Food trucks have long been popular in major cities like New York and Los Angeles, but are now found in such foodie havens as Atlanta, Austin, Las Vegas and even Tulsa. They have a substantial market: 47% of adults say they would patronize food trucks, according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA).
The food truck craze has peaked the interest of companies far and wide. Pictured above is the “Shrimp Pimp” food truck that plies the streets of Southern California.
The NRA says Americans will spend $630 million on food from mobile vendors in 2011, both traditional and gourmet. That’s up from $608 million in 2010.
But it’s the gourmet food truck trend that brought glamour to a market segment that once largely catered to outdoor workers.
In Los Angeles, the epicenter of the food truck boom, there are some 180 gourmet trucks on the road, plus 3,800 that supply the traditional fare of tacos and sandwiches.
Tulsa has Jezebel, a food truck equipped with a six-burner Viking range, stereo system, 7,500-watt generator, 15,000-BTU air conditioner, 20-gallon fresh water tank, steam table and fryers.
The food truck sales boom is lifting the fortunes of a Southern California’s catering truck business. California Cart Builder is on track to make 100 food trucks and catering trailers this year. That’s up from five trailers and no trucks three years ago.
Fully equipped, new trucks can cost as much as $100,000. Truck customizers start with a basic Ford or Freightliner truck and add sinks, counters, appliances and other equipment needed for a mobile kitchen. A 60-inch Vulcan grill, de rigueur in the fanciest food vans, costs $4,800 installed.
Sounds like a Vulcan food meld is in order, Captain!
Amazon.com’s latest Kindle spot continues to emphasize its strong daylight performance, as the video above show. The elephantine battle taking place between Amazon.com, Apple and Barnes & Noble is ironic, because the book market has been shrinking for decades now, under continuous assault from reality shows, videogames, the internet and, now, social networking.
Consider these sobering statistics:
- Declining market — The book market has shrunk about 20% since 2002, when sales totaled $29.4 billion. While U.S. consumers purchase one-third of all books sold around the globe, 1.6 billion in 2001, 70% of Americans have not visited a bookstore in the past five years. Still, 175,000 new titles were published in 2003, a 19% gain from the prior year, R.R. Bowker estimates.
- Time compression – The Time Compression Ubertrend has made our daily lives far more hectic, a lifestyle does not lend itself well to finding quiet time to read a book. Startlingly, most consumers don’t get past page 18 in a typical book purchased. Our intentions are good, our time limitations not so.
- Reading less — In 2001, people spent 109 hours reading, down 12% from 1996. In 2007, the National Endowment for the Arts reported that 65% of college freshmen in 2005 said they read little or nothing for pleasure, while 30% of 13-year-olds in 2004 said they read for fun “almost every day,” down from 35% in 1984.
- Digital ascent — U.S. print book sales fell 23% in first six months of 2011, while e-book sales soared 161%, according to the Association of American Publishers. E-book sales comprise about 25% of certain adult book categories. Tellingly, the hardcover, trade paperback and mass market paperback categories registered the biggest declines, with sales down by more than 20% in first half 2011. GigaOM estimates that the U.S. e-book market will reach $2 billion in sales in 2011.
By yearend 2012, digital books will represent 20% to 25% of unit sales, predicts Idea Logical CEO Mike Shatzkin. “Add in another 25% of units sold online, and roughly half of all unit sales will be on the Internet,” Shatzkin tells The Wall Street Journal. That shift to e-books was first reported by Amazon in July 2010 and then Barnes & Noble in December 2010.
E-books are rewriting the rules of book publishing, forcing retailers, publishers, authors and agents to reinvent their business models. Future e-books could well give the publishing industry a shot in the arm once e-readers are actually able to help consumers absorb information faster, while helping them retain more data.
We would raise my electronic comic book to toast such a device.
The 60s popularized a new concept “the disco” — a club where the entertainment centered around a record player. Discos mainly played popular songs, like African singer Miriam Makeba’s “Pata, Pata,” because dance music had yet to shape its own identity.
