billhelm / Bill K

There are five people in billhelm’s collective.

Huffduffed (36)

  1. Brazil Croatia, 2014: Howler’s World Cup podcast on the tourney opener, the scene in Brazil, and the U.S. national team.

    Listen to Dummy with David Goldblatt, Danny Karbassiyoon, and George Quraishi by clicking the arrow on the audio player below: Subscribe in iTunes ∙ RSS feed ∙ Download ∙ Play in another tab Become a fan of Hang Up and Listen on Facebook here: Each Friday during the World Cup, Slate’s sports podcast Hang Up and…

    —Huffduffed by billhelm

  2. Nerdist Podcast: Alex Trebek « Nerdist

    Before I say anything else, I want to state that I actually did enjoy the Harrison Ford episode quite a bit.

    Now that that’s out of the way, Alex reminds me a lot of Harrison, in terms of tone, general manliness, lives his own life outside of show business, etc. Alex is really elegant, but I kept imagining this as what the Ford episode would’ve been if he hadn’t been so tight-lipped. It felt… redemptive. In any case, it was a great episode!

    —Huffduffed by billhelm

  3. 115: Achieving Empathy for Institutions

    Anil Dash and Jeffrey Zeldman discuss how government, media, and tech shape the world, and how we can influence them in turn. Our first meeting at SXSW in 2002. How selling CMS systems teaches you the dysfunction at media companies and organizations. Working for the music industry at the dawn of Napster. RFP-EZ. The early days of blogging. Designing websites for the government—the procurement problem. If we’re pouring all this time into social media, what do we want to get out of it? How big institutions work and how to have an impact on them. Living in “Joe’s Apartment.” Why, until recently, federal agencies that wanted a blog couldn’t use WordPress or Tumblr and how the State Dept got on Tumblr. Achieving empathy for institutions. Being more thoughtful about what I share and who I amplify on social media. The launch of Thinkup, and a special offer exclusively for Big Web Show listeners.

    —Huffduffed by billhelm

  4. Amazon Prime (73 MB)

    Awesome! I was wondering when you were going to get around to talking about this. With the coming agreement on sales tax, it sure seems like Amazon will start to do same-day delivery in many major metro regions, and this will dramatically change retailing.A few disjoint thoughts on the economics, from a non-Amazon Prime subscriber:It seems to me that when we go to a local store-front hosted store, we're paying a premium for four things:1. Availability and inventory - it's Sunday afternoon and I need a MacGuffin right now to finish the project I'm working on.2. Merchandising - we may very well not have known we wanted something until we saw it there.3. Community - running into people we know, having conversations with neighbors.4. Knowledge - the staff in the hardware store who knows how to fix that thing.One of the problems with big box stores, especially like Home Despot and Lowe's, is that they've abandoned the low-turnover items in order to keep prices low. And trade or more local hardware stores used to subsidize some of the costs of those low-turnover items with the items that moved more (ie: Everything gets a 30% markup, no matter how quickly it turns). With the race to the bottom of the big box stores, cheaper versions of brands that already were sketchy, abandoning the low-turnover but often necessary items, the smaller more focused stores started following along, and now many of those items are special-order.So the down-side to Amazon Prime could be that we're losing the local inventory of the special-order items, the up-side is that with a customer base of a couple of million people covered by the distribution network, what went from in-stock to a 2 week special order will now be a next-day or same-day item.Merchandising will always exist to some extent. People talk about clothing and food as the last hold-outs, but these days I buy my clothing from CostCo, and though I doubt that the grocery section will go away any time soon, I know that at least one neighbor buys most of their processed or prepackaged food from Amazon Prime.Now we get to the harder ones: Community and knowledge. In watching how the downtown of the cute little tourist town I inhabit, I'm amazed and slightly shocked at how the whole space is going to Yoga studios and coffee shops. But, really, that's going towards paying directly for much of what we want from the retail experience: Social spaces. I'll be fascinated to see how this continues to play out, whether we'll reclaim our living rooms again,or whether we'll find other excuses (and other forms for those public spaces, maybe some which are more "pub" like, with smaller rooms for break-out discussions).Finally, on knowledge, as y'all point out, the net is taking this over. But the weird thing about this is that reputation management in search engines is now becoming the source of value, not the knowledge itself. No longer can we assume that the guy in the small local Ace affiliate knows his stuff, and the guy in the big chain hardware store is going to lead you astray, on the Internet, nobody knows if you're a big box blow-hard.What this seems to point to to me is that product directions, not just retailing mechanisms, will bifurcate. On the one hand you'll have the commodity products that Best Buy was trying to sell become ordered from Amazon, on the other hand, you'll have the Apple store model.This will happen in other places: I've become a fan of a fairly expensive line of power tools. Festool keeps a very short leash on its dealers with respect to pricing. That dealers can't compete on price means they compete on other factors, so not only am I buying a product which isn't designed as a "I have to sell cheaper than Black & Decker" tool to move for the homeowner who will only use it twice, I'm buying the service from a dealer who says "yeah, bring that piece you can't cut down to the shop and use my tools for it".The good news is that the agreements that it looks like Amazon is coming to means that towns will get their sales tax back. The bad(?) news is that commercial and retail space will be dramatically changing. I'm not sure what this means for downtowns yet, but I'm guessing that the strip malls and mid-sized stores are going to have some very painful adaptations.

    —Huffduffed by billhelm

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