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Actor Wendell Pierce: ‘Fame is obscurity in waiting’
October 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Henry Mance YESTERDAY
actors  African-Americans  HBO  The_Wire 
october 2019
City Parks Piggyback on Infrastructure
Oct. 8, 2019 | The New York Times | By Jane Margolies.

With land scarce, green space is being built into needs like transit hubs and power stations. But the projects come with challenges.....Salesforce Park is a lush landscape that stretches four city blocks atop a transit center in San Francisco. With lawns, hillocks, lavender beds, leafy trees and a walking path, it gives commuters a relaxing place to wait for their bus and attracts people who live and work nearby looking for respite in the middle of a busy city.

Despite its presence as a calming oasis, Salesforce Park faced stressful start-up challenges....Building a park 70 feet in the air atop a transit center showed how complex it can be to piggyback green space on active infrastructure. Such projects require coordination among many consultants and, often, multiple levels of government, with possible construction delays, cost overruns and pushback from residents....still, with land for urban parks scarce and prohibitively expensive, the practice is becoming increasingly common......“It’s a way of making infrastructure do double or even triple duty,” ....Parks add value not only for relaxation, recreation and human health,....but also for combating heat, absorbing storm water and providing habitat for wildlife....an infrastructure project with a park can cost less than two projects undertaken independently, ......“There’s an economy of scale and an efficiency,”....The idea of building parks on infrastructure can be traced to the rails-to-trails movement, which for four decades has transformed abandoned rail corridors into walking and biking paths.......The wildly popular High Line in Manhattan, which opened in 2009, gave impetus to the idea of adding greenery to infrastructure that is raised off the ground.....The High Line is considered a design and tourism triumph, but it has also drawn criticism for accelerating gentrification along its route and not better serving residents of nearby public housing.... adding green space to functioning infrastructure has gained traction.....The vast majority of projects are built on transportation infrastructure, however, including so-called deck parks over highways — adding green space while stitching back together sections of cities that the roadways ripped apart long ago...
economies_of_scale  green_spaces  High_Line  infrastructure  parks  public_spaces  repurposing  Salesforce  San_Francisco  overlay_networks 
october 2019
Ad Giant Wins Over Disney With Big Data Pitch
Oct. 15, 2019 | The New York Times | By Tiffany Hsu.

Advertising pitches have come a long way since the 1960s, when creative teams tried to impress potential clients with snappy slogans, catchy jingles and arresting visuals while pledging to attract the housewife segment or the businessman demographic.

These days, big companies look to ad companies for their data smarts as much as their marketing expertise. The agencies with the most persuasive pitches are those that have increasingly personalized data on the patterns and preferences of a broad range of consumers.

Disney already has plenty of data on its customers. But the prospect of precisely targeting potential moviegoers, theme-park visitors, hotel guests and subscribers for its coming Disney Plus streaming service appealed to the company, according to two people familiar with the pitch process.

While the Disney-Publicis deal may benefit both companies, some worry that it may put consumer privacy at risk.

“This is in essence creating a data broker division to Disney, expanding what Disney already knows, which is a lot,” said Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. “You’re telling your entire life history to Mickey Mouse.”

On Nov. 12, the Disney will start its streaming challenger to Netflix, Disney Plus.
In North America, Publicis will take charge of media strategy for the Disney Plus streaming service as well as Disney resorts and amusement parks. Epsilon was a major draw because of the extremely detailed data it has compiled. The company may very well know if you are lactose intolerant or are in the market for a pickup truck with 60,000 miles on it. If you are into astrology or have taken out a home-equity loan, it may know that too. Epsilon could, for example, beam a Disney Plus ad to parents who have bought a Lion King costume for their toddler.....“They have the capacity to really understand who is a likely prospect for the streaming service and where that person resides online, and they can send messages in the appropriate media to that individual,” .....most of the advertising industry is struggling to compete against Facebook and Google, analysts said. The platforms dominate the business of buying and selling digital ads, leaving the agencies little room to negotiate. Facebook and Google have also started working directly with many advertising clients, luring them away from traditional ad companies.

In leaning on data to improve its fortunes, Publicis is part of a larger industry trend. Dentsu bought a majority stake in the data marketing firm Merkle Group in 2016, and Interpublic Group bought the data marketing firm Acxiom in 2018.....a “huge consolidation” within advertising that has allowed huge holding companies to gobble up agencies and data companies that are increasingly looking for ways to advertise using personal data.

He said that viewership data from the ad-free Disney Plus, including details involving children, could be passed on to Epsilon, which could use the information to target consumers with marketing for other Disney offerings.

“It’s Madison Avenue bringing you Silicon Valley,”
advertising  advertising_agencies  analytics  big_bets  data  Disney  Epsilon  Madison_Avenue  marketing  Omnicom  personal_data  pitches  privacy  Publicis  Silicon_Valley  streaming  target_marketing  theme_parks 
october 2019
Dyson and the art of making quick decisions
October 16, 2019 | Financial Times | by John Gapper.

Article is arguing for enforcing a “shot clock” on lingering decisions and to put plans into action faster and regain competitive footing in your industry/business.

Entrepreneur, James Dyson, unceremoniously abandoned a Dyson initiative to build an electric car.  It demonstrated how unsentimental he was about unsuccessful experiments.....Better to acknowledge defeat as early as possible rather than after having thrown away hundreds of millions...For any business to thrive, difficult decisions need to be made, from new projects to corporate strategy. “The job of the CEO, everyone knows, is to make decisions,” wrote Ram Charan, a veteran strategy adviser. This is especially true when entire industries are facing disruption to their business models......Indecision is common in companies facing myriad possibilities, when executives are struggling to assess alternatives for future strategy. Many managers become frustrated by the glacial pace of corporate decision-making. McKinsey, the consultancy, surveyed executives who complained of “over-reliance on consensus and death by committee”, among other irritations....It is not always the chief executive’s fault. Some managers are comfortable with making simple decisions but struggle when they are promoted to a level where they are exposed to ambiguity and uncertainty. They need to employ their judgment, rather than consulting the data like an oracle. Their indecision can also infect the CEO. But your business is not a democracy....Some executives promote a “five second rule” to prompt executives who report to them to reach decisions (i.e. summarise the alternatives and options for any strategy, pause and pick one).....Being forced to use intuition after considering the evidence helps to avoid being paralysed by a question when there is no easy answer......Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, observed that “managers think of themselves as captains of a ship on a stormy sea” who respond skilfully to the elements around them. It feels better to pick a destination and sail in that direction than to wallow around.....But Prof Kahneman won his economics Nobel for research on the cognitive biases that affect human choices. Making quick decisions, even informed by experience and expertise, is valuable but not foolproof. As he noted, “intuition feels just the same when it’s wrong and when it’s right, that’s the problem.”....Those who consider a challenge from all angles and act prudently and decisively may still be wrong. “Even highly experienced, superbly competent and well-intentioned managers are fallible,” Prof Kahneman wrote. Among the traps is the “halo effect” of believing that an executive who has succeeded before will make any project work. It follows that leaders should not be trapped by their decisions, or the confirmation bias of believing that the chosen path must be correct...... It is difficult when a leader place the entire company on another course, only to discover the pitfalls. It may take a successor to come along and reverse those choices. But decisions will at least prove right some of the time; indecision is always mistaken.
ambiguities  analysis_paralysis  CEOs  clock_speed  confirmation_bias  decision_making  Daniel_Kahneman  Dyson  halo_effects  hard_choices  HBR  humility  indecision  intuition  leaders  James_Dyson  judgment  mistakes  Ram_Charan  shot_clock  speed  tough-mindedness  uncertainty  unsentimental 
october 2019
The management wisdom of Bill Campbell - Bartleby
May 23rd 2019

three Google executives—Eric Schmidt (a former director of The Economist), Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle—who have written a book in praise of their mentor, Bill Campbell. His influence on Silicon Valley was so profound that they have called the book “Trillion Dollar Coach”.

Most outsiders will not have heard of Campbell, who began his career as a college coach of American football. Later, he worked at Apple, heading the marketing campaign for the original Macintosh, and then became chief executive at Intuit, a financial-software company. But his most effective role, until his death in 2016, was in the background, as a board member at Apple (and close friend of Steve Jobs) and as a coach to companies backed by Kleiner Perkins, a venture-capital firm.

