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Opinion | How Would You Draw History? - The New York Times
By Crispin Sartwell
Mr. Sartwell is a professor of philosophy.

Nov. 19, 2018
history 
november 2018
Food halls the latest appetizer for office workers - The Globe and Mail
ADAM STANLEY
OTTAWA
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED 1 HOUR AGO
food_halls 
november 2018
Canada doomed to be branch plant for global tech giants unless Ottawa updates thinking, Balsillie warns | Financial Post
James McLeod
November 16, 2018
7:27 PM EST

Canadian governments need to radically rethink their approach to the knowledge economy if the country is to be anything more than a branch plant for global technology giants,.......“I think they confuse a cheap jobs strategy … (and) foreign branch plant pennies with innovation billions,” .........Balsillie has argued that the “intangible” economy of data, software and intellectual property is fundamentally different from the classical industrial economy built on the trade of goods and services, and that because Canadian policymakers fail to understand that difference, they keep being taken for rubes.......Balsillie was particularly critical of the federal government’s policy when it comes to “branch plant” investments in Canada in the technology sector.

He said that in the traditional economy of goods and services, foreign direct investment (FDI) is a good thing, because there’s a multiplier effect — $100 million for a new manufacturing plant or an oil upgrader might create $300 million in spinoff economic activity.

But if you’re just hiring programmers to write software, the picture is different, he said. It’s a much smaller number of jobs with fewer economic benefits, and, more importantly, the value created through intellectual property flows out of the country.

“Our FDI approaches have been the same for the intangibles, where, when you bring these companies in, they put a half a dozen people in a lab, they poach the best talent and they poach the IP, and then you lose all the wealth effects,”....“Don’t get me wrong. I believe in open economies. They’re going to come here anyway; I just don’t know why we give them the best talent, give them our IP, give them tax credits for the research, give them the red carpet for government relations, don’t allow them to pay taxes, and then have all the wealth flow out of the country.”...if small countries such as Canada make a point of prioritizing the intangible economy, there are huge opportunities. He pointed to Israel, Finland and Singapore as examples of how smart policies and specialization can reap big rewards.

“I could literally see enormously powerful positions for Canada if we choose the right places. I mean, there are some obvious ones: value added in the food business, and precision data and IP in agriculture; certainly in energy extraction and mining, which are data and technology businesses,” he said.

“We actually have enormous opportunities to build the resilience and opportunity,” he said. ”And how can you threaten a country with a picture of a Chevy and 25 per cent tariffs when you’ve built these kinds of very powerful innovation infrastructures that you can’t stop with a tariff because they move with the click of a mouse?”
agriculture  branch_plants  Canada  data  digital_economy  energy  FDI  Finland  food  GoC  industrial_economy  IP_retention  intangibles  intellectual_property  Israel  Jim_Balsillie  mining  policymakers  property_rights  protocols  Singapore  talent  technology  wealth_effects 
november 2018
Technogym steps up pace to win world fitness race
November 18, 2018 | Financial Times | Rachel Sanderson in Milan

Technogym, the Italian maker of top end gym equipment, is launching a new platform to broadcast live and on-demand workouts from top gyms worldwide as the race for fitness tech heats up.

The Milan-listed company, founded by owner and chief executive Nerio Alessandri in 1983, will launch Technogym Live in January starting first in the UK and Italy. It will allow owners of Technogym equipment fitted with broadcast consoles to watch cycling, running, rowing, boxing and boot camp classes from its partner fitness studios around the world.

The move comes as fitness has become a new frontier for the tech industry. Fitness streaming apps, such as audio app Aaptiv, connected to home equipment such as start-up Peloton Interactive stationary bicycles have become a big growth area.
fitness  gyms  Peloton  platforms  Technogym  connected_devices  wellness  on-demand 
november 2018
How to Talk to People, According to Terry Gross
Nov. 17, 2018 | The New York Times | By Jolie Kerr.

