Tag Archives: Chicago

What do Apple, the Chicago Bulls and Oprah have in common?


An unspoken contract between their team members.

The Chicago Bulls of 1995-1996 were perhaps one of the best teams to ever play the game (to this date); the Bulls franchise won 6 NBA titles in the 1990s. They had fifteen players in their roster, but Michael Jordan was their indisputable superstar. After each game, journalists and fans chased after him in the Bulls’ locker room at United Center, his teammates were largely left alone.

That said, they were critical to his, and the team’s, success. It was Scottie Pippen who gave MJ the best assists and Dennis Rodman who got 2x more rebounds than Jordan. And of course Steve Kerr emerged as a 3-point specialist; in fact he owns the best 3-point percentage in NBA history at .454.

The Oprah Winfrey Show had a production team of a few hundred people. They worked tirelessly for 25 years and produced the highest-rated talk show in American TV history. Although they were the “best team in TV”, the world idolized Oprah; after all the show had her name. Without her team though, Oprah would not have been able to invite 28,000 guests and entertain ~350 audience members per show from 1986 till 2011.

Apple is the world’s most valuable brand and its iconic founder, Steve Jobs, is universally perceived as the creative genius behind building the world’s first mainstream home computer, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad and dozens more products.

But if it had not been for Woz, the Apple I and Apple II may have never been born. After all, Steve didn’t ever code at Apple. When Jobs came back to run Apple in the mid ‘90s, he considered Jony Ive to be his spiritual partner. It was Sir Jonathan who led the industrial design work for the iMac and the iPod products, whicpaved the wave for Apple’s rebirth as a consumer electronics and multimedia company with a market cap of hundreds of billions of dollars. Apple was also capable of hiring and retaining many tens of thousands of loyal employees worldwide, a well oiled machine.

So how can superstars and rookies collaborate harmoniously with each other on a team? Superstars have big egos and limited time to waste. Rookies have little experience and limited vision. But harmonious collaboration is possible, as was the case with the Chicago Bulls, The Oprah Show and has been the case at Apple for 16+ years.

In all sorts of winning teams, there is an “unspoken contract” between the superstars (or senior team members) and the rookies (or junior team members):

a. The junior folks are in it for the learning, the attribution and the opportunity to score huge wins early on in their career.

b. The senior folks are in it for executing their vision, the financial rewards and the power that comes with leading an organization. In some rare instances, superstars are in it for building their legacy and changing the world.

Whenever there is a breach of contract, the team dynamics get messed up; sometimes permanently. In some instances, junior folks have unrealistic expectations and feel that because they are doing all the *real* work, they are entitled to receive all the credit and are guaranteed future promotions. Junior team members normally excel whenever they work hard, have strong intellectual curiosity, take new initiatives and are prepared to learn from their mistakes.

In some other instances, senior folks who are in a weak position (internally) have to take all the credit for themselves and legitimately the junior folks feel disappointed. Surprisingly, yet frequently, some of the senior folks can simply be assholes to those supporting them.

Superstars have to drive the vision, inspire their teammates and most importantly lead by example. Steve Jobs, according to Walter Isaacson’s biography, was the most proud of Apple itself, which Jobs considered his greatest creation, a place where imagination was nurtured, applied, and executed in ways so creative that it became the most valuable company on earth.”

When Oprah Winfrey moved to LA to launch OWN she took 50 of her production staff with, employees who had spent most of their career in Chicago. I am sure that they received a ton of exciting job opportunities closer to home, yet decided to stay loyal and follow their long-time leader.

Toni Kukoc was one of Europe’s best basketball players in the late 80s and early 90s; he led a team that won the prestigious Euroleague title three times in a row. But he decided to become a small fish in a large pond when he transferred to the Chicago Bulls in 1993 in order to play with Air Michael.

Unfortunately for Toni, Jordan retired temporarily in 1993, but then came back in 1995 to lead the Bulls in their second three-peat while Toni was still there. Kukoc was always coming from the bench, but was consistently the team’s third scorer after MJ and Pippen.

