bob schukai

The tremendous impact of mobile

2015 Gates Annual Letter

One of the things I love reading is the annual letter from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It coincides nicely with what seems to be lots of stories on where our planet will be in 2030 (ed note: Like our series on the World in 2025!). This one does exactly the same, placing a huge emphasis on the impact of mobile technology over the next 15 years.

The report looks at four core areas: health, farming, banking, and education. Every one of these areas will be touched by mobile technology, and the Gates report specifically highlights the impact on the latter three. Simply take a look at the pictures the report uses for farming and banking: (more…)

Eagan in January


There isn’t much that can get me to come to Eagan during January. I love my team here, and I love the good people that work in our Eagan campus, but I can’t say one good thing about a 3pm afternoon temperature and forecast that looks like this! Suffice it to say, it’s been REALLY cold for my normal, outdoor runs!

I receive a daily email newsletter from Quartz, and one of the stories that caught my eye – you guessed it – was all about culture and Amazon. It’s actually quite amazing how many stories these days focus so much on this one little word – culture (ed: In fact, Philip Brittan has written a whole series on the subject). It’s a good thing to take stock of as we prep our 2015 goals and objectives and think about the behaviors we are going to need to demonstrate. (more…)

Peeking Into The Future

Happy New Year to everyone and welcome to 2015! I hope everyone had the chance to enjoy the holidays with friends and family!

This week, the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is in full swing, giving us a preview of exciting new technologies that will impact our personal and professional lives. We have a couple people from the Advanced Product Innovation team in attendance, and I’m looking forward hearing about their experiences next week. Ultra high definition television, the Internet of Things, wearable technology, and in-car solutions are already being showcased at the start. USA Today covers CES quite nicely, and they already have up some great pictures of cool tech on display. One great thing I picked up already was an announcement from the Volkswagen group that it plans to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in its cars beginning this year. It is noteworthy, because to my knowledge, this is the first car manufacturer to publicly declare implementation of both protocols.

2015 promises to be another exciting year for personal technology. Just before the end of the year, I was in New York for a couple days and had my first chance to use my iPhone 6 to open my hotel room door. The Element Hotel near Times Square is one of the properties that the Starwood Hotels Group is using to rollout this feature. It’s really a cool feature. I’ve previously registered my iPhone for their keyless entry program, and you can see how it looks in the first picture when active. The second picture shows you how the door is then unlocked. A full list of the hotels supporting this along with instructions on using the app are provided here. (more…)

I know the feeling


I’ve currently been on an extended trip through Europe, but last week, one of the biggest news stories was the landing of the Philae probe on a comet. It marks the first time that we have been able to achieve such a feat. The entire mission has been one series of innovations after another, and personally, I’m so happy for the engineers in the European Space Agency (ESA) command center who have seen their dream become a reality.

Although the Philae probe has now gone into a hibernation status due the inability of the probe to recharge its batteries, it has accomplished a number of key objectives including sending pictures back from the comet and sending science data from all of its on-board instruments including the COSAC – the Cometary Sampling and Composition experiment – which drilled into the comet in search of molecular building blocks that may have kickstarted life on planets like Earth.

I was reading the Sunday Times, and it had a great article written by Bryan Appleyard titled “One Giant Step.”  I genuinely appreciated his comments about this project for a number of reasons. Have a read of this quote: (more…)

Billy Idol, The Sex Pistols, and innovation

Well, if that title didn’t get you to read this blog post, I doubt anything I write will!

I’m currently reading Billy Idol’s new autobiography called Dancing With Myself, and it sort of hit me while that this might make for an interesting piece. I’ve made it a habit to read a lot of musician biographies/autobiographies including Jim Morrison, Keith Richards and Sammy Hagar, but what has really struck me about this one is the era in which Idol arrived onto the music scene. Prior to doing his solo bit, that pretty much everyone of the MTV era knows, he was in a band called Generation X that released their first single in 1977. You had a lot of factors all coming together at the same time to impact the music scene, but most notably in England, you saw a lot of social strife and economic problems. All of this really culminated in 1978-1979 with what was called the “Winter of Discontent” where widespread union strikes effectively shut down significant pieces of the economy over pay and work hours.

billy idolWhen you have people that feel like there is no future or opportunity, it’s no surprise that the punk scene emerged as a creative outlet to express rage at what was going on. Bands like The Clash and the Sex Pistols put out some really hardline messages like “London’s Burning” and “Anarchy In The UK,” and Idol was a part of that scene. No hint of subversion here – lyrics in both of those songs were in your face.

Whether you like their music or the message, what the bands and youth of Britain wanted was better opportunity, change, and even – one might argue – innovative thinking from those in charge. As a standalone concept, punk rock was a radical departure from the music of the 60s and even the mainstream 70s rock music with a highly charged political message against the status quo. Punk even struggled to get its message out, because no one wanted to open up their clubs for these bands. (more…)

A dream dinner party

Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit

I’ve always had lists of people I’d love to have drinks or dinner parties with, and they usually revolve around a theme like sports or music or tech. This week, I had one of those opportunities when I attended the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco. This one was built around the age of innovation, and you could not have asked for a better lineup of speakers, moderators, and even guests. How would you like to spend the day listening to the likes of Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla), Evan Spiegel (Snapchat) Sal Khan (Khan Academy), Daniel Ek (Spotify), Marc Andreessen (Andressen Horowitz), Mike Judge (Silicon Valley, King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead), Eric Schmidt (Google), and Mike Bloomberg? Or imagine seeing Sting, Jimmy Buffett, and his older brother (not really) Warren Buffett in the audience? (more…)

He shoots…wide of the net

I have a confession to make. I’m not going to achieve one of my goals for 2015, and I already know it.

