I think my iPhone is listening to me?

The final straw was yesterday morning – I need to explain.

I’ve been thinking for some time that my iPhone X was listening to my conversations and using that “data” to prompt advertisers.

Notably Amazon – I’m a Prime member and use that membership a lot.

There seems to have been a growing correlation between what I’m looking at on my browser and what Amazon are sending me as recommendations, whether it’s for stationery, books, movies, music, sportswear or technology.

Last week in Melbourne I shared with my workshop audience the tripod I use to make video blogs with my iPhone.

When I returned to my hotel room that evening, Amazon had sent me an email featuring the top tripod purchases available. Stupid because I already have one but exactly what I would have expected an algorithm-driven programme to do.

The point being that I wasn’t looking for tripods – I was talking about tripods and waving one around the room.

But let me return to Wednesday morning.

You see, on Tuesday evening, after a half-day in The Barrow Bunker and an afternoon training ride for the FivegoForth charity ride (have I told you? OK – yes, I have) – I suggested to Annie that we walk into the village and pay an impromptu visit to Pizza Express.

That’s unusual as we rarely visit the place, given that it largely caters for school dinners in our “Real Cheshire Housewife” post code and, at my age, the sight and sound of your little darlings colouring in, shouting and chucking dough-balls at each other, together with the deafening clatter of dropped cutlery isn’t my thing.

It was, however, a very pleasant whim to spend some time with my lovely wife, to chat about life, the universe and everything and I totally enjoyed my Peroni Grand Riserva and Romano-based Fiorentina with a soft egg and extra pepperoni (again).

Over dinner, I mentioned to Annie the irony that I was due to stay at The Melia White House in Regents Park the very next night – and that I inevitably eat at Pizza Express on Great Portland Street, meaning that I may well enjoy the same meal two nights running.

So – Wednesday morning – I wake (as usual) at 05:00 and pop down into The Barrow Bunker to complete my morning ritual of social media, blog and email review before a run at 06:30.

There’s the email from Pizza Express.

OK – they send me emails periodically with generic 2 for 1 offers and the like.

Not this email.

Pizza Express want to offer me a 25% discount on all food consumed at their Great Portland Street restaurant – offer available for 24 hours only.

Look – it’s here….

So I have to share with you that I’m officially freaked out by that.

Was that an amazing co-incidence, or do Pizza Express have a secret relationship with my business manager Phillippa Goodwin, or access to my Google calendar – or is my iPhone listening to me and selling my whereabouts to bidders?

I don’t know the answer – but I did explain to my iPhone yesterday that a lottery win would be quite handy.

I’ll manage my expectations on that – or this will be my last blog post – goodbye and thanks for all the fish.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

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