Tag Archives: This

Southwest, United Airlines, and American Airlines All Say They're Doing This 1 Thing Right Now Because of the 737 Max
March 16, 2019 6:02 am|Comments (0)

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The 737 Max only represents a small percentage of flights in the United States. But grounding them affects a lot more.
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With 4 Short Words, Amazon Just Revealed the Brutal Truth About Its Decision to Cancel HQ2 in New York. (So Many People Don't Want to Admit This)
February 19, 2019 6:00 am|Comments (0)

It’s not a plan really, not a hidden secret message. It’s more of an expression of emotion. Maybe a realization of necessity.

In fact, while the text Amazon posted on its blog on February 14 runs 363 words, the most important part of this crucial passage is just four words long. But those four words speak volumes.

It starts with a dig at “state and local politicians” in New York, and a statement about how many New Yorkers supposedly supported the deal. Then, we get to the crucial part:

We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion–we love New York, its incomparable dynamism, people, and culture–and particularly the community of Long Island City, where we have gotten to know so many optimistic, forward-leaning community leaders, small business owners, and residents. 

There are currently over 5,000 Amazon employees in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, and we plan to continue growing these teams.

Those four crucial words? “We love New York.”

They’re not included by accident. In fact, I’ll bet this statement probably went through more writing, editing and rewriting than anything in Amazon’s history.

But the passage is crucial. It’s a recognition that even in a post-HQ2 world Amazon, still depends big time on New York. That’s why I think the company is at pains to reassure everyone that it isn’t going to try to just reopen the HQ2 search and do this elsewhere.

The brutal truth is: New York City is special.

I know people don’t like to admit this. I know that there are many trying to make political points, attacking union leaders and politicians who they say are to blame for Amazon running away.

But there is no other place truly like New York City, and Amazon isn’t really going to run — not completely. It’s not just chest-thumping; it comes down at least partly to sheer numbers. Here are three of them:

  • By far, New York is the largest city in America, with 8.6 million people–almost as big as the second, third, and fourth largest cities combined.
  • By far, it’s the largest metropolitan area: more than 20 million people. If it were its own state, it would be about as big as Florida — but much more densely packed.
  • By far, it has the largest GDP of any metro area, at at $ 1.7 trillion. That’s nearly 9 percent of the entire country.

Was it ever possible that Amazon would direct a personal insult at the largest and most important market in the country, by jilting it for say, Nashville? 

No offense to Nashville, the so-called runner-up. It’s a really great city too, but numbers don’t lie: it’s tiny compared to New York.

Remember, they just proved it at Amazon, too.

After staging a 14-month beauty contest, playing off more than 200 cities against each other, and keeping the terms secret so that none of them could know what they needed to do in order to win, the result was almost comically predictable:

Amazing n couldn’t do better than New York and an area right outside Washington, D.C. 

You know what I think’s going to happen now? Amazon is going to redistribute those 25,000 jobs around a lot of different places. (Remember, it was only planning to create 700 jobs this year, and wouldn’t hit the full number until 2028 at least.)

Now, New York will still get the largest share, only without having to give an average of $ 120,000 per job in tax breaks to get them.

And, it will make up the rest and still more–because Amazon just did the legwork for every other company in America.

Especially if the state and city can come up with anything even approaching a small percentage of the deal they were willing to give Amazon, and offer it to a wide array of smaller employers,  think things look pretty rosy.

No matter your size, and as long as you don’t try to squeeze completely one-sided terms out of the deal, if you want to attract amazing workers and expand in one of the greatest cities in the world, Amazon just proved where you should go. 

Amazon loves New York. And a lot of other people do too. 

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Tesla cuts Model 3 price for second time this year
February 6, 2019 6:12 am|Comments (0)

FILE PHOTO: Rows of new Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles are seen in Richmond, California. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo

(Reuters) – Electric carmaker Tesla Inc is lowering the price of its Model 3 by $ 1,100, citing the end of a costly customer referral program, a company spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

The second price cut to the Model 3 this year now brings the cost of its least expensive variant to $ 42,900, according to the company’s website here.

Tesla’s customer referral incentive plan ended on Feb. 1 after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk had tweeted that the referral program was “adding too much cost to the cars, especially Model 3”.

Tesla delivered fewer-than-expected Model 3 sedans in the fourth quarter and cut prices for all its vehicles in the United States to offset a reduction in a green tax credit.

