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Why People Ghost — and How to Get Over It - The New York Times
By Adam Popescu
Jan. 22, 2019

Ghosting — when someone cuts off all communication without explanation....happens across all social circumstances and it’s tied to the way we view the world......The pace of modern life makes it hard enough to maintain real life friendships; it’s impossible to actually be friends with everyone you’re supposedly simpatico with online......Growing apart can be a friendship’s natural evolution; ditto for lovers.....when you get ghosted, there’s no closure, so you question yourself and choices which sabotages self-worth and self-esteem.....ghosting a form of the silent treatment akin to emotional cruelty (the pain it causes can be treated with Tylenol, according to multiple studies). So, how do you avoid it in the first place?......be particularly choosy about who you tend to interact with,”....get a sense early on of what kind of individual you’re dealing with.”......watch how people treat others is a good indicator.......Ghosting has a lot to do with someone’s comfort level and how they deal with their emotions,” she added. “A lot of people anticipate that talking about how they feel is going to be a confrontation. That mental expectation makes people want to avoid things that make them uncomfortable.”.....the flip side [of ghosting] is a subset of the population looking for real connection. “People are craving authenticity,”...“Being vulnerable is the number one thing that creates intimacy between people and if you worry about being hurt all the time, you’re not able to be vulnerable and it affects the quality of connection.”....ghosting has a lot to do with how we feel about our future — or whether we think our mate is the “one,” which is a question of belief versus destiny. Either someone believes the relationship is capable of growing or they’re seeking an archetypal partner (what’s typically called a soul mate). “Individuals who have stronger destiny beliefs are more likely to ghost,”....remember if someone ghosts you that behavior says more about them than you,” Dr. Vilhauer said. “It’s about their discomfort. You have to keep trying.”.....modify how we reject people.....Don’t apologize, she said, but be honest about boundaries, whether it’s going to a movie with someone or spending the rest of your life together. Just be real. “The good middle ground is explicitly rejecting someone and telling them ‘no,’ not ‘I’m sorry,’”....Taking a risk to tell someone how you really feel — even if it’s not what they want to hear — has benefits. Self-esteem, stress, blood pressure, spending more time with people you care about. And getting that time back opens up self-discovery.
authenticity  avoidance  belief_systems  blindsided  breakups  clarity  Communicating_&_Connecting  dating  discomforts  exits  friendships  ghosting  intimacy  personal_connections  relationships  say_"no"  self-discovery  self-esteem  self-worth 
february 2019
James Ingram, a Hitmaking Voice of ’80s R&B, Is Dead at 66 - The New York Times
By Jon Caramanica
Jan. 29, 2019

James Ingram, whose voice — technically precise, crisp and reserved, yet full of audacious feeling — made him one of the defining singers of R&B in the 1980s, has died. He was 66.

Just as R&B’s “quiet storm” phase was peaking, Mr. Ingram was plucked from side-gig obscurity by the producer Quincy Jones to appear on his 1981 album, “The Dude.”
'80s  African-Americans  obituaries  R&B  singers  smooth_jazz 
january 2019
Canada must reassess its approach to China - if not, we may get steamrolled by the world’s new juggernaut - The Globe and Mail
JONATHAN MANTHORPE
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED JANUARY 30, 2019

.....The current CCP regime will not last forever. Dynasties never do, and the historical record in China is that they all die violently. This will likely happen to the CCP, but it’s not a good bet that it will happen anytime soon. Thus, Canada and all other countries having to engage with China while maintaining their own liberal-democratic institutions face some harsh realities. If Canada wishes to preserve its values and its standards of living based on trade in a world dominated by China, if it wishes to expand its influence as a global middle power, present and future governments in Ottawa need to prepare the ground. They need to cement political, economic social, and security ties within NATO and the G7, along with other like-minded countries [JCK: that is, "strategic alliances"]. Canadian politicians need to assume a much tougher and more self-assured attitude toward Beijing than is now the case.
arbitrariness  authoritarianism  Beijing  bullying  Canada  Canada-China_relations  China  Chinese_Communist_Party  Donald_Trump  dynasties  editorials  extradition  fascism  hostage_diplomacy  isolationism  Meng_Wanzhou  never_forever  reassessments  rule_of_law  strategic_alliances  U.S.  Xi_Jinping 
january 2019
Robotaxis: can automakers catch up with Google in driverless cars?
January 31, 2019 | Financial Times | by Patrick McGee.

A new network of small tech companies could allow the car industry to compete with Waymo.

The automotive industry is among the most capital-intensive in the world: If the economy sours, assets turn into liabilities overnight as factories churning out thousands of cars begin to haemorrhage cash. So when toxic mortgage securities blew up in 2008, causing a recession, banks performed terribly — but carmakers fared even worse.

