Why I Like And Support Andrew Yang

Why I Like And Support Andrew Yang

 

“Most politicians are just responding to culture, whereas he is the culture and anticipates the future.”

 

That’s what Joel Scoles, a food and beverage worker who serves tech workers in San Francisco, said about Yang. And that perfectly sums up Yang’s appeal for me.

Andrew Yang doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning, but he represents a major culture shift in the political landscape. And, by the way, I am not an American citizen so I can’t vote, but this guy would be my kind of president.

Some of you have heard me talk about how, in my ideal administration, algorithms would run the show. It’s a way to take all the bickering and partisanship and do-nothingness out of politics.

Yang is as close to an AI politician as we can get. And because I made a minor donation to his campaign, I’ve become a member of the Yang Gang and get all kinds of updates including opportunities to buy his MATH merch (Make America Think Harder). Besides being a brainiac, he’s also quite fun, even completing the bottle cap challenge!

From my perspective, Andrew Yang is on the vanguard of a new kind of politician who will know a thing or two about technology. He’s a math nerd with a smart approach to the economy, tech, and the future. He won’t ask the ridiculous, make your eyes roll, questions this current batch of politicians are tossing out at tech leaders in televised hearings. They don’t realize the only thing their absurd questions are doing is showing us how behind the times and ill-informed they are about technology – which happens to be today’s most significant engine of economic growth.

But, I’m not the only one who is gravitating to Yang’s data-centered, math nerd political position. His biggest supporters are tech workers. Supposedly he’s the candidate of Silicon Valley – not necessarily a good thing in these anti-tech times. I get that!

But he does appear to be connecting strongly to this new group of voters who have not previously been heavily involved in politics.

Per CNBC:

Yang appeals to Silicon Valley tech types in part because of his straightforward and quick-witted responses, which are delivered with few political embellishments or emotions.

Yang supporters often wear hats and shirts with the acronym “MATH,” which Yang said stands for “Make America Think Harder.” Tech workers say this refers to Yang’s habit of answering questions with multiple data points at the drop of a hat.

So while you’re all on the Elizabeth Warren, Sanders, Biden, Harris bandwagons, I’m sticking with my man Yang.

 

Now let’s talk briefly about the role of plastic surgery in politics. Has anybody noticed how much face work Biden has had done – along with hair plugs and teeth veneers?

If you do even one Google search on this, you’ll find that Joe Biden is no stranger to plastic surgery, but this latest round looks so unnatural that I’m afraid he’s veering into Joyce Wildenstein territory. He no longer looks like himself. He’s too stretched.

 

Scroll down for pics of him as well as info from the top plastic surgeon in DC whose patients are 60-70% male, mostly politicians and evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

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Culture Shift Is IN, Trends Are OUT.

Culture Shift Is IN, Trends Are OUT.

 

UPDATE: The Opinionator will be on hiatus over the next month due to my travel schedule. There will be some intermittent posts, but I  will not be back to my daily routine until late August. In the meantime, follow me on Instagram: link here.

 

Having made a career out of tracking trends, it’s odd (I know) to be pooh-poohing the very concept I spent years developing. But hear me out.

Over the last year, numerous trend consultancies have folded. That awesome thing called the Internet, along with Google, has given clients the tools they need to take their trends work in-house.

In the meanwhile, the word “trend(s)” itself feels outdated to me. However, there’s something about “culture/cultural shift” that resonates and sounds more contemporary and relevant.

In reviewing my writing over the last several years, I still use “trend” (605 posts), but culture shift is on the ascendancy with 67 posts. And I am not the only one switching out “trends” for culture shift.

Business Insider recently ran a UBS research note that stated:

  • Nordstrom is suffering from a “cultural shift” of shoppers opting for low prices over quality.

Based on my experience, “trends” is more surface and increasingly used interchangeably with “trendy.” As such it has come to be associated with fast-moving, faddish developments e.g., Keto is the latest diet trend/fad or Virgil Abloh’s “Off/White” is the latest fashion brand having a trendy moment.

Culture shift, on the other hand, leads to more in-depth, far-reaching explorations of fundamental changes in behaviors, beliefs, and lifestyles.

 

Bottom Line.

As I travel around the country over the next month, I’m excited to experience culture shift in action in seven different states/cities (many for the first time). I will have lots to report along the way and will be back to my daily writing schedule as of August 26.

Here’s to a beautiful summer!!

 

Scan below if you want to see more examples of culture shift from the past few years.

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Smoking Is Back – Only Now It’s Rebranded As Vaping

Smoking Is Back – Only Now It’s Rebranded As Vaping

 

And it’s most often weed instead of tobacco. I’m writing about this not because I’m a fan but because it’s a brilliant example of how powerful words can be in altering our perceptions – even of something as outré as smoking.

 

Also easy to understand why Altria (the parent company of Philip Morris) bought a 35% stake in Juul last year, thereby getting into both vaping and weed. And why Jay Z has gotten into the pot game as “chief brand strategist” for California cannabis company Caliva.

