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    Published on: June 23, 2020

    This weekly series of Retail Tomorrow podcasts features Sterling Hawkins, co-CEO and co-founder of CART-The Center for Advancing Retail & Technology, and MNB "Content Guy" Kevin Coupe teaming up to speculate, prognosticate, and formulate visions of what tomorrow's retail landscape will look like post-coronavirus.

    There was good news and bad news last week.  May retail sales were up 17.7 percent, which was a lot better than the 14.7 percent drop in April and 8.3 percent decline in March - and not completely unexpected, since economies around the country were beginning to open up.  However, at the same time one respected model suggested that Coronavirus deaths in the US could climb past 200,000 by October.  That's higher that was projected just a few weeks ago, and seems to be related to a number of  states that are seeing upward trends - some of them alarming -  in newly reported cases.  If Yogi Berra was right when he said, “It ain’t over ’til its over,” then it seems pretty clear that the pandemic ain’t over.

    That’s the starting point for Sterling and Kevin to explore what retailers need to do to prepare for an extended period in which consumer behavior is radically changed, in which business strategies and tactics have to be adjusted for the new normal, and the extent to which the altered states of consumer and retailer reality will be sustained into the future.

    You can listen to the podcast here, or on iTunes and Google Play.

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    by Michael Sansolo

    When talking with a young person there is a simple way to discern if they are a Millennial or a member of Generation Z. Ask them to identify Charli D’Amelio.

    Trust me, this works. I recently saw an 18-year-old family friend and mentioned that I read an article about the reigning queen of Tik Tok, the newest and hottest social media craze. Before I could say anything more, she said, “You mean, Charli D’Amelio.”

    She explained to me that Charli, a 16-year-old from Connecticut who posts short videos in which she dances or lip syncs, has 60 million followers on Tik Tok.

    A day later I asked Kevin’s daughter, Ali, a young millennial, if she knew about Miss D’Amelio. Ali not only didn’t, but she had nothing kind to say about Tik Tok. I quickly informed Ali that she had just joined the out-of-touch generation with her dad and she might never talk to me again.

    It is, Kevin and I agreed, an entirely new demographic group:  YBNYETLTT, or Young, But Not Young Enough to Like Tik Tok.

    Let’s be fair here: new technological “must haves” seem to come along constantly these days, so Ali shouldn’t get blamed for not knowing each one.

    A few months back - in the days when we had conferences and other forms of social contact - Kevin and I were making a speech in Dallas. In advance, we handed out questions to the audience including “what’s the one technology you are least willing to ever give up.” We expected and received a slew of answers citing Netflix, iPhones and Google.

    But we got one mention of Twitch, to which Kevin and I both said, “What the hell is that?” (Twitch, if you don’t know, is an incredibly popular platform for sharing all manner of videos with an emphasis on gaming.  It boasts 1.5 million visitors each day and if you want to see why this matters to marketers, just read this.

    Tik Tok, by comparison, has 800 million users worldwide and has been Apple’s most downloaded application for the past two years. 

    Understand also that these apps aren’t to be brushed aside lightly. As Ali told me, and I believe her, Tik Tok can get misused and can lead to problems with younger kids, but it also is an enormous marketing tool. A prominent example comes from Ohio, where the state teamed with Procter & Gamble and the aforementioned Miss D’Amelio to effectively spread a message on social distancing for coronavirus and raised charitable contributions for Feeding America and Matthew:25 Ministries.

    D’Amelio created the #distancedance, which drew 95,000 viewers in 10 minutes and 6 million in 10 hours. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was beyond impressed.  Check this out.

    As articles throughout Ohio reported, DeWine recognized that his message on social distancing could only go so far. D’Amelio’s message supercharged an entirely different demographic that was probably unlikely to heed the governor’s request.

    Over the past weekend, the power of Tik Tok was demonstrated a very different way as the app apparently enabled teen-agers to organize a protest that is blamed or credited (depending on your point of view) with impacting attendance at President Trump’s Oklahoma rally.

