Summary of “8 Tough Questions to Ask About Your Company’s Strategy”

Companies often fail to address the tough questions about strategy and execution: Are we really clear, as a leadership team, about how we choose to create value in the marketplace? Can we articulate the few things the organization needs to do better than anyone else in order to deliver on that value proposition? Are we investing in those areas, and do they fit with most of the products and services we sell?
If your answer is yes to these and the other tough questions in the exhibit below, you’re among the select few.
In our experience, one of the biggest challenges in business today is that way too few companies are asking or answering these fundamental questions.
As for CEOs themselves, they often do ask these questions when they start in their roles, but they often feel constrained by the boundaries handed to them – either an incoherent portfolio, or strong short-term pressure to meet targets that diverts their attention.
If the executive team doesn’t consistently address these questions, boards – who in many ways own the long-term strategic direction of the company – should at least ask management to provide answers, if not directly participate in finding those answers.
The result is that tough questions about the linkage between strategy and execution often go unaddressed.
So what can companies do to build a culture of accountability around the most important strategic questions? Leaders should consider three tactics: One is to build in a process for the executive team to discuss these fundamental questions.
The board is the only group that would have the long-term focus to be able to manage these kinds of questions over time – and many board members are uniquely qualified to help the executive team answer and challenge some of the most difficult questions of strategy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Are saunas good for you?”

Recent studies have shown that taking a regular sauna can be extremely good for your health-alleviating and preventing the risk of common acute and chronic conditions.
Although there are other forms of heat therapy such as Turkish baths, infrared saunas, and Waon therapy, the traditional Finnish sauna is the most examined to date.
Having regular saunas was shown to slash the risk of high blood pressure by almost 50%. Scientists are not certain how saunas reduce heart disease, but one theory is that they contribute to a reduction in high blood pressure, one of the condition’s major risk factors.
Sauna bathing has been shown to produce effects similar to that of exercise, which is well known to prevent the development of several disease conditions.
Scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Eastern Finland found that people who combine both exercise and sauna baths have a substantially reduced risk of dying from any disease compared to exercise or sauna bathing alone.
Taking saunas has also been linked with an improvement in the pain and symptoms associated with musculo-skeletal disorders such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Though there is uncertainty on how saunas reduce the risk of respiratory diseases, the theory is that the heat from sauna reduces congestion in the lungs and improves ventilation.
While it doesn’t suit those with low blood pressure, or unstable hearts, taking regular saunas should be widely encouraged.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Tim Ferriss’ Approach To Accomplishing Your Most Important Priority Is Brilliant”

Tim Ferriss has made a career of distilling snackable bits of advice from his own personal productivity experiments.
Time management has always been on page one of Ferriss’ mind: he wrote the book The Four Hour Workweek and clearly believes that the low hanging fruit for improving human effectiveness is a better use of the 24 hours we’re granted each day.
As Ferriss has matured, his advice has steered towards changing habits versus employing simple hacks.
You can spend the whole of the day busy, but fail to tackle the most important items, which in many cases are the hardest things on your plate.
So isolate the one or two most important things you need to accomplish today.
Move The Ball Forward In this first hour of dedicated proactive focus, identify and reach a milestone on one or both of these top priorities, especially if this top priority is a tough one.
Ferriss’ approach here is to do make this a habit, not an adrenaline shot.
Tim Ferriss claims to have distilled this approach from a set of entrepreneurs who have experienced multiple multi-billion dollar exits.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is being a chef bad for your mental health?”

In October last year Andrew Clarke, head chef of the much-admired Brunswick House restaurant in Vauxhall, London, posted a picture of himself to Instagram.
Kevin Reynolds has been a chef for more than two decades, working in senior positions in hotels.
“I’ve been amazed by the number of chefs with mental health issues,” he says.
“If you do well on service you reward yourself. And if you do badly you console yourself.” Or as it was put to me by chef Doug Stanham, who is working with Clarke on The Pilot Light: “Kitchen life attracts a certain type of misfit, the sort of people who too often may need drink or drugs to get them through their days.”
To make the economics stack up, cooks are required to work ludicrous hours which, due to chef shortages and rent rises, are only getting longer.
“As a chef de partie in the mid-90s I was able to buy a cheap flat in Camberwell and whizz back and forth to work on my bike in 20 minutes. By contrast I now have a long-serving sous chef with a young family. He rides the Central line out to the back of beyond, sometimes after midnight. I don’t know how a young chef is meant to move to this city and get ahead any more.” On top of that comes ingredient price rises as a result of Brexit, up by more than 20% for those that are imported.
There is a chef shortage and he needs to both attract and retain the very best.
If you work as a chef or in another related hospitality industry job and have experienced issues similar to those raised in the article, we’d like to hear from you.

The orginal article.

Summary of “In the Footsteps of a Killer”

ON THE RUN The Golden State Killer’s telltale imprint: a size 9 tennis shoe.
At that time the Golden State Killer, as I’ve recently come to call him, hadn’t yet graduated to murder.
Neither the Zodiac Killer, who terrorized San Francisco in the late 1960s and early ’70s, nor the Night Stalker, who had Southern Californians locking their windows in the ’80s, was as active.
The Golden State Killer has little recognition; he didn’t even have a catchy name until I coined one.
It was 2:20 a.m. “I’ll kill ’em, I’ll kill ’em, I’ll kill ’em,” he chanted to himself-like, as an investigator would later put it, “a guy pumping himself up for an athletic endeavor.”
Offerman had been able to break free from his bindings, raising the possibility that the killer might have ordered Manning to tie him up and that she had bound him loosely on purpose.
At some point, probably before he shot his victims through the heart and the back of the head, the killer had opened the refrigerator and helped himself to Offerman’s leftover Christmas dinner.
Victims received hang-up or disturbing phone calls before and after they were attacked.

