Join us for VISIONS Summit NYC  - June 11
Episode 13
October 17, 2016

Unbridled Witticisms

As technology advances and matures, connects us more, and creates new commerce opportunities, it has to be cool. It has to be beautiful, appealing, and it has to work. The guys talk about chatbots and how they can be more enjoyable for customers, ways AI can enhance daily life, and what problems there are still to solve with some of these new innovations.

<iframe height="52px" width="100%" frameborder="no" scrolling="no" seamless src=""></iframe>

this episode sponsored by

No items found.

Is It Cool Yet?

  • Chatbots can be great, but there are ways for them to be used in a way that customers will actually enjoy and feel comfortable with, creating more engagement
  • “Let your brand shine through your bot.” - Brian
  • Google Allo went live, friends
  • “{Google is} moving everything to AI centric and thinking about how they can build artificial intelligence and machine learning and deep learning into their products as a first rate feature.” - Phillip
  • The guys gush over the Daydream that came out at the Made By Google event and how beautiful it is and note that it doesn’t look like it might blow up on your face
  • Google Home  pre-orders have started, and will it give the Amazon devices a run for their money?
  • Amazon has a huge opportunity for university students to learn about bots and AI in a prize-driven contest
  • Would Ferris Bueller wear Snap Glasses? Probably not.
  • As technology advances and matures, it’s gotta be cool, man.

Associated Links:

Have any questions or comments about the show? Let us know on, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We love hearing from our listeners!

Phillip: [00:00:24] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:00:30] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:00:31] And this is the 13th time that you've listened to us say this. This is lucky number 13.

Brian: [00:00:37] Hey!

Phillip: [00:00:37] Welcome. I never thought we'd get here, but I'm just kidding. It's been. What a ride. This is the elevator floor. This is the floor that the elevator doesn't stop on. Anyway.

Brian: [00:00:48] The crazy thing is like by the time you're done listening to this episode, you listen to almost 13 hours of us talking.

Phillip: [00:00:54] Which is just that's incredible, actually. And 13 hours of incredible guests and, you know, people who are just wonderful movers and shakers, if you will. And you can be a mover and shaker, too, because we need your feedback and we want you to give us feedback about today's show. So if you're listening on, you can leave us the feedback in the Disqus comment box below by scrolling down and and just pop us a message there. We want to hear about what what you're doing in your commerce experiences. And we want to hear what you want us to be doing here on the show. Maybe you can suggest a guest or maybe you can give us some feedback on your thoughts. You need to subscribe, so you never miss an episode of Future Commerce. So you can do that on iTunes and Google Play, and you can even listen right from your Amazon Echo on TuneIn Radio with the phrase "Alexa, play Future Commerce podcast."

Brian: [00:01:49] You know... You know who kind of I mean, he didn't go into the Disqus comment box and leave some feedback. But you know who left out some awesome feedback recently? I guess it wasn't... Bob Schwartz.

Phillip: [00:02:02] Oh, that's. This was amazing. Yeah. So for those who don't know, who is Bob Schwartz?

Brian: [00:02:08] Yeah. Bob Schwartz, former CEO of Magento. He was, I think, the Head of Technology at Nordstrom, and now he's running his own VC company and charity. And he's just he's very active, doing all a lot of cool stuff. But yeah, he was actually a step ahead of us, I think.

Phillip: [00:02:27] A little bit.

Brian: [00:02:28] A step ahead of everyone.

Phillip: [00:02:29] Yeah. Yeah. By like nine, ten months. Yeah, yeah. We mentioned on episode eleven I think with Healey Cypher about, you know, making up some hats that say "Make retail great again." And he pops in Twitter just a couple of days ago and says, guys, "I'm way ahead of you. I've already made these up." It's kind of awesome.

Brian: [00:02:53] It was pretty awesome.

Phillip: [00:02:55] So if you want to pick up one of those hats, you know where to hit him up. Just if you Google Bob Schwartz, it's not Bob Schwartz, Chrysler Dodge in Bunker Hill, Ind. It's the other Bob Schwartz. That's Bob Schwartz on Twitter. But thank you, Bob, for listening. And thank you to everybody who has been leaving us some feedback. It's been really great to actually have you guys engaged. You guys and gals engaged in the show.

Brian: [00:03:19] You're helping make Future Commerce great... {laughter}

Phillip: [00:03:23] And you're helping us create great dialog with you. And speaking of great dialog, that's what we call the segue.

Brian: [00:03:32] You're full of transitions today.

Phillip: [00:03:32] I know I'm killing it. I mean, we could probably spend an hour, but we won't. We could probably spend an hour just talking about this link that you found on VentureBeat just a few days ago.

Brian: [00:03:47] This is an unbelievable article.

Phillip: [00:03:49] Oh, my gosh. Yeah, it's actually it blew my mind. So this is a blog on VentureBeat by Gary Levitt of Yolla. And he sort of kind of blows open what he thinks is the best way to engage in chat bot dialog. The name of the article is Three Simple Steps to Great Chat Bot Dialog. And we would not be doing you any kind of service if we didn't dissect this in complete and exacting detail because this is so good.

Brian: [00:04:22] Yeah, I agree. I think this is some of the best practical advice I've seen around chat bots so far. I think that, you know, if you use this as a starting point, you'll be all right.

Phillip: [00:04:34] Yeah. And I think there's some interesting insight in this in this three steps about pacing and timing and sort of conversational approaches. So the first actually it's incredible because he basically kind of says that chat bots today are lacking the ability to provide any sort of validation. And usually validation comes in like a sense of visual feedback for people that use, you know, devices. And instead of being able to see content, you know, like we do on websites or apps, they're having to create a more conversational approach. So instead of having a chat bot that, like, just gives you a wall of text, instead, it's more about pacing the chat bot to if someone asks for help, then you can say help is here and then sort of initiate like a typing intent and then say, ask me a simple question instead of giving loads of information right at the top that nobody really reads. And that kind of right there, like if we said nothing else that blows my mind is that human like component of waiting for that feedback, waiting for the next line of text for someone to send. It's very engaging, very cool.