    It’s a powerful message for all marketers out there that there are countless challenges in communicating with our increasingly diverse population. As Ali Coupe demonstrates, unless you have a Gen Z talking to you (possibly at home or in your neighborhood), you might miss an entirely new and apparently effective communication device.

    And you wouldn’t know about a 16-year-old with 61 million followers who seemingly has an ability to move mountains. 

    Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at msansolo@morningnewsbeat.com.

    His book, “THE BIG PICTURE:  Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available here.

    And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon here.

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    The Washington Post reports that "public health workers, already underfunded and understaffed, are confronting waves of protest at their homes and offices in addition to pressure from politicians who favor a faster reopening.  One report says that more than 20 health officials have been fired, resigned or have retired in recent weeks “due to conditions related to having to enforce and stand up for strong public health tactics during this pandemic.”  Those conditions include threatening phone calls and online trolling that makes them feel at-risk.  Some health officials require bodyguards.

    KC has some thoughts about this, and his Irish is up.  (Warning:  Because of language, you way want to play this on headphones.  Or at least where there are no kids hanging around.)

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    by Kevin Coupe

    The New York Times this morning reports that  the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas - described as "a prestigious wine organization" - has decided to stop using the term "master" in connection with a sommelier’s surname, recognizing that the term has connections to historical racism.

    According to the story, the organization says that it wants "to play a part in diversifying the industry in the wake of nationwide unrest and conversations about institutional racism prompted by the killing of George Floyd …  In the future, the organization will cease its use of the singular term in favor of the full term 'master sommelier' with a person’s surname in all formal communication and programming."

    The Times writes that the Court also is considering the establishment of "a committee that would recommend a course on implicit bias training and pursue paths to increase diversity; becoming more involved with a tuition-free wine education program; and creating more scholarship programs."

    Now, I'm sure there will be some who will suggest that this is political correctness run amok, that in this case "master" is an adjective, not a noun, and that these kinds of moves are unnecessary.

    But the Times piece actually makes clear that there is a sense in the wine industry that there are broader issues in the wine industry - or at least in this segment of the wine industry - that have to do with inclusive values and a greater focus on credentials rather than education.

    The Times writes, for example, that "the  industry has not been historically inclusive for black people and other people of color, said Ashtin Berry, an advocate in the hospitality industry and a certified sommelier with the Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

    "Ms. Berry, 32, said she does not consider herself a part of the mainstream wine community because of its lack of inclusivity.

    "The industry is classist, Ms. Berry said, and centered on white people and their palates. That information is then coded into the wine world. 'It’s textbook exclusionary,' she said."

    My sense is that this is a debate that will play out over time, and that it won't be easy to drag organizations with names like "Court of Master Sommeliers" into the 21st century.  Or even into the 20th century.

    But it also strikes me as instructive for other industries, which should look at themselves and ask if there are characteristics that they share with the wine business that could be seen as exclusionary as opposed to exclusive.

    The world is going through a series of spasms having to do with racism and social justice, which provides businesses with the opportunity to do the right thing and to find ways in which they can change behaviors that may have been inadvertent and/or unconscious, but had negative effects on the workplace and the community.

    Questions can be asked.  The answers may be uncomfortable.  But the results could be an Eye-Opener.

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    A new report entitled “Transparency Trends: Omnichannel Grocery Shopping from the Consumer Perspective," suggests that "81 percent of shoppers say transparency is important or extremely important to them both online and in store," as well as offering the "leading considerations among consumers for how they define transparency when grocery shopping."

    The report was released this morning by FMI - The Food Industry Association and  Label Insight, described in the release as "the product transparency market leader."

    The findings include:

    •  "Consumers evaluate core factors that make a brand transparent. Shoppers say a brand or manufacturer is transparent if they provide a complete list of ingredients (62%), the description of ingredients is in plain English (53%), provide certifications, such as USDA organic (48%), and provide in-depth nutritional information (47%)."

    •  "Sixty-one percent of omnichannel shoppers believe manufacturers, brands or government institutions are completely responsible for providing detailed product information; however, less than one-half of shoppers completely trust product information from manufacturers and brands (41%) or from government institutions (46%)."

