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https://www.ted.

com/talks/andrew_dent_to_eliminate_waste_we_need_to_rediscover_t
hrift/transcript

To eliminate waste, we need to rediscover thrift

Let's talk about thrift. Thrift is a concept where you reduce, reuse and recycle, but yet
with an economic aspect I think has a real potential for change. My grandmother, she
knew about thrift. This is her string jar. She never bought any string. Basically, she
would collect string. It would come from the butcher's, it would come from
presents. She would put it in the jar and then use it when it was needed. When it was
finished, whether it was tying up the roses or a part of my bike, once finished with that,
it'd go back into the jar. This is a perfect idea of thrift; you use what you need, you don't
actually purchase anything, so you save money.

Kids also inherently know this idea. When you want to throw out a cardboard box, the
average kid will say, "Don't! I want to use it for a robot head or for a canoe to paddle
down a river." They understand the value of the second life of products. So, I think thrift
is a perfect counterpoint to the current age which we live in. All of our current products
are replaceable. When we get that bright, new, shiny toy, it's because, basically, we got
rid of the old one. The idea of that is, of course, it's great in the moment, but the
challenge is, as we keep doing this, we're going to cause a problem.

That problem is that there is really no way. When you throw something away, it
typically goes into a landfill. Now, a landfill is basically something which is not going to
go away, and it's increasing. At the moment, we have about 1.3 billion tons of material
every year going into landfills. By 2100, it's going to be about four billion tons. See,
instead, I'd prefer if we started thrifting. What that means is, we consider materials
when they go into products and also when they get used, and, at the end of their life:
When can they be used again? It's the idea of completely changing the way we think
about waste, so waste is no longer a dirty word -- we almost remove the word "waste"
completely. All we're looking to is resources. Resource goes into a product and then
can basically go into another product. We used to be good at thrifting. My grandmother,
again, used to use old seed packets to paper the bathroom walls.

I think, though, there are companies out there who understand this value and are
promoting it. And a lot of the technologies that have been developed for the smart
age can also be adapted to reduce, reuse and also thrift more proficiently. And as a
materials scientist, what I've been tracking over the last couple of decades is how
companies are getting smart at thrifting, how they're able to understand this
concept and profit from it. I'm going to give you two examples. The first one, a good
one; the second one, not so good.

The first is the automotive industry. Not always known as the most innovative or
creative of industries, but it turns out, they're really, really good at recycling their
products. Ninety-five percent of every single car that goes on the road gets recycled
here. And of that car, about 75 percent of the entire car actually gets used again. That
includes, of course, the old steel and aluminum but then also the plastics from the
fender and the interiors, glass from the windows and the windshield and also the
tires. There's a mature and successful industry that deals with these old cars and
basically recycles them and puts them back into use as new cars or other new
products. Even as we move towards battery-powered cars, there are companies that
claim they can recycle up to 90 percent of the 11 million tons of batteries that are going
to be with us in 2020. That, I think, is not perfect, but it's certainly good, and it's getting
better.
The industry that's not doing so well is the architecture industry. One of the challenges
with architecture has always been when we build up, we don't think about taking
down. We don't dismantle, we don't disassemble, we demolish. That's a
challenge, because it ends up that about a third of all landfill waste in the US is
architecture. We need to think differently about this. There are programs that can
actually reduce some of this material.

A good example is this. These are actually bricks that are made from old demolition
waste, which includes the glass, the rubble, the concrete. You put up a grinder, put it all
together, heat it up and make these bricks we can basically build more buildings
from. But it's only a fraction of what we need.

My hope is that with big data and geotagging, we can actually change that, and be
more thrifty when it comes to buildings. If there's a building down the block which is
being demolished, are there materials there that the new building being built here can
use? Can we use that, the ability to understand that all the materials available in that
building are still usable? Can we then basically put them into a new building, without
actually losing any value in the process?

So now let's think about other industries. What are other industries doing to create
thrift? Well, it turns out that there are plenty of industries that are also thinking about
their own waste and what we can do with it. A simple example is the waste that they
basically belch out as part of industrial processes. Most metal smelters give off an
awful lot of carbon dioxide. Turns out, there's a company called Land Detector that's
actually working in China and also soon in South Africa, that's able to take that waste
gas -- about 700,000 tons per smelter -- and then turn it into about 400,000 tons of
ethanol, which is equivalent to basically powering 250,000, or quarter of a million,
cars for a year. That's a very effective use of waste.

How about products more close to home? This is a simple solution. And it, again, takes
the idea of reducing, reusing, but then also with economic advantage. So it's a simple
process of changing from a cut and sew, where typically between 20 and 30 materials
are used which are cut from a large cloth and then sewn together or even sometimes
glued, they changed it and said that they just knitted the shoe. The advantage with this
is not just a simplification of the process, it's also, "I've got one material. I have zero
waste," and then also, "I'm able to potentially recycle that at the end of its life."

Digital manufacturing is also allowing us to do this more effectively. In this case, it's
actually creating the theoretical limit of strength for a material: you cannot get any
stronger for the amount of material than this shape. So it's a basic simple block, but the
idea is, I can extrapolate this, I can make it into large formats, I can make it into
buildings, bridges, but also airplane wings and shoes. The idea here is, I'm minimizing
the amount of material.

Here's a good example from architecture. Typically, these sorts of metal nodes are
used to hold up large tent structures. In this case, it in was in the Hague, along a
shopping center. They used 1600 of the materials on the left. The difference is, by
using the solution on the right, they cut down the number of steps from seven to
one, because the one on the left is currently welded, the one on the right is simply just
printed. And it was able to reduce waste to zero, cost less money and also, because
it's made out of steel, can be eventually recycled at the end of its life.

Nature also is very effective at thrift. Think about it: nature has zero waste. Everything
is useful for another process. So, in this case, nanocellulose, which is basically one of
the very fine building blocks of cellulose, which is one of the materials that makes trees
strong, you can isolate it, and it works very much like carbon fiber. So, take that from a
tree, form it into fibers, and then those fibers can strengthen things, such as airplanes,
buildings, cars. The advantage of this, though, is it's not just bioderived, comes from a
renewable resource, but also that it is transparent, so it can be used in consumer
electronics, as well as food packaging. Not bad for something that basically comes
from the backyard.

Another one from the biosource is synthetic spider silk. Now, it's very hard to actually
create spider silk naturally. You can basically get it from spiders, but in large numbers,
they tend to kill each other, eat each other, so you've got a problem with creating it, in
the same way you do with regular silk. So what you can do is instead take the DNA
from the spider, and put it into various different things. You can put it into bacteria, you
can put it into yeast, you can put it into milk. And what you can do then is, the milk or
the bacteria produce in much larger volumes and then from that, spin a yarn and then
create a fabric or a rope. Again, bioderived, has incredible strength -- about the same
as Kevlar -- so they're using it in things like bulletproof vests and helmets and outdoor
jackets. It has a great performance. But again, it's bioderived, and at the end of its
life, it potentially can go back into the soil and get composted to again be potentially
used as a new material.

I'd like to leave you with one last form which is biobased, but this, I think, is like the
ultimate thrift. Think about the poster child for conspicuous consumption. It's the water
bottle. We have too many of them, they're basically going everywhere, they're a
problem in the ocean. What do we do with them? This process is able not just to
recycle them, but to recycle them infinitely. Why is that interesting? Because when we
think about reusing and recycling, metals, glass, things like that, can be recycled as
many times as you like. There's metal in your car that may well have come from a
1950s Oldsmobile, because you can recycle it infinitely with no loss of
performance. Plastics offer about once or twice of recycling, whether it's a bottle,
whether it's a chair -- whatever it is, if it's carpet --after two times of recycling, whether it
goes back into another chair, etc, it tends to lose strength, it's no longer of any
use. This, though, just using a few enzymes, is able to recycle it infinitely. I take a bottle
or a chair or some other plastic product, I basically put it in with a few enzymes, they
break it apart, they basically put it back into its original molecules. And then from those
molecules, you can build another chair or carpet or bottle. So, the cycle is infinite. The
advantage with that, of course, is that you have potentially zero loss of material
resources. Again, the perfect idea of thrift.

So in conclusion, I just want to have you think about -- if you make anything, if you're
any part of a design firm, if you basically are refurbishing your house -- any aspect
where you make something, think about how that product could potentially be used as
a second life, or third life or fourth life. Design in the ability for it to be taken apart. That,
to me, is the ultimate thrift, and I think that's basically what my grandmother would love.
My mother was a philanthropist. And now I know you're asking -- let me give you the
answer: yes, a little bit like Melinda Gates but with a lot less money.

She carried out her philanthropy in our community through a practice we call,
"isirika." She supported the education of scores of children and invited many to live with
us in our home in order to access schools. She mobilized resources for building the
local health clinic and the maternity wing is named in memory of her. But most
important, she was endeared by the community for her organizing skills,because she
organized the community, and specifically women, to find solutions to anything that
was needed.

She did all of this through isirika. Let me repeat that word for you again: isirika. Now it's
your turn. Say it with me. Isirika.

Musimbi Kanyoro: Thank you. That word is in my language, Maragoli, spoken in


western Kenya, and now you speak my language.

So, isirika is a pragmatic way of life that embraces charity, services and philanthropy all
together. The essence of isirika is to make it clear to everybody that you're your sister's
keeper -- and yes, you're your brother's keeper. Mutual responsibility for caring for one
another. A literal, simple English translation would be equal generosity, but the deep
philosophical meaning is caring, together, for one another.

So how does isirika really happen? I grew up in a farming community in western


Kenya. I remember vividly the many times that neighbors would go to a neighbor's
home -- a sick neighbor's home --and harvest their crop for them. I tagged alongside
with my mother to community events and to women's events, and had the conversation
about vaccinations in school, building the health centerand really big things -- renewing
seeds for the next planting season. And often, the community would come together to
contribute money to send a neighbor's child to school -- not only in the country but to
universities abroad as well. And so we have a surgeon. The first surgeon in my country
came from that rural village.

So ... what isirika did was to be inclusive. We as children would stand alongside the
adults and give our contributions of money, and our names were inscripted in the
community book just like every adult.

And then I grew up, went to universities back at home and abroad, obtained a few
degrees here and there, became organized and took up international jobs, working in
development, humanitarian workand philanthropy. And very soon, isirika began to
become small. It dissipated and then just disappeared. In each place, I gained a new
vocabulary. The vocabulary of donors and recipients. The vocabulary of measuring
impact, return on investment ... projects and programs. Communities such as my
childhood community became referred to as "poor, vulnerable populations." Those are
the communities of which literature speaks about as living on less than a dollar a
day, and they become the targets for poverty eradication programs. And by the
way, they are the targets of our first United Nations' sustainable development
goal. Now, I'm really interested that we find solutions to povertyand to the world's other
many big problems because they do exist. I however think that we could do a better
job, and we could do a better job by embracing isirika. So let me tell you how.
https://www.ted.com/talks/musimbi_kanyoro_to_solve_the_world_s_biggest_problems
_invest_in_women_and_girls/transcript

To solve the world's biggest problems, invest in women and girls

First, isirika affirms common humanity. For whatever that you do, you begin from the
premise that you're human together. When you begin that you're human together, you
see each other differently.You don't see a refugee first and you don't see a woman
first and you don't see a person with disability first. You see a human being first. That is
the essence of seeing a person first. And when you do that, you value their ideas, you
value their contribution -- small or big. And you value what they bring to the table. That
is the essence of isirika.

I just want to imagine what it would look like if everyone in this room -- a medical
doctor, a parent, a lawyer, a philanthropist, whatever you are -- if you embraced
isirika and made it your default. What could we achieve for each other? What could we
achieve for humanity? What could we achieve for peace issues? What could we
achieve for medical science? Let me give you a couple of hints,because I'm going to
ask you to accompany me in this process of rebuilding and reclaiming isirika with me.

First, you have to have faith that we are one humanity, we have one planet and we
don't have two choices about that. So there's not going to be a wall that is high
enough to separate humanity. So give up the walls. Give them up.

And we don't have a planet B to go to. So that's really important. Make that clear; move
onto the next stage. The second stage: remember, in isirika, every idea counts. Bridges
have big posters and they have nails. Every idea counts -- small or big counts. And
third, isirika affirms that those who have more really enjoy the privilege of giving
more. It is a privilege to give more.

And this is the time for women to give more for women. It is the time to give more for
women. Our parents, when they brought in other children to live with us, they didn't ask
our permission. They made it clear that they had a responsibility because they had
gone to school and they had an earning.And they made it clear that we should
understand that their prosperity was not our entitlement, and I think that's good wisdom
from isirika. We could use that wisdom today, I think, in every culture, in every
place, passing to the next generation what we could do together.

I have, over the years, encountered isirika in many places, but what gives me really the
passion todayto embrace isirika is the work that I do with women all over the
world through the Global Fund for Women, though women's funds and through
women's movements globally. If you work with women,you change every day because
you experience them living isirika together in what they do.

In the work that I do, we trust women leaders and their ideas. And we support them
with funding so that they can expand, they can grow and they can thrive within their
own communities. A woman in 1990 came to the Global Fund with a big idea -- a
woman from Mexico by the name of Lucero González. She wanted to begin a fund that
would support a movement that would be rooted in the communities in Mexico. And
she received a grant of 7,500 US dollars. Today, 25 years later, Semillas, the name of
the fund, has raised and spent, within the community, 17.8 million dollars.
They have impacted over two million people, and they work with a group of 600,000
women in Mexico. During the recent earthquake, they were so well rooted that they
could quickly assess within the community and with others, what were the short-term
needs and what were the long-term needs.And I tell you, long after the lights have
gone off Mexico, Semillas will be there with the communities, with the women, for a
very long time. And that's what I'm talking about: when we are able to support the ideas
of communities that are rooted within their own setting.

Thirty years ago, there was very little funding that went directly to women's hands in
their communities. Today we celebrate 168 women's funds all over the world, 100 of
which are in this country. And they support --

they support grassroots women's organizations -- community organizations under the


leadership of girls and women, and together we have been able, collectively, to give a
billion dollars to women and girls-led organizations.

