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Is loyalty to an art gallery outdated? — FT.com
SEPTEMBER 23, 2016 by: Harriet Fitch Little.

Dealer-client relationships have been founded on what he terms “proper social conversations”: dinners out, trips taken and “[the collector’s] ability to share with the gallery the enthusiasm, the sheer admiration and wonder at an artist’s work”.

But art fairs, auctions and the internet have rendered conversations with dealers a choice rather than a necessity for buyers. In Selling Contemporary Art (2015), [North York Central Library, Book Lang & Lit 5th Fl Nonfiction In Library 706.88 WIN] which charts how the market has transformed since 2008, author Edward Winkleman uses a phrase he acquired from the Los Angeles-based collector Stefan Simchowitz to describe the shift: “cultural Lutheranism”. Collectors now have the tools to evaluate and purchase art without the hand holding of a gallerist — perhaps without ever even visiting an exhibition....the fickleness of the contemporary art market, where artists are “on the top ten hits parade for a while and then you never hear of them again” makes the dealer whose taste one trusts an indispensable guide....art lovers stick with particular dealers if they demonstrate a commitment to art that goes beyond the financial....for a gallerist, “Where you have a choice is the artists you choose to work with, the clients you choose to work with,” -- “The key for the whole thing is trust.”
trustworthiness  David_Bowie  mentoring  collectors  collectibles  art  dealerships  galleries  loyalty  taste-makers  books  contemporary_art  relationships  high-touch  art_market  customer_loyalty 
september 2016
Bill Nunn, Who Played Radio Raheem in ‘Do the Right Thing,’ Dies at 63 -
SEPT. 24, 2016 | The New York Times | By LIAM STACK.

Bill Nunn, a versatile actor best known for playing the role of Radio Raheem, the boombox-toting neighborhood philosopher killed by police officers in Spike Lee’s 1989 film “Do the Right Thing,” died on Saturday in Pittsburgh. He was 63.....The first major acting role for Mr. Nunn, the son of a well-known professional football scout, was in the 1988 film “School Daze,” also written and directed by Mr. Lee. The next year brought the critically acclaimed “Do the Right Thing,” in which he played the iconic Radio Raheem, who carries a boombox blaring Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” through the streets of the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn on the hottest day of summer.....He was a frequent collaborator of Mr. Lee and also appeared in his films “Mo’ Better Blues” and “He Got Game.” Mr. Lee referred to him on Saturday as "my dear friend, my dear Morehouse brother.” They both attended Morehouse College in Atlanta.....Mr. Nunn became a popular character actor after “Do the Right Thing” and appeared in a variety of films, including “New Jack City,” “Sister Act” and the “Spider-Man” trilogy by the director Sam Raimi.
actors  obituaries  African-Americans  Spike_Lee  Bill_Nunn  movies  '80s  '90s  1989 
september 2016
Henry Louis Gates Jr.: Restoring Black History
SEPT. 23, 2016 | - The New York Times | By HENRY LOUIS GATES Jr.

The opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington helps to resolve the protracted debate about the contributions of black people to American history and, indeed, about whether they had a history worth preserving at all. Those questions were at the heart of the nation’s original debate about whether, and how, black lives matter.....“History,” James Baldwin wrote, “is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.”.... the opening of the museum ...reinscribes race at a symbolically central place in American culture, on the National Mall, where we celebrate our collective public histories, ensuring that a mountain of evidence about black contributions to America will be on permanent display....More than a museum, the building on the National Mall is a refutation of two and a half centuries of the misuse of history to reinforce a social order in which black people were enslaved, then systematically repressed and denied their rights when freed. It also repudiates the long and dismal tradition of objectifying black people in museums.
slavery  Jim_Crow  history  historians  Henry_Louis_Gates  museums  Washington_D.C.  African-Americans  Thomas_Jefferson  Enlightenment  Hegel  John_Hope_Franklin  W.E.B._Du_Bois  Carter_Woodson  Arthur_Schomburg  Obama  James_Baldwin  Smithsonian  David_Adjaye 
september 2016
How to Counter China’s Global Propaganda Offensive -
SEPT. 21, 2016| The New York Times | By MAREIKE OHLBERG and BERTRAM LANG

Above all, it’s crucial to show that it is possible to point out the flaws and failures of current Western political systems without undermining what is valuable about them: pluralism, freedom of speech and the willingness for introspection. Let’s not sacrifice those values by entering into a propaganda war.
propaganda  China  China_rising  Confucius_Institutes  storytelling  counternarratives  Communicating_&_Connecting 
september 2016
A field guide to lies : critical thinking in the information age : Levitin, Daniel J., author. : Book, Regular Print Book : Toronto Public Library
Year/Format: 2016, Book , 304 pages

