Brian Banmiller's blog

At Home Speakers

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Do you have an at home assistant who isn't carrying its weight? Turns out you might be the problem.

According to a recent survey the majority of people who own a smart speaker or virtual assistant such as Amazon's Alexa or Google Home only use it for weather reports and playing music. 40% of people surveyed said they bought the gadget to schedule calendar activities and make online purchases but only 14% of them actually do. And that number is costing companies.  read more »

Nike and Instagram

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Major retailers have been trying to tap into social media to reach consumers, but Nike might be the first to “just do it.”

With billions of people using sites such as Facebook and Twitter, companies have tried selling them products with one click buttons or direct links. Unfortunately all those efforts have fallen flat. Now, Nike is jumping in the game and it’s targeting Instagram.

Experts say Instagram is the best bet to sell to its 700 million users because its use of high quality pictures can entice consumers. The site also lets brands tag products in its pictures the same way users tag their friends. Users can tap the tag to be taken to the company's site to make a purchase.  read more »

Uber's Challenges

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Ride sharing company Uber is looking for a new driver, but it won't be an easy road.

Recently Uber has been plagued by controversy leading up to the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick. Now the search is on for someone to take over but industry experts say they are facing three major hurdles.

First, profit and culture. Research director Michael Ramsey says a company's founder helps bring a business to life and an outside person will now have to bring their own ideas when it comes to daily business and making a profit.

The next CEO also needs to improve Uber's relationship with riders and drivers. Drivers feel like they are underpaid and left in the dark about company policy. While riders need to be assured that recent problems won't put the brakes on service.  read more »

Standing Room Flights

Feel like there isn't enough leg room on flights, try standing.

Airlines are always looking for ways to bring in more money and now South American carrier Viva Colombia is taking an unconventional route. It recently announced a move to vertical seating which would put passengers in a chair with a bar stool inspired perch and a back rest. Passengers would still wear a seat belt which would go over their shoulder similar to the one pilots wear.

While the idea of basically standing while flying doesn't sound like the most comfortable idea most passengers are game if it's a short flight and it saves them money. According to a poll of 120,000 people, 80,000 would consider the seats if they were free and 42% would use them if they cost half the price of a regular ticket.  read more »

Avocado Toast and a Home

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Good news millennials, now you can have your avocado toast and buy a house too.

About two months ago I told you about an Australian real estate mogul who said that millennials can't afford homes because they are spending their money on things such as expensive coffee and avocado toast. Now SoFi which bills itself as a modern finance company is offering the opportunity to have it all.

For the month of July, anyone who takes out a mortgage with the company, also gets a month's worth of avocado toast delivered to their door for free. Customers can choose gluten free bread and the ingredients will be delivered over three shipments to guarantee freshness. You will however have to toast the bread and smash the avocado on your own.  read more »

Eko Duo Device

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A revolutionary new device is taking health care out of your doctor's office and into your home.

“For the first time in history physicians can actually do a cardiac exam from their patient's bedside while they're sitting at the hospital.”

Jason Bellet is co-founder of Eko Devices. A company, based in the San Francisco bay area that first got attention for a blue tooth stethoscope attachment that tracks and logs your heart beat. Now the company has received FDA clearance for a new device called the Eko Duo Device.  read more »

A Diamond's History

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Diamonds are forever and so is their history.

Marc Fink is CEO and chairman of Fink's Jewelers. I recently spoke with him about the issue of conflict diamonds and online sales. Conflict diamonds are mined in war zones and sold to finance a warlord's activity. Fink says all reputable jewelers are part of the Kimberly Process which requires every person in the supply chain to certify their diamonds conflict free. A process that will be notified in a customer's invoice. Fink says a reputable jewelry store is always a safe bet but today a lot of people are going online.  read more »

Slow Cooked Fast Food

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Fast food companies are taking consumers behind the scenes to reveal just how fast their food really is.

Most people assume when they pull up to a drive thru window their burger and fries are being pulled off a conveyor line and slapped in a to-go bag. Now some of the biggest names in quick meals are working to dispel that opinion.

McDonald’s has announced that it plans to start using fresh beef in its burgers. Restaurants such as Burger King and KFC are moving towards all white meat chicken and chicken free of any antibiotics.  read more »

Tech Friendly Travel

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It's a long weekend and the summer travel season is in full swing so why not get a little tech savvy when you plan your next trip.

Gone are the days of a travel agent and maps that need to be re-folded. Now when you plan a trip there are endless apps that can help make it one to remember from start to finish. And to help navigate your way through all the apps out there, Travel and Leisure Magazine has put together a list of the 50 new travel apps of the year.  read more »

Binge Watching Facebook

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Facebook wants to take your relationship to the next level from friend zone to your personal form of entertainment.

According to the Wall Street Journal Facebook is in talks with Hollywood to live stream original content on the site. In meetings with talent agencies the social media giant said it is willing to commit to production budgets as high as $3 million per episode.

Facebook says it wants to target audiences from ages 13 to 34 with a focus on the 17 to 30 range. It also wants to release episodes in a more traditional matter such as one a week instead of dropping an entire season like Netflix and Amazon do.  read more »