But the challenge begins today. The challenge begins today because we see women
everywhere organizing as isirika, including women organizing as isirika in
TED. Because isirika is the evergreen wisdom that lives in communities. You find it in
indigenous communities, in rural communities. And what it really ingrains in people is
that ability to trust and to move the agenda ahead.

So, three things that I have learned that I want to share with you through my
work. One: if you want to solve the world's biggest problems, invest in women and girls.

Not only do they expand the investment, but they care for everyone in the
community. Not only their needs but the needs of their children, the needs of the rest of
the community, the needs of the elderly,and most important, they protect themselves --
which is really important -- and they protect their communities. Women who know how
to protect themselves know what it means to make a difference. And the second
reason that I'm asking you to invest in women and girls is because this is the smartest
thing you could ever do at this particular time. And if we are going to have over 350
trillion dollars by 2030, those dollars need to be in the hands of women.

And so I grew up with isirika. My mother was isirika. She was not a project or a
program. And now, I pass that to you. That you will be able to share this with your
families, with your friends and with your community, and embrace isirika as a way of
living -- as a pragmatic way of living.
https://www.ted.com/talks/olutimehin_adegbeye_who_belongs_in_a_city/transcript

Who belongs in a city?

Cities are like siblings in a large polygamous family. Each one has a unique personality
and is headed in a distinct direction. But they all have somewhat shared
origins. Sometimes I think postcolonial cities are like the children of the two least-
favorite wives, who are constantly being asked, "Ah, why can't you be more like your
sister?"

The "why" of cities is largely the same, no matter where they are: an advantageous
location that makes trade and administration possible; the potential for scalable
opportunities for the skilled and unskilled alike; a popular willingness to be in constant
flux and, of course, resilience. The "how" of cities, however, is a whole other story. How
are they run? How do they grow? How do they decide who belongs and who doesn't?

Lagos is my home. You can always find the Nigerians by following the noise and the
dancing, right?

Like any major city, that place is a lot of things, many of which are highly
contradictory. Our public transportation doesn't quite work, so we have these privately
owned bright yellow buses that regularly cause accidents. Luxury car showrooms line
badly maintained and often flooded roads.Street evangelism is only slightly less
ubiquitous than street harassment. Sex workers sometimes have two degrees, a bank
job and a prominent role in church.

On any given day, there can be either a party or a burned body in the middle of a
street.

There is so much that is possible in Lagos and so much that isn't, and very often the
difference between possibility and impossibility is simply who you are, and if you're
lucky enough, who you're connected to. Belonging in Lagos is a fluid
concept determined by ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender, but most visibly and
often most violently, class.

Before Nigeria became a country, fisherpeople from the inland creeks started to come
down the Lagos lagoon and establish villages along the coast. About 60 years later, my
grandfather, Oludotun Adekunle Kukoyi, also arrived in Lagos. Like me, he was an
alumnus of the University of Ibadan, a young member of the educated elite in the
independence era. Over time, he built an illustrious career as a land surveyor, mapping
out now-bustling neighborhoods when they were just waist-high wild grass. He died
when I was nine. And by that time, my family, like the families of those
fisherpeople,knew Lagos as home.

Among the Yoruba, we have a saying, "Èkó gb’olè, ó gb’ọ̀lẹ," which can be translated
to mean that Lagos will welcome anyone. But that saying is becoming less and less
true. Many Lagosians, including the descendants of those fisherpeople who arrived
generations before my grandfather, are now being pushed out to make room for an
emergent city that has been described as "the new Dubai." You see, Lagos inspires big
dreams, even in its leaders, and successive governments have declared
aspirations towards a megacity where poverty does not exist. Unfortunately, instead of
focusing on the eradication of poverty as you would expect, the strategy of choice
focuses on eliminating the poor.
Last October, the Governor announced plans to demolish every single waterfront
settlement in Lagos.There are more than 40 of these indigenous communities all over
the city, with over 300,000 people living in them. Otodo Gbame, a hundred-year-old
fishing village with a population about three-quarters that of Monaco and similar
potential for beachfront luxury --was one of the first to be targeted.

I first heard of Otodo Gbame after the demolition started. When I visited in November
2016, I met Magdalene Aiyefoju. She is a now-homeless woman whose surname
means, "the world is blind."Magdalene's son Basil was one of over 20 people who were
shot, drowned or presumed dead in that land grab. Standing outside her shelter, I saw
the two white-sand football fields where Basil used to play. Spread all around us were
the ruins of schools, churches, a primary health center, shops,thousands of
homes. Young children enthusiastically helped to put up shelters, and about 5,000 of
the residents, with nowhere else to go, simply stayed put. And then in April, state
security personnel came back. This time, they cleared the community out
completely, with beatings, bullets and fire. As I speak, there are construction crews
preparing Otodo Gbame's beaches for anyone who can afford a multi-million-dollar
view. The new development is called "Periwinkle Estate."

Forced evictions are incredibly violent and, of course, unconstitutional. And yet, they
happen so often in so many of our cities, because the first thing we are taught to forget
about poor people is that they are people. We believe that a home is a thing a person
absolutely has a right to, unless the person is poor and the home is built a certain
way in a certain neighborhood. But there is no single definition of the word
"home." After all, what is a slum besides an organic response to acute housing deficits
and income inequality? And what is a shanty if not a person making a home for
themselves against all odds? Slums are an imperfect housing solution, but they are
also prime examples of the innovation, adaptability and resilience at the foundation --
and the heart -- of every functional city. You don't need to be the new Dubai when
you're already Lagos.

We have our own identity, our own rhythm, and as anyone who knows Lagos can tell
you, poor Lagosians are very often the source of the city's character. Without its poor,
Lagos would not be known for its music or its endless energy or even the fact that you
can buy an ice cold drink or a puppy through your car window.

The conditions that cause us to define certain neighborhoods as slums can be


effectively improved,but not without recognizing the humanity and the agency of the
people living in them. In Lagos, where public goods are rarely publicly available, slum
dwellers are often at the forefront of innovating solutions. After being disconnected
from the grid for months because the power company couldn't figure out how to collect
bills, one settlement designed a system that collectivized remittances and got everyone
cheaper rates into the bargain. Another settlement created a reform program that hires
local bad boys as security. They know every trick and every hideout, so now
troublemakers are more likely to get caught and reported to police and fewer of the
youth end up engaging in criminal activity.Yet another settlement recently completed a
flood-safe, eco-friendly communal toilet system. Models like these are being adopted
across Lagos.

Informal settlements are incorrectly named as the problem. In fact, the real problems
are the factors that create them, like the entrenchment of poverty, social exclusion and
state failures. When our governments frame slums as threats in order to justify violent
land grabs or forced evictions, they're counting on those of us who live in formal
housing to tacitly and ignorantly agree with them. Rather, we must remind them that
governments exist to serve not only those who build and live in luxury homes, but also
those who clean and guard them. Our, our realities may differ, but our rights don't.
The Lagos state government, like far too many on our continent, pays lip service to
ideas of inclusion, while acting as though progress can only be achieved by the
erasure, exploitation and even elimination of groups it considers expendable. People
living with disabilities who hawk or beg on Lagos streets are rounded up, extorted and
detained. Women in low-income neighborhoods are picked up and charged with
prostitution, regardless of what they actually do for a living. Gay citizens are scape
goated to distract from real political problems. But people, like cities, are resilient, and
no amount of legislation or intimidation or violence can fully eliminate any of
us. Prostitutes, women and women who work as prostitutes still haven't gone
extinct, despite centuries of active suppression. Queer Africans continue to exist, even
though queerness is now criminalized in most parts of the continent. And I'm fairly
certain that poor people don't generally tend to just disappear because they've been
stripped of everything they have.

We are all already here, and that answers the question of whether or not we belong.

When those fisher people started to sail down the lagoon in search of new homes, it
could not have occurred to them that the city that would rise up around them would one
day insist that they do not belong in it. I like to believe that my grandfather, in mapping
new frontiers for Lagos, was trying to open it up to make room for other people to be
welcomed by the city in the same way that he was. On my way here, my grandma
called me to remind me how proud she was, how proud [my grandfather] and my
mother would have been. I am their dreams come true. But there is no reason why their
dreams -- or mine, for that matter -- are allowed to come true while those of others are
turned to nightmares. And lest we forget: the minimum requirement for a dream is a
safe place to lay your head.

It is too late now for Basil, but not for Magdalene, not for the hundreds of
thousands, the millions still under threat in Lagos or any of our cities. The world does
not have to remain blind to the suffering that is created when we deny people's
humanity, or even to the incredible potential for growth that exists when we recognize
and value all contributions.

We must hold our governments and ourselves accountable for keeping our shared
cities safe for everyone in them, because the only cities worth building -- indeed, the
only futures worth dreaming of -- are those that include all of us, no matter who we
are or how we make homes for ourselves.

https://www.ted.com/talks/irina_kareva_math_can_help_uncover_cancer_s_secrets/tra
nscript
Math can help uncover cancer's secrets

I am a translator. I translate from biology into mathematics and vice versa. I write
mathematical models which, in my case, are systems of differential equations, to
describe biological mechanisms, such as cell growth. Essentially, it works like
this. First, I identify the key elements that I believe may be driving behavior over time of
a particular mechanism. Then, I formulate assumptions about how these elements
interact with each other and with their environment. It may look something like this.
Then, I translate these assumptions into equations, which may look something like
this. Finally, I analyze my equations and translate the results back into the language of
biology.

A key aspect of mathematical modeling is that we, as modelers, do not think about
what things are; we think about what they do. We think about relationships between
individuals, whether they be cells, animals or people, and how they interact with each
other and with their environment. Let me give you an example. What do foxes and
immune cells have in common? They're both predators, except foxes feed on
rabbits, and immune cells feed on invaders, such as cancer cells. But from a
mathematical point of view, a qualitatively same system of predator-prey type
equations will describe interactions between foxes and rabbits and cancer and immune
cells.

Predator-prey type systems have been studied extensively in scientific


literature, describing interactions of two populations, where survival of one depends on
consuming the other. And these same equations provide a framework for
understanding cancer-immune interactions, where cancer is the prey, and the immune
system is the predator. And the prey employs all sorts of tricks to prevent the predator
from killing it, ranging from camouflaging itself to stealing the predator's food. This can
have some very interesting implications. For example, despite enormous successes in
the field of immunotherapy, there still remains somewhat limited efficacy when it comes
solid tumors. But if you think about it ecologically, both cancer and immune cells -- the
prey and the predator -- require nutrients such as glucose to survive. If cancer cells
outcompete the immune cells for shared nutrients in the tumor microenvironment, then
the immune cells will physically not be able to do their job.

This predator-prey-shared resource type model is something I've worked on in my own


research. And it was recently shown experimentally that restoring the metabolic
balance in the tumor microenvironment -- that is, making sure immune cells get their
food -- can give them, the predators, back their edge in fighting cancer, the prey. This
means that if you abstract a bit, you can think about cancer itself as an
ecosystem, where heterogeneous populations of cells compete and cooperate for
space and nutrients, interact with predators -- the immune system -- migrate --
metastases -- all within the ecosystem of the human body. And what do we know about
most ecosystems from conservation biology? That one of the best ways to extinguish
species is not to target them directly but to target their environment.

And so, once we have identified the key components of the tumor environment, we can
propose hypotheses and simulate scenarios and therapeutic interventions all in a
completely safe and affordable way and target different components of the
microenvironment in such a way as to kill the cancer without harming the host, such as
me or you.
And so while the immediate goal of my research is to advance research and
innovation and to reduce its cost, the real intent, of course, is to save lives. And that's
what I try to do through mathematical modeling applied to biology, and in particular, to
the development of drugs. It's a field that until relatively recently has remained
somewhat marginal, but it has matured. And there are now very well-developed
mathematical methods, a lot of preprogrammed tools, including free ones, and an ever-
increasing amount of computational power available to us.

The power and beauty of mathematical modeling lies in the fact that it makes you
formalize, in a very rigorous way, what we think we know. We make
assumptions, translate them into equations, run simulations, all to answer the
question: In a world where my assumptions are true, what do I expect to see? It's a
pretty simple conceptual framework. It's all about asking the right questions. But it can
unleash numerous opportunities for testing biological hypotheses. If our predictions
match our observations, great! -- we got it right, so we can make further predictions by
changing this or that aspect of the model. If, however, our predictions do not match our
observations, that means that some of our assumptions are wrong, and so our
understanding of the key mechanisms of underlying biology is still incomplete.

Luckily, since this is a model, we control all the assumptions. So we can go through
them, one by one, identifying which one or ones are causing the discrepancy. And then
we can fill this newly identified gap in knowledge using both experimental and
theoretical approaches. Of course, any ecosystem is extremely complex, and trying to
describe all the moving parts is not only very difficult, but also not very
informative. There's also the issue of timescales, because some processes take place
on a scale of seconds, some minutes, some days, months and years. It may not always
be possible to separate those out experimentally. And some things happen so quickly
or so slowly that you may physically never be able to measure them. But as
mathematicians, we have the power to zoom in on any subsystem in any timescale and
simulate effects of interventions that take place in any timescale.

Of course, this isn't the work of a modeler alone. It has to happen in close collaboration
with biologists. And it does demand some capacity of translation on both sides. But
starting with a theoretical formulation of a problem can unleash numerous opportunities
for testing hypotheses and simulating scenarios and therapeutic interventions, all in a
completely safe way. It can identify gaps in knowledge and logical inconsistencies and
can help guide us as to where we should keep looking and where there may be a dead
end.

In other words: mathematical modeling can help us answer questions that directly
affect people's health -- that affect each person's health, actually -- because
mathematical modeling will be key to propelling personalized medicine.

And it all comes down to asking the right question and translating it to the right
equation ... and back.

https://www.ted.com/talks/tristan_harris_the_manipulative_tricks_tech_companies_use
_to_capture_your_attention
How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day
I want you to imagine walking into a room, a control room with a bunch of people, a
hundred people, hunched over a desk with little dials, and that that control room will
shape the thoughts and feelings of a billion people. This might sound like science
fiction, but this actually exists right now, today.

