Notes for March 30th 2024

Song of the week:


  • Operational update: I'm going to close my 'tabs' series as a separate post each week & consolidate them into this weekly update note. Cleaner & easier to consume and manage on my end!
  • Operational update 2: I'm a little late posting this as a result of a hectic travel schedule this week.
  • The ongoing story of Apple licensing Google's AI tech for the future is still resonating around the tech world. It's unimaginable that a company that pumped billions into a car project before shelving it couldn't hire brilliant AI specialists to do whatever it needs to do. Keep in mind, Apple even runs its own data centres -- it doesn't license AWS or similar. So this is a rather large emotional shift for them.
    • And this leans into my perspective that AI tech is really 4 layers of technology: the chips/hardware on the bottom, the models (openAI, Gemini, etc.) in the middle with the data layer (training data) and then the UX/UI at the top. Apple is brilliant at the top, Google will dominate the central part due to their proximity to the data needed to make a model remotely useful, and nVidia has already won the hardware layer.
  • I have a tab below about the Canva acquisition of Affinity. This is a big move. As a long-time Affinity customer, it sucks to see them get swallowed up by a bigger company. But even more importantly, Canva have hired $former_job's head of sales, where $former_job triumphs in martech. Canva are truly going after Adobe.
    • And this sent waves through my travel destination last week. Las Vegas. More specifically the Venetian hotel & conference space. Even more specifically, Adobe Summit.
  • Adobe Summit was phenomenal. Vegas is a place you truly have to see to believe, but like most conferences, being there for a full week was rough going. Some folks were there for 2 weeks because the week prior, in the same venue, was ShopTalk. MRC was also on in another venue. Big week for conferences. Adobe puts on a great show.
    • The Summit's main stage talks from Adobe execs and guests was absolutely dominated by AI. Totally, totally dominated. Adobe have pretty slick demos of how AI layers into their stack to scale your marketing. Gone are the days of making personas to target. Now you can create and train AI on a closed-loop system with only your assets/language/etc., to micro-target prospects and customers at scale.
    • My talk went really well. A little nerve-racking to have execs from your company, Adobe and my host agency (a huge global agency) standing 2ft from you. But it went really well.
    • My main goal was to network with folks I've built relationships with, very much so since Cannes Lions 2023. That worked. I also met a bunch of new folks and have a bunch of follow-up and probably business with after, all things going well. Good year for us, even though (like Cannes) we ran a tight ship without a booth or overly-spendy assets on the show floor. Trojan horse tactics!
  • I had one "big" night at Vegas and we Vegas'd hard. Did a little gambling with someone elses money and won a bit on the tables, which was a lot more fun than it should have been. Although being in the Venetian and switching to Caesars and one or two others made no difference; in the casinos, every building is basically the same.