That is what makes auto consultants at Bain so worried. They fear that carmakers are about to be hit with a one-two punch: first, they project a US recession in the next 12 to 18 months. Then, increasing numbers of baby boomers will retire, causing a structural decline so big that, they warn, US car sales could shrink from more than 17m last year to just 11.5m by 2025 — the same level seen in 2008-09, which caused GM and Chrysler to go bankrupt and Ford to suffer a $14.6bn loss.....But there is hope. If carmakers play their cards right, they could be saved by what GM has called “the biggest business opportunity since the internet”. The potential saviour is the rise of shared, driverless “robotaxis”, which Bain expects to become mainstream in some large cities in six to eight years. This new market, virtually non-existent today, promises to be huge. ... Intel projects a “passenger economy” worth $7tn by 2050....Car brands typically earn $2,000 from a vehicle sale. That is just $0.01 per km over the lifetime of a vehicle, whereas for robotaxis “the potential is 20 to 25 cents per km”,...To realise this potential the industry will need to update its entire business model. The challenge for carmakers is to gain the expertise in self-driving algorithms, in-car entertainment, streaming services and fleet management for ride-hailing that will be central to this new era......Luckily, there has been an explosion of small companies developing the skills and technologies that carmakers can make use of. .......Waymo, the Alphabet self-driving unit that began as a Google project, is widely seen as the leader in this new landscape....it has built a commanding lead since its founding in 2009. And with at least 600 of its vehicles driving more than 25,000 miles a day, it is perfecting its algorithms in a way that could blindside the competition. Last year UBS projected that Waymo “will dominate” the operating systems for autonomous vehicles, taking “60 per cent of the total projected revenue pool in 2030”.......The threat of Waymo is not that it will build better cars. It has no need to. Instead it is ordering vehicles from Chrysler and Jaguar — effectively turning them into suppliers — and then fitting them out with self-driving software and hardware built in-house. But its potential goes beyond superior self-driving capabilities. Once robotaxis are mainstream, Alphabet can collect data from Google Maps and Search, entertain with YouTube and the Play Store, offer advice through Google Home smart speakers and use its software knowhow to manage fleets. Aside from the vehicle itself, Waymo is a vertically-integrated “closed system”........Carmakers are responding by partnering up like never before and making big investments to acquire new expertise. Volkswagen has linked up with Ford, while arch-rivals BMW and Mercedes have pooled their mobility efforts. In 2016 GM paid $500m for a stake in Lyft, the ride-hailing group, and it spent more than $1bn to buy Cruise, a self-driving company.......These deals, however, are merely the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the car brands, an entire ecosystem of niche companies has spurred into existence. Known as the “data value chain”, these groups specialise in the software, sensors, data processing and navigation needed to make autonomous cars a reality. None has the willpower, resources or vision to take on Waymo. Instead, they are forming clusters, exercising “swarm intelligence” to independently work towards the same collective goal of creating a safe, driverless experience......The implications of this ecosystem are profound. It suggests the carmakers can catch the likes of Waymo up without being the best-in-class in the new technologies. They merely need to be competent enough to know who is best — and then partner with them.
Alphabet  automotive_industry  automobile  autonomous_vehicles  Bain  blindsided  capital-intensity  GM  Google  large_markets  partnerships  supply_chains  Waymo 
january 2019
Opinion | Warning! Everything Is Going Deep: ‘The Age of Surveillance Capitalism’
Jan. 29, 2019 | The New York Times | By Thomas L. Friedman, Opinion Columnist.

Recent advances in the speed and scope of digitization, connectivity, big data and artificial intelligence are now taking us “deep” into places and into powers that we’ve never experienced before — and that governments have never had to regulate before. I’m talking about deep learning, deep insights, deep surveillance, deep facial recognition, deep voice recognition, deep automation and deep artificial minds.

Some of these technologies offer unprecedented promise and some unprecedented peril — but they’re all now part of our lives. Everything is going deep........how did we get so deep down where the sharks live?

The short answer: Technology moves up in steps, and each step, each new platform, is usually biased toward a new set of capabilities. Around the year 2000 we took a huge step up that was biased toward connectivity, because of the explosion of fiber-optic cable, wireless and satellites.

Suddenly connectivity became so fast, cheap, easy for you and ubiquitous that it felt like you could touch someone whom you could never touch before and that you could be touched by someone who could never touch you before.

Around 2007, we took another big step up. The iPhone, sensors, digitization, big data, the internet of things, artificial intelligence and cloud computing melded together and created a new platform that was biased toward abstracting complexity at a speed, scope and scale we’d never experienced before.....as big data got really big, as broadband got really fast, as algorithms got really smart, as 5G got actually deployed, artificial intelligence got really intelligent. So now, with no touch — but just a voice command or machines acting autonomously — we can go so much deeper in so many areas....DeepMind, the artificial intelligence arm of Google’s parent, developed an A.I. program, AlphaGo, that has now defeated the world’s top human players of the ancient strategy game Go — which is much more complex than chess — by learning from human play......Today “virtual agents” — using conversational interfaces powered by artificial intelligence — can increasingly understand your intent... just by hearing your voice.....The percentage of calls a chatbot, or virtual agent, is able to handle without turning the caller over to a person is called its “containment rate,” and these rates are steadily soaring. ....But bad guys, who are always early adopters, also see the same potential to go deep in wholly new ways.....On Jan. 20, The London Observer looked at Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff’s new book, the title of which perfectly describes the deep dark waters we’ve entered: “The Age of Surveillance Capital.”....“Surveillance capitalism,” Zuboff wrote, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioral data. Although some of these data are applied to service improvement, the rest are declared as a proprietary behavioral surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence,’ and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace that I call behavioral futures markets. Surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, for many companies are willing to lay bets on our future behavior.”
5G  algorithms  AlphaGo  artificial_intelligence  automation  books  chatbots  complexity  connectivity  dark_side  DeepMind  digitalization  gaming_the_system  human_experience  massive_data_sets  patterns  rogue_actors  surveillance_profiteers  surveillance_state  Tom_Friedman  trustworthiness  virtual_assistants 
january 2019
Red Lentil Soup With Lemon Recipe - NYT Cooking
MELISSA CLARK

INGREDIENTS
3 tablespoons olive oil, more for drizzling
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of ground chile powder or cayenne, more to taste
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup red lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
lentils  pulses  recipes  soups 
january 2019
If you want to get ahead, don’t be afraid to get dirty
January 29, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | ROY OSING - SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED 6 HOURS.

