Alibaba’s Singles Day: EPIC! Blows Black Friday Out Of The Water

Alibaba’s Singles Day: EPIC! Blows Black Friday Out Of The Water

 

TOTALLY IMPRESSIVE. Much has been written about Singles Day, the anti-Valentine’s Day dreamt up by Alibaba in 2009. I first wrote about it in 2014.

This shopping extravaganza has become the most anticipated online event in the world. It generates sales 2.5 times bigger than the U.S.’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

Here are 11 stats that blow me away.

  •  A record $25.3 billion in one-day sales
  • $1.5 billion in first 3 minutes
  • 256,000 transactions per second
  • The first package arrived at its destination 12 minutes after it was ordered
  • The Chinese railway put on extra bullet trains to assist the delivery of 812 million parcels
  • 90% of sales were generated through mobile devices
  • Alipay processed 1.48 billion payment transactions, up 41%, as Chinese shoppers increasingly use their mobile phones as wallets instead of cash
  • Shoppers came online from 225 countries
  • 140,000 brands participated including Adidas, Bose, L’Oreal, Mac, Nike, Levis, Siemens, Unilever
  • This year, for the first time, Alibaba converted 100,000 real stores into “smart stores” with facial recognition cameras and technology tracking what shoppers do and buy
  • The warm up to Singles Day was a 4-hour televised concert with international singers Jessie J and Pharrell Williams, actress Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger) and tennis star Maria Sharapova. Nicole Kidman appeared just before midnight, as the sale started, introducing Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma, in his own kung fu film.

More details on this extraordinary shopping day below.

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Fantastic Week! Ward Shelley Tops The List

Fantastic Week! Ward Shelley Tops The List

 

 

This week was amazing. Chock-a-block with great meet-ups and really cool events – if cheese and caviar are involved, how can it not be phenomenal?

But I have to kick off this post with a hot recommendation for NYC friends:

  • Anyone in NYC this weekend please check out my friend Ward Shelley’s The Newcomers. This “durational architectural performance” can be found at 28 Liberty in the Financial District (it’s in the outdoors plaza of that building near Pine and William Streets).
  • It’s free and will be up through Sunday, November 19.
  • It’s part of the Performa 17 Biennial.
  • Watch my video interview with Ward (above) to better understand what it’s about. Ward’s projects are always pretty out there – and this is no exception. And if you do go, make sure you check in with him and the crew. They’ll have been on that rig, not touching ground for ten days – and yet every day moving that contraption they are living on, the distance between each day’s poles.

Read on below for 5 more highlights of this great week.

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I’m a Non-Conformist. What Kind of Thinker are You?

I’m a Non-Conformist. What Kind of Thinker are You?

 

Big shout out to my friend Nystrom for passing along this quiz that Kimberly-Clark gives to all new college grads interviewing for jobs.

It’s part of their “Original Thinkers” marketing campaign intended to attract young talented workers to the company.

  •  Each candidate is encouraged to take this informal, 3-minute quiz designed to probe what kind of thinker a person is.

It’s fun with interesting questions. I was classified as a Non-Conformist – which is odd since I was sure I would be classified as an “Analyzer” because my responses were so rational versus creative (at least I thought so).

When you’re done and have your rating, make sure you continue to the Click HERE section of the quiz to download the Original Thinker Guide for your classification. It provides loads more info on your “original thinker” ranking.

Though the quiz is apparently not used as a tool to screen job candidates, it provides conversation fodder that is more revealing and provocative than a canned answer about career goals.

Read on below for more on how/why the Original Thinkers campaign came about.

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Personalized Kit Kat Omiyage: This is an Awesome Vending Machine

Personalized Kit Kat Omiyage: This is an Awesome Vending Machine

 

This is killing me. Why doesn’t Nestle do this kind of cool stuff in the States?

Per Japan Trends, Nestlé Japan has installed a new vending machine in Kyoto that lets you create personalized Japanese Kit Kat chocolates.

  • The Travel Memories Kit Kat vending machine is located inside the Omiyage Kaido (Souvenir Highway) JR Kyoto Station for a limited time only.
  • It lets customers buy a box of Kit Kat chocolates in a matcha green tea flavor that also comes in packaging personalized with their own photos.
  • The vending machine can connect with customers’ phones to print their choice of photo on the box.
  • The back of the packaging is designed like a postcard, so you can write an address on the back, add a postage stamp, and then mail it from the vending machine.
  • The whole process takes about 5 minutes and costs less than $4.
  • The promotion runs from November 2nd until mid-April 2018.

