BOOK REVIEW: Why You Need to Read Peter Thiel’s Zero To One!

BOOK REVIEW: Why You Need to Read Peter Thiel’s Zero To One!

Peter Thiel, the tech entrepreneur and investor, has been much in the news since he went all in on his support of Donald Trump. He’s also known as a contrarian investor, a libertarian and a mentor of the PayPal Mafia. Most recently he’s also been in the news for saying that Apple’s best days are behind it – which I totally agree with but more on that later!

Let’s start with a review of the book, Zero To One: Notes on Start Ups or How to Build The Future. It was written in 2014 but it’s still an absolute must-read for anyone involved in business, start-ups, new product development and technology. It provides a fascinating look into the mindset of Silicon Valley entrepreneurship. The book is a quick read (200 pages), succinct and on-point although I wasn’t fully immersed until about 30 pages in – and then I couldn’t put it down.

Here are the 5 points that especially resonated with me.

10X Better:

Strive to create a product that is clearly 10X better than the competition. If not, you will be an also-ran and face endless, debilitating competitors. This is an especially important consideration when evaluating Apple 2017 vs. Apple 2007 – and why I agree with Thiel that the age of Apple is over. None of their recent launches from watches to Beats to iPhone 7 with its inconvenient dongle are 10X better (Apple Pay, however, I LOVE.) This past year saw year-over-year iPhone sales decline for the first time and CEO Tim Cook got a 15 percent pay cut.

Read on below for points 2-5:

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MARKETING TRENDS: 3 Major Social Media Developments for 2017

MARKETING TRENDS: 3 Major Social Media Developments for 2017

Here are the 3 marketing trends I am keeping an eagle eye on this year.

1. A VIDEO-FIRST WORLD (Source: tubularinsights.com)

Facebook Live 360 video

Facebook Live 360 video launched in December. A Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying he/she hadn’t seen “a company-wide pivot like this” since the social network decided it wanted to be “mobile first.”  (Note: More than 75% of Facebook’s ad revenue now comes from mobile). In short: Facebook Live is a big bet from Facebook and it’s throwing everything it has at it to make it successful.

YouTube

Social media experts say that YouTube is the one to watch and the one most likely to disrupt traditional video formats. Many questions about what kind of video we can expect in the future: Landscape? Portrait? Square? Circular? Panoramic? 360? Virtual? Augmented?

How much video content?

Per the Cisco VNI forecast, nearly a million minutes of video content will cross the network every second by 2020. Global IP video traffic will grow threefold from 2015 to 2020.

Read on below for more on Niche Expertise and Influencer Marketing and the switch to Instagram Stories from Snap (yes! it’s happening!).

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SUPREME Collab with Vuitton is Brilliant – Despite All The Haters!

SUPREME Collab with Vuitton is Brilliant – Despite All The Haters!

Have been a huge fan of Supreme for the last 20 years (we even shared an address: 270 Lafayette Street).

I’ve written about James Jebbia Founder of Supreme on several occasions but this partnership with Vuitton knocks it out of the park. Several of these products are on my splurge list – assuming I can even get my hands on them.

Here’s what I know about the collaboration from WWD and thefashionlaw.com:

  • There are six styles of bags including a backpack, duffle bag, messenger bag and fanny pack. Also in the mix: Scarves and bandanas that make use of both brands’ logos, and smaller leather accessories, such as LV x Supreme wallets.
  • Michael Burke, Vuitton’s chairman and CEO came up with the idea and Kim Jones, Menswear Artistic Director and major streetwear and skatewear afficiando, seconded the idea immediately. Jones, in fact, used to work for Supreme (in the shipping department) while he was in college.
  • Will be sold exclusively through Louis Vuitton stores and pop ups but NOT at any of the Supreme stores.
  • The collaboration has the potential to up Vuitton’s cool factor, particularly among millennials while Supreme gets a hefty paycheck from Vuitton.
  • In 2000, LV sued Supreme for using a design they considered an infringement of their IP.
  • And final note, it is bringing out HATERS galore. On both sides of the deal – but especially from the LV crowd who apparently haven’t realized how irrelevant old school luxury is becoming. LV needs the cachet and buzz that Supreme brings.
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ART FOR ALL: Uniqlo Partners with Jeffrey Deitch

ART FOR ALL: Uniqlo Partners with Jeffrey Deitch

If you’re in NYC this weekend check out the Uniqlo Art For All Shops (Soho and 34th Street locations). The in-store pop-ups will be in place until February 16. But when things sell out, you are out of luck!!

I was in the Soho store when it opened on Friday, January 20, 2017 at 10am. So many great, affordable fun pieces by many of my favorite artists including Yayoi Kusama (pumpkin charm!), Barry McGee (water bottles and bike seats), R. CRUMB (Trading Cards), Baseman, Buff Monster, Stephen Powers, Nara, Ryan McGinnis, Lady Aiko (lamp), Kenny Scharf, HYPE/Skewville, Martha Cooper (books, postcards).

There will also be Live Screen-Printing Events for T-shirts in Soho on February 4 (Tom Otterness) and on February 11 (Lady Aiko and Daze).

Uniqlo has collaborated with artists and museums ever since they launched in the US so kudos to them for this partnership with the renowned Jeffrey Deitch and the excellent artists he has brought to this project.

Pictures below.

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Restaurant Trends for 2017: Devastating to see the bubble burst

Restaurant Trends for 2017: Devastating to see the bubble burst

Here are 6 major trends that I’m tracking. Will start with the grimmest news.

