Figma adds collaboration to the product design process

While some digital product designers are still using Illustrator or Photoshop to design interfaces for screens, a battle has begun to design the next generation of product design tools. Sketch has captured a large portion of the market as a tool that is easy to adopt and master, but other vendors have their sights set on bigger and brighter futures.

Figma is an interface design tool that combines product design functionality with feedback, collaboration, and prototyping. It is built especially for digital product designers, taking into consideration device constraints, accessibility, and even production needs.

Why it’s hot…

Rather than switching file types and relying on email, Slack, or annotations, imagine being able to work side-by-side with other members of your team – designers and non-designers alike – in one file to get a project production-ready. Additionally, Figma works across devices and operating systems, meaning that everyone can use the device they want and still have access to the same files. Think Office 365 or Google Docs, but for product design.

Showing code from designed screens [via]

Adobe and other large vendors are trying to implement similar collaborative capabilities in XD and other programs, but Figma has the added benefit of starting from scratch, without legacy product dependencies. It will be exciting to see how they use this momentum to carry them forward.

Learn more at

Designer Babies

Researchers in Oregon report they have successfully genetically modified a human embryo (don’t worry, they were destroyed a couple of days later). They used a technique known as CRISPR where gene-editing chemicals are injected into a human egg at the moment of fertilization. In this case, scientists were correcting DNA errors present in the father’s sperm.

This is the first time this experiment is conducted in the US, researchers here have been watching in awe, envy and with alarm as the procedure was previously attempeted in China.

It is believed the US team has broken new ground due to the number of embryos experimented on as well as the ability to safely and efficiently correcting defective genes that cause inherited diseases. This is the first of many milestones to be reached in creating genetically modified humans.

Why it’s hot: 

  • The objective of human gene modification is to potentially erradicate or correct genes that cause hereditary diseases.

Why it’s not hot: 

  • Eliminating hereditary diseases is one thing, creating designer babys a whole other ethical debate.

An idea that made all sharks bite

Two Columbia University architecture students designed a light weight solar lantern to assist post-earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, bringing light to dangerous conditions at night in the tent cities. Because the product is rooted in human needs, it is now also used by hikers, backpackers and emergency workers.

Why it’s hot: they built a product and business based on a simple, basic human need that’s often forgotten by many – light.

Amazon the pharmacy?

Earlier this year, Amazon started to hire pharmaceutical professionals which is a good indication of their next industry acquisition. Just last month, Amazon bought health food retailer Wholefoods for 13.7 billion dollars. This merger was a surprise for most, but strongly suggests that a pharmacy department could be coming to a Wholefoods near you. Stocks in CVS Health and Walgreens have already started to drop since Amazon purchased Wholefoods in June.

One thing that could stand in the way of Amazon’s pharmaceutical takeover is the relationship between patient and pharmacist. Healthcare is intimate and disrupting the personal aspect of the business could be tricky. Amazon would be competing for business in a very established industry and customers want excellent customer service, something that could be a challenge for such a large company. On the other hand, Amazon could help simplify the pharmaceutical industry with a streamlined process, allowing pharmacists to spend more time with their patients. Only time will tell how their plan unfolds.


Why its hot?

  • This is another example of Amazon disrupting an established industry

It’s Late and You’ve Got the Munchies. Lyft and Taco Bell Have an Idea.

Taco Bell has, quite literally, found a new marketing vehicle, and its name is Lyft.

The fast-food chain is beginning a venture with the ride-sharing company this week that will allow Lyft passengers to request rides that incorporate a stop at a Taco Bell drive-through between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.

The companies will test the option, which will appear as “Taco Mode” in the Lyft app, during the next two weeks around a Newport Beach, Calif., location, with plans to expand the program nationally next year.

It’s an attempt to tap into the trend of young people increasingly car-pooling through apps like Lyft and its larger rival Uber, particularly on nights out with friends. While Taco Bell offers delivery to customers and advertises the locations of its restaurants through the navigation app Waze, partnering with a ride-sharing company represents a new type of “experience innovation,” said Marisa Thalberg, Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer.

“I kind of think of this like inverse delivery — like we’re delivering you to Taco Bell,” she said in an interview. “You’re being delivered to the food as opposed to having to get in your own car and drive.”

