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jerryking : uniqueness   13

Private Libraries That Inspire
April 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Katy McLaughlin.

Difficult to build and maintain, these elaborate spaces contain the passions and obsessions of their owners. Libraries That Inspire -- These spectacular rooms house the owners’ collections of books, antiques, art and ephemera representing their unique, life-long passions and interests.

Forget the Dewey Decimal System: Entrepreneur and inventor Jay Walker’s 25,000 books, manuscripts, artifacts and objects are organized in his personal 3,600-square-foot library “randomly, by color and height,” he said. When he walks into his library, part of his Ridgefield, Conn., home, the room automatically “wakes up,” glowing with theatrical lighting, music and LED-lit glass panels lining various walkways. He finds items to peruse by a system of memory, chance, and inspiration, he said.

The Walker Library of the History of the Human Imagination is a dramatic example of the rarest of residential amenities: A vast, personal, custom-built repository of intellectual stimuli. In the age of the e-reader, it is a status symbol on par with wearing a Patek Philippe watch when the cellphone already tells the time. For wealthy homeowners, personal libraries provide both a quiet refuge from the world and a playground for their minds—as well as a solution to the challenge of warehousing books from which they cannot bear to part......To create enough shelf space and to counteract the visual heaviness of walls lined with books, private libraries may aim for two or more open stories......The private library is a classic example of a highly personal amenity that is expensive for the builder of a dream home to create and hard to recoup upon resale. .......the library has stimulated new ideas that have translated into an array of inventions and helped him make many new friends.

For some private library owners, especially those who aspire to world-class book collections, the serious expenditure isn’t in the physical structure, but in the contents. “It is not uncommon for collectors at this level to be spending in excess of $1 million a year” on books ......
antiques  antiquities  art  bespoke  books  collectibles  collectors  curation  design  high_net_worth  ideas  inspiration  insurance  Katy_McLaughlin  life_long_learning  personal_libraries  physical_place  owners  passions  shelf_space  status_symbols  uniqueness 
april 2019 by jerryking
In the fashion industry, McShopping has gone global - The Globe and Mail
KONRAD YAKABUSKI
PUBLISHED AUGUST 7, 2017

invaded by the same global chains that have made the shopping streets of the world's great cities all start to look the same. In the main shopping districts of Paris, Madrid, London or Toronto, the invasion of the same global chains (e.g. Zara, H&M, Primark & Uniqlo) that have made the shopping streets of the world's great cities all start to look the same. It's destroying the visual identities of cities once visited for their unique charm.

The cheap-chic revolution has brought affordable fashion to the masses and, thanks to better monitoring of offshore factories, provided millions of decent jobs in developing countries. It also has its downsides. Massive amounts of "disposable" clothing end up in landfills each year. When clothes are this cheap, we don't think twice about chucking what we bought last month for something even trendier. Instead of four fashion seasons, we now have at least 12...... department stores are a dying breed. Those that survive will likely only do so by going global.
Konrad_Yakabuski  fast-fashion  fashion  apparel  retailers  department_stores  brands  globalization  concentration  identity  Uniqlo  H&M  HBC  Zara  Paris  Madrid  London  Toronto  disposability  Primark  uniqueness  J.Crew 
january 2018 by jerryking
The path to enlightenment and profit starts inside the office
(Feb. 2, 2016): The Financial Times | John Thornhill.

Competition used to be easy. That is in theory, if not always in practice. Until recently, most competent companies had a clear idea of who their rivals were, how to compete and on what field to fight.

One of the starkest - and scariest - declarations of competitive intent came from Komatsu, the Japanese construction equipment manufacturer, in the 1970s. As employees trooped into work they would walk over doormats exhorting: "Kill Caterpillar!". Companies benchmarked their operations and market share against their competitors to see where they stood.

But that strategic clarity has blurred in so many industries today to the point of near-invisibility thanks to the digital revolution and globalisation. Flying blind, companies seem happier to cut costs and buy back their shares than to invest purposefully for the future. Take the European telecommunications sector. Not long ago most telecoms companies were national monopolies with little, or no, competition. Today, it is hard to predict where the next threat is going to erupt.

