Wall with Mexico

Recently, a certain GOP presidential candidate has said that the answer to America’s immigration problem is a giant wall on the Mexican-American border. Political consensus and Mexico’s willingness or unwillingness aside for the moment, how much would a wall like this actually cost?

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_____ for President 2016

Oh how things have changed since 2012! Obama is…well, still President. Mitt Romney is back to being an ordinary businessman, give or take a few publicity stunts. Congress back in 2012 had a pathetic 15% approval rating. Now, they’re at a whopping 17.5% !!!

One thing hasn’t changed though. In the year before a presidential election, like, oh, I dunno, this year, politicians with familiarsounding names, governors of obscure states, and self-proclaimed ‘nonpoliticians‘ you’ve never heard of before throw their hats into the ring and begin their presidential campaigns. There are lots of ways to judge a candidate and their merits, but as an experiment in proxy, today, the Idiot Economist will use just one: their official campaign websites.

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#TargetF’dLilly

Target.com, the website for the major US retail company, is down right now. In related news, I am still awake at 3:30 am (atypical of me, even for a weekend night) and my wife is patiently clicking the refresh button on her computer. This current scenario is the result of a poorly-handled product launch, made worse by “quick fixes” and a lack of communication between company and consumer. Let’s break it down into the good, the bad, and the ugly, and see what we can learn from it. Maybe by the end of it all, the site will be back up, and everyone will be happy.

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It’s about Time.

This morning, at 10 am EST, Pebble’s homepage countdown finally finished, and pointed users to a Kickstarter campaign for their latest smartwatch, Pebble Time. Unsurprisingly, they blew through their modest target of $500,000 within 13 minutes. By 24 minutes in, they’d hit $1 million. At the time of this writing, they are at $4,526,809 and not showing any sign of slowing down. But there are a lot of questions – many about the watch itself, but also some important ones about the strategy for Pebble as a business in an increasingly competitive space.

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Windows 10 Free for First Year

In a move that many have repeatedly hoped for, but have been continuously let down about (until now), Microsoft has declared that upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 (and any equivalent Windows Phone OS versions) will be FREE for one year after release.

I imagine that it will continue to be free after the first year, or at least a remarkably reduced price, but the move should prompt users to upgrade as quickly as possible. That means good news for Microsoft, which will definitely be aggressively promoting the adoption rate for it’s new operating system.

Why you WANT the riddles (Interviewing and Being Interviewed)

Recently, a colleague brought the following comic to my attention (from KeluKeluGames):

 

And it seems to be hilariously accurate. Now, I’m not a software developer, but as a product manager, I’m the one who has to tell an engineer the text is off center (the designer is the stickler about the 3 pixels). So it got me thinking, what is the purpose of this process of riddles and trick questions and technical trivia?

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The “What, How, and Why” of the Smartwatch Arms Race

Recently, I re-discovered an old TED talk that happens to be a longtime favorite of mine. It’s by leadership expert Simon Sinek, and is his first TEDx talk, given in 2009. It also happens to be the third most popular video on the TED website. In it, he covers what he deems a fundamental element of leadership, as it relates to advertising and other industries: that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Today, The Idiot Economist explores how this methodology applies to the Smartwatch Arms Race, which has been brewing for some time but has finally come to a head with the announcement of the Apple Watch.

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