Window Shopping with Friends

Started my day in NYC yesterday with a business meeting near Herald Square.  I love NYC.  The people, the buzz, the energy; all good from my perspective.  And then of course there is the never ending stream of places to eat and shop.  And yes, NYC is very expensive, no doubt about that.  Brought lunch yesterday for $13.50.  This consisted of a nice sandwich, chips and an ice tea.  $13.50?  Really?

Later in the day, I walked over to Grand Central Station to catch a train to Greenwich, CT.  More on that in a bit.  This is the 100 year anniversary of GCT.  Happens to be one of the most magnificent train stations in the world.


An amazing place.  And also now a destination site for retail and commerce.  All sorts of stores there now including Apple’s unique location right in the terminal.  On my walk to GCT, I also noticed so many retail stores that were just buzzing with activity, sales, entertainment outside to get you inside; innovative retailers doing what it takes to get us to spend a buck.

Next I hopped a train and headed to Greenwich to meet up with some old friends.  Took a stroll up Greenwich Avenue, which to say the least is a high end place to shop with many of the highest end retailers such as Tiffany’s and Saks being open for business.  Spent a few hours with my friends Maria, Fred and Terry.  (Maria, if you are reading this today, thanks for making it happen)  Shared some stories, got caught up on the last 15 years, laughed really hard before everyone headed back home.  When you get a chance to work with great people and share successes, the bond that you create lives in infamy.  It does not matter how much time passes between visits; once the ball gets rolling it is like no time past at all 🙂

One of the many challenges for retailers is the rental/ownership cost of these physical store locations as well as the size of the stores themselves, where inventory and choices may be limited due to space constraints, store layout and other restraining forces.  So every store owner has to deal with making sure they are turning their inventory at that physical location to cover there overhead and make a buck.  Today, most retailers also have webstores  that are open 24/7 and they use a variety of different techniques to incent you to visit and buy.  The commerce evolution continues as savvy retailers blur the line between physical and on-line stores, making your shopping experience even more compelling and creating loyalty through differentiating technology.  Well, that is about to change again.

EBay Inc is launching virtual stores called “shoppable windows” this month that the e-commerce company hopes will help retailers generate more sales from their existing physical store networks. The first four of these screens will open from June 8 through July 7 in busy parts of New York City, such as the lower east side and Soho. They will sell 30 items from Kate Spade Saturday, a new fashion brand launched this year by apparel retailer Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc.


The new screens measure about 9 feet across and 2 feet (0.6 meter) high and will appear on the front windows of closed stores. Shoppers will be able to touch the screens to order and have products delivered to them within an hour via courier. Payment will be accepted by the couriers through PayPal Here, a mobile payment service developed by eBay.

This is the latest effort by eBay to work more closely with large retailers that are looking to reach more online and mobile shoppers. The company has attracted some large retailers, such as Target Corp, to its online marketplace, while developing mobile shopping technology for other retailers such as Macy’s Inc.

EBay’s “shoppable windows” are an extension of the shift to mobile shopping. For Fifth & Pacific, the windows will help launch its new Kate Spade Saturday brand without opening new physical stores, at least initially, according to Chief Executive William McComb.

“This gives us the ability to produce more from our retail space,” McComb said. “My nickname for it is the Wall as a Mall.”  McComb said he is considering putting shoppable windows in small Juicy Couture stores that will offer about 200 different shoes to buy. The company may also use the windows in Kate Spade New York stores to sell home furnishings, bedding, linens and towels.

“We would never be able to fit all those products in a store in the traditional way,” McComb said. “These things would typically require an extra 10,000 square feet of store space. But through partnerships like this eBay one we could do this through stores that are 2,000 square feet.”

Full article can be found at

Amazing stuff on an amazing day.



The Bagel Dilemma

Everyone enjoys a good bagel.  They sure do taste good.

Bagels are a delicious food for any time of the day. They come in many varieties and flavors and taste great with a good number of toppings. Bagels were first introduced in 1693 as tribute to a Polish king. Since then they have crossed continents and become a mainstay in America. They’re sold in bakeries, grocery stores and coffee shops. Although bagels are good eats, the nutrition of bagels isn’t thought about unless you’re counting calories.