I know because I used to be in one of those control rooms. I was a design ethicist at
Google, where I studied how do you ethically steer people's thoughts? Because what
we don't talk about is how the handful of people working at a handful of technology
companies through their choices will steer what a billion people are thinking
today. Because when you pull out your phone and they design how this works or
what's on the feed, it's scheduling little blocks of time in our minds. If you see a
notification, it schedules you to have thoughts that maybe you didn't intend to have. If
you swipe over that notification, it schedules you into spending a little bit of time getting
sucked into something that maybe you didn't intend to get sucked into. When we talk
about technology, we tend to talk about it as this blue sky opportunity. It could go any
direction. And I want to get serious for a moment and tell you why it's going in a very
specific direction. Because it's not evolving randomly. There's a hidden goal driving the
direction of all of the technology we make, and that goal is the race for our attention.
Because every news site -- TED, elections, politicians, games, even meditation apps --
have to compete for one thing, which is our attention, and there's only so much of
it. And the best way to get people's attention is to know how someone's mind
works. And there's a whole bunch of persuasive techniques that I learned in college at
a lab called the Persuasive Technology Lab to get people's attention.

A simple example is YouTube. YouTube wants to maximize how much time you
spend. And so what do they do? They autoplay the next video. And let's say that works
really well. They're getting a little bit more of people's time. Well, if you're Netflix, you
look at that and say, well, that's shrinking my market share, so I'm going to autoplay the
next episode. But then if you're Facebook, you say, that's shrinking all of my market
share, so now I have to autoplay all the videos in the newsfeed before waiting for you
to click play. So the internet is not evolving at random. The reason it feels like it's
sucking us in the way it is is because of this race for attention. We know where this is
going. Technology is not neutral, and it becomes this race to the bottom of the brain
stem of who can go lower to get it.

Let me give you an example of Snapchat. If you didn't know, Snapchat is the number
one way that teenagers in the United States communicate. So if you're like me, and
you use text messages to communicate, Snapchat is that for teenagers, and there's,
like, a hundred million of them that use it. And they invented a feature called
Snapstreaks, which shows the number of days in a row that two people have
communicated with each other. In other words, what they just did is they gave two
people something they don't want to lose. Because if you're a teenager, and you have
150 days in a row, you don't want that to go away. And so think of the little blocks of
time that that schedules in kids' minds. This isn't theoretical: when kids go on
vacation, it's been shown they give their passwords to up to five other friends to keep
their Snapstreaks going, even when they can't do it.And they have, like, 30 of these
things, and so they have to get through taking photos of just pictures or walls or
ceilings just to get through their day. So it's not even like they're having real
conversations. We have a temptation to think about this as, oh, they're just using
Snapchat the way we used to gossip on the telephone. It's probably OK. Well, what this
misses is that in the 1970s, when you were just gossiping on the telephone, there
wasn't a hundred engineers on the other side of the screen who knew exactly how your
psychology worked and orchestrated you into a double bind with each other.
Now, if this is making you feel a little bit of outrage, notice that that thought just comes
over you. Outrage is a really good way also of getting your attention, because we don't
choose outrage. It happens to us. And if you're the Facebook newsfeed, whether you'd
want to or not, you actually benefit when there's outrage. Because outrage doesn't just
schedule a reaction in emotional time, space, for you. We want to share that outrage
with other people. So we want to hit share and say, "Can you believe the thing that
they said?" And so outrage works really well at getting attention, such that if Facebook
had a choice between showing you the outrage feed and a calm newsfeed, they would
want to show you the outrage feed, not because someone consciously chose that, but
because that worked better at getting your attention. And the newsfeed control room is
not accountable to us. It's only accountable to maximizing attention. It's also
accountable, because of the business model of advertising, for anybody who can pay
the most to actually walk into the control room and say, "That group over there, I want
to schedule these thoughts into their minds." So you can target, you can precisely
target a lie directly to the people who are most susceptible. And because this is
profitable, it's only going to get worse.

So I'm here today because the costs are so obvious. I don't know a more urgent
problem than this, because this problem is underneath all other problems. It's not just
taking away our agency to spend our attention and live the lives that we want, it's
changing the way that we have our conversations, it's changing our democracy, and it's
changing our ability to have the conversations and relationships we want with each
other. And it affects everyone, because a billion people have one of these in their
pocket.

So how do we fix this? We need to make three radical changes to technology and to
our society. The first is we need to acknowledge that we are persuadable. Once you
start understanding that your mind can be scheduled into having little thoughts or little
blocks of time that you didn't choose, wouldn't we want to use that understanding and
protect against the way that that happens? I think we need to see ourselves
fundamentally in a new way. It's almost like a new period of human history, like the
Enlightenment, but almost a kind of self-aware Enlightenment, that we can be
persuaded, and there might be something we want to protect. The second is we need
new models and accountability systems so that as the world gets better and more and
more persuasive over time -- because it's only going to get more persuasive -- that the
people in those control rooms are accountable and transparent to what we want. The
only form of ethical persuasion that exists is when the goals of the persuader are
aligned with the goals of the persuadee. And that involves questioning big things, like
the business model of advertising. Lastly, we need a design renaissance, because
once you have this view of human nature, that you can steer the timelines of a billion
people -- just imagine, there's people who have some desire about what they want to
do and what they want to be thinking and what they want to be feeling and how they
want to be informed, and we're all just tugged into these other directions. And you have
a billion people just tugged into all these different directions. Well, imagine an entire
design renaissance that tried to orchestrate the exact and most empowering time-well-
spent way for those timelines to happen. And that would involve two things: one would
be protecting against the timelines that we don't want to be experiencing, the thoughts
that we wouldn't want to be happening, so that when that ding happens, not having the
ding that sends us away; and the second would be empowering us to live out the
timeline that we want.

So let me give you a concrete example. Today, let's say your friend cancels dinner on
you, and you are feeling a little bit lonely. And so what do you do in that moment? You
open up Facebook. And in that moment, the designers in the control room want to
schedule exactly one thing, which is to maximize how much time you spend on the
screen. Now, instead, imagine if those designers created a different timeline that was
the easiest way, using all of their data, to actually help you get out with the people that
you care about? Just think, alleviating all loneliness in society, if that was the timeline
that Facebook wanted to make possible for people. Or imagine a different
conversation. Let's say you wanted to post something supercontroversial on
Facebook, which is a really important thing to be able to do, to talk about controversial
topics. And right now, when there's that big comment box, it's almost asking you, what
key do you want to type? In other words, it's scheduling a little timeline of things you're
going to continue to do on the screen. And imagine instead that there was another
button there saying, what would be most time well spent for you? And you click "host a
dinner." And right there underneath the item it said, "Who wants to RSVP for the
dinner?" And so you'd still have a conversation about something controversial, but
you'd be having it in the most empowering place on your timeline, which would be at
home that night with a bunch of a friends over to talk about it. So imagine we're
running, like, a find and replace on all of the timelines that are currently steering us
towards more and more screen time persuasively and replacing all of those
timelines with what do we want in our lives.

It doesn't have to be this way. Instead of handicapping our attention, imagine if we


used all of this data and all of this power and this new view of human nature to give us
a superhuman ability to focus and a superhuman ability to put our attention to what we
cared about and a superhuman ability to have the conversations that we need to have
for democracy. The most complex challenges in the world require not just us to use our
attention individually. They require us to use our attention and coordinate it
together. Climate change is going to require that a lot of people are being able to
coordinate their attention in the most empowering way together. And imagine creating
a superhuman ability to do that.

Sometimes the world's most pressing and important problems are not these
hypothetical future things that we could create in the future. Sometimes the most
pressing problems are the ones that are right underneath our noses, the things that are
already directing a billion people's thoughts. And maybe instead of getting excited
about the new augmented reality and virtual reality and these cool things that could
happen, which are going to be susceptible to the same race for attention, if we could fix
the race for attention on the thing that's already in a billion people's pockets. Maybe
instead of getting excited about the most exciting new cool fancy education apps, we
could fix the way kids' minds are getting manipulated into sending empty messages
back and forth.

Maybe instead of worrying about hypothetical future runaway artificial intelligences that
are maximizing for one goal, we could solve the runaway artificial intelligence that
already exists right now, which are these news feeds maximizing for one thing. It's
almost like instead of running away to colonize new planets, we could fix the one that
we're already on.

Solving this problem is critical infrastructure for solving every other problem. There's
nothing in your life or in our collective problems that does not require our ability to put
our attention where we care about. At the end of our lives, all we have is our attention
and our time. What will be time well spent for ours?

Chris Anderson: Tristan, thank you. Hey, stay up here a sec. First of all, thank you. I
know we asked you to do this talk on pretty short notice, and you've had quite a
stressful week getting this thing together, so thank you. Some people listening might
say, what you complain about is addiction, and all these people doing this stuff, for
them it's actually interesting. All these design decisions have built user content that is
fantastically interesting. The world's more interesting than it ever has been.What's
wrong with that?

Tristan Harris: I think it's really interesting. One way to see this is if you're just
YouTube, for example, you want to always show the more interesting next video. You
want to get better and better at suggesting that next video, but even if you could
propose the perfect next video that everyone would want to watch, it would just be
better and better at keeping you hooked on the screen. So what's missing in that
equation is figuring out what our boundaries would be. You would want YouTube to
know something about, say, falling asleep. The CEO of Netflix recently said, "our
biggest competitors are Facebook, YouTube and sleep." And so what we need to
recognize is that the human architecture is limited and that we have certain boundaries
or dimensions of our lives that we want to be honored and respected, and technology
could help do that.

CA: I mean, could you make the case that part of the problem here is that we've got a
naïve model of human nature? So much of this is justified in terms of human
preference, where we've got these algorithms that do an amazing job of optimizing for
human preference, but which preference? There's the preferences of things that we
really care about when we think about them versus the preferences of what we just
instinctively click on. If we could implant that more nuanced view of human nature in
every design, would that be a step forward?

TH: Absolutely. I mean, I think right now it's as if all of our technology is basically only
asking our lizard brain what's the best way to just impulsively get you to do the next
tiniest thing with your time,instead of asking you in your life what we would be most
time well spent for you? What would be the perfect timeline that might include
something later, would be time well spent for you here at TED in your last day here?

CA: So if Facebook and Google and everyone said to us first up, "Hey, would you like
us to optimize for your reflective brain or your lizard brain? You choose."

TH: Right. That would be one way. Yes.

CA: You said persuadability, that's an interesting word to me because to me there's two
different types of persuadability. There's the persuadability that we're trying right now of
reason and thinking and making an argument, but I think you're almost talking about a
different kind, a more visceral type of persuadability, of being persuaded without even
knowing that you're thinking.

TH: Exactly. The reason I care about this problem so much is I studied at a lab called
the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford that taught [students how to recognize]
exactly these techniques. There's conferences and workshops that teach people all
these covert ways of getting people's attention and orchestrating people's lives. And it's
because most people don't know that that exists that this conversation is so important.

CA: Tristan, you and I, we both know so many people from all these companies. There
are actually many here in the room, and I don't know about you, but my experience of
them is that there is no shortage of good intent. People want a better world. They are
actually -- they really want it. And I don't think anything you're saying is that these are
evil people. It's a system where there's these unintended consequences that have
really got out of control –

TH: Of this race for attention. It's the classic race to the bottom when you have to get
attention, and it's so tense. The only way to get more is to go lower on the brain
stem, to go lower into outrage, to go lower into emotion, to go lower into the lizard
brain.

CA: Well, thank you so much for helping us all get a little bit wiser about this.
Tristan Harris, thank you. TH: Thank you very much.

Dublin rejects EU digital tax plan

Ireland is resisting EU plans for a provisional 3 per cent tax on the revenues of digital
giants such as Google, saying Brussels should instead wait two years for a global tax
measures from the OECD. Leo Varadkar, prime minister, said the plan would put small
countries at a disadvantage as he signalled his opposition to draft tax laws from the
European Commission.

Ahead of talks on the proposal at an EU summit later this week in Brussels, Mr


Varadkar told parliament that he will “be making clear my views that any such measure
will be ill-judged.” He added: “It is important to emphasise that Ireland is committed to
global tax reform.

However, we are very much for the view that global solutions are needed. I will strongly
argue that the EU should wait for the OECD to complete its work before deciding on
how to act.” As the OECD set out plans last week to bring forward proposals for long-
term tax proposals in 2020, it said there was “no consensus on the need for, or merits
of, interim [tax] measures.”

Ireland’s growing economy is heavily dependent on foreign direct investment but its
business-friendly corporate tax regime and 12.5 per cent tax rate are contentious with
Brussels, large EU member states such as France and with the US. Irish corporate tax
revenues doubled in three years to €8.2b in 2017, prompting concern that the country
has become too reliant on a volatile revenue stream.

Such payments now comprise some 16 per cent of all tax revenues in the country. In a
note on the EU proposal, Davy stockbrokers said between €1.5b and €2bn of Irish
corporate tax revenues could be exposed if Brussels proceeds with a crude 3 per cent
levy. “More generally, the digital taxation measures could potentially make it less
favourable for [information and communications technology] companies to relocate
intellectual property to, and expand their operations in Ireland — undermining the
efficacy of the corporate tax regime,” said Conall MacCoille, Davy chief economist.

Fianna Fáil, the opposition party that underpins Mr Varadkar’s minority government
with a confidence-and-supply voting arrangement, said Dublin must reject the
commission’s plan. “The proposals . . . encroach directly into an area — corporate tax
— that is a national competence under EU law,” said Michael McGrath, the party’s
finance spokesman. “It is the latest in a series of efforts by the commission and some
of the larger member states to get control over corporate tax policy across the EU and
to remove the ability of member states to compete on their corporate tax offering.”

Rise of digital politics: why UK parties spend big on Facebook

Online advertising is an effective way to get messages across, but the strategy must be
smart.
Figures released this week by the Electoral Commission are the simplest way to
demonstrate the growing influence of Facebook on British politics. Political parties
nationally spent about £1.3m on Facebookduring the 2015 general election campaign;
two years later the figure soared to £3.2m.

In each election it was the Conservatives that spent the most, with decidedly mixed
results. For David Cameron’s successful re-election in 2015, the party spent £1.2m;
that rose to £2.1m in 2017, but it was far less help to Theresa May.