Google was one of Kleiner’s investments and when Mr Schmidt was appointed chief executive of the company in 2001, Kleiner’s John Doerr suggested that he recruit Campbell as his coach. Although Mr Schmidt was initially reluctant to accept the need for coaching, he learned to value Campbell’s advice. In 2004 Campbell helped to persuade the Google boss not to quit when his roles as chairman and chief executive were split.

Campbell acted as an unpaid mentor at Google until his death in 2016. He also coached executives at eBay, Facebook and Twitter, among others. In 2000 he advised the Amazon board not to replace Jeff Bezos as chief executive of the e-commerce company.

As a coach, Campbell’s role was not to be in charge of particular projects, or to make strategic decisions, but to make other people work better. Although he advised individuals, his focus was on ensuring that teams were able to co-operate properly. His motto was that “your title makes you a manager, your people make you a leader.”

While he was happy to dish out praise in group meetings, and was a generous man in his spare time, he was not a soft touch. He simply believed in giving harsh feedback in private, and was usually adept enough to make the recipient grateful for the telling-off.

When he talked to people, he gave them his undivided attention; the discussions were never interrupted and he never checked his smartphone. But coaching had to be a two-way process. Some people were temperamentally incapable of responding properly. To be coachable, Campbell believed, managers need to be honest, humble and willing to learn.

A sign of his unique personality is that he has not been replaced since he died. Instead Google is attempting to incorporate his principles into the way the company is run. All managers should, in part, be coaches. The idea seems to be gaining popularity. In their book, “It’s the Manager”, Jim Clifton and Jim Harter of Gallup, a polling organisation, include a whole section called “Boss to Coach”.

This is linked to the importance of employee engagement. Gallup cites research showing that when managers involve employees in setting their own work goals, the latter are four times more likely to report feeling engaged. Managers are responsible for 70% of the variance in how engaged employees were.

The primary job of any manager is to help people be more effective in their job. One benefit should be that workers will stay with the company; the main reason they change jobs, according to what they tell Gallup, is for “career growth opportunities”. Workers should get regular feedback from their managers—daily if possible, surveys show. An annual performance review is of little use.

But this approach will only work if it comes from the top down. Middle managers tend to emulate their superiors and to respond to incentives; they will coach underlings if this behaviour is reinforced and rewarded.

Of course, even the best coaches and managers have to give their employees scope to find their own way, and make their own mistakes.
advice  boards_&_directors_&_governance  books  book_review  coaching  Google  mentoring  Silicon_Valley  Bill_Campbell 
october 2019
For some in Brazil, commemorating slavery is vital - Giving up the ghosts
Print edition | Books and arts
May 23rd 2019| RIO DE JANEIRO
Brazil commemoration life-changing myths Senegal slavery waterfronts
May 23rd 2019| RIO DE JANEIRO
Africa  Afro-Brazilians  ancestry  Brazil  commemoration  life-changing  myths  Rio_de_Janeiro  Senegal  slavery  waterfronts 
october 2019
The regulatory woes of Big Tech multiply - In the crosshairs
In a twist, Microsoft, the world’s most valuable listed firm, with a market capitalisation of over $1trn, has hardly been touched by the techlash. It has learned hard lessons from going through the regulatory wringer at the turn of the century: look beyond the cash cow (Windows); rapaciousness ultimately does not pay; and work with regulators. Another Hemingway quote is less well-known among geeks: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
'90s  antitrust  Big_Tech  cash_cows  lessons_learned  Microsoft  rapaciousness  regulators 
october 2019
Where Women Fall Behind at Work: The First Step Into Management - WSJ
Oct. 15, 2019 | WSJ | By Vanessa Fuhrmans.

Long before bumping into any glass ceiling, many women run into obstacles trying to grasp the very first rung of the management ladder—and not because they are pausing their careers to raise children—a new, five-year landmark study shows. As a result, it’s early in many women’s careers, not later, when they fall dramatically behind men in promotions, blowing open a gender gap that then widens every step up the chain...... fix that broken bottom rung of the corporate ladder, and companies could reach near-parity all the way up to their top leadership roles within a generation.....“Bias still gets in the way—bias of who you know, who’s like you, or who performs and operates the same way you perform and operate, whose style is more similar.....Employers’ moves to diversify their most senior echelons could provide a road map.....“We’ve seen that if companies really put their minds to it, they can bring about change that matters,” Ms. Thomas says. “If they can apply the same extra elbow grease that they do at the top to the broken rung.........The numbers show that the first step is the steepest for women. But why is that? What’s holding women back from climbing that first rung into management?

It isn’t for lack of ambition..... while many employers have increased their efforts to groom and elevate more senior women—a smaller, select group—fewer have applied the same rigor to cultivating more junior female managers....The upshot: At nearly every career stage, the disparities between men and women have narrowed only marginally since the Women in the Workplace research began in 2015. Even in industries with largely female entry-level workforces, such as retail and health care, men come to dominate the management ranks—a phenomenon that Haig Nalbantian, a labor economist and co-leader of consulting firm Mercer LLC’s Workforce Sciences Institute, calls “the flip.......even in many “female-friendly” sectors, entry-level women still tend to get hired into jobs with limited upward mobility, such as bank tellers or customer-service staff. ..“When companies ask, ‘What’s the one thing we can do systemically?’ we say, ‘It’s not quotas, it’s not targets,’” says Mr. Nalbantian. “It’s about how do you position women and minorities to succeed in the roles that are likely to lead to higher-level positions.”......The takeaway for some women is that they have to assemble their own career ladder.....To secure a sponsor, “you’ve got to consistently perform, have a strong brand and deliver. That’s just table stakes,” she says. “But a lot of people do that and might still not move, because they don’t have the right support.”
barriers_to_entry  biases  coaching  diversity  entry-level  female-friendly  glass_ceilings  gender_gap  management  movingonup  obstacles  sponsorships  takeaways  talent_pipelines  up-and-comers  women  workforce  workplaces 
october 2019
Beethoven’s Ode to Joy has been harnessed for good and ill
october 14, 2019 | FT.com | by Helen Brown.
Ode to Joy is the EU's anthem, music that was written by Beethoven. But “Ode to Joy” was composed with the dream of European peace and unity very much at its heart.

“Ode to Joy” appears like a burst of sunlight in the fourth and final movement of Beethoven’s stormy Ninth (and final) Symphony. The composer’s decision to bring a choir into the piece was revolutionary, giving soaring voice to a poem that had thrilled Beethoven as a young man: Freidrich Schiller’s “An die Freude”. Written in 1785 — on the brink of the French Revolution — the popular poem expressed a yearning for peace and egalitarianism: “All men will become brothers … Be embraced, you millions!”

As soon as he heard Schiller’s words, the young Beethoven imagined setting them to music. Like many liberal, cosmopolitan youths of the time, the German composer was excited by the ideals of the French Revolution and dedicated his Third Symphony to Napoleon Bonaparte before scratching out the name.
Beethoven  choirs  composers  EU  music  Napoleon_Bonaparte  poems  songs  symphonies 
october 2019
Opinion | Dealing With China Isn’t Worth the Moral Cost
Oct. 9, 2019 | The New York Times | By Farhad Manjoo.

We thought economic growth and technology would liberate China. Instead, it corrupted us.

The People’s Republic of China is the largest, most powerful and arguably most brutal totalitarian state in the world. It denies basic human rights to all of its nearly 1.4 billion citizens. There is no freedom of speech, thought, assembly, religion, movement or any semblance of political liberty in China. Under Xi Jinping, “president for life,” the CCP has built the most technologically sophisticated repression machine the world has ever seen. In Xinjiang, in Western China, the government is using technology to mount a cultural genocide against the Muslim Uighur minority that is even more total than the one it carried out in Tibet. Human rights experts say that more than a million people are being held in detention camps in Xinjiang, two million more are in forced “re-education,” and everyone else is invasively surveilled via ubiquitous cameras, artificial intelligence and other high-tech means.