A unique dance music style began developing in the 70s, which was influenced by two major forces. One was a band from Düsseldorf, Germany, Kraftwerk, which introduced a signature sound that combined driving, repetitive rhythms with strictly electronic instruments. Kraftwerk’s distinctive sound was revolutionary for its time, and had a lasting impact across many genres of modern popular music.
Another influence was Giorgio Moroder, whose groundbreaking synthesizer work in the 70s and 80s exerted a significant influence on electronic music. Moroder gained fame by working with legendary disco queen Donna Summer on such songs as “I Feel Love.”
Kraftwerk and Moroder, in turn, put their imprint on music that began emanating from Detroit in 1979, called “techno,” which was pioneered by such DJs as Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. Techno featured “industrial” sounds that mirrored those produced by Detroit’s automotive industry.
The second electronica vein, house music, began pulsing in Chicago in 1983 and was based on the groundbreaking work of Frankie Knuckles and Kool Herc, nicknamed “the godfather of house.” House was a permutation of R&B music and often featured vocals, particularly female ones.
The dance culture built momentum quickly and by 1989 this new musical genre gained its own festival, Berlin’s Love Parade, which at its peak drew more than 1 million electronica fans, making it by far the world’s largest music extravaganza.
Electronica and its contemporary phenomenon, “clubbing,” have had a pervasive impact on consumer entertainment. In Chicago, there were nearly 7,000 taverns in 1947, a figure that has declined to just 1,321 today. While other factors also influence this trend, like America’s growing infatuation with wine, dance clubs have redefined the entertainment experience.
The rise of electronica has spawned a bewildering array of sub-genres, including chill, house, jungle, breakbeats, drum ‘n bass, industrial, electro, Goa, trance and ambient, requiring a trained ear to be able to detect the great variety of nuances. This also means this music might seem oddly foreign to the casual bystander.
Yet nowhere is the influence of Time Compression Ubertrend more evident than in the popular social convention of dancing. The speed of dance is a perfect proxy for the acceleration of life. In the late 17th century, society enjoyed the minuet, which was the most popular dance among Europe’s aristocracy until the late 18th century.
It was a beautiful, stately dance, and mirroring life, languidly performed. Today, dance clubs move to a frenetic beat, as electronica ups the pace to as many as 170 beats per minute. That fast beat has made dance music very popular in gyms and stores: It encourages clientele to exercise and shop faster.
The high energy of nightclubs has made fellow watering holes feel drab by comparison. According to Research First, the total number of U.S. drinking establishments stands at 50,000 today. Based on an earlier analysis by Answers.com, an estimated 9%, or about 4,500, are nightclubs, while 12% (6,000) are cocktail lounges.
Their fast pace, which also extends to drinking, explains why the line between bars and nightclubs is increasingly blurring as bar owners seek to tap into the rich clubbing vein. In 2002, Mintel reported that one third of adults had visited nightclubs at least once in the past year. On a Friday evening in Zürich, we counted 56 DJ-hosted events, a far cry from the yodeling image Switzerland typically conjurs up.
To keep up with that pace, many club-goers now mix alcoholic beverages with energy drinks, chiefly Red Bull, a beverage that was born in the midst of the rise of dance club in 1987, and which has exploded into a global market projected to reach $40 billion in 2010 (PDF).
Clubs, meanwhile, are upping the velvet rope ante, both in admission fees and prices they charge for “bottle service” – a euphemism for an overpriced, reserved table. To give an idea of the scale, in 1998, the last year for which we found data, there were 15.7 million U.K. club attendances costing £10 ($14) or more, equal to about $275 million.
In 2004, the New York Nightlife Association estimated that the nightlife industry was a $9 billion market in New York alone (PDF). Research First estimates that drinking establishments take in about $15 billion in annual revenues. But the industry’s biggest weakness is its extreme dependence on manual labor, resulting in an average annual revenue per worker of just $45,000.
More than 40 years after the birth of disco, the terms dance music and electronica have become imprecise synonyms, overlapping without quite matching up. So next week, rooms are still available, pack up your iPod or iPhone and head to the WMC to check out the vestigial beats that typify music’s growing diversification.
Raytheon engineers quickly refine Spencer’s discovery and, in late 1946, file for a patent covering the use of microwaves to cook food.