(1) “Tell me about yourself,” a.k.a the only icebreaker you’ll ever need.
(2) The secret to being a good conversationalist? Curiosity.
(3) Be funny (if you can). “A good conversationalist is somebody who is fun to talk to,” she said. Ms. Gross, it’s worth noting, is very funny. If you can’t be funny, being mentally organized, reasonably concise and energetic will go a long way in impressing people.
(4) Preparation is key. “It helps to organize your thoughts beforehand by thinking about the things you expect you’ll be asked and then reflecting on how you might answer,” think through where your boundaries are, so that you’re not paralyzed agonizing over whether you’re willing to confide something or not.”

In a job interview, organizing your thoughts by thinking about the things you expect you’ll be asked and reflecting on how you might answer can help you navigate if things start to go badly.
(5) Take control by pivoting to something you want to talk about.
(6) Ms. Gross doesn’t want you to dodge questions. But if you’re going to, here’s how: Say, “I don’t want to answer that,” or, if that’s too blunt, hedge with a statement like, “I’m having a difficult time thinking of a specific answer to that.” Going the martyr route with something like, “I’m afraid by answering that I’m going to hurt somebody’s feelings and I don’t want to do that,” is another option.
(7) Terry pays attention to body language. Be like Terry.
(8) When to push back, and when not to.
body_language  Communicating_&_Connecting  conversations  curiosity  howto  humour  interviews  interview_preparation  job_search  preparation  tips  nonverbal  posture  ice-breakers  concision  Managing_Your_Career  pay_attention 
november 2018
Disney Is Spending More on Theme Parks Than It Did on Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm Combined - The New York Times
By BROOKS BARNES NOV. 16, 2018

Increased investment means increased risk
The theme park business will always be sensitive to swings in the economy, said Jessica Reif, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Disney has greatly increased security in recent years, deploying undercover guards and installing metal detectors, but these teeming resorts could become relative ghost towns if a violent incident took place.

Even so, Ms. Reif said she was pleased that Disney was spending so heavily on its parks. “It’s the highest return on investment that Disney has,” she said.
theme_parks  Disney  redesign  entertainment  makeovers  serious_incidents  security_consciousness 
november 2018
Opinion | How Plato Foresaw Facebook’s Folly
Nov. 16, 2018 The New York Times | By Bret Stephens, Opinion Columnist

Technology promises to make easy things that, by their intrinsic nature, have to be hard......The story of the wildly exaggerated promises and damaging unintended consequences of technology isn’t exactly a new one. The real marvel is that it constantly seems to surprise us. Why?......Part of the reason is that we tend to forget that technology is only as good as the people who use it. .....It’s also true that Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants have sold themselves not so much as profit-seeking companies but as ideal-pursuing movements.....But the deeper reason that technology so often disappoints and betrays us is that it promises to make easy things that, by their intrinsic nature, have to be hard......Tweeting and trolling are easy. Mastering the arts of conversation and measured debate is hard. Texting is easy. Writing a proper letter is hard. Looking stuff up on Google is easy. Knowing what to search for in the first place is hard. Having a thousand friends on Facebook is easy. Maintaining six or seven close adult friendships over the space of many years is hard. Swiping right on Tinder is easy. Finding love — and staying in it — is hard.

That’s what Socrates (or Thamus) means when he deprecates the written word: It gives us an out. It creates the illusion that we can remain informed, and connected, even as we are spared the burdens of attentiveness, presence of mind and memory. That may seem quaint today. But how many of our personal, professional or national problems might be solved if we desisted from depending on shortcuts?... struck by how desperately Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg sought to massage and finesse — with consultants, lobbyists and technological patches — what amounted to a daunting if simple crisis of trust. As with love and grammar, acquiring and maintaining trust is hard. There are no workarounds.
arduous  Bret_Stephens  Facebook  Greek  op-ed  pretense_of_knowledge  Socrates  technology  unintended_consequences  shortcuts  fallacies_follies  philosophy 
november 2018
Luxury Brands Buy Supply Chains to Ensure Meeting Demand
Nov. 15, 2018 | The New York Times | By Mark Ellwood.

The luxury markets are booming to such an extent that brands look to ensure they can meet demand by buying companies that supply their raw materials.

