Larry Downes Noted NYT Best Selling Author to Speak on Internet Disruption at GWSB

Please join us for an exciting talk by Larry Downes, New York Times Bestselling Author and Internet Industry Analyst, on how the most Internet trends of 2016 are shaking up business as usual and creating new opportunities for disruptors.


How Information Technology Disruption is Transforming Market Economies & Giving Consumers Powerful New Leverage

Larry Downes

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


652 Duques Hall


Sponsored by the GWSB Center for the Connected Consumer



About Larry Downes

Larry Downes is a best-selling author on developing business strategies in an age of accelerating technological disruption. He is the co-author, with Paul F. Nunes, of Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation (Portfolio 2014), now a bestseller. Based on extensive research, the book describes a new kind of disruptive innovation and teaches executives across industries how to adjust their strategies to survive it. His previous book, The Laws of Disruption:  Harnessing the New Forces that Govern Business and Life in the Digital Age explored the accident-prone intersection of law and innovation.  Downes is the author of the New York Times and Business Week bestseller, Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance, which was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the five most important books ever published on business and technology. He writes regularly for Forbes, Harvard Business Review, The Washington Post and CNET, and is frequently quoted in media stories in both mainstream and trade outlets. He is currently Project Director at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy and a Research Fellow with the Accenture Institute for High Performance.

Emergent Experience and the Connected Consumer in the Smart Home Assemblage and the Internet of Things

Download the Monograph:  Hoffman and Novak (2015) Emergent Experience in the IoT

Since the commercialization of the Internet began over twenty years ago, we have been fascinated with the opportunities that computer-mediated environments present for human interaction. As a result, we have spent the last few decades researching the marketing and consumer behavior impact of consumers’ interactions in digital environments.

Now, as the consumer Internet of Things emerges, we find ourselves with renewed excitement as we consider the opportunities for consumer interaction in physical environments with objects that have brought the Internet with them into the real world. Just as the Internet was revolutionary because it enabled many-to-many communication through connected digital networks at unprecedented scale, the IoT is a revolutionary advance that brings the digital into the physical realm. Now, interaction is distributed not just virtually “on the Internet,” but also everywhere in the real world where people actually live, work and play.

What awaits us as we are able to interact with smart objects in our everyday lives, and these objects are able to interact with each other, often autonomously? What are the implications for human interaction and for consumer experience? Will new marketing approaches be required? In the course of thinking about these kinds of questions over the past few years, we realized we needed a new framework to help our thinking jell. We found that framework in assemblage theory. The smart home assemblage serves as the context for our theorizing, but we believe our approach generalizes to any consumer IoT assemblage.

In the monograph linked above, we present an assemblage-theory based conceptual framework and its implications for consumer experience in the smart home. In 8 sections, we discuss the evolution of the Internet and the emergence of the consumer IoT, offer a lay version of assemblage theory, develop our framework and discuss the implications of our framework for research in UX, consumer experience, and marketing strategy. The last two sections offer some early practical insights derived from our theory and some perspective on where things might be going. 

Because the pace of change is rapid, we wanted to put this material on the Web as early as possible for comment and feedback. The monograph remains a work in progress. We are developing several papers based on these ideas  for submission to academic journals and look forward to hearing from others working in this compelling new area.

Donna Hoffman & Tom Novak
Washington, DC
V1.0, August 20, 2015

Is Amazon’s Dash Button Anti-Consumer?

We got three dash buttons yesterday – Tide, Bounty and Glad. Setup was pretty straightforward, although don’t try to run the microwave while you’re trying to pair the button with the app.

Amazon Dash Buttons
Amazon Dash Buttons for Tide, Bounty and Glad

The concept is pretty interesting, but as soon as we tried to select which Tide product for re-order, we didn’t see our variant there, so we didn’t proceed with setup. We also started to feel really uncomfortable with the idea that we couldn’t shop around on Amazon for the best price, but would basically be surrendering all control over product variant and price to Amazon. This felt unnatural.

We also got to thinking how higher-priced name brand marketers like P&G might think this would be great for brand loyalty in the fiercely competitive frequently purchased consumer packaged goods categories, yet how decidedly ungreat this would be for consumer choice and agency.

