GRATITUDE AND BUSINESS

The Plymouth Colony and the Business Case for Gratitude WSJ

A simple concept many managers across the spectrum forget or completely ignore. Showing appreciation for workers and what they contribute to your team is vital for retention and productivity.

Too many managers hold outdated leadership philosophies of yesteryear, which plague their teams with high turnaround. Some managers focus on negative reinforcement to drive metrics, ignoring underlying issues.

Being able to inspire workers, align them with organizational objectives, and foster their ingenuity and innovation into process improvements can help productivity more than cracking the whip.

A title does not make you a leader. Being bossy is not a sign of leadership. Look for those that inspire, influence, and motivate, then you will find your leaders.

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REMAINING COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

Walmart employee app gives physical stores more power – Business Insider

WALMART ADVANTAGE

The ability to sell to cash customer is a slight advantage Walmart has on Amazon, but the ability to leverage store inventory as well as distribution inventory is another.

The only problem with the new strategy is the ability of the Walmart workers to effectively satisfy customers. It is no secret Walmart struggles with in-store customer service. The increased engagements may not improve the perception.

As Amazon continues to consider brick and mortar stores, retailers need to figure out how to improve the in-store experience to keep consumers coming back. Amazon is not perfect in its service by any means, but provides convenience.

LOCAL PROGRAMMING GIANT

Nexstar Confirms Deal to Buy Tribune Media WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/nexstar-confirms-deal-to-buy-tribune-media-for-4-1-billion-1543842177

Tribune Media found a new home after all. Following the failed merger with Sinclair Media, Tribune merged with Nexstar Media. The combined entity will be the largest operator of local TV stations in the United States.

Interesting to see how local TV stations proceed with content, as consumer taste and behaviors continue to evolve. Can these operators evolve and find a path to greater relevancy in changing market space.

CLIMATE CHANGE

U.S. Climate Report Warns of Damaged Environment and Shrinking Economy- NY TIMES

The updates on climate change continue to paint a dark picture. Despite past policy changes, progress does not appear effective. Industries were disrupted, employees destined to longterm unemployment, but still climate change still continues.

There really needs to be a better approach to fighting the effects of carbon. Proactively capture and storing carbon might be an effective way of mitigating climate change and somewhat protecting our economic progress. Being able to directly eliminate externalities with production will create the needed balance.

Producers need to continuously implement green manufacturing processes. Consumers need to continue to prefer cleaner goods and services. Instead of leveraging climate change for political purposes, instead use free markets and private sector solutions to solve climate change.

BENEFIT OF STUDENT LOANS

Study Cites the Benefits of Taking Student Loans – The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/study-cites-the-benefits-of-taking-student-loans-1542191401

Not surprising that people who invest in themselves and their own future will be more focused and efficient when navigating their way towards a college degree.

While not having the trust fund or full ride can be challenging after the fact, students that pay their way find ways to avoid unnecessary charges, like non-essential classes and bloated meal plans, and focus on the GPAs, which can help their ability to attract higher paying employment to pay down the loans. All while providing them life lessons that will help them in their future.

The push for free college will undoubtedly make colleges perform like high schools, as the personal investment will not be there to motivate student performance. Over time, student drop outs will increase, as many high schools ill-prepare students for completing a college curriculum. Progressives will then push for policies that force colleges to graduate students, even though they lack the needed competencies.

The goal should be to incentivize colleges and universities to operate efficiently and pass savings to students, not passing the cost to the taxpayers. Students should truly only pay for the cost of education and services attained. Other activities and projects should be funded through donations, fundraisers, public grants, and other channels.

NYC & VA

Amazon Picks NYC, Northern Virginia for Its HQ2 Locations (WSJ) https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-hq2-announcement-lic-crystal-city-nashville-1542121089

After reviewing proposals from 238 cities filled with proposed tax breaks and other incentives, Amazon selected two highly affluent cities to house it’s new headquarters. Not many suspected the HQ2 project would lead to more than one location.

As Google previously announced it’s own NYC expansion, it will interesting to see how Mayor de Blasio and re-elected Gov. Cuomo plan to handle further challenge to it’s already overstretched public infrastructure. Taxpayers will probably see their bills increase as investments are made to transportation and housing for 25,000 workers, many not already in the city.

The fanfare is over. Amazon made its decision. Now, the remaining cities will now figure out what is next.

DIVERGENT STRATEGIES

AT&T and Verizon Pursue Different Paths Into the Future (WSJ) https://www.wsj.com/articles/at-t-and-verizon-pursue-different-paths-into-the-future-1541999131

One is focusing on acquiring content, while the other seeks to acquire new customer groups. Reminiscent of Coke vs Pepsi, where Coke focuses on being a leader in beverages, while Pepsi aims to diversify in food and beverage.

ATT aims to attract individual consumers, which are content driven and value entertainment. By owning content providers, ATT will not only expand revenue streams, but can create exclusive customer experiences for ATT wireless consumers.

On the other hand, Verizon strives to invest in technology and expanding its industry consumer base, which is more stable than personal consumers. Industry consumers prefer service contracts, which provide cost stability and detailed service guarantees. This could provide Verizon stable revenue streams over longer periods.

ATT will have to manage divergent business unit and balance varying goals and industry norms. Conversely, Verizon will be able to focus on its core competency and strengthen consumer quality in multiple segments.

Both have viable paths forward. Interesting to see how smaller competitors adjust.

RED SOX WIN

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After not winning a title for 86 years, the Boston Red Sox captured its 4th World Series championship since 2004. The 2018 Red Sox team was a force to be reckon with since game 1 of 162. A team with a dangerous lineup, ferocious pitching staff, and reliable defense that won more games than any Boston team in the past.

The Dodgers played an interesting World Series. Understandably, Dave Roberts would put together a lineup that counters the strong pool of lefthanded pitchers the Red Sox have, but at some point you have to let the players that got you to the World Series play through the challenge. Some of the strongest bats remained on the bench until a righthanded pitcher came in. Although, David Freese did come up with some clutch hits and provided the only offense of game 5 for the Dodgers.

The Red Sox were the better team coming into and out of the series. Now, the Red Sox focus on repeating and the Dodgers must find a way to capture that elusive prize. Two pennants and twice the runner up. If Kershaw departs, their challenge is much greater.

SUMMARY

RED SOX 4 DODGERS 1

MVP: STEVE PEARCE (3HR 8 RBI)