TECH TALK: Whatever happened to innovation at APPLE and FACEBOOK?

TECH TALK: Whatever happened to innovation at APPLE and FACEBOOK?

 

Haven’t gone on an Apple or Facebook rant in a while but I am increasingly dissatisfied with both.

First and foremost, APPLE:

  • My iPhone 7 Plus is riddled with quirks and problems that require constant reboots. And it’s a wide variety of issues – from the calendar freezing to the TouchID not working.
  • This kind of problem was the exception when I got my first iPhone, now it’s the norm. And the fact that I don’t even bother to go the Genius Bar, feeling it’s an unsolvable problem, is a sign of what’s up at Apple. I no longer consider the brand exceptional.
  • Perhaps nothing is more symbolic of the new Apple than the dongle!

Interesting piece on NPR on the same subject with former employees noting that under Tim Cook there has been a culture shift that has led the company to lose its innovation mojo. A software engineer recalled that under Jobs, every employee was encouraged to take personal responsibility for improving the products. Under Tim Cook, the message for employees is look down, shut your mouth, do your job.

 

And then I have to talk about Facebook – WOW what a disaster!!

  • Such a dismal experience these days – not fun, not creative, not inspiring JUST filled with crap and copycatting. And although they will probably crush Snapchat, they are doing it in such an uncreative way that it makes me like them even less – if that’s possible!

Read on below for more on my major peeves with Facebook.

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Overnight Success? Not So Fast! How About 30-Months?

Overnight Success? Not So Fast! How About 30-Months?

 

Great piece by Mark Schaefer on how long it takes to really get something off the ground (especially something that is content-based which you might assume would be much quicker).

Mark interviewed over 100 people to find out how long it took their projects to gain traction. He kept looking for the overnight successes but what he found instead was that it took everyone between 2-3 years (i.e. 24-36 months) before they started seeing positive results.

The lessons from Mark’s study:

  • To build a successful personal brand and to become known, you have to be prepared to stick with it for a minimum of 30 months.
  • Becoming “known” is like running a marathon, the winners are the gritty few who keep going, not those who run only when fueled by “passion.”
  • Nothing replaces perseverance. Lots of people have talent, but few convert that talent into something meaningful. There’s nothing sadder than seeing a project die before its time. – Dr. Jamie Goode, wine blogger
  • I believed in what I was doing but it took three years for things to fall into place.– Isadora Becker, chef and YouTube food vlogger
  • Resilience is an imperative. I believe in resilience so much and if I had to pick just one character trait for success it would be that.– Zander Zon, YouTube bassist

Source: Mark Schaefer, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. His newest:KNOWN: The handbook for building and unleashing your personal brand in the digital age,

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Life Has To Have A Purpose: Dream F**king Big – Thank You Barbara Lynch, I Will

Life Has To Have A Purpose: Dream F**king Big – Thank You Barbara Lynch, I Will

 

Incredibly inspiring interview with chef and restaurateur extraordinaire, Barbara Lynch at last weekend’s Cherry Bombe Jubilee.

This woman has balls – and a potty mouth to match! And that’s why we all worship her!

She has also just written her memoir which she described as being a totally therapeutic and cathartic experience. PLUS, it raised a lot of questions about what it means to be unapologetically yourself.

Here are just a few of the things (verbatim) that 53-year old Barbara Lynch shared:

  • Life has to have a purpose
  • I’m never going to be done working, but I’m ready for the next stage
  • I thought to myself, how many more times can I cook another……
  • This is my jumping off point
  • I need to grow, I can’t worry about the restaurants
  • It’s going to be a big learning curve for me
  • You’ve got to dream fucking big…you can always scale back

Importantly, she made me realize how many people were onboarding for this next stage – whatever “it” is and no matter their age, whether they’re in their 50’s or 60’s! One thing I am 100% sure of, after listening to Barbara, it’s shaping up to be a huge trend and it’s going to be exciting!

