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Archive for the ‘trends’ Category

Consultant obsolescence – coming soon!

December 4, 2017 Leave a comment

Some cheer just in time for the holidays. Apparently all humans are going to be obsolete in ~125 years according a new study by academics as explained in the “Economist’s World in 2018“. The profession that apparently will survive the longest is (maybe not surprisingly) people doing AI research.

economist death march

Consultants (although they not called out), probably fall somewhere between a retail salesperson and an best selling author; so maybe they have about 20 years to go. That’s still probably 20 years too long per most of the the consultants’ clients.

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Categories: technology, trends Tags: ,

Consumption patterns of the 1%

November 3, 2017 Leave a comment

sum of small thingsFor those that are trying to understand the future spending patterns of the 1% (and the others that are aspiring to get there), the new book by Elizabeth Halkett (“The Sum of Small Things“) may not be a bad place to start (at all). Unlike other books that are based on hypothesis and mere observation, the strength of this book is the unique data set that the author (and her doctoral student) have been able to parse and synthesize. And what a synthesis it is: the book is full of really interesting insights. E.g.:

  • Travelers who spend over $100k annually on trips have increased their spending ~2-3x compared to the “regular traveler” (who spend ~$10k a year). Wow.
  • ~80% of Whole Food customers have a college degree
  • The number of farmers markets have doubled to ~8000 over the last 4 years
  • American made apparel dropped from ~55% to ~2% between 1991 and 2012
  • New Yorkers spend 27x more on watches than everyone else (in the US)
  • ….and so on!

You get the idea. It’s a longish read, and at times a bit pedantic, but worth it if you are trying to understand consumption patterns.

Categories: books, trends Tags:

Are telcos next target for Hyperscalers?

October 23, 2017 Leave a comment

The impact of Hyperscalers on the traditional server, storage and networking space is well understood and cause for much hand wringing and consternation. What perhaps is less clear is how deep hyperscalers and big internet companies are willing to go to ensure control and redundancy.

deep integration

Apparently, according to an article in the Economist, a bunch of them (including Facebook, Microsoft and Google) are now laying undersea cables to provide the networking infrastructure that they would normally lease from say BT.

Categories: technology, trends Tags:

Alexa – an under-appreciated platform

September 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Nice article in MIT’s tech review magazine on the rise of Amazon’s Alexa platform. A couple of tidbits to whet your appetite:

  • It was more than 5 years ago when Amazon filed the fundamental patents for this; the device launched in 2014
  • Amazon has about 70% of the all such voice powered AI devices
  • Amazon has about ~1000 jobs for Alexa posted, with about 20% of those for ML engineers
  • There are about 15k “skills”/apps for Alexa today

The main takeaway for me was the fact that now Amazon has access to a boatload of human speech interaction, giving it a potential leg up on Google with it’s historical dominance in text search. Worth a quick read.

Categories: technology, trends Tags: ,

Et tu Bloomberg?

September 1, 2017 Leave a comment

As if ML killing off consulting wasn’t enough, FT reports that Bloomberg has launched a consulting practice focused on brand, communications and marketing to start with. Apparently they already have 5 clients, plan to hire up to 25 more this year and charge around $150-200k a month for a team. Worth a quick scan.

Categories: consulting, trends Tags: ,

The end of consulting?

August 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Provocative article in HBR (“AI may soon replace the most elite consultants“) that predicts that the end is near for management consulting firms, basically through a combination of ML + a voice interface. It’s a bit sparse on data, but it catalogs a bunch of scenarios where a management team could potentially ask Alexa (e.g.) a set of questions that they would normally hire a consulting team for.

My thoughts on whether this will come to pass are obviously biased. I think companies use consultants for a variety of reasons, only some of those being ones that can be fully automated. However, it would be presumptuous to assume that ML won’t be able to help / supplement what consultants do. In fact, most consulting firms that I know about are already preparing the next generation of consultants to be even more analytically savvy.

Worth a quick read.

Cars account for ~60% of airport revenue

August 16, 2017 Leave a comment

 

airport revenue

Apparently car parking & rental car concession fees account for ~60% of non-aeronautical fees for airports in North America. (I would have put the figure for retail / food at a much higher level than that.)

Given the juggernaut that is ride-sharing, this share is likely to take steep tumble: Although consultants used to have to rent cars in the old days, I’ve yet to meet a consultant who’s not addicted to Uber.

Categories: interesting, travel, trends Tags: ,