"Kanye" by The Chainsmokers feat. Siren
I’ll be the king of me. 



The Shifting Ground of Strategy.

We’re all trying our best to remain standing, but the ground beneath us is shifting at an accelerating rate. The implications for strategy are profound, but few have explored this terrain. - by John Hagel, via LinkedIn

Strategies of position are back

Strategy was once all about position – all that mattered was where you were located and whether there were barriers to entry. As structural advantages eroded, this view of strategy fell out of vogue. In its place, we heard all about strategies of movement and capability– it was all about your “core competencies” and how quickly you could move across a changing landscape. Now, it looks like strategies of position will reassert themselves with a vengeance.

What do I mean by that? There’s no question that the ground is shifting – for more on that, see our Shift Index. But, here’s the paradox, at the very same time that the ground is shifting, it matters more and more where we’re standing.

We’ve just released a major new research report at the Center for the Edge – The Hero’s Journey through the Landscape of the Future – which focuses on one fundamental shift that will impact an increasing array of businesses. Specifically, we look at trends towards fragmentation and concentration in the economy. What parts of the economy are fragmenting into smaller and smaller entities and what parts of the economy are concentrating into larger and larger entities? The answer to this question is vitally important to executives yet few are explicitly asking this question, much less answering it in any systematic way.

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Soundbite: “Drinking About You (The Chainsmokers Remix) by Bebe Rexha.

Fun fact, Bebe Rexha actually wrote Monster by Rihanna and Eminem.





Tidbit: Company of Genius

Not a bad way to start your Thursday... In this new video, L2 Head of Research Maureen Mullen speaks about the genius strategy of Michael Kors since it went public in December 2011.

Since then, share prices have steadily increased from just over $20 per share to near $100 per share. Early on, Michael Kors built a relationship with young consumers by appearing on Project Runway. In 2009, 28.7% of the brands’ 400 million sales were done through direct-to-consumer online sales or brand stores. In 2012, 48.1% of its $1.3 billion sales were done through brand owned and operated stores.

Also remarkable about Michael Kors’ growth from a $400 million company to a $1.3 billion one, is that marketing costs did not explode in the process. Michael Kors reduced advertising in traditional channels such as television and print, and invested in social platforms.

Michael Kors, the designer, has 2.07 million followers on Twitter, and has leveraged his success on television to make the brand name even more recognizable. The brand has built a video platform called “Living the Kors Life” and syndicated its content across all Michael Kors content channels.

Michael Kors has also become synonymous with Instagram. In October 2012, it launched an Instagram contest inviting users to share how they styled their Michael Kors watches with the hashtag #MKTimeless. In November of 2013, the brand ran the first Instagram sponsored post and added 34,000 new followers in 24 hours.

Company of Genius: Michael Kors from L2 Think Tank on Vimeo.



The Freedom to Innovate

Via: Nick Grossman

I spent the last two days in meetings with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his staff, discussing their proposed Open Internet rules (aka net neutrality).  Monday’s meeting was with a group of NYC VCs, and Tuesday’s meeting was with group of NYC startup CEOs and GCs.

Coming out of these meetings, and after working on this over the past several months, a few things have become increasingly clear.  Specifically, what we mean when we talk about the “freedom to innovate” and why it’s important for the future of the internet (both infrastructure and applications).

The question that the Chairman opened both meetings with was: how can the FCC achieve the dual goals of “access” and “flexibility”.  ”Access” meaning the ability for websites, startups, apps and content providers to reach end-users (and vice versa), and “flexibility” meaning the ability for internet access providers to expand and improve their networks in new (and potentially unexpected) ways.

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Do it.

Do it.



Tidbit: Night at The Museum.

While the American Museum of Natural History has been hosting Night at the Museum sleepovers for kids, there’s never been an adult-only one. Ever. Until now. They’ve just announced their first sleepover for grown-ups, which will take place on Friday, August 1st (via Gothamist)

"A limited number of 21-years-and-up guests will be able to enjoy a more sophisticated version of the popular event at A Night at the Museum for Grown-Ups, which will feature special guided tours, food, music, drinks, and behind-the-scenes access. The event will last from 6:30 p.m. until 9 a.m. the next morning."

