Black Friday Deals… This Friday!

So… most of us (in Europe) will have got used to ‘Black Friday’ sales. It’s the Day after Thanksgiving and… it’s when everyone (nearly everyone), goes out shopping.

Now… the ‘Black Friday’ Sales have spread to across the world.

And here in Europe… we have them too.

In fact… they started earlier… Amazon and many other retailers started sharing some great offers earlier in the week…

For example, Curry’s had this fantastic offer on earlier in the week…

Now… like or loath them  – the sales, do offer some great value.

Whilst we have some high-street retailers offering discounted products… you’re best bet to find a bargain would most probably be on-line.

Amazon (and there’s others) start to prepare and entice folks in…

Now, there’s some guidelines I’d suggest you follow…

1. Do your Research! – Is it a good product? Have you read the reviews? Don’t just buy it because it looks good and it’s reduced in price (even if it’s got 70% off!). Look around the internet, read what people are saying about it – and if it’s worth purchasing.

2. Sign Up! – That’s right… sign up to newsletters and emails from your favourite retailers. That way, you’ll receive notifications before others of deals and offers that are available.

3. Don’t Worry! – missed out on an item? Didn’t get what you wanted? Don’t worry… we’ve got Boxing Day sales coming up… then you’ll have New Year Sales… and if you’ve followed Points 1 and 2 above, I’m sure you’ll find your item at a good price at some point in the year.

Well, I hope you have a great time shopping…!

Ella, Ella, eh… eh….eh…

A few years ago, I was on the phone to a friend, who is running a startup.

We were talking about various things, and he asked me how the weather is. I said, the weather looks ok – but I’m not sure because I haven’t been outside.

Then I suggested, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have an app that didn’t just tell you the weather but also suggested what to wear!

Anyhow… we didn’t do anything. Like most of the idea’s we discussed that day, we just parked it.

Fast forward a year or two later. And there I am, on the trusted laptop… and look what pops up!

That’s right- someone, somewhere (else in the world) had the same idea… but only went and developed it!

Brella – your personal weather app!

It not only tells you the weather – but tells you what to wear! One less thing I have to do!!

Yes Matt! – put your jeans and t-shirt on… the weather is good!!

Now for me – in London – it’d be, Bal… take an umbrella!

The point of this is, not app – though that it is a great idea, and I’m glad someone did develop it – but the whole point about, if you have an idea… DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Yes, I did use Caps Lock. Yes, I am shouting at you. Yes, I am making a point.

We all have ideas. But doing something about them – that’s what seperates the successful ones from the not so successful ones.

Now – whilst I’m a little upset I didn’t develop it… I’m ok with it.

Why Bal? – you could’ve made millions.

Not always about the money. But yes, I could’ve made a ‘few bob’, however, I’m already working on plenty of other ideas, have items in pilot stages and supporting other startups and companies.

Whilst having an idea – and working on it – stick to it. Don’t start a million and one things… and not finish anything off. Working on a handful – and finish them!

So, if you’d like to read more about the Brella app – have a read of this.. it’s by the developer. Great read… hope it inspires you….

Bal’s Friday Thought…

I remember when I used to get stressed over the smallest things… but I learnt.

It wasn’t so much about not getting stressed – but being able to handle the stress…

Fold your phone away…

I used to have the Nokia mobile phones. Never ventured with other brands. But admittely I did like the Motorola Flip – a friend of mine used to have it, and I used to love, ‘flipping’ it close – when i’d finished a call.

What a classic. Available in different colours too….. 

How times have changes. Let’s be honest. It’s all got a bit boring…

Don’t get me wrong… I love my Apple iPhone. It’s lovely. But however, that novelty factor that we used to have of sliding, folding, etc… had all gone.

Sliding Bal? – you used to have a phone like that?

Yes – the banana phone, as it was known.

Anyway…. those times might be coming back… Samsung, leading the way.

They’ve designed and bought to life a foldable screen!

What Bal?! A screen that folds?!!!

Yes! Samsung have designed new screen materials, including a flexible OLED layer and backplane, that are then layered beneath an ultra thin polarizer, a new shock-absorbent film, and a more durable (and flexible) polymer cover window on top. And to hold everything together. Clever huh?

What does all this mean? – well…

It’s a phone that you can fold!! – How awesome is that?! I’d buy it just for the novelty factor.

Now… couple of things here, 1) Samsung are doing some great research and bringing to life some fantastic products… 2) We may get some exciting phones again… and 3) What does it mean for Apple?

Samsung haven’t revealed much else – in terms of pricing and availability.

What we do know it’ll be available somewhere in mid-2019. And it’ll be the most expensive phone available.

Jackie, how do you like to shop?

Another week, and another High Street name closing stores. 

This week, we have New Look. In a radical revamp – upto 100 stores will close. 

Why? Like I’ve mentioned before…. our shopping habits are changing. There’s so many uncertainties. Brexit. Etc…. 

So what next, Bal?

Great question! – I see the whole High Street changing. There’ll be more closures and more well known names disappearing from the High Street. 

When it comes to clothes – we’ve traditionally gone out to shop. Because we need to touch, feel and try. 

Comparing clothing to electrical – online sales are not has great. But that’ll fast change. How?…. let’s just look to Amazon and what they’re doing.

