Weekly Link Roundup

I love brunch: Why decide between sweet or savory–and breakfast or lunch–when you can have them all…!?

 How to Make a Big Decision (The New York Times): “If you find yourself mapping a ‘whether or not’ question, looking at a simple fork in the road, you’re almost always better off turning it into a ‘which one’ question that gives you more available paths … hard choices require us to make those kinds of imaginative leaps: to discover new paths and outcomes that had not been visible to us when we first started wrestling with the decision. It is the nature of complex decisions that they are all unique constellations of variables.

Why Luxury Brands Burn Their Own Goods (The Wall Street Journal): “Destroying unsold inventory is a widely used but rarely discussed technique that luxury companies perform to maintain the scarcity of their goods and the exclusivity of their brands. In Italy and many other countries, they can also claim a tax credit for destroying the inventory.

 And the Waters Will Prevail (Slate): “Unprecedented storms have brought three straight years of biblical floods, culminating in Harvey, which inundated 154,170 homes in Harris County—the Delaware-sized area that contains the city of Houston and another Houston’s worth of people outside it. Nearly half of those houses were in neither the 100-year nor the 500-year FEMA flood plain. Why did they flood? In part because Harvey was a leviathan of a storm swollen by a carbon-thick atmosphere, a once-in-10,000-years rainfall event. The weight of the water flexed the earth’s crust and temporarily sank the city a half-inch. And the homes flooded in part because Houston, like other cities, has reshaped its natural flood plains with concrete. Human construction now decides where the floods go.

Ready-to-Wear and Re-Wear — Meet Sustainable Fashion (Bloomberg): “Less than 1 percent of textiles produced for clothing is recycled into new apparel.

Why Technology Favors Tyranny (The Atlantic): “The technology that favored democracy is changing, and as artificial intelligence develops, it might change further … If you disregard all privacy concerns and concentrate all the information relating to a billion people in one database, you’ll wind up with much better algorithms than if you respect individual privacy and have in your database only partial information on a million people. An authoritarian government that orders all its citizens to have their DNA sequenced and to share their medical data with some central authority would gain an immense advantage in genetics and medical research over societies in which medical data are strictly private. The main handicap of authoritarian regimes in the 20th century—the desire to concentrate all information and power in one place—may become their decisive advantage in the 21st century.

Braille for a New Digital Age (The New York Times): “Design-wise, Blitab looks like any other tablet-style device. It is slightly thicker than an iPad, but with two separate display fields. On the tablet’s bottom half, a touch screen allows users to select an application or web browse using their voice. On the top half, the tablet’s glass is perforated into a grid with holes, which allow Blitab’s liquid-based technology to create tactile relief — or ‘tixels’ — that outputs content in the Braille alphabet — the touch-reading system that has been the literacy tool for blind people since 1824. The ‘smart’ liquid alters the surface of the tablet to convert text, maps and graphics into Braille, by creating a rising sensation under the user’s fingertips.

How Direct-to-Consumer Brands Are Reshaping Marketing (Marketing Week): “Often the rise of a DTC brand comes from a failing within the sector to meet consumer demands … The success being enjoyed by disruptive players has encouraged global brands to get a piece of the direct-to-consumer action. … Unilever CEO Paul Polman explained that ecommerce is growing by between 60% and 70% for the company, as it applies learnings from Dollar Shave Club to other parts of the business, such as premium tea brand T2.

Burberry Gave a Famed Designer 4 Weeks to Redesign Its Logo, and Here’s What We Got (Adweek): “The brand’s first logo redesign in nearly two decades, the new marks were created by British designer Peter Saville … Saville returned with a new, minimalist type treatment for the logo and, using some materials from the Burberry archive, the new monogram pattern that will be featured in upcoming brand marketing.

Harvard Is Vaulting Workers Into the Middle Class With High Pay. Can Anyone Else Follow Its Lead? (The New York Times): “… some 45 million Americans work in low-end service jobs — personal care aides, cooks, janitors, sales reps — typically earning less than $30,000 a year. By 2026, the government projects, the number will be 50 million. Outsourcing is one of the main dynamics keeping their wages down, and the Harvard experiment is a useful case study of how institutions can use their clout to force a remedy.

