Facebook’s Planned “Coin” — Much Ado About We-Don’t-Know-What

Given Facebook’s 2.4 billion monthly active users, any move the company makes is noteworthy. Put Facebook and cryptocurrency in the same sentence, and you’re guaranteed headlines. In reality, we still don’t know exactly what or when Facebook is planning to launch — possibly in early 2020 and possibly named GlobalCoin. It’s been obvious for a long time that Facebook has been working on something — if nothing else, the steady stream of job postings for blockchain experts was a giveaway. Reuters reported on May 17 that Facebook has set up a new fintech company in Switzerland called Libra Networks that is “focus[ed] on blockchain and payments as well as data analytics and investing.” It’s also well known that Facebook has been engaging with regulators in major countries. Details remain hazy (most current press reporting goes back to one BBC story), and the challenges are numerous. And it’s by no means a given that a new digital currency can achieve mass-market adoption, even if the parent is Facebook (remember Facebook Credits?) and the interface is WhatsApp. For now, though, we’ll have to wait and see what Facebook actually launches.

Amazon Opts For Distracting Warehouse Workers Over Elevating Them

Amazon has deployed Tetris-like video games at five of its warehouses to try to reduce worker boredom of picking items off of warehouse shelves by gamifying the work. The real reason behind the video games is to motivate workers to pick more items per hour, a subtle but pernicious productivity poke. It is another example of Amazon’s famed customer obsession not extending to employees. Automation of much of the warehouse work has reduced what humans have to do, but Amazon hasn’t taken our advice and tried to redeploy warehouse workers to higher-value, more human tasks. Instead, it is simply trying to relieve the burden of the few remaining rote tasks that it hasn’t yet automated in the warehouse and trick humans into doing more tasks per hour. As video game designer Jane McGonigal noted in the article, the effects of the game aren’t likely to last long and could actually be counterproductive as employees stop playing.

Stanford University Has A Doglike Robot To Help You Craft New Innovations

Stanford’s student robotics club, Extreme Mobility, has crafted an open sourced, four-legged, doglike robot capable of traversing challenging terrains and performing acrobatic skills. It has internet-of-things capabilities and AI motors that can sense external forces and determine how much strength and torque each leg should apply in response. And it can recompute these assessments up to 8,000 times per second, making it possible to rebound the robot into proper form whenever it senses it is out of position or pop it up, by as much as 3.5 feet in the air, to escape tough situations. These students are hoping to partner with your firm to apply Stanford Doggo to your business and customer needs. They are open to having you outfit it with your sensors, add code atop theirs, and use two of the legs as arms to pick up and carry packages. Who’s ready to leverage this solution?

Productivity Isn’t Everything, But In The Long Run, It Is Almost Everything

A recent article on FXStreet makes an important point on productivity: While productivity is incredibly important to the economy, the author posits that stubbornly low (but starting to move in the right direction) productivity is the result of a lack of a comparable breakthrough technology. That may come as a surprise to many of us, as all we hear about is how we have never seen more transcendental technologies than what we see in today’s market. Now, this analysis is a macroeconomic perspective, and we definitely see individual companies realizing big productivity gains. However, in a recent Forrester report, we validate the author’s points, showing how companies are struggling to realize productivity improvements that are critical to justifying new technology investments. Well, all is not lost; rather, you just have to change your approach. Vendors need to think differently about how they position their solutions and work to help customers realize them. And end users need to optimize hard savings and start to better value softer attributes such as flexibility and optionality.

What It Looks Like When You Get Digital Transformation Right

A few weeks ago, we talked about the positive moves that Chipotle is taking in its digital transformation. We also explored the Chipotle story at our Digital Transformation & Innovation Forum. But now, let’s look at the payoff: Chipotle is up 55% on the year and is the fourth-best performing stock in the S&P 500. Sure, the company has improved the food and overcome the health concerns that plagued the firm over the past few years. More important, though, is its digital transformation initiatives, which are driving real value for investors, employees, and customers.