As it stands, Lyft and Uber do not have stated policies about how drivers should handle passenger requests to swing by fast-food drive-throughs, though the question regularly pops up in online discussion forums for drivers.

“Several times I said no to food and they ask why and I explained what the last idiot did of making a mess and each time the present idiot would promise to not make a mess, spill, waste, etc. then they do it anyway!” one Uber driver wrote in an online forum.

Ms. Thalberg said her company had seen “a bunch of funny tweets” and other social media posts from hungry passengers on the topic, which got them thinking about a potential partnership with Lyft.

Taco Bell is not paying Lyft for the deal, which has been in the works for almost a year, Ms. Waters said. The companies are looking at the venture as “cocreating an experience together,” which cannot be evaluated the way one might look at traditional marketing efforts like television commercials and billboards, she said.

“Marketing today is so much about customer experience, not branding and advertising,” she said. “We’re really evaluating it from a surprise and delight for our consumer bases with a program like this and both meeting in the middle and developing it on both sides.”

Source: NY Times

Why It’s Hot

  • Uber used to be the partnership king, but perhaps their recent debacles have had brands thinking twice about their ride partnerships
  • Audience understanding  — experiences, not products — is the way to go.
  • It’s interesting to see how ride share, ride hire industry expands through partnerships and innovations to “own more of the user.”

… So money DOES buy happiness?

A study done by the National Academy of Sciences found that paying other people to do your tedious distasteful tasks could lead to more happiness. Based on a survey of nearly 4,500 people from the US, Denmark, Canda, and the Netherlands. About 28% of individuals surveyed actually reported spending money to save time. Regardless of income, people seemed to have benefited from buying more time for themselves.

The researchers were able to establish a link between buying time and happiness. They also found that spending money to save time actually appeared to reduce time-related stress as well as increasing well-being.

Why it’s hot:
Everyone always says “money doesn’t buy happiness” but is this study proving that statement wrong? Money can definitely buy comfort and more convenience. Just take a look at TaskRabbit, they’ve been ahead of the game as they provide services from cleaning to minor repairs.


Roomba finds a cool way to ramp up the paranoia level for tin-foil hat wearers

For the last couple of years, the newer models of Roomba have been quietly mapping homes to maximize efficiency. Now, the device’s makers plan to sell that data to smart home device manufacturers and possibly to companies such as Amazon, Google and Apple (Roomba is already compatible with Alexa, for example).

“If a company like Amazon, for example, wanted to improve its Echo smart speaker, the Roomba’s mapping info could certainly help out. Spatial mapping could improve audio performance by taking advantage of the room’s acoustics. Do you have a large room that’s practically empty? Targeted furniture ads might be quite effective. The laser and camera sensors would paint a nice portrait for lighting needs that would factor into smart lights that adjust in real time. Smart AC units could better control airflow. And additional sensors added in the future would gather even more data from this live-in double agent.”

One way to avoid giving your data would be to turn off the cloud service and go analog, rendering the IoT aspect of the product useless.

Story on Gizmodo

Why It’s Hot

It’s hot as hell for marketers because this will unlock hyper-targeted ads to people on a micro level, but maybe not as hot for consumers who feel that they have to make a big compromise with their privacy just to vacuum their floors.

John Mayer Made Really Boring Shoes

Level up.

A post shared by johnmayer (@johnmayer) on

John Mayer has designed a pair of sneakers, and they’re… anticlimactic. He debuted his Nike iD creation on his Instagram page Saturday: a customized pair of Nike Air Max 90s, in gray tones with a hint of neon-green bubbles in the heels. The shoes, named “Spirit Levels,” will be released on July 29, according to Instagram, and will sell through his Shopify page.

Mayer has not officially teamed up with Nike to release these shoes, unlike other celebrity-designed sneakers. After creating his sneakers through Nike iD, he then bought every pair the company would sell him. Interesting way to make these somewhat-boring sneakers already seem hard-to-get…

Why it’s hot/weird/cold:

One has to wonder if John Mayer was really bored and decided to make bland sneakers on Nike iD just to see if his fans would buy them because of him. I’m not impressed. However, if this is a success (which I predict it might be for the amount of ‘sneakerheads’ out there), it will certainly speak to the power of Instagram advertising, and a potential new path to celebrity-brand collaborations.

