Imagine a "rocket" that only uses electricity.
Have a ragtag group of physicists and engineers exploited a little-known feature of Einstein's equations to built a true propellant-less space drive that doesn't require reaction mass ... just electricity?
James Woodward, physics professor emeritus at Fullerton, thinks so. NASA has funded new research into it, and the result if successful would be the ultimate EV ... an electric vehicle that not only can propel a space ship to the planets and the stars, but also lift off out of gravity wells like Earth's.
PewDiePie is the top creator on YouTube, with over 107M subscribers and 26B views. Now he’s coming to Facebook, and we’re chatting with the cofounder of the company making it happen.
Jellysmack is an influencer platform whose creators have a combined 10 billion monthly video views and reaches 125M unique viewers just in the United States. Co-founder Michael Philippe chats with us about bringing PewDiePie to the platform: why, how, what content, what's changing, what's not, and who he thinks PewDiePie's fans will be on Facebook.
We also chat about the changing media/creator/influencer landscape, and what this is growing into.
We’re in a crazy, complex, almost alternate reality now. We see hacking from nation-states, hacking from criminals, hacking for fun, hacking for profit ... and there's probably worse that we don't see.
In that context, how does a Chief Information Security Officer function? We chat with Twitter's CISO Rinki Sethi and Info-Tech Research Group analyst Frank Sargent about information security in 2021.
- SolarWinds Orion and Supernova hacks
- Big tech
- Social engineering
- US elections
Most importantly, we talk about the stakes if we don't get this right ... to our power systems, to our government processes, to our military secrets, and to the companies that run the infrastructure that our lives depend on.
Intel's Loihi chip is a neuromorphic chip which tries to emulate the human brain. As far as we've come with convention computing, we are still way behind tiny organisms like insects and birds at understanding the world and adapting to it.
Now Intel is applying neuromorphic computing to autonomous drones: drones that can fly themselves at high speed in challenging, obstacle-filled environments. To do, essentially, what birds and bats and even tiny-brained insects can already do with ease. How? Partially, thanks to the Loihi chip, which implements probabilistic computing to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity in in the natural world.
We chat with Mike Davies, who leads Intel's neuromorphic computing lab about how it all works ...
Full transcript will be here: https://johnkoetsier.com/category/tech-first/
My guest works at Intel: https://www.intel.com/
And you can watch the full video on my YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/c89S-oV-H1U
The internet of things sounds great, but has huge issues. Ubiquity is one. Battery power is another. Cost of sensors -- and sensing tech to sense the sensors -- is another.
But perhaps ... we're about to solve all the problems.
Wiliot makes a super-smart ARM-based chip with onboard sensors that harvests energy from environmental radio waves to enable battery-free IoT. In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, I interview Stephen Statler, a senior VP at Wiliot.
The chip uses a custom-built operating system operating on nanowatt power and communicates to the cloud via standard Bluetooth. Cost looks to be an order of magnitude cheaper than RFiD.
We chat about what it can sense, how it works, what the use cases are, and much more.
- transcript: https://johnkoetsier.com/category/tech-first/
- Wiliot: https://www.wiliot.com/
- Stephen Statler's podcast, Mr Beacon: https://www.mister-beacon.com
Think about it: AI chooses your next song in Spotify, your next video in YouTube, your next news item in Flipboard, which updates from friends and family you see on Facebook, and more.
Recently I had the opportunity to moderate a discussion between three AI experts: Danny Lange, who led AI at Uber and Amazon before jumping to Unity; Beena Ammanath, Executive Director of Deloitte AI Institute and Founder of Humans for AI; Cindy Gordon, CEO of SalesChoice and a writer at Forbes.
We chatted about:
How much impact AI has today
Inclusion and normalization of bias
Deepfakes and identifying what is real
Building responsible AI
Please enjoy … along with a new intro style and new intro music!
What changes when quantum computing is mainstream?
Quantum computing is on the far reaches of science, using technology that accesses aspects of matter at quantum scales where physics almost overlaps with magic.
Classical computing is simple: deterministic. You have something, or you have nothing. Quantum computing is complex: you can have something, or nothing, or both something and nothing at the same time. If that’s hard to wrap your head around, you’re in good company. Even Richard Feyman, 1965 Nobel Laureate in Physics and one of the founders of quantum computing famously said, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.”
But we’re seeing major advancements in quantum computing today. You can now write a program and deploy it on quantum computers from anywhere. And D-Wave says that it's doubling qubits every 2 years.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier we’re chatting with Alan Baratz, president and CEO of D-Wave.
There’s a brand-new sensor in the iPhone 12 Pro, and it’s a big clue about the future of technology.
Already just 1 month after iPhone 12 launch, the phone accounts for 5% of new uploads to Sketchfab, the largest global platform for immersive and interactive 3D models. It's much faster, high-quality especially at room-scale, but not the best at small-scale objects.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with Alban Denoyal, the CEO of Sketchfab about why.
And about the implications of 3D scanning: where it's used, what it can do, and what it's changing in augmented reality, mixed reality, VR, and more.
I've always wanted a Star Trek tricorder ... a mobile sensor unit that tells you all about the world around you. (Who doesn't?) Now a company in Germany, Trinamix, has partnered with Qualcomm to deliver mobile spectroscopy in mobile phones.
No attachments required. All onboard your smartphone.
The first applications are in skin care and cosmetics, but the tech can also sense what is on your plate to help you record your diet, or tell you the composition of just about anything around you.
In this edition of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with Dr. Wilfried Hermes, the director of IR sensing for Trinamix.
Do deepfakes foreshadow the fall of civilization and the end of all truth? Or are they just good fun?
Or is there a third possibility: that they're the foundation of a massive new opportunity to experience what could never be real (for most of us) and a massive new opportunity (for influencers and stars) to essentially become a merger of real person and synthetic being in millions of ways in dozens of languages for billions of people ... simultaneously.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier we chat with Dima Shvets, one of the cofounders of Reface.ai, the viral app with almost 70 million installs.
We kick off with the app growth story. We move into the deepfake controversy. And we end with Dima's vision of the future: a merge of real and synthetic beings for brands, stars, and influencers.
Are robot chefs the future of food? We chat with Buck Jordan, the cofounder of Miso Robotics, which makes Flippy … the robot that cooks.
We talk about the future of robots in restaurant kitchens, whether this is killing jobs or not, what's available now and what's coming next. We also chat about home kitchens: whether we'll get robots to cook all our food in our homes ... and when that might be affordable.
Buck's project: that's about 10 years away.
Did you know your computer transmits a log of every single app you open? Apple has made privacy a core part of the brand -- including entire TV commercials dedicated to it -- but as a self-described hacker and security researcher recently found, every Mac sends a stream of data about every app you open (and more) to Apple.
And ... sends it unencrypted. And … bypasses any local VPN software you’ve installed.
In this edition of TechFirst with John Koetsier we're chatting with Jeffrey Paul, the hacker who found and wrote about the problem. We chat with him about why Apple did this, who else could see the data, what Apple's changing, and what this means for the future of computers.
(Hint: it's not great.)
Former Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold spent 18 months building a custom 100MP camera to take pictures of snowflakes. We chat with him about why :-) and how, which includes equipment from Japan and Canada and trips to Alaska and Yellowknife and Timmons, Ontario.
Myhrvold also chats about what drives him to continue inventing and learning.
He's a polymath, and while best known for being the CTO of Microsoft, he's the founder of Intellectual Ventures, has more than 850 patents to his name, and has written 1000s of pages of recipes for his cookbook series … published peer-reviewed research on planetary science plus written about paleontology … climate science … and worked with Stephen Hawking on quantum theories of gravitation.
We also learn about Nathan Myrvold's latest project: a massive high-resolution picture of the Milky Way galaxy.
In the future, most work might be done by robots, but right now, most is done by humans. How do we manage the transition? And, what does a humans + robots economy look like?
In this episode of TechFirst I chat with Lior Elazary, CEO of inVia Robotics.
Questions we discuss:
- What is robotics as a service (RaaS)?
- How can you ultimately get the best contributions out of what humans can do and what robots can provide?
- What kinds of productivity gains are you seeing from robots?
- What size of warehouse works best?
- Does this change how big warehouses need to be?
- What are we learning now about the future of automation?
- How do you see the world of work in 10-20 years?
Is AI, robotics, and … verticality … about to change farming as we know it? In this episode of TechFirst we chat with Nate Storey, the cofounder and chief science officer of Plenty.
Plenty grows food vertically, indoors, anywhere on the planet. A 2-acre Plenty farm produces as much food as a 750-acre traditional "flat farm." We chat about how Plenty uses AI and robotics to increase yield, what crops Plenty offers and will offer, and the company's plans for expansion.
In an era of massive budgets, invasive ads, buy now subscription models, and incessant noise, can the good guys still win?
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat about Insight Timer. You’ve never heard of Insight Timer, but it’s ranked higher than TikTok, Facebook, Netflix, and Twitter for session durations, it has 5X the retention of better-known competitors like Calm, and it has 17M users.