None of this is a secret. Under Xi, China has grown markedly more Orwellian;......Why do we give China a pass? In a word: capitalism. Because for 40 years, the West’s relationship with China has been governed by a strategic error the dimensions of which are only now coming into horrific view.......A parade of American presidents on the left and the right argued that by cultivating China as a market — hastening its economic growth and technological sophistication while bringing our own companies a billion new workers and customers — we would inevitably loosen the regime’s hold on its people....the West’s entire political theory about China has been spectacularly wrong. China has engineered ferocious economic growth in the past half century, lifting hundreds of millions of its citizens out of miserable poverty. But China’s growth did not come at any cost to the regime’s political chokehold....It is also now routinely corrupting the rest of us outside of China......the N.B.A.’s hasty and embarrassing apology this week after Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets’ general manager, tweeted — and quickly deleted — a message in support of Hong Kong’s protesters......The N.B.A. is far from the first American institution to accede to China’s limits on liberty. Hollywood, large tech companies and a variety of consumer brands — from Delta to Zara — have been more than willing to play ball. The submission is spreading: .....This sort of corporate capitulation is hardly surprising. For Western companies, China is simply too big and too rich a market to ignore, let alone to pressure or to police. .....it will only get worse from here, and we are fools to play this game. There is a school of thought that says America should not think of China as an enemy. With its far larger population, China’s economy will inevitably come to eclipse ours, but that is hardly a mortal threat. In climate change, the world faces a huge collective-action problem that will require global cooperation. According to this view, treating China like an adversary will only frustrate our own long-term goals......this perspective leaves out the threat that greater economic and technological integration with China poses to everyone outside of China. It ignores the ever-steeper capitulation that China requires of its partners. And it overlooks the most important new factor in the Chinese regime’s longevity: the seductive efficiency that technology offers to effect a breathtaking new level of control over its population......Through online surveillance, facial recognition, artificial intelligence and the propagandistic gold mine of social media, China has mobilized a set of tools that allow it to invisibly, routinely repress its citizens and shape political opinion by manipulating their feelings and grievances on just about any controversy.....Chinese-style tech-abetted surveillance authoritarianism could become a template for how much of the world works.
adversaries  artificial_intelligence  authoritarianism  brands  capitalism  capitulation  China  China_rising  Chinese_Communist_Party  climate_change  collective_action  cultural_genocide  decoupling  despots  errors  facial_recognition  Farhad_Manjoo  freedom  Hollywood  Hong_Kong  human_rights  influence  NBA  op-ed  Orwell  propaganda  repression  self-corruption  surveillance  surveillance_state  technology  threats  Tibet  totalitarianism  tyranny  Uyghurs  unintended_consequences  values  Xi_Jinping 
october 2019
He Grew Up on a Farm. Now, He Helps Protect Them.
Oct. 3, 2019 | The New York Times | By Norman Mayersohn.

Books: Warren Buffett biography, “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist,”

Few livelihoods offer as many paths to failure as agriculture. Throughout history, farmers have been at the mercy of nature — be it weather, pests or crop diseases — even as the survival of people and livestock depended on their success...... Thomas Njeru, is a co-founder and the chief financial officer of Pula, a four-year-old microinsurance firm that serves 1.7 million smallholder farms of 0.6 acres or less in 10 African countries and India. Microinsurance — think of it as an offshoot of the microloan programs that kick-start businesses in impoverished areas — provides protection for low-income individuals who do not have access to conventional coverage....Pula, based in Nairobi, Kenya, partners with government agencies and loan providers to cover the cost of the insurance, which is included in the price of seed and fertilizer; there is no direct charge to the farmer. Among the coverages Pula provides is weather index insurance to cover failures of seed germination, using satellite data to determine whether there has been sufficient rainfall. Longer-term coverage, called yield index insurance, compensates farmers with replacement supplies in the event of a poor harvest......People in Africa don't invest in agriculture because the chance of them losing their money due to the vagaries of the weather is huge.........Pula’s mission is to give farmers confidence by providing risk mitigation. Our solutions protect a farmer’s investment by pairing it with insurance. We build business cases to persuade Fortune 500 companies, seed and fertilizer suppliers, lending institutions, and governments in Africa, that embedded insurance will help deliver better results for both businesses and food security....The sad reality is that farmers are one drought or one disease outbreak away from sliding into absolute poverty......the penetration of agriculture insurance in Africa is less than 1 percent. The reason is that insurance companies’ business models are not set up to serve the unique needs of smallholder farmers......scaling Pula’s business model to the point that insured seed and fertilizer become ubiquitous in the market......The average annual insurance premium per farmer is about $3 to $5. This includes the cost of product development, pricing, underwriting, claim adjustment and, of course, the claim costs. We use artificial intelligence, mobile-based registration systems, remote sensing and automation tools...Agriculture insurance is a cemetery of pilots and trials..
Africa  agriculture  behavioral_change  books  Bottom_of_the_Pyramid  crop_insurance  farming  insurance  Kenya  low-income  microfinance  mobile_applications  poverty  precarious  Pula  seeds  smallholders  start_ups  risks  risk-mitigation  Warren_Buffett  weather 
october 2019
Quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are d...”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we
are. They are different. ”
affluence  F._Scott_Fitzgerald  high_net_worth  quotes 
october 2019
Opinion | America’s Risky Approach to Artificial Intelligence
October 7, 2019 | The New York Times | By Tim Wu
Mr. Wu is the author of “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires.”

The brilliant 2014 science fiction novel “The Three-Body Problem,” by the Chinese writer Liu Cixin, depicts the fate of civilizations as almost entirely dependent on winning grand races to scientific milestones. Someone in China’s leadership must have read that book, for Beijing has made winning the race to artificial intelligence a national obsession, devoting billions of dollars to the cause and setting 2030 as the target year for world dominance. Not to be outdone, President Vladimir Putin of Russia recently declared that whoever masters A.I. “will become the ruler of the world.”..... if there is even a slim chance that the race to build stronger A.I. will determine the future of the world — and that does appear to be at least a possibility — the United States and the rest of the West are taking a surprisingly lackadaisical and alarmingly risky approach to the technology........The plan seems to be for the American tech industry, which makes most of its money in advertising and selling personal gadgets, to serve as champions of the West. Those businesses, it is hoped, will research, develop and disseminate the most important basic technologies of the future. Companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft are formidable entities, with great talent and resources that approximate those of small countries. But they don’t have the resources of large countries, nor do they have incentives that fully align with the public interest (JCK: that is, "business interests" vs. "public interest"]..... The history of computing research is a story not just of big corporate laboratories but also of collaboration and competition among civilian government, the military, academia and private players both big (IBM, AT&T) and small (Apple, Sun)......Some advocates of more A.I. research have called for a “Manhattan project” for A.I. — but that’s not the right model. The atomic bomb and the moon rocket were giant but discrete projects. In contrast, A.I. is a broad and vague set of scientific technologies that encompass not just recent trends in machine learning but also anything else designed to replicate or augment human cognition.....the United States government should broadly fund basic research and insist on broad dissemination..... the United States needs to support immigration laws that attract the world’s top A.I. talent. The history of breakthroughs made by start-ups also suggests the need for policies, like the enforcement of antitrust laws and the defense of net neutrality, that give small players a chance.... the computer scientist and entrepreneur Kai-Fu Lee, in his book “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order,” describes a race between China and Silicon Valley, as if the latter were the sum total of Western science in this area. In the future, when we look back at this period, we may come to regret the loss of a healthy balance between privately and publicly funded A.I. research in the West, and the drift of too much scientific and engineering talent into the private sector.
antitrust  ARPA  artificial_intelligence  Beijing  Bell_Labs  Big_Tech  business_interests  China  China_Rising  FAANG  high-risk  immigration  industrial_policies  Kai-Fu_Lee  Manhattan_project  publicly_funded  R&D  risks  science_fiction  Silicon_Valley  talent  Tim_Wu  Vladimir_Putin  Xerox 
october 2019
The Disruptive World of Edward Norton - The New York Times
Oct. 7, 2019
The disruptive world
of Edward Norton.

By David Marchese Photograph by Mamadi Doumbouya
actors  category_errors  disruption  Edward_Norton  entrepreneur  start_ups 
october 2019
The Fastest Way To Blow Up Your Bench Press (4 Science-Based Steps) + Sample Program - YouTube
Step 1: Fix your bar path (the path the bar takes when viewed from the side).

To maximize strength on the bench press you should be pressing the bar BACK toward your face and then UP, not just straight up. This back and up technique will also strengthen the pecs more, since it emphasizes horizontal shoulder adduction over shoulder flexion at the toughest points in the press.