Across town in Cambridge, Mass. that same year, three-year-old Jennifer tugs at her dad’s pants and whispers, “daddy it takes so long to see pictures.” Jennifer’s father happens to be Edwin Land and on November 26, 1948, the Polaroid Land Camera goes on sale in New York for $89.95.
Both devices introduce America to the concept of instant gratification and usher in a new lifestyle: the compression of time and the attendant acceleration of life.
Another significant milestone in this emerging trend occurs a few years later. While operating their first restaurant, the Airdome, in San Bernardino, California, brothers Dick and Maurice (“Mac”) McDonald reach the conclusion that the future of restaurants was in mass production and speed of service.
On December 12, 1948, they open their first McDonald’s restaurant at 14th and E Street, which sold 15¢ burgers and 10¢ fries using a “Speedee Service System.”
Although White Castle was founded much earlier in Wichita, Kansas in 1921, it was McDonald’s, particularly under the aegis of Ray Kroc, who acquired the company in 1961 and moved it to Des Plaines, Ill., that would become synonymous with the embryonic fast-food industry, selling one billion hamburgers by 1963.
More than a half century later, life continues to accelerate. At an Adtech industry confab In November 2006, Akamai Technologies CEO Paul Sagan noted that 75% of 1,058 people surveyed by Jupiter Research would not return to a Web site that took longer than four seconds to load (PDF; page 7).
That figure was down markedly from the seven or eight seconds mentioned just five years earlier. This short attention span, which some blame to attention deficit disorder (ADD), a human affliction first identified in 1981, is but one result of one of the most profound ubertrends reshaping society today: Time Compression.
Time compression has invaded our daily conversation with a number contemporary expressions, like “that’s so last minute: and “I want it yesterday.” It’s becoming abundantly clear that time and its related measures are morphing in a cloud of time-tunnel dust.
Time Compression took off during the 80s. When asked how they were doing, people suddenly began answering “busy” instead of the customary “good.” This subtle shift in the social dialog underscored the sea-change shift that was taking place in the minds of people.
While the 40s and 50s had ushered in such accelerants as instant photography, microwave cooking, fast food and the commercial jetliner, Time Compression in the 80s was ignited by a new set of phenomena, including the fax machine, FedEx, voicemail and the personal computer. All contributed to more efficient communication, a cornerstone of the acceleration process.
The advent of voicemail, in particular, changed the role of secretaries, forcing managers to fend for themselves. That meant forgoing that two-martini lunch, which had become a staple of doing business during the 70s, and which was usually followed by a blizzard of “While you were out” pink message slips.
E-mail, the increasingly popular mobile phone and the surge of the Internet in the 90s further served to mainstream Time Compression. By 1996, 59% of Americans described themselves as busy, with 19% reporting that they were “painfully” busy, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Meanwhile the blizzard of information that crossed every worker’s desk increased exponentially, driven in large part by the Internet, leading to a new stress: “information anxiety,” a syndrome that two-thirds of global managers suffered from in October 1996, according to Reuters.
Multitasking, a distinctive by-product of Time Compression, has quickly grown into a mandatory skill set. In 2004, columnist P.J. Bernanski noted first seeing “good at multi-tasking” mentioned on resumés.
The vagaries of Time Compression have had major repercussions on disposable time. It’s not surprising that most Americans no longer have time to devote to traditional leisure activities.
A survey by employment firm Hudson, cited in a May 21, 2007 BusinessWeek article, found that more than half of U.S. workers fail to take all their vacation days, with 30% saying they use less than half their allotted time, and another 20% taking only a few days instead of a week or two.
Americans take even less vacation than the Japanese, the people responsible for karoshi — the phenomenon of “being worked to death.” While America is usually identified with this trend, if anything, U.S. workers simply perfected a habit that originated in the land of the rising sun.
And if less time is available for vacation, related leisure activities are beginning to suffer. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that the number of anglers has dropped 12% since 2001, Newsweek reported in a June 16, 2007 article. During the same five-year period ending in 2006, the number of hunters fell by 4%.