In the last six years, David Duncan has been on a buying spree. This Napa Valley-based winemaker and owner of Silver Oak Cellars hasn’t been splurging on fast cars or vacation homes, though. He’s been buying up vines — close to 500 acres in Northern California and Oregon.

It’s been a tough process, at times: He almost lost one site to a wealthy Chinese bidder. It was only when he raised his offer by $1 million that he clinched the sale at the last moment. At the same time, Mr. Duncan also took full control of A&K Cooperage, now the Oak Cooperage, the barrel maker in Higbee, Mo., in which his family had long held a stake. These hefty acquisitions are central to his 50-year plan to future-proof the family business against a changing luxury marketplace.

As Mr. Duncan realized, this market faces what might seem an enviable problem: a surfeit of demand for its limited supply. The challenge the winery will face over the next decade is not marketing, or finding customers, but finding enough high-quality raw materials to sate the looming boom in demand. Though there might be economic uncertainty among the middle classes, wealthier consumers are feeling confident and richer because of changes like looser business regulations and lower taxes.
affluence  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  brands  competitive_advantage  core_competencies  future-proofing  high_net_worth  high-quality  luxury  raw_materials  scarcity  supply_chains  sustainability  vertical_integration  vineyards 
november 2018
Learning to Attack the Cyberattackers Can’t Happen Fast Enough - The New York Times
By Alina Tugend
Nov. 14, 2018

CyLab Security and Privacy Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. The center was created by Professor Savvides, who is a widely recognized expert in biometrics — the science of measuring and identifying people using facial and iris recognition systems. On any given day, the high-tech space is crowded with computers, robots, and other machines and populated with doctoral students working with him.

CyLab, which includes the center, was founded in 2003 to expand the boundaries of technology and protect people when that technology — or the people using it — poses a threat.

Based in the university’s 25,000-square-foot Collaborative Innovation Center, CyLab works in partnership with roughly 20 corporations — like Boeing, Microsoft and Facebook — and government agencies to do research and education in internet privacy and security.
biometrics  cyberattacks  cyber_security  Carnegie_Mellon  Colleges_&_Universities  offensive_tactics 
november 2018
Walmart and Amazon in acquisition shopping spree | Financial Times
The move reflects the realities of the grocery business, analysts say. “In no sector is physical footprint more important than food,” says Charlie O’Shea from Moody’s. “Dairy has to be delivered quickly. Just like what Walmart did last year in buying Jet.com, Amazon recognises that it’s more effective to buy it than build it.” 

Amazon may use Whole Foods’ stores to beef up its offerings in ordering, pick-up and delivery, or use its distribution centres to deliver products for AmazonFresh trucks, says Mr Huang. “Building a cold supply chain with refrigerated trucks is not easy or cheap to do,” he says. 
Wal-Mart  Amazon  grocery  supermarkets  cold_storage 
november 2018
How a Former Canadian Spy Helps Wall Street Mavens Think Smarter
Nov. 11, 2018 | The New York Times | By Landon Thomas Jr.

* “Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones,” by James Clear. “
* “The Laws of Human Nature,” an examination of human behavior that draws on examples of historical figures by Robert Greene.
* “Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Bets When you Don’t Have All the Cards” by Annie Duke,
* “On Grand Strategy,” an assessment of the decisions of notable historical leaders by the Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer John Lewis Gaddis

Shane Parrish has become an unlikely guru for Wall Street. His self-improvement strategies appeal to his overachieving audience in elite finance, Silicon Valley and professional sports.....Shane Parrish is a former cybersecurity expert at Canada’s top intelligence agency and an occasional blogger when he noticed something curious about his modest readership six years ago: 80 percent of his followers worked on Wall Street......The blog was meant to be a method of self-improvement, however, his lonely riffs — on how learning deeply, thinking widely and reading books strategically could improve decision-making skills — had found an eager audience among hedge fund titans and mutual fund executives, many of whom were still licking their wounds after the financial crisis.