Sam Jeffers, the co-founder of Who Targets Me, a body that tries to monitor political
Facebook advertising, says the difference stems from the fact that the Conservatives
had a better overall strategy in 2015. “In 2015 they targeted Lib Dem seats in the
south-west; in 2017 they targeted Labour seats in London boroughs, spending money
on seats they thought they would win but didn’t,” he says.

Nevertheless, the Conservative success was so striking in 2015 that every other
political party and campaign group felt it had to follow suit.

The idea of marketing on Facebook was brought to the UK by the US political


consultant Jim Messina, the campaign manager for Barack Obama in 2012, who Tory
officials like to say boasted he had “1,000 pieces of data on every voter in the UK”.

It was a big change on the traditional model of supplementing canvass returns


with broad demographic data supplied by Experian’s Mosaic, which divides people into
groups such as “metro high flyers”, “classic grandparents” and “disconnected youth” –
the kind of data used by all the main parties to help deliver targeted mailshots.

The idea rapidly took hold – and was arguably tailor-made for the EU referendum in
2016. One of the reasons why the Conservatives made heavy use of Facebook
marketing was because its canvassing operation is far weaker than Labour’s, forcing it
to try to identify potential voters using technology.

The temporary campaigns on both sides of the EU referendum debate had no voting
history or canvass data they could rely on, making media and marketing messages
even more crucial. Vote Leave, the Boris Johnson-fronted campaign, spent 40% of its
total budget, or £2.7m, on the services of Aggregate IQ, a little-known digital marketing
firm based in British Columbia, Canada.

On Friday, in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica affair, Dominic Cummings, the
campaign director for Vote Leave, downplayed the role of digital marketing in a lengthy
blogpost: “It is hard to change people’s minds. We are evolved creatures. If we were all
dopey dupes we wouldn’t be here, our ancestors would have all been killed.”

Cummings blamed Arron Banks from the Leave.EU campaign, whose operation had
a brief association with Cambridge Analytica at the end of 2015. Banks has said that
Cambridge Analytica did no work for his group, partly because its offer was contingent
on Leave.EU winning the designation to be the official leave campaign and so gaining
official access to the UK electoral database, which did not happen.

But at the time, Cummings said Banks spread “bullshit about building a ‘digital army’”
among “a powerful network of MPs, donors, peers and assorted ‘campaigners’”, who in
turn argued Banks should be allowed to control the digital aspects of Vote Leave’s
campaign.
Labour, too, wanted to revamp its own campaigning. The party was badly bruised by
the 2015 loss, and with Jeremy Corbyn it had a 2017 candidate that supporters were
eager to back online. The party revamped its Contact Creator software to allow it to
target named voters identified by its canvassing via Facebook – and encouraged
constituency candidates to do so locally as well.

The party spent £577,000 nationally on Facebook for the 2017 election, according to
Electoral Commission figures, while its candidates in seats spent up to £1,000 each.
But the party’s agents say that although they would definitely spend on Facebook in the
future, they could not be sure how effective their Facebook efforts were. “Some young
people brought it up on the doorstep,” one experienced agent says. “But all the data we
could see is how many people clicked on our ads.”

The spending continues unabated. The Conservative party in the London borough of
Wandsworth has released a short video aimed at residents in the run-up to May’s local
elections, arguing that Wandsworth council, run by the party, “has the lowest average
council tax in the country”. A video encouraging people to join the leftwing organisation
Momentum begins by singling out the Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith, saying he is
“terrified of our unseat campaign” because he only has a majority of 2,500.

Tom Baldwin, a former communications director of the Labour party under Ed Miliband,
who is writing a book on media and politics called Ctrl Alt Del, summarises the role of
digital marketing in the last two elections as follows: “In 2015, Labour lost for all sorts of
reasons: voter perceptions of Ed Miliband, views on economic competence, Scotland.
But also the Tories understood it was possible to reach people very effectively at very
low cost through Facebook. By 2017, Labour had caught up.

“They spent big on Facebook themselves while having a candidate and a campaign
that people were willing to share content from across social media like never before in
a UK election. It wasn’t the only reason why Theresa May did so badly – she was a bad
candidate, running a bad campaign – but it made a difference.”

Pupils ditch devices for more family time


Pupils at Ysgol Bro Banw have swapped mobile phones for board games to help
improve family time at home.

As part of the new digital competence framework, the children have been taught the
importance of balancing screen time with other parts of their lives.

ICT teacher Lucy Lock said: “We love technology in Ysgol Bro Banw. When it is used
purposefully it can be wonderful, but we also appreciate that sometimes we need a little
reminder that there are other things in our lives too.

“When we did a survey, and lots of the children felt that technology got in the way of
family time and they would like to do more activities at home with their family and we
know more family time will promote the well-being of our children.

“The children came up with the lovely idea of creating further opportunities for family
time by opening a board games library that pupils could borrow from called the Lending
Lodge.”

The Lending Lodge aims to promote positive screen time through movie sacks which
create opportunities for family nights.

Pupils from across all year groups have designed and created the library and built a
digital database which tells them which games are available and who is borrowing
them.

The children had a budget and worked out how many games they could buy by using
formula in a spreadsheet and they went to buy the games on a shopping trip to
Ammanford.

Children also created an amnesty box which they took home to be used with their
parents.

Mrs Lock added: “The aim of the amnesty box was to put all devices in the box for one
hour a night and do something different.

“During the launch on March 7 we had a great turn out from parents and all the games
were borrowed showing that the initiative is hugely popular with parents and pupils.

“We will now be looking to extend the Lending Lodge so we have more variety of
activities including outdoor games.”

How to use email marketing effectively


Email marketing is undergoing something of a “rebirth” as brands explore
increasingly sophisticated ways to reach consumers and drive ROI.

Email marketing may not be seen as the most exciting channel – it is often referred to
as a little tired and uninspiring – but nevertheless it remains central to many brands’
communications strategies. And while some predicted its demise a few years ago when
social media became increasingly dominant, its death is by no means imminent.

In fact, thanks to the arrival of new technologies, which are making it “more interesting
and engaging”, email is experiencing something of a revival, according to Saul Lopes,
customer lifecycle lead at Virgin Holidays.

“It is becoming cool again,” he says. “Email is generating a lot of money and, in my
opinion, it is having a rebirth; many companies are rethinking it.”

Given return on investment for email increased from an estimated £30.03 for every £1
spent in 2016 to £32.28 in 2017, according to the DMA’s Marketer Email Tracker 2018
report, it’s no wonder 86% of marketers say it is ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to their
multichannel marketing strategy.

In fact, 73% of marketers rate email as the number one digital channel for ROI,
according to a separate study by Marketing Week’s sister brand Econsultancy, which
also suggests email marketing generates around £29bn of retail sales annually in the
UK, excluding offline sales influenced by email.

Successful email marketing campaigns

Lopes says email plays a “huge role” in Virgin Holidays’ marketing strategy as it is the
second largest revenue driver after PPC.

The brand uses email to increase sales at all points on the customer journey – pre-
booking, post-booking and post-holiday. This wide remit means the key aim is to
“manage customer interactions of the whole journey rather than a marketing or service
touchpoint.” As a result, it has a different strategy for each stage of the customer
journey and “email marketing takes on a different type of beast in each of those
strategies”.

Lopes led the team that won the email category at Marketing Week’s Masters of
Marketing Award in 2017. The brand worked with artificial intelligence firm Phrasee to
“create better subject lines in order to have better reach” and tech company Movable
Ink to “turbocharge content” by using real-time data such as live weather feeds, pricing
and numbers of people looking at certain offers. It also installed Adobe Campaign to
centralise and coordinate communications across teams and channels.
The contextual email campaign, which aimed to be “visually appealing but also timely,
relevant and valuable to each unique email recipient” in order to convert website visits
into bookings, led to a 31% increase in site traffic. Awareness through emails opened,
meanwhile, grew by 65% compared with the previous sales period, and total margin
from CRM communications increased by 37% to £10.6m of revenue.

READ MORE: Innovations in direct mail help brands shout louder in the digital era
Cancer Research UK also uses email at every stage of the customer journey. Sarah
Pickersgill, head of fundraising products and communities marketing at the charity says
email is “an important part” of its marketing plan as it allows the organisation to easily
communicate with supporters about its work.

It is used throughout the whole customer journey, “from acquisition to loyalty


communications” and is particularly valuable for speaking to supporters once the
charity knows supporters are doing something to raise money.

We work hard to perfect the tricky blend between personalising our inspiring

email content so that it’s relevant to the user, without making our members feel

targeted.

Ollie Miles, Secret Escapes


While email campaigns are “great for keeping supporters updated on a huge variety of
subjects, ultimately all contact has to be relevant to that person,” says Pickersgill.
“There has to be a specific need, as opposed to sending an email without a defined
aim.”

The charity actively measures email open and click rates, as well as technical aspects
of how emails were delivered and consumed.

At Virgin Holidays, success is measured in a number of ways. “In marketing comms,


we measure success using our attribution model and how much incremental marketing
it generates. We look at all the marketing touchpoints and how they influence
conversion and then we create an attributed revenue figure for those touchpoints,”
explains Lopes.

The brand has another set of KPIs that are more customer experience-led, “so we look
at customer satisfaction scores at each point of the journey and see if those scores go
up”. It also looks at engagement rates and open and click-through.
Personalisation and email marketing

Better personalisation of email campaigns is top of the wish list for marketers,
according to Econsultancy’s report, but for many the promise of 100% personalisation
“remains a distant prospect”. Marketers believe it is a huge challenge, with the biggest
hurdle integrating email marketing systems with other channels.

Meanwhile, the DMA’s Consumer Email Tracker Report 2017 finds that personal and
relevant emails are an “absolute must” for consumers, which is particularly important
given 99% check their non-work emails every day, yet 59% are receiving irrelevant
communications.

Lopes agrees that “creating mass communications with hyper-personalisation” is a big


challenge for marketers, but “personalisation for personalisation’s sake will not get you
anywhere”.

Virgin Holidays’ customer research panel helps the brand to create a solid strategy and
clear communication objectives. Lopes says: “It’s all about understanding customer
behaviour and intent, and then applying the personalisation which is strong in that
creative.”

For example, when the brand was revamping its service communications, consumer
feedback showed there was confusion about where they were in the purchase journey.
In order to address this, Virgin Holidays created a “highly-personalised progress bar” in
the booking confirmation and other communications that are sent out pre-departure so
each customer knows exactly where they are in the process, what the next steps are
and what they need to do.

Another challenge is achieving stand out in the increasing cluttered email space.

Ollie Miles, global head of CRM at Secret Escapes, says: “We work hard to perfect the
tricky blend between personalising our inspiring email content so that it’s relevant to the
user, without making our members feel targeted.

“We know that nine out of 10 members were not planning on booking a holiday before
receiving one of our emails so we encourage users to open them by tailoring our
subject lines to hone in on hotels or destinations they may have shown interest in.”

To keep members interested, the brand uses a variety of formats and subject matter
while maintaining its “overall brand tone of voice to inspire the world to escape”.
According to the DMA’s consumer report, retail brands with a large online presence are
best at email. Amazon tops the list for consumer mentions at 14% and was noted for
both volume of emails sent and its use of email – in other words, doing the basics right.
Marks & Spencer comes second with 10%, and Next, Tesco and eBay are joint third
with 7%. But 60% of respondents don’t believe any brands do email well.

Testing email marketing

Testing what does and doesn’t work might sound obvious but 47% of organisations test
under a quarter of their emails, according to the DMA. Even worse, 19% of
respondents rate their organisation as having no competence with regard to testing and
a further 15% say they do no testing – a rise from 8% in 2016. On the plus side, 9% of
respondents say their company’s email testing ability is advanced and 19% claim they
test over three-quarters of their emails.

Sarah Pickersgill at Cancer Research UK says it’s important to be clear what the
charity wants to learn from testing and how it will add to the supporter’s experience.
“Simple A/B testing is a great methodology for us, as well as gathering insight from
heat maps.” Ultimately, the interaction rate with its supporters tells the organisation
how it is doing, she adds.

Optimising emails for different devices has been a “big driver of the improvements in
the design and creations of emails,” says Pickersgill. “Mobile has forced marketers to
be more clever with content and design to satisfy behaviour change.”

Email is generating a lot of money and, in my opinion, it is having a rebirth; many

companies are rethinking it.

Saul Lopes, Virgin Holidays


Design is also key for Secret Escapes. The holiday company knows many users look at
emails on their mobile while commuting, so to improve user experience and conversion
it opts for a “clean, simple and visual ‘feed’ style”, according to Miles.

As the brand offers flash sales, there is “an inherent sense of urgency” in everything it
does, however, “FOMO [fear of missing out] and urgency messaging combined with
short-term sales and promotions” help to maintain momentum and convert page views
into bookings.

Although Econsultancy’s report finds 73% of companies are using mobile device
optimisation tactics and 90% have some form of strategy for optimising email marketing
for different devices, a lack of resource is a main barrier to success.
GDPR and email marketing

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into effect on 25 May,
“clearly presents challenges to effective marketing across many channels,” says
Rachel Aldighieri, managing director at the DMA, “but there is an opportunity too. By
placing the customer at the heart of your business, you can ensure consumers receive
timely, relevant communications they crave.”
According to the DMA’s email tracker report, 96% of marketers are aware of the new
legislation and 72% feel ‘somewhat prepared’ for the changes, but sentiment about the
effect of GDPR on email marketing is split with 36% feeling positive an 43% negative.

Virgin Holidays will be launching an internal campaign to raise awareness of the new
regulations among its staff, and also has a “huge IT transformation plan” to make the
company GDPR ready. “It’s not just what customers receive in an email, it’s the back
end of things, how we manage their data, how we manage permissions. We are doing
everything we can in order to get ourselves ready and support the legislation,” explains
Lopes.

He concludes: “[GDPR] introduces new ways of working, but we will have more
engaged customer bases afterwards because people who are on our database [will]
want to hear from us. We will end up having even higher engagement rates, but
probably lower volumes after GDPR, in terms of our marketing campaign.”

What does ‘digital transformation’ really mean?


