Topley’s Top 10 – January 03, 2022

1. Semiconductor Index -SOX is now trading at 7.9 times estimated next 12 months sales—more than double its historical 10-year average.

 

SOX +200% from Covid lows

www.stockcharts.com

By

Connor Smith

https://www.barrons.com/articles/cheap-chip-stocks-global-shortage-51640299331?mod=past_editions


3. Cathie Wood’s ARKK vs. S&P Chart

This chart is comparing ARKK ETF to S&P Index…..See straight down sell-off starting Feb 21

www.stockcharts.com


4. Emerging Market Internet ETF Cut in Half from Highs.

We have been showing KWEB China Internet ETF….Emerging Market Internet ETF -50%

www.stockcharts.com


5. Most Up Days Since 1945…

Bespsoke Investment Group–With this year’s 56%+ winning percentage, the last three years rank as just the second time since 1945 that the S&P 500 was up on more than 55% of all trading days for three straight years.  The only other similar streak was from 2004 to 2006 (55.56%, 55.95%, and 55.78%), but during that streak, not one of the three years was as consistent to the upside as any of the last three years.  Outside of one of the most tumultuous five weeks in history back in early 2020, for most of the last three years, the market has been on cruise control.  Hopefully, it doesn’t run into any speed traps in 2022.

https://www.bespokepremium.com/interactive/posts/think-big-blog/bespokes-morning-lineup-12-31-21-like-shooting-fish-in-a-barrel-sort-of


6. Only One 5% Pullback in 2021….S&P Averages 3 Per Year

LPL Research

Every Month in 2021 was a New High

https://Iplresearch.com/2021/12/29/charts-of-the-year/


 

7. Walmart 25% of Click and Pick Up at Store Model

CNBC-Click and collect — also called buy online, pick up in store — is now a key sales driver for pandemic-era retailers to deliver a safe, fast way to buy goods and limit person-to-person interactions. Consumers order groceries, sweatpants, lightbulbs, etc., online and then pick up their purchases in the parking lot or at a designated store counter.

Melissa Repko@MELISSA_REPKO

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/30/walmart-drew-one-in-four-dollars-on-click-and-collect-market-researcher.html


8. Huge Spike in Home Equity…Families De-levered After 2008…Now the Home Price Spike.

Ben Carlson A Wealth of Common Sense Just look at the spike in home equity:

https://awealthofcommonsense.com/2021/12/my-favorite-charts-of-2021/


9. Be on the lookout for these fitness trends in 2022

Steve Dorfman

Palm Beach Post

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From how, where — and even when — we exercise to how we manage our stress and diet, COVID-19 and its multiple variants have necessitated we all make adaptations in our fitness and wellness routines.

But as we’ve also learned, the fitness industry is ever evolving to meet the needs of those of us determined to stay in shape in this brave new world.

So, as we embark on Year 3 of a global pandemic, let’s take a quick look at what experts believe will be some of the most prominent fitness trends in 2022.

Quality over quantity 

There’s an old weight-training mantra that applies here: “Don’t count the reps — make the reps count.”

Now that so many people are working remotely full- or part-time, gone are the days when they had to set aside a one- or two-hour block of time to exercise.

Instead, two or three brisk five- to 15-minute sessions that have some component of endurance, strength-training, mobility and/or flexibility can add up over the day to really improve one’s fitness.

And really any activity — gardening, walking up and down the stairs with groceries, working around the house, etc. — can qualify as exercise if you do it vigorously enough.

A 2016 study in England found that a brisk 10-minute workout with just one minute of high-intensity training had the equivalent benefits of 45 minutes of steady cycling.

“I’m a huge fan of short workouts,” health and fitness coach Ariel Belgrave recently said on NBC’s “Today.” “A mantra I live by is ‘a workout is better than no workout. It’s not about how long you exercise, it’s about how hard you exercise.”

Hybrid gym memberships and smart home gyms 

After gyms closed at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, we all missed going to them. But then many of us began to realize that there were other ways and places to exercise — namely, outdoors and/or in our own homes with virtual personal trainers.

