Signs of Retail’s Demise
I’ve noticed an increasing number of stories pointing to the demise of retail in the last week and a half. I believe retail, and its millions of employees, are in for serious trouble over the next decade, so this might be confirmation bias. Regardless, I find it interesting. Throughout the year, I’ll try to deposit links to “Signs of Retail’s Demise” here. If you find any more, send them my way on Twitter; I’m @SparksZilla.
1/08/14: “Macy’s Plans to Lay off 2,500”
1/15/14: “JC Penney is Laying Off 2,000”
1/15/14: “Albertsons sets 26 store closures”
1/16/14: “Best Buy Holiday Sales Fall”
- When I said “retail,” I meant traditional brick and mortar retail.
- I should have linked to Jeff Jordan from a16z’s post “The Tipping Point (E-Commerce Version)" in my post, so thanks to Alan Wells for reminding me in the comments. It’s a great read for anyone interested in the future of retail and/or e-commerce.
1/22/14: “Target cuts 475 jobs in Minnesota offices”
Google Reader Should Have Gone Mobile, Right?
Today, Richard Gingras, Google’s senior director of News & Social Products, shed some light on Google’s decision to end support for Google reader citing:
"As a culture we have moved into a realm where the consumption of news is a near-constant process. Users with smartphones and tablets are consuming news in bits and bites throughout the course of the day — replacing the old standard behaviors of news consumption over breakfast along with a leisurely read at the end of the day."
Don’t Let Fear Keep You From Moving
“Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.” - Horace Greely, 1865*
College graduation season has arrived, meaning a lot of grads will decide to stay or go, but many will let fear prevent them from relocating to chase their dreams in a new city.
One year ago, I arrived in San Francisco with everything I owned in my car. I left Columbus, Ohio to plant my startup in more fertile ground. The last call I got before crossing the Ohio-Indiana border was from a local investor. He heard I was heading west, was calling to change my mind, and wanted us to be the first deal in a new fund. It all sounded rather uncertain, and I determined to be a distraction. I told him my mind was made up. I hung up the phone, cranked up “Born to Be Wild,” rolled the window down, hit the gas, and watched Ohio disappear.
Since then, I’ve lost touch with a good number of people, but fortunately new cities hold new people, Google invented Hangouts, and beers taste just as good over the phone as they do over a table. My company, LaunchGram, didn’t quite work out, but now I’m working on something I love a whole lot more. All of my pre-moving anxiety was silly, and chances are so is yours.
After graduating I almost moved to the Bay Area, but couldn’t pull the trigger. With a girlfriend I loved, friends I cherished, and a job that paid well, the thought of leaving all that behind felt selfish and intimidating. Instead I stayed put, but each month the gravity of San Francisco grew stronger.
Late one night at a bar, a friend of mine put it to me straight and said, “Which do you think you’re more likely to regret in twenty years? Choosing to move to the Bay Area or choosing to stay here?” The answer was clear.
One of my favorite professors, Artie Isaac, said that every person wants three things: the job, the city, and the significant other. Everyone can easily get one of the three, getting two out of three is difficult, and managing to pull off all three is undeniably lucky. After hearing this, my uncle said, “Pick the perfect city; the job and the girl will be waiting for you there.” My decision was made. I put in my two weeks notice, threw a going away party (okay, two), and said goodbye to a lot of people I love.
In On the Road, Jack Kerouac nails it: “I was surprised, as always, at how easy the act of leaving was, and how good it felt. The world was suddenly rich with possibility.” Jack was right. Getting worked up over the prospect of moving and all that goes with it is easier, but after committing, liberation and possibility take over.
* Whether Horace Greely was the first to use the phrase “Go West, young man” is disputed, as are the details of the rest of the quote. For further background, read more on Wikipedia.
I Told You So, Dad (on Tesla)
A long time ago, my Dad asked me to keep him in the loop when I determined a technology stock to be “hot.” I have only ever recommended he buy four stocks: Apple (in 2006), Google (in 2006), Facebook (at IPO), and most recently, Tesla (Sept. 2012). Go figure, the only one he actually invested in was Facebook, and we know how that’s going.
So today I sent him this:
Does that make me an obnoxious son? Absolutely.
Apr. 22 2013: Today’s Most Interesting Stories
Today marks about a week and a half that I’ve been publishing the “today’s most interesting stories” series, and the reaction has been pretty positive (a few people have said they’d pay to have this in an app).
On that note, I’d love to get feedback on what people like & what they’d like to see more or less of. Tweet @SparksZilla or leave something in the comments. I’m willing to put more analysis into each daily post, post more links, categorize links, whatever, just let me know what would be valuable.
- Orbital Sciences became the 2nd private spaceflight company (after SpaceX) to launch a payload into orbit
- Koch Industries (owned by the Koch brothers) eyes buying tribune papers (LA Times, Chicago Tribune)
- White House going on the offensive against Chinese hackers
- Solar jobs outnumber ranchers in Texas, actors in California
- Netflix Beats Analyst Estimates, With 29.2 Million US Subscribers and $1B in Q1 Revenue
- Eric Schmidt said Google Glass won’t be available to general public until 2014
Apr. 18 2013: SPECIAL - Understand CISPA
- CISPA Myths vs. Facts
- CISPA FAQ
- CISPA Passed in House Under Guise of “our nation is under attack” (The Verge)
- One Year Later, Twice as Many Democrats Vote for Cybersecurity Bill and Defy Obama (TechCrunch)
- Reddit co-founder calls out Google, Twitter, Facebook over CISPA
- Discussion on Hacker News
Other Awesome Stories
Apr. 15 2013: Today’s 4 Most Interesting Stories
- Solar panels could destroy U.S. utilities, according to U.S. utilities
- Will Software Eliminate Physical Retail? Not Quite.
- When Students cheat on exams it’s because our School System values grades more than Students value learning.
- At least 2 dead, 132 hurt in Boston Marathon blasts (really good coverage by USA Today)