Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Bill Flanagan, Fifty in Reverse (Tiller Press, 2020)

OK, I’ll admit that I have a particular penchant for tales of time travel. That said, I have resisted visiting this genre for almost nine years, with my review here being my last that touches on a story of this type. I’ve revisited another favorite topic, the 1970s, much more recently here. A whole host of Wonder Years have flowed under the bridge since I’ve read something that has combined both favorite topics.

But here’s the thing: Fifty in Reverse is more than the sum of these two parts.  Here’s the story of a sixty-something empty nester who goes to sleep in 2020 and wakes up as his 15-year-old self in 1970, fully aware of his circumstances and the future that lies ahead of him. This is a story for all of us for whom the past year has seemed somehow unhinged in time. Show of hands: who else has experienced a perpetual Groundhog Day feeling as they’ve gone about their daily business over the past year?

The fantasy, of course, is that, with fifty-some years of foreknowledge going for you, you’d be set to profit handsomely from both the ups and the downs of the economy. It would be an entrepreneur’s dream. Imagine knowing what the next big thing is going to be before anyone else is even three steps behind you. Maybe that’s what it was like to be Steve Jobs (or maybe he was just seemingly always able to create the next big thing…)

That’s not how this story works out, though. No spoilers here, but this is a fresh take on the time-travel theme, particularly suited for pandemic homebound readers.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Despite All the Madness, There’s Calm at the Top

Sunday, March 14 was Selection Sunday — the day when the 68 teams playing in the men’s NCAA March Madness basketball tournament are announced. Thirty-two athletic conferences offer basketball, and the winner of each conference tournament gets an automatic bid to the March Madness tournament (the Ivy League cancelled its basketball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so only 31 conferences are represented this year). The remaining spots are filled by a selection committee based on multiple criteria.

After the announcement, there is continual analysis from basketball pundits down to everyday people as they work to speculate on the outcome of each tournament game and complete a tournament bracket. With so many teams and conferences participating, it would seem like there would be some variety each year regarding who wins. The reality is that despite the upsets and Cinderella stories, there are a few established powers that take the lion’s share of success.

In this year’s tournament, although there are 31 conferences represented, six conferences (Big Ten, Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Southeastern, Pac-12, Big East) are sending 38 teams. Furthermore, the history of the tournament indicates the same disparity continues throughout each round. There have been 80 tournament champions, and of those champions, a team from the six conferences mentioned above has won the tournament 69 times.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Celebrating Female Entrepreneurs on International Women’s Day

International Women's Day is a global day marked annually on March 8 that celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. In honor of International Women’s Day, I would like to highlight just a few of the delightful and practical women-founded businesses that I value having in my life.

OUI the People. Karen Young is the founder of OUI the People, which is a direct-to-consumer beauty company that is committed “to changing the language of beauty.” According to Young, when she was younger, her mother banned beauty magazines in the house but subscribed to National Geographic. That sort of practicality is alive and well in OUI. OUI stands out by delivering realistic and effective tools for living your best life in your skin while leaving the antiquated view of beauty behind. OUI’s razors are the best!

Freda Salvador. This amazing company, founded by Cristina Palomo-Nelson and Megan Papay, makes shoes that have become a staple in my closet. The shoes are amazingly feminine, comfortable, durable and unique, while also being timeless in appearance. Freda Salvador also makes a point of highlighting inspiring women in its “The Freda Women Series.” Most recently, the series highlighted Amber Lewis, founder of Amber Interior Design. Amber’s designs provide fresh inspiration for those that love the cool California canyon styling (like me!). 

Thursday, March 4, 2021

In a Pickle in a Pandemic

Lathrop GPM Attorneys Taking in a Pickleball Match

I’m sure that regular readers of my entreVIEW posts (all 3 of you) saw the headline for this post and guessed it would probably be about the status of the original musical I have written (Pickle-Chiffon Pie), which I have posted about before (although a LONG time ago). Like so many other things, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted that project, which has been delayed from its originally scheduled world premiere at the Orlando Repertory Theatre last May until large groups of people feel comfortable safely gathering together in darkened theatres…fingers crossed, maybe as soon as late this year?

However, that’s not what this post is actually about. It is actually about Pickleball! If you don’t know what Pickleball is, you can check out this short video to learn a little about it. The sport, a sort of cross between tennis, badminton and table tennis, was invented by some entrepreneurial dads in the State of Washington in 1965 to entertain their kids who were bored with the usual summer activities. It has now become the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., with over 3.3 million players and an Average Annual Growth Rate of about 10%. 