Brian: [00:05:55] I think that the point here is that you don't want to overwhelm your user. You don't want to explainify everything as well.

Phillip: [00:06:03] Yeah.

Brian: [00:06:04] If they feel like it's overwhelming, they're just not going to use it and they're going to try to get a hold of someone in person right away, therefore completely circumventing your chatbot.

Phillip: [00:06:18] Yeah.

Brian: [00:06:19] And so I think this article is awesome, and I don't want to jump away from it yet because I want to keep talking about some of the other pieces. I think it's really funny that it came out just shortly before another article on VentureBeat about how chat bots generally suck right now.

Phillip: [00:06:37] Yeah. Oh, my gosh. Yeah, that's true. Who wrote that? I don't have it right in front of me actually.

Brian: [00:06:46] I think I do.

Phillip: [00:06:46] Yeah. It was really interesting because it was basically like saying that...

Brian: [00:06:52] Cameron Weeks from Sharpen.

Phillip: [00:06:54] Yeah. And this is it basically says here's all the reasons why chat bots suck. And it's basically like rehashing called call center trees. Right. Call phone trees.

Brian: [00:07:04] Yeah IVR.

Phillip: [00:07:05] Right. And it's like a slower means and we're having to retrain ourselves and that sort of thing. And it's funny. It's almost like this is the answer to that complaining article. Anyway. So actually this is, and number two actually is something you've talked about a lot. So why don't you kind of get into that one.

Brian: [00:07:27] Yeah. Yeah. So the idea is, you know, have a vibe. So let the personality of your brand's shine through. Obviously don't make... He says, you know, unbridled witticisms may leave your customers feeling alienated by too much artificial cheekiness, but definitely allow a little zestiness to what you say. You want to have a have fun because the more fun people have when they're having a problem or even when they're not having a problem, the more fun they have while they're interacting with your chat bot, I think the better the experience they're going to have. They're going enjoy it. They're going to be like, oh, this is this is actually quite interesting and almost like entertainment.

Phillip: [00:08:16] It's interesting because I feel like that was the thing that turned everybody on to Siri is that she had some wit. Right?

Brian: [00:08:24] Yeah. So, so true.

Phillip: [00:08:26] I mean, did actually did I just gender stereotype Siri? Siri is female. Right? I think that's the agreed. I don't know. Actually, I don't know.

Brian: [00:08:36] Oh my goodness. Are all the main ones female? I didn't even realize that. Because you've got Alexa.

Phillip: [00:08:41] Yeah. I've not thought about that.

Brian: [00:08:43] Cortana.

Phillip: [00:08:45] Yeah.

Brian: [00:08:45] And Siri.

Phillip: [00:08:45] Yeah. That's kind of blowing my mind. Is Siri female? Siri might be female. I don't know. I think...

Brian: [00:08:51] Siri's female.

Phillip: [00:08:52] I feel like it's supposed to be sort of ambiguous.

Brian: [00:08:56] Maybe.

Phillip: [00:08:56] I'm not sure. I think Alexa and Cortana are very obviously female.

Brian: [00:09:01] Yeah no doubt.

Phillip: [00:09:03] But anyway.

Brian: [00:09:05] Oh Watson.

Phillip: [00:09:08] Ok fine. Watson. I mean, Watson is like a million things now. Watson is a brand for all we really know. No, but here's the thing with Siri. When Siri first came around and you were showing Siri off to your friends, the first thing you do is like "Siri, tell me a joke" The things you would do with Siri were more in the line of trying to get a witty response. And in fact, there's entire sub brand that's dedicated to this. It's interesting that now that we understand the technology and we engage with it more on an everyday basis, I feel like we provoke those types of interactions way less frequently.

Brian: [00:09:46] So true.

Phillip: [00:09:46] But we still get this. We kind of have developed an understanding of the persona of the chat bot, so it doesn't need to shine through so often. So when it does happen, it's sort of a delight. And I think that's kind of what I'm picking out here is basically saying break your communication up into parts. Like, you know, greetings and goodbyes and thank you's and that sort of thing, and then pick one or two of those that are zesty or animated. And so really, you could go overboard, just like with anything. You can go overboard with this stuff. But if you have a vibe, and and you're communicating the feel of your brand through this new spoken word medium, you really kind of have to really be selective about it. But I think that's a great opportunity to use humor and wit, and maybe sarcasm.

Brian: [00:10:43] That's a great point as well is like show restraint. Don't lose your brand. If your brand is not necessarily super witty, be a little more formal. Be who you are. Let your brand shine through your bot. Because if you try to be something you're not, I think you're like everything that you've worked towards as a brand is going to be lost on the customer and they're going to feel like... If you're Walmart, your bot should probably not be super snarky. Your bot should be friendly, right?

Phillip: [00:11:19] Probably.

Brian: [00:11:20] Yeah. Yeah. Should be friendly and.

Phillip: [00:11:22] Helpful. Like the greeter. The greeter.

Brian: [00:11:27] Yeah the greeter. I feel like that maybe Walmart does need a greeter bot. That would be actually hilarious.

Phillip: [00:11:35] I was just thinking about this and it just popped into my head. My first interaction with Google in this way was a long time ago. Do you remember 1-800-Google? Where you could call Google as a 411 service?

Brian: [00:11:55] Yeah, dude, I used the text version.

Phillip: [00:11:58] Or 1-800-4-Google, I think it was. Goog411.

Brian: [00:12:01] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:12:01] So back then, so this was actually Google's original foray and it's a phenomenal read if you can find a concise telling of it somewhere on the Internet. But this was their foray into actually trying to get training data for natural language processing. And they sort of aimed it at, you know, national business registries and telephone books and that sort of thing. And it was a really, really great use of a technology. And in fact, I think it might be the first thing that they did that was sort of outside of the realm of just web search. And it was kind of weird and offbeat. But the thing that blew my mind was they would say, "Hello, tell me what you're searching for." And then you would say, "I'm trying to find the extended Stay America Philadelphia airport." And the like searching tone wasn't like, "Please wait. Searching." It was literally a person with their mouth going with their {beep, boop, beep, boop}

Brian: [00:13:06] Oh my gosh, was it like the Geo Safari sound?