* ACT FAST. When you are confronted with a formidable challenge, make a decision quickly; overanalyzing doesn’t usually lead to success because it squanders your most precious asset – time.Success demands that you act fast and not waste valuable resources by over-complicating the route to a decision.
* HAVE A ‘WHAT IF’ PLAN
Have a contingency plan for when your chosen course of action doesn’t work out the way you intended.
* DON’T CHASE PERFECTION
Embrace imperfection; there is no such thing as a perfect anything.
* FIND DOERS. Find people who have a proven track record of doing things fast.
* PLAY IT UNSAFE. Work outside your comfort zone.
* SHUN THE RULES. Rules exist to make us compliant and fall in with what others do; they are a set of standards imposed by others....Bottom line: Broken rules are the cost of doing messy business.
* FORGET YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION. Job descriptions compartmentalize the activity of an organization; they specify the role we must play and the results we are expected to deliver.
* STAY FOCUSED. Try many things in rapid succession but avoid multitasking. ....Success doesn’t come from juggling several balls. It comes when we are focused on a single outcome and dedicate our heart and soul to seeing it through.
* SCREW UP. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
contingency_planning  focus  good_enough  messiness  mistakes  monotasking  risk-taking  speed  Roy_Osing  personal_accomplishments  Plan_B  doers 
january 2019
Will Tanzania's Drone Industry Take Off?
January 28, 2019 | Business Daily podcast | By BBC World Service.

Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio streamed directly from their servers.
Drones have been used increasingly in Africa for survey and mapping, but will cargo drone delivery companies be the next big thing? Jane Wakefield visits Mwanza on the banks of Lake Victoria to speak to African and international companies hoping to cash in on the drone delivery market. During a trial for a big World Bank project called The Lake Victoria Challenge Jane speaks to the Tanzanian drone pilot making waves across the continent, to the global start ups innovating rapidly, and to one drone company helping to map Cholera outbreaks in Malawi. Jane hears from Helena Samsioe from Globhe, Edward Anderson from the World Bank, Frederick Mbuya from Uhurulabs, Leka Tingitana Tanzania Flying Labs and others. (Photo: A delivery drone in Tanzania, Credit: Sala Lewis/Lake Victoria Challenge)
3-D  Africa  delivery  drones  flu_outbreaks  Malawi  podcasts  start_ups  Tanzania 
january 2019
The Sewers of Paris and the Making of the Modern City | CBC Radio
Philip Coulter goes underground in the City of Light to visit the City of Smell. Part 1 of 2-part series.
CBC Radio · January 25
19th_century  CBC_Radio  cities  disease  herd_immunity  history  pandemics  Paris  plagues  public_goods  public_health  sewage 
january 2019
Brands Invent New Lines for Only Amazon to Sell WSJ
Jan. 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Annie Gasparro and Laura Stevens.

Amazon gets exclusive products, while brands receive faster customer feedback, marketing support and increased sales.......To build a big line of exclusive products on its site, Amazon.com Inc. AMZN 0.95% is pushing other brand manufacturers to do most of the work.

The online retail giant is asking consumer-goods companies to create brands exclusively for Amazon after finding that developing them on its own is too costly and time-consuming.....Amazon’s initiative is the latest example of the e-commerce giant flexing its muscles in order to offer the lowest prices and widest selection, as it seeks to cut into the market share of big-brand manufacturers.....Manufacturers generally benefit from selling their products through a range of retailers. Also, they risk cannibalizing higher-margin sales of their main brands by offering comparable products under different labels. But those entering deals with Amazon view the arrangement as a golden opportunity.

In exchange for creating exclusive products, the brands get help launching their products on Amazon.com, faster customer feedback when testing new products, marketing support, and, of course, revenue from the sales. They also can appear at the top of search results—a big draw given that Amazon’s platform lists an estimated 550 million items......Speed was paramount. “We had to take what would normally be 12 to 24 months of development to 90 days,”....Amazon, on its own, has been quietly adding to its in-house brands in recent years. Analysts estimate the site now offers more than 100. ....Amazon sometimes promotes its own brands higher in search results on its site, like “Amazon’s Choice” and sponsored items, or as default results in voice searches using Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant.

In-house brands often generate a higher profit margin for retailers, including Amazon, and can draw in customers because they can’t find those brands elsewhere. But developing a new brand and formulating products takes time..... the program offers manufacturers a way to “launch brands and products directly to Amazon customers.”

Amazon is increasingly important for consumer-product manufacturers. It now accounts for roughly half of all sales online,.....Amazon’s program also can be used for “orphan brands” that manufacturers have stopped selling or that never made it to market.....Amazon has no issue going full-court press on private label, and pursuing all these brands. If the quality and pricing architecture don’t fit and they have to pivot, they’ll do so,” said Todd Mitchell, president of Compass Marketing Inc., which works with Amazon. “They’re not limited to the constructs of shelf space.”
accelerated_lifecycles  Amazon  brands  cannibalization  CPG  e-commerce  exclusivity  fast-paced  in-house  manufacturers  new_products  orphan_brands  private_labels  product_development  product_launches  shelf_space  speed 
january 2019
The Offbeat Genius of a Great American Spy - WSJ
By Sam Walker
Jan. 26, 2019

this experiment in deception and illusion became the central pillar of a unique operational mindset known as “the Moscow Rules.” By learning to outfox the KGB, the Moscow station not only connected with TRIGON, it scored some the biggest espionage coups in American history.
CIA  deception  espionage  illusions  obituaries  security_&_intelligence  spycraft 
january 2019
Barbara Gardner Proctor Became a Role Model for African-American Women
Jan. 25, 2019 | WSJ | By James R. Hagerty.

Barbara Gardner Proctor applied for a Small Business Administration loan to start an advertising firm in 1970, she was asked what her collateral was. “Me,” she replied. That turned out to be solid backing for the loan. Her Chicago-based firm, Proctor & Gardner Advertising Inc., lasted for 25 years and worked for clients including Kraft Foods and Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Though the firm never had more than a couple dozen employees, she became a role model for African-American women staking out positions of influence.
advertising  advertising_agencies  African-Americans  Barbara_Proctor  public_relations  trailblazers  women  Chicago  concision  writing  obituaries 
january 2019
‘Businesses Will Not Be Able to Hide’: Spy Satellites May Give Edge From Above
Jan. 24, 2019 | The New York Times | By Cade Metz.

