It’s Monday: A great start to the week everybody and welcome new readers, including John, Brian, Doug, Nicki, Lorraine and Wendy. It’s Cyber Monday, a term coined in 2007 by National Retail Federation staffer Ellen Davis in – what else? – a press release promoting retail sales.
Big deal: It’s often said that 70 percent of the U.S. economy is consumer spending, but that’s deceiving. If you’re looking for real consumerism – that is, the unabashed buying of retail goods – the percentage is only half that. It’s still a big number: U.S. Gross Domestic Product is around $18 trillion, meaning retail spending totals $6.3 trillion annually.
That’s still not the figure we’re looking for here, because the retail total includes things like auto sales and repairs, restaurant and bar tabs and trips to the hardware store. Scrub those and you’re down to about $3 trillion of honest to goodness shopping, the buying of clothes and furniture, books and electronics and Play All Day Elmos.
Analysts expect U.S. consumers to spend $3 billion of that online today, up 12 percent over last year.
Perspective: That’s one-tenth of 1 percent of total retail spending.
Or: About the cost of a single B-3, the Air Force’s new long range bomber.
(The Pentagon, of course, never pays retail.)
Beach, blanket, bingo! John Cornwell, corporate sales manager for Competition Automotive Group, spends his spare time tinkering with his design for a tread-powered beach-stuff delivery vehicle that will go from here to eternity. Patent in hand, he may be ready for a full-force landing.
ICYMI: The Bioscience Hub at Stony Brook University has added a pair of deeply CVed bioentrepreneurs in residence, spinoffs to follow. Also, a look inside ALA Scientific Instruments and the state’s response to the State of Islam.
Clicked in: Top click-throughs from last week’s newsletter include Pat Foye giving notice at the Port Authority, rental space startup Breather, which wants to give you one, and Mitch Maiman’s coffee-focused primer on the Internet of Things.
About our sponsor: Sahn Ward Coschignano is committed to providing the highest quality legal representation, counsel and advice. They are dedicated to applying its expertise to achieve client’s goals. The firm’s attorneys are well respected and have broad experience from their legal backgrounds, their dedication to community and to the legal profession and civic service.The billion’s working: Employment in the Buffalo-Niagara region is at a 25-year high.
From the SBA: Five things you need to know about projecting startup profits. (No. 1 should be: Don’t do it.)
And away we go: The MTA is trotting out vintage subway cars and buses on Sundays in December. The Shoppers Special subway – complete with rattan seats and ceiling fans – runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the 6th Avenue Line. Buses include a 1949 GM model like the one piloted by Jackie Gleason in The Honeymooners. They run, in good weather only, on the 42nd Street crosstown route.
Actually, it is personal: New York Business Divorce, the breezy biz breakup blog written by Farrell Fritz partner Peter Mahler, has been named one of the nation’s 100 best by the ABA Journal. Mahler has penned hundreds of items on sibling rivalries, partner backstabbing and the other merriments common to his specialty, including recent looks at feuding pizzeria founders and a bitter row between the third-generation owners of an electrical parts company.
Bad news: Almost 80 percent of consumers use a smartphone for shopping, according to a new Deloitte survey. The good news: 60 percent of them are getting directions to a brick-and-mortar store.
Another plug: The Students of Long Island Maker Expo, better known as SLIME, has put out the call for anyone interested in helping promote the best of local K-12 innovation at the coming May 7 event. You should.
Just an expression: Apple has acquired Faceshift, a Zurich company with software that captures facial movements and grafts them onto digital avatars in near real-time. The tech was used in making Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
On the make: Having ditched naked models, Playboy has launched a merchandising effort called Playboy Makers that, so far, offers 167 items, including pillows hand-stitched by Brooklyn’s Alexandra Ferguson. Playboy-branded stuff generated $1.5 billion in global sales last year, yielding about $65 million for Hefner & Co.
Stuff we’re going to: ACIT salutes local tech entrepreneurs, Dec. 9, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Crest Hollow Country Club, Andrew Hazen keynotes, Kominicki MCs, honoring ADDAPT, Astoria Bank, Teq, Cold Spring Harbor Lab and Innovator of the Year winner Steven Patrikis, $160 for nonmembers. Reach out to Bonnie Seider at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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BELOW THE FOLD
True fact: Bowhead whales live for 200 years or more, meaning there are some alive today that were born before Moby Dick was written.
Trouble sleeping? You can hear the full book read aloud here.
Hole lot of ideas: Why are the buttons on women’s blouses on the left side? Theories abound, Smithsonian Magazine reports, including one that Napoleon wanted to make it harder for his paramours to get dressed.
Draft aged: George Washington’s recipe for low-alcohol “small” beer, scrawled in a diary during his days as a Virginia militia colonel in the mid-1700s, is in the New York Public Library.
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Compiled by John Kominicki during the first half of the Giants game, which did not require full attention. Thanks for reading.