No. of Recommendations: 18
Hi Fools,

I've been at CES 2018 in Las Vegas this week. Here are some early observations and takeaways that have stuck out to me so far.

1. Big emphasis on voice and personal assistants (Google, Amazon, Alibaba, Baidu, Microsoft, Samsung... every tech giant has one).

2. No Under Armour booth or presence that I could see. (Checked again, and they didn't attend this year. Big contrast from having a huge booth and delivering final keynote at CES 2017.)

3. Less presence from Fitbit.

4. Less: wearables and connected fitness, 3D printing, and virtual reality.

5. 3D Systems and Stratasys didn't even attend.

6. Surprising amount of drones (not gonna lie, underwater drones are pretty darn cool).

7. Kodak had a large presence -- multiple (big) booths. Cringe.

8. Autonomous driving continues to be big theme.

9. Nvidia’s booth had little/no mention of video games. Almost entire focus was on autonomous driving and AI (gaming was a highlight of the booth in 2017).

10. Alibaba’s presence in mobile payments is INSANE.

11. Riding in a self-driving Lyft through the streets of Las Vegas was cool. Still needed manual mode for certain turns and scenarios -- makes me think full autonomy is still a ways off.

12. GoPro had a big booth and was still displaying Karma drone, just days after it had been discontinued and big layoffs were announced. Headscratcher.

13. Pondering: is it a bullish sign if a company is attending CES, but sticks w/ private meeting room and avoids a huge, flashy, and uber-expensive booth? Perhaps this could be the modern-day equivalent of Peter Lynch preferring companies in nondescript offices sending bland annual reports.

More of my thoughts/findings (and some pictures) over at my Twitter page: https://twitter.com/David_Kretzmann

Foolishly,
David K
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Hey Cap'n P!

Long time no speak. Thanks for posting to this board. One question.

10. Alibaba’s presence in mobile payments is INSANE.


Could you elaborate? Don't know what this is supposed to mean.

Jeb
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Have you been here yet?

Netflix set up a booth for the fictional Psychasec company from the series. A press release handed out to attendees revealed the booth was fake but it still managed to pique the curiosity of many guests. Here are a few photos of the booth:

http://www.insidethemagic.net/2018/01/netflix-creates-fake-b...

Now all restaurants are Taco Bell.

Fuskie
Who thinks this plot sounds a lot like the Sylvester Stalone vehcile Demolition Man...

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9. Nvidia’s booth had little/no mention of video games. Almost entire focus was on autonomous driving and AI (gaming was a highlight of the booth in 2017).

There might be a reason for that. This review caught my eye:

Opinion: Nvidia's Max-Q — Maximum efficiency, minimum performance?

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Opinion-Nvidia-s-Max-Q-Maximum...

...from my perspective this appears to be largely a gimmick for sales to customers — the work for cooling is there, I will never in my life discount this — but why wasn't it there before? Why are the 1080 Max-Q cards still called “GTX 1080” despite every known example performing like a GTX 1070? An average of 1400MHz on a 1080 (notebook) Max-Q is not a “slight” drop in performance for efficiency compared to a properly engineered laptop with a GTX 1080; it is a huge drop, approaching a 30 percent reduction in performance but for the same price! And, more importantly for marketing, for the same name.

...

I’ve been in the notebook enthusiast community for a long time and I’ve seen many things come and go. I think we pay more than enough for reduced performance and limited hardware already, and I consider this naming and pricing scheme deceptive, with emphasis on the pricing part.


It doesn't look like there's been much in terms of innovation in gaming as compared to last year, and yet are charging more for it. Probably why it wasn't brought up at CES possibly. What do you think?

Dominic
long NVDA
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No. of Recommendations: 10
Hey Fools!

Here are some notes I took on Alipay and what Alibaba is doing in the whole mobile payments category:

-- Alipay has more than 520 million active users.

-- Alibaba has reached agreements with more than 250 financial institutions overseas, including Visa, MasterCard, JBC, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, Barclays Bank, Deutsche Bank, and more.

-- Over 10 million brick-and-mortar merchants now accept Alipay as a payment method across China.

-- Alipay’s real-time risk identification takes 100 milliseconds per transaction.

-- During Singles Day 2017 (11/11/2017), the payment processing capacity of Alipay reached 256,000 transactions per second.

-- Alibaba’s Ant Financial company owns ZOLOZ, whose face/eye recognition false accept rate is 1/1,000,000.

-- With such precise facial recognition, Alibaba is testing and rolling out “smile to pay” technology that can be used in stores and in self-serve kiosks for package delivery.

Have you been here yet?

Netflix set up a booth for the fictional Psychasec company from the series. A press release handed out to attendees revealed the booth was fake but it still managed to pique the curiosity of many guests.


I did walk by the booth and heard a bit about it, but didn't actually check it out for myself. Sounds like it's generating buzz as intended, though!

It doesn't look like there's been much in terms of innovation in gaming as compared to last year, and yet are charging more for it. Probably why it wasn't brought up at CES possibly. What do you think?

Interesting thought... hadn't come across a review like that before. Nvidia did touch on gaming in their keynote on Sunday, but AI and transportation were still the hot topics and dominated the presentation. So there could be something to that theory.

Foolishly,
David K
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No. of Recommendations: 1
1. Big emphasis on voice and personal assistants (Google, Amazon, Alibaba, Baidu, Microsoft, Samsung... every tech giant has one).