In October, the Chinese province of Guangdong — the manufacturing center on the southern coast that drives 12 percent of the country’s economy — stopped publishing a monthly report on the health of its local factories.

For five consecutive months, this key economic index had shown a drop in factory production as the United States applied billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese exports. Then, amid an increasingly bitter trade war between the United States and China, the government authorities in Beijing shut the index down.

A small start-up in San Francisco began rebuilding the index, lifting information from photos and infrared images of Guangdong’s factories captured by satellites orbiting overhead. The company, SpaceKnow, is now selling this information to hedge funds, banks and other market traders looking for an edge.

High-altitude surveillance was once the domain of global superpowers. Now, a growing number of start-ups are turning it into a business, aiming to sell insights gleaned from cameras and other sensors installed on small and inexpensive “cube satellites.”..... satellite analysis will ultimately lead to more efficient markets and a better understanding of the global economy.....as well...as a check on the world’s companies and governments....use satellite imagery to track everything from illegal mining and logging operations to large-scale home demolitions. .....All of this is being driven by a drop in the cost of building, launching and operating satellites. Today, a $3 million satellite that weighs less than 10 pounds can capture significantly sharper images than a $300 million, 900-pound satellite built in the late 1990s. That allows companies to put up dozens of devices, each of which can focus on a particular area of the globe or on a particular kind of data collection. As a result, more companies are sending more satellites into orbit, and these satellites are generating more data.

And recent advances in artificial intelligence allow machines to analyze this data with greater speed and accuracy. “The future is automation, with humans only looking at the very interesting stuff,” ......The start-ups buy their data from a growing number of satellite operators, and they build the automated systems that analyze the data, pinpointing objects like cars, buildings, mines and oil tankers in high-resolution photos and other images........What began with satellite cameras is rapidly expanding to infrared sensors that detect heat; “hyperspectral” sensors that identify minerals, vegetation and other materials; and radar scanners that can build three-dimensional images of the landscape below.....
artificial_intelligence  automation  competitive_advantage  indices  imagery  informational_advantages  infrared  insights  reconnaissance  satellites  sensors  slight_edge  surveillance  trade_wars 
january 2019
When Charlie Munger Calls, Listen and Learn
Jan. 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Jason Zweig.

Mr. Munger was calling to say that he had read the novel Mr. Taylor was about to self-publish, “The Rebel Allocator.” He was “surprisingly engaged,” recalls Mr. Taylor, 37, who had sent the book to Mr. Munger without much hope the great investor would read it. Mr. Munger proceeded to reel off roughly 20 minutes of unsolicited, detailed advice, mostly about plot and character.

In an interview, Mr. Munger tells me he tends to “skim” or “at least give some cursory attention” to any book that mentions Berkshire Hathaway......“The Rebel Allocator” is the opposite of most business novels. Here, the rich capitalist isn’t an evil genius using genetic engineering to hijack the brains of newborn babies. Instead, he is a hero: an investing mastermind who regards allocating capital as a noble calling that improves other people’s lives.

In the novel, a business student named Nick is on a field trip with his MBA class when he meets a 77-year-old billionaire, Francis Xavier, a restaurant mogul also known as “the Rebel Allocator” and “the Wizard of Wichita.”

Blunt and bristly, with zero tolerance for stupidity, Mr. Xavier spouts proverbs and zingers. A mash-up of Mr. Munger and Mr. Buffett, he often invokes their ideas.

Taking a shine to Nick, Mr. Xavier asks him to write his biography. Like many young people today, Nick wonders if becoming a billionaire is inherently immoral when poverty is still widespread.

Mr. Xavier teaches Nick what separates great businesses from good and bad ones. He uses three drinking straws, labeled “cost,” “price” and “value,” to demonstrate: When a business can charge a higher price than its goods or services cost, the difference is profit. When the value its customers feel they get is greater than price, that difference is brand or pricing power—the ability to raise prices without losing customers.

As Mr. Xavier moves the straws around, Nick learns that investing decisions can make the world a better place: “Good capital allocation means doing more with less to create happier customers,” says Mr. Xavier. “Profit should be celebrated as a signal that an entrepreneur provided value while consuming the least amount of resources to do so.”
asset_management  Berkshire_Hathaway  books  capital_allocation  Charlie_Munger  fiction  intrinsic_value  investing  investors  Jason_Zweig  novels  Warren_Buffett 
january 2019
USDA's September Report: Reviewing Trends and Capacity of Cold Storage | Pork Business
Michael Nepveux, Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation
October 4, 2018
cold_storage  trends  USDA 
january 2019
Amazon offers cautionary tale of AI-assisted hiring
January 23, 2019 | Financial Times | by Andrew Hill.

the task of working out how to get the right people on the bus has got harder since 2001 when Jim Collins first framed it, as it has become clearer — and more research has underlined — that diverse teams are better at innovation. For good reasons of equity and fairness, the quest for greater balance in business has focused on gender, race and background. But these are merely proxies for a more useful measure of difference that is much harder to assess, let alone hire for: cognitive diversity. Might this knotty problem be solved with the help of AI and machine learning? Ming is sceptical. As she points out, most problems with technology are not technology problems, but human problems. Since humans inevitably inherit cultural biases, it is impossible to build an “unbiased AI” for hiring. “You simply have to recognise that the biases exist and put in the effort to do more than those default systems point you towards,” she says...........What Amazon’s experience suggests is that instead of sending bots to crawl over candidates’ past achievements, companies should be exploring ways in which computers can help them to assess and develop the long term potential of the people they invite to board the bus. Recruiters should ask, in Ming’s words, “Who will [these prospective candidates] be three years from now when they’re at their peak productivity inside the company? And that might be a very different story than who will deliver peak productivity the moment they walk in the door.”
Amazon  artificial_intelligence  hiring  future-proofing  Jim_Collins  machine_learning  recruiting  teams  Vivienne_Ming  cautionary_tales  biases  diversity  intellectual_diversity  algorithms  questions  heterogeneity  the_right_people 
january 2019
The Rise of Global, Superstar Firms, Sectors and Cities - CIO Journal.
Jan 18, 2019 | WSJ | By Irving Wladawsky-Berger.

