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Apple's Latest Offering Explores the Great Indoors - WSJ
By Daisuke Wakabayashi, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Greg Bensinger
June 1, 2014
iBeacons  beacons  location_based_services  Apple 
october 2017
Bryan Roberts of Venrock on Seeing Problems as Opportunities - The New York Times
by ADAM BRYANT OCT. 13, 2017

Bryan Roberts always tries to interact with people who put other people front and center, rather than themselves. His reasoning....People who are self-directed generally gather accomplishments and accolades and are very happy to tell you about them. When people are company- or mission-directed, it manifests as humility, and they generally push credit off onto other people.....You’ve been at Venrock for 20 years. How many pitches have you heard from entrepreneurs over the years?

Probably about 25,000. I hate getting pitched, by the way. The part of the job I love is when you and I have decided to work together to go solve a problem that the world thinks can’t be solved.

I don’t like sitting on one side of the table trying to discern the problems you’re leaving out while you give me the world-is-a-bed-of-roses version of what you’re trying to do.

The pitches are just a means to a small number of relationships where we can go do something extraordinary.

I imagine you interview executives for your portfolio companies. How do you hire?

I start off most interviews with, “What can I answer for you?” It tells me a lot, including how knowledgeable they are about the company, how much they’ve thought about the interview and what they care about. I leave it very open-ended and listen to where they go. I can tell an enormous amount from that.

Then I say to them, “If we take the next step, I’m going to do a bunch of reference checks. I’ll find 10 people who know you, including names you won’t give me. How will they describe you?”
vc  venture_capital  Venrock  problems  problem_solving  opportunities  serving_others  hiring  open-ended 
october 2017
Black Americans Need Bourgeois Norms - WSJ
By Robert L. Woodson
Oct. 11, 2017

This summer, law professors Amy Wax and Larry Alexander caused a stir with an op-ed lamenting the decline of what they called “bourgeois norms.” “All cultures are not equal,” they rightly observed. Those that encourage self-restraint, delayed gratification, marriage and a strong work ethic tend to thrive. Those that tolerate or excuse substance abuse, out-of-wedlock pregnancy and dropping out tend to break down.

Ms. Wax and Mr. Alexander were instantly accused of racism by the growing army of angry academics who police the prevailing narrative of black victimhood. According to this narrative, black progress is determined not by personal choices and individual behavior, but by white supremacy, America’s history of slavery and discrimination, and institutional racism. Touting “bourgeois values” is interpreted as an offense against authentic black culture.......A better life has always been available to those who reject undisciplined and irresponsible behavior, and embrace self-determination and personal responsibility. So-called bourgeois values have always empowered blacks to persevere and overcome bitter oppression. They provided the moral “glue” that held the black community together during the hardest of times.
moral_codes  Amy_Wax  Frederick_Douglass  values  victimhood  African-Americans  self-restraint  delayed_gratification  marriage  work_ethic  personal_responsibility  societal_norms  authenticity  bourgeois  cultural_norms  cultural_values  hard_times 
october 2017
With Deal-Making in the Doldrums, Goldman Tries Something New - The New York Times
OCT. 11, 2017 | WSJ | By JOHN FOLEY.

Goldman Sachs is trying to extricate itself from a box by thinking outside it. The Wall Street firm has set up a small team in what’s known internally as the Innovation Lab, to cook up supposedly clever ideas for big clients. The resulting acquisitions may end up destroying value for the shareholders of the companies involved, but Goldman’s own investors should be pleased the investment bank is trying new things.
innovation  Goldman_Sachs  idea_generation  experimentation  trading  Wall_Street  investment_banking 
october 2017
Globe editorial: Banning a word isn’t going to help Indigenous Canadians - The Globe and Mail
There are scores of reserves across this country still under boil-water advisories. Indigenous Canadians live shorter lives than their fellow citizens, have lower incomes, are less likely to be in school or have a job, and more likely to be in jail. These are the real issues. The problem is not that job titles like "chief financial officer" exist. The problem is that too few native Canadians occupy such jobs, and too few are in a position to do so.

That's not something that can be fixed by purging a word.
aboriginals  political_correctness  TDSB  CTOs  CEOs 
october 2017
A Tour of the Beacosystem: Proximity and the Beacon Ecosystem: Proquest Tech & Business Books
A Tour of the Beacosystem: Proximity and the Beacon Ecosystem
By: Sean O Sullivan
Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Inc.
Pub. Date: September 16, 2015
Running Time: 1 hour 53 seconds
indoors  beacons  location_based_services  proximity 
october 2017
A Website for Pop-Up Stores Attracts Funding - WSJ
By Peter Grant
Oct. 10, 2017

(For John Corless)

A venture-capital firm that focuses on real-estate technology is investing in a London startup that has created an online marketplace for pop-up stores.

Fifth Wall Ventures, which is backed by big names in the real-estate world like Hines, CBRE Group Inc. and Macerich Co. , has made a “significant” investment in Appear Here, according to Brendan Wallace, Fifth Wall’s managing partner. He declined to specify an amount or how much of an ownership stake Fifth Wall is taking.

Founded in 2013, Appear Here has hooked up thousands of retailers with landlords in London and other U.K. cities, and its website currently includes more than 100,000 brands looking for space. The company, which enables retailers to sign leases for days or months, also has expanded to Paris and, earlier this year, New York.....London retailers leasing space through Appear Here and its competitors, like Hire Space and We Are Pop Up, also have turned marginal neighborhoods into hubs for new and edgy retail concepts. That hip vibe sometimes has lured big name retailers to those areas as well.

“The idea that online retail is going to kill physical retail is a complete fabrication,” Mr. Bailey said. “Every online retailer I know is wanting to open up physical stores the same way that every traditional retailer is moving online.”
e-commerce  venture_capital  start_ups  Appear_Here  pop-ups  websites  funding  retailers  landlords  London  CBRE 
october 2017
Procter & Gamble vs. Nelson Peltz: A Battle for the Future of Big Brands - WSJ
By Sharon Terlep
Oct. 8, 2017

Activist investor Nelson Peltz, who wants P&G to radically revise its strategy, argues the success of Ms. Francisco’s unit is the exception. He says the Cincinnati giant, hopelessly mired in the past, should shift to smaller, niche brands disconnected from its marquee products, pull in talent from the outside and split into three independent units.

