Juan Guaido, Bob Iger, Theresa May, Terry Gou, Tiger Woods

MRD July.png

What I am watching today = April 15, 2019

Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 


✔️ We have reached the end of the Franco-German love-in

✔️ How to win friends and influence algorithms

✔️ Goldman economists say Trump re-election more likely than not

✔️ Tiger’s Masters victory is a $22 million win for Nike

✔️ Solskjær hatches a plan for Camp Nou


Being counted doesn't always count.

"Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts." -- Albert Einstein

The world is inundated with data.

But yet Hollywood can't guarantee a hit.

The outcome of the Stanley Cup can't be confirmed.

The future UK PM officeholder can't be verified.

And the next chef to beat Bobby Flay can't be affirmed.

Still, we love data.

"Do a survey. Do a focus group. Do a study."

Do more data.

I don't think the magic is in more data.

Data should not be about trying to use the information to prove a theory, but to see what the numbers are actually telling us and to inform us what we might be missing - especially since the mind likes to trick us.

You see, our brains are wired to remember and overvalue the vivid and the shocking. Our brains are wired to remember events that actually happened and not events that could happen.

So often we comfort ourselves in data to gain a better understanding and some guidance, but the data often falls short.

In their book, Why Everything You Know About Soccer is Wrong, authors Chris Anderson and David Sally concluded that soccer is basically a 50/50 game. Half is luck, and half is skill.

With this conclusion, the authors determined there are two routes to soccer glory. One is being good. The other is being lucky. You need both to win a championship. But you only need one to win a game.

Disney CEO Bob Iger used a similar conclusion this week.

With the announcement of his company's over the top Disney+ streaming service, Iger is going where his customers are going. One where customers can customize their viewing experience and seamlessly view Mickey and Minnie on numerous devices.

No survey, no focus group, and no study needed to know this is a good move for Disney.

Disney has a customer experience that is visceral and multigenerational. A customer experience that is deep and broad. A customer experience forged with skill.

But Iger knows Disney needs more than skill to win the future.

As Iger told CNBC, if you measure the future against the present, the present doesn't stay the present for very long. Today's marketplace has never been more dynamic.

You can't measure what is happening today. You need to measure what you think will happen in the future - that and harness a little luck.

The reasons many of us don't innovate is the data and the information being used is shaped by a current business model and what has gotten us to our current status.

Data which is based on the present and data which is not of the future.

So be mindful of having too much data as a means to confirm what you want the outcome to be.

Plus don't be afraid of harnessing a little bit of luck.


Marc A. Ross is the founder of Caracal Global and specializes in thought leader strategy for executives and entrepreneurs working at the intersection of globalization and politics.


IMF meetings: The Spring IMF/World Bank meetings ended at the weekend with an air of cautious optimism. While the IMF did cut its forecast for growth, the risk of a recession remains low. 

World Bank urges financial inclusion as growth falters in Europe and Central Asia: DW reports, the economic outlook for the 23 countries that make up the World Bank's Europe and Central Asia unit is gloomy. To improve things, the unit's chief economist Asli Demirguc-Kunt suggests a push for financial inclusion.

Juan Guaido: Why China should switch sides in Venezuela: Our country will be a source of prosperity that fulfills its commitments and ensures security to investors, pledges its interim president. 

Julian Assange: The president of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, has told the Guardian that Julian Assange repeatedly violated his asylum conditions and tried to use the Ecuadorian embassy in London as a “center for spying” during his seven-year stay there, which ended with his expulsion and arrest by UK police on Thursday.

Duterte heeds pressure to confront China as midterms approach in the Philippines: LAT reports, a year after joking about his country becoming a province of China and professing his “love” for Chinese President Xi Jinping, Duterte is heeding pressure at home to confront Beijing. The Philippine strongman known for his bluster employed his toughest language in years against China this month when he told the country to stay away from the Philippine-held island of Thitu or face the prospect of suicide attacks.

“I will not plead or beg, but I am just telling you [to] lay off the Pag-Asa because I have soldiers there. If you touch that, that’s a different story. I can tell my soldiers, ‘Prepare for suicide missions,’ ” Duterte said in a recent speech.