The company is rapidly increasing production of its Model 3 sedan and lower prices could help it reach a broader customer base than its pure luxury vehicles.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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It's Time to Ditch New Year's Resolutions. Do This Powerful 25-Minute Exercise Instead
January 3, 2019 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

I have always found new year resolutions difficult (with the exception of Woody Guthrie’s beautiful 1942 version). I prefer writing manifestos when it comes to the future.

I wrote about the Manifesto Exercise around this time last year. Denny Post, CEO of Red Robin, shared it on Facebook at the end of this year, recommending it to her friends as a different way of doing their new year resolutions. That inspired me to do mine, below, and update it with some new categories.

“Ayse Birsel authored this piece last year in INC – it’s a practical, efficient and inclusive approach to setting yourself up for the New Year!” Denny Post

The Manifesto Exercise will help you think like a designer about your work for 2019.

I recommend that you do one alone and then do it again with your team. Remember you’ll be thinking like a designer–with optimism, looking at the big picture, and with empathy for yourself (and each other, if you’re doing it with your team).

Ground rules are the same as last year: Give yourself 25 minutes total. If you run out of time, take a short break before you complete it. Speed is part of the game in that it helps you go with your gut and leaves less room for unnecessary self-judgment. Remember to do it playfully, because when we’re playful we’re like kids, fearless and open to learning by doing.

Time: 25 minutes, sometime in early January 2019.

A. DECONSTRUCT:

Map out your work life in 2018 across the following 6 categories (see my diagram and use it as a cheat-sheet). 

Note: This year I found it useful to make loose notes for my deconstruction, adding items as things popped into my head, before sitting down to do it all in one go.

1. Emotion: Start with how you feel in this moment. Then think back to how you felt in 2018 and how you want to feel in 2019. List your feelings as they come to mind in one column. 

Note: Emotions at work often run in opposite pairs–love/hate, success/failure, having a sense of purpose/feeling lost.”  

2. Information: Think about what you know about your work going into 2019. This can be your salary, the size of your team, the number of projects you’re working on. List tangible information or data in this column.

3. Constraints: What holds you back you back or limits you? Your own constraints, like procrastinating and leaving things to the last minute, and constraints that you cannot control, like budgets. 

4. Joy: What brings you joy at work? Thinking about what makes you happy will help you think about what matters to you at work and will help you to be more intentional about increasing your instances of joy.

Note: Last year Opportunity was #4. I intentionally moved it to #6, wanting you to circle through joy and gratitude (#5) first, to inspire your opportunities.

5. Gratitude: What were you grateful for in 2018? While joy is more personal, gratitude is often in relation to others. It’s about getting the relation between ourselves and others right, one of the three foundations of happiness according to Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

6. Opportunity: What are your opportunities as you start in 2019? These are things that align with your values, purpose and personal growth. They’re positive, exciting, empowering.

Tip: Try turning your constraints into opportunities (for example, as one of our clients put it, many voices and opinions can be a constraint but it is also an opportunity.)

Note: Last year #5 was Out-of-the-box Opportunity (OOBO) for big dreams and leaps, “revolutions” versus “evolutions”. This year they’re inside the Opportunity column (See my OOBO in my diagram, daring me to think big.) 

B. REFLECT:

Reflect on your deconstruction, above. Deconstruction helps you break a complex idea into its parts to make it more manageable. It visualizes your life at the cross-section of 2018 and 2019 so that you can decide what to keep, what to discard and what to change. 

Now do your own dot-voting, picking one thing that rises to the top in each column. Go with your gut. You can put a star next to it (I underlined mine in red.) These are your 6 key ingredients for 2019. 

C. WRITE YOUR MANIFESTO:

Your Manifesto is your declaration for 2019 based on the top 6 ingredients you chose above. Write it by combining them together in a paragraph:

Your Manifesto = Emotion + Information + Constraint + Joy + Gratitude + Opportunity.

Once you have your manifesto, gather your team–this can be over breakfast or lunch–to do the exercise together and to share your manifestos. Based on each other’s manifesto, talk about what you need help with, what you can do together, and who can be your mentors, mentees or an accountability partners to collaborate with to bring your vision to life in 2019.

We use this tool to shift with our clients’ mindsets from problems to opportunities, from feeling stuck to action, with great success. The process is almost mathematical in its simple formula yet vision-creating in its results. It’s a key component of Design Quotient (DQ), our practice to teach leaders how to think like a designer and imagine tomorrow based on what you know today.

