Updates from Paul Spain

The two faces of Social Media: It’s changing how we interact and not always in a good way

Let’s talk about Facebook and other forms of social media. Look how good they are for keeping in touch. Friends, families, especially when people are travelling but so many users. And great is you don’t have to spend all those hours on the phone like we used to be. When you have issues, nowadays, you can do most of that online. And of course, businesses love social media for connecting with people too. But is there a dark side? Is there an underbelly to social media? Well, we’ve heard recently, people are getting hit with fines for what they post to social media. So, can you get in trouble? Should you be worried? What about online addictions? How should we address these matters?

My Thoughts

So, we definitely have some issues with social media. Very easy to fall into negative or bad practices with social media.

Maybe sharing stuff that really isn’t so positive or getting tied up in, when you got lots of likes. Lots of shares and re-shares, tweets and re-tweets.

And of course, there’s that temptation to share information that maybe isn’t quite right, isn’t quite accurate.

Recently, we heard of an individual in the UK, who, across boarders from the US was fined over a quarter of a million dollars for doing what they thought were doing anonymously which was sharing a terror threat against an airline that were maybe disgruntled with and of course, they weren’t going to carry this out.

But ultimately, it’s going to put them in a pretty difficult spot with such a big fine. In New Zealand, there was a case, around a million dollars was in question.

Now, this was settled out of court but one of the results of it was that we now believe, that people could be held liable for just simply liking a Facebook post.

A Facebook post maybe that’s libelers are wrong. So, we need to be really cautious around what we do online.

And then we have businesses that are spending huge amounts of money to protect their reputations online, to promote themselves online and sometimes shoving junk down our throats, quite frankly.

So, what should we do? Well for individuals, I think it’s really important within our homes, within our families, we think about how do we get the best out of social media, and how do we leave the negative side effects behind?

Some families, that means putting in place some formal constraints about where and when devices and gadgets and social media are getting used, where they don’t get used. In some homes, that means no devices at the dinner table, in bedrooms and you know, certain times only for doing the social media.

And then there’s thinking about what do you post online and you know, I guess my thought there is I would encourage positive use of social media.

Think of a social media interaction just like an interaction with an individual in person. Bring your best to the table.

Bring something positive and uplifting. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

We see way too much where people are being bullied and hurt online from horrible comments. That’s just not needed.

Now, for businesses, what should you be doing? Well, think of how you can help, how you can serve your customers.

What can you share that’s going to help them? Put that before your thoughts about how you promote and sell. Serve your customers through social media first and foremost. If you get that right, then the sales, they will come.

Hey, that’s it for me this week. I’m Paul Spain. You can find my updates –

AI (Artificial Intelligence): Who’s doing it, and how can you take advantage of it?

Artificial Intelligence or AI. It’s a term that we hear actually, a lot today. Particularly in reference to new things that are merging or coming through, like autonomous vehicles. But what is it? What’s it all about and why have Microsoft, Google, and even Obama, being in the news, about recently?

My Thoughts

So, it’s just been in the news, that there’s fake footage of Obama.

This was generated, using Artificial Intelligence technology that took his real voice, took some footage of him and then adjusted that footage to say what was said in the recording.

Obama: Symbolizes some progress at least within the small confines of the legal community….

But this could’ve just easily been somebody faking him, his voice and then, by putting his lips, and motions and movements to those words. So, Artificial Intelligence is very powerful.

Microsoft has just announced that their Microsoft Research Division is putting one-tenth of their staff to focus on artificial intelligence. This is a massive area for the future. And we looked at who the companies are, that is, really, heavily investing in this.

It’s Facebook, it’s Google, it’s IBM, it’s Microsoft. Really, the big technology players are investing heavily in this. What’s exciting though, is that their investments don’t lock everyday individuals and businesses out because most of them are making those advances available.

So, anybody can draw on their technologies. So, we have some exciting things ahead. What sort of things can you expect?

Well, autonomous cars are already mentioned. They’re very much reliant on this Artificial Intelligence technology.

