- “THE MORE INFLUENCE THAT TECH PRODUCTS EXERT OVER OUR BEHAVIOR, THE LESS CONTROL WE HAVE OVER OURSELVES… The average person checks their phone 150 times a day… as Silicon Valley tech companies are getting better at getting people to make the choices they want them to make… by pumping us with dopamine to keep us returning to their products.” Their strategy is called ‘Captology (Computers as Persuasive Technology), based the science of ‘behaviorism design’ which focuses on “digital interface – the box in which we spend most of our time which shapes human decisions… now embedded into the invisible operating system of our everyday lives. The emails that induce you to buy right away, the apps & games that rivet your attention, the online forms that nudge you towards one decision over another – all designed to hack the human brain and capitalize on its instincts, quirks and flaws. These techniques are often crude and blatantly manipulative, but they are getting steadily more refined and less noticeable… putting hot triggers in the path of motivated people… as social-media apps release habit-forming dopamine in response to social interactions, such that you and your followers are constantly prompting each other to use the service for longer.” [ECONOMIST 1843 – Oct/Nov 16]
- ECONOMIC ‘RECOVERY’ FORECASTS, VERY MUCH DEPENDENT ON CONSUMER BEHAVIOR, are far from reliable as generational attitudes & expectations change. (1) Some 75 million BABY BOOMERS, now over age 50, control about 70% of U.S. disposable income and currently purchase around 2/3 of new cars, half the computers and a third of the movie tickets sold. But outlays have been shifting to health care; (2) Some 60 million GEN Xers, between 35 and 50, shop & spend sporadically, buying furnishings & gadgets since over 80% are homeowners, but are conflicted with costs of raising teenagers and caring for parents; (3) Since around 1980, DINKS (dual income, no kids – including nearly ¼ of women aged 40-44 with Masters degrees who are childless) have spent predominantly on lavish vacations & travel, pricey hobbies, second homes and personal health & grooming, but are shifting more spending to charity; (4) and MILLENNIALS , now early teen to 35, who started entering the workforce just as the economic bust eliminated most jobs, are struggling with cash flow for college and other debt, spending more on ‘experiences’ like travel & fine food than material possessions. So consumer spending is in a state of flux, and business forecasting has become a tougher challenge. DCG can help with your strategic planning process. [BUSINESS WEEK – Oct 24, 16]
- ‘BLOCKCHAIN’ TECHNOLOGY IS BECOMING A GAMECHANGER IS BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS – a decentralized process for listing encrypted transactions that “secures records and proves a full history in chronological linear order, across a network of computers, with each connected to a network that validates, processes & relays synchronized transaction details among the mutually trusted group of participants…allowing greater control & efficiency, process improvement, lower transaction costs and other market advantages.” The mechanism provides a ‘distributed ledger’ – essentially a shared and reliable database where every transaction is posted to everyone connected in real time. “Assets can be financial, legal, physical or electronic, maintained cryptographically through ‘keys’ and signatures controlling who can do what within the ledger.” [CALIFORNIA CPA – Oct 16]
- A SO-INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT ISSUE IS SOON HEADED TO THE SUPREME COURT FOR RESOLUTION: ‘Must the Washington Redskins change their name and culture to assuage current liberal political correctness?’ And, despite the fact that over 90% of Native Americans surveyed say they’re not offended, collateral damage looks inevitable. Not waiting for the federal outcome, California passed legislation this month to protect its sensitive population and “ensure that no public school will ever call itself what Washington’s NFL team calls itself.” Now what about: the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians or Browns? The Carolina Panthers “obviously were named to keep the memory of militant Blacks from the 60’s alive and offensive to white folk;” the New York Yankees must offend some Southern folks; couldn’t some Catholics be offended by New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Angels or San Diego Padres? Or anxiety come to some when team names glorify criminals who raped and pillaged – like Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Pittsburgh Pirates; then there are the teams who conceivably promote ‘wrong messages’ to children, like San Diego Chargers (irresponsible fighting or even spending habits?), New York and San Francisco Giants (obesity), Cincinnati Reds (downers, barbiturates) or Milwaukee Brewers.” [INTERNET ANON]
- 2016 FEDERAL TAX FILING DATES HAVE BEEN CHANGED: Independent Contractor 1099-MISC forms are now due by January 31 (same as Employee W-2s); Partnership returns now due by March 15 + six-month available extension; 12/31 Corporation returns now due by April 15 + five-month available extension.