Data from Dr. Thomas McLaughlin found that while most benchers did correctly bring the bar down and slightly forward in a smooth arc on the descent, only elite level benchers drove the bar back and then up, whereas novice lifters tended to press the bar straight up first, and then slightly back.

Putting this into practice, I’d recommend filming your sets from the side to get a close look at your bar path… you can use an app like Iron Path or Dartfish to track this easily. If you’re pressing the bar straight up, make a conscious effort to press the bar back first, and then up. This might feel a bit awkward at first. You want to get to a point where it feels natural. I cue this by thinking about pushing the floor away from me while I simultaneously drive the bar back and up off my chest.

Step #2: Grip the Bar Wider

Wherever you’re currently gripping the bar, try gradually easing your grip out by about 1 finger’s width every workout over the next few weeks. Most of the world’s top benchers press with a max legal grip width, with the index fingers all the way out to the grip rings, although this may not be comfortable for everyone.

Tip #3: Bench Press More Often

The next step is to simply bench press more frequently. I think that benching 3 times per week will be the sweet spot for most people. For example, running with a set up like this, we would focus on hypertrophy on Day 1 with sets of 8 reps, power on day two with lighter speed work, and then strength work on day 3, with heavy sets of 5.

Monday: Bench 1 x 2 (RPE9), 2 x 8 (RPE7)
Wednesday: Bench 4 x 3 (RPE6) (press the bar explosively off the chest)
Friday: Pause bench 3 x 5 (2-second pause) (RPE8)

Step 4: Add Heavy Top Sets Before Volume Work

Top sets are a great way to get comfortable with lifting heavy weight on a regular basis which will improve confidence in your ability to lift heavier without frying your recovery. I’d recommending adding one heavy top set somewhere around 90 percent of your 1 rep max for 2 to 3 reps before backing off and doing your main work for that day. You only need to do this once a week, ideally before your lightest lifting day.
chest  Jeff_Nippard  strength_training  bench_press  science-based 
october 2019
(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay — why Otis Redding’s biggest hit wasn’t actually a soul song
October 6, 2019 | FT.com | by Dan Einav.

“This is my first million seller,” announced Otis Redding to nervous-looking studio bosses in early December 1967. He was referring to his upcoming record, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”, which would indeed prove to be his first seven-figure release, eventually selling several times that amount. It would also be the last song he ever worked on. Two days after his second recording session on this breezy new ballad, he was dead — killed in a light-aircraft crash.

Executives at Atlantic Records cynically requested that a new song be released immediately. Redding’s collaborator and studio guitarist, and the song’s co-writer, Steve Cropper, was forced to set aside his grief and transform the rough cuts of “The Dock of the Bay” into a coherent track in just 24 hours. The result was an unassuming yet near-perfect composition that would serve as a fitting legacy for one of soul’s greatest talents.

But “The Dock of the Bay” wasn’t really a soul song in the conventional sense. In the summer of 1967, Redding immersed himself in The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper and was inspired by the band’s devotion to stress-testing the limits of popular music. “It’s time for me to change my music,” said Redding, as his wife and employers voiced concerns about his “poppy” new direction which took him away from his roots in soul and R&B.

That autumn Redding was recovering after a punishing touring schedule on a houseboat in Sausalito, across the bay from San Francisco, owned by promoter Bill Graham. It was there, idly watching the ferries sail to-and-from the harbour, that he conceived of that scene-setting first verse and the basic chords for “The Dock of the Bay”. Back in the studio, he asked Cropper to flesh out the melody and the brilliant, bittersweet lyrics.
'60s  1967  Atlantic_Records  Beatles  music  music_labels  Otis_Redding  pop_music  R&B  singers  songs  soul  Stax  tributes 
october 2019
As I enter middle age, these are the fitness lessons I wish I could teach my younger self
October 6, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by PAUL LANDINI.

Mistakes have been made. Efforts were wasted. Time was lost. If I could mentor my 20-year-old self, the first thing I would do is collect all of the tattered fitness and lifestyle magazines that would soon lead me astray and throw them all in the trash where they belong. Then, I would sit myself down and impart the following hard-earned knowledge.

* IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE FUN
Remember recess? Remember how much fun it was to be set loose upon the schoolyard after enduring hours of enforced sitting? ...Playground games such as double dutch, red rover and tag always appealed to me more than traditional sports, but as we age, society tells us to stop playing games, to get serious, to respect and follow the rules. The grown-up rules of physical fitness emphasize pain, suffering and drudgery over pleasure, joy and leisure. Exercise becomes a form of corporal punishment for simply existing; you can’t indulge in any of life’s rewards without having to pay the price on the treadmill the next day........The point here is that there is great happiness to be had in being active, you just have to find the right outlet. Powerlifting, CrossFit, kettlebell sport, parkour, gymnastics, cycling, swimming, dancing, walking, running, rowing, climbing – each of these activities has merit, each can deliver “results.” If your current workout is leaving you bored and listless, try something new. A whole world of movement possibilities awaits.

* START WITH STABILITY
Just like solving an algebra problem or landing a 747, the principles of getting in shape are governed by a specific order of operations. However, unlike the laws of mathematics and aerodynamics, the consequences for ignoring the rules of fitness aren’t as dire. The worst thing that will happen, outside of actually injuring yourself, is a complete lack of progress in reaching any of your goals.

There are variations on these steps, catchy turns of phrase that certain coaches will use to enhance their industry brand, but the gist is the same – first you enhance stability, then you build strength, then you apply that strength to some form of fast, explosive movement. The logic of this continuum is evident – you can’t be fast without being strong, and you can’t be strong without first building a stable foundation. [JCK Stability, Strength, Power] Of course, all of this was beyond me when I first started lifting, which is why I didn’t progress for a long time.

The fitness industry sells itself by using exciting images of muscular people doing cool things – Kettlebell swings! Box jumps! Deadlifts! – the implicit message being: This could be you......know planks and push-ups are boring, but you must master your body first. Then, and only then, are you ready to increase resistance.

* YOU DON’T NEED BARBELLS
This is a corollary to the last two points, if not a summary of my fitness philosophy in general. Barbells are designed to support significant weight – hundreds upon hundreds of pounds – and in that respect, they do their job very well. Now, what about you. What are you wired to do?

If your answer is “move as much weight as humanly possible,” then stick with barbell training. It will serve you well for a time, as long as your technique and programming are sound, but eventually your body will break.......For everyone else, it’s time to think outside of the squat rack. If you’re walking into your workouts with anything less than a semi-reluctant enthusiasm, freeing yourself from the confines of barbells and benches can have a dramatic impact on your mindset. Think push-ups over bench press, pull-ups over pull-downs, sled pushes over squats. Actually, everyone should squat, you just don’t need to sling a barbell on your back to do so.
aging  CrossFit  exercise  fitness  lessons_learned  midlife  play  pull-ups  push-ups  squats  stability  strength_training 
october 2019
Opinion | My Father Wanted to Prove America Wrong About Race - The New York Times
By Susan E. Rice
Ms. Rice, a contributing opinion writer, is the author of the forthcoming memoir, “Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For,” from which this essay is adapted.
African-Americans  books  Emmett_Rice  memoirs  Susan_Rice  tough_love 
october 2019
Get Your Digital Accounts Ready In Case of Death - The New York Times
By Melanie Pinola
Ms. Pinola is a staff writer at Wirecutter, a product recommendation site owned by The New York Times Company.

Oct. 3, 2019
dying 
october 2019
The last days of the middle-class world citizen
October 3, 2019 | Financial Times | Janan Ganesh.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
what I think Janan Ganesh is talking about; the divide between the globally mobile elite and the locally restricted peasantry is getting increasingly stark, and the middle class is being hollowed out.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
'10s  Big_Tech  climate_change  decline  deglobalization  disposable_income  downward_mobility  dystopian_futures  frictions  future  globalization  Janan_Ganesh  lifestyles  middle_class  millennials  pessimism  societal_choices  subtractive  The_One_Percent  thought-provoking  travel 
october 2019
The Extra-Secret White House Computer System, Explained - The New York Times
The White House uses a web of computer systems to store delicate information.CreditCreditAl Drago for The New York Times
By Charlie Savage, Matthew Rosenberg and Adam Goldman
Oct. 1, 2019
classified_information  code_words  covert_operations  Donald_Trump  memorialization  NSC  secrets  security_&_intelligence  transcripts  Ukraine  White_House 
october 2019
Ikea dismantles tradition to seek inspiration from car industry
October 2, 2019 | Financial Times Richard Milne in Oslo.

