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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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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Why Robots? Because There Are Not Enough Qualified Workers

Why Robots? Because There Are Not Enough Qualified Workers

 

In the manufacturing sector, there are currently two job openings for every qualified worker. CRAZY!

  • Bringing jobs back to America has been a top initiative under President Trump but the data suggests the problem is a lack of qualified workers more than a lack of jobs.
  • And to be a qualified worker in manufacturing these days requires more tech skills than brawn.

Here are the top tends for manufacturing per Wisconsin’s SVA Consulting Services:

Labor Shortages

  • Over the next five years, most manufacturers will have two job openings for every one qualified individual. As baby boomers retire, the demand will increase even more.

Advanced Manufacturing & Automation

  • More advanced equipment is being installed on shop floors to increase worker efficiency. Those types of investments are expected to continue indefinitely.
  • Workers will need to develop the skills to work in this environment, moving from a pure manual labor role to overseeing the new technology.

Data-Driven Processes

  • Manufacturing companies of all sizes are beginning the transition to advanced analytics, data management and data storage as those technologies become less expensive.
  • Companies realize these processes improve efficiency, agility and decision time.

Re-shoring

  • The current administration is helping drive this initiative, but it’s not the only reason manufacturers are trying to bring production back to the U.S.
  • For the past few years, there’s been a renewed focus on “American-made” with companies identifying efficiencies and cost cuts from manufacturing Stateside.
  • For companies to achieve this, however, they will need a much larger pool of skilled workers than is currently available.
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Hey, Joe Kernen! I Give Up, I’m Switching To Bloomberg

Hey, Joe Kernen! I Give Up, I’m Switching To Bloomberg

 

Joe Kernen, anchor at CNBC’s Squawk Box, has long been too overtly political – on air – for my liking.

  • But now with Trump’s win, Kernen feels he’s been given carte blanche to make his political rants the centerpiece of the show.
  • It appears he is trying to turn Squawk Box into the TV version of Trump’s tweets. Who knew that was even possible?
  • As many of you know I have been a longtime fan of Squawk Box. This switch to Bloomberg definitely puts a crimp in my early morning routine.
  • That said, I’m over cringing every time Kernen goes on one of his rants – or starts badgering guests who are not to his political liking.
  • And don’t get me started on his anti-tech stance or his myopic America-first view of the world. All backward-looking and jarring on a business show.

Last week, after I had hit the mute button one too many times, I made the decision to switch to Bloomberg Surveillance and Bloomberg Daybreak. It’s not been an easy shift.

  • I already miss SquawkBox. Their guests and the setup of the show are vastly superior to anything Bloomberg is currently offering.
  • So odd that the Bloomberg early morning shows are so lackluster when the rest of their programming is so stellar and among my favorite TV viewing e.g. David Rubenstein Show, Brilliant Ideas, Studio 1.0, Charlie Rose.
  • Perhaps they will read this and up their game!
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Love My Co-Working Spaces But Is The Bubble About To Burst?

Love My Co-Working Spaces But Is The Bubble About To Burst?

 

I work out of several of the Soho Houses and absolutely love them. Prior to joining Soho House, I also had a membership at Neuehouse which was equally great but for slightly different reasons. I believe in the concept and benefits 100%.

  • That said, we are at a tipping point for how many co-working spaces the market can absorb.
  • Currently, nationwide, there are too many companies chasing the co-working crowd.
  • Read on below for news on who is getting in the game: big box stores, hotels, restaurants and cafes and now, finally, commercial real estate companies are fighting back.

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The Mall of the Future: More Reliant on Data, Food and Fitness

The Mall of the Future: More Reliant on Data, Food and Fitness

 

Jamestown (owner/developer of Ponce City Market/ATL as well as 11 other retail-based developments) is now using technology to show retail tenants that physical locations are a big factor in driving their online business. To me, that suggests things are really bad at the mall.

  • The data Jamestown uses tracks where the mall’s core shoppers come from, which stores they visit (and how often) and whether they later make a purchase through that retailer’s online store.
  • This comes in handy if a tenant complains to Jamestown about sales slowing down. Jamestown can provide data showing the value of the tenant’s physical location.
  • Reportedly, Warby-Parker, which started as strictly e-commerce, reports that when they open a store in an area, their actual e-commerce in the same area shoots up 15-20%. The physical store becomes the ambassador of the brand.

Other top mall tenant trends: Food and Fitness (Source: Phillips Edison)

Personal Fitness

  • More studios signing mall leases: CycleBar, Soul Cycle, Core Power Yoga, Orange Theory Fitness, Pure Barre and Club Pilates.

Health Conscious Fast Casual Restaurants

  • Salad concepts like Grabbagreen and organic/fresh ingredients options like Core Life Eatery, sweetgreen, BibibBob, Taziki’s and Newks becoming key mall tenants.

Food Halls

  • By 2020, there will be 200 Food Halls in the U.S. (double the number today) fueled by millennials and foodie culture.
  • Eataly, the leading food hall developer, has 35 locations with plans for additional food halls.
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What Phase Of Your Career and Lifestage Are You In?

What Phase Of Your Career and Lifestage Are You In?

Subject Matter Expertise vs. Wisdom Curve Credit: Eric Larson

 

I’ve been a bit lost lately, still in the throes of reinventing myself post-Zandl Group. It’s been two steps forward and one step back.

  • But then, on this recent Nat Geo Expedition, I met two people – Eric Larson and Whit Carhart – who, separately, provided invaluable advice and perspective on navigating change on this journey that is my life.
  • It’s not lost on me that my Nat Geo expedition and my personal odyssey mirror each other. Both are to parts unknown. Both have been made easier to navigate because of wonderful guides and experts who have been there before and willingly share their wisdom.
  • I am hugely grateful to both Eric and Whit, two fellow life explorers who were willing to take me under their wings and mentor me at a moment when I needed it the most i.e. when the “what do you do” question lands and you don’t quite know how to answer it in a way that reflects where you are in your reinvention phase.
  • Eric, in particular, immediately understood where I was coming from when our conversation turned to how much satisfaction I get from taking a more advisory role with clients vs. undertaking new projects.
  • He also lit up when I mentioned how gratifying it is for me to connect younger, super-talented people from my network to clients for projects that I would have been thrilled to take on in the past.
  • That’s when Eric literally sprang to life and drew the above Venn diagram for me, explaining these two important phases of a career: Subject Matter Expertise (SME) which is strongest up to age 45 vs. the Wisdom/Knowledge Phase which starts to build by age 50.
  • He also provided me with some additional reading and recommended Deep Change by Robert E. Quinn. I started it last night and couldn’t put it down. Mind-blowingly good – a must read for everyone since we are all undergoing more change, more often than ever before.
  • Whit Carhart -I have to thank for being adamant that I not give away my wisdom for free, that I, instead, place a monetary value on all I have learned. I will indeed be doing that – thank you Whit!
  • I will keep reporting back at certain key phases of this transformational journey. I’m very excited about the process and about everything I will learn along the way.
  • In the meantime, I highly recommend Deep Change. It’s not a new book – was written in 1996 but all the issues related to change are as relevant (if not more so) than they were then.

Read on below for more on Eric’s insights on SME vs. Wisdom or what he calls Experience Diversity.

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