retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Yesterday was one of those days when it became abundantly clear how the world of information has changed, and how content comes to us even if we are not seeking it out.

It was just shortly after 9 am when the news simultaneously flashed across my laptop, iPhone and iPad - Regis Philbin will be leaving his morning show later this year after almost three decades on the air.

As they continued, the headlines kept coming.

• R. Sargent Shriver, the founding director of the Peace Corps, the architect of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty, the United States ambassador to France and the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1972, died Tuesday at age 95 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

• Sen. Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) announced that he won’t seek re-election, making it less likely that the Democrats will be able to keep a Senate majority in next year’s elections.

• Joseph Lieberman, the US Senator from Connecticut since 1988 who repeatedly defied party lines - running as an Independent when he didn’t get the Democratic nomination, and then annoying Democrats when he supported John McCain’s presidential bid - announced that he would be not run for re-election next year.

• Apple Inc. announced that its first quarter net income jumped 78 percent to $6 billion, up from $3.4 billion in the year-ago period. Q1 revenue climbed 71 percent to $26.7 billion, vs. $15.7 billion in the comparable quarter. In announcing the numbers, Apple made no mention of CEO Steve Jobs’ latest medical leave, which dominated the news just 24 hours earlier.

Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. The hits keep coming, the iPhone keeps buzzing.

We’re never out of touch. Never out of reach.

People of a certain age deal with it, understand it ... but young people simply accept it as being a fact of life. They know no other way of living than total accessibility and transparency.

Sometimes the news will be interesting, sometimes not. Sometimes it won’t even be news, but it will be relevant information. And sometimes it will just be noise. Just as consumers will get better and better at being able to tell the difference, businesses have to get better at providing information and content that is useful, credible and relevant.

And yesterday was one of these days when the change became abundantly clear.

And that’s my Wednesday Eye-Opener.
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