The Simple Question That Can Make or Break a Startup (HBR): “In February, venture capitalist database CB Insights conducted an extensive review examining what contributes to the failure of new businesses. After analyzing 101 startup post-mortems, the reviewers found that 42% suffered from a lack of demand for the product or service being offered. They used a harsh phrase to describe this cause of failure: ‘no market need’ … When it comes to establishing demand, thriving competitors are a good sign, not the red flag many entrepreneurs view them to be.

♥  How Rudy Giuliani Turned Into Trump’s Clown (The New Yorker): “Giuliani later claimed that he was trying to say that truth can be subjective, especially when there are conflicting versions of events, but at this point his performance suggests that he may not believe the concept of truth is even real.

How Heroin Came for Middle-Class Moms (Marie Claire): “At treatment centers like Family First, patients generally fall into two groups: Women … who started pain medication for a physical ailment like dental surgery, a cesarean section, or back pain, and women who were addicted to heroin. It used to be that these groups had nothing in common. There were women who did pills, and there were women who did heroin. But now these groups have merged.

 ‘It’s Not a Bug, It’s a Feature.’ Trite—or Just Right? (Wired): “It’s not a bug, it’s a feature is an acknowledgment, half comic, half tragic, of the ambiguity that has always haunted computer programming … while software may be logical, it’s rarely pristine. A program is a social artifact. It emerges through negotiation and compromise, a product of subjective judgments and shifting assumptions. As soon as it gets into the hands of users, a whole new set of expectations comes into play. What seems an irritating defect to a particular user—a hair-trigger ­toggle between landscape and portrait mode, say—may, in the eyes of the programmer, be a specification expertly executed.

 Ford to Trump: That’s Not How It Works (Bloomberg): “The U.S. remains a relatively expensive place to manufacture things, especially if you don’t have economies of scale, and this is a clear example of how there’s no clear-cut win-lose dynamic to U.S.-China trade relations. The beneficiaries in Ford’s case may be its European and Japanese competitors.

Phone Numbers Were Never Meant as ID. Now We’re All At Risk (Wired): “… phone numbers have become more than just a way to contact someone. In recent years, more and more companies and services have come to rely on smartphones to confirm—or ‘authenticate’—users … In practice, it means that a single, often publicly available, piece of information gets used both as your identity and a means to verify that identity, a skeleton key into your entire online life.

Can You Spot the Deceptive Facebook Post? (The New York Times): “Broken English is not a sure sign that a post is part of an influence operation. But grammatical errors were a common trait among the Russian ads Facebook disclosed in 2017 — particularly the misuse of ‘a’ and ‘the,’ which don’t exist in the Russian language.

 Inside the JPMorgan Plan to Digitize Dealmaking (Bloomberg): “Machines will help with key parts of underwriting stocks and bonds … for example, mining data and using predictive analytics to pinpoint the best time for a corporate client to tap the debt market … technology will [not] dramatically impact carrying out complex transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions. But machines can at least help bankers spot and analyze deal opportunities and present them to clients … It’s part of a broad push at JPMorgan to use emerging technologies to reinvent longstanding practices on Wall Street. By 2016, the firm had figured out ways to use machine learning to parse commercial-loan agreements, shaving 360,000 hours of annual work by lawyers and loan officers. This year, it tested a debt-issuance application using blockchain to sell certificates of deposit. It’s also using Amazon Inc.’s Alexa to help investors access analyst research … Wall Street rivals including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley are building similar platforms. Earlier this year, Goldman unveiled a dashboard that gives clients insights into their shareholders and analyzes whether activists may interfere in their business.

Hard Lessons (Thanks, Amazon) Breathe New Life Into Retail Stores (The New York Times): “Retailers have been tweaking their store and online strategies for years. But it’s only recently that Amazon’s blistering success has prodded the incumbents to try to reinvent themselves … retailers could have made these improvements decades ago if they had focused on what shoppers wanted.

 Recently purchased: Theory Clairene New Divide Wool & Cashmere Coat, Ann Taylor  Houndstooth Wide Leg Marina Pant, Kate Spade Vivian Pump, and Talbots Equestrian Scarf.

Have a great week, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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