Big Auto Doubling Down on Big Data


Ford’s new CEO eyes software, tech stack as differentiator vs. rivals

New Ford CEO Jim Farley’s plan for the automaker includes a heavy dose of software and services for its commercial vehicle business as well as new consumer experiences to drive loyalty.

Why It’s Hot // The convergence always-on connection and data commercialization brings a world of new opportunities to marketers and brands seeking to redefine their businesses – while also adding fuel the the fiery debate about the trade-offs between privacy and personalized experiences.

Tech and the future of transportation: From here to there

Ford, which is in the middle of a turnaround of its core business, is trying to navigate a shift to electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles as well as an industry that is increasingly more about software. Farley takes over for Jim Hackett, who streamlined the automaker over the last three years.

Farley outlined a series of leadership changes and a plan that includes “expanding its commercial vehicle business with a suite of software services that drive loyalty and recurring revenue streams” and “unleashing technology and software in ways that set Ford apart from competitors.”

In addition, Ford is looking to develop connected vehicles and create new businesses from the Argo AI self-driving system.

Ford is also looking for a new CIO as Jeff Lemmer is retiring Jan. 1. His successor will lead Ford’s technology and software platform.

The tech strategy from Farley lands after a Sept. 16 investor presentation by Kenneth Washington CTO. Washington outlined the connectivity required from smart vehicles in the future that will include 5G, satellites and edge, cloud, and fog computing.


Washington added that Ford has hired more than 3,000 advanced computing experts to work on the tech stack and surrounding technologies including things like smart cities, mobility services, edge computing, and analytics.


He said:

If you were to tear down a future Ford, say, 10 years from now, the biggest difference you’d see is that the software, compute and sensing services are being serviced by a central compute module. And that’s really important because that’s more like we’re accustomed to seeing with the smartphones and the smart devices that we surround ourselves in our homes with every day. So this design that you would see would enable us to really leverage the power of high bandwidth connectivity that happens around the vehicle.

In the future, vehicle changes will be handled with updates via software and algorithms instead of hardware, said Washington. These updates would start with software, but design of electrical architecture as well as shared memory and power systems for various zones of the vehicle would be critical.

Other key points about Ford’s tech stack include:

  • Ford uses QNX, Autosar and Linux to develop is operating system and tech stack.
  • The automaker builds on top of that OS with middleware from its internal software team.
  • In 2020, Ford began equipping most of its redesigned vehicles with the ability for advanced over-the-air updates.
  • The data from those updates on vehicles like the F-150 and Bronco will help Ford iterate.
  • There are 5 million Ford connected vehicles in the field today.
  • Ford sees opportunities in services to optimizes Ford fleets for small business owners.

LA star chefs re-imagine the drive-thru for the fine-dining set

Ten of L.A.’s most beloved restaurants will come together to serve diners—in a way that you’ve never experienced them before, designed with COVID precautions in mind.

In partnership with American Express® Gold Card, Resy is transforming the exterior of the Hollywood Palladium into a whimsical labyrinth, which you’ll drive through to visit each restaurant pop-up. Don’t worry about leaving your car; each dish will be handed to you at each local restaurant’s pit stop. -Resy

Restaurants have had to reinvent themselves during Covid, with fine dining hit particularly hard since its value prop comes largely from the atmosphere and experience it creates, which is very difficult to replicate under covid restrictions.

From Fast Company:

The restaurant industry has been pummeled by the pandemic, prompting a wave of creative new dining ideas across the country, from bars offering carry-0ut cocktail mixes to pizzerias transforming into produce stands. Now, 10 well-known Los Angeles chefs are joining forces in an ambitious new experiment.

On October 15 and 16, restaurant tech platform Resy is hosting a 10-course drive-through dinner at the Hollywood Palladium catered by these chefs that could be a model for bringing high-end restaurants back to life. “This could be done in any city,” says Mei Lin, chef and owner of Nightshade. “It would require organization and logistics, but it’s possible.”

The event, called the Resy Drive Thru, is sponsored by American Express. Diners will stay in their cars and move through a track made up of 10 stations, where they’ll be served one course prepared by each of the 10 restaurants.

Guests will be served food in single-use containers and given a tray to eat on, which is theirs to keep. Each car will have its own designated waiter who will guide them through the process. (All event personnel will wear gloves, masks, and face shields; they’ll also be tested for COVID-19 before they arrive at the event, and will have their temperature taken at the door.) The entire experience costs $95 per person, and can be purchased in groups of up to four in a single vehicle. There is room for 600 guests over two nights.

It was obvious from the start that it wasn’t possible to mimic the charm or elegance of a dining room, but this project prompts chefs to think outside the

The dining industry is currently being devastated by COVID-19, particularly restaurants that don’t have pandemic-friendly options, like outdoor seating or take-out and delivery. The sector has already lost $120 billion and is expected to reach $240 billion by the end of the year. More than six million jobs have been permanently cut.

Why it’s hot: Fine dining is all about having a special experience that rises above the typical and the common. It’s interesting to see how these fine dining restaurants are trying to achieve that proposition during covid, and how they make — and sell — a unique experience to potential guests.

Source: Fast Company

New developments in the digital divide

From The Verge:

When David Velasquez went home to California for a week in April, he found out that his parents didn’t have internet access anymore. Velasquez, a medical student at Harvard, needs Wi-Fi for work. However, his parents don’t own a computer. “They don’t shop online, they don’t watch Netflix,” he says. So when the connection got too expensive, they stopped paying for it.