Phillip: [00:13:08] Dude. Yes. But it was like a person mimicking it with their voice.

Brian: [00:13:12] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:13:13] And I remember finding that absolutely hilarious. And that's really what they're talking about, is finding a place, finding interaction where it's not intrusive, but to communicate the vibe. And I've always thought of Google as that kind of fun, quirky, make me laugh thing since 2001, since or maybe even for like 2001ish, when I had that interaction with their 800 number service, which is not a thing that even exists anymore.

Brian: [00:13:46] Oh my gosh. That's so long ago. That's like when I had my first cell phone. Well that's pushing back.

Phillip: [00:13:53] Dude. It is pushing back, and let's move on actually.

Brian: [00:13:57] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:13:58] And then the last really is is speak don't print. And we sort of touched on this at the beginning, which is, you know, we express thoughts as humans with words and we pause and we intonate and we enunciate and there's intensification and some things that we say. So basically the idea is build in some of that personality in the speaking into the chatbot. So, again, instead of having a wall of text, break it into multiple lines of text where your chat bot is actually appearing to be typing, where you're waiting for feedback and essentially you're building in these pauses, that would be more conversational that feel like you're interacting with a human. And I love this phrase.

Brian: [00:14:45] On text no less.

Phillip: [00:14:46] Yeah, I know. It's so interesting. But here's the phrase that caught me is "Pauses are not lengthy. They're just right. Speech has rhythm and your chat bot's rhythm should groove." And I thought that that was just awesome.

Brian: [00:15:01] That's a great quote right there.

Phillip: [00:15:02] Yeah. You should totally check out check out this blog on VentureBeat. Three Simple Steps to Great Chat Bot Dialog.

Brian: [00:15:09] I'll post on the show notes.

Phillip: [00:15:10] Yeah, very cool. And speaking of great chat bots.

Brian: [00:15:16] Look at you with the transitions.

Phillip: [00:15:18] Dude I'm crushing it today. What can I do? You know, what can I do?

Brian: [00:15:21] Yeah. So, Allo. We talked a little bit about this with Jason L Baptiste here.

Phillip: [00:15:28] Google Allo went live. He's not a big fan. Jason's not a big fan.

Brian: [00:15:33] To be fair it had only come out a few days before we interviewed him.

Phillip: [00:15:36] That's true.

Brian: [00:15:37] And let's give him a chance to try it.

Phillip: [00:15:44] Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Brian: [00:15:45] But yeah, he didn't see the use for it here and he had a lot of chats going on. And you and I actually touched on this even back in like our first episode of second episode, I think when we first heard that Allo was going to be released. Our gut reaction was well, why do we need another chat?

Phillip: [00:16:07] Well, especially from Google, who, you know, has done everything in their power to destroy chat and messaging in every way.

Brian: [00:16:18] Yeah. It's so funny now, and I'm not going to lie. It's still kind of annoying because, I mean, you and I have experienced this big time, like, we are still using Hangouts.

Phillip: [00:16:29] You and I communicate in like 11 mediums.

Brian: [00:16:32] That is not a joke, actually.

Phillip: [00:16:34] Yeah.

Brian: [00:16:36] It's crazy.

Phillip: [00:16:36] I think that it really shows the downside actually to Allo because we would probably have all of our communication Allo if it wasn't mobile only.

Brian: [00:16:44] Yeah, I think that's really annoying. It definitely needs to get into Gmail at least.

Phillip: [00:16:49] Yeah. And I think it probably will, although they did announce, you know, randomly that they're making some changes to Hangouts and so they're going to continue to tweak and mess with Hangouts. Which is, you know, whatever. The thing is is Allo is actually really exceptionally great. I like it.

Brian: [00:17:11] It is. It's my favorite chat. No doubt. Like from just from a usability standpoint and helpfulness standpoint. I think it's the best one I've used.

Phillip: [00:17:22] And I feel like it actually, having the assistant builtin has been pretty unobtrusive. It's only really popped into some conversations with family in a couple instances where I thought it was really weird. When you call the assistant out and ask it to do something, I found it's kind of hit and miss sometimes, but it's really great for local search, and it's really great for, you know, things that you would probably ask, OK, Google to do. But at any rate, I really think there are some cool features that, you know, really it's kind of out of the realm of our podcast here. But there are some really cool, interesting use cases, especially around privacy, which, again, not my forte and not really what we're all about, although it seems to come up a whole lot. One of the things I thought was really cool is that you can have an incognito chat with somebody with like a one minute expiration. So you sort of get the Snapchat-esque ephemeral sort of messaging experience, which I think is really interesting, because it allows you to sort of have those throwaway moments where you share something with somebody, but you'll need to remember it for all of time. And you can draw on pictures, you can put stickers, that sort of thing. So it is very Next Gen in its approach. But again, you know, I think the main downside and I think Jason L Baptiste kind of touched on it on Episode 12 is nobody's on this thing. And so and it's been tough for me to actually get people to try it. And that's been a little disheartening.

Brian: [00:19:05] So I will say this. That may be true, but I showed it to my wife and we immediately started using it as our main source of chat.

Phillip: [00:19:14] Same here. Yeah.

Brian: [00:19:15] And that was like pretty crazy to me because I think my wife and I like when it comes to our communication, we've been pretty traditional. We've stuck to like messaging and calling. And now we use our Allo the time.

Phillip: [00:19:28] Yup.

Brian: [00:19:29] Which is I feel like that's actually a pretty good indicator. At least, you know, in my mind that's an indication that there's something to Allo. There's more to it than just oh it's just another chat app. And one of the other feature that I actually really like and I know this is kind of silly, but when you draw or like edit a video or photo.

Phillip: [00:19:52] Yeah.

Brian: [00:19:53] It drops into the top of your queue.

Phillip: [00:19:55] Yeah.

Brian: [00:19:55] And you can actually re share that same edited photo with other people.

Phillip: [00:20:02] Yep.

Brian: [00:20:02] Which I found really cool.

