The End

Plus, Greatest Hits, and a How-To.

Greetings, dear subscribers.

I have to report that I’m discontinuing this newsletter. This is the final issue. I’ve re-evaluated my situation and decided to retire from this endeavor.

I’m very, very sorry to disappoint you, one of the newsletter’s 241 (free) subscribers. Subscribers included CIOs, recruiters, journalists, consultants, and marketers.

I want to especially thank those who shared & promoted the newsletter to others — i.e., spread the word with their endorsements — including Maryfran Johnson, Dan Roberts, Abbie Lundberg, Brook Colangelo, the folks at JM Search, and others who did so without my awareness. Again, I’m sorry to disappoint you all.

NOTE: As a small consolation, at the end of this missive I’ve provided a how-to section, i.e., instructions for how you could find the same kind of digital business “gems” that I did.

Mitch Betts


When I look over the previous 30 issues, my favorite news items include the following:

Digital transformation is changing C-suite relationships. It has led to greater collaboration across the C-suite and greater trust in IT across the business. But digital transformation has also made responsibilities across the C-suite less clear-cut — and perhaps put more distance between the CIO and CFO.

The C-suite has grown over the past six years to accommodate digital business. The size of the average Fortune 100 C-suite has increased 90% since 2013 to include new data and digital leaders. Chief Data Officer is the most popular newcomer in the Fortune 100.

The State of Chief Digital Officers: 65% have been in the role for three years or less; 64% are external hires (presumably those organizations needed an outsider to push digital business in ways that insiders couldn’t); 64% have data scientists reporting to them; 63% report directly to the CEO. And CDOs are an ambitious lot: 42% believe their next job will be a CEO role somewhere.

Nearly two-thirds of C-suite leaders (63%) say that the CIO needs to have better influencing skills, to be an evangelist for digital business.

CMOs struggle with digital transformation due to “short-termism.”

A total of 73 CIOs and other digital-savvy executives were appointed to U.S. corporate boards over the past 12 months — and 48 (or nearly 66%) of those were women, according to my exclusive research.

Whereas a security breach used to be a “scarlet letter” of shame for the CISO, in one survey, 58% of the CISOs agreed that “experiencing a data breach makes a CISO more attractive to other potential employers,” not less, perhaps because they’re better-prepared to manage through a breach.

A successful cyberattack that compromises consumers’ personal data leads to, on average, a loss of 1.1% of the company’s market value, and a drop of 3.2 percentage points in its sales growth rate, according to an academic study.

Most CFOs believe that cyber insurance would cover most or all of the losses that their company would incur in a cyberattack — but they’re wrong.

Three-quarters (77%) of M&A experts have recommended one acquisition target over another based on the strength of the cybersecurity program.

Unpredictable & irregular work schedules — often the result of on-demand labor-scheduling technology — are harmful to the health of hourly retail workers, producing psychological distress, poor sleep quality, and unhappiness.

Execs reveal their 2019 digital plans,” an exclusive summary based on CEO comments during quarterly earnings calls.

General Motors Corp. — in a dramatic IT transformation over the past five years — has gone from 35 different IT outsourcing agreements to zero, according to CIO Randy Mott.

A study shows that retailers’ branded mobile apps are very effective at increasing sales on the retailer’s website and in stores. The apps also increase the rate of returned merchandise, although the increase in sales outweighs the return rates.

Mars Inc. worked on over 55 machine learning projects in 2018, according to Chief Digital Officer Sandeep Dadlani. He said the ultimate goal is having “every Martian — and yes, we call ourselves Martians — every Martian amplified with machine learning.”

Marvin Ellison, the new CEO at Lowe’s Companies Inc. in 2018, candidly suggested an IT overhaul was in order, because Lowe’s had “failed to keep up with advancements in e-commerce, IT, and supply chain … [and] put our associates at a competitive disadvantage with outdated and cumbersome systems.”

Stitch Fix Inc. — which uses human stylists and algorithms to send boxes of selected clothing to online shoppers — deployed a Tinder-like game to gather more data about consumer preferences. The Style Shuffle shows a series of clothing items so that customers can give each one either a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down — and thus improving the company’s style-matching algorithms.

Macy’s Inc. deployed virtual reality (VR) furniture galleriesvirtual showcases of furniture layouts — at 100 stores. “For the customers who use VR, we’ve seen return rates that are 25% lower, and basket sizes 44% greater, than customers who don't use VR,” said CEO Jeff Gennette.

Warby Parker’s new mobile app combines augmented reality & face mapping so users can try on virtual glasses.

CarMax Inc., a retailer of used cars, created a personalized car-buying experience that lets customers buy online from their home, or in-store, or a seamless combination of both.

Carnival Corp., a major ocean-cruise company, obtained three U.S. patents for its innovative OceanMedallion, a wearable ID device that unlocks doors, streamlines food orders and payment, provides navigation advice, and helps the ship’s staff provide personalized customer service.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. patented a vehicle navigation & data system that identifies high-risk parking lots — those with above-average vehicle collisions and/or theft — and suggests re-routing to a low-risk one. (U.S. Patent No. 10,204,518)

Jeans-maker Levi Strauss & Co. hired Katia Walsh as SVP & Chief Strategy and Artificial Intelligence Officer, reporting to the CEO.

FINRA fined Morgan Stanley $10 million because its transaction monitoring system failed to monitor “tens of billions of dollars” in transactions.

One of the most popular articles among newsletter readers: “AI speeds up the ballpark’s beer line.” Aramark Corp. has made paying for drinks at baseball stadium concession stands easier & faster by using AI-enhanced, self-service kiosks. Patrons place their beverages on the scanner, which uses computer vision technology to recognize multiple items (not bar codes) for payment. The technology produces 40% faster transactions and up to 25% higher sales, says Mike Giresi, Aramark’s SVP & chief digital information officer.


Here are the techniques I used to collect material for the newsletter, with links.

Read SeekingAlpha transcripts of quarterly earnings calls to spot execs talking about digital activity.

Subscribe to newsletters such as CIO Dive, Retail Dive, Supply Chain Dive, and The Heller Report.

Search U.S. Patent & Trademark Office filings for interesting patents & applications.

Monitor articles by:

Search the top PR wire services (my search term was “digital”), on a daily basis.

Set up Google Alerts for the following terms (in quotes!), although this will produce a flood of email:

  • “chief information”

  • “chief digital”

  • “chief data”

  • “chief analytics”

  • “chief technology"

Search for job openings (using the same terms used for Google Alerts).


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