Boris Johnson, MBAs, Ronald Reagan, Bernie Sanders, Versace, Ford

Marc Ross Daily May.png

What I am watching today = June 5, 2019

Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

Boris Johnson, MBAs, Ronald Reagan, Bernie Sanders, Versace, Ford


✔️ "Britain is the club that Trump desperately wants to join"

✔️ People spend more time on mobile devices than TV

✔️ Trump tries to upend the 2020 map

✔️ Cuba cruise ban

✔️ First FedEx, now Ford. China clamps down on US companies


Focus group GIGO

Focus groups tend to lead to GIGO.

As you know, a focus group is a targeted group of consumers who are brought together for an in-depth discussion on a certain topic. Businesses and organizations rely on focus groups to obtain feedback on their products and services or generally provide CYA material when new ideas have been exhausted and taking risks are pushed aside.

Seeing a focus group as garage takes enlightenment.

Most problems don’t require more data. 

Most consumer needs don't require more data.

Most solutions won't be found with more data.

More insight, more innovation, and better eyes are required.

More cross-pollination, more adjacent possible, and better instincts are required.

Read the full post - here.



Tories set to debate rules for leadership election: FT report, Boris Johnson joins race as MPs seek to prevent too many candidates from standing.

Conservatives set out an accelerated procedure for selecting a new leader that will see a prime minister in place by July 26. 

The Times: Moderates back Boris Johnson to be next prime minister

PM favorite Johnson must broaden appeal to win any UK election
: pollster: Reuters reports, Boris Johnson, frontrunner to replace Prime Minister Theresa May, cannot win a general election without broadening his appeal to floating voters who instinctively distrust him, Conservative polling specialist Robert Hayward said on Wednesday.

David Ignatius: Britain is the club that Trump resents but desperately wants to join

"Britain is the club that Trump desperately wants to join but simultaneously resents. He’s the “America First” populist who this week exalted in being received by British royalty."

Greece calls on Germany to negotiate reparations: DW reports, the Greek government says it has asked Germany to enter negotiations regarding Athens' claim for reparations from the two world wars. Germany hasn't been willing to reopen talks, saying the issue was settled long ago.

Ebola cases in DR Congo top 2,000: DW reports, the daily number of new Ebola cases has tripled in recent months, according to aid organizations. Local distrust and armed groups have hampered a response to the world's second-largest Ebola epidemic.

ABC (AUS): China's power over Asia-Pacific rising partly due to Donald Trump, Lowy's Asia Power Index says

Nikkei: China's power catching up to that of US, Asia ranking shows

Lowy's Asia Power Index reveals Washington's fading predominance in the region.

The index tracks shifts in the distribution of power over 25 countries.

Global wealth and power are shifting eastwards. 

In parallel, we are moving from an open and consensual international order to one defined more by competition and zero sum politics.

Five big takeaways from the 2019 Asia Power Index:

1. The United States remains the pre-eminent power but has become a net underachiever in 2019

2. The biggest challenger to China’s rise is not the United States but itself

3. Japan has become the leader of the liberal order in Asia, while India will not be the next China

4. North Korea’s high-stakes power game pays off in 2019 but is far from complete

5. Malaysia, Vietnam and New Zealand are the most improved middle powers after North Korea. Australia’s power is flat while Taiwan’s is down

Martin Wolf: The looming 100-year US-China conflict: Donald Trump’s unnecessary fight for domination is increasingly being framed as a zero-sum game.

Canada - China: China's Ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye called national security concerns over Huawei "baseless," saying Canada needs to decide for itself whether to include the tech giant in its 5G network.

World Bank  + Global Economic Prospects: The organization revised growth forecasts downward for the world and Japan for this year as a tit-for-tat tariff war between the United States and China has led to slowing trade and investment. In its semiannual Global Economic Prospects report, the Washington-based institution estimated global growth at 2.6 percent, down 0.3 percentage point from its estimate in January, and Japan’s growth at 0.8 percent, down 0.1 point.

McKinsey Global Institute: Globalization’s next chapter: Globalization isn’t in retreat, but it has morphed into a very different phenomenon, increasingly powered by trade in services and by intraregional trade.

Murray Brewster: 75 years after D-Day, has the old alliance fallen apart? The united front that cracked open Fortress Europe isn't what it used to be.

"The likelihood of an all-out and prolonged conventional war with mass mobilization of people and industry is, however, unlikely in the nuclear age. In modern total war, our role is largely passive. We can stay at home and watch the missiles coming in on our TVs." -- Marc Milner, director of the Gregg Centre for the Study of War at the University of New Brunswick.

"Great power wars have been the stuff of history for thousands of years, and seven decades without [a] great power war is an exception." -- Graham Allison

James Steinberg: Trump, sumo and the limits of strategic flattery: Abe buys time with adulation of US president but fails to win support for Japan's real interests.


WSJ: More universities shut down traditional MBA programs as popularity wanes

Applications to full-time MBA programs have been falling in the strong job market, leading business schools to shift resources online.

LAT: People spend more time on mobile devices than TV, firm says

"In the United States, adults will spend an average of 3 hours and 43 minutes each day on their smartphones, feature phones and tablets this year, eight more minutes than they’ll spend watching TV, according to a forecast released Wednesday by research firm eMarketer."