His website, Farnam Street, urges visitors to “Upgrade Yourself.” In saying as much, Mr. Parrish is promoting strategies of rigorous self-betterment as opposed to classic self-help fare — which appeals to his overachieving audience in elite finance, Silicon Valley and professional sports. ....Today, Mr. Parrish’s community of striving financiers is clamoring for more of him. That means calling on him to present his thoughts and book ideas to employees and clients; attending his regular reading and think weeks in Hawaii, Paris and the Bahamas; and in some cases hiring him to be their personal decision-making coach......“We are trying to get people to ask themselves better questions and reflect. If you can do that, you will be better able to handle the speed and variety of changing environments.”....Parrish advises investors, to disconnect from the noise and to read deeply......Few Wall Street obsessions surpass the pursuit of an investment edge. In an earlier era, before computers and the internet, this advantage was largely brain power. Today, information is just another commodity. And the edge belongs to algorithms, data sets and funds that track indexes and countless other investment themes.......“It is all about habits,” “Setting goals is easy — but without good habits you are not getting there.”......“Every world-class investor is questioning right now how they can improve,” he said. “So, in a machine-driven age where everything is driven by speed, perhaps the edge is judgment, time and perspective.”
books  brainpower  Charlie_Munger  coaching  commoditization_of_information  CSE  cyber_security  decision_making  deep_learning  disconnecting  financiers  gurus  habits  investors  James_Clear  judgment  life_long_learning  overachievers  personal_coaching  perspectives  Pulitzer_Prize  questions  reading  reflections  self-betterment  self-improvement  slight_edge  smart_people  Wall_Street  Warren_Buffett 
november 2018
JPMorgan Invests in Startup Tech That Analyzes Encrypted Data - CIO Journal. - WSJ
By Sara Castellanos
Nov 13, 2018
(possible assistance to Robert Lewis)

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has invested in a startup whose technology can analyze an encrypted dataset without revealing its contents, which could be “materially useful” for the company and its clients, said Samik Chandarana, head of data analytics for the Corporate and Investment Bank division.

The banking giant recently led a $10 million Series A funding round in the data security and analytics startup, Inpher Inc., headquartered in New York and Switzerland. JPMorgan could use the ‘secret computing’ technology to analyze a customer’s proprietary data on their behalf, using artificial intelligence algorithms without sacrificing privacy.......One of the technological methods Inpher uses, called fully homomorphic encryption, allows for computations to be conducted on encrypted data, said Jordan Brandt, co-founder and CEO of the company. It’s the ability to perform analytics and machine learning on cipher text, which is plain, readable text that has been encrypted using a specific algorithm, or a cipher, so that it becomes unintelligible.

Analyzing encrypted information without revealing any secret information is known as zero-knowledge computing and it means that organizations could share confidential information to gather more useful insights on larger datasets.
algorithms  artificial_intelligence  corporate_investors  datasets  encryption  JPMorgan_Chase  pooling  privacy  start_ups   synthetic_data  zero-knowledge 
november 2018
A New Breed of Innkeepers for the Airbnb Era - WSJ
26 COMMENTS
By Amy Gamerman
Nov. 8, 2018

To compete in the Airbnb era, a new breed of innkeepers are ditching the needlepoint pillows and potpourri in favor of free Wi-Fi and vegan breakfast sausage. “Bed-and-breakfasts were getting a bad rap for the doilies. The modern B&B doesn’t look like grandma’s house,” said Heather Turner, marketing director for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.

There are about 17,000 bed-and-breakfasts nationwide, according the Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals, a nonprofit trade group with 625 members that was founded three years ago—partly in response to the rising number of mid-career professionals who have taken up innkeeping.

“They’ve had another career as a teacher, lawyer or doctor—they want to be in the hospitality business,”
Airbnb  bed-and-breakfast  Facebook  home_based  hospitality  Instagram  Second_Acts 
november 2018
US fast-food chains struggle as poorer consumers tighten belts
November 11, 2018 | Financial Times | by Alistair Gray in New York.

The robust US economy is failing to boost the fast-food industry as chains grapple with a saturation of retail outlets, consumer demands for deep discounts and declining footfall.

Numbers visiting US fast-food outlets in September dropped 2.6 per cent from a year ago, according to restaurant industry data provider MillerPulse, a steeper decline than the 0.8 per cent year-on-year drop recorded the previous month.