Meanwhile, the total number of people who play golf has declined or remained flat each year since 2000, dropping to about 26 million from 30 million in 2008, according to the National Golf Foundation and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, The New York Times reported.
Is it any surprise then that one of America’s favorite pastimes, shopping, has also been affected by Time Compression? In 2010, $87 billion was spent on gift cards, according to the National Retail Federation, as more shoppers choose to save time by turning to this increasingly popular gift-buying shortcut.
The Wall Street Journal reported on June 27, 2007 that the average WalMart shopper spends 21 minutes in the store yet only finds seven of the 10 items on his or her shopping list. As a result, many retailers are improving store navigation to help harried consumers find things faster.
Imagine the impact Time Compression will have on shopping as more consumers discover that the typical one-hour trip to the mall costs about $30 at the average hourly pay for managers and professionals, according to a May 9, 2005 BusinessWeek article.
Since that $30 more than compensates shipping charges for a typical online order, it will become increasingly difficult in a busier future to justify most shopping trips. Holiday shopping data already underscore this trend. The 2010 holiday season registered record e-commerce spending of $32.6 billion, up 12% versus a year ago.
By comparison, overall retail sales rose just 7.3%. Online convenience is clearly the driving force. The Strategy One Annual Holiday Shopping Index, found that 74% believed that online shopping was the easiest way to do their shopping.
As consumers pack ever more activities into their busy, multitasking days, they’re sleeping less. In the 1920s, the average U.S. adult slept 8.8 hours in each 24-hour period. That figure has declined to six hours and 40 minutes on weeknights.
No wonder energy drinks have become a $42 billion global business, according to a May 2011 Nutraingredients.com article citing data provided by Leatherhead Food Research, fueled primarily by a thirsty clubbing crowd, who seek to boost their energy level by packing in just one more frenetic experience.
That time is now more valuable than money was suggested by research firm Yankelovich, who in December 2006 reported that, “More than half (56%) of all consumers, at all income levels, say lack of time is a bigger problem for them than lack of money.”
This explains why FedEx has become a $43 billion company in just 40 years, it thrives on Time Compression. With time now considered more valuable than money, our state of mind has become a state of time.
Time Compression Time Line
|1865||Telegraph ushers in “standard time” concept.|
|1887||John Pemberton introduces Coca-Cola, a “therapeutic agent.” German laboratory Merck synthesizes first batch of amphetamines, “speed.”|
|1893||Cream of Wheat, “a quickie breakfast,” is introduced; takes 15 minutes to prepare.|
|1900||Romantic suitors take all evening to get to know each other.|
|1910||William Coolidge’s long-lasting tungsten filament lightbulbs allow people to sleep less.|
|1927||A very fast, jumpy, casual-looking style of dancing—Lindy Hop—catches on.|
|1934||Band leader Cab Calloway introduces bouncy, six-beat swing variant called jitterbug.|
|1939||Cream of Wheat cooking time is reduced to five minutes.|
|1946||Raytheon shows first microwave oven, called “Radarange.”|
|1947||Edwin Land demonstrates instant photography in New York City.|
|1948||Birth of fast food: McDonald brothers Dick and Mac open first outlet in San Bernardino, Calif.|
|1952||U.K. carrier BOAC launches first commercial jet airliner service on May 2.|
|1953||First use of the term “real time.”|
|1955||Tappan introduces the first home microwave oven, priced at $1,295.|
|1956||Hans Selye’s book “The Stress of Life” adds “stress” concept to vernacular.|
|1965||80% of 18- to 49-year-olds in U.S. can be reached with three 60-second TV spots.|
|1966||Xerox introduces 46-pound desktop fax machine, the Magnafax Telecopier, which takes about six minutes to transmit a letter-sized document. Cream of Wheat now takes 30 seconds to cook.|
|1967||Raytheon’s Amana introduces first 110-volt countertop microwave, costing under $500.|
|1969||ARPANET, the “Mother of the Internet,” is launched by U.S. government in Los Angeles, connecting UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, SRI and Utah University. First quartz watch, Seiko 35 SQ Astron, accurate to one minute a year, goes on sale in Japan.|