Earlier this year, I ran my first marathon in Orlando at Disneyworld, and I had planned to run another one before year-end in December.  It was a good one too – the Intertrust Cayman Islands Marathon. Who wouldn’t want to get a few days on a beach in December? Unfortunately, I’ve spent most of the summer battling the biggest curse of runners, plantar fasciitis, which is just brutal to deal with. I’ve only now just been cleared to start resuming a running program in the last couple weeks, and I can still feel the pain in the heel. I’ve got a half marathon scheduled for November which was planned to be part of the training; now, it will be a stretch just to see if I’ll be able to even run that one.

It’s hugely frustrating to me, because I love running and it’s something that I can do wherever I am in the world. It’s also frustrating, because I set a goal to do it and realize it isn’t going to happen. No amount of training, wishing, hoping, or praying will change it. I can’t try and jam in more training hours or force it. This one is out of my control, and that is what makes it even harder. At this point, all I can do is be smart about my rehab and start thinking about 2015.

It felt like primetime to write about this now as we’ve reach the fourth quarter.  All of us might be looking at our own goals and realizing that for whatever reason, we’re not going to be able to achieve one or more. Maybe it’s out of your control, maybe it is something we did wrong along the way (perhaps for example, overtraining aggravated the situation in my foot), maybe it just wasn’t achievable to begin with. (more…)

Tennis anyone?

US Open

Ahead of the 2014 World Cup, we launched the Reuters Sports Reel app as a way to showcase the terrific photography produced by our journalists. What makes this app so compelling is that you actually see photos coming into the app during events in near real time. In addition to covering this year’s Tour de France, we have now covered the Hungarian and Belgian Formula 1 Grand Prix races. With our internal push notification platform, you can get alerts for the events, teams, or individuals you most want to follow. Apple has already chosen to feature this product, and as mentioned when we launched the app, you can get it for both iOS and Android.

There are a couple of great pictures below from the Belgian F1 race, and we will be covering the rest of the Formula 1 calendar: (more…)

My week Down Under


I’ve just wrapped up a week-long trip to Australia – my first for Thomson Reuters, and with a bit of luck, hopefully not my last. It’s absolutely one of the best places to visit in the world, if you can take the long flight to get there. From Dallas, the flight is 15.5 hours and that’s just to get you to Brisbane – continuing on to Sydney required a stopover to refuel, and another hour or so in the air.

Earlier this year, I had been asked to present at an information retrieval conference session on the Gold Coast. While the title of my session, “OK Glass…Google…Why Do I Need Your Search?” is a bit facetious, it allowed me to talk about the way we are thinking about the continuous client service. Of course we need search. Search has, in my opinion, evolved into a learned history of things I care about and am interested in. Thus, applying algorithms to that learned history enables services to proactively and asynchronously push content to my phone, without me even needing to ask for it. That’s incredibly important, because those and other types of devices do not have the sorts of user input functionality that we have on our desktops and laptops (i.e. a large screen, keyboard, and mouse). (more…)

Analytics: How big data can solve our most complex problems

big data

Big data seems to be everyone’s favorite answer to complex questions. Of course, big data is not an answer in and of itself, but a way to get to the answer. So it was nice to hear a wide range of experts give varying opinions on the subject. The above titled panel featured Drake BaerDon TapscottBob Schukai (from Thomson Reuters), Guruduth Banavar and was moderated by Bill Thoet.

The panel discussion oscillated between the potential of big data, the problems it raises and the progress that’s already been made. Both Don Tapscott and Guruduth Banavar talked about the new asset class that has been created as a result of big data. But in many instances, the data is unstructured and complex. These “digital crumbs” that are being created have the potential to pass all other asset classes. A useful analogy that Tapscott used was that of natural gas and the idea of “data frackers.” With data being accumulated from “stuff we do every day,” there’s unlimited potential for new innovation and knowledge, but also major privacy risks.

Although it may feel like big data just appeared, it “did not fall from the sky,” as Drake Baer most aptly put it. We’ve already made huge strides using big data in things like sequencing the human genome, the Square Kilometre Array, and artificial intelligence. Bob Schukai even made the analogy of our brain as a computer, where processing big data is simply how we experience life.

He also explained how Thomson Reuters is one of the original big data companies. The panelists debated about how the traditional business model is changing with information becoming more widely available. So in addition to providing information, companies must be able to provide what the customers need to know about the data. Bob explained how Thomson Reuters is providing context, relevancy, location, insight & a predictive component. Banavar went as far as saying that IBM’s goal is to eventually have a Watson in every home! The potential opportunities for big data, even on a personal scale, are quite exciting.