Weekend Digest: The disrupting companies, secret startups, and non-aging fingerprints edition

by Larry Brannan ([email protected]) 97 views 

TV PREVIEW
On this week’s TV edition of Talk Business & Politics, which airs Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on KATV Channel 7 in Central Arkansas and in Northeast Arkansas on KAIT-NBC, Sundays at 10 a.m.:

Survey Says
New poll numbers. How do Arkansans feel about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the Presidential race? Also, for the U.S. Senate, can Democratic challenger Conner Eldridge make headway against incumbent Republican Sen. John Boozman?

Voter Analysis
New numbers on Sunday morning on how voters feel about medical marijuana. Hendrix College professor Dr. Jay Barth joins us for analysis and discussion about what may be a sea change in voter attitudes.

Food for Thought
Also, Arkansas celebrates its food culture in a big, new way. Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, explains why you’ll want a taste of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame.

Tune in to Talk Business & Politics in Central Arkansas on KATV Channel 7, Sundays at 9:30 a.m. and in Northeast Arkansas on KAIT-NBC, Sundays at 10 a.m.

PROFITABILITY FOCUS AND HOW A BROOKLYN BUSINESS ALMOST FAILED
Forbes reports, “Felipe Lavalle’s Brooklyn bike tour business had seen three years of double-digit growth. Meanwhile, it had maintained a number-one ranking on TripAdvisor for tours in Brooklyn. But in July, Lavalle’s world shifted dramatically – he found himself down to his last $200.”

Along the way, the entrepreneur learned critical lessons about cash flow management, expansion and global economics. Now he has a new strategy and is attempting a turnaround.

Get the story at this link.

THE BUSINESSES THAT PLATFORMS ARE ACTUALLY DISRUPTING
“Platforms are all the rage these days. Powered by online technologies, they are sweeping across the economic landscape, striking down companies large and small. Uber’s global assault on the taxi industry is well known. Many platforms, some household names and others laboring in obscurity, are doing the same in other sectors,” says Harvard Business Review.

“Surveying these changes, you might conclude that if your business isn’t a platform, you had better worry that one is coming your way. Everyone from automakers to plumbers should count their days as traditional businesses. And maybe you should jump on the platform bandwagon too. If it worked for Airbnb, why not you?”

Based on our research into the wave of online platforms that have started in the last two decades, we don’t necessarily disagree. Traditional businesses should worry, and maybe they should think about platform strategies. But we think these conclusions are overwrought – and miss what’s really going on.

The businesses most at risk from platforms powered by rapidly improving online technologies aren’t, in fact, traditional businesses that sell products and services to consumers. They’re “traditional” matchmaker businesses that have been operating platforms for connecting different groups of customers.

“The evidence is striking that these existing matchmakers, rather than traditional firms, have so far experienced the greatest disruption from new platforms.”

For more on this story and how it may affect your business, connect here.

INSIDE APPLE AND IBM’S APP MAKING MACHINE
Fast Company posts, “This is how the (unlikely) partnership actually works, as told by the people from both companies who manage it every day.”

“On a July day in 2014 some people from IBM and Apple got together in a room at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California to start work on their recently announced business app creation partnership. The fact that the two companies were working together at all sounded a little unlikely; IBM, after all, was once cast in Apple mythology as the big, slow, and safe antithesis of everything Steve Jobs wanted his company to be. At least in the consumer space, the two were bitter rivals.”

“The IBM people brought with them to Cupertino that day a mobile app they’d been working on – a fuel calculation app for airline pilots – that they thought might serve as a starting point for the partnership. It was built by IBM people, who had also built some powerful data analytics into the background. The IBM people hoped the Apple people would see it and be impressed, and then the two companies would continue building the app together.”

But that’s not what happened. IBM’s app – all 40 screens of it – was a bloated mess. One Apple UI expert in the meeting said simply “that’s not going to work,” a person who was there told me. Pilots, the expert said, would not go through 40 screens in an app, even if they were currently doing the same tasks on paper.

So began the Apple/IBM partnership, which is officially known as IBM MobileFirst for iOS. IBM’s fuel app didn’t end up launching the partnership, but the Apple UI expert’s criticism of it summed up the design sense that would guide the creation of IBM MobileFirst apps going forward. It also said a lot about the what the dynamic of IBM and Apple’s working relationship would be.

Follow this link to learn more.

TWO FAMOUS GOOGLE ALUMS ARE ADVISING A SECRET STARTUP
“Alex Teichman crawled on the carpet as the dog ran around him. A camera watched them closely nearby,” says Business Insider.

“On the screen of the computer, Teichman’s outline was glaring red, despite him being on all fours like the dog. The pet, though, was a shining green.”

It was graduation day from Stanford’s StartX incubator, and Teichman and his cofounder Hendrik Dahlkamp had built a home security system home that can tell the difference between humans, a potential threat, and things like dogs running around a yard.

However, the video of Teichman versus the dog is the last public evidence of a company then-called Snitch. In early 2015, IEEE wrote the only story about what the duo was working on, complete with the video.

“Since then, though, buzz has been slowly building around the “well-funded” and “first-rate” mysterious company and its newly discovered ties to major Google alums. With its focus on machine vision and their expertise in self-driving cars, speculation about the project’s potential is growing.”

A few recent clues discovered by Business Insider hint at what the tight-lipped startup might be working on.

You can see those hints at this link.

HOW TRUMP COULD WIN THE DEBATE
“Hillary Clinton will almost certainly win Monday night’s epic presidential debate on points — and still could lose,” reports POLITICO Magazine.

