IS THE MALL A DYING CONCEPT?

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Much has been written recently about the perilous position brick and mortar retail is in.  Yet, it still commands about 9 out of every ten shopping dollars. So, what is the future of stores versus on-line shopping and, in particular, are malls a wave of the past?  We also look at the well documented struggles of large retailers like Sears.  You’re ‘in store’ for an honest and wide-ranging discussion of the future of retail.  Wayne D’Amico, CCIM, and executive vice president corporate development and strategic relations for XCELIGENT joins us.  And Tom Hill III, CCIM, adds much to the conversation.

IS AMERICA’S INFRASTRUCTURE CRUMBLING?

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During the 2016 campaign, then candidate, Donald Trump, made a clear and convincing case that our nation’s infrastructure was crumbling.  From his vantage point in New York City, he saw a Penn Station terminal at its breaking point, a LaGuardia Airport which looks ‘third world’ and highways that defy conventional movement, strewn with potholes and the signs of stress and overcapacity everywhere.  Is this the case throughout the nation?  To find out, we turn to Thomas W. Smith III, executive director of the American Society of Civil Engineers.  His organization does a report card annually on the nation’s roads, bridges, water systems, rail, waste treatment and more. You may be shocked by what you hear.

WILL FUTURE POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS LOOK LIKE 2016 OR…

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Is there any going back to the norms and conventions of political campaigns prior to 2016 when just about every rule was broken?  Will we accept conventional candidates or look for the outsider?  Will political advertising, relegated to a bit role, re-emerge as a powerful force?  Will social media techniques take hold from here?  We’re all wondering. John LeBoutillier, former Congressman and Fox News ‘Political Insider’ has been thinking about this and shares his conclusions.

WHAT’S ‘THE PATH’ THAT HARVARD STUDENTS ARE ON?

Michael Puett is the ‘it’ professor at Harvard University these days.  His ability to take Chinese philosophy, centuries back, and distill it into a guidepost for the students of the 21st century has created an incredible stir on campus–and off.  So how does Chinese thought translate into better ways to approach life today?  Why, you might ask, is this part of an Americatrendspodcast series?  Think about it, if this course is having the impact we believe on Harvard students, and if they(as have been the case for so many years)become the business and government leaders of the future, then it stands to reason that this thought process will be incorporated into the future of America.  Make sense?  Give it a listen.

CAN PUTIN CARRY OUT HIS “MASTER PLAN”?

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His name is on the lips of every American these days–Vladimir Putin.  How has he reclaimed the international spotlight as the leader of a country that by most objective measures has barely functioning economy?  His bravura, unusual methods for attacking political systems and military adventurism which results in few casualties or critics are key elements in his rise to a position where CNN calls him ‘the most powerful man in the world’.  So, what is ‘Putin’s Master Plan’? The o-author of a book of the same name, Evan Roth Smith, looks ahead on Putin’s chessboard to tell us what we can expect.

IS THE POWER GRID ON ITS LAST LEGS?

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Is one of the greatest technological achievements of the 20th century about to show itself not to be up to the task in the 21st?  I’m speaking of the electrical grid and its many quirks.  While it’s given us incredible reliability–99.7%–more frequent outages demonstrates it may not be up to the task of handling new energies sources, like wind, solar and the like, with their variability.  Gretchen Bakke, author of ‘the Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future” has remarkable insights to share.

WHAT’S HAPPENING TO MAKE THE HILLS CRY?

In his now stunning best seller, J.D. Vance, ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ author and former resident of what he considers a hillbilly culture provides a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis–that of poor, white Americans.  While the disintegration of this group has been reported on before, it has never been written about with more passion and insight.  What will social, regional and class decline mean to America going forward?

WHAT KILLS MORE AMERICANS–CANCER OR LONELINESS?

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If you believe the U.S. Surgeon General, social isolation is a greater factor in the early demise of Americans than cancer, diabetes or obesity.  How did we all start ‘Bowling Alone’?
That book by Robert Putnam years back gave us the first insight into this trend.  And Billy Baker’s writing in ‘The Boston Globe’ recently points to the profound impact this is having, particularly on men of a certain age.  Try to listen with a friend…of something other than the Facebook variety.

HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR BABY’S GENETIC INHERITANCE?

 

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It’s becoming a more relevant question by the day as we are able to unlock the genetic code one person at a time.  But, how much do you really want to know and what will you do with the information?  Bonnie Rochman, author of ‘The Gene Machine’, answers all of the questions we thought you would ask as it relates to how genetic technology is changing the way we have kids–and the kids we’re having.  There are many ethical questions raised in all of this and practical ones, too.  You’ll come a long way in better understanding the topic in just 30 minutes.

WHAT IS THE JOB MY PRODUCT HAS BEEN DESIGNED TO DO FOR YOU!?

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The business professor and consultant, Clayton Christensen, first coined the term ‘disruptive innovation’ and now extends that concept to frame the theory of ‘jobs to be done’ to describe a product and its benefit to customers.  Karen Dillon, a protégé, and co-author his latest book, ‘Competing Against Luck’ describes in this podcast.