Porch Pirates


How excited were you leaving work yesterday to get home to try on your new Rubie’s Jurassic World T-Rex Inflatable Costume for Halloween delivered via Amazon Prime, only to find out it is not on your doorstep and you have fallen prey to the neighborhood porch pirate!

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Fact: Approximately 23 million Americans have had one package stolen from their home.  In response to these brazen porch pirates.  Police in some communities are utilizing bait packages with GPS trackers to catch the criminals.  Amazon is testing two technology based delivery solutions; smart license plates so deliveries can be made to your car’s trunk and smart home locks so packages can be dropped off in-home.

Beware of Porch Pirates 2.0.  They will figure out how to circumvent technology based delivery solutions so they can still tap into the flourishing e-commerce business.

What are you planning to wear for Halloween?  How about a porch pirate costume?



Conspicuous Consumption


Conspicuous consumption – a term first introduced (1899) by economist/sociologist Thorstein Veblen.  It referred to consumers who bought expensive items in order to display wealth and income.  It was an attempt to enhance one’s prestige.

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The stigma of wealth is morphing.  Recently I read the summary of interviews conducted among wealthy Manhattanites.  The research revealed that a majority of the interviewees are ambivalent about being labeled affluent; they choose to maintain a low-profile about their wealth so they can be viewed as “normal” hard working people versus being ostentatious, entitled “snobs.”  Some wealthy people actually cut the price tags off their clothes so their hired help (a.k.a. nannies) won’t see them.  They purposely shop at Target for bargains or drive old cars.

I recognize that the New York Times research only reflects the social values of the new rich in New York Metro.  In other pockets of the country, rich people still like to display their wealth in every glitzy way possible; mega mansions, yachts, private jets, etc.   Regardless, whether the rich decide to flaunt their wealth or not, socioeconomic inequality in America is a reality.

The gulf between the haves and have-nots continues to widen.




Economists keep warning us that manufacturing jobs are continually on the decline thanks to foreign competition and advanced technology (a.k.a. robots).  Here is a game changer for the apparel industry, a story with a twist – a high-tech automated Arkansas T-shirt factory opening in 2018.

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The twist?  The factory is owned by a Chinese company; clothing manufacturer Tianyuan Garments.

Once fully operational, the Arkansas factory will be able to produce 1.2 million T-shirts at a cost comparable to companies that manufacturer and ship clothing from the lowest-wage countries in the world.  The sewing technology, Sewbot (an autonomous sewing robot) was developed at Georgia Tech University.  Tianyuan projects that their factory will employ 400 people in addition to the robots (e.g., line supervisors, mechanics, logistics, etc.), but overall less physical labor than the sweatshops in other parts of the world.

Coming soon to the apparel industry, Sewbot 2.0 that makes wedding dresses.


Forever Relevant – Success (10/4/2010)

A classic that is forever relevant.  Enjoy!

What is success?

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suc●cess \sək-‘ses noun (1537) 1: outcome, result. 2a: degree of succeeding b: favorable or desired outcome; also the attainment of wealth, favor or eminence 3: one that succeeds.

“The only place where success comes before work is in a dictionary.”
– Vidal Sassoon

“It takes twenty years of hard work to become an overnight success.”
– Diane Rankin

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
– John Wooden

“Success is measured by the memories you create.”
– Unknown

“Success is never final.”
– Winston Churchill
























Wooing Millennials


Why are marketers constantly wooing Millennials?  Answer:

  • Number one demographic in the country (approximately 80 million).
  • More Millennials in the workforce than any other generation.
  • Estimated $1.4 trillion in disposable income by 2020.

If Millennials are on your radar screen, below are two great topical marketing stories.

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  • Molson-Coors – They have been losing sales to competitive craft beers and the overall decline in beer penetration primarily because Millennials prefer wine.  As a result, Coors recently introduced Coors Light XP, a loyalty program (points/rewards) complete with a gamification element (trivia challenges, Instagram incentives).
  • Uniworld Cruises – U cruises will launch in 2018, specifically a new concept targeting the 21-to-45-year-old travelers seeking a special European river experience.  Two ships will be designed with sleek interiors complete with communal spaces and lounges.  On board activities will include cooking and wine classes, as well as landscape painting.  Off shore, U cruisers will have the opportunity to explore independently or take guided tours like accompanying the ship’s chef to a local food market.

How are you planning to woo Millennials?


Good Thinking


In May I posted Food Waste (a.k.a. Garbage) Diversion.  Specifically, a new class of companies in the food waste innovation sector who are converting landfill waste into viable food products (e.g., snacks, jams, etc.).  Below are two new solutions that I would like to highlight.

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  • Vegetable and Fruit Trim – Baldor, a specialty food distributor out of the Bronx in New York, after washing, chopping and packaging their vegetables, they bag all the leftovers and sell them to chefs to use in stocks and sauces. Fruit scraps are sold to cold-pressed juice manufacturers, plus those that are not considered edible for human consumption (e.g., cantaloupe rinds) are converted to animal feed.
  • wastED Pop-Ups – A community of renown chefs organized by chef/activist Dan Barber back in 2015 served dishes composed entirely of ingredients destined for garbage in his NYC restaurant. This year, Dan took the wastED pop-up concept to the rooftop of a department store in London (2/28 – 4/2) collaborated with chefs throughout UK and Europe to cook with “ugly vegetables”, vegetable pulp, beef tallow, skate cartilage and waste-fed pigs.

Imagine, garbage diversion, an innovative food waste prevention solution doubling as a fine dining experience.  Good thinking!

A Community Tale


In June, I posted about an Anchorage Alaska food initiative, a prime example of my mantra: “To build a better world, start in your community.”  While health care is the “buzz du jour” on Capitol Hill, the city of Hayward, California has initiated an innovative community health care solution.

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The southside of Hayward, California is a neighborhood with high rates of poverty, unemployment and crime, plus residents with bad health (e.g., obesity, diabetes, etc.).  Health care options are limited; thus, Hayward was considered a health care desert until late 2015.  A former Director of Alameda County Health Care Services conceived a solution for improving the community’s access to care based on manpower and location.  Manpower: Firefighters trained as paramedics (note: approval ratings for firefighters far exceed other public servants).  Location: Fire stations are usually strategically located in a community, therefore why not build a health clinic on the campus of the fire house.  Conclusion: 70 percent of the 911 calls were for medical emergencies.  Some were routine and could be treated in a lower-cost setting, thus freeing up the need for more expensive E.R. visits.

Typical of most innovation, there were the naysayers.  In this case the California Nurses’ Association.  They believed that paramedics aren’t properly trained.  Politics prevailed; the clinic was launched with a staff of nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.  They are looking to eventually hire a full-time doctor.  Regardless, the firefighters are close by for life saving emergencies (e.g., strokes, heart attacks) or to transport patients truly in need of the primary care provided by E.R.

Any future cuts to Medicaid would impact the Hayward clinic.  But this experiment, the partnership of firefighters and health care workers is a first for California, a potential model to improve health services for other communities nationwide.

Remember: “To build a better world, start in your community.”