Amazon never does things for only the obvious reasons, which makes me wonder what the company is up to with its latest retail foray: department stores.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported:

The new retail spaces will be around 30,000 square feet, smaller than most department stores, which typically occupy about 100,000 square feet, and will offer items from top consumer brands. The Amazon stores will dwarf many of the company’s other physical retail spaces and will have a footprint similar to scaled-down formats that Bloomingdale’s Inc., Nordstrom Inc., and other department-store chains have begun opening.

These new department…

The short version of this review is simple: drop everything, and order a copy of the new memoir, Joey Somebody: The Life and Times of a Recovering Douchebag. Then read it as soon as you can. You won’t regret doing so.

Here’s the longer version: Usually when I’m reviewing a book I try to be objective, or at least to have the appearance of objectivity. Sure, I’ll slip in a “Full Disclosure, the writer is a friend of mine” if I know the author.

I’m not doing that this time because I’ve been lucky enough to watch Joey’s journey in…

When a family member dies the script is clear: you scramble the jets, cancel your appointments, lean on a friend to watch the dog, and get there. For me, that means getting to Los Angeles from Portland.

My aunt, Marlene Meyer, my mother’s sister, died on May 15th. She was 86, vibrant, still working as an insurance agent days before her death, not ready to die. Our family wasn’t ready either. We do not know if she had contracted Coronavirus — a maddening ambiguity — but we do know that Coronavirus changed her decline, death, and funeral.

I’ve lived in…

We live in Portland, and a few years back we let our subscription to the local paper, The Oregonian, lapse because we just weren’t reading it regularly.

Then came Coronavirus, and suddenly I found myself checking the OregonLive home page daily, multiple times per day.

It didn’t take long for the penny to drop: we had to support the local journalism the reporters at The Oregonian created with our dollars as well as our attention.

For around $65 we got a three month subscription, which includes two print editions per week (Wednesday and Sunday), as well as 24/7/365 access to…

Is Mayor Pete Buttigieg really surging? Is Senator Elizabeth Warren really the new frontrunner? Can any of the Democratic candidates match Trump’s social media presence?

Most Americans, regardless of party, will agree that Donald Trump has been an unusual President of the United States, including his use of Twitter.

Between his personal Twitter account (@realDonaldTrump) with 66.3 million followers and the official presidential account (@POTUS) with 27 million followers, Trump has a potential 100 million people with whom he can directly connect at any time without the help of his press secretary and even without the press itself! …

(This is the second in a series of practical tips about parenting in the digital age.)

My last column described conversations that parents should have before giving a kid that first smartphone. I held back talking about one important topic because it needs its own discussion: should you look at your kid’s phone?

The short answer is of course you should.

The longer answer starts with why and then moves to how.

Why: You should look at your kid’s phone because adolescents are not, in the general scheme of things, blessed with abundant executive function. …

(This is the first in a series of practical tips about parenting in the digital age.)

Parents of adolescents worry about when a kid should get her* first smartphone. It’s a legit worry. On the plus side, smartphones connect kids to a vast world of information, resources, entertainment, and community… and that’s the down side, too. The magic mirror is a source of infinite distraction that fits in a palm, even a young one.

At some point, your kid will start a mosquito campaign: she needs a phone because all her friends have them. The worst part of this is…

This week, the California legislature passed an important bill that could result in the reclassification of Uber and Lyft drivers as employees instead of contractors. The change might entitle drivers to minimum wage, benefits, collective bargaining, and a host of other knife-to-the-neck threats to the short-term survival of the ride-hailing companies that are, in the long term, dead already.

In a since-updated breaking news story, New York Times reporter Kate Conger shrewdly noted the most alarming, if unsurprising, part of Uber’s response:

Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, said in a news conference that the ride-hailing company would not treat…

I’m distractible. Easily. My iPhone is the worst (but far from the only*) temptation to wander away from what I should be thinking about.

In today’s New York Times, reporter Conor Dougherty explains how he lobotomized his phone — removing all social media, games, even the browser — in order to stay focused. I periodically do something similar, removing social media and disabling email to limit the firehose of distraction. It’s an investment in my ability to daydream, what psychologists call “the default mode,” since daydreams are where most insights come from. …

When friends from different corners of my life recommend the same thing, I pay attention. Years ago, within days, an arch feminist, lesbian, liberal arts friend and an arch conservative, straight, financier friend independently recommended Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan science fiction series.

This I gotta see.

Bujold has been my favorite living SF writer ever since.

A similar thing happened over a handful of hours starting yesterday.

My friend John Durham and I usually talk about books, politics, the media industry, mutual friends and travel. In the 15 years I’ve known him, he has never said, “Did you see X…


Futurist, strategist, researcher, startup advisor, writer, speaker, events veteran & family man.

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