Posted by & filed under E-Business, E-Commerce.

Gymshark

Even in the slightly unhinged world of internet influencers, Devon Lévesque is one of the most intense—hands down. Recently the 28-year-old fitness pro bear-crawled 26.2 miles around New York City to raise awareness of veterans’ mental health. To the delight of his nearly 500,000 Instagram fans, on October 30 Lévesque, who can hit 12 miles per hour on all fours, crawled across the Brooklyn Bridge, then shot through the East Village and up to Harlem before finishing strong at Central Park’s Overlook Rock. And he did it all decked out in gear from British fitness startup Gymshark. Never heard of it? Spend more time on TikTok.

In the crowded and well-capitalized sportswear market, Gymshark has become a $1.4 billion–plus (valuation) brand by paying 80 ripped fitness influencers like Lévesque anywhere from $6,000 to more than $100,000 per year by Forbes estimate to live—and sell—the Gymshark lifestyle on social media. Founder Ben Francis, 28, has one rule for his athletes: Do you, but do it in Gymshark. “Young people only want to buy community-led brands that align with their values,” Francis says. “We are a community that also happens to sell things.”

Source: Forbes

Date: December 7th, 2020

Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandrasternlicht/2020/12/02/how-ben-francis-used-tiktok-and-instagram-to-build-gymshark-into-a-billion-dollar-sportswear-brand/?sh=5861c3c2358e

Discussion

  1. Gymshark uses technology to build an audience for is products. How could you do the same for your idea?
  2. At its core, Gymshark started by designing and making things for themselves, and then moved into online retail to sell those things. Why is this so important in an online business?

Posted by & filed under Microsoft, Slack.

The stock price of Slack Technologies Inc. trading under the symbol (WORK) is seen on a display above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during the company"s direct listing in New York, U.S. June 20, 2019

Salesforce has agreed to buy workplace messaging app Slack for $27.7bn (£20bn) in what would be one of the biggest tech mergers in recent years.

Marc Benioff, boss of the business software giant, called the deal a “match made in heaven”.

He has been pushing to expand the company’s software offerings and fend off rivals such as Microsoft.

The acquisition comes as the pandemic has increased the focus on remote work and tools, like Slack, which enable it.

Tech analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities called it a “now or never” purchase for Mr Benioff.

“If Salesforce wants to expand beyond its core gold mine of sales and marketing departments … this was the moment and thus represents a major shot across the bow against Microsoft,” he wrote in a note to investors after the deal was announced.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: December 7th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55154326

Discussion

  1. Microsoft is, depending on the day, one of the top 3 companies by capitalization globally. What does it do that makes it so valuable?
  2. Salesforce is a CRM, Customer Relationship Management, software provider. Why is it pushing into a chat/teams software business?

Posted by & filed under Career, Consumer Technology.

Smartphones, laptops and gaming consoles remain at the top of holiday wish lists, but this year we at CNN Business are reflecting on the tech, services and apps that truly made a big impact on our everyday lives. Here’s what impressed our editors, reporters and producers the most — and in many ways, helped us survive the rollercoaster that has been 2020.

Source: CNN Tech

Date: December 1st, 2020

Link: https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/25/tech/tech-gadgets-2020-cnn-staff-picks/index.html

Discussion

  1. Review each item on the list, and, rather than considering whether or not you should have one, consider how you could package a business or service around this technology item
  2. Think of three or four reasons why each particular item is in this list in 2020.

Posted by & filed under IT and Politics, Politics.

Everything from app store purchases to Netflix subscriptions to items purchased on Amazon could be hit under the new proposals, which are scheduled to be in force from July onwards.

That Netflix tax is coming after all.

The federal government is taking aim at digital giants including Netflix, Amazon and Airbnb, insisting they pay HST or GST on sales to Canadian consumers, a move that experts warn could raise prices.

Everything from app-store purchases to streaming subscriptions to items purchased on Amazon could be hit under the new proposals, scheduled to be in force from July onwards.

The news came as part of the federal government’s fiscal update Monday.

In a speech to the House of Commons, Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said it was a matter of fairness.

Source: Toronto Star

Date: December 1st, 2020

Link: https://www.thestar.com/business/2020/11/30/ottawa-to-impose-fair-share-of-tax-on-digital-giants-including-netflix-amazon-and-airbnb.html

Discussion

  1. “Canadians want a tax system that is fair, where everyone pays their fair share, so the government has the resources it needs to invest in people and keep our economy strong.  ” Why is it “fair” (or not) to tax Netflix subscriptions?
  2. Hotels say that it is very fair to tax AirBnB. Why is this?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence.

A DeepMind model of a protein from the Legionnaire's disease bacteria (Casp-14)

One of biology’s biggest mysteries has been solved using artificial intelligence, experts have announced.

Predicting how a protein folds into a unique three-dimensional shape has puzzled scientists for half a century.

London-based AI lab, DeepMind, has largely cracked the problem, said the organisers of a scientific challenge.

A better understanding of protein shapes could play a pivotal role in the development of novel drugs to treat disease.

The advance by Google-owned DeepMind is expected to accelerate research into a host of illnesses, including Covid-19.

Their program determined the shape of proteins at a level of accuracy comparable to expensive and time-consuming lab methods, said independent scientists.

Dr Andriy Kryshtafovych, from University of California (UC), Davis in the US, one of the panel of scientific adjudicators, described the achievement as “truly remarkable”.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: December 1st, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55133972

Discussion

  1. “AlphaFold is based on a concept called deep learning. In this process, the structure of a folded protein is represented as a spatial graph. The program then “learns” using information on the 3-D shapes of known proteins held in a worldwide database.”
    What other tasks could use a “deep learning” technique to look at 3D-shapes?
  2. What sort of business or consulting service could you build off this technology?