See more below on Omiyage culture which is huge in Japan – as well as more photos of the Kit Kat boxes.

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The Next Big Thing: Over-60s Are Having a Moment

The Next Big Thing: Over-60s Are Having a Moment

 

I frequently feel like a pioneer on the vanguard of this weird thing called “aging.” The existing language and assumptions around this life stage simply don’t fit how I feel or how I see the world and my place in it.

To quote Ageist (one of my favorite websites):

Unlike other life stages, there isn’t anything out there in the way of templates or substantial role models.

So, you can imagine my happiness at discovering groups of like-minded creatives, scientists, and businesses all intent on rebranding this age category and changing existing perceptions of this life stage.

And, by the way, this is not about making one life stage preferable to another: youth will never lose its allure but “Late Style” is catching on.

Read on below for more about how the social constructs around life stages and aging are giving way to a new reality.

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Flying Business Class? Welcome to the World of the Office Cubicle

Flying Business Class? Welcome to the World of the Office Cubicle

 

Who thought that Business Class should look like a sea of grey plastic office cubicles? Hideous!! I absolutely abhor it. What kind of thinking – and design acumen – went into this? Did they ask anybody flying if a sea of lowly office cubicles was the correct aesthetic for Business Class? How can they possibly think it’s a good idea to strip away every last morsel of luxury, comfort and glamour?

I find it atrocious that after paying thousands of dollars to fly Business, you end up spending the equivalent of a 6-8 hour day in the cubicle section – shouldn’t Business at least get you a “flying corner office”?

I’ve done some research and it looks like every airline has been sold this bill of goods on the desirability of the cubicle. A lot of it seems to be fueled by being able to have a flat bed but on my recent overnight trip, I found it not very comfortable and slept perhaps 2 hours max.

I’m of the opinion that this is an appalling turn of events and must be reversed. Flying Business should be an elevated experience as in C-Suite, NOT C as in Cubicles.

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Pop Up Shops Are a Global Phenomenon and Here’s a Shout Out to the Best!

Pop Up Shops Are a Global Phenomenon and Here’s a Shout Out to the Best!

 

 

Traditional retail may be languishing but pop ups are booming – and popular with all age groups from millennials to Xers to Boomers.

  • If you’re in NYC between now and the end of December, check out Gilles Blanchard’s THE FACE New York Concept Store. It’s a very cool collaborative affair hosting Marithe + Francois Girbaud, Bishop Collective, art by Stella Michaels & Zane Fix as well as furniture by Circa. 
  • Girbaud is using the pop up to re-introduce the brand to the United States.
  • Location: 224 Mulberry Street (bet. Prince and Spring).

Another new trend in pop ups is the extended lease e.g. the new Totokaelo at 199 Bowery is doing an 11-month residency.

  • The Face New York is doing 2 months.
  • The new Vuitton pop up in Brookfield Plaza (see below) is running thru March (almost 6 months).

See more photos of The Face pop up below as well as more late breaking pop up news and examples of best-in-class pop ups from around the world.

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2018 Workplace Trends: the Magnitude of Change is Mindboggling

2018 Workplace Trends: the Magnitude of Change is Mindboggling

 

I’m writing this blog post while ensconced at “my” table at Ludlow House. I’m surrounded by a tribe of young professionals – most are creative entrepreneurs. Everyone is buried in their laptops or “taking” meetings.

  • Ludlow House is gorgeous, the staff is getting ready to serve lunch.
  • The soundtrack is perfect for late morning – a bit of Let Me Get There by Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions followed by Sunshine on My Face by FM Laeti and then my favorite, Wild Horses by the Stones.
  • I can’t imagine a better and more inspiring way – and place – to work. And it couldn’t be more different to how I got the job done 20 years ago.

The magnitude of workplace change was brought home to many of us last week when news broke that WeWork was buying Lord & Taylor’s iconic flagship on 5th Avenue and turning it into their HQs. Lord & Taylor will rent a small space from them in the hopes the WeWork crowd will shop there – keep dreaming guys! Not going to happen!

With millennials now the largest generation in the U.S. workforce (and Gen Z starting to enter the workforce), we can anticipate many more significant changes in how we work.

Read on below for 2018’s major work trends.

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