With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the country, that decision worried Velasquez. His parents also speak very little English, and doctors and clinics in the US were canceling in-person appointments and asking patients to schedule virtual visits for any health problems instead.

Without internet access and with limited English, Velasquez’s parents wouldn’t be able to make that switch. “I knew that as our healthcare system started transitioning over to telehealth as opposed to in-person, in-clinic care, their access to health care — and other individuals like them — would be disrupted,” he told The Verge.

Telehealth is convenient for some people: it cuts out the drive to an office and the time in a waiting room, trimming an hours-long event down to minutes. But it isn’t easily accessible to the 25 million people in the United States who speak little English, who are more likely to live in poverty, often work service or construction jobs, and may be more at risk of exposure to COVID-19. Even if they are able to get online, most of the systems that support telehealth — like hospital portals and video visit platforms — are hard to access for people who primarily speak other languages.

Why it’s hot

The dream of a techno-utopia often forgets that human biases and systemic problems left unaddressed become embedded in new technology and can exacerbate inequality. So, until we solve those issues, they will be perpetuated.

Source: The Verge

Self-destructing communal journal lures users to interact

A basic site This Website Will Self Destruct, created by artist Femme Android allows users to send an anonymous message into the void in order to keep the website alive. It’s been live since April 21, 2020.

Because the site tends to attract the lonely and despondent, there is a “Feeling Down?” button that links the user to mental health services.

Fast Company:

You can choose to leave your own note. Or you can merely observe, hitting the “read a message” button to see what others have posted, while leaving it to others to save the website from imminent annihilation. A death counter on top of the page refreshes every time someone posts something new, which, by my estimation, was happening about once every 5 or 10 seconds.

Like Post Secret, This Website Will Self-Destruct feels refreshingly Old Internet because, if nothing else, they are each equal parts gimmicky and sincere. This Website Will Self-Destruct offers an anonymous place to express yourself in a world where social media thirst traps and virtue signaling has trumped innocent and earnest discourse alike. It requires no subculture of rules to understand like a Reddit message board, no esoteric platform-specific memes like on Twitch, no subtweet agenda of the day to unpack like on Twitter, and no autoplay force-feeding you the next piece of content like on YouTube.

No, This Website Will Self-Destruct is just a website. It’s a place to jot down some thoughts, have a two-second laugh or cry, and kill some time until nobody cares about it anymore. And that moment that its purpose has been served, don’t worry—it’s happy to see itself out.

Why it’s hot:

It’s an interesting phenomenon, that just using the site: reading a note, or posting something silly (or sincere) makes one feel connected and part of a bigger, benevolent community with a shared goal.

The nature of the site (self-destructing if no one posts) activates our desire for continuity, compelling us to act.

Source: Fast Company

The Office: An In-Depth Analysis of Workplace User Behavior

The New York Times came out with another interactive long-form piece, this time about workplace culture.

Replete with button sound effects and office ASMR.

Lot’s of fun buttons to push to reveal quotes of office confessions from NYTimes readers.


Engages their community.

Overall, great UX.

Mid-century-modern design style points.

Elevator doors open onto 7 different floor with links to articles constellated around the theme.

Why it’s hot:

It’s great to see the way journalism outlets are pushing the envelope in online media. This kind of cool, interactive reading experience keeps people on the site and makes this content very sharable.



Digital Beauty: A new way to do makeup

L’Oreal, as a beauty/makeup conglomerate will launch a new digital makeup experience. With live streaming and augmented reality, makeup lovers will be able to communicate with makeup gurus in help with their final look. Viewers will see with augmented reality what beauty products are right for their skin. From your home, you will be able to test new beauty products and form digital relationships with L’Oreal representatives.

With a partnership with “YourCam Makeup”, makeup lovers nearby will be able to test out new products such as various shades of colored lipstick and mascara on their skin. Instead of going to the physical L’Oreal store, individuals will be able to have a digitized experience from their own home. Individuals with augmented reality will additionally be able to learn about the benefits of L’Oreal products and shop through the online store. L’Oreal hopes to achieve a “seamless” makeup experience” for individuals globally. With augmented reality and the advancement of digital technology, makeup lovers will have an innovative and fun digital makeup experience.

Why its Hot

The digital experience with augmented reality remains to be a hot topic in both the cosmetic and the technology industry. More and more beauty/cosmetic companies are choosing a digital route to give their customers a fun and easy to use experience. Augmented reality is increasingly becoming a hotter tool for use, and is beginning to be utilized across many industries, like L’Oreal to give users a easy and simpler experience.

The emerging era of eCommerce

Snapchat and Instagram, two popular social media platforms are entering the world of e-commerce. Both platforms point users in a shopping direction. Each of the apps increase their competition amongst each other as they battle to gain the most following. In today’s digital era, eCommerce is transforming the way we absorb information and online shop.

For Snapchat, eCommerce is utilized as Snapchat presents the “Shoppable Snap Ads”. In this specific ad, Snapchat promotes Spectacles camera sunglasses. Meanwhile, Instagram utilizes shopping in its feature of “Instagram Stories”. With this feature, retail stores can promote their merchandise one user at a time. Brands are slowly beginning to take over each Instagram user’s feed and what they see. Snapchat like its competitor, has a feature in which users can stay in the know about their favorite brands and see how they can take action.

