As I mentioned last time, I know you probably don’t have enough content in your life.

That’s why I’m asking my fellow friends, entrepreneurs, and entertainers one really good question, and I’ll share with you the answer I get here. While I can’t make any promises, I’ll try to get the smartest, hippest, edgiest, and hopefully sexiest people I know to answer and we’ll see what happens. Without further adieu!:


I was messaging with Justin Malvin last night. He’s my little nerd crush and favorite guy to get poke bowls and debate business models with on weeknights. Oh yeah, Justin is an incredible Product Manager for Mobile Apps with Guess?, Inc. (The jean company!). 

SO I asked Justin WTF is 2019 all about for him and this is what I got: 

2019 will be the year the best companies cover the skeleton of their machine learning and automations with the skin of humanity. At this point we have largely mastered the technology behind relevant and personalized recommendations based on things like past purchase history, implied intent, and wishlisting.

Sites and apps are less hard coded content these days and more a tapestry of “zones” of dynamic content. These zones load hundreds if not thousands of different experiences based on specific user data collected from a broad array of touchpoints, both on our own properties and on the open web. The issue with dynamic content zones is they are skeletal, robotic, and obviously algorithmic. Worse, they are unabashed in exposing their true mission: “Make the human looking at me buy more.”

In 2019, companies will begin to move away from such cold and unapologetic code-based capitalism. The problem can not be outrun. Users know what an ad looks like, even if it’s “native.” Shoppers know that “recommendations” are simply the mathematical output of other shoppers’ pseudo-similar inputs. We will not step away from giant-scale optimizations and big data, but we will need to form the end user experience into something more real, and more human.

Google has firmly planted the first stake with their Duplex A.I., an intelligence so human it can make phone calls and book appointments in the way a true assistant does, totally undetected by the receptionist on the other end. That’s a major milestone for individual users, but what of the modern retail ecommerce enterprise that has millions upon millions of real people step through its virtual doors daily?

The best companies will leverage Duplex-like technology to revolutionize the garish “Recommended” and “Customers also bought” sections of their sites. They will design, build, and deploy user experiences indistinguishable from any high-touch human contact point in their business, but fully automated, and scaled to meet their millions of customers with billions of authentic and warm opportunities to interact with the brand.”

Note from Ben: Now you see why I like poke bowls with Justin

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