All of which it achieve while spending $0 on marketing. And abiding by a "no selling" policy.
To learn how Insight Timer is changing the world one stressed person at a time, we’re chatting with CEO and cofounder Christopher Plowman.
An alleged YouTube bug has retroactively taken thousands of dollars in revenue away from YouTube creators. YouTube, however, has neither acknowledged the problem nor provide details to YouTubers who rely on the platform for income.
“There are people who can’t feed their families and pay their bills ... one girl I have been talking to ... had a breakdown,” Randy Lynch, who runs the Mid-South Slots YouTube channel, told me via Messenger. “[YouTube] admitted it was a bug, then backtracked, blamed us, and shut down all communication with us eight days ago.”
The 2020 US presidential election is insane and, frankly, proves that current election “tech” is trash. Days later we still don’t know who won for sure, and there’s plenty of allegations of fraud or miscounts, plus plenty of legal challenges already.
Can digital voting fix that? Can blockchain help?
To dig in we’re chatting with Tim Goggin, CEO of Horizon State. Horizon says they offer “fair, transparently verifiable, and ultra-secure voting” via blockchain technologies.
Is space the future of IoT? Australia-based Myriota has the world’s first low power, ultra-low cost global internet of things solution from space.
In this episode of TechFirst, we're chatting with VP of Engineering Steve Winnall about the company's 20-pound suitcase-sized satellites and its ground-based IoT modules, which cost on the order of hundreds of dollars.
The company's modules are used for wind farms, good-old-fashioned food farms, ships in the ocean ... and even rhinos in Africa.
A ad fraud scheme dubbed Matryoshka is preferentially targeting U.S. swing states in a reportedly Russian-owned mobile app that has historically been linked with white supremacism content, according to an ad fraud vendor.
Matryoshka, of course, are nesting Russian dolls.
The theft is of both advertisers’ dollars and users’ private data, mostly in the United States. Data that the Matryoshka fraud scheme targets is location data including longitude and latitude, device identifier data, and IP address, which can connect you to a specific neighborhood or even exact location. And while key U.S. swing states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin account for less than 10% of the activity in the affected app, they make up 35% of the attacks.
Could rural Montana be the next Silicon Valley? Check internet speed off your list of reasons why not.
Even though Elon Musk’s SpaceX says its expanded “Better Than Nothing” test is still a beta version of Starlink’s eventual capabilities, at least one early Starlink internet service customer says he is getting better than expected speed. Starlink says it should give you between “50 and 150 MB/s with 20-40 milliseconds of latency.” Starlink customer “FourthEchelon19” is getting 161 megabits/second download and 23 megabits/second upload speed.
In rural Montana.
Smartphone shipments dropped just 1.3% in Q3 according to a report from IDC, hitting 353.6 million: more than expected given the Covid-19 pandemic. Samsung was the largest smartphone manufacturer with shipment of 80.4 million phones.
The biggest winner, however, was Xiaomi with a massive 42% growth.
But its quick acceleration might be at risk.
Apple’s beta software program provides pre-release software for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV before broad public releases to everyone. It’s for greedy, impatient people like me who want new functionality before anyone else, and and are willing to put up with a few bugs here and there.
Right now there’s a lot of “here and there” going on.
For the last few days, Apple’s beta software program has been notifying my iPhone that there’s a new update for iOS 14. But there actually is no such update ...
File this one in the didn’t-expect-that department.
TikTok parent company ByteDance has launched a smart desk lamp for school kids in China. The Dali Smart Work Lamp is intended to provide a “better experience for children” doing homework with better illumination ... and constant surveillance.
(The “constant surveillance” part is not in the press release.)
The Forbes story for this episode is here:
Imagine being able to get a driver's license, pay your taxes, get a fishing license all online. And: anything you want to do with your government, you can do online.
That's what the state of Oklahoma is currently doing. I chat with Matt Pinnell, OK's lieutenant governor, about how.
Can AI combine data from hundreds or thousands of smartphones simultaneously to make great videos?
IMINT algorithms are in 100s of millions of devices globally from smartphone manufacturers like Huawei, Vivo, Opportunity, Sharp, Motorola, Asus, and more. Now the company is working on a collaborative video system that will auto-create movies from the best clips of hundreds or even thousands of people.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier we're chatting with Johan Svensson, CTO of IMINT
It’s the ultimate Covid product: fast, low-latency internet anywhere on the planet for just $99 per month, plus a $500 up-front payment to get the connection kit.
As long as you’re OK with occasional blackouts.
Elon Musk's Starlink is finally soft-launching in an extended public beta.
See the story on Forbes here:
Facebook is launching a cloud gaming service to compete with Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Nvidia, Stream, and all the other cloud gaming services.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with head of Facebook Gaming Vivek Sharma about what makes Facebook's cloud gaming service unique and, in his opinion, better than other options.
Apple’s iOS 14 is probably the most privacy-safe mobile operating system on the planet. But a major part of the planned functionality was delayed until 2021. At the time, Apple said the reason was that mobile developers weren’t ready yet.
As it turns out, that might not be true.
And Apple has now admitted that its own advertising attribution software has two major bugs.
The Forbes story for this episode is here:
Apple has extended Apple TV+ for free for three more months for customers who bought an Apple product and received their first year free. The good thing is: now there’s actually content worth watching on the service.
“We’re giving you extra time to discover the latest Apple Originals and catch up on shows returning for a second season,” my email from Apple says. “You don’t have to do anything — just keep watching for free until February 2021.”
I watched almost nothing on Apple TV in the first few months of free service. But that changed recently ...
The Forbes story for this is here:
This week the U.S. government filed suit against Google. Smart move, or just politics? And, which member of big tech -- Amazon, Facebook, Apple -- is next?
Google is a behemoth. It owns search in English and many other languages and, with Facebook, dominates digital advertising. But is it a monopoly? And should the government have filed antitrust charges?
To dive into the story, we’re chatting with Greg Sterling, VP of insights at Uberall. He's a former lawyer and journalist.
Raising $1.75 billion wasn’t enough to make Quibi a success. Nor was a massive spend on advertising.
The short-form video startup had a short six-month lifespan during which it spent at least $63 million on TV, web, and print ads, according to ad intelligence firm MediaRadar. While that’s a significant amount of money on marketing, it’s only good for fifth place in the streaming video category behind four other players: Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Peacock.
So what did cause its ultimate failure?
58% of global e-commerce is concentrated in just six companies. And just four Chinese companies account for almost half of global digital sales.
Global e-commerce reached $3.4 trillion last year, according to a new report from Activate Consulting. Thousands of brands and retailers divvy up just 37% share of that, while six giants who are mostly Chinese companies vacuum up more than half of the pie.
The Forbes story for this episode is here:
Cinnamon is a new video platform with a couple of unique features.
First, you get paid for videos you upload. Second, it happens without ads. And third, it plans to bridge the gap between creators and viewers with a technology called Shorts that makes creators out of consumers.
To get the scoop, we’re chatting with the CEO, Róbert Tarabčák.
Apple is removing a browser app from the App Store that allows people to play Stadia, Google’s streaming game service, according to the developer.
“My app is being removed from the App Store,” Zachary Knox tweeted today about his Stadium Full Screen Browser app. “I was ‘extending WebKit’ by hooking it into the native GameController framework and thus Bluetooth controllers, which they didn’t like.”
The full story for this episode is on Forbes here:
Can the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool clean your air from smoke and soot?
That’s what I have been testing for parts of the past few months during the western fires that hit California, Oregon, and Washington State. They’ve been banished from the news cycle thanks to the impending election, but the fires this summer were devastating, horrific, and massive.
When you can’t breathe safely, few other things in life matter.
The Forbes story for this podcast episode is here:
Should social media censor free speech?
Something fairly unprecedented happened this past week: Facebook and Twitter both blocked a NY Post story.
Now … whatever you think about that story (and I think it’s pretty flimsy) blocking it almost immediately is pretty shocking. How should social media deal with controversial subjects … or false information?
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier we chat with Bill Ottman, founder and CEO of the open source social network Minds.com, about what big tech and big social should do, about algorithms, shadow banning, free speech, virality, and what Ottman is doing with Minds.com to fix it.
Do we now have near real-time gene sequencing? And if so … what does that unlock?
In this edition of TechFirst with John Koetsier we chat with Dr Roel Wuyts, principal scientist at IMEC and a professor at KU Leuven about gene sequencing, which used to take a lot of time.
Remember the Human Genome project? It started October 1, 1990 and completed in April 2003.
Now there’s a way of sequencing a whole genome in just 10 minutes for some sequences and a few hours for a whole human genome, which should unlock major new capabilities like personalized medicine and smarter treatment of currently deadly diseases.
Full transcript will go here:
Forbes story will go here:
You might think the iPhone 12 starts at one dollar under $800. You might even have a distinct memory of seeing a price that looked suspiciously like $799 during the Apple special event yesterday.
And you’d be right on one of those two beliefs. (The latter.)
This story is live on Forbes:
We watched almost 7.5 billion hours of live streaming content in the last three months, up 92% from last year. Amazingly, just one company owns a massive 91.1% share of all the hours streamed: the Amazon-owned Twitch.
