25 June 2014

Don’t forget to stop & smell the flowers. Then press them for a month. (at Fort Mason)

19 May 2014

Chimes in Healdsburg (at The Bishop’s Ranch)

1 April 2014
Unfinished Business

Before I left Best Buy in the spring of 2012 I promised them to keep my mouth shut for 2 years. That promise expired yesterday, March 31. 

Today, I shared the last memo with the press I sent back in 2012 to my colleagues at Best Buy. I did it for one reason: I looked at it recently and thought “All of this is still relevant to most retailers out there right now”.

I love Best Buy. It’s the best toy store you could ever imagine. And if you believe that we are on the verge of a renaissance of new gadgets like robotics, wearable computing, and home automation - there’s reason for hope - even in physical retail. Now add in mobile technology, digital payments, cheap sensors, and better software tools - and you can re-invent just about every business there is. That’s what’s happening to taxis(Uber), hotels(airbnb), payments(Square), and autos(Tesla). This list is not going to stop. 

There’s so much more that could be done. It’s not just Best Buy. It’s everyone. Airlines, banks, mobile carriers all could be radically experimenting to reinvent their businesses to stay relevant. (That’s why T-mobile CEO John Legere is the most exciting CEO in America right now - because he is breaking as many rules as he can - to take care of the customer experience). Increasingly the consensus is that this will not happen. Most of the names you recognize today will be replaced by companies that haven’t even been started yet.

When I moved to San Francisco, I thought everyone here would expect all retail to die, and focus only on e-commerce. You wouldn’t believe the number of hi-tech thinkers here who have their own physical retail concepts and ideas. Best Buy can expect even more interesting competition to emerge. 

Funny side story: As I am packing up my boxes in MN to move during the summer of 2012, I received a phone call from Hubert Joly (the current CEO). Best Buy had fired their previous CEO, and everyone was wondering who they were going to pick.

I had only met Hubert once at a dinner party briefly a few weeks earlier by chance. He said to me, “I know we have only met once, but I have been approached as a candidate to be CEO of Best Buy. Should I take the job?” I said, “It’s a bit of a suicide mission right now, but there’s a lot a person could do there.” After he was hired, I sent him a copy of this same memo in the hopes it might give him some ideas on where to start. I think he’s done a great job to steady the ship. Now the real hard part begins. I’m rooting for him.

Recently, Twitter set up a site that let you see your first tweet ever sent. This was my first tweet back when the service was just under 2 years old. It still seems relevant:

P.S. - Thanks to the Pioneer Press waiting 24 hours so as not to publish this story on April Fool’s Day, the worst day to share news on the internet. 

14 January 2014

"we did not invent writing until relatively recently in our evolutionary history, around the fourth millennium B.C. So the human brain improvises a brand-new circuit for reading by weaving together various regions of neural tissue devoted to other abilities, such as spoken language, motor coordination and vision."

3 November 2013

Screw Instagram. Make your own filters. at Heath Ceramics – View on Path.

11 August 2013

Market peas in Paris

21 March 2013

Beyond excited to take our two teenagers to Europe for an entire month this summer. One of our stops: volunteering on archaeological dig in Umbria w/my old college pal.

http://www.users.drew.edu/jmuccigr/vicusadmartis/Welcome.html – View on Path.

26 February 2013

Massive. at Bay Bridge – View on Path.

6 February 2013
Reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I always meant to read this. It was incredible. Fitzgerald really knows how to write well. He composes the most beautiful sentences.

Hunter S. Thompson was so enthralled, he typed the entire thing out “Just so I could see what it felt like to write a great novel.”

I’ve started reading fiction at night, which is the best time of day to leave the stress of news and feeds behind. – View on Path.

6 February 2013
Social Media Platforms Survey

It’s 2013, so what’s the state of content sharing? Who has the best tools?

  • Where to send people first from your twitter bio?
  • Where to host your “About Me” info? About.me? G+? Personal Blog?
  • Which tools are the most mobile-friendly? I would bet that when people are looking to find you, they are starting from their mobile browser - so your info should be rendered accordingly across all devices.

Twitter, Path, and Tumblr seem to have solved relatively short content posting. But where to host your “About Me” page? Where to post the longer blog posts?

I had been using Blogger for a long time, and sort of stuck around there hoping for faster integraton into Google+, but I’m tired of waiting. I don’t want to have two places at Google for blog postings. (I think they should merge those two worlds as soon as they can to maximize the audiences). I really like Hangouts and people seem to like the conversational aspects of G+, so I’ll somehow crosspost there. I also increasingly see people using Tumblr for all of their short to long blog postings.

So I started with an informal survey of friends and people online I admire and trust. Here’s what I found:

In the end, here’s my plan:

  • Use Tumblr for my blog
  • Link my twitter bio to tumblr via personal domain (robertstephens.com)
  • Post shorter versions and links to blog postings on G+
  • Use Path to post to most networks, depending on content. (I don’t crosspost everything, but Path offers a nice way to decide which content goes where).