Sometimes the complexity of their own companies can surprise top managers. Torbjorn Loof, chief executive of the owner of the Ikea brand, looks wide-eyed as he describes how the furniture retailer has nearly 100 different cabinets, sometimes with only 4-5 millimetres difference between models.

In storage solutions it has Pax wardrobes, Godmorgon bathroom cabinets, Metod in the kitchen and Besta in the living room — similar products but with subtly different heights or widths, making things difficult not just for the customer but also for Ikea itself.

So the world’s largest furniture retailer has looked to the car industry for inspiration. Platforms have dramatically changed the process of making cars — different models with vastly different pricing can be built on the same basic chassis. Changes are made between models on the things customers see — like the dashboard and entertainment systems — but much of the back-end that is invisible to drivers can be common.

Now Ikea is looking to bring platforms into home furnishing....Ikea is experimenting with city-centre and smaller shops as well as services such as home delivery and assembly. It is looking into renting out furniture instead of selling it, and smart home technology that brings it up against Silicon Valley.

Its platform initiative is one of its most important, albeit largely invisible to customers. Much still remains to be worked out such as just how much is common between different products — a dilemma recognisable from the car industry where Volkswagen faced complaints that there was little difference between VW and Skoda models except for the price.....standardisation should lead to lower prices for both it and customers. ....“How can we scale up in an efficient way? It’s difficult if we make each product uniquely. With platforms, it’s easier to adjust to new markets,” ...The new approach is not without risks though. Developing new platforms can be a costly business and in the car industry has often led to just as much complexity as before, particularly in companies like VW that are known for overengineering their vehicles, or confusion among consumers as to how big a difference there is between supposedly rival products.

Mr Loof is aware of the problem. “We need to define what makes sense to have on the platform and what not,” he says. “If you go too far you can arguably say you have decreased your range offer.”....for the furniture group, facing the same rapid changes in the retail landscape that have caused dozens of brands to fail, there is a feeling that it needs to do as much as it can even if it is likely to have failures on the way.
automotive_industry  CEOs  complexity  furniture  home_furnishing  Ikea  inspiration  platforms  retailers  risks  small_spaces  standardization  Torbjörn_Lööf 
october 2019
What meeting Bernie Madoff taught me about our inability to read others
October 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by Gillian Tett.

Books:
Talking to Strangers, by Malcolm Gladwell.
The Human Swarm, by Mark Moffett.

Malcolm Gladwell, the writer, earned fame — and fortune — by producing books such as The Tipping Point (2000) that popularised human psychology. In his new study, Talking to Strangers, he looks at our propensity to misread other people. It is an increasingly pressing question for our polarised, fake-news era.

How should we interpret the signals we receive from others? This matters when it comes to detecting fraud, of course......It also matters in other ways. Today more than ever, we all suffer if we misread the signals we receive from different social groups. It is human nature to assume our own culture is the definition of “normal”, and to use this lens when we view others.....even traits that we assume are ­“universal”, such as [jck: visual cues] facial expressions, can vary hugely between cultures — and, of course, within societies that speak the same language.

Gladwell describes, for example, how social interactions between black and white communities in America are regularly marred by misunderstandings, with tragic consequences. “[This] is what happens when a society does not know how to talk to strangers,” he concludes.......Moffett then advances two broader points. First, he argues that humans (like ants) need a sense of tribal identity and belonging, with specialisations clearly defined; but, second, he insists that the way humans develop this tribal identity is crucially different from other animals.

Among some species, such as chimpanzees, trust only emerges through face-to-face contact between individuals in small groups; in others, creatures only co-operate if they can be instantly identified as coming from the same species. Ants kill anything that smells different.....what is amazing about humans – albeit rarely celebrated – is how we generally tolerate outsiders ­without instantly needing to kill them.

“Being comfortable around unfamiliar members of our society gave humans advantages from the get-go and made nations possible,” Moffett writes. “Chimpanzees need to know everybody [to ­tolerate them]. Ants need to know nobody. Humans only need to know somebody [for society to function.]” This achievement deserves far more attention, since it only works in two conditions. First, humans must feel secure in their own group (which they signal with symbols and rituals); second, “strangers” can only be smoothly absorbed if everyone learns to read different symbols too....If we want to “talk to strangers”, we need to teach our kids (and ourselves) to try to look at the world through strangers’ eyes – even if we must also recognise that we will never truly succeed.
assumptions  Bernard_Madoff  books  character_traits  cultural_identity  deception  Gillian_Tett  misinterpretations  psychopaths  signals  strangers  tribes  group_identity  lying  Malcolm_Gladwell  misjudgement  psychology  trustworthiness  visual_cues  writers 
october 2019
Productivity Without Privilege: How to Succeed When You’re Marginalized or Discriminated Against in the Workplace
Oct. 1, 2019 | The New York Times | By Alan Henry.

Productivity isn’t just about getting things done — it’s about spending less time on the things you have to do so you can spend more time on the things you want to do.....so much popular productivity advice is accessible only to people who have the option to use it in the first place (e.g. if your boss or co-workers believe that women shouldn’t be in the workplace, or that African-Americans are unmotivated, no “productivity hack” will force them to objectively look at your accomplishments and decisions the way they would employees they view without biases.)......the real factor determining whether you can take productivity advice at face value is "privilege".

* ‘Glamour work’ vs. ‘housework’: Who gets the opportunities matters.....

A 2018 story in Harvard Business Review pointed out that women of color in the workplace are asked to do “office housework” — the behind-the-scenes tasks that keep departments and teams humming — more often than white employees. That kind of work rarely raises an employee’s profile, in contrast to “glamour work,” which is highly visible, helps people make a name for themselves and leads to promotions and other career success.

* Trust your gut: Don’t get gaslit!!
Unfair treatment in the workplace often comes in the form of “microaggressions” — subtle actions that undermine a person and are often explained away by forgetfulness, ignorance, or anything but the malice that usually inspired them. ....gather proof — your own, or someone else’s — to remove doubt (e.g. collect the data — literally document the number of times you’ve been asked to do the office housework). Also, take note of the instances where colleagues are asked to do glamour work, and who they are......find colleagues you can speak with candidly. This way you have a sounding board to help you objectively see through your own self-doubt and determine whether you’ve actually been slighted or ignored, or whether you’re being paranoid.

* You don’t have to be twice as good, but you do have to “manage up”

If you're often volunteering for work that’s less glamorous — the office housework — to make a positive impact, or be seen as active and engaged..... while this drive is well meaning, it can often be counterproductive, and it gives managers cover to ignore their own behaviors and implicit biases when assigning work or handing out opportunities. Your best tool in this case, she said, is learning the fine art of saying "no" without ruining your career......learn how to “manage up” viz a viz your boss. Recognizing quickly whether something is a small or large ask, and how it fits into your personal or team priorities is essential — and asking your boss for clarity on what your team’s priorities are is also essential.

* Beware the lure of “just helping out”.
learning to, and practicing how to, hold back the urge to constantly volunteer,”

* Protect your boundaries.
when some people use methods like these (e.g. “check your email once or twice a day instead of being always available” and “leave your work at work,” ) to improve their work/life balance, they’re seen as organized and productive. When women and workers of color do the same, they can be viewed seen as unmotivated, lazy, or disengaged......call out bias when you experience it,” Ms. Tulshyan said. “Again, it only works in environments where you have the psychological safety — which, sadly, is rare for employees of color — but I’ve taken managers aside in the past and said, ‘I’ve noticed you volunteered me for this committee again, but not my white male colleagues. Could we talk about that?’” The same tactic works in reverse. If you notice that your privileged colleagues are the only ones sent to conferences or given the opportunity to discuss the work your team is doing, mention it to your manager.

