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jerryking : craftsmanship   26

Toni Morrison Taught Me How to Think
Aug. 7, 2019 | The New York Times | By Wesley Morris.

You need to be able to read to be able to read. Especially if Toni Morrison did the writing. [because Toni Morrison's writings demanded much of the reader as her evocative words painted a rich context and vivid imagery.......She was going to make us [you, the reader] work, not as a task, not for medicine, but because writing is an art and a reader should have a little art of his own.....Reading a Toni Morrison novel was group therapy. My aunts, my mother and her friends would tackle “Beloved” in sections then get on the phone to run things by one another......They admired the stew of a Morrison novel, the elegant density of its language — the tapestry of a hundred-word sentence, the finger snap of a lone word followed by a period, the staggering depictions of lust, death, hair care, lost limbs, baking and ghosts. Morrison made her audiences conversant in her — the metaphors of trauma, the melodramas of psychology. She made them hungry for more stew: ornate, disobedient, eerie literary inventions about black women, often with nary a white person of any significance in sight. The women in my family were reading a black woman imagining black women, their wants, their warts, how the omnipresence of this country’s history can make itself known on any old Thursday.....A life spent savoring Toni Morrison, both as a novelist and a scalding, scaldingly moral literary critic, makes clear that almost no one has better opening sentences......This is all to say that Toni Morrison didn’t teach me how to read. But she did teach me how to read. Hers is the kind of writing that makes you rewind and slow down and ruminate. It’s the kind of writing that makes you rewind because, god, what you just read was that titanic, that perception-altering, that true, a spice on the tongue. .......Morrison is dead now, her legend long secure. But what comedy to think how the writers and critics who loved her labored to get her mastery treated as majesty when she’s so evidently supreme. .....She did for generations of writers what Martin Scorsese did for generations of filmmakers — jolt them, for better and worse, into purpose. Morrison didn’t make me a writer, exactly. What she made me was a thinker. She made the thinking seem uniquely crucial to the matter of being alive......I have now by my bed is some novel by Toni Morrison, whether or not I’m reading it. A night light for my soul. And, in every way, a Good Book.
African-Americans  authors  books  craftsmanship  critical_thinking  howto  novelists  novels  obituaries  purpose  reading  Slow_Movement  soul-enriching  Toni_Morrison  tributes  women  writers  writing 
august 2019 by jerryking
How non-engineer Stewart Butterfield reached top of Silicon Valley
JUNE 21, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters in San Francisco.

Silicon Valley loves its engineer-founders. They are members of the region’s highest caste, the entrepreneurs trusted to turn bits and bytes into the next hit digital products, and the people venture capitalists most like to back.

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive of the workplace chat app Slack, is not one of them. He stands out as a philosophy major in a start-up world full of software engineers, a non-techie who has made it to the top of the tech heap......Slack’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange this week has cemented his reputation as one of the Valley’s most creative product designers — and values his own stake in the company at $1.6bn.

“He is your quintessential, product-oriented founder-leader,” ......In a nod to an unconventional streak in Mr Butterfield’s personality that separates him from the herd, Mr Levie adds: “He has just the right level of quirkiness.”.....Butterfield got a philosophy degree at the University of Victoria, followed by a master of philosophy at Cambridge, before being bitten by the internet bug at the end of the 1990s and moving to Silicon Valley........Pressed on how he can withstand the Microsoft onslaught, Mr Butterfield defaults to the quiet, analytical self-assurance. “There has been a long history of the small, focused start-up taking on the large incumbent with multiple lines of business and being successful” — starting, he added, with a small and scrappy Microsoft itself taking on the giant IBM.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  CEOs  chat  craftsmanship  engineering  Flickr  founders  Gulliver_strategies  IBM  Microsoft  mobile_applications  product_design  product-orientated  quirky  Richard_Waters  Silicon_Valley  Slack  start_ups  Stewart_Butterfield  workplaces 
june 2019 by jerryking
Craft-Beer Company Taps Streaming Service for Growth - WSJ
By Benjamin Mullin
Aug. 27, 2018

BrewDog, a Scottish beer company, is offering a streaming service featuring more than 100 hours of video centered on drinking culture, the latest effort by a brand to launch its own media venture.

“The BrewDog Network,” available on smartphone apps and online, costs $4.99 a month. Breaking through in a crowded subscription-video market won’t be easy.......The BrewDog Network will carry a mix of licensed and original content where drinking is an element, from food shows to travel series such as “Four Sheets,” hosted by bon vivant Zane Lamprey. “The BrewDog Show,” featuring the company’s founders, will also be available at launch.
liquor  trends  breweries  beers  craftsmanship  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  product_launches  streaming  digital_media  subscriptions 
august 2018 by jerryking
Why Small Businesses Are Starting to Win Again - The New Yorker
JANUARY 24, 2015
Small Is Bountiful
BY TIM WU

Farmers who sell, say, organic or free-range foods, cannot hope to compete based on price. Instead, they try to create consumers who won’t eat chicken produced by big companies for moral, health, or aesthetic reasons...The true-differentiation strategy seems to work best when scale, despite its efficiencies, also introduces blind spots in areas such as customer service, flavor, curation, or other intangibles not entirely consistent with mass production and standardization. Where getting big begins to hurt the product, small can be bountiful.