    •  "Consumer needs have changed and transparency needs to evolve along with them. More shoppers are sticking to a diet or health related eating program in 2020 (64%) than in 2018 (49%); and their shopping behaviors are impacted even more by food allergies, intolerances or sensitivities than two years ago with 44% indicating this in 2018, and 55% in 2020."

    •  "Forty-two percent of shoppers believe online grocery retailers should be responsible for providing detailed product information, compared to brick-and-mortar grocers (35%)."

    •  "When met with a need to get more detailed product information or clarify questions, shoppers turn to the internet. Forty-seven percent of shoppers will choose to research ingredients online in the face of confusion and 89% of would be more likely to seek details on a product if it had more online information."

    KC's View:

    To me, the most concerning finding is the one about how "less than one-half of shoppers completely trust product information from manufacturers and brands (41%) or from government institutions (46%)."  That kind of distrust of once dependable and respected institutions ought to really worry manufacturers, brands, and government officials.

    (By the way, this ties into this morning's FaceTime rant, which looked at the cretins who threaten and harass public health officials who try to keep us safe during the pandemic.  This kind of reflective distrust eats away at the society and the culture, and if we're not careful, they'll be nothing left when they're done.  But I digress…)

    I'm not really surprised by these findings - MNB has been talking about the importance of transparency for about as long as it as been in existence.  (I would've been surprised if an organization called Label Insight had come up with any other result.)

    The thing is, there will be some out there who will argue that transparency should only go so far - that brands ought to provide exhaustive nutrition information, for example, but that Country of Origin labeling (COOL) somehow is a bridge too far.  I would disagree.  (And I'm not anti-foreign food.  Far from it.  I just think I'd like to know where things are from.)

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    Bloomberg  has a story about Gatik, described as a self-driving vehicle startup that "is focused on so-called middle-mile delivery, the oft-overlooked leg between when, say, a sweater is trucked across the country and when it is ferried over the last few miles and dropped on someone’s porch.

    "For three years now, Gatik has been strapping sensors all over vans and small trucks and moving groceries from large distribution centers to small warehouses, albeit with a human back-up driver aboard."

    CEO and co-founder Gautam Narang tells Bloomberg that the company operates "between fixed locations. We over-optimize the technology to focus on these routes. Some of the edge cases are reduced because we know the routes so intimately; we know the drive patterns. Because of all this, the go-to-market time is faster."  The goal, he says, "is let’s get close to the customer. Let’s shrink that delivery window."

    Basically, the argument seems to be that by focusing on the B2B portion of the delivery experience - and avoiding the more problematic and capricious demands of B2C delivery - Gatik is able to be more structured in its approach.  Narang also argues that the company has a certain amount of exclusivity in the space because this isn't the sexy segment of the autonomous vehicle space.

    "In terms of dire competitors, there are none," he says.  "No other company in the AV space is using box-truck architecture. Other companies are going after B-2-C and the long-haul. But if you’re going after general autonomy problems, you’re trying to boil the ocean. Level four autonomy is at least 4 to 5 years out and level 5 - if it’s even possible - is at least 10 years out. With structured autonomy we can avoid schools, hospitals, fire stations, blind curves, etc. All of that is fair game."

    KC's View:
     

    I love the metaphor.  It is a lot easier to boil a pot of water than it is to "boil the ocean."  You get results a lot faster, and are in a position to do more with it.

    BTW … Gatik may be interested in slow lanes and middle miles, but it has a fast partner these days.  Walmart.  Narang says that after a year of deployment, Walmart is running Gatik's self-driving vehicles seven days a week, 10 to 12 hours a day.

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    Random and illustrative stories about the global pandemic and how businesses and various business sectors are trying to recover from it, with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

    •  In the United States, as of this morning there have been 2,388,225 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, with 122,611 deaths and 1,003,062 reported recoveries.

    Globally, there have been 9,210,002 confirmed coronavirus cases, 474,799 fatalities, and 4,957,024 reported recoveries.


