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Dec 9, 2022 16 min read

🤖 Wiser! #103: ChatGPT | Timex NFTs | Twitter Files | SBF FTX | BigTech Parking Tickets

🤖 Wiser! #103: ChatGPT | Timex NFTs | Twitter Files | SBF FTX | BigTech Parking Tickets
Table of Contents

Wiser! #103: ChatGPT has dominated attention and headlines, but is it really the saviour everyone claims it to be? Plus: Timex use NFTs to connect with customers. SBF's charm offensive continues, and Elon delivers a Twitter conspiracy.

w/Wiser! #103 - Friday 9th December 2022


There's one story that's dominating tech news, and that's how artificial intelligence has finally arrived and the software is about to eat humanity. I'm exaggerating a bit, but you hopefully get my drift.

The thing is that it's hard to avoid the headlines that proclaim ChatGPT, and the broadly known space called "generative AI", as the next big thing. There's a lot of truth in it, and I certainly anticipate that 2023 will be the year that AI goes full mainstream.

But it's not as fantastical a solution as a lot of the commentary makes out. In this week's premium article I use AI to write most of it and also expose some of the flaws in the logic.

The other big stories are:

  • how the EU's new tech regs could change the monopolistic behaviour of BigTech,
  • Apple continue to take a bashing over the App Store tax,
  • the Twitter Files were just a damb squib fuelling a conspiracy theory,
  • Timex release a watch that comes with an NFT,
  • why isn't Sam Bankman-Fried in jail?

Plus lots of other news, such as BMW using speed bumps to generate power, 60,000 tech jobs axed in November and San Francisco bans its killer robots.

ATB, Rick

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ChatGPT wrote this article (with a little help from me)

The promise and potential of generative AI has created much excitement, headlines and discussion. There's little doubt that the tools using artificial intelligence to create content are fascinating. But can they be relied upon?

Note: no robots were harmed in the writing of this article.

The following post was written by artificial intelligence. I asked the questions and ChatGPT wrote the answers. I have not added to, modified or changed the robot's answers in any way.

I did check them and don't doubt the responses. However, that's no reason to believe everything that comes out of a generative AI tool can be 100% relied upon. The point is that the fact-checking of the machine output was done by human hand (mine).

To illustrate how the AI can get it wrong, I asked ChatGPT "who owns Twitter?" Even my mum knows that Elon Musk owns Twitter these days. Musk has been buying Twitter throughout 2022 and concluded the deal at the end of October 2022...

...and yet ChatGPT confidently answered differently. And got it 100% wrong.

👉 Continue reading to find out what the AI wrote. Premium subscribers should click this button here.👇


Image drawn by AI using Canva's Text To Image feature

Can the EU's new tech regs change BigTech behaviour?

Google have started yet another appeal against the record €4.1 billion fine handed down by the European Commission for stifling competition in the Android phone market. The fine represents 1.6% of Google’s revenue in 2021 but only 0.5% of the company’s revenue since the EU first ordered Google to pay up in 2018.

  • The total levied against Google in the EU is now €8 billion.

The EU's Digital Markets Act ups the ante

Here's The Thing: If Google loses the appeal, the fine will be as effective as a parking ticket. It’s a rounding error, the cost of doing business.

However, under the new rules of the EU's Digital Markets Act, companies can now be fined up to 10% of their worldwide turnover, increasing to up to 20% for repeat offenders.

In that scenario, the bill for Google would be north of $25 billion, not €4. Ouch!

And it's not just Google that would be hit...

  • Meta's recent fine of €261 million for breaching data protection rules in the EU would be closer to €12 billion.
  • Apple's €50 million fine for blocking alternative payment methods would see them pay €38 billion under the new rules.
  • Amazon's €845 million fine for violating data protection rules would be a whopping €47 billion under the DMA.

This week, the UK progressed the Online Safety Bill (you remember I wrote about it last week). It's been slow progress but, like the EU's DMA, the penalties are also material at 10% of worldwide revenues.

Far from being parking tickets, at a time when all of BigTech is feeling the pinch from costs rising faster than revenues, this new approach to penalties may well provide the long overdue incentives to curb their monopolistic behaviours.

Two big anti-trust stories this week in the USA saw the Federal Trade Commission sue to block Microsoft’s $69 billion dollar deal to buy Activision, maker of some of the most popular video games in the world. They also faced Meta Platforms in court in an effort to block Meta from acquiring a virtual reality fitness app made by Within.