=====================================
it is a two-part problem. No. 1, the consumer and competitive marketplace is definitely shifting. For example, quality has evolved beyond just good ingredients, preparation and packaging. Basic quality is a given now; many consumers are looking for something extra: less mass-produced, natural, local.

No. 2, iconic food companies and their mature brands are not responding effectively. Large, established food companies and their brands are being managed as portfolios of revenue and profit streams with a short-term financial orientation, and not as companies that produce food products. Small companies, on the other hand, are being created and managed by people with a food orientation and passion.
small_business  size  scaling  Tim_Wu  Peter_Drucker  portfolio_management  Gulliver_strategies  differentiation  trends  breweries  beers  craftsmanship  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  revenge_effects  blind_spots  personal_values  market_segmentation  mass_production  decreasing_returns_to_scale  aesthetics  eco-friendly  creating_demand  food  foodies  gourmet  large_companies 
january 2015 by jerryking
Two ‘fired guys’ poured ambition into Steam Whistle - The Globe and Mail
Oct. 03 2013 | The Globe and Mail | WALLACE IMMEN.

Steam Whistle is a case study for entrepreneurs trying to carve a niche in a competitive industry, says Eric Morse, associate dean of the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business, who oversees the school’s Quantum Shift program for entrepreneurs.

“They figured out what they wanted to be good at early on, and that’s not always an easy thing to do,” Dr. Morse says. “Entrepreneurs are often throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall to see what sticks.”

“Don’t vary until proven necessary,” is another lesson this emphasizes, he says.

It actually takes more focus and dedication to stay successful once you have initial success,
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  beers  brewers  craftsmanship  dedication  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  focus  Ivey  partnerships  Steam_Whistle  variations  Wallace_Immen 
october 2013 by jerryking
Craft Beer’s Larger Aspirations Cause a Stir - NYTimes.com
By CLAY RISEN
Published: March 4, 2013

Several new, high-profile breweries are putting their product only in so-called large-format bottles. Dogfish Head Brewery, one of the bigger, better-known craft breweries in the country, will soon dedicate one of its two bottle-filling lines just to the 750-milliliter format.

The trend toward large bottles is part of what is being called the “wine-ification” of beer, the push by many brewers to make their product as respectable to pair with braised short ribs as is a nice Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and at a price to match. Bottles sell for as much as $30 in stores and much more on restaurant menus.

But they are getting a chilly reception from many drinkers. Internet message boards dedicated to craft beer are replete with complaints that large bottlesare too expensive and, thanks to their typically higher alcohol content, a challenge to finish in one sitting. Unlike wine, a beer is nearly impossible to recork.
liquor  trends  breweries  beers  craftsmanship  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts 
march 2013 by jerryking
For ‘House of Cards,’ Using Big Data to Guarantee Its Popularity - NYTimes.com
February 24, 2013 | NYT | By DAVID CARR

Rick Smolan wrote “The Human Face of Big Data.” “
Netflix, which has 27 million subscribers in the nation and 33 million worldwide, ran the numbers. It already knew that a healthy share had streamed the work of Mr. Fincher, the director of “The Social Network,” from beginning to end. And films featuring Mr. Spacey had always done well, as had the British version of “House of Cards.” With those three circles of interest, Netflix was able to find a Venn diagram intersection that suggested that buying the series would be a very good bet on original programming.

Big bets are now being informed by Big Data, and no one knows more about audiences than Netflix....But there are contrarian opinions, "“Data can only tell you what people have liked before, not what they don’t know they are going to like in the future,” he said. “A good high-end programmer’s job is to find the white spaces in our collective psyche that aren’t filled by an existing television show,” adding, those choices were made “in a black box that data can never penetrate.” "...The rise of the quants has some worried about the impact on quality and diversity of programming. Writing in Salon, Andrew Leonard wonders “how a reliance on Big Data might funnel craftsmanship in particular directions. What happens when directors approach the editing room armed with the knowledge that a certain subset of subscribers are opposed to jump cuts or get off on gruesome torture scenes” or are just interested in sexual romps?

Netflix insists that actual creative decisions will remain in the hands of the creators. “We don’t get super-involved on the creative side,” Mr. Evers said. “We hire the right people and give the freedom and budget to do good work.” That means that when Seth Rogen and Kristen Wiig are announced as special guests on coming episodes of “Arrested Development,” it is not because a statistical analysis told Netflix to do so.

