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One Habit to Make You Happier Today - WSJ
By Elizabeth Bernstein
May 8, 2017
..... “QTL” (which stands for “Quality Time Left”) in difficult times, including when his wife was terminally ill last year, to remind himself not to waste time thinking about the negative and to focus on what makes him happy. Kathlene Carney, 55, a publicist in Point Richmond, Calif., begins repeating “good things always happen to me and good things always happen through me” as soon she feels a downward cycle of negative thinking coming on....How can you choose the best mantra for you? Not just any clichéd motto—“Just do it!”—will do.

Picture yourself older and wiser. Now think about what advice this evolved version of yourself would most want to give you right now to make your life better. Write it down. And distill it into single word, phrase or short sentence. “Make sure that it rings true for you, that it makes you feel good, empowered, reassured, and hopeful,”

Choose several. ‘Having one mantra can become monotonous or routine and it can lose its meaning,” But don’t have so many mantras that you have to struggle to recall them.

Keep it short. It needs to be easy to remember.

Make sure it is positive. But not unbelievable. “If it’s too positive, it can feel hokey—‘I’m good enough, smart enough and people like me,’” For example, telling yourself all is well when it clearly isn’t may not help. “Mantras that help build a healthy brain long-term are based in truth, logic and helpfulness,”

Trigger your mantra. Practice thinking about what’s bothering you and then saying your mantra. This will train your brain to call up the word or phrase as a habit when you are stressed.

Picture your new neural pathways.
affirmations  Elizabeth_Bernstein  habits  inspiration  mantras  mybestlife  negativity_bias  positive_thinking 
may 2017
Flood. Rinse. Repeat: The costly cycle that must end
May 07, 2017 | The Globe and Mail |GLENN MCGILLIVRAY, managing director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Once again, homes located alongside a Canadian river have flooded, affected homeowners are shocked, the local government is wringing its hands, the respective provincial government is ramping up to provide taxpayer-funded disaster assistance and the feds are deploying the Armed Forces.

In Canada, it is the plot of the movie Groundhog Day, or the definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.....First, a homeowner locates next to the river, oftentimes because of the view (meaning a personal choice is being made). Many of these homes are of high value.

Then the snow melts, the ice jams or the rain falls and the flood comes. Often, as is the case now, the rain is characterized by the media as being incredible, far outside the norm. Then a scientific or engineering analysis later shows that what happened was not very exceptional.

These events are not caused by the rain, they are caused by poor land-use decisions, among other public-policy foibles. This is what is meant when some say there are no such things as natural catastrophes, only man-made disasters.

Finally, the province steps in with disaster assistance then seeks reimbursement from the federal government through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements. In any case, whether provincial or federal, taxpayers are left holding the bag.....So what is the root of the problem? Though complex problems have complex causes and complex solutions, one of the causes is that the party making the initial decision to allow construction (usually the local government) is not the party left holding the bag when the flood comes.

Just as homeowners have skin in the game through insurance deductibles and other measures, local governments need a financial disincentive to act in a risky manner. At present, municipalities face far more upside risk than downside risk when it comes to approving building in high-risk hazard zones. When the bailout comes from elsewhere, there is no incentive to make the right decision – the lure of an increased tax base and the desire not to anger local voters is all too great.

Reducing natural disaster losses in Canada means breaking the cycle – taking a link out of the chain of events that leads to losses.

Local governments eager for growth and the tax revenue that goes with it need to hold some significant portion of the downside risk in order to give them pause for thought.
floods  catastrophes  natural_calamities  design  insurance  public_policy  disasters  relief_recovery_reconstruction  sustainability  municipalities  skin_in_the_game  disincentives  Albert_Einstein  complex_problems  land_uses  moral_hazards  man-made  hazards  downside_risks 
may 2017
Learn How to Have a Learning Vacation
APRIL 28, 2017 | The New York Times | By SHIVANI VORA

FOLLOW YOUR PASSION The options for what you can learn on your vacation are limitless, and include cooking, photography, art history, farming or a sport such as diving or horseback riding. To get the most out of the trip, Mr. Spence advises choosing something you’re passionate about;

A LITTLE, OR A LOT? With whatever skill you intend to learn, figure out whether you want an immersion or only to occupy a portion of your trip.

CONSIDER YOUR BUDGET No matter the skill, you can learn it by taking a vacation in a wide range of price ranges, and having a clear idea of your budget will help you home in on the right trip.

DON’T FORGET THE CHILDREN
travel  vacations 
may 2017
What Kal Penn, Actor and Obama White House Alumnus, Loves About Toronto - The New York Times
By JOHN L. DORMAN MAY 3, 2017

Actor Kal Penn is the former associate director of the Office of Public Engagement under President Barack Obama, and currently stars as the press secretary Seth Wright on the ABC drama “Designated Survivor.”........Is there an area in Toronto that you gravitate toward?

There’s a neighborhood called Parkdale that I really like, which has an interesting Tibetan population. There’s a lot of great food, and I don’t mean fancy places where you dress up and go to dinner, but really great hole in the wall, authentic places to grab food. It’s a really nice neighborhood, in the West End of the city. Little Portugal is another great neighborhood, with really nice shops and restaurants........Talking to people whom we disagree with is more important now than it has been before, and I don’t mean just ranting on your Facebook wall. A conversation tends to go very differently when you’re having a beer with someone that you disagree with, compared to sending a nasty tweet to someone because you want to make yourself feel better.
actors  White_House  Toronto  public_discourse  Parkdale  disagreements  neighbourhoods  Queen_Street 
may 2017
How to Port Your Number and Switch to Public Mobile with an iPhone | iPhone in Canada Blog - Canada's #1 iPhone Resource
We have one more line with Fido (an old $56/2GB unlimited nationwide plan) and after calling the retentions department, they offered the following plans to make us stay:

$50/3GB: $5/250MB overages; unlimited nationwide calling, unlimited international MMS/SMS, voicemail (lite), caller ID, call waiting
$45/2GB: same as above
Overall, the porting experience was seamless and easy, but do set aside some time to get everything done. It was nice to be able to port over online and not have to visit a store or deal with a human (which isn’t possible with Public Mobile, so get used to their forums).
wireless  Canada  Canadian  Fido 
may 2017
Strategies for cutting how much you pay for your wireless plan - The Globe and Mail
CHRISTINE DOBBY - TELECOM REPORTER
The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Jul. 12, 2015

Planhub.ca
cost-cutting  wireless  Canadian  Canada 
may 2017
What Hospitality Means to Times Restaurant Critic Pete Wells - The New York Times
By PETE WELLSMAY 3, 2017

a guest is somebody who doesn’t pay: When a friend has you over for a beer, you’re a guest; when you eat in a restaurant and surrender your credit card at the end of the night, you are a customer.

It’s a distinction that restaurants do their best to blur. You even hear it when you’re standing in line at Chipotle or some place like it: “May I help the next guest, please?” But at Union Square Cafe, the choice of words has unique resonance........Mr. Meyer eventually settled on a word to sum up that something more and enshrined it in the name of his company, the Union Square Hospitality Group. From there, the notion of hospitality as the prime directive of restaurant service spread through the land, trickling down to your corner burrito chain.....
restaurants  hospitality  dining  Danny_Meyer  restauranteurs 
may 2017
The Data Behind Dining
FEB 7, 2017 | The Atlantic | BOURREE LAM.