Michael Jordan, recognizing Pippen’s work and unselfishness, famously said: “Scottie Pippen, he’s my guy. I love him like a brother. He pushed me to be the best basketball player every day in practice. And I pushed him to be the best Scottie Pippen he could be.” Not a surprise that when the Chicago Bulls decided to retire Scottie Pippen’s No. 33 jersey, they hang it next to Jordan’s legendary No. 23.

Written by

Early Stage VC | Entrepreneur at heart. @bonatsos

Published January 9, 2014

Uber tries to win back goodwill by slashing UberX prices across country


Uber tries to win back goodwill by slashing UberX prices across country
Uber

Amid controversy over the death of 6-year-old girl and surge pricing during peak hours, Uber is attempting to win back your heart in a time-tested way — by cutting its prices.

Uber announced today that it is dropping prices across the country for UberX, the lower cost alternative to its black car service.

“What if Uber was actually the cheapest ride in every Uber city?” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a blog post. “Some have asked how we do it. How can we keep getting prices down over time? More cars and drivers mean better coverage and lower pickup times. Lower pickup times mean better economics for drivers, and thus more drivers and cars.”

Screen Shot 2014-01-09 at 10.54.38 AMThe company is cutting UberX prices in 16 out of its 24 markets. The new fares are now up to 34 percent lower in Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Orange County. Minneapolis, Atlanta, Sacramento, Tucson, Denver, Dallas, Baltimore, Charlotte, and Nashville also receive price cuts.

Kalanick claims that on average, UberX is 26 percent cheaper than a taxi. He adds that the new prices also undercut competitive ridesharing services such as Lyft and Sidecar. He goes so far as to say that with the fare-splitting feature, it could be cheaper than the bus.

However Lyft CEO John Zimmer disagrees.

“Uber prices will still be higher,” Zimmer told VentureBeat. “What does a price decrease mean when there is 8x surge pricing? It’s classic bait and switch and consumers see through that.”

Uber is a popular app for hailing cars to you on-demand. It started out as luxury black car service and has since added SUV, regular taxis, and UberX, where drivers pick you up in regular cars. Kalanick built Uber’s brand around the ideas of professionalism, reliability, and quality. He is also known for being fearsomely competitive and doing whatever it takes to overcome regulatory challenges and edge out competitors.

But over the past couple months, Uber riders began complaining that the quality of the service has slipped, wait times are longer, and price spikes during busy times.

Kalanick responded earlier this week by saying that surge pricing is a method of finding the “market price” and necessary for balancing supply and demand. Hotel rooms or airline flights have dynamic pricing and people accept it, so why shouldn’t ground transportation?

“The price must go up for these rides to happen,” Kalanick said in a video interview with the Wall Street Journal. “If surge pricing doesn’t happen, there is no availability. You can’t get a ride.”

Whether or not it makes economic sense, no customer likes paying more (or feeling like they are paying more) for a ride.

Uber has some damage-control to do. And what better way to keep customers than by becoming the cheapest option in town?

This is the latest in a series of cuts. Uber lowered prices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Washington D.C. last year shortly after raising $258 million in financing. The “ridesharing wars” between Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Flywheel, and traditional cabs are heating up, and cost is a major battleground.


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Record freeze extends to eastern United States, at least nine dead


By Victoria Cavaliere and Brendan O’Brien

NEW YORK/MILWAUKEE Tue Jan 7, 2014 7:43pm EST

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/08/us-usa-weather-idUSBREA000JC20140108

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A man walks beside a frozen wall on a beach in Chicago, Illinois, January 7, 2014. REUTERS-Jim Young
A man is framed by icicles as he walks along a beach in Chicago, Illinois, January 7, 2014. REUTERS-Jim Young
Ice forms on the shore of the East River due to unusually low temperatures caused by a polar vortex in New York January 7, 2014. REUTERS-Lucas Jackson

1 of 26. A man walks beside a frozen wall on a beach in Chicago, Illinois, January 7, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

(Reuters) – A deadly blast of arctic air shattered decades-old temperature records as it enveloped the eastern United States on Tuesday, snarling air, road and rail travel, driving energy prices higher and overwhelming shelters for homeless people.