Industry executives and consultants cited a series of factors, including consumer demand for healthier alternatives to burgers and pizzas and lower construction activity, which means fewer building workers are picking up fast food on lunch breaks.

The tough landscape has taken its toll on several operators. Last week, the New England-based owner of Papa Gino’s and D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches filed for bankruptcy protection.
bankruptcies  fast-food  low-income  QSR  restaurants  store_closings  oversaturation 
november 2018
Devah Pager, Who Documented Race Bias in Job Market, Dies at 46 - The New York Times
By Katharine Q. Seelye
Nov. 8, 2018

Devah Pager wrote in her book, “Marked: Race, Crime and Finding Work in an Era of Mass Incarceration.
PhDs  obituaries  professors  race  biases  racial_disparities  sociologists  racial_discrimination  joblessness  mass_incarceration 
november 2018
Cold storage: Planning for unpredictability
July 2, 2018 | - Modern Materials Handling| By Josh Bond, Senior Editor.
cold_storage  unpredictability 
november 2018
How do hedge funds learn new industries quickly? - Quora
Quickly' is very subjective and remember funds(hedge,mutual,pension,etc) do not need to know everything about a industry only to understand the drivers of what moves the stock. That is a massive difference between how a student approaches learning and a analyst, analysts aren't trying to know everything only what can make them money.

Exceptional People
They are used to covering certain sectors some may come from the sell side and covered maybe 15-30 stocks or the buy side and covered 40-60 stocks. Regardless of where they came from they are used to tracking and getting alot of information very efficiently. They are also willing to put in long hours and read/study anything that is needed. After a while(if they don't burn out) they become masters are managing huge information bandwidth.

Tools/Data
For accounting and raw data there are plenty of tools. Bloomberg is quite widely used and with a few commands/clicks you can have a excel sheet with all the data you can want about a companies financials.

Sell side
If you have a large enough fund and relationships on the sell side then they'll do all they can to get you up to speed very quickly. The sell side will have a team of analysts covering a industry/sector your intrested in and if your a good client then they'll spend time and teach you want you want to know.

Reduce noise/Very focused:
Great analysts are masters are reducing the amount of noise that comes there way. They filter emails and calls like crazy so there are less distractions. If your ideas don't make them money they will ignore you(regardless of how smart you are). If they are really good they won't even open your emails if you have not proven you add value to them.
hedge_funds  ideas  discernment  filtering  learning_curves  noise  signals  Quora  new_industries  sell_side 
november 2018
The rise of chef ‘supergroups’ means more creative and experimental kitchens across the country - The Globe and Mail
Behind the restaurant’s unassuming façade is a powerhouse of some of Canada’s most talented and successful restaurateurs. The team behind the Joe Beef empire, Frédéric Morin, David McMillan, Allison Cunningham, as well as Marc-Olivier Frappier and Vanya Filipovic (Mon Lapin, Vin Papillon), Chris Morgan and James Simpkins (Liverpool House) have teamed up with chef Derek Dammann (Maison Publique) to create a kind of culinary supergroup – the Traveling Wilburys of rotisserie chicken......Somewhat counterintuitively, then, comradery, and perhaps a survivors' bond over having made it in an industry known to chew cooks up and spit them out, is bringing chefs together. McKiernan is just one example of chefs partnering with their would-be competitors to open places where the whole is, hopefully, greater than the sum of its parts......
chefs  collaboration  restaurants  restauranteurs  kitchens  cold_storage  commercial_kitchens  experimentation 
november 2018
Cold calling - The Forecast 2018 - Magazine | Monocle
We seldom stop to think about how our food gets from its source to our plates but, when we do, we realise the mammoth effort involved. Luckily technology is revolutionising the industry and temperature-controlled cargo is going places like never before.
cold_storage  logistics  magazines 
november 2018
Lowe’s to close 27 stores in Canada as housing markets slow - The Globe and Mail
MARINA STRAUSS
NICOLAS VAN PRAET QUEBEC BUSINESS REPORTER
TORONTO AND MONTREAL
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 5, 2018