Bagels are a good source of vitamin C, calcium, iron, protein and fiber. Although they aren’t considered the healthiest of foods to eat, they do provide high amounts of fiber to keep you regular. Fiber lowers your chances of heart disease, diabetes and constipation.

We are lucky to have so many bagel choices – Onion, plain, poppy seed, sesame seed, cinnamon raisin, sourdough, sun dried tomato, salt, everything, chocolate, egg, spinach, marble, blueberry, rye, pumpernickel, multigrain and many many more.  We love bagels!

So when we place a bagel order, what criteria do we use:

  • How many do we need?
  • How many different types?
  • Do I remember what everyone likes?
  • Where is that list?
  • What happens if I only get one of each type?
  • Will people get what they want?
  • What do I want, forget everyone else? (Sorry, off road)
  • Should I have mine now so I get the one I want?

So many decisions just to purchase the bagels.  And that was the easy part.  Now, what about the cream cheese.

  • Based on the number of bagels, how many cream cheeses should I get?
  • What is the right ratio of cream cheese quantity to number of bagels?
  • Are they heavy or light spreaders?
  • Do they spread on both halves or only one and put them together?
  • Will they toast their bagel?  Does that matter?
  • Who likes onion?
  • I wonder how that cream cheese will go with a multi-grain bagel?
  • Look at all those choices – Geez, who is going to want what?

How did such a simple pleasure turn into this dilemma?  My doctor told me to watch the stress!  So many choices, how can I possibly get this right.

I am never buying the bagels again.  Excuse me miss “Can I have an everything bagel, toasted with smoked salmon cream cheese?” No do not put that one in the bag.  It is for me 🙂

Please feel free to share your thoughts and process for matching bagels to cream cheese below.


Alert the Media!

An all time classic funny movie is Arthur.  The film starred Dudley Moore as the eponymous Arthur Bach, a drunken New York City millionaire who is on the brink of an arranged marriage to a wealthy heiress, but ends up falling for a common working-class girl from Queens.  Hobson, Arthur’s butler was played by Sir John Gielgud.  Throughout the movie, Hobson banters in a great way with Arthur.  Here is one of their classic exchanges:

Arthur: Hobson?
Hobson: Yes.
Arthur: Do you know what I’m going to do?
Hobson: No, I don’t.
Arthur: I’m going to take a bath.
Hobson: I’ll alert the media.
Arthur: [rises] Do you want to run my bath for me?
Hobson: That’s what I live for.

Well how about the media alerting you to great deals available on products that you are interested in purchasing.  Now that would be cool.  Well it is here now.

Digital Folio is a web-wide shopping application that functions as a browser add-on for Firefox and Internet Explorer; it also has mobile and Facebook versions. The application appears as a sidebar within the browser and lets shoppers make shopping lists by simply dragging a product’s link into the sidebar. These shopping lists have real time price updates which can be tracked while shopping.

More interesting is the application’s Price Compare feature. When a listing or product page is visited with Price Compare open (currently only available for Amazon, Best Buy, Sears, Target, and Walmart) it will automatically populate any eligible products into the sidebar and the retailer with the lowest price is highlighted. (This insight was sourced from our friends at

These capabilities are getting better all the time.  More cash in our pockets.  Now that is a good thing 🙂


High Quality People

There are so many people that flow through your life, but when you think about it, so few go the distance.  What do I mean?  You know, the folks that are there with you through thick and thin, or the people that you meet professionally that whenever you think about them or contact them it is like you spoke to them yesterday.  The people that you respect, admire, that admire you; the people that you have gone into battle with and experienced success or failure, but that left an indelible mark on your life.  On the personal side, these are the people that you can trust with anything, the ones that you know without question if you called them at 2:00AM, they would be there as quickly as possible, regardless of whether you spoke to them last week or last year.  On a professional/personal side, the people that just get stuff done; no whining, no complaining, no what’s in it for me, no BS.  Just straight up, what is it going to take people; put me in coach people; what else can I do people.  These are “your peeps”, your go-to folks.

