Money Is Not Everything

Even though Jeff Bezos is now worth $151.4 billion, it doesn’t mean that he didn’t throw a hissy fit this past Monday when his company’s website went down minutes after Amazon Prime Day 2018 started. I heard he went crazy. This event was in the making for more than a year.

Why didn’t someone predict that such a disaster could happen? I would have easily been the one to question the capacity of the servers. What makes me so insightful? The answer is obvious. Experience.

We had a client who was introducing a free WiFi cell service on a technology called voice over Internet (VoIP). Our PR agency, HWH PR, convinced David Pogue, then a writer for the New York Times, to cover the introduction. Our client, Line2, opened for business the day David ran the story. Seventeen thousand folks read the piece and immediately went to the website to sign up for the service.

It didn’t take long for the entire system to go down. That was a decade ago, and it took over a week to get the website working again. All the orders were gone and we had to start all over. It was a nightmare, but I learned a great lesson. Find out if a server can handle thousands, or millions, of folks accessing a website at the same time. Probably not. Heavy duty backup systems need to be put into place.

I do feel bad for the richest man in the world. I feel worse for the people he blamed. I’m sure it was not a pretty scene. Bezos’ ego was being tested. It wasn’t that he was losing money. It was that his company was out-of-control. For a man who seeks complete perfection, this was a day he never wants to see again.

Something New On The Menu

There is no secret that most restaurants are having a tough time making ends meet. We don’t go out to a restaurant without calling first to make sure they are still in business. You never know. We have shown up at a few restaurants only to find out that they closed a day or two earlier.

A company named Spacious, located in New York and San Francisco, is trying to help the restaurant industry. They created a new concept so restaurants can make money and get exposure to potential new clients.

Spacious is converting 25 popular restaurants in New York and San Francisco into weekday work spaces. That means restaurants who are closed for breakfast and lunch can now get paid for renting out their dining rooms. Restaurants make great work spaces for the community.

Bars and tables become desks and booths are conference rooms. For folks who would like to consider a restaurant as a workspace, it will cost $99 per month on an annual basis, or $129 by the month.

Will this work?

Spacious just received $9 million in venture capital and plans to sign up 100 more restaurants.

You can read about Spacious in the New York Times and here

Groupon Up For Sale

I remember my girlfriend Ruth telling me she thought the founders of Groupon, the leaders in daily deals on the Internet, were nuts because they turned down a $6 billion buyout from Google just a few years after they started. I agreed with her. We had a good laugh about how greedy they were.

A year later they were worth $16 billion after a 2011 IPO, which was the second largest for a tech company during those years. Ruth and I stopped laughing. We should have started crying that we weren’t the ones who came up with the idea. Ruth became a big Groupon customer. She always included us in the fun activities she bought. To this day, she and her husband Howard, are always going to amazing events that were presented on Groupon.

That’s why I was so startled when I read that Groupon was putting itself up for sale. Recode, a leading tech site, announced the sale. I later learned that Groupon is now valued at just $2.4 billion.

It doesn’t make sense that a very successful and popular company suddenly starts to go sour. I often wonder why it’s so easy for an entrepreneur to start a business but not as easy to keep it going forever?

For clues to what went wrong with Groupon read Recode. Click here.

Smile, You’re On Surveillance Camera

The last two DigiDame posts were about how technology is being used to monitor our every move. Today, I got a real scare when the New York Times sent me an alert about how “China is using facial recognition and artificial intelligence to identify and track 1.4 billion people.”

Just look at the photo from the Times. It shows exactly how the Chinese authorities are keeping records of all of their citizens. It’s very unnerving to know that 1.4 billion people have cameras watching them all the time. I worry that the rest of the world may also be going in this direction.

We are living in times when we just don’t know what’s going to happen next. I often question if technology is giving power to the wrong people. One of my new clients will be introducing smart glasses that will be able to track your emotions and intentions. The purpose is to help people understand what the other person is thinking. I don’t know how well the glasses will work, but I do know that technology is going to change our lives in ways we never imagined.

Check out the New York Times story.

Meet The Press, Our Style

If you were anywhere near this crazy foursome last night in North Beach, Miami, you would have heard a loud and lively conversation about how our smart TV’s are now screening everything we watch, and then sharing that information with our other Internet devices. We are now being monitored from our TV sets, cell phones, iPads, virtual assistants and other smart appliances.

The reason? To help advertisers identify exactly who we are and precisely what we would like to buy.

Meredith Stark (L), a former CBS TV executive, was the first to mention a story she read in the New York Times yesterday morning that talked about how a company, called Samba TV, was tracking 13.5 million TVs. Samba funding was provided by Time Warner, Liberty Global and Mark Cuban.

Regulators and privacy groups are outraged about how we are being targeted, manipulated and judged by the shows we watch. Meanwhile, this practice marches on. I must say some folks like being targeted because they get what they want faster. Others are scared that their every move is being captured.

Which one are you? We all had mixed opinions even though we all agreed that we are being controlled more and more. That could lead to some very strange times ahead.

Read the story in the New York Times.

Seven Minutes In Heaven

If you can spare $250,000, you may be one of the first to take a ride in space.

Blue Origin, SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are the first space flight companies that want to take you for a ride. All three have famous owners with sizable egos so you are going to be wooed.

Think twice before you let Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk or Richard Branson convince you. The ride may last 15 minutes but your body is going to take a bit of a beating. You are going to experience, a roller coaster feeling during take off, weightlessness during the ride, and then a drop landing with a parachute.

There is no bathroom on board so do your business beforehand. I guess I’m going to have to read about it because I have no interest in going. Feeling seasick is a big issue for me, so I will just be a spectator. Click below to read a story which will give you a good understanding of what to expect.

How to Get Great Fireworks Photos with Your Phone

Photos by Eliot Hess

How To Get Great Fireworks Photos With Your Phone

The following story appeared on the tech site Techlicious.

The co-owner, Suzanne Kantra, did a remarkable job detailing how to get the best fireworks pictures ever. Enjoy

Suzanne Kantra July 03, 2018

Click here.

Isn’t This Adorable?

There is something about this houseboat that is calling my name. I just love the look of it. It’s available in two different styles. It would be so nice to have a houseboat that’s not too big to manipulate, yet comfortable enough for sleepovers.

I live right next to a marina. I see boats all the time. I’m not really interested in fast or fancy ones. I would just like a comfortable houseboat to float around in and spend some time on the water, especially overnight. It could be a great inexpensive second home.

The Le Koroc three-float pontoon houseboat is priced around $61,000 and is from a Quebec design firm called Daigno. It’s considered a tiny houseboat.

At 5,640 pounds, the Le Koroc is light enough to tow with a medium-sized pickup truck or SUV. It’s also said to be easy to move on land. It measures 26-foot long by 8-foot 6-inch wide.

Read more about the details of this tiny houseboat in Digital Trends. Click here.

Let me know if you are thinking of buying one.

Be sure to watch the above video for a complete demonstration.

Smartphone Secrets

Before I get into today’s topic, I urge you to read yesterday’s DigiDame. I wrote it so early yesterday that I forgot to post it in time for the email blast. I don’t want you to miss the New York Times story I was referring to. It is a good read. Check it out here.

I do some work with I saw this slide show and felt you should see it too. You may not realize the pitfalls of using a smartphone so much. Proceed with caution.