“It’s hard to see how Clinton, who has marinated in public policy for 30 years and is preparing for the debate like it is the invasion of Normandy, won’t repeatedly best Donald Trump on substance.

Her strength in this area perfectly matches Trump’s weakness. Trump has appeared to learn for the first time such basic information as that the Trans-Pacific Partnership doesn’t include China and that Russia has already invaded Ukraine on the debate stage or during a media interview. He sometimes reads his speeches as if they include revelations to him — “so true,” he’ll interject after coming across a striking fact or observation in the text.

If Trump has spent time hitting the briefing books, his campaign has kept it under wraps and he has yet to reveal any hint of a new policy depth in anything he’s said over the past few weeks. So Trump won’t be particularly well-informed, and figures it won’t particularly matter — and may well be right.

Trump has a significant built-in advantage in that there is a lower standard for him — not because the media isn’t tough enough on him, as all the media mavens agree, but because he is the de facto challenger and candidate of change in a change election. Trump can win by clearing a bar of acceptability, whereas Clinton has to do more than that and either significantly wound Trump or make a compellingly positive case for herself that has so far eluded her in both 2008 and 2016.

For more on this intriguing analysis, follow here.

LIBERALS SEE HILLARY’S FOCUS ON BIG DONORS AS DATED
“In 2012, B. Rowe Winecoff, a retired social worker from Newton, Iowa, contributed $120 to President Obama’s re-election campaign. But he has yet to give any money to Hillary Clinton in this election.

“This year just seems dirtier than ever,” said Mr. Winecoff, a Democrat, in the The New York Times.

“Even as newly released financial disclosures reveal that Mrs. Clinton enjoys a substantial fund-raising advantage over Donald J. Trump, she is struggling to replicate the sort of small-dollar juggernaut that Mr. Obama enjoyed in his campaigns and Senator Bernie Sanders relied on in this year’s Democratic primaries.”

In an illustration of the lack of enthusiasm for her among some liberal activists, just 24 percent of the contributors to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign so far have given $200 or less. In 2012, 43 percent of the money to Mr. Obama was from contributors who gave $200 or less, and this year 58 percent of the giving to Mr. Sanders’s grass-roots bid came from small-dollar donors.

“Without this online network, Mrs. Clinton is being made to continue with an aggressive calendar of fund-raisers with rich donors as Election Day grows near — events that can limit her time in swing states and reinforce concerns that give rank-and-file Democrats pause.”

For the complete read, go to this link.

LIFE OF THE GRAND OLD PARTY
U.S. News & World Report says, “The “Growth & Opportunity Project” commissioned by the Republican National Committee following the 2012 presidential election was supposed to be the party’s blueprint for a rebound back to power.”

“The 97-page document – more commonly and grimly known as “the autopsy” – was a noble, ambitious enterprise that listed a series of specific recommendations for how the GOP could improve its campaign mechanics, messaging, candidate recruitment and fundraising. No priority was greater than making inroads on demographic diversity: increasing the party’s appeal to minorities, women and youth. After Mitt Romney’s loss, despite the support of traditional GOP coalitions like white men and evangelical Christians, it was deemed a matter of survival.”

But nearly four years after its submission, a U.S. News investigation – which included interviews with more than three dozen Republicans at all levels across the country – shows that some of the most significant changes sought, particularly on demographic outreach, haven’t come to pass.

What has happened? Find out by clicking here.

POLL: TRUMP TIGHTENS RACE IN COLO., VA.
Hillary Clinton’s leads are shrinking in the battleground states of Colorado and Virginia, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University that also shows Donald Trump up in Georgia and Iowa.

“The findings reflect a tightening in the presidential race across the country, as Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, continues to make up ground in swing states ahead of next week’s presidential debate.”

“Iowa, Virginia and Colorado are a metaphor for what is happening in the presidential race,” Peter Brown, the Quinnipiac poll assistant director, said in a statement.

For the complete story, follow this link.

NEW STUDY SHOWS A CHILD’S FINGERPRINT DOESN’T AGE
Forbes says, “A new study from biometric researchers at Michigan State University points to evidence that digital scans of a fingerprint of a child six months old can be recognized one year later. This finding illustrates that fingerprints from a child, even as young as six hours old, showed distinguishing features that can be used for identity and recognition. The prevailing theory is that the fingerprint of an infant for identification later was unreliable.”

“In the study conducted at Saran Ashram hospital in Dayalbagh, India, researchers collected the fingerprints of 309 children age 0 to five years old at four different times over a period of one year. They were able to show in the study that state-of-the-art fingerprint technology yields a high recognition accuracy of 98.9% for children six months or older.”

The importance of this finding will help developing countries recognize children for vaccination tracking, supplementary food delivery and national identification documents of young children six months and older. The identification of children through fingerprinting could also turn the tables on the more than more than five million children who lose their lives to vaccine-preventable diseases each year in developing countries.

For more on this breakthrough story, click here.

PUMPKIN SPICE FRENCH FRIES ARE HERE FOR HEARTBURN
Now this:

Later this month, McDonald’s Japan is doling out French fries drizzled with a pumpkin spiced sauce. They’re an update to the McChoco potatoes, the chocolate-covered fries that debuted in January. If you live in Japan, you can pick them up on September 28.

There are no plans to sell them in the United States — yet.

What does Marketplace.org’s Kai Ryssdal think of the concept? Read his take here.