* Document everything: Data is your best friend.
keep a work diary of accomplishments and challenges.....look for allies,” “I’ve had a few more-privileged colleagues at my workplaces who would spread the word to our department on my behalf if I accomplished something noteworthy. The great thing is it seems to foster a lot more trust and celebration among the group than if you are always tooting your own horn.”....if you feel frustrated and marginalized, try to keep in mind why you do the work you do, and remember the people who are positively affected by it.
biases  disrespect  equality_of_opportunity  glamour_work  gut_feelings  HBR  managing_up  marginalization  note_taking  office_housework  power_dynamics  privilege  productivity  protect_boundaries  record-keeping  say_"no"  self-doubt  sounding_boards  stereotypes  work_smarter  workplaces 
october 2019
Opinion | The Forgotten History of America’s Worst Racial Massacre - The New York Times
By Nan Elizabeth Woodruff
Dr. Woodruff is a historian and the author of “American Congo: The African American Freedom Struggle in the Delta.”

Sept. 30, 2019
bigotry  historical_amnesia  lynchings  massacres  racial_violence  racism 
october 2019
Does oat milk stack up nutritionally to other non-dairy milks?
September 30, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by LESLIE BECK

Read labels to know what your plant-based beverage provides and what it doesn’t.

If you’re replacing dairy in your diet, consider protein. Soy and pea milks have the most, followed by oat milk.

To get a vitamin and mineral content that is similar to cow’s milk, choose a fortified product (most are). If it’s fortified, the nutrition label will state a daily value of 25 to 30 per cent for calcium.

Avoid added sugars by opting for an unsweetened milk alternative.

While non-dairy milks provide nutrition, keep in mind that they are processed foods.

To get the most nutrients, along with plenty of disease-fighting natural plant compounds, include the original whole foods – e.g. oatmeal, cashews, almonds, hemp seeds, edamame, tofu, dried peas – in your regular diet.
beverages  Leslie_Beck  nondairy  nutrition  plant-based 
october 2019
Is Pea Milk a Healthy Drink or Just a Hell No?
July 10, 2016 | GQ | BY JEFF VRABEL.
Ripple

Original: Creamier than regular 2% milk, enough so that I instantly thought about repurposing it as coffee creamer (especially because creamers are made from like 95% melted tire rubber). There's a kind of tangy, flat aftertaste, but that might also be the case with 2% milk and I'm just used to it. If they could make regular peas taste more like this, I'd consider eating some.

Original Unsweetened: Original has half the sugar of regular milk. This version has no sugar at all, and it shows. Without sugar, the taste is flatter and chalkier. I'm two sips in and wondering if I have the journalistic drive to attempt a third. Okay, I tried a third and it was a bad decision. I miss you, sugar. I miss you so much.

Vanilla: After the joyless slog of the Unsweetened, Vanilla is like a fireworks show. It's sweet and lovely and creeping into the neighborhood of a milkshake, almost enough that a whole glass might get a little heavy in your gut-parts. Still, the best flavor of the batch.

Chocolate: Not good. Tastes somehow plant-y. If you want to drink chocolate milk, you do not want a milk alternative. Just commit to your sin and plop a couple spoonfuls of Hershey's into a glass of real milk. Or drink the sludge that's left over when you're finished with a bowl of Cocoa Pebbles: part chocolate milk, part floating liquefied rice footballs, all phenomenal. If you've decided on chocolate milk, you don't want be jerking around with plant-based anything.
beverages  nondairy  plant-based  Ripple 
october 2019
Smalltown Boy — Bronski Beat’s 1984 hit was a heartfelt cry for liberation
September 29, 2019 | FT.com | Paul Gould.

Rejection and heartbreak are recurring staples of pop music, but every now and then a song turns the stuff of sadness into an irresistible dancefloor filler. One such song, mining an upbeat theme of liberation from a downbeat tale of homophobia, is Bronski Beat’s 1984 hit “Smalltown Boy”.
'80s  music  songs 
october 2019
Egg Glut Hurts Nation’s Top Producer - WSJ
By Micah Maidenberg and Kirk Maltais
Updated Sept. 30, 2019
eggs 
september 2019
The Best Obliques Workout For A Stronger & Better Looking Core (V-Cut Abs) - YouTube
*High to low wood-choppers.
*Bicycle crunch
*twisting leg raises or lying twisting leg raises.
abdominals  core_stability  exercise  fitness  howto  strength_training 
september 2019
Overlooked No More: Robert Johnson, Bluesman Whose Life Was a Riddle - The New York Times
Sept. 25, 2019

41
Overlooked is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.

By Reggie Ugwu
African-Americans  blues  music  musicians  obituaries 
september 2019
Companies should learn from history to avoid repeating mistakes of the past
September 27, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by HARVEY SCHACHTER.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. -George Santayana
*****************************************************************
BEST BUSINESS HISTORY BOOKS
If you want to improve your knowledge of business history, two good places to start might be Prof. Martin’s books, From Wall Street to Bay Street, the first overview of the Canadian financial system in half a century, co-written with Christopher Kobrak, and Relentless Change, the only case book for the study of Canadian business history. Beyond that, here’s three others he suggests you could benefit from:

* Northern Enterprise: Five Centuries of Business History by Michael Bliss;
* Historical Atlas of Canada, Volumes I to III with different editors;
* Madisson Database Project 2018 by The Groningen Growth and Development Centre, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
*****************************************************************

Joe Martin, a professor of Canadian business history and strategy at Rotman School of Management, is on a mission. He believes Canadians lack sufficient knowledge of history in general and business history in particular. But rather than seize upon Santayana’s famed quote about the value of history, he points to an anonymous businessman who said, “I study history so I can make my own mistakes.”.....We fail in business schools, where virtually no courses are offered (other than at Harvard Business School, which has included history programs since its founding in 1908 and now has about 20 historians affiliated to the school). And we fail in corporations, where new leaders think history begins with their ascension and the few histories produced on the organization tend to be heavily sanitized....Certain themes recur in business history, of course. Recessions are one. Some signs suggest we may be on the cusp of one now, but each time they hit many corporate leaders seem flabbergasted, as if nobody ever experienced this situation before....Then there’s boom-and-bust. In the dot-com heyday of the late 1990s, Prof. Martin notes in an interview, he was chairman of Angoss Software Corp. and watching his net worth go up $250,000 a week. It was glorious until it started going down $250,000 a week. It seemed new, but history is littered with equivalent situations. .....At the core of understanding the history of our economy should be the baseball diamond growth model developed at the Stern School at New York University. At home plate is government because an effective political system enables economic growth. First base is a sound financial system, to allow growth. At second base are enterprising entrepreneurs to build upon that. Third base is for sophisticated managers of large corporations......As for corporate histories, he prefers them done by historians, with full access to the material, including key players. ....“Learn from history so you don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. That’s critical,”
best_of  boom-to-bust  books  business_archives  business_history  Canada  Canadian  dotcom  Harvey_Schachter  history  Joe_Martin  lessons_learned  Michael_Bliss  quotes  recessions  Rotman 
september 2019
Grease the Groove — The Russian Military Secret to Strength Endurance
Mar 19, 2019 | Medium | John Fawkes.

The Grease the Groove program is completely different. This style of training breaks all of these rules. You lift light weights, you always stop before you get tired, and you train multiple times a day. Often you train more than 10 times a day.
Sound crazy? Sure. But it works. This style of training is popular with some of the world’s most elite trainers and military special operators.

How to Grease the Groove
Grease the Groove (GtG) training follows five principles:
1. It’s specific to a single movement. For example, you might do a grease-the-groove program focused on pull-ups.
2. The weights are light. Usually, you’re working with a resistance that’s light enough for you to do as many as 50 repetitions (although in this training you’ll stop short of that, because the point is not to train to the point of failure).
3. The total training volume is very high, often on the order of 5 to 20 sets per day, every day.
4. The sets are spread out across your day. You do one at a time and rest at least 15 to 30 minutes between sets. You don’t do several in quick succession, as you would in a normal workout.
5. Sets stop well short of the point of fatigue. Typically, for each set you’d do only 30 to 60 percent of the maximum number of repetitions you could do. So if you were doing a weight that you could lift 50 times, you might only do 15 repetitions in your set.