Snapchat additionally utilizes eCommerce to promote Dunkin’ Donuts. As America runs on Dunkin (no pun intended), it allows for users to interact with the brand by playing a virtual reality game, designed as an ad. Snapchat additionally includes “carousel-style” shopping ads, where users can interact with different filters for their favorite brands and send to their friends.

Why it’s hot

eCommerce remains to be a hot topic in today’s ad world. eCommerce is a major influence to how agencies and brands engage with their clients and users. The social media platforms, like Instagram and Snapchat use eCommerce to their advantage. With fun and eye-catching ads, eCommerce helps increase brand awareness and grow meaningful relationships with clients. As a global customer relationship agency, MRM//McCann works to use eCommerce as a specific tool in which clients can successfully and effectively interact with their users.

Google and Levi’s Make a Connected Jean Jacket

The jacket is Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket with Jacquard by Google—is the result of a partnership between Levi’s and Google to integrate a conductive, connected yarn into a garment. It’s still early days, but the jacket offers a glimpse into connected clothing.

The jacket looks like most jean jackets, except for a small device on the left cuff. The black tag contains a wireless radio, a battery, and a processor, but the most important tech in the Jacquard Jacket remains invisible. A section of the left cuff is woven with the special yarn that turns the bottom of your arm into a touchscreen. You pair your phone through a dedicated app, and after setup it asks you to define a few gestures (What happens when you tap twice on the conductive yarn? What if you brush away from yourself, or toward yourself? What should it mean when the light on the tag illuminates?)

Someone who tested out the jacket while riding her bike home explains how her experience worked:

A double-tap on my left arm now sends a ping to Google Maps and delivers the next turn on my navigation, either through the speaker on my phone or whatever headphones I’m wearing. (All the Jacquard Jacket’s connectivity comes through your phone.) If I swipe away, it reads out my ETA. The small motor in my jacket sleeve buzzes and the light comes on when I get a text or phone call. You can change tracks in your music with a swipe, or to count things like the miles you ride or the birds you see on your way home. The jacket was designed with bike commuters in mind, and the functionality follows suit

Right now, the designers say they’re looking for more feedback. They want to know what people do with the jacket, and what they wish it could do. It goes on sale for $350 in a couple of high-end clothing stores on September 27, before hitting Levi’s stores and website on October 2.

Why it’s hot:

Although this is not yet a revolutionary item, it gives us a peek into the capabilities and use cases for connected clothing – whether that be commuting bikers or city-dwellers looking for directions, or someone wanting to change their music without taking out their phone. This could also have implications for the vision-impaired trying to navigate their way through a metro area, etc.

Source: Wired

Smartphones make you spend more frivolously

An assistant professor at the University of British Columbia with a specialty in consumer behavior found that people shop differently on touchscreen devices than they do on their desktop PCs.

On phones, people are more likely to spend money on indulgent, hedonistic things, like movie tickets and dining out. And on PCs, people prioritize more practical, utilitarian things, like furniture and haircuts.

“The touchscreen has an easy-to-use interface that puts you into an experiential thinking style. When you’re in an experiential thinking mode, you crave excitement, a different experience,” says the professor. “When you’re on the desktop, with all the work emails, that interface puts you into a rational thinking style. While you’re in a rational thinking style, when you assess a product, you’ll look for something with functionality and specific uses.”

Why it’s hot: Should brands or retailers place products differently according to the screen?

Via putting customers first

Via asked riders to share their ideas and insights to improve the experience. The fist thing they’re implementing is to make all rides to the airport ViaExpress, which means once someone hops on board, the driver will never make more than one additional pickup. He’ll also take the fastest route he can find.


Doctors media preferences…Social? Maybe. Print and email? Yes!

When  it comes to digital adoption, it seems a no-brainer; isn’t everyone engaged? No. A notable exception are medical professionals. Doctors and nurses (NP/PA’s) tend to lean towards the conservative — not only politically, but in terms of their digital adoption. A recent study by HealthLink Dimensions, an email list and Big Data firm, produced a study on their information-gathering preferences among 700 medical professionals.

Email may seems so…yesterday. Yet, 75% of NPs and PAs and 66% of MDs prefer email for communication regarding the following:

• Industry news

• Product updates

• Research opportunities

What device is favored for reading email? Specifically, almost 52% of NPs/PAs and 46% of MDs utilize mobile devices; while almost 53% of NPs/PAs and 51% of MDs use desktop computers to comb through their emails.

Social Media? They love their closed, private peer-to-peer communities, such as SERMO (600K doctors)

Per the survey, 66% of NPs/PAs and 63% of MDs don’t use social media to communicate with patients. Instead, only one-third of these medical professionals are active on social media – mainly Twitter, LinkedIn, SERMO and Doximity – primarily for networking with their colleagues and peers

Last is print: 50% of NPs/PAs and 46% of MDs frequently use printed materials provided to their practices

Why is this hot? As with all customers we strategically serve, their content consumption habits have a major impact upon our planning. Knowing this, we must always realize to be customer-centric is to not fall in love with a shiny media object or a cool platform…

  • Time is a critical factor for HCP’s which drive what they consume and how; with an average of less than 15 minutes per patient, you know when it is a mobile device, they are on the move, doing rounds, trying to solve problems in real-time; your content and experience should embrace that. So, snippets of content are smart when you want them to be consumed at POC (Point-of-Care); conversely, HCP’s often have to consume intense medical journals, clinical studies and dense scientific content, which requires a desktop or laptop
  • Using Performance/Analytics to see how your clients’ content is consumed by time and device provides an invaluable insight into content strategy; if you want it to be useful in the NOW, then snippets, mobile-first; if you want to provide deeper content, then plan for desktop, but always offer email/download functions to account for mobile



Twitter Launches New Logged OFF Experience for Users Across the Globe

Every month, over 500 million people visit Twitter to see what’s happening around the world. From conversations around live events to breaking news to pandas playing in the snow, and they want to make great content accessible for everyone — even if a user is not signed in. Twitter announced improvements to that will bring those great Tweets to even more people across the globe.

