Keynote at Ometria conference

It was my pleasure to open the Ometria Lifecycle conference with a keynote on ‘Connecting with the Connected Customer’ – one of my persistent themes, focused on how retailers and brands can connect effectively and profitably with demanding consumers. Taking insights from the IREU Top500 I looked at 6 challenges that retailers need to overcome in order to succeed.

Congratulations to Ometria on a full house, great organisation and an a fantastic vibe to the day. Looking forward to our upcoming collaboration on White Papers and continuing this thread of conversation.

See Ometria and details of Lifecycle 2017.

 

 

Speaking at ShopTalk, Copenhagen

ShopTalk had their first European ‘outing’ in Copenhagen in October, with a three-day event that gathered some 2.500 delegates for three days of networking, meetings, keynotes and presentations. The IR team was there for the whole event and we were busy from dawn until (nearly the next) dawn catching up with retailers and innovative vendors from Europe and the US.

I gave a speech on the final day with six lessons from the IREU Top500 ranking of Europe’s multichannel retailers, brands and ecommerce pureplays.

You can see more about the IREU here: www.internetretailing.net/ireu and about ShopTalk here: www.shoptalk.com

 

Speaking at PostNord’s Ehandelsforum in Boräs, Denmark

I was pleased to renew my co-operation with the team at Postnord’s Ehandeldsforum and travel to Boräs in Denmark to speak at their 2017 event.

The venue was fantastic – a former train maintenance shed that had been converted into an event space – and the production values were extremely high.

My keynote opening session was a Q&A and I was grilled, supported and made to look sensible by the excellent chairing of the day’s host, Beata Wickbom.

Jessie Baker speaking on Blockchain

Article on ‘Silos’ in Brand Quarterly

Thanks to Brand Quarterly for publishing my article on the challenge of ‘silos’ in retail. Charged with being simultaneously agile/flexible and stable/optimised, organisational silos were an answer to the latter, yet create a barrier to the former. In this article I discuss the balance that retail leaders must strike in order to benefit from flexibility as well as efficiency.

The Eternal Battle In Multichannel Retail: Flexibility Vs Efficiency

 

Webwanderings for June 25th through June 26th

These are my links for June 25th through June 26th:

  • Coca-Cola European Partners to invest £39m in UK facility | FoodBev Media – Infrastructure and investment. Part of the ongoing IR theme that in order to success in the post-retail age you need invention, investment and integrity (less so ‘just’ innovation, which in a competitive sector is widespread).
  • Edge Cases For Self Driving Cars – Rodney Brooks
  • The key to jobs in the future is not college but compassion | Aeon Essays – Twin argument of ‘caring/emotional’ work in the future and the fact that never-ending education is not a solution. Example being an overqualified doctor working 80 hours a week, but lacking empathy… when AI can diagnose more effectively where is the new value?”The US economists W Norton Grubb and Marvin Lazerson call the belief in more schooling as the solution to every labour problem the ‘education gospel’. As Grubb argued in a 2005 talk, having more education tends to help individuals find better work, but that doesn’t make schooling a good overall economic strategy. In fact, he said, 30 to 40 per cent of workers in developed countries already have more education than their jobs demand.”
  • Opinion | The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence – “Service jobs of love” and ‘strength negate strength’. The impact of AI will concentrate power in the hands of the us and china, and leave only ’emotional’ and interface jobs.
    Interesting article.
    Note too the characterisation of current AI as ‘spreadsheets on steroids’ – main point being that solutions are domain- and purpose-specific at present, not overarching ‘intelligence’.

Staff over robots – an editorial

I’ve just had an editorial published in the Raconteur supplement in The Times, in which I argue the role of ‘carbon-based life-forms’ over and above robots. This piece was a counterpoint to the ‘store staff have no future’ debate that’s frankly ignoring the point: as retail becomes increasingly about stories and experience, it takes wonderful staff (not just wonderful robots) to bring this to life…

https://www.raconteur.net/business/people-our-staff-standing-on-the-shoulders-of-robots-and-digital-capabilities-are-the-future-of-e-commerce

eCommerce Trends 2017 in Warsaw

Looking forward to speaking at the upcoming eCommerce Trends Poland. This will be the fourth time I’ve spoken at the NoNoobs-organised event and there’s always been a full house and lively discussion.