Lowe’s Cos. Inc. is shutting 27 stores in Canada, mostly under the Rona banner, as well as offices and plants as the U.S. home-improvement retailer grapples with an overcrowded market and a cooling housing sector......In an increasingly tight home-improvement retail landscape, Lowe’s faces tougher competition from incumbents and emerging e-commerce players such as Amazon.com Inc. as well as reduced home sales.......While the home-improvement industry has enjoyed sales lifts over past years, that growth is moderating as the housing market loses steam, Mr. McLarney said. Many young consumers cannot afford to buy homes, while baby boomers are downsizing, resulting in fewer purchases for home improvements, industry observers say.

Home-improvement retail sales climbed 5 per cent last year to $48.2-billion, but are expected to pick up by only about 4 per cent in each of 2018 and 2019, according to Hardlines......Alex Arifuzzaman, founder of retail real estate adviser InterStratics Consultants, said consumers increasingly can buy many of the items home-improvement stores carry more conveniently online. At the same time, more people are moving into condominiums that don’t need as many renovations or repairs. “The profit model in the future is going to be different," he said.

Lowe’s said on Monday that of the 27 under-performing stores in Canada it will close by the end of January, nine are in each of Quebec and Ontario, while six are in Newfoundland and Labrador, two are in Alberta and one is in British Columbia.
Amazon  home-center_industry  home-improvement  Lowes  Marina_Strauss  Quebec  retailers  Rona  store_closings 
november 2018
Opinion | How Love Changes - The New York Times
the most important aspect of relationships? People change! One might find the “perfect” soul mate today and a few years later, or even sooner, that person changes, becomes less sharing, turns into a slob, finds a love of gambling or no longer enjoys going to the flea market in Connecticut on Sundays.

Searching for the perfect lifelong mate is a noble goal, but a fool’s errand. During the 60 years that my wife and I have been married, we have both been several different people. Working through those changes is no guarantee of a forever relationship, but thinking that all you need to do is make a good first choice is foolish.
relationships  marriage  romantic_love  letters_to_the_editor  soul_mates 
november 2018
Beware these management myths
November 2, 2018 | The Globe and Mail HARVEY SCHACHTER
goals  Harvey_Schachter  myths 
november 2018
Turn! Turn! Turn! — The Byrds’ 1965 hit used lyrics that dated back more than 2,000 years — FT.com
Nick Keppler OCTOBER 30, 2018

The Byrds’ “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” has been used in films and TV shows to evoke collective memories of the 1960s — starting in 1970, when Homer, one of the first coming-of-age films about a Vietnam war soldier, featured the song on its soundtrack. Since then, the unmistakable chord progression and chorus have ceaselessly popped up in 1960s period pieces: More American Graffiti, Heart Like a Wheel, Forrest Gump, TV’s The Wonder Years (in three episodes) and Ken Burns’s documentary series The Vietnam War.

The song reached number one in the US in December 1965. That year, American ground troops arrived in Vietnam, men on campuses burned their draft cards, black civil rights activists withstood fire hoses and police dogs, and President Lyndon Johnson promoted his “great society” reforms. A chorus of shaggy-haired young men pressed the nation to “turn, turn, turn” and accept that change is inevitable, history is a cycle, strife is temporary, and to everything there is a season.

The song also carries the sonic imprints of the era: Byrds frontman Roger McGuinn once called the chord structure “Beatley” and said they borrowed the drum beat from Phil Spector. But the song itself was concocted by the leader of American folk music’s old guard using lyrics that dated back more than 2,000 years.

Pete Seeger composed “Turn! Turn! Turn!” in 1959 in response to a letter from his publisher. “Pete,” it read, “can’t you write another song like ‘Goodnight, Irene'? I can’t sell or promote these protest songs.” ("Goodnight, Irene” was actually written/adapted by Lead Belly, but Seeger had popularised it with The Weavers.) The response from the rabble-rousing troubadour was predictably defiant. “You better find another songwriter,” Seeger wrote. “This is the only kind of song I know how to write.”

