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Hello All –

This week we start by looking at an interesting video series on Customer Experience. Focusing upon relationships between people is key to success, regardless if they are customers, co-workers, teammates, or partners. Is it possible to schedule Creativity? This article reminds me of Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit. A few interesting podcasts this week, one on New Jersey’s historic role in technology, the other on the science of basketball.

Curiously, Apple announced their new HomePod this past week, which will not hit the open-market until December. Despite a long lead time, one interesting point was made: A8 processors in a home speaker? We turn, as always, to the topic of surveillance and the importance of staying vigilant within this ever changing world. Finally some great posts on the demise of Yahoo, Aviation AI, Architecture, and the importance of consistent practice, no matter what your craft may be.

Have a great weekend!


1. Design Thinking: Customer Experience
“Customer expectations are higher than ever before, and business success is becoming more and more dependent on a company’s ability to meet or exceed those expectations with nearly every interaction. Customer experience—or CX—is the summary of all the interactions a company has with a customer over time. While understanding how to consider and choreograph those interactions is undeniably complex, at its core, customer experience is about something quite simple: relationships.”

2. The 2 Mental Shifts Highly Successful People Make

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” — Max Planck, German quantum theorist and Nobel Prize winner

“There are two primary mental shifts that occur in the lives of all highly successful people. Many make the first, but very few make the second.”

3. Want to Be Creative on Purpose? Schedule It
“What if you don’t have to be “creative” to create? We all know the archetype of the creatives, right? Eccentric, weird, scattered, messy. The creatives are plagued perpetually by writer’s block (or sculptor’s block or painter’s block or whatever block). They spend most of their time lazing about gloomily, smoking cigarettes and cursing this cruel world. But then, every once in a while, the creatives are so touched by the muse that they are forced to immediately drop everything, go into a trance and become a funnel for the beauty of the world.”

4. Before Silicon Valley, New Jersey Reigned As Nation’s Center Of Innovation
“People from New Jersey are used to defending their state. But, in fact, New Jersey has a history to brag about. Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, the phonograph and the movie camera there. Many decades later, Bell Labs invented the transistor in the state. Geography favored New Jersey. On one end, it borders New York City, and on the other end is Philadelphia. That means easy access to Wall Street financing, transportation and industry headquarters.”

5. Why Yahoo Sold Its Internet Business
“The internet giant struggled for more than a decade to find a winning strategy. Now it is giving up. Shareholders voted on Thursday to approve the sale of its core business to Verizon for a fraction of what it was worth at its height in 2000. The business will be formally combined with Verizon’s AOL unit on Tuesday, with many employees expected to lose their jobs.”

6. Apple’s Homepod Looks Beautiful But Doesn’t Think Different
“Apple wrapped up WWDC on Monday by showing off the HomePod, its brand new smart speaker. The stout, cylindrical gadget packs in seven tweeters, six microphones, and a four-inch woofer that delivers impressive sound. The HomePod is very much a speaker, but for Apple, it also represents something more: a way to bring Siri into your home at a time when virtual assistants are smarter than ever. The question is whether the HomePod brings anything new to the table.”

7. Thoughts On The Homepod From A Voice-First Startup Founder
“There has been a flurry of discussion on Twitter about the HomePod and what it signals about Apple’s voice plans. After all, they were the first to bring a voice assistant to the mass market way back in 2011, and surely they don’t plan to cede this ground to their competitors. Perhaps this is part of a larger plan.”

HomePod’s “superior sound” is trojan horse for getting future multi-device-closed-ecosystem features in home. Speakers don’t need A8 chips.

8. Watch Out: You’re In Ai Weiwei’s Surveillance Zone
“Yet surveillance, so much a part of everyday life, is mostly reduced from threat to mildly educational fun here. The work encourages further variations on the snow-angel selfie, as visitors spread out on the floor and then rise, like Lazarus, leaving behind blurry images of themselves, which they rush to photograph. (It is, in fact, a selfie of a selfie.) At times the scene feels like a large, overactive picnic in a park… It is ominous that one day all the streets in cities across the world could be watched by this blanket surveillance. Yet here, at least, that prospect is not nearly as scary as “Hansel and Gretel” read aloud, with its evil stepmother, abandoned children, cookie-covered cottage and cannibalistic witch who eventually dies by being shoved into a burning oven.”

9. Boeing Studies Planes Without Pilots, Plans Experiments Next Year
“Boeing is researching the possibility of commercial-passenger jets that will rely on artificial intelligence rather than pilots. Initial experimental flights, without passengers, are planned next year, with such systems taking over some of the pilot decisions.”

10. Frank Lloyd Wright Phoenix Home Given To Architecture School
“Owner Zach Rawling announced that he is giving the David and Gladys Wright House to the School of Architecture at Taliesin, formerly known as the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The announcement came on the iconic architect’s 150th birthday. Nestled at the base of Camelback Mountain, the house is constructed in the form of a spiral that appears to rise from the ground and offers 360 degree views of Camelback and other mountains that loom over the city. The house completed in 1952 is regarded as the precursor to the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, said Aaron Betsky, the school’s dean. The Guggenheim Museum is one of Wright’s most revered works. The architect designed over 1,000 architectural works, 532 which were built, and he is regarded by many as one of America’s best architects.”

11. The Yin And Yang Of Basketball
“In 1891, a physical education teacher in Springfield, Massachusetts invented the game we would come to know as basketball. In setting the height of the baskets, he inadvertently created a design problem that would not be resolved for decades to come.”

12. Steph Curry And Kevin Durant Are Literally Wearing Out The Nets
“Spalding, which has made nets since 2006 and has provided the NBA’s official on-court net since 2009, owns what it considers to be a “one-of-a-kind machine” at its Bowling Green, Kentucky, facility, and this machine (which they refuse to describe in detail, lest their competitors build something similar) can cycle six to eight balls, one after the other, through a net at different angles and at 20 miles per hour to test for durability. Spalding runs these tests from time to time, just to ensure its product is up to snuff, but never to the point of destruction. “We’ve run the NBA net through 10,000 cycles on our machine and it still looks perfectly fine,” says Paul Sullivan, senior vice president of Spalding. “It’s just a little bit dirty.” Meanwhile, over in Oakland, on the goal where Durant and Curry drill endless jumpers, they have to change the net out about every few weeks, estimates Eric Housen, the Warriors’ longtime equipment manager. “This season,” Fraser adds, “it’s gotten worn down more.””