The future of eCommerce is with blockchain

If you have not heard about blockchain then here is a primer, otherwise skip to What’s Next below.

Blockchain is a trust protocol and one of the first implementations is BitCoin, where each bitcoin is has its entire owner history reference stored with it. Think of it as an absolute proof of exactly where the money came from and you can only use it if the history is correct. And to make it more cool, its stored all over the place – kind of like a global spreadsheet or ledger (link). This means its virtually impossible to spoof or cheat the system.  Bitcoin Core checks each block of transactions it receives to ensure that everything in that block is fully valid—allowing it to trust the block without trusting the miner who created it (link).


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Best introduction video of IBM BlueMix I have seen so far

I think this video is an excellent primer for BlueMix. Platforms like BlueMix take care of a lot of the manual steps of setting up a server including infrastructure, devops, and runtime administration for scaling your applications. It really is a one stop shop for developing applications in the cloud.

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 3.51.35 PM



Measuring Social Sentiment: Trump versus Clinton

Ok, yes, that title probably has a little phishing characteristics to it but it was the only thing I could compare on Twitter without getting into trouble and also something I knew would yield some kind of results very quickly given what is going on in the news.

So what I am researching is how brand sentiment could potentially affect campaigns either negatively or positively. So, if you take for instance a campaign that is tagged “#trump” or “#clinton” you can compare over time the sentiment of that campaign. The term being searched for should be fairly unique, once again, that is why I chose “trump” and “clinton”, otherwise you will be bound to get completely irrelevant results. The biggest problem I noticed in the result set was that when Trump and Clinton were mentioned in the same tweet they both scored either negative or positive sentiment. To fix that there would need to be additional logic to understand the structure of the sentence and place the blame on the correct person – unfortunately I won’t be going into that in this post so it is what it is as they say.

I used IBM BlueMix to create a Node-RED application from the Node-RED boilerplate and was able to assemble this application in minutes. If you have not checked out BlueMix you can get a free trial here.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 11.05.22 PM

From the Node flow below you can see I have two flows executing simultaneously. Passing each tweet through the Sentiment Analysis node, tagging the result with the name passed in and storing just the sentiment score in the Cloudant database.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 5.47.24 PM.png

The sentiment function uses the AFINN word list to figure out sentiment, once again, not the greatest solution in the end. It then passes it to my custom function where I append the search term to the msg.sentiment object as the query property. I then assign the total sentiment to the msg.payload object because that is what is stored in the database. We might want to add date in the future.

msg.sentiment.query = "clinton";
msg.payload = msg.sentiment;
return msg;

The result stored in the database is a single record for each tweet analyzed, and as you can see this particular post is exactly what I explained above where the tweet is about Trump calling Clinton a world class liar, so in this case they both received a -3 score. We could minimize what is stored in the future, for instance we may not be interested in the tokens.

 "id": "019f579026accf466754d104efed5d83",
 "key": "clinton",
 "value": -3,
 "doc": {
  "_id": "019f579026accf466754d104efed5d83",
  "_rev": "1-22dff255bde0b4dcba91f6a392116f7c",
  "score": -3,
  "comparative": -0.1875,
  "tokens": [
  "words": [
  "positive": [],
  "negative": [
  "query": "clinton"
 "_id": "019f579026accf466754d104efed5d83"

However, in general, you might want to compare your brand to another brand and most likely they would not be mentioned in the same tweet like in politics. So, given all of its flaws, here is the average sentiment for “clinton” and “trump” for over 7000 tweets that spanned about 20 minutes.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 6.02.04 PM

As you can see, they both are pretty negative sentiments but Clinton is almost twice as bad as Trump. Oh boy.

Now, storing these daily would actually give you average sentiment over time. Meaning you could then compare the campaign or brand sentiment with your other marketing factors, like social engagement, sales, inventory, promotions, campaigns, etc. to understand if social media in fact helps or hinders sales or campaigns.

Like I said, this is barely scientific but I do think overall it averages out over time. I would really appreciate your thoughts on this concept in general ignoring some of the fallbacks my quick little application has on its own.



The future of Marketing with Watson


If you missed the demonstration at Amplify with Watson and the IBM Marketing platform then you missed a really impressive demonstration.


Node-RED : IBM developerWorks Open Tech Talk

Readers of my blog know I am a huge fan of Node-RED so now you can learn about it in the upcoming tech talk by IBM developerWorks. I most recently used Node-RED in an Eclipse application where I provide an automatic translation service for a tool called PET.

node-redIBM developerWorks Open Tech Talk
Categories: Cloud, Internet of Things

Wed June 22nd, 11 AM ET

Web Meeting link.

Node-RED is a tool for wiring together the Internet of Things in new and interesting ways, including hardware devices, APIs, and online services. Node-RED makes it easy to wire together real-world events, add in some intelligence, and access simple nodes to integrate them with existing messaging systems and social platforms such as Twitter, MongoDB, and Redis to create apps that can react to the world around them..  Learn more.


CoreMedia’s Advanced Digital Asset Management with WebSphere Commerce

I had the pleasure of seeing this demonstration at Amplify in Tampa this year and I was immediately impressed with what CoreMedia has accomplished. I am just amazed that every year CoreMedia seems to provide an amazingly easy to use digital experience integrated with the IBM Commerce platform.

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IBM offers Apple Pay for WebSphere Commerce

apple-pay-logoOne of the biggest problems with eCommerce sites is the trust factor and checkout process, which leads to abandoned carts. Apple Pay eliminates the need to provide so many details on the check out screen along with excellent security measures that protect the buyer. Apple Pay can easily be installed using a solution pack where it then becomes a payment option in your store fronts.

Consumers will no longer have to manually enter personal details, track down credit cards and share specific payment information when checking out. With Apple Pay on the web, they can securely complete purchases with a single tap of their finger while at home on their Mac or on the go using their iPhone or iPad. – link