Apple's 30% App Store tax continues to take a bashing

Other BigTech news

  • Amazon plans to resume advertising on Twitter, in a move that’ll take a load off Elon Musk’s mind. The retail giant had halted ad spending on the platforms while awaiting “some security tweaks” according to Platformer. Now it plans to start spending again to the tune of $100 million a year.
  • Meanwhile, Amazon is launching a service that resembles TikTok, allowing customers to buy goods from a feed of short-form videos and photos, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Tencent may have developed an artificial intelligence that understands Chinese better than a human.
  • Two women sued Apple over the dangers of its tracking devices in the hands of stalkers, saying the company had failed to heed warnings.
  • Elon Musk started a spat with Apple by claiming they’d threatened to remove Twitter from the App Store. There’s no evidence that this claim by the world’s wealthiest man on the world’s most valuable company was true. Ever the diplomat (and adult in the room), Apple CEO Tim Cook didn’t take the bait for a fight. He invited Musk to Apple’s campus instead…

🔦 Spotlight on Shein

Shein is the Chinese fast fashion ecommerce retailer that adds more products in a day than Zara or H&M add to their inventory in a year!

  • Shien has experienced enormous global growth this year, generating an expected $24 billion in sales
  • It has a $100 billion valuation from General Atlantic, Tiger Global Management and Sequoia Capital China.
  • The #shein tag on TikTok has netted over 44 billion views
  • A Shein pop-up shop in Plano, Texas, drew a 700-person line this September. The store had to close four hours early due to low stock levels.


The Twitter Files was a damp squib

BackStory: Last weekend, the so-called “Twitter Files” were published. Elon Musk had set the expectation of a big reveal from the Twitter archives with a tweet and a popcorn emoji 🍿 to get settled in for a night of entertainment.

  • These previously unseen files would prove Twitter colluded with the Democrats to protect Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential election (that's the one Biden "stole" from Trump).

Musk broke the story via a Substack newsletter journo named Matt Taibbi. But instead of being the big exposé, all it showed was that this is just another conspiracy theory based on what-ifs, -could's and -maybe's.

Taibbi's Twitter thread also exposed Musk's (and the likes of Tucker Carlson) misunderstanding of the First Amendment. Musk had tweeted, “if this isn’t a violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment, what is?

Here's The Thing: The First Amendment only applies to government conduct and not private companies or individuals. Twitter's decision to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story was their own and not a violation of the First Amendment, as claimed by Musk.

What the released screenshots showed was the confused and leaderless internal debate in Twitter about the action to take. Twitter did eventually decide to suppress the story, only to reverse their decision a few days later.

At the heart of the issue was that the allegations against Joe Biden's son were not corroborated and were based on information obtained via hacking. It is this question of how the information was obtained that fueled the Twitter debate (Twitter has a policy that does not permit materials/stories obtained via hacking.)

Arguably, Twitter's eventual decision to censor the story gave it far more attention than it deserved. Two years on and there is still no evidence of government coercion in the Hunter Biden story, so the story is still just of private individuals making decisions they were entitled to make.

However, what this does show us is how difficult content moderation is for a social media firm, and that it can’t be 100% automated. Musk has closed down most of the human moderation inside Twitter, which means he’s now the arbiter-in-chief and will have to handle this matters himself.

In trying to expose the story the way he has done, Musk has made it look like a conspiracy theory. If there really was a story here, Musk would have done us all a favour by just opening the kimono and let everyone see for themselves.

As it is, all Musk has done is thrown a lump of red meat to those who believe Biden is evil and caused the rest of us to roll our eyes.

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w/Brand Strategies

timex bayc nft

Timex launch a special watch for NFT holders

The famous watchmaker has launched a new line of limited edition watches that come with accompanying NFTs. This offer is exclusive to holders of NFT images from the Bored Ape Yacht Club or Mutant Ape Yacht Club.

The point of the NFT watches is to retain a direct connection between the brand and the owner of the watch after the purchase. The incentive to buy the NFT watch is that it provides the NFT holder with access to exclusive perks they couldn't get otherwise.

Here's The Thing: Unless the buyer registered to a loyalty program or recorded their details at point of sale, in a conventional sale, this customer relationship would be lost.

Using NFTs to unlock incentives, Timex are able to retain a one-to-one ongoing relationship with the watch owner.

“Timex is entering Web3 by keeping creativity and community at the forefront. In partnership with the BAYC community, we are redefining and pushing the boundaries of physical, virtual and now physical products.”– Shari Fabiani -Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Creative Services at Timex Group.
Timex is not alone in using NFTs to create new ways of engaging with customers.

I've tracked 250 consumer brands, from adidas to Zara, from automotives to a zoo, who are all finding new ways to build revenue streams and engage with customers using NFTs, blockchain, smart contracts, virtual reality and immersive tech. 👇

Brand Strategies For Web3 and the Metaverse

Drop 2 of the Brand Strategies Collection went live this week. I added another 30 consumer brands to the Collection that now comprises 110 brands and their use-cases in NFTs, blockchain, virtual reality and crypto.