Wishing you a happy and creative 2019.

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Made a New Year's Resolution to Eat Healthier But Facing a Busy 2019? This New Meal Replacement Option Could Help
January 2, 2019 12:02 am|Comments (0)

But, as in years past, there’s a good chance things will get away from us as the year goes on. We get busy, our agendas become crowded and the time required to plan and prepare wholesome, healthy meals is condensed into just the few minutes required to grab some fast food.

It’s a scenario any entrepreneur, employee or just about any human can relate to. 

Our desire to compromise neither our time nor our health spawned the rise of a few new startups offering solutions like Soylent, Ka’chava and Huel. All three began by offering powdered smoothie mixes that claim to provide all the nutrition needed to substitute for a full meal. Soylent also introduced ready-to-drink meals in a bottle in several flavors for when even mixing water and powder is just too much time or trouble.

You may want to read sarcasm into that last line, but this bottled Soylent subscriber of two-plus years is enthusiastically earnest about the advantages of slamming a proportioned dose of carbs, fat, protein and a whole suite of nutrients before or after a workout or while powering through an all-consuming post for Inc. 

Now, after years of being the main name in the bottled meal game, Soylent has some fresh competition from Huel, which just introduced its own ready-to-drink meal in a bottle last week. 

The people at Huel were kind enough to ship me one sample each of their two ready-to-drink flavors, Vanilla and Berry, to see how they stack up to Soylent. 

Before diving in, I think it’s worth mentioning that I don’t really believe it’s a good idea to base your regular diet around either of these products. With its original powdered product, Huel encourages trying smoothies based on its product for breakfast and lunch followed by a “traditional” dinner.

That’s just way more powdered pea protein and other processed ingredients than I’m comfortable consuming on a regular basis. I still want to strive to include as many whole, healthy foods in my diet as possible. I see the meals in a bottle rather as a preferable alternative to fast food, microwaved meals and other less-than-ideal quick options when life gets in the way of my dietary ambitions.

Over the past few years, on average I drink one bottle of Soylent every two to three days.

So, on to the important question: which is the best to start stocking your fridge with?

I’ve had a box of ready-to-drink Soylent shipped to me each month for nearly two and a half years now and rotated through most of the different flavors over that period, with strawberry being my favorite.

On the face of it, Soylent and Huel ready-to-drink are very similar – it’s kind of a Coke and Pepsi sort of deal where the differences are relatively subtle or in the details. Both are vegan and more palatable than their more grainy powdered mix siblings. Each provide 400 calories per bottle, which is somewhere around 20 to 25 percent of the calories the average person needs per day. 

While Soylent uses soy protein, maltodextrin, sugars, sunflower and canola oils for its base along with a mix of vitamins and minerals, Huel relies on pea protein, tapioca starch, gluten-free oat powder, some brown rice flour, canola and coconut-based oils with added flax, chicory root, vitamins and minerals. 

I’m no dietitian, but I find myself drawn to Huel’s ingredient list as an “almost vegetarian” with plenty of soy already in my diet. I’m also not crazy about maltodextrin and who doesn’t like added flax and chicory root?

You can easily go down the rabbit hole of comparing myriad studies on the benefits and drawbacks of the different ingredients in each product. But the most substantive, real-life difference I’ve found after trying both Huel’s powdered and ready-to-drink products is that it seems to be more filling than Soylent and actually feels a bit more like a complete meal in my stomach. 

While I have no scientific basis to back this up, it feels to me that the oat powder might be the difference here. Or it could be that Huel delivers its 400 calories in a slightly larger volume of liquid (500 mL to Soylent’s 414 mL). What’s interesting, though, is that the consistency of Huel is slightly thicker than Soylent, which is counter-intuitive given the above ratio of calories to mL. Again, I think this has something to do with the oats. 

Regardless of the math, Huel feels just a little bit more like a complete meal. 

On taste, it’s a bit of push. I prefer Soylent’s strawberry to Huel’s berry flavor, but Huel’s vanilla is preferable to Soylent’s. 

As to price, a subscription through Soylent is around 15 percent less per box of 12 bottles than Huel, but Huel’s bottles are bigger as I mentioned so it’s nearly a push again.

Forced to choose between the two, I give a slight edge to Huel because it seems to do a better job of achieving the goal of actually replacing a meal. Plus: Flax!

So Happy New Year and here’s one last piece of advice for 2019 that might be needed right around now: I’ve found a bottle of Huel or Soylent also come in handy for a hangover.