Twitter rolled out a home timeline to people across 23 countries* who visit the homepage on their mobile devices. Before, a user could see individual Tweets but it was hard to discover stories and conversations happening on Twitter without signing in. Now, you can check out a news story as it unfolds, dive into the play-by-play discussions around a game, and then come back again to see that exchange between two rappers everyone’s been talking about. It’s real-time and straight from the source, just like the Twitter experience for those who log in.

Twitter has also expanding their refreshed homepage on web, which is already available in the US and Japan, to every country noted below. Now, anyone can explore and discover different topics and stories as they occur, including some that are tailored just for you based on your location and activity on Twitter.



Why It’s HOT: Twitter has grown beyond driving users to sign up for an account and has expanded their relevance to all mobile and desktop web users as a credible news source. For marketers, it will mean understanding the parameters for content to be chosen by Twitter to feature on the homepage blog. Currently, Twitter has only also gone the extra mile of personalization, including the ability for users to discover content organically as well as content tailored to their location or activity on Twitter. This will dramatically impact the way in which content “lives” on the platform. Content Discoverability will exponentially extend the life cycle of a tweet. Marketers will need to adjust their content strategy to consider it’s long term relevance when appropriate.



Source: Twitter

Swipe Right for the Next President of the United States

Spending so much time on Tinder that you haven’t had the chance to read up on the presidential hopefuls for the next elections? Addicted to swiping? Want a fun, easy, quick way to expand your political knowledge? Voter might be the app for you.

The iOS app uses Tinder’s familiar swiping mechanism to help you learn more about presidential candidates and parties that match your views. The app currently has various levels of questions. In Level 1, you’ll be swiping about your views on basic, core social, environmental and economic issues, like legalizing marijuana, same-sex marriage, abortions, the death penalty, and increasing or decreasing the minimum wage and military spending. Unsure about an issue? Click the picture for a quick cheatsheet on the facts behind the issues, and a few bullet points from supporters and opponents.

You can also select how important each question is to you (a la matching questions on dating website OkCupid).

Level 2 goes more in depth: you’ll swipe about a fence at the border, increasing spending on education, term limits for congress, taxing the wealthy, financial aid for other nations and more. Once you’ve swiped your opinions, you get matched with potential political parties and candidates.

You’ll be able to view your political matches sorted by percentage, with a neat breakdown of the issues you agree or disagree on, and the ability to contact the party or donate. For candidate matches, you’ll also get a few quotes and a short bio, as well as a breakdown of top campaign contributors by name and industry for the more established candidates.

voter-app-1-psfk voter-app-psfk.png

Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

It’s important for young people to understand their political environment, and we haven’t seen a lot of evidence that politics is adapting to Millennials. An app like this takes a key demographic and insights about their behavior and makes politics accessible and even entertaining.



NY Times launches NYT VR in partnership with Google

On Thursday, The New York Times took a step into virtual reality.

NYT VR is a mobile app that can be used — along with your headphones and optionally a cardboard viewing device — to simulate richly immersive scenes from across the globe.

You can use the app on its own. But the experience is even better with a special virtual reality viewer. Thanks to a partnership with Google, NYT will be sending free Google Cardboard VR viewers to all domestic New York Times home delivery subscribers who receive the Sunday edition.

Times Insider subscribers who have chosen to receive marketing emails will also receive promotional codes via email that can be redeemed for free Cardboard viewers.

To start, The Times Magazine presents three portraits of children driven from their homes by war and persecution — an 11-year-old boy from eastern Ukraine named Oleg, a 12-year-old Syrian girl named Hana and a 9-year-old South Sudanese boy named Chuol.

The stories

War has driven 30 million children from their homes. These are the stories of three of them.

The Displaced: Introduction

Nearly 60 million people are currently displaced from their homes.

Lebanon: Hana’s Story

At 12, she has lived one-quarter of her life in a debilitating state of suspension.

South Sudan: Chuol’s Story

At 9, without his parents, he was forced to flee to the swamps.

Ukraine: Oleg’s Story

At 11, he is living in the ruins of his former life.


Why It’s Hot

NY Times is staying relevant through technology, and I think this is an important step in making VR more mainstream.

“I think it’s kind of a seminal moment regardless of whether it’s journalism or not,” says Brian Blau, research director for innovative personal technologies at Gartner. “It’s Google and the Times, two well-known brands. They’re giving away more than a million of these. That, I think, is the biggest deal… Having this many Cardboards out there is great. I’ve never heard of another organization attempting to give away that many for a single purpose.”

Let Doctors be Doctors! So says Rapper Dr. Zubin (With Over 1 million views!)