Yep, they’re offering a ‘try before you buy’ service. 

Select a number of clothes…. sizes, colours, etc… have them sent to your home. Try them… see how they feel – like them? Keep them (and obviously pay) don’t like them? – return them free of charge. 

Simple? Off course! That’s what makes it so easy. 

Jackie, a mum of 3 boys – who’s always running around and very busy, doesn’t have time to go into shops, try various clothes…. instead, would rather be able to try the clothes on – when she wants and where she wants (on the basis she knows where the kids are – on which some occasions is a challenge on its own).

Amazon started selling clothes 10 years ago and is only recently pushing more into this space. Without doing much, they have a 4.6% market share. Just behind M&S online clothing. 

Next is in the lead, with 12.5% of market share. You also then have John Lewis, ASOS and eBay. 

So can Amazon gain more market share?

I think Yes. They’ve got the power and the ability to make it a success. We’re ordering more and more varieties from Amazon, from baked beans (yes, you can buy them) to garden furniture. Why not throw a cardigan in the basket as well.

Reminds me of the time I went to Tesco to buy some milk and bought a TV. I did that in a physical store about 6 years ago. Looks like now is the time I would buy some socks with my books from Amazon. 

Hi Sir, sorry i’m late… Sir?…Sir?….

I went to Coventry University. It was a lovely place…. we had the Planet, Mr.G’s and several other night life amenities. Oh, the actual university was good also!

Times are changing. Where we had actual lectures and real lecturers and professors- that’ll soon change.

How Bal? – you’ll still need people to teach.

Indeed you will. However, do they need to be real?

Imperial College, London – are introducing ‘hologram’ lecturers.

That is correct. Lecturers teaching, whom aren’t really there!

Using the latest technology – they’ll be able to have them presented in such a way, that it looks like a real person.

Yes – you could use a webex/telepresence – but that’s just on a flat screen.

This way – it’s more interactive. It’s more real. It’s more engaging.

So the lecturer will be in New York – but teaching a class in London – with a high definition monitor in front of them so they can see the class and make eye to eye contact.

Holograms have been used before – for elections – remember when the French presidential candidate did it? – he appeared in several cities, at the same time, addressing thousands of people in the crowd… at the same time… in real time!

This new technology is slightly cheaper – easier to move around and can be set up easier than those used a few years ago.

Only a matter of time when… when we’ll see more and more holograms… than real people. Thinking about it, with some of the ‘real people’ I have to deal with recently… it might not be that bad of an idea!

Bal’s Friday Thought…

Number 1 skill in life…. which can often be the hardest to do. Because giving up is easy.. letting go…thinking, ah… next time! Or I’ll leave it as it’s too difficult.

Apple’s New iPad Pro…

The gap between the iPad or any other tablet to be fair, and the computer are becoming more and more closer. What I mean by this is, that sales of computers (laptops) is heavily on the decrease and tablets sales are on the increase.

You can do very much all of the items you do on your computer, now easily – and with a lot more efficiency, on your tablet.

So Bal, do I need to buy a new iPad?

Well… depends on how long you’ve had your current one. I’ve had my iPad Pro – which I’m typing this blog from, for quite a while. Whilst it still does everything I like it to… I probably won’t be upgrading just yet. Tempted as I am though.

It comes packed with a number of features – which make it more in sync with the iPhone X and the new iPhones….

As expected – there’s a number of upgrades – including the camera, light sensors, etc…

Now – as you know, I won’t have time to review it for a few weeks – however, my friends over at the Verge have done this great 5 minute review, which shares everything you really need to know about the iPad Pro.

Humans are best, at being human…

We talk a lot about robots. How they’re eventually going to take over… how they’re taking over some jobs now… how we need to work with robots…

Well… it’s true. Let’s be honest…. they’ve taken over the repetitive jobs, and soon they’ll be taking over your job.

Bal, do I need to find a new job? Should I be worried?

Yes and No.

Yes, find a new profession – look for a new skills, learn something different.

No, don’t be worried. Similar to previous times in history – Humans have been able to re-skill, look for new opportunities and adapt.

Bal, tell me the different times in history.

Okay… better explained with a picture…

As you can see – and I’ll go into detail in another blog post – but from every ‘Industry’ there’s been something new – and humans have been able to adapt.

Now whilst technology is key – and as you can see, Industry 4.0 – introduces ‘smart’ – smart factory, IoT, Big Data, etc… there will obviously be jobs that are no longer required to be done by humans.

So what do humans have, that’ll take a little more time for robots to master?

Emotions and Feelings.

That’s right – Humans are best, at being human.

We can react. We can cry. We can be emotional. We can sense….

You know all the emotions, right?… Well, in the 1970’s Paul Eckman described the six basic emotions.

  1. Happiness
  2. Sadness
  3. Digust
  4. Fear
  5. Surprise
  6. Anger

Now, since then – more have been added, like Contempt, Joy, etc…

Our ability to display these emotions is a phenomenal skill. Something, we humans, can do with ease.

So whilst technology is taking over… let’s not get too emotional about it.

Robots have a while before they can interpret feelings…. and display emotions. Because it’s not always black and white… 0 and 1.