(Or, if you repeat a word often enough, it sounds just as stupid the fourth time)
I just think we’ve hit an inflection point where technology is now so pervasive and so useful that we’re past the tipping point. And the world of e-commerce and commerce are now just seamlessly merged, and everything is omnichannel.
Today we don’t even know what e-commerce means. They’ve just come together, the on- and the offline. Now, every merchant, every retailer must have an omnichannel strategy or they won’t survive.
Nobody has an electricity department in their company; nobody has an Internet department anymore—although they did a few years ago. I suspect that within 24 months, no one will have a mobile strategy. They’ll just have an omnichannel, connected-screens strategy.
I think that in this omnichannel world—imagine, for planning purposes, that everything is for sale in every marketplace, every means, and every channel. We may never get to that world, but it’s a useful planning assumption.
July 23: Jenna Wortham outs herself, in BuzzFeed, as a massive fan of Kim Kardashian: Hollywood:
I bought 3 of the $4.99 K packs! It’s mostly for the outfits and hairstyles. The good hairstyles all cost so many points! I bought a cute shaggy bob and then I had to get the beige bathing suit thing with the sheer robe to go with it for the Triste launch party at Chateu Nuit. I would say it embarrasses me to admit that, but I’ve stopped trying to rationalize it.
July 30: Jenna Wortham files “Kim Kardashian, an Unlikely Mobile Video Game Hit" for the NYT:
The game is free to download and play, but it sells in-app purchases for things like additional energy and “K-stars,” which can be used to buy special hairstyles, accessories and clothing. Although players don’t have to spend money to advance in the game play, they are clearly enticed to indulge on the fancier items available for sale — imitating Ms. Kardashian’s own high-spending ways.
August 9: Jenna Wortham files “Living Like the Kardashians, via Smartphone" for the NYT:
The game — which may be downloaded free — encourages players to spend their real-world money on “k-stars,” a game currency that enables them to buy extravagant clothing and hairstyles for their avatars in this virtual world.
Like the fish. Silent l.
Using what he calls the “careless and piecemeal” data of wealth reports, Mr. Piketty calculates that today the richest 1 percent owns about half the planet’s wealth…
According to Mr. Piketty’s calculations, the immutable dynamic of returns on capital being greater than the rate of economic growth will concentrate half the planet’s wealth in the hands of the richest 0.1 percent within 30 years, impoverishing not only the middle, but also the upper-middle classes.
The above quotes appear in the New York Times, in an article by Scott Reyburn.
I would like to ask Mr Reyburn, and the NYT: where, exactly, in his book, or elsewhere, does Piketty make these statements?
I have not read all of Piketty’s book, and it’s hard to prove a negative. But I don’t think Piketty ever attempts to quantify global wealth inequality: it’s hard enough just to get reliable figures on a national basis. And I’m all but certain that he never extrapolates anything to the point at which the richest 0.1% end up with 50% of the wealth. Neither would he consider such an extrapolation to constitute an “immutable dynamic”: after all, his entire final chapter is an explanation of why such dynamics are not immutable.
Reyburn’s claims, then, would seem to be narrowly false: Piketty does not say what Reyburn says he says. They’re also broadly false: nowhere does Piketty paint some dystopian vision where the upper-middle classes have become “impoverished”.
On top of that, Reyburn also violates the NYT’s policy of adjusting all prices for inflation. He talks about a Leonardo bought in 1914 for $1.5 million: what’s that in today’s money? Reyburn never says; he waves only in the direction of an analysis which said that the purchase was a record price, in real terms, in 1961. Has the record been broken in the last 53 years? Maybe if Reyburn did the math, we could work that out!
All in all, this is shoddy stuff from the NYT. Or, is it from the NYT? Officially, the NYT has merged with the IHT, and they’re now a unified news organization. In practice however, stories like this still feel as though they’re IHT pieces, which wouldn’t see the light of day had they gone through editing in NYC. Is a double standard still in place?
I was given my first story to check. I vaguely remember that it was something about new mutual fund products, and it was written by a freelancer. It sounded good — that is, until I started checking it. In essence, the entire thing was wrong. Up until that point, words on the page, in their unambiguous black and white, had always conveyed such authority that I didn’t question them. I never read that way again. An editor once said to me that good writers were really dangerous because you could be so seduced by their writing that you simply drank in their unsupported leaps of logic.