    •  From the New York Times this morning:

    "New known virus cases were on the rise in 23 states on Monday as the outlook worsened across much of the nation’s South and West. Hospitalizations for the coronavirus reached their highest levels yet in the pandemic in Arizona and Texas, and Missouri reported its highest single-day case totals over the weekend. Even as much of the Northeast and Midwest continued to see improvement, there were signs of new spread in Ohio, where case numbers have started trending upward after weeks of improvement, and in Pennsylvania, where several counties have had troubling numbers of cases."

    And:

    "Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas delivered a somber assessment of the coronavirus on Monday, saying that it was spreading in the state at “an unacceptable rate” and that tougher restrictions could be necessary, although he did not specify what those measures would be … The number of daily hospitalizations and confirmed cases in Texas has doubled when compared with last month, according to the governor. But he said he was hopeful that the trend could be reversed if people wore face masks, washed hands and abided by social distancing."

    “Closing down Texas again will always be the last option,” he said at a news conference. “We can protect Texans’ lives while also protecting their livelihoods.”

    The Times also notes that South Carolina has reported "an additional 1,008 new cases on Monday, the third-highest daily increase in the state."

    Also from the Times:

    "As parts of the country tentatively reopen, clusters of cases have spread from the most widely known locations — like meatpacking plants, nursing homes and prisons — to locations that have gotten far less attention. Four people who spent time at Cruisin’ Chubbys Gentlemen’s Club, a Wisconsin strip club, recently tested positive. In Colorado, at least 11 staff members at Eagle Lake Overnight Camp came down with the virus before any campers showed up, leading the camp to close for the rest of the summer. And in Connecticut, the city of New Haven shut down a nightclub that the authorities said hosted a gathering of about 1,000 people on Saturday night in its parking lot, violating orders on the size of gatherings."

    And:

    "Black people have been hospitalized for Covid-19 four times more than white people, new data released Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found. The data reinforced the many public accounts of the disparities in access to health care and treatment outcomes faced by African-Americans during the pandemic."


    •  According to the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) 2020 Food & Health Survey, "85% of Americans have made at least some change in the food they eat or how they prepare it because of the coronavirus pandemic … Long-term trends indicate a growing emphasis on the healthfulness of our diets—while in the shorter term, the number of Americans who are following a diet or are concerned about environmental sustainability continues to increase."

    The survey goes on:  "COVID-19 has also upended almost every aspect of our daily lives, not the least of which includes our eating and food-purchasing habits. Among the 85% who have made any change, the biggest - far and away - is that 60% of Americans report cooking at home more. Respondents also say they are snacking more (32%), washing fresh produce more often (30%) and thinking about food more than usual (27%)."

    And:  "Nearly half (49%) of consumers are at least somewhat concerned about the safety of food that was prepared outside their homes, such as takeout or delivery. A similar number (46%) are concerned when they eat outside the home, such as in restaurants. Trailing behind are those who are concerned about food safety when shopping for groceries online (42%), shopping for groceries in-store (36%) and preparing meals at home (30%)."


    •  The Washington Post reports that when Apple unveiled new software products yesterday, one of them was exceptionally timely:

    "A feature made just for our pandemic times, the new hand-washing alert on the Apple Watch is a gentle nudge to stop the spread of the coronavirus, or any other viruses or germs that are going around. With the update, the Watch will look out for the signs you’re at a sink, from the way you move your hands to the sound of water swooshing by. Then the Watch will give you a countdown to make sure you spend the doctor-recommended amount of time cleaning away all those nasty germs."


    •  CNN reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "is advising consumers not to use hand sanitizer products manufactured by Eskbiochem SA due to the potential presence of a toxic chemical.

    "The FDA has discovered methanol, a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through skin or ingested, in samples of Lavar Gel and CleanCare No Germ hand sanitizers, both produced by the Mexican company.

    "Eskbiochem did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN."


    •  CNBC reports that "major cruise lines have agreed to voluntarily extend a suspension of operations out of U.S. ports until Sept. 15, the Cruise Lines International Association announced … Members of the trade group, which includes cruising giants such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line, had previously announced a pause of operations on March 13. 

    On March 14, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a no-sail order for cruise ships, and on April 9 it extended the order until July 24."