Scale increases a platform’s value. The more products or services a platform offers, the more consumers it will attract, helping it then attract more offerings, which in turn brings in more consumers, which then makes the platform even more valuable. Moreover, the larger the network, the more data available to customize offerings and better match supply and demand, further increasing the platform’s value. The result is that a small number of companies have become category kings dominating the rest of their competitors in their particular markets.

Network dynamics also apply to metropolitan areas. For the past few decades, the demands for high-skill jobs have significantly expanded, with the earnings of the college educated workers needed to fill such jobs rising steadily. Talent has become the linchpin asset of the knowledge economy, making capital highly dependent on talented experts to navigate our increasingly complex business environment.

“Just as the economy confers disproportionate rewards to superstar talent, superstar cities… similarly tower above the rest,” wrote urban studies professor and author Richard Florida. “They are not just the places where the most ambitious and most talented people want to be - they are where such people feel they need to be.”
cities  clusters  geographic_concentration  hyper-concentrations  Irving_Wladawsky-Berger  knowledge_economy  network_effects  platforms  Richard_Florida  start_ups  superstars  talent  winner-take-all 
january 2019
Trump’s new nationalism has cut Canada loose – and our vulnerability is on full display - The Globe and Mail
LAWRENCE MARTIN PUBLIC AFFAIRS COLUMNIST
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

There is still some hope, as Canada’s Ambassador to China John McCallum said on Wednesday, that the United States might not go ahead with its extradition request for Meng Wanzhou, the detained Huawei executive . Indeed, it’s always the case that Mr. Trump can change his mind in a flash.

The Huawei crisis brings to mind Ottawa’s standoff with Saudi Arabia last summer over its arrest of Samar Badawi, a human-rights activist whose family lived in Canada. Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland expressed alarm and urged that she be released. The Saudis reacted with rage. They recalled their Canadian ambassador, and froze trade and investment with Canada.

But Washington officials didn’t issue a word of protest against the Saudis. They dodged. The Saudis’ killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi vindicated Ms. Freeland’s view of their regime. Washington’s acquiescence on the Badawi case may have played a role in emboldening the Saudis to move against Mr. Khashoggi.
Canada  China  collateral_damage  crossborder  David_MacNaughton  Donald_Trump  Huawei  Lawrence_Martin  nationalism  new_normal  extradition  Meng_Wanzhou 
january 2019
Another one bites the dust: Goldcorp sale a further example of the hollowing out of Corporate Canada - The Globe and Mail
ERIC REGULY EUROPEAN BUREAU CHIEF
ROME
PUBLISHED JANUARY 14, 2019

Toronto’s Barrick Gold Corp. always wanted to team up with Newmont Mining Corp. of Colorado. Merging the two giants, which have adjoining operations in gold-rich Nevada, would have created an unassailable industry leader and reduced costs by an estimated US$1-billion a year. On paper, it looked like a dream deal. But it never got off the ground, in good part because Barrick founder Peter Munk wanted the new company to stay in Toronto, not move to Denver.

Were he alive today, Mr. Munk – a Canadian patriot who believed in the value of head offices – would be distraught. In the fall, Barrick bought Randgold Resources but handed management control to Randgold’s executives, who promptly gutted Barrick’s Toronto headquarters, leaving the world’s top producer with a mere 65 employees in its echo-chamber offices on Bay Street. The deal was, in effect, a reverse takeover. The new Barrick will be run from the Channel Islands........Toronto still fancies itself the mining capital of the world, a bold claim given that it is now largely devoid of A-team and even B-team players. Barrick was the last miner in Canada that could be considered world class, and it’s fading from view as a Canadian company. All the big base-metal names are gone, bar Teck Resources. Goldcorp is going. Who’s next? Could it be the well-regarded Agnico Eagle Mines (market value $12.4-billion) or B2Gold ($3.7-billion)?

Aside from the loss of their Toronto stock-market listings, the endless elimination of head offices across Canada rots the country’s social fabric. Head offices provide high-paying, high-skilled job opportunities and create an ecosystem of spinoff jobs, from accountants and chefs to limo drivers and lawyers. Head offices bolster the financial-services industry, which underwrites bond and equity sales and sponsors the arts and charities. When head offices disappear, so does talent. If you want a top-level management job in mining, an industry that shaped Canada, forget Toronto. Today, the opportunities are in London, Johannesburg and Melbourne...........In a largely open economy such as Canada’s (banks, big telecoms and media companies are still protected from foreign takeovers), it’s hard to stop head offices from disappearing. The cult of shareholder capitalism produces unsentimental results, such as the eradication of underperforming companies. But Canadian investors and managers have proven time after time that they’re happier to sell rather than build, happy to take a quick buck rather than take a long-term gamble on a double or triple. The cost of doing so is a hollowed-out corporate sector – a branch-plant economy.
Barrick  Corporate_Canada  Eric_Reguly  Goldcorp  head_offices  hollowing_out  Peter_Munk  sellout_culture  social_fabric 
january 2019
The gutting of Barrick Gold – it didn’t have to be this way - The Globe and Mail
ERIC REGULY EUROPEAN BUREAU CHIEF
ROME
PUBLISHED JANUARY 4, 2019