It's becoming harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. How do we distinguish misinformation, pseudo-facts, distortions and outright lies from reliable information? In A Field Guide to Lies, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin outlines the many pitfalls of the information age and provides the means to spot and avoid them. Levitin groups his field guide into two categories--statistical infomation and faulty arguments--ultimately showing how science is the bedrock of critical thinking. It is easy to lie with stats and graphs as few people "take the time to look under the hood and see how they work." And, just because there's a number on something, doesn't mean that the number was arrived at properly. Logic can help to evaluate whether or not a chain of reasoning is valid. And "infoliteracy" teaches us that not all sources of information are equal, and that biases can distort data. Faced with a world too eager to flood us with information, the best response is to be prepared. A Field Guide to Lies helps us avoid learning a lot of things that aren't true.
books  nonfiction  critical_thinking  infoliteracy  biases  lying  information_overload  TPL  Daniel_Levitin  engaged_citizenry  signals  noise  information_sources 
september 2016
Prostate cancer? Relax, and don’t rush your treatment - The Globe and Mail
ANDRÉ PICARD
The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2016

a landmark study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has provided some stark data on the benefits, risks and necessity of treatment for men with low- or medium-risk prostate cancer (meaning they have a Gleason score of 6-7).

Related: What's the best method of screening for prostate cancer?

The uplifting news is that, a decade after diagnosis, 99 per cent of men with early prostate cancer are still alive. The sort-of-surprising news is that mortality rates don’t really vary depending on type of treatment, or whether a man is treated at all. .....The other element of this story, which is not part of the new research, is about the effectiveness and appropriateness of testing. Another study published recently showed that digital rectal examination is a poor way of detecting prostate cancer and shouldn’t be done because it provides “maximal pain for minimal gain.”

PSA testing, for its part, is one of the most controversial issues in the cancer field. It doesn’t actually detect cancer, but elevated PSA levels trigger biopsies and often lead to a cascade of overtreatment. In Canada, routine PSA tests are not recommended.

What we really need is a test that shows if prostate cancer, once detected, will prove aggressive and deadly or not, and we don’t have that. Prostate cancer kills 4,100 Canadian men a year, but it’s not by doing more and earlier testing and more aggressive treatment that we will necessarily reduce that number. That’s a hard message to digest, and deliver.
cancers  mens'_health  André_Picard  health  PSA  prostate  overtreatment  thinking_deliberatively  reflections  contextual  timeouts  latency 
september 2016
At BlackRock, a Wall Street Rock Star’s $5 Trillion Comeback - The New York Times
SEPT. 15, 2016 | NYT | By LANDON THOMAS Jr.

(1) Laurence Fink: “If you think you know everything about our business, you are kidding yourself,” he said. “The biggest question we have to answer is: ‘Are we developing the right leaders?’” “Are you,” he asked, “prepared to be one of those leaders?”

(2) BlackRock was thriving because of its focus on low-risk, low-cost funds and the all-seeing wonders of Aladdin. BlackRock sees the future of finance as being rules-based, data-driven, systematic investment styles such as exchange-traded funds, which track a variety of stock and bond indexes or adhere to a set of financial rules. Fink believes that his algorithmic driven style will, over time, grow faster than the costlier “active investing” model in which individuals, not algorithms, make stock, bond and asset allocation decisions.

Most money management firms highlight their investment returns first, and risk controls second. BlackRock has taken a reverse approach: It believes that risk analysis, such as gauging how a security will trade if interest rates go up or down, improves investment results.

(3) BlackRock, along with central banks, sovereign wealth funds — have become the new arbiters of "flow.“ It is not about the flow of securities anymore, it is about the flow of information and indications of interest.”

(4) Asset Liability and Debt and Derivatives Investment Network (Aladdin), is BlackRock's big data-mining, risk-mitigation platform/framework. Aladdin is a network of code, trades, chat, algorithms and predictive models that on any given day can highlight vulnerabilities and opportunities connected to the trillions that BlackRock firm tracks — including the portion which belongs to outside firms that pay BlackRock a fee to have access to the platform. Aladdin stress-tests how securities will respond to certain situations (e.g. a sudden rise in interest rates or what happens in the event of a political surprise, like Donald J. Trump being elected president.)