But there are potential conflicts. Given that Netflix is in the business of recommending shows or movies, might its algorithms tilt in favor of the work it commissions as it goes deeper into original programming? It brings to mind how Google got crossed up when it began developing more products, and those began showing up in searches.

And there are concerns that the same thing that makes Netflix so valuable — it knows everything about us — could create problems if it is not careful with our data and our privacy.
David_Carr  Netflix  data_driven  massive_data_sets  streaming  data  television  digital_humanities  Asha_Isaacs  quantitative  big_bets  white_spaces  original_programming  human_psyche  craftsmanship  Venn_diagrams  content_creators  algorithms  biases  the_right_people 
february 2013 by jerryking
For Martha Stewart’s New Fans, Tattoos Meet Appliqué - NYTimes.com
November 24, 2012 | NYT | By CHRISTINE HAUGHNEY.

Ms. Stewart’s company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, has faced some difficult blows lately — substantial financial losses, and layoffs and cutbacks at its magazines and television programs. But Ms. Stewart, the 71-year-old founder, has emerged as something of a patron saint for entrepreneurial hipsters, 20- and 30-somethings who, in a post-recessionary world, have begun their own pickling, cupcake and letterpress businesses and are selling crafty goods online.... In and around the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, Martha Stewart has spawned meet-up groups for people who want to work on crafting, blog items about her sighting at the Brooklyn Bowl rock club, sales of her books at the Brooklyn Kitchen cook shop and decorative displays in the shop window of Urban Rustic, a market and cafe.

Beyond Williamsburg, Ms. Stewart has drawn crafting and baking fans from Saratoga Springs to San Francisco who have made MarthaStewart.com the most-shared site among its rivals on the social site Pinterest, according to Pinfluencer.

While some Martha Stewart fans abandoned their magazine subscriptions and Ms. Stewart’s high-thread-count sheets after she went to prison over her 2004 conviction for lying to federal investigators about a stock sale, this new generation of fans say her prison time only gives her more street credibility.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  New_York_City  Brooklyn  Martha_Stewart  entrepreneurship  entrepreneur  craftsmanship 
november 2012 by jerryking
Book Review: Mahogany - WSJ.com
October 19, 2012, 2:44 p.m. ET

The Wood That Could
Mahogany furniture commissioned by the rich and fashionable of the American colonies has been prized for 250 years.

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By KIRK DAVIS SWINEHART
furniture  book_reviews  lumber  timber  craftsmanship  wood_products 
october 2012 by jerryking
How to become a plutocrat
Sept. 27 2012 | - The Globe and Mail | Chrystia Freeland.

Providing services to the plutocrats is one way to join them. But an even more powerful driver of 21st-century superstar economics is the way that globalization and technology have allowed some top-tier types to achieve global scale and earn the commensurate global fortunes. This is the effect that Sherwin Rosen, who invented the theory of the economics of superstars back in 1981, was most interested in, and it is both the most visible and the easiest to understand. These superstars are the direct beneficiaries of the twin gilded ages.
Chrystia_Freeland  high_net_worth  globalization  moguls  bespoke  luxury  craftsmanship  winner-take-all  plutocrats  superstars  increasing_returns_to_scale  21st._century  top-tier 
september 2012 by jerryking
Ways to make excellence pay
October 17, 2007 | FT | By Alicia Clegg.

Bruce Hodgson, founder of Artichoke, a company that designs and makes bespoke fitted furniture for the very rich, has little ambition to be the biggest brand in his sector – but he would like to be the best. The same can be said of perfumer Linda Pilkington, creator of Ormonde Jayne, and Sean Dixon and Richard James, co-founders of Richard James, a Savile Row tailoring business whose turnover (something in “excess of £7m [$14.2m, €10m]”) is less stellar than its reputation and celebrity-gilded client base might suggest.

Serving the super-wealthy has never been the preserve of brands with super-sized sales. Quite the reverse. What the super-rich long for are not luxury labels but one-off, superbly crafted goods. Serving such customers allows talented artisans to work at the pinnacle of their craft. With this opportunity, however, comes a challenge: finding a business model that rewards exceptional skill.....The business model emboldening Mr Hodgson to raise his commercial sights grew from a partnership, in 1998, with the late David Telling, founder of the entrepreneurial business services company Mitie Group. Invited to pitch for a contract to make a boardroom table, Mr Hodgson produced a quote that Mr Telling dismissed as "too expensive". Something must have impressed him, however, as he personally invested £70,000 in Artichoke, donated land for a bigger workshop and became chairman.

