🐤 The fall of a giant

Philips was once an industry-leading tech company --- but these missteps caused a swift downfall.

Tuesday | March 14th, 2023
Early Chirp
Together With Expedia Vacation Traveling

Happy Tuesday, chirpers! We’re getting deeper into another workweek and if you’re starting to get burned out or bored with the status quo, try to find a way to liven things up a bit.

The age of remote work has allowed a growing number of people to keep their jobs while moving virtually anywhere they choose. These globetrotters often enjoy a lower cost of living while getting some exposure to different cultures.

It’s not an option for everyone, but you might consider it a reminder to think of your daily routine to enjoy the wonders this world has to offer.

-Chris Agee

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*Market data for this issue is from March 13th, 2023 at 5:51pm EST

🏦 Markets: President Joe Biden joined regulators in assuring customers of failed Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank that their deposits would be safe, but that wasn’t enough to protect the industry from some serious stock declines on Monday. A number of institutions, including First Republic, saw trading of their stocks halted amid massive drops.

The news got a bit better over the course of the day, however, and many of those losses were recovered. The Dow Jones and S&P 500 both closed down a fraction of a percent and the Nasdaq saw some modest gains.


The Breakdown

A quick look around the world.

The Breakdown Giphy

🐔 Playing chicken: Popular fast-food chain Chick-fil-A is betting big on its plans to expand its international footprint. Recent reports indicate that it will be investing roughly $1 billion to establish restaurants across Europe and Asia. It’s already got about 2,700 restaurants across the United States with some brand recognition in Canada and Puerto Rico — but beyond that, its chicken sandwiches and waffle fries haven’t really caught on. In 1996, the company launched locations in South Africa, but they were all gone by 2001. Chick-fil-A also opened restaurants in the United Kingdom but pulled out as backlash grew against its support for certain social causes.

📸 Zooming in: Smartphone cameras have clearly gotten a lot better in recent years, but Samsung’s claims about the capabilities of its “100x Space Zoom” feature are leading some critics to call BS. The tech company has released incredibly crisp photos of the moon that a recent Reddit thread dismantled as misleading. In reality, Samsung is using artificial intelligence to enhance images taken with the Galaxy S20 Ultra. While the company hasn’t denied the use of this technology, some people think it amounts to false advertising since users are led to believe that the resulting images are being captured entirely by the phone’s camera. Here’s how Samsung describes the process: “The actual photo will typically be higher quality than the camera preview. This is due to the additional AI-based multi-image processing that occurs as the photo is captured.” You’ll have to decide for yourself whether you think that’s a big advancement or a marketing gimmick.

🐋 A whale of a tale: Actor Brendan Fraser has been out of the limelight for a while when he staged a comeback in last year’s “The Whale,” for which he won Best Actor at Sunday’s Oscars. After starring in some goofy comedies in the ‘90s, he took a more dramatic turn with roles in movies like “The Mummy” and “Gods and Monsters.” After some personal trials, he earned critical praise for his portrayal of a morbidly obese teacher. Upon accepting his award, Fraser was clearly emotional, declaring: “This has been incredibly rewarding and affirming, and it’s given me a lesson in humility and gratitude.”

🏀 The bare minimum: There’s been some debate within NBA circles recently regarding how many games pro players should be expected to play in the league’s 82-game regular season. Some folks said players with multimillion-dollar contracts seemed to be missing a lot of the action on the court. On the other hand, the game is known to result in some serious injuries from time to time, and no one wants superstars to make things even worse by playing through the pain. Now, the league and the National Basketball Players Association are engaged in negotiations expected to establish a minimum number of games that players must appear in before being considered for postseason awards. As it stands, having stats entered into the leaderboard for most categories requires playing in 58 regular-season games.

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Together With Expedia

Why You Should Let Expedia Unlock Your Next Vacation’s Full Potential

Take advantage of an easy-to-use platform for flights, hotels, and experiences.

Why You Should Let Expedia Unlock Your Next Vacation’s Full Potential

As much fun as it is to travel, all of the planning, booking, and coordinating that comes first might make you reconsider your dream getaway. But don’t call off your trip just yet, because Expedia is here to help!

You might be familiar with the name, but if you haven’t actually used Expedia, you probably don’t know all it has to offer. So, let’s take a look at what has made this site the world’s leading resource for booking everything from flights and hotels to car rentals and excursions:

  • Expedia understands: These folks know that it can be a pain to put together all the details necessary to create a memorable vacation, so they make it easy to do it all in one place.
  • Expedia is flexible: They also realize that things come up and plans change, so after you book your next trip, you can easily alter the dates or cancel completely if necessary.
  • Expedia saves: We’re all looking for ways to cut expenses these days, and with Expedia’s exclusive discounts and unbeatable deals on flights and hotels, traveling doesn’t have to break the bank.

But what if you’re not sure what to do when you arrive at your destination? As it turns out, Expedia can help with that, too. Whether you’re in the mood for a relaxing holiday, an action-packed adventure, or an enlightening tour of a new city, you can plan out the perfect itinerary without ever leaving Expedia’s easy-to-navigate platform.