“All the action today is local. It’s these small brands. It’s what the millennials want,” the 75-year-old investor said. “They want a brand with emotion, a brand that’s got a story behind it, a brand that brings value to the environment or is organic.”...P&G stands out as the largest company to face off against an activist investor.....

Many the world’s leading consumer-products companies, which once made the goods that stocked supermarket shelves the world over, have found it hard to adapt to rapidly shifting consumer tastes and the rise of smaller brands. The outcome of the Peltz-P&G battle will help determine the industry’s future direction.....P&G executives have transformed the company into a leaner organization. They say the future lies in the same fundamentals that guided the company for 180 years: huge brands such as Tide and Gillette that spin off products so effective they dominate their category.

“Declaring big brands dead and buried just because there is new media and a new generation is wrong,” said P&G’s lead independent director, Jim McNerney, the former chief executive of Boeing Co. and 3M Co. “Our new world is big brands presented in different ways through different media.”

Mr. McNerney argues that Mr. Peltz, who has had directorships at H.J. Heinz Co. and Oreo maker Mondelez International Inc., is trying to apply a formula that works in food, which is more susceptible to shifting consumer whims, but not for packaged goods such as diapers and dish soap.
P&G  brands  China  localization  shareholder_activism  Nelson_Peltz  shifting_tastes  CPG  emotional_connections 
october 2017
America’s Retailers Have a New Target Customer: The 26-Year-Old Millennial - WSJ
By Ellen Byron
Oct. 9, 2017

Companies such as Scotts, Home Depot Inc., Procter & Gamble Co. , Williams-Sonoma Inc.’s West Elm and the Sherwin-Williams Co. are hosting classes and online tutorials to teach such basic skills as how to mow the lawn, use a tape measure, mop a floor, hammer a nail and pick a paint color.
retailers  millennials  Home_Depot 
october 2017
Helping Bosses Decode Millennials—for $20,000 an Hour - WSJ
By Lindsay Gellman
Updated May 18, 2016

Millennial issues also have become a source of income for a host of self-anointed experts who say they can interpret young workers’ whims and aspirations—sometimes for as much as $20,000 an hour. Oracle, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. and Time Warner Inc.’s HBO have retained millennial advisers to stem turnover, market to young people and ensure their happiness at work......
generational_change  generations  millennials  turnover  Communicating_&_Connecting 
october 2017
Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin Recipe - Allrecipes.com
2 teaspoons butter 2 heads cauliflower 2 heads broccoli 1/2 cup butter 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 4 cups milk 1 tablespoon mustard powder 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 pinch paprika, or to taste
recipes  fresh_produce  dairy  cheese  vegetarian  Thanksgiving 
october 2017
Disney’s Big Bet on Streaming Relies on Little-Known Tech Company
OCT. 8, 2017 | The New York Times | By BROOKS BARNES and JOHN KOBLIN.

For two days in June 2017, Disney’s board of directors wrestled with one topic: how technology was disrupting the company’s traditional movie, television and theme park businesses, and what to do about it?.....Cord cutting was accelerating much faster than expected. Live viewing for some children’s programming was in free fall......Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive and chairman, proposed a legacy-defining move. It was time for Disney to double down on streaming..... bet the entertainment giant’s future on a wonky, little-known technology company housed in a former cookie factory: BamTech.....Based in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, the 850-employee company has a strong track record — no serious glitches, even when delivering tens of millions of live streams at a time. BamTech also has impressive advertising technology (inserting ads in video based on viewer location) and a strong reputation for attracting and keeping viewers, not to mention billing them.....BamTech grew out of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, or Bam for short, which was founded in 2000 as a way to help teams create websites. By 2002, Bam was experimenting with streaming video as a way for out-of-town fans to watch games.

Soon, Bam developed technology that attracted outside clients, including the WWE, Fox Sports, PlayStation Vue and Hulu. HBO went to Bam in 2014 after failing to create a reliable stand-alone streaming service on its own. Could Bam get HBO up and running — in just a few months? Bam built HBO Now for roughly $50 million, delivering it just in time for the Season 5 premiere of “Game of Thrones,” which went off flawlessly. “They were nothing short of herculean for us,” said Richard Plepler, HBO’s chief executive.

In 2015, Bam decided to spin off its streaming division, calling it BamTech. With an eye toward its own direct-to-consumer future, particularly with ESPN, Disney paid $1 billion in 2016 for a 33 percent stake and an option to buy a controlling interest in 2020. To run the stand-alone company, M.L.B. and Disney recruited Michael Paull, 46, from Amazon, where he oversaw Prime Video and the introduction of Amazon Channels.....Disney contends that a big part of BamTech’s value has been overlooked. Down the road, as other media companies move toward streaming, BamTech intends to sign them up as clients.....Though BamTech has proved its streaming bona fides, it still lacks the algorithms and the personalization skills that have helped propel Netflix to success. To fill that gap, Mr. Paull recently hired the former chief technology officer of the F.B.I. to be the head of analytics.....The level of engineering required for that enormous volume of content is no small matter. Each bit of streamable content has to be made to fit a dizzying number of requirements. Start with web browsers, ranging from Safari to Chrome or Explorer, all of which have slightly different demands. It also has to fit every iPhone and Android phone. And then there are connected living room devices like Apple TV.
algorithms  BamTech  big_bets  boards_&_directors_governance  CEOs  cord-cutting  digital_savvy  digital_strategies  direct-to-consumer  Disney  disruption  doubling_down  entertainment  game_changers  personalization  Quickplay  sports  sportscasting  streaming  theme_parks 
october 2017
Why traditional retail hasn’t hit rock bottom — yet
October 4, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | ERIC REGULY.
.....it's fashionable—and not wrong—to blame Amazon for most of the retailers' woes, other factors, from stale retail formats to the new anti-stuff movement, are at play too. Put together, the financial and cultural forces battering the retailers seem relentless.