Source: NY Post

Amazon’s next big industry conquest

Amazon has a has a “secret” skunkworks lab called 1492, dedicated to health care tech and complementing another Amazon unit announced earlier this year to disrupt the world of pharmaceuticals.

Jeff Bezos

The new team is currently looking at opportunities that involve pushing and pulling data from legacy electronic medical record systems. It is also looking to build a platform for telemedicine and exploring health applications for existing Amazon hardware, including Echo and Dash Wand. It’s not clear whether Amazon is building any new health devices, but sources didn’t rule it out.

1492 isn’t the only team inside Amazon that is working in health and life sciences. Amazon Web Services has also hired a slew of health experts to beat out Microsoft and Google for contracts with large hospitals and pharmaceutical vendors. The company has also invested in a health startup called Grail, an early cancer-testing startup founded by a Google exec.

Why It’s Hot
Um do you really need to ask?

Take On Augmented Reality

A game studio, Trixi Studios, posted a music video made with AR.

The studio used Apple’s new ARKit technology to create the music video. ARKit is a tool that allows developers to create AR mobile apps like this one more easily. It will be officially releasing in September and be supported on iOS 11 devices.

Why it’s Hot:

Why AI is Dangerous + A Big Deal for My Clients — Facebook Metadata Changes

This is going to have to be a two part-er. My initial Hot Sauce was going to be about how we have started to be warned by the likes of Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk about the dangers of Future AI and how maybe the future is now. I still want to talk about that! Russian Troll bots have built a propaganda machine that has drifted into real life. Machines are starting to affect the way we think and cast a shadow over public opinion when they pose as real people.

But think about how this also affects the day to day jobs of the social team. We do hours of social listening and if bots are being dispatched to mislead the public, we’re marketing to robots too…

Why It’s Hot:

This week Facebook implemented a metadata change that is going to have big effects on our clients organic posts. Facebook is disallowing non-publishers from changing their metadata, to prevent the spread of fake news. While I applaud this effort this change means something for organic publishers. Facebook continues to make changes before telling it’s clients.

There is an exception for link ownership.. so action should be taken for all social accounts to “own” their websites asap. The social team has been burned once again by the team at Facebook.


How Facebook’s Efforts to Combat Fake News Will Affect Link Previews From Publishers

Google Glass’ Surprising Second Act

Since Glass’ initial flop, Google has been quietly refining the product with a new customer base: factory workers.

Today, Google announced that the new and improved version, named Glass Enterprise Edition, is available to businesses via “our network of expert partners”.

The new version has an improved processor, a better camera, and can be clipped on to safety glasses. Companies are using Glass as a productivity tool. For example, Boeing mechanics have replaced their clunky instruction manuals with Glass, significantly streamlining the process of performing maintenance on a jet engine. At AGCO, an agricultural machinery manufacturer, Glass has reduced machinery production time by 25% and inspection time by 30%.

Why is this significant?

If AR has found a foothold in the business world, it may eventually become more and more normal in our every day lives.

Google’s post on medium

Wired article

Google Glass Gets A Second Chance

Google Glass is back, and this time it’s not the ultimate example of overhyped wearable technology. Rather, its revival demonstrates how Silicon Valley’s innovations can have applications that their creators might never have envisioned.

Google Glass’ second chance? The factory floor. It turned out that industrial companies were using the innovation to boost the productivity of workers performing complex manual tasks: It could show step-by step instructions, help choose the right tools, photograph and report quality problems. In some cases, companies actually hired third-party software developers to adapt it for their purposes. Responding to demand from these initially unwanted customers, Google has created the Enterprise Edition, a much-improved version that can be fixed to specially made frames (so safety glasses can be fitted with it, too), has better connectivity and longer battery life.

Below video shows a GE Renewables technician compares first time use of smart glasses powered with Skylight software platform by Upskill against current process for completing wiring insertions for a wind turbine. The technician sees an immediate 34.5% productivity improvement.

Why it’s hot: start narrow and go to the mass market when customers start thinking of household uses.

