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Scott Galloway on Amazon and Whole Foods

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Scott Galloway:

Amazon / Whole Foods will be the fourth-largest grocer in the US, and will likely post growth rates no $10B+ retailer, sans Amazon, has registered. The Seattle firm will apply its operational chops and lower (zero) profit hurdle to the Whole Foods business model and bring prices (way) down. If you wish you could shop at Whole Foods more often, but it’s too expensive, your prayers have been answered. Whole Foods will become the grocery equivalent of a Mercedes for the price of a Toyota. Grocery has stuck their chin out (little innovation), and the entire sector is about to have its jaw shattered.

It’s a great piece. I disagree with him on this though:

Amazon will displace Apple as the top tech hardware innovator, with Alexa cementing itself as the gadget that defines the decade (post iPhone). Grocery / commerce via Alexa will create the utility that Alexa needs to [maintain its lead] over Google and Apple’s home / voice offerings as they try to play catch-up.

Alexa may well maintain its lead in the smart speaker market. It may even grow. Maybe HomePod will be a complete bust. But all of that can happen and the smartphone will remain the dominant device in people’s lives. Something will eventually replace the phone, but smart speakers aren’t it.

Hardware just isn’t where Amazon is good.

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tingham
2 days ago
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Excepting their less than stellar track record at making amazing hardware.
Cary, NC
jhamill
2 days ago
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"Hardware just isn't where Amazon is good." sounds an awful lot like, "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in."
California
arnabocean
2 days ago
No, not really. In the "PC guys" case, it wasn't that Apple was a *crap* PC maker; on the contrary, they were known to have a small but extremely loyal base of customers. No, the critique was simply that they couldn't enter a new market. In Amazon's case, it's not that they cannot enter a new market; sure they can. It's that their already in-market offerings have not been good at all.
invinciblegod
1 day ago
Well, this time there is past examples to refer to such as the disastrous Fire Phone.
jhamill
1 day ago
@arnabocean Kindle readers, Fire tablets, Fire TV's, Echo's, Echo Dots, all are really good hardware, both in new and existing markets.
jhamill
1 day ago
@invinciblegod you have to forget about the Fire Phone, one miss does not make a trend.
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1 public comment
thepyrate
1 day ago
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Let's not forget that outside the bubble that is the North American continent, Alexa doesn't exist. I don't know anyone who could tell you what it is, let alone know anyone who either has one or is thinking of getting one.
Hobart, Tasmania
wtf
1 day ago
Well, out here in Brazil Amazon sells only books. It is very sad.

Economist Espresso

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Following a 24/7 news cycle can be exhausting. Between all the crazy things happening nationally and globally, I find it hard to keep up. Economist Espresso is a nice solution to this problem. You get six articles a day (six days a week) that are aimed at keeping you up to date without overloading you.

It’s only $2.99 per month, and it includes a free trial. You can download it for free on The App Store.

Download Now

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jhamill
2 days ago
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I highly recommend this app. Well worth the $3/mo.
California
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Conservatives literally want you to die in a fire

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Oh for shit's sake.
"A few days ago fire swept through Grenfell Tower, a large apartment building in London. It's not yet known what caused the fire, and we aren't conclusively sure how it spread so quickly, consuming the entire 24-story building. Nor is it known how many died in the fire; as of Friday, the count is at least 30 [and as of today, it's about 80]...

People who died in the Grenfell fire might be alive today if regulators had required sprinkler systems. This does not play well for the Tories.

But before we start hanging them in effigy, there are a couple of things we should consider."
Are we really doing this? Are we really doing this? Glibertarian hack Megan McArdle can't just for once agree that it's bad when people die in an easily preventable apartment fire? Unfuckingbelievable.
"If it costs more to build buildings, then rents will rise. People will be forced to live in smaller spaces, perhaps farther away. Some of them, in fact, may be forced to commute by automobile, and then die in a car accident."
UNFUCKINGBELIEVABLE.
"When it comes to many regulations, it is best to leave such calculations of benefit and cost to the market, rather than the government. People can make their own assessments of the risks, and the price they're willing to pay to allay them, rather than substituting the judgment of some politician or bureaucrat who will not receive the benefit or pay the cost."
That's easy for McArdle to say. She's not the one who died in a fucking fire.

As Matt Bruenig says about this whole shitshow,
"if this is true, then it is true of fireproofing in general. The Kensington mansions that have substantial fireproofing also have the exact same detrimental effect on rents. And so if it can be determined that those effects are so negative that fireproofing is net harmful, then fireproofing should be banned...

Indeed, if you are worried about the higher rents caused by fireproofing, you should also be worried about the higher rents caused by high-end amenities in general. Ban granite countertops. Ban exposed brick. Ban everything else that about a housing unit that gets rich people excited enough to pay higher rents. You can live with a laminate countertop. Others literally will not live if you install a granite one...

If it is a waste to use some of the country's scarce work hours and scarce raw materials to put a sprinkler system into a public housing complex, then it is just as much of a waste to use those same hours and materials to put the system into a private housing complex. The wastefulness of a particular unit of production does not change just because the income of its consumer is higher...

