New math, touching the future and NFTs

New math, touching the future and NFTs

Welcome to this 4th issue of our newsletter “Weak Signals and other Trends”. I am sending this one on a Saturday, let me know if you prefer this schedule to a Friday. Each week, I sift through hundreds of sources of inspiration to track where we’re heading. Your comments are welcome.

This is what I noticed this week, thank you for reading.

Business disrupted

Illustrations and examples that show our industries and business models are changing…

Amazon acquires Selz, a Shopify competitor, an e-shopfront and omni-channel becomes the next battlefield. The Emperor’s New Paintings, or how art is getting bankatized ( we wrote about this in our first issue – will this lead to Art-SPACs?). Automating the psychologist. Grocery Store on Wheels is a Food Retail disruptor in Canada aiming for a Spring 2021 Launch. Fortnite is hosting its own festival – another indicator that gaming and esports will take market share from entertainment companies.

The gig economy is getting organized: TikTok Stars and Social Media Creators Can Now Join Hollywood’s Top Union. Uber drivers are workers not self-employed, Supreme Court rules.

Our Future

Illustrations and examples that show our industries are changing…some trends are tech related, some not.

Machines Are Inventing New Math like we’ve never seen before. Status as a service. Ruth, the cookie coach by Nestle. A concept, this privacy ring is like an Incognito Mode for real life. Four disruptive, uncomfortable, yet inevitable martech trends. Netflix Forced A Bot To Make A Romantic Comedy – Netflix By Bots (YouTube). You’ve had your head under a pillow if you did not notice of the surge of discussions around NFTs ( Non-Fungible Tokens) , so here is a primer. 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2021 by MIT. Twitter announces paid Super Follows to let you charge for tweets. Why the ‘experience of things’ lies at the heart of digital transformation.

Touching the future( a long-read article, well worth your time to reflect).

AI is part of our cultural fabric. It is also part of a set of increasingly complicated systems – it is not one AI so much as many – and these systems encompass everything from the electrical grid and railway lines to mine sites, lift shafts and food-­supply chains

Competitive Intelligence

Sources: Digital Rights Archive, a treasure trove of essential research and analysis for digital policy-makers. We adore how this tool allows the user to search for images with similar energy: we think we could use it for moodboards. We already spoke about image searching, so here is DescartesLab a service for searching and locating landmarks ( bundle that with a good analytics software and you can guess oil reserves worldwide – also here). Access, download and analyze commodities worldwide from their shipment data to anticipate macro-economic trends.

Tools: since Flash was discontinued we lost the amazing newsreader Newsmap, but now it is back as an HTML5 web application. Nuzzel has pivoted and now offers a very friendly news-letter builder. Hyper-accurate positioning is rolling out worldwide. On forecasts & prediction error.

Our next course on Competitive Intelligence research techniques is here. We have a cohort starting in February ( 10am-12pm on March 29-30-31).

Weak signals

Weak signals are indicators of a change, a trend or an emerging risk that might become significant for the future. They allow us to run hypothesis, expand our thinking, and challenge assumptions. How will you interpret those in your industry? This week, we’re looking at the world with alien eyes and counter-intuitive facts

An illustration of looking at objects with an alien eye, this one spotted in a pub. Americans are consuming more foreign content than ever. Burger King hands out bags of potatoes to help French farmers (consequences of the shift from restaurants to at-home consumption, triggering a huge crisis for farmers). How Erewhon Became L.A.’s Hottest Hangout, particularly for influencers (supermarkets were among the few places where people could still see and be seen). A New Artificial Intelligence Makes Mistakes—on Purpose. A Literal Marketplace of Ideas (it reminds me of a social capital stockmarket Empire). Kids are turning to side hustles. The rise of digital books festivals.

We have been researching databases of weak signals, to give you a head start and here are a few pointers: We spotted an interactive map of weak signals ( in Finnish!). A database by Good Morning April.

Join us on Clubhouse at 9AM EST today to discuss how to interpret some of those weak signals.For those who missed it, we will have this 30mns morning discussion each Saturday at 9am EST ( look for @competia) .

On our radar

In this section, I will share some of the content I come across as I work on specific mandates for our clients. This week:

Analytical: I am preparing a keynote presentation for a client on what it means to build an analytical company: J.B. Hunt Enlists Google to Match Carriers With Shippers. How Harley-Davidson Used Artificial Intelligence to Increase New York Sales Leads by 2,930% . Uncovering the Potential of Advanced Analytics in International Price Management. How to build a data analytics dream team.

Social media crisis: I am always on the lookout for the next mishap or crisis in social media (I teach a class for the Institute of Canadian Directors on Boards Oversight of Social Media). Here is what I spotted this week: Structube and garbage can. Further, as I meet the board of a professional firm for a private training next week to discuss crisis response plans, one can’t miss McKinsey’s opioid – and more generally culture crisis splashed all over social media – fast becoming a business caseWhistleblowing is hitting social media — what is a company’s responsibility? (we will do an entire section about this next week).

Hodgepodge discovery

I am not sure why yet, but I feel like putting this new thermal imaging tech in my Xmas list. A 900 million backoffice error. LinkedIn is the latest tech giant to launch a creator program. Addicted to Clubhouse? These apps will make it even better. A study on reality and living in a market without IRL (pdf). Kids games that only use audio. This report reveals recent, current, and future cybersecurity issues impacting the globe, by Blackberry. If smiles are so easy to fake, why do we trust them? .

Feeling good

Generating fantasy maps. In case you are missing the urban vibe.

Hit me up at with feedback, pitches, or ideas for what to write about! Thank you for reading.

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