Damian Mogavero, a dining-industry consultant, has analyzed the data behind thousands of restaurants—which dishes get ordered, which servers bring in the highest bills, and even what the weather’s like—and found that these metrics can help inform the decisions and practices of restaurateurs.....Mogavero recently wrote a book about analytics called The Underground Culinary Tour—which is also the name of an annual insider retreat he runs, in which he leads restaurateurs from around the nation to what he considers the most innovative restaurants in New York City, with 15 stops in 24 hours.....they really understood the business problem that I understood, as a frustrated restaurateur. There was not accessible information to make really important business decisions.

Lam: Why is it that the restaurant business tends to be more instinct-driven than data-driven?

Mogavero: It is so creative, and it really attracts innovative and creative people who really enjoy the art and the design of the guest experience. When I was a frustrated restaurateur, I would ask my chefs and managers simple questions, such as: Who are your top and bottom servers? Why did your food costs go up? Why did your labor costs go up? And they would give me blank stares, wrong answers, or make up stuff. The thing that really killed me is why so much time gets spent in administrative B.S.

They were frustrated artists in their own way, because all those questions I was posing were buried in a bunch of Excel spreadsheets. What I like to say is, nothing good ever happens at the back office. You can't make customers happy and you can’t cook great food there. That was the business problem that I saw. I assembled a chef, a sommelier, a restaurant manager, and three techies as the founding team of the company. The message was: We’re going to create software, so you can get back to what you love to do with a more profitable operation.......Mogavero: Because information is flowing so quickly, you’re likely to see trends from a big city go to a secondary city more often. But you’ll see regional trends come to the big city as well. It’s all part of this information flow that’s more transparent and faster. The secondary-market awakening is coupled with the fact that it’s really expensive for chefs to live in big cities, and we’re seeing many chefs leaving the big cities.
bullshitake  dining  data  books  restaurants  data_driven  New_York_City  innovation  restauranteurs  analytics  back-office  information_flows  secondary_markets 
may 2017
A Beauty Product’s Ads Exclude the Black Women Who Use It - The New York Times
By TRESSIE McMILLAN COTTOM MAY 3, 2017

..................When black women bought SheaMoisture products, they were rejecting powerful stereotypes about black women’s hair as inherently unattractive. Unwittingly or not, SheaMoisture was part of a political project for black women, helping us resist harmful biases about our natural hair that circumscribe our choices and well-being.

But Sundial Brands, the black-owned company that runs SheaMoisture, has its own goals. In 2015, it company sold a minority stakee to Bain Capital to finance an expansion. At the time, Richelieu Dennis, the chief executive of Sundial, said SheaMoisture would be pursuing the “new general market,” which he described as a “consolidation of cultures, ethnicities and demographics aligned with commonalities, needs and lifestyles.”

To believe it is possible to diversify SheaMoisture beyond its black natural-hair customer base, one must believe that black beauty is desirable for non-black consumers. For that to be true, black women would have to be an ideal beauty type in the global market that Mr. Dennis was going after. Mr. Dennis had one problem: reality..........SheaMoisture could not sell a product meant to make black women look “whiter,” such as a chemical treatment to straighten hair, without changing its entire product line. But it could concede to the demands of capital by marketing its existing products to non-black women. SheaMoisture eventually apologized, acknowledging the insult many black women felt. By prominently featuring white women in what had become a political project, the company had signaled to black women that we could never be enough.

Beauty is never just about preference. It is about economics and power and exclusion. Brands like SheaMoisture rely on certain ideas of what is beautiful to make money.
biases  blackness  personal_grooming  personal_care_products  women  African-Americans  hair  beauty  colorism  shadism  brands 
may 2017
Seth's Blog: Before you raise money (assets and expenses)
Here's the key thing you have to understand before you ask your mom or your friends or the local VC for an investment:

There's a huge difference between spending money on expenses and spending money to build an asset.

Ice at a picnic is an expense. Once it melts, it's gone. Your electric bill, rent--these are costs of doing business, and you should rarely if ever borrow money to pay them.

Assets, on the other hand, are things that sustain or grow in value, that you can use again and again, and that are ultimately worth more than they cost.

A college degree from the right institution is an asset. So is an earned list of 10,000 people who want to hear from you by email once a week. So is a reputation (which some people call a brand).

For entrepreneurs, then, the math is simple: any asset-building opportunity that will generate a long-term profit is worth considering and even worth borrowing money to acquire.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The reason for this money trap is that so many small-business owners confuse raising money for expenses with raising money to build an asset. This is worth understanding.

If you can say, "I will spend this money on X, and X will make Y happen, and Y will pay off handsomely," then a professional investor ought to be open to hearing that story.

But the things to spend money on are a significant real estate presence, machines, patents, a permanent, expensive brand. The entrepreneur who spends this money does it with enthusiasm, because she's buying things that are going to grow in value, fast.

This is the painting contractor who realizes that a high-powered industrial paint booth will make him the only guy in town who can do a certain kind of job. Or the fast food impresario who asserts that opening ten restaurants in one town in one year will give her the footprint to be more efficient and profitable.
funding  assets  Seth_Godin  expenses  financing 
may 2017
How Glencore AG became a giant in the global agriculture trade - The Globe and Mail
ERIC REGULY
ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
THE GLOBE AND MAIL
LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, MAY 03, 2017

Interested in acquisitions, Glencore AG has accumulated an extensive network of grain assets around the world, and has no plans of stopping
Eric_Reguly  Glencore  soybeans  CPPIB  Argentina  ADM  Bunge  Cargill  Louis_Dreyfus  oilseeds  Viterra  agriculture  growth  opportunities  Rotterdam  grains  logistics  storage  transportation  trading  agribusiness  supply_chains  Marc_Rich 
may 2017
Buying Competitive Advantage - YouTube
"clock speed"
privileged insights = unfair advantages
value-creation plans

Due diligence helps create privileged insight which needs to be tied to a value creation plan that helps you to achieve it.
competitive_advantage  KPMG  proprietary  insights  customer_insights  clock_speed  value_creation  due_diligence  unfair_advantages 
may 2017
Digital Transformation Requires Rethinking, VC Says - CIO Journal. - WSJ
By STEVEN NORTON
Apr 28, 2017

The education sector should focus on the arts and prepare students for jobs of the future that require softer, non-technical skills such as elder care, Mr. Wenger said. While important, he called a singular focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education “somewhat misguided” and advocated for an system that encourages excitement about knowledge, including the arts, instead of focusing solely on the job market. Doing so can equip people with the skills to think more broadly about how to build an economic and social system that limits inequality and encourages human participation, he said.
rethinking  education  digital_economy  digital_disruption  automation  artificial_intelligence  Union_Square_Ventures 
may 2017
China gifts luxury a reprieve
29 April/30 April 2017 | FT Weekend | by Harriet Agnew and Tom Hancock

Chinese consumers, the drivers of global luxury for more than a decade, once travelled overseas to the European fashion capitals of Paris, London and Milan to take advantage of lower prices. Now they are increasingly inclined to spend at home. Last year Chinese consumers made two-thirds of their personal luxury goods purchases domestically, compared with roughly a third in 2013, according to the Boston Consulting Group.
.............In an era of lower growth, brands are trying to adapt to changing consumer demands and the disruption of digital while keeping the creative process at the heart of it. “Creativity and audacity is what allows you to elicit desire [and therefore sales] over the long run, telling a story that people want to discover, chapter after chapter,” says François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of Kering.
......Yet brands can no longer rely on opening lots of new stores to fuel growth. Instead they have to keep costs down, revamp their existing stores to make them more profitable, and seek new customers through avenues like digital.