Moon chases inter-Korean summit to save Trump-Kim nuclear talks: WSJ reports, South Korea’s president said he would push for another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as he seeks to rejuvenate a diplomatic process that has stalled over the question of how to dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons.

FT: Lighthizer faces crunch time as US-China trade talks near finish

“I think he will deliver a deal, but the question is whether it will, to put it nicely, pass the ‘straight-face’ test,” said one former senior trade official. “Trump will say whatever they sign is the greatest thing ever, but the jury is still out on whether this will be a real, substantial deal that people take seriously.” 

US waters down demand China ax subsidies in push for trade deal - sources: Reuters reports, US negotiators have tempered demands that China curb industrial subsidies as a condition for a trade deal after strong resistance from Beijing, according to two sources briefed on discussions, marking a retreat on a core U.S. objective for the trade talks.

Bloomberg: China to consider US request to shift tariffs on farm goods

Trump looking to sell deal as win for farmers.

Anjani Trivedi: China's secret weapon in the electric car race: Local automakers are hoarding the country’s “new-energy vehicle” credits, giving them leverage when renegotiating joint ventures with western rivals. 

FBI bars some China scholars from visiting US over spying fears: NYT reports, the FBI has mounted a counterintelligence operation that aims to bar Chinese academics from the United States if they are suspected of having links to Chinese intelligence agencies. As many as 30 Chinese professors in the social sciences, heads of academic institutes, and experts who help explain government policies have had their visas to the United States canceled in the past year, or put on administrative review, according to Chinese academics and their American counterparts.

On rare Taiwan visit, US official urges 5G investment screening: Nikkei reports, Washington seeks tough enforcement to curb Beijing's distorting market practices. David Meale, deputy assistant secretary for trade policy and negotiations at the U.S. State Department, recently addressed the American Institute in Taiwan on 5G.

German regulator says Huawei can stay in 5G race: FT reports, agency defies US call for ban on Chinese group provided it abides by data secrecy rules.

FT: US warns of Huawei’s growing influence over eastern Europe

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo begins diplomatic push to curb China’s ambitions in region.

Bloomberg: Huawei has skirted outright bans in Europe. But not 5G regulations

EU member states approve contentious copyright reform
: DW reports, EU member states have given final approval for copyright reforms ensuring artists and news publishers get their due in the internet era. The proposed reforms have triggered Europe-wide protests over internet freedom.

EU countries back starting trade talks with United States: Reuters reports, European Union countries gave final clearance on Monday to start formal trade talks with the United States after months of delay due to French resistance.

Wolfgang Munchau: We have reached the end of the Franco-German love-in: The interests of the two countries and their leaders are diverging.

Last week’s European Council was dominated by Brexit. But it may be remembered for the visible cracks in the Franco-German relationship.

France and Germany do not disagree on the principle of European political integration, but they are at loggerheads on the most important details. We are headed into a period in which the interests of the two countries and their leaders are diverging. These will be difficult years for the EU.

Macron to set out fix for 'yellow vest' anger: AFP reports, President Emmanuel Macron was to set out a series of major policy announcements Monday in response to five months of nationwide "yellow vest" protests, in what has been billed as a make-or-break moment for his presidency.

Leadership rivals urge May to stay for months: The Times reports, Cabinet rivals to succeed Theresa May are backing the prime minister to stay in office into the autumn if she fails to get her Brexit deal through parliament. 

Guardian: Sisi could rule Egypt until 2030 under constitutional changes

MPs to vote on granting president control over the judiciary and boosting military power. 


Making babies in the year 2045: Huge pools of health data collected over the past generation allow you to pick many of your child’s genetic traits. Are you comfortable with that? https://nyti.ms/2KEswaU

How to win friends and influence algorithms: From YouTube to Instagram, what you see in your feeds isn’t really up to you—it’s all chosen by invisible, inscrutable bots. Here’s how to take back at least some control. https://on.wsj.com/2UXDah4


US 5G: Trump has ruled out using the US government to roll out 5G networks, a plan promoted by some in his administration as a way of beating China in the race to superfast internet. Trump said on Friday he wanted private companies to take the lead on building 5G in the US, dealing a blow to those in his own party who had championed the use of the public sector to help do it more quickly and cheaply.