The cost is $375 per person ($325 if you’re a member), and you can learn more here (registration is now open). This is what we know so far:

  • They’re capping the number of people at 150.
  • The overnight adventure will begin with a champagne reception and music (courtesy of the 12th Night Jazz trio) in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall.
  • A three-course dinner will be served.
  • Explorers can roam through the nearly empty halls of the Museum (including the spiders). There will also be a flashlight tour.
  • Participants will be invited to attend a special presentation in The Power of Poison exhibition with Curator Mark Siddall.
  • There will be a midnight viewing of the Dark Universe Space Show, narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson.
  • Participants will also be invited to “enjoy wild creatures up close during a live animal demonstration in the Kaufmann Theater”!
  • You will sleep in your sleeping bag… under the big blue (clean) whale! When you wake up there will be a breakfast snack.
  • There will also be charging stations and tea service.




Ladies and Gentleman: after months of back and forth and sweat and tears, I have updated my portfolio with loads of work from Antarctica. Head on over: http://collin-hughes.com/antarctica/


Ladies and Gentleman: after months of back and forth and sweat and tears, I have updated my portfolio with loads of work from Antarctica. Head on over: http://collin-hughes.com/antarctica/



The Four Stages of Disruption


In honor of yesterdays big headline (big VC Andressen Horowitz bought big into big data via a big investment (a cool $90 million) in Tanium - the first and only security and systems management solution to allow truly real-time data collection and change at enterprise scale.) The Four Stages of Disruption via 160z by Stevesi

Innovation and disruption are the hallmarks of the technology world, and hardly a moment passes when we are not thinking, doing, or talking about these topics. While I was speaking with some entrepreneurs recently on the topic, the question kept coming up: “If we’re so aware of disruption, then why do successful products (or companies) keep getting disrupted?”

Good question, and here’s how I think about answering it.

As far back as 1962, Everett Rogers began his groundbreaking work defining the process and diffusion of innovation. Rogers defined the spread of innovation in the stages of knowledge, persuasion, decision, implementation and confirmation.

Those powerful concepts, however, do not fully describe disruptive technologies and products, and the impact on the existing technology base or companies that built it. Disruption is a critical element of the evolution of technology — from the positive and negative aspects of disruption a typical pattern emerges, as new technologies come to market and subsequently take hold.

A central question to disruption is whether it is inevitable or preventable. History would tend toward inevitable, but an engineer’s optimism might describe the disruption that a new technology can bring more as a problem to be solved.

The Four Stages of Disruption

For incumbents, the stages of innovation for a technology product that ultimately disrupt follow a pattern that is fairly well known. While that doesn’t grant us the predictive powers to know whether an innovation will ultimately disrupt, we can use a model to understand what design choices to prioritize, and when. In other words, the pattern is likely necessary, but not sufficient to fend off disruption. Value exists in identifying the response and emotions surrounding each phase of the innovation pattern, because, as with disruption itself, the actions/reactions of incumbents and innovators play important roles in how parties progress through innovation. In some ways, the response and emotions to undergoing disruption are analogous to the classic stages of grieving.

Rather than the five stages of grief, we can describe four stages that comprise theinnovation pattern for technology products: Disruption of incumbent; rapid and linear evolution; appealing convergence; and complete reimagination. Any product line or technology can be placed in this sequence at a given time.

The pattern of disruption can be thought of as follows, keeping in mind that at any given time for any given category, different products and companies are likely at different stages relative to some local “end point” of innovation.

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Pride. #WorldCup. 

Pride. #WorldCup. 



Wear it Wednesday.

WHAT: Kelly Wearstler # Maverick Cuff

WHY: If wearing your heart on your sleeve is a touch too much, consider wearing your hashtag on your cuff. This bold gold number from Kelly Wearstler is a not-so-subtle way of letting those around you know that your a digital mastermind. And while this designer is on the brink of debuting her fine jewelry collection, stock up on her costume baubles in the meantime. They’ll fill any void in your jewelry box.

AVAILABLE: $325, IntermixOnline.com (via Fashion Week Daily)



Tidbit: Thompson, Hunter.

April 22, 1958
57 Perry Street
New York City

Dear Hume,

You ask advice: ah, what a very human and very dangerous thing to do! For to give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal — to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.

I am not a fool, but I respect your sincerity in asking my advice. I ask you though, in listening to what I say, to remember that all advice can only be a product of the man who gives it. What is truth to one may be disaster to another. I do not see life through your eyes, nor you through mine. If I were to attempt to give you specific advice, it would be too much like the blind leading the blind.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles … ” (Shakespeare)

And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.