Businesses frequently use the term, but what does it actually entail and who
should be responsible for its execution?

The term ‘digital transformation’ has been used to describe anything from creating a
fully responsive mobile website to developing a social media strategy, but in reality true
transformation needs to involve much more than just the end product.
So what does this mean for brands? Whose responsibility should it be and what does a
transformation project really involve? And what challenges do businesses face when
adapting people and processes to new technology and shifting to a ‘digital first’
approach?

As digital now permeates every part of a business, many argue that it cannot be siloed.
Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson says as digital is indeed everywhere, “it’s
impossible to find an Archimedean point where digital ends and so-called ‘traditional’
channels begin”. He also claims the death of ‘digital’ distinction is upon
us, referencing Diageo’s CEO Ivan Menezes, who said: “It’s not about doing ‘digital
marketing’, it’s about marketing effectively in a digital world.”
This casts doubt on the validity of having the word ‘digital’ in a job title because even
though these professionals might take the lead on digital transformation projects, they
should involve the entire business from the board to front-line staff.
“Digital transformation is another [term] for what I call business transformation,” says
Thom Groot, digital director at car breakdown company The AA. “Digital is at the heart
of businesses and in my view it’s a reflection of the fact that customer behaviour is
changing. The digital age has accelerated that change and therefore businesses need
to be fast at changing themselves to meet that customer behaviour.”
How to get the board on-board

As digital transformation projects require input from the entire business, it is vital they
get buy in from senior leaders and the board in order to be a success.

For The AA, a brand that has been around for 110 years, getting sign off from the
board for changes of this kind can be difficult. Groot says: “Typically in companies that
have been around for a long time there is an internal challenge about buy-in [and] if
you don’t get that, it becomes hard to make an impact.”

Vue has a three-year road map to improve cinemagoers’ experiences with digital
products and upgrades

He adds: “You need a vision of where you are headed and you need others to buy into
it and engage with it, otherwise you will not get anything changed.”
A report titled ‘Effective leadership in the digital age’ by Marketing Week sister
brand Econsultancy, which offers digital transformation consulting and services, shows
that the responsibility for digital projects lies with senior leaders.
The research is based on 15 in-depth interviews with a range of C-suite and senior
management professionals and an online survey of 439 senior staff across a range of
organisations and sectors.

Three-quarters of respondents agree that the strategic digital priorities and direction of
companies are the responsibility of the senior management. In 2013 it was 69%.

The proportion of organisations that believe setting digital budgets and targets is the
responsibility of senior management has similarly increased, from 60% in 2013 to 70%
in 2015.

However, a separate piece of research by agency Organic, shown exclusively to


Marketing Week, reveals that 62% of staff feel the biggest barrier to digital
transformation is not having a leadership mandate.
The survey of 111 digital and marketing professionals finds that 58% agree the C-suite
are among the most valuable stakeholders in digital transformation projects; the same
percentage say this for vice-presidents or heads of departments, while 57% single out
directors.

READ MORE: Telefónica bets on artificial intelligence for its digital transformation
While it may be challenging, as The AA’s Groot suggests, getting buy-in is vital, since
55% believe having no perceived need for change is the biggest barrier to digital
transformation.

The approach and proposed benefits of any project, therefore, have to be tailored to
senior leaders when trying to get buy-in. “Patience is a virtue, break it down to the
language that the business is much more familiar with,” advises Dominic Rowell,
commercial director at cinema chain Vue (see Top tips for digital transformation), who
is working with digital agency TH_NK.
Vue is on a three-year road map to serve cinemagoers better through digital products
and upgrades. Ahead of the release of the latest Star Wars film, for example, the
cinema sold 10,000 tickets in the first 90 minutes of going on sale, so had to ensure the
digital web experience met customers’ expectations.

Very.co.uk owner shop direct is investing in new partnerships to support innovation

The brand is in the foundation stages of the project but Rowell says breaking down the
strategy into chunks helped sell the project to the business.
“It’s selling in strategic intent; a business plan that says ‘give me X and I’ll deliver Y’,”
says Rowell. “When you are in an organisation where technology is full of unknowns,
you don’t expect anybody to [ask for] millions in funding to [bet] on black and spin the
wheel. Digital investment and transformation is how to break that vision down into
digestible chunks [so] I can start to prove the business case.”

Vue can take this approach because digital is measurable, according to Rowell. He
says the cinema chain can “keep learning and pushing towards short-term goals” that
all contribute to its three-year plan.

Culture change required

Once senior leaders are on board, it is also important to ensure that any changes are
shared with the rest of the company. Digital transformation is about adapting the
culture of the business and the way it operates to work with new technology, rather
than making the chosen technology stack fit.

The Organic research reveals that 30% of respondents believe transforming the culture
of the organisation comes to mind when they think about digital transformation, while
24% say it refers to ‘ways of working’ compared to only 8% who believe the adoption of
new IT is at the forefront of digital transformation.

People’s behaviour is changing because they can see there are better ways to
organise their personal lives, their culture and work, says James Moffat, executive
director at Organic. “In that respect, technology doesn’t drive change, it provides the
opportunity to do things better.”

Moffat says a “people-centred approach” is best in digital transformation projects


because the technology continuously evolves and “will be there today and gone
tomorrow”.

Science-led biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca needed to engage staff in digital


upgrades as their input was a key element of the project. The aim of the initiative,
which was done with agency DigitasLBi, was to make digital channels work harder for
the company’s partnership efforts and prospects, as the strategy is based on open
innovation and partnering with the external world in science. This included a new
corporate website and social media strategy.

“New websites and platforms are great but content is king,” says project director
Roeland van der Heiden. This presented a challenge, as its content is created by the
scientists themselves.
Van der Heiden says: “To build deep content means that you have to interfere with the
scientists who are very busy. Getting everyone aligned to realign and produce the right
content, and [getting] people to realise what the end result would be, that was the most
challenging [thing].” He adds: “It’s building pride and belonging within the company. It
gets easier and now everyone wants to be featured in the story.”

AstraZeneca’s digital strategy is based on open innovation and partnering with the
external world in science

Creating a new internal way of working and communicating is part of the process. For
example, oil company Shell wanted to introduce digital experiences to move from
talking about what it sells – fuel – to focusing on customer passion points, such as
driving, cars and motor sports.

The brand focused on its 60-year technical innovation partnership with Ferrari. Working
with agency Iris, Shell created the Scuderia Ferrari Uncovered experience, which
allows visitors to the site to digitally explore Ferrari’s Formula 1 garage
via Google’s Street View.
Fiona Low, global head of digital marketing at Shell, says: “We want to tell the story of
the science and innovation work we do with the Ferrari team [and how that] goes into
the formulation that is available to you and I when we fill up [our cars] at the pump.”

She adds: “It took our teams out of their comfort zone because we weren’t directly
talking about the products that we sell.”

Put customer needs first

Technology changes and develops simultaneously with customer behaviour so a vital


piece of any transformation project is constantly checking if it serves a real customer
need.

As The AA’s Groot says: “You have to start the process with what is going to be useful
and valuable for customers and the business, as technology enables you to deliver
what the customer wants.” But he warns: “Unless customers really want it and engage
with it, you are not driving impact.”

Retail group Shop Direct needed to overhaul its operations to meet changing customer
behaviour. Three years ago, 72% of the brand’s sales came from catalogue customers
but now Shop Direct brands, such as Littlewoods.com and Very.co.uk, are 100% online
and 63% of sales come from mobile devices.
“We have fundamentally changed our business,” says Gareth Jones, deputy CEO and
retail and strategy director at Shop Direct. “We have focused more on our customers’
online journey through user experience, data analytics and personalisation. There is
still work to do but we believe we’re well on the way.”

The business is also investing in new partnerships to support innovation. Working with
omnichannel personalisation agency RichRelevance, for example, helps the brand
offer customers a personalised and curated experience across its sites by delivering
personalised product recommendations and offers.

Another example is a recent £50m investment programme in partnership with IBM,


which will offer financial services products tailored to customers.

“New websites and platforms are great but content is king”

Roeland van der Heiden, AstraZeneca


A continuous journey

Many of these projects will have a set time frame, such as Vue’s three-year road map,
but many will have no completion date because of the speed of development in digital
technology and changing customer behaviour.

Therefore, there does not necessarily need to be a ‘big reveal’. Groot says: “There is a
common misconception that you [do] a big project, deliver it [and say] ‘great, we are
now transformed’, and it’s done. It’s never done.

“The long-term view should change, and should change often, because customer
behaviour changes often.”

Van der Heiden echoes this sentiment. He concludes: “It is a continuous process, there
is no one-off thinking. It’s not a project that will ever stop, so if you decide to be
engaging in digital and social, there is a start but it doesn’t have an end.”

The AA, from 60 apps to one

As part of its digital transformation, The AA is looking at its apps. It used to have more
than 60 versions ranging from breakdown reporting to pub guides and aids to help
learner drivers.

The apps were not unified and 74% of customers did not use an app again after
download. Working with agency Rufus Leonard, The AA launched an app that tied up
activities and services based on consumer needs.
Digital director Thom Groot says: “It has made a massive difference to the service we
offer to customers. [There’s a] focus on making life easier for customers so they can
call out [breakdown services] via the app, but also other services such as the nearest
petrol station, the cheapest petrol, car registration, when you need an MOT or when
your tax is due.”

The app development also led to teams working together and as the app develops,
more is learned and incorporated. Groot adds: “You need different technology as a
company to enable you to change faster, [and achieve a] faster speed to market.”

The project increased The AA’s app store rating from 2.5 to 4 stars, achieved a 37%
increase in app visits and a 33% rise in unique users. It also generated a 113%
increase in visits to its fuel price data section and doubled the number of people
registering to use the app each week.

What does ‘digital transformation’ really mean?


Businesses frequently use the term, but what does it actually entail and who
should be responsible for its execution?

The term ‘digital transformation’ has been used to describe anything from creating a
fully responsive mobile website to developing a social media strategy, but in reality true
transformation needs to involve much more than just the end product.
So what does this mean for brands? Whose responsibility should it be and what does a
transformation project really involve? And what challenges do businesses face when
adapting people and processes to new technology and shifting to a ‘digital first’
approach?

As digital now permeates every part of a business, many argue that it cannot be siloed.
Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson says as digital is indeed everywhere, “it’s
impossible to find an Archimedean point where digital ends and so-called ‘traditional’
channels begin”. He also claims the death of ‘digital’ distinction is upon
us, referencing Diageo’s CEO Ivan Menezes, who said: “It’s not about doing ‘digital
marketing’, it’s about marketing effectively in a digital world.”
This casts doubt on the validity of having the word ‘digital’ in a job title because even
though these professionals might take the lead on digital transformation projects, they
should involve the entire business from the board to front-line staff.
“Digital transformation is another [term] for what I call business transformation,” says
Thom Groot, digital director at car breakdown company The AA. “Digital is at the heart
of businesses and in my view it’s a reflection of the fact that customer behaviour is
changing. The digital age has accelerated that change and therefore businesses need
to be fast at changing themselves to meet that customer behaviour.”
How to get the board on-board

As digital transformation projects require input from the entire business, it is vital they
get buy in from senior leaders and the board in order to be a success.

For The AA, a brand that has been around for 110 years, getting sign off from the
board for changes of this kind can be difficult. Groot says: “Typically in companies that
have been around for a long time there is an internal challenge about buy-in [and] if
you don’t get that, it becomes hard to make an impact.”

Vue has a three-year road map to improve cinemagoers’ experiences with digital
products and upgrades

He adds: “You need a vision of where you are headed and you need others to buy into
it and engage with it, otherwise you will not get anything changed.”
A report titled ‘Effective leadership in the digital age’ by Marketing Week sister
brand Econsultancy, which offers digital transformation consulting and services, shows
that the responsibility for digital projects lies with senior leaders.
The research is based on 15 in-depth interviews with a range of C-suite and senior
management professionals and an online survey of 439 senior staff across a range of
organisations and sectors.

Three-quarters of respondents agree that the strategic digital priorities and direction of
companies are the responsibility of the senior management. In 2013 it was 69%.

The proportion of organisations that believe setting digital budgets and targets is the
responsibility of senior management has similarly increased, from 60% in 2013 to 70%
in 2015.

However, a separate piece of research by agency Organic, shown exclusively to


Marketing Week, reveals that 62% of staff feel the biggest barrier to digital
transformation is not having a leadership mandate.
The survey of 111 digital and marketing professionals finds that 58% agree the C-suite
are among the most valuable stakeholders in digital transformation projects; the same
percentage say this for vice-presidents or heads of departments, while 57% single out
directors.

While it may be challenging, as The AA’s Groot suggests, getting buy-in is vital, since
55% believe having no perceived need for change is the biggest barrier to digital
transformation.

The approach and proposed benefits of any project, therefore, have to be tailored to
senior leaders when trying to get buy-in. “Patience is a virtue, break it down to the
language that the business is much more familiar with,” advises Dominic Rowell,
commercial director at cinema chain Vue (see Top tips for digital transformation), who
is working with digital agency TH_NK.
Vue is on a three-year road map to serve cinemagoers better through digital products
and upgrades. Ahead of the release of the latest Star Wars film, for example, the
cinema sold 10,000 tickets in the first 90 minutes of going on sale, so had to ensure the
digital web experience met customers’ expectations.

The brand is in the foundation stages of the project but Rowell says breaking down the
strategy into chunks helped sell the project to the business.

“It’s selling in strategic intent; a business plan that says ‘give me X and I’ll deliver Y’,”
says Rowell. “When you are in an organisation where technology is full of unknowns,
you don’t expect anybody to [ask for] millions in funding to [bet] on black and spin the
wheel. Digital investment and transformation is how to break that vision down into
digestible chunks [so] I can start to prove the business case.”

Vue can take this approach because digital is measurable, according to Rowell. He
says the cinema chain can “keep learning and pushing towards short-term goals” that
all contribute to its three-year plan.

Culture change required

Once senior leaders are on board, it is also important to ensure that any changes are
shared with the rest of the company. Digital transformation is about adapting the
culture of the business and the way it operates to work with new technology, rather
than making the chosen technology stack fit.