[And somehow, a]fter just saying that unnecessary fireproofing will kill other human beings, McArdle bizarrely reaches the conclusion that individuals should be able to decide on their own whether to do it (i.e. whether to kill other human beings). Even though there is nothing in her argument that supports the idea that fireproofing might be a wise way to allocate resources for the dwellings of the rich but not a wise way to allocate them for the dwellings of the poor, the upshot of her ultimate policy preference is precisely that: the rich will generally be safe from fire, but the poor will not."
Which is what I've been saying: if you're rich, then congratulations - you're in good hands with conservatives. But if you're not rich - and I'm gonna take a wild guess and say that you're not - then they're trying to kill you. They're trying to take away your health care so that you die from easily preventable and/or treatable diseases. They're trying to take away the safety measures in your workplace so that you die from an easily preventable accident or from an easily preventable disease that's related to your job (e.g. black lung). They're trying to take away all of the safety features in your home so that you die in an easily preventable fire. If they could, they would take all the seatbelts and the airbags out of cars; they'd take the safeties off of guns; they'd take the filters out of the water treatment system; they'd take the food out of your mouth. They are trying to kill you. To kill you. To end your life. To erase you from the planet. They are trying to kiiiiiiiiiiill yoooooooooou.

So, seriously, if you're not going to vote for liberals (moderate or otherwise) out of love for their platforms (which, I freely admit, are far from perfect) or out of adulation for their public personas (which, again, are usually heavily flawed), the very least you could do is vote for liberals out of self-defense.
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jhamill
3 days ago
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Conservatives think the Free Market know better than the Government but, don't seem to recognize the fact that companies will literally kill you for more profit if they can.
California
ProbablyWrong
3 days ago
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Officer Claimed He Shot Philando Castile Because of Secondhand Smoke

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As you probably know, the officer who killed Philando Castile was acquitted of manslaughter and two other charges last week. (This was the incident where Castile’s girlfriend streamed the aftermath of the shooting on Facebook.) The squad car’s dashcam video was made public yesterday for the first time, and watching that makes it even less possible (if that’s possible) to understand the jury’s decision. But even more astounding is the transcript also released yesterday showing that the officer, Jeronimo Yanez, told investigators last year that he smelled marijuana as he approached the car, and that just before he opened fire, the thought going through his mind was that Castile was a dangerous man because he had been exposing others to secondhand smoke:

That is actually something an adult human said: I was afraid this person would be willing to murder a police officer for no reason because it smelled like he had been doing something that might slightly increase the risk of disease to others if he kept it up for another decade or so. (At least according to some experts.) If this man is willing to subject others to secondhand smoke, certainly he would not hesitate to murder me.

This deep concern that Yanez had about the health of Castile’s five-year-old daughter, supposedly, is part of what led him to fire seven bullets at Castile, the driver, while the girl was sitting in the back seat in the line of fire:

Or maybe he was pulling out a pack of smokes? We shouldn’t second-guess officers when it comes to using deadly force to protect citizens from potential long-term health risks.

In fact, Castile had just volunteered the fact that he had a gun in the car (a gun he was licensed to carry), which doesn’t seem like something you’d do if you were just about to reach for it and try to shoot someone. It actually seems like something you’d do if you didn’t want anybody to get hurt, especially yourself. But according to Yanez, it was secondhand smoke, not this, that went through his mind just before opening fire.

Of course, I don’t know what other evidence was presented to the jury. The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office has put the transcript, videos, and some other key evidence on its website, so you can see that if you want and decide for yourself. But I assume the jury saw the transcript of this interview, and frankly I don’t know how you hear somebody give that ridiculous explanation and not vote to convict him of something. (The jury was apparently split 10-2 in favor of acquittal, but eventually the two holdouts gave in.)

I guess if you wanted to, you could argue that now we know the risks of secondhand smoke really are substantial, because among other things it might frighten a cop into putting five bullets in your chest. You might as well give it a shot, because the risks of making stupid arguments appear to be virtually nonexistent these days.

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jhamill
3 days ago
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He can't remember how many rounds he fired into a car, in the direction of a baby, that killed a man but, he can remember he was scared that the guy was crazed because of second hand smoke? And we're supposed to take that seriously?
California
acdha
3 days ago
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I hadn't seen this detail before…
Washington, DC
skittone
3 days ago
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Ugh.
Technicalleigh
1 day ago
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SF Bay area, CA (formerly ATL)
popular
3 days ago
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The Dangers of Secret Law

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Last week, the Department of Justice released 18 new FISC opinions related to Section 702 as part of an EFF FOIA lawsuit. (Of course, they don't mention EFF or the lawsuit. They make it sound as if it was their idea.)

There's probably a lot in these opinions. In one Kafkaesque ruling, a defendant was denied access to the previous court rulings that were used by the court to decide against it:

...in 2014, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) rejected a service provider's request to obtain other FISC opinions that government attorneys had cited and relied on in court filings seeking to compel the provider's cooperation.