But why not float if you have no goal? That is another question. It is unquestionably better to enjoy the floating than to swim in uncertainty. So how does a man find a goal? Not a castle in the stars, but a real and tangible thing. How can a man be sure he’s not after the “big rock candy mountain,” the enticing sugar-candy goal that has little taste and no substance?

The answer — and, in a sense, the tragedy of life — is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you. Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.

So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?

The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all, or not with tangible goals, anyway. It would take reams of paper to develop this subject to fulfillment. God only knows how many books have been written on “the meaning of man” and that sort of thing, and god only knows how many people have pondered the subject. (I use the term “god only knows” purely as an expression.) There’s very little sense in my trying to give it up to you in the proverbial nutshell, because I’m the first to admit my absolute lack of qualifications for reducing the meaning of life to one or two paragraphs.

I’m going to steer clear of the word “existentialism,” but you might keep it in mind as a key of sorts. You might also try something called “Being and Nothingness” by Jean-Paul Sartre, and another little thing called “Existentialism: From Dostoyevsky to Sartre.” These are merely suggestions. If you’re genuinely satisfied with what you are and what you’re doing, then give those books a wide berth. (Let sleeping dogs lie.) But back to the answer. As I said, to put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.

But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors — but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal. In every man, heredity and environment have combined to produce a creature of certain abilities and desires — including a deeply ingrained need to function in such a way that his life will be MEANINGFUL. A man has to BE something; he has to matter.

As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal), he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).

In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life — the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.

Let’s assume that you think you have a choice of eight paths to follow (all pre-defined paths, of course). And let’s assume that you can’t see any real purpose in any of the eight. THEN — and here is the essence of all I’ve said — you MUST FIND A NINTH PATH.

Naturally, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ve lived a relatively narrow life, a vertical rather than a horizontal existence. So it isn’t any too difficult to understand why you seem to feel the way you do. But a man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life. But you say, “I don’t know where to look; I don’t know what to look for.”

And there’s the crux. Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know — is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by DECIDING TO LOOK, you go a long way toward making the choice.

If I don’t call this to a halt, I’m going to find myself writing a book. I hope it’s not as confusing as it looks at first glance. Keep in mind, of course, that this is MY WAY of looking at things. I happen to think that it’s pretty generally applicable, but you may not. Each of us has to create our own credo — this merely happens to be mine.

If any part of it doesn’t seem to make sense, by all means call it to my attention. I’m not trying to send you out “on the road” in search of Valhalla, but merely pointing out that it is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it. There is more to it than that — no one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life. But then again, if that’s what you wind up doing, by all means convince yourself that you HAD to do it. You’ll have lots of company.

And that’s it for now. Until I hear from you again, I remain,

Your friend,




What to Pack For: A Weekend in Upstate New York


Last-minute packer or plan-ahead packer?

When photographer Matt Hranek isn’t documenting his travels on his blog, The William Brown Project, he can be found at his house in upstate New York escaping for low-key weekends fishing and cooking with his family. here’s what’s always in his bag… (via JCrew)

Last-minute packer or plan-ahead packer? I always pack one day ahead for a trip (I hate the anxiety of not having what I need or being under-geared), but I’m less stressed when I’m just going to my house in the country.

Anything you won’t travel without? I don’t travel without some camera (right now it’s the Sony RX100, an amazing point-and-shoot) or a sturdy tote.

Favorite travel companion? My favorite travel companion is, without a doubt, my wife, Yolanda. We’re a great team and generally love the same things (she doesn’t fish or hunt but humors my pursuits).

How do you keep busy? Activities upstate are pretty mellow and spontaneous. There is always some fishing, foraging and swimming. But the main activity is eating and drinking; we have great products in upstate New York to cook with and generally spend the whole day talking about what we’ll prepare for dinner.

Any local spots you could suggest to us? The Catskills are one of the most magical spots in the Northeast—I just love driving there. One of my favorite places to go is the Alpine Wurst & Meat House not too far away in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. It’s like you just drove to Bavaria; they smoke and cure all their own meats, make the most amazing German sausages and have great old-school butchers on site. They also have a killer little German restaurant, which is terrific for lunch.

Where are you hoping to go next? I am really lucky that my job takes me all over the place but I am really ready for an extensive trip to Japan. I need to tick that one off the list big time.