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    Published on: June 23, 2014

    by Kevin Coupe

    There were all sorts of stories late last week about how Chelsea Handler, the host of "Chelsea Lately" on the E! Network and the only woman doing battle in the late night talk show wars, is leaving that network and will be launching an entirely new late night talk show on Netflix.

    Except that it won't be at night. At least, not if you don't want to watch it then.

    The move, the Wall Street Journal writes, "will test the online video service's ability to bring an old-style, live TV format to the on-demand Web generation. The show - which will debut in 2016, with episodes available for viewers to watch at any time - will feature Ms. Handler's commentary on topical entertainment and cultural issues, along with guest interviews … Netflix will likely release the talk show episodes in a different way than it has debuted its other original series, where it has released all the episodes at once to encourage 'binge viewing'."

    In other words, just like the other late night shows. Except in an entirely different context, and likely with an entirely different set of expectations in terms of what will make it a success. Think of it as "House of Cards" meets Johnny Carson … a combination that appears to make no apparent sense, which likely is one of the things that appeals to Netflix about it.

    Handler described the Netflix appeal this way: "I wanted to sit with the cool kids at lunch so I approached Netflix to make sure they were as cool as I thought they were."

    Apparently, they were.

    There is a piece of analysis in Variety that describes the Handler hiring by Netflix as "the most audacious move the TV industry has seen" since Netflix brought us "House of Cards," which challenged the way traditional networks release content by acknowledging - and catering to - the way people more and more like to consumer content.

    The Variety piece continues:

    "Why on earth are they even trying a talk show, which contradicts some of the most fundamental assumptions about the streaming service’s programming strategy?

    The logic to its ballsy move is subject to interpretation, opening up some fascinating questions about Netflix’s future direction … From the beginning, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos has been abundantly clear that what Netflix values most is a piece of content’s ability to continue attracting eyeballs long after its premiere. That’s why there isn’t a single episode in its vault of original and library content that isn’t at least semi-serialized storytelling. That’s why Netflix doesn’t care about ratings - because Netflix doesn’t care when you watch something.

    "But the talk show represents the diametric opposite of the content Netflix has concentrated on to date. It is known to be the most perishable of TV formats. While cable has done some day-after syndication deals to repurpose broadcast late-night shows, there’s never been any kind of aftermarket for late-night content. The conventional wisdom is that no one wants to see monologue jokes about a headline from two days ago, or an interview with a celebrity tubthumping a movie that came out the previous weekend."

    Variety suggests that there are two potential plays here.

    "First, consider the possibility that Handler is just a detour. Fine, Netflix’s success has provided enough insulation in the event that taking a flier goes badly. But surely there’s a rationale for this particular flier … Netflix wants to be known to its audience and the creative community as a revolutionary upending our traditional notions of what TV is. It’s a smart tactic, though the actuality of its revolution-iciousness is questionable. To date, that brand positioning has rested largely on its audacious decision to provide all the episodes of a series at once. But the novelty of that will wear thin in time (and Netflix knows it was far from the first to introduce that behavior) … So Netflix has to do something to up the ante to earn its bona fides as a true innovator.  There’s no better way to do that than to take on what is inarguably TV’s hoariest, cliche-ridden format - the talk show - and put Netflix’s own distinctive stamp on it."

    In other words, Handler's new show is less a programming decision than a marketing decision. (And, by the way, talk shows are among the cheapest programming that can be produced.)

    But, there's another way to look at the deal:

    "The other possibility is that she represents an honest-to-god turning point for the streaming service. The long tail may have always been a short-term strategy. Perhaps the Netflix brain trust has a vision for a second gear for original programming that it has barely hinted at to date, but Handler is the first glimpse at where it’s all going to go.

    "At the end of the day, there’s one very simple metric for success that matters to Netflix: subscriber totals. And nowhere is it written that can only be increased with content that has equal drawing power whether it’s watched today or 10 years from now.

    "But if that’s true, a talk show could be just the beginning of what programming is coming to Netflix. Maybe a newscast is next. Maybe something as insanely expensive as professional sports, like the soon-to-expire NBA TV rights, is under consideration. Maybe all this means that–gasp!–advertising is on the way!? Netflix execs have long denied interest in any of these things, but who knows?"

    At this point, the MNB audience - largely made up of retailers and manufacturers in a wide variety of categories - may be reading this column and saying to themselves, We're not in the entertainment business. What the hell is Kevin doing bothering us with all this stuff on a Monday morning? After all, we have Amazon and Walmart to worry about. (Unless, of course, you happen to be Amazon or Walmart…in which case you have each other.)