HSA 11.6. Dr Zubin photo

This post is about the Affordable Care Act. Or maybe it is about one doctor, Doctor Zubin. Like all major legislation, the ACA is complex and has it’s detractors and advocates. In some cases, one person can be both. Case in point: nearly all healthcare professionals agree that it is great that eventually the entire healthcare system will be tied together electronically — which will help lower costs, create healthier more empowered patients and allow doctors and others to coordinate patient care at a level no one could ever imagine.

That at least is the theory. The reality is that Electronic Health Records — the first step in Connected Health (my post of last week) — are a debacle. Hospitals and doctors offices keep installing and then throwing them out. One major criticism is the User Experience — but that goes beyond the interface. UX in this case is that doctors are trained to observe and engage with a patient, not look away and peck on a laptop keyboard. In other words, EHR’s are getting in the way of doctors being doctors.

HS EHR Use 11.6.15One doctor — Dr Zubin — is sick of it. What has he done? Gone on YouTube and taken on the broken healthcare system in musical rap videos and is trying to ignite a cause campaign to change healthcare. He has over a million views. As he states on his YouTube channel about his most recent video:  “EHR’s suck. Let’s make ’em better. Go to and tell the IT and government folks what’s up. And check out for lyrics, behind-the-scenes dopeness, and all our other videos. Please SHARE…or the machines win.”

Why is this hot? First, it is radical that a doctor would create such a cause and bring it to life so creatively and publicly. Second, his use of social media, YouTube, multi-channel integration, is brilliant. Last, kudos for his boldness. He is taking on his entire industry and profession and broken many unspoken rules in his profession — decorum, keeping opinions private, even going against his own hospital employer! But I think his own video on October 19th on EHR’s speaks for itself:


Do you “trust” Big Pharma? Do you care? bought to you by PhRMA lobbying group

Reputation plays a big role in many industries. For Big Pharma, each year brings a new corporate reputation survey that places the industry one notch above car salesmen and insurance companies. While there are many reasons for this – from the regulatory handcuffs of the FDA, to DTC-ads with their scary voice-overs, or frustration over drugs being too expensive to afford — there is a clear need to try and let the industry tell its story.

Thus, Here is the home of the industries “story.” HS 8.27There is a ton of information, interactivity, mobile-friendly content. Just one of the top three tiles is an interactive guide to understanding clinical trials — one of the industries biggest issues due to poor patient recruitment and that they take so long and cost so much; next to that, articles and slideshow carousels on innovation and the future. Just from the home page, you can educate yourself with content that has never before been aggregated and delivered in such a consumer-friendly User Experience.

HS top 3 tiles

HS Clinical Eco-system 8.27

Why is this hot? Biopharma/Life Sciences is an enormous and incredibly complex and little understood industry. This content-rich Web site may seem like the industry is pulling back the curtain: but is it believable? At the very least, if you want to get an education on many aspects of the industry, this would be the place to do it.

This new site, was created by the industry lobbying trade group, PhRMA. While their key audience may be politicians, policy-makers and such, this site was clearly created for patients and those in the public who relish information and any potential transparency that comes with it.

Oddly enough, while reputation can have a direct correlation to trusting a company’s product, it has little meaning or impact in Biopharma/Life Sciences. Most patients have no idea what company makes a drug; and most doctors, while aware, are driven by other more quantitative factors like clinical data.

So we have to ask the right questions: While it is very engaging and easy-to-navigate does it actually help the industry reputation? Or is it a self-serving content strategy served up with good UX? Or more realistically, will patients appreciate the content but cherry-pick what they believe, or not — this is an established behavior when searching for drug information…cull from a dozen sources, weigh the results and synthesize an opinion.

Perhaps the real strategy here was not to enhance reputation or gain consumer trust, but to just add one more source/voice to the conversation. In this world of too much information, they have decided that to join the discussion with credible, easy-to-understand content, thus they gain a share-of-Influence, while still striving to raise their credibility.

Breaking down the healthcare walls: TEMPLE adds Digital Health Center.

A hospital with a Digital Health Center? A surgeon who creates Apps? This may be a first for the industry and a harbinger of things to come. This new Digital Health Center was created by one of TEMPLE’s leading thoracic surgeons — who in turn has a company that creates that partners with the hospital to create a wide range of Apps, the first of which has been hugely successful for their COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) patients.

Clearly, both this surgeon and the TEMPLE Hospital system is taking a step out of its comfort zone and venturing into unknown territory. Or perhaps, they are creating a new model that turns truly embraces the entire digital health system. Doctor Criner explains it all in this short video interview:

 Why is this hot? The U.S healthcare system is over a trillion dollars in revenue, costs, development, investment…and more to come. The acceleration of change in the entire system is an outcome of the Affordable Care Act. While medical innovation in surgery is at the heart of what hospitals do, individual digital innovation is not.

For clients in Biopharma who have been slow to embrace their own Digital Transformation, this is the sort of news that would get a smart CEO to pick up the phone and say: “How can we work together?”

Just look at the company ( Doctor Criner has created; it has a profound Mission statement, and serves up proof through the effectiveness of it’s COPD patient App:

HGE Mission H Sauce 8.7H Sauce TEMPLE HGE COPD 8.7.15

Doctor Criner may not be alone — in fact Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and others are working hard to develop technology infrastructure. This is different. This is a doctor and a hospital that seems to get that “digital” is a philosophy not a laptop. To truly serve patients, control costs, and embrace the future, it starts with developments like this. Doctor Criner and TEMPLE “get it”: the future is here. Grab it. the early adopters have a better chance at market advantage as hospital systems compete against each other.