|1971||Starbucks opens its first location in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.|
|1973||On its first night of operation, 389 FedEx employees and 14 jets deliver 186 packages overnight to 25 U.S. cities. Motorola demonstrates a design for the DynaTAC “portable radio telephone,” which uses a radio technology called “cellular.”|
|1974||Microwave oven sales exceed those of conventional stoves for the first time.|
|1976||Concorde makes its maiden commercial flight.|
|1981||Upjohn introduces anti-anxiety drug Xanax.|
|1983||MCImail e-mail is launched. U.S. fax-machine installed base reaches 300,000.|
|1990||“Busy” has replaced “good” as the typical answer to the question “How are you doing?”|
|1993||World Wide Web ushers in realtime interaction era.|
|1996||59% of Americans complain about being too busy, reports an NBC/WSJ poll, while 19% say life has become busy to the point of discomfort. Reuters finds that two thirds of global managers suffer from “information anxiety” syndrome.|
|1998||Last complete performance of Wagner’s Ring cycle lasts nearly one hour less than first performance.|
|1999||Amazon.com reaches $1 billion in sales in just four years, a feat that took Macy’s 134 years. West Wing debuts, featuring “fastest dialogue” in a TV show.|
|2000||How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less is published. Another book, The Superman Syndrome warns that technology is forcing Americans to live at speed, not at depth.|
|2001||In the 1920s, the average U.S. adult slept 8.8 hours each day. By 2001 that figure had declined to 6.8.|
|2002||59% of all meals in the U.S. are rushed, and 34% of lunches are eaten on the run. Only 23% of mall shoppers now browse, compared to 37% in 2000. And 117 prime-time TV commercials are now required to produce the same result as three in 1965.|
|2003||The first “3 Minute Dating” cruise sets sail from Port Canaveral, Fla. Von Dutch “trucker’s hat” trend is called over, just three months after Justin Timberlake wears one for the first time. Average audience drop-off between a film’s opening weekend and second weekend is 51%, compared to 40% in 1998.|
|2004||Infants average 90 minutes less sleep a day than the 14-hour minimum doctors recommend. Stove-top cooking is down to 50%, from 58% in 1994, but microwave oven use holds steady at 26%. RedbookMag.com poll: 52% of 1,000 married women would rather have more time to cook than more money for takeout. London-based Key Contacts introduces corporate speed-dating breakfasts for clients. And 64% of consumers intend to buy gift cards, up from 60% in 2003, eclipsing apparel for the first time.|
|2004||Television has “become background noise,” Susan Young tells The Wall Street Journal. Infants average 90 minutes less sleep a day than the 14-hour minimum doctors recommend.|
|2005||Since 1973 the median number of hours people say they work has risen from 41 a week to 49. Leisure time, meanwhile, dropped from 26 to 19 hours a week over the same period. At 4:30 p.m., 73% of U.S. households have no idea what they’ll be having for dinner.|
|2006||Half of women decide within 30 seconds of meeting a man whether he is potential boyfriend material. A Carleton University study says people register likes and dislikes in as little as 1/20 of a second. Time is now more valuable than money, reports research firm Yankelovich.|
|2007||Gift card sales reach $97 billion, up from just $13 billion in 1998. Fully 85% of Brits do not take a full hour for lunch.|
|2008||A National Sleep Foundation survey shows that one in three Americans has dozed off while driving.|
|2009||Datamonitor reports that 47% of women in 17 countries say the big stress in their life is the demand on their time.|
|2010||16-year-old from Italy becomes youngest person ever to make cut at the Masters.|
|2011||Nearly two-thirds in U.K. have problems getting a good night’s sleep.|
|March 2010 Social Revolution|
Luckily, the field of cosmetic dermatology and aesthetic surgery is not exactly sitting still. And the biggest action is in wrinkle removers and facial fillers. Botulinum toxin injections, better known under the brand name Botox, are the fastest growing cosmetic procedure with more than 6.1 million performed in 2012, up nearly 1,000% from 786,911 in 2000, according to American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).
Riding the facial rejuvenation boom, Allergan Botox sales are expected to reach $2 billion in 2013.
The facial rejuvenation market is being propelled by a shift towards less invasive and safer procedures, which has spurred both the facial filler and botulism markets.
But Allergan’s tremendous success has attracted a host of competitors. More than 50 competing products and alternative treatment options have surfaced, which is bound to considerably heat up the marketplace in the next few years.
Several competitors claim to be “purer” than Botox. This differentiation strategy is pursued by Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Mentor, which is set to gain acceptance for Purtox any time now, once clinical trials prove successful.
Also on the horizon is Xeomin from Frankfurt, Germany-based Merz Pharma, which claims to be “free of complexing proteins,” eliminating, among other benefits, the need for cool storage. Xeomin is currently licensed in most European countries, plus Argentina and Mexico.
Allergan’s biggest competitor in facial fillers is Phoenix, Ariz.-based Medicis Pharmaceutical, which has acquired the rights to market Reloxin in the U.S., a botulin sold in Europe under the brand name Dysport and licensed from Paris-based Ipsen. Reloxin is said to “spread” more under the skin, which could prove helpful in treating larger areas. Unfortunately, the FDA refused to accept Medicis’ application in January because the application “lacked enough information.”
But the biggest news yet could be a new vanguard of topical botulins, being developed by Newark, Calif.-based Revance. The company is working on a proprietary targeted delivery method, dubbed TransMTS technology, which allows large macromolecules to cross skin and other membrane barriers. Given that more than 20 million Americans suffer from blenophobia, the fear of needles, that could be a major advantage indeed.
Suffice it to say that the ingredients for a major boom sit waiting in the wings. And when the fear of needles can be addressed, you’ll be able to smile more thereby reducing your worry lines, naturally.
Driving While Texting, and we can freely assume walking while texting, is actually increasing USA Today reported on November 12, with the trend now spreading to older adults.
Marrero joins a growing number of people who are succumbing to the charming habit of walking while texting, a trend that’s now grabbing worldwide attention. In Feb. 2007, a woman fell onto subway tracks while carelessly texting away on her cell phone and colliding with a man on a Tokyo platform.
In 2006, The Wall Street Journal declared that DWT, or Driving While Texting, is the new DUI — or the new “driving under the influence.”
According to a June 2009 study by Car and Driver driving while texting is significantly more dangerous than driving under the influence of alcohol drugs. Drivers texting messages are 3-4 times slower than drunk drivers to apply brakes to avoid a collision.
According to an NHTSA and Virginia Tech study, text messaging increases the risk of a car accident or near-accident 23.2 times when compared to accidents involving non-distracted drivers.
In Sept. 2008, Robert Sanchez sent a text message 22 seconds before crashing his L.A. metro train, killing 25 people. A Boston trolley driver was texting his girlfriend when he rear-ended another Green Line trolley in May 2009, sending scores of people to the hospital.
Then there are the untold young victims of DWT. America’s most notorious texting incident was that of five high-school cheerleaders, who died in an automobile accident in western New York after driver Bailey Goodman sent a text message at 10:05:52 pm and received an answer at 10:06:29.
Thirty-eight seconds later, someone called 911 to report the accident that killed Bailey and her friends. In the U.K., 19-year-old Rachel Begg killed Maureen Waites, a 64-year-old grandmother because she sent nine text messages in 15 minutes while driving at 70 mph on a rainy night. In July 2007, she was sentenced to four years in a U.K. prison.
A July 2007 Liberty Mutual study of more than 900 teens found that nearly 50% admitted to driving while texting.
A 2009 survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 95% considered driving while texting unacceptable behavior, yet 21% admitted to having recently texted or sent e-mail while driving.
But that figure may be low. Vlingo reports that 35% of mobile phone users continued to text behind the wheel in 2010, up from 26% in 2009.
The same survey also found 87% of people believe drivers texting or e-mailing pose a “very serious threat,” nearly equaling the 90% who consider drunken drivers a threat.
A growing number of states are outlawing the practice. Today, 41 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban texting while driving..
Our multitasking world has become so enamored with instant social interaction that it’s willing to risk death and injury to stay in touch.