These people have at one time or another been very important to your success, have helped you to become the person you are, have helped you achieve greatness, have provided you with a new perspective, have assisted you in time of trouble, have created awesome solutions for you and helped you accomplish celebratory goals.  You know who they are!

I have been very fortunate to have many great folks as a part of my life.  Of course that starts with family, but today I would like to give you some examples of people that are not in my everyday life but those that are just awesome every time we engage.

I have three best friends from kindergarten, Armand, John and Jamie.  So I have known them for about 95% of my lifetime.  No age giveaways  here!  They have all led very successful lives with wonderful families, had business success and many individual accomplishments.  They have changed over the years, as we all have, and have become conditioned by their own life experiences.  They have matured into responsible adults (they will never admit that) and have their own large circle of friends and acquaintances that we all have today.  But the one constant is that we have an inseparable bond, one that was forged at a very young age, one where trust and admiration was built over many, many years.  During that time we spent more time with other people as well, but we always re-engaged.  We shared many incredible experiences at that very impressionable time of our lives.  We do not talk as often as we should, but when we do, it is like there has been no gap.

During my professional career, I have had the privilege of working not only with the best and brightest but also with people that care about me on a personal level and are always there to provide me counsel, advice, a new contact or forge the way for a new career opportunity.  Many of my former co-workers became CEO’s of both large and small businesses, successful investors, board members and industry leaders. A great example of this is my former CEO, Paul.  So many times over the years I have reached out to Paul for counsel, guidance and  career advice and he has always provided me with honest insight and perspective.  When I am looking for a new opportunity, he is one of the first people I call, not only because he is so well connected, but because he listens, learns and takes direct action to support my goals.  Whether it is merely an introduction, or it is an opportunity to work with him, he has always provided an honest and highly responsive approach to support my goals.

One final example for today is my friend and co-worker Alejandra.  I had the pleasure of meeting Ally in 2011.  She is an awesome web designer by trade but more importantly, is one of the highest quality people that I have known professionally.  Ally’s philosophy to work and life is “Put me in coach, I will do whatever is necessary to get it done.”  She is the proud mother of three children, expecting a fourth now, a tireless worker, extremely creative and she always keeps her eye on the prize.  When I ask her for her opinion, I get it.  When my idea sucks, she tells me it sucks, but of course offers an outstanding alternative.  When there is a tight deadline on a project, she provides you with the guidance and insight to get it done at the highest level of quality.  We are working on a project together right now that is just awesome.  I have not known Ally long, but I am a very good judge of character.  And she is quite the character 🙂

There are so many people that I could have written this blog about.  Upon reflection, I am really amazed by how many terrific people I know, that I can turn to whenever I need them, that can provide me with the thoughts and perspectives that I need to either accomplish a project, find a new opportunity or make a difference.

If you have not spoken to some of these great people in your life recently, pick up the phone and call them today.  They would love to hear from you!


Image is Everything!

Our expectations have changed.  Our information requirements have changed.  The web started it, we adopted it, but now we have an insatiable appetite for information.  We want knowledge, advice, guidance, facts and we want it right now.  We want the ability to engage with a product, a destination, an adventure, a sport or anything else that we are interested in.  Armed with smart phones, cameras, scanners, QR codes and the like, we are fully empowered to become intimately familiar with just about any object in the world in real time.

After a decade of near-obsessive Googling, instant access to information with the right (textual) input is now expected, a way of life. The next frontier is visual info-gratification: consumers accessing information about objects encountered in the real world, in more natural ways and while on-the-go, simply by pointing their smartphones at anything interesting.  And just as ‘going online’ is no longer limited to sitting in front of a computer, discovery will no longer be tied to text search. People will be able to immediately find out about (and potentially buy)  anything they see or hear, even if they don’t know what it is or can’t describe it in words.

