John's Newsletter Blurbs
Yesterday I got out of the shop to get some Christmas shopping started. I found myself on Queen Street West in the hip quarter of Toronto and discovered (for the first time) an independent bookshop called TYPE. The shop has a beautiful yellow hue for lighting, wide plank floorboards, soft jazz music at an ambient volume and an impressive selection of art and design books, notebooks and biographies. I stuck around flipping through titles for about 40 minutes, eavesdropping on conversations, getting a sense of what people were seeking and taking in the fashion sense of a crowd easily twenty years my junior. A great reprieve from my usual routine.
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"Son, I'm 74 years old and to my old ears they all sound fine, in fact I can't tell the difference. What I need" he added "was something to look nice in our new place and something that will be easy for my wife and I to operate. We don't want any clutter."
When I learned of this story, I was sure that Facebook was having us on, but apparently not. According to the Australian News Corporation, Facebook and the Australian government are partnering in an effort to stop nude photos appearing on Facebook. So far this sounds like a terrific initiative; in an effort to combat what is known as revenge porn,
According to the GSMA, the association that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, five billion people are now connected to mobile networks, representing two-thirds of the world's population. There were 291 million unique mobile subscribers in North America at the end of last year, representing 80 per cent of the region's population. By 2020 that figure is expected to increase to 313 million (84 per cent). The five billion mobile subscriber milestone was reached in Q2 of 2017, so barring perhaps radio, the smartphone is the most prevalent technology on earth. A further 620 million subscribers will be added by 2020.
Max Read writing in this week's New York magazine provides some statistics on social media giant Facebook worth repeating. "At 2 billion members" writes Read, "monthly active Facebook users are the single largest non biologically sorted group of people on the planet after Christians. Facebook", adds Read, "is growing at 17 percent year after year, so it will most likely surpass Christians by the end of 2017.
We have just put to bed our November issue where we try to get inside the head of Gen-Millennial. Ask people to assess the generational groups that make up our population, and chances are all will agree that Millennials are the worst. Even Millennials have a hard time defending Millennials. Aren't they the kids that got a trophy for coming in last?
I have a confession to make; I have no idea what the phone numbers are for my daughters. I can't tell you the phone number of any of my friends either. I can however, tell you the phone number of the home where I grew up as a child and I can also tell you my student ID number from thirty years ago, but if I were ever in an emergency situation without my phone and had to contact my kids, I would be completely toast.
Automakers for years have been downplaying speed and engine performance while emphasizing in-car entertainment, navigation and connectivity, so maybe the announcement this week that France will ban all gas and diesel vehicles by 2040 will be met by most, as simply something inevitable and a much needed direction for the environment that all countries should follow.
Yesterday I was in Detroit, Michigan. The last time I was in Detroit was thirty years ago and the memory from that visit were police with rifles on every corner of what was then known as the Motor City Entertainment District. Like many of you, I have been reading about Detroit's revitalization, a city that in 2013 made headlines as America's largest municipal bankruptcy in history.
So here's what I can tell you about the Fidget. It started as a Kickstarter campaign by a company called Antsy Lab's Fidget Cube that raised $6.4 million in 2016 although they had set the fundraising bar at $15,000. The Fidget Cube offered a bunch of dials and didn't really do anything but give those requiring a distraction something to do, eventually morphed in to a spinner, a metal circle with bearings that again, does nothing but spin.
Last year we stumbled upon a story in the Daily Mail UK, sharing that Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft generate a combined profit of $2,000 every second or $140,000 for every minute of every day. Numbers that I guess would need a healthy raise now that Apple has surpassed $800 billion in capitalization.