In San Francisco, a team of equity analysts deploys data analysis to study the language that CEOs use during an earnings call. Unusually bearish this quarter, compared with last? If so, maybe the stock is a sell. “We have more information than anyone,” Mr. Fink said.
Aladdin  asset_management  asset_values  BlackRock  bonds  central_banks  CEOs  collective_intelligence  complacency  data_mining  databases  economic_downturn  ETFs  finance  financial_services  financiers  frameworks  future  information_flows  intentionality  Laurence_Fink  leadership  liquidity  market_intelligence  money_management  monitoring  order_management_system  platforms  risk-analysis  risk-mitigation  risks  risk-management  rules-based  scaling  scenario-planning  sovereign_wealth_funds  stress-tests  succession  systematic_approaches  traders  volatility  Wall_Street  
september 2016
Fast Response to ‘Brexit’ News: A Pop-Up Paper Finds Success in Britain - The New York Times
By NICOLA CLARK SEPT. 13, 2016 | NYT |

“It kind of dawned on me: Here was an audience that was so clearly identifiable and passionate,” said Mr. Kelly, a longtime British newspaper executive who is now chief content officer of Archant, a large British newspaper group. “If there ever was a time for launching a new newspaper, this is it.”

Less than two weeks later, in early July, The New European, a weekly print newspaper, hit newsstands nationwide. The paper, conceived as a finite, monthlong experiment, is now going into its 11th week after proving a surprisingly profitable hit with readers.....Some midsize publishers have focused on portfolios of smaller-scale titles that can be produced using the same infrastructure of presses, distribution and marketing networks. Those economies of scale can significantly reduce the marginal costs — and the risks — of developing new print products....earlier experiments, aimed at general-interest audiences, failed to capture enough demand from readers and advertisers to justify their publishers’ relatively modest initial investments....The New European was conceived as a niche publication--the 48 % of Britons who voted on June 23 to stay in the European Union Since it was meant to be short-lived, Archant avoided spending huge sums on market research or publicity campaigns. “We never set out to actually create a long-term brand,” “The way we structured it was to make money on a four-week run.....successful pop-up titles could be linked to popular political or social movements, or major sporting events like last month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
pop-ups  newspapers  digital_media  Brexit  experimentation  new_products  product_launches  United_Kingdom  economies_of_scale  epiphanies  event-driven  events  social_movements  contextual  cost-structure  print_journalism  short-term  niches  short-lived  sports 
september 2016
Bayer-Monsanto deal the latest merger to sweep beleaguered agri-foods sector - The Globe and Mail
JEFF LEWIS
CALGARY — The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2016

Agribusiness giants are bulking up to weather a severe industry slump that has hit everything from grain prices to farm incomes, putting pressure on earnings at some of the sector’s top firms.

German drug and crop chemical maker Bayer AG became the latest global heavyweight to enter the consolidation race, announcing Wednesday that it would acquire U.S. seeds company Monsanto Co. in a massive $66-billion (U.S.) takeover.
mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  agribusiness  Bayer  Monsanto 
september 2016
How the Beach Boys Made Their No. 1 Hit ‘Good Vibrations’
Anatomy of a Song How the Beach Boys Created .

In 1966, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys spent seven months producing “Good Vibrations” at an estimated cost of more than $400,000 in today’s dollars—a record at the time for a single. Despite the expense, the euphoric flower-power love song with densely layered instrumentals and vocal harmonies pioneered new standards for rock recording and studio experimentation.
music  psychedelic  '60s  flower-power  anniversaries  songs 
september 2016
The Unexpected Ways Sleep Deprivation Makes Life Tougher
Scientists are gaining new insights into just how lack of sleep can upset our emotional equilibrium. Researchers have found that people who are sleep-deprived have difficulty reading the facial
sleep  unexpected  deprivations  insomnia 
september 2016
Wall Street’s Insatiable Lust: Data, Data, Data
By BRADLEY HOPE
Updated Sept. 12, 2016

One of his best strategies is to attend the most seemingly mundane gatherings, such as the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management conference in San Diego last year, and the National Industrial Transportation League event in New Orleans.

“I walk the floor, try to talk to companies and get a sense within an industry of who collects data that could provide a unique insight into that industry,” he said.....Data hunters scour the business world for companies that have data useful for predicting the stock prices of other companies. For instance, a company that processes transactions at stores could have market-moving information on how certain products or brands are selling or a company that provides software to hospitals could give insights into how specific medical devices are being used......A host of startups also are trying to make it easier for funds without high-powered data-science staffers to get the same insights. One, called Quandl Inc., based in Toronto, offers a platform that includes traditional market data alongside several “alternative” data....
alternative_data  conferences  data  data_hunting  hedge_funds  insights  investors  exhaust_data  market_moving  medical_devices  mundane  private_equity  Quandl  quants  sentiment_analysis  unconventional  unglamorous  Wall_Street 
september 2016
The Fast Lane: Edge of the seat stuff — FT.com
AUGUST 12, 2016 by: Tyler Brûlé