Most big companies Eric Reguly followed – Inco, Falconbridge, Alcan, Dofasco, Molson, Fairmont, Four Seasons, among others – were flogged to foreigners, their head offices downgraded to branch plants or eliminated. ....Canadians were sellers, not builders.....If there was one company that was safe from the takeover onslaught, it was Barrick Gold, I thought......At the time, Barrick was run by its founder, Peter Munk, the Hungarian-born Canadian patriot who wanted to build the world’s biggest gold miner. After achieving that goal, he mused about creating a diversified resources giant, the equivalent of a BHP Billiton or Rio Tinto under the Maple Leaf. But he was too late: By the time he was ready to put the pieces together, in the middle part of the previous decade, all his potential targets, including Inco, had been plucked clean from the Toronto stock market.....
Eric_Reguly  branch_plants  head_offices  hollowing_out  John_Thornton  large_companies  LSE  mining  Peter_Munk  Pierre_Lassonde  sellout_culture  TMX  Barrick  Corporate_Canada 
january 2019
Dyson shifts HQ to Singapore to focus on cars
January 23, 2019 | Financial Times Michael Pooler and Peter Campbell in London and Stefania Palma in Hong Kong.

Move by billionaire’s business reflects strategy to be closer to customers and manufacturing centres....James Dyson’s decision to move his business headquarters to the other side of the world struck an odd note.

The switch to Singapore comes at a crucial juncture for his company, which is seeking to evolve from a household appliance brand to a manufacturer of electric vehicles. It is nothing short of his greatest gamble, which could secure his legacy or risk his fortune.....Dyson said it was simply for commercial reasons because most of its customers and all its manufacturing operations are in Asia, and to give management supervision over the construction of a car factory in Singapore that will be its largest investment to date......“This is to do with making sure we future-proof [the company],”......“What we’ve seen in the last few years is an acceleration of opportunities to grow from a revenue perspective in Asia.”......Dyson CEO, Jim Rowan insisted that the HQ move was not a bad omen for the UK, where Dyson ceased manufacturing in 2003, and pledged it would enlarge its 4,800-strong workforce there. “We’ll continue to invest in the UK,” said Mr Rowan, pointing out a proposed £350m expansion to one of two research and development centres in Wiltshire, south-west England, for autonomous vehicle testing.......far more likely that the move is linked to Dyson’s latest, and boldest, venture — its £2bn drive to break into the automotive arena. It has developed a UK site to test the vehicles, but also plans to expand its Singaporean research and development facilities, a sign that future vehicle work will take place closer to the manufacturing sites.....The company spreads its intellectual property around the globe, with about 1,500 of its 5,000 patents registered in the UK, according to data from patent research group Cipher. “Clearly if you have new business like cars that will generate significant IP,”.....A Dyson spokesman said the company had no intention of moving its current UK patents to Singapore.
Asia  automotive_industry  autonomous_vehicles  Brexit  Dyson  electric_cars  engineering  future-proofing  head_offices  intellectual_property  James_Dyson  manufacturers  patents  relocation  Singapore 
january 2019
Donald Trump has ushered in a new global order. Here’s how Canada can protect itself -
JANUARY 21, 2019 |The Globe and Mail | COLIN ROBERTSON.
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED 21 HOURS AGO
UPDATED
Colin Robertson is vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.
building_codes  bullying  Canada  climate_change  maritime  multilateralism  new_normal  post-WWII  rogue_actors  rules-based  Thucydides  Donald_Trump  international_system  self-protection 
january 2019
Globe editorial: With Meng affair, China shows its true face to the world - The Globe and Mail
Janaury 22, 2019

Ms. Meng's arrest in December and China’s subsequent reaction need also to be understood in the context of the Chinese government’s ambitions in the wider world. In many ways, this is not about Canada, or not only about Canada. It’s about Beijing’s determination to tilt the international order in its favour. China’s decisions to [extract reprsials].....were intended as a harbinger of the future, and are being seen as such....The regime wants other countries to know that they will pay a price if they cross Beijing. The message received has been somewhat different: This is how Beijing will behave as its influence and power increase.

The lesson to be taken from the arrests of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and from the death sentence given to Robert Schellenberg, is plain: Countries that defy Beijing may face reprisals, including having their citizens detained and maltreated.....China’s retaliatory moves against essentially random Canadians are a violation of international norms and law.....The Communist Party of China has officially banned “erroneous Western thought" – things such as the rule of law and the independence of the courts that are defining values in Canada, the United States and much of Europe....To increase its global influence, [China] has been aggressively investing in developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America in order to bring them into its orbit..... China’s detention of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor serves notice that it has abandoned all pretense of playing by any rules other than the ones set by the Communist Party.

If and when China dominates trade in a region, the rules for foreign investors in that sphere may bear little resemblance to those that Canada and its trading allies hold dear. Trade and other disputes could well be settled in an arbitrary fashion, with little recourse, and with the outcome always tilted toward Beijing.
authoritarianism  bullying  Canada  Canada-China_relations  China  editorials  extradition  fascism  hostage_diplomacy  Meng_Wanzhou  rule_of_law  Xi_Jinping  Chinese_Communist_Party  arbitrariness 
january 2019
CBC Listen | Ideas | Ross King on the art of history
Ross King is one of the most popular historians Canada has ever produced. Yet originally, he wanted to be a novelist. And after researching his doctoral thesis on T. S. Eliot, he published his first book, which fictionalized the story of a castrato singer in 18th century London, as seen through the eyes of an aspiring painter. Then he became fascinated by Italian architect, Filippo Brunelleschi, who designed and built the famous cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, in Florence. King says he discovered that it was more fun to write when you didn't need to "make up the facts." IDEAS host Paul Kennedy talks to the man who's also written non-fiction books about Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Machiavelli, Edouard Manet and Claude Monet, and about Canada's Group of Seven.
18th_century  Canadian  CBC  history  historians  podcasts 
january 2019
Can tech save bricks and mortar retail? | Financial Times
Alistair Gray in New York