So Twitch is definitely the 900-pound gorilla of the live-streaming category.
Or it is it?
This story is published on Forbes here:
Could Apple and Google soon be two of the most important companies in health? In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier we chat with former Apple CEO John Sculley, who has invested in multiple health tech companies.
Apple owns the most popular healthtech wearable on the planet, and Google bought Fitbit to compete. Both are investing in health, fitness, and wellness technology. Current Apple CEO Tim Cook has even said that Apple’s greatest contribution to history will be in the field of health. Amazon's jumping into health too, with Amazon Halo.
We talk about who will win, who are the other players, and what Sculley sees as the future of health care in the U.S. and globally.
In the stone ages of mobile a couple of years ago, you actually had to tap on an app icon and open an app in order to access its functionality. While backwards, onerous, and tedious, this ensured that if I was ordering Air Jordans from Shoe Giant #1 or a Big Mac from Ronald McDonald, I would have at least a couple of interactions with the Nike brand or McDonalds.
Now, now so much.
This story is live at Forbes here:
Drone deliveries won’t be common until we figure out distributed charging. But maybe … we already have ...
In this episode of TechFirst, we chat with Leonid Plekhanov from Global Energy Transmission (GET). GET has a last-mile in-air fast charging solution for drones (and another for undersea drones).
Amazon’s been touting drone delivery for years. And this summer, Domino’s delivered a pizza to a customer on the beach via drone. But really, no-one's doing this at scale. With the ability to charge your drones wherever they go, the much-needed last-mile solution might now be here.
Full transcript will be here:
Forbes story will be here:
Is the future of robotics in the cloud? In this episode of TechFirst we're chatting with and Amazon exec, AWS Robotics general manager Roger Barga, about how Amazon’s “fake” robots are making real robots smarter, faster.
We’re seeing more and more robots in manufacturing, services, hospitality, and almost every other industry ... but there are still huge gaps in software to run and manage and coordinate all our robots and drones. Amazon's reducing the cost to train, test and deploy robots by a factor of perhaps 1,000 thanks to AWS RoboMaker and WorldForge.
We chat about companies like iRobot that are vastly improving their robots, the future of robotics in both the near and far term, and how Amazon 'eats its own dog food' by using AWS RoboMaker to train and deploy robots in its own warehouses.
Health and fitness apps are winning the Covid-19 era, thanks to closed gyms. But a certain kind of health and fitness app is winning mobile, according to a new report from Apptopia.
“Six out of ten of the top Health & Fitness apps are apps that offer video workouts or video-guided exercises,” Apptopia says. “If non-workout apps like Calm, Headspace, and Flo were not included here, the ratio of video to non-video fitness apps would be even greater.”
This story is currently live at Forbes here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2020/10/05/the-top-10-health--fitness-apps-of-2020-have-one-thing-in-common-mostly/
Can you share personal photos online … without sharing your face with the giant global database that is the internet? And, can you share photos of crowds of people, or demonstrations, without subjecting everyone in those photos to AI-driven searches and privacy violations?
Brighter AI thinks they have a solution, and in this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with the CEO, Marian Glaeser. Essentially, his technology replaces every face with an AI-generated substitute to ensure you can share your pictures in a privacy-safe way.
What becomes a question, however, is how real your photos are now ...
Are 50 million YouTube, Instagram, and Twitch creators the new founders? And … are they far more numerous and economically important than we think?
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier we’re chatting with Yuanling Yuan (AKA YY), a senior associate at SignalFire. She recently did a massive study of the creator economy, finding that of the more than 50 million “creators” in the world on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, and TikTok, two million of them are professionals, earning a full-time living.
And that number is growing fast.
Full transcript will be here: https://johnkoetsier.com/
YY on Twitter: https://twitter.com/YuanlingY
There’s now a Google TV as well as an Apple TV. A new Chromecast. Google Home is now Nest Audio, and there are now new Google Pixel smartphones.
Google released not quite a googolplex of new consumer hardware and software services today in its “Launch Night In” event. Here’s a rundown ...
My post on Forbes, with pictures: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2020/09/30/everything-google-announced-including-pixel-4a-5g-pixel-5-google-tv-chromecast-nest-audio/
Imagine the perfect custom talk radio station tailored exactly to your unique likes, with a never-ending flow of great content.
That’s exactly what Apple could soon be delivering with its recent podcasting acquisition, Scout FM. Because that’s precisely what Apple has achieved already — in the music sense — with its new personalized music stations in iOS 14.
Get the story in my Forbes column here:
And, if you'd like to ping me (check the last 30 seconds of the podcast), here I am on Twitter:
I was not a fan of App Clips when Apple announced them for iOS 14.
And wow ... was I wrong.
This story is also available in my Forbes column here:
And, usually, transcripts show up on my personal site here:
I happened to see my wife’s screen time analytics on her phone recently. She’s spending an average of over seven hours a day on her phone.
And she’s not alone.
Apparently, I'm not too far behind, when you add in time from other screen, watching sports and a few TV shows.
Amazon's new flying home security drone does not have lasers. Nor can you mount a gun on it, much to the dismay of many, apparently.
But will you buy it?
To chat about the Ring Always Home Cam and Amazon’s other announcements we have repeat guest Brian Jackson, who is an analyst, researcher, and consultant with the Info-Tech Research Group.
A week ago Facebook announced it was working with Ray-Ban on a multi-year deal to build and ship smartglasses. Mark Zuckerberg says they’re “the next step on the road to augmented reality glasses.”
So why does Irena Cronin say they fail?
She is the CEO of Infinite Retina, an xR consultancy, and a co-author of "The Infinite Retina: Spatial Computing, Augmented Reality, and how a collision of new technologies are bringing about the next tech revolution."
We chat about Facebook's smartglasses, Project Aria, North (which Google acquired), Snap and its Spectacles, and Apple's coming smartglasses product.
Want to work at Tesla? Apple? Reddit? Netflix? You’re not alone.
Most people want to work for a company that is doing amazing work in the forefront of their field. And while we typically think of a brand as something that is relevant to customers and buyers, it’s also critically important to companies that are looking to hire the best available talent.
So Hired surveyed 4,100 tech professionals about the companies they most want to work for ... and I chat with two tech execs about the results.
In this episode of TechFirst, we'll chat with Vanessa Camones, a brand and communications expert and CEO at AnyContext. and Suzie Weitzman, former comms at Apple, now a senior VP at eBay.
Get the full story in my post at Forbes:
And ... here's the lists, if you're interested:
Here are the top 20 public companies people want to work for in the tech industry, along with their ranking in Hired’s “brand positivity index.”
Walt Disney: 57
New York Times: 48
And here are the top 20 private companies in the tech industry that people want to work for:
Jet Propulsion Lab: 50
Hyperloop One: 42
Whole Foods: 41
This is episode 100! Thank you so much for subscribing to TechFirst. I very much appreciate it.
In a year we've taken this podcast to a top-100 podcast in the tech category in the U.S., and much higher in some other countries (#4 in Austria!) :-)
That's because of you, and what you've done. Thank you!
I've decided to celebrate by doing a 100th-episode giveaway ... check the details in the podcast. And, let's connect wherever you're online:
iOS 14 is a game-changer in more than a few ones. One of them is definitely privacy.
I've been writing a lot about privacy, Apple, and what Apple's been doing with the IDFA (identifier for advertisers), so I was invited to speak at the Mobile Growth Summit about it. Here we talk about what's changing, why, what the implications are, and what Google will do as a result.
What I chat about:
Why Apple made the change
What's dangerous about IDFAs
What motives might be behind Apple's decision besides privacy
Apple's IDFA policy and how it potentially conflicts with GDPR, CCPA (California's privacy law), and other privacy statutes
Why Apple delayed full implementation until 2021
How Facebook influence those decisions
Where Google might go with GAID
And ... what the long-term impact to mobile and advertising is likely to be
Is iOS 14 fundamentally changing what kinds of apps can be successful? And … with iOS 14 … is Apple building a fundamentally different future for software?
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with Nick Hobbs, the former head of Google’s iOS app. Hobbs says that iOS 14 is fundamentally different and that it will benefit certain kinds of apps while de-prioritizing others.
We chat about when Google's traffic from iOS massively dropped, and what will happen this time with games, Facebook, Google, and more. And, of course, we also chat about The Social Dilemma.
Literally five minutes ago I updated to the new version of Safari, version 14. Then I browsed Forbes, hit up Techmeme, checked Twitter briefly, went to Fox News (first time, I think), clicked over to Slashdot, and finally read a story on ZDNet. Oh, and I checked for a picture for this story on Unsplash.
In that five minutes, Safari prevented 90 trackers from profiling me.
Let me repeat that. Five minutes, 90 trackers.
Read this story in my Forbes column: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/
Could smart contact lenses grant millions the gift of sight?
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier with chat with Andrés Vásquez Quintero, a professor at Ghent University in Belgium, where researchers have just presented an artificial iris embedded in a smart contact lens.