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This Week In Money – December 29, 2018
December 30, 2018 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

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21 Best Christmas Quotes to Ensure You're in the Spirit This Year
December 25, 2018 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

As the great bard Billy Squier once sang, “Christmas is a time say I love you.” And, whether you celebrate the holiday or are just enjoying 24 hours during which basically everything in America is closed, here’s hoping you have a wonderful day.

In case you need a little last-minute inspiration, here are 21 of the best Christmas quotes — some heartwarming, some humorous, some profound — to get you in the spirit.

1. “Out upon merry Christmas! What’s Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer…? If I could work my will,” said Scrooge indignantly, “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ upon his lips should be boiled with his won pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!”
– Charles Dickens, A Christmas Story

2. “Aren’t we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas. You know, the birth of Santa?”
– Matt Groening

3. “It was the beginning of the greatest Christmas ever. Little food. No presents. But there was a snowman in their basement.” 
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

4. “One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” 
– Andy Rooney

5. “‘Elf’ has become this big holiday movie, and I remember running around the streets of New York in tights saying, ‘This could be the last movie I ever make.’ I could never have predicted that it’d become such a popular film.”
– Will Ferrell

6. “I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.”
– Fred Rogers

7. “I bought my brother some gift wrap for Christmas. I took it to the gift wrap department and told them to wrap it, but in a different print so he would know when to stop unwrapping.”
– Steven Wright

8. “One can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”
– Professor Dumbledore (J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

9. “Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.” 
― G.K. Chesterton

10. “Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.”
– Dave Barry

11. “Its easier to feel a little more spiritual with a couple of bucks in your pocket.” 
― Craig Ferguson

12. “This whole Santa Claus thing just doesn’t make sense. Why all the secrecy? Why all the mystery? If the guy exists why doesn’t he ever show himself and prove it? And if he doesn’t exist what’s the meaning of all this? … [A]ctually, I’ve got the same questions about God.” 
― Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes)

13. “Santa Claus has the right idea – visit people only once a year.” 
– Victor Borge

14. “Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” 
―Washington Irving

15. “A good conscience is a continual Christmas.” 
―Benjamin Franklin

16. “It is a fine seasoning for joy to think of those we love.” 
– Moliere

17. “Nothing’s as mean as giving a little child something useful for Christmas.”
– Kin Hubbard

18. “To the American People: Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind.” 
― Calvin Coolidge, Presidential message, December 25, 1927

19. “For it is in giving that we receive.” 
– Francis of Assisi

20. “Sending Christmas cards is a good way to let your friends and family know that you think they’re worth the price of a stamp.”
– Melanie White

21. “Money’s scarce
Times are hard
Here’s your [f——]
Xmas card” 
― Phyllis Diller

Bonus:  “Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho.”
– Die Hard (best Christmas movie of all time)

Merry Christmas!

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This Brilliant Holiday Gift Guide Shows Us How Advertising Should Be Done
December 25, 2018 12:01 am|Comments (0)

Every year, my inbox fills up with holiday gift guides, predicted buying trends, and everyone’s list of the “best of the best” stocking stuffers. I even follow suit at times, and create my own gift guides to help consumers navigate the ever-changing tech options… But this year, if there was an award for holiday gift guides, Digital Trends would be winning big, because their genius holiday campaign has everything and then some.

Expertly Targeted Content

The guide Digital Trends put out depicts products featured and told as stories in miniature scenes, thanks to a partnership with animation studio HouseSpecial. The stories and scenes offer gift ideas for the tech savvy, but in several different categories, like audiophile and foodie. Each scene holds tremendous attention to detail, and draws in the attention of the viewer for several different reasons. Not only are the scenes visually appealing, they are perfectly targeted, and feature products without the products being the actual focus of the scene.

Size Matters

MediaPost pointed out that the figures for the guide were designed in H0 scale. This is the traditional scale for model railroads (Hello Christmas trains and villages!), and this time of year, that is a genius touch, that proves 1) size matters, and 2) attention to detail on every level feels luxurious because we rarely see or experience that in advertising.

What + How + Where

It’s not only WHAT they are saying about the product(s) but HOW they are saying it that has determined the efficacy of their guide. This guide is intentional. It’s clear that the creators went in with a strategy, with intentions, and with clearly defined tangibles as outcomes. This is important because it’s so much easier to get it right when you have the what, how, who, and where answered before you begin.