    My reason is simple. It is because Netflix is challenging the status quo, keeping people guessing, and yes, trying to disrupt the way business traditionally has been conducted.

    And that fascinates me.

    And it ought to fascinate you … or at least make you think and wonder how your traditional business model can be challenged by someone who doesn't give a damn about doing business the way it always has been done, or who has developed metrics for success that are not the same as yours.

    Whatever happens … it is an Eye-Opener. And at the very least, stories like this demand that we all keep our eyes open.
    KC's View:

    Published on: June 23, 2014

    Walmart said on Friday that it has hired Dirk Van den Berghe, who has been running the Delhaize operations in Luxembourg and Belgium, to be the new CEO of its Canada business. He begins August 1.

    He succeeds Shelley Broader as CEO of Wal-Mart Canada, as Broader moves to oversee company operations in Europe, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Canada. The announcement said that Van den Berghe will report to Broader.
    KC's View:
    Bloomberg Businessweek makes the point that this is an unusual step for Walmart, "looking outside its ranks for talent."

    But that's not entirely true. Broader, let's remember, was at Michaels, the arts and crafts chain, before being hired to work for Sam's Club … and from there she has been on the fast track at Walmart. Interestingly, before she was at Michaels, Broader also was a Delhaize exec … she ran the company's Sweetbay division in Florida, and before that was at Hannaford.

    I'm not sure the extent to which Broader's and Van den Berghe paths might have crossed at Delhaize, but they're certainly part of the same network … and she had to have some role in hiring him.

    What's interesting to me that they both have a strong food background, which may speak volumes about Walmart's focus for future growth.

    Published on: June 23, 2014

    The Chicago Tribune reports that in the most recent evaluation of fast food restaurants by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, McDonald's once again has been ranked dead last … as it has been since the survey started 20 years ago.

    The bad news is that "in 2014, McDonald's Corp.'s satisfaction score fell nearly 3 percent to 71 from 73 in 2013." The good news - if, indeed, it can be called that, is that the chain "has made progress over the years and is actually up 13 percent since 1994."

    The Tribune story goes on to report that "fellow burger purveyors Wendy's and Burger King landed in the bottom half with scores of 78 and 76, respectively.

    "Pizza chains nabbed the highest favorable ratings among consumers, with Papa John's and Pizza Hut leading the segment with a satisfaction score of 82. Little Caesar's and Domino's Pizza were close behind with scores of 80.

    "KFC satisfaction plummeted 9 percent to a score of 74. Subway fell 6 percent to a score of 78 while Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts dropped 5 percent to 76 and 75, respectively. Taco Bell dipped 3 percent to a score of 72, despite efforts to reach customers with a new breakfast menu."
    KC's View:
    At the risk of enraging the MNB readers who a) actually think that McDonald's and all these other fast feeders actually make pretty good food and/or b) are tired of my beating up on fast feeders all the time … I'd just like to say I'm more surprised by the people who are satisfied with these establishments. But that's just me…and I guess I'm a snob.

    Published on: June 23, 2014

    As has been well chronicled here and elsewhere, there is an enormous battle brewing between the traditional taxi industry and the likes of Uber, a venture-funded startup that creates a network of drivers and passengers for a kind of ride sharing service that challenges the cab business.

    Here's how the Washington Post frames the battle in a long and detailed piece that is worth reading:

    "In New York, taxi medallions have topped $1 million. In Boston, $700,000. In Philadelphia, $400,000. In Miami, $300,000. Where medallions exist, they have outperformed even the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. In Chicago, their value has doubled since 2009.

    "Now, however, a market built on restricted supply is showing cracks with the arrival of start-ups that turn anyone with a car into a driver for hire. In Chicago, those cracks have triggered fears that medallion values are tottering. They have given rise to a high-stakes lawsuit, tentative new regulation and a glimpse of how this same clash between old power and new technology could play out in other cities.

    "Throw open the market — to amateurs, part-timers and the underemployed (and whatever they drive) — and medallions lose their exclusivity. Without which, they lose their value, too.

    "'As soon as you do away with limited access, over a period of years, the taxi industry will wither away and die,' says Michael Shakman, a Chicago attorney who is suing the city on behalf of investors and companies whose business would not exist without medallions. 'You will be left with whatever the free market generates by way of transportation.'

