Out of 50 companies ranked as the smartest in 2017 by MIT Review, 15 fall into the ‘well-known for invasive potential’ category of intelligent machines – IBM, Baidu, Intel, Microsoft, Apple, and the leader of the overall ranking, Nvidia. Biomedicine and Connectivity are the next largest groups with 11 and 10 companies in each respectively.
Connectivity is a particularly interesting bunch. Facebook, Salesforce, Alibaba, Tencent, Alphabet, and Amazon – all fall into this interesting group. All of them are building massive, super-integrated ecosystems, leaving little to no space for competition to cut off pieces of their businesses. Deep diversification and expansion into previously untapped lines of business are strengthening the positions of companies that thrive on the network effect.
Pick #1. 50 Smartest Companies 2017 (And Why They Are the Smartest)
1st place: Nvidia
Why: Continues to tweak its chips, originally developed for gaming, to help develop breakthrough technologies like deep learning and autonomous driving. The company spends $3 billion on R&D to create its new data-center chip.
2nd place: SpaceX
Why: Changing the economics of space travel with its successful landing and recycling of rockets to be recycled for multiple trips. A 10% price discount is being considered for customers who agree to fly their payloads on reused rockets.
3d place: Amazon
Why: Creating an AI-powered store of the future with Amazon Go while expanding intelligent voice assistant Alexa into phones, cars, and more. The number of programs that software developers have published for Alexa reached 12,000.
Pick #2. How Likely Is Your Industry to Be Disrupted? This 2×2 Matrix Will Tell You
Source: How Likely Is Your Industry to Be Disrupted? This 2×2 Matrix Will Tell You, HBR
In the vulnerability state, incumbents benefit from the continued presence of high barriers to entry such as regulation and capital requirements. But companies in this state often face increasing pressure to improve efficiency and reduce operating costs in their legacy businesses, and this pressure attracts opportunistic disruptors.
Consider the healthcare sector: Newer companies are entering the market with the embedded ability to use connected sensors and artificial intelligence to monitor the conditions of patients in real time – especially those suffering from chronic conditions. Meanwhile, an increasing numbers of incumbents are being compelled to adopt these technologies to stay competitive, even as cost and productivity pressures become acute.
Pick #3. Starbucks & Chase Launch Starbucks Rewards Visa Card
Starbucks and Chase launched the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card, a co-brand credit card integrated directly into the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program.
Some of the attractive benefits for coffee maniacs:
1 Star for every $4 spent outside of Starbucks stores.
1 Star for every $1 digitally loaded to their registered Starbucks Card in the Starbucks mobile app, using their Starbucks Rewards Visa Card, in addition to the 2 Stars per $1 earned when paying with their registered Starbucks Card as a member of the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program.
Cardmembers will automatically receive Gold Status within the Starbucks Rewards program.