The Organic research reveals that 30% of respondents believe transforming the culture
of the organisation comes to mind when they think about digital transformation, while
24% say it refers to ‘ways of working’ compared to only 8% who believe the adoption of
new IT is at the forefront of digital transformation.

People’s behaviour is changing because they can see there are better ways to
organise their personal lives, their culture and work, says James Moffat, executive
director at Organic. “In that respect, technology doesn’t drive change, it provides the
opportunity to do things better.”

Moffat says a “people-centred approach” is best in digital transformation projects


because the technology continuously evolves and “will be there today and gone
tomorrow”.

Science-led biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca needed to engage staff in digital


upgrades as their input was a key element of the project. The aim of the initiative,
which was done with agency DigitasLBi, was to make digital channels work harder for
the company’s partnership efforts and prospects, as the strategy is based on open
innovation and partnering with the external world in science. This included a new
corporate website and social media strategy.

“New websites and platforms are great but content is king,” says project director
Roeland van der Heiden. This presented a challenge, as its content is created by the
scientists themselves.

Van der Heiden says: “To build deep content means that you have to interfere with the
scientists who are very busy. Getting everyone aligned to realign and produce the right
content, and [getting] people to realise what the end result would be, that was the most
challenging [thing].” He adds: “It’s building pride and belonging within the company. It
gets easier and now everyone wants to be featured in the story.”

AstraZeneca’s digital strategy is based on open innovation and partnering with the
external world in science

Creating a new internal way of working and communicating is part of the process. For
example, oil company Shell wanted to introduce digital experiences to move from
talking about what it sells – fuel – to focusing on customer passion points, such as
driving, cars and motor sports.

The brand focused on its 60-year technical innovation partnership with Ferrari. Working
with agency Iris, Shell created the Scuderia Ferrari Uncovered experience, which
allows visitors to the site to digitally explore Ferrari’s Formula 1 garage
via Google’s Street View.
Fiona Low, global head of digital marketing at Shell, says: “We want to tell the story of
the science and innovation work we do with the Ferrari team [and how that] goes into
the formulation that is available to you and I when we fill up [our cars] at the pump.”

She adds: “It took our teams out of their comfort zone because we weren’t directly
talking about the products that we sell.”

Put customer needs first

Technology changes and develops simultaneously with customer behaviour so a vital


piece of any transformation project is constantly checking if it serves a real customer
need.

As The AA’s Groot says: “You have to start the process with what is going to be useful
and valuable for customers and the business, as technology enables you to deliver
what the customer wants.” But he warns: “Unless customers really want it and engage
with it, you are not driving impact.”

Retail group Shop Direct needed to overhaul its operations to meet changing customer
behaviour. Three years ago, 72% of the brand’s sales came from catalogue customers
but now Shop Direct brands, such as Littlewoods.com and Very.co.uk, are 100% online
and 63% of sales come from mobile devices.

“We have fundamentally changed our business,” says Gareth Jones, deputy CEO and
retail and strategy director at Shop Direct. “We have focused more on our customers’
online journey through user experience, data analytics and personalisation. There is
still work to do but we believe we’re well on the way.”
The business is also investing in new partnerships to support innovation. Working with
omnichannel personalisation agency RichRelevance, for example, helps the brand
offer customers a personalised and curated experience across its sites by delivering
personalised product recommendations and offers.

Another example is a recent £50m investment programme in partnership with IBM,


which will offer financial services products tailored to customers.

“New websites and platforms are great but content is king”

Roeland van der Heiden, AstraZeneca


A continuous journey

Many of these projects will have a set time frame, such as Vue’s three-year road map,
but many will have no completion date because of the speed of development in digital
technology and changing customer behaviour.

Therefore, there does not necessarily need to be a ‘big reveal’. Groot says: “There is a
common misconception that you [do] a big project, deliver it [and say] ‘great, we are
now transformed’, and it’s done. It’s never done.

“The long-term view should change, and should change often, because customer
behaviour changes often.”

Van der Heiden echoes this sentiment. He concludes: “It is a continuous process, there
is no one-off thinking. It’s not a project that will ever stop, so if you decide to be
engaging in digital and social, there is a start but it doesn’t have an end.”

The AA, from 60 apps to one

As part of its digital transformation, The AA is looking at its apps. It used to have more
than 60 versions ranging from breakdown reporting to pub guides and aids to help
learner drivers.

The apps were not unified and 74% of customers did not use an app again after
download. Working with agency Rufus Leonard, The AA launched an app that tied up
activities and services based on consumer needs.

Digital director Thom Groot says: “It has made a massive difference to the service we
offer to customers. [There’s a] focus on making life easier for customers so they can
call out [breakdown services] via the app, but also other services such as the nearest
petrol station, the cheapest petrol, car registration, when you need an MOT or when
your tax is due.”

The app development also led to teams working together and as the app develops,
more is learned and incorporated. Groot adds: “You need different technology as a
company to enable you to change faster, [and achieve a] faster speed to market.”

The project increased The AA’s app store rating from 2.5 to 4 stars, achieved a 37%
increase in app visits and a 33% rise in unique users. It also generated a 113%
increase in visits to its fuel price data section and doubled the number of people
registering to use the app each week.

Rise of the machines: Are robots after your job?

Should marketers fear for their jobs or embrace the rise of artificial intelligence
and machine learning, so they can adapt now and stay relevant in the future?

It has been predicted that machines will eventually overtake human intelligence thanks
to the advancement of computer power and increase in data collection. But while fears
that robots will one day wipe out the human race might be extreme and distant, the rise
of artificial intelligence (AI) does have the potential to disrupt brands and those working
within them in a far more immediate way.
So does that mean marketers jobs are at risk, and that a new way
of thinking is required in order to adapt to this transformed employment market?

Programmatic buying and other automated techniques are already having a huge
effect on marketing efficiency and the way the industry operates, and marketers at all
levels now need to consider how AI and machine learning might affect their roles.
Marketing Week will explore the future of AI and marketing at a new event this
April. To find out more, please visit supercharged.com.
As Bank of England Governor Mark Carney stated in December last year, we are “in
the midst of a technological
revolution” that will “destroy
jobs and livelihoods well
before new ones emerge”.

‘Intelligent agents’ or AI will


destroy 6% of all jobs in the
US by 2021, according to
research by Forrester, which
shows the biggest effect will
be felt in transportation, logistics, customer service and consumer services. A study by
Oxford University suggests the top five jobs at risk of automation are loan officers,
reception and information clerks, paralegals, retail salespeople and taxi drivers and
chauffeurs.

These things don’t destroy jobs, they just change what jobs are needed.

Larry Kotch, Brainbroker


A separate study by Oxford University and Deloitte at the end of 2015 suggests that for
marketers specifically the risk is less pronounced. For ‘marketing associate
professionals’, it is fairly unlikely (33%) that their jobs will be automated over the next
20 years and for ‘marketing and sales directors’ it is very unlikely (1%).
Meanwhile, a poll of 800 senior marketing and sales professionals across the EMEA
region, conducted by Oracle, shows the use of emerging technologies is set to surge
by 2020.

It reveals that 78% of brands expect to provide customer experiences through virtual
reality in the next four years, while 80% of brands will be using chatbots for customer
interactions by 2020. It also finds that 48% of brands have implemented automation
technologies in sales, marketing and customer service, with another 40% planning to
do so by 2020.

Need for experts

But rather than destroy the need for a human workforce, there is an argument that the
move towards automation will simply create new and different jobs.

And as technology use grows so does the need for experts on that technology. For a
marketing professional, understanding how and when to use automation tools and
managing these will be a big part of the role in the future.

“These things don’t destroy jobs, they just change what jobs are needed,” says Larry
Kotch, co-founder of Brainbroker – a startup aimed at helping brands blend technology
and talent. Instead, he says it “pushes people into the managerial, consultative and
search function rather than the implementation function”.

Brainbroker acts as a consultancy, matching the latest software-as-a-service (SaaS)


and marketing tools with clients looking to use the capabilities those tools offer.

Kotch says that although “people say marketing automation is taking jobs, the sheer
number of these tools is warranting consultants for the tools themselves”.
Since hundreds of tools are launched each year, he says there will be a “premium on
having a human tell you what you should be using based on a specific use case”.

Kotch also believes that the onus is on the people in those jobs to “get a monopoly on
how [tools] work” so when the transition happens, “they are the best placed people to
take that forward and pioneer new roles”.

He adds: “There’s going to be an element on shifting rather than deletion of roles. The
quicker you can get on top of this world, the more likely you will profit personally.”

Tech entrepreneur Jeremy Hindle, who co-founded entry-level recruitment app


Headstart together with Oxford University student Nicholas Shekerdemian, agrees and
says it is “not something people
should be afraid of”. He advises
anyone who is nervous about the
effects of AI to read up on the subject
and look into improving their technical
skills.
He adds: “I’m not talking about the need to be amazing at programming, [but] reading
around topics so they can understand concepts and feel more comfortable and position
themselves in their roles as things develop – be engaged with what is going on.”

For younger generations it is also about education, according to Avril Murphy, vice-
president of sales EMEA at Neato, which designs robots for the home. She says: “We
are seeing four- and five-year-olds learning how to program – that is the way forward
because you are already developing the skill set.”

AI in customer-facing roles

Yet despite the scope for professionals and knowledge workers such as marketers to
adapt their roles to technology, many examples of automation and AI-based services
replacing humans already exist and are making headlines, particularly in customer
service functions.

So even if marketers can adopt tactics to survive the encroachment of automation onto
their roles, they will still have the headache of working out where human employees
are needed within the areas they are responsible for, and where these can be
dispensed with in favour of AI.

Last year, Uber acquired an AI startup, as the race to launch driverless cars
accelerates; Amazon tested the ‘Amazon Go’ store concept, which allows people to
grab items and leave, with the products charged to their Amazon account on exit;
and Starbucks let customers order a coffee via a chatbot. All are potential future
replacements for tasks performed by humans.
Google Home and Amazon Echo virtual assistants also made an appearance in 2016
as part of a growing trend towards internet-connected homes. Intelligent virtual
assistants provide information, add events to personal calendars, control other internet-
connected services in the home such as heating, and can place orders on other
websites.

The workplace upheaval that AI brings is being lauded as the fourth industrial
revolution but experts warn that the upheaval and disruption could be like nothing we
have seen before.

“AI and machine learning is a different beast,” says Kotch at Brainbroker. “It will be
foolish to say it will follow that same trend that it did with the industrial revolution,
computers and the internet.”
He says: ”It is something different and far more worrying in terms of just how much it
can replace a human’s job.”

The fact AI is not yet replacing professional jobs such as marketing roles at scale
means businesses and their workforces have some time to think about how their
company should operate and what the jobs of the future look like. Retaining a human
control element to automated processes may be one key step.

Controlling the effect on jobs

Harry Armstrong, senior researcher of technology futures at innovation foundation


Nesta, focuses on researching the effects and implications of potentially disruptive
technologies and believes that people can have control over how technological
automation impacts jobs.
“One thing that is forgotten every time this automation conversation comes up is how
much control we have on the design of jobs and the tasks within the jobs,” says
Armstrong. Although repetitive jobs can be automated, the decisions affecting those
processes may still require human input. He therefore advises the designing of jobs
that require more task discretion rather than repetitive tasks.

When industries create totally automated systems, employees are quickly forced to
conform and therefore the “narrative that we have control of, what those jobs will look
like and what they do” is lost, argues Armstrong.

In some sectors a mix of automation and human interaction will be vital to how those
products or services are received. It is the effect on the end result that matters the most
rather than the technology, according to Rurik Bradbury, global head of research at
messaging service LivePerson.

One thing that is forgotten every time this automation conversation comes up is

how much control we have on the design of jobs and the tasks within the jobs.

Harry Armstrong, Nesta


The company believes that bots are not ready to be the primary customer service
agent, meaning customer service jobs are not redundant yet but will change.

“Brands that have tried bots have forgotten that consumers don’t care [whether it’s a]
bot or not, they just want to get customer service,” says Bradbury. “They treat bots the
same way as an agent; they are either happy or unhappy.”
He advises a “hybrid of bots” where “you have humans behind the screen but you can
scale up their effectiveness and how much they can accomplish selectively”. For
example, simple tasks such as updating an address or a credit card, occasions where
there is not much chance of a misunderstanding, can be done by a bot.

This gives customer service representatives the time to tackle the more open-ended or
difficult problems and means customers do not have a bad experience with the bot or
the human.

Headstart also requires a hybrid of machine learning and human input. The job app
uses machine learning algorithms for a matching system that considers personality,
interests, skills and demographic background, as well as traditional criteria such as
qualifications and experience – asking students applicable questions using an AI-
powered chatbot.

Hindle at Headstart says the human input on recruiting is a requirement because the
algorithm learns based on how recruiters hire. He says: “That will always be the case
because human factors and culture change and therefore no matter how good your
machine learning algorithm gets it has to learn more – and for it to learn it has to have
a positive response that it got it right.”

Consumer uptake

The majority of the disruption that AI will cause depends on how the people using AI-
powered products react. Pictures of Terminator-style takeovers often accompany the
headlines surrounding the use of robotics and machine-based services so there is a
certain amount of fear attached.

US-based Neato sees some resistance to its robot vacuum cleaners, particularly in the
UK “where [Britons] haven’t embraced the technology as much”, according to Murphy.

“The UK has the lowest penetration of dishwashers in Europe, so it could be a pride


thing about not being a big deal to do your own washing up or vacuuming,” she says.

We need to do a better job of marketing and communicating because [people] have


this perception and fear factor of having a robot in their home and [whether] they’re
opening up their door to something that is going to be detrimental in the long term.”

AI-driven investment advisor Munnypot’s co-founder Simon Redgrove believes people


will embrace its offer as they did online banking. The service was created because its
founders believed existing auto-advice services were too robotic and wanted to create
a more natural experience.
Consumers can use the service to answer questions about their life goals and can
interact with different scenarios to understand how their finances could be affected by
different decisions. “I’ve heard bad feedback and fear [about] using services like that
but we are not experiencing that with ours,” says Redgrove.