Phillip: [00:20:04] Yeah. Which I thought was really cool too. And I think it respects the privacy of Incognito chats to where it doesn't actually have that behavior. So it's kind of cool. I like Allo a lot. I think that there's a lot of really great potential with building if they open up that Google assistant API to sort of be very iMessage-y and allowing developers to write bots and have an app store for Allo. I think we're well on our way. I think it's really it could be really good.

Brian: [00:20:36] I think there's no doubt that that will happen.

Phillip: [00:20:37] Oh, I'm sure.

Brian: [00:20:38] Yeah. If Google doesn't do that, they're missing out.

Phillip: [00:20:41] Well, here are some hints to why I think that could possibly be. Google had it's Made by Google event just a few days ago. And they made some product announcements, obviously, and we'll talk about that. The Pixel phone and all that was released. But they opened that whole event saying that there have been three major revolutions in the past three decades. There was the personal computing revolution, there's the mobile computing revolution, and now they believe that the AI revolution is upon us. And so, you know, they said where apps and the progressive web apps were the thing of 2015/2016 where you would design mobile first, now what they're saying is that their company is moving to AI first. And to say that they're moving everything to sort of AI centric and thinking about how they can build artificial intelligence and machine learning and deep learning into their products as a first rate feature. It's kind of like the Google Docs offline first experience where you don't even realize how amazing it is because it's just done so well it's very transparent to you. I feel like that's how the AI experiences in Allo can be. And hopefully will be coming to all Google products pretty soon.

Brian: [00:22:21] I think when we talk about commerce... And oh, there's so much Google News.

Phillip: [00:22:28] Yeah. There kind of is.

Brian: [00:22:30] Yeah. We should talk about Google Optimize.

Phillip: [00:22:35] Yeah. OK, we can hold that over even.

Brian: [00:22:38] Dude. I know. Crazy right. Anyway, but yeah. Back to commerce and AI, I feel like there's a lot ahead for this, like the way that this will translate into another channel for businesses. We've talked about this a lot already. I feel like looking out ahead. But when it comes to actual implementations, I expect that as soon as Google opens up their API or allows for developments in Allo, I should say, that's when we're really going to see, I think businesses start to take advantage of the location based selling. Vicinity based selling. We've kind of already hammered this one to death, but I think the chat is the easiest place to push information. I don't know.

Phillip: [00:23:35] Right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, well, we've talked about push and we've talked about, you know, location push. And there is nothing more, you know, unintrusive than chat pushing to you, which is something that we're all used to anyway. And it seems like... So anyway, that whole idea of AI first is kind of the basis of the Pixel phone, because really Pixel is sort of that Google assistant always in the background, even more so than, you know, the OK, Google, Google Now functionality. And so they've sort of redesigned the whole phone around that concept. And that's probably the only good thing I can say about the phone in my opinion. I'm sure you have your own thoughts, but I'm not really jazzed about the phone. I probably won't be getting that phone any time soon.

Brian: [00:24:26] Same here. I agree with you, although the one thing that I am jazzed about that phone and also jazzed about is their new headset for VR.

Phillip: [00:24:39] Ok, so yeah, Daydream.

Brian: [00:24:41] I know I jumped ahead.

Phillip: [00:24:43] That's OK because everything else is kind of boring. Dude.

Brian: [00:24:48] Dude.

Phillip: [00:24:48] {laughter} And that's all I can say. This thing is beautiful.

Brian: [00:24:52] Yeah. I mean I get it's just competition for Samsung Gear. Right? But dude, I want to wear this.

Phillip: [00:25:00] Yeah but this thing doesn't look like it would blow up on your face. And that's the problem with Samsung devices right now is they might blow up on your face.

Brian: [00:25:11] This looks more like I don't know, it looks like a fashion accessory, like somewhere between like cool ski goggles and like I don't know, swimming.

Phillip: [00:25:26] No, you're not doing it justice. It's beautiful.

Brian: [00:25:29] I'm not doing it justice.

Phillip: [00:25:29] I mean, this looks like J. Crew. I don't know. This looks like...

Brian: [00:25:34] Yeah. There you go. That's good.

Phillip: [00:25:34] It's sort of like a comfortable fashion. It looks like... You know, it's like this gray felt...

Brian: [00:25:43] I want the red one. The red one.

Phillip: [00:25:44] The red one looks hot. Yeah, but it's like this felt... It looks very comfortable, and it looks very casual, and it actually looks like accessible VR for like everybody. It doesn't look like techy. It's not made of cardboard, like Google Cardboard, like it's not a prototype. This thing is legit.

Brian: [00:26:03] I take the train in to work every day, and I would feel comfortable wearing this while sitting on my commute.

Phillip: [00:26:10] I wouldn't. But OK. {laughter}

Brian: [00:26:13] Come on.

Phillip: [00:26:13] I mean, it definitely would be comfortable. It wouldn't look so stupid right now.

Brian: [00:26:17] It wouldn't look so stupid. I would just sit there, you know, head up against the glass, the window, looking out at something that was totally different. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:26:27] Yeah. It's very, very cool. And so, yeah, Daydream I think is kind of the killer app that came out of that Made by Google event. Anything else that came out there. I can't...

Brian: [00:26:39] Well, you know, just the information about them getting all kind of iffy about people developing for Google Home.

Phillip: [00:26:48] Oh yeah, and this is very central to what we're all about, too. Google Home was officially released, or preorders have started. Oh, speaking of personality, have you asked Alexa how much Google Home is?

Brian: [00:27:02] No, I have not yet.

Phillip: [00:27:05] It's funny if you ask her, "Alexa, how much is Google Home? She'll say, "I don't know. Why don't you look for it on Bing?"

Brian: [00:27:14] Oh snap.

Phillip: [00:27:14] And it's funny. It's interesting because this is a really cool use case of of that skill. If you ask her that once, she only says that once. And she won't ever say it again. It's kind of a weird. It's like a neat little Easter egg. But anyway, Google Home smart speaker, you know, sort of that again, Google assistant kind of everywhere. I don't know.

Brian: [00:27:42] Yeah dude. I mean, I'm not going to lie. The Google Home looks awesome. I feel like as much as I love my Echo, and I love Alexa, I can't help but feel like my household will eventually move to Google Home because...

Phillip: [00:27:59] What? Why?

