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Showing posts from July, 2015

Is It Really Lonely At The Top?

The very nature of power and its psychological effects often leave the powerful feeling lonely at the top.”  The debate continues...
M. Ena Inesi of London Business school and Adam D. Galinsky of Kellogg Graduate School of Business, published an article in the Wall Street Journal supporting the adage, "It is lonely at the top."

Sour Milk? The Carton Cap Will Tell You

Using 3-D printing, scientists create a sensor; no need for power
People have used 3-D printing to make things as different as hamburgers and small houses. Now scientists have employed this new technology to create a canary in a coal mine. It may not sing, but it doesn’t have to die to do its job. 
The canary in this case is a milk-carton cap that can tell when milk is going sour. As a wireless device that needs no power, it also serves as a prototype for a wide range of unpowered sensors that might someday detect all sorts of contaminants. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, and National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan developed the device to demonstrate the potential of 3-D printing for creating electronics.

With Footprints On The Moon, The Sky Is Not The Limit

Forty-six years before NASA whizzed past Pluto, mankind landed on the moon: July, 1969.
The Risk of Flying Too High vs. Flying Too Low
As Seth Godin aptly points out in his book “The Icarus Deception,” (Portfolio, 2012) the Icarian story has been filtered to show that flying too high is hubris and must be punished. Most of us know the story: Icarus has wings made from wax and feathers, he is warned not to fly too close to the sun, he flies too high, the wax melts, and down he goes...
However, the complete myth includes warnings from Daedalus, Icarus’ father, to avoid flying too low, where Icarus could be hit be archers or grabbed by sea creatures; this part of the story is lost in cultural translation. For pilots both literal and metaphorical, it is far more dangerous to stay low to the ground, than to fly high to the sky. Planes can hit mountains or buildings, they can't collide with the sky.
American mythology admires the rare hero who transcends the status quo and reaches beyond …

Consumer Spending: Where Does Her Money Go?

Consumer Spending: Where Does Her Money Go? When it comes to how and where consumer dollars are spent, not all income levels are created equal.
According to an analysis of expenditures in three income tiers, the average annual spending on key categories such as food, housing, transportation, cell service, health care and apparel reveals some consumer demographics dole out more money on certain goods and services than others.

Frenzy Around Shopping Site Jet.com

Frenzy Around Shopping Site Jet.com Harks Back to Dot-Com Boom
Online marketplace Jet.com Inc. has almost no revenue, years of likely losses in its future and a strategy that includes underpricing mighty Amazon.com Inc.on millions of items. Jet also has perhaps the highest valuation ever among e-commerce startups before their official launch.
That is no contradiction in Silicon Valley, where investors keep pouring money into audacious business experiments filled with big-splash potential. Jet is the buzziest e-commerce arrival of the current boom, with $225 million in capital raised in the past year and a timer on its website counting down the seconds to Tuesday’s opening of Jet to the public.
More than just about any other current startup, Jet seems reminiscent of the dot-com boom era, when e-commerce companies assumed giant losses before breaking into the black.

Man Killed By Robot: Part 2

Recently I wrote an article entitled, "Man Killed By Robot: Get Used To It."

The title refers to a worker who was recently killed by a robot at a Volkswagen assembly line. The premise of my article involved the inevitable proliferation of "smart machines" and "artificial intelligence," and the need to discuss related opportunities and challenges.  
Many people commented, and emailed, their concerns regarding intelligent "killer robots."  Their fears, for now, are unwarranted. 

We're at that stage, where our expectations have outrun the reality of the technology.
Following is commentary from John Markoff, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who covers science and technology for The New York Times. His most recent book is the forthcoming "Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots."

Why Tesla Goes Beyond Insane, To Ludicrous

The electric glide goes beyond insane. And, why it matters.Last year, Tesla’s fully electric car Model S featured a renowned “Insane” mode, allowing the car to speed from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds.  That’s “insanely” quick. Porsche Cayenne Turbo quick.  McLaren 570S quick.
Now, the Model S is getting a “Ludicrous” upgrade. The new Ludicrousspeed will deliver 0-60 in 2.8 seconds
How quick is ludicrous?  Quicker than a Lamborghini Huracan, quicker than a Ferrari 458, and just as fast as a $2.5 millionBugatti Vernon. The Tesla does not have an internal combustion engine, it runs on battery power, and it sells for $125,000. "It’s faster than falling,”  according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, acceleration that fast pins you to the seat at over 1G. "It’s like having your own private roller coaster.” The phrase “Ludicrous Speed” derives from the Mel Brook’s film, "Spaceballs."  Use it when “Light Speed” is not fast enough.

Stop Communicating & Start Persuading

As successful marketers, and brand alchemists, we must recognize that we're really in the persuasion business. Our goal is topersuade customers to purchaseour products and services.
Our tools include advertising, social media, packaging, fixtures, ecommerce, and omni-channel marketing. And, each point of customer contact is an opportunity for persuasion requiring a specific tool.
Engaging in persuasion is very different from communicating or advertising. A sign on the side of the road that says "speed limit 55 miles per hour" is communication.But a highway patrol car on the side of the road is much more persuasive.A sign that says EXIT is communication.A person yelling FIRE is persuasion.

