About that AI milk fantasy…


One of the scenarios you hear a lot about in marketing circles is the notion that Consumer X will be driving home and get an alert from his smart refrigerator that he’s out of milk. The car’s smart assistant will then identify a store to get milk, maybe with a preference for convenience or price.

Sounds neat, but have we forgotten that people worked out this whole milk issue years ago? In 1963, some 29.7% of consumers had milk delivered to their homes. But over time, it became seemingly more convenient to pick up milk at the store and the dairy industry figured out a way to make milk last longer.

In 2018, home milk delivery sounds like a fresh idea. And there is at least one company that uses an app to deliver milk to consumers — Doodhwala in India. Why is there no U.S. equivalent? (Moober, anyone?) I’d pay a bit extra for milk delivery, just like I pay for coffee and wine that comes through the mail. And milk (why not add bread too?) is one of those annoying purchases that necessitate a trip to the store.

Sounds like a better plan than having my refrigerator talk to my car, right?


I’m bugged by this cliché

“It’s a bug not a feature” has made the rounds again. I first noticed it in Ted Cruz’s embarrassingly fawning love letter to Donald Trump in Time. Then I saw Paul Krugman in the New York Times note that Trump’s war on the poor was a bug not a feature.  A quick Google search reveals that this line refers to everything from survival to the uterus. The oldest use of this term I could find was from back in 1978.

While I like the fact that a programming-based term has gone mainstream, I prefer a variation from the 1980s group China Crisis, which titled their Walter Becker-produced 1985 album “Flaunt the Imperfection.”

That time everyone was going to quit Facebook

Did you “delete Facebook”? If not, you’re in good company. Facebook’s daily active users in North America increased in the first quarter. Why? People already knew that Facebook was using their data for advertising purposes and were OK with it. That’s not to excuse abuses like the Cambridge Analytica incident, but if people were really upset they’d leave and they’re not.

The Rural Purge and today’s red/blue divide

In 1970, ad execs realized that although shows like Hee Haw and Petticoat Junction had high ratings, people watching those shows couldn’t afford the products being advertised during those telecasts.

As a result, the networks canceled shows that had high ratings but the “wrong” demographics.

About 50 years later, the entertainment industry is more centered on consumers on the coasts than those in flyover country. This allegiance with Blue America then was at least in part driven by economics.