Book Cover Design: When, And Why, It Matters

Book Cover Design: When, And Why, It Matters

 

My good friend, Nick Belperio, who single-handedly turned me back into a reader, recently told me that book jacket design is one of his obsessions.

  • Until he brought it up, I had never given it much thought. Perhaps because most of my reading centers around biographies and business-related topics.
  • I can’t say I have ever bought – or even necessarily judged – a book by its cover.
  • But Nick’s passion and knowledge of the subject prompted me to dig deeper. After all, you must investigate when a knowledgeable friend tells you: “Some of the most creative and gorgeous package design is in books. It’s migrated there from album covers and movie posters which used to be the most creative and visually innovative.”

Nick’s favorite designers include Peter Mendelsund, Rodrigo Corral, and Chip Kidd – all superstars of the book design world.

  • In checking out their websites and stories, I can understand why this might become an obsession.
  • My questions for Nick and my fellow readers: how does the jacket design influence your decision to buy a book and secondly, how does it influence the reading experience?

See below for my 5 key takeaways after digging deeper into this subject.

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Skills, Not Degrees: Is This The Answer To The Shortage Of Qualified Workers?

Skills, Not Degrees: Is This The Answer To The Shortage Of Qualified Workers?

 

 

Because of the lack of skilled workers, more companies are looking for workers without traditional 4-year college degrees. As some say, they are looking for potential rather than pedigree.

This is happening at Google, IBM, and LinkedIn. Apple has even developed a course to be implemented nationwide at six community college systems to teach students to code as well as develop critical job skills in software development.

Here are 3 recent examples:

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner had this to say to Inc. recently about looking for new hires with a great work ethic, perseverance, loyalty, and a growth mindset:

  • These are qualities that you don’t necessarily pick up from a degree. There are qualities…that have a tendency to be completely overlooked when people are sifting through résumés or LinkedIn profiles. And yet, increasingly, we find that these are the kinds of people that make the biggest difference within our organization.

Lazlo Bock, former head of HR at Google, explained in a NY Times article why the proportion of Google employees without any college education had steadily increased through the years:

  • After two or three years, your ability to perform…is completely unrelated to how you performed when you were in school, because the skills you required in college are very different.

Read on below for more on the curriculum Apple has developed for high school and community colleges to be implemented starting this fall.

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Snapchat Is A Playground: This is the best description of Snap I’ve heard

Snapchat Is A Playground: This is the best description of Snap I’ve heard

“Snapchat is a Playground” – YES, Chris “Kubby” Kubbernus, it is!! Best description ever!!

 

I’ll be the first to admit things are not looking good for Snap. People are abandoning it in droves. At least 50% of the people I follow are gone.

  • However, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve started seeing influential early users e.g. Chris “Kubby” Kubbernus (photo above), tentatively checking back in.
  • Are they being paid to do this? I don’t think so, but who knows.
  • I’m also sensing there’s still a lot of love for Snapchat among its earliest and most avid users.
  • This appears to be especially true for those who abandoned Snap for Instagram Stories because they got more immediate engagement thru hashtags and ability to tag brands and celebrities.
  • BUT something is afoot, snappers are getting restless, they seem bored with Instagram and seem to genuinely be missing the Snap experience.

Here are some of the best comments I’ve heard recently on the state of Snap vs. Instagram:

“Snapchat is a playground….the voice changing thing, the filters, it’s just so much fun.”

  • This is the most brilliant description I’ve heard about Snap. It came from Chris “Kubby” Kubbernus, a leading marketing/social media guru (photo above)
  • He had been very active on Snap and abandoned it for Instagram for all the reasons cited above but he came back to check out all the new features and was clearly impressed.

“(Snapchat) is a platform for the imagination”

  • Caught this at the tailend of  an interview with Brian White of Drexel Hamilton on SquawkBox on 7/17/17.

“Snapchat is just better than instagram….”

  • Sam Sheffer commenting on quality of photos/video on snap vs. instagram.
  • Sam is an independent content creator, and close friend/collaborator of Casey Neistat
  • However, he’s more of a hired gun for brands so not sure where his true alliances lie e.g. he was pushing La Croix on every post for a while, now not at all so assume that contract ran out.
  • UPDATE FROM SAM: he did not have a contract with La Croix.
  • BUT when i heard him rave about snap a few weeks ago, it sounded genuine….

These recent comments, plus my own experience, indicate that Snap still has some advantages over Instagram, particularly when it comes to user experience.

Read on below for more on Snap vs. Instagram.

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Do you know what V.I.We Is? It’s The Millennial V.I.P Experience

Do you know what V.I.We Is? It’s The Millennial V.I.P Experience

 

V.I.We is a twist on VIP bottle service inspired by sharing services like Uber Pool and Airbnb that are popular with millennials.

  • Similar to cost-sharing of Uber Pool, V.I.We allows clubgoers to purchase access to an area of shared tables and spare the cost of buying bottle service on their own.
  • Admission to the V.I.We section at Tao costs $50 for women and $100 for men.
  • Brands participating include Absolut vodka, Avion tequila and Camp Viejo sparkling wine. Bottles are replenished throughout the night “as needed.”
  • V.I.We is a communal social experience. It’s a party within a party.
  • And big shout-out to Mike Snedegar, director of entertainment marketing at Tao in Las Vegas, for recognizing this trend and being the first to build a shared bottle service experience around the premise.

Another take on VIP on a budget, albeit more refined and stylish, is the new fast casual spot,  Made Nice in NYC which I’ve written about before.