And now that we’ve been exposed to these options, they’re not likely to go away anytime soon.

As fitness and retail analyst Randy Konik told CNBC, “People are going to realize they can work out at a gym three days a week, and then three or four days a week just do something at the house. It’s all about convenience.”

Indeed, that’s certainly why Belgrave told “Today” that hybrid gym memberships are on the rise as “many brick-and-mortar gyms are already finding that members have a preference for a hybrid experience of being able to attend classes in person and virtually.”

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In terms of mixing both the in-person and virtual experience, Konik noted “what’s likely going to happen is demand for gyms will accelerate pretty dramatically but demand for [at-home] fitness equipment is likely to stay somewhat strong.”

And when folks do spend that money on at-home exercise equipment — be it yoga mats, adjustable dumbbells, resistance bands, jump ropes or more expensive machines like those from Peloton and NordicTrack — they’re making an investment in their own self-care, according to personal trainer Brady Dougherty.

As she told NBC’s TMRW, “The pandemic shined a light on how important it is to prioritize our health,” she said. “I think purchasing fitness equipment is another way to invest in our health just like we would go to an annual physical or get a massage.”

Wearable wellness technology 

Fitness trackers have been around for awhile but they’re now exponentially more advanced.

James Shapiro, a sports performance coach at Sports Academy, recently told Bustle, “Whichever wearable tech you’re into, you’ve probably noticed updated versions this year that have included more information on your resting heart rate, heart rate variability, skin temperature, alerts if there’s an irregular heart rate, activity detection, and respiratory rate, just to name a few. Expect more people being interested in these metrics for more wellness monitoring rather than just logging in your calories from a recent workout.”

‘Gamification’ for a new generation of gymgoers

As the oldest members of Generation Z enter early adulthood and, presumably, purchase gym memberships, they’ll bring their sensibilities to the fitness world.

And experts believe that means they’ll want more activities that are fun and bring them joy.

Colette Dang is a personal trainer and owner of a New York City fitness studio that specializes in beat-based trampoline cardio and sculpting workouts with a digital platform. As she told Bustle, “As younger generations start to engage with the fitness industry and explore what wellness means to them, there is going to be a big shift to an intuitive movement and workout approach,” she says. “There will be less pressure on changing the body and using fitness as punishment in lieu of approaching a workout as a form of joy, grounding, and mental stability.”

A holistic approach 

Many of today’s fitness influencers on social media are trying to get their followers to embrace the beauty in their own bodies and enjoy their fitness journeys rather than simply making their goal losing weight or transforming how they look.

Cassey Ho is a fitness influencer and creator of the Blogilates lifestyle space on Instagram. She recently told The Zoe Report, “If you’re too focused on the vanity of fitness (getting a bigger butt, a six pack, or thinner thighs) the experience becomes hollow. From personal experience, [I can say that] focusing too hard on physical achievements only can lead to body dysmorphia. It becomes a much more meaningful journey when you can shift your focus to finding the joy in your workout and finding the joy in making your healthy meals.”

In other words, forget the “no pain no gain” fitness mantra that baby boomers learned in the 1980s-90s.

Pursuing your fitness goals should be fun — and nourish your mind and soul as much as it does your body.


10. Do Less But Better

Farnam Street Tiny Thought

Do less but do better.

Any energy that goes into what doesn’t matter comes at the expense of what does.

With a little extra time, you can raise the standard from good enough to great.

