Thursday, November 29, 2012

Recent Reading

Recent reading, counter-intuitive edition.

Renting versus buying music: the economics of Spotify and iTunes. Is Spotify better for artists than they think? Numbers alertthere are a lot of them in this piece—but I rarely see this much good detail in any business writing, let alone a piece on the music industry.

Want your kids to be smarter? Move them to a country with no oil. The entirely compelling but wack connection between education and natural resources. From Tom Friedman who's almost always worth reading. (Beirut to Jerusalem, his book on the Middle East, is still the best resource I know for understanding what's going on there today.)

"It is not clear that moving around large and largely empty vehicles is much of an improvement over moving around smaller ones. In fact, it may be worse." Why mass transit isn't necessarily more fuel efficient.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Other Merchants...Kermit Lynch

"I have never been one to worry too much about food and wine pairings. I give it some thought, for a minute or less. First, I tend to think regionally. I've always believed that the wine and food of a given region grew up together and go together. Then I ask, what am I in the mood to drink? It's that simple, and it works for me. Maybe I'm missing a lot, but I find that I am not creative about imaging how a wine and food will complement each other. I'm just not wired that way." 
- Kermit Lynch
Kermit Lynch is a wine importer. You'll see bottles with his label in a few wine shops and restaurants, more on the coasts than in the midwest. Buy anything you find without hesitation. They're always interesting, his taste leans toward French and Italian traditionalists who don't filter. He has a small retail shop in Berkeley, California, too. In the heart of American wine country he sells no American wine. The business just turned 40.

I've read his wine writing for over a decade and have yet to find a single thing I don't agree with. When I met him for the first time we tried some wine and he looked up after a couple sips and said, "After all these years I still can't tell what kind of grape a wine is made from just from tasting it. Lots of people can, but I need to read the label." The closer I get to food the more plain arrive the confessions.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Higher Education in America, Follow-up Graphs

Two more tales about education and how it played out in unemployment rates before and after the economic crisis.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Higher Education in America

A few visuals on education, cost and income in America.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Other Merchants...Casa Camper

This is probably the single most boring picture I never took in Spain. It's the refrigerated food case at Casa Camper Hotel (I found the image on the internet). Casa Camper is a blood red hotel, a good looking place in Barcelona, a very good looking city. You might know Camper as a quirky shoe company, which it still is. The hotel is a new thing for them.

They perform a number of interesting service twists that make the hotel feel intimate and alive in a way few other hotels ever have for me. The biggest one is that they give away things most other hotels charge for. Like food. It's all free. The fridge case is just off the lobby. It's filled with little sandwiches, Weck jars of yogurt and fruit, water, fresh squeezed juice, glass bottles of soda and so on. The food is healthy, tasty, easy to graze on. It changes every day. They tell you up front: eat it whenever you want, take it anywhere you want, we want you to enjoy it. That gives you a sense of control while, at the same time, making it feel like you're being given something very generous.