WhatsApp, the California-based messaging service, was founded in 2009 and only registered in most companies' consciousness when it was acquired by Facebook for more than $19bn in 2014. Yet in its short life WhatsApp has taken huge bites out of the lucrative text messaging markets. Today, WhatsApp has close to 1bn users sending 30bn messages a day. The global SMS text messaging market is just 20bn a day.

Car manufacturers are rapidly wising up to the threat posed by new generation tech firms, such as Tesla, Google and Uber, all intent on developing "apps on wheels". Chinese and Indian companies, little heard of a few years ago, are bouncing out of their own markets to emerge as bold global competitors.

As the driving force of capitalism , competition gives companies a purpose, a mission and a sense of direction. But how can companies compete in such a shape-shifting environment? There are perhaps two (partial) answers.

The first is to do everything to understand the technological changes that are transforming the world, to identify the threats and opportunities early.

Gavin Patterson , chief executive of BT, the British telecoms group, says one of the functions of corporate leaders is to scan the horizon as never before. "As a CEO you have to be on the bridge looking outwards, looking for signs that something is happening, trying to anticipate it before it becomes a danger."

To that end, BT has opened innovation "scouting teams" in Silicon Valley and Israel, and tech partnerships with universities in China, the US, Abu Dhabi, India and the UK.

But even if you foresee the danger, it does not mean you can deal with it. After all, Kodak invented the first digital camera but failed to exploit the technology. The incentive structures of many companies are to minimise risk rather than maximise opportunity. Innovation is often a young company's game.

The second answer is that companies must look as intensively inwards as they do outwards (e.g. opposing actions). Well-managed companies enjoy many advantages: strong brands, masses of consumer data, valuable historic data sets, networks of smart people and easy access to capital. But what is often lacking is the ambition that marks out the new tech companies, their ability to innovate rapidly and their extraordinary connection with consumers. In that sense, the main competition of so many established companies lies within their own organisations.

Larry Page, co-founder of Google, constantly urges his employees to keep being radical. In his Founders' Letter of 2013, he warned that companies tend to grow comfortable doing what they have always done and only ever make incremental change. "This . . . leads to irrelevance over time," he wrote.

Google operates a 70/20/10 rule where employees are encouraged to spend 70 per cent of their time on their core business, 20 per cent on working with another team and 10 per cent on moonshots. How many traditional companies focus so much on radical ventures?

Vishal Sikka, chief executive of the Indian IT group Infosys, says that internal constraints can often be far more damaging than external threats. "The traditional definition of competition is irrelevant. We are increasingly competing against ourselves," he says.

Quoting Siddhartha by the German writer Hermann Hesse, Mr Sikka argues that companies remain the masters of their own salvation whatever the market pressures: "Knowledge can be communicated. Wisdom cannot." He adds: "Every company has to find its own unique wisdom." [This wisdom reference is reminiscent of Paul Graham's advice to do things that don't scale].

john.thornhill@ft.com
ambitions  brands  breakthroughs  BT  bureaucracies  competition  complacency  constraints  Fortune_500  incentives  incrementalism  Infosys  innovation  introspection  irrelevance  large_companies  LBMA  messaging  mission-driven  Mondelez  moonshots  opposing_actions  organizational_culture  outward_looking  Paul_Graham  peripheral_vision  radical  risk-avoidance  scouting  smart_people  start_ups  staying_hungry  tacit_knowledge  technological_change  threats  uniqueness  unscalability  weaknesses  WhatsApp  wisdom  digital_cameras  digital_revolution  historical_data 
april 2016 by jerryking
Brands Get Creative with Holiday Pop Up Stores - CMO Today - WSJ
December 3, 2014 | WSJ | By NATHALIE TADENA.

SC Johnson’s Glade, the maker of air fresheners and home scents, is using its first-ever pop-up boutique in New York City’s Meatpacking District to “sell feelings” that are inspired by the brand’s fragrances. Visitors to the pop-up, which opened last month and runs through Dec. 23, can lounge in one of five interactive areas that are designed to embody feelings associated with Glade scents – the red honeysuckle nectar-scent inspired “Energized” room, for example, features an Oculus Rift virtual thrill ride. There’s also a “Scent Lab,” decorated with a mosaic wall made up of 1,500 scented candles, for visitors to sample scents up close.