Narrow the focus. Raise the standard. And set yourself apart.

https://fs.blog/newsletter/

Topley’s Top 10 – December 29, 2021

1. Gold vs. Bitcoin

Excellent Full Read from State Street

https://www.ssga.com/us/en/intermediary/etfs/insights/gold-versus-bitcoin-not-apples-to-apples?WT.mc_id=social_etf-wgc_gold-web_us_lkdin_img_n_n_n_nov21launch&spi=61956d36e1e8207b28fe9c4a

2. Crypto 2021 Best Performers…Bitcoin Last

Irrelevant Investor Blog

https://theirrelevantinvestor.com/2021/12/24/how-to-learn-about-crypto/

3. Over 340 US startups became unicorns in a record-breaking 2021.

340+ companies with $1B valuation in U.S. 2021

https://theworldstockmarkets.com/index.php/2021/09/03/unicorns-of-tomorrow-zilingo-mobile-premier-league-rebel-foods-are-top-3/

4. Electric Vehicles are Good for Car Industry Jobs….10 Year Increase in Jobs.

Blomberg- I highlighted how electric vehicles are now 10% of global passenger vehicle sales, up from 0.002% at the start of 2010. It’s a dramatic ramp-up in sales, with major implications for the millions of people working for motor vehicle dealers and parts suppliers (2 million of whom are in the U.S. alone). By

Nathaniel Bullard

+Follow

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-12-23/ten-year-end-charts-part-2?srnd=premium&sref=GGda9y2L

5. All ARKK Innovation Fund Outperformance Gone vs. QQQ

Zerohedge

https://cms.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/shed.png?itok=0RJnfYTr

6. Latest Covid Surge Topping End of 2020 Numbers

Barrons

https://www.barrons.com

7. Large Caps Beat Mid/Small Again 2021

WSJ-By Justin Baer

8. Botox sales erupt with younger patients

Bob Herman AXIOS

Jared Whalen/Axios

Botox sales have never been higher.

The big picture: The pandemic drastically reduced the number of people getting cosmetic skin treatments. But the rollout of the COVID vaccines and a larger, younger crowd willing to try Botox injections have led to swelling demand in dermatology offices and medical spas.

By the numbers: U.S. sales of Botox — just the cosmetic version that is used to smooth out face wrinkles and not the version that is used to treat conditions like migraines and neck spasms — surpassed $1 billion in the first nine months of 2021, compared with $600 million in the first nine months of 2020.

  • The revenue jump stems from “brand investment and strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to financial filings from AbbVie, which bought the company that makes Botox in 2020.
  • China is the second-biggest Botox market after the U.S., driving total international sales to $579 million in the first nine months of this year.

What they’re saying: “At this point, we’re not seeing [growth] driven by pent-up demand as much as just fundamental demand,” Carrie Strom, a senior vice president at AbbVie who oversees the company’s cosmetic drugs, said at an investment bank conference this month.

  • Patients getting Botox are now younger on average. “And by younger I mean closer to 40 versus 50,” Strom said.
  • Influencers promoting Botox and other cosmetic procedures on TikTok and Instagram and new Botox ads also have attracted and retained more people.

Follow the money: AbbVie charges $622 for a 100-unit vial of cosmetic Botox.

  • Dermatologists and plastic surgeons then charge $15-$20 on average per unit — the forehead, glabella and crow’s feet each require a certain number of Botox units — with the average procedure costing $466.
  • The huge demand is driving sales, but AbbVie suggested higher prices are coming because of the ubiquitous brand power and because inflation is giving the company cover: “We command a clear leadership position. And along with that comes premium pricing,” Strom said at the conference. “Our customers can also command that premium pricing when they’re treating their patients.”

What to watch: Whether the Omicron variant leads to more people deferring non-urgent care again.

https://www.axios.com/botox-sales-pandemic-younger-7c5c2520-2418-40a4-a8a7-7df2dcae6d9d.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_content=health-botox

9. Regions with Greatest Drops in Housing Affordability.

Marketwatch-This Sun Belt city has seen the U.S.’s sharpest decline in housing affordability over the past year By Jacob Passy

Affordability has dropped to the lowest level since 2008 nationwide, amid rising interest rates and home prices

Looking for an affordable housing market? You may not find it in the Sun Belt anymore.

Title insurance company First American FAF, -0.24% released the latest edition of its monthly Real House Price Index, which gauges housing affordability nationwide.