    •  The New York Times reports that the University of Michigan has decided that it will not host the second presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden in October, "because of concerns about bringing hordes of national and international media and campaign officials to the Ann Arbor campus amid the coronavirus pandemic."

    The story notes that "presidential general election debates cost their hosts millions of dollars, which universities typically raise from their own large donors in order to bask in the prestige of hosting an event that draws international attention.  But with the coronavirus pandemic stretching budgets and making large gatherings of students and donors on campus not viable, some of the value in hosting a major debate may be lost."

    Expectations are that the debate "will be moved to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, which hosted the first debates of the 2020 Democratic primary season last summer."

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    Bloomberg has a piece by the great Michael Lewis about how, "seven weeks ago, researchers at the University of California San Francisco offered to test for Covid-19 everyone who either lived or worked in a fantastically diverse four-square-block area of San Francisco’s Mission District: census tract number 229.01. It wasn’t a simple thing to do. The tract was heavily Latino and wary of authority. An enterprising social worker named Jon Jacobo, who had grown up in the neighborhood, made sure that each of its 1,400 front doors got banged on at least five times, and that all 4,087 official adult residents, including the small homeless population, were told about the coronavirus test in their native tongue."

    In the end, he writes, "roughly 3,000 people showed up to be tested over four days in late April, and the Biohub processed their tests. A bit more than 6% of the Latinos were infected by Covid-19, most with high loads of the virus, though many had no symptoms. There were patterns in the test results — for example, the wealthier the person, the less likely he was to be infected. And of the 981 white people tested, zero were positive.

    "And so the big takeaway seemed to be what everyone in the past few weeks has figured out: The virus is now disproportionately attacking poor people of color, and lots of infectious people are walking around without a clue about their condition."

    But there was a bigger takeaway, Lewis writes - that there are viral relationships that "can reveal social relationships, making connections we otherwise wouldn’t make, which has implications for contact tracing."

    Fascinating stuff - and you can read it here.

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    In Connecticut, Ahold Delhaize-owned Stop & Shop, which long has offered its own Peapod-branded e-commerce service, announced that it is making a deal with Instacart to handle the increased demand for delivery created by the coronavirus pandemic.

    KC's View:

    Go ahead.  Let the fox in the henhouse.

    Here's the line from the Norwalk Hour newspaper story that tells the whole story:  "Stop & Shop joins Aldi, Big Y, BJ's Wholesale Club, Costco, Price Rite, ShopRite and Stew Leonard’s among grocery stores with Instacart deliveries available in southern Connecticut."  And that doesn't even include Instacart users that include the Fairway store in Stamford, CT, and the new Wegmans store just over the border in Harrison, NY, that will open later this year.

    Do you not understand the point of having a differential advantage?  Do I need to freakin' define the word "differential"?  

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    The Sacramento Business Journal reports that Raley's there has converted an older store that had been replaced by a new unit into a dark store that it can use as an e-commerce fulfillment center.

    The reason:  The coronavirus pandemic created enough demand that it made sense to use the location as a micro-fulfillment center rather than lease it out to another retailer.  (Which might've  been problematic anyway considering the impact that the pandemic has had on bricks-and-mortar retail.)

    KC's View:

    Smart.  Very smart.

    What'll be interesting will be if demand remains high enough to compel Raley's to keep the unity as  a dark store.

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

    •  The Verge reports that "Amazon is ending support for its Dash Wand, an Alexa-enabled device that let shoppers scan grocery barcodes and order household essentials from their homes. In an email to users, the company said the devices will no longer be supported as of July 21st. Shoppers can still use other Alexa-enabled devices to add items to a shopping list, the company noted."

    The Dash Wand was introduced in 2017.

    The Dash Wand has been something of an afterthought for a long time, and eliminating support for the device just makes sense in the same way that Amazon bailed on the Dash buttons - at a time when it believes that its Alexa-powered voice recognition system is the future of online shopping, it is time to take Wand-related learnings and move forward.


    •  The Wall Street Journal reports that  Matthew McCarthy, CEO of Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry's Homemade, "said the ice-cream brand is considering joining other companies in boycotting advertising on Facebook Inc.’s platforms while pushing more of its media partners to take further action on issues concerning systemic racism and social reform."