Everyone I know seems to be getting into the cannabis biz lately. Perhaps this newest info on the weed vaporizer market will offer something new and useful to my budding entrepreneur friends.

For those of us who aren’t into either vaping or weed, it’s still good to know what’s going on around us.

Per Green/Entrepreneur:

The industry as a whole is moving towards vaping.

  • Vape sales in total increased by 69% in 2018 while CBD vape sales grew 105%

The vape pen is the popular choice for both cannabis and CBD.

  • It’s the most portable method of consumption as well as the most discrete.
  • Concealment is the leading reason for vape use (between 35-46%), followed by convenience for between 29-42% of users.

Vaping CBD provides a stronger experience.

  • The human body absorbs a higher percentage of CBD’s compounds by vaping — between 34-46% versus only 10% from edibles.

Concentratessold as vapes, are the most popular product in California (the largest American recreational market).

  • In 2018, in California, cannabis concentrates outsold flower (37% compared to 33%) for the first time in history, according to figures from BDA Analytics.

Vaping skews young.

  •  In 2018, cannabis use was at a 30-year-high among college students. As cannabis use grows across the country, many consumers are seeking accessories that deliver stronger effects.

 

Bottom Line.

Vaporizers are not only the future of smoking; they also appear to signal the end of the “joint” as we’ve known it.

My takeaway on this whole rebranding of smoking to vaping is that if you want to find the most brilliant marketers and wordsmiths, your search should start in the cannabis/CBD world.

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Millennials Are Turning 40. Want To Know What That Means?

Millennials Are Turning 40. Want To Know What That Means?

 

Millennials are running businesses, getting married, having kids, buying houses — and ordering way more Ubers and pricey coffees than we Boomers or Gen Xers ever did!

 

This excellent and insightful report comes to us from Global X, an ETF-focused investment firm. Highly recommend checking them out – their research is strong.

 

Here are the 10 biggest takeaways:

 

Millennials are well-educated: 40% have a bachelor’s degree or greater, compared to 29% of Gen Xers and 25% of Baby Boomers.

They’re about to overtake Boomers in the labor force: Millennials are currently 35% of the labor force but will represent 75% of US workers by 2030.

They’re making money: the median adjusted income in a household headed by a Millennial was $69,000 in 2017 – a higher figure than for nearly every other year on record for people aged 22 to 37. And they will be inheriting an estimated $30 trillion in wealth from the Baby Boomer generation.

They’re settling down: 40% now own a house vs. 26% in 2016; 38% are now married vs. 27% in 2016, 40% of Millennial women had children as of 2018.

They’re online shoppers: In 2019, 60% of their purchases are made online, up from 47% two years ago.

They’re cord-cutters: 88% of Millennials subscribe to a streaming service vs. 51% who have a cable subscription.

They’re trying to eat healthily: one-quarter of 25-to-34 years old Americans say they are vegans or vegetarians, causing The Economist to call 2019 “The year of the vegan.”

They’ve made athleisure the largest apparel category: despite the slowdown in the overall apparel market, companies such as Nike and Lululemon continue to ride the wellness wave via athleisure wear, a segment that is expected to reach $355 billion by 2021 up from $290 billion in 2017.

Technology to pay:  their cell phones have become their credit card, their wallet, and their overall bank. 75% have used online or mobile payments compared to only 51% of Boomers.

Travel is a priority: compared to other generations, Millennials value their vacations more highly, with one-third willing to pay $5,000 or more for a trip.

 

Bottom Line.

The most significant difference I see between Millennials vs. Gen X or Boomers is that they have grown up looking at the world through the prism of technology. In terms of prioritizing experiences or making health a priority, I don’t see significant differences between the generations.

That said, Millennials are becoming a massive force in the economy because of their numbers, their education, and their skill sets, especially as it relates to technology.

Companies that understand their spending habits and preferences will be the most well-positioned to benefit from this major consumer and culture shift.

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Ageing: Lots Of Cool News To Share, So Listen Up.

Ageing: Lots Of Cool News To Share, So Listen Up.

 

First of all, a great example of how ditching the outmoded language around ageing totally rebrands the experience. Thank you to “Age Against The Machine” for showing us the way!

 

Age Against the Machine – Festival of Creative Ageing Comes To London This Fall

Age Against the Machine is a ground-breaking and unique festival that will challenge perceptions and bring an often ignored part of our shared experience to the foreground.

This brand new cultural festival centered around the subject of ageing and creative approaches to the issue of growing old is being hosted by the London Borough of Lewisham.

I certainly hope somebody I know from the business world goes to this! I can’t vouch for it personally, but it sounds fantastic and well-worth checking out. Link for more info here.

 

Read on below for more examples of innovative new approaches to ageing.

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Post-Father’s Day Kudos To All The Cool Dads Out There!

Post-Father’s Day Kudos To All The Cool Dads Out There!

 

I’m so impressed by all the young dads who are turning out to be such naturals at parenting.