Nanomesh Tattoos

Most wearables out on the market are made of polyester or rubber which means that not enough air flow passes through the devices causing sweating and even irritation. But fear not, scientists have developed a wearable that they claim have completely removed the discomfort of a wearable. Much like a henna tattoo, it sits on top of the skin and is breathable, allowing air to pass through naturally. “People cannot even feel the existence of our devices on their skin,” says Takao Somea, a professor at the University of Tokyo.


Why it’s hot:

It’s a nanomesh device that has the durability of a week or longer and can monitor electrical muscle activity, body temperature, pressure, and touch. The application process? Simple, just spritz some water on it like a temporary paper tattoo. Scientists hope that the sensor will make monitoring vital signs easier and more comfortable for patients.

In other tattoo news meet Prinker, a gadget that prints temp tattoos directly onto the skin in just seconds. See it in action:


Come out and play festival – Turning NYC into a playground for the weekend!

Come Out & Play is an annual festival of street games that turns New York City & San Francisco into a giant playground. They provide a forum for new types of public games and play by bringing together players eager to interact with the world around them and designers producing innovative new games and experiences.

Over the years, thousands of players have gathered to play dozens of city-wide games. Players raced through the night in a city-wide game of zombie tag. Friends faced off in life-sized Pong using only their ears to “hear” the ball. (Papier-mache) pigeons were pummeled with wiffleball bats. Bicyclists armed with spray chalk and stencils competed to claim and build bike lanes. Strangers worked together to build and race blindly through labyrinths as part of a ancient lost sport. Payphones produced points, and Tompkins Square Park became a putt-putt course.

I’ve attended the festival twice. One of my favorite games, Spaghetti Standoff, involves players protecting a piece of uncooked spaghetti while trying to break their opponents’. Another was a real life version of Angry Birds where players used a giant sling shot and stuffed angry birds to knock down stuffed pigs in cardboard/plastic castles. The game where you had to put Sorry pieces on a spinning vinyl record was so stressful. There’s something magical about playing a game with or against other people in person that is just impossible to accomplish over a digital space.

Why it’s Hot:

  • It’s interesting to see the different challenges and solutions game designers have when designing games for an outdoor space instead of digital
  • It’s tomorrow! You should come!

Elon Musk says he has ‘verbal’ okay to build multi-state underground Hyperloop

Elon Musk said on Twitter that he received “verbal government approval” to build an underground Hyperloop transit network connecting New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC, with stops connecting each city center, and a dozen more entry or exit elevators located within each city. The project would be run through The Boring Company, Musk’s tunneling venture, which has already begun test digging near SpaceX HQ in California.

In the original tweet, Musk noted that the trip time from New York to DC would be just under half-an-hour. Currently, by train, that trip is roughly three hours and 20 minutes, or over four hours by bus. Musk also said that an LA to San Francisco loop is likely on the horizon, as well as a loop to connect Texas to the network.

Musk also originally came up with the concept for Hyperloop, though he opened up the idea to development by outside interests because he said at the time that he would not have enough time to devote to making it a business in its own right, in addition to his other duties. It’s not clear whether the Hyperloop component of this project would be developed by The Boring Co. itself, or by an outside partner focused on the tech, like Hyperloop One, for instance.

It’s also unclear what exactly Musk means by “verbal government approval,” [Update 11:41 AM PT: Bloomberg reports it was approval from within the White House] and whether that means he has the ‘okay’ to proceed with a proposal, or to actually start digging. Plus, it’ll likely require many more formal written approvals before anything can proceed.

Hyperloop One CEO Rob Lloyd has discussed how use of its tech could transform communities, and have a similar physical transportation globalizing effect to the impact made by broadband on digital communications. Connecting these communities via transit that cuts commute and cargo times to below what you would expect for getting place-to-place within any one of these communities would undoubtedly have a tremendous economic and social impact.

During an interview at the International Space Station R&D conference on Wednesday, Musk talked briefly about The Boring Company, noting that “oddly enough it’s kind of like a little low stress activity, because everyone expects us to fail.”

Musk later tweeted that there is “still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval,” which is likely an understatement to say the least with a project of this scope.

Source: TechCrunch

Why it’s Hot

Love the prospect of a major, futuristic innovation that could tangibly change my life!