At least nine deaths have been reported across the country connected with the polar air mass that swept over North America during the past few days. Authorities have put about half of the United States under a wind chill warning or cold weather advisory.

Temperatures were expected to be 25 degrees to 35 degrees Fahrenheit (14 to 19 degrees Celsius) below normal from the Midwest to the Southeast, the National Weather Service said.

PJM Interconnection, the agency that oversees the electric grid supplying the mid-Atlantic and parts of the Midwest, said electricity suppliers were struggling to keep up with surging demand as the cold forced some power plants to shut.

“This particular cold is far-reaching, and most of our neighbors are experiencing the extreme conditions we are,” said Michael Kormos, executive vice president for operations at PJM Interconnection.

Oil refiners were also hit, with Marathon Petroleum Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp both experiencing cold-related outages.

In Oklahoma, a depleted supply of propane due to extreme weather led Governor Mary Fallin to declare a state of emergency, waiving licensing requirements for out-of-state transportation companies to allow them to bring in propane.

Homeless shelters and public buildings took in people who were freezing outside.

Daniel Dashner, a 33-year-old homeless man who typically sleeps under a bridge on Milwaukee’s south side, said he opted to seek a spot at a shelter on Monday night.

“Usually if I have four or five blankets, I can stay pretty warm, but when that wind is blowing, I don’t care how many blankets I have, the wind blows right through me,” he said, as temperatures dropped to minus 6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 21 degrees Celsius).

The extreme cold won’t last much longer, according to AccuWeather.com. The frigid air and “polar vortex” that affected about 240 million people in the United States and southern Canada will depart during the second half of this week, and a far-reaching January thaw will begin, according to AccuWeather.com.

COLD’S BROAD REACH

Major U.S. cities were in the grip of temperatures well below freezing, with Chicago seeing 2 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 17 C), Detroit 0 F (minus 18 C), Pittsburgh 5 F (minus 15 C), Washington 19 (minus 7 C) and Boston 15 F (minus 9 C).

New York’s Central Park recorded the lowest temperature for the date, 4 Fahrenheit (minus 16 C), rising to 9 F (minus 13 C) on Tuesday afternoon with wind chills making it feel much colder, meteorologists said.

At New York’s Bowery Mission homeless shelter, the 80-bed dormitory was full on Monday night and 179 other people slept in the chapel and cafeteria, officials said.

Schools in Minneapolis and Chicago were closed for a second day on Tuesday, although Chicago plans to reopen schools on Wednesday. Cleveland remained below freezing after temperatures fell to minus 11 F (minus 24 C) on Monday, breaking a 130-year-old record.

Impassable snow and ice halted three Chicago-bound Amtrak trains on Monday, stranding more than 500 passengers overnight in northwestern Illinois.

In the normally mild south, Atlanta recorded its coldest weather on this date in 44 years, as the temperature dropped to 6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 14 degrees Celsius), while temperatures in northern Florida also briefly dropped below freezing, though the state’s citrus crop was unharmed, according to a major growers’ group.

Among the deaths reported was a 51-year-old homeless man in Columbus, Georgia, whose body was found in an empty lot after spending the night outdoors.

Two men died in Westerport, Massachusetts, while duck hunting on Tuesday when their boat capsized, dropping them into a frigid river, officials said. A third man was rescued.

A large avalanche in backcountry outside the Colorado ski resort area of Vail killed one person on Tuesday and caught up three others who survived and were being rescued, officials said. Avalanche danger in the area was rated as “considerable” due to high winds and recent heavy snows, said Spencer Logan, forecaster with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

Four cold and storm-related deaths were reported around Chicago and an elderly woman was found dead outside her Indianapolis home early Monday.

AIRLINES STRUGGLE

The cold snap could cost the U.S. economy up to $5 billion, when lost productivity and lost retail sales are accounted for, estimated Evan Gold, senior vice president at Planalytics, which tracks weather for businesses. He said about 200 million people in major cities might face “bill shock” for heating.