Interoperability, the Holy Grail of the ACA, is when every hospital, EHR, medical record, remote tele-health, can all communicate and share medical and patient records. In some ways, Doctor Criner has moved the world an inch closer by creating a link between innovation at the hospital and in the hands of patients.

Uber Now Tells You Where You Want to Be Picked Up


(image credit: TechCrunch)

TechCrunch spotted Uber testing a new feature with select users in San Francisco this week called “Suggested Pickup Points”, and it’s not just a clever name. The idea is that instead of requesting that Uber pick you up exactly where you are, Uber uses data from past pickups to suggest a location where they can collect you the quickest. It’s up to you to move the pin to where they’re suggesting, but when you do, they give you the exact address so you can meet your driver there.

Why It’s Hot

Well, first it’s nice to see Uber doing something positive besides providing the sheer utility of their service. But more importantly, they’re using data to provide a better service. Having data from past pickups means they’re obviously collecting said data on a daily basis, and while you may not always need an extra few minutes, who doesn’t want to get where they’re going as quickly as possible? Maybe not always in NYC, but for many people, part of what makes Uber appealing is that it saves time. Seems like this is a perfect way for them to deliver on that, and improve their customer experience using a simple data input. Nothing fancy, just smart, data-informed product design. Thumbs up emoji from this guy.


Instagram Up its Value to Marketers

Instagram is going to begin including function buttons in their paid ad posts. In the caption of the brand image, there will be a “buy now” button for online retailers, an “Install now” button for mobile apps and a “Sign up” button for membership apps. The buttons will open in an in-app browser to keep the user in Instagram at all times, making it a more seamless process.

These new interactive ads will incorporate Facebook data, which should allow more small businesses to begin advertising on Instagram, since they will be able to purchase smaller ad buys that target a narrower group of people.

In addition to CTA buttons, Instagram has also added enhanced paid advertising targeting capabilities that very closely mirror those of Facebook. These enhanced capabilities allow advertisers to target their ads based on user interests in addition to age, gender and location.

The buttons will roll out gradually, beginning with testing in Spain this week.


Why It’s Hot

This seems like a natural progression for Instagram, as they have a large and engaged fan base as well as an immense amount of data through their own app and Facebook. For users, this means a more seamless experience. For advertisers it means the ablity to tackle the right users

Read more here.

The Golden Touch Of Interactive Videos

Recently, a famous Japanese pop star released her new music video that was both fun and interactive. The video is “reminiscent of the classic Canadian campaign from Skittles that played around with the same idea.”- Gabriel Beltrone

Undoubtedly, videos that create user experiences create brand recognition. Also, considering the pool of video content now being displayed socially, brands are finding it more difficult to stand out and engage with their audiences organically. This is certainly an interesting, share-worthy idea that grasps the viewers attention.

Why It’s Hot

Everyday we see the effect that video content has socially but what makes these videos truly interactive is that they create user experiences. This simple concept made me watch the entire video clip from start to finish and was able to keep me entertained and acknowledge the brands.

Tumblr’s New GIF Search Feature is Brilliant

Tumblr‘s new GIF search feature is making it easier than ever for users to insert the perfect GIF into a blog post. This new feature should make marketers re-think the way they create shareable GIF content on the platform.

When writing a post, you can press the “+” button, and a line of buttons will show up — now including a GIF one. You can then search for anything you want to insert, such as emotions, comments, characters. When you find one, press the button and voilà.








Tumblr will then notify the original poster of the GIF that their image has been used in a post via the dashboard and app notifications; however, they missed the ball here in some regards. For example, the Instagram Re-post app feature that tags the original poster in the re-post gives “credit” to the original poster increasing reach and driving awareness.

Why It’s Hot:

By investing in this new feature, Tumblr has simplified the process to find the perfect GIF, a major currency on the platform. Even hotter is the GIF search feature aggregates results from GIFs shared by users on the platform. Therefore, users are scrolling Tumblr user GIFs to embed in their posts, essentially promoting the exponential sharing of content on the platform.

A seamless user experience on social platforms is critical. Amazing content on those platforms built around that user experience is critical for marketers. On Facebook we create content to be “Thumb-Stopping” – causing a user thumb-scrolling their Newsfeed on a mobile device to stop scrolling and engage with that content. On Instagram, we share content that is “Double-Tap Worthy” –  slowing down the users’ thumb-scrolling activity just enough to double-tap content to “Like” it. On Tumblr,  marketers will need to figure out how to build GIF content that is “Scroll-Stopping,” driving exponential sharing of their GIF content.

Seamless User Experience + Scroll-Stopping Content. It’s hot and everyone should be doing it.


“That’s how much that hospital charges? I’ll go somewhere else!”

We all know the hospital/cost/insurance makes no sense from a consumer perspective — I know someone who got a $30K bill for a gall bladder operation, only to be told a week later he only had to pay $3K. What happened? What deal was made? Where did that $30k come from and why did it go away? As of today, we have no view into the arcane health system cost structure.  With high deductible plans, the ability to chose your own hospital, transparency is critical to have to make informed decisions.

