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Mark Zuckerberg just signed the death warrant for the smartphone

Matt Weinberger 
 It's no secret Mark Zuckerberg is pinning Facebook's prospects on augmented reality — technology that overlays digital imagery onto the real world, like Snapchat's signature camera filters.

At this year's F8 conference, taking place this week, Zuckerberg doubled down on the company's ambitious 10-year master plan, which was first revealed in 2016. According to this timeline, Facebook expects to turn artificial intelligence, ubiquitous internet connectivity, and virtual and augmented reality into viable parts of its business over the next decade.

The Facebook 10-year road map, first revealed in April 2016. Facebook

To accelerate the rise of augmented reality, a big part of the plan, Zuckerberg unveiled the Camera Effects platform — basically a set of tools for outside developers to build augmented-reality apps that you can access from the existing Facebook app's camera. That would theoretically open the door for Facebook to host the next phenomenon like "Pokémon Go."

Mark Zuckerberg shows off the Facebook Camera Effects platform, which lets developers make augmented-reality apps like this Nike one that lets you share your run times with friends. Getty

While this announcement seems pretty innocuous, make no mistake — Facebook is once again putting itself into direct competition with Google and Apple, trying to create yet another parallel universe of apps and tools that don't rely on the smartphones' marketplaces. As The New York Times notes, Zuckerberg has long been disappointed that Facebook never built a credible smartphone operating system of its own.

This time, though, Facebook is also declaring war on pretty much everyone else in the tech industry, too. While it'll take at least a decade to fully play out, the stuff Facebook is talking about today is just one more milestone on the slow march toward the death of the smartphone and the rise of even weirder and wilder futures.

Why buy a TV?
Zuckerberg tipped his hand, just a bit, during Tuesday's Facebook F8 keynote. During a demo of the company's vision for augmented reality — in the form of a pair of easy-to-wear, standard-looking glasses — he showed how you could have a virtual "screen" in your living room, bigger than your biggest TV.

"We don't need a physical TV. We can buy a $1 app 'TV' and put it on the wall and watch it," Zuckerberg told USA Today ahead of his keynote. "It's actually pretty amazing when you think about how much of the physical stuff we have doesn't need to be physical."

Zuckerberg says the goal is to release glasses, like these, that can project virtual objects like chessboards or even TVs onto what you see. Facebook

That makes sense, assuming you're into the idea of wearing a computer on your face (and you're OK with Facebook intermediating everything you see and hear, glitches and all).

But it's not just TVs. This philosophy could extend to smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, fitness trackers, or anything else that has a screen or relies on one to work. Zuckerberg even showed off a street art installation that's just a blank wall until you wave the Facebook camera app over it to reveal a mural.

For Microsoft, which has already dipped its toe in this area with its HoloLens holographic goggles, this is a foregone conclusion. HoloLens boss Alex Kipman recently called the demise of the smartphone the "natural conclusion" of augmented reality and its associated technologies.

War of the worlds
The problem, naturally, is that a huge chunk of the world's economy hinges on the production of phones, TVs, tablets, and all those other things that Facebook thinks could be replaced with this technology.

Even Zuckerberg acknowledges it's a long road ahead. That said, this Camera Effects platform, should it succeed in attracting a bunch of users, could go down as a savvy move. The apps that are built for the Facebook Camera today could wind up as the first versions of the apps you'd use with those glasses.

Microsoft's futuristic HoloLens goggles provide an early look at Facebook's goal. Microsoft

In the short term, Facebook's play for augmented reality is going to look a lot like competing with Snapchat — and in a meaningful way, it is. Facebook needs developer and user love, so it needs to keep offering fun and funny tools to keep people from moving away from using its apps.

In the long term, though, this is Facebook versus everybody else to usher in an age of a new kind of computing — and pretty much every tech company out there will get caught in the crossfire, as Apple, Google, Microsoft, and more rush out their responses to this extremely existential, but still meaningful, threat.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Insider

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Don’t Keep It To Yourself

Our opening scripture addresses those who
win souls to Christ; they’re destined to shine
as the brightness of the firmament and stars for ever
and ever. This lets you know how important you are
to the Lord, if you’re a soul winner.
Soul winning is God’s number one job, and as His
children, we’re to take the message of salvation to the
nations of the world; it’s our mandate: “And he said
unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the
gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). The Gospel
is man’s only hope; it’s God’s power to bring men
out of sin into righteousness, and out of darkness into
His marvellous light. Only through the Gospel can
men receive eternal life and become partakers of the
divine nature.
Through the Gospel, life and immortality have
been brought to light (2 Timothy 1:10). Therefore,
to know the Gospel; to be saved and then keep it to
yourself means you’re not fulfilling the will of God.
You must tell others about Christ and the power of
His Gospel to save them and make them partakers of
Don’t Keep It To Yourself
Psalms 42-44
Romans 3:1-31
Ephesians 4:1-10
Isaiah 48
Prayer
Dear heavenly Father, I thank
you for making me a true and
dependable minister of the
Gospel, an ambassador of Christ.
I’m effective today in turning
many to righteousness, and from
darkness to light, through the
power of the Holy Spirit that’s at
work in me mightily. I shine as a
star forever, because I’m a soul
winner, in Jesus’ Name. Amen

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4 Skills Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed — No Talent Required

Brian de HaaffFollowingUnfollowBrian de Haaff
CEO, Aha! — #1 product roadmap software
Some memes make the rounds online regularly. One that often pops up is the list of “10 things that require zero talent.” From big-picture traits like passion to daily habits like being on time, the list is a good reminder that success as an entrepreneur requires a strong foundation.

Building a business is hard work. It requires constant vigilance — and always being on the lookout for hidden opportunities.
That is why, rather than sleeping through a flight, you might spend two hours talking shop with your seatmate, who is an ideal consumer for your product — because you could pick up some valuable information. In fact, something similar just happened to me during a conversation where I learned that a parent on my son’s soccer team was a VP of product.

Most entrepreneurs that I know already do most of those 10 things that require zero talent. They have no problem being prepared or putting in extra effort.
But successful entrepreneurs take it farther with four more skills that set them apart. And luckily, those skills do not require special knowledge, an expensive degree, or any talent to cultivate.

So, what are these special skills — and how can you use them to build your own business?

Listening
The success of your business depends on how you solve your customer’s problems. How closely do you listen? How quickly do you interrupt with what you want to say? Instead of butting in, try attentive listening to understand the frustrations and challenges your customer faces. You will be better able to empathize and provide real solutions.

Prioritization
Do you feel like you are putting out fires every day — and not getting anywhere? The trouble may be that you consider all tasks to be created equal. Take time to prioritize what aligns to your strategic goals. Then set a plan to tackle (with tasks ordered by priority) and stick to it. You will accomplish more and see real progress.

Responsiveness 
Want to instantly make your customers happier? It costs you nothing to be more responsive. That means immediately following up on voicemails and responding to emails. Your customers will appreciate your fast response — and you find will more opportunities to connect.

Openness  
Here is another skill — keeping an open mind. Start by expanding what you typically read to include materials that offer an alternate point of view, even the opposite of yours. Strike up a conversation with a stranger. When you challenge yourself to consider new ideas, you can more easily engage and build solid relationships with customers and your team.

These skills do not require any talent or cost to develop. But they do require an investment of time and effort.
You will not suddenly become a better listener or more open-minded overnight. But you can make these skills a priority. Your dedication will pay off in dividends — once you have a stronger, more nimble business to show for it.

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