Meatless Burgers, Gen Zers, Single-person Household, Plastic Bags

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Meatless burgers are popping up on more fast-food menus, leading to product shortages.

Teens put off getting their licenses and buying cars: About a quarter of 16-year-olds had a driver’s license in 2017, a sharp decline from nearly half in 1983.

J.D. Power estimates that Gen Zers will purchase about 120,000 fewer new vehicles this year compared with millennials in 2004, when they were the new generation of drivers—or 488,198 vehicles versus 607,329 then.

Fatih Birol: How hydrogen can offer a clean energy future: Tapping the most abundant element in the universe holds tantalizing promise.

Consumer firms are catering to single-person households: Upending generations of family-focused marketing; smaller appliances, individual packaging, and giant toilet-paper rolls.

Today, 35.7 million Americans live alone, 28% of households. That is up from 13% of households in 1960 and 23% in 1980, according to the US Census Bureau.

A new trend of delivery-only, 'ghost restaurant' models is likely here to stay 

Did America reach peak automobile in 2006?  Vehicles per person increased by 18.2% from 1984 to 2006 (from 0.665 vehicles to 0.786 vehicles), then decreased by 5.3% by 2012 (to 0.744 vehicles), and then increased by 3.4% by 2017 (to 0.769 vehicles). Vehicles per person has been on a rebound since 2012, but it is still down from 2006 by 2.2%. In comparison, distance driven per person is down by 5.2% from its maximum.

At least 20 electric-centric versions of Detroit under construction in China as the nation goes all-in on a technology projected to sell in record numbers this year. 

Tanzania bans plastic bags: Under new measures, anyone using plastic bags in Tanzania can be slapped with a fine, and those caught manufacturing the items can get jail time.

Brigadoon Radio: Episode 21: Brigadoon Book Report: Blaming China Won't Fix America's Economy

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A recorded conversation between Dr. Mark Stellingworth and Benjamin Shobert.

The conversation explores Ben's first book, Blaming China: It Might Feel Good, but It Won't Fix America's Economy, was published by Potomac.

Ben is a 2x Brigadoon Sundance participant and for Brigadoon Sundance 2019 joined the main stage to lead a discussion on "Blaming China Won't Fix America's Economy."

Ben leads the strategy team at Microsoft's Artificial Intelligence and Research's (AI&R) Healthcare business unit. Before joining Microsoft, he was the founder and managing director of Rubicon Strategy Group, and a consulting firm focused on market access, government affairs, and regulatory analysis work in China and across Southeast Asia. He remains a senior associate at the National Bureau of Asian Research, a Seattle and Washington, DC think tank.

Focus group GIGO

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GIGO = Garbage In, Garbage Out

Learn it. Know it. Live it.

GIGO is the computer science acronym that implies bad input will result in bad output. 

Focus groups tend to lead to GIGO.

As you know, a focus group is a targeted group of consumers who are brought together for an in-depth discussion on a certain topic. Businesses and organizations rely on focus groups to obtain feedback on their products and services or generally provide CYA material when new ideas have been exhausted and taking risks are pushed aside.

Seeing a focus group as garage takes enlightenment.

Most problems don’t require more data. 

Most consumer needs don't require more data.

Most solutions won't be found with more data.

More insight, more innovation, and better eyes are required.

More cross-pollination, more adjacent possible, and better instincts are required.

Seth Godin states, 'It doesn't matter what people say. Watch what they do.

"Surveys that ask your customers about their preferences, their net promoter intent, their media habits–they're essentially useless compared to watching what people actually do when they have a chance."

Steve Jobs gets a lot of credit for his design obsession and commitment to how a product looks and feels. But his greatest accomplishment was the way he designed his business for ongoing success and innovation.

Jobs believed you can change commerce and culture through multiyear planning and execution, not by listening to focus group feedback or copying others' successes.

During a Kara Swisher interview at the 2019 SALT Conference, Scooter Braun made the case you need to trust your gut and dump the data.

Braun is the founder of entertainment and media company SB Projects and represents most notably Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Kanye West, and Usher.

He makes the case that the ability to pivot and take advantage of a situation is most important to success.

Not business plans. Not data. Not focus groups.

He told the audience, "part of being successful is having moments where you are doing the unreasonable thing. Greatness never came from doing the reasonable thing. It is doing the unreasonable thing, the thing that no one else sees."

Braun's industry is awash in data, but at the start, you need to trust your instinct and make a decision to start. 

Most data can only tell what is working and what is successful, not what will work and what will be successful - that's instinct and execution.

In a commercial world where there is so much content and so much choice, many are looking to friends and influencers to curate and guide purchasing.

In a commercial world with no barriers coupled with the cheapness to start a business, more data isn't going to help you.

Getting into the marketplace and engaging customers is going to help you.

- Marc

Marc A. Ross is the founder of Brigadoon and specializes in advocacy communications for global business working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.