Adobe’s Hybrid Color Mixer

Adobe Research and the University of Toronto have created a design and research study to create a new UI element for how digital artists can use color palettes. This new method, called the Playful Palette, provides a digital approach for mixing colors as an artist would with paint. A digital artist would move “blobs” around and be able to mix and change colors with similar principles as with paint. There is also an easy function to adjust colors globally in a document for easy adjustments. This research was A/B tested with the traditional Adobe color picker and the Playful Palette was found to work more seamlessly into artist’s creative flow. Here is the study from this project.

Why It’s Hot: While this element may or may not be integrated into the Adobe suite, this study shows the research and brainstorming that is going into furthering improve digital artist and illustrators’ user flows. Again, like with the introduction of many interfaces, we see that a skeuomorphic interpretation holds value to the ways in which users are used to working with digital interfaces.

Google takes its Street View cars up to space

Google Street View has finally found an address that won’t be blocked by a giant UPS truck: outer space.

Story on TechCrunch

Click on a blue hot spot and get an explanation of what the item is.

Why it’s Hot
This project can serve as motivation for kids curious about STEM careers, similar to the Lockheed Martin “Field Trip to Mars” project from 2016. Also, it’s a fun way to spend 15 minutes at work.

British ASA Takes a Hard Line Against Stereotypes

Earlier this week, British regulatory body, the Advertising Standards Authority, announced plans to take a “tougher line” on “ads that mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes” in order to better serve the public. While the ASA cannot outright ban offensive ads, it can publicly recommend that certain campaigns be pulled. Most U.K. media companies follow the guidelines of the ASA.

Why Its Hot

Could something like this happen in the U.S.? There is no ASA-equivalent in the United States and consumers are more than happy to vote with their wallets and voice their disapproval loudly on social media. We all know the stories of brands having to pull ads after intense consumer backlash. And we’ve also seen several brands, such as Carl’s Jr. and Unilever, moving away from racy and stereotypical ads. With the shift into the digital age, it’s also harder for brands and agencies to justify their need for stereotypes.

The United States and Great Britain have effectively come to the same conclusion in very different ways as brands realize that stereotyping one or more segments of their audience will not help boost sales.

What the Opioid Epidemic Looks Like on Reddit

Last week, Reddit banned the subreddit opiaterollcall, and then quickly banned the new thread that sprung up to take its place. The New York Times traced the surprisingly intimate view of the opioid crisis in the US as captured within this (relatively small by Reddit standards) community on Reddit.

The forum offered a state-by-state directory where people could post their area code to show where they wanted to make a deal. Several people in the forum said it felt safer to them than buying drugs on the street. Other users, like volunteer moderator and former heroin addict Ms. Helton Mitchell, offer warnings, advice and even send clean needles and counter-acting drugs to stave off overdoses.


As law enforcement cracks down on the dark web, public platforms like Craigslist, Google Groups, and apps like Snapchat and Instagram become increasingly prevalent drug deals. It’s telling to see how the platform responds; the company evaluates violations of its user agreement case by case, and the opiate forum had flown under the radar for four years. Meanwhile, forums dedicated to ecstasy and cocaine have not been banned; last year Reddit banned two “alt-right” subreddits for repeatedly posting personal information that could lead to harassment. Where do the platform’s ethical standards begin and end? And what is their duty to police the conversations and connections that happen within forums?

Apple Takes a Bite out of the AR Pie

Apple released ARKit, a mobile AR platform that uses Visual Inertial Odometry (VIO) to accurately track the world around it. VIO fuses camera sensor data with CoreMotion data, allowing the device to sense how it moves within a room with a high degree of accuracy, and without any additional calibration. It’s open to all developers who want to come create and play…and it’s also probably luring them away from FB/Snapchat/Googs.

By having the experience live in an app on millions of iOS devices, it’s giving creators (developers) a much wider audience (and incentive) to test and socialize.

Already, ARKit’s sharing platform is seeing some really awesome crowdsourced examples of the tech in action.

See more examples of what developers have already been toying with, go here.

Why It’s Hot:

Apple Is….

  • Democratizing AR to both users and developers (HoloLens who?)
  • Positioning it’s self the Go-To AR platform
  • Low-Overhead cutting edge technology for brands to explore and own

He just…he tweeted it out.

NY Times reporter, Jared Sexton tweeted this after Donald Trump Jr now infamously tweeted evidence of his own collusion with the Russian government.

