Friday, March 20, 2015

Negativity 2.0

Pop quiz: What social app has gone viral on college campuses across America where people within close proximately of each other can now anonymously share their thoughts?

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Answer: Yik Yak. 

Created in 2013 by two Furman students, you can download the app for free and then anonymously start bashing.  Correct, bashing! 

I first became aware of Yik Yak thanks to my social savvy friend Scott Anderson, an Executive Chef at Shepherd University.  He was monitoring feedback known as yaks about the food he was serving.  Across the country, in Yik Yak’s short history, numerous professors and students have been abused via posts with crude, demeaning and sometimes sexually explicit language.  Offensive racial and ethnic posts are common.  In one case at a major Midwestern institution, there was even a threat of mass violence. 

My query this morning: Why are the majority of Yik Yak’s posts negative?  Could it be that comments are posted anonymously or a result that everyone now has a voice thanks to social media.  Negatively 2.0 is predominant.  And remember, Yik Yak is mainly popular on college campuses, which are grooming our future leaders, work force.  If a majority of their commentary is negative, what will their commentary be like in five years?

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we build our youth for the future.”  Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Big Black Hole

This past weekend I read an interesting interview with Lew Cirne, the Chief Data Nerd (Lew’s Twitter title) at New Relic, a software analytics company based in San Francisco.  The comment that piqued my interest was when Lew indicated that big meetings make you lose focus. 

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Candidly, I believe that meetings are the Big Black Hole in Corporate America, a concept I introduced in my first blog post back in 2008 titled Outsourcing Makes $en$e.  In my post, I shared the survey findings of the top time wasters among executives.  The amount of time they wasted in meetings was one of their leading responses. 

Lew in his comments did not address the time factor of meetings.  Instead he talked about the size factor where he observes people feel less willing to share/volunteer contributions in big meetings, especially in the presence of senior management.  Lew believes big meetings become more about receiving information than people actually being part of the dialogue.  Consequently, he has a table in his office with six seats in order to avoid big meetings.  He also reviews his quarterly calendar to question the validity/focus of each meeting scheduled.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think meetings are still relevant to keep the flow of communication and tasks moving in an organization.  However, as more companies embrace Social Enterprise and empower/train their people to become “knowledge workers” in the collaborative world of Web 2.0, something has to give in the time management equation.  I recommend the Big Black Hole is the first place to conduct a time management analysis.  

Stay focused!  Avoid the Big Black Hole. 


Friday, February 27, 2015

Richey Rich USA – Part II

Earlier in the week I posted Richey Rich USA –Part I.  Specifically, I provided an overview about the new generation of millionaires and how luxury retailers were gearing up for them.  Today I have decided to post more detail about some of the particulars of luxury spending.   

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I enjoy statistics, so detailed below are some additional Richey Rich facts:

·        More than $25.5 billion was spent on luxury goods last year in Manhattan (Bain) making it the largest luxury market with Japan second at $20.4 billion.

·       Fashion brands are capitalizing on the robust growth of the Richey Rich in the USA by opening new spacious, luxurious stores.  The brand Yves Saint Laurent reported an increase of 12 percent in North America sales during their past fiscal year.

·      Other major luxury items experiencing a jump in sales are the spirits category driven by high-end bourbon and no surprise, luxury automobiles.  BMW (a.k.a. Beamers) announced they are spending over $4 billion to expand its South Carolina manufacturing facility and upgrade their dealerships.

While I was in the midst of writing this week’s posts, I read a news flash worthy of mentioning.  Shane Smith, CEO of Vice Media Inc. was reported to have spent $300,000 for an industry dinner party (30 people) at the Prime Steakhouse in Las Vegas this past January that included some bottles of wine that cost more than $20,000.

$300,000 for dinner!  Richey Rich USA!  Billionaires are the new millionaires. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Richey Rich USA – Part I

Over the years I have been monitoring the luxury goods market.  It is time for an update, especially as it pertains to Richey Rich USA!

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America’s share of the ultra rich is exhibiting robust growth in comparison to Europe and emerging markets.  A quick look at the numbers:

·         America added 1.6 million millionaires last year compared to China (in the number two slot) adding 90,000.

·         In 2014, Americans with net worth of $50 million outnumbered their Chinese counterparts eight to one.

·         Luxury spending in the United States totaled $73 billion in 2014, a 5 percent growth over the previous year.  Note: China and Russia exhibited negative growth and the above luxury retail spending figure was still higher than the next four countries combined – in billions, Japan ($20.4), Italy ($18.2), France ($17.3) and China ($16.9).

What are some of the contributing factors?  For starters, a whole new generation of 30 and 40 year olds making money on technology, hedge funds and real estate.  Add in a new wave of wealthy immigrants.  Consequently, luxury retailers are gearing up by building spacious, opulent stores on both coasts as well as in cities like Dallas and Houston which have experienced growth of high-net-worth individuals of 20 and 18 percent respectively.  What do I mean by spacious, opulent stores?  Next time you are in Los Angeles stop by Yves Saint Laurent’s 10,000 square foot flagship store on Rodeo Drive complete with white marble floors and polished brass.  Of course, you will have to go in the front door, not the exclusive, back-alley entrance reserved for celebrities.

Richey Rich USA!  Billionaires are the new millionaires. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Perseverance: A Great Story!

Perseverance is all about being steadfast, persisting in an endeavor in spite of opposition, discouragement.  Congratulations to Victor Estrella Burgos for personifying  the value of perseverance last Sunday. 

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Who is Victor Estrella Burgos?  He is Dominican Republic’s Athlete of the Year, a tennis player in a country (population of 10.4 million) known for producing great baseball players.  On Sunday he won his first ATP World Singles Title in a tournament held in Ecuador. What made it truly remarkable?  Victor is 34, thus he became the oldest first time titlist in the history of Open Era Tennis. 

At age 26 (in 2006) he came back to the sport after dropping out.  During the 2012 Davis Cup he seriously injured his elbow.  Regardless, he continued to chase his dream of cracking the top 100 and ended up becoming the oldest player in history of the sport to debut last year in the U.S. Open.  In addition to collecting a nice paycheck Sunday, Victor is now ranked number 52 in the world.  Imagine being the 52nd best of your profession in the world.  Go Victor!   

Perseverance and great stories!  That’s life!