“We’re continuing to transform Glade into a lifestyle brand, in part by appealing to a new generation of Glade customers with memorable experiences like the Glade Boutique and unexpected partnerships,” said Kelly Semrau, SC Johnson Senior Vice President Global Corporate Affairs.

Pop-up shops give brands that may not have its own year-round storefront the physical space to “really do something extraordinary and breakthrough,” noted Dan Katz-Golden, strategy director at branding firm Siegel+Gale. Many marketers are turning to pop-up shops for brand-building purposes rather than to boost sales, giving brands the luxury to create a unique in-store experience without having to worry so much about the nuts and bolts of selling products, he said.
pop-ups  brands  Christmas  retailers  customer_experience  kiosks  uniqueness  lifestyles  in-store  breakthroughs 
december 2014 by jerryking
Unique aspects of private equity
February 13,2006 | Pensions Week |

Investing in private assets such as private equity often involves a number of unique considerations that investors do not face with traditional investments like stocks, bonds and cash. These include: 1. inability to trade easily in and out of the investments,2. uncertain capital calls. 3 uncertain distributions, and 4. uncertain valuations. How do these unique aspects of investing in private assets affect an investment portfolio? Each of the issues outlined above represents a unique source of uncertainty for investors: uncertainty about cash inflows and outflows, valuations. and about the portfolio weightings they might hold at any time in these and other asset classes. These sources of uncertainty, therefore, are similar in character to one of the standard buildmg blocks of portfolio construction: risk
private_equity  uncertainty  valuations  illiquidity  risks  asset_classes  uniqueness 
august 2012 by jerryking
Finding Info on a Unique Business - WSJ.com
June 6, 2006 | WSJ | Kelly Spors. When the Business You Want To Buy Is Hard to Find.

Many business buyers now search for acquisition opportunities online, but it does little good when seeking a rather unique business....Telephone everyone you can, mention the type of business you're seeking and ask whom they know who might be looking to sell. Even if they can't think of anyone, they may put you in touch with someone who can.
Kelly_K._Spors  buying_a_business  due_diligence  market_research  one-of-a-kind  uniqueness  hard_to_find 
may 2012 by jerryking
"Auditioning for Money": What Do Technology Investors Look For?
Spring 2003| The Journal of Private Equity | Colin M. Mason and Richard T. Harrison.

* What does the company do?
* How big is the market?
* Who are the customers? (a) Existing customers; (b) target customers;(c) what constitutes an ideal customer? (d) Who actually writes the cheque?
* What is the competition?
* What is the company's technical edge over the competition (the USP)?
* How is the product/service a solution to the needs of potential customers?
* What is the route to market?
pitches  Communicating_&_Connecting  presentations  auditions  angels  venture_capital  vc  private_equity  criteria  uniqueness  competitive_advantage  start_ups  questions  screening 
march 2012 by jerryking
Viterra another example of Canadian short-sightedness - The Globe and Mail
ERIC REGULY | Columnist profile | E-mail
ROME— From Saturday's Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Mar. 23, 2012

The point is that Viterra is irreplaceable, certainly within our lifetime. Glencore is nabbing 63 grain elevators and seven port terminals in Canada that could not magically be built overnight should another group of investors decide to clone Viterra.

This industry has massive barriers to entry and that’s why Glencore, led by the ever-savvy Ivan Glasenberg, pounced. For him, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity (and pocket change compared to Glencore’s $45-billion market value). If he didn’t nail Viterra, he knew it would have disappeared into the maw of Archer-Daniel-Midlands, Cargill, Bunge, Louis Dreyfus or any of the other agribusiness heavyweights who know that food isn’t going out of style and that feeding another 2 billion people by 2050 just might translate into compelling growth story....If there is one industry that had a bright future, it was global agriculture and Canada had all the components: Land, water, fertilizer, technology, schools, expertise, infrastructure, agri-business companies. What it lacked was ambition.

