Weekend Reading, Memorial Day weekend edition

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Hey, it’s a long weekend. You have a little more time for some longer reads.

One of the advantages of writing my own news engine (launching Real. Soon. Now.) is that I get to see a more obscure (but interesting) stuff. Here’s what’s been accumulating over the past couple weeks.

Ming Tsai’s next big thing. Our household is sad Blue Ginger is closing. It was our once-a-year-or-so-nice-restaurant-for-date-night destination. Guess we have to find somewhere new.

Ever wonder why there’s a supermarket over the Mass Pike?

A Sports Illustrated profile of André the Giant from 1981.

Not that my ’72 Nova wasn’t an acceleration beast, but America’s cars are getting faster and more efficient. At the soccer game last week, a ’60s-era Mustang came through. The children will never know that that’s what the world used to smell like. And, in case you were wondering, your robot car should ignore you.

What shall we do about the endless plague of delivery trucks on residential streets. I confess to being part of the problem here, but I look at it as reducing traffic to Natick or Burlington on the weekend. And, I bet you always wanted to know the differences among streets, roads, lanes and boulevards.

Kurt Vonnegut interviewed by the Paris Review. I still love going back to read Cats Cradle and Galapagos. Plus, he was my graduation speaker at Syracuse in ’94.

David Byrne (from Talking Heads) talks about how we’re eliminating the human in our interactions with the world. "It’s a small step then from a worker that doesn’t care to a robot. To consumers, it doesn’t seem like a big loss."

Fellow Holliston native Rachael Combe details the mysterious answer to her unrelenting insomnia.

Inside the fidget spinner gold rush. This is all the rage in the elementary schools. Some of the teachers have already banned them. It’s fun to see how these types of fads spread quickly across the consciousness of the parent community.

"I ordered 325 of them and got them last Wednesday. By Sunday I had sold out. I got 500 more and I’m planning on ordering another 2,000 of them," Nick Travali, founder of Smartphone Fix in Santa Maria, California, told me. "We get them for $1.50-$2 per piece, sell them for $8.

Somebody’s going to get stuck with a mess of these when the music stops.

One reason Blue Apron just may outlast the rest: Working mom guilt.

There are the class of companies who are started by and/or for single dudes who still wish their moms took care of them, and the class of companies that are aimed at families, in particular, working parents who still want to feel like they are nurturing their kids with a home cooked meal…

“From a venture perspective, this insight– WOMEN NOW WORK!- can drive investments across a wide range of consumer categories that need to be disrupted and offer a more convenient offering to working families,” …

“The ‘working mom’ sets an impossible bar for herself of being super mom from the 1950s and being a professional,” he says. “[This] while dealing with a bunch of other stuff, such as not being wasteful and recycling clothing, eating organic, working out.” And this is before we get into mommy wars: Those threads online where stay-at-home moms and working moms divide into tribes, and the debates end with the most brutal thing you can say to any mother: You are a bad mother.

Eugene Wei (with whom I overlapped briefly) writes more about Jeff Bezos’s communications strategies for getting the entire company aligned. As anyone who has worked with me in the last 17 years, knows, I totally stole GOHIO (Get our House in Order) from my time at Amazon.

Finally, in case you were wondering. Mount Everest is really crowded this year. It’s also really expensive.

Maybe next year.

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