The outlook is so grim that Bespoke Investment Group of Harrison, New York, invented a "Death by Amazon" list of 54 retail stocks that it thought would get whacked by Amazon and other forces conspiring against the sector......Traditional retailing, of course, is not entirely doomed because only the brave or bone-headed would buy some expensive items—diamond earrings, high-end suits, musical instruments, mattresses, Persian carpets, prescription sunglasses—without hands-on examination. And some shoppers, me among them, like the pleasure of propping up independent stores that sell high-quality goods.

But I don't shop much for general merchandise any more, because I am sick of clutter and, with university fees for my kids, don't have the spending power for non-essential items..... blamed shifting consumption patterns for much of the old-style retailers' distress........ blamed shifting consumption patterns for much of the old-style retailers' distress...money spent on smartphones and wireless services is unavailable to be spent on T-shirts and shoes.....middle-class incomes have stagnated, healthcare costs have climbed, and highly leveraged consumers are more interested in paying off debt than buying new TVs. Something had to give, and it was the department stores, whose shares are down by 40% or more in the last year or so (Macy's, J.C. Penney)......Amazon's endless virtual aisles sells Fiat cars in Italy, Nike shoes and and Sears' Kenmore appliances. Amazon recently bought Whole Foods and dropped its prices, which put the mainstream supermarkets into a panic........ 55% of product searches start on Amazon, far more than the 28% that start on search engines. The popularity of Amazon Prime (which provides free, two-day delivery as well as TV and movie video streaming) and the construction of massive warehouses have accelerated its growth. .....captures an estimated 40% of every shopping dollar spent online and is already the second-biggest apparel seller in the U.S., behind Wal-Mart. No wonder the traditional retail sector is in free fall.
And here's another question: As traditional retailers weaken or go out of business, and anchor stores disappear from North America's crazily over-malled shopping geography, can the real estate investment trusts be far behind? Betting against Amazon seems a fool's game.......
Eric_Reguly  retailers  decline  bricks-and-mortar  shifting_tastes  Amazon  REITs  shopping_malls  bankruptcies  department_stores  seismic_shifts  high-quality 
october 2017
A Day in the Life of Silicon Valley Power Player Kirsten Green
Oct. 3, 2017 | WSJ | By Francesca Mari.

HE DRIVER’S SEAT Kirsten Green, founder and general partner at early-stage venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures, Although Green formalized her venture capital firm Forerunner Ventures with its first institutional fund only five years ago, she has already built one of the most recognizable portfolios in the tech world. And with the sale of two of her early investments last year—Jet.com to Walmart for $3.3 billion and Dollar Shave Club to Unilever for $1 billion—she’s become one of the most prominent players in venture capital, an industry dominated by men......In 2008, she invested in a company started by two Stanford business grad students: Bonobos. She liked the founders, and they agreed to share their insights with her. “I couldn’t lose other people’s money, but I could invest in my own learning,” .......
Silicon_Valley  women  vc  retailers  Kirsten_Green  Warby_Parker  Bonobos  Dollar_Shave_Club  Unilever 
october 2017
Katzenberg’s Big Ask: $2 Billion for Short-Form Video Project
OCT. 2, 2017 | The New York Times | By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN.

Jeffrey Katzenberg’s idea of fund-raising is on a very different scale.

Mr. Katzenberg....is trying to raise $2 billion for his new television start-up. That is likely to be the largest first round of financing in history for a digital media company that, at least at the moment, is only a concept swirling around in his head......Mr. Katzenberg, 66, is convinced that his new product, called New TV, can upend the format of television for mobile devices. He wants to create the next-generation version of HBO or Netflix, purpose-built for viewing on phones and tablets with short-form content of premium quality — think of “Game of Thrones” as if each episode had a narrative arc of 10 minutes.

He wants to create big, expensive productions at a cost of $100,000 a minute. (For the sake of comparison, a highly produced minute of programming on YouTube might cost $10,000.)......Mr. Katzenberg’s hunch about the way a huge swath of consumers will watch television in the future is, in all likelihood, right. The number of teenagers and young adults who have their nose pressed to their mobile devices watching video content is startling. Globally, 72 % of all video is viewed on a mobile device, according to Ooyala, a video platform provider.

The question is whether his idea is ahead of its time. And whether he can find the right business model to support such expensive programing.

Mr. Katzenberg is a realist. “We need $2 billion. That’s a high bar,” he said. And he acknowledges that the financial details still need to be worked out. It’s daunting. He needs to build an instant library of content — and a big one.....Mr. Katzenberg’s gamble is being taken seriously because of his long history of success and his provocative thesis about the current television model. “The design and the architecture of the storytelling fit the business paradigm, not the other way around,” he explained, suggesting that shows were made in the format of a half-hour or an hour for business reasons and do not make sense in the world of mobile devices and streaming.....Mr. Katzenberg does not merely want to simply create a studio that specializes in short-form storytelling; he wants to create a platform for it. He is hoping that many of the big television networks both invest and produce content for the service.
Quibi  start_ups  funding  investors  Jeffrey_Katzenberg  entertainment_industry  content  digital_media  storytelling  platforms  SaaS  video  Andrew_Sorkin  DreamWorks  short-form  mobile  streaming  bite-sized 
october 2017
Tom Petty, an Unfussy Rock Star Who Kept His Tenacity Under Cover - The New York Times
By JON CARAMANICAOCT. 3, 2017
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tributes  music  obituaries  songwriters 
october 2017
A Former Superagent Bets Big on a More Diverse Hollywood
October 8, 2017 | The New York Times | by Calvin Baker who teaches at Columbia University and is the author of four novels, including “Grace” and “Dominion.”

