The Source of #AI Hype

Apple doesn't mention it... Amazon doesn't mention it... Alphabet (aka - Google) does mention it - but doesn't link it specifically to financial performance... IBM? You betcha. More than 155 times... In case you have been living under a rock - which, now that I think of it, has some increasing allure - artificial intelligence (and its slightly less sexy twin, machine learning) has succeeded 2016's marketing darling, blockchain, to become the blinking-neon-sign-outside-your-hotel-room term for 2017. Sorry, folks. The budgets have already been allocated. Go find predictive analytics (2014) and digital transformation (2015) in the dust bin of over-exposed marketing terms if you are not yet hip to how this game is played. Now, let's take a quick step back for a second: This is NOT an anti-AI hit piece. Nor is this an IBM-gotcha piece. I am a fan of both. But, this is simply a commentary based on the convergence of connect-the-dots exercises that have come out of our modeling and research. Yes, AI has an incredibly promising - if not, slightly scary [...]

By | 2017-04-28T10:17:09+00:00 April 27th, 2017|Alphacution Feed|

@DeutscheBank: Predicting the Pace of Shrinkage

If today's announcement by Deutsche Bank CEO, John Cryan, is to be believed, total group headcount is set to be reduced by 9,000 souls. Note that these reductions will come from a year-end 2016 flock of 99,744 (which, by the way, is still within 2.3% of the all-time high of 102,062 set at year-end 2010). We decided to look into our DB model to take a quick read of the expected pace of these reductions. Here's the setup: Over the 40 quarters from Q1-2007 through Q4-2016, 21 of those quarters represented total headcount reductions. Furthermore: The maximum headcount reduction in a down quarter was -2,256 FTEs (full-time equivalents); The average headcount change over the 40 quarters (not counting an acquisition in Q4-2010) was 880 FTEs; and, The average of the 21 quarters with headcount reductions was -668 FTEs Separate from an outright sale of a business segment (which is being contemplated here in the form of its DB Asset Management arm), organic shrinkage is painful and can take more time than originally anticipated. At [...]

By | 2017-02-06T20:34:06+00:00 February 3rd, 2017|Alphacution Feed|

Dodd-Frank in Douchebagistan (During the Age of Radical Innovation)

Here's an Inauguration Day rant for you: They hadn't even finished counting the ballots for the new POTUS when, on November 10, 2016, one of the great poster-children for modern-day douchebaggery, Alan Greenspan (@realGREENSPAN)  said to CNBC "I'd love to see Dodd-Frank disappear; a "disastrous mistake." Hasn't this guy figured out that he is way past his sell-by date? Anyway, just bookmark the timing of that statement while I set up today's metaphor: Roll back the clock a few decades to the early 1980's - height of the Reagan days - when those in the halls of power concluded that they could sell increasing levels of consumption to more of the masses (the "American Dream) by helping them lever their assets. The federal government played the game, too - of course. This was the real-life birth of the Avengers Initiative. Collectively, we The People, asked (or allowed) our representatives in capitol buildings across the land to help make it easier for banks to engage in financial engineering so that people on Main St. could consume more fancy stuff with [...]

By | 2017-04-28T09:40:52+00:00 January 20th, 2017|Alphacution Feed|

Bank Technology Rant: You are Noah, This is the Flood…

Do you recognize this guy above? That's right. He's Captain Obvious! Captain Obvious is the guy who preaches to the choir; tells Noah about the flood... Get it?  Good. Let's move on. Here's the translation for today's rant: "Noah" is a Top 10 investment bank, the "flood" in this case is McKinsey & Company, or - I suspect - any of the other global management consulting powerhouses. Today, I "learned" from both Financial Times and Business Insider the following (from the BI article, my emphasis added): "How are bank executives to cut costs? McKinsey's answer is technology...because technology seems to be part of the answer to every question these days." Now, just let the sweet wisdom of that pearl roll around in your gourd for a minute. If you're anything like I was earlier, you are now having a reaction like the one below (annotation not mine). I know, right?! Mesmerizing stuff. Thank me later for sharing the epiphany. Not SEEMS. IS! Technology IS a part of every solution these days, along with [...]

By | 2017-04-28T10:12:06+00:00 September 16th, 2016|Alphacution Feed|

#ResearchTools or Research ‘Tools’?

I have been holding on to this rant since Friday (unfortunately) - so here it is for your Monday morning coffee or commute enjoyment... Scenario: Surfing my Twitter feed and I stumble over a new piece of research (from a well-known group) which is being distributed and promoted by a well-known, bulge-bracket tech firm. The headline "hook" language is compelling.  It reads something like: "The essential ingredients for digital transformation" yada, yada.  So, I bite - recognizing the players and interested in what they have to say. I crack open the attached report and what I find there is maybe half a whiff less than pure and total bullshit.  10 pages, 1 word-filled diagram, entirely sanitized of anything close to resembling a number. Clearly, this scenario is the brainchild of an incumbent tech vendor's marketing team. I have witnessed - and participated in (and been complicit in even!) - dozens and dozens of these projects whose template was gleefully lifted out of the seemingly ubiquitous and cobweb-encrusted playbook entitled "Best Ways [...]

By | 2017-04-28T10:12:15+00:00 July 25th, 2016|Alphacution Feed|