“The business model of luxury has completely changed,” says Erwan Rambourg, global co-head of consumer and retail at HSBC in New York. “Either brands understand that and make the changes themselves, or they don’t and they leave themselves open to activism or M&A.”
.......Compared with other consumer brands, luxury has been late to the digital party. Phoebe Philo, the then creative director at fashion house Céline, told Vogue in 2013 that “the chicest thing is when you don’t exist on Google”. But that view now looks unsustainable.

Six out of 10 sales are digitally influenced, says BCG, which estimates that online commerce will grow from 7 per cent of the global personal luxury market today to 12 per cent by 2020.

Within digital, the holy grail is so-called omnichannel — the ability to offer a seamless experience to customers that blends digital and bricks-and-mortar stores, and includes initiatives like click-and-collect. “Blending the physical and the digital is the future of the online flagship stores,” says Federico Marchetti, chief executive of the YOOX Net-a-Porter Group.

The emphasis is on the customer experience. Net-a-Porter is launching a same-day delivery service in September for its top clients in London called, “You try, we wait.” Customers will be able to try on their online order at home or in the office while the delivery van waits outside.
......As e-commerce gathers steam and groups collect more and more data on their clients, the next stage is machine learning and artificial intelligence, believes Mr Marchetti. In this vision of the future algorithms will act as virtual shopping assistants, suggesting items that the customer might like, “enabling us to speak to each customer on an individual basis rather than to the whole customer base”, he says.

Luxury brands are also increasingly using blogs, online “influencers” and social media platforms such as Instagram to generate visibility and lure potential buyers.

All of this is happening at a time when the definition of what constitutes luxury is expanding beyond physical possessions to include experiences both as a competitor to, and opportunity for, the traditional houses.

“Luxury brands are now competing with the plastic surgeon and the luxury travel agent,” says Mr Rambourg. “For a similar price you can have a Louis Vuitton handbag, a facelift or a trip to the Maldives.”
....“Our pulse is the Chinese customer,” says LVMH’s Mr Guiony: “It made the sector worse a couple of years ago and it has made it better now. We have to be aware of that. Trees don’t grow to the sky.”
/
luxury  brands  China  Chinese  China_rising  consumers  digital_disruption  e-commerce  travel_agents  BCG  growth  LVMH  watches  noughties  Yoox  customer_experience  WeChat  Burberry  digital_influencers  creativity  audacity  storytelling  omnichannel  artificial_intelligence  machine_learning  virtual_assistants  same-day 
may 2017
Big-Name Food Brands Lose Battle of the Grocery Aisle - WSJ
By Annie Gasparro
Updated April 30, 2017

America’s packaged-food giants are losing the battle for retailers’ shelf space, complicating their efforts to break out of a yearslong slump. Instead of promoting canned soup, cereal and cookies from companies like Kraft Heinz Co. Kellogg Co., and Mondelez International Inc., grocery stores are choosing to give better play to fresh food, prepared hot meals, and items from local upstarts more in favor with increasingly health-conscious consumers. [Grocery stores] are seeking ways to... maximize return on our shelf space,..........[Grocery stores] like other retailers, aren’t giving up on big brands. But finding new ways to entice people to walk through the center aisles again is tricky.

Some brands are seeking ways to get their products into the fresh and prepared foods section of the store. But, Mr. Fitzgerald says: “If we overrun perishables with all the big packaged brands, we lose our competitive edge.”

Instead, retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are pressuring big brands to lower their prices as a way to attract customers..........Companies like Hershey and PepsiCo Inc. said they are working with retailers to be creative. “That’s a conversation we’ve been having with some of the retailers, to say ‘how can we help you rethink the center store so that we can bring growth back,” said Pepsi Chief Indra Nooyi on a conference call last week, when it reported declines in its Quaker Foods division. “Our hope is that with the rejuvenation of the center store, our categories will grow, too.”.......Big brands are increasingly focusing on improving profitability through cost-cutting and consolidation. Kraft and Heinz combined two years ago as slow growth spurred a need for savings. Kraft Heinz Co. has been able to cut more than $1 billion from the two predecessor companies’ budgets. Some analysts say Kraft Heinz’s sights could be set on Mondelez, which unsuccessfully attempted to buy Hershey last year... Kraft and Mondelez used to be part of the same conglomerate until 2012, when it was split in two.
grocery  supermarkets  brands  retailers  CPG  Kraft_Heinz  shelf_space  Kellog  Mondelez  Hershey  PepsiCo  prepared_meals  perishables  fresh_produce 
may 2017
How disruptive technologies are eroding our trust in government - The Globe and Mail
KEVIN LYNCH
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, May 01, 2017
disruption  Kevin_Lynch 
may 2017
Canada’s biggest obstacle to innovation is attitude - The Globe and Mail
JAMES MAYNARD
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Apr. 30, 2017
innovation  obstacles  Canada 
may 2017
Six Steps to Ditching Your Fear and Starting That Big Thing - The New York Times
Sketch Guy
By CARL RICHARDS APRIL 24, 2017
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fear  inspiration  thinking_big 
april 2017
The Great Questions of Tomorrow: David Rothkopf: 9781501119941: Books - Amazon.ca
“Asking the right question is the biggest challenge we face. People typically let the immediate past shape their questions—how do we avoid another shoe bomber is an example, when that’s not a risk that we’re likely to face. Or they let their area of expertise and their desire to be useful shift their focus. This is kind of the when-all-you-have-is-a-hammer-everything-looks-like-a-nail problem, and it leads people who feel the future is drone warfare to ask questions that end in answers that require drone warfare. Or, to choose an example, it leads people who have spent much of their adult lives fighting Saddam Hussein to ask questions after 9/11 about his role, even though he didn’t have one. And that did not turn out well.”

So, in the end, Hamlet had it wrong. “To be or not to be” is not the question. The question of questions is, “What is the question?” In this respect, history tells us to start with the basics, the foundational questions that we have for too long taken for granted. There are questions like: “Who am I?” “Who rules?” “What is money?” “What is a job?” “What is peace?” and “What is war?”
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Podcast : http://dcs.megaphone.fm/PNP5814408937.mp3?key=6548e439290ceeb43bb04f17f90d55bf
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

"The biggest problems with Trump is that his daily melodramas are distracting us from the big challenges of our age," says David Rothkopf, whose book, The Great Questions of Tomorrow, seems to have bypassed the White House. "You cannot tweet or bully your way to leadership in complex times." [29 April/30 April 2017 | FT Weekend pg. 4 | by Edward Luce]
5_W’s  Amazon  asking_the_right_questions  books  David_Rothkopf  distractions  Edward_Luce  existential  expertise_bias  foundational  metacognition  podcasts  questions  recency_bias 
april 2017
How Successful People Network with Each Other
JANUARY 21, 2016 | ???| Dorie Clark. Ms. Clark is a marketing strategist and professional speaker who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She is the author of Reinventing You and Stand Out. You can receive her free Stand Out Self-Assessment Workbook.

As you advance in your career, you have more experience and more connections to draw on for networking. But chances are you’ve also become a lot busier — as have the really successful people you’re now trying to meet. How do you get the attention of people who get dozens of invitations per week and hundreds of emails per day? And how do you find time to network with potential new clients or to recruit new employees when your calendar is packed?

The typical advice that’s given to entry-level employees — Invite people to coffee! Connect with them on LinkedIn! — simply doesn’t work for people at the top of their careers. Instead, you need to leverage an entirely different strategy, something I call “inbound networking.”

In the online world, “inbound marketing” is a term that was popularized about a decade ago by HubSpot cofounders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. It refers to the practice of creating valuable content, such as articles or podcasts, that draws customers to you directly (as opposed to spending a lot of time on cold calls or paying for advertising to lure them in).