Brian: [00:28:00] Because of all the other things in my life that are Google centric. My phoned, my email.

Phillip: [00:28:07] Right, right.

Brian: [00:28:08] My location based stuff. Fitness. Everything, like everything, could be tied together in one cohesive, beautiful fabric.

Phillip: [00:28:18] If there's anything that Google does well, is it sort of unifying all their services and platforms. So hopefully.

Brian: [00:28:26] And they're getting to something. They're getting to something that I think people have really tried to achieve for forever, which is the single sign on.

Phillip: [00:28:39] Right.

Brian: [00:28:39] I mean, they're almost already there. Right? But oh, my gosh. Like, eventually if I could single sign on my life and go just go live in the happy world that I felt safe in with a single sign on, I mean, that's I'm looking forward to that. I'm not going to lie.

Phillip: [00:28:58] {laughter} Well, I mean, I don't know. I don't know. Maybe I think, you know, if Google is even around, Google is sort of...

Brian: [00:29:09] Oh, that's a good point. Yeah let's talk about that.

Phillip: [00:29:11] Yeah. Google Google has this really interesting... So with the Google Home announcement, they sort of dropped this bomb that they're requiring exclusives for developers. So you cannot have a skill, what would be called an Amazon Alexa skill, but you're not allowed to basically support both platforms. So if you write something for Google Home, it has to be exclusive. You have an exclusive and that basically disallows you from supporting Amazon's platform. And it names it by name. It's like you can't have this on Alexa at the same time. And I'm kind of worried because that sounds like anti-competitive behavior. And we know the EU doesn't really like Google very much, and they probably don't like this idea too much either.

Brian: [00:30:08] Given how hard it is to create a system like this. I mean, we've got just a few of them. A handful of them. Right? I can understand that to some degree

Phillip: [00:30:19] And one player that has like an 18 month lead on everybody else. So, yeah. You know, and actually that's you know, Amazon is kind of getting into wearables now. There's a ton of Alexa news that we probably won't even get to. I mean, you know, they're making updates every single week on the developer front. They've just opened up the flash briefing API so you can sort of customize what stuff comes in your flash briefing. They've kind of updated it. The Raspberry Pi Alexa project now supports the wake word and always listening functionality, which was a thing that was not supported before.

Brian: [00:30:54] That's huge.

Phillip: [00:30:55] That's massive.

Brian: [00:30:56] That's huge.

Phillip: [00:30:56] When you think about the lead that they have, it's a sizable lead in the market. Like, it's not enough to say, oh, well, we have one, too. They have an entire developer ecosystem that's already in place and it's a sizable lead. So I don't know. And they're making headway every single week. They're not waiting for, like events. They're not waiting for AWS reinvent to actually make announcements around Alexa. They're just doing it every single week.

Brian: [00:31:28] They're just pushing it, and I love that. I love companies that really commit to pushing.

Phillip: [00:31:35] Yeah.

Brian: [00:31:35] I can't stand waiting around forever to get a new release on something. {cough} New Mac. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:31:43] It's never going to happen. Yeah. Anyway, so I think it's really interesting. We'll see what happens with Google out of that. You know, maybe they relaxed that at some point. I think, you can say that kind of stuff all you want, but if there is no adoption in the space, then, you know, all bets are off and people are going to they'll roll it back in in a heartbeat I'm sure.

Brian: [00:32:05] No joke. You know, hey, speaking of Alexa, we should definitely call attention to something that I think is super cool. And so for all of our student listeners out there, go to and check out their challenge. Right now, they've got running right now to build a bot that can talk continuously for twenty minutes, which is so cool.

Phillip: [00:32:40] {laughter} Oh, my gosh. It's ridiculous.

Brian: [00:32:42] Conversing incoherently and engaging with humans on popular topics for twenty minutes straight.

Phillip: [00:32:47] Yeah.

Brian: [00:32:47] And you can win a lot of money if you do this. I think this is awesome. I feel like these are the types of things that we need in order to really push the envelope on making AI and down the road chat bots what they can be, right?

Phillip: [00:33:08] Yep.

Brian: [00:33:08] Incentive involving universities and students. And, you know, I think this I hope that other... I hope that... Actually Watson has. IBM has done some of these challenges.

Phillip: [00:33:25] I mean, speaking of Head Start, I mean, Watson was on Jeopardy like seven years ago.

Brian: [00:33:33] That's crazy.

Phillip: [00:33:34] You know, they're way out in front of everybody in this field. Here's the crazy thing. Ok, so it's a five hundred thousand dollar reward to the winning team and a million dollar prize to the winning team's university, so they're basically kind of going after the Compsi grads is kind of what they're looking for. And basically there's going to be another 10 teams that will basically get 100,000 dollars stipend and all the stuff that they need to basically make their bot happen. And basically what they want to do is push the boundaries of what Alexis is capable of in conversational AI, like knowledge acquisition, natural language understanding, natural language generation, and context modeling, and common sense reasoning, and dialog planning. And, you know, all these really hard to crack things. And so, anyway, and it's not a short contest. While the application is sort of due through the end of October, the contest and participants kind of begin in November of 2016 and it runs all the way through November of 2017. So this is you know, it's a long term commitment for a very long, for very large prize payout.

Brian: [00:34:56] I would definitely recommend, like anyone, students that are interested in this, it's worth the effort because this is going to I mean, the future is here.

Phillip: [00:35:06] Yeah.

Brian: [00:35:07] Even if you don't win the prize, you're going to learn so many valuable things about AI, about bots, and about development for AI, and just the types of skills that you're going to pick up along this journey are probably worth more than the money.

Phillip: [00:35:26] I mean, if you just take the the five or six little key phrases there and Google them, you could probably spend, you know, half your lifetime just researching the known data around those rather than pushing the boundaries. So I cannot wait to see what comes out of this. And you know what? This is really smart. It's way cheaper to do something like this than it is to go out and acquire a billion dollar company that is already VC backed that is pushing these boundaries.

Brian: [00:35:56] Have we talked about the Alexa fund before?

Phillip: [00:35:58] No we've not.