    "That, Uber says, is precisely the point. The five-year-old San Francisco tech company — and the envy of Silicon Valley — has rapidly and strategically infiltrated taxi strongholds by enabling consumers to hail rides electronically from their smartphones.

    "Uber and companies like it argue that regulations intended for taxis don’t apply to a service no one could have envisioned when the laws were written. And consumers don’t seem to care what those laws say. They are piling in and leaving cities to chase after a fast-expanding business.

    "The taxi industry warns that without medallions, cities will lose their control over an essential public service. Uber counters that medallions have created a cartel that operates for its own benefit — and not in the best interests of the public."

    You can read the entire story here.
    KC's View:
    I get why the taxi drivers are upset. If I spent all that money on a medallion, I'm probably be pretty angry, too. And, I understand that there are glitches in the Uber system that could have a negative impact down the road. (I got an email from an MNB reader whose daughter had a terrible Uber experience.)

    But that's how change takes place today. We all have to live with the constant threat that someone will figure out how to do what we do better or cheaper, , and that should force us to be both more effective and more efficient. Whining about how unfair the world is just isn't the way to go.

    Published on: June 23, 2014

    The Washington Post has an interview with Howard Schultz, Starbucks' CEO, in which he talks about leadership and the company's announcement last week to offer tuition reimbursement to all employees for an online college degree from Arizona State University.


    On leadership… "The primary currency of leadership has to be truth. And truth is based on being authentic, being open and transparent, and being vulnerable. I don’t believe you can build a great, enduring organization without that."

    Starbucks' rationale for the tuition reimbursement program… "Not everything is an economic decision. But I strongly believe it will reduce attrition, it will enhance performance, it will attract and retain great people, and it will add value to the equity of the brand and the relationship we have with our customers.

    "We spent over a year trying to understand how we could bring this to market. Whenever we try to take the road less travelled, we have to learn a lot. We first had to find the right partner, and we also had to figure out how to do this in a way that would create flexibility. ASU has over 40 online degrees, and our people can do it on their own time.

    "Going back to the issue of trust, which I believe is the primary characteristic of any company and any consumer brand, it will make a big deposit in the reservoir of trust around how Starbucks is viewed by our people and our customers."

    On business and public policy… "Unfortunately over the last 10 years, maybe longer, there’s such a strong level of polarization within government that business leaders have gotten to the point where, not unlike the American public, we are losing confidence in the government’s ability to get things done. The average student that has gone to college has about $30,000 in debt. That’s an issue that should be addressed by Congress. But I think business leaders have to recognize that we can’t wait for Washington. We have to stop complaining and pointing fingers, and we have to do what is necessary to create our own level of leadership to the people we’re responsible for."
    KC's View:

    Published on: June 23, 2014

    • The Orange County Register reports that Amazon Fresh, having seen "positive results" in the Los Angeles market, has expanded its service to "Orange, Tustin, Garden Grove, Aliso Viejo, Santa Ana, Laguna Niguel and Mission Viejo in addition to Irvine, Anaheim, Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. All of Long Beach is also eligible for delivery, a company spokesperson said."

    The story goes on to say that "as Amazon’s fledgling grocery service in Southern California widens its reach, some boutique food suppliers say the experiment has proven to be a boon for business.

    "Huntington Meats saw sales go from single-digit growth to double digits after the first month of partnering with AmazonFresh, a doorstep food service that launched last summer in Los Angeles. The 30-year-old butcher shop, known for its top-grade meats and wild game, partnered with AmazonFresh last summer. Co-owner Jim Cascone said his meat market sells the 'whole store,' or 175 items, through the online site, from free-range chickens to ground elk.

    "Demand for his specialty goods continues to soar and was boosted in recent weeks when the company expanded its service to most of Orange County."

    However, "for other Amazon partners, the impact has been much less dramatic. Greg Daniels, executive chef-partner at Haven Collective, has been working with AmazonFresh the last six months. The company’s Provisions Market bottle and cheese shop in Old Towne Orange offers Amazon shoppers specialty cheeses, cured meats, chocolate and a wide selection of craft beer. 'Cheese is popular, and beer not too much yet,' said Daniels. 'It’s definitely brand exposure more than money'."

    • The BBC reports that in the UK, Amazon has struck a deal with Doddle, described as "a new click-and-collect firm," that will allow Amazon shoppers to pick up their orders from British railway stations. The service is slated to launch in September.