Are consumers really that lazy? Even using Amazon 1-click lets you check the price first.

Why I’m Quitting Comcast or Does Cable Have a Future?

I got my latest Comcast bill today. A fee increase AGAIN. That makes three (3!) increases since December. My service originally started with Blast, the high speed Internet service. That was $66.99 for my condo in DC. The service is OK, except when it’s not, but there aren’t any real choices, so I’m stuck with Comcast.

This year we decided to add HBO and SHOWTIME and I read about a way to negotiate these premium channels without getting all the channel package they usually try to sell you. (Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal.)

Mission accomplished and my service went up to $82.90 on the January bill, mostly because I had to add basic cable and a cable box to get HBO and Showtime, even though, GET THIS, I shoved the cable box into a closet because I get HBO via HBO GO from Apple TV or Roku or my iPad app and ditto for Showtime through SHOWTIME ANYTIME. I tried to decline the cable box but they said I HAD to have it to get HBO and SHO. OK. So most of the charges were for cable TV I don’t watch and taxes and broacast fees.  Sort of OK.

Then, in February my service went up to $86.74, even though I didn’t change anything. Turns out the taxes and other fees went up. Not so OK.

Then, today, my bill shows $97.66. I called Comcast and they told me they had to raise rates for “business purposes,” (I think they mean they need larger profits, but I digress..), and that the rental feel on the modem increased and the taxes and fees went up. Definitely NOT OK.

So, I asked the customer service rep if she’d heard that we’d soon be able to get HBO through Apple TV, but she didn’t seem to know or didn’t care. Game of Thrones, people!

So, as soon as I can dig the cable box out of the closet, I’ll be cancelling everything but Internet and then getting HBO from Apple. I guess I have to give up Showtime for the time being, but since Dexter ended and Masters of Sex is over for now, I’ll just wait to see what happens.

So, once I cancel, my Comcast bill will go down to $51.99, until the price increases start again, but at that point, it’ll make sense to buy my own (better) modem, instead of leasing theirs, since Comcast is making the break-even on owning a modem shorter and shorter with every price increase.

Good luck, cable. We hardly knew ya.

Everything We Know About Apple’s Smart Home

Apple has an installed base of 25 million Apple TV Trojan Horses, with Siri ready to take command of an army of MFI devices when they arrive. The Smart Home may emerge en masse overnight.


While iPhone users flash their handsets to make payments and wait with bated breath for the release of Apple Watch, another of the company’s smartphone-based initiatives is ready to roll out — and it will forever change how people run their homes.

From turning on lights to securing locks, Apple’s smart home plans are designed to bring an array of third-party products to the iPhone ecosystem in a way we’ve never seen before.

Here’s what you need to know to plan for your Apple-centric connected home:

How Apple’s Smart Home Will Work

Siri will become your digital butler, turning up the heat and closing blinds at your command. But how that happens deserves some explaining. Requiring neither a new hardware device nor an operating system upgrade, Apple’s smart home capabilities will let users discover, configure, create actions for and control smart home devices using their iPhone’s operating system.


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Back from CES 2015: A Lot of “Smart,” But Not a Lot of Consumer

Samsung curved monitor
Definitely want this in my office!

I spent last week at CES 2015 in Vegas. This show was really different from all past shows. Central Hall, the traditional location for all the glitz and glamour at the Las Vegas Convention Center, was strangely flat. Sure, there were shiny TVs (4k, 8k), bigger TVs (105″!), curved TVs, and now, beautiful curved office monitors! There were even curved smart phones. There were ultrabooks, storage devices, and lots of gleaming household appliances (LG almost certainly has a winner with the door-in-door fridge and their Twin Wash washer-in-washer seems pretty convenient).

Washer-in-washer is a good idea
Washer-in-washer is a good idea

But it wasn’t, well, that exciting. Seen one supersized high-end TV, seen them all, eh?

Seen one, you've seem 'em all!
Samsung curved TV

It turned out that because there was so much “smart” stuff Continue reading