The deep freeze disrupted commutes on Tuesday, with icy or closed roads and flight delays. Some 2,380 U.S. flights were canceled and 2,912 delayed, according to FlightAware.com, which tracks airline activity. Airlines scrambled to catch up a day after the cold froze fuel supplies, leading to flight cancellations, many at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Hardest hit were travelers who had booked trips on JetBlue Airways Corp, which on Monday halted its flights at New York’s three major airports and Boston Logan International Airport overnight. Flights had resumed by midday on Tuesday.

Tuesday proved too cold even for some polar bears. At Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, a 14-year-old female polar bear named Anana mostly remained in her indoor enclosure, where temperatures are 40 F (4 C), said zoo spokeswoman Sharon Dewar.

She said that in their native environment, polar bears build up a layer of fat to help them through the Arctic winter of long periods of sub-zero temperatures. In Chicago, however, she said “we don’t create that fat layer in zoo animals because that would normally not be something they would be comfortable with.”

(Additional reporting by Nick Carey and Dhanya Skariachan in Chicago, Barbara Goldberg, Ellen Wulfhorst, Scott DiSavino and Marina Lopes in New York, Ian Simpson in Washington, Eileen O’Grady in Houston, Daniel Lovering in Boston, David Beasley and Karen Jacobs in Atlanta, Kim Palmer in Cleveland, Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Heide Brandes in Oklahoma City, Keith Coffman in Denver, Tom Brown in Miami and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Writing by Scott Malone and Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Grant McCool and Ken Wills)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/08/us-usa-weather-idUSBREA000JC20140108

What you don’t see in Fittle and why design needs to be deeper than the surface?


On how certain poor design get away as great design

This is an overdue critique that I wanted to write long ago but got delayed for reasons unknown. Maybe it is better late than never. So here it is.

Design is becoming a buzz word to sell any bullshit as a valuable design thought. If you are a designer or a design enthusiast, you might have come across this project called ‘FITTLE’ — a learning aid for blind. This small project packaged beautifully with tons of self-promotion, claims to make learning easier for the blind. At first look, it appears like a simple and may be even an effective solution for the perceived problem of the blind. But on a second look, aren’t you wondering how come such a straight-forward solution does not already exist in the market? Now if you’re like me you’d have googled it up — and well aren’t you surprised to see tons of similar products that already exist in the market.

And then if you dig a little deeper into the subject of how a blind person actually learns or perceives the world, you will be terribly surprised to learn that the very foundation of FITTLE is severely flawed. And it makes you wonder how did FITTLE manage to be a finalist in Interaction14 awards?

There exist many professional studies that clearly prove that visually impaired people cannot ‘understand’ or ‘discern’ shapes in isolation. Cognitively, shapes are perceived by the visual memory of our brain. And for someone whose visual memory has been compromised, the shapes do not mean anything. Thus piecing pieces of a FISH together to touch and feel the shape of a FISH, does not make sense to the visually impaired. Although it may make sense to people with normal vision, which is why we think it will work.

It may sound counter intuitive. And that’s why it is easy to miss it. And that’s why design needs to investigate things deeper than the surface. Many professional studies are easily available online for any designer to investigate into the subject before building a fancy product based on popular stereotypes of blind. In FITTLE’s case, they claim to tackle both perception and learning of the blind. The above mentioned issues are just with the aspect of perception let alone learning of the blind. Learning is a much more complex problem in the case of the blind, I really doubt if FITTLE is even looking at it, although they claim to solve it.

Design is becoming a key differentiation in all industries. People who have not even heard of design are trying to understand and learn our way of thinking. Why do they do that? Yes, certainly we are cool, awesome and can make beautiful things. But more importantly, as designers we think beyond the obvious. We look deeper than the surface and design for that. And that’s why design is powerful and that’s why people try to learn our way of thinking.

But as said in the movie Spiderman, power comes with responsibility. In that sense instead of investing effort in taking a 3d printed fish to mountain peaks and different media events,

had they invested one tenth of that time & effort in actually understanding the blind and the way they learn, we will not be having another “me too” product in the name of FITTLE, packaged as an elixir for blind learning disabilities.
And that’s what design is meant to do.


About the author: Ella is an Interaction design consultant based out of Chicago. Prior to have started her own design consultancy, she was working with IDEO for almost a decade. She teaches design thinking in various design schools in US and UK and passionate about design and its various manifestations.