And when it comes to trends, I am a big believer in the power of 3 i.e. if I see something new 3 times, in 3 different contexts, over a short period of time, I need to pay attention. Listening to Barbara provided an aha moment for me in thinking about aging and moving thru different lifestages. When she said “how many more times can I cook this….” that resonated so strongly with me because that’s exactly what I went through with Zandl Group and I knew I needed to find something new so that I could keep growing.

Read on below for 3 recent examples of how the concept of aging/lifestage is being redefined for today’s times. There are a lot of boomers out there and, by and large, they feel most brands and media don’t “get” them.

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LOVE Street Art – But Has It Jumped The Shark?

LOVE Street Art – But Has It Jumped The Shark?

 

Huge fan of street art (still!) and love how the exterior of 39 Spring Street (above) was muralized by Hektad this week. But then I uncovered this instagram from realtors at Apartments of NY, and while I am happy that Hektad makes a living doing art commissions, the fact that his work was being used specifically to dress up the building for two weeks until it gets demolished to make way for the “coolest storefront in Nolita” made me just a little bit sad.

On a more positive note, Hektad is also part of the amazing art installations at First Street Green (part of First Park) on the northside of East Houston Street between 2nd and 1st Avenues (entrance on 1st Street). Totally worth checking out if you’re in NYC or if you’re planning to visit sometime over the summer.

 

FABnyc commissioned the current artwork at First Street Green – back in May of 2016 – as part of its FABLES series. It was timed to coincide with Lower East Side History Month.

Many first-rate artists featured , and a top instagram spot. If you’re lucky, some artists may be on hand as well.

I could not readily find info on all the artists but some of the names I was able to get: Peter Missing, Cyril Mazard, Aaron Schraeter, Ex Vandals, Hektad, Laia, Rock Steady Crew, Marcelo Ment.

The art park has received additional funding over the years from both the BMW Guggenheim Lab and from Intuit.

See photos below.

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Cava Grill Was Meh, But Healthy Fast Casual Is The Trend To Watch

Cava Grill Was Meh, But Healthy Fast Casual Is The Trend To Watch

 

I have read so many rave reviews of Cava Grill that I finally just had to check it out. Which I did this past Sunday. What are all you people talking about? Am especially disappointed in my foursquare reviewers who give it a 9.3 rating!!

It wasn’t bad but I certainly would never go out of my way to eat there. It’s funded by Steve Case’s Revolution Growth (they’re also funding Sweetgreen, another DC food startup).

I had the salad bowl with a mix of grilled chicken and both kinds of meatballs, I tried their famous harissa and the feta. I would rate it a 5.

What’s most impressive about Cava actually has nothing to do with food. It’s how they use data and high-tech sensors to monitor customer wait times to improve the guest experience. The changes they’ve made, based on the technology, have helped lines move 10% faster and hold 12% more people. (Source: Fast Company)

Although fast casual “build-a-bowl” places aren’t usually my thing, I’m not averse to them e.g. I love several poke bowl restaurants. Cava underwhelmed me for the same reason Chipotle does – they make up for average food with huge portions. Doesn’t cut it for me.

But I totally understand why chefs are increasingly looking to develop this type of “healthy’ assembly line restaurant: it’s scalable and they can IPO it if it is really good.

 

Read on below for more standouts in this category – some recent launches, some longtime favorites.

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REAL ESTATE TRENDS: A Bellwether For The Economy

REAL ESTATE TRENDS: A Bellwether For The Economy

 

I’m still not used to seeing so many empty retail storefronts.

Many of us, including me, noted that people were still spending, just not on stuff. We’d all rather spend on experiences like restaurant dinners. Well, not so fast. While there are still lots of hot spots where reservations are impossible to come by, the restaurant biz is rapidly running out of steam (blame it on crazy rent hikes, minimum wage increases, or just too many restaurants).