The latest brands added to the Collection include: Foot Locker, Kia, Kellogg's JP Morgan, Kraft Heinz, KPMG, L'Oreal, Lamborghini, Louis Vuitton, Lavazza, Lego, LGMacy's, Mars, Mattel, McDonald's, Mercedes-Benz.

To access this unique Collection, you just need a Premium Membership or you can buy a lifetime access via my page on Gumroad.

Find out more here 👇.

Brand Strategies For The Metaverse
Major consumer brands are investing in the emerging technologies for tomorrow’s digital world. From NFTs to blockchain, from web3 to the Metaverse. This database of over 250 consumer brands is, IMHO, the largest single collection of brand strategies for the metaverse.
Read this: Strategic White Paper from Deloitte: The Metaverse In Asia: Strategies for developing economic impact.


Will Sam Bankman-Fried be going to jail?

BackStory: The former COO of Theranos has followed founder Elizabeth Holmes to jail after being sentenced to 12 years this week. If you don't know the story of Theranos, watch The Dropout (it's great!)

It tells the story of how a young woman, Holmes, was able to convince lots of smart people to part with lots of money on the promise of something great. Nobody really understood how she would do it, but the halo effect of Holmes was enough. It's a story as old as the Emperor's new clothes.

Enter SBF.

Sam Bankman-Fried was a young man who was able to convince lots of smart people to part with lots of money on the promise of something great. Nobody really understood how he would do it, but the halo effect of Bankman-Fried was enough. It's a story as old as the Emperor's new clothes. And one that you've definately heard before!

Since the overnight collapse of the $32 billion cryptocurrency exchange business, Bankman-Fried has been on a PR tour, trying to clear his name and restore his reputation.

He's given around a dozen public interviews across multiple media platforms in the few weeks since FTX filed for bankruptcy. Apparently this is against the advice of his lawyers on the basis that anything he says now will come back and bite him if and when he goes to trial.

Which is highly likely given that he is under investigation for misappropriating billions of dollars of his own customers’ money.

Here's The Thing: There's little doubt that the magic of FTX was more smoke and mirrors than Harry Potter. The "robing Peter to pay Paul and fund a lifestyle for your chums in the Bahamas" business model has been exposed. Bankman-Fried can come up with a dozen excuses but at the end of the day, FTX took customer's money and spent on things they didn't know about.

The lack of regulations in crypto may be Bankman-Fried's best ally at the moment, but I wouldn't bet on it keeping him out of jail.

In the meantime, the fallout continues as the wider crypto industry faces scrutiny that there are other FTXs out there. IMHO, there will be other examples of dubious/illegal crypto businesses portraying themselves as the easiest way to make a buck.

For me, I separate the bad behaviour from the underlying tech. Bad business behaviour is as old as the hills. Certainly older than crypto, which is still going through puberty.

It's sad and unfortunate that so-called wonder kids like Bankman-Fried can cast a shadow over the crypto industry (just as Holmes cast a shadow over healthtech).

Further Reading on FTX and SBF

More From Web3


59,710: That's the number of staff laid off by tech firms in November. Tech firms continue to make massive cuts in the number of staff on their payolls. That's not just because they're seeing Twitter has kept running with 60% less staff, but because they largely over hired through the pandemic and expected revenues to keep rising at record rates. Here's a great visualisation from Visual Capitalist that puts it all into perspective.

Technology Roundup


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Here's my post on seven of the AI tools I use form my research, content creation and to make Wiser!

7 AI Creation Tools To Save Time and Be More Productive
The widespread use of generative AI has exploded in 2022. First, with the release of GPT-3, followed by DALL-E and Stable Diffusions, there are now countless content creation and productivity tools utilising AI. Here are 7 AI tools I use the most.

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w/Other Content

🎙 Big Tech Little Tech Podcast

Episode #14 - Generative AI, Killer Robots, Drones in Leeds and Xmas is Coming

For links to every major podcast platform, show notes and all the details about the last show, click the image 👇.

Big Tech Little Tech Ep #14
Find Big Tech Little Tech on all major Podcast platforms: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Anchor | Google Podcasts | Website

w/About Wiser!

Be Wiser!

Wiser! is a weekly newsletter that makes sense of what's happening and what's coming next in the tech economy. From disruptive technologies, like blockchain, crypto and artificial intelligence, to emerging trends, like Web3 and the Metaverse. Plus there's a big focus on BigTech and the impact of social media.

The purpose of Wiser! is simple, to help you stay interesting, informed and one step ahead of your competition. Using easy and engaging language, I make sense of it all so that you don't have too.

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