With endless options and the web’s best deals at your fingertips, there’s no reason to put off planning your dream trip today. Expedia offers something for everyone, and as countless satisfied users will tell you: There’s simply no better way to travel.

What are you looking for in your next vacation?


Chronicling The Spectacular Collapse Of A Once-Revered Electronics Brand

A cautionary tale about losing sight of what makes you great.

Chronicling The Spectacular Collapse Of A Once-Revered Electronics Brand Photo by Patrik Stollarz/Getty Images

When a company that has been around since the 1800s and popularized many of the 20th century’s most coveted consumer electronics fades into obscurity, there are some lessons we all can learn.

The Philips legacy

For most of human history, if you wanted to hear music you’d have to listen to the performers in person. In the last century or so, that has changed with the introduction of various forms of media storage — and you have Philips to thank.

Now, Europe’s last remaining major electronics brand is withering away as its stock value plummets almost as fast as its relevance. So what happened? A few former employees and insiders shed some light on the situation.

Losing sight of the vision

Whereas Philips was long known for its pivotal role in developing high-tech tools like the light bulb, radio, compact disc, DVD, and semiconductor, it has ceded ground to other companies in recent years.

Not too long ago, it was the world’s third-largest electronics company — but in 2010, CEO Elwin de Valk announced that it was “no longer a high-tech company.”

The same company that once invited Albert Einstein to speak to its engineers had all but forsaken investments in research and development by the time the 20th century came to an end.

Ignoring new ideas

Even after helping usher in the digital age during the 1980s, it seemed to remain stubbornly stuck in the past as the world continued to advance. One former employee recalled someone suggesting the notion of creating a portable MP3 player before other companies had entered the segment — but he “was laughed out of the room, mostly because he didn’t have a Ph.D.

The same individual noted that the company provided so-called “idea boxes” throughout the company, but they never seemed to get emptied.

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Here’s Why You Might Be Making Your Own Shoes Pretty Soon

3-D printing has been reshaping the footwear industry for years.

Here’s Why You Might Be Making Your Own Shoes Pretty Soon Giphy

It might seem counterintuitive for one of the world’s biggest shoe manufacturers to enthusiastically welcome a world in which people make their own shoes — but that’s exactly what Nike has been doing.

That future is on track to become a reality, and former Nike COO Eric Sprunk has become a leader in this emerging sector of the market.

Building on years of research

3D printers have been around for a while now, and Nike recognized the potential impact that this development might have on its business model. Instead of rejecting innovation, the company decided to embrace it.

There have been a few intriguing 3D-printed prototypes released in recent years — and Sprunk long ago predicted it would only become more prevalent. Here’s what he had to say at a 2015 tech event:

“Do I envision a future where we might still own the file from an [intellectual property] perspective, and you can manufacture that either in your home or we’ll do it for you at our store? Oh yeah, that’s not that far away.”

Branching out beyond Nike

Sprunk wasn’t only excited about the potential for 3D-printed Nikes. He’s among the former Nike execs who have gone on to invest in Hilos, a startup company that specializes in this nascent industry.

Not only is it a cool idea that can lead to some interesting and highly individualized designs, but Hilos says it’s also much better for the planet than traditional manufacturing methods.

“We developed a new way to make shoes so that the moment a customer buys, or someone walks off out of the store with something, we make and resupply that product within 72 hours,” explained CEO Elias Stahl. “We’re now fulfilling at the speed as if something was made in advance and sitting in a distribution center.”

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work life

Younger Workers Try To Spot These ‘Red Flags’ When Job Hunting

This guide might help you prioritize a healthy work-life balance.

Younger Workers Try To Spot These ‘Red Flags’ When Job Hunting Giphy

In previous generations, spending countless hours at work in order to get ahead was often the price that professionals were willing to pay. Generation Z, on the other hand, has countered that “workaholic” lifestyle by prioritizing a healthier work-life balance.

Of course, not all employers have come around to this new way of looking at work — and young adults are starting to share some of the signs that taking a prospective job might not be worth the emotional toll.

Instead of directly asking about whether work-life balance is a priority (which some folks think could doom an otherwise promising job interview), here are some of the “red flags” that Gen Z job hunters have identified:

  • Disproportionately small teams: While it’s clearly a bad sign if an employer gives one person a huge task load, it’s not much better if ambitious ventures are split up among members of a very small team. You might want to ask a hiring manager about what types of projects are ongoing and how many people are working on them.
  • No time for outside pursuits: In too many workplaces, employees are expected to not only put in long hours in the office but also remain available even during supposed downtime. Inquiring about what employees like to do for fun might give you some idea of how much manager value providing time to rest, relax, and pursue non-work interests.
  • Keeping expectations under wraps: If a manager isn’t willing to provide some clear goals and metrics for achieving them, it might be a sign that the goalposts will keep moving after the job starts. The best response to a question on this topic will include transparency regarding how success is measured — and anything less could be a big warning sign.
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Early Chirp

Written by Chris Agee

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