As opposed to other home-price indexes that only look at changes to nominal prices, First American’s index put home-price fluctuations in context alongside changes in interest rates and household income.

‘The challenge for home buyers in 2022 will mirror 2020 and 2021.’

— Mark Fleming, First American’s chief economist

The latest index showed that housing affordability had fallen to the lowest level since 2008 in October, largely due to a rise in mortgage rates.

Across the markets that First American studies, Phoenix experienced the greatest decline in housing affordability. Buying a home there is now nearly 34% less affordable than it would have been a year ago.

“Robust investor activity and strong net in-migration to Phoenix has fueled soaring demand for homes against a limited supply of homes for sale,” Mark Fleming, First American’s chief economist, wrote in the report.

Here are the five markets that witnessed the greatest decline in housing affordability over the past year, as of October:

  1. Phoenix (33.7%)
  2. Charlotte, N.C. (32.3%)
  3. Tampa, Fla. (30.9%)
  4. Jacksonville, Fla. (29.3%)
  5. Memphis, Tenn. (27.5%)

“Higher mortgage rates decrease affordability equally in each market as mortgage rates are generally similar across the country,” Fleming added. “However, household income growth and nominal house prices vary by market, creating the market-level variance in affordability.”

At the other end of the spectrum, the markets where housing affordability worsened the least were a mix of Midwestern locales (Milwaukee, Chicago and Minneapolis) and pricey coastal cities (Boston and Washington, D.C.).

Looking to 2022, buyers shouldn’t expect much relief when it comes to rising housing costs. Mortgage rates are expected to increase, though most economists expect them to remain below 4%. Yet a limited supply of homes for sale will ensure fierce competition and continued home-price growth.

“The challenge for home buyers in 2022 will mirror 2020 and 2021 — you can’t buy what’s not for sale even if you can afford to,” Fleming wrote.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-city-is-where-housing-affordability-worsened-the-most-and-its-not-in-california-11640690905?mod=home-page

10. 8 Signs to Immediately Recognize Someone With the Gift of Leadership

In ‘Servant Leadership in Action,’ best-selling author Raj Sisodia details the rare qualities of great leaders.

 

BY MARCEL SCHWANTES, FOUNDER AND CHIEF HUMAN OFFICER, LEADERSHIP FROM THE CORE@MARCELSCHWANTES

In Servant Leadership in Action, a collection of essays from 44 renowned servant leadership experts, Raj Sisodia, co-founder of the Conscious Capitalism movement and best-selling author, details the qualities of great leaders using the fitting acronym “Selfless”:

  • Strength
  • Enthusiasm
  • Love
  • Flexibility
  • Long-term orientation
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Systems intelligence
  • Spiritual intelligence

Sisodia says the Selfless approach to “conscious leadership” reflects a blend of mature masculine and mature feminine qualities. He writes, “Too many leaders today manifest only immature hypermasculine qualities such as domination, aggression, hypercompetitiveness, winning at all costs, etc. They view every leadership challenge through the lens of war — a mindset that is at best win-lose, and usually lose-lose.”

Without further ado, here’s how Sisodia defines each letter of the acronym.

Strength

The strength of conscious leaders is resolute and unshakable in standing up to those who get in the way of their convictions. They are confident without being arrogant, and “draw on the strengths of their teams without depleting the power of those teams.” Strength, writes Sisodia, is exercised as “power with, not power over, those they seek to lead.”

Enthusiasm

Because of their commitment to moral authority, integrity, and a higher purpose, conscious leaders generate great energy and enthusiasm, not to be confused with the social traits of extroverted and gregarious people. “When you’re aligned with your purpose, you can’t help but be enthusiastic,” writes Sisodia. “That is hard to fake if you don’t have it.”

Love

The opposite of love is fear, and when fear permeates an organization, it stifles creativity and innovation. Love here is actionable and noble: creating psychological safety, connecting with employees, and caring for their well-being, and not just managing their work performance.