This Guide Is So “Instagram-able”

This unique “Instagram-able” product advertising campaign is unique and perfectly targeted in the following ways:

  1. It’s visually impactful and easily shared. The scenes are done so well, they have feelings to them of nostalgia and something unique, and they are easily shareable, which allows consumers to easily create buzz for them.

  2. They are tapping into the nod to collectable holiday villages and model railroads, hitting right to the type of consumers they want to attract.

  3. They feature products without being product shots and really separate out and make products that are me-too, and available anywhere, special enough to be clicked and bought to reward the creativity. Point blank: the guide makes people want to buy items they may have scrolled past on Amazon more than once, because of the emotion and connection they feel to the scenes and campaign.

With more than 30 million unique monthly visitors, I’m happy to take notes from Digital Trends. Alana Wolfman, their director of production, who shared their strategy of using SEO search queries to stay in front of exactly what users are searching for during the holiday season. In addition to that, the scenes themselves were created by a team that has worked on campaigns for major players like Chipotle, Planters, noosa, and Dish Network.

Rising Above the Noise

The reason I really love this campaign, other than the adorable perfectly executed miniature displays, besides the fact that it is everything an advertising campaign should be in its ability to be shared and to capture attention, aside from it’s near perfect timing and magnificent attention to detail… is how the creators went outside of the box, to create something unique. That might not sound like much, but to be unique with intention, in a place where everyone is trying everything to be relevant, is a big deal.

The thought put into creation speaks for itself, and should push your goals for future product advertising. Don’t be afraid to be unique, to go big (or small!), and to pay so much attention to the details that your attention feels like luxury to the consumers experiencing your campaign.

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Warren Buffett Says Building This One Skill Is the Easiest Way Increase Your Worth By At Least 50%
December 11, 2018 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

Warren Buffett is like that old E.F. Hutton commercial (and I’m dating myself here)–when he talks, people listen. And they listen because he talks and writes, quite well. Which brings us to his latest gem of advice.

“Invest in yourself. One easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now at least is to hone your communication skills. If you can’t communicate, it’s like winking at a girl in the dark, nothing happens. You can have all the brain power in the world but you’ve got to be able to transmit it.”

It’s almost like Buffett consulted me first before answering (which I can assure you he did not). In my over 25 years of corporate experience, without question, the most common trait I saw among those leaders who performed the best and rose the fastest through the ranks was that they had superior communication skills.

Buffett has even said that he doesn’t hang his college or graduate school diplomas on his office walls, but he hangs his certificate from when he completed the Dale Carnegie communication course– because it changed his life. Before overtly working on his communication skills, Buffett said, “I was terrified of public speaking when I was in high school and college. I couldn’t do it. I mean I would throw up and everything.”

So how can you be included in the group of fast-rising, non-vomitous leaders?

In case you’re not ready to sign up for a full-on course, here are two powerful ways you can get started immediately:

Make “clear and concise” your mantra.

When I was doing research for my first book, Make It Matter, a survey of over 1,000 executives revealed the No. 1 problem in communication is a lack of clarity and precision. I offer an acronym to help you cut to the chase and keep your communications SHARP:

  • Start by thinking, not talking. “I think out loud” is the enemy of clear and concise.
  • Hone in on the main idea quickly. Don’t wander, or they’ll wonder what your point is.
  • Add details sparingly. Don’t over-explain. Give just as much context as is necessary.
  • Relate to the audience. Think through who you are talking to and why, and tailor your approach accordingly.
  • Prepare. “Winging it” and clarity are like the snake and the mongoose (mortal enemies).

Be a non-verbal ninja.

So much of our communication is unspoken. It’s critical to be tuned into non-verbal communication–which you can practice. I use this reminder to keep non-verbal cues top of mind and avoid letting poor non-verbal skills FESTER:

  • Facial expressions–watch for them.
  • Eye contact–maintain it (without being creepy).
  • Space–keep the appropriate amount between you and others.
  • Tones–listen carefully for the tone in someone’s voice.
  • Expressive motions–be alert for cues like fist pounding or fingers excitedly wagging.
  • Real frame of mind–as seen in their posture.

So whether your goal is to raise your net worth or just your relatability, make 2019 the year you brought your communication skills to the next level. Maybe eye level. Like the diplomas on my office wall.

Published on: Dec 11, 2018

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This Week In Money – December 1, 2018
December 2, 2018 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

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