Sensentia is about transparency of medical costs and information…will it take off? Patient empowerment is often discussed but rarely delivered; Congress has mandated that eventually — and they keep pushing the date out — hospitals will be required to post ALL their costs for patients to be able to chose which hospital to use. Hot Sauce Sensentia page 1

This week, a report on health care innovation mentioned Sensentia out of the Healthbox incubator in Miami. Not only is this a cross-platform, interoperable User Experience, it is a great Customer Experience in that the combination of easy interface, natural-language queries and how it summarizes complex financial information makes it a great tool for life-critical decision-making.

Why is it hot? One reason: money. Hospital transparency and patient adoption of hospital-related decision tools are being mandated by the government. This natural-language tool crosses devices, platforms and basically connects all the parts of the system — patient, hospital and insurance company. The patient is key — their adoption will accelerate the transparency we need. Perhaps even better, the User Experience is so easy and natural that it removes so many of the complex barriers that surround healthcare costs, making complexity move to simplicity.

Tools like this may be slow to be adopted by the health system, but there are government mandated Star Ratings and other metrics that have been put in place — like Meaningful Use 2 — which financially reward a hospital if they meet milestones and deliver quality care; there are also financial punishments if they do not adopt such technologies and then train patients to use them.

This is about Patient empowerment and how it can shape what is a creaky, deal-making, back-room, mysterious system to one where I, as a patient, can make an informed choice.

Samsung Crafts an Avengers VR Experience You Can Try Right Now on Your Phone

Samsung’s new campaign has it all: virtual reality, celebrities athletes, thanks to the client’s stable of sports’ stars, and a unique approach to The Avengers, as a result of the brand’s partnership with Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The centerpiece is a two-minute VR experience for the Galaxy S6 and Gear VR Headset in which you’re placed dead center in the middle of a battle between the Avengers and Ultron robots.

This impressive VR experience it’s available for download  at the Oculus Store. Those without a Gear headset can still get an approximation of it, though.

The YouTube video below was designed as a 360-degree experience—if you watch it on an Android device, you can move the phone around in all directions and see difference parts of the room as the action unfolds.

But the second part of the campaign is even more impressive. The spotlight moves to the movie theme –as the athletes give life to the superheroes– powered by stunning visual effects that do more than just entertain users and viewers: they tell a compelling story about the powerful technology behind the Samsung brand.


Why is this hot? The brand capitalized its stable of athlete celebrities, and its partnership with Marvel to deliver a relevant experience to fans of soccer, football, cycling, surfing, and of course, fans of The Avengers franchise. And in the process, they connected with all audiences (general market, Hispanics, African Americans); all while making the brand and the product at the center of the story.


“Hey, Dad, I learned in school how to make an App!”

The movement for everyone of all ages to learn how to program — even at the most rudimentary level — has blossomed. With new technology we often just fit it into pre-determined habits and behaviors. But this may not be true to all generations. The “Code Blast” App ( as described on is an example that true understanding of technology is not just adopting but creating.

Why is this hot? To own it is to create it. This App is highlighted as a great tool to teach children how to understand programming. That means the next App you get may be at home from one of your children! But seriously, this is another generational shift to get under-the-hood and see the fullest picture of what technology is and can do. The next Silicon Valley could be a classroom.

hot Sauce School kids programming App 2.19

Some of the features Code Blast contain are:

  •  36 missions, gradually increasing in difficulty with extra obstacles and challenges!
  • 2 modes – ‘Level Mode’ – Missions are gradually unlocked to ensure a secure understanding.
  • ‘Custom Mode’ – Practise any mission at any time.
  • Save multiple games – Perfect for home and school!
  •  Stars awarded for completing missions without ‘bugs’ to motivate children to persevere and revisit.
  •  Certificates awarded upon completing levels which can be saved to the camera roll for printing or emailing!
  • Animated demos


“Treat me as a person, not my disease.” StandWith, the 1st truly Patient-centric App!

It is estimated that there are nearly 100K mHealth Apps — but they range from the tracking of steps to the tracking of medications and disease. IMS Health did a study in late 2013 of 46K mHealth Patient Apps, and concluded that upwards of 75% were abandoned after 3 months. (IMS Study: Why? As IMS said, they did not address what people really need: that as patients progress with their condition, their needs change.

Now there’s StandWith. Why is it hot?

Simply because it is truly insight-based: StandWith was created by the daughter-turned-caregiver for her mother, who suffered through (but survived!) late-stage breast cancer. After Yael Cohen created a foundation, she then proceeded to create a truly Patient-centric mHealth App that addresses the Patient Journey — from being diagnosed to “I am not my disease.” Having her life consumed by performing tasks for her mother, she saw the need for day-to-day support with “living” not “tracking.”

And here is how the App is presented on their new home page:

StandWith is a mobile platform that streamlines & simplifies communication & collaboration between Caregivers (patient’s parent, child, spouse, etc) & Supporters (community of friends & family that forms around the patient) in better assisting the patient during an emotionally charged time. 2.2














This App offers an enormous range of tasks/services/connections and taps into network of personal supporters:

  • Trackers
  • eCommerce
  • Updates
  • Services
  • Personal network
  • Tasks: massage, dog walking, cleaners, taxi, food delivery, etc.

Task interface

At one time or another, we all are touched by disease — whether ourselves, a friend or a loved one. This is an incredibly valuable mobile resource we all should have at hand. StandWith is looking for partners of all types — from Pharma to retailers — but in the end, the great truth is: we may start as a Patient, but in the end we are all People. This is an mHealth App that finally treats the whole human.


Facebook Drops Bing. No One Notices.