Viterra could have been the foundation of a Canadian Glencore or Cargill. Now it’s a piece of someone else’s global vision.
Eric_Reguly  agriculture  agribusiness  barriers_to_entry  Viterra  M&A  mergers_&_acquisitions  farming  sellout_culture  short-sightedness  one-of-a-kind  Glencore  ADM  Cargill  Bunge  Louis_Dreyfus  vision  ambitions  uniqueness 
march 2012 by jerryking
Far Offshore, a Rash of Close Calls - WSJ.com
DECEMBER 8, 2010 | WSJ | By RUSSELL GOLD And BEN CASSELMAN.
The oil industry has said the Deepwater Horizon rig catastrophe was a
unique event, the result of an unprecedented series of missteps that are
unlikely to be repeated. The recent history of offshore drilling
suggests otherwise.

In the months before and after the rig exploded and sank, killing 11 and
spilling millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the
industry was hit with several serious spills and alarming near-misses,
some of them strikingly similar to what happened aboard the Deepwater
Horizon.
catastrophes  missteps  offshore_drilling  oil_industry  oil_spills  safety  near-misses  environmental_disasters  Deepwater_Horizon  uniqueness 
december 2010 by jerryking
American Dream is Changing | Nye - Gateway to Nevada's Rurals
Oct. 31, 2010 | Nye Gateway | by Fareed Zakaria. What can
you do to make yourself thrive in this new global economy? (1) Be
unique. Try to do something that is a specialized craft or art,
something that is as much art as craft, something that feels more like
artisanship than routine work, things that are custom & custom-made
still survive. (2) Go local. Do something that can’t be outsourced,
jobs involving personal face-to-face contact will never go to India. (3)
Be indispensable. Can everyone become indispensable? Well, no, but if
you learn a difficult craft and are good at it, if you can collaborate
well, synthesize well, put things together, work with others and work
well across countries and cultures, you will have a leg-up. (4) Learn a
foreign language (e.g. Spanish or Mandarin or Hindi). (5) Excel at
mathematics, able to manipulate data, algorithms, symbols, graphs,
balance sheets and all of these skills are the essential skills for a
knowledge-based economy.
Fareed_Zakaria  21st._century  ksfs  indispensable  specialization  local  languages  mathematics  organizing_data  advice  new_graduates  artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  bespoke  quantitative  global_economy  digital_economy  knowledge_economy  the_American_dream  in-person  face2face  uniqueness 
october 2010 by jerryking
The Ultimate Start-Up Challenge? Hyper Growth - WSJ.com
MARCH 10, 2010 | Wall street Journal | By TERI EVANS. Fast
growth is often an entrepreneur's dream, but it can come with
repercussions, including customer-service snafus and staffing chaos. If
not managed well, it can also wreck a company culture, which can put a
young company in "serious danger," according to Rob Wolcott, a professor
of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Kellogg School of Management.

"In many ways, culture is the one thing that gives you long-term
competitive advantage because it's something that is very difficult to
copy," .[perhaps see Paul Graham on doing things that don't scale] Mr. Wolcott says. "When growth becomes too hot to handle, so to speak, then everyone starts focusing on the urgent and sometimes misses the important."
growth  start_ups  challenges  size  scaling  organizational_culture  revenge_effects  competitive_advantage  uniqueness  customer_service  repercussions  staffing  chaos  high-growth  unscalability 
march 2010 by jerryking
Balancing growth, uniqueness
29/04/06 | reportonbusiness.com| by BERTRAND MAROTTE

t's a careful balancing act that Cirque and its founder and chief
executive officer, Guy Laliberté, are committed to, says Mr. Lamarre: Go
big, pursue growth, but not at the expense of the quality, creativity
and the uniqueness of your offbeat product, the very thing that made
your name in the first place.
Cirque_du_Soleil  growth  strategy  exclusivity  creativity  Guy_Laliberté  offbeat  uniqueness  one-of-a-kind  quirky 
april 2009 by jerryking

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