The offices are in a rapidly transforming corridor of Los Angeles. The work of up-and-coming artists adorns the walls; the soundtrack is classic rap, and the work force looks as harmoniously multicultural and gender-balanced as America imagines itself. These employees aren’t just betting their fates on the movie business but on interlocking shifts in demographics, culture and technology. Macro, King believes, is in the vanguard of a new cultural universe, one made possible by the shrinking space between technology and film. “We’re building a global company for a new majority. We won’t be the only one.” He begins listing mighty firms that fell (MGM, Blockbuster, Time Warner), noting new entities that sprang up seemingly from nowhere (Netflix) and theorizing what the landscape may look like decades from now — before going abruptly silent, to keep from tipping too much of his own hand. “Well, you can imagine,” he concludes, cutting across several lanes of rush-hour traffic on the freeway after missing an exit.

King is not the first to see the problem of diversity in popular culture;
Hollywood  diversity  inspiration  producers  popular_culture  digital_media  talent_representation  packaging 
october 2017
When Did You First Feel Old? - WSJ
By Clare Ansberry
Oct. 2, 2017

It can hit us at any age; just feeling young at key turning points helps us live longer and happier lives

Awareness of age isn’t necessarily a bad thing.....Appreciating that time isn’t endless
helps set priorities.
===========
Aging is social, we old people have to help young people understand the process.
aging  grace  culture  turning_points  longevity  happiness 
october 2017
Legendary rocker Tom Petty dies at 66
October 3, 2107 | The Globe and Mail | BRAD WHEELER.

Mr. Petty and the Heartbreakers – as capable a backing band as ever assembled – made music destined for open-road listening. As with fellow classic-rock troubadours Mr. Springsteen and John Mellencamp, he wrote about outcasts and broken dreams, albeit with a mellower, stoned aesthetic.

American Girl, the Heartbreakers' dark second single, led like a novel: "Well, she was an American girl, raised on promises."

In the prosperous Fifties and the summers-of-love Sixties, the promises of America were bankable and often fulfilled. The 1970s, on the other hand, was a time of gas shortages, Watergate and rude awakenings. Mr. Petty's early material (sometimes co-written with band members) reflected the dim, grim era, yet offered glimmers and prospects.......Beyond 13 studio albums with the Heartbreakers and three solo albums, Mr. Petty released a pair of albums with the good-natured supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. Along with Bob Dylan, George Harrison and the Electric Light Orchestra's Jeff Lynne, the Wilburys perhaps introduced younger listeners to the group's fifth member, Roy Orbison (who only lived long enough to appear on Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1).

Mr. Petty's best solo work is likely found on 1989's Full Moon Fever, a record that found the songwriter working with well-acquainted collaborators from the Heartbreakers and the Wilburys, while lyrically touching upon familiar themes of regret (Free Fallin' ), defiance (I Won't Back Down) and open-road existentialism.
obituaries  music  musicians  guitarists  Brad_Wheeler  rock-'n'-roll  classic-rock  singers  songwriters 
october 2017
A Former CIA Executive’s Advice On How To Make Hard Decisions | The future of business
05.28.15 | Fast Company | BY STEPHANIE VOZZA.
A Former CIA Executive’s Advice On How To Make Hard Decisions
A five-step decision-making process from a man who spent 25 years making life-and-death decisions.
(1) Question
(2) Drivers
(3) Metrics
(4) Data
(5) What's Missing/Blind Spots

1. FIND THE REAL QUESTION
Questions are NOT self-evident, says Mudd. Focusing on better questions up front yields better answers later.
“Good questions are hard to come up with,” he says. Delay data gathering and the conclusions.... think about exactly what it is we want to know..... Start with what you’re trying to accomplish and work your way back, instead of moving forward and making conclusions. The right question provides a decision advantage to the person at the head of the table.

2. IDENTIFY YOUR “DRIVERS”
Break down complex questions into characteristics or “drivers.” This approach gives you a way to manage data.
For example, sort data on Al Qaeda into information baskets that included money, recruits, leadership, communications, training, and access to weapons. When information flows in, rather than adding it to one unmanageable pile, sorting through it periodically, and offering a recitation of what appears to be relevant from the most recent stuff you’ve seen, file each bit into one of your baskets. Limit your drivers to 10.

3. DECIDE ON YOUR METRICS
Identify the metrics you’ll use to measure how the problem and solution are evolving over time.
What are the right metrics?
What are the new information sources and metrics?
Compare your thought process to the training process of an Olympic sprinter who measures success in hundredths of a second. “If we don’t, the analysis we provide will suffer the same fate as a sprinter who thinks he’s great but has never owned a stopwatch: he enters an elite competition, and reality intervenes,” Metrics provide a “mind mirror”–a system for judging your decisions. It provides a foundation for coming back to the table and assessing the process for success.

4. COLLECT THE DATA
Once you’ve built the framework that will help you make the hard decision, it’s time to gather the data. Overcome data overload by plugging data into their driver categories and excising anything that doesn’t fit. “Too much data might provide a false sense of security, and it doesn’t necessarily lead to clearer analytic decision making,”

Avoud intuition. It’s dangerous. Aggressively question the validity of your data. Once you have your data sorted, give yourself a grade that represents your confidence in assessing your question.

5. LOOK FOR WHAT’S MISSING
Complex analysis isn’t easy. Assume that the process is flawed and check for gaps and errors. Three common stumbling blocks are:

Availability bias: The instinct to rely on what you know or what has been most recently in the news.
Halo effect: When you write off the negative characteristics because you’re mesmerized by the positive attributes.
Intuitive versus analytic methodologies: when you go with your gut. Relying on intuition is dangerous.

Mudd says making complex decisions is hard work. “It’s a lot of fun to be an expert who bases their ideas on history and not a lot of fun to be an analyst who must always be assessing potential scenarios,” he says. “Every time you go into a problem, and before you rip into data, ask yourself, ‘Am I sure where I’m heading?’”
asking_the_right_questions  availability_bias  biases  decision_making  false_sense_of_security  gut_feelings  halo_effects  hard_choices  intuition  intelligence_analysts  life-and-death  metrics  Philip_Mudd  problem_definition  organizing_data  problem_framing  sorting  thinking_backwards 
october 2017
How to Jump-Start Your Career - The New York Times
By TIM HERRERAOCT. 1, 2017
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Managing_Your_Career 
october 2017
Caribbean food seems to be the latest cultural commodity available for plunder
October 1, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | ANDRAY DOMISE.