We are already starting to see now personalized tutors. So, these are tutors that would be smarter than an individual person to gauge where you are and how you are progressing with your learning.

That’s coming through right now, from a company here in New Zealand, where I’m based. So, really, there is a huge amount of development where you see, of course, things like facial recognition.

Right now, we now utilize something like Siri on your smartphone or the competitive products from Google, Microsoft, Amazon.

Well, these are using Artificial Intelligence on their background, to figure out what you’re saying and to understand that even if there’s another noise or if you’ve got an unusual accent.

All of that is being dealt with by Artificial Intelligence and the reason that this is moving forward so quickly right now is because of the massive increasing computing power.

If we look back just a few years, we have an absolute fraction of the amount of processing power that we have today that continues to grow at a somewhat exponential rate.

So, we can expect to see Artificial Intelligence just become a normal, everyday thing over the next few years ahead. And some of those things, well, we’re already used to living with right now.

So, what’s next? What do you need to be prepared for? Well, my suggestion is to keep a lookout on what is happening in Artificial Intelligence.

If you’re an individual, then play around with those things like the little assistant that’s on your smartphone. Get a feel for how Artificial Intelligence can work to help you.

I personally use that technology when I’m in my car and I’m driving, so that I can be safe but still communicating with people, have messages read to me and I transcribe messages back to them. And I’ve been using that technology for five years or so, so very helpful.

In businesses, well, there are lots of opportunities. And businesses should be looking to tap into the power of the leaders in that space.

Tap into what IBM, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and so on are doing and be inspired by watching what the top players are doing, how people are invading and think about how could this apply to your organization.

Hey, thanks for joining me. This has been Paul Spain. You can track me down for further updates –

Amazon vs Retail – what does their supermarket purchase mean?

Amazon has announced that they are buying Whole Foods Market. Now, Whole Foods is one of the biggest supermarket chains in the U.S. Now, Amazon, is huge. They are a behemoth. They’re worth nearly half a trillion U.S. dollars. So, this move is certainly something that shakes up the retail world especially those that are running supermarkets around the world. In fact, stock prices, some of these are already plummeting. So, what does this mean for you? As a consumer, or somebody in business?

My Thoughts

Let’s look back. Last year, Amazon showed off a new concept in retail where you would walk into a store, just scan your phone and then grab whatever you wanted off the store shelves and walk out again. No cashier, no checkout.

AmazonGo is the name of the first version of this concept. And it’s something that sounds quite transformative in terms of retail. We, of course, know that Amazon will be working on lots of other things to change the buying experience for consumers.

For instance, you have the ability of Amazon to ship goods for free, some things delivered within one hour. Groceries, books, electronics, all sorts of products.

So, they’re really are stirring things up. Add in the sorts of technologies that they’ve been experimenting with and using a new practical basis for a number of years like robotics, drones, of course, comes into that experimental feel for them.

They’re really leading the charge in terms of change in the area of retail, both in the U.S and around the world. Leading to massive disruption over the years.

Uniquely, Amazon tend to be quite comfortable to operate without making a profit. So, this is another thing, obviously scares some other retailers who are already dealing with thin margins, finding it hard to make a profit, competing to a company that doesn’t seem too interested in making profits.

What’s happening now is, this is a thirteen-billion-dollar acquisition for Amazon, not too much money for them to have acquired Whole Food in the scheme of it. What it means is that, we will see probably an acceleration of what Amazon have been doing in terms of trying to turn the retail world upside-down within a direct online selling.

This really put’s them squarely into people’s neighborhood, certainly in the U.S where people will see those stores.

Now, we don’t know exactly what they’re going to do and of course, in the past, Amazon have taken some different approaches.

Zappos, purchased quite a number of years ago, they’ve let that operate fairly independently from the Amazon as their peer on. So, there’s no guarantee on what they’re going to do, but I think certainly, there will be a number of organizations that are feeling a little bit uneasy.

So, what’s my recommendation for you? Well, as an individual, I think, look, it’s important that we keep an eye on what’s going on out there.

We utilize the best of technology that’s coming through. Don’t be scared about the changes that are taking place.