And of course, like any great pop culture moment… it became a meme…

You can read them all here:…worked%20on%20this%20story%20for%20a%20year…and…he%20just…he%20tweeted%20it%20out.&src=typd

Why It’s Hot:

I…worked on this story for a year…and…he just…he tweeted it out.

student teacher…

An 11 year old Tennessee girl recently found a way to instantly detect lead in water, cutting the time it used to take to do so drastically. Previously, you had to take a water sample and send it off to a lab for analysis, now all you need is her contraption and a smartphone. She discovered her solution when she read about a new type of nanotechnology on MIT’s website, and imagined its new application in its new context.

Here’s how it works:
“Her test device, which she has dubbed “Tethys,” uses a disposable cartridge containing chemically treated carbon nanotube arrays. This connects with an Arduino technology-based signal processor with a Bluetooth attachment. The graphene within the nanotube is highly sensitive to changes in flow of current. By treating the tube with atoms that are sensitive to lead, Rao is able to measure whether potable water is contaminated with lead, beaming the results straight to a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. When it detects levels higher than 15 parts per million, the device warns that the water is unsafe.”

Why it’s hot:

1) Never let “can we do this” stop you
2) Never let “how can we do this” stop you
3) Some of the best solutions come when you put two (or more) things together

This offers a good lesson in a few important ingredients for innovation – how much you care, how much you believe, and how creative you can be. When all are high, you can create amazing things. Know what’s possible, believe that anything is, and let nothing stop you. Let’s do it.

The Countdown Begins…AI Versus the World

AI is continuing to rule the press headlines across all industries. No matter who you are or what you do, your life will somehow be affected by artificial intelligence. Below are just a few charts recently published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on how quickly AI is catching up with humans.

Why It’s Hot:

Artificial intelligence will continue to get better over time. So much so that Researchers at Oxford and Yale  predict AI will outperform humans in many activities in the next ten years, such as translating languages (by 2024), writing high-school essays (by 2026), driving a truck (by 2027), working in retail (by 2031), writing a bestselling book (by 2049), and working as a surgeon (by 2053). Researchers believe there is a 50% chance of AI outperforming humans in all tasks in 45 years and of automating all human jobs in 120 years.

NBA Jam Oral History

Is there anything I love more than histories of video games or online communities? Not sure. Anyway, this NBA Jam Oral History is GREAT and I recommend you read it.


Repackaging the Pill

This week, 99% Invisible, a podcast about the unnoticed design that shapes our world, released an episode called “Repackaging the Pill” about this history of birth contorl packaging. The episode details out the history of the birth control pill as a new option for women in the 1960’s. The episode focuses on one of the most iconic birth control packaging designs: the round plastic disc that opens up like a makeup compact.

Originally, birth control pills were packaged in regular jars like other medications. This posed a customer experience problem where it was difficult for women to remember if they had forgotten to take a pill or not.

One couple, Doris and David Wagner, who has four children and were not looking to have any more, wanted to come up with a better solution. Since David was an engineer, he created a prototype on a piece of paper that showed a calendar and put a pill on each day. However, if there was an accident, the paper and the pills could fall. This led him to create the first prototype of the circular birth control packaging, which would hold the pills in place.

Since there was still skepticism from male doctors whether women could be trusted to remember to take their pills correctly, this packaging was marketed as a “fool-proof” method to taking the pill correctly. This is reflected in the advertising at the time, which addresses only men, and talks distantly about the real users–women.

Lastly, the episode discusses how there were hearing about the undisclosed side effects of the birth control pill. Ultimately this lead to the inclusion of the fine print information that is now included in all medication packaging.

Why it’s cold and hot: This history is clearly problematic in many ways and illuminates the deep misogyny that was present in our very recent past (and still is). While it’s terrible to see the language of these ads, it’s interesting to understand the perspective and audience that was being targeted. By better understanding our history, we can of course be better equipped to think critically about the ways in which we talk about and design for users.

From a user experience perspective it is also interesting to see the prototype and interation process that was used to develop the packaging for an everyday object.

DNA to replace your flash drive?

Data storage of the future: DNA. Researchers were able to recreate and store a short film into bacterial DNA and then retrieve it! With the use of Crispr, a powerful gene editing technique they were able to create this masterpiece in some good ‘ol E. coli.