[...]

The provider's request came up amid legal briefing by both it and the DOJ concerning its challenge to a 702 order. After the DOJ cited two earlier FISC opinions that were not public at the time -- one from 2014 and another from 2008­ -- the provider asked the court for access to those rulings.

The provider argued that without being able to review the previous FISC rulings, it could not fully understand the court's earlier decisions, much less effectively respond to DOJ's argument. The provider also argued that because attorneys with Top Secret security clearances represented it, they could review the rulings without posing a risk to national security.

The court disagreed in several respects. It found that the court's rules and Section 702 prohibited the documents release. It also rejected the provider's claim that the Constitution's Due Process Clause entitled it to the documents.

This kind of government secrecy is toxic to democracy. National security is important, but we will not survive if we become a country of secret court orders based on secret interpretations of secret law.

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jhamill
3 days ago
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Yup. Secret laws do not help democracy in any way.
California
MotherHydra
3 days ago
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Space City, USA
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★ Medium and the Scourge of Persistent Sharing Dickbars

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Medium seems to continue to grow in popularity as a publishing platform, and as it does, I’m growing more and more frustrated by their on-screen “engagement” turds. Every Medium site displays an on-screen “sharing” bar that covers the actual content I want to read. This is particularly annoying on the phone, where screen real estate is most precious. Now on iOS they’ve added an “Open in App” button that literally makes the last 1-2 lines of content on screen unreadable. To me these things are as distracting as having someone wave their hand in front of my face while I try to read.

Here’s an annotated screenshot (and threaded rant) I posted to Twitter while trying to read Steven Sinofksy’s WWDC 2017 trip report on my iPad Pro review unit last week.

Safari already has a built-in Sharing button. It has all the options for sharing I need. And as I scroll the page, it disappears so that I can see as much text on screen as possible. Safari is designed to be reader-friendly, as it should be. But it’s trivial to get that Sharing button back when I want it – just tap the bottom of the screen and there it is. Easy.

This is now a very common design pattern for mobile web layouts. Medium is far from alone. It’s getting hard to find a news site that doesn’t put a persistent sharing dickbar down there.

More examples:

TechCrunch’s waste of space deserves special mention, for having a persistent navbar at the top and a persistent ad, in addition to their sharing dickbar.

I’m sure “engagement” does register higher with these sharing dickbars, but I suspect a big part of that is because of accidental taps. And even so, what is more important, readability or “engagement”? Medium wants to be about readability but that’s hard to square with this dickbar, and especially hard to square with the “Open in App” button floating above it.

iOS also has a standard way to prompt users to install the app version of a website — Smart App Banners. And it’s user-dismissible.

For any piece over a page long, I read Medium pieces with Safari’s Reader Mode. Medium is supposed to be a reader-optimized layout by default. It should be one of the sites where you’re never even tempted to switch to Reader Mode.

I’m frustrated by this design pattern everywhere I see it. But I’m especially disappointed by Medium’s adoption of it. I don’t expect better from most websites. I do expect better from Medium.

A website should not fight the browser. Let the browser provide the chrome, and simply provide the content. Web developers know this is right — these dickbars are being rammed down their throats by SEO experts. The SEO folks are the same dopes who came up with the genius strategy of requiring 5-10 megabytes of privacy-intrusive CPU-intensive JavaScript on every page load that slows down websites. Now they come to their teams and say, “Our pages are too slow — we gotta move to AMP so our pages load fast.”

I don’t expect to break through to the SEO shitheads running the asylums at most of these publications, but Medium is supposed to be good. When people click a URL and see that it’s a Medium site, their reaction should be “Oh, good, a Medium site — this will be nice to read.” Right now it’s gotten to the point where when people realize an article is on Medium, they think, “Oh, crap, it’s on Medium.”

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jhamill
5 days ago
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The "Open in App" button is pretty bad but, the social bar at the bottom isn't.
California
fxer
5 days ago
I'd say the social bar is also pretty bad, even the url bar has the decency to get out of the way so you can read
jhamill
5 days ago
The bottom social bar isn't that bad because it is stylized like the rest of the page. It obscures maybe 2 lines of text and let's be honest, if you're reading the last 2 lines of a story on your phone you're going to have to scroll to read more anyway so it's not taking up "valuable real estate", isn't taking up the "time to scroll now you're almost out of screen" real estate.
dvenema
5 days ago
The bottom bar wouldn't be so bad if it weren't literally the same sharing buttons that they already display to the left of the content as well.
jhamill
5 days ago
I see no sharing buttons to the left of the content in Chrome on my phone.
dvenema
5 days ago
It must depend on screen size. They're clearly visible in Gruber's screenshot.
digdoug
5 days ago
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“Oh, crap, it’s on Medium.”
I actually had this thought for the first time the other day. The constant push to apps and making a browser a windowing OS is making me feel extra GetOffMyGrassy these days.
Louisville, KY
LeMadChef
2 days ago
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Denver, CO
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