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High Lantern Group Notebook | May 2014

1. Better Left Unread

Did you miss the World Bank’s report on global purchasing parities? Didn’t link to the study on Latin American land reform? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Thanks to an astonishingly candid report by the Bank itself, we can now be sure that hardly anyone downloads the hundreds of reports they publish each year:

Over 30% of the 1,611 policy reports published from 2008 to 2012 were never downloaded. As each report costs an average of $180,000 in terms of researchers’ time and other expenses, a ballpark estimate of the amount of money spent researching and writing reports that did not merit a single download is $93 million. In addition, 87% of the reports went un-cited.

2. Don’t Do Q&A on Twitter

Yet more evidence that business leaders should avoid Twitter Q&As. For some reason, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell agreed to take questions about the draft with the hashtag #AskCommish. Mayhem followed:

#AskCommish is there anyone anywhere more out of touch and incompetent than you?

Why can’t you listen to 10 renowned Sports Economists and accept the fact that the Blackout Rule is archaic & worthless? #AskCommish

#AskCommish why are you trying to make the NFL as stale as McDonald’s night shift fries?

Do you feel guilty profiting off of breast cancer, or nah? #AskCommish

3. A Starbucks on Every Corner?

Quartz has published an exhaustive analysis of Starbucks locations around the world. Full of maps, graphics, and easy statistics that demonstrate global business growth and concentration:

Shanghai has 256 Starbucks, the most of any Chinese city. But the city with the most Starbucks in the world is Seoul. The South Korean capital has 284 locations, seven more locations than New York City’s 277…It is possible to travel from Boston to New York City to Philadelphia without ever being more than 10 miles (16.1 km) from a Starbucks. The trip could continue to Baltimore, Washington, then Richmond, Virginia by only leaving the 10-mile radius of a Starbucks twice.

4. Real Time Analysis

At McSweeney’s, Marco Kaye offers this brilliant interpretation of “corporate time equivalents.” Small sample from his long, flawless list:

“Just a sec” = 5 minutes

“Quick chat” = 48 minutes

“Cool little project” = 6 endless months

“Wonderful opportunity” = 8 months

“Interesting opportunity” = 2 years

5. The Instagram PR Machine

New York Magazine outlines why Instagram has become the most effective tool for celebrity and near-celebrity PR. Written, quite possibly, completely tongue-in-cheek:

As the news cycle speeds up and the public becomes increasingly jaded about traditional PR, Instagram has emerged as a go-to space for celebrities…Instagram PR is the ultimate tool for pseudo-intimate fan management: It emphasizes the celebrity’s direct connection with her fans (illusion) without forcing her to reveal any facts (reality). It feels more genuine than a press release, but still allows for meticulous image control. 

6. Quick Meal, Deep Thoughts

The Los Angeles Review of Books offers this very high-concept review of the “Cultivating Thought” project undertaken by Chipotle. On its cups and take-out bags, the quick-Mex chain has taken to publishing very short, original works by famous authors. The project is absurd, and the review is biting and hilarious:

Malcolm Gladwell, “Two-Minute Barn Raising”: It is impressive that the Gladwellian house style of infuriatingly lazy reasoning can manifest itself in full on a Chipotle cup…Let us hope that the many Gladwell cups that are bound to be hurled in a rage across Chipotle dining rooms all over this great nation will have at least been emptied first.


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