Flexibility

Leaders must be agile, adaptable, open, and able to switch modes and make swift changes while taking into consideration all the moving parts of the business. Sisodia offers up a great metaphor: “Conscious leaders are like golfers with a full set of clubs; they know how to select and implement the right approach for each situation.”

Long-Term Orientation

This is leading with an eye toward the future, beyond your tenure with the company, and even beyond even your lifetime. Conscious leaders gauge success by what happens to their businesses after they’re long gone. They ensure that the business will continue to operate wth the high principles and purpose it was founded on, a century from now.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a force to be reckoned with when it shows up with self-awareness (understanding oneself) and empathy (the ability to feel and understand what others are feeling) in day-to-day interactions and decision-making. Research, however, paints a different picture. “The higher the position in the organization, the lower the level of EQ, with the CEO typically having the lowest level,” writes Sisodia.

Systems Intelligence

Systems intelligence is thinking systemically about how each part of the business interrelates within the context of the larger organization. Conscious leaders “understand the roots of problems and how the problems relate to organizational design and culture,” writes Sisodia.

Spiritual Intelligence

This is the moral intelligence with which conscious leaders access their deeper meanings, values, purposes and higher motivations. It’s where the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and right from left, comes from. It’s discerning at our core when things are beginning to go off track from our intended purpose. From this intelligence, we exercise our goodness, truth, beauty, and compassion.

https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/8-signs-to-immediately-recognize-someone-with-gift-of-true-leadership.html?cid=sf01003

Topley’s Top 10 – December 28, 2021

1.The Market Can’t Keep Rising Because of National Debt.

Charlie B–Stock market ignores debt


2.Second Most All-Time Highs in S&P Ever.

From Cal THomas The Weekly Chart Storm

All-Time Highs:  Not quite a new ATH in ATH’s but pretty close to it — the year 2021 is in second place at an updated 68 new All-Time-Highs.

Source:  @drtimedwards

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/weekly-sp500-chartstorm-26-december-2021-callum-thomas/?trk=eml-email_series_follow_newsletter_01-hero-1-title_link&midToken=AQFjhnSMpoKQvw&fromEmail=fromEmail&ut=2kcMsQJEVseG41


3.Strongest Increase in 17 Years for Retail Sales.

US retail sales up 8.5 percent this holiday season

US consumers were in the mood to spend this holiday season, with retail sales soaring 8.5 percent over last year, a study released Sunday showed.

Online sales were up 11 percent and in-store sales up 8.1 percent between November 1 and Christmas Eve, according to the Mastercard SpendingPulse study.

The increase, which was the strongest in 17 years, does not reflect automobile sales.

“Consumers splurged throughout the season,” said Steve Sadove, senior advisor for Mastercard and former CEO of Saks Incorporated.

The boom saw “apparel and department stores experiencing strong growth as shoppers sought to put their best dressed foot forward,” he said.

Americans flocked to clothing, which experienced a 47.3 percent increase in sales year-to-year as well as jewelry, with a 32 percent increase.

The period included several weeks before the Omicron Covid-19 variant spread widely in the United States.

Department store sales were up 21.2 percent, while electronic products experienced 16.2 percent growth.

“It’s been a resurgent season for retailers as consumers stocked their carts with gifts and gadgets,” Mastercard said.

The study also indicated that US households made their purchases earlier than in years past, including to lock in “guaranteed by Christmas” delivery.

vmt/bfm/leg

https://news.yahoo.com/us-retail-sales-8-5-013714626.html

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RSXFS


4.China Update

China Large Cap-Nowhere for 5 Years

China small cap -27% correction

China Internet Stocks break all support now below Covid lows -62% from highs

www.stockcharts.com


5. Real Yields Went from +1% to -1%….Growth Stock PE’s went from 17x to 33x

Cameron Dawson Fieldpoint–As real yields have gone from +`1% in late 2018 to -1% today, Growth PE valuations have gone from 17x to 33x today. Value has been left out of this re-rating, only increasing from 14x in 2018 to 17x today. The last time real rates rose meaningfully was 1Q21, increasing 50 bps. That quarter Growth underperformed Value by 10%. The underperformance was brief, though, as real rates resumed their decline and Growth valuations started to expand again through the summer of 2021 https://twitter.com/CameronDawson

https://twitter.com/CameronDawson/status/1475589446481465353/photo/1


6.77% of Investors Have Never Experienced Inflation

https://twitter.com/MacroAlf


7.Personal Savings Rate Dips from Covid Highs but Household Excess Savings are Massive.