He adds: “Robo-advisors have demonstrated that you can get the guidance you need;
it’s subjective and not biased. People embrace it in the same way they do online
banking and [it will be] interesting to look at [customer behaviour towards AI] in 12 or
18 months time.”

The onus of reskilling

For those already in the jobs that are being


automated, it is down to individuals to adapt
to change, but also to be aware that “it’s not
going to happen overnight”, Neato’s Murphy
says. “Not every taxi driver in London has to
fear for their job. Other opportunities are
going to emerge. There will be more
opportunity in manufacturing or
development that will attach around automation and AI.”

Armstrong at Nesta does not believe the onus on reskilling is as straightforward. He


says: “There isn’t really a clear understanding of whose responsibility it is – the
industry, the state or a personal responsibility.”

He adds: “If we are about to see a big disruption or at least continued change from
technology, those are the questions we need to start answering now, coming up with
plans for processes and structures to deal with them.”

It is not just self-driving cars and stores without cashiers that will have an effect on job
losses. The biggest problem is digital technology, according to Alex Warren, senior
account manager at technology PR agency Wildfire and author of Technoutopia, which
looks at the negative effects of digital disruption on society.

He says that although Google is seven times the size of General Motors, it hires less
than a quarter of the number of workers; WhatsApp is worth $19bn (£15.4bn) but has
55 employees; and Instagram was worth $1bn (£811m) when Facebook bought it and
had around 12 employees at the time.

The danger is that digital applications are becoming increasingly “influential in our lives”
but “don’t have to play by the same rules as traditional companies,” says Warren.
He says technology companies are “not job creators but job destroyers” and are
“creating a massive wealth divide of a handful of billionaires and an army of people on
zero-hours contracts, working in a gig economy or not working at all”.

Warren believes that the world has got “trapped in the idea that technology is always
progress – it’s technological determinism”. He adds: “[It’s] the idea that if something is
new and is technology-based, it is automatically progress. We can’t stop it, there is
nothing we can do about it, we just have to accept that fact.”

A realistic timeline

Technological advances will continue and while the effects of that progress are
becoming clearer, the speed at which it will happen is not. Getting a clear timeline
depends on breakthroughs that could happen in a couple of years or a few decades.

Armstrong at Nesta predicts a “subtle shift rather than a sudden disruption” in terms of
a timeline for change.

“It may be more of a problem in the short term than the long term,” explains
author Warren. “In the short term there is going to be a massive wealth divide that will
happen as a result, there will be job cuts. There will be lots of cheap goods and
services, which is great, but it will have a knock-on effect.”

Warren also predicts a generational divide where those growing up in a digital world
will not want the jobs that are being disrupted. He says: “[Young people won’t] grow up
wanting to be a driver. Obviously those jobs are going and we’re not going to miss
them.”

What does AI mean for marketing jobs


 Roles that involve a high level of social intelligence and original ideas are less likely
to be replaced by machines.
 Adding in an element of human control to decision making will ensure marketers do
not relinquish all responsibility to artificial intelligence.
 The move towards automation will free up time to spend on other, more strategic
areas of business.
 The introduction of new tools and automated processes will change the job role;
adapting now will allow marketers to lead the way.
 Machine learning requires human input, so there will be a demand for experts in
specific areas to work with technology rather than against it.
 The creativity and business understanding required in marketing roles means they
are relatively safe from being replaced, although purely executional roles, for
example in media buying may be more vulnerable.

Digital transformation is about more than new technology


Marketers at Argos, Microsoft and Citi Bank have their say on why brands need
more than technology when undergoing a digital transformation.

Marketers at Argos, Microsoft and Citi Bank have urged brands


to acknowledge that people now work for purpose, not just money, which they will need
to recognise if they want to undergo a successful digital transformation.

Speaking at The Global Academy of Digital Marketing’s Digital Transformation event


yesterday (24 November), Roman Rock, product owner at Argos said having been part
of two digital transformations – one at BT and EE, which involved three transformations
within 18 months, and another at Argos – he found that cultural change and process
was crucial.

He described the digital transformation at EE as “done well” but admitted there are still
areas for improvement at Argos and a need for more “honest conversations”.

“Argos invested a quarter of a billion to transform but hasn’t done anything to change
its culture and practice,” he said. “It has new technology but unfortunately it has the
same problems”.

He believes this is a problem many businesses experience when undergoing a digital


transformation – “they change their technology rather than make a real cultural
change”.
Focus on purpose

Also talking at the event, Steven Woodgate, surface and HoloLens CMO UK at
Microsoft, agreed there is more to a digital transformation than technology, and
that purpose is playing an increasingly important role.

“There is a new wave of people coming in that will never earn as much as their parents.
These people are working for purpose rather than money, so brand purpose it crucial,”
he said.

Woodgate said 65% of the roles that today’s students will go into don’t exist yet, and
that in order to deal with this, today’s marketers need to be hiring people with a wide
range of skills rather than those that are experts in one industry.

Despite these jobs not yet existing, Woodgate believes the “future is quite predictable
and there has never been a better time to add value”. He said potential future jobs
could include a virtual habitat designer, space tour guide, Internet of Things data
creative or a freelance bio-tracker, all things he reckons businesses can start preparing
for.
Similarly, Citibank’s global head of digital marketing Simon Kingsnorth, said companies
need to hire people not for their experience, as this can be taught, but for them as a
person.

He also said that when dealing with employees marketers must understand that
technology is nothing more than a facilitator.

“It is not about the technology, that is just the enabler. You can’t launch social media
without a process put in place. You need the customer service and website process [to
be perfected first],” Kingsnorth said.

“We have to ask, how do humans work? How do we understand technology? And how
do we make that fit into how we work as humans?”
Snapchat’s April Fools' Gag Pokes Fun at Facebook's Russian Bot Problem

Snap, Inc’s flagship Snapchat social media platform has rolled out a photo filter that
highlights the recent stumbles of its biggest rival — Facebook.

The filter, spotted by The Verge, copies Facebook’s layout, color scheme and icons,
but the text is styled after Cyrillic, the Russian alphabet. It’s actually still readable
as English (similar to the faux-Cyrillic in the new comedy The Death of Stalin), and
the filter’s real message is clear from the included “likes” — one from “your mom”
and another from “a bot.”

The subtext is clear – Facebook, Snap wants you to know, is dominated by old
people and fraud. That plays into the already-deteriorating public perception of
Facebook. Over the past two weeks, in response to rising panic about privacy, bots,
and a host of related revelations, Facebook’s stock has declined as much as 15%.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s personal fortune has dropped by more money than most
humans could hope to see in a hundred lifetimes.

This is just the latest public clash between the rival companies. Facebook has
blatantly copied an array of Snapchat features, most prominently photo filters and
the disappearing videos known as Stories. On an earnings call last year, Snap, Inc.
CEO Evan Spiegel compared Facebook to Yahoo!, which in the tech world, is about
on par with insulting Mark Zuckerberg’s mother.

Reminding users of Facebook’s apparent abuse of their trust could help Snap
compete. Snap’s gesture is reminiscent of PR clashes last year between Lyft and
Uber, when Uber stumbled in its reaction to Donald Trump’s travel ban and Lyft
made an extremely well-timed contribution to the ACLU. That, too, was a bit of
retribution for prior misbehavior — much as Facebook has stolen concepts from
Snapchat, Uber had actively worked to undermine Lyft.

Lyft’s move (along with plenty of unforced errors by Uber) has helped Lyft
take huge bites out of its opponent’s market share.
Snap’s attack is riding a wave of calls to delete Facebook, just as Lyft leveraged a
boycott of Uber. While switching from Facebook to Snapchat isn’t quite the same
thing, similar logic does hold — for digital platforms, what you stand for can matter
nearly as much as the service you provide.

What today's movements can learn from Martin Luther King Jr.

More than three million people have visited the Smithsonian's National Museum of
African American History and Culture since it opened nearly two years ago. One of the
many stories the museum tells is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last visit to Memphis,
where he was assassinated 50 years ago.

Lonnie Bunch, the museum's director, joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss King's
biggest contributions and what we can still learn from his leadership today.

"I've always through his greatest legacy is the simple fact that King reminded us that
protest is the highest form of patriotism. That you love a country, you do everything you
can to help it live up to its stated ideals," Bunch said.

Earlier this week one of King's children told CBS News that he's worried people have
"dumbed" down his father's legacy. While Bunch agreed that monuments tend to make
"the rough edges of history smooth," he doesn't feel that King's legacy is under threat.

"You forget that there were losses as well as victories. But I think what you really
realize is that new generations are, I think, looking to King to say, 'How do you change
a country in a nonviolent way but in a profound way, " Bunch said. "And that's why I
think it's so powerful to see these young kids who are involved in the March For Our
Lives reaching back to King."

While some of today's movements may harken back to what King did, Bunch maintains
that we've yet to see another Martin Luther King Jr. – and we may never.

"No one had his charisma, his sense of strategy, his sense of being able to cross many
lines. What we have are leaders that lead in certain areas but we don't have a national
leader and I think the world has changed. Social media makes it harder for national
leaders and gives local people more power. So in some ways, I don't think we'll have
another Martin Luther King," Bunch said.

Of what King would think of where America stands today in terms of equality, Bunch
isn't so sure. He believes that King would acknowledge there's certainly been change,
but he would also be disappointed.

"I think he would worry that we still see black lives not mattering the way they should.
We still see urban settings that look like 1968, that there's not a sense of hope and I
think he would really despair the fact that he doesn't see a unified sense of helping
America become the beloved community, he said. "I think the lack of economic justice
would be something he'd be very concerned about."

The museum is launching a new program that allows groups of people less than 10 to
visit the museum without a pass every Wednesday in April.

"I think what we need to do is continue to use museums and education to make sure
he's not forgotten, but to make sure we tell all the rough edges. I mean the notion that
King struggled and stumbled and fought hard and was still victorious is a lesson for us
all."

Gender pay gap affects today’s pensioners too

The gender pay gap is a hot topic in the presidential campaign, and President
Barack Obama has been hammering on it, too. Women who work full-time, year-
round, made just 79 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts in 2014,
U.S. Census Bureau data shows.
But the injustice of the gender pay gap also impacts retirement security, and the
numbers are appalling.
A woman who works full-time over a 40-year period loses $435,480 in lifetime
income (today’s dollars) due to the wage gap, according to the National Women’s
Law Center (NWLC), a nonprofit legal and advocacy group. Put another way, the
typical woman needs to work 11 years longer than a man to achieve accumulated
income parity.
The income gap translates directly to lower income from Social Security and
pensions – since those benefits are determined by wage history – and it hampers
the capacity of women to save for retirement. And since women typically live longer
than men, savings often must be stretched across more years of retirement. That
makes pay inequity a retirement security double whammy.
“When you put together all these factors, it’s not a surprise that women are left with
greater economic insecurity in retirement than men,” said Fatima Goss Graves,
senior vice president of NWLC.
Fixing Current Policy
The gap shows up in data on savings. Unmarried men are more likely than
unmarried women to report having saved for retirement, and 44% of unmarried
women have less than $1,000 saved, according to the Employee Benefit Research
Institute. It also shows up in poverty data. In 2014, women over age 65 are more
than twice as likely as men to live in poverty in 2014, NWLC reports.
Paying women less than men for the same work has been illegal since 1963. Seven
years ago, Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for
workers to challenge pay inequality. He announced last week that employers with
more than 100 workers will be required to start reporting compensation data by
gender to the federal government.
The best way to achieve retirement income security, of course, is by closing the
wage gap itself. But in the meantime, government should be making policy changes
to soften the blow.
Modernizing Social Security is an excellent place to begin. The average benefit in
2014 for women over age 65 was $14,234 a year, compared with $18,113 for men,
according to Social Security Administration data. Sensible proposals have been
offered that would improve benefits for women, such as beefing up survivor
benefits, providing benefit credits for caregivers and increasing benefits at age 85.
Requiring employers to open up workplace retirement saving plans to part-time
workers also could help. Another good idea: improve the current Saver’s Credit,
which is a nonrefundable tax credit up to $1,000 for low-income workers ($2,000 for
couples) who contribute to workplace plans or IRAs. Many policy experts would like
to see the credit made refundable – currently it is not available to workers who do
not have a federal income tax liability.
Being Proactive
But what if you would rather not hold your breath and wait for an overhaul of federal
policy?
Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, an expert on wealth and psychology who has written
extensively about women and financial planning, suggests ways that women can
take steps to blunt the impact of wage inequality on retirement. That starts with
taking a proactive stance in negotiating for more pay. “Women need to close the
pay gap by learning how to negotiate and talk about money,” she said.
When it comes to financial planning and managing money, it is not that women lack
interest or knowledge, she notes. “Many women want to be more involved in their
finances but struggle to find the time to do it. The financial literacy scores are ab out
the same for men and women – in other words, both genders have work to do in
this area. But women are more likely to admit when they don’t know something and
therefore appear to have lower financial confidence than men.”
Women who are working with financial advisers – or want to – should consider
working with a “female-friendly adviser,” she said. “Some women are hesitant to
take on investment risk and this can work against them when saving for retirement.
But if you have an adviser you trust, you can learn how to take calculated risks and
make investments that will help you reach retirement goals.”

Airbnb for cars is here. And the rental car giants are not happy.

The traditional rental-car model is run by hulking corporate brands that promise safety
and predictability. (Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

They have fleets with hundreds of thousands of vehicles and command multibillion-
dollar streams of revenue.
But in the rapidly shifting transportation landscape, even the Goliaths of the rental car
industry — some of the best-known brands in the world — worry about being left
behind.

That may explain why some of the largest rental car companies have spent several
years waging a quiet legislative war against start-ups led by a company called Turo
that are trying to change the way people rent and own vehicles. Turo is a peer-to-peer
car-sharing company — think Airbnb for cars.

Like Uber versus the taxi industry before them, this fight is a clash between an old-
school business model and a modern technology platform inspired by the sharing
economy.

The traditional model is run by hulking corporate brands that promise safety and
predictability. At any airport in the land, for instance, a customer is assured he will get a
car (“Nissan Sentra or similar”).