Sure, if you’re working in the supermarket and the retail world, well, think about how you can add more value on what you do so that you’re a valuable player regardless of what happens in terms of disruption to that industry so that you’re super valuable wherever you’re working and will be valuable in another industry too. So, that’s important.

If you’re not working in that space, well, you get to kind of watch and enjoy the ride of wave where the technology is taking us. If you’re in business, well, if you’re in the retail space, then you want to do what I recommend for all businesses just to stay in the forefront of technology, utilizing what’s happening, know what’s coming, what changes are happening in your industry and work on how you can differentiate your business, how can you deliver something that’s unique and better and really serves your customers in a fantastic way.

If you’re doing that, you minimize what the impact is of these big, global players as they start coming in and try to eat your lunch which is not something you probably want.

Alright, well, that’s it for me this week. So, thank you for joining me on the video. You can of course follow me on social media and you can find my updates by registering at

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Apple’s new HomePod, Macs and iPad Pro – are they for you?

So, this week in San Jose, California, Apple have been holding their worldwide Developer’s Conference. Lots and lots of announcements, the highlights are around new Apple Mac’s refreshers with the iPad Pro and also, the HomePod.

My Thoughts

So, it’s clear to say that some Mac fans’ been losing a bit of faith in Apple because a lot of the Macs just hadn’t been refreshed for a long time.

Well, this week, Apple’s gone a long way to putting that right. We’ve seen a refresh with the iMac and with all of the MacBooks to a degree at least. So, that’s certainly going to help.

We’ve also had announcements around the upcoming iMac Pro, an incredibly powerful new Mac that will start at 5,000 USD.

So, this is really focused on the professional market but it’s great to see Apple committed to those professionals again.

Also coming through in the future is the new Mac Pro, also, very much a professional end product. We’ve got a refresh with the iPad Pro and the software changes there.

They’re going to make the iPad Pro, I think, a whole lot more useful for those that are wanting to ditch their Mac, ditch their laptop and actually just operate from a tablet so this is great news.

The other thing that Apple have announced, it’s still someway off, it’s going to be December before it launches but it’s the HomePod.

Now, the HomePod, I guess competes with things like the Sonos, speakers, that people have around their homes and also with other speaker-assistant products such as the Amazon Echo launching at 350 USD in December in three countries.

This is looking pretty interesting, Apple certainly bringing the unique take to this space.

So, what does it all mean for you? Well, I think for individuals, who are using a Mac, and you’ve been waiting for that refresh, now might be the right time.

Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any refresh on the Mac Mini so that’s one that’s being left out and only a very minor update to the MacBook Air so that’s not a product I would recommend anyone buying at the moment. But if you need to refresh what you’ve got, have a look at what’s available.

Now, there’s all sorts of benefits of keeping your technology up-to-date and you know, organizations are making sure they get great outcomes with technology.

They want their staff to be productive, and they people want to enjoy what they’re working on and certainly don’t want interruptions from old, failing technology.

So, lots of benefits for keeping up-to-date and in terms of the new speaker from Apple, well, that’s a pretty interesting one. I’m looking forward to getting hands-on it but that’s still a way off. If you can’t wait, well, go out and get something that serves your needs now.

Hey, that’s it for me this week. Thank you very much for joining me. You can keep up-to-date with my videos, newsletters by visiting – Alright, I’ll see you again for my video, this time, next week.

Intel Compute Card

Guess what we have? The next thing in computing has just arrived from Intel, it is the compute card. We used to have big computers, smaller computers, varying sizes but this takes this down a notch further, to a little credit card-sized computer, 5 millimeters thick.

My Thoughts

So we’ve got used to having a whole range of computers available to us and since the A.D’s, the personal computers’ been pretty common.

The Mac, it is very popular devices in varying forms, laptops, tablets and of course smartphones.

They’re in just about every pocket and the most recent smartphones from Microsoft and from Samsung if carried, a sort of a PC type capability where you can plug them into a screen, a keyboard and, and mouse which has been interesting. But you couldn’t run all your, traditional software and it just really didn’t have the full computing power of a standard PC.