It has an artificial iris, an all-day battery, an on-board ASIC, or application-specific integrated circuit, and a very small LCD screen. And it can do very basic augmented reality for people with limited vision.
PLEASE NOTE: the wifi at Ghent was not great, so Andres' audio and video is pretty sketchy.
As always, full transcripts will be available at: https://johnkoetsier.com/category/tech-first/
I used to think that Apple Music was an enormous treasure chest filled with amazing things that you could never really get out.
And I used to think that Spotify’s biggest advantage over Apple Music was not its free tier, but its user experience and playlists.
Not any more.
Consumer Report says extensive testing on Tesla’s “full self-driving” capability shows that it falls short of its name, isn’t worth the $8,000 price tag, and actually makes Tesla drivers less safe.
“Tesla has repeatedly rolled out crude beta features, some of which can put people’s safety at risk and shouldn’t be used anywhere but on a private test track or proving ground,” says William Wallace, manager of safety policy for Consumer Reports.
Get the full details in this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier ...
Also, see my written column at Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2020/09/08/4-ways-tesla-self-driving-falls-short-in-consumer-reports-testing/
It’s been a little challenging to get fitness equipment lately, hasn’t it?
Scammers have noticed too.
That’s why there’s been a proliferation of scammy-looking fitness product ads on Facebook lately. I’ve personally seen literally dozens of ads for fake Bowflex products, often from “stores” with unpronounceable names and obscure but extremely similar websites.
So I bought some fake Bowflex weight from a fake store. And here's what happened ...
When you generate economic activity on an iPhone, Apple wants a piece.
That’s not changing in the new App Store review guidelines Apple released this morning. What is changing is that Apple cracked open the door to off-platform purchases.
The question will be whether that applies to everyone, or only smaller developers.
Apple and Epic, makers of the hit game Fortnite, have been locked in a battle over payments. Epic wants all the revenue when players purchase an upgrade or enhancement in its game; Apple wants a 15-30% cut on purchases and subscriptions. After they could not come to terms, Apple removed Fortnite from the App Store, as did Google from the Android equivalent, Google Play.
While the matter is now before the courts, Apple updated the rules that govern the App Store this morning.
How do you automate risk 8 billion times a year? In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier we chat with Anjali Dewan, American Express’ VP of Risk Management.
Credit card companies have some serious challenges ... with trillions of dollars in transaction volume, they’re target #1 for fraud. But customers expect everything to work perfectly every time.
So American Express started managing every single risk decision on risk using AI in 2015, which makes them much faster. They can now make billions of decisions in nanoseconds, using what might be the largest commercial machine learning system on the planet (probably excluding Google and Facebook)
We talk a lot about self-driving cars. But what about autonomous robots, doing work that isn’t safe for people? We’re talking environments like mines a mile deep … nuclear reactors … remote locations.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we're chatting with Nader Elm, CEO of Exyn Technologies. Exyn is building robots that have to think for themselves and communicate with each other where they don't have GPS or radio communication. Exyn just signed a deal with a Finnish mining to provide drones for autonomous mapping and exploration.
TransPod, a four-year-old company with roots in Canada and France has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Alberta to study the feasibility of linking the provinces two major cities, Edmonton and Calgary, by a hyperloop-like system.
Top speed would be over 1,000 kilometers/hour, or about 620 miles/hour, and the Hyperloop would be an above-ground enclosed tube.
Since Edmonton and Calgary are just under 200 miles apart, travel time would be about half an hour.
Are smartwatches becoming table stakes for modern health? Chatting with Fitbit's VP of product, Larry Yang, about the new Fitbit Sense.
Arguably the first smartwatch was invented in 1927 ... you could buy little map scrolls and find your way around. The first digital watch came out in 1972 … calculator watches in the 1980s … and fitness trackers on your wrist launched in the early 2010s … including Fitbit.
Apple Watch launched 2015, and now about 1 in 4 wear a smartwatch and/or a fitness tracker. Now Fitbit is launching the Fitbit Sense … which is widely viewed as a full-on assault on the Apple Watch.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we dive into health and smartwatches and get the story behind the Fitbit Sense ...
The safest country in the world for COVID-19 is now Germany, according to a recently released ranking. Germany is followed closely by New Zealand and South Korea. Switzerland, which was first, has dropped back to fourth. Japan is fifth, and Australia and China are sixth and seventh.
The United States now ranks number 55, still behind Hungary, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, and Bulgaria.
The most dangerous nations?
Somaliland, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Mali.
Get the full ranking in my story at Forbes ...
The history of advertising recently has been one of identity ... specifically, knowing identity across sites and apps.
That’s changing: the third-party cookie is dying, Apple’s identifier for advertisers is going opt-in, and Google's GAID might as well. What does that mean for the future of advertising? And … what does it mean for the ad-supported services we’ve all come to enjoy?
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with Sheri Bachstein, Global Head of Watson Advertising and The Weather Company.
Covid-19 was the 'digital accelerant of the decade,' pushing brands' digitization strategies up an average of 6 years. In this edition of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we're chatting with Twilio chief customer officer Glenn Weinstein about a major report Twilio put together on digital transformation.
COVID-19 is clearly a medical and economic disaster, but it also vastly accelerated technological change and changed how companies think about the tech that drives their business. In this discussion we chat about who's winning and who's losing in the fight to stay relevant as customer behavior changes massively.
In iOS 14, Apple is making the IDFA opt-in. Is this a privacy power move or a cash grab?
The IDFA is a device identifier that advertisers use to know who's engaging with their ads. It also helps ad networks target ads. In previous version of iOS, the IDFA has been default on, but users can turn it off. In iOS 14, keeping the IDFA on now means that each app must ask individually for permission to use the IDFA.
That's probably good for privacy, but it's tough on marketers and advertisers.
The question is: is Apple doing this primarily to increase privacy, or because what's bad for advertising might be good for in-app purchases and subscriptions ... which Apple takes a 30% cut from?
We chat with Abhay Singhal and Sergio Serra from InMobi, an ad network, about their perspective.
Late last week Amazon announced Halo, an AI-powered health service. In doing so it beat Apple to exactly what Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly told us the company was focusing on over 18 months ago.
Oh, and Amazon wants your underwear selfies.
Plus, recordings of everything you say.
Today Elon Musk unveiled more about his mysterious brain-to-computer interface company Neuralink, showcasing a pig named Gertrude with a “Link” installed and sharing that Neuralink has received a “Breakthrough Device” designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. One of the abilities he teased was being able to summon your self-driving car — a Tesla, of course — with a thought.
But Musk’s ambitions extend much farther.
And his Link isn’t intended just for early adopters, niche technophiliacs, or bleeding-edge cyborg wannabes. Rather, Musk intends this device for almost everyone.
How do you build 10X products and 10X startups with the potential for exponential growth? In this special episode of TechFirst, we chat with the chief product officer of Asana, Alex Hood.
Asana has over 75,000 customers including customers like Google, Slack, Twitter, Harvard ...
So today we're chatting with Asana's chief product officer Alex Hood about his playbook for building high growth products: How does it work? What's it look like? And frankly, what can we copy for our own startups?
iOS is safer than Android, right? Usually ... because getting on the iOS app store is harder than getting on Google Play. There’s more scrutiny of apps, their code, and functionality.
But now, for the first time ever, security researchers have found an ad fraud network on Apple iPhones that uses click injection to steal potentially hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s in over 1200 apps with billions of downloads, and has been since mid 2019, in apps like Talking Tom, Asphalt 9, PicsArt, Gardenscapes, and Helix Jump.
It works by spying on your activity on the phone and sending fake clicks on ads it sees you engage with. To learn more, we’re going to chat with the man who found it: Danny Grander, Co-Founder & Chief Security Officer at Snyk, a digital security company.
Welcome to TechFirst with John Koetsier.
Apple announced this morning that it has launched two new “radio” stations on Apple Music: Apple Music Hits, and Apple Music Country.
Apple is investing significantly in its Radio product, with major stars and shows that are part talk radio, part Casey Kasem, part podcasting. An important question for stars to ask, however, is how broad an audience they can get by focusing on a single platform versus allowing their shows to appear on every platform simultaneously.
Or ... if they’re better off opening up their content on a freely available service.
Lama Nachman is an Intel scientist who built Stephen Hawking's communication system. Now she's helping another scientist and roboticist, Peter Scott Morgan, who has Motor Neuron Disease (like ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), to live and communicate with a more advanced version.
It uses gaze control and AI to essentially control a computer that allows him to talk, write, control his environment, and retain some measure of independence. Most of the technology is open source, and the next version, which senses brain waves, only uses a few hundred dollars worth of equipment.
Morgan's vision is using AI and technology to essentially cyborg himself (eventually, perhaps with help of a robotic exoskeleton). Nachman is using AI, including GPT-2, word prediction, and more, to help him communicate. Sometimes the result isn't just him or just the system, but a combination of both.
Should we ban all foreign apps?
President Trump might have a lot of support from Americans who want to do precisely that. In a poll run by TapResearch this week, 30% of American adults said they that the U.S. should ban all foreign social media apps. Another 40% said that the U.S. should ban all apps from countries that have an interest in spying on Americans.