Aside from working on the structure of my presentation, I’ve been thinking about what elements can be lifted from the page to make for a more animated session and I’ve decided that nothing gets people on the edge of their seats more than a little competition..... I do a little quiz and the fastest, most accurate responders get a little prize sent their way. On September 3 I’m going to take the quiz concept live and incentivise the audience with a few treats that will hopefully generate a healthy bit of competition.....I’m going to be giving some thought to one of the key questions that will be on most peoples’ minds as they shift from summer mode and into the rush of autumn — “How can I turn that lovely business idea I had on Hydra in mid-August into reality?”

During the past week alone I must have come up with no fewer than five ideas that I feel need further consideration and possible business planning. Perhaps an added element to the event might be a round of polling and fundraising for the best idea.
ideas  conferences  national_Identity  FT  Tyler_Brûlé  summertime  idea_generation 
september 2016
Ultra-rich man’s letter: “To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming” – TIP
Ultra-rich man’s letter: “To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming”

By NICK HANAUER | politico

You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries—from itsy-bitsy ones like the night club I started in my 20s to giant ones like Amazon.com, for which I was the first nonfamily investor. Then I founded aQuantive, an Internet advertising company that was sold to Microsoft in 2007 for $6.4 billion. In cash. My friends and I own a bank. I tell you all this to demonstrate that in many ways I’m no different from you. Like you, I have a broad perspective on business and capitalism. And also like you, I have been rewarded obscenely for my success, with a life that the other 99.99 percent of Americans can’t even imagine. Multiple homes, my own plane, etc., etc. You know what I’m talking about. In 1992, I was selling pillows made by my family’s business, Pacific Coast Feather Co., to retail stores across the country, and the Internet was a clunky novelty to which one hooked up with a loud squawk at 300 baud. But I saw pretty quickly, even back then, that many of my customers, the big department store chains, were already doomed. I knew that as soon as the Internet became fast and trustworthy enough—and that time wasn’t far off—people were going to shop online like crazy. Goodbye, Caldor. And Filene’s. And Borders. And on and on.

Realizing that, seeing over the horizon a little faster than the next guy, was the strategic part of my success. The lucky part was that I had two friends, both immensely talented, who also saw a lot of potential in the web. One was a guy you’ve probably never heard of named Jeff Tauber, and the other was a fellow named Jeff Bezos. I was so excited by the potential of the web that I told both Jeffs that I wanted to invest in whatever they launched, big time. It just happened that the second Jeff—Bezos—called me back first to take up my investment offer. So I helped underwrite his tiny start-up bookseller. The other Jeff started a web department store called Cybershop, but at a time when trust in Internet sales was still low, it was too early for his high-end online idea; people just weren’t yet ready to buy expensive goods without personally checking them out (unlike a basic commodity like books, which don’t vary in quality—Bezos’ great insight). Cybershop didn’t make it, just another dot-com bust. Amazon did somewhat better. Now I own a very large yacht.

But let’s speak frankly to each other. I’m not the smartest guy you’ve ever met, or the hardest-working. I was a mediocre student. I’m not technical at all—I can’t write a word of code. What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind. The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.

But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last.

If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when.

_h3218_w4866_m2_bwhite(Image: news.msn)


Many of us think we’re special because “this is America.” We think we’re immune to the same forces that started the Arab Spring—or the French and Russian revolutions, for that matter. I know you fellow .01%ers tend to dismiss this kind of argument; I’ve had many of you tell me to my face I’m completely bonkers. And yes, I know there are many of you who are convinced that because you saw a poor kid with an iPhone that one time, inequality is a fiction.

The model for us rich guys here should be Henry Ford, who realized that all his autoworkers in Michigan weren’t only cheap labor to be exploited; they were consumers, too. Ford figured that if he raised their wages, to a then-exorbitant $5 a day, they’d be able to afford his Model Ts.

What a great idea. My suggestion to you is: Let’s do it all over again. We’ve got to try something. These idiotic trickle-down policies are destroying my customer base. And yours too.

It’s when I realized this that I decided I had to leave my insulated world of the super-rich and get involved in politics. Not directly, by running for office or becoming one of the big-money billionaires who back candidates in an election. Instead, I wanted to try to change the conversation with ideas—by advancing what my co-author, Eric Liu, and I call “middle-out” economics. It’s the long-overdue rebuttal to the trickle-down economics worldview that has become economic orthodoxy across party lines—and has so screwed the American middle class and our economy generally. Middle-out economics rejects the old misconception that an economy is a perfectly efficient, mechanistic system and embraces the much more accurate idea of an economy as a complex ecosystem made up of real people who are dependent on one another.

