Jeff Kagan

About the Author Jeff Kagan


Boardroom

What Will Rise From Uber’s Ashes?

There has been quite a bit of churn in the waters around Uber during the last few years. Now that founder Travis Kalanick is no longer CEO, what does the future look like for the company, workers, drivers, investors and customers? Will Uber continue to grow and lead, or has it seen its best days? Most people connected to the company probably would say the same thing: They want calm but rapid growth.

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E-Commerce

How Amazon Is Transforming Retail

Amazon’s plan to buy Whole Foods Market has raised many new questions. If the company is successful in making the acquisition, and then successful in operating the business, it could transform the entire grocery industry. If we pull the camera back, we can see how success on the grocery side could foreshadow Amazon’s success in many other parts of the retail environment.

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Opinions

Amazon’s Echo Show: The Future Is Here

Amazon recently launched its Echo Show, which brings a visual screen to its smart speaker device. I wonder whether we’re ready to start living in what seems like a futuristic Star Trek world. The Echo Show experience is sort of like having a laptop sitting on your table — one that uses AI, allows you to speak to it, speaks back to you, and shows you relevant things on its screen.

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Service Providers

Netflix Climbs the Growth Wave as Cable TV Slides

A few short years ago, Netflix was nothing more than a mail order Blockbuster-type video rental business. Since then, it has been growing rapidly and changing. Believe it or not, Netflix today has more U.S. subscribers than cable TV. That’s an amazing accomplishment for Netflix — and a major hit to traditional cable television. Netflix and cable TV are on opposite sides of the growth wave.

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Service Providers

The Best Wireless Service and Smartphone

During a recent grocery checkout conversation, the cashier asked me which was the best wireless service and best smartphone. This is a question I get frequently, and though it seems straightforward, it’s difficult to answer. As I told the cashier, it depends. “On what?” she asked. That’s when I realized that the industry’s marketing doesn’t answer the big question: “Which carrier is best for me?”

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mobile

Charter’s Wireless Play

Charter Spectrum has announced it will resell Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile wireless service to customers inside its region. The good news is that this deal lets Charter get quick access to wireless without competing with Comcast. Comcast and Charter Communications last week said they had reached an “operational agreement” about working together.

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E-Commerce

Will Amazon Go Reinvent Retail?

Every time I walk into a retail store, I grumble about the same pet peeve. After walking the aisles and filling the basket, you then must go through the most inefficient checkout process. First you unload everything in your basket, then it’s rung up, then you put the items in bags that go back into your basket before you can walk out of the store. There must be a better way.

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Trailblazers

A Solution for the Uber CEO’s Anger Problem

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has earned a reputation for having a short fuse. In addition to his apparent personal anger management issues, there are the stresses that come with running a giant company — and Uber recently has been losing executives. When it rains, it pours. What’s happening with Kalanick, and can Uber recover its mojo? Many people have issues with anger, but few are in the spotlight.

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mobile

Verizon Wakes Up to Join Mobile TV Race

Following decades of slow movement due to cable companies facing no competition, the television world is changing rapidly. Lots of challengers have arisen in the pay-TV space in recent years. One of the latest comes from Verizon, which has improved its FiOS mobile app to offer data-free streaming. AT&T’s DirecTV started this ball rolling with its wireless TV, or mobile TV, offering.

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mobile

Trump’s Not the Only One With a Phone Security Problem

Is your Android phone secure? President Donald Trump’s favorite smartphone reportedly is an older Android device. Security concerns flared recently, following indications that he sent some tweets from it. Of course, the president has been given a special secure device, but it’s not clear whether he is using it. My question is, if the president is not secure using an ordinary phone for his primary wireless communications… are any of us?

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Trends

Wireless, Telecom and Pay TV: The Future Is Coming Into Focus

Wireless, telecom and pay TV — including cable, satellite and Internet services — are all on a growth trajectory, but each company is taking a different path. That means comparing them will be more difficult going forward. In the past, the companies in these sectors in many respects looked the same and offered nearly the same basic services. Looking forward however, things appear very different.