Networking is facing a similar inflection point. Most professionals are constantly bombarded with Facebook and LinkedIn connection requests, not to mention endless requests to “pick their brain.” Trying to stand out in the midst of that noise is a losing battle, and you probably don’t have time to send a bunch of cold emails anyway.

Instead, you can successfully network with the most prominent people by doing something very different from everyone else: attracting them to you with inbound networking. In other words, make yourself interesting enough that they choose to seek you out. Here are three ways to do it.

(1) Identify what sets you apart. (What's your special sauce?). One of the fastest ways to build a connection with someone is to find a commonality you share with them (your alma mater, a love of dogs, a passion for clean tech). That’s table stakes. But the way to genuinely capture their interest is to share something that seems exotic to them. It will often vary by context: In a roomful of political operatives, the fact that I was a former presidential campaign spokesperson is nice but not very interesting. But at a political fundraiser populated by lawyers and financiers, that background would make me a very desirable conversation partner.

The more interesting you seem, the more that powerful people will want to seek you out. And yet it can be hard for us to identify what’s most interesting about ourselves; over time, even the coolest things can come to seem banal. Ask your friends to identify the most fascinating elements of your biography, your interests, or your experiences — then do the same for them. At one recent workshop I led, we discovered that one executive had been a ball boy for the U.S. Open tennis tournament in his youth, and one attorney is an avid and regular surfer in the waters of New York City. Both are intriguing enough to spark a great conversation.

(2) Become a connoisseur. Almost nothing elicits more interest than genuine expertise. If someone is drawn to a topic that you’re knowledgeable about, you’ll move to the top of their list. Since publishing my books, I’ve had innumerable colleagues seek me out to get advice about finding an agent or fine-tuning their manuscripts.

But sometimes it’s even better when your expertise is outside the fold of your profession. Richard, a financial journalist I profiled in my book Reinventing You, was able to build better and deeper relationships with his sources after he started to write part-time about food and wine. He discovered that his Wall Street contacts would proactively call him up to get information about hot new restaurants or the best places to entertain their clients.

You can also use nontraditional expertise to build multidimensional connections. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett could certainly have a decent conversation about business. But it’s their expert-level seriousness about the card game bridge that cemented their bond, eventually leading to Buffett’s decision to entrust billions to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

When you’re an expert in a given niche, you can often connect on a level playing field with people who, under other circumstances, might be out of reach. One friend of mine, a corporate executive who produces jazz records on the side, recently got invited to the home of an internationally famous rock star as Grammy campaign season heated up.

If you know a lot about wine, or nutrition, or salsa dancing, or email marketing, or any of a million other subjects, people who care about that topic are sure to be interested in what you have to say.

(3) Become the center of the network. It’s not easy to build a high-powered network if you’re not already powerful. But New York City resident Jon Levy took the position that the best way to get invited to the party is to host the party. Nearly six years ago, he started hosting twice-monthly “Influencers” dinner gatherings, featuring luminaries in different fields. Levy’s gatherings now attract a guest roster of Nobel laureates and Olympic athletes. But he certainly didn’t start there.

Begin by inviting the most interesting professionals you know and asking them to recommend the most interesting people they know, and over time you can build a substantial network. At a certain point you’ll gain enough momentum that professionals who have heard about the dinners will even reach out to ask for an invitation. As Levy joked to one publication, “One day, I hope to accomplish something worthy of an invite to my own dinner.” When you’re the host, pulling together a great event liberates you to invite successful people who you might not normally consider your peers but who embrace the chance to network with other high-quality professionals.

I’ve also hosted more than two dozen dinner parties to broaden my network and meet interesting people. But that’s certainly not the only way to connect. These days, any professional who makes the effort to start a Meetup or Facebook group that brings people together could accomplish something similar.

The world is competing for the attention of the most successful people. If you want to meet them — and break through and build a lasting connection — the best strategy is to make them come to you. Identifying what’s uniquely interesting about you and becoming a connoisseur and a hub are techniques that will ensure you’re sought after by the people you’d most like to know.
networking  via:enochko  Communicating_&_Connecting  connoisseurship  hubs  creating_valuable_content  idea_generation  content_creators  personal_branding  attention_spans  inbound_marketing  high-quality  expertise  think_threes  special_sauce  personal_accomplishments  inflection_points  insights 
april 2017
Seth's Blog: The map has been replaced by the compass
Posted by Seth Godin on February 21, 2012

The map keeps getting redrawn, because it's cheaper than ever to go offroad, to develop and innovate and remake what we thought was going to be next. Technology keeps changing the routes we take to get our projects from here to there. It doesn't pay to memorize the route, because it's going to change soon.

The compass, on the other hand, is more important then ever. If you don't know which direction you're going, how will you know when you're off course?
And yet...

And yet we spend most of our time learning (or teaching) the map, yesterday's map, while we're anxious and afraid to spend any time at all calibrating our compass.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
* Turn battleships by making directional commitments and staying the
course.
* Figure out what your North Star is.
mapping  Seth_Godin  North_Star 
april 2017
Time Inc. Decides Not to Sell Itself
APRIL 28, 2017 | The New York Times | By SYDNEY EMBER.

Time Inc. (home to Sports Illustrated, People and Time,) has decided to go it alone (e.g. remain independent and not sell itself), choosing a path filled with challenges that no legacy publisher has completely mastered.

Instead, the company said it would pursue the strategic plan its new management team had laid out, which includes increasing its digital audience and pursuing new opportunities for revenue growth......Print advertising and circulation revenues continue to fall, starving magazine companies of the lifeblood that long sustained them. Most publishers have shifted their focus to increasing non-print revenue, but new revenue sources have yet to make up the shortfall. To compensate, publishers continue to slash costs, transforming themselves into leaner companies with fewer employees and diminished resources.... As a publisher of magazines that highlighted stellar photography and weekly updates on news, sports and celebrities, Time Inc. was an empire that left an indelible mark on American culture.

But like many magazine publishers, Time Inc. has struggled to adapt to a digital age. The brutal economics of the publishing industry have made that challenge more daunting. In the last decade, Time Inc.’s revenue and operating profit have fallen sharply. Its work force has dropped from 11,000 to just over 7,000......[Time] has embarked on an aggressive strategy to increase Time Inc.’s digital revenue, including enhancing advertising technology abilities and offering customers paid services, such as a food-and-wine club. Last year, advertising revenue increased 3 percent, driven by substantial growth in digital advertising. Executives project that digital advertising revenue will increase to more than $600 million this year and $1 billion in the coming years.

But Time Inc.’s overall financial results have yet to improve, in large part because the company is still tied to its declining print business. About two-thirds of its annual revenue is still derived from magazines.

The company will report its first-quarter earnings on May 10.

Time Inc. is aiming to make $100 million in cost cuts this year, and Mr. Battista said the company would continue to be aggressive about cost management, particularly in its print business.
magazines  digital_media  ad-tech  CEOs  print_journalism  TIME_Inc.  cost-cutting  layoffs  newsstand_circulation  Meredith  structural_decline 
april 2017
The manual transmission is alive and well – if you know where to look - The Globe and Mail
MATT BUBBERS
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, APR. 25, 2017
automobile 
april 2017
New partnership aims to create ‘a Bloomberg for private companies’ - The Globe and Mail
JACOB SEREBRIN
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Apr. 27, 2017

The lack of data on Canada’s startup ecosystem is a major problem, says Dan Breznitz, the co-director of the Innovation Policy Lab and the Munk Chair of Innovation Studies at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. “On anything that has to do with innovation policy, and I would actually say a lot of other growth policies, we have horrible data in Canada,” Mr. Breznitz says.

