Always nice to see positive news about people improving their lives.

California is home to a growing program that helps transition people from prison to campus—and other states are looking to follow suit.

Source: SF State and Other California Universities Are Offering Degrees to Former Convicts – The Atlantic

 

Rindge Leaphart

While, I have no background in the convenience store industry, I found this article to be compelling.  The owner’s focus on innovation and customer focus is his key to staying ahead of the competition. Enjoy

In his 19 years of owning a gas station, Kent Couch has rolled out a beer cave, kombucha on tap, and uniformed attendants who greet customers by name.

Source: The Convenience-Store Innovator of Bend, Oregon – The Atlantic

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart
https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/

 

Source: Can you short Uber? — Quartz

This is a very good article that is worth a read (or two).  Irrespective of whether or not you have an interest in shorting Uber, the article provides insightful data (via good research and great reporting) on the future of vehicle ownership and self-driving automobiles.  Well worth the read!

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart
https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/

RIF – Does anybody remember the acronym RIF – Reading is Fundamental?  Maybe I watched too much TV on Saturdays as a kid. Nonetheless, it seems as if the 2016 Man Booker List, which identifies titles that are in the running for the Man Booker Prize, has been published.  I’ve read through this year’s list and have identified one or two titles that I’ll probably pick up.  Last year Marlon James won the top spot with “A Brief History of Seven Killings.”  While there were a couple of dry spots in the book, overall it was very enjoyable and definitely worth a read.  I hope the titles on this year’s Man Booker List are as enjoyable.  Take a look at the list via the link below.  You might find a few titles that pique your curiosity.

The authors in the running for Britain’s most prestigious literary award include three debut novelists.

Source: Inside the 2016 Man Booker Longlist – The Atlantic

Rindge Leaphart

This post has been on my mind for a while, so I finally decided to sit down at the keyboard and share my thoughts.  Over the years I have interviewed my fare share of candidates.  The roles that I have interviewed people for have ranged from senior to entry level positions.  Irrespective of role, I have seen many candidates trip themselves up in the interview because they were not adequately prepared.  By prepared, I don’t mean having a dossier on the company.  In many cases candidates for both senior and junior level roles, have not completed basic research or just were not prepared.  A few examples include:

  • Not knowing what the company does
  • Not having reviewed the company website
  • Not having read the job description or remember what the job is, even though you submitted a resume and have accepted an in-person interview
  • Not having prepared any questions to ask the person interviewing you
  • Unable to remember (or unwilling to discuss) key accomplishments from you last position

The items above seem like common sense, but I have come across many people who were disqualified because of the aforementioned  items.  I know competition for talent is tough in today’s marketplace, but I don’t think it is too much to expect that people show  up prepared (as well as on time) for an interview.  Also, for folks conducting the interview, please take time to read the candidate’s resume.  Respect goes both ways.

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart

Last article (this evening anyway) on the resurgence of vinyl, I promise.

A company that hung on to its record-stamping machines is now the world’s No. 1 maker of LPs

Source: Vinyl Records: Czech’s GZ Media Is World’s Biggest Producer – Bloomberg

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart
https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/

Who says manufacturing in the US is doomed?  I really need to step up my search for a replacement turntable!

How two guys in Salina, Kansas, helped make the vinyl record resurgence a long play.

Source: Groove Masters of the Vinyl Revival – Bloomberg

 

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart
https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/

Decent article that highlights a few of the challenges around resurrecting growth of the manufacturing sector in the US.

It’s easy for candidates to talk about bringing jobs back from China, but making factories the centerpiece of the U.S. economy is another matter.

Source: Trump’s Plan to Bring Jobs Back From China Misses the Point on U.S. Manufacturing – The Atlantic

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart
https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/

Source: The story of the invention that could revolutionize batteries—and maybe American manufacturing as well – Quartz

Interesting article regarding innovation in an area that has stifled many a people for many a year.

 

Rindge Leaphart

On a recent excursion for groceries with my 12 year old, I was reminded that: 1. Kids observe the most interesting things and 2. Employee hiring, management, and engagement practices do positively impact the bottom line.

In need of groceries for la familia, the 12 year old and I jumped into the car for what is inevitably a long trip because for one reason or another, I can never find everything I am looking for in one grocery store.  On this particular weekend day, we find ourselves visiting three different stores.  The first store was a disaster because many of the shelves were barren. Additionally, as a fruit fanatic I was disgusted (once again) by the fruit flies hovering in the fruit section. (Side note, I have previously spoken to the store manager about the fruit fly issue and pointed out to him that his competitor – literally across the street no less – does not have this issue.  Said manager didn’t seem all that concerned with my feedback).  This particular store (whose name rhymes with toga) is a national chain, not a small mom and pop place.  After not finding many of the national items I was in search of, I decided it was time for us to leave (without purchasing anything at all).

We then headed to the competitor across the street.  This particular grocer (also national  – actually global – in scale), that takes pride in offering low prices was better in terms of stocked shelves.  I believe (but I could be wrong) that because of this company’s focus on keeping costs low, they are always low on staff.  They must have 8-10 registers that are meant to be staffed by humans and no more than 2-3 are ever staffed.  Also, you don’t see many employees walking around the store that you can ask for assistance.  The lack of employees on registers does not seem to be a big issue because it rarely takes long to check out as not many other customers ever seem to shop at this store.  I’m not quite sure how this particular location stays open.

We then proceeded onto the third store  – Trader Joe’s – for what always turns out to be somewhat specialty items you tend not to find anywhere else.  As usual, Trader Joe’s has lots of traffic and yes the shelves are always stocked.  Even though the store was busy we were able to check out quickly.  We probably spent no more than 30 minutes in the store.  Upon exiting the store, my 12 year old informs me that Trader Joe’s (I believe this is the first time I have taken her to Trader Joe’s) is her favorite grocery store.  I asked her why and she made what I found to be a very interesting observation (so interesting I decided to write a post about, want to read it?) Her comments were along the lines that everyone in Trader Joe’s seemed happy and were nice.  They seemed to enjoy their jobs and everyone had a smile on their face and greeted you with a smile.  I have previously written a post on  said subject: https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/customer-facing-employees-with-the-right-attitude/  I am not sure of what Trader Joe’s does differently (employee selection, pay, training, or some combination thereof) but it works.  Upon further discussion with my daughter she was spot on; the employees at Trader Joe’s did seem much happier, they did smile, and that was radically different from the other stores we visited that day.  When my daughter starts shopping on her own, I suspect she will make a beeline for Trader Joe’s.  The lesson?  Probably many based on your perspective, but for me a great reminder that customers appreciate doing business with others who are pleasant to deal with and who seem to genuinely enjoy their job.  Customers can tell, especially 12 year old kids.

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart

https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/

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