Here are some pictures of some of the most famous buildings and places to shop on New York’s fifth avenue (The Apple Store, Saks Fifth Avenue and St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

Here are some of the possibilities of visual information.  How about if you just pointed your phone at the location and the following happened:

  • Apple Store – When was it built, what is the glass made from, did Steve Jobs ever visit the store, how many iPads have been sold from this store, what are the store’s hours, make an appointment at the genius bar, what is on sale today, what is on sale in the next 30 minutes, what’s new on iTunes
  • Sak’s Fifth Avenue – What designer scarfs are carried in the store, when was the building constructed, who owns Saks, what other companies are in the building, what was there before Saks, what is on sale
  • St. Patrick‘s – Mass times displayed, history of the church was presented, who was married in the church, what are the church dimensions, what type of marble was used, how high are the spires, how many candles, what is the seating capacity etc.

Just point and know.  A guided tour on history, products, sales or anything else that is important to you.  Your choice of course, on your phone or tablet, available whenever you want it.  Now that is just so cool!

Here are some examples of applications that are providing this type of insight right now:

  • Shazam – listens to any song or commercial and identifies it for you immediately – Name of song, artist, etc.
  • Skin Scan – is an app which allows users to scan and monitor moles over time, with the aim of preventing malignant skin cancers. The app tells users if a visit to their doctor or dermatologist is advisable.
  • Star Chart – enables users to point their phones at the sky to discover details about the objects or constellations they look at

The days of using text as your primary search tool are coming to an end.  Still a ways to go, but the future is about images 🙂

Let me know what you think about this blog by commenting below.


St. Paul’s Chapel – Coincidence 2?

St. Paul’s Chapel was not damaged on September 11, 2001.  Was this a miracle?

Last week I mentioned the book The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn. He has done a fabulous job of linking historical prophecies to the fates of Israel and the United States in this book and I would like to share another coincidence that makes you really think about the ancient prophets and the meaning of their writings.  The key writing highlighted in the book is Isaiah 9:10.

“The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone;the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.”

George Washington inaugural took place in 1789 in New York City, the first capital of the United States.  As we know, our founding fathers were very strong believers in God as many of our foundational documents reference.  Here is the final paragraph of George Washington’s inaugural speech.

“Having thus imparted to you my sentiments as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquility, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.”

After the speech, George Washington, along with members of the United States Congress, worshiped at St. Paul’s Chapel on his Inauguration Day, on April 30, 1789.  Washington also attended services at St. Paul’s during the two years New York City was the country’s capital. Above Washington’s pew is an 18th-century oil painting of the Great Seal of the United States; adopted in 1782.

The chapel survived the Great New York City Fire of 1776 when a quarter of New York City (then confined to the lower tip of Manhattan), including Trinity Church, burned following the British capture of the city after the Battle of Long Island during the American Revolutionary War.

The Chapel was turned into a makeshift memorial shrine following the September 11 attacks.  The church survived without even a broken window. Church history declares it was spared by a miracle sycamore on the northwest corner of the property that was hit by debris. The tree’s root has been preserved in a bronze memorial by sculptor Steve Tobin. While the church’s organ was badly damaged by smoke and dirt, the organ has been refurbished and is in use again.

The rear of St. Paul’s Chapel faces Church Street, opposite the east side of the World Trade Center site. After the attack on September 11, 2001, which led to the collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, St. Paul’s Chapel served as a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers at the WTC site.

For eight months, hundreds of volunteers worked 12 hour shifts around the clock, serving meals, making beds, counseling and praying with fire fighters, construction workers, police and others. Massage therapists, chiropractors, podiatrists and musicians also tended to their needs.

The fence around the church grounds became the main spot for visitors to place impromptu memorials to the event. After it became filled with flowers, photos, teddy bears, and other paraphernalia, chapel officials decided to erect a number of panels on which visitors could add to the memorial. Estimating that only 15 would be needed in total, they eventually required 400.

So St. Paul’s survives not only the Great New York City fire in 1776 but it survives the devastation of September 11th because the lone sycamore tree protected it.  Coincidence?  What do you think?

Let me know what you think about this blog by commenting below.