Written by

Designer practitioner and Teacher who is passionate about design and its human connection @ IDEO

 

Robots Run On Love


A message from the future courtesy of a psychic

My psychic initiation was a bitch. I was talking to a friend on the phone and she was saying that I was on drugs. I wasn’t on drugs. I had done lots of drugs in my past. This was the present. And I was getting messages from the mutherfucking future.

“What drug can do this?” I asked at the time. “I just got told I was inserted into this timeline to show weird scary future robot people how we loved each other in 2013 and you keep showing them fear and hate.”

I was sweating. I was panicking. I was walking through the streets of downtown Chicago and the world looked like a movie set with a shitty budget. Everything looked so fake. I could see the strings on the birds in the air flapping their puppet wings.

I got arrested that night, I got put in a hospital. I always had enough food and money. I took cab rides. I talked to people. I hope there is footage of the night I was in jail.

I was put in jail for the night and screamed myself to death. Literally, I felt I died. Everything looked and felt so real even though I knew it was fake.

I will share this one vignette with you. Because they all were like little stories to me. I was in the cell and I was looking through the window in the door.

I had been screaming for someone to let me out and I saw a couple of guys with a tripod who were taking my picture. (And I am getting chills as I write this by the way) The camera was very old-fashioned and it sat on top of a modern tripod.

The guys were dressed in modern fashion. They were very good-looking and had the appearance of being male models. Perfect hair, perfect skin. Tight white t-shirts and white slacks. They looked like angels without wings.

I thought they were documenting this because at this point I felt I was going to die in jail. They took my picture several times and I was comforted thinking that people would know what happened to me. But then they took the heavy camera off the tripod and a hole opened up in the floor.

And they dropped the camera in the hole.

Then one of the guys waved goodbye at me and blew me a kiss and jumped in the hole the horror dawning on me. These were angels, but they had been stripped of their wings. And they were taking pictures of the “new guy” and I felt I was in hell. I screamed at the remaining guy, tears streaming down my cheeks. I cannot explain to you the horror. The hopeless horror that this is your existence forever.

The downgraded angel made mocking sobbing motions with his fists up next to his eyes and then he laughed and pointed at me. He picked up the tripod and chucked it into the hole. And after giving me a wave, he jumped in the hole as well as it sealed up behind him.

That night I felt what it was like to die. As I lay on the floor of that cell, I held on as long as I could. I saw the veins in my eyes, I felt the blood stiffen in my veins, and I saw my “light” go out. And in some way, some part of me did die that night. A part I didn’t need anymore.

And even as you are reading this, the robots from the future are learning what it was like to love.


Follow and Friend on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, The Empath Community, HIGH EXISTENCE, GoodReads, and you can get copies of any of my books directly from Lulu.com, iBookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble or ask your local bookseller to order or stock.

Further Reading

How my homage to Chicago legend Wesley Willis sent me on a “Warhellride”

 — I am so sorry. I need to make an apology to almost everyone in my life and maybe like 25,000 people in Chicago. I’m a Satirist, not just …

Written by

I am a man with two brains. One in this world and one on the other side.

 

Music Collaboration Will Never Happen Online in Real Time


With the world moving towards 4G phones and high-speed fiber-optics, a New York-Tokyo jam session should be easy right? It will never happen. Light-speed is not fast enough for making music in cyberspace.

Earlier this year, I started a school for traditional music in the Dominican Republic. We’ve been teaching kids to play bachata — which is the Dominican version of rock ‘n’ roll. Things are going well. We threw out the mainstream approach to music education, and focused on two areas: learning by ear, and playing in groups from day one.

The group learning component has been critical. Just as with rock ‘n’ roll, bachata is polyphonic — meaning several instruments play together at the same time. Bachata is nearly impossible for a single person to play alone. The guitar on its own, the bongos on their own . . . are empty. The sounds these instruments make complement each other. Put simply, it’s fun to play in a group; it’s boring to play alone. Fortunately our school is full of bachata-crazy cadets, and no one lacks someone to play with.