Gathering more data on accelerators and incubators is a good step, he says......Hockeystick’s platform acts as a tool for private companies to store data and share it with investors and potential investors. That data ranges from investments and sales numbers, to the number of employees and the names of the company’s founders.

Over 10,000 companies are currently using the platform. The new partnership will help the company reach its goal of having data on the majority of private companies in Canada instead of just a fraction, according to Raymond Luk, Hockeystick’s founder and CEO.
partnerships  WLU  start_ups  Kitchener-Waterloo  financial_data  privately_held_companies  innovation_policies 
april 2017
Lifting Kids to College - The New York Times
Frank Bruni APRIL 26, 2017.

when Sierra was in the sixth grade, teachers spotted her potential and enrolled her in the Neighborhood Academic Initiative, or N.A.I., a program through which U.S.C. prepares underprivileged kids who live relatively near its South Los Angeles campus for higher education. She repeatedly visited U.S.C., so she could envision herself in such an environment and reach for it. She took advanced classes. Her mother, like the parents or guardians of all students in the N.A.I., got counseling on turning college into a reality for her child......And N.A.I. doesn’t even represent the whole of U.S.C.’s efforts to address inadequate socioeconomic diversity at the country’s most celebrated colleges. Although U.S.C. has often been caricatured as a rich kids’ playground — its nickname in some quarters is the University of Spoiled Children — it outpaces most of its peers in trying to lift disadvantaged kids to better lives. Those peers should learn from its example......we also don’t make enough disadvantaged kids eligible in the first place. We don’t guide them through elementary, middle and high school so that they have the necessary grades, scores, skills and mind-sets. This is the problem that U.S.C. has been focusing on: University administrators figure that they can’t just wait for public education to improve and should use some of their considerable resources to chip in themselves somehow. “We’re not doing a good job in K-12 schools,” C. L. Max Nikias, the president of U.S.C., said to me recently. “The pipeline is not there. I feel that puts more responsibility on our shoulders to improve the raw material for us.”
K-12  Colleges_&_Universities  talent_pipelines  high_schools  underprivileged  USC  outreach 
april 2017
From Diaper to Soda Makers, Big Brands Feel the Pinch of a Consumer Pullback - WSJ
By Sharon Terlep, Jennifer Maloney and Annie Gasparro
April 26, 2017

Some blamed the weak start of the year on higher gas prices, bad weather and other external factors, while other executives pointed to shifting consumer tastes. Analysts say some big brands, such as Gillette and Yoplait, are losing ground to upstarts. Overall purchases of consumer packaged goods in the U.S. declined 2.5% in unit terms in the first quarter, according to Nielsen.....consumers are cutting back purchases, aggressively seeking deals and drawing down supplies at home. At the same time, he said, a growing affinity for beards has played a big part in driving down razor sales, which contributed to a 6% organic sales decline for P&G’s grooming unit....PepsiCo, like big food rivals Kraft Heinz Co. and Nestlé, is struggling as consumers shift away from diet sodas and processed foods to fresher and healthier options. It has launched new products, such as a premium bottled water brand, to adjust to the shift.....For food and nonfood staples, big brands are struggling more than the overall industry. The 20 largest consumer packaged goods companies last year had flat sales while smaller ones posted sales growth of 2.4%, according to Nielsen.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., meantime, has been reducing inventories and slashing prices as it fights to compete with Amazon.com Inc. and European discounters moving into the U.S. Those cuts are eating into its own profit and, in turn, leading the world’s biggest retailer to put pressure on its vendors.........The dynamics are driving tough choices for companies as they are forced to decide between reducing prices and ceding market share. PepsiCo and Coca-Cola Co. have been shrinking packages and raising prices.
Amazon  Big_Food  brands  Coca-Cola  CPG  Fortune_500  Gillette  hard_choices  healthy_lifestyles  Kraft_Heinz  large_companies  Nestlé  P&G  PepsiCo  pullbacks  price-cutting  price_hikes  shifting_tastes  supply_chain_squeeze  upstarts  volatility  Wal-Mart  Yoplait 
april 2017
An Ad Woman at the Top of an Industry That She Thinks Still Has Far to Go - The New York Times
APRIL 24, 2017 | NYT | By SAPNA MAHESHWARI.

The American workplace and the ad industry have evolved strikingly since then, but perhaps not fast enough. On Tuesday evening, Ms. Williams will be the first African-American woman with a creative agency background — the class of executives exalted on “Mad Men” — to be inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame, which was established in 1948.

Ms. Williams, the founder of Carol H. Williams Advertising, got her start at Leo Burnett in Chicago. There she coined the tagline for Secret deodorant — “Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman” — and helped sell Americans on Pillsbury canned frosting back when the boxed version was in vogue.....Ms. Williams eventually became the first woman to be a creative director at Leo Burnett, but her career was not without challenges. She learned to ignore or detach herself from situations where men would say culturally “unacceptable” things, she said, and advanced without having a female boss or peer “to derive mentorship from.”........“In those days, I saw people would execute a project because they enjoyed executing the project and the project was just that to them,” she said. “Whereas when I would execute a project, it impacted the bottom line.”....Ms. Williams said the industry still had work to do in connecting with African-Americans. She is concerned that agencies catering to multicultural audiences employ mass marketing strategies that look to target such consumers simply by casting minorities in ads, or making assumptions based on social media data.

“It becomes an issue of, ‘If they see themselves in a commercial, they’ll buy the product,’ rather than it being about the messaging and how that messaging is delivered to them,” she said.

Some companies are also using digital technology to “withdraw what they perceive as insights out of these communities,” she added, instead of “developing research techniques to really get to know this culture.”
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
The 3% Conference, which supports female creative leadership at agencies, has estimated that only 11 percent of creative directors are women, even as they account for half of the industry’s work force. For black women, the field is even tougher: Last month, the Interpublic Group publicized statistics from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission showing that fewer than 1 percent of executives in advertising, public relations and related services are black women.
advertising  advertising_agencies  African-Americans  Carol_Williams  EEOC  Interpublic  Leo_Burnett  public_relations  trailblazers  women 
april 2017
An Activist Investment in Whole Foods Exposes Shifting Power on Wall St. - The New York Times
APRIL 25, 2017 | NYT | By ALEXANDRA STEVENSON.