.......here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone else talk about: Grease the Groove isn’t just for resistance training. You can use it to build endurance with athletic movements too.
What do I mean by athletic movements? Throwing a baseball. Throwing a punch. Kicking a soccer ball. Dribbling basketballs.
calisthenics  endurance  strength_training 
september 2019
Opinion: Jimmy Carter at 95: No figs left to give
September 27, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by ELIZABETH RENZETTI.
'70s  aging  Elizabeth_Renzetti  Jimmy_Carter 
september 2019
Opinion | The Whistle-Blower’s Guide to Writing
Sept. 27, 2019 | The New York Times | By Jane Rosenzweig. Ms. Rosenzweig is the director of the Writing Center at Harvard.
active_voice  best_of  brevity  clarity  complaints  concision  focus  high-quality  howto  impeachment  intelligence_analysts  memoranda  persuasion  presentations  purpose  self-organization  topic_sentences  writing  whistleblowing 
september 2019
Whistle-Blower Is a C.I.A. Officer Who Was Detailed to the White House
Sept. 26, 2019 | The New York Times | By Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Julian E. Barnes.

Agents, officers and analysts from the military, intelligence and law enforcement communities routinely work at the White House. Often, they work on the National Security Council or help manage secure communications, like calls between the president and foreign leaders.

The C.I.A. officer did not work on the communications team that handles calls with foreign leaders, according to the people familiar with his identity. He learned about Mr. Trump’s conduct “in the course of official interagency business,” according to the complaint, which was dotted with footnotes about machinations in Kiev and reinforced with public comments by senior Ukrainian officials.

Officials regularly shared information to “inform policymaking and analysis,” the complaint said. The complaint raises the prospect that the whistle-blower was not detailed to the White House either during the events in question or when he learned about them......The call with Mr. Zelensky was originally thought to be a routine matter, the complaint said, and the White House did not restrict it, meaning a number of officials and note takers listened.

But the whistle-blower said that afterward, White House officials “intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call,” putting them in a highly classified system meant for discussing covert actions. One White House official called that an abuse because the transcript contained no classified material.

Notes and rough transcripts of White House calls are typically stored on a computer system that allows senior officials in different departments and agencies to access them, to better coordinate policy.

Some White House colleagues told the whistle-blower that they were concerned they had witnessed “the president abuse his office for personal gain,” according to the complaint.

His complaint went beyond the call. During his time at the White House, the whistle-blower became deeply unnerved about how he believed Mr. Trump was broadly seeking to pressure the Ukrainian government to conduct investigations that could benefit him politically.

“Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the president’s 2020 re-election bid,” the complaint said of Mr. Trump.

After the call, multiple officials told the whistle-blower that future talks between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky would depend on whether the Ukranians would “play ball” on the investigations he sought.

The whistle-blower, who lodged his concerns with the inspector general for the intelligence community, has identified at least a half-dozen government officials — including several who work for the White House — who he believes can substantiate his claims. The inspector general has interviewed some of them and found the whistle-blower’s claims credible.
Campaign_2020  CIA  Donald_Trump  impeachment  intelligence_analysts  Joe_Biden  policymaking  security_&_intelligence  Ukraine  whistleblowing  White_House 
september 2019
Top 6 Compound Exercises for Total Body MASS - YouTube
(1) Horizontal pushing
(2) Vertical pushing
(3) Horizontal Pulling
(4) Verticaal pulling
(5) Lower Body Pushing
(6) Lower body pulling
compound_movements  strength_training 
september 2019
KFC Spices Up the Colonel With Dating Game, Drawing Horror and Delight
Sept. 24, 2019 | WSJ | By Sarah E. Needleman.

KFC pitchman Colonel Sanders is joining the dating scene, in the latest example of how brands are trying to appeal to new generations of consumers.

The real Colonel Harland Sanders, known for sporting browline glasses, a black Western bow tie and snow-white hair, died in 1980 at age 90. The iconic persona of the 67-year-old fast-food chain has lived on in various forms, though, including in a series of ads since 2015 starring a rotating cast of celebrities.

More youthful and fit than ever, he now stars in a new videogame released Tuesday that invites players to try to win his heart.

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In “I Love You, Colonel Sanders! A Finger Lickin’ Good Dating Simulator,” made by New York and Los Angeles studio Psyop Inc., the Colonel is a lanky cartoon chef who could pass for a millennial hipster. Players answer a series of questions that determine their fate as they navigate a virtual kitchen in hopes of impressing him with their chicken-frying savvy.

The project targets fans of both anime and dating simulations, said Jarrod Higgins, creative director of KFC’s advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy. In April, KFC introduced a computer-generated, chiseled male model inspired by the poultry pitchman in a series of campy Instagram photos.

“We’ve definitely strayed from the original recipe here,” said Adriane Pontecorvo, a 29-year-old radio DJ in Bloomington, Ind., of the chef’s new, sexy persona. “I’m very into it.”

Others aren’t amused. Dianne Klein, who worked at a KFC restaurant in Fair Oaks, Calif., as a teenager in the 1970s, can’t stomach the notion of dating any version of the Colonel. The eatery, at the time, had a large, plastic statue of the elderly entrepreneur outside its doors that reminded her of Santa Claus, she said.

“Obviously this is not my demo they’re going after,” said Ms. Klein, chief of staff at the University of California’s investment arm.

The Colonel isn’t the only mascot to age in reverse. In 2012, Quaker Oats gave its venerable Quaker man “Larry” a shorter haircut and more exposed shoulders to look burlier, though not sexy. Procter & Gamble Co. ’s Mr. Clean and Georgia-Pacific’s Brawny man have also had makeovers to help those brands appeal to younger consumers.

Nailing down the right new look can be challenging. In the early 2000s, Leo Burnett executives spent months studying a refresh of Pillsbury Co.’s famous doughboy Poppin’ Fresh, said Cheryl Berman, former chairman and creative chief at the ad agency, a unit of Publicis Groupe SA . They considered giving the mascot a girlfriend, as well as making him larger and more agile, among other possibilities. Ultimately no changes were made to the decades-old pudgy brand ambassador, Ms. Berman said.

“Research said don’t touch him, so we freshened and evolved his stories, but not him,” said Ms. Berman, now head of Chicago creative firm Unbundled LLC.

The stakes are high. Many people weren’t lovin’ it when McDonald’s Co. gave Ronald McDonald a hip, urban look with cargo pants and a red jacket in 2014. Critics took to social media, calling the iconic clown “Ronald McDouche,” for example, while Esquire at the time said the new look resembled a “serial killer’s church outfit.”

Rolling out new versions of the Colonel is serious business for a chain that is trying to maintain sales growth, while battling competitors like Chick-fil-A Inc. and Restaurant Brands Inc.’s Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. In various ad campaigns over the years, the pitchman has been played by celebrities such as actors Reba McEntire and Ray Liotta.

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“Our strategy has been to find new, interesting and provocative ways to make the Colonel a part of pop culture,” said Andrea Zahumensky, marketing chief for KFC U.S., part of Yum Brands Inc., in a statement. “He’s always our north star.”

Using videogames and social media to reach consumers is a popular method for advertisers since more people, especially younger audiences, are watching less traditional television and aren’t exposed as much to TV commercials, said Allen Adamson, co-founder of Metaforce LLC, a New York marketing agency. But it isn’t a guaranteed recipe for success.

“There isn’t always a direct correlation between getting noticed and selling a product,” Mr. Adamson said. “The question remains, will they sell an extra bucket of chicken or not?”

Tyler LeBeau, a 31-year-old IT worker from Chicago who also wrestles and regularly plays videogames, said KFC’s new dating game isn’t appealing. “It doesn’t spark my fryer,” he said.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at sarah.needleman@wsj.com
KFC  videogames  restaurants  marketing 
september 2019
Arby’s Parent to Acquire Jimmy John’s
Sept. 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Heather Haddon.

BUSINESS
Arby’s Parent to Acquire Jimmy John’s
Inspire Brands adds to a stable of restaurants that also includes Sonic, Buffalo Wild Wings

Jimmy John’s had $2.15 billion in U.S. sales last year across 2,803 stores. PHOTO: JOHN LOCHER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
By Heather Haddon
Sept. 25, 2019 6:55 am ET
Inspire Brands Inc. is acquiring Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, the private-equity-backed firm’s latest addition to its stable of restaurant chains.

While competitors focus on either fast-food or casual restaurant formats, Inspire is betting that it can draw in more diners and generate higher sales by owning restaurants that span that spectrum. The company acquired the Sonic burger chain last year after merging Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings earlier in the year.