 

And I need to send a special shout out to Dennis Crowley, and his Instagram account (@dens) for giving us a rare insiders look at how much fun it is to be a hands-on dad. I highly recommend all my friends who are newish parents follow his account. It’s an absolute joy.  And that means a lot coming from someone like me who has never been particularly interested in kids.

What I’ve found especially fascinating in following Dennis’ Instagram is seeing how kids change from day to day. Watching his son’s journey from crawling to walking is amazing.  You miss a day or two, and they’ve developed a whole new skill set. I’ve been particularly intrigued to see how curious they are and how they tackle obstacles and challenges.

So let me say one more time: super impressed by all these young dads who have embraced fatherhood with such gusto.

In keeping with this post-Father’s Day theme, I found two recent studies on dads that are worth checking out. One is on dad-shaming, i.e., criticizing dads about their parenting skills, the other is on the impact of paternity leave.

 

Read on below.

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Disruptor Brands Update: Here Are YOUR Favorites

Disruptor Brands Update: Here Are YOUR Favorites

 

I wrote this piece on my favorite disruptor brands a few weeks ago. I posted it on Facebook, and ta-da you responded with your top choices. Thank you!

 

Apple is #1

Cited by one-third of you with specific mentions of the iPhone, Apple Pay, and the Apple Watch.

People are loving their Apple Watches, and I’m even tempted to get one. It’s going to get even more popular now that there is an app store specifically for the watch.

But it’s also creating some very annoying behavior for those of us not yet acclimated to the watch.

For example, getting together with an Apple Watch wearer is stressful for me because they glance at their watches every couple of minutes as messages or texts roll in. My takeaway from this subtle “glance-at-the-watch” behavior is that I am with someone on a very tight schedule and that we ought to “wrap this up” quickly.

I also know that this is old-fashioned thinking because we’re talking about a new device that comes with a new set of behaviors that mean different things than they did in the past. I certainly glance at my phone frequently. And I’m sure that’s equally annoying. But a phone has up til now had a different connotation for me vs. a watch. I am fully aware that this might be a generational difference and that I am the one who needs to adjust my expectations around watches vs. phones. I clearly need to get with the program and understand the redefined purpose of a watch!

Does anybody else feel this way, or am I the only one who finds the constant glancing at the watch offputting?

 

#2: Venmo (and Zelle)

I love Venmo. I had no idea how popular these apps had become.

But a tip for those of you who may be linking your Venmo account to a credit card. Don’t do it unless you have to.

Per Lifehacker:

  • If you use a credit card to send money through Venmo, you pay a 3% fee.
  • Instant transfer fees made up half of Venmo’s $200 million revenue in 2018, based on analysis by The Motley Fool.
  • And if you’re one of the three-in-10 adults in the U.S. who go an entire week without using cash, you may be spending more on fees than you imagined.
  • Take a moment NOW to review what cards and accounts are linked to your payment apps.

I checked mine as I wrote this and saw I had both my bank account and my credit card linked. I removed my credit card.

 

#3: Uber (and Lyft and Via)

Uber was the clear winner, and the Lyft loyalists are still mad as hell about Uber.

 

#4: Netflix

One in ten of you is seriously into Netflix. Not me. But, Brad became a surprisingly big fan while he was living in Arizona. He’s now officially obsessed with Netflix.

 

#5: Amazon

For ten percent of you, life cannot go on without Amazon. I believe this number would have been much higher a year ago.

From what I can tell, the bloom is off the rose for Amazon. Too convoluted these days, shipping is too much of an issue, and I’m wondering if Bezos’ tawdry affair makes the whole thing less appealing to some?

Also, I am back to ordering from Walmart. They have done a fantastic job of upgrading their e-commerce service. Prices, unfortunately, have gone up, but between Walmart, Jet, and Target, I have strong options and no longer feel reliant on Amazon.

 

Here are several other brands mentioned by you as favorites. Although aware of these brands, none were top of mind for me as disruptors.  I will check them out:

  • Glossier
  • Control4
  • Spotify
  • Lime/Bird
  • Botox
  • Wayfair
  • Pax Vaporizer (was not aware of this at all!)
  • Spanx

 

Bottom Line.

Disruption, in most cases, comes down to tech making our lives more efficient, more seamless, and ultimately more amazing.

And I must admit, despite my on-going bitching about Apple, they’ve still got it going on – may even check out the Apple Watch today!

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Can You Be An Extrovert But Also Shy? Science Says Yes!

Can You Be An Extrovert But Also Shy? Science Says Yes!

 

 

I did not know that shyness is a genetic trait. 23andme might want to add this to their DNA tests.

 

I’ve always been an extrovert, but when it comes to big gatherings, I can be painfully shy. And I’ve never really understood why I can be so extroverted on the one hand and then so awkward and shy, the next. But extroversion and shyness are not mutually exclusive.

The whole subject of extroverts vs. introverts has been much in the news lately, but this article from the BBC (“The science behind why some of us are shy”) is exceptionally insightful.

 

Scroll down for a quick recap, but if this subject is near and dear to your heart, I recommend reading the BBC piece in its entirety.

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