Brian: [00:36:00] Yeah, that's also something really cool that they're doing. They've got a 100 million dollar and basically VC to invest in voice technology innovation. So basically Amazon is throwing a lot of chips at Alexa and at the Echo because I think they understand what Google does, which is that AI is the future of commerce and of our lives.

Phillip: [00:36:27] Yeah. Yeah. Of all of our connected interactions with technology.

Brian: [00:36:33] Exactly. Yeah. And of work. Just of so many different things. It's going to revolutionize the way that we live.

Phillip: [00:36:42] Yeah.

Brian: [00:36:42] So but yeah we really do need to get some more guests on the show to talk about AI. I'm really looking forward to that. I think that...

Phillip: [00:36:51] We've got some cool things in the works actually.

Brian: [00:36:54] We do have some cool things in the works. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:36:54] We don't want to jinx it.

Brian: [00:36:55] Yeah. We don't want to jinx it, but we've got a couple of some pretty sweet guests on the docket I think to talk about AI. So look forward to that.

Phillip: [00:37:05] Yeah. If you're not subscribed you definitely need to subscribe right now. You don't want to miss...

Brian: [00:37:10] That's no lie actually. I am kind of stoked out of my mind about what we have ahead.

Phillip: [00:37:16] Let me tell you a little bit about, like, my barometer for whether we're doing well or not is whether my wife can tolerate to listen to the show more than three or four minutes. And she has surprised me. She listens to this. She listens to Future Commerce in the car line waiting to pick up my daughter from school. And she loves it and she, like, talks about it. And yeah, she said, you know, at various times that she's forgets it's me talking from time to time.

Brian: [00:37:48] What's up, Jaci.

Phillip: [00:37:49] Yeah. It's amazing, actually. And so I think this is a good show to listen to. You know, you should subscribe.

Brian: [00:37:55] It is. It's fun. Yeah. Elizabeth loved the Healey Cypher episode.

Phillip: [00:38:00] Yes. Yeah. You want to start there. You want to start there and kind of work your way out in an up and down fashion. You know, start with Healey, and then kind of work your way up and then work your way back down. You know what kind of works its way both up and down into my heart is... That was, you know, in a show of great transitions, that was not one of them.

Brian: [00:38:25] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:38:25] Is Snap actually is...

Brian: [00:38:29] OK, yup. Yup.

Phillip: [00:38:29] {laughter} Snap is rumored to be there.

Brian: [00:38:33] Snap, dude. Snap.

Phillip: [00:38:34] For crying out loud.

Brian: [00:38:35] Wasn't that like the word back in 2000?

Phillip: [00:38:37] Oh snap!

Brian: [00:38:38] Oh snap!

Phillip: [00:38:40] Formerly Snapchat which is now Snap inc. Snap Inc is rumored to be getting ready for an IPO. Twenty five billion dollar rumored IPO coming sometime in the next 18 months. And this kind of all happened to be centered around their release of their Snap glasses, which, again, we talked very briefly about with Jason L. Baptiste on Episode 12. But you and I didn't really get a chance to blow this open. And I kind of dig these things, which I hate my life. I hate the fact that I even said that.

Brian: [00:39:16] But so will I actually buy a pair of these glasses? Probably not.

Phillip: [00:39:21] Yeah, what are these glasses? I don't know that everybody knows what they are because we kind of blew over it so quickly in the last show.

Brian: [00:39:28] So people can record quick videos by pressing a button on their glasses.

Phillip: [00:39:35] On the frames.

Brian: [00:39:36] If you hold it, you can do up to 30 seconds, right?

Phillip: [00:39:39] Right, exactly.

Brian: [00:39:41] Yeah. So that's it pretty much right now.

Phillip: [00:39:45] That's kind of it. But it's another device to charge, but it could be cool. And I kind of think like imagine, so you remember that you remember that song, the Ferris Bueller like "Chica chicaw..." Do you to remember that? I kind of remember like the motion with that is the pulling the glasses down, like so you can see with your own two eyes. I kind of feel like...

Brian: [00:40:11] It's those glasses.

Phillip: [00:40:11] It's exactly. This is that. It is like almost exactly the Ferris Bueller glasses that you sort of peer over the top while you're surreptitiously taking a picture of the woman that's walking by saying, "Chica Chicaw," and then Billy Bush comes around the corner and he's saying something about it. No, I'm just kidding. Access Hollywood, that was a terrible reference. I should never have brought that up.

Brian: [00:40:37] Oh dude.

Phillip: [00:40:37] I don't know. I'm kind of worried about Snap glasses because I really don't want us to continue to advance the cameras everywhere thing that we already have.

Brian: [00:40:48] It's already there. Like to me, the difference between this and using your phone is pretty minimal in that, you know, sure it's not quite as apparent when someone's taking a video. But in terms of people taking pictures and video everywhere, that's already happening. Right?

Phillip: [00:41:08] Go to any concert. And it's like painfully obvious.

Brian: [00:41:13] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:41:14] Everybody's got their phone out to take a video that they'll never, ever watch again with distorted audio.

Brian: [00:41:19] Yeah. So the question is like in my mind and again, I probably won't buy these because I just I mean recording sunglasses have been out for a long time, right?

Phillip: [00:41:33] Have they?

Brian: [00:41:34] Oh, yeah, dude. Oh, they've just been ugly as all get out. Like you have to be a complete dork to buy... Sorry, anyone who did that.

Phillip: [00:41:46] Way to alienate our one listener. My wife in the car is like, I can't believe you said that about me. Trust me, if they made it to minute 44 of this episode, we're good. We're good.

Brian: [00:42:02] They're hooked. They're hooked. Sorry for insulting you, but yeah. They're pretty dorky.

Phillip: [00:42:05] You should probably not wear those glasses. Yeah.

Brian: [00:42:07] Yeah, exactly. But I saw them pop up here or there. They were usually on gear, like the cheesy gear sites and you know, those geek sites that you kind of say, oh, that's kind of fun.

Phillip: [00:42:25] It's like Sky Mall almost. It's like, you know, something that would be seen in Sky Mall.

Brian: [00:42:30] Yeah. Exactly.