He turned to his pocket notebook, where he jotted down pieces of text for recycling. He found parts of the Bible he had copied, “verses by a bearded fellow with sandals, a tough-minded fellow called Ecclesiastes”, Seeger recalled.

Specifically, it was Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, from one of the “wisdom books” of the Old Testament, collections of truths and sayings. The words attributed “a season” to a series of opposing actions: “A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap; a time to kill, a time to heal,” etc. Seeger took the text almost verbatim. He added the “turn, turn, turn” to build a chorus and tacked on his own hopeful concluding line for cold war audiences: “A time of peace; I swear it’s not too late.”
'60s  Beatles  biblical  folk  hits  music  opposing_actions  pairs  protest_movements  scriptures  songs  songwriters  sonic  soundtracks 
november 2018
Squirrel? We must zero in on improving our attention management - The Globe and Mail
Here’s what I discovered along the way:

Being distracted isn’t our fault (it’s the way we’re biologically wired).
Deliberately letting our mind wander is one of the best ways to become more creative.
When our attention is at rest, we think about our goals 14 times as much as when we’re focused.
We accomplish our intentions more often by taming distractions ahead of time. A few ways to do this: Use your phone’s greyscale mode, which turns your screen black-and-white and makes apps far less engaging; enable e-mail notifications for VIP contacts only; and have no-phone dinners with your family.
The most significant idea I encountered was a simple one, but with profound implications: The state of our attention determines the state of our lives. The moments in which we’re distracted accumulate – day by day, week by week, year by year – to create a life that feels distracted and overwhelming.

On the other hand, when we focus for longer periods on what’s productive and meaningful – important conversations, big work projects and experiences with loved ones – our lives improve by virtually every measure. We get more done, dive deeper into our experiences and notice more meaning around us, because we process the world with greater intention.
attention_spans  distractions  interruptions  squirrel-like_behaviour 
november 2018
What the lessons of 1918 can teach today’s world leaders
NOVEMBER 1, 2018 | Financial Times | Simon Kuper.

The Armistice of 1918 is a model for how not to treat other countries. The historian Margaret MacMillan points out that Germany’s humiliation didn’t mechanically cause the second world war: there were 20 years in-between. Still, visiting Compiègne, you inevitably think of contemporary parallels. Here are some lessons for world leaders gathering in Paris next week to commemorate 1918:

• In international relations, treat even your opponents like long-term business partners.
• Nationalist passions are easy to excite and hard to put back in the bottle.
• A humiliated country will look for scapegoats — and some people will jump from angry words to violence.
• Prosperity is fragile.
• Wars beget wars. Foch helped beget Hitler; the Middle Eastern borders drawn at Versailles helped beget today’s conflicts in the region; the Korean war isn’t dead yet either, and the American civil war lives on as a north-south culture clash....Still, peace in the region cannot remain the EU’s selling point. Precisely because Europeans have come to take peace for granted, they now (rightly) ask: “What have you done for me lately?”
• Absence of war is always a political achievement.
anniversaries  Armistice  Brexit  fragility  humiliations  leaders  lessons_learned  Margaret_McMillian  Simon_Kuper  WWI 
november 2018
Why boring government matters
November 1, 2018 | | Financial Times | Brooke Masters.

The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, by Michael Lewis, Allen Lane, RRP£20, 219 pages.

John MacWilliams is a former Goldman Sachs investment banker who becomes the risk manager for the department of energy. He regales Lewis with a horrific catalogue of all the things that can go wrong if a government takes its eye off the ball, and provides the book with its title. Asked to name the five things that worry him the most, he lists the usual risks that one would expect — accidents, the North Koreans, Iran — but adds that the “fifth risk” is “project management”.

Lewis explains that “this is the risk society runs when it falls into the habit of responding to long-term risks with short-term solutions.” In other words, America will suffer if it stops caring about the unsung but vital programmes that decontaminate billions of tonnes of nuclear waste, fund basic scientific research and gather weather data.

That trap, he makes clear with instance after instance of the Trump administration failing to heed or even meet with his heroic bureaucrats, is what America is falling into now.