Neuberger Berman has eschewed its nearly 80-year-old tactic of playing nice (i.e. buy and hold stocks, sit back, and hope for the best), turning to the bare-knuckled world of activist investors made famous by the likes of Carl C. Icahn and William A. Ackman. Last year, as Neuberger Berman’s roughly $200 million investment in Whole Foods Market languished, the firm quietly approached some hedge funds and urged them to agitate for change at the high-end grocer. Two weeks ago, Jana Partners took up the fight......Neuberger Berman’s behind-the-scenes campaign to shake up Whole Foods is the latest example of a dynamic that is upending relations between public companies and the big investors that own their stock.....a reflection of the shifting balance of power on Wall Street....Traditional money managers in search of market-beating returns are demanding a seat at the table, turning to activists for help and even employing some hedge fund tricks of their own. And activists, once the black sheep of the investment world, are now accepted as regular, if meddlesome, investors. ....[Activist investors], she added, “[are an] important ‘check and balance’ on management that has lost its way.”....Neuberger Berman executives prepared an inch-thick presentation--a thorough critique--the kind of document usually produced by activists.....failures in how Whole Foods handled its brand development, and to what it said were customer service deficiencies and a poor strategy for distribution......Relations between institutional investors and activists have evolved in recent years, and it is not unheard-of for big investors to support activists who have set their sights on a high-profile company. ..... be careful of what you wish for, Neuberger Berman discovered that utilizing board seats on an underperforming portfolio company can be "expensive and time-consuming.”.....it is less common for an institutional investor to share its work on a specific target with activists in the way Neuberger Berman did with Whole Foods....There is even a term for the interplay: “R.F.A.s” or “requests for activism.”....Institutional investors do not make investments predicated on an activist showing up.
Wall_Street  money_management  shareholder_activism  beat_the_market  hedge_funds  Whole_Foods  Jana_Partners  Neuberger_Berman  institutional_investors  checks_and_balances  Carl_Icahn  William_Ackman  boards_&_directors_&_governance 
april 2017
Redesign My Brain | TVO.org
Redesign My Brain
This three-part Australian series explores the science of neuroplasticity, which has found that with specific training anyone can become smarter, increase their memory capacity, and reverse mental aging. Over the course of three months, host Todd Sampson undertakes a scientifically endorsed training program to turn his ordinary brain into a super-brain. It's a makeover show like no other - one in which the design experts make over the human brain.

Look at fluid intelligence.
cognitive_skills  memorization  metacognition  TVO  smart_people  training_programs 
april 2017
Three Hard Lessons the Internet Is Teaching Traditional Stores
April 23, 2017 | WSJ | By Christopher Mims.
Legacy retailers have to put their mountains of purchasing data to work to create the kind of personalization and automation shoppers are getting online
(1) Data Is King
When I asked Target, Walgreens and grocery chain Giant Food about loyalty programs and the fate of customers’ purchasing data—which is the in-store equivalent of your web browsing history—they all declined to comment. ...Data has been a vital part of Amazon’s retail revolution, just as it was with Netflix ’s media revolution and Google and Facebook ’s advertising revolution. For brick-and-mortar retailers, purchasing data doesn’t just help them compete with online adversaries; it has also become an alternate revenue source when profit margins are razor-thin. ....Physical retailers must catch up to online retailers in collecting rich data without making it feel so intrusive. Why, exactly, does my grocery store need my phone number?

(2) Personalization + Automation = Profits
Personalization and Automation = Profits
There’s a debate in the auto industry: Can Tesla get good at making cars faster than Ford, General Motors and Toyota can get good at making self-driving electric vehicles? The same applies to retail: Can physical retailers build intimate digital relationships with their customers—and use that data to update their stores—faster than online-first retailers can learn how to lease property, handle inventory and manage retail workers? [the great game ]

Online retailers know what’s popular, and how customers who like one item tend to like certain others. So Amazon’s physical bookstores can put out fewer books with more prominently displayed covers. Bonobos doesn’t even sell clothes in its stores, which it calls “guideshops.” Instead, customers go there to try clothes on, and their selections are delivered through the company’s existing e-commerce system.

Amazon’s upcoming Go convenience stores, selling groceries and meal kits, don’t require cashiers. That’s the sort of automation that could position Amazon to reap margins—or slash prices—to a degree unprecedented for retailers in traditionally low-margin categories like food and packaged goods.

While online retailers are accustomed to updating inventory and prices by the hour, physical retailers simply don’t have the data or the systems to keep up, and tend to buy and stock on cycles as long as a year, says George Faigen, a retail consultant at Oliver Wyman. Some legacy retailers are getting around this by teaming up with online players.

Target stocks men’s shaving supplies from not one but two online upstarts, Harry’s and Bevel. Target has said that, as a result, more customers are coming in to buy razors, increasing the sales of every brand on that aisle—even good old Gillette. Retailers have long relied on manufacturers to drive customers to stores by marketing their goods and even managing in-store displays. The difference is this: In the past, new brands had to persuade store buyers to dole out precious shelf space; now the brands can prove themselves online first.

(3) Legacy Tech Won’t Cut It

Perhaps the biggest challenge for existing retailers, says Euromonitor’s Ms. Grant, is finding the money to transition to this hybrid online-offline model. While Target has announced it will spend $7 billion over the next three years to revamp its stores, investors fled the stock in February after Target reported 2017 profits might be 25% less than expected.

When Warby Parker, the online eyeglasses retailer, set out to launch stores across the U.S., the company looked for in-store sales software that could integrate with its existing e-commerce systems. It couldn’t find a system up to the task, so it built one from scratch.

These kinds of systems allow salespeople to know what customers have bought both online and off, and what they might be nudged toward on that day. “We call it the ‘point of everything’ system,” says David Gilboa, co-founder and co-chief executive.

Having this much customer knowledge available instantly is critical, but it’s precisely what existing retailers struggle with, Mr. Faigen says.

Even Amazon is experiencing brick-and-mortar difficulties. In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Go stores would be delayed because of kinks in the point-of-sale software system.

Andy Katz-Mayfield, co-founder and co-chief executive of Harry’s, is skeptical that traditional retailers like Wal-Mart can make the leap, even if they invest heavily in technology.

The problem, he says, is that selling online isn’t just about taking orders through a website. Companies that succeed are good at selling direct to consumers—building technology from the ground up, integrating teams skilled at navigating online marketing’s ever-shifting terrain and managing the experience through fulfillment and delivery, Mr. Katz-Mayfield says.

That e-commerce startups are so confident about their own future doesn’t mean they are right about the fate of traditional retailers, however.

A report from Merrill Lynch argues Wal-Mart is embarking on a period of 20% to 30% growth for its e-commerce business. A spokesman for the company said that in addition to acquisitions, the company is focused on growing its e-commerce business organically.

It isn’t hard to picture today’s e-commerce companies becoming brick-and-mortar retailers. It’s harder to bet on traditional retailers becoming as tech savvy as their e-competition.[the great game]
lessons_learned  bricks-and-mortar  retailers  curation  personalization  e-commerce  shopping_malls  automation  privacy  Warby_Parker  Amazon_Go  data  data_driven  think_threes  Bonobos  Amazon  legacy_tech  omnichannel  Harry’s  Bevel  loyalty_management  low-margin  legacy_players  digital_first  Tesla  Ford  GM  Toyota  automobile  electric_cars  point-of-sale  physical_world  contra-Amazon  brands  shelf_space  the_great_game  cyberphysical  cashierless  Christopher_Mims  in-store  digital_savvy 
april 2017
How Technology Will Solve Cities’ Parking Nightmare - The Experts - WSJ
By JASON BORDOFF
Apr 21, 2017

as Prof. Donald Shoup has explained in his book, The High Cost of Free Parking, city officials dramatically underprice public parking relative to its market value, leading people to drive when they might otherwise have taken mass transit, walked, cycled or carpooled. San Francisco in 2010 had nearly 450,000 parking spaces, over half of which were free street spots. Free or low-cost street parking, either metered or permitted for residents, effectively subsidizes driving.

Underpricing parking not only leads to more car use, but also to more driving as people cruise around looking for parking, contributing to pollution, traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. .....The coming revolution in autonomous cars can accelerate this trend. As Uber’s Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden recently explained at Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy, displacing the need for drivers will make it far more economical to move about with self-driving shared cars than to own a car—and that does not include the opportunity cost of driving, as riders will be able to use time en route to work, read or sleep.

Technology can also make carpooling far more efficient by better connecting riders going to and from the same place, further reducing cars on the road. Roughly 50% of Uber’s rides in San Francisco and 25% globally are now Uber Pool, according to Mr. Holden. Combining ride sharing with car sharing could cut the number of cars on the road—and that need to be parked—by 80% in major cities such as New York, according to MIT research.

