The Edge.Email — 14th Edition

Welcome to the weekly newsletter from The Edge Group. The goal of each edition is to help you think differently about B2B content. If you’d like to learn more about the work we do, please get in touch here.


1 .AI

A fully automated “AI news anchor” from Xinhua in China

Wikipedia defines the Uncanny Valley as that place where “humanoid objects which appear almost, but not exactly, like real human beings elicit uncanny, or strangely familiar, feelings of eeriness and revulsion in the observer”.

This new “AI news anchor” from Xinhua is as uncanny as it gets. While we normally enjoy voicing our opinions on the topic of automated content, this short clip has us utterly speechless.

Make sure to watch this


2. AI

How instagram spawned a cottage industry around words

This Ringer piece explores how the art of the Instagram caption is fast becoming one of the most important venues for wordsmithing on the web. Many SEO-trained marketers are now moving into “Explore” Tab-optimizedcopywriting.

Also of special interest to us, the article covers a new startup that uses machine learning to analyze an Instagram post to come up with the best possible (oraccording to them, “the hypest”) captions. While an AI-news anchor may still generate revulsion, using easily readable data (like photographs) to generate very short bursts of text seems a very promising space to leverage AI.


3. CONTENT

Amazon is going to send out a print holiday toy catalog

At least they waited until Sears and Toys R’ Us declared bankruptcy.

We’ve linked to CNBC coverage above, and if you’d like to see the entire QR-code populated catalog in a PDF format, click here.


4. CREATIVITY

Why are CEO photos so weird

We loved this one.

Robyn Selman, the photo director at Forbes since 2012, organizes 200 to 300 CEO photoshoots a year. She explains why they often end up somewhat odd poses, as shown by whatever Bill Gates is doing below.


5. TACTICAL

How newsletter publishers re-engage lapsed subscribers

Some concrete tips on the subject from Group Nine Media, Morning Brew, Substack, and others in the newsletter mafia.


6. A NEWSLETTER

We spend hundreds of collective hours reading, studying and creating newsletters. To see a gallery of our favorites, and what makes them so good, go to TheEdge.Email. Each week we’ll recommend one of our favorites.

Would we lose all creative cred if we said we were obsessed with Quartz’s Obsession newsletter?

From their launch date, Quartz has defined their newsroom around the idea of “Obsessions”. They’ve done the term justice with their namesake weekly newsletter which covers a singular, unique and often unexpected topic.

There are so many things good about this newsletter. A “By the Digits” section highlighting key stats, a timeline section, a large fun fact, a number of analyses, user tips, videos, along with some very creative CSS-hacked user polls and trivia questions. Oh, and the topics, ranging from rotisserie chickens, to origami, to even 401ks, are always on point.

Sign up here: https://qz.com/emails/quartz-obsession/


7. B2B IS FUN!

Tom Fishburne, better known as the Marketoonist, created a perfect representation of so many automated email campaigns.