  • Made Nice essentially offers mass elevated luxury and is the brainchild of Chef Daniel Humm and the team behind Eleven Madison Park (the fine dining establishment just named best restaurant in the world).
  • It’s a brilliant concept because it recognizes that millennials are major foodies and knowledgeable about chefs and top restaurants – even though they can’t afford to eat there.
  • Concepts like Made Nice have the potential to create a new niche that is more upscale and sophisticated than the typical salad/grain bowl places like Sweetgreen that have been so hot for the last couple of years.
  • The challenge for Made Nice will be to maintain the quality and consistency so that consumers won’t mind spending the extra couple of dollars it costs.
  • At the moment, I have seen complaints online about Made Nice’s $11-$15 price points as being too expensive.

My predictions on the future of mass elevated luxury:

  • We will see many more mass elevated luxury concepts being brought to us by innovative thinkers in various categories.
  • Several fine-dining chefs besides Daniel Humm are developing something similar e.g. Enrique Olvera with his new ATLA. I’m sure there are many others exploring scalable concepts that have the potential to IPO.
  • We’ll see similar endeavors in the hotel industry e.g. emulating Ian Schrager’s new Public Hotel
  • Perhaps Elon Musk will do it for transportation.
  • What sets this new group apart from previous cheap chic/designer collaborations (e.g. Lilly Pulitzer for Target) is that they are carving out a new niche intended for a vastly more knowledgeable and discerning consumer.
  • It’s not just trading on the name but delivering an undeniably superior product.
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Mongolia And The Gobi: It’s Absolutely Magical, It Stole My Heart

Mongolia And The Gobi: It’s Absolutely Magical, It Stole My Heart

 

My fellow travelers from my recent Nat Geo Around The World trip set up a Dropbox account for all of us to submit photos from our trip.  I went through them this past week and noticed that Mongolia/Gobi had the most submissions, followed by St. Petersburg.

  • I am still madly infatuated by all the things I experienced in the Gobi Desert and cannot get it out of my mind. The vastness of the landscape and the horses really blew me away. These kids can obviously ride before they can walk!
  • A lot of people have asked me about this trip vs. my previous one (Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat, Tibet, Serengeti, Marrakech). That trip was amazing and hit all my bucket list destinations. On reflection, many of us, including myself, were rookie travelers on our first major Nat Geo trip.
  • This Northern Route trip, on the other hand, was so much more impactful. The destinations were more remote and obscure. For whatever reason, these locations felt more significant to me (perhaps less touristy?). Additionally, my fellow travelers on this trip were more rugged and adventurous. Also, more well-traveled – several were on their 4th or 5th Nat Geo Private Jet trip.
  • My mind is still working through the experience. Major trip!!
  • See more Mongolia photos below. Unfortunately, there is no way to credit who shot them but if anyone does know and would like me to add a photo credit, please let me know.

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Trump Bumps? An Election Night That Will Go Down In History?

Trump Bumps? An Election Night That Will Go Down In History?

 

All over Manhattan – even at my co-working space – all I see are pregnant women. And I know this is not supposed to be happening:

  • New York’s birth rate is supposedly declining according to 2016 census
  • HOWEVER – based on all the baby bumps I am seeing, lots of babies were created last November
  • Could this have something to do with Donald Trump’s election?
  • And if so, how did couples decide this was the “right time” to get pregnant?
  • Were couples drowning their election sorrows and creating accidental pregnancies?
  • Or are these “disaster” babies like we saw after Hurricane Sandy?

In researching the topic, I found the documented events that caused spectacular baby booms in the past including Wars (WWII), sporting events and natural disasters. Read on below.

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Restaurant Roundup: Five Top Trends On My Radar

Restaurant Roundup: Five Top Trends On My Radar

 

Here’s what I’m keeping an eye on – starting with my biggest disappointment:

Poke: Still going strong but increasingly unsatisfactory.

  • In NYC, the two best continue to be Seamore’s and Wisefish Poke. Highly recommend both.
  • However, I’ve tried many others including Chikarashi and Sons of Thunder. All underwhelming, some simply bad.
  • Everywhere I’ve traveled this year, poke places are springing up: Atlanta, DC, Philadelphia.
  • In Dallas, there’s a lot of buzz around Pok the Raw Bar, which has a former Nobu chef at the helm. Fingers crossed they get the formula right.

What’s next on the raw fish front?

  • I’m putting my money on ceviche which is showing up on more menus. One of my favorites, at the moment, is the ceviche verde at ATLA, Enrique Olvera’s new casual spot.

Read on below for 4 more trends including the huge generational differences I’m picking up between millennials and those of us over 50 when it comes to our expectations for dining out.

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Knitting: Great for Stress Relief, But So Much More

Knitting: Great for Stress Relief, But So Much More

 

Everywhere I look, there they are: Knitters (men and women!).

  • On the subway – YES!
  • At art events – YES. Yarnbombers covering trees, motorcycles, trashcans.
  • On TV – YES. Norway’s Slow TV has a National Knitting Evening with 4 hours of knitting for binge watching. Another reason to love Norway! Available on Netflix.
  • On Youtube – YES. Almost 3MM videos on knitting.
  • Memes – YES. Knit Club is my favorite.
  • Even Vogue is on board: German Vogue editor, Christiane Arp is often seen with her knitting needles.
  • Wool and the Gang, a super cool knitting company, has created a kit that builds 20 minutes of meditation into your daily schedule via knitting a scarf.  Their “Me Time” Scarf comes with striped yarn in two different shades. Every day, you’re supposed to knit rows of a single color then stop when the color of yarn changes. Each stripe of color on the scarf should take about 20 minutes to knit, which is just enough time to relax and meditate about your day.

Read on below for more on knitting including a great video on why people knit, and some first hand examples from Franklin Habit, the renowned writer, illustrator, and knitter, on the connection between knitting and yoga.

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