.....Diluted and stripped of its ancestral link to survival and resistance, with "modern twists" added to improve our base and unenlightened cuisine, Caribbean food seems to be the latest cultural commodity available for plunder......Dozens of amazing Caribbean restaurants have lived out their quiet struggle in Toronto for decades, dotting the landscape throughout the inner suburbs in Scarborough, Rexdale, and Eglinton West. There's Rap's, the jerk chicken and patty shop where my mother would take me for lunch after a haircut at Castries barbershop. There's Albert's, a landmark at the corner of St. Clair Avenue and Vaughan Road. And there's the world famous back-ah-yard restaurant The Real Jerk, owned by Ed and Lily Pottinger, who have dealt with the worst of neighbourhood gentrification and real estate discrimination that Toronto has to offer.....But the concept of an "amazing Jamaican restaurant in Toronto," proffered by a restaurateur who has visited my ancestral home a few times, and who intends to package the culture in a fashion true to the brand of a downtown gastro-chain doesn't fill me with hope.
Caribbean  cuisine  cultural_appropriation  Toronto  food  Andray_Domise  exploitation  appreciation  restaurants  restauranteurs  inner_suburbs  parochialism 
october 2017
A new industry has sprung up selling “indoor-location” services to retailers
Dec 24th 2016 | Economist

Tracking technologies are ingenious. Some flash out a code to smartphone cameras by means of LED lighting; others, such as IndoorAtlas, a startup with headquarters in California and Finland, monitor how devices disrupt a store’s geomagnetic field. With smartphone ownership rising, the market for tracking phones indoors could grow fivefold between now and 2021, to a total of $23bn, says Research and Markets, a market-research firm.

What do retailers hope to gain? The answer depends on how far they push the technology. On the most basic level, a store might notice that people often walk from “frozen goods” to “alcohol”, and then bring the two closer together. A retailer could also gain more insight into which departments are best at promoting goods—all without knowing anything about shoppers beyond where their legs take them.

If stores can persuade clients to reveal personal information, too, they stand to profit more......Apple and Google are beginning to offer indoor-location services to retailers that use the motion sensors already in handsets. These can see where their owners are, and where they are moving to, using a map of existing Wi-Fi or radio-frequency signals. Shops would not need to set up systems to follow their customers’ phones.
location_based_services  mapping  new_industries  tracking  shopping_malls  retailers  Walkbase  LBMA  IndoorAtlas  foot_traffic  Wi-Fi  Aisle411  Apple  Google  indoors 
september 2017
IKEA Jumps Into ‘Gig Economy’ With Deal for TaskRabbit
Sept. 28, 2017 | WSJ | By Saabira Chaudhuri and Eliot Brown.

IKEA agreed to acquire Silicon Valley startup TaskRabbit—the online marketplace that connects people with freelancers willing to run errands and do odd jobs—combining the pioneer of the flat pack with a trailblazer of the so-called gig economy.
....Documents related to a financing round from 2015 suggest TaskRabbit then had a valuation of about $50 million....the deal represents a bigger strategic tack at the furniture company. It also underscores a broader shift at many large companies grappling with big changes brought on by digitization. Many established corporations are increasingly turning to Silicon Valley to help their business grow, or slow their declines—sometimes spending heavily on small venture capital-backed startups that have strong traction with young consumers.

Especially where older industries are shifting rapidly, deals have piled up. Auto makers have become prolific investors and buyers of self-driving startups. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has become one of the more active buyers of startups as it grapples with a shift to e-commerce, including a June deal to buy men’s online clothier Bonobos.

Several large firms have launched small Silicon Valley outposts and venture capital arms of their own. Often, though, they say it makes more sense to buy these startups than build a new brand or operation themselves.

The TaskRabbit deal is IKEA’s first foray anywhere near Silicon Valley. The privately held company—when it has bought anything at all—has tended to focus on forestry and manufacturing firm purchases..... IKEA intends to also learn from TaskRabbit’s digital expertise. Retailers and brands globally have been racing to capture shopper data in a bid to personalize their offerings and build customer loyalty.......The bulk of IKEA’s sales are still made in its sprawling out-of-town superstores that house everything from plants to beds. It has 357 stores across 29 countries. But it has worked to adapt to a rise in online shopping, rolling out home delivery and click-and-collect options. IKEA has also been opening small, centrally located stores situated near public transport that stock a limited range of offerings and are also used as collection points.

The company’s website had 2.1 billion visits in fiscal 2016, up 9% from the prior year. Earlier in September, it launched an augmented reality app that lets people place IKEA furniture in their homes. It has also souped up its product range, offering tables and lamps that double up as wireless phone chargers and bulbs that can be controlled wirelessly.

“As urbanization and digital transformation continue to challenge retail concepts we need to develop the business faster and in a more flexible way,” Mr. Brodin said. “An acquisition of TaskRabbit would be an exciting leap in this transformation.”
IKEA  TaskRabbit  gig_economy  home-assembly  mergers_&_acquisitions  M&A  Silicon_Valley  large_companies  brands  Fortune_500  start_ups  e-commerce  home-delivery  BOPIS  augmented_reality  urbanization  digital_strategies  retailers  product_launches 
september 2017
Costco Is Surviving in the Age of Amazon
By DAREN FONDA, Senior Associate Editor
From Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2017
Amazon  contra-Amazon  Costco  big-box  e-commerce 
september 2017
Retailers must innovate and adapt to thrive in the age of Amazon
JUNE 26, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | HARVEY SCHACHTER.

Mr. Stephens does not believe we are seeing the death of retail. But we will need to see retail's reinvention, and soon. At the core will have to be the understanding that we don't need physical stores for distribution of goods, as Amazon has shown. But we will need them for experiences.