Cesar, Adriel, Isaa, Juliana, and Emily, students of The iASO Bachata Academy @ DREAM, Cabarete Campus, Dominican Republic

Video: A class at the iASO Bachata Academy @ DREAM

But what if a person living in Chicago or Tokyo wants to learn to play bachata? If he or she is lucky enough to find an instructional video on YouTube (there aren’t any), it would still be impossible to find someone to play with.

Light speed is fast, but not fast enough. Playing music in a group is a two-way communication. For it to be possible, there must be very little delay, or latency, between the sounds each participant produces, and the other participants’ hearing it. Imagine if Chicago guy hits a drum with a steady beat — one beat per second. Imagine if Tokyo girl hears each beat 0.1 seconds after it is played. If Tokyo girl claps in time with what she hears, her claps will occur 0.1 seconds after Chicago guy claps, but the two claps will sound in time to her. So far, so good. But when Tokyo girl’s hand claps reach Chicago guy, there is a further 0.1 second delay, and so Chicago guy hears hand claps 0.2 seconds after each of his drum beats. The gentleman that he is, Chicago guy shifts his drum beats 0.2 seconds later, to adjust to Tokyo girl. Tokyo girl then hears Chicago guy’s beat shift by 0.2 seconds, and so she politely shifts her claps to match. The result is that the tempo continuously slows as each adjusts their beat and clap to accommodate the other. Eventually the whole thing grinds to a halt or falls apart. There is a roughly 0.18 second delay between two people with good internet connections in Chicago and Tokyo. For it to be possible to have a Tokyo-Chicago jam session, the network would have to be more than 20x faster [less than 0.009 seconds of latency]. This would require a speed faster than light.

Hearing and latency

Humans can accurately perceive audio intervals as small as 4-5 ms [milliseconds]. Because of the time it takes even a staccato sound like a drum hit to evolve and decay, two sounds less than 15 ms apart are generally perceived as continuous rather than separate. But intervals between 5 ms and 15 ms are an important part of the feel of music — the pushing or dragging against the tempo.

Latency of physical sound

Performers spaced 2 meters apart will experience a natural 6 ms latency from the time it takes sound to travel through air. At 3 meters, that latency is 9 ms, and at 4 meters (13 feet), it is about 12 ms. Less than 9 ms of latency is ideal, and greater 12 ms becomes problematic for timing. Such transmission speed is not likely to ever be possible between continents.

Latency of fiber-optic communication

Signals travel on fiber optic line at about 1km per 5 micro-seconds (about 2/3 the speed of light in vacuum). To reach the furthest part of the world on the most direct route (20,000 km) would therefore take about 100 ms. Put differently, every 1 meter of natural sonic latency (about 3ms) is equal to nearly 588 kilometers of theoretical fiber-optic latency. The theoretical limit to online real-time collaboration is therefore about 2000 km. That won’t cross the oceans, but seems at least like a good start. In practice, however, our network latency is much higher. The signal between two users is not a straight fiber optic line, but rather zig-zags and passes through a multitude of networking devices, each introducing more latency along the way.

Online real-time music collaboration is not possible

As of 2013, it is difficult to have online real-time musical collaboration even within the same city. To do so requires setting up a class of specialized high-speed network similar to what is used by the financial world’s high-speed trading outfits. The latency between the laptop on which I am typing in a New York City apartment and a local New York City domain name server is currently 12ms — low, but not good enough for music.

Real time online musical collaboration has been a dream among musicians since the advent of the internet. But it is constrained by the same physical barrier as interstellar travel: the speed of light. We will colonize the stars sooner than play music together across continents.

Network Latency Test

Below is a list of the latency I measured between a high speed cable home connection in New York, and name servers in various global locations. I tested with both wifi connected laptop and hard-wired PC. The results were the same.