Yeah, that's what we want. We all love it so much when we call on the phone and get one of those machines that tries to figure out how to direct out calls so we have to spend ten minutes figure out what the magic spell is that connects us to a person. We love it so much that we want to do the same thing to turn down the thermostat or turn on the lights in the hallway or set the morning alarm clock or find out how to spell "vexatious."
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I just checked, and Siri tells me you spelled it correctly. Alexa, too.

What we really need is a Trivago or Kayak of assistants, though!
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Today I joined MarketFoolery to talk about autonomous driving, robots, drones, voice assistants, the now-infamous power outage, and a few other things I saw at CES 2018: https://www.fool.com/podcasts/marketfoolery/2018-01-16-the-d...

I'll be on Industry Focus later this week talking about some more of my CES takeaways. Perhaps no takeaway tops 1) I missed seeing Edwin the Smart Duck this year, and 2) the robot playing ping pong was pretty darn cool. (Admittedly, the ping pong robot wasn't a great ping pong player. Still cool, though.)

Thoughts/comments/questions always appreciated!

David K
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Hey, David, Great to see you posting here. Looked at your Twitter feed too. Very busy guy.

Thought of you last week when Buz and I were down at Berea College for a visit. So beautiful. Are you on the endowment board? If not you should be, although it sounds like endowment folks are doing very well.--Probably lots of Netflix and Arista if you're on it?!

And looks like you really made the rounds at CES--Sounds like it's taking on a new spin. Thanks for giving us an update.

Miss you on SuperNova, but looked at Canada Hidden Gems page. You must be doing a lot of research getting up to speed there.

That's it for now. Happy New Year and keep Foolin' on! J.
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Hi Judy! Always nice to hear from you.

So nice to hear you made your way to Berea. I'm not involved on the endowment board or anything like that -- but they've still managed to do a nice job managing the endowment. :-)

Berea's endowment was discussed in a recent article, as a matter of fact:

How does a president and his administration maintain financial health, top-notch faculty and modern facilities when no student is charged tuition for a four-year education estimated to be worth around $100,000 or more?

Roelofs is an avid fundraiser, but the heart of the solution dates back to the 1920s, when Berea’s board decided all unrestricted bequests would be added to the endowment. Those gifts, which total about $500 million, have grown—with help from the long-term success of the stock market (despite recessions and depressions)—to $1.2 billion.

That amount puts Berea in the Top 100 schools with the largest endowments, close to institutions like Middlebury, Tulane and University of Kentucky, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each year, Berea spends about $55 million of the endowment, which has been invested in various asset classes that are managed actively and passively.

“We are highly dependent on America’s economic success,” Roelofs says. “The fact that the financial markets have averaged 8 or 9 percent gains over a century means you can take out 4 to 5 percent every year, and still keep up with inflation and the thing grows all by itself.”
- https://www.universitybusiness.com/article/college-president...

Unfortunately, this philosophy of managing an endowment in a Foolish manner over the long term -- and using the endowment as a primary income source (rather than relying on raising student tuition fees) -- remains a big exception and isn't the norm. For now, Berea is a clear outlier with its endowment management, but hopefully other institutions will follow suit in the years ahead.

Anyway, it's bittersweet to depart Supernova, but it's been a lot of fun getting Hidden Gems Canada off the ground. Thanks for stopping by here!

Foolishly,
David K
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Do they have any students working in the Endowment Office interning? Seems like a natural fit.

Anyway, they should have you manage part of the port--maybe do an online class with some students, too.

Just my 2 cents!

Enjoy the poutine (if you travel north). Judy
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Hi Judy,

As a matter of fact, last year Berea launched a $100,000 endowment fund that will be managed by students in an investment club going forward. The Fool actually helped form the club. I'm an advisor to the club, but in the end the students make the final calls on the portfolio. There is a financial literacy course at Berea, which has been supported by the Fool as well -- I typically call in to the class each semester.

Here's an article about the club from last year (you're actually in one of the pictures, if you look closely :-) ). Take a look:

Fools for Investing: The Berea College Motley Fool Investment Club: https://www.berea.edu/magazine/article/fools-investing-berea...

When you hear stories about college students and finances, they’re usually about rolling quarters for gas or going in on a pizza. Far less common are stories about college students managing $100,000 stock portfolios. But the Berea College Motley Fool Investment Club (MF-IC) allows students to do just that.

The idea for the club traces back to David Kretzmann ’14, who began investing in the stock market when he was only 12. As young as he was, Kretzmann regularly posted investment advice on discussion boards at The Motley Fool, a website dedicated to “helping the world invest better.” He would not reveal his youth until age 14, but a partnership and a career were born.


The hope is that this formula -- for both the club and the financial literacy course -- can be replicated at other schools down the road. We'll take it one school at a time!

Foolishly,
David K
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He would not reveal his youth until age 14....

Coy devil.
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Good to know you/they are actually engaging with the students on investing. I remember that discussion at the Berea event and I was hoping something would come of it. $100,000 is a nice kitty for an investment club--and I hope the students bought some STMP!

The Berea club will be a win-win-win for the students, the college endowment, and TMF. You know, I think teaching/learning investing is a great complement to a liberal arts college curriculum. Absolutely every history, philosophy, literature major should learn the basics, IMO.

I'm sure if one of the HQ Fools puts together a prototype 'kit' on how to educate and engage students in investing for other colleges the schools would have a lot of interest in implementing it--either on a club or class level.

Fool on! J.

BTW, nice pic of you at the lectern. I didn't know you owned a coat and tie!?
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