The 10 Best Things to Snag from Designers at New York Fashion Week: Men's

Why The Stanford Prison Experiment Matters To You

The Powerful Influence of Your Expectations
As an undergraduate psychology student, I studied the widely-taught “Stanford Prison Experiment.”

The experiment became a classic case study and a cultural phenomenon. A fictional movie of the same name, based upon true events and released by IFC Films, is due to be released later this week.

An understanding of this experiment is valuable to business leaders, career counselors, and employees alike.

Lego - More Than Another Brick in the Wall

Lego Tries to Build a Better Brick
Toy maker Lego used 77,000 metric tons of petroleum to manufacture 60 billion bricks and other pieces for its sets in 2014.
By Loretta Chao - Wall Street Journal
Danish toy maker Lego A/S is giving its colorful bricks their first makeover since 1963. But it will take 15 years and, if the company can help it, you won’t be able to tell the difference. 
Executives are assembling a team of scientists to find a bio-based alternative to the petroleum-based plastic that has been used to make its bricks for decades because the popular building blocks are a significant contributor to the company’s carbon footprint.

100 Years of Men's Fashion and Accessories

See 100 Years of Men's Fashion in Three Minutes
Lately, video evolution shorts are allover the Internet. It makes sense. They're an easy way to compress a ton of information into a short time. Now Mode Studios, the people who brought you "100 Years of Women's Fashion," have released "100 Years of Men's Fashion." In three minutes you can see how much style has changed over the century for men.

Man Killed By Robot: Get Used To It

Last week, a robot on an automotive assembly line killed a worker at a factory in Germany. 
The man was installing the robot at a Volkswagen assembly line when the robot gripped and pressed him up against a metal plate, crushing his chest.
It’s not the first time a human has been killed by a robot. That distinction occurred 36 years ago, in 1979, when a Ford Motor Company employee was killed in a Flat Rock, Michigan, plant.
And, it will not be the last time a human is killed by a robot. 
As robotics continue to proliferate and infiltrate our economy and our households the incidence of human injury and death at the "hand" of robots will only increase. Statistics can, and will, lie. (see my article "Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.")

Avoid the Pitfalls of Pirates & Pioneers

A group of ambitious, and unskilled, adventurers get lost in the Swiss Alps. Days later, tired and hungry, one of the hikers discovers a map buried deep in their backpack. The anxious and weary group finds their way to safety. After celebrating, someone takes a closer look at the map and realizes that it's a map of the Chilean Andes, not the Swiss Alps."

A Family Business 1,300 Years Old. What Does the Future Hold?

Randa is a fairly old business, by North American standards.  It was founded in 1910. Throughout its history it has been owned and managed by the same family.

Houshi Ryokan was founded in 718. It is one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

46 generations have managed the ryokan in its 1,300 years. 

Filmmaker Fritz Schumann profiles the current caretakers, Zengoro and Chizuko Houshi, as they struggle to determine the ryokan's future after the death of their only son. Their daughter, Hisae, helps with the family business—and has reluctantly went along with her parents' attempts to arrange suitors—but admits that she's dreamt of other careers. "It is a heavy burden on my mind," she says...

Everything That Can Be Invented Has Been Invented

In 1889, Charles H. Duell was the Commissioner of US patent office. He is widely quoted as having stated that the patent office would soon shrink in size, and eventually close, because…  "Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

My Industry Got Hacked. Yours is Next

Hackers solve problems, and occasionally create them, by identifying weaknesses in long-established systems. They have successfully disrupted industries, from retail and music to transportation and publishing.  Even the residential garbage pick-up business is being hacked.
Sean Parker*, the poster child for Hackers, recently wrote a great article, "Philanthropy for Hackers" for the Wall Street Journal.  He got me thinking.

By definition, hacking is disruptive to companies and industries: So are wildfires to forests and ice-ages to dinosaurs.  By eradicating old growth, disruption promotes new growth in its place.
My industry, that of fashion products sold through retail channels of distribution, has been hacked. I would like to put some flesh on those bones.

Here is a partial list of "hacks" to my industry. These disruptions have been driven by technology, data, radical business models, and exploitation of vulnerabilities in the value chain. These disruptions have …

Feeling Overworked and Burned-Out? Use It!

It turns out that mental exhaustion from overwork can unleash creativity. 
Mental exhaustion, according to a recent study by RĂ©mi Radel at the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, leads to a reduction in mental inhibition.  
Although inhibition is essential for day-to-day activities such as problem-solving and focusing on tasks, it stifles creative thinking by "gating out eccentric thoughts and ideas." 

Uninhibited minds, on the other hand, can unleash our creative genius. This according to an article in Scientific American by Madhuvanthi Kannan, a postdoctoral researcher of neurobiology at Yale University. "Overworking Your Brain."
“Creative people can turn down the volume of inhibition to let novel ideas inspire them, and then, turn the volume back up to put their ideas to meaningful use.”
We spend most of our day creating and enforcing barriers to distractions and attempting to avoid task saturation. At some point, it’s ok to just surrender.