Democrats want Stephen Miller to testify on immigration policy: WP reports, House Democrats are sharpening their focus on the White House immigration adviser, saying Miller should answer questions about an administration plan to release undocumented immigrants into “sanctuary cities” represented by critics of the president.

Pete Buttigieg launches his official 2020 presidential bid in South Bend.

Molly Roberts: How Pete Buttigieg stole Beto O’Rourke’s mojo: Buttigieg-mania isn’t really a thing, and that’s not only because it’s a mouthful: It’s because Buttigieg is appealing not for being larger than life, but for being regular-sized. That’s refreshing in an era where, as Buttigieg himself pointed out, one nominee in the last presidential election put “I’m with her” on campaign buttons and the other was Trump.

Trump 2020: His campaign raised more than $30 million in the first quarter.

Goldman economists say Trump re-election more likely than not: Bloomberg reports, Trump enjoys a “narrow advantage” over rival candidates heading into the 2020 election given the outlook for the US economy, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Incumbent presidents carry a 5 to 6 percentage-point edge over rival candidates in the popular vote and Goldman Sachs’s economic forecast also leans in favor of Trump, although that is partly offset by his negative approval rating, economists Alec Phillips and Blake Taylor wrote in a report released late on Saturday.

“The advantage of first-term incumbency and the relatively strong economic performance ahead of the presidential election suggest that President Trump is more likely to win a second term than the eventual Democratic candidate is to defeat him,” said Phillips and Blake. 


Bloomberg: Mercedes goes for offroad looks on compact SUV in China

Waste Management 
is buying competitor Advanced Disposal Services for around $2.9 billion.

Charley Grant: Tesla can’t stop dreaming big: Elon Musk’s ambitions to turn Tesla into a dominant automobile player have become a liability instead of an asset.

American Airlines cancels summer flights as Boeing 737 Max fears persist.

Foxconn Technology Group + India + iPhone: Chairman Terry Gou said the iPhone will go into mass production in India this year, a shift for the largest assembler of Apple Inc.’s handsets that has long concentrated production in China.

Bloomberg: Tiger’s Masters victory is a $22 million win for Nike


Tiger Woods shot a 2-under 70 on Sunday to win the Masters by one shot to secure his 15th major title.

The win comes exactly two years since Woods told friends, “I’m done,” before a fourth back surgery resolved a spinal problem that had left him barely able to walk.

Today: The Boston Marathon takes place.

OTD: In 1989 96 football fans were crushed to death at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield at the start of the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

Hillsborough 30 years on: Victims' families continue fight for justice: DW reports, Monday marks the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. The worst stadium tragedy in British history and its aftermath still haunts English football, with a recent twist in legal proceedings adding to the saga.

Champions League - Quarterfinals - Round 2:

Ajax v Juventus (Aggregate 1-1) - Tuesday @ 3:00 pm ET
Barcelona v Manchester United (Aggregate 1-0) - Tuesday @ 3:00 pm ET

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City (Aggregate 1-0) - Wednesday @ 3:00 pm ET
Liverpool v Porto (Aggregate 2-0) - Wednesday @ 3:00 pm ET

Solskjær hatches a plan for Camp Nou: Ole Gunnar Solskjær believes that in Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, Manchester United have an attack that can overturn the 1-0 deficit to Barcelona in their Champions League quarter‑final second leg on Tuesday. 

Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.


Marc Ross

Based in Washington, DC, I specialize in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

Clients hire me to ghostwrite, engage influencer networks, manage media relations, produce events, audit their communications infrastructure, consult on hiring, provide issue briefs and news generating talking points, as well as manage end to end communications projects where I assume a role of project leader and general contractor.

I work independently but provided access to a substantial global network of collaborators with expertise in websites, graphic design, audio, video, polling, data analytics, and research.

Using the latest tactics of an American political campaign with expertise shaped by being a practitioner of global business communications, I help clients tell their story and build trusted relationships with all necessary stakeholders.

Successful communications are all about STOCK = strategy, tactics, organization, consistency, and know-how.