Whatever the reason, I’m picking up signs everywhere that we will soon see a restaurant collapse similar to what we experienced with retail. Some early indicators include more restaurants doing out-of-character promotions e.g. Rebelle, a very high-end chef-driven spot downtown, is suddenly doing $5 happy hour cocktails with Stoli (they did not carry vodka previously). And then there are the restaurants that are inexplicably renting out their spaces during the day for co-working e.g. Public and Daniel Boulud’s DBGB. Not surprisingly, word just hit the street that Public is closing at the end of June and Rebelle looks like it is on its last legs.

Want more proof that the commercial real estate apocalypse is upon us? Bank branches closing en masse. Not surprising, of course, since we’d all rather venmo and bank electronically. I haven’t seen much of this yet in my neck of the woods but I hear it is happening elsewhere.

Definitely time for some belt-tightening. Last month’s anemic job numbers are just the tip of the iceberg for joblessness as retailers, restaurants, and banks continue to lay off thousands of workers.

Read on below for info on co-living.  It’s the one commercial real estate bright spot I see. It has big potential – especially if it is designed for broader audiences than just millennials.

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WORK INSPIRATION: Coming At Me Thru Social Media

WORK INSPIRATION: Coming At Me Thru Social Media

Clockwise from Upper Left: Deb Perelman (Smitten Kitchen), Joy Wilson (JoyTheBaker), Lyndsay Sung (CocoCakeLand), Molly Yeh (my name is yeh), Jocelyn Delk Adams (Grandbaby Cakes)

 

Big shout out to the food blogger planner at this past weekend’s Cherry Bombe Jubilee. I learned so much – and will be implementing most of what I heard. And I must add, these 5 bloggers make a healthy living from their blogging platforms so well worth paying attention to what they have to say.

Key takeaways:

  • Be authentically YOU. Develop your unique voice – that’s what people will respond to. Based on my own blog, I can vouch that’s true. The posts that get the most engagement are always the ones where I just lay it out there and hold nothing back.
  • Always share the second most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you – it will grow your audience – this gem came from Joy Wilson (joythebaker.com who has 396K instagram followers). That woman is amazing, if you ever have a chance to hear her speak, do it.
  • Use Instagram to grow your blog. EVERYTHING is going visual. The bloggers agreed that the only way they were getting people to their blogs was thru their instagram accounts. The goal is to create such fabulously interesting visuals that your audience will linger and ultimately make their way to your blog. This nugget of advice courtesy of Molly Yee (my name is yeh who has 222K IG followers).
  • “I would be all video” – per Jocelyn Delk Adams of Grandbaby Cakes, when asked what she would do differently were she to start out today.

Read on below for more of my social media mentors from Snapchat and Instagram – and it’s not lost on me that their platforms are all video! Why am I still writing?

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What’s up with OpenTable? Everyone’s suddenly on Reserve or Resy!

What’s up with OpenTable? Everyone’s suddenly on Reserve or Resy!

 

Has anyone else noticed that your favorite restaurants are suddenly not on OpenTable anymore?

This past week, while attempting to make reservations at a few spots that are always hard to get into (e.g. Il Buco, Carbone), I found they’ve all moved from OpenTable to either Reserve or Resy.

An investigation was called for!! Especially since I had bitched so much about both Reserve and Resy when they first launched. I objected to having to give them my credit card before they would make a reservation. And both seemed more cumbersome and harder to navigate than OpenTable. Boy, things have changed!!

In doing background, I discovered interesting details on the fee structure that totally explains why restaurants are ditching OpenTable. Restaurants are saving themselves $12,000 – $30,000 a year by going with  Reserve or Resy vs. OpenTable.

I totally appreciate what a drag it is for restaurants to spend this much on the reservations system but as a frequent diner, it is also frustrating to find my restaurants spread out over 3 or 4 different apps. At most, the industry can support two services….in my opinion!!

Read on below.
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