F.B. International’s Weekend Digest is an easy-to-read breakdown of what we’re reading and highlighting from the past week.
More from this week’s theme: Digital Transformation in Manufacturing–The Fourth Industrial Revolution
What our team is reading this week:
Each week, the team at F.B. chooses an article to share. These are not necessarily related to international business, but are some “good-reads” we think you may enjoy.
Fabrice Bonvoisin, President
In today’s world, every aspect of our life has been impacted by the amazing development of technology and digitalization. From Healthcare to artificial intelligence, even to communication and education, we have to make choices between the “old way” and the “new way.” This trend caught my attention when I heard about Gibson Guitars filing for bankruptcy protection in May 2018. As an amateur guitarist, I am quite familiar with the big names like Fender, Gibson, Martin, Taylor or even Guild and Ibanez. But when the news came, it took me a while to realize that the brand, originally from Kalamazoo, MI, is now in trouble. Some articles explained that the company grew too big and had made bad investments. However, when I saw this 2017 interview of George Gruhn, owner of Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, TN, in the Washington Post I started to understand. The title was “Why my guitar gently weeps: The slow, secret death of the six-string electric. And why you should care.” (www.washingtonpost.com/…/2017/lifestyle
Guitars have been around for centuries, but I can see the changes in who is playing and where. In this article, George Gruhn explains well that in the 50’s and 60’s many iconic artists had a guitar. Owning a guitar was a way to look and be like them. Elvis was quite famous with his C. F. Martin D45 (picture below). This article about guitar branding explains the social phenomena very well (www.stealingshare/…/guitar-branding). Today, I hear the names of Bonamassa, Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift but never at the same level as for the older artists. When I go to Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music (https://www.oldtownschool.org/), I see this change too. Most of the people I see there are from my age-group: middle-aged and older. We socialize the same way and talk almost about the same artists too. We prefer jamming together to being online listening to music or playing multi-players games. Our son got his Fender at age 7. He went through a few months of guitar lessons, and then it was not cool anymore. Smartphones and Xbox were more fun, and easier. Good or bad is not the point. While I do respect both options, I feel sad to read articles stating that “Nobody wants an electric guitar anymore” (www.qz.com/electric-guitars-prove-it).
We are living in an era in which the way we socialize is being dramatically challenged. Personal/impersonal, analog/digital, in the end it is all about finding the medium that makes us, individually, comfortable with connecting with others. Personally, I prefer using a guitar as an excuse to jam with friends and have a good time. Our son prefers to have the same good time online, playing with his “friends” on his Xbox. Similarly, some people prefer to watch a movie on TV at home when others still go to the movie theater, or some business people prefer to negotiate a deal over the phone while other still do dinners. What is your style?
C. F. Martin Museum, Nazareth, PA
Ruby Blau, Marketing Associate
I do not own a personal voice assistant like Google Home or Amazon Echo’s Alexa. I do, however, own a pair of Apple AirPods–and I am not alone: in the first half of this year AirPods “captured 24 percent of all wireless earphone sales.” My father, who will be turning 75 in a few days, has been somewhat reluctantly wearing hearing aids for the past couple of years. And what if these three technologies were rolled into a single “hearable?”
This article chronicles the story of Doppler–the now defunct company that garnered interest from Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft–on the future of “hearables” and the technology we might have in our ears in the near future.
Image from Fast Company
Balint Homonnai Varga, Assistant Project Coordinator
I have been listening to Dave Chang’s podcast, The Dave Chang Show. He is a brilliant man: a chef and restaurateur as well as a public figure. He is the founder of Momofuku restaurant group, which is comprised of multiple restaurants around the world. He is not only extremely successful as a professional, but he also has an amazing podcast, on which he is discussing a mixture of brilliant topics with an interesting bunch of guests. Examples of guests include filmmaker Rian Johnson, and ultimate free-rider David Choe. The length of each episode varies based on topic and intensity of discussion. I can only recommend this podcast.
Image from The Ringer
Link to show: https://www.theringer.com/the-dave-chang-show
Events you may be interested in next week:
- September 11th: Export 101 and New Technologies You Should Know. Workshop, sponsored by the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center at the Center for Entrepreneurship, College of DuPage, will give you the basic understanding of how exporting works, including e-commerce. 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Center for Entrepreneurship, College of DuPage, 2525 Cabot Drive, Lisle, IL. No charge; advance registration required. For information & registration, please see: https://bit.ly/2wAipL9
- September 11th: IERG Networking Mixer. Event, sponsored by the International Executive Resources Group – executives who have held significant leadership roles outside of their home countries – provides an opportunity to network with others from a wide variety of professional backgrounds who share an interest in global business opportunities. 5:30 – 8:00 p.m., O’Briens Riverwalk Cafe, 45 Chicago Riverwalk (between North Wabash Avenue & North Michigan Avenue bridges). No charge; cash bar. For information & registration, please see: https://bit.ly/2NndqXK
- September 12th: Follow Your Gut. Breakfast program sponsored by Women Entrepreneurs Grow Global and Bank of America. Presentation by Julie Smolyansky, President & CEO, Lifeway Foods, who will discuss: How global factors influence company values and mission; Why we should empower women entrepreneurs around the world; How to channel inspiration from travel experiences into marketing initiatives. 8:30 – 11:30 a.m., Bank of America Merrill Lynch, 135 South LaSalle Street, 44th Floor, Chicago. Fee: $40 (Student – $20). For information & registration, please see: https://bit.ly/2wNus6U
Next week’s theme: Accessible Tech
Image from The New York Times
Next week we’ll be discussing Accessible Technology: how innovations and advancements in technology can improve the daily lives of differently abled people, while often appealing to the market at-large. Make sure to follow us on Twitter
and LinkedIn to see these posts.
Ruby is the Marketing Associate for FB International LLC. Ruby focuses on supporting the marketing, social media, and business development efforts of FB International’s clients.
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