5 articles I shared with friends this week

Stop adopting other people’s anxiety
I just got off the phone with a client who sounded really angry. He’s worried about the project we’re working on together running late. He’s also worried about how much stuff he has to do before we can launch it. I reassured him it was all going fine, but that seemed to make him even angrier. What can I do?

Heavyweight is my new favorite podcast
The first 2 episodes are great.

Why deep learning is suddenly changing your life
Programmers have fed the computer a learning algorithm, exposed it to terabytes of data—hundreds of thousands of images or years’ worth of speech samples—to train it, and have then allowed the computer to figure out for itself how to recognize the desired objects, words, or sentences. In short, such computers can now teach themselves.

Ten shows to binge watch this fall

The cobalt pipeline
An estimated 100,000 cobalt miners in Congo use hand tools to dig hundreds of feet underground with little oversight and few safety measures. The cobalt pulled from these hand-dug Congo mines is a mineral essential to the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles.

5 articles I shared with friends this week

Habits are statements about the past, and the past is gone
Are there things you regularly tell yourself you can’t do or don’t like? Are they really still true? Or is it time to let them go?

The trend forecast (PODCAST)
For the mass market, for retailers, designers, and marketers working in major clothing chains, there’s a middle path to determine what’s “in.” And often times, it is through a company called WGSN.

101 small ways you can improve your city

An in-depth analysis of how Expedia converts visitors into customers

Danny Meyer just single-handedly made the Apple Watch relevant to the hospitality industry
When Meyer’s 30-year-old Union Square Cafe reopens in Manhattan next month, every floor manager and sommelier will be wearing an Apple Watch. And when a VIP walks through the front door, someone orders a bottle of wine, a new table is seated, a guest waits too long to order her or his drink, or a menu item runs out, every manager will get an alert via the tiny computer attached to their wrist.

Gene Wilder’s reason for Willy Wonka walking with a limp

“When I make my first entrance,” he explained, “I’d like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp. After the crowd sees Willy Wonka is a cripple, they all whisper to themselves and then become deathly quiet. As I walk toward them, my cane sinks into one of the cobblestones I’m walking on and stands straight up, by itself; but I keep on walking, until I realize that I no longer have my cane. I start to fall forward, and just before I hit the ground, I do a beautiful forward somersault and bounce back up, to great applause.” Asked why, Wilder said, “Because from that time on, no one will know if I’m lying or telling the truth.”

Letters of Note

The cost of holding on

There is an actual cost to holding onto things we should let go of. It can come in the form of anger, frustration, resentment or something even worse.

The faster we learn to drop our emotional dead weight, the more room we create for something better.

We have only so much bandwidth. We have only so much time. We only have so much energy. Do we really want to invest any of our precious resources – financial or otherwise – into something that will return nothing but misery?

My question for you is, “What’s one thing you can set down this week?”

Just do something that makes you feel the opposite of how you felt before you let go.

 Carl Richards – NY Times

 

Shifting from prevention to promotion

If you’re one of those people who dislikes networking, try shifting to a promotion mindset. So, instead of thinking “I hate pretending to schmooze at work events,” instead think “Maybe I’ll have the opportunity to talk to someone new and interesting.” Concentrate on how the event will help build your skills and improve your knowledge.

Most people have a dominant motivational focus—what psychologists refer to as either a “promotion” or a “prevention” mindset. Those in the former category think primarily about the growth, advancement, and accomplishments that networking can bring them, while those in the latter see it as something they are obligated to take part in for professional reasons.

Harvard Business Review

How Dollar Shave Club came to be worth $1B

Great piece from Stratechery on Unilever’s acquisition of Dollar Shave Club. Thompson makes the case that the creation of Amazon Web Services and YouTube a decade ago created the opportunity for Dollar Shave Club to disrupt a giant like Gillette. I find it just as interesting to read about how P&G came (and tries to remain) in the dominant position.

Probably the most important fact when it comes to analyzing Unilever’s purchase of Dollar Shave Club is the $1 billion price: in the world of consumer packaged goods (CPG) it is shockingly low. After all, only eleven years ago Procter & Gamble (P&G) bought Gillette, the market leader in shaving,for a staggering $57 billion.

To be sure Gillette is still dominant — the brand controls 70 percent of the global blades and razors market — but there is little question that Dollar Shave Club is a much better deal, in every sense of the word. Understanding why Dollar Shave Club was cheap means understanding why its blades are cheap, and understanding that means understanding just how precarious the position of P&G specifically and incumbents generally are in the emerging Internet economy.

Stratechery