This time I’m taking ‘competing with/alongside Amazon’ as my theme. Amazon is of interest to Polish merchants for both the growth opportunity and the threat. Even though Allegro.pl is a pan-European powerhouse of a marketplace, somehow the encroachment of Amazon is seen more as a threat. In my presentation I’ll look at the areas for merchants to sustain their independence, to work with Amazon and thrive in a multichannel world.

http://2017.ecommercetrends.pl/

 

eCommerce Poland 2017 – Ian Jindal – Selling in an Amazon Age

Mojo Chord – high resolution music via iTunes (avoiding the ‘red light’/44khz problem)

You’ve probably found this since for whatever reason you simultaneously 1) use iTunes to store your music 2) have become a fan of higher-resolution music files (HD or Studio Masters) and 3) you’ve decided that your music needs a further lift with the (rather amazing) Chord Mojo.

There’s no manual in the box with the Mojo (just lovely milled aluminium and glowing balls…. but I’m getting distracted). The promise is to plug into the Mac and there’s zero configuration.

Output stuck on ‘red’ 44khz

Upon playback of my high-res music it immediately sounded great, but the sample-rate indicator resolutely stuck on “Red”, no matter what music I threw at it. Rather concerning.

To explain: the on/off illuminated button-ball changes colour to indicate the sample rate of the music it’s playing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red is the humble 44.1khz of a CD, ramping up to some immense DSD rates and 768Khz at 32bit.

Initially I thought I had a faulty unit (since my Meridian Explorer used to recognise higher sample-rates).

Audio Midi Setup? Nope.

Then I found a hint to go to Audio Midi Setup on the Mac, take the Mojo and saw that I could set the format. You’ll see here that I’m playing a 192k track, but it notes that the Mojo is capable of 768k. I set the highest and though I’d solved the problem. Nope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The midi setup simply pegs the light at the rate you set (in this case a nice cobalt blue) but there’s no change in the sound. Also, as soon as you change application or turn off the Mojo you lose the settings….

Solution – BitPerfect

After I while I realised that even though iTunes stores higher-res files, it ‘only’ plays at 44khz. In order to unlock the higher rate files’ capabilities you need an additional application like BitPerfect or Audirvana. I have BitPerfect and it’s fine for $10, but it’s a bit flakey. You have to quite iTunes and then use BitPerfect to command iTunes to reopen (so loading its interface?). Once you’ve done that BitPerfect sits out of the way in the menu bar and does nothing. It will tell you the rates and resolution it’s playing at, and – lo and behold – the Mojo echoes these settings with its glowing ball.

Also, speak it quietly, but you can also hear a difference – the reason we’re going through all of this 🙂

Here we have BitPerfect’s icon (a nice blue) showing that it’s output is 32 bit and 44.1Khz…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While here we’ve stepped up to 192Khz (and a less nice orange colour).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All very simple.

I mentioned that BitPerfect is a bit unstable and after a couple of days of being on, with things plugged and unplugged, it just stops working and needs to be closed, as does iTunes and everything restarted.

A small effort for $10 – especially since it’s so invisible when it’s working – but I’m going to give Audirvana a trial to see whether it’s more stable.

I hope that helps others who’re googling how to get beyond the red glow on the Mojo.

Next step – finding an invisible way to get high-res out of the iPhone without having to change from iTunes/Music. Any tips appreciated!

Closing keynote at aDigital’s #FashTech conference in Bilbao

At InternetRetailing we’ve know aDigital – the Spanish Association for the digital economy – for a number of years, so it was a great pleasure to be able to join them in Bilbao for their FashTech Conference on 29 November, 2016.

The event was very well-attended, with some 450 delegates at any one time in an impressive venue – the Azkuna Zentroa – a mixed-used community conference/cinema/expo/meeting venue… a bit like a mini Tate Modern just for meetings and events!

I took as my theme some of the learnings from the InternetRetailing IREU Top500 ranking and in particular the challenges of connecting with connected customers, at scale, repeatedly and at profit.

I had not visited Bilbao for about 25 years and so the renaissance in the city was remarkable. More pleasing that that, however, was the really local feel to the city. That evening, as I got lost on my wanders, I bumped into people who’d been at the Conference and came up to me, chatted (and pointed me in the right direction). I’ve never experienced that before.

You can see the video of my presentation here, along with some kind tweets.

 

 

InternetRetailing Conference 2016 – our 11th annual event

I was pleased to open both www.edeliveryconference.com and www.internetretailingconference.com and welcome the usual senior gathering of multichannel professionals to our intense multi-track conference and expo.

You can see the write-up of the event and also videos of proceedings on the conference site, but a particular thanks to Tony Rivenell of Halfords who was game enough to do a Q&A on the role of the Chief Digital Officer during our keynote sessions…