“Our findings show that many people support banning apps developed by foreign companies,” TapResearch says.
Phone calls suck, right? It's always the IRS or your "bank" or some other scam. Well ... can a custom verified caller visual save phone calls? As in a guaranteed way to know who's calling AND WHY before you pick up?
There's just way too much voice spam, so most people don't pick up calls from unknown numbers.
In this edition of TechFirst with John Koetsier we chat with First Orion CTO Mark Himelfarb about phone spam, verified visual caller IDs, and more. The question is: will it be good enough to save phone calls?
Epic Games, the maker of the hit multi-platform Fortnite game, has sued Apple for anti-competitive behavior, alleging that Apple monopolizes the App Store payments process and gouges developers for 30% of their revenues.
At stake is billions of dollars in revenue for Apple.
And potentially billions for Google too.
“At a market cap of nearly $2 trillion, Apple’s size and reach far exceeds that of any technology monopolist in history,” the lawsuit says.
In a tech-driven economy, you could argue that developers rule the world. If so, you could argue that Github rules developers, 50 million of whom are on the platform.
3 million organizations too, from NASA's Mars Rover team to enterprises to ... yeah ... me.
In this episode of TechFirst, we chat with Jason Warner, the CTO of GitHub, as I interview him for Traction Conference. Things we cover:
- how he started working for IBM because he could "lift heavy things"
- 10X growth (of course)
- how sometimes, the most important stuff is what you do NOT build
- where to start as a non-technical founder?
- finding coworkers, cofounders, and employees
- managing teams
- working remotely
- setting goals
- achieving organizational alignment
- Jason's biggest fear as a leader
- getting unfiltered feedback
- and SO. MUCH. MORE!
Where do Google, Microsoft, and IBM go for training data and data enrichment?
AI is driving innovation, competitive advantage, and speed to market ... but what if you don’t have enough training data? And what if your data is raw, not enriched, and you have no metadata to help your AI engine make sense of it?
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with Wendy Gonzalez, President and CEO of Samasource, which supplies training data for Google, IBM, Microsoft, and a quarter of the Fortune 50.
Apple’s App Store dominance is under fire like never before, thanks to its own desire for control of its platform, antitrust regulation at home and abroad and the vagaries of an American leader who has signed executive orders faster than any president in history.
Two things in particular are major challenges:
1) Donald Trump’s recent executive order on TikTok owner ByteDance and WeChat owner Tencent
2) Russia’s new Federal Antimonopoly Service ruling against Apple
Both hit at the heart of one of Apple’s current major competitive advantages: the company’s sole control of the App Store. Each does it in an entirely different way. And Apple can only escape the consequences of these moves by opening up the iPhone to “sideloading” apps.
Or, in other words, smashing the single biggest law of the App Store.
Is Apple playing fair?
Apple looks to be giving its own ad network a leg up on competitors with customer data that other ad networks can’t access. In iOS 14, Apple Advertising appears to have a separate settings panel with a default-on setting. Other advertisers and ad networks on iOS, however, need to ask permission every single time.
“It’s preferential access to users’ data,” mobile expert Eric Seufert says. “Now they’re best-positioned to gain market share in mobile app install ads.”
That’s close to an $80 billion industry that Google and Facebook currently dominate.
There’s a new app that can tell your heart rate, heart rate variability, oxygen saturation, respiration or breathing rate, and mental stress just by taking a short video. Soon, blood pressure is coming too.
Sounds crazy, right?
In the episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we're joined by David Maman, CEO and co-founder of Binah.ai, to find out ...
President Trump wants to ban TikTok in the U.S., but he’ll consider allowing a U.S. company to purchase it. As long as, in a novel twist, the U.S. government gets a cut. Meanwhile, U.S.-owned Triller is positioning itself as the biggest beneficiary to India’s TikTok ban, with 40 million new installs, and by extension, the likely winner of an American ban.
But in this latest episode of Meet the Kardashians, White House edition, they’re all potentially being played.
Because the fastest-growing non-TikTok short-form video entertainment app is also Chinese-owned. Economic and trade policy, meet Whack-A-Mole.
Two things have grown like crazy in 2020: Coronavirus, and the global app economy. 2020 has been crazy, but there’s been massive growth in some sectors, and mobile is one of them
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier we chat with Lexi Sydow, a senior market insights manager at App Annie, about the state of the global app economy.
The good news: some newbies are winning and it’s not all the rich becoming richer. And, mobile isn’t just about what happens on your phone anymore.
We talk about:
- downloads and growth
- countries that are growing in time in apps and on devices
- surprises in the data
- time for new apps to get on to top downloads and top grossing lists
- why new apps are getting so big so quick
- new features apps are adding
- the overall economic impact of apps
A high school student at Jericho High School in New York has built an AI framework that can predict air pollution levels with 92% accuracy using neural networks, random forest, and other techniques.
That ... could be better accuracy than most weather forecasters.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with Richard Ren about his framework, including how he learned to code, why he got into AI and machine learning, what data he's using, what technologies he's implementing, and what data is most predictive of high pollution levels.
Wind power has been around for a long time. For commercial applications, there are massive turbines with wings the size of 747s.
For home, there have been a number of options, but durability has been a concern, as well as bird safety. Solar has seen much wider adoption, but it doesn’t work everywhere ...
Now there’s a solution from an Icelandic company that looks safe and affordable. To learn more, we chat with Sam Gerbus from IceWind “extreme energy solutions."
Alexa, Siri, Google: which is the smartest? Dumbest? Most useful? Growing the fastest?
And ... what capabilities will AI assistants have in the future? In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier we chat with Brian Jackson from Info-Tech Research Group.
On the one hand … Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are amazing technology ... on the other, they face-palm on some ridiculously simple tasks. We chat about:
- which are leading (and getting smarter faster)
- Google Duplex
- Alexa and smart home
- Why Apple's challenged to make Siri truly smart
- Smartglasses ... how they'll work with AI assistants
If you’ve been around marketing, you'll have heard the phrase "customer journey." It's what people do when they buy ... or don't buy.
Naturally, marketers want to optimize that trip, and Adobe has developed an AI system that finds out where those journeys break. Theoretically, that will help brands sell more.
Our guest this episode: Steve Hammond, a director at Adobe Experience Cloud.
A staggering 40% of the top 20 TV shows and series in the U.S. are produced, owned, and delivered on one network that isn’t available over the air or on standard cable TV and didn’t exist much more than two decades ago.
It’s Netflix, of course ....
The Android DJI Go 4 app lets you fly your drone. It also contains sophisticated hidden functionality that can “phone home” every hour to Sina Weibo, one of the most popular Chinese social media sites, asking for fresh commands.
Those new commands could include installing new apps on your phone for almost any purpose.
In addition, the app restarts itself automatically when you try to quit it.
Ads suck and we all know it. They’re invasive, they track us, they create horrible user experiences, and most of the time, they’re incredibly annoying. The future’s not like that ... and here's why.
Using micropayments, permission, edge AI, blockchain, and crypto, they're creating a future in which you only see ads from brands you want to, you don’t sacrifice privacy when you see an ad, and you get paid for your attention.
In a lot of ways, that future is now.
Apple’s App Store has reasonable commission rates that are roughly comparable to other online services, significantly cheaper than traditional offline retail, and are generally in line with commissions at art auctions, consignment shops, and car dealerships. At least, according to a new report written for Apple by hired competition and antitrust experts.
Two things the report doesn’t mention?
Only the two biggest elephants in the App Store room.
During COVID-19, we can't really go to the gym. So many of us are working out in our (new?) home gyms. Is that making us fitter? And, can an AI coach motivate us?
In this episode of TechFirst, we chat with Freeletics CEO Daniel Sobhani about what we're doing to stay fit during Coronavirus, what's working, and how men and women are reacting differently ... including with regard to mental health.
We chat about:
- the biggest ways fitness changed during COVID-19
- what are people doing differently
- how Sobhani's AI coach for fitness works
- how the AI coach compares to a human coach?
- how the AI works, at a high level
- what’s different about working out at home?
- how meditation is up, and how men vs women deal with mental health differently
- what people are doing with regard to investment in new equipment
Facebook is one of the two most dominant companies in an $80 billion industry that impacts hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions, in consumer spend. But a huge percentage of that revenue is now at risk, thanks to an obscure privacy move by Apple at the company’s World Wide Developer Conference in June.
Deprecating a mobile device identifier called the IDFA. That threatens billion in Facebook revenue.
And Google could be next ...
The electricity that powers our digital future is very, very analog. Is that about to change?
We don’t think a lot about the technology that drives our computers and homes ... we flip a switch and get to work, or turn on the TV. But the actual mechanics of what happens in our walls and wires is very 18th century.
One company is working on making it better. In this edition of TechFirst with John Koetsier we’re joined by Thar Casey, founder and CEO of Amber, to dive in and check it out.
Everyone is investing in India lately.
