Pondering Personal Data, Online Privacy and the eCommerce Experience while I wait for the Semantic Web to arrive. I am a co-founder of First Retail Inc. - a bootstrapped startup in the Bay Area of California working to leverage semantic web technologies to improve the online commerce experience.

Digital Nervous Systems for Retailers

Last week’s press reported retailers visibly quaking in their boots at Amazon’s proposed purchase of Wholefoods. The Amazon machine is not just in the backyard, it’s climbing up to the roof ready to unceremoniously kick the tiles off. (June 2017)

Retail Digital Nervous Systems

Thoughts of selling personal data

Over the last few years there have been a number of stories, ideas and postings regarding selling personal data. I thought I'd gather them up in one place because they are defining a requirement that needs to be fulfilled - probably within the next 12 months. Original post from 2007, updated Feb 2018.

Witnessing the Re-Invention of Retail

Recent trajectories of three retailing behemoths are indicative of another sea-change in the industry. Sears Holdings facing certain demise within the next 12 months, Walmart desperately trying to re-invent itself and Amazon steadily marching forwards eating everything in its path. What are the lessons for the rest of the retail sector?

Sears Walmart Amazon Header

Sears, Eddie Lampert and the Wolves of Yellowstone

Sears is a dying retailer, with a business model that is unable to adapt and compete in the new digital-first world. As it sells off its real estate, retail nameplates and product brands, it clears the way for a new breed. LIke the wolves of Yellowstone, Eddie Lampert is doing the industry a favor. (March 2017)

The Walmart - Jet.com story hints at the new ecommerce infrastructure

Walmart's interest in Jet.com led me to a 2013 Patent that might describe the e-commerce infrastructure that enables Jet to offer 'Gain Sharing'. Jet is able to take a large number of independent variables from a broad range of systems and bring them together to set a discounted price at the the cart. (August 2016)

The Asymmetry of Personal Data

There is an asymmetry between personal data held by companies and by the individual consumer. Companies know a lot about us, we don't know much at all -- even about what they know. What's the right balance and are we on our way there? (June 2013)

Beyond Omni-Channel

Omni-Channel retailing seems to be all the rage these days - aligning assortment, centralizing inventory and providing a seamless customer experience. However, there are a number of interesting startups that are innovating beyond the current Omni-channel paradigms (March 2013)

Rock Paper Scissors for Digital Businesses

The growth of Social Media has elevated identity, privacy and big data to become vital topics for CIOs and CMOs of online businesses. Looking deeper into legislative, consumer and technology trends, I see the challenges for the post-digital organization as: Privacy, Ownership and Persistence. 'Rock, Paper, Scissors' provides a handy metaphor to describe the challenges faced by post-digital businesses. (January 2013)

Semantic Retail

Why would a retailer care about the semantic web, surely this is just another technology fad that the IT department can distract itself with instead of delivering faster transaction systems or more accurate and up-to-date reports? Not so. If fact it turns out semantic technology may enable robust solutions to your retail business users' most pressing problems. (December 2011)

Data Alchemy

I've spent the last 10 years messing with someone or other's data and helping turn it into shareholder value - from multi-national Fortune 100 companies to tiny bootstrapped startups and with full-scale Enterprise Business Intelligence to just a few guys and a machine-learning algorithm in the cloud. There's a common thread running though the most successful cases - these are the companies that really nailed it. (November 2011)

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