The Daily Shot Blog United States: Savings as a share of disposable income are now at the low end of the pre-COVID range.

But cumulative excess savings remain massive.

Source: Patrick Zweifel, Pictet Wealth Management

But cumulative excess savings remain massive.


8.Boosted by Private Sales and NFTs, Christie’s Brought in a Total of $7.1 Billion in 2021—Its Best Results in Five Years

Christie’s came in second behind Sotheby’s in overall results, but private sales surged.

Eileen Kinsella, December 20, 2021

Christie’s New York on November 9. Photo: Katya Kazakina.

As end-of-year results roll in for more and more art businesses, it’s clear that the surge in global wealth is having a major impact on the demand for blue-chip art and luxury goods. And of course, no recap of 2021 would be complete without discussion of digital art and NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, the latter of which has taken off with considerable force this year.

This morning, Christie’s reported its 2021 sales at $7.1 billion, calling it the highest total in the last five years. This included projected private sales of $1.7 billion, which the house also said was a record high.  Private sales saw an increase of 12 percent over 2020, and 108 percent over 2019, with four individual sales bring in more than $50 million each. The auction house, which sold the first major and arguably market-verifying NFT—Beeple’s $69 million Everydays: The First 5000 Days this past March—also said it took in $150 million from sales of the digital art form this year.

Calling the results “exceptional,” Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti said the house “made a breakthrough  in new sales formats and categories, NFTs in particular.” Cerutti, along with numerous other Christie’s executives, hosted an in-depth Zoom call with media this morning to discuss the results and field questions. In a statement, Cerutti said the new sale formats “have allowed us to showcase works by new, emerging and under-represented artists, and to reach out to a new audience of younger clients.”

Further, he noted serious progress in other recent initiatives including investments in Asia, and commitments to becoming carbon net zero by 2030.

Meanwhile, auction sales totaled $5.4 billion, up significantly from last year’s reported total of $4.4 billion. (That result was a 25 percent drop from 2019, attributed chiefly to the decrease in live auctions and a shutdown-induced shock of supply). Christie’s also cited an historic sell-through rate at auction of 87 percent, which it said “demonstrates depth of demand and performance.”

Christie’s is still a notch behind its main competitor Sotheby’s, however, which reported its totals for 2021 to date at $7.3 billion last week, also a record for the house. This marked the second consecutive year in which Sotheby’s overall total edged it out. But Christie’s private sales results outpaced the $1.3 billion that Sotheby’s reported in this category last week.

After a rocky year in 2020, all of the major auction houses skillfully pivoted in 2021 to embrace hybrid models for their sales that are heavy on technology and online bidding. They have disrupted the traditional seasonal schedule but also allowed for flexibility by holding major sales that are not tied to strict calendar dates. That trend is expected to continue moving forward.

Among its biggest bragging rights, Christie’s could claim the two most expensive works of art sold at auction this year: Picasso’s Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse) (1932), for $103.4 million, and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s In This Case (1983), for $93.1 million, both in May.

Another highlight of the year was the auction house’s November sale of Impressionist works  amassed by the late Texas oil magnate Edwin Cox. The sale pulled in a total of $332 million with premium, surpassing the $267.6 million high estimate. According to Christie’s, just over half the works went to collectors based in the Americas, 35 percent went to Europe, and 13 percent went to Asia.

At that event, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles acquired one of one of the star lots, Gustave Caillebotte’s Jeune homme à sa fenêtre (1876), a rare and imposing painting of the artist’s brother gazing out a window from the family’s residence in Paris. Expected to bring in more than $50 million, it sold for $53 million including buyer’s premium, shattering the artist’s existing auction record of $22 million.