The acquisition of Jimmy John’s will make Inspire the fourth-largest U.S. restaurant company, with more than $14 billion in sales across 11,200 restaurants, according to Inspire. Both companies engaged in an equity-swap transaction for the deal, the exact financial terms of which weren’t disclosed. The transaction is expected to close next month.

Inspire Chief Executive Paul Brown has said he wants to acquire around 10 chains, each with about $4.5 billion in annual sales.

“I’m more confident in our approach to the business today than I was even when I started out on this path,” Mr. Brown said in an interview. He added that he is looking for chains with strong growth potential rather than specific cuisines to add to Inspire’s menu.

Jimmy John’s, based in Champaign, Ill., had $2.15 billion in U.S. sales last year across 2,803 stores, a roughly 50% increase in both sales and locations since 2013, according to market-research firm Technomic Inc.

Roark Capital Group, a private-equity firm that first took a majority stake in Jimmy John’s in 2016, is also the financial backer that created Inspire through the Arby’s and Buffalo Wild Wings merger last year. Jimmy John’s was valued at around $2.3 billion when Roark acquired a stake that included a minority share in the sandwich maker owned by private-equity firm Weston Presidio.

Jimmy John’s is facing competition from newer sandwich chains including Jersey Mike’s Subs, Firehouse Subs and Cousins Submarines Inc. Subway remains the dominant player in the market and has expanded delivery through outside companies. Jimmy John’s has stuck to its own fleet of delivery couriers. Mr. Brown said it was too early to say whether Inspire would open Jimmy John’s to third-party delivery companies.

Jimmy John Liautaud, who opened the chain while he was in college at Eastern Illinois University in 1983, will step down as board chairman and become an adviser to the brand, Inspire and Mr. Liautaud said. Jimmy John’s president, James North, will remain and report to Inspire.

In a letter sent Wednesday to suppliers and vendors, Mr. Liautaud said Inspire’s buying power and technology would make the company more efficient and profitable.

“I created, raised, and nurtured this company to the best of my ability and now it’s time for this brand to soar,” he wrote.

Outside of its holdings in Inspire, Atlanta-based Roark has a large food and restaurant portfolio, with investments in ice-cream maker Carvel, Auntie Anne’s pretzels and burger chain Carl’s Jr. Roark led Wingstop Inc. to a public offering in 2015 after owning a majority of the chain for five years.

Wingstop’s shares were up 36% this year as of Tuesday’s close, roughly in line with share gains this year for some other multibrand restaurant companies, including Yum Brands Inc. and Restaurants Brands International Inc.

Write to Heather Haddon at heather.haddon@wsj.com
brands  fast-food  M&A  mergers_&_acquisitions  restaurants 
september 2019
Tech groups push ‘chat commerce’ to western shoppers
SEPTEMBER 23 2019 | Financial Times | by Patrick McGee in San Francisco.

From wishing a friend happy birthday to contacting a colleague about a meeting, text messaging is central to much of 21st-century life, with one glaring exception: commerce....the potential for brands to engage with customers and sell goods using pithy, personalised messages is vast. On the Chinese app WeChat, 170m people browse for products — and pay for them — every day on more than 600,000 “mini-programs” within the app. They hail cabs, buy groceries, book doctor’s appointments and even get tourism recommendations through real-time crowdsourcing.

Now, after a series of failed starts, so-called conversational commerce may be set to gain traction in the west, as a host of tech companies attempt to follow WeChat’s lead.

In its new iOS 13 software update, Apple is prompting users on its iPhones who attempt to make a call to companies such as Burberry, Hilton and Verizon to “start a Business Chat instead, so you can interact with a business from a text instead of waiting on hold”.

Apple Business Chat, which was first announced in 2017, lets consumers communicate directly with brands within the Messages app — usually via sophisticated artificial intelligence chatbots — enabling them to ask questions about products and pay for them through Apple Pay, which is integrated into the platform......

‘There is no shortage of demand’

Proponents say the reason texting works in commerce is the simplicity and intimacy of the experience. Consider what happens when a flight is cancelled, causing 200 people to suddenly need to make new plans. Customer service is bombarded; passengers are left waiting on hold. Instead, an airline could let each person text their preferences, then put their phone away as an answer is worked on.

“The idea that [customer service] has to be this synchronous thing where you settle down for a 10-minute conversation on the phone is ridiculous,” said Charles Golvin, researcher at Gartner. “The actual aggregate amount of time you need might be 30 seconds.”.....Making customers feel they are engaging with an individualised service that responds quickly with helpful answers is critical. Instead of hiring a massive staff to respond to each and every query, companies are deploying AI to field customer questions using chatbots, though these can defer to human employees when necessary.

Into the west

So far, attempts to bring conversational commerce to the west have received a lot of hype but little traction. Three years ago, after Uber integrated ride-hailing into Facebook Messenger, product designer Chris Messina hailed 2016 as “the year of conversational commerce” — a prediction that never materialised.

“I don’t think ‘fail’ is too harsh — the uptake of commerce through messaging in the US has been dismal,” Mr Golvin said.

Nevertheless, momentum is beginning to pick up, with sales volume tripling in the past three years, led by in-app messaging within Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Brian Long, chief executive of Attentive, a Sequoia-backed start-up building text platforms for more than 400 brands ranging from Jack in the Box fast food to luxury apparel brand Coach, said it is becoming clear that email marketing does not work, especially among younger people.....Apple declined to say how many brands are participating on Business Chat, but a deal inked earlier this year enabled all 800,000 online merchants on Shopify to engage with customers over text and transact with Apple Pay.

Michael Perry, director of product for conversational offerings at Shopify, said brands using text to engage with customers are building trust that translates into higher spending habits.

“You’re more likely to pay a premium [for] a brand you like,” he said. “And messaging, more than any other medium, powers that.
Apple  brands  chat  chatbots  conversational_commerce  messaging  mobile_applications  Shopify  text_messages  WeChat 
september 2019
What’s Next for Company Chatbots - WSJ
By Sara Castellanos
Sept. 24, 2019 5:30 am ET
Early corporate adopters of chatbots, finding that the technology has saved them money, are working to improve them and exploring other areas where they could be put to use.

Chatbots use artificial-intelligence-based algorithms to understand and answer text or voice questions from customers and sometimes employees. Companies such as TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. , Ernst & Young LLP, Progressive Corp. and International Business Machines Corp. have rolled out chatbots in recent years and say they are seeing tangible benefits.

“It’s a key part of our strategy and we’ll continue to invest in it,” said Vijay Sankaran, chief information officer at brokerage firm TD Ameritrade.

Since it began offering text- and voice-based chatbots to clients in 2017, TD Ameritrade hasn’t needed to hire any new human agents, even though it has added many more clients, Mr. Sankaran said. Chatbots can answer basic questions about trade statuses and resetting passwords, while humans help with more complex problems related to taxes and beneficiaries.

Insurer Progressive offers text-based chatbots on Facebook Messenger and in apps; it plans to roll one out on its website later this year. Chatbots are expected to save the company about $5 million this year%
algorithms  artificial_intelligence  bots  chat  chatbots  complex_problems  conversational_commerce  IBM 
september 2019
8 Muscle Gaining Mistakes - Men Over 40 (FIXED!!) - YouTube
(1) Start with the Warm-up, get body ready to train. Get your heart rate up. Break a sweat.
(2) Focus on building strength. Do so responsibly. Controlled strength is the focus. Commend the weight that you use. Pause reps for bench press and squats. Progressively overloading.
(3) Train the mind-muscle connection. Pursuit of the quality of each repetition. Introduction of joint stability and muscular control.. Now feed more into controlled strength.
(4) How to string quality reps into quality sets and a quality workout? Introduce metabolic training. Lighter weights on exercises and going for the burn (metabolic stress). Get THROUGH the burn.
(5) Train like an athlete. Be scientific, be purposeful. Doing athletic things. E.g. Jumping. Don't be one dimensional.
(6) Boring corrective exercises. Face-pulls.
(7) What type of cardio? Do sparing cardio. Battle ropes, sled push, Farmers carry,
(8) Nutrition and supplementation. Our metabolism changes. Reliance on consistent, high quality nutrition. Be on point with your nutrition. Focus on increasing consistency of diet.
aging  AthleanX  cardiovascular  diets  metabolism  midlife  mistakes  nutrition  power_of_the_pause  strength_training 
september 2019
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