The backlash to plastic has oil companies worried: Bloomberg reports, the global crackdown on plastic trash threatens to take a big chunk out of demand growth just as oil companies like Saudi Aramco sink billions into plastic and chemicals assets. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, BP Plc, Total SA and Exxon Mobil Corp. are all ramping up investments in the sector.

WP: Fewer kids are riding and buying bicycles, and the industry is worried

"The number of children ages 6 to 17 who rode bicycles regularly — more than 25 times a year — decreased by more than a million from 2014 to 2018, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. That includes both casual rides around the neighborhood and more serious cycling for fitness or competition."


OTD: In 2004 Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the US, died at his home in California, at the age of 93.

Mexican officials to meet Pence in last-ditch talks: Reuters reports, Mexican officials will seek to persuade the White House in talks hosted by Vice President Pence that their government has done enough to stem immigration and avoid looming tariffs.

Trump is sailing in uncharted legal waters with rationale for imposing tariffs on Mexico: WP reports, the president’s vow to slap Mexico with escalating tariffs unless it stems the flow of migrants across the southern border is premised on a law that has never been used either as a tool of immigration policy or tariffs.

Senate Republicans warn White House against Mexico tariffs: NYT reports, in a contentious meeting, senators told senior White House officials that they opposed plans to impose tariffs on Mexican imports. Hours earlier, President Trump said that lawmakers would be “foolish” if they tried to stop him.

@ChadPergram: Romney on tariffs and Mexico: “The President is presenting tariffs as a way to capture their attention. He appears to have done that..I think it’s going to get resolved between the two parties”

Trump warned on Twitter that he’s not “bluffing” in his threat to impose 5% tariffs on goods from Mexico, even as opposition to the move grows among Republican lawmakers. 

Farmer sentiment collapsing as financial conditions continue to decline: The Ag Economy Barometer, an agricultural producer sentiment measure based upon a nationwide mid-month survey of 400 US agricultural producers, dropped again in May. The May barometer reading of 101 was 14 points lower than a month earlier and was the lowest barometer reading since October 2016. 

Detroit News: Biden, Sanders other Democrats lead Trump in Michigan poll

"Both former Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware and US Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont showed 12-point margins over the first-term Republican incumbent in a Glengariff Group public opinion survey of 600 likely voters released to The Detroit News and WDIV-TV (Local 4). Three other Democrats included in the poll were preferred over Trump by less substantial margins."

Trump tries to upend the 2020 map: Politico reports, the president's reelection campaign is making moves to expand his reelection path beyond three treacherous Rust Belt states.

Trump officials are zeroing in on New Mexico, Nevada, and New Hampshire, where they insist there’s an opening despite heavy losses Republicans suffered there in the midterms.

Axios scoop: Trump to hit Biden as globalist

"Expect them to begin asking questions like: What specifically will Biden do with China? Will he lift President Trump's tariffs? How does Biden defend his past advocacy for NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership?"

Meet the GOP operatives who aim to smear the 2020 Democrats — but keep bungling it: WP reports, it matters little whether Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl's claims are proved — they hardly ever are. But in an era when notions about truth and fiction have been upended, it's now a more dangerous game.

Reuters: Democrat O'Rourke unveils voting rights plan to get 35 million more to the polls

Brigadoon Workshop: Capturing Press Attention: On Thursday, June 27 make plans to attend Brigadoon Workshop | Capturing Press Attention = developing press contacts, speaking with the media, and creating content that is newsworthy. Book your spot - here.


Mirror, a New York-based firm that offers at-home fitness classes via a smart mirror, is closing a $36 million round, reports TechCrunch; the funding values the company at $300 million.

KedaiSayur or “vegetable kiosk” in Bahasa – is an Indonesian agritech startup that uses technology to modernize street vendors selling fresh produce. Vendors can book their orders via an app and KedaiSayur aggregates them to negotiate better pricing to the suppliers than they would otherwise get as small sellers.

Renault said it is going to take more time to weigh a merger proposal from Fiat Chrysler that would create the world’s third-largest automaker by production.

Toyota says Trump's proposal to slap tariffs on Mexican-made goods could cost its major suppliers $1 billion.

Cuba cruise ban: The Trump administration has halted a popular form of travel to Cuba, banning cruise travel from US ports to the island nation in an attempt to stop cash flow to its communist government.

First FedEx, now Ford. China clamps down on US companies: Bloomberg reports, China fined Ford Motor Co.’s main joint venture in the country for antitrust violations, marking the latest action toward a U.S. company as tensions between the two nations escalate. Changan Ford Automobile Co. will be fined 162.8 million yuan ($23.6 million) for restricting retailers’ sale prices in the southwestern city of Chongqing since 2013, according to a statement on the State Administration for Market Regulation’s website. The fine amount is equivalent to 4% of Changan Ford’s annual sales in Chongqing.

FYI = Ford sells more cars in China than in North America.

Lionel Laurent: Apple, Facebook, and Google have lost the monopoly argument: Even the Americans have woken up to the need to stop Big Tech snapping up any promising rivals. But big fines are more likely than breakups.

Bloomberg: Versace plans to open dozens of stores a year to meet $2 billion goal

Capri Holdings wants 300 locations by 2022, up from 188.

Does the world want that much Versace?

Does the world need that much Versace?

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.