Which is why the fundamental law of capitalism must be: If workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers, not rich businesspeople like us, the true job creators. Which means a thriving middle class is the source of American prosperity, not a consequence of it. The middle class creates us rich people, not the other way around.

On June 19, 2013, Bloomberg published an article I wrote called “The Capitalist’s Case for a $15 Minimum Wage.” Forbes labeled it “Nick Hanauer’s near insane” proposal. And yet, just weeks after it was published, my friend David Rolf, a Service Employees International Union organizer, roused fast-food workers to go on strike around the country for a $15 living wage. Nearly a year later, the city of Seattle passed a $15 minimum wage. And just 350 days after my article was published, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray signed that ordinance into law. How could this happen, you ask?

It happened because we reminded the masses that they are the source of growth and prosperity, not us rich guys. We reminded them that when workers have more money, businesses have more customers—and need more employees. We reminded them that if businesses paid workers a living wage rather than poverty wages, taxpayers wouldn’t have to make up the difference. And when we got done, 74 percent of likely Seattle voters in a recent poll agreed that a $15 minimum wage was a swell idea.

The standard response in the minimum-wage debate, made by Republicans and their business backers and plenty of Democrats as well, is that raising the minimum wage costs jobs. Businesses will have to lay off workers. This argument reflects the orthodox economics that most people had in college. If you took Econ 101, then you literally were taught that if wages go up, employment must go down. The law of supply and demand and all that. That’s why you’ve got John Boehner and other Republicans in Congress insisting that if you price employment higher, you get less of it. Really?

The thing about us businesspeople is that we love our customers rich and our employees poor.

Because here’s an odd thing. During the past three decades, compensation for CEOs grew 127 times faster than it did for workers. Since 1950, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio has increased 1,000 percent, and that is not a typo. CEOs used to earn 30 times the median wage; now they rake in 500 times. Yet no company I know of has eliminated its senior managers, or outsourced them to China or automated their jobs. Instead, we now have more CEOs and senior executives than ever before. So, too, for financial services workers and technology workers. These folks earn multiples of the median wage, yet we somehow have more and more of them.

140624_fatcats_grid_1160
The Art of the Fat Cat A century and a half of soaking the rich—with ink.
By MATT WUERKER – (politico)

The thing about us businesspeople is that we love our customers rich and our employees poor. So for as long as there has been capitalism, capitalists have said the same thing about any effort to raise wages. We’ve had 75 years of complaints from big business—when the minimum wage was instituted, when women had to be paid equitable amounts, when child labor laws were created. Every time the capitalists said exactly the same thing in the same way: We’re all going to go bankrupt. I’ll have to close. I’ll have to lay everyone off. It hasn’t happened. In fact, the data show that when workers are better treated, business gets better. The naysayers are just wrong.

Most of you probably think that the $15 minimum wage in Seattle is an insane departure from rational policy that puts our … [more]
Accomplisher_Class  economics  feudalism  high_net_worth  income_inequality  middle_class  minimum_wage  politics  social_fabric  the_one_percent  via:enochko  worldviews 
september 2016
When an athlete protests by sitting out the anthem - The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Sep. 09, 2016

The 49ers organization issued a statement supporting both the playing of The Star-Spangled Banner and Mr. Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for it. It called the anthem “an opportunity to honour our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

This is sensible. But it is hardly legally required. If the league or his team had wanted to, they could have disciplined him. They didn’t, and they shouldn’t – but their decision to tolerate and even to some extent back him, rather than dropping him, has been a business decision, not a legal or constitutional one.

Americans, like Canadians, enjoy something approaching an absolute right to free speech. But that right, the most fundamental of citizen’s rights in Western democracies, is about being able to speak without the government censoring you. It’s not the right to say anything you want, anywhere and any time, without consequences.
African-Americans  athletes_&_athletics  NFL  symbolism  black_lives_matter  protests 
september 2016
Protecting your aging brain with vitamin B12 - The Globe and Mail
JANE E. BRODY
The New York Times News Service
Published Friday, Sep. 09, 2016
vitamins  mens'_health 
september 2016
Advice for Data Scientists on Where to Work | Stitch Fix Technology – Multithreaded
It's a good time to be a data scientist. If you have the skills, experience, curiosity and passion, there is a vast and receptive market of companies to choose from. Yet there is much to consider when evaluating a prospective firm as a place to apply your talents. Even veterans may not have had the opportunity to experience different organizations, stages of maturity, cultures, technologies, or domains. We are amalgamating our combined experience here to offer some advice - three things to look for in a company that could make it a great place to work.