Posted by & filed under Amazon.

Black Friday

Many shops are still expected to offer deals online for the pre-Christmas sales event on 27 November.

It’s been a difficult year for lots of retailers, who will be hoping Black Friday – and its bigger cousin Cyber Monday – will give them a much-needed boost

But this all comes with a health warning if you’re buying online.

Amazon is struggling to prevent fake reviews which can mislead shoppers this Black Friday, according to Which?.

The consumer group looked at some of the most popular purchases, including tablets and phones, and found some review ratings were being manipulated.

Amazon responded to the claims saying it has clear policies that reviewers and sellers must stick to.

It says it will suspend, ban, and take legal action against those who break the rules.

Source: BBC

Date: November 25th, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-54885319

Discussion

  1. The first piece of advice is “be sceptical…if there are an unusually high number of reviews compared to others in that category ” What sort of algorithm or program could Amazon (and others) use to detect this so you don’t have to?
  2. Brands you don’t know. If you don’t recognise the brand, check to see if it has its own legitimate-looking website, with clear contact details.” How might you game this advice if you were unscrupulous?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security.

Major security flaws in popular smart doorbells are putting consumers at risk of being targeted by hackers inside their homes, according to Which.

The consumer group says devices being sold on marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay, could easily be hacked or switched off by criminals.

It is asking the government for new legislation to safeguard consumers.

Amazon has removed at least seven product listings in response to the findings.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 23rd, 2020

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-55044568

Discussion

  1. “If you have decided to purchase a smart doorbell, make sure it is from a well-known, trusted brand. When you set it up change the default password to something long, and if possible enable two-factor authentication in the set-up,” she added. Two-factor authentication (2FA) is when a secondary step is introduced to the log-in process, such as a code sent as an email or text.”
    Do you have 2FA set up for your banking and credit card accounts? If not, why not?
  2. How could you help a company or business make themselves more secure online?

Posted by & filed under Facebook, Google, Internet Advertising, IT and Politics.

President-elect Joe Biden’s policies may be shaped by who his advisers are. And Kamala Harris, foreground, is a senator from California whose constituency includes Silicon Valley, and is seen as friendly with big tech.

Navdeep Bains chooses his words carefully when asked what a Biden administration could mean for Canada’s approach to big tech regulation.

Surely Canada would have a freer hand under President Joe Biden to regulate and tax multinational internet giants, without Donald Trump threatening trade sanctions and tariffs?

“I would say there’s a broader understanding that protectionism is on the rise in the U.S.,” Bains, Canada’s industry minister, told the Star in an interview this week.

“Even with the current administration, the future administration, we need to be mindful of those challenges that exist.”

Source: The Toronto Star

Date: November 23rd, 2020

Link: https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2020/11/21/trump-will-be-gone-but-canada-might-not-have-a-freer-hand-to-regulate-multinational-internet-giants-under-president-joe-biden.html

Discussion

  1. ” For years, the Liberal government has talked about the influence the FAANGs — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google — have on the Canadian economy and citizens. ” What sort of influence are we talking about here?

2. “When France imposed a ….tax [on tech giant’s overseas advertising revenues] , Trump threatened to levy $2.4 billion (U.S.) in tariffs on French goods — including champagne and cheese. French President Emmanuel Macron eventually agreed to delay the tax plans.” ” A promised tax on tech giants’ advertising revenues and profits from Canadian user data has yet to materialize, but is still on the plate. ” Why shouldn’t the Canadian government be able to tax an American companies advertising revenues that are generated in Canada?

Posted by & filed under Cyber Security, Cyberattack.

State-sponsored actors are “very likely” trying to shore up their cyber capabilities to attack Canada’s critical infrastructure — such as the electricity supply — to intimidate or to prepare for future online assaults, a new intelligence assessment warns.

“As physical infrastructure and processes continue to be connected to the internet, cyber threat activity has followed, leading to increasing risk to the functioning of machinery and the safety of Canadians,” says a new national cyber threat assessment drafted by the Communications Security Establishment.

“We judge that state-sponsored actors are very likely attempting to develop the additional cyber capabilities required to disrupt the supply of electricity in Canada.”

Source: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Date: November 19th, 2020

Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cse-threat-assesment-1.5806213

Discussion

  1. Why would a “state-sponsored actor”, which usually means a country, go after Canada’s electricity supply?
  2. If you ran an online business that was fundamentally linked to have electricity, what might you do to guard against this threat or provide a backup for this threat?

Posted by & filed under AI/Artificial Intelligence, Ethical issues.

The Ubamarket app

now more retailers are using AI (artificial intelligence) – software systems that can learn for themselves – to try to automatically predict and encourage our very specific preferences and purchases like never before.

Retail consultant Daniel Burke, of Blick Rothenberg, calls this “the holy grail… to build up a profile of customers and suggest a product before they realise it is what they wanted”.

So the next time you dash into your local shop to buy certain snacks and a particular wine on a Friday night, perhaps you can blame AI, and a computer that has learned all about you, for the decision.

Source: BBC Technology News

Date: November 18th, 2020

Link: bbc.com/news/technology-54522442

Discussion

  1. Is it ethical to install an app and then have it use AI to try and sell things to you?
  2. “We need to ask how equitable and ethical the data collection is. So, for example, are middle-class white women being offered money off fresh vegetables, but it is not being offered to someone who could really benefit from it?” What sort of work would need to be done to make sure that AI was not racial biased based on the data it analyzes?