The orginal article.

Summary of “There’s an implosion of early-stage VC funding, and no one’s talking about it”

Amid record amounts of capital raised by VCs worldwide, and a sharp rise in the number of private “Unicorns” valued at $1 billion-plus, there has been a quiet, barely noticed implosion in early-stage VC activity worldwide.
Since 2014, the number of VC rounds in technology companies worldwide has nearly halved, from 19,000 to 10,000, according to PitchBook.
What caused this quiet implosion? The era of funding apps is over – VC funding rounds grew dramatically after 2010 partly because of rebounding economic activity, but mainly in order to back a raft of B2C apps taking advantage of consumers’ emerging mobile-first behavior.
SaaS funding has dropped sharply – In 2014, nearly 5,000 rounds backed companies describing themselves as “SaaS.” This year, that figure is down nearly 40 percent, to about 3,000.
Even fintech has seen a quiet fall in activity – While nowhere near as dramatic as the fall-off in SaaS and mobile funding, fintech funding activity has dropped nearly 10 percent since 2014.
In easy hindsight, too many companies raised “Concept” money, and an unprecedented number failed early and “Failed fast.” The VC market for seed and early-stage failed with them, falling to half its size in three short years.
Arguably, post implosion, early-stage VCs have become more “Rational” and we are unlikely to see the “Spray and pray” approach that dominated a few short years ago.
Whether the early-stage VC implosion is healthy or disastrous for the tech ecosystem remains to be seen.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Do Apps That Cut Blue Light Help You Sleep?”

Do Apps That Cut Blue Light Help You Sleep? : Shots – Health News Lots of phone and tablet apps promise to improve sleep by filtering out the blue light from device screens.
If you’re losing sleep over the blue light coming from your phone, there’s an app for that.
There are now lots of apps that promise to improve sleep by filtering out the blue light produced by phones, tablets, computers and even televisions.
Every iPhone comes with an app called Night Shift that lets you filter out blue light.
Without a filtering app, cellphones and tablets expose users to an alarming amount of blue light, she says, “Especially as people are lying in bed and have their screens just a few inches from their face.”
In the study, 21 people put on special glasses after sunset each day to filter out blue light.
Like Ostrin, Zoltowski studies blue light and sleep.
Zoltowski says people need to remember that devices are just one source of blue light.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The plight of the blind gamer”

Ever since the original Game Boy kicked off the revolutionary genre of handheld gaming, I’ve been tormented by trying to play games made for screens that I can’t see.
1991: After the Game Boy, the next handheld I got was Sega’s Game Gear.
Someone once suggested I just watch playthroughs of these games on YouTube, but I want to actually play.
2011: Nintendo reemerged strong in 2011 with the 3DS/2DS – their modern takes on the Game Boy – introducing the XL versions with larger screens and even more games I wanted to play.
This has even allowed some completely blind people to take part in this party game, and gives a large amount of hope for other games to follow suit in the future.
I’m only truly comfortable with games I’ve played before on the original consoles, like the aforementioned Super Mario 64 DS, and even then only for half an hour before the headaches come.
There are more options than ever thanks to the thriving underground market for emulators, a legally gray category of apps that allow games to be played on a computer.
My hope is that the makers of handheld games and consoles will recognize the market for gamers with vision impairment, and include features that will allow us to play, too.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Great American Single-Family Home Problem”

The neighborhood has a number of single-family homes, and the street is quiet and quasi-suburban, but there are also apartment buildings and backyard cottages that nod to the city’s denser core.
A little under three years ago, a contractor named Christian Szilagy bought the property and presented the city with a proposal to demolish the house and replace it with three skinny and rectangular homes that would extend through the lot.
A mediator joined him and later filed a three-sentence report to the city: “The applicant described the project. Not a single neighbor had anything positive to say about it. No further meetings were scheduled.”
As neighbors wrote letters, called the city and showed up at meetings holding signs that said “Protect Our Community” and “Reject 1310 Haskell Permit!,” the project quickly became politicized.
The act is rarely invoked because developers don’t want to sue cities for fear it will anger city councils and make it harder for them to gain approval for other developments.
Shortly after Berkeley denied the Haskell Street permit, Ms. Trauss sued the city – and won.
Mr. Hanlon’s first project was to push for a law that would make it easier to sue cities under the Housing Accountability Act.
In addition to raising the legal burden of proof for cities to deny new housing projects, the bill makes the suits more expensive to defend by requiring cities that lose to pay the other side’s lawyers’ fees.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Amazon’s next job for Alexa is helping out in your office”

Amazon’s business subsidiary, Amazon Web Services, has announced a new initiative to get companies using Alexa in the office.
With the new scheme, Alexa for Business, companies will be given the tools to manage a fleet of Alexa-enabled devices.
They’ll also be able to build their own apps for the assistant, with Amazon suggesting functions like helping with directions around the office, reporting problems with equipment, and ordering new supplies.
The office is a big new frontier for Alexa, which has proved to be a surprise hit for Amazon.
Amazon has quickly capitalized on its lead in the industry, launching a slew of new Alexa devices, including screen-equipped versions for the kitchen and bedroom.
In a talk announcing Alexa for Business at Amazon’s re:Invent conference today, the company’s CTO Werner Vogels described voice interfaces as the future of computer interfaces.
As well as letting companies build their own tools for Alexa, Amazon is working with other popular enterprise firms, including Concur Solutions, SAP SuccessFactors, and Salesforce.
If other companies follow suit, it would be a whole new domain for Alexa – and Amazon – to master.

The orginal article.