You’re on the waitlist

Kinda strange how some companies start promoting a new product, get you excited and then after you signup they tell you you’re on the waitlist.

Worse, they then hit you with an email followup sequence that typically:

  • congratulates you for being on the waitlist
  • promises to advance you on the waitlist if you tweet about them
  • tells you about the founders and what their hopes are for the product
  • gives you ‘background’ on the product development
  • promises they’ll be in touch soon
  • tells you to stay tuned for more exciting updates


  • they promised you one thing
  • but didn’t deliver that
  • instead annoyed you with useless emails
  • and even worse, asked you to do them a favour and tweet about them.

They provided no value. And yet asked for something.

Someone, somewhere thought this was a good idea for ‘building a list’ – so they could have a ready made audience to promote their product to once it was ready.

Perhaps this old school approach still works – I’m not sure.
But if so, it won’t for long.

People hate this crap.

Email marketing to people who gave you their business card

Just going to put this link from Legal Vision here for future reference.

I come up against this all the time with customers – they collect business cards at tradeshows and events and immediately add the contacts to their email newsletter list.

It can be a bit of an awkward discussion, but it should be clear:

The question is whether a person providing their business card is consent to receiving commercial electronic messages. Under Schedule 1 of the Act, consent is either express or reasonably inferred from the conduct and business relationship of the individual or organisation concerned.

Australian Communications and Media Authority v Clarity1 Pty Ltd (ABN 60 106 529 604) and Another (2006) 229 ALR 658

Summary: don’t send emails to people who haven’t given you their consent. And if you have to ask for clarification on whether they’ve given you their consent, assume they haven’t.

AI disruption and jobs

Fascinating interview with Andrew Ng, Baidu’s chief AI scientist (via The Ringer).

About Andrew:

A former AI researcher at Stanford, Ng is best known for spearheading the Google Brain initiative, an ambitious artificial-intelligence project that helped advance Silicon Valley’s understanding of deep-learning techniques. Instead of being programmed to respond to specific actions, a deep learning system is fed massive amounts of data from which it is able to discern patterns over time, loosely mimicking how the human mind absorbs information. Ng’s system at Google famously figured out what a cat looks like after scanning millions of online images.

Worth reading in full for his views on how AI will displace jobs, what that really means, and how we can prepared for it. Here’s a taste:

Do you think there could be a point when politicians or the general public will be actively hostile toward AI research and view it as a threat to their livelihood? How do we avoid that kind of outcome?

AN: One thing that concerns me is when AI researchers whitewash the issue. I think there is a temptation to pretend the issue is the specter of these evil AI killer robots. It’s a PR distraction from the real issue, which is job displacement. I think that researchers have a responsibility to talk about the real problem and be honest and transparent about what might need to happen and also to contemplate solutions — which I think is providing [for] the education of communities as well as the support so that every person has an equal path to doing equal work.

SEO predictions for 2017

I predict there’s going to be lots of prediction posts…

Seriously though, amongst the click bait guff there’s a few good ones. Here’s one from Rand for instance.

#8 is on the money in my opinion:

#8: 2017 will be the year Google admits publicly they use engagement data as an input to their ranking systems, not just for training/learning

The implications are clear: User Experience will be the path to better rankings.

Robot stuff

It’s getting closer and closer via BBC Technology’s post commenting on a European Parliament draft report from in May 2016:

The report suggests that robots, bots, androids and other manifestations of artificial intelligence are poised to “unleash a new industrial revolution, which is likely to leave no stratum of society untouched”.


This could, if not properly prepared for, “pose a challenge to humanity’s capacity to control its own creation and, consequently, perhaps also to its capacity to be in charge of its own destiny and to ensure the survival of the species”.

The EU is suggesting laws for kill switches and whether robots could potentially have ‘electronic person’ legal status.

And yes, Isaac Asimov’s laws are referred to as providing some useful rules to help…

You can’t make this stuff up.

Snapchat Surgery

When I initially read about a surgeon using Snapchat Spectacles to livestream a surgery I was ready to take the piss. But it actually turns out to be fascinating. And useful – all his students could watch it on their phones.

Here’s the another he’s done – with context – which he posted on YouTube:

Where do birds go when they die?

I’ve often wondered why I don’t often see dead birds – and especially now that we’ve moved and our apartments is surrounded by lovely birds all the time.

Turns out the answer is sad, and beautiful, thanks to Marie Hulett’s post from 2014.

In summary, from Marie’s post:

Generally, animals sense when they are not doing well, and seek out well-concealed, off-the-beaten-path locations to hide and convalesce.

and then:

When sick or injured birds do not survive, their bodies remain hidden. Attracted by the smell of decay, scavengers of all kinds quickly begin cleaning up. Insects, microscopic organisms, and carrion-eaters make short order of the very digestible avian remains. The earth itself will use elements of the decomposing carcasses to replenish nutrients in the soil, which will in turn enhance plant growth in the immediate area. The cycle of life continues in this way; nature wastes nothing.

Worth reading here for the full, beautiful explanation.