To his mind, Amazon is actually not a retailer. It's a data technology and innovation company that succeeds by ignoring the conventional wisdom of retailing and following its own ways. He notes that last year Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren said that while Amazon might pose some threat in apparel sales it would suffer because it was not prepared to handle complexities such as returns of items. But to Amazon, that's just another challenge to be handled by data and technology, as it is showing. When Amazon opened a physical store, it looked at retail through its own eyes and, in an age of mobile devices, eliminated cash registers, checkouts and lineups.

"But Amazon does not want to play in the physical experiences arena. They want to take the friction out of the equation. So if retailers can make the experiences in their stores rich, they can gain an edge," says Mr. Stephens. But most, of course, aren't all that effective for now, even at a basic level of romancing the customer, let alone the redesigned future he is calling for, where stores are redesigned around experiencing the product under consideration.
retailers  innovation  Amazon  Harvey_Schachter  experiential_marketing  Doug_Stephens  emotional_connections  contra-Amazon  slight_edge  physical_experiences 
september 2017
Folks, We’re Home Alone
SEPT. 27, 2017 | The New York Times | Thomas L. Friedman.

we’re going through three climate changes at once:

We’re going through a change in the actual climate — disruptive, destructive weather events are steadily on the rise.

We’re going through a change in the “climate” of globalization — going from an interconnected world to an interdependent one, from a world of walls where you build your wealth by hoarding the most resources to a world of webs where you build your wealth by having the most connections to the flow of ideas, networks, innovators and entrepreneurs. In this interdependent world, connectivity leads to prosperity and isolation leads to poverty. We got rich by being “America Connected” not “America First.”

Finally, we’re going through a change in the “climate” of technology and work. We’re moving into a world where computers and algorithms can analyze (reveal previously hidden patterns); optimize (tell a plane which altitude to fly each mile to get the best fuel efficiency); prophesize (tell you when your elevator will break or what your customer is likely to buy); customize (tailor any product or service for you alone); and digitize and automatize more and more products and services. Any company that doesn’t deploy all six elements will struggle, and this is changing every job and industry.

What do you need when the climate changes? Adaptation — so your citizens can get the most out of these climate changes and cushion the worst. Adaptation has to happen at the individual, community and national levels.

At the individual level, the single most important adaptation is to become a lifelong learner, so you can constantly add value beyond what machines and algorithms can do.

“When work was predictable and the change rate was relatively constant, preparation for work merely required the codification and transfer of existing knowledge and predetermined skills to create a stable and deployable work force,” explains education consultant Heather McGowan. “Now that the velocity of change has accelerated, due to a combination of exponential growth in technology and globalization, learning can no longer be a set dose of education consumed in the first third of one’s life.” In this age of accelerations, “the new killer skill set is an agile mind-set that values learning over knowing.”
GOP  Democrats  Donald_Trump  Tom_Friedman  climate_change  adaptability  extreme_weather_events  Dean_Acheson  weather  interconnections  interdependence  data_driven  wealth_creation  life_long_learning  the_single_most_important 
september 2017
Should the Middle Class Invest in Risky Tech Start-Ups? - The New York Times
Farhad Manjoo
STATE OF THE ART SEPT. 27, 2017

Jason Calacanis, a start-up investor who has bet on Uber and others, cuts an unusual figure in Silicon Valley..... Calacanis’s frankness regarding his tech-fueled riches. He states plainly what many in Silicon Valley believe but are too politic to say — and which has lately been dawning on the rest of the world: that the tech industry is decimating the rest of the planet’s wealth and stability.

Its companies — especially the Frightful Five of Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft, which employ a select and privileged few — look poised to systematically gut much of the rest of the economy. And while Silicon Valley’s technologies could vastly improve our lives, we are now learning that they may also destabilize great portions of the social fabric — letting outsiders wreak havoc on our elections, fostering distrust and conspiracy theories in the media, sowing ever-greater levels of inequality, and cementing a level of corporate control over culture and society unseen since the days of the Robber Barons.......Calacanis is offering a much more dismal view of the disruptions caused by tech — and a more radical, if also self-serving, plan for dealing with it. To survive the coming earthquake, he advises, you need to radically re-examine your plan for the future — and you need to learn Silicon Valley’s ways rather than expect to defeat it......“Most of you are screwed,” he writes in “Angel,” arguing that a coming revolution in robotics and artificial intelligence will eliminate millions of jobs and destroy the old ways of getting ahead in America. “The world is becoming controlled by the few, powerful, and clever people who know how to create those robots, or how to design the software and the tablet on which you’re reading this.”....His book is intended as a guide for getting into the business of investing in very young tech companies at their earliest stages, known as “angel investing.” Mr. Calacanis is peddling a kind of populist movement for investing — he wants doctors, lawyers and other wealthy people, and even some in the middle class, to bet on start-ups, which he says is the best way to prepare financially for tech change.
Farhad_Manjoo  middle_class  angels  books  Jason_Calacanis  social_fabric  Apple  Amazon  Google  Facebook  Microsoft  Silicon_Valley  financial_advisors  start_ups  risks 
september 2017
Disney Reimagines Its Stores to Be More Like a Vacation
SEPT. 26, 2017 | The New York Times | By BROOKS BARNES.

The redesign makes Disney’s stores a bit more like Disney’s theme parks. For instance, daily parades at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida will be streamed live to those colossal video screens. During the parades, store personnel will put out mats for shoppers to sit on and roll out souvenir carts stocked with cotton candy and light-up Mickey Mouse ears.

The screens could easily be used to stream other events, such as red carpet arrivals for Disney movie premieres. That kind of programming could bolster foot traffic, and thus sales — while also turning the stores into a more potent promotional platform for Disney’s films, television shows and theme parks.....As it attempts a new mall strategy, Disney is also remaking its e-commerce operation. ShopDisney.com is replacing DisneyStore.com.
Disney  prototypes  retailers  overhaul  redesign  entertainment  makeovers  consumer_feedback  theme_parks  shopping_malls  e-commerce  reimagining  reconceptualization 
september 2017
Things You Can't Unwind
Three things you can't take back:
* Wasted time [JCK: time is a finite resource];
* An arrow or a bullet after its been shot ;
* And the spoken word.