New York: 12 ms
Boston: 16 ms
San Francisco: 85 ms
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: 63 ms
Paris: 93 ms
Tokyo: 189 ms

Written by

I produce music

Published December 11, 2013

 

Solid U.S. retail sales boost economic outlook


By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:07pm EST

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Thanksgiving Day holiday shoppers line up with television sets on discount at the Target retail store in Chicago, Illinois, November 28, 2013. REUTERS-Jeff Haynes
People attend a job training and resource fair at Coney Island in New York December 11, 2013. REUTERS-Eric Thayer

1 of 2. Thanksgiving Day holiday shoppers line up with television sets on discount at the Target retail store in Chicago, Illinois, November 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jeff Haynes

(Reuters) – U.S. retail sales rose solidly in November, adding to signs of a strengthening economy that could draw the Federal Reserve closer to reducing the pace of monetary stimulus.

Read more -> http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/12/us-economy-jobless-idUSBRE9BB0KC20131212

Why I Named My Startup “Thankful”


Today is a good reminder why that word matters to my gift registry site, Thankful Registry.

Image representing Thankful Registry as depict...

Image by None via CrunchBase

This year, the word “thankful” took on a whole new meaning for me. You see, it’s the name of my 9-month old startup, and I’ve been saying and typing the word “Thankful” every single day since the company launched.

Since today is Thankful’s first Thanksgiving, I’d like to share two reasons I feel so connected to the name and how it motivates almost every decision I make as I work to grow this little company.

1) The name “Thankful” changes the conversation.

In case you didn’t know, this is how the wedding registry began:

The practice of a bridal registry was first instituted by Chicago-founded department store Marshall Field’s in 1924 at its Marshall Field and Company Building as a means for the engaged couple to indicate chosen china, silver and crystal patterns to family and friends. US-based Target stores were the first to introduce an electronic self-service gift registry in 1993.

80 years later, the department stores and big-box retailers make $10 billion each year (and growing) from domestic wedding registries. That’s a lot of KitchenAid mixers and wine glasses. And you’ve probably heard that zapping barcodes using a scanner is supposed to be the most fun part of wedding planning. I’ve tried it for research—it’s definitely more stressful than fun. (Those scanners are old as hell, by the way.)

The allure is hard to resist. Macy’s frequently describes the wedding registry as a “shopping spree.” Crate & Barrel hosts “wedding parties” in their stores so “registry experts” can help couples create a “perfect” registry. After the wedding, most retailers offer discounts as an incentive so couples buy everything their family and friends didn’t get. They call this practice “completion.”

Since wedding gifts aren’t going anywhere (and neither are baby shower gifts, graduation gifts or housewarming gifts, for that matter), I wanted to create a site that resets the registry as a meaningful and emotional experience, not just practical one.

I picked the name “Thankful” for its power to quieten the voice of the retailers and break through the noise of materialism.

read more -> https://medium.com/design-startups/a733e579ad00

How I Got A Job In America With No Connections


Breaking every rule of common sense along the way

 

Graduation

Graduation (Photo credit: uonottingham)

 

Six months ago, I was being herded out of Ohio Stadium after a four hour commencement ceremony, one in a graduating class of over 10,000.

 

I wasn’t excited. I didn’t feel special — just unprepared, and poor.

 

The world of employment seemed impenetrable through the Clinton-era web design of online job boards, and I ended up deciding on something of a gamble. The degree I’d just earned would have given me far more leverage in Columbus, but I made up my mind that I wanted to move to Chicago, even though I had no idea where I was going to live, or how I was going to get there.

 

I had 90 days to find a job, or I would be on a plane back to Kuala Lumpur. And I didn’t know it at the time, but I was also about to be dumped by my then-girlfriend.

 

Peaches.

 

Two months ago, I started work in the marketing department of an enterprise SaaS startup. It’s been everything I’d dared to hope for in my first job and more.

 

read more -> https://medium.com/career-pathing/d726452693c9

 

 

WHAT MAKES IT GOOD


Techweek Part 4 –

Two Points T

by storied business consultant, Joe Perogi,

as told to John Jonelis –

Been hearin’ complaints ‘n’ controversy about Techweek this year. People gripe so you figure there’s gotta be a good reason, right? Yeah, I hear you. Yer sayin’, where there’s smoke there’s fire. But all them critics completely miss THE HIDDEN ROOM that you and me stumple upon—the hidden room that makes this thing truly amazing. Now the dust is settled, lemme take you on a tour o’ what I seen. Continue reading