Saturday Cup of Joe: a lending and tech(ish) newsletter from Detroit

Saturday Cup of Joe #149.

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Friends & Colleagues,

Week 149. Time flies when you are having fun, unless you are a frog. Then time is fun when you are having flies. This week must have been fun because it flew by. Tuesday March 12th was my wife’s birthday. Though we really celebrated over the weekend by going out to San Morello inside the new Shinola Hotel and then dinner at Wright & Co. with our friends (two of whom were also celebrating birthdays!).

If you come to Detroit, one of the toughest parts will be deciding which restaurants to try. Might as well move here and try them all. Detroit continues to attract technology talent, entrepreneurs and dreamers along side the chefs, creators and cooks.

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On Wednesday, Detroit celebrated. 3/13 is Detroit Day. Our area code is 313 and there you have it. Detour Detroit celebrated with a Detroit inspired playlist.

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Thursday was Pi Day, 3/14, which celebrated one of Detroit’s entrepreneur-author-baker’s Lisa Ludwinski of Sister Pie. Sister Pie is the wonderful, inclusive, delicious bakery everyone should have in their neighborhood but so few do. That is, in part, because the bakery reflects Lisa’s vision and spirit.

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Detroit, MI, USA

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“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” -Walt Disney

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New Trends: During a sermon many years ago, our pastor made a joke. “I read The New York Times and The Bible because I like to know what both sides are up to.” Though not a perfect analogy, if you like to know what “both sides” are up to, this Fast Company tech trends article covers it. One insight from Dave Welsh at KKR has to do with consumer income. Consumers with means will want more authentic, deeper experiences. Tourism won’t just be visiting, it will be immersive. Events. Restaurants. How can experiences be deeper and more authentic? How is your business built for depth and authenticity? Or not? How are you monitoring and responding trends?

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Millennials, ya know?

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Next Belt:

Steve Case, CEO, Revolution (and Cofounder of AOL): On how cities with losing Amazon HQ2 bids may still profit: It would have been great if Amazon chose an unexpected location between the coasts, but I believe the bid for HQ2 has the potential to deliver significant benefits starting in 2019 for the cities that participated, but didn’t take home the prize. The search for Amazon’s second headquarters drove collaboration between universities, economic development groups, civic leaders, and startup ecosystem builders. Those efforts could likely prove catalytic for these cities, helping to build the next thriving startup community that might — just might — launch the next Amazon. Next year, look for cities to repurpose what they built to lure Amazon to help their own cities rise.

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@Simpatico nice coffee

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Find your battle and be willing to wage it. And be willing to wage it. This idea or the kernel of the idea came up several times this week. (You see more of the thing you measure, right?) The kernel is that identifying the battle or having an idea is not enough. Acting on the idea. Waging the battle. That’s the value. That’s the magic. If you have an idea, you have nothing…until you take the first action, the first step. Then it’s in the world. It’s on its way.

Do you know your battle? Are you waging it? Why or why not?

First, know your battle.

Second, wage it.

This week start waging if you are not; fan the flame if you are.

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The Fruit Belt in Buffalo highlights the power of technology to influence identity and spark activism. This article on Medium.com made me think about how much power otherwise “neutral” platforms can have. Google Maps updated the name of a neighborhood from “Fruit Belt” to “Medical Park” and erased a meaningful reference to Buffalo’s diverse history. “…the misnomer also revealed a great deal about the invisible process major tech firms use to put neighborhoods on their maps — and how decisions based off arcane data sets can affect communities thousands of miles away.”

Turns out the source of the change was traced to a data broker, Pitney Bowes, that supplies geographic data to many apps leveraging maps. Once the source changes the name, for whatever reason, it pushes out to apps like Google, Bing, Redfin and Uber.

Here, a change that reminded long time residents of Buffalo just how overlooked they are showcases the power of placemaking. To me, the power of place — name, look, history, feel, character — is inspirational. One thing I love about Detroit is that it makes me feel special. Many of my friends have told me the same about New York City. Or Los Angeles. My message to millennials looking for their place in the work is the same — find the place that makes you feel special.

When someone or something moves in and takes that away or tries to remove you from the place you feel special, it’s that much more painful. The socio-economic pressures of change magnify the perceived attack on identity that come along with those changes.

“We’ve historically tended to self-identify our communities,” says Aaron Krolikowski, a Buffalo-based geographer and data scientist who sees risks in the ripples of centralized data. “If suddenly we become disconnected from that process, I think there’s a lot of questions that emerge about the ability of a community to determine its future, in some cases.”

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Strategy & Innovation

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Functional end to homelessness in 3 US Cities. Community Solutions and Built for Zero have committed to ending homelessness across America. Quicken Loans has partnered with both to participate in this ambitious goal. According to Fast Company, Abilene, Texas, Bergen County, New Jersey and Montgomery County, Maryland, have succeeded in harnessing data and applying solutions, Built for Zero has been able to target the exact population. Real change, real impact is a slow and steady work.

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“People are busy.” — Marc Andreessen

Listening to Brian Koppelman’s podcast The Moment this week with guest Marc Andreessen was a clinic for entrepreneurs and creative people alike. Marc and Brian articulated the struggles associated with creating something that only you can see. As a leader or founder, how do you balance vision and hallucination? When you think about cutting through the noise to recruit & retain talented team members or attracting investors or perhaps most importantly customers, how do you approach it?

Marc points out, rightly, that people are busy. People are not going around looking for the next great idea. People are just living. It is up to us to get our solutions in front of them. To be the champion for our idea, our business.

This week be the champion for your business.

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1 million Facebook logins. 3.8 million Google searches. 18 million texts. And so much more. In just one minute on the Internet. Here’s the link and here’s the chart:

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Lori Lewis

So much time is available to all of us, apparently. I’ve had the interesting experience recently of monitoring my screen time. Each Sunday night I get a report of how much I was on my phone. Simply measuring it now makes me conscious of it. In fact, I got a sense of accomplishment when it was down 21% a few weeks ago. Of course that’s offset by the weeks, like last week, when it was up 20%. How much of your Internet time is captured in the above graphic? Is it working for you? Do you find yourself regretting time on any particular app?

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Almost Spring in Detroit

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Today’s Thought: Today to Everyone. Today to Goal. Today to ?. The everyone here is a reference to who believes they deserve opportunity? In Detroit, the people who believe they deserve opportunity today is less than (some might say, far less than) everyone. Today represents the number of people who believe in themselves, who see opportunity. Everyone is the goal. Today to Everyone.

What’s your goal? Articulate it.

Today to _______.

What’s your goal?

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Quote: “Contempt is the weapon of the weak and a defense against one’s own despised and unwanted feelings.” -Alice Miller

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Bonus content: What would you do if you arrived for a business meeting and found everyone at the company asleep? Would you join in? These Chinese company takes nap time very seriously and apparently Americans are the ones who might be missing out. Be warned though, this article gets deep — “Whatever the answer, our moral judgments about sleep run deep and flow to the surface, where we live.”

Continued success and continue to answer well,

Written by

Thinker, curious leader, once an attorney…always trying to answer well.

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