Work for a Company that Leverages Data Science for its Strategic Differentiation

Companies employ various means of differentiation in order to gain a competitive advantage in the market. Some differentiate themselves using price, striving to be the low-price leader. Others differentiate by product, providing an offering that is superior in some way. Still others differentiate by their processes - for example providing faster shipping.

A Data Scientist should look for a company that actually uses data science to set themselves apart from the competition. Note that data science may be supportive of lower prices, better products, and faster shipping, however, it is not typically the direct enabler of these differentiators. More commonly, the enablers are other things - economies of scale in the case of lower prices, patents or branding in the case of product, and automation technology in the case of faster shipping. Data science can directly enable a strategic differentiator if the company's core competency depends on its data and analytic capabilities. When this happens, the company becomes supportive to data science instead of the other way around. It's willing to invest in acquiring the top talent, building the necessary infrastructure, pioneering the latest algorithmic and computational techniques, and building incredible engineering products to manifest the data science.

"Good enough" is not a phrase that is uttered in the context of a strategic differentiator. Rather, the company and the data scientist have every incentive to push the envelope, to innovate further, and to take more risks. The company's aspirations are squarely in-line with that of the data scientist's. It's an amazing intersection to be at – a place that gets you excited to wake up to every morning, a place that stretches you, a place that inspires you (and supports you) to be the best in the world at what you do.

Work for a Company with Great Data

In determining what will be a great company to work for, data-science-as-a-strategic-differentiator is a necessary criteria, but it is not sufficient. The company must also have world-class data to work with.

This starts with finding a company that really has data. Spotting the difference between data and aspirations of data can be especially important in evaluating early-stage companies. Ideally you'll find a company that already has enough data to do interesting things. Almost all companies will generate more data as they grow, but if you join a company that already has data your potential for impact and fulfillment will be much higher.

Next look for data that is both interesting and that has explanatory power. One of the most important aspects of your daily life will be the extent to which you find the data you work with compelling. Interesting data should require your creativity to frame problems, test your intuition and push you to develop new algorithms and applications. Explanatory power is just as important - great data enables great applications. There should be enough signal to support data science as a differentiating strength.

Finally, don't fixate on big data. The rising prominence of the data scientist has coincided with the rise of Big Data, but they are not the same thing. Sheer scale does not necessarily make data interesting, nor is it necessarily required. Look for data with high information density rather than high volume, and that supports applications you find interesting or surprising. This enables you to spend most of your mental energy on analysis and framing rather than on efficient data processing.

Work for a Company with Greenfield Opportunities

When evaluating opportunities, find a company that doesn't have it all figured out yet. Nearly all companies that fit the criteria in the sections above will already have some applications in place where the work of data scientists is essential. Look for those companies that have a strong direction and strongly established data science teams, but have an array of problems they are solving for the first time.

Often the most exciting and impactful opportunities for data scientists at a company are not being actively pursued. They probably have not even been conceived of yet. Work somewhere that encourages you to take risks, challenge basic assumptions, and imagine new possibilities.

Observing the relationship between engineering and data science teams is a quick way to determine if an organization adopts this mindset. Is engineering enthusiastic to partner with data science teams to experiment and integrate ideas back into the business? Is there an architecture in place that supports agile integration of new ideas and technologies? In fact, in companies that embody this mindset most effectively, it is likely difficult to locate the boundary between data science and engineering teams.

A greenfield can be intimidating in its lack of structure, but the amount of creativity and freedom available to you as a data scientist is never greater than when you're starting from scratch. The impact of putting something in place where nothing existed previously can be immeasurable. Look for chances to be involved in designing not just the math and science, but also the pipeline, the API, and the tech stack. Not only is creating something new often more challenging and rewarding, but there is no better opportunity for learning and growth than designing something from the ground up.

Incremental improvements have incremental impacts, but embrace the chance to operate on a greenfield. While it is extremely important to constantly iterate and improve on systems that already exist, the Version 1 of something new can fundamentally change the business.