1. THE RESTAURANT BUBBLE IS BURSTING

Everyone in the restaurant industry is talking about this – and acknowledging that this is indeed happening! The Thrillist post was scariest of all, listing so many popular, high-profile restaurants shuttering around the country.

In NYC, Annisa in the West Village announced it was closing (they raised prices to go the no-tipping route and lost 20% of their customers). Pearl & Ash, sister restaurant to Rebelle on the Bowery, closed in late December. This week I also saw that Peter Hoffman’s Back Forty West (originally Savoy)  is now becoming a Dig Inn.  Says a lot about what people want to eat and how much they are willing to pay.

Bottom line: there are too many restaurants, their overhead is too high and the industry, as a whole, is over-regulated. The recent minimum wage increase was the final nail in the coffin. And our beloved Danny Meyer has a lot to answer for with his pioneering no-tipping stance. Do not be surprised if he ends up shuttering one or more of his restaurants as guests decide that the dining experience he offers no longer justifies the price.

Here are two posts I’ve written before on the subject: December 2015 and December 2, 2016.

Read on below for 5 more – much more lighthearted – trends including Uber’s new restaurant recommendations based on drop offs (fascinating insights!!).

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Winning at Retail: 3 Exceptional New Stores

Winning at Retail: 3 Exceptional New Stores

Spent Saturday checking out a dozen new stores. Here are three that are winning at the retail game, as of this moment, based on their ability to:

  • Attract customers and generate buzz
  • Offer merchandise that excites customers and gets them shopping
  • Create a killer in-store vibe and ambiance that makes customers want to hang out and not leave….

Here’s my absolute favorite of the 3:

Filipacchi Motor Sports (photos above)
23 Prince Street (between Mott and Elizabeth)

The background of this store is a little mysterious. It is owned by Craig Filipacchi who is a power broker with Brown Harris Stevens. He may, or may not, own the townhouse the store is located in. He is the son of Daniel Filipacchi, former deputy chairman of the now defunct Hachette Filipacchi Publications – which owned Cycle Magazine in the 80’s. So the interest in motorcycles appears to be a longstanding one.

The store is amazingly great. I was there for about half an hour and every guy walking down Prince Street was lured inside by the “toys” on display. Not only do they have a fabulous collection of Ural Sidecar Motorcycles, they also have BPG Werks DTV Shredders, JetSurf Motorized Surfboards, helmets and boots, paintball gear including guns and masks, and an amazing selection of beautifully designed fire extinguishers from Safe-T. Also, t-shirts, caps etc – with much of the casual merchandise made in Brooklyn.

Read on below for my two other winners.

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Top 4 Work Trends for Job Seekers in 2017

Top 4 Work Trends for Job Seekers in 2017

Top 10 Cities for Job Seekers in 2017 (Source: NerdWallet)

Austin, Texas is the #1 city for job seekers (based on available jobs and housing affordability), followed by Denver, Nashville, Seattle, Durham. Rounding out the top 10 are Atlanta, Minneapolis, Lincoln, Nebraska, Irving, TX and Raleigh, NC. San Francisco comes in at #34, Chicago #69, Los Angeles #70 and New York City #78.

Key takeaways from the study:

  • Follow the young people. Nine of the 10 best cities for job seekers have higher-than-average percentages of 20-somethings.
  • Find fast-growing tech and healthcare hubs: Austin (IBM, Dell, Apple) leads the way in tech, followed by Seattle (Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing), Durham/Raleigh, and Denver. Top spots for healthcare are Nashville (over 250 health care companies are headquartered in the region) and Atlanta (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as dozens of health information and technology companies).
  • Head to state capitals.Half of the 10 best cities for job seekers are state capitals: Austin, Denver, Nashville, Atlanta and Raleigh.

Read on below for millennial leaders’ views on business leadership (vs. non-millennial C-Suite Execs) as well as what’s in/out for freelance and retirement gigs.

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INSCAPE Meditation App and Studio: Brilliant in its scalability

INSCAPE Meditation App and Studio: Brilliant in its scalability

Over the last year, I’ve noticed everyone getting into meditation. It’s the new yoga. I was even at a dinner last week and every time I thought we were finally going to eat, there was yet another meditation.

Although I am not a fan of meditation (as you can probably tell), I am very intrigued by Inscape. I checked it out this weekend for its gift store but was blown away by the whole concept. This new meditation studio was launched in late November by Khajak Keledjian who was the co-founder and former CEO of Intermix (before he sold it to the Gap for $130 million in 2012) – hence the cash for this very chic meditation center.

Khajak Keledjian has been personally involved with meditation for the last decade. As word spread of his involvement, he noted in an interview with Well+Good: “People started asking what sort of meditation they should do, and I would recommend what I thought could work for them based on their lifestyle and personality. I became a meditation curator.”

With Inscape, he’s now created a meditation brand that’s both an app and a Manhattan studio. What I find especially clever and intriguing is that the meditation is led by an electronic voice instead of a real person. He auditioned over 200 people to find the voice which is used both on the app and in the studio (she goes by the name of Sky). The most brilliant thing is the concept’s scalability! Most people with yoga studios or similar services, are limited in their growth based on finding top-notch instructors. Not so with Inscape. I’m especially fascinated by this concept after reading Peter Thiel’s book Zero to One because the subject of scalability figures prominently in how he thinks about funding start-ups.

Read on below for more on Inscape, as well as photos – it will surely soon be coming to a major city near you. Read More >

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