Shorts - June

Shorts are ideas that are too short to warrant a whole Cloudy, but are still worth discussing. Since this is a holiday weekend in the US, shorts are even shorter than normal.

A Dystopian Novel Idea
The idea is: everyone has the ability to access any piece of data. Imagine going to Wikipedia, but you could access anything. You could figure out what I had for breakfast (a banana). Or how many iPhones Apple were sold yesterday. Humans would still only be able to retain the current amount of information we know, but we would be able to access everything.

I am not exactly sure what the plot of this book is, but maybe a group of people takes control of the database, and others have to get it back. Or someone tries to disconnect themselves from the database. Either way, it could be fun to think about the implications of this.

Awful Gmail Targeting
I would like to think companies have figured their data strategy out.  Clearly, everyone is using machine learning to do proper personalization. Then I look at “promotions” in my Gmail.


By the look of it, you would think I am a world traveling, senior executive that also has a Mom. The “has a mom” part is the only thing they got right.

Delta – you are great, but based on your CRM you should know:
1. I have never booked a first class/premium ticket
2. I don’t spend enough in a year to cover the cost of a first-class ticket (even if its discounted)
3. You know my age, and If there are other people my age booking first class tickets, then I have not amounted to anything in life.

Delta should be using some sort of machine learning model to predict the likelihood of who will book a first class ticket in the next year. Then, they could send emails to the top 20% of people who they think will book a first-class ticket. Maybe they are doing this, but their models are not good.

Cordis (1865 Membership Office) - you guys need a lot of help
My wife and I stayed once in your hotel (we had a very nice time, lovely pool, good location), in New Zealand, did not sign up for your loyalty program and are based in New York. Why, why would you send me promotions about staying in a hotel in Hong Kong? I don’t have enough vacations days to even make it to Hong Kong.

But that does give me an idea. Hospitality companies should estimate how many vacation days each member has left and offer promotions this way. It would be very hard to predict, but if I live in New York and go to New Zealand, I probably don’t have a lot of vacation time left.

The “Ads” in Gmail are held to a less strict standard, because they don’t have as much data to leverage, but still…

AARP – If you surveyed 100 millennials the top 5 things they would get their mother on mother's day, how many would respond with an AARP membership?

Macys - I guess giving away discounts is a tried and true measure. But, it certainly doesn't win any personalization points...

Computers creating business models
Weeks ago we talked about how OpenAI doesn't quite have a strategy to make money. In a recent interview, the CEO, Sam Altman, suggested they would ask their AI to come up with a business model. Here's an excerpt from a TechCrunch story:

Asked for example, how OpenAI plans to make money (we wondered if it might license some of its work), Altman answered that the “honest answer is we have no idea. We have never made any revenue. We have no current plans to make revenue. We have no idea how we may one day generate revenue.”

Continued Altman, “We’ve made a soft promise to investors that, ‘Once we build a generally intelligent system, that basically we will ask it to figure out a way to make an investment return for you.'” 
When the crowd erupted with laughter (it wasn’t immediately obvious that he was serious), Altman himself offered that it sounds like an episode of “Silicon Valley,” but he added, “You can laugh. It’s all right. But it really is what I actually believe.”

The bold is my bold, but, uhhh, I have no idea what to say.