Well, that’s changed, the compute card from Intel puts an Intel I-7 chip onto this credit-card sized computer.
Now, you might be wondering, “What can I do with a credit-card sized computer?”

Well, it’s got no screen, doesn’t have any of that. What you do is it will plug into a screen and then the future I can imagine, plugged into a laptop that doesn’t have its own power, plug into a tablet.

So, that’s really what this is about but imagine a next wave will be much like those smartphones that can link into a full-blown computer but then taking it the next level where you would just keep it in your pocket and it would wirelessly connect to whatever computing device.

Maybe you walk up to a wall with a projector and it connects to that, so you will be able to have that full computing power, full-blown computer but it just disappears into the device you’ll carry, smartphone or whatever the next great innovation is that we carry with us.

That’s where we’re hitting, and we’re here today with the launch of this compute card.

So, what does it mean for us? Well, what I recommend is, don’t wait for the next wave of technology, always be keeping current.

The benefit of that for you is if you’re on something a little bit older, it’s going to be holding you back. So jumping on board with what’s current right now will probably help you out in your business, in whatever you’re doing on a computer, so don’t be left behind.

Of course, be thinking about what this next wave of innovation might enable you to do and there’s probably some great benefits that we will see in time.

Well folks, thanks very much for joining me. Now, I am here every week with an update on technology, so don’t miss out on those updates. Join me by following here or go to – and you can sign up for my regular email updates. Alright, thanks! Catch you later.

Future Tech Changes – Get Positioned Accordingly

Last Thursday, I was privileged to have the opportunity to keynote at CBAFF, a conference communicating with those in the customs broking and freight forwarding industry, so let’s dive in and look at some of those things that I discussed that are actually relevant to all of us about where technology is taking our lives.

My Thoughts

So where are we ten years ago, smartphones were unusual, not many people have them but now they’re just the norm. So, what do the next few years ahead of us hold?

Well, autonomous vehicles’ one thing right now used in a few places, they used to truck things around in the mining industry in Western Australia. We see them do it millions of miles around the world and test companies like Waymo, Uber, Ford and so on.

These companies are out on the roads with their vehicles but still unusual, in five years won’t be uncommon for us to be seeing and maneuvering around within autonomous vehicles as it will be for the trucking industry and for the freight industry.

The Internet, well we get a pretty reasonable internet in a lot of the parts of the world at the moment, other parts, not so much. Well, that’s all changing. We’re seeing governments rolling out really fast internet through mobile networks, fibre optics.

We have companies like Alphabet and SpaceX who are working on new ways to deliver the internet everywhere so the internet will become much more accessible right across our population, much lower costs, faster.

So, they’ve changed it, what else? Well, we’ve really got all sorts of changes that are going to flip things on its head.

Things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, the blockchain, there are all sorts of pieces that will change our worlds and be looking ahead ten years, it’s going to be dramatically different for all of us in our workplaces and our normal day-to-day lives.

What does that mean for you? Well, as individuals, we need to embrace the technologies and work out how we make sure we’re positioned both ourselves, our families, our children.

How do we make sure that in the next ten years that we’re in a good place that we don’t see the technology changes displacing our work and leaving us stuck?

What else, well, businesses, they’re going to have to deal with some interesting challenges, as well governments because there will be some employment that will disappear but there are all sorts of new opportunities, there will be new jobs, but employers and organizations need to be thinking around, “how do we embrace these new technologies to ensure that our organizations are still around and the years to come that they’re not displaced, they’re not bumped out?”

So, important now within your own organization to make sure you’re thinking five, ten years out, what should the organization look like, and when you establish that strategy, realize that you just can’t sit on a strategy.

Now, organizations need to keep adjusting, updating and reworking what they do because the disruption will be continuous.

So, there are good possibilities ahead, it’s just a matter of making sure that we position ourselves, governments will have some challenges ahead, but I think those that are forward-thinking will navigate this well and will have great results.

Well, that’s it for me this week. You can catch my updates, and of course you can follow me on social media. Alright, thanks!