never see their fifth anniversary. Of those business start-ups, the backbone to the Canadian economy is what would be called micro businesses that employ between 1 and 19 employees. There are over one million micro businesses in Canada compared to what would be called an enterprise business that employs over 500 people. In Canada there are only 25,000 businesses that employee more than 100 people, according to a recent study by Google.
On two occasions this past weekend I sat down and listened to vinyl. I mean really listened. Friday night was U2's Joshua Tree from start to finish; all four sides, in order, and not while doing something else. I just sat down and listened. On Sunday the experience was duplicated while listening to the Grateful Dead's Reckoning on 200-gram vinyl and again all four sides with no distractions. On both occasions it was magnificent. Why did I allow myself to stop doing this?
Yesterday, WikiLeaks released more than 8,000 alleged official documents detailing how the products we love and sell have become incubators for government spying. The Wiki documents show that Apple's iPhone, Google's Android, Microsoft's Windows and Samsung smart TVs were among CIA targets, where owners of such products falsely believe their devices are off when they are in fact recording conversations.
WiFi HiFi has opened a small shop in downtown Oakville. Last summer we ran a feature in the magazine titled "The Store of the Future," where we discussed trends in store layout and design, documented advances in point-of-sale systems, and mapped out strategies for aligning an online and physical presence.
Some of you picked up on a tone from last week's missive that I am getting a bit grumpy with products that are joining the connected bandwagon when they have no need to be "connected" in the first place. For 2017 I plan to ask myself "how does this improve my life?" each time I see a new product. A few of you put me to task last week not only for spelling ‘lose' incorrectly, but also for not including examples of gadgets from CES that I believe do indeed provide value, of which there were many.