In April, Facebook announced it was investing $5.7 billion in India. In January it was Amazon, investing $1 billion in India. Today’s it’s Google (or its parent company, Alphabet) investing $10 billion in partnerships, infrastructure, and ecosystems.
Since China’s closed, the giants have to invest elsewhere, apparently.
TikTok was THE mobile phenomenon of 2019 with almost 700M app installs. But with the ban talk getting louder and louder ... are other contenders poised to steal its thunder?
We chat with one of the owners and board members of Triller, which has over 100M installs ... and just got a bump of 40M new installs in India after the TikTok ban.
Triller thinks TikTok will get banned in the U.S, as well as in India. And Triller is trying to take full advantage of that by poaching all of TikTok's creators and helping the monetize 2X more on Triller than they did on TikTok ...
Ads suck and we all know it. They’re invasive, they track us, they create horrible user experiences, and most of the time, they’re incredibly annoying. The future’s not like that ... and here's why.
Using micropayments, permission, edge AI, blockchain, and crypto, they're creating a future in which you only see ads from brands you want to, you don’t sacrifice privacy when you see an ad, and you get paid for your attention.
In a lot of ways, that future is now.
Can AI help us connect trillions of smart devices? There are currently perhaps 20 billion devices connected to the internet: things like laptops, phones, smartwatches, TVs, smart speakers, smart home devices ...
In a decade, that could be 50 billion … and a lot of it is enterprise IoT.
In this edition of the The AI Show with John Koetsier we chat with Intel and the National Science Foundation, which has funded $30M+ into projects to use AI to figure out how we'll manage ultra-dense wireless networks ... how we'll keep it secure, and how we'll keep everything connected.
Joining me in this episode:
Vida Ilderem, VP, Intel Labs
Thyaga Nandagopal, National Science Foundation
Pu Wang, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
3.8 billion people on the planet don’t have access to the internet. But that could be about to change soon. While Elon Musk’s SpaceX is building internet access from satellites 340 miles off the earth in space, Google’s Project Loon is doing something similar.
In Loon’s case, however, internet access comes from just 12 miles up in the stratosphere.
Via balloons floating in the wind.
Recently Apple blocked updates to the Hey email app on the iOS App Store and threatened to delete it. What does this tell us about App Store guidelines? And unwritten rules?
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier we chat about Apple's App Store guidelines with Denys Zhadanov, a VP at Readdle. Readdle has 7 top-30 apps in the App Store including the Spark email app which competes with Hey.
There’s always been controversy that Apple isn’t allowing competition for its own apps and services, and the EU antitrust division is looking into it now. We dive in with an App Store insider.
50% of the food produced globally is wasted. At the same time, a child dies from hunger every 10 seconds, and 25,000 people starve to death every single day. Another billion, almost, are malnourished and don't have enough food.
Can AI fix this?
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with SPRK.Global CEO Alexander Piutti, who is a finalist in Samsung's Extreme Tech Challenge startup competition.
Are subscriptions the new retail? We know digital retail is way up, thanks to COVID. But … surprisingly ... subscription purchases are way up too.
Streaming: jumped up to 89.8%
Consumer goods: growth of 105%-145%
Education: growth as high as 60%
SaaS/Cloud: subscriber growth peaked at 51%
That's interesting because we tend not to want long-term commitments especially during a downturn. We chat about all the details with Dan Burkhart, CEO of Recurly.
Can we design AI that will teach itself how to drive a car?
Self-driving cars will unlock trillions in market value and probably change our lives with fractional car ownership, better ride-sharing ... maybe even cars that pay for themselves. Also … they'll give us back months if not years of our time that we currently spend driving.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier we chat with Helm.ai CEO Vlad Voroninski.
Helm.ai has developed a new AI technology it calls "Deep Teaching" which it says will make it 100,000 times cheaper to train self-driving car AIs.
What can we learn from the queen of LinkedIn about telling stories for warm robots?
If you’ve been around LinkedIn, you’ve probably noticed Goldie Chan. The green hair makes her stand out … but her consistent calm, positive, and supportive content help you center and ground and ... sure, even feel good about yourself.
Goldie started doing video on LinkedIn, and never really stopped. She has the longest daily video streak on LinkedIn, and got shoutouts from top execs there as well as elsewhere, which has turned into an amazing career in speaking, consulting, writing for Forbes and ... telling stories.
A couple of weeks ago I spent some time with Goldie on her show. In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, Goldie's coming on TechFirst to share what she does best.
At WWDC this year Apple essentially killed the IDFA, the identifier for advertisers. It’s not completely gone … but it’s now opt-in with a big scary warning.
Now we’re wondering … will this kill modern mobile marketing as we know it?
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with Eric Seufert former VP of User Acquisition for Rovio. He runs Mobile Dev Memo, QuantMar.com, and is a consultant.
What we chat about:
Is this a mobile marketing apocalypse?
AEO and VO: Facebook
Segmentation & cohorts
Facebook & Google
Need offbeat growth tactics for uncertain times?
These are definitely uncertain times. COVID would have been enough, with its massive health and economic consequences. Add George Floyd’s murder as a flashpoint to decades of simmering racial inequities, and we’ve got a perfect storm. In the middle of all this, we’ve got people trying to do their startups afloat in one of most challenging times ever.
In this episode of TechFirst, we chat with Michele Romanow, who co-founded Clearbanc, helped raised over $300 million, serves as its President, and is a star on Canada's Shark Tank: Dragon's Den.
We chat about:
Customer acquisition tactics
Keeping your customers happy
Raising money while preserving your equity
Hiring and team building
Growth (yes, even now)
And much more …
Can virtual reality make your home gym less boring ... and maybe improve your workouts?
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier we chat with Eric Malafeew, former chief architect of Guitar Hero. He's worked on Mars landers and the Xbox Kinect, among other things, and now has VZfit, a VR app that makes workouts feel like a game
I’ve been using Beat Saber to get a bit of a workout at home in VR. But according to Malafeew, VZfit can make your workouts better … longer … more frequent ... and more intense without you even really feeling like you're working out.
The idea is that you bike on your stationary bike and, thanks to VR, go anywhere in the world … fight tanks … drive Formula 1 ... face off at the OK Corral ... and much more.
Can we really decentralize the internet with blockchain? The internet was originally designed to be decentralized ... and that’s how it was supposed to work for emergencies and disasters. Lately, it's been getting more and more centralized controlled by major corporations, as well as countries like Russia and China.
One company thinks it has a solution. In this episode of TechFirst, we chat with the cofounder and CEO of ThreeFold, Kristof de Spiegeleer, who thinks the internet should be like electricity: available and almost-free everywhere. But with a key difference: enabled by all, in a sort of mesh networking scenario.
His not-so-secret weapon?
"Technically we have 18,000 CPU cores and 90 million gigabytes, which is a lot of capacity. It's probably between five and ten times more than all of the capacity of all the blockchain projects together."
What are the top reasons you want to keep working from home after Coronavirus? Here's what about 150,000 people said in a survey.
Time with family (34%)
No commute (29%)
Flexible schedule (17%)
Saving money (11%)
More productive (5%)
Less office politics (4%)
Listen to the show for the full story, or check it out in my Forbes column.
Why games are making record revenues in a recession, with Unity VP Julie Shumaker. In a recession revenues generally go down. That’s not been the case in 2020, at least for games. Games have been seeing record-high revenues over the past few months ... we'll chat about what's hot and why ...
What we talk about:
- First off, what happened with games over the past 3-5 months?
- What kind of games grew the most?
- Weekends and weekdays kinda flipped. Why?
- Revenue was up … how?
- What’s different about “pandemic gamers?”
- Could you basically track COVID-19 across the world in game downloads and sessions?
- Are games recession-proof?
And … the world-famous TechFirst 10 in 5 … 10 questions, 5 minutes
- Favorite piece of tech gear in your house
- Can’t-do-without-it tech that you wear
- Android or iOS?
- EV or gas?
- Mac or Windows?
- GIF or JIF?
- Favorite tech news source?
- Do you want a self-driving car or do you want to drive yourself, forever?
- Elon Musk offers you a trip to Mars. In or out?
- Alexa or Hey Google or Hey Siri?
Switzerland is the safest country in the world right now for COVID-19. South Sudan is, according to a massive 250-page report, the most dangerous nation.
The United States?
It ranks number 58, just behind Romania, and two places ahead of Russia.
The Forbes story I reference in this episode is available here:
The full report, with methodology, is here:
Glasses haven’t changed much in 500 years: Take glass, grind it to a shape, refract the angle of light impacting your eye … see better, hopefully.
But a new Apple patent, however, seems to indicate that Apple is working on glasses that will change as your prescription changes. And just maybe … do even more.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we’re joined by Robert Scoble, now former Chief strategy officer, Infinite Retina, and co-author of "The Infinite Retina: Spatial Computing, Augmented Reality, and how a collision of new technologies are bringing about the next tech revolution."
Everyone in my family uses a Mac, most of them on laptops. That includes my two sons, one in university and one in high school, both of whom are doing school from home these days.