    This arrangement is separate from a deal hat Amazon reportedly has been negotiating with Transport for London, which would have allowed for the use of select London tube stations as collection points for Amazon shoppers. No deal has yet been reached on that project, according to the story.
    KC's View:

    Published on: June 23, 2014

    Caught up with a story that ran a week or so ago in the New York Times about a company called Saffron Road, which has hit a pair of targets at the same time - American Muslims seeking certified halal product, and health-conscious consumers "inclined to impute positive traits to any food with a sanctified aura."

    This year, the story says, "as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approaches, bringing with it daytime fasts and nightly iftar meals, the company has put out more than 50 different products and built annual sales on a pace to reach $35 million.

    "As significant, thanks to a close partnership with the Whole Foods chain, Saffron Road’s products have moved beyond a core audience of observant American Muslims and into the commercial mainstream. In that respect, Saffron Road is among the first halal producers to follow what might be called the kosher model of simultaneously serving and transcending a communal constituency."

    A major ally in Saffron Road's efforts to break into the mainstream has been Whole Foods, which was an early adopted when it was demonstrated that it was not appealing to US Muslims and that, in fact, nobody was…which meant there were a lot of dollars out there looking to find a home. Now, companies such as Costco, Kroger and Public stock Saffron Road's products … "about two-thirds of Saffron Road’s products are gluten-free and about one-third do not use genetically modified ingredients."
    KC's View:
    I don't usually pick up on stories like these, simply because it feels like all I'm doing is free advertising for the company. But I was intrigued by one paragraph from the Times story, saying that company founder Adnan A. Durrani "was raised in Washington as the son of cosmopolitans — his mother was a diplomat and his father was a World Bank official. His main collaborator in Saffron Road, Jack Acree, the executive vice president, is a deacon in a Dutch Reformed church. Their major ally at Whole Foods, Errol Schweizer, is a Bronx-born Jew who grew up in a kosher home."

    Be nice if the world worked this well, wouldn't it?

    Published on: June 23, 2014

    Internet Retailer reports that Walmart says that it has cut online delivery times by 15% and lowered delivery costs 22%" a feat that has been accomplished by "shipping from new distribution centers and its 4,200 U.S. stores."

    These improvements, the story suggests, will only gain more momentum when Walmart builds a planned "1.2-million-square-foot fulfillment facility in Indiana that will be dedicated to e-commerce. The facility will open in 2015 and employ more than 300 workers, the company says."
    KC's View:

    Published on: June 23, 2014

    CNBC reports that in the wake of last week's announcement by Amazon that it will begin selling its own smartphone, consumers remain at least a little skeptical: "In a survey of almost 600 American adults conducted by SurveyMonkey, three-quarters of respondents said they wouldn't consider switching from their current phone to the Amazon Fire. Thirty-four percent said it was because they loved their current phone, 29 percent cited the Fire's exclusive deal with AT&T and 16 percent said the Fire is too expensive."

    Indeed, "Sixty percent of those polled said they were unaware of Amazon's announcement. Of those who knew the phone was announced, 72 percent couldn't remember the name."
    KC's View:
    I wonder what the biggest hurdle will be for Amazon's Fire Phone: the fact that it is a high-end phone, or the fact that it seems to be such a naked tool for encouraging people to buy more stuff on Amazon?

    I think it'll be the latter. I'm not sure this is an unsurmountable problem, but I do think it could be an issue.

    Published on: June 23, 2014

    • Interesting statistic, compliments of the Boston Globe, which reports that "foreign companies employ 143,000 people in Greater Boston, the fifth highest among the top 100 US metropolitan areas, according to the study by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. Over the past two decades, the number of employees working for international firms has nearly doubled from about 75,000.

    "The increase has been driven by a rush of acquisitions in the 1990s and continued investment by foreign companies through the next decade. Foreign businesses now employ 6.7 percent of Boston’s private sector workers, compared with 4.2 percent in 1991."

    What makes it really interesting is how many of these people work for retailers: "Grocery stores were responsible for the largest share of employment by foreign companies in the United States and in Boston, with 288,000 people across the country and 15,500 in Boston," the story says. "They work for companies like Aldi, the German supermarket chain that owns Trader Joe’s, and Ahold, the Dutch owner of Stop & Shop."

    • The Associated Press reports that Starbucks will be raising prices on some of its drinks beginning this week. The increase is expected to be between five and 20 cents, and is the second price hike in a year.

    Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson said in a statement that the reason for the increases include ‘‘competitive dynamics’’ and the company’s ‘‘cost structure,’’ which includes the cost of ingredients, labor and rents.
    KC's View:

    Published on: June 23, 2014

    David Jenkins, the former CEO of Shaw's Supermarkets, passed away on June 17, it has been reported to MNB by one of our readers. He was 83.

    The official obituary notes that Jenkins, a graduate of Wesleyan University and Harvard's Business School, as well as a former US Naval officer, chairman of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), also was a recipient of the Sidney Rabb Award, FMI's highest honor. It also reports that Jenkins, known for his trademark bow tie, "learned the grocery business from the ground up, stocking shelves and pushing carts (activities it was common to see him performing even while the CEO of a public company)."
    KC's View:
    I met Jenkins once or twice, but did not know him. Michael Sansolo, however, did know him; Michael was senior vice president at FMI during the height of Jenkins' tenure, and I asked him to share some thoughts about this highly influential executive…

    "David Jenkins was CEO of Shaw's in the early 1990s when he became he challenged the entire food retail industry to understand that the growing strength of Walmart, Costco and others was being fueled by their superior use of technology and supply chain efficiency. He challenged the industry's long held notion of having the best supply chain in the world and that challenge turned into the Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) initiative to build industry wide efficiency.

    "Jenkins efforts did not earn him widespread popularity within the industry, but he was a pioneer in a necessary reinvention effort.

    "One personal note: Jenkins was inspirational to work with. He challenged all the trade association executives (including me) to put aside our long held notion of how the industry was working and pushed us to build committees, reports and conferences that would push the envelope of industry cooperation. Some of those efforts continue around the globe today.

    "What's more, he wanted us all to know that industry knowledge wasn't our only goal and he actually took to reading poetry to us at meetings to remind us that there was more to our work than just numbers.

    "He was a fabulous leader."

    Published on: June 23, 2014

    Got a number of emails last week responding to our story about how, as the Wall Street Journal reported, the White House and First Lady Michelle Obama plan to spearhead a movement to reintroduce cooking classes in the nation's public schools, reasoning that "one reason parents of all income levels struggle to serve healthy food at home is because they lack basic culinary skills."

    One MNB reader wrote:

    Like so many other lessons taught while parenting children, this one begins at home.   Maybe because our kids spent more time traveling through grocery stores throughout their childhood than their peers----or maybe because both of us parents share the cooking duties in our home----both of our college-age sons know how to cook.   Granted, one son could do enough to survive on his own by preparing scrambled eggs or a simple pasta dish, while the other son can master most recipes, owns every book written by Alton Brown and is enrolling in an elective college course this fall called “The Science of Food”.  (No, he is not planning on majoring in culinary science……looks like it’s going to be computer science.)   At least they both know which end of a knife to hold and can find their way around a kitchen.

    Oh, and they also do their own laundry and wash dishes on a regular basis while at home.  Despite the fact that we have had numerous conversations about their indentured servitude while growing up, I can only hope that someday they will thank us for requiring their knowledge in those areas.

    Be nice of everyone were getting that kind of encouragement and instruction at home. But they're not.

    MNB reader Jackie Lembke wrote:

    There are lots of people much more intelligent than me who actually study things like curriculum but IMHO cooking could be taught right along science and math. Both are used extensively in the process of cooking. You must also use time management skills, reading, following directions and thinking on your feet when something is not quite right. With the proper equipment cooking could be incorporated on many levels, it will take someone thinking outside the box. More years than I like to think about now, in my high school chemistry class, we made peanut brittle on a Bunsen burner. It can be done and should be done.

    MNB reader Gordon Earp wrote:

    If planned & executed properly, this could be an avenue for educational opportunities beyond the kitchen. We spend way too much time sitting children down and droning information into their heads.  You want a child to learn – get them out of the seats and on their feet.  Cooking would be a great way to accomplish where traditional education has come up short.

    In order to cook, you use a cookbook which promotes reading. That cookbook could come be from an iPad, iPhone, tablet, Kindle Fire, etc…  What better way to learn about fractions and ratios by scaling up or down recipes?  Let alone applying basic math using addition, subtraction, multiplying, & dividing – how else can you count calories?  Step it up – it’s time to apply simple economics to get this best bang for the buck so you can feed a family for the $$$$ you earn.  So where did Pasta come from or how was food preserved before we had refrigerators?  Sounds like a history lesson just screaming to come out.  How can one learn to cook without having some knowledge of food borne illness and cross-contamination? 