Summary

Of course, there are other considerations: domain, the company's brand, the specific technology in use, the culture, the people, and so forth. All of those are equally important. We call out the three above since they are less frequently talked about, yet fundamental to a data scientist's growth, impact, and happiness. They are also less obvious. We learned these things from experience. At first glance, you would not expect to find these things in a women's apparel company. However, our very different business model places a huge emphasis on data science, enables some of the richest data in the world, and creates space for a whole new suite of innovative software.
artificial_intelligence  career  data  data_scientists  differentiation  economies_of_scale  greenfields  good_enough  information_density  job_search  Managing_Your_Career  product_pipelines  strategy  think_threes  via:enochko 
september 2016
Driscoll’s Aims to Hook the Berry-Buying Shopper - The New York Times
By STEPHANIE STROMSEPT. 6, 2016
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Driscoll's  marketing  fresh_produce  perishables  fruits 
september 2016
Target Revamps Staffing for Grocery Business - WSJ
By KHADEEJA SAFDAR
Updated Sept. 7, 2016

The stakes are high for Target to improve groceries, which account for about a fifth of its revenue. Fewer shoppers visiting stores to buy its perishable foods has been a drag on profits at a time when the retailer is facing declining sales.

Since taking over in 2014, CEO Brian Cornell has tried to make Target a more compelling destination for groceries. The former Safeway Inc. and PepsiCo Inc. executive has changed leadership in the category, added more organic items to the assortment and invested in store design.
grocery  supermarkets  Target  merchandising  specialization 
september 2016
A Style Guide That’s Man’s Best Friend - WSJ
By NICK REMSEN
Sept. 7, 2016

From Amazon:
Men and Style reaches beyond standard “what to wear” advice: It is equal parts style guide and intriguing conversation about the masculine identity within the world of fashion. David Coggins explores the history of men’s style and learns from some of the most notable tastemakers in the industry and beyond. Its essays and interviews discuss the lessons men learned from their fathers, the mistakes they made as young men, and how they emerged to become better men. Some of the most dapper men in the world discuss bad mustaches, misguided cologne choices, and unfortunate prom tuxedos. All the men here have arrived at a place in the world and have a keen understanding about how they fit in it. Men and Style celebrates singular men who’ve lived well and can tell us about how they earned their worldview. They’re smart enough to absorb the wisdom that’s hidden in the world, and even smarter to wear that wisdom lightly.
stylish  books  mens'_clothing  taste-makers  masculinity  fashion  opinon_makers  worldviews 
september 2016
Understanding SecDB: Goldman Sachs’s Most Valued Trading Weapon - WSJ
By JUSTIN BAER
Sept. 7, 2016

traders use the system to track how a position would have performed over the past year, how it might do in the future under different scenarios, and how the holding might alter their broader portfolio. They can also use the system to help determine a price to charge the trade’s counterparty.

But traders aren’t SecDB’s only users. The firm’s risk managers use the system to peer into positions held by a trading desk or business to determine aggregate exposures.

Every Wall Street firm has tools to run each of those functions. But SecDB’s power comes from its universal use throughout the firm, its flexibility to add new variables or new sources of information, and its ability to tap into all of Goldman’s data.
Goldman_Sachs  traders  Wall_Street  databases  counterparties  information_sources  SecDB 
september 2016
Goldman Sachs Has Started Giving Away Its Most Valuable Software - WSJ
By JUSTIN BAER
Sept. 7, 2016

Securities DataBase, or SecDB, the system remains Goldman’s prime tool for measuring risk and analyzing the prices of securities, and it calculates 23 billion prices across 2.8 million positions daily. It has played a crucial role in many of the seminal moments of the firm’s recent history, including its controversial trading just ahead of the financial crisis.....There is perhaps no better sign of the changes that have engulfed Wall Street than this: Goldman has recently started giving clients the tools that made it a trading powerhouse, for free.

The firm’s motives aren’t altruistic; rather, many of the edges that once made Goldman’s traders feared and admired have been blunted. New rules have limited banks’ trading risks, and made it costly to hold large inventories of stocks and bonds on their books. And electronic trading has squeezed margins, dimming the clamor of trading floors across Wall Street....Traders and executives tap into SecDB to inform how to price securities, and how the value of those assets may change with a twist on the dial on any one of thousands of potential variables. That information can be used to analyze potential trades—and then to monitor the risks posed by those positions.

What made it the envy of Wall Street, though, was its ability to scale up to include new classes of securities, new trading desks, even whole businesses. And the data it harnessed was all in one place.
Wall_Street  Goldman_Sachs  tools  traders  risk-management  informational_advantages  software  free  databases  platforms  CIOs  proprietary  slight_edge  Aladdin  Martin_Chavez  scaling  SecDB  seminal_moments  asset_values  scenario-planning  stress-tests 
september 2016
Innovator Under 35: Hossein Rahnama, 32 - MIT Technology Review
Hossein Rahnama, 32
Mobile apps that tell you what you need to know before you have to ask
Flybits
Flybits  mobile_applications  contextual  Hossein_Rahnama 
september 2016
Overcoming the three objections to hiring you - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Sep. 02, 2016
there are three reasons an employer won’t hire you: pay, experience, and fit.
The method is simple, shared by James Clear recently on his blog:

1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write more than six tasks.