After Dietrich Mateschitz discovered that a Thai beverage, called Krating Daeng, helped him combat jet lag, he developed a carbonated beverage with TCBG Pharmaceutical, which helped adapt it to the European market. Formally launched in 1987 and introduced in the U.S. in 1997, Red Bull today accounts for 50% of the European and U.S. energy drink market, with 2010 sales that reached $4.6 billion.
- Market size – By 2005, the U.S. energy drink market reached $3.3 billion, making it the fastest growing portion of the non-alcoholic beverage market, according to Beverage Digest. Globally, the energy/sports drinks market topped $42 billion in 2011, according to Leatherhead Food Research.
- Brand profileration – In 2006, the Associated Press noted that “more than 500 new energy drinks launched worldwide that year. While thousands of energy drink brands have hit store shelves since Red Bull was introduced to the U.S. in 1997, none was more colorful than Pimpjuice, a bright-green drink that reportedly goes well with vodka and lets you “party all night, just like a pimp,” according to its spokesperson, rap star Nelly.
- Consumption patterns – A survey by Brenda Malinauskas found that 51% of student participants consumed more than one energy drink during an average semester month. Energy drinks were used for insufficient sleep (67%), to increase energy (65%), and to drink with alcohol while partying (54%).
- Young target – That same Associated Press article added, that “coffee fans are probably too old to understand why [so many energy drinks were launched in 2006].” Young males are the primary target market for energy drinks. Simmons Research found that 31% of U.S. teenagers say they drink energy drinks.
Another youth-targeted energy drink to launch was Cocaine, an energy drink brought to market in 2006 and aimed at the young party-going market, claiming a bigger and better high than any other drink but without the “crash similar drinks cause.” The drink’s maker, California-based Redux Beverages, said the effects were supposed to last for up to five hours.
Who would have thought that a technology developed by CompuServe in 1987 would still be relevant today?
Here’s why the animated GIF has caught on:
- Poor man’s video – Unlike videos, GIFs are easier to create yet offer movement. Amazingly, no one, including Adobe, has made a solid animated GIF authoring tool. While you could use Photoshop to create animated GIFs, that’s overkill for most people.
- Visual humor – The internet has ushered in different type of humor, definitely more graphic, including stunts (like “planking”), retouched photos (“pop-up Squirrel”) and memes (images that include text). The GIF above was created as commentary. The GIF below was the result of a news story about an owl getting stuck in a car.
- Banned – Unfortunately, not everyone likes the the animated GIF, both Facebook and Twitter have banned them.
It’s definitely one of the simplest animated communication technologies ever developed, which would make it perfect for advertising too. Are you developing any easy-to-use GIF animation tools?
The Philips hue starter kit ($200) contains three LED lightbulbs that can be wirelessly controlled by your Android smartphone, iPhone or iPad and features energy savings plus the ability to glow in 16 million colors.
The lighting set, while expensive and only available at the Apple store, offers exceptional features, including significant energy savings plus the ability to control the hue of room lighting with a smartphone or tablet:
- Wireless control – Philips uses the ZigBee LightLink communication protocol so hue bulbs can communicate with each other and consume significantly less stand-by power than traditional Wi-Fi systems. Hue can be controlled by either an Android, iPhone or iPad app (see video).
- Color spectrum – hue closely mimicks the color qualities of an incandescent lightbulb yet offers more than 16 million colors to customize room lighting.
- Energy efficiency – While the hue offers the same brightness as a 50-watt lightbulb it only consumes 8.5 watts.
Imagine controlling your home lighting remotely, from anywhere in the world. You can turn them off after you leave the house, or turn them on before you arrive. Better yet, you can program your lights to turn on and off at set times. The Philips Lightrecipe app lets you change your lighting to your every mood.
Now why go through all this hassle for a pair of four-eyes? Because devices like Google Glass, or “heads-up displays,” are the wave of our three-dimensional future. If you’ve ever played with Layar’s augmented reality browsing app, you know what we mean:
- Heads-up display – Like a smartphone, Google Glass displays information in a hands-free format, and it’s voice-activated so you can communicate with the internet via voice commands.