    The options are limitless….and could be an eye opener.

    Sounds like a great class…I'd like to take it.

    And from another reader:

    How about students earning credit for working in the cafeteria?  There are many cross functional skills that could be learned and developed into a curriculum.  Learning to cook, plan meals, purchasing within a budget, ordering, food safety, and nutrition.  I’m sure there may be a union problem preventing this in many districts, by why not work through the red tape and seize the educational opportunities that already exist within our schools.

    Regarding the continuing debate over the banning/taking of single-use bags, one MNB reader wrote:

    Wonder if anyone actually did some work to find out if they really are single-use bags???

    My family re-uses almost every bag we get from the stores -  whether is for a bathroom trashcan liner,  to clean out the car, or for people who walk their dogs.

    Lot's of these acts require a bag -  and if we don't get from a store, we end up buying more...

    So is it really single-use and did they research the full end-to-end usage of the bag,  or researched the bag from the Cashier to the car…..???

    From another reader:

    Plastic bags are not the enemy, people are.  The bags can be recycled to make so many different items cheaply if people would just dispose of them properly.  The same goes with reusable bags, how many people are washing them after every use?  A friend of mine was behind someone who had cat hair all over their bags and the cashier had to sanitize her whole station. 

    Then think of what most reusable bags are made from, plastic.  Unless you get a bag that is made totally of cloth they have plastic in them.  What happens when the bag had outlived it’s usefulness?  It goes to the garbage where it will stay forever because it really won’t break down.

    Educate people on how to use reusable bags?  There has been education on how to dispose of plastic bags and people still do not do it.

    On the subject of airlines changing their frequent flier programs, MNB user Rich Heiland wrote:

    I live an hour north of Bush Intercontinental so I am an "old Continental" flyer not pleased about most things with the United-Continental merger.

    But, like you, I can conceptually understand why United is doing what it is doing with its frequent flyer program. However, as someone who has been a high level miles guy (slowing down a bit now as I move toward retirement) I do feel a bit de-valued. I am one who always has bought non-refundables, lower fare tickets.

    Why? Because almost all my flights are on client dollars and I always have held that I manage client dollars as I would my own. Also, and you may have experienced this, I have had times where a client was fine with my professional fees but all of the additional expenses became an issue. Rather than discount my fees I always have assured clients Holiday Inn Express is fine, I rent a compact car and I fly non-refundables.

    So, under this new system I am going to drop further down the ladder. And, the way United came across, the message was I no longer matter. That burned me a bit.

    Agreed. Which sort of was my point - that while I understand these changes, the message being communicated is that customers matter far less than the bottom line. I think this is going to bite the airlines in the rear end at some point …

    On another subject, an MNB reader wrote:

    In response to the MNB user who stated, “When you suggest that an iPad with some information can somehow jumpstart our interest in Philharmonic music I shake my head in disbelief…"

    Perhaps the MNB user should sidle up to an iPad and check out all the great music that is inspired by classical music.  You can find radio stations dedicated to film music which imitates the greats like Holtz, Strauss, and Shostakovich.

    While the iPad wasn’t around then, I was not only inspired to go to the Philharmonic concerts but to become a music major because of a little movie called “Star Wars” (which can now be conveniently seen on many a mobile device).  The first time I went to the movie, I went to see the latest and greatest in SciFi.  The second time, because Mark Hamill was just too cute.  But the next 6 times because I was hooked on the music.  And after buying sound track and reading the jacket cover, I bought Holtz “Planets” which was mentioned as an inspiration for the music.  And then I bought more and more classical music after that (I have a huge classical music LP and CD collection because of that movie).  Who knows what little thing on an iPad will inspire the next classical-music fan or the next great artist.

    Good for you.

    Finally, I loved this email from MNB reader Salman Manzur:

    I am a huge fan and learned as much from MNB in the last couple years as the last 31 spent in food retailing.  Currently I am spending a good bit of time visiting and evaluating various C-store chains before deciding to become an owner/operator.  The quality of Fresh foods available at a C-store today is truly impressive, specially 7-Eleven.  Assortment needs a lot of work but with Fresh being the fastest growth segment it's just a matter of time.  Best of all, while the traditional grocers continue to allocate resources to prepare for the looming epic battle with Amazon the C-stores go about their merry way with the better operators bagging double digit growth.

    Salman, when you finally open your own store, let me know. I'd love to come visit some day.
    KC's View:

    Published on: June 23, 2014

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    KC's View: