- Quartz Brief pulled the shutters down in July. We examine why their news chatbot wasn’t more popular.
- Avatar marketing is here; celebrities are massively jumping on the digital human race bandwagon.
- Breaking news: Jony Ive left the position of Apple’s Chief Design Officer.
The Quartz News Chatbot No One Wanted
When the news of Quartz Brief being shut down came out in July, no one knew whether they should mourn or rejoice. A lot of people didn’t even know the company existed, so why was its failure so monumental?
Quartz Brief was launched three years ago as the first news chatbot app.
To put it simply: people no longer had to read the news. They could chat to them.
Users would be prompted to text Quartz, inquiring about and commenting on news that interested them. All the news segments were written by actual staffers, although software distributed them. Users were communicating with the news chatbot just like they’d communicate with a sales chatbot.
At that time, news organizations were massively experimenting with instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It was widely believed that people who spent a lot of time in chat apps talking to their friends would be just as willing to spend it talking to news apps.
Felix Salmon, a former Reuters blogger, even went so far as to say: “Messaging is the future of the news brand. It’s clearly the most important new area to conquer.”
By all means, Quartz Brief should’ve been a hit.
So why did it fail to perform?
Firstly, it only had 1,3 million downloads since it was launched. That amounts to around 7,500 downloads per week, which is hardly enough for the company to sustain itself in the long run.
This could be due to the fact that people just don’t like consuming news exclusively in the text format.
Stimulating experiences incorporating multimedia such as images and video are simply more appealing.
Images get to the point faster than text, no matter how cleverly it’s written.
After all, Quartz failed. Reuters’ TV App didn’t. Within the first year of its launch, it reached 1 million monthly active users.
Quartz would need at least 3 years to get the same numbers.
But it gave us a great idea about Tappable Stories.
They combine the best of both worlds: you can share the full bleed videos of ReutersTV with the tongue-in-cheek Quartz texts.
Evolution, by Genies
“We’re creating the next human race,” says Genies CEO. The rest of the world isn’t sure whether to fear Skynet rising or accept the change.
Genies, an app startup whose investors include the New York Times and Jake Paul, claims that celebrities who create their digital avatars could earn even more revenue by getting gigs for their digital representations.
For that purpose, Genies launched the Avatar Agency which creates digital versions of celebrities and connects talent with brands.
So far, their talent roster includes well-known figures such as: Rihanna, Shawn Mendes, A$AP Rocky, and Jake Paul. Sports professionals like athletes from the New York Mets have also tagged along to collaborate with brands such as Gucci and Red Bull.
Examples of content created through brand partnerships include dynamic videos depicting celebrities wearing branded sportswear and consuming energy drinks.
It’s a clever tool for the era in which the lines between physical and digital are growing increasingly blurred.
An avatar agency could open the doors to new content formats and new ways for talent to partner with brands without ever leaving their house.
While the idea to make virtual clones of talent may seem outlandish, it fits in nicely into the contemporary consumer sentiments.
More and more people are turning to VR and AR for immersive experiences, and digital avatars may soon become the only true identities of our personal brands.
Jony Ive Leaves Apple: Much Ado about Nothing
The company’s Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive has been working at Apple since 1990. Throughout the past 29 years, Ive has created a reputation of a visionary for himself, going as far as to become the synonym for innovative CDOs worldwide.
In the words of David Phelan, “Can you name the chief designer at Samsung, Huawei, Nokia or any other tech company? I can barely name any and I’ve interviewed quite a few. Usually, they are pitched to me by company XYZ as “he’s XYZ’s Jony Ive.”
While Ive is a great combination of a genius designer and a genius manager, it’s a stretch too far to accredit all of Apple’s success to him.
He has the ability of putting together incredible teams responsible for the iPhone and Macintosh design we know and love, but Apple is not going to lose business because he’s gone.
Reading between the lines of the announcement, it’s clear that Ive simply needs some time to himself. As a great designer, he may be wanting to focus on his projects for a while, free from corporate restrictions.
However, that doesn’t mean Apple will stop working with him.
In the announcement, Tim Cook, Apple CEO, is adamant that they’ll still collaborate with Jony Ive on exclusive projects. Cook also commends Ive’s brilliant design team who was behind Apple Park; latest iPhones, iWatches, and iPads.
The news may be shocking, but Ive has trained a great team to take over from him. There’s nothing to worry about.