Under Mr Telling'sstringent tutelage, Mr Hodgson swapped hand-to-mouth bookkeeping for management accounting. Artichoke learnt to break down the cost of complex projects and value work in pro-gress to a far higher degree of accuracy than most artisan businesses. Once certain of the numbers, Mr Hodgson developed a "contractually rigid approach" to payment. This gave him the confidence to tackle complicated proj-ects, in which deviations from the customer's original specifications can leave small contractors facing big losses.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  bespoke  brands  business_models  craftsmanship  furniture  high_net_worth  Savile_Row  mens'_clothing  fragrances  luxury  management_accounting  hand-to-mouth  one-of-a-kind  professionalization 
may 2012 by jerryking
Finding New Life (and Profit) in Doomed Trees - NYTimes.com
Aug. 7, 2010 | NYT | By LAWRENCE W. CHEEK. Seth Meyer and
John Wells harvest local urban trees doomed by development, disease or
storm damage, and turn them into custom furniture, each piece a distinct
botanical narrative. Their business, started 4 yrs. ago, bears all the
markers that would seem to point toward collapse and extinction in a
recessionary economy: founded on idealism and emotion & riddled with
huge and unavoidable inefficiencies. And it tenders a high-end product
that asks buyers to take risks and have faith. Yet the company, Meyer
Wells, has thrived. It’s been profitable from the start with rev.
growing annually; $850 K last yr. and tracking to top $1 M this yr.
There are now 9 employees, and the furniture commissions have blown well
beyond suburban kitchens to high-visibility clients (e.g. Starbucks,
the Univ. of Washington). ...Green bus. fail for the same reasons others
do: racing too far ahead of the mkt. or failing to control costs.
bespoke  furniture  green  small_business  authenticity  sustainability  lumber  timber  craftsmanship  design  wood_products 
august 2010 by jerryking
Bottega Veneta’s Handcrafted Empire | Departures
September 2009 issue
Bottega Veneta’s Handcrafted Empire
The creation of a Bottega mirror begins as one group of artisans weaves
the intrecciato leather pattern; another crafts the wooden frame by
hand.

Courtesy Bottega Veneta
Bottega Veneta famously calls itself the brand to buy “when your own
initials are enough.” But Italian artisans have their names on every
piece.

By Stellene Volandes
craftsmanship  bespoke  luxury  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  Italian  handmade 
january 2010 by jerryking
Top entrepreneurs talk about how to keep your customers, and find opportunities, in tough economic times
MAY 11, 2009 | Wall Street Journal | 5-person panel discussion
moderated by Gwendolyn Bounds. Wendy questions the group of
entrepreneurs under the theme "What’s the secret of being an
entrepreneur in these hard economic times?"....trying to stand out from the crowd. I think the best one we did, which we launched when it was about six degrees outside, was a marketing campaign that says, what this town could really use right now is a good bowl of chicken soup.

Chicken soup is one of the great comfort foods in every single culture, and we think that we need to be selling comfort right now. And chicken soup also is a way to define the restaurant. .....people are always looking for joy. They’re always looking to be connected. They’re always looking to feel generous. So Danny’s insight, which is so brilliant, is for the cost of a bowl of chicken soup, you get to feel generous. You get to feel connected. You get to feel part of the community. That story is easy to tell because we all have a memory of chicken soup growing up.......Marketing is not this blank check that lets you sell whatever you want. The challenge that we’re facing, as we enter this serious recession, is not how do we stop doing everything. It’s how do we create experiences and stories, interactions, that don’t necessarily cost a lot of money, but create value for everyone concerned.......I think that for an entrepreneur who is interested and passionate about creating something in the technology space, whether it’s a device or a service or a platform, this is an extraordinary time, because there’s an enormous lull in the Fortune 1000 with respect to innovation and new ideation. ........on the equity side, where they don’t have these types of opportunities, we look for innovative companies that actually create a disruption. The simple thing is, if you can offer the environment where we can lower your costs and improve quality, it’s a no-brainer.

But in general, we have to make certain that these entrepreneurs really know the industry, they know the customers, they know the competition and most importantly, they know thyself, they know what they can and cannot do.

So it’s interesting when you play across the capital structure, how you bifurcate this, and I think it all has to do with innovation and creating something that doesn’t exist, that fits a pent-up need.
disruption  self-awareness  Gwendolyn_Bounds  Seth_Godin  Danny_Meyer  entrepreneur  economic_downturn  hard_times  attention  innovation  ideation  ideas  underwriting  geographic_ingredient_branding  Buy_American  craftsmanship  soups  marketing  storytelling  lingerie  intimate_apparel  idea_generation  emotional_connections  small_batch  generosity  joy 
may 2009 by jerryking
The Art of Doing Something Well - WSJ.com
March 27, 2008 book review by By BRIAN C. ANDERSON of
The Craftsman By Richard Sennett, which explores the universe of skilled
work, where "the desire to do a job well for its own sake" still
flourishes.
book_reviews  craftsmanship  bespoke 
january 2009 by jerryking

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