    The story notes that "civil-rights groups including the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP last week called for big advertisers to pull spending from Facebook for July to protest what they say is the company’s failure to make its platform a less hostile place."  Companies including Patagonia, REI, and The North Face have all announced plans to stop advertising on Facebook.

    What they’ve been doing is not fully right with our values, period,” McCarthy said.   “The reality is, anything that’s right for the business, but wrong for our values, is wrong.”

    Wow.  That line about the importance of values ought to be put on every business's walls.


    •  Canadian retailer Sobey's has announced that it has launched its newest e-commerce platform, Voilà by Sobeys, in the Toronto metropolitan area.

    According to the announcement, "Voilà by Sobeys has a freshness guarantee and products at affordable prices with no hidden fees, delivered straight to customers' doors in convenient one-hour delivery windows. Starting June 22, customers in Vaughan will be able to order online at voila.ca or by downloading the Voilà mobile app."

    Voilà is powered by an Ocado automated Customer Fulfillment Centre, using robots to "assemble orders efficiently and safely, resulting in minimal product handling, while Voilà teammates safely deliver orders directly to the customer's home."

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    •  FMI – The Food Industry Association, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), National Grocers Association (NGA), and the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) have issued a joint statement outlining what they call "the best practices for pharmacies and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to follow for documenting signature-free delivery or pick-up of prescription drugs during the Public Health Emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  These best practices are intended to provide clarity so that consumers can feel confident in not having to physically sign for their prescriptions and to address pharmacy concerns about proper documentation for future audits."


    •  CNBC reports that you can add Starbucks to the list of retailers selling plant-based food alternatives.

    Starbucks, the story says, has "added the Impossible Breakfast Sandwich, made with Impossible plant-based sausage, to its U.S menu on Tuesday to meet the growing customer interest in plant-based options …  the Impossible Breakfast Sandwich features savory Impossible sausage made from plants, which is combined with a cage-free fried egg and aged cheddar cheese and served on an artisanal ciabatta bread."

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly plans to "exercise his right to implement a schedule of the length of his choosing—likely consisting of 60 games from late July until late September—followed by a normal postseason tournament," according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.

    The Journal writes:

    "The announcement comes after weeks of posturing, public ultimatums and brinkmanship between the league and the Major League Baseball Players Association, who together failed to reach a negotiated settlement dictating how to handle the economics of playing games with no fans in attendance."

    The two sides agreed after the pandemic ended spring training that Manfred could impose a reduced season's structure, with players' salaries to be prorated.  However, ownership neglected to factor in the possibility that there would be no fans in the stands, and they came back to the players to demand that they take additional pay cuts and give up their right to file a grievance over the new cuts.  The players said they would take the field as agreed, but would not give up their grievance rights.

    The disagreement is expected to carry over to negotiations about a new collective bargaining agreement that needs to be worked out after the 2021 season.

    The Journal notes that "baseball’s attempt to return to the field comes just days after MLB closed down all team training facilities across Florida and Arizona to address a surge in players and staff contracting Covid-19. The Philadelphia Phillies alone confirmed eight positive tests on Friday, with dozens more still pending heading into last weekend. Four states that are part of the current surge—Florida, California, Arizona and Texas—host 10 of the league’s 30 franchises."

    KC's View:

    Positive tests are the death knell for professional sports, I think.  I'm just not sure how any of these sports can go forward if it puts players' health and lives at risk.  Much as I want baseball back, I think there are larger issues at play here.  

    Published on: June 23, 2020

    I'm happy to announce that on Friday, at 7 pm EDT / 4 pm PDT, we're going to do it again … our fourth MNB Virtual Happy Hour.

    The folks at GMDC have once again agreed to sponsor and host it.  Hopefully, you can put it on your calendar … choose a libation for Happy Hour … and then prop up your laptop or warm up your computer on Friday, June 26, for a conversation and a drink.  (You don't have to let me know you're coming, but it would be nice to know.)

    To join us, click here.