- So plan wisely
- Aim carefully at a justified target
- And think before you open your mouth...
===========================
Time wasted is time lost, says the Kresge Foundation as it makes a public pledge
finite_resources  irrevocable  quotes  think_threes  time-management 
september 2017
The Dying Art of Disagreement
SEPT. 24, 2017 | The New York Times | Bret Stephens.

The title of my talk tonight is “The Dying Art of Disagreement.”.......But to say, I disagree; I refuse; you’re wrong; etiam si omnes — ego non — these are the words that define our individuality, give us our freedom, enjoin our tolerance, enlarge our perspectives, seize our attention, energize our progress, make our democracies real, and give hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere. Galileo and Darwin; Mandela, Havel, and Liu Xiaobo; Rosa Parks and Natan Sharansky — such are the ranks of those who disagree......The polarization is geographic.......The polarization is personal........Finally the polarization is electronic and digital, .......What we did was read books that raised serious questions about the human condition, and which invited us to attempt to ask serious questions of our own. Education, in this sense, wasn’t a “teaching” with any fixed lesson. It was an exercise in interrogation.

To listen and understand; to question and disagree; to treat no proposition as sacred and no objection as impious; to be willing to entertain unpopular ideas and cultivate the habits of an open mind ....uChicago showed us something else: that every great idea is really just a spectacular disagreement with some other great idea....to disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen carefully, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say........there’s such a thing as private ownership in the public interest, and of fiduciary duties not only to shareholders but also to citizens. Journalism is not just any other business, like trucking or food services. .....But no country can have good government, or a healthy public square, without high-quality journalism — journalism that can distinguish a fact from a belief and again from an opinion; that understands that the purpose of opinion isn’t to depart from facts but to use them as a bridge to a larger idea called “truth”; and that appreciates that truth is a large enough destination that, like Manhattan, it can be reached by many bridges of radically different designs. In other words, journalism that is grounded in facts while abounding in disagreements.

I believe it is still possible — and all the more necessary — for journalism to perform these functions, especially as the other institutions that were meant to do so have fallen short. But that requires proprietors and publishers who understand that their role ought not to be to push a party line, or be a slave to Google hits and Facebook ads, or provide a titillating kind of news entertainment, or help out a president or prime minister who they favor or who’s in trouble.

Their role is to clarify the terms of debate by championing aggressive and objective news reporting, and improve the quality of debate with commentary that opens minds and challenges assumptions rather than merely confirming them.

This is journalism in defense of liberalism, not liberal in the left-wing American or right-wing Australian sense, but liberal in its belief that the individual is more than just an identity, and that free men and women do not need to be protected from discomfiting ideas and unpopular arguments. More than ever, they need to be exposed to them, so that we may revive the arts of disagreement that are the best foundation of intelligent democratic life.
assumptions  Bret_Stephens  civics  Colleges_&_Universities  courage  critical_thinking  dangerous_ideas  demagoguery  difficult_conversations  disagreements  discomforts  dissension  dual-consciousness  free_speech  good_governance  high-quality  identity_politics  journalism  liberalism  open_mind  polarization  the_human_condition  uChicago 
september 2017
When Black Children Are Targeted for Punishment - The New York Times
By DERRICK DARBY and JOHN L. RURYSEPT. 25, 2017
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history  racial_disparities  African-Americans  children  punishment  high_schools  K-12 
september 2017
My top 5 investing lessons after 30 years as an economist
September 25th | The Globe and Mail | DAVID ROSENBERG.

After 30 years of experience as a Street economist, you pick up a lot of learning lessons – especially from the mistakes made along the way. Here are my top five below:

* Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (concentrated portfolios but diversified geographically and across the asset classes);
* There is no such thing as a sure thing (the forecast is just a base case across a continuum of possibilities across a distribution curve);
* Marry your partner, not your forecast – it may not love you back (what gets economists into trouble is lack of humility; admitting you’re wrong is never easy);
* If you don’t have a Plan B, you don’t have a plan. If you are wrong, it is imperative to know in what direction – and delineate the new course of action;
* Anything that can’t last forever, won’t last forever.
concentration_risk  economists  investing  lessons_learned  Plan_B  diversification  Bay_Street  Wall_Street  market_corrections  bear_markets  mistakes  forecasting  economic_cycles  beyondtheU.S.  Gluskin_Sheff  David_Rosenberg  probabilities  humility  contingency_planning  never_forever  asset_classes 
september 2017
Ray Dalio and the Market’s Pulse
Sept. 24, 2017 | WSJ | By Andy Kessler

Has Ray Dalio lost the pulse? The founder of the $160 billion hedge fund Bridgewater Associates is all over the place spouting his management philosophy of radical transparency. .....The investment whiz lives and manages by a set of principles that employees have to memorize. ..... “Most problems are potential improvements screaming at you.” Or this reworked cliché: “While most others seem to believe that pain is bad, I believe that pain is required to become stronger.”.....Bridgewater is losing money this year. Through July its flagship fund is down 3%, while the market is up more than 10%. ......The core of investing is quite simple: Determine what everyone else thinks, and then figure out in which direction they are wrong. That’s it. No one tells you what they think. You’ve got to feel it. .....It’s all about figuring out what is priced into a stock right now. That’s the pulse of the market, the collective mind meld aggregated into stock prices. I know from experience this is the hardest part of running a hedge fund. You can find the greatest story ever, but if everyone already knows it, there’s no money to be made..... the pulse changes with each government statistic, each daily ringing of cash registers and satellite images taken of parking lots. That’s why stocks trade every day. Real-world inputs and the drifting pulse drive the psychotic tick of the stock market tape. ....How do you find that pulse? .....