Phillip: [00:42:31] Like, you don't actually know anybody that bought them. But if you did, you'd be, like, really embarrassed to go out with them.

Brian: [00:42:38] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:42:39] Yeah, yeah. You're right. And they're kind of creepy. I feel like the thing that makes these not creepy is that, like, they have really great branding kind of behind them. But the concept is kind of creepy that, you know, at least in certain countries, it's sort of a law that if a camera is going off, that it has to make some sort of a notification sound. And, you know, the fact is, when someone's holding up a phone to you, it's kind of a gesture that they're taking a picture or video of you. And I don't know. I don't know how I feel about, you know, people just being able to snap photos without me really noticing it. But I don't know. It's again, I don't know. I'm just getting old. I'm a curmudgeon.

Brian: [00:43:23] And let's relate this back to commerce now. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:43:26] Yeah, well, I think it's yeah. Let's, because we always have to do that because that's kind of the charter of our show. Yeah.

Brian: [00:43:32] Yeah, no doubt. So here's where I think this starts to get interesting. I think user generated content for brands is already a big deal. Right? Like TurnTo is all about this. I think this is just going to be another way where... I think it's just another step towards having most of your content generated by your users instead of the other way around, actually.

Phillip: [00:44:01] Right.

Brian: [00:44:03] Which is just crazy, I mean, brands forever have pushed their products and and their content has been a company first sort of mindset. But the Internet has introduced, you know, sort of real time feedback. And we're getting better and better. Actually TurnTo... One of the features that now I think a lot of other people are copying that I absolutely love about their software is the checkout comments where people can actually leave a comment as they're checking out about the product.

Phillip: [00:44:41] Right.

Brian: [00:44:42] But anyway, I digress a little bit. I think it's going to be a great way to to capture more content, and if you can find a way to empower your users to use the Snap glasses to bring some sort of social stream for your brand or your products, I think that would be amazing.

Phillip: [00:45:06] Yeah. And I agree with that. I won't say any more than that because I think you've you've pretty well covered it. That's a great idea.

Brian: [00:45:13] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:45:15] I don't know. I think brand engagement is kind of this interesting art form, brands trying to engage with customers and customers engaging back to brands. It's a very interesting dynamic there. And we should probably have someone on that can sort of talk about that, because I think...

Brian: [00:45:31] That's a great idea. Yeah, we talked about having someone maybe from Curalate or something like that on. I think there are a lot of people out there that could really dive a lot deeper than we can on that, at least from like actually capturing the content standpoint.

Phillip: [00:45:46] Yeah.

Brian: [00:45:47] Yeah. The other thing is that I think we briefly talked about this on the show with Jason. The next iterations of these glasses... I think that's what has me most excited. So going from just, you know, basically a camera in your glasses to maybe a little bit more interactive tool will be interesting, and I think...

Phillip: [00:46:19] That can display all those.

Brian: [00:46:21] Yeah, exactly. I think, you know, people are already starting to recognize that there is something here. So like, for instance, in a Spanish startup called Hawkers.

Phillip: [00:46:32] Yep.

Brian: [00:46:33] That just picked up 56 million in VC.

Phillip: [00:46:36] It's not a small amount of money.

Brian: [00:46:39] That's not a small amount of money. Right. The crazy thing about this is these guys are already profitable. Right?

Phillip: [00:46:47] A hardcore startup with 50 plus million in venture capital and they're profitable. What are they doing wrong? {laughter}

Brian: [00:46:54] {laughter} Exactly.

Phillip: [00:46:55] What are they doing wrong?

Brian: [00:46:59] Yeah, so I think, you know, there's going to be a lot more innovation around glasses. I think we talked about, you know, including an earpiece, having augmented reality being involved, doing some maybe even like voice interaction. Yeah, actually I think I was reading an article recently about Oakley doing some crazy stuff. Gosh, I wish I had the article.

Phillip: [00:47:34] Well I think that's really the killer. That's really what needs to happen. And I feel like some of those old world brands, you know, or some of the stalwart brands or have just taken such a long time to come over. It's sort of like they're teetering. They're sort of teetering on the brink of no longer really being culturally relevant. For instance, Fossil. Fossil has talked about getting into smartwatches for, you know, five years.

Brian: [00:48:03] Fossil.

Phillip: [00:48:03] And they only barely just did. They only just barely did it, but not until, you know, it erased half of their market cap. Their stock price has been in free fall for almost 18 months. And now that they're they actually finally have watches that are Android wear watches. And I think they're kind of picking steam back up, but they've lost a lot of time and a lot of ground to these sort of startups, or not, even just start ups. I mean bloody Google and Samsung are selling watches by the truckloads. They're not fashion brands. And I really feel like it's fashion brands, even if it's fast fashion like Fossil. It's the Ray-Bans and the Fossils of the world that are really going to popularize and make these these types of wearables ubiquitous. Because people don't want to wear Google Glass, I mean, we've seen this already. Like, the thing that's going to make the Snap glasses popular is that they look like normal glasses. They look really nice and they look like sunglasses that I'd want to wear anyway.

Brian: [00:49:23] Yeah, no doubt, no doubt. I totally agree with you, actually, this kind of gets back to an article that we also briefly touched on by Chris Messina. We touched on it with Jason last episode. Why Silicon Valley is wrong about Apple's Air Pods.

Phillip: [00:49:48] Right.

Brian: [00:49:49] Apple is a fashion brand.

Phillip: [00:49:51] They are a fashion brand.

Brian: [00:49:52] This is the quote, right? Apple is a fashion brand that makes jewelry that connects to the Internet, right?

Phillip: [00:49:57] Yep.

Brian: [00:49:58] And that's really what it comes down to, is tech is actually maturing, or at least the tech that we've been using, like social, you know, and mobile and just all of these buzz words that we've had forever. Those are getting to the point where now we actually want them to... Actually, this is always true. This has always been true. We've always wanted it to be cool, right?

Phillip: [00:50:26] Right.

Brian: [00:50:27] That's why the iPod and Apple's other products have really paved the way for others to create technology that we actually want to use and show to people.

Phillip: [00:50:46] Well, there's... I think you kind of hit the nail on the head, is that yes... And well, Chris Messina sort of hit the nail on the head.

