Backcountry Drug War

“In the Golden State, dangerous drug cartels are growing pot on public lands—putting wildlife, water supplies, and outdoor enthusiasts at grave risk,” reports Julian Smith in this eye-opening report which needs wider coverage.

In praise of Japan’s United Arrows

United Arrows is doing retail right — in Japan. A lot more US retails chains should be paying attention to them and their formula. They have 256 stores and yet everyone of them feels special. Everything in their store is thoughtfully and tastefully curated. Thankfully for my wallet, I don’t fit into anything they have. If you have great taste then you must visit what is easily my favorite Japanese clothing and fashion store.

A rare interview with Whatsapp’s cofounder Jan Koum

Whatsapp co-founder Jan Koum gave a rare interview to a Russian journalist and it is my favorite read of the day. When asked how the $19 billion dollars sale to Facebook changed his life.

I still live in the same place. I have the same friends, and that is very important. And I have the same job. After the deal with Facebook, 90% of my life did not change.

I am a big admirer of his simple, no-nonsese and low key approach to business.

How successful is the Apple Watch?

Earlier today, Quartz published a somewhat flimsy story about the modest success/relative failure of Apple Watch, without really any concrete evidence on why they think so. I totally understand they wanted to be skeptical, but it would have been good to back it all up with data. John Gruber in a worth-reading piece pointed out that “the nut of every “Apple Watch is a dud” story is the fact that it’s clearly not an iPhone-size business..But if Apple gets it into its head that they should only work on iPhone-sized opportunities, it would paralyze the company.”

What do Facebook & World Bank have in common?

…the ultimate goal of a platform: to be an essential enabling technology but not the star of the show. ..Reliability is necessary for such a technology but it also needs to project an air of objectivity or impartiality: a fading into the background and a foregrounding of everything else. ….Such a move—being the mediator or affording mechanism for behavior rather than its explicit progenitor or advocate—is a familiar governing strategy with a good success rate. When the World Bank found itself beset on all sides by growing social movements they completely changed their strategy, acting less like a bank that was aggressively perusing international loan agreements, and started acting like a think tank.

Black 2.0

Last year artist Anish Kapoor (no, not the Bollywood Actor) came up with a really black color and didn’t want anyone else to use it except him. Obviously that didn’t sit well with some artists and British artist Stuart Semple came up with Black 2.0 so that everyone except Kapoor could use the color. The whole thing is hilarious.