retail news in context, analysis with attitude

This commentary is available as both text and video; enjoy both or either. To see past FaceTime commentaries, go to the MNB Channel on YouTube.by Kevin Coupe

This morning, MorningNewsBeat completes its 12th year.

Yikes.

That's more than 2,800 editions, and in excess of 11 million words. I hope you've found them as illuminating and entertaining to read as I've found them to write.

I couldn't have done it without you. And by "you," I mean the more than 27,000 subscribers who make up the MNB community, a list that increases by between 50 and 100 people each and every week.

By "you," I also mean the terrific sponsors who make it possible for you to receive - for free - MNB each work morning. Companies like MyWebGrocer, Cirio, OneClick, King Retail Systems, Park City Group, Clement Pappas, Samuel J. Associates, Wholesome Sweeteners, Webstop and the National Grocers Association have shown tremendous loyalty to MNB. And if you haven't done so, I hope you'll click on their tile ads and drumbeats and check out the superior products and services they offer.

This is the job I've had the longest … and the great thing about it is that it rarely has seemed like a job. After a dozen years, I can tell you of all the professional things I've done, MNB is the thing I love the most…except, of course, for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe.

Year 13 starts now. I think the coming year will offer some changes and innovation - including a new relationship with the Hartman Group that I'll explain in more detail below - but the basic goal will be the same - news in context and analysis with attitude, with lots of serious levity.

And as I always say, I'm going to keep doing it until I get it right.

Now, regarding the new business in which I'm getting involved…

I'm happy to report that MorningNewsBeat is entering new territory … forging a business relationship with the Hartman Group that will result in our working together on a new conference series:  "A.C.T.:  Anthropology, Culture, Trends." The first iteration, Evolving Culture of Food & Beverage, is scheduled for Chicago, Illinois, on February 5, 2014.

Yes, I know what you're thinking.  it's going to be cold in Chicago on February 5.   That's true.  But the conference itself is going to be hot, hot, hot…!

The conference will take place at the Catalyst Ranch, one of the most unconventional and provocative spaces in Chicago, which is perfect for what we're going to accomplish - which is an unconventional and provocative look at food culture in America, and what retailers and manufactures should be doing to capitalize on the opportunities created by shifting and fast-evolving trends.

The day is going to be lively, fun, interactive, and filled with chances to interact with the cultural anthropologists from the Hartman Group, who are going to help you see the food business through a fresh prism that will shed light on opportunities you didn't even know existed.  And I'll be there, too … facilitating the conversation, moderating discussions, poking and prodding and provoking and making sure that everybody not only comes away with actionable intelligence, but also has a good time doing so.

I hope you'll consider joining us. There are a limited number of seats available, and you can find out more by going to ACT-Chicago.

This is just the beginning of a series of projects that MNB and the Hartman Group plan on doing together. Which makes a lot of sense, because both MNB and the folks at the Hartman Group like to find new ways to look at the world. I'm excited as we begin Year 13 of MNB … which I think is going to be a lucky one for all of us!

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