So I didn’t think when I ordered a new MacBook Pro recently I’d have to return it almost immediately. And I didn’t think Apple would completely and utterly ignore the meaning of the word “Pro.”
Unfortunately ... both are true.
Is 5G safe or is it dangerous to humans, animals, and the environment?
There are a lot of concerns and worries about 5G. Pictures of dead birds near cell towers. Even snake oil products to protect you … USB sticks with a "bio shield."
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we’re going to get the facts by talking to a research scientist in Belgium. What we'll talk about:
- is 5G dangerous
- what is the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation?
- how much RF radiation does 5G expose you to?
- is that dangerous, over time? How much would be required to be dangerous?
- does 5G give users more radiation than non-users?
- should we stop the 5G roll-out?
- how are you testing the effects and impact of 5G?
You’re an NBA all-star ... what do you do when the league’s shut down thanks to Coronavirus?
If you’re Chicago Bull and 2-time NBA dunk champion Zach Lavine … you work out … you play Call of Duty or Apex Legends, and apparently … you give away free JBL headphones.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with Zach as well as JBL VP Chris Epple and learn more.
We also get Zach's take on some of the most important matters in tech ... GIF or JIF ... EV or gas ... Windows or Mac ... iOS or Android ... and whether he'd accept a free ride to Mars from Elon Musk.
Massively social platforms built around gaming or video or news might be our new way to experience entertainment. We've already seen concerts in Fortnite -- Travis Scott, a month or so ago. Now we're going to see movies being screened in Fortnite.
Christopher Nolan, the filmmaker behind Inception, The Dark Knight, and Interstellar will be bringing “one of his iconic films” to the massively popular Fortnite game this summer.
And guess what:
No risk of COVID-19!
(cross-posted from my future39 podcast)
Today we plug our computers in to power. Tomorrow, we might plug ourselves into them.
AR and VR are changing how we see the world. AI and augmentation and brain-machine interfaces will change how we live, how we work, and how we play.
Cathy and I chat about HTC Vive, Magic Leap, Oculus Quest, brain-machine interfaces, Upload (the new show on Amazon Prime), and augmented intelligence. We also talk about Apple and where Apple's upcoming product will fit, as well as the convergence of AR and VR.
How do you survey 330 million people across 4M square miles?
Every 10 years: the United States government is constitutionally required to take a census, which then gets used as the basis for distributed hundreds of billions of tax dollars.
In 2010, doing the census cost $12 billion. They printed 17 million pages of paper maps and 50 million paper questionnaires.
In 2020, the Census Bureau is going digital in 59 languages. Good timing too: COVID-19 happened, and the Census Bureau had to cut back some of their door-to-door surveying.
In this TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with the US Census Bureau live on the 2020 digital census ... what kind of technology do you need to build for that? What's the required capacity? How do you secure it all? How do you protect it from bots and hacking?
And, how do you run a census during Coronavirus shutdowns?
Dan Ariely is working with Wisdo on a 25 million student study. The question: Are we losing our young people to depression, anxiety, and loneliness thanks to COVID-19?
Dan is a 3-time NYT bestselling author ... my favorite book of his is Predictably Irrational. He's also a professor at Duke University.
We discuss his horrific injury, why he wears half a beard, and what that taught him about power, control, depression, and all the challenges that we're facing now with a global pandemic. Specifically, we focus on problems that college students and young people are having right now: more abuse, more loneliness, more anxiety.
And ... we talk about what people can do to combat those problems.
I work from home. Many others do too.
But not many companies with 55,000 employees with a million clients in 52 countries. Especially fintech companies managing the flow of $10 trillion via 95 billion transactions annually.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, I chat with the chief risk officer of FIS, Greg Montana.
We talk about the company moved to working from home, what technology it takes, how they've managed security, and how Montana views the back-to-work timetable.
Three years ago Google subsidiary Sidewalk Labs floated visions of smart self-driving cars and smarter technology making Toronto, Canada, a leader among smart cities.
Last week, that all died.
Sidewalk Labs canceled the Quayside project on May 7.
But we lost something when that happened. In fact, we lost at least nine things, as I discuss in this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier.
To read the full story on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2020/05/13/9-things-we-lost-when-google-canceled-its-smart-cities-project-in-toronto/
Texting is nice. Zoom is great for work and birthday parties. And Facebook works for our wider circle of friends.
But there's something about good old-fashioned audio that has us returning to voice calls on our phones during quarantine.
TextNow says its users spent more than 450 million minutes talking on the phone in the first full month of shutdown, March. While once that might not have been a shocking thing to say, it’s up 36% more than the previous month, and totals 313,000 days or 850 years of cumulative time talking on the phone.
Haircuts, pedicures and massages are big business in Georgia again.
The state started re-opening businesses on April 24 and dropped its shelter-in-place order a week later. Now mobile data shows that visits to nail salons, spas, tattoo parlors, and barber shops is back up to 80% of pre-Coronavirus levels. Visits to restaurants are also up. With dine-in service allowed again, Georgia restaurants are now at 75% of their former pre-COVID levels of service.
We know how to get people to work together. How do you get robots, drones, autonomous vehicles, and smart systems to collaborate?
Welcome to TechFirst with John Koetsier. No jobs are simple ... getting a pizza requires multiple steps, processes, and hands, not to mention a car. Everything in factories takes steps and processes too. If we're going to get to an autonomous reality ... smart machines need to work together.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we talk to Kumardev Chatterjee, CEO of Unmanned Life. His company is working with Walmart, Vienna, Deutsche Telekom, and other companies to help drones and robots work together.
One example? Drones that take off from fire trucks and fly ahead to help in search and rescue operations, which Unmanned Life is doing now with the city of Vienna.
Will your next home be a bioceramic dome? They last 500 years, are bugproof, don't rot, mold, or rust ... and they're carbon-neutral. They're also much cheaper, according to Geoship.
I interview the CEO, Morgan Bierschenk, on live social video. We talk about construction, materials, permitting, whether they're built on-site or off-site, and what kind of maintenance they need. We also talk about new models of living: how they can be joined, and how you can form communities with bioceramic domes.
And, of course, we chat about the cost.
The full transcript will be available at johnkoetsier.com, and you'll be able to subscribe to the podcast at anchor.fm/techfirst.
Fake news: the truth about lies .... what is fake news? How can you spot it? And what can we do about it?
In this edition of TechFirst with John Koetsier, we chat with Mitch Chaiet, who is the Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Coordinator at the University of Texas at Austin.
We'll discuss computational propaganda, reality bubbles, and Misinformation, Disinformation, and Malinformation, as well as how to spot fake news and how to fight fake news. (Including how to bring it up with Uncle Bob, who won't like it if you tell him his news is fake.)
We'll also talk about who creates fake news, and why. (Hint: there's a lot of money in fake news.)
Are WiFi, Bluetooth, massage, adjustable positions, and built-in speakers essential for a good night’s sleep? For the past few weeks, I've been sleeping in a adjustable position bed with more tech than my whole bedroom used to have.
In this episode of TechFirst, we talk to Intellibed CEO Colin House about the $70 billion sleep industry, what technology matters (and what doesn't) and what works best for sleeping.
According to House, it's different for men and women.
Today we're stuck at home. Wouldn't it be great to virtually wander the world in virtual reality? (At least until we can go out for real again!)
In this episode of TechFirst we chat with Simon Che de Boer from New Zealand’s Reality Virtual, who took 4,000 photos in Queen Nefertiti's tomb and digitally reconstructed King Tut's mask.
They're working on technology to virtually re-create real physical locations, make them available to all, create ways for people and organizations to contribute to sort of a Wikipedia of virtual places, and tele-present us in more real ways than ever before.
A ton of machine learning, generative adversarial networks, and a lot of computer. Graphics processing tech from Invidia helps, as did a big grant from Epic Games.
Just one health-care startup had 139,000 new doctors join and 1.35 million patients use telemedicine last week. Is this temporary or the evolution of a trend with staying power?
In this edition of TechFirst with John Koetsier, I chat with the CEO of Vonage, Alan Masarek.
Some of the increases he's seen:
- Total video traffic up 6.5x in last six months
- Total video traffic up just over 2x in the last 3 weeks of March
- Healthcare is specifically up more than 20x
Jeff Pulver created VOIP and founded the $3B Vonage. Now he's reinventing video, voice, and text communications online to fix security issues with Zoom and other platforms.
Is secure, private communication a complete pipe dream?
Jeff Pulver literally created VOIP. He also got the US government to issue the Pulver Order, which ensured that voice over IP was not restricted. Now he's working on a blockchain-based communications platform that could reinvent video, voice, and text communications online ... and make it much more secure.
We dive into the details ... along with what's happening with Coronavirus and COVID-19.
Mobile app spend in Q1 2020 was the highest in history. And mobile app use was up 20%.
In this episode of TechFirst with John Koetsier, I talk about a story I just published at Forbes based on a new App Annie report. Lots of apps, especially social, education, business, and fitness, are up and to the right.
But will this last?
Coronavirus is leaving our elders alone, lonely, and frightened. In this episode of TechFirst, we dive into the tech you need to stay connected.