- Record your experience – Google Glass features a five-megapixel HD camera, with the ability to record 720p videos or capture images.
- Ins and outs – A 640×360 display, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 16GB storage, 682MB RAM, ambient light sensing, and tri-axial gyroscope, accelerometer and compass round out its bleeding-edge feature set.
- Interface — Naturally since we’re talking Google, it’s the Android operating system, and you control and manage Google Glass via an app called MyGlass.
Unfortunately, Google Glass is not yet widely available. They’re set aside for those interested in joining The Glass Explorer Program to help shape and contribute to the future of Google Glass. What are you waiting for?
It will be fascinating to watch what happens when many more people catch on to the fact that they can use their real estate inventory to make some money.
Year established: 2008
Innovation: Home optimization
Innovation Type: Product
Nestled between the company’s large new campus, consisting of three 70-story office towers, the biodome will be filled with plants and trees that will grow in its controlled climate.
The project has passed Seattle’s design review board and awaits the city’s planning and development department. A permit is usually issued in a month, and Amazon’s innovative biodome, designed by the architects NBBJ, is unlikely to meet much opposition.
Hope Amazon.com will arrange private Biodome tours for Prime members. Just an idea, Jeff.
Can’t wait for iTV, can you?
Year (of first major innovation): 2001
Innovations: iPod, iPhone, iPad, wireless checkout, retailing
Innovation Types: Product, Process, Supply Chain
After I raged about the lack of innovation in the rental market, it’s gratifying to see Cozy simplifying the process of screening applicants and bringing about real innovation in the real estate market.
Cozy Services Ltd.
Year established: 2012
Innovation: Rental application and payment processing
Innovation Type: Product
If you’ve ever dealt with the customer service person at any airline’s lost luggage desk, you’ll be happy to learn that Delta Airlines’ app lets you track your luggage using your mobile app.
No more filling out forms looking for a black bag that is about “yay wide.”
Delta Air Lines Inc.
Innovation: Mobile app with luggage tracking
Innovation Type: Process
RFID? Check. Instant access to the Matterhorn? Check. The innovative MagicBand lets Disney attendees gain priority access to rides, buy food and merchandise without a wallet, and even unlock their Disney Resort hotel room.
It’s a magic world after all!
The Walt Disney Company
Innovation Type: Process
Apple created quite a buzz this past fall when one pundit drew the attention of the collective community to one word on an Apple slide shown at their developer’s conference, and that word was iBeacon.
The Estimote Beacon leverages iBeacon with a small, wireless device, sometimes called a “mote” that can broadcasts radio signals to iPhones. Watch the video.
Innovation Type: Product
I have always been a big fan of fresh orange juice, but one day my GF bought me some Simply Orange. I was amazed that non-fresh OJ could taste so good. Then I did some research and found out that Simply Orange was one the first beverages created with the benefit of Big Data.
I’ll drink to that.
Year established: 2001
Innovation: Big data analytics-propelled beverage
Innovation Type: Process
The company had planned a pre-order campaign that would top out at $50,000, at $50 a piece pre-order price. They blew past that goal in 40 minutes today, a testament to the desire for folks to leave their plastic at home.
The device itself is as thin as a regular credit card, enable it to fit inside credit card machines and features a raised button and a small LCD so you can see which credit card you have summoned up. To use the card you select a payment type with the button and just swipe. The Coin card “mimics” a regular credit or gift card.
The Coin card reads your credit cards with a Square-like credit-card reader, and holds up to eight cards. The device uses low-power Bluetooth to connect to your iOS device and warn you when you’ve left the device behind, say in a restaurant after drinking too much.
Watch the video above to see how it works.
USA Today notes:
Companies overall in 1980 had $234.6 billion cash, adjusted for inflation, according to a paper by Amy Dittmar at the University of Michigan’s Stephen M. Ross School of Business and Ran Duchin at the University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business. That’s about 12% of assets. Cash holdings grew to $1.5 trillion, or 22% of assets, in 2011.
U.S. companies could cut every single person in America a check for $4,745, if they distributed all that cash today. And remember, those are 2011 numbers, the figure is probably much higher today.