Bing-FBBa-bye Bing. Facebook quietly removed Microsoft-owned search tool, Bing, earlier in the week. This recent move was in preparation for Facebook launching their own search tool.

Facebook was using Bing to produce search results as its in-house search engine, allowing Facebook users to look for more information about their friends. Selecting Bing as a partner was also a way for Facebook to keep rival Google’s search engine away from the social network.Earlier this week, Facebook updated it’s method of search for old Facebook posts. The social network also revamped it’s “trending” section, making it easier for users to find news, and read different perspectives on the day’s most popular stories. Even bigger, is Facebook added a Twitter-like feed that includes @ mentions.

During a conference call in July, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that search is one of Facebook’s main focuses to fuel growth, noting that 1 billion search requests are entered into the site each day.

“There is more than a trillion posts, which some of the search engineers on the team like to remind me, is bigger than any web search corpus out there,” Zuckerberg said.



 Why It’s Hot:Facebook continues to show that they are more than just a social platform. They are integrating themselves into the full digital marketing mix,  including Atlas, their ad serving and tracking tool that follows users across screens into mobile.

Monty the Penguin: From Commercial to Full-On Merchandizing Opportunity

Every year, John Lewis, a department store, apparently comes up with “the best” holiday commercials.  As soon as I saw a penguin following a little boy around, I couldn’t help but smile and watch.  And then I learned that this little commercial to promote a department store turned into so much more.  The store has built out a complete experience on their website, with opportunities to promote a cause (WWF), promote merchandise (stuffed Montys), in addition to interacting with different fun modules.  Monty even has his own Twitter handle!  Click here to see the article, and here to view Monty’s site.


Why It’s Hot

This is an example of a great execution of a campaign- take one idea and create a whole immersive world around it.  I personally think that John Lewis (or their agency) did a great job at taking a heartwarming commercial and making it so much more than that.  Very smart thinking in regards to building buzz, merchandising an idea, and creating an ad people will remember.

Why Every Media Website Redesign Looks the Same (Including our clients’)

If web design is art, we may be entering its minimalist phase.

“To a certain degree, websites always look the same. Design is fashion and it follows trends. We’re in the middle of a trend of big and clunky, not just because of responsive design but also because of touch,” Clark added. “As touch has spread from small screens to laptops and desktops, all desktop designs have to be touch-friendly, and that has influenced the aesthetic, too.”

Numerous major media sites have shifted to responsive design with similar results — multi-column, boxy and flat designs that look almost strangely similar.

The lack of shadows, gradients or really any elements that attempt to illustrate depth are gone, in favor of what is known as “flat” design.Flat design arose in concert with mobile. In addition to having a modern look, the minimalist motif looked impressive on smaller screens while also minimizing page load, meaning that websites would come up faster on slower mobile networks. Flat design is also a hallmark of many of the new media sites.



Why It’s Hot (and Relevant To Us)

Working on the Verizon account and experiencing the horror that was “new branding”, I can tell you first hand that the “flat” look is exactly where everyone wants to be. With all these sites conforming to one similar look while keeping it responsive, it’s no wonder our creative teams struggle to provide work. The challenge we’re all facing is differentiating from our competition while keeping in mind the best user experience. This isn’t necessarily news to anyone but something to keep in mind when we work on future projects.

Nikon’s Full-body, 3D motion Capture system

NIkon has created a way to digitally capture a person’s full body. Through a 68 camera array they can accurately depict a person’s body and then create a “wireframe” (3D version of you) to place inside a video game. The process in all takes about 1 second for the 68 camera shot, and then 7200 seconds (2 hours) after that a complete digitial avatar of you is made.  They have a video of the game avatar up and running. About 2 minutes in they demo the motion of the avatar (Xxarray- 3D imaging).

From a technology perspective, this is incredibly efficient, aside from cool. Designer’s spend hours rendering the images for characters and avatars, now it can be done in two hours, by a software that could potentially be automated. From a user/gamer’s perspective this is an entirely new experience. For the first time a gamer no longer just feels as if they are in the game, they actually will be (well a digital version at least).

NIkon has found a way to really capture a consumer(digitally and financially), and redefine motion capture gaming.

A Classic Album Remixed with Modern Marketing

Illmatic is the debut album of American rapper Nas, released on April 19, 1994, by Columbia Records. Since its initial reception, Illmatic has been recognized by writers and music critics as a landmark album in East Coast hip hop. Its influence on subsequent hip hop artists has been attributed to the album’s production and Nas’s lyricism. Now, fans can celebrate the release of Illmatic XX, the 20th anniversary edition of Nas’ album, by uploading their own “selfies,” creating their own Illmatic XX cover art. The original cover art is considered iconic by many hip hop fans.

If that wasn’t enough reason to participate in the “Illmatic Experience,” participants could win tickets to a Nas concert or one of many autographed memorabilia for creating their own cover! After your cover is created, share it with your friends on Twitter or Facebook or look at everyone else’s cover before you. There is also an on-site music player that allows the participant to listen to a few tracks from the album.

Why It’s HOT:

Many classic albums have been re-released, especially upon their 10, 20, and 25 year anniversaries, but many of their marketing efforts fall short of spectacular. The marketers of this album refused to rely on the reputation of Nas and his classic debut album. They learned that the album cover was an iconic and easily identifiable image in the minds of all rap/hip hop fans. This was a simple and fun way for fans to feel like part of American music history while creating a fun user experience that motivated them to share that experience with their friends.