Stores turn to augmented reality, robots and smart mirrors in battle against Amazon
Amazon  augmented_reality  retailers  shopping_malls  robotics 
january 2019
How the 0.001% invest - Investing and the super-rich
Dec 15th 2018

Global finance is being transformed as billionaires get richer and cut out the middlemen by creating their own “family offices”, personal investment firms that roam global markets looking for opportunities. Largely unnoticed, family offices have become a force in investing, with up to $4trn of assets—more than hedge funds and equivalent to 6% of the value of the world’s stockmarkets. As they grow even bigger in an era of populism, family offices are destined to face uncomfortable questions about how they concentrate power and feed inequality......Every investment boom reflects the society that spawned it. ....The rise of family offices reflects soaring inequality......But since the financial crisis there has been a loss of faith in external money managers. Rich clients have taken a closer look at private banks’ high fees and murky incentives, and balked......Family offices’ weight in the financial system....looks likely to rise further. As it does, the objections to them will rise exponentially....that family offices have created inequality. They are a consequence, not its cause. Nonetheless, there are concerns—and one in particular that is worth worrying about: (1) The first is that family offices could endanger the stability of the financial system. (2) The second worry is that family offices could magnify the power of the wealthy over the economy.(3) that family offices might have privileged access to information, deals and tax schemes, allowing them to outperform ordinary investors.

The answer is vigilance and light. Most regulators, treasuries and tax authorities are beginners when it comes to dealing with family offices, but they need to ensure that rules on insider trading, the equal servicing of clients by dealers and parity of tax treatment are observed. And they should prod family offices with assets of over, say, $10bn to publish accounts detailing their workings. In a world that is suspicious of privilege, big family offices have an interest in boosting transparency. In return, they should be free to operate unmolested.
diversification  family_office  finance  financial_system  investing  investors  money_management  the_One_percent  upper_echelons  high_net_worth 
january 2019
The Oracle of Boston - Seth Klarman
Jul 7th 2012 | Boston

A scanned version of “Margin of Safety: Risk-Averse Value Investing Strategies for the Thoughtful Investor” has been circulating around trading floors. One hedgie likens Mr Klarman's book to the movie “Casablanca”: it has become a classic......Mr Klarman still runs Baupost like a family office. He is extremely risk averse; his primary goal is not stellar returns but preservation of capital.......He has deliberately maintained a sticky investor base composed almost entirely of endowments, foundations and families, which understand his investment philosophy and will not redeem after a few negative quarters.
Boston  hedge_funds  investors  investing  margin_of_safety  Seth_Klarman  value_investing/investors  books  Baupost  family_office 
january 2019
Canada-China relations have entered new territory. So, where do we go from here?
JANUARY 18, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | BARRIE MCKENNA ECONOMICS REPORTER
OTTAWA.

“Kill the chicken to scare the monkey.”

Canada is the luckless chicken in this unfortunate scenario. In effect, China is making an example of us – a weaker middle power – to threaten others who stand in its way, including the United States.

So far, it has meant the arbitrary detention of innocent Canadians in China, a death sentence for a convicted Canadian drug smuggler, an official warning about travel to Canada and a barrage of verbal threats from top Chinese officials......This all could not have come at a worse time. Canada’s ties to the United States are already frayed from the bruising renegotiation of North American free-trade agreement, and we desperately need new markets, including China, to drive our export-led economy.......Canada is also facing pressure from the United States and other allies to ban Huawei from supplying technology for next-generation 5G mobile networks because of cyberespionage concerns....“Canada is in a really tough situation,” acknowledged economist Gordon Betcherman, a professor in the University of Ottawa’s School of International Development and Global Studies. And lashing out at the Chinese is counterproductive...... here a few understated, Canadian-style tactics Ottawa should consider.
* (1) rag the puck as long as possible on any final decision on banning Huawei products, even if that puts Canadian telecom companies in a bind.
* (2) Ottawa should do what it can to expedite the extradition of Ms. Meng, including demanding the United States produce compelling evidence of wrongdoing, or release her when the process runs its course.
* (3) work with our allies on numerous fronts. Canada needs to get other countries to publicly shame China for abusing the rule of law.
* (4) continue to talk to the Chinese in an effort to rebuild confidence. Canadian business and tourist travellers are already cancelling trips to China.

Counterintuitive perhaps, but Canada should encourage Washington to take a hard line with China in trade talks. Reports Friday that China has offered to buy up to US$1-trillion in more U.S. goods to eliminate the trade deficit is an empty promise that won’t change its behaviour. On the other hand, getting China to fundamentally reform how it interacts economically with the world would benefit everyone.

“The biggest non-tariff barrier in China is how China runs, as a country,” Mr. MacIntosh explained. “It’s an outlier in the world.”
5G  Barrie_McKenna  beyondtheU.S.  bullying  Canada  Canada-China_relations  China  cyber_security  cyberespionage  Huawei  international_trade  Meng_Wanzhou  NAFTA  non-tariff_barriers  middle-powers  arbitrariness  understated 
january 2019
China threatens reprisals if Canada bans Huawei from its 5G networks
JANUARY 17, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | ROBERT FIFE OTTAWA BUREAU CHIEF, STEVEN CHASE, BILL CURRY, OTTAWA, SHERBROOKE, QUE
PUBLISHED
5G  bullying  Canada  China  Huawei  reprisals 
january 2019
Who Is MacKenzie Bezos? - The New York Times
By Jonah Engel Bromwich and Alexandra Alter
Jan. 12, 2019
divorce  relationships 
january 2019
Meg Whitman: ‘Businesses need to think, who’s coming to kill me?’
January 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Rana Foroohar 7 HOURS AGO.

