August 3, 2016

Snapgram and Instachat

The Hustle Wed, August 3 Or is it the other way around? Keep getting them confused… The highest form of flattery Yesterday, Instagram introduced its newest feature called “Instagram Stories,” and our reaction — check that, the entire internet’s reaction — went something like this: “So… it’s, uhhhh, Snapchat?” Yup, pretty much. In fact, despite […]

The HustleWed, August 3

Or is it the other way around? Keep getting them confused…

The highest form of flattery

Yesterday, Instagram introduced its newest feature called “Instagram Stories,” and our reaction — check that, the entire internet’s reaction — went something like this:

“So… it’s, uhhhh, Snapchat?”

Yup, pretty much. In fact, despite a few minor differences, Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories are clones. And Instagram’s CEO, Kevin Systrom, is fine admitting that.

“[Snapchat] deserves all the credit,” he said. “But this isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”

What kind of spin is the ‘Gram putting on it?

There are a couple differences between Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories that immediately stand out.

First, Instagram Stories let users pause (hold your finger down) or rewind back to the previous slide (tap the left side of the screen), which makes it feel less “self-destructive-y” (new word we just invented) than Snapchat’s version.

Second, Instagram’s new-ish sorting algorithm will prioritize Stories based on who you interact with the most, as opposed to whoever posted most recently like how Snapchat does.

But if Instagram wins this battle…

It won’t be because of subtle interface differences. And while being able to block specific followers from seeing your Stories is awesome, it won’t be because of that, either.

Rather, they’ll win because Instagram is now a two-for-one special that already has some legitimate advantages over Snapchat to begin with.

Like…

Remember when we talked about how hard it is to find new people to follow on Snapchat? Well, it couldn’t be easier on Instagram with the built-in search and recommendations since it’s plugged into Facebook rather than your contacts.

That means it’s a breeze to find and follow hundreds if not thousands of your favorite friends, brands, and celebrities and, as a result, Instagram Stories has the potential to serve significantly more content than Snapchat’s OG version.

And more content means more followers which means more engagement.

And more engagement means… more ads!

For the past couple years Instagram’s been turning on the jets when it comes to ad revenue. With just over 500m monthly active users, the ‘Gram is expected to pull $1.5B in advertising revenue this year and triple it to $5B by 2018.

In order to get to those numbers, however, they’ll need to keep the engagement up and Stories is one way of doing it.

But before you shed a tear for Snapchat, consider that they got to be a “thing” in the first place through innovation and there’s always a chance they’ll come up with another, equally addicting and stealable idea.

Or they’ll just turn into the new Vine.

 

Scottish accents and AI don’t mix

Apparently Scots have a hard time using voice recognition software. Something about the rolled “r” making it nearly impossible for Siri or Google Assistant to recognize even the most basic commands.

While this was news to us, apparently it’s been on Google’s radar. And over the weekend, a person affiliated with Google posted an open call on Reddit, offering $36 to people with Scottish and British accents to record themselves speaking 2,000 simple phrases.

Stuff like, “Google, what’s the time?” or “eleven.”

Better tackle this issue sooner rather than later

On the surface, the loss in translation doesn’t seem like that big of deal if Groundskeeper Willie and his enemy Sheamus can’t ask Siri to start a countdown timer or tell them a joke.

But these problems have sparked a larger debate regarding universal access to technology and the prevention of a ‘speech divide’ — when certain functions work well for one ethnic group but not another.

That means rigorously training speech recognition software to function properly for everyone, not just the current majority.

In the immortal words of William Wallace, “Ok Google, text the king that he may take our lives, but he’ll never take our freedom. Send.”

*Beep beep* Sorry, I don’t understand, William. I need to get some pajamas.

 

Tech rules everything around me

As of yesterday morning, the five largest companies in the US (in terms of market cap) are now all tech companies: Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook.

ExxonMobil, which has been in the top five every year since 1980, dropped out when it’s market cap fell to $356B — $8B less than Amazon’s $364B.

Just for some perspective…

These were the five largest companies in the US 10 years ago (2006):

  1. ExxonMobil

  2. General Electric

  3. Microsoft

  4. Citigroup

  5. Bank of America

And our predictions for the top five in 2026

  1. Hostess – An unseasonably long winter drains food supplies, forcing everyone to live only on Twinkies and Sno Balls.

  2. SoulCycle – The subsequent obesity epidemic forces 80% of the world’s population to seek empowerment through high-energy music.

  3. Microsoft – Bill Gates has a nervous breakdown, takes back the company, and starts wearing only black turtlenecks with faded dad jeans. This somehow keep the company relevant.

  4. Musk’s Martian Bar and Grill – After Elon colonizes Mars, he opens a fast-casual steakhouse. The mashed potatoes are out of this world…

  5. The Hustle – Formerly a media company, now a global coffee importer/exporter with ties to organized crime.

 

Something to smile about!

Hope you’re sitting down for this one. Yesterday afternoon, The Associated Press reported that flossing has never actually been shown to prevent gum disease or tooth decay.

Basically, dentists have been encouraging people to floss their teeth for over 100 years even though there’s only “weak, unreliable” evidence with a “moderate to large potential for bias.”

Wait, what?

How this happened

Dentist Levi Spear Parmly invented floss in the early 1800s and, by the time the first patent was issued in 1874, for some reason dentists were already widely recommending it to unsuspecting patients.

See, back then no one had to prove the effectiveness of remedies which meant people could claim whatever they wanted.

Seeing that every dentist was all about flossing, the American Dental Association started promoting floss in 1908 and no one really questioned it until just about right now.

Or in other words, someone made up a fact that got WAY out of hand, forcing dental shame and pain over the next couple hundred years.

So, no more lying to the dentist about flossing?

Correct. Brushing with fluoride has been proven to prevent tooth decay but there are no randomized clinical trials to show that flossing or toothbrushing without toothpaste contributes to healthy teeth.

But the flip side is that we can’t say they don’t contribute either.

If you’re a flosser, continuing the habit won’t hurt your teeth so keep on rocking if you feel more comfortable. Just don’t give me that judgy look while you do it.

Forward this story to your favorite flosser or anti-dentite.

 
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Kendall “BRB, busy ‘Gramming” Baker
WRITER
John Havel
EDITOR
Art Vandelay
IMPORTER/EXPORTER
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