With shared autonomous vehicles, there would be little need to park cars in downtown urban areas. Rather, autonomous vehicles could travel to garages on the outskirts of town to be recharged, cleaned and maintained.
parking  cities  Uber  UberPool  underpricing  ride_sharing  sharing_economy  opportunity_costs  autonomous_vehicles  high-cost 
april 2017
In House of Murdoch, Sons Set About an Elaborate Overhaul
APRIL 22, 2017 | The New York Times | By BROOKS BARNES and SYDNEY EMBER.

With James and his elder brother, Lachlan, 45, who is the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, firmly entrenched as their father’s successors, they are now forcibly exerting themselves. Their father remains very involved, but his sons seem determined to rid the company of its roguish, old-guard internal culture and tilt operations toward the digital future. They are working to make the family empire their own, not the one the elder Murdoch created to suit his sensibilities.....The conglomerate, like its competitors, is facing an extremely uncertain future. Consumers are canceling or forgoing cable hookups and instead subscribing to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, which 21st Century Fox co-owns. The movie business continues to grapple with piracy, rising costs and flat domestic attendance. Fox also has special problems: With competitors getting bigger — AT&T’s $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner being Exhibit A — where does that leave the Murdochs?

“That’s a question I think they asked themselves and moved them to try to buy the rest of Sky,” said Michael Nathanson, an analyst at MoffettNathanson, referring to a pending $14.3 billion deal for 21st Century Fox to take full control of the British satellite TV giant.

At the moment, 21st Century Fox’s portfolio is relatively healthy. Fox News has continued to dominate in the ratings. The FX cable channel has found a steady stream of hits, including “Atlanta” and “The People v. O. J. Simpson.” The Fox broadcast network has struggled to find new must-see shows, but the company’s overseas channels and sports networks are thriving. In its most recent quarter, 21st Century Fox reported income of $856 million, a 27 percent increase from the same period a year earlier.
succession  Rupert_Murdoch  CATV  conglomerates  uncertainty  Netflix  Hulu  James_Murdoch  Lachlan_Murdoch  family-owned_businesses  Bill_O'Reilly  organizational_culture  sexual_harassment  Roger_Ailes  generational_change  digital_media  National_Geographic  CEOs  21st_Century_Fox  mass_media 
april 2017
The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles
MARCH 23, 2017 | The New York Times | By GRETCHEN REYNOLDS.

There were some unsurprising differences: The gains in muscle mass and strength were greater for those who exercised only with weights, while interval training had the strongest influence on endurance.

But more unexpected results were found in the biopsied muscle cells. Among the younger subjects who went through interval training, the activity levels had changed in 274 genes, compared with 170 genes for those who exercised more moderately and 74 for the weight lifters. Among the older cohort, almost 400 genes were working differently now, compared with 33 for the weight lifters and only 19 for the moderate exercisers.

Many of these affected genes, especially in the cells of the interval trainers, are believed to influence the ability of mitochondria to produce energy for muscle cells; the subjects who did the interval workouts showed increases in the number and health of their mitochondria — an impact that was particularly pronounced among the older cyclists.

It seems as if the decline in the cellular health of muscles associated with aging was “corrected” with exercise, especially if it was intense,
aging  endurance  exercise  fitness  high-impact  interval_training  strength_training 
april 2017
Remembering David Livingstone: The man who knew outfits and interviews inside out - The Globe and Mail
BERNADETTE MORRA
Special to The Globe and Mail (includes correction)
Published Friday, Apr. 21, 2017

Many times we would be watching an outfit come down the runway and he would lean over and say something like, “those shoes remind me of that song …” and then he would quote the lyrics of a jazz tune sung by someone I’d never heard of. Long before there was an Internet or easy access to databases, Livingstone was salting his copy with obscure references from films and literature.

Photographers and publicists who sat in on his interviews with designers, actors and models all have stories of the depth and breadth of his knowledge, and how he applied it to the seemingly trite world of fashion.....“He was a massive fan of cinema – he would see one film by a Hungarian director then hunt down their entire library. He was always so well-prepared at interviews, he would form an instant, genuine connection. He put his heart and soul into everything he did.”

Livingstone’s dedication to editorial excellence was both staggering and maddening.....his prose was unbeatable. A diamond cuff bracelet was “as wide as a crosswalk.” The lighting in his overpriced European hotel was so bad, reading his laptop was “like trying to read the marks left by a stick in dirty water.”...“He asked questions no one else asked,” notes Dawn Bellini, senior director of marketing and public relations for Hugo Boss Canada. “Often it was about the button stance or why you had to have something on a lapel. Interviews went way over time. He took much longer than anyone else. But to him details and the back story mattered.”....“He didn’t want to talk about skirt lengths. The conversation was about books and movies. He always made us think. And afterward, we would reflect and grow from that.”....The lack of accuracy and context in today’s 140-character world irked my friend and colleague to no end. But that didn’t stop him from mentoring young talent when he saw potential.
books  cinema  detail_oriented  fashion  films  industry_expertise  inside_out  journalists  journalism  literature  mentoring  movies  obituaries  questions  smart_people  thinking  tributes 
april 2017
At Luxury Stores, It Isn’t Shopping, It’s an Experience - WSJ
By Christina Binkley
April 16, 2017

What do luxury retailers in urban areas do when they face heavy pressure from the internet? Make their stores an experience. The high-end stores of tomorrow won’t try to compete with online retailers on price or convenience. Instead, they’ll do what many luxe shops are experimenting with now—turning themselves into destinations that customers go to visit instead of simply shop.....Stores will offer human connections, entertaining discoveries and dining options. And instead of being designed to feature one kind of inventory, the stores will function like pop-ups—completely changing what they offer from time to time, or even sweeping products aside to host community events......digital-native shoppers will determine how stores look and function, particularly in cities, where online alternatives with two-hour delivery windows are already plentiful.....

“Selling things isn’t going to be obvious. It’s going to be about selling experiences,” says John Bricker, creative director for Gensler, one of the world’s largest architectural firms with a global retail design practice......In some cases, retailers go so far to create destinations that they don’t even try to sell their signature products. The Gensler-designed Cadillac House in the lobby of the car maker’s New York headquarters is an art gallery and coffeehouse, with luxe white sedans on display by the entrance. People wander in for free Wi-Fi, then get familiar with the car brand by examining the vehicles, says Mr. Bricker. (The cars can’t be purchased there; legally, one must buy from a dealer.)....The strategy of providing a total experience is also spreading to independent retailers that aren’t aiming solely at high-end customers......These shifts are being followed by mass retailers as well. The idea: to move beyond the big-box strategy of the past—where companies built giant stores that people would go out of their way to visit—and build specially tailored stores in urban areas where customers live......Target recently decided to invest $7 billion in renovating its huge suburban stores and building new small-format urban stores, in a strategy to use the large stores as distribution centers for digital orders while creating a network of small city stores that will be located within easy reach of urban dwellers, both for offline shopping and picking up or returning online orders.

Brian Cornell, Target’s chief executive officer, says products will be selected for local populations by store managers who place orders from a catalog—less pet food and more snacks and notebooks for a store near a college campus, for instance.