Since there has been buzz around data storage being a growing issue this “futuristic feature” may be the new method of data storage. The intended purpose wasn’t to store movies but instead, researchers hope to be able to program bacteria as recording devices that can drift into the brain through the blood stream and essentially take notes. It would work similarly to airplane black boxes that are used to retrieve information in the event of a crash.

Why it’s hot:

There are so many possibilities. If DNA can store data like this, imagine what it could do for doctors and researchers. Feeling a little ill and not entirely sure what the issue is? Perhaps your doctor can retrieve the information directly from inside of you.


KFC merch is here and its not finger licking good

Similar to Cheetos and Pizza Hut, KFC has launched an online merchandise shop packed with limited-edition goods and high-quality fried chicken apparel. The items can be browsed on their microsite. The list of items include apparel, home decor, accessories, and jewelry.

Here are a few items that caught my attention…

  1. Stay fresh with this Fried Chicken USA Sweatshirt


2. Have an out of this world experience and buy a custom made meteorite designed after a chicken sandwich for $20k, I need it, do you?


3. Wake up next to the one you love… everyday.


4. Show your feet some love with these delicious chicken fried socks.


5. Show the ladies (or gents) a great time out on the town with this tux tshirt, because nothing says classy quite like a graphic tee.

So far HALF of the site is sold out! Its amazing. I don’t know if I would call this merchandise launch an innovative tactic because it has been done in the past, but its proven its success meaning they understand their audience. Do you think Panera Bread is going to release a merch line soon, probably not. But just like Cheetos and Pizza Hut, their audience crave this type of campaign.

“KFC and Colonel Sanders have been American pop culture icons for more than 70 years,” says Steve Kelly, KFC U.S.’s director of media and digital. “Our fans were craving a way to embrace the fried chicken lifestyle, and KFC Ltd. gives them the opportunity to let their Colonel flag fly.”

The brand is also planning to partner with other apparel and lifestyle brands to create other limited-edition offerings, available only within its store.

Why its hot?

  • KFC has been around for 70 years and their advertising the product as such. The product line has a primarily vintage feel.
  • There’s more to come!
  • Its just super cool and an exciting way for brands to connect with their audience.

KFC Is Now Selling Apparel, Home Goods and a Meteorite Shaped Like a Chicken Sandwich

This New ‘Brandless’ Online Grocery Store Sells Everything for $3


Hate chain stores or big brand items? A new start-up, Brandless, has what you’re looking for. Co-founder and CEO, Tina Sharkey, writes in a post on Medium, “For us, Brandless is about more than any individual product we sell. It is about the true democratization of goodness. Meaning everyone deserves better stuff at affordable prices.”

Perhaps best of all? Every item is $3! Black beans? $3. Fair-trade Colombian coffee? $3. Peanut butter? You guessed it, $3.

But, as The Wall Street Journal points out, not every item is a money-saver. “The 115 products that will be initially available are generally more expensive than their big-brand rivals,” it notes. Jif beats Brandless by nine cents per ounce on peanut butter, for example, while Kraft is a 42-cent cheaper option for macaroni and cheese.

Brandless also doesn’t do anything perishable, which means no produce, meat, bread, dairy, or frozen goods. But the ostensible trade-off is that with Brandless, you get products that are non-GMO, enviro-friendly, and free of preservatives or other artificial ingredients. In addition, “well over half” are organic, the company says.

Why Its Hot

With Amazon seemingly taking over and changing how people shop, shoppers are looking for brands that are different, and what can be more different than a non-brand-brand? Despite their intention, however, you have to market yourself, and Brandless is a brand. It will be interesting to see if Brandless is able to find a foothold in the market or if their goods become just an interesting item you find in your friend’s kitchen.

Get weed, booze and ammo from a vending machine. Sure, why not?

A company called American Green has created a vending machine that relies on biometrics to dispense things such as alcohol, marijuana and ammunition. Customers sign up and verify their age, prescriptions, gun permits, etc., with actual persons to keep the merch out of the hands of minors or the wrong people….because there’s no such thing as hacking, right?


Story on BBC News

Why It’s Hot

Biometrics aren’t just for boring things like logging into your iPhone or boarding planes anymore. This is, perhaps, a more interesting use case.