Whitman has just launched Quibi, a $1bn start-up of which she is chief executive (entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, her co-founder, is chairman). The venture, backed by a host of entertainment, tech and finance groups including 21st Century Fox, Viacom, Alibaba, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, has the lofty aim of becoming the Netflix of the mobile generation, offering high-quality, bite-sized video content for millennials (and the rest of us) hooked on smartphones......Whitman's experience has left her with plenty of advice for chief executives struggling with nearly every kind of disruption — technological, cultural and geopolitical. “I think every big business needs to be thinking, ‘Who’s coming to kill me?’ Where are the big markets that for regulatory reasons, or just because things are being done the way they always have been, disruption is likely? I’d say healthcare is one,” ...... a “Quibi”, is the new company’s “snackable” videos, designed to be consumed in increments of a few minutes....“You have all these in-between moments, and that’s what inspired the length of the content,” she says. “Very few people are watching long-form content on this device,” she says, holding up her iPhone. “They’re spending four to five hours a day on their phones, but they’re playing games, watching YouTube videos, checking social media, and surfing the internet. And although [people] pick up their phones hundreds of times a day, the average session length is 6.5 minutes.”.......Whitman’s hope is that just as people now binge on hour-long episodes of The Crown or House of Cards at home, they’ll do the same on their smartphone while in the doctor’s office, or commuting, or waiting for a meeting to start. As Whitman puts it, “every day you walk around with a little television in your pocket.” She and Katzenberg are betting that by the end of this year, we’ll spend some of our “in-between moments” watching micro-instalments of mobile movies produced by Oscar winning film-makers or stars ... interviewing other stars. ....The wind was at her back at eBay, where she became president and chief executive in 1998, presiding over a decade in which the company’s annual revenues grew from $4m to $8bn. “It’s hard to change consumer behaviour. We did that at eBay. We taught people how to buy in any auction format on the internet, how to send money 3,000 miles across the country and hope that you got the product.”

Quibi, she believes, doesn’t require that shift. “People are already watching a lot of videos on their phones. You just need to create a different experience.” She lays out how the company will optimise video for phones in ways that (she claims) will utterly change the viewing experience, and will leverage Katzenberg’s 40 years in the business.

..
paranoia  CEOs  disruption  Meg_Whitman  Rana_Foroohar  start_ups  women  bite-sized  Hollywood  Jeffrey_Katzenberg  mobile  subscriptions  web_video  high-quality  smartphones  advice  large_companies  large_markets  interstitial  Quibi 
january 2019
U.S. Weaponizes Its Criminal Courts in Fight Against China and Huawei
Jan. 17, 2019 | WSJ | By Chuin-Wei Yap.

The federal pursuit of theft charges adds pressure on Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co. by further involving the criminal-justice system in the fight against China’s alleged encroachment on intellectual property. It is the second case in four months where federal prosecutors have built criminal allegations on civil litigation, risking uncertain outcomes as a verdict isn’t guaranteed.........The Trump administration wants to use indictments, along with export controls and other policy tools, as part of an arsenal to counter Chinese theft of trade and technology secrets, which U.S. officials increasingly view as part of national security.....That has meant a more aggressive effort to convert corporate squabbles into criminal charges.....the entry of federal prosecutors ratchets up global attention and the stakes in what had until then been less noticed civil filings.....High-profile prosecutions are part of a range of weapons the U.S. can call on to shape global perceptions of China’s state-corporate behavior, as well as China’s perception of how its options might be dwindling.....Other tools include sanctioning exports and redefining “emerging technologies” as a national security concern.....“The U.S. will pursue critical Chinese companies in any form possible,” ...... “The U.S. is aiming at creating a kind of sinking feeling for China. That is, no matter what China does, there will still be new angles for the U.S. to contain it.”.....an advantage of using the justice system is that it makes it difficult for China to feign ignorance when faced with a barrage of detailed allegations and corroboration.
China  criminal_justice  Department_of_Justice  hackers  Huawei  intellectual_property  legal_strategies  policy_tools  theft  trade_secrets  security_&_intelligence 
january 2019
Ottawa is on the wrong side of Chinese power
January 15, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | JOHN IBBITSON.

Is there a way Canada could have avoided acting on an extradition request of the United States – employing the “creative incompetence” that former Liberal foreign minister John Manley said might have prevented the detention of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou? She is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, and Chinese anger at her detention is fierce and real.

“I’m with John Manley that we could have creatively avoided our responsibilities,” said Lynette Ong, a political scientist at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. Canada could manage American anger at letting Ms. Meng slip away more easily than it is managing China’s anger over her detention, Prof. Ong believes.

Did Canadian officials in Ottawa miss an opportunity to de-escalate the conflict through quiet diplomacy, rather than ratcheting up the rhetoric over what appeared to be the retaliatory detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor? Should they have foreseen that the Chinese might further retaliate by increasing the punishment of convicted drug trafficker Robert Schellenberg from 15 years to a sentence of death? How much of this is Donald Trump’s fault?

Or was none of this preventable?....So, what next?....The government obviously cannot interfere with the judicial process that will determine whether Ms. Meng is extradited to the United States. Nor can Mr. Trudeau attempt to resolve the situation by direct talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, ....A successful conclusion to Sino-American trade talks might calm things down......Ong urges Mr. Trudeau to put down his public megaphone, and to focus on “quiet diplomacy behind the scenes.”.......There is another, deeper, concern. For at least two decades, Liberal and Conservative governments have concentrated more and more decision-making in foreign affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister. Global Affairs Canada may no longer have the capacity it once had to manage critical files, and political advisers to Ms. Freeland and Mr. Trudeau may be out of their depth, missing subtle signals and opportunities to reduce tensions between Ottawa and Beijing.
5G  Canada  China  China_rising  Canada-China_relations  Chrystia_Freeland  crossborder  foreign_policy  Huawei  John_Ibbitson  John_Manley  Liberals  Meng_Wanzhou  political_staffers  Xi_Jinping  Justin_Trudeau  diplomacy  PMO  reprisals 
january 2019
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