A mental model for the rules of automation

At Mav, we talk a lot about what are good use cases for bots and automation. I used to think it was as simple as answering this question: Can a robot do this job better than a human? 🤔

Except, it’s not that simple… Robots should serve and enable humans. Yet, us as an industry often ignore the question, “what if the human enjoys doing this job?”

The biggest value of automation is freeing humans from mundane tasks they hate doing. Why automate the things they love to do?

Because of this, I created this simple mental model to help…


8 years ago I saw this video by Gary Vaynerchuk. At the time, it completely changed my outlook on what I was doing with my life. To this day, I’m not sure another video has inspired me more.

He yells at the audience “It’s 2008, there is no reason to do shit you hate.” That line still gives me chills. I quickly quit my job and have been working for myself ever since.

8 years and 3 startups later, with Gary’s point in mind, I’ve pushed hard with patience, passion and of course the old school hustle. …


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Today, at the F8 developer conference, Facebook introduced a new type of Messenger bot that allows multiple users to access bots inside of existing conversations on the messaging app.

Facebook calls them chat extensions. They’ll serve not just as group bots, but as an extremely powerful form of smart discovery. Until today, bots were exclusively a 1:1 experience. You would message a bot and only have a singular conversation. Now, with chat extensions, bot developers can create rich experiences directly in-line. …


How to advertise your chatbot and bring in traffic for pennies on the dollar compared to conventional advertising.

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A few weeks ago, I published this post on the big opportunities with bots in this coming year. The core of the post explains 5 specific applications where it’s better to use a chatbot vs anything else (like a Website or Mobile App).

Now, I want to focus on what happens after you finish your chatbot. Similar to a website or mobile app, you’ll want users to interact and engage with it. There are a few ways to acquire users, but one of most trusted is CPC advertising.

CPC advertising with chatbots is slightly different than traditional web and mobile…


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Look — 2016 was not the year chatbot enthusiasts (like myself) expected. When Facebook announced their support during F8, we saw the future. Predictably, users and brands had massive expectations for the future of chatbots. When that didn’t happen, a lot of them moved on to the next hot thing.

The early chatbots of 2016 let us experiment, but more importantly, taught us where chatbots fall short (at least now). I’m going to tell you 5 ways chatbots will win this year.

Here’s the backstory. I run Black Ops. A digital agency in NYC focused on chatbots. Over the last…


I’ve noticed a common theme in building great products. Generally speaking, you can get to 80% complete relatively fast. When I say relatively fast, I’m talking a matter of days. 80% is enough to showcase your idea, communicate emotions, and layout direction.

The problem is, 80% isn’t a shippable product. A shippable product isn’t anything, it’s just an idea.

A lot of designers & developers start to slow down, get stuck, or even worse, give up right around 80%. It’s because it that’s when it starts to become really fucking hard. Little design bugs take forever to work out, and…


What is a “sexy company?” Those companies you see every day all over Inc., Fast Company and Tech Crunch. Those Silicon Valley heavy weights looking to “disrupt” every aspect of your damn life. You know, the Ubers, the Snapchats, the Instagrams. They usually follow a trend of raising tens of millions of dollars in VC funding, all while chasing the ultimate prize of a huge exit, making everyone filthy rich. Right?

Here’s the problem with those companies. For each sexy company you read about with their godlike expectations, there are thousands more that you don’t. …


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I get this question a lot. Mostly from brands that are deciding if iMessage Stickers are a good investment. The honest answer is; I don’t know yet. Truthfully, no one knows right now. iOS 10 was released 17 days ago and no one’s sharing their performance yet.

Here’s what I do know. iMesssage Stickers have the ability to become the most powerful app marketing mechanism we’ve ever seen.

Let’s start here:

That’s some real shit. Half of US smartphone users download ZERO apps per month.


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Apple’s annual WWDC Keynote was this week. As usual, it did not disappoint. There were a few notable items, however, one in particular stood out to me: iMessage.

With iOS 10, iMessage gains its own App Store. iMessage Apps are third-party extensions that expand the functionality of a standard conversation. Is this Apple’s take on chat bots? Not exactly, but this native experience may provide something even more powerful.

In a previous blog post, I talked about the landscape of Facebook Bots and how I think they can help demonstrate brand value and speed up customer acquisition. So, what are…


Customer Acquisition on Speed?

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Photo cred

I’m sure by now you’ve heard a lot of noise around bots. If you’re like me, you’re naturally interested in new tech, but ultimately want to see if bots can provide a meaningful impact on your business and or market. Let’s break this out…

  • 900 million users use Facebook Messenger.
  • 72% of Facebook Messenger users purchase products online.
  • 54% of user only login via mobile.

Whats the value right now?

First, let’s talk about what bots shouldn’t do:

  • Complex administrative tasks.
  • Interactive things where a UI is necessary to explain it’s value.

Now, let’s talk about what bots should do:

  • Simple…

MATTHEW BLACK

Founder of @BlackOpsNY. #Hackerpreneur. Helping hackers, entrepreneurs and brands build dope chatbots. Digs style, travel, fitness & the future.

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