(Time to read this Blog section is about 60 seconds)

  1. Goodbye’ Sears America. Sears, once America’s largest retailer and largest employer, filed for bankruptcy on Monday, October 15th.  It was inevitable. They’ll try to shed debt, they’ll close more unprofitable stores and terminate thousands of employees…but it won’t save them.
    Once innovators, the Sears Roebuck catalog, first printed in 1896, brought affordable mass-produced goods to people who lived on farms and in small towns across America.  At their peak, they had 3,500 stores and 317,000 employees.  Today, they’re down to 700 stores and just 68,000 staff.
    Somewhere along the way Sears USA became irrelevant, just like they did in Canada.  They will not survive.  Given all that’s going on in our industry, in technology and in society, the big question is, “What are you doing to stay relevant to your target customers and to the top talent in your industry?”  
  1. Recycling fact. We hear lots about the need to recycle plastics, metals, glass and paper, but, from farm to table, food is actually the biggest category of waste on the planet (42% of all waste).  Finding innovate ways to reduce that diverts it from landfill sites but also feeds millions of hungry humans.  For example, Wegmans grocery chain, in America’s north-east, recycles millions of pounds of food each year to feed the hungry.
  2. High-tech wristband repels mosquitoes. This wristband, oddly named ‘Nopixgo’, emits a sound, inaudible to humans, that sends mosquitoes looking for a place to hide, away from humans.
  3. Life saving drones. Drones are now being used to quickly deliver inflated life saving devices to swimmers who are beyond the reach of lifeguards.  We’ve also seen the extensive use of drones after Hurricane Michael in the Florida Panhandle as 1st responders search for survivors in need of rescue.  
  4. Get rid of deceptive practices and ‘small print’. The hit TV show ‘America’s Got Talent’ (AGT) promises the winner a $1 million grand prize.  But it’s not actually true.
    At the end of every episode of AGT, a ‘small print’ disclaimer flashes on the screen explaining that the prize, which totals $1,000,000, is payable in a financial annuity over a 40-year period, or the contestant may choose to receive the present cash value of such annuity.  Yes, you wait 40 years to get all of your million dollars.  After taxes, it’s a little over $18,000 a year.
    If the winner chooses the present cash value of the million dollar annuity, they would receive about $450,000, on which they would pay tax of about $150,000.
    People hate sneaky stuff and small print. It’s no way to build a trusting relationship.  So, play it straight and be transparent.

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