Target looked at stores like Story in forming the strategy. “We learned a lot about agility,” from Story,
retailers  e-commerce  luxury  customer_experience  millennials  experiential_marketing  localization  merchandising  pop-ups  digital_natives  galleries  coffeehouses  brands  personal_connections  Target  agility  small_spaces  big-box  BOPIS  distribution_centres 
april 2017
Five Studios’ Mission: Winning the Distribution Rights to James Bond -
APRIL 20, 2017 | The New York Times | By BROOKS BARNES.

On Tuesday, for instance, leaders at Sony spent an hour making their case. Kazuo Hirai, the chief executive, helped give the pitch, which emphasized the studio’s deep knowledge of Bond and its ideas for expanding the franchise’s reach. In true Hollywood fashion, Sony gave its presentation inside a sound stage on a recreated set from “Dr. No,” which was released in the United States in 1963 by United Artists and laid the foundation for the entire series.

Also vying for the Bond deal — even though it pays surprisingly little — are Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Annapurna, an ambitious upstart financed and led by the Oracle heiress Megan Ellison. (Not competing for the business are Paramount, which has been struggling and recently hired a new chairman, and Walt Disney Studios, which has been on a box office hot streak by focusing on its own family film labels.) .....The eagerness to land Bond underscores the continuing strength of the series but also the realities of the modern movie business. As competition for leisure time increases, studios have focused more intently on global blockbusters, and those are in short supply. In some ways, the Bond series was the first to go after a worldwide audience....Under its previous agreement, Sony paid 50 percent of the production costs for “Spectre” — which totaled some $250 million after accounting for government incentives — but received only 25 percent of certain profits, once costs were recouped. Sony also shouldered tens of millions of dollars in marketing and had to give MGM a piece of the profit from non-Bond films Sony had in its own pipeline, including “22 Jump Street.”...Why, then, do studios want to distribute Bond so badly? Bragging rights, mostly. Having a Bond movie on the schedule guarantees at least one hit in a business where there is almost no sure thing.

Bond is gargantuan: The 25 movies have taken in nearly $6 billion at the North American box office, after adjusting for inflation, according to Box Office Mojo. The series has generated billions more in overseas ticket sales, home entertainment revenue, television reruns, marketing partnerships (Omega watches, Aston Martin cars, Gillette razors) and video games.
Hollywood  films  movies  pitches  ideas  idea_generation  studios  blockbusters  product_pipelines  Sony  marketing  upstarts  Warner_Bros. 
april 2017
Bank of Canada warns automation will lead to job losses - The Globe and Mail
ANDY BLATCHFORD
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2017

In a speech in Toronto, senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins said Tuesday innovations like artificial intelligence and robotics are expected to help re-energize underwhelming productivity in advanced economies like Canada. Over the longer haul, she added that new technologies should eventually create more jobs than they replace.

However, the fast-approaching changes come with concerns for Wilkins – from the challenging adjustment for the labour force, to the distribution of the new wealth......“Innovation is always a process of creative destruction, with some jobs being destroyed and, over time, even more jobs being created,” said Wilkins, who added that what will change is the type of workers in demand.

“We’ve seen this process in action throughout history.”.......Wilkins said the Bank of Canada has also taken steps to help it deal with the fast-approaching changes. It has created a new digital economy team with a focus on how automation affects the economy as well as its impacts on inflation and monetary policy
Bank_of_Canada  automation  productivity  artificial_intelligence  technological_change  robotics  layoffs  inflation  monetary_policy  digital_economy  creative_destruction  innovation  job_creation  job_destruction  job_displacement  rapid_change 
april 2017
The Internet Isn’t Killing Shopping Malls—Other Malls Are - WSJ
By Esther Fung
April 18, 2017

One common hallmark of a dead or dying mall is the closure of an anchor store. When that happened, fewer customers tended to visit, resulting in more store closures, which led to even fewer shoppers, and so on......Landlords have grappled with numerous threats over the years. Two decades ago, Blockbuster was eating into the revenue of movie chains, while big-box stores were battering smaller stand-alone retailers, noted Sandler O’Neill Partners analysts in a recent report.

This time, factors such as consumers being more thoughtful about their purchases after the recession, the overbuilding of retail centers and retailers’ focus on investing in more online shopping channels are pressuring mall landlords.

Property owners generally try to court trendier brands and avoid outdated retailers. In recent years, they have started shaking up their tenant mix more radically, moving away from full-price apparel brands and toward entertainment and food offerings.

That is resulting in a more dramatic separation of the strongest and weakest malls, with top-tier malls in cities with strong population and income growth receiving more investment and weaker malls suffering from neglect.
shopping_malls  competition  e-commerce  landlords  commercial_real_estate  retailers  anchor_tenants  top-tier 
april 2017
Steve Ballmer Serves Up a Fascinating Data Trove - The New York Times
Andrew Ross Sorkin
DEALBOOK APRIL 17, 2017
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Steve_Ballmer  government  Andrew_Sorkin  databases  data  measurements  economics  indicators  real-time  forecasting  economic_data 
april 2017
Rick Levin on Moving From the Ivy League to Silicon Valley
APRIL 14, 2017 | The New York Times | By ADAM BRYANT.

One skill that I improved on gradually was listening. If you want to understand people, you need to hear them. If you have to say “no” to people, it’s helpful to be able to explain authentically that I understood you, but here’s my decision. You have to see the nonverbal cues, too, and think a little deeper about what the person is saying. Often that’s situational or contextual, and sometimes it’s deeply psychological.

Humility is also important, and it has to be really genuine. You see a lot of C.E.O.s who are very egocentric, domineering people who succeed just because they have a great idea. But people who put the organization and mission first are more likely to succeed than people who put themselves first. People admire that kind of person and they resonate with them because they share a belief.

A good leader has to have some vision, too — ambitious goals to lift the organization up and everybody with it. Setting goals that are ambitious but also achievable is an important skill.
CEOs  Coursera  Yale  Silicon_Valley  nonverbal  say_"no"  leaders  listening  humility  mission-driven 
april 2017
Explosion in data ushers in new high-tech era.pdf
December 5, 2016 | Financial Times | Ian Whylie.

However, one of the consequences of the introduction of AI into consulting will be greater clarification of consulting methodologies, predicts Harvey Lewis, Deloitte's UK artificial intelligence lead in technology consulting. There will be repeatable, common approaches that are supported by machines, and then a class of essentially human approaches for dealing with more varied, wide-ranging and uncertain problems........However, AI could also have a significant impact on the way strategy consultants do their job.

“Consulting firms have a lot of intellectual property locked up inside their consultants’ heads, which, if codified and converted into algorithms, can be used by computers instead,” he says. “This will allow computers to work on the repeatable consulting tasks by following prescribed methodologies, while the human consultants are freed to work on those projects where inputs, outputs and outcomes are more uncertain or which require greater creativity, subjectivity, social interaction and perceptiveness or human judgment.”

Clients want us to arrive, ready to load in their data, and provide insights on the first day of the project
Paul Daugherty. If consulting can be codified then the cost of performing certain types of consulting work is likely to fall, says Mr Lewis. This means that consulting can be offered to more organisations, such as start-ups, small and medium enterprises and charities that might not previously have been able to afford consulting services.

“The days of old-style consulting, where the work was centred around a bunch of people mulling over a PowerPoint presentation and analysis for the client, are either dead or dying fast,” says Mr Daugherty. “Increasingly, strategy consulting is moving to fast-paced database analysis, supported by machine learning. Clients will want us to arrive, ready to load in their data, understand the situation and particular dynamics of their business and provide insights on the first day of the project.”
Accenture  artificial_intelligence  automation  data  fast-paced  insights  machine_learning  management_consulting  PowerPoint  situational_awareness  virtual_agents 
april 2017
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