Brian: [00:50:53] Yeah he really did.

Phillip: [00:50:53] Apple is a fashion brand. And that's the thing that really makes... People wear Apple devices like the the watch and they carry Apple phones because they're fashionable. You know, there's a reason that you don't see Windows phones floating around as much as you say that you love the industrial design. It's just not fashionable to have it.

Brian: [00:51:13] Nope. It's not cool.

Phillip: [00:51:13] There's are two parts to fashion. It has to be cool, right? It has to be something that people find desirable and visually pleasing. But it also has to be something that you like and is comfortable and you don't mind having on your body all the time. Sandy Hussein, actually, who started the Fashion Digital Conference in both in the US and UK.

Brian: [00:51:37] Yes. Sandy. She knows everyone.

Phillip: [00:51:38] She knows everyone. She's incredibly well-connected. She tweeted yesterday, actually, which was, I thought, really profound. Amazon has two hundred and eighty five million active accounts. Apple has one billion. One billion.

Brian: [00:51:54] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:51:54] So when you talk about Apple being a fashion brand, I think that that is absolutely the case. There's a billion people on this planet who actively use Apple every single day because it's fashionable. And that's what's going to make this kind of tech common place, is the fashion behind it. I really don't, and not to be down on Hawkers, and I kind of like this TechCrunch article about Hawkers. But not to be down on them, I feel like Hawkers is going to be a name that's going to be briefly noticed in the large scheme of things.

Brian: [00:52:30] No doubt.

Phillip: [00:52:30] It will be the type of thing that will be snatched up and acquired quickly. But, you know, Ray-Bans needs to get on it. Fossil needs to get on it because they're the types of companies that can actually make these things commonplace.

Brian: [00:52:45] Totally agree. Yeah, I think you're right. They will get bought out pretty quickly. We won't know that name. But what they're doing right now and sort of like the steps that they're taking towards having digital first sunglasses or glasses is a good sign, I think.

Phillip: [00:53:04] Well, what we really need is a revolution in battery tech, because I think that's the real downside here. The Air Pods really only get four or five hours of consistent use. You know, wireless headphones are not a new thing. I mean, they've been around for ages.

Brian: [00:53:22] Baptiste hit on that, no doubt. He said it was it was honestly one of his favorite tech purchases of the last few years.

Phillip: [00:53:33] Yeah, that's true.

Brian: [00:53:34] And I don't blame him. I actually have Bose headphones and they've got a cord. And frankly, it really bothers me. I feel like I shouldn't have to have a cord. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:53:48] You're getting Air Pods, aren't you?

Brian: [00:53:50] No, no. No way.

Phillip: [00:53:52] Yeah.

Brian: [00:53:53] But, you know, at some point I probably will go with some sort of wireless headphone.

Phillip: [00:53:58] We just need to get the battery tech out. I think the battery tech needs to level up and maybe a camera's fine... Like e ink was a thing because the battery was not even something you ever had to think about. We kind of love the Kindles because the battery could go for weeks, and if we can find... You know, I think maybe the Snap glasses, unless you're recording video all day long and taking pictures all day long. Maybe they don't last all day, but I don't know how often you're really doing that, what Hawker's is doing, I think there can be some clunkiness to these types of headsets or these large the sunglasses or eyeglasses that sort of have inbuilt displays that you sort of either have to be tethered or you need to have a large external power source. Yeah. A lot of things to solve.

Brian: [00:54:57] That's frustracting. Yeah. No doubt.

Phillip: [00:54:58] If you are a battery expert, we'd love for you to be on the podcast, or maybe you could help Samsung with their exploding phones. I don't know. There might be something that's better social good.

Brian: [00:55:12] Maybe I'll try to get a hold of Elon Musk. Maybe he'll come on.

Phillip: [00:55:15] Yeah. Maybe he could come on and tell us, you know, all about the way he's changing the world.

Brian: [00:55:21] That'd be great.

Phillip: [00:55:21] Actually, we do want experts on the show. This is a great place to close actually. We've got so many things we can talk about.

Brian: [00:55:27] Yeah. Dude, we didn't even get close to finishing.

Phillip: [00:55:27] But we just need to wrap it up.

Brian: [00:55:30] We definitely need to wrap it up.

Phillip: [00:55:31] Yeah. So we're looking for experts. Brian, kind of give the pitch.

Brian: [00:55:35] Yeah, so we'd love to hear if you have something interesting in tech that relates to commerce, it would be amazing to have you on the show and hear your perspective on why what you're an expert in is transformative and how it's going to affect the next one to five years for commerce. It doesn't have to be eCommerce. It can be offline, online, omnichannel, multi-channel...

Phillip: [00:56:03] Cryptocurrency.

Brian: [00:56:03] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:56:04] I'd really love to have someone come on and talk about, you know, the future of currency and maybe blockchain and Bitcoin.

Brian: [00:56:10] Yes.

Phillip: [00:56:10] Specifically really want to talk about that. I feel like it's something that we've never talked about on the show so far. And it's a very important component to online commerce.

Brian: [00:56:27] No doubt.

Phillip: [00:56:29] So, yeah, reach out to a citizen in the Disqus box below or get in touch with us. You know, we're very approachable. You know, Brian's a very, he's a very intimidating looking man, but he's actually quite warm. I'm just kidding.

Brian: [00:56:45] You know me. You know me. I'm not that guy you want to just come walk up to and talk to.

Phillip: [00:56:54] {laughter} Alright on that note, we're going to close it out. Thanks for listening to Future Commerce. We do want your feedback. And so please leave that for us. Give us a five star on iTunes and you can subscribe. We need you to subscribe because we're going to have some goodies coming up real soon. So subscribe on iTunes and Google Play in their podcast store. And we also have, you can listen pretty much everywhere else. TuneIn radio. You can listen on Stitcher or right from your Amazon Echo with the phrase, "Alexa Play Future Commerce podcast."

Brian: [00:57:25] With that keep looking towards the future.

Phillip: [00:57:28] We'll see you next week.

Brian: [00:57:29] Bye.

Recent episodes

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.