We should all be frightened.
books  book_reviews  boring  bureaucracy  bureaucrats  cynicism  Department_of_Energy  government  Michael_Lewis  public_servants  risks  technocrats  unglamorous  writers  short-term_thinking  competence  sovereign-risk  civics  risk-management 
november 2018
Michael Ovitz, Hollywood super-agent, on ‘winning at all costs’
SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 | Financial Times | by Matthew Garrahan.

In Ovtiz's 20 years at CAA, it assembled hit after hit, including Jurassic Park, Tootsie, Goodfellas and Dances with Wolves. He talks about the agency as though describing a military campaign (he is a keen student of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War). “When I was at CAA, I had a singular mission, which was to win at all costs,” he says. “We were ultra-competitive and we were in a service business but my thesis was that we weren’t selling a product. We were selling and putting together people’s dreams . . . if we showed a weak link then we would be vulnerable. Vulnerability was a sin.”....Ovitz explains that the memoir evolved from an earlier idea about a book on deals. He played a leading role in the arrival of Japanese companies in Hollywood three decades ago, advising Sony on its 1989 purchase of Columbia Pictures and the sale a year later of Lew Wasserman’s MCA (later renamed Universal, and now part of Sky’s new owner Comcast) to Matsushita. Advising Japanese buyers was a strategic move, he explains. “If the studios are in trouble and going to go out of business, we lose leverage and our clients lose jobs. But if we can bring people in to buy the studios, not only do clients continue to get jobs but we’re the people talking to the owners.”...Ron Meyer and Ovitz
slowly built an empire, starting in television and moving into films, with the aim of representing every significant writer, director and star in town: “no conflict, no interest” was his mantra. It was a radically different model to what had come before. “Agents traditionally fielded orders, so if I was your agent and someone had a job, they’d call me and ask for you,” he says. “Or they’d tell me they had an assignment and, if you happened to be available, I’d pitch you.” Agencies were like “clearing-houses”.....that was archaic. You’re a writer, you’re loaded with ideas . . . why don’t we take those ideas and add elements to them and then sell the whole thing and let you control it? Why would we just wait to answer the phone?”.....Agents took on a more central role in Hollywood after CAA’s rise to power, assembling the composite parts of a film or television project before taking the “package” of script, star and director to the studios....."[Endeavour's] thesis is very similar to the thesis we had [at CAA], which is to expand into new areas that can service clients.”
actors  books  CAA  creating_valuable_content  dealmakers  deal-making  Hollywood  memoirs  Michael_Ovitz  professional_service_firms  Sun_Tzu  talent_management  talent_representation  vindictiveness  Lew_Wasserman 
october 2018
50 Years Later, a New Spin on the Beatles’ ‘White Album’ - WSJ
By Darryn King
Oct. 30, 2018

The new album was chaotic where “Sgt. Pepper” was kaleidoscopic. Acoustic ballads (“Blackbird,” “Julia”) alternated with scorching rock (“Helter Skelter,” “Yer Blues”). The playfulness of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Honey Pie” and “Piggies” contrasted with the extended, serious-minded sound experiment “Revolution 9.”

Over the years, the patchwork nature of the album has led to speculation that it chronicled the discord among the band members. But new special-anniversary editions, to be released on Nov. 9, may dispel that idea.
anniversaries  Beatles  music  George_Martin  1968  '60s 
october 2018
China’s New Billionaires Are Young, Fast Workers With an Appetite for Risk
Oct. 29, 2018 | The New York Times |

Technology is helping to line the pockets of many new Chinese billionaires — including Zhang Yiming of the video-sharing app ByteDance and Wang Jian, the co-founder of the Shenzhen-based gene sequencing company BGI. China is now producing almost as many unicorns, or companies worth at least $1 billion, as the United States.

But China’s billionaires differ markedly from their global peers. With an average age of 55 years, they are almost a decade younger. They create wealth faster and take their companies public earlier; 17 percent of China’s new billionaires founded their businesses within the last ten years, more than twice as many as in the United States.
China  high_net_worth  moguls  wealth_creation 
october 2018
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