I talk to photographer and technologist George Krieger about the tech he's set up for his dad, who built the Iomega Zip drive. It includes a remotely controllable PC, a camera, a TV that shows who he's talking to on a large screen, a wearable device called Tempo from Care Predict, an Echo Show from Amazon, and smart plugs to control lighting.
The result: much more peace of mind. Less stress for seniors, and much more connection and safe socialization, even when you're shut out of the care home thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instacart is getting record downloads. Uber and Lyft are seeing record lows.
How is Coronavirus impacting the app economy?
Will Coronavirus be the death -- or the savior -- of our digital economy? Welcome to TechFirst with John Koetsier.
COVID-19 is changing everything. When it comes to mobile apps, some industries are way up, and some are way down. With us today to discuss which is which is Adam Blacker from Apptopia.
Airlines are in tough. So are hotels, but the drops are not completely consistent. And Uber and Lyft are experiencing record lows for app installs and usage. Delivery apps like Instacart, however, are way up, breaking download records every day for about four days straight. But ready-to-eat food delivery apps are down, Blacker says.
Is technology making us lonely, stressed out, insecure, and narcissistic? In this TechFirst with John Koetsier we dive into a 2,000-person study on the impact of technology and mobile devices on:
- mental health
- social isolation
The news is not great ...
I chat with futurist Nikolas Badminton and researcher Nick Black to go through their study.
Coronavirus is changing how we work ... most tech companies are now telling their employees to work from home.
Well, if you work from home, you need tools to do that.
One company says it’s going to offer a free productivity suite to everyone. Zoho created a product literally this week called Remotely, which it is offering for free for all.
We’re chatting with Raju Vegesna, the Chief Evangelist at Zoho.
What is it like to be living and working in China right now, during the coronavirus epidemic? What's different?
We chat with James Ren, who’s currently living and working in Beijing, China. He leaves his home every three days for food and hasn't seen his family for weeks, but he's trying to do business, meet clients virtually, and keep working through the crisis.
What we talk about:
What’s the status in Beijing right now?
Are there any conferences that you’re planning to go to? Or, have they been canceled?
Are you restricting your movement? Meetings?
What information are you getting from medical authorities on what to do and what not to do?
How are you continuing with business?
What’s the impact on your business?
How long do you anticipate this continuing?
Ad fraud costs billions each year.
Why does that matter to you … and how can we stop it? Welcome to Tech First Draft, with John Koetsier
Ad fraud is huge ... I’ve seen estimates from $10B to even $40B a year, globally. Just today, Google kicked 600 apps with 4.5B downloads out of Google Play.
Luke Taylor, the founder and COO of TrafficGuard, is going to tell us how it works ... and … how to stop it. And yes … we’ll even talk about how ad fraud impacts you, or any average person.
The types of fraud we'll talk about include:
- App install farms
- SDK spoofing
- Misattribution (i.e. click spam, click injection; where ~80% of ad fraud occurs)
- Domain spoofing
- Cookie stuffing
- Hidden ads/ads stacking
- Bots & servers
- Malware engagement
We now have almost 8 billion people on the planet ... what kind of digital growth are we seeing from those billions on social, mobile, and the internet as a whole?
Welcome to Tech First Draft, with … yours truly ... John Koetsier
Hootsuite just put together a massive series of reports -- 200+ pages -- about everything, basically, in terms of digital growth … social adoption … mobile penetration … top social networks ... emerging trends ... you name it.
So we’re going to dive into all that … we’re going to chat with: Simon Kemp, who wrote the report, and Henk Campher, a VP at Hootsuite.
Fake reviews are killing our ability to google for the truth
Two of the top 9 google suggestions for “fake reviews” are “fake reviews generator” and “fake reviews generator free”
So we know that it’s hard to trust reviews for consumer products
What about reviews for B2B software?
Consumer products might cost $50 to $500
B2B software? Could be $500,000, and easily more with multi-year contracts
Today, we’re chatting with TrustRadius CEO Vinay Bhagat about a new program to kill fake reviews
Are your headphones not providing the quality sound that they might actually be capable of? Can you get audiophile quality sound with hardware that doesn’t cost thousands of dollars?
This company says it can make your headphones better … with software.
Welcome to Tech First Draft.
See all TFDs here: https://johnkoetsier.com/category/tech-first-draft/
My guest, Matthias, is from Dirac: https://www.dirac.com
My name is John Koetsier, and today we’re speaking with Mathias Johansson, the CEO of Dirac.
He’s fixing crappy audio with software, and we’re going to find out how ...
What we talk about:
- You’re on a quest to fix bad audio. Why?
- What is the problem with most headphones/earbuds sold today?
- You are trying to fix it in software … via an app. How?
- What headphones or earbuds do you support right now? Will you eventually support all brands?
- Your software learns or adjust to different hardware … how? Do you test all different types of hardware in the studio?
- How close are you right now … you’re in beta still, right?
- When I tested, it sounded great. But podcasts had some echo … perhaps because of lower-quality recordings?
Why is technology so important for the next decade of business?
Why is every company a tech company?
And how are expectations changing over the next decade?
I talk about State Farm, NASCAR, Allbirds, and TikTok in an interview with Sean Moffit of FutureproofingNext.
Let’s start with TikTok. It gained over 500 million new users just last year. Why is it growing so quickly?
When you’re on TikTok -- and other, similar social platforms -- there’s an almost compulsive view and flick, view and flick as you scroll through bits of content. What’s happening in the brain while this is going on?
And … what does this do to people? Does it kill their attention span? Does it ruin them for anything requiring deep focus?
As a culture, we have a long history of crying wolf at the next new media platform, claiming it will ruin kids, ruin society, destroy education, kill the future workforce. Contextualize TikTok and other similar platforms for us within this history.
But are digital platforms fundamentally different than previous shifts?
How do you see people changing as we grow up with technology and media like this?
What are the good things that come out of this?
Intro to guest
Christoph Burkhardt is the CEO of OneLife
They’ve developed a revolutionary new air purifier that they’re releasing at CES 2020
We’re getting a sneak peek
What we talk about:
What are the worst problems with indoor air?
What percentage of people even know that they might have a problem?
There’s a lot of existing air purifiers out there … what’s wrong with them?
Replaceable air filters … one reason why people don’t buy purifiers?
Talk about OneLife … what makes your solution better?
PM1 … how small is that, really?
And … those are the most numerous particles, right?
We’re chatting with Apptopia’s VP of Insights Adam Blacker about the top 100 apps of 2019. Which made the cut … what surprised us … what this means for tech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and all the others in 2020 ...
Mobile app categories we hit:
Food & drink
Music & audio
Health & fitness
Companies and apps we talk about:
YouTube ... Google
We’re talking about autonomous driving ... specifically … how soon we can expect self-driving cars? And what changes will they bring in our economy and our society?
My guest is Blair Lacorte, the president of AEye, a Silicon Valley company that “develops advanced vision hardware, software and algorithms that act as the eyes and visual cortex of autonomous vehicles.”
He says: we’ll have self-driving cars within 3 years.
What we cover:
Many experts say that full self-driving is many years away. Some say we’ll never get there. Talk about how you think we’ll get there in 3 years.
You also say we’ll need to redefine what self-driving means … maybe redo the Levels of Automation. How so?
What’s unique about your technology? You have something you’ve call iDAR … what is it, and how does it work?
Who are you working with right now on this?
Elon Musk says we don’t need LIDAR. Agree?
How important is critical mass of instrumented cars and shared data to accelerate the AI that we need for self-driving cars?
Robotaxis … will we see fleets of personal cars roaming the roads as taxis? Other models?
There are those who say that autonomous cars -- and their development -- is unsafe. How do you respond?
We talk to Robert Scoble about iOS spellcheck: is it really that bad (yes), why it's that bad (privacy?), and how this will impact Apple's competitiveness against Google and Android.
"80% said it got at least a little worse than before than two years ago"
"Swipe is a good new feature that comes with this system, but it's an immature system. It hasn't been trained very well."
"I had dinner with the guy who runs Siri at Apple. He said ... Google is beating us ... we see Google's learning at a faster rate."
You either love Cybertruck or you hate it. Designer Fede Ponce has worked for Nissan and BMW. He's currently consulting with Mercedes, and won awards for his work on the Iron Man and Thor movies. He's worked on autonomous vehicles and heads-up displays. Hear why he's ordered a Tesla Cybertruck.
chat with Amazon VP of smart home Daniel Rausch about:
what’s in HIS smart home
what drives consumer adoption
why voice is better than phones for a smart phone hub
the growth of the Alexa universe
Amazon’s new “Certified for Humans” program, which lets you set up device by voice alone
Alexa’s new “Did You Mean” feature
Making smart homes … actually smart
Alexa Guard, which makes your home look like you’re home … even when you’re away
Adding Alexa to anything
How Amazon grades itself on its progress with Alexa and Echo
Are we wasting billion on smart home technology? 70% of smart home tech that gets returned ... has nothing wrong with it. TechSee CEO Eiten Cohen surveyed smart home owners to find out what the biggest problems are ... and gives us the goods.