I started playing Pickleball in October (along with an old high school friend) because it seemed like something fun and socially distant to do outdoors. In these COVID times, any excuse to interact with humans outside my household bubble in a way that feels safe is greatly appreciated. Apparently, I’m not the only one to pick up the sport during the pandemic. In fact, The New York Times called it the “Perfect Pandemic Pastime.”

Monday, March 1, 2021

Story of Hard Work, Creativity, and Embracing Change

Feb. 16, 2021 marked the 25-year anniversary of one of the greatest entrepreneurial stories of my generation. 

Our entrepreneur’s story begins as most successful entrepreneur’s stories do — with heartbreak. After years of tireless practice and dedication to his craft, bordering on obsession, he is told that his effort and energy, while appreciated, are misplaced. To make matters worse, his significant other leaves him, staying long enough to berate him about his future (or lack thereof). Shortly after, he undergoes a family tragedy due to mismanagement of finances, which leaves our entrepreneur, a hothead to begin with, extremely emotionally unstable.

In an effort to cool off and dig his family out of financial ruin, our entrepreneur tries his hand at something new and, in doing so, finds that he has a unique talent. Initially, he peddles his talent in his neighborhood — turning his talent into small profits, one customer at a time. He meets a mentor, who helps him hone his skills and encourages him to go after bigger profits by disrupting the current market. Our entrepreneur enters the market and is immediately (as most disrupters are) shunned by his more established and stuck-in-their-ways competition.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Are You Ready for a New Canadian Privacy Law?

As if we weren’t already confused by COPPA, CCPA, and CPRA, we may soon welcome CCPA as the newest addition to the “A-C-P” alphabet soup of data privacy laws.

Here is a primer to avoid confusion:

COPPA = Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act 

CCPA = California Consumer Privacy Act

CPRA = California Privacy Rights Act 

CPPA = Consumer Privacy Protection Act 

On Nov. 17, 2020, Canada’s federal government introduced a bill to enact new legislation to strengthen data privacy protections for individuals. The proposed legislation, known as the Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPPA), would be the first major overhaul of Canada’s privacy laws since the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) became effective in April 2000. If passed, CPPA will provide data privacy rights to individuals similar to those afforded under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the CCPA, and CPRA. 

CPPA will bring significant changes to PIPEDA including:

Enhanced Individual Rights: The CPPA would expand the rights of Canadian consumers in relation to how organizations collect and process their data. Similar to GDPR, consumers will have the right to request deletion of their personal data and to withdraw consent for any further use of their information. Consumers will also have the right to request transfer of their data from one organization to another. Businesses will be required to transparently describe to individuals any use of an automated decision system — such as algorithms and artificial intelligence — to make predictions, recommendations, or decisions about individuals that could have a significant impact on them. Individuals will also have the right to request an explanation as to how information about them was obtained as well as how any prediction, recommendation, or decision was made by an automated decision-making system.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Some People Try to Find Love by Casting a Wide Net; Dating Apps Use the Same Strategy to Get Your Business

Many people recently celebrated Valentine’s Day with that special someone. Others celebrated Singles Awareness Day on February 15. And, although only a few days have passed since Valentine’s Day, it’s very likely there are some recently single folks out there who were not single on February 14. For those single people, after you’ve had a good dose of some classic country heartbreak hits (try Hank Williams – “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” or Miranda Lambert – “Kerosene”) to see you through these bleak times, take heart and read on. This article is here to help you understand the lay of the land for dating apps, so you’ll be ready for February 14, 2022.

Numerous iconic brands that surround us on a daily basis are owned by a relatively small number of large conglomerates. The auto industry is a great example. Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Maserati are just some of the brands owned by Stellantis N.V. Volkswagen AG owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche and Volkswagen, to name a few. There are large players with huge brand portfolios that dominate the alcohol industry. ABInBev’s massive list of brands includes Goose Island, Michelob and Modelo. The consumer goods industry is no different. Brands that Proctor & Gamble has an ownership interest in include Charmin, Febreze and Tide. Unilever plc counts Dove, Lipton and Ben & Jerry’s as some of the recognizable names under its roof.

Just as these automobile, alcohol and consumer goods conglomerates have a wide spectrum of offerings, so do dating apps. Dating apps have been designed to be inclusive and cover a wide swath of users’ backgrounds. As parent companies acquire dating apps for their brand ownership portfolios, they increase their reach and are able to capture more users. As seen in the examples below, many of the commonly known dating apps are just one of many in a portfolio owned by a parent company. However, there are some key players that are notable exceptions to having a portfolio of many brands. One such exception is Bumble, which was listed on the Nasdaq exchange on February 11, 2021 and was valued at $13 billion.