The new model offers a more customized experience. In a process that mimics online
dating, a customer can choose that flashy Tesla for a joy ride or that Ford F-150 to haul
garden mulch.

While each offers a way to rent a car, the ultimate factor in their long-term success
might actually depend on changing attitudes about the value of car ownership.

In America, the average price of new vehicles has zoomed over $33,000, leaving
people to wonder whether there’s a way to get more value from them.

Turo, and other car-sharing companies, say they offer car owners a way to maximize
the value of these expensive assets (or even help to pay for them) by earning money
off them when they might otherwise sit parked. For drivers, they offer flexibility and
convenience.

If you’ve rented a car at an airport, you may understand why such start-ups think they
should come out ahead. After landing and baggage claim, you wait in line for a shuttle
that drives you to a rental car company, sometimes miles away.
Once there, you may encounter another line, as well as paperwork and prices that can
vary depending on the city and demand. Sometimes the process goes smoothly, but
other times — when inclement weather or rowdy children strike — picking up a rental
car can be the punctuation mark on an exhausting day of travel.

Jon Norris, 42, a former rental-car company employee who lives in Bethesda, Md., and
works in cybersecurity, believes that sort of unnecessary stress explains the growing
appeal of Turo, a peer-to-peer car-sharing network that he’s been using since
November to rent out two Audis he owns. He often meets his customers at the airport,
handing them the keys to their rental as soon as they walk outside. There’s no
paperwork, no credit cards and no hassle, Norris said.

“When I do curbside delivery, everything is downloaded to the app beforehand, and,


literally, within two or three minutes, they’re in the car and on their way,” said Norris,
who earns about $1,500 a month renting out his vehicles. “At the airport, people want
to get the car and go.”

The ease of the transaction, all of which occurs using a smartphone, may explain why
airports have become the front lines in an emerging war between companies such as
Enterprise and Hertz and Turo, a relatively unknown Silicon Valley upstart with about
180 employees.

Turo allows its 200,000 members who are car owners to post vehicles online and rent
them out for as little as $10 a day. Turo officials say their company is a technology
platform that allows car owners to earn extra cash, not a rental car company. Because
Turo doesn’t own any vehicles, they say, the company shouldn’t be subject to the same
regulations as traditional rental companies.

Those rental companies — represented by the American Car Rental Association — say
that car-sharing companies such as Turo are clearly car-rental companies. The only
difference between Turo and Enterprise, officials say, is that Enterprise complies with
state and federal laws governing rental car companies, while Turo has so far avoided
them.
“If you’re renting a vehicle to another person for compensation — that is a car-rental
transaction,” Gregory M. Scott, an ACRA lobbyist said. “Just because I tell you it’s not a
duck doesn’t mean it’s not a duck if it looks and acts like a duck.”

Instead of waiting for the competition to comply, the rental industry has introduced bills
replete with new regulations for car-sharing companies in more than a dozen state
legislatures across the United States — including a bill under debate in Maryland’s
General Assembly. If turned into law, those regulations would treat car-sharing
companies like traditional rental car companies.

ACRA officials, who support attempts to regulate car-sharing networks, say their goal is
to level the “playing field.” The networks enjoy an unfair advantage and put public
safety at risk, ACRA says. Their members might bypass annual inspections and not
track recall notices — making the roads more dangerous. They also operate freely at
airports instead of in designated areas, which adds to chaos and congestion.

The trade group is supported by airports with a big stake in this dispute: the billions of
dollars a year they take in to lease lots to rental companies. But Turo — the most
outspoken opponent of the legislation — says rental-car giants have another objective
in mind: destroying competition by squelching innovation.

If car-sharing networks are allowed to thrive, experts say, the legacy rental companies
might have cause for concern.

“The advantage peer-to-peer has over traditional rental companies is they don’t own
the fleet and they’re more lean and adaptable and have a better understanding of the
local market,” said Alexandre Marian, a director in the automotive and industrial
practice at consultant AlixPartners. “The rental car companies see it as a potential
threat. And they should if they want to remain in business.”

Founded in 2009, Turo and Getaround — another popular peer-to-peer car-sharing


service that ACRA accuses of skirting the law — are the most well-known start-ups in
the peer-to-peer market. Whereas rental car prices differ according to demand and
location, companies such as Turo allow members to determine the price of rentals.
The average owner, they said, makes about $500 a month through the service.

Nearly 5 million people have signed up to rent or drive vehicles via Turo in the past two
years, and the company is already valued at around $700 million. Getaround operates
in 14 U.S. cities and says it has more than a half-million users. The business model
has proved so promising that even General Motors and Ford — an early investor in
Getaround — have taken notice.

In March, GM confirmed plans for launching a pilot program that will allow owners to
rent out their vehicles when they’re not being used, generating revenue that will be
shared with the massive automaker.

ACRA officials say traditional companies are supportive of the peer-to-peer model and
recognize its growing popularity. In a statement emailed to The Washington Post,
Enterprise Rent-A-Car — one of ACRA’s more vocal members on this issue — said
that it was itself “an industry disruptor 60 years ago” and that the company has “always
been open to new ideas and innovation.

“However,” the statement said, “we believe the playing field should be level and fair for
everyone involved in ground transportation — and that’s especially true when it comes
to safety issues like designated pick-up airport locations as well as any legal
restrictions concerning manufacturer vehicle recalls.”

Though they have been largely unsuccessful outside of New York, the bills typically
seek to impose taxes or regulations on Turo, such as forcing the company to commit to
annual vehicle inspections and additional registration.

In Maryland, a bill introduced by Enterprise would force Turo to collect sales tax,
introduce safety inspection and remove cars with recall notices from their site. The
bill under debate would also force Turo to abide by the same permitting process at
airports as rental car companies.

Airports have become the front line in the battle between car-sharing and rental
companies. For decades, rental car companies have paid airports on average 10
percent of their gross receipts — an amount worth billions of dollars — for the privilege
of setting up shop. For ignoring this traditional arrangement, and meeting customers at
the curb, Turo has been sued by the City of San Francisco and received a cease-and-
desist letter from the Maryland Department of Transportation, which operates
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

“Enterprise Rental Car is a multi-billion dollar company with so many benefits afforded
to them and they are trying to snuff out this tiny little startup that barely has a foothold
in Maryland,” Turo’s head of government relations Michelle Peacock said. “It doesn’t
make any sense.”

“Does Airbnb have to get a lead paint certification for every single home listed on their
site?” Peacock said. “No, they don’t.”

Without access to vehicle titles and VIN numbers, Peacock says, Turo doesn’t have
access to recall notices. And in Maryland, safety recalls don’t prohibit vehicles from
being legally driven, she said.

But Rosemary Shahan, president of the Consumers for Auto Reliability, said Turo’s
leadership is ignoring the potential disaster that awaits if a single recalled car on the
Turo platform results in a deadly crash.

Shahan said the company should, at the very least, force users to check their VIN
number before they can join the platform. Oftentimes, she said, car owners don’t know
their vehicle is subject to a recall and by the time they find out there’s a “body count.”

“All it takes is one high-profile crash and their name — that’s what they’ll be known for,”
she said. “I hope they can learn from the experience of other companies. Whatever
they think they’re saving, it isn’t worth it.”

Turo is pursuing a different measure in Maryland, where it’s pushing lawmakers to


make it illegal to list a car on the platform if it’s subject to a recall.

Regardless of what Maryland legislators decide, a question for other states remains: Is
Turo a rental car company in Silicon Valley camouflage or a technology company
steering the future of mobility?
Amazon Has Lots of Company as Trump Slams ‘Stupid’ Businesses
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and CECILIA KANGAPRIL 3, 2018

President Trump once accused Verizon of making “a STUPID deal” for AOL. He
ridiculed Coca-Cola as “garbage” — but said he would keep drinking it. He called both
H&R Block and Nordstrom “terrible.” He said Sony had “really stupid leadership” and
described executives at S&P Global, a financial firm, as “losers.”

Before and after he became president, Mr. Trump attacked tech firms, military
contractors, carmakers, cellphone companies, financial firms, drug companies, air-
conditioner makers, sports leagues, Wall Street giants — and many, many media
companies, which he has labeled “shameful,” “dishonest,” “true garbage,” “really
dumb,” “phony,” “failing” and, broadly, “the enemy of the American people.”
Lately, Mr. Trump’s antibusiness rants have become particularly menacing and caused
the stocks of some companies to plunge. His Twitter posts have carried with them the
threat, sometimes explicit, that he is prepared to use the power of the presidency to
undermine the companies that anger him.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, long a booster of Republican presidents, is not


happy. “It’s inappropriate for government officials to use their position to attack an
American company,” said Neil Bradley, the executive vice president and chief policy
officer of the chamber. Mr. Bradley, who did not specifically name Mr. Trump, added
that criticism of companies from politicians “undermines economic growth and job
creation.”

Amazon’s stock price dropped sharply before rebounding this week after Mr. Trump
threatened the company with possible antitrust action. The president’s remark in
November that the merger of AT&T and Time Warner would not be “good for the
country” roiled the continuing antitrust fight between the companies and the
government. His earlier complaint on Twitter that Boeing’s $4 billion price for a new
generation of Air Force One was “out of control” forced a fresh round of negotiations,
although the price fell only to $3.9 billion.

Most presidents have clashed with business interests and industries, sometimes in
ways that generated headlines. But Mr. Trump is unique in singling out individual
companies for ridicule with regularity. And rarely have presidents done so because of a
personal pique or grudge, as happens with Mr. Trump.

“This is an unprecedented situation for companies. The president’s tweets can cause
significant reputational harm,” said Dean C. Garfield, the president of the Information
Technology Industry Council, which represents big technology companies like Amazon,
Dell, Facebook, Google and IBM. “We are now at a place where about 90 percent of
the companies we represent now have a presidential Twitter strategy in place.”

“It’s no laughing matter,” he said.

For many companies, that strategy comes down to waiting out the storm. In recent
days, Amazon has all but ignored the president’s taunts, which he issued in a flurry of
tweets.

“There’s no real advantage going toe-to-toe with him,” said Joe Lockhart, a press
secretary for President Bill Clinton who was a spokesman for the National Football
League, another favorite target of Mr. Trump. “And his attention span is so short, he will
move on. He’ll find another target.”

Associates say the president is often riled up by Amazon’s connection to The


Washington Post, whose owner, Jeff Bezos, founded the retail giant. People close to
the president have said his attacks on one of the country’s largest businesseshave
usually been prompted by articles in The Post that Mr. Trump perceives as negative.

Likewise, the president’s interest in the AT&T merger with Time Warner largely stems
from his repeated clashes with CNN, a subsidiary of Time Warner, which he regards as
biased against him.

Mr. Trump’s lashing out at the N.F.L. — he has repeatedly criticized football players for
kneeling at games and once said he hoped a player “sues the hell out of the @nfl for
incompetence & defamation” — comes in part from his decades-long legal fight with
the N.F.L. after he bought a team in the competing United States Football League.
As a private citizen, Mr. Trump has attacked companies, including calling several times
for boycotts. The remarks served to raise his profile and fed the image of a no-holds-
barred businessman who was unafraid to rebuke his rivals or his critics. But in those
days, such comments had little ability to move stock prices or affect sales.

As a candidate and as the president, Mr. Trump also uses his verbal assaults on
companies to bolster his populist message that he is on the side of workers, not big
business. (Still, Mr. Trump secured a large tax cut last year for corporate America.)

Mr. Trump’s most ardent supporters say they appreciate his willingness to criticize the
corporate establishment.

“He continues to go directly after the companies and not care about political
correctness,” said Terry Bowman, a former Trump campaign organizer who works at a
Ford Motor parts factory in Ypsilanti, Mich. “He says things that a polished politician
would never say. He says things that come directly from the American worker.”

President Barack Obama once singled out Staples, the office supply company, for
failing to provide more health care for its employees. “Shame on them,” he said. Earlier
in his presidency, Mr. Obama broadly criticizedWall Street bankers whose firms took
federal bailout money only to turn around and award bonuses to their executives.

“That is the height of irresponsibility,” Mr. Obama said in 2009 without identifying
specific companies. “It is shameful.”

Mr. Clinton’s Justice Department aggressively pushed to break up Microsoft on the


grounds that it was abusing its monopoly position in personal computing to dominate
the internet.

President John F. Kennedy avoided naming individuals during a fight with the steel
industry in 1962. He criticized “a tiny handful of steel executives whose pursuit of
private power and profit exceeds their sense of public responsibility.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt on occasion assailed business executives as


“malefactors of great wealth,” attributing the memorable phrase to his cousin, Theodore
Roosevelt. Neither president made a practice of identifying specific companies or
executives.

Mr. Trump has had no such reticence.

In his most recent attacks on Amazon, he has accused the company of using the
United States Postal Service as “its Delivery Boy” and claimed that the federal agency
was being ripped off by the online retailer. On Tuesday, he insisted that he was right.

“A report just came out. They said $1.47, I believe, or about that for every time they
deliver a package, the United States government — meaning the post office — loses
$1.47,” the president said.

He added, ominously: “So Amazon is going to have to pay much more money to the
post office. There’s no doubt about that.”

Mr. Trump’s numbers were inaccurate — the Postal Service makes moneyfrom
Amazon — but business executives say such statements have a chilling effect.

When Merck’s chief executive, Kenneth C. Frazier, quit a presidential business council
last year in protest of some of the White House’s policy positions, other members were
initially reluctant to come to his defense for fear of a verbal attack by Mr. Trump. The
council eventually disbanded but only after much internal negotiation among members
to quit in force.

The multiday decline of Amazon’s stock price after Mr. Trump’s repeated jabs at the
company has exacerbated such fears, said Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, a professor at the
Yale School of Management and president of the Chief Executive Leadership Institute.

“Other business leaders don’t want to catch the contagion,” he said.

But he added that refusing to engage could also be risky. He said that Mr. Bezos’s
silence had hurt the company, leaving it exposed to Mr. Trump’s accusations that it
received subsidies from the Postal Service and was not paying its fair share of taxes.

“The right answer for C.E.O.s is not to engage in a mud fight but to come with facts,”
Mr. Sonnenfeld said. “U.P.S. and FedEx have their facts, but we haven’t heard from
Amazon.”