Twitter Must Die! (and it will)

Twitter is dying. Or perhaps it is already dead, it’s hard to say. The stock has rallied lately, anticipating a buyout by …. someone. Google just said they aren’t interested, and who can blame them? The company has never been profitable and has never found its niche.

It is still handy if you want to know what Trump is thinking around 3AM, if you are into that kind of thing. CNN still relies on twitter for feeds from ordinary people for some reason. But for all of this, there was never anything resembling an actual revenue model and never any attempt to find a way to organize the firehose of information that blasts at you once you reach a certain number of users.

I have no use for it, and I don’t know anyone who does. Will it go away?

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A Durable City

The noise of construction and the vision of cranes on the horizon has become a feature of urban life in Minneapolis and St Paul lately, at least in some neighborhoods. The construction industry is booming, and the structures of choice are large apartment buildings. The demand appears insatiable – and no one is building condominiums. It’s all apartments, reaching to the sky in large complexes of 100 units and more.

My own neighborhood, West Seventh, is one of the hot-spots for this development craze. But are these units a good idea? Is this what the city needs? Or are we simply building the slums of tomorrow, today?

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Coopertition

Robotics season – it’s intense.  It’s time for another repeat, this one about the team and the world that our kids are learning to navigate even as they create it.

Our team, 2491 No Mythic,  is set for the North Star Robotics tournament next week. It’s an event that teaches all the aspects of engineering and entrepreneurship – design, build, teamwork, and budgeting. This year’s competition also brings back an important concept in any business – Coopertition. The teams competing in a match can bump up all their scores at once if they work together.

It goes against the sporting aspects of the match in many ways, but it is critical. In business, companies have always worked together for mutual benefit even as they have competed. Cooperation can be a powerful force for change or a descent into stagnation. No matter what, business has never been purely a “survival of the fittest” in ways that define the boundaries of ethics and will almost certainly be more critical in a close-knit global economy increasingly defined by technology.

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Flexible Cities

Predictions of the future are often tricky. It requires an extrapolation of a trend from today to some kind of logical conclusion, taking into account how the object changing connects to the rest of the world. There’s a real showmanship to it all, too, when you start from the logical conclusion and then explain yourself backwards.

Cities will be radically different by 2050, with zoning codes and concepts that are more flexible and the corresponding buildings will have many uses on top of each other. Suburbs, as we know them now, will require extensive rehabilitation that will work well in some places but create wastelands in others.

See how it works? This is simply the logical conclusion of a flexible workforce and a fast-paced economy with people changing careers often. Should all that come to pass, our cities will have to have more flexible structures and more agile concepts of zoning. We can easily imagine how that might look because that is what cities were like before zoning came along about 100 years ago.

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Demographics is Still Destiny

Just about 12 hours after this post goes up, the world will see the ADP Employment Report for July. We can expect it to show a net gain of about 240k jobs, about the same as the 237k gained in June. It’s a decent number, higher than the 220k or so averaged last year at this time, but what does it really mean?

Context is the key to understanding the data that drives our world, so let’s get going with some solid background on what these figures mean. It’s time for a few charts and graphs once again to demonstrate just how strong things really are going into the magic period where Baby Boomers start to retire in droves – sometime after 2017.

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Golden Years?

Are you ready for retirement?  While the idea might have its appeal, especially with the winter weather making for long commutes this year, an awful lot of workers are not on a track to be able to retire.  That’s according to a survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), conducted annually.  They found that only 18% are “very confident” that they’ll have enough for retirement and a further 37% are “somewhat confident”.  That’s up from the 2013 survey, in which only 13% was “very confident”.

The implications go beyond any one family’s ability to retire, however.  The decline in workforce participation has been largely due to retirement since the start of 2011, and retirement opens jobs for young people.  The wave of retirement that should accelerate after 2017 is one of the main reasons Barataria has hope for the 2020s.  But is retirement nothing more than a dream for many workers today?
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Three Million Reads, One Purpose

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

Sometime today, Barataria will hit 3 million total pageviews. Over 6 2/3 years that averages out to 37k per month or 2.7k per post. The views came from regular readers, social media promotion, search engine arrivals, and more than a few people who stumbled in accidentally. Things are pretty tough for me right now, so if you like what you’ve read I’d very much appreciate a donation (which may get my car a new alternator) to help keep this effort going!

But what matters most are you, the readers, because without you there’d be no point to writing at all. The ideas and perspectives I spend time thinking through only come to life after you’ve read and responded, refining them and making them better. It’s a good time to go over this strange year, 2013, to find what conclusions we’ve come to as a community – and to ask you where you think this should go!

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