2. Prioritize those six items in order of importance.

3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second.

4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.

5. Repeat this process every working day.

Mr. Clear says the Ivy Lea method is effective because it’s simple, it forces you to make tough decisions about priorities, it removes the friction of getting started by dictating what you should be doing, and forces you to ‘single task’ rather than multitask. “Do the most important thing first every day. It’s the only productivity trick you need,” he concludes.
GTD  hard_choices  Harvey_Schachter  hiring  James_Clear  monotasking  priorities  productivity  think_threes 
september 2016
The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street
AUG 31, 2016 | The Atlantic | ALEXIA FERNÁNDEZ CAMPBELL.

Richmond was once the epicenter of black finance. What happened there explains the decline of black-owned banks across the country.

On April, 3rd, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech in Memphis. In it, he urged African Americans to put their money in black-owned banks. It wasn’t his most famous line, but the message was clear: “We’ve got to strengthen black institutions. I call upon you to take your money out of the banks downtown and deposit your money in the Tri-State Bank. We want a ‘bank-in’ movement in Memphis … We begin the process of building a greater economic base.”

The next day, King was assassinated, and his hope of harnessing black wealth remains unfulfilled. Before integration, African Americans in cities like Richmond, Chicago, and Atlanta relied on black community banks, which were largely responsible for providing loans and boosting black businesses, churches, and neighborhoods. After desegregation, black wealth started to hemorrhage from these communities: White-owned banks were forced to open their doors to African Americans and the money that once flowed into black banks and back out to black communities ended up on Wall Street and other banks farther away.
MLK  African-Americans  banks  banking  community_banks  institutions  history  Richmond  desegregation  integration  black-owned  self-sufficiency  self-reliance  institution-building  generational_wealth  economic_clout  capital_formation  epicenters  1968 
september 2016
On campus, it’s good to be bothered by a diversity of ideas - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Sep. 05, 2016

consider the advice U.S. President Barack Obama gave last spring to the graduating class of Howard University, a historically black college in Washington, D.C.

“Don’t try to shut folks out, don’t try to shut them down, no matter how much you might disagree with them,” Mr. Obama said in May. “There will be times when you shouldn’t compromise your core values, your integrity and you will have the responsibility to speak up in the face of injustice. But listen. Engage. If the other side has a point, learn from them. If they’re wrong, rebut them. Teach them. Beat them on the battlefield of ideas. And you might as well start practising now, because one thing I can guarantee you, you will have to deal with ignorance, hatred, racism, foolishness, trifling folks … at every stage of your life.”

Better yet, students should, in Prof. Levinovitz’s words, see university as a “boot camp, not a hotel.” You’re there to toughen up for real life, not shield yourself from its infuriating injustices, painful conflicts and, yes, even the Donald Trumps of this world. Because they’re everywhere.
Konrad_Yakabuski  Colleges_&_Universities  diversity  ideas  intellectual_exploration  political_correctness  censorship  political_orthodoxy  free_speech  hate_speech  safe_spaces  civility  polarization  intellectual_diversity  disagreements  argumentation  heterogeneity  core_values 
september 2016
New Back-Office Tech Can Be a Merger’s Best Friend - WSJ
By VIPAL MONGA
Sept. 5, 2016

As companies become more dependent on complex software systems to manage their businesses, smoothly combining different platforms is becoming a bigger factor in a merger’s success.

New software systems for accounting, inventory tracking and supply-chain management are helping companies combine operations faster by automating some of the grunt work that previously was done manually.

“If you can integrate faster, it becomes an advantage,” said John Hoffecker, a global vice chairman at consulting firm AlixPartners LLP.

Companies that integrate acquisitions more efficiently will be able to reap better returns from takeovers, which can in turn leave them more leeway to do future deals, Mr. Hoffecker said. “You can pay a higher price,” he said.
speed  systems_integration  back-office  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  technology 
september 2016
Looking Down on Black America - The New York Times
By RON CHRISTIESEPT. 5, 2016
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African-Americans  Donald_Trump  GOP  conservatism 
september 2016
You Probably Don’t Need Dental X-Rays Every Year - The New York Times
THE NEW HEALTH CARE JULY 25, 2016
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dental  mens'_health 
september 2016
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