It’s best to survey your own people......Dalio doesn’t care about employees’ opinions or ideas; he just wants to take their pulse to figure out what the market already knows. Or as he puts it: “The biggest mistake most people make is to not see themselves and others objectively.”....Too much capital is often a burden. There are only so many good investment ideas out there, and it’s late in this cycle.....“Truth—more precisely, an accurate understanding of reality—is the essential foundation for any good outcomes.” Here’s a truth: If Bridgewater has lost its mojo, Mr. Dalio would be smart to manage a much smaller pot of money rather than torture his employees.
Andy_Kessler  Ray_Dalio  Bridgewater  hedge_funds  investors  investing  biases  pretense_of_knowledge  principles  transparency  market_sentiment 
september 2017
Amazon-Backed TrackR Locates $50 Million in New Round - WSJ
By Patience Haggin
Aug. 2, 2017

TrackR’s integration features include the ability to let users ask Alexa to help them locate an item. It also powers Alexa’s phone-finder skill.

In addition tracker tags that fit on keychains or inside wallets, TrackR said it plans to ship later this year its Atlas device, which plugs into wall sockets, to help people locate lost items within their homes more precisely. For example, someone could place the devices in the living room, kitchen and bedroom and then ask Alexa, “What room are my keys in?” Alexa would recommend where to go.

TrackR faces competition from similar offerings from corporate giants like the HTC Fetch and Motorola Keylink, as well as venture-backed startups like Chipolo Inc. and Tile Inc., which has also raised about $60 million.
Amazon  Alexa  TrackR  location_based_services  LBMA 
september 2017
The Not-So-Glossy Future of Magazines -
SEPT. 23, 2017 | The New York Times | By SYDNEY EMBER and MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM.

Suddenly, it seemed, longstanding predictions about the collapse of magazines had come to pass.

Magazines have sputtered for years, their monopoly on readers and advertising erased by Facebook, Google and more nimble online competitors. But editors and executives said the abrupt churn in the senior leadership ranks signaled that the romance of the business was now yielding to financial realities.

As publishers grasp for new revenue streams, a ‘‘try-anything’’ approach has taken hold. Time Inc. has a new streaming TV show, “Paws & Claws,” that features viral videos of animals. Hearst started a magazine with the online rental service Airbnb. Increasingly, the longtime core of the business — the print product — is an afterthought, overshadowed by investments in live events, podcasts, video, and partnerships with outside brands.

The changes represent one of the most fundamental shifts in decades for a business that long relied on a simple formula: glossy volumes thick with high-priced ads.

“Sentimentality is probably the biggest enemy for the magazine business,” David Carey, the president of Hearst Magazines, said in an interview. “You have to embrace the future.”.......experiments are part of an industrywide race to find some way — any way — to make up for the hemorrhaging of revenue.

Hearst recently introduced The Pioneer Woman Magazine, a partnership with the Food Network host Ree Drummond that was initially sold only at Walmart. Its new travel publication, Airbnbmag, is geared toward customers of the do-it-yourself online rental site, with distribution at newsstands, airports and supermarkets. Meredith has started a magazine called The Magnolia Journal with the HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Even Condé Nast, the glitzy purveyor of luxury titles, has recognized the advantages of outside partnerships....debuting a quarterly print title for Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand, with a cover featuring a topless Ms. Paltrow submerged in mud from France.
magazines  generational_change  brands  Vanity_Fair  print_journalism  churn  events  partnerships  sentimentality  digital_media  journalism  Hearst  Meredith  publishing  advertising  decline  experimentation  trends  Condé_Nast  resignations  exits  popular_culture 
september 2017
Toys ‘R’ Us versus Amazon: No contest
September 17, 2017 | The Globe and Mail | BARRIE MCKENNA.

It's a new era all right...The industry is grappling with the relentless onslaught of Amazon and Alibaba, excess retail space, the retreat of department-store mall anchors and intense price competition. Meanwhile, consumers are shifting their spending from things to experiences, including entertainment and dining-out
The harsh reality for Toys "R" Us and other big-box stores is that they aren't indispensable any more as North Americans discover new and different ways to shop. You don't have to schlep to a suburban shopping strip to find the newest Lego set, video game or electronic gadget. Order it online, and you can have it delivered to your door, often for free the next day, at the best price available anywhere.

....retail experts have warned that a tipping point was coming for the industry as more and more shopping moved online. This looks like the year.....Analysts predict that a record 9,000 retail stores will close across the U.S. in 2017. That would eclipse 2016, when roughly 6,200 stores closed....
Retailers have been filing for protection from creditors at a faster pace this year than at any time since the 2008-09 recession. Toys "R" Us joins a long list of famous retail casualties of 2017 in Canada and the U.S., including Sears Canada, The Limited, Wet Seal, BCBG, Payless Shoes, Sports Authority, Gymboree, Aéropostale and American Apparel. And there are still three-plus months to go.....The rise of Amazon is proof that consumers are embracing new ways of buying. The company's North American sales grew five-fold to $80-billion (U.S.) between 2010 and 2016. Half of U.S. households now subscribe to Amazon Prime, a fee-based service that offers free two-day shipping, music and video streaming plus other perks......What's alarming isn't so much the share of shopping that has moved online, but the speed at which it's moved.

Warren Buffett sold off nearly $1-billion worth of Walmart stock earlier this year, explaining that traditional retailing is "too tough" a business in the age of Amazon. "The world has evolved, and it's going to keep evolving, but the speed is increasing," Mr. Buffett said.

Amazon and China's Alibaba won't be the only winners in this new era. A vast array of other businesses feed off the online industry, including shippers and logistics companies, plus a vast network of technology companies, including store platforms (Shopify), analytics companies and app makers.
Amazon  Alibaba  e-commerce  store_closings  Barrie_McKenna  retailers  bricks-and-mortar  toys  Toys_"R"_Us  bankruptcies  brands  Amazon_Prime  home-delivery  accelerated_lifecycles  Warren_Buffett  Wal-Mart  big-box 
september 2017
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