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E-Commerce

Why Companies Botch Customer Care

Do your customers come first? Companies spend a fortune to win and keep their customers. They advertise and market their products and services like crazy. Because of that cost, you would think every company would want to keep its customers happy. It’s more cost-effective to keep an existing customer than to win a new one. If that’s the case, why do some companies screw up customer care so badly?

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Carriers

Which Wireless Carrier Is Best for You?

Which wireless carrier is best? Many studies are undertaken every year, and while they are interesting and accurate, they often are not that useful in selecting the best carrier for you. Why? Simple. They are generic studies, but you are not a generic customer. If wireless performance were the same for every customer in every location, then the studies would be helpful — but that’s not the case.

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Trends

2017: AI’s Coming Out Party

AI will be having a big coming out party in 2017. While there are plenty of opportunities in this space for workers, executives, investors and partners, not every company that uses the term “AI” in its marketing will become a serious winner in the field. As advanced as AI is — and I have seen some technology that would blow your socks off — not every company is created equal.

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E-Commerce

Beware of Wildly Inconsistent Online Shopping Rules

Before you sit down at your kitchen table and lose money shopping for Christmas and holiday gifts, you’d be well advised to learn the rules of the online shopping road. They can be very different from one vendor to another, so shop carefully. Some companies do a great job with customer care. Others don’t. I have been both delighted and burned several times, and I’d like to share some of my personal experiences to help you shop more safely.

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Service Providers

Pay TV’s Newest Innovation: Giving Users Control

With the launch of Stream Saver, AT&T Mobility has given users control over their streaming video quality. Stream Saver is similar to Sprint’s video optimization and T-Mobile’s Binge-On plans. Now, the only major carrier not offering a video optimization service is Verizon Wireless. Stream Saver lets users choose. They can use it or not depending on their particular circumstances.

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Opinions

The Growing Customer Trust Gap

Like most of you, I’m a bank customer — and I expect that like me, most of you are getting sick and tired of all the stories about how banks abuse customers. Recent news about bad behavior in the banking industry, as well as my own personal experiences, shows that banks don’t care about their customers. It’s just the opposite: Banks seem to be trying to squeeze every dime out of every customer.

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mobile

It’s Time for Comcast to Get Off the Wireless Fence

Comcast tried to give wireless a go several years ago. It failed. It pulled out of wireless, sold its spectrum and was done. Now, wireless has expanded and changed, and competitors like AT&T’s U-verse and DirecTV are using wireless to deliver television programming. I’ll bet Comcast now wishes it never sold off its wireless spectrum. So, what can we expect from the company going forward?

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Consumer Security

The Wonderful, Worrisome World of Self-Driving Cars

There seem to be warning stickers for everything. There may soon be a new sticker for the autonomous car era: “Warning: Self-Driving Cars Get Hacked.” Despite all the positive news about self-driving cars, there is a darker side to this story that’s very important. It’s one that can be particularly frightening if you happen to be riding in an autonomous car when it gets hacked.

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Carriers

Verizon Customers Get No Respect

Why do customers seem to overreact when Verizon announces changes? Verizon’s latest price hike has been causing angst in the marketplace — at least on social sites like Twitter. Why does Verizon keep shooting itself in the foot? The short answer is poor marketing. Verizon’s marketing moves show no care for the customer base, and that comes with at cost to Verizon.

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Carriers

Verizon’s Mission of Self-Destruction

Customers and investors increasingly are wondering why Verizon and Verizon Wireless are hurting themselves with their actions. For starters, Verizon decided to battle its own striking workers on the public stage. That battle shed lots of bad blood, and it will be tough to close those wounds. Many companies experience strikes, but most are settled quickly and quietly.

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mobile

Can Huawei Overtake Apple and Samsung?

Huawei says it is working hard to overtake Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy line in the worldwide smartphone market. If you were to ask anyone over the last eight years if that were possible, you would have heard a resounding “no.” The marketplace is changing, though, and anything is now possible. Today Apple, Google and Samsung are enormous, but the rate of smartphone growth has slowed.

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