This week I kept seeing the recurring theme of convenience. Whether it was a story about how cell phones can be used for monitoring disease carrying mosquitos to a new Amazon Echo Virtual Stylist that will judge your new outfit. There is a new portable scanner that will test the pesticides in your fruit and even a scientific study on how to strike the best pose in a portrait. Yes, convenience is increasingly getting more protective, technical and available in places we never expected.
Looking for a dispassionately honest opinion on how you actually look in that outfit? Amazon might offer the answer in their latest update for the Amazon Echo, which offers a video camera and artificial fashion assistance. While it might be strange to imagine technology taking the role of your personal stylist, it is hard to argue with the convenience of it. The technology is selectively shipping out to invited customers over the coming weeks.
Apparently, mosquitos emit a very particular sound based on their species and researchers recently uncovered that cell phones could be used to listen for that sound and help them identify and even eliminate those mosquitos more easily. As the technology gets smarter, it makes you wonder what other things in nature or in our daily lives have a frequency and sound that could be tracked.
This app is one to keep away from your friends who might be pranksters – because it allows them to pick your next date. The tool, though, is just another example of a sort of extreme convenience that we are increasingly seeing in apps where even dating can be taken out of our hands and made as easy as pushing a button (and even one that sometimes a friend can push on your behalf). This might even bring around a new western trend of arranged marriages if enterprising parents find their way onto the app.
The news this week that McDonald’s has a new partnership with UberEats was easy to ignore or ridicule. After all, how deep does some people’s need for junk food need to be for them to get McDonald’s delivered? This article, though, offers an interesting take on why this might be a more significant move than any of us realize, because of the sheer size and ubiquity of McDonald’s and the fact that the brand already has significant experience in offering delivery outside the US. What if McDonald’s is the innovator paving the way for many others?
The more educated we get about the food that we regularly eat, the more demanding we become as consumers to truly understand the way that it is produced and brought to us. The latest tool in this ongoing consumer empowerment is this device that will literally scan your food to track the amount of chemicals and pesticides it contains. These type of personal tracking devices seem ready to explode in popularity because they add a new level of transparency to how the food that makes it to our tables was actually produced.
Who hasn’t wondered how to look their best in a photo? Now science may have the answer for you, based on this interesting effort from a photographer to test many angles, styles and lenses when doing portrait photography. The answer is a bit involved and requires a “real” camera in order to truly reproduce in the best way, but the article is a fun read and one that guaranteed to be useful for even the less vain among us.
How Are These Stories Chosen?
Every week I review more than a hundred data sources to curate the best and most under appreciated marketing stories of the week. The aim of this email is to spotlight these “non-obvious” stories, along with a quick take on why they matter for you. I hope you find this email interesting and useful … and am always open to your suggestions on how I might make it better!