Beeple, HUMAN ONE(2021). Courtesy of Christie’s.

And as for those omnipresent NFTs, Christie’s said sales of the digital art form made up eight percent of its contemporary art total for the year and attracted younger buyers, 74 percent of whom were new to Christie’s. Beeple’s Everydays – The First 5000 Days accounted for a major portion of that $150 million total, and the artist’s HUMAN ONE hybrid NFT sculpture achieved just under $30 million in November ($28,985,000). Other NFT sale highlights included Larva Labs’ Cryptopunks, which brought in $17 million, and a digital artwork by FEWOCiOUS, which made $2.16 million.

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Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

https://news.artnet.com/market/christies-reports-2021-results-best-five-years-2052122


9.Multifamily Apartments–The ‘5 Ps’ Shaping Function and Livability in Today’s Home Design

By: Quinn Purcell, Utopia Associate Editor, Nov. 11, 2021

National design firm Mary Cook Associates published its third white paper in a series on the fundamentals of interior design. Here’s how the increase in working from home and other lifestyle changes have affected the multifamily and single-family development process, and what designers can do to adapt.

 

Multifamily and single-family housing developments benefit from various recreational spaces, according to Mary Cook Associates. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Design firm Mary Cook Associates (MCA) recently released its third white paper dedicated to interior design methodology and fundamentals. This eight-part series from MCA highlights the ways developers and builders of multifamily and single-family units can respond to recent shifts in home life.

The paper, ‘Living It Up’, develops ‘Five Ps’ recharacterizing livability in single-family and multifamily interiors since the COVID-19 pandemic. These are factors that were not only relevant a year ago, but remain as mainstays for many design projects.

THE ‘5 PS’ IMPACTING HOME DESIGN IN THE AGE OF ‘WORK FROM HOME’

Packages

The increase in delivery-based consumerism—a pre-COVID-19 trend that went into overdrive, with 77% of people saying they changed the way they shop during the pandemic—is directly impacting design. Making spaces that accommodate packages of all shapes and sizes has become a major new priority.


‘Twenty-five years ago, nobody dreamed that one of the largest logistical challenges for multi-family developments would be how to handle all those Amazon deliveries. Now, delivery processing is as vital as plumbing!’ — Mary Cook, Founder and President of MCA


Pets

With the increase in pet adoption and ownership during the pandemic—an all-time high of 70% of U.S. households, according to the American Pet Products Association—functionality is vital for the wellbeing of pet and owner alike.

Communities and homes with interior and exterior pet-friendly spaces and functional amenities, from dog wash areas to feeding and sleeping stations, is a significant draw for pet lovers.

Plug-ins

As highlighted in Utopia’s ‘Top 10 Business and Technology Systems’ report on multifamily housing in 2021, the work-from-home societal shift comes with necessary changes to our tech and internet usage.

The evolving work-from-home (WFH) lifestyle has set new technology standards. Multifamily residents seek collaborative workspaces, strong WiFi, and well-thought-out places to plug in devices, while adaptable spaces are key for supporting WFH in single-family homes.

Play

Data shows that most U.S. adults (66%) are concerned with the pandemic interfering with their healthy habits. Coping with the challenges of the pandemic amplified almost everyone’s need for play, driving demand for recreational spaces and those that promote fitness and healthy habits, including curated space that fosters activity transitions.


‘We’re seeing burgeoning demand for varied uses of recreational space.’ — Mary Cook


Personal Space/Privacy

With the increase in remote work and learning during the pandemic, so arose the need for personal space and privacy. Separate areas of the home should be designed with this desire in mind, especially when an increasing lack of privacy has been linked to mental health issues in recent years.

Remote work, virtual school, more family members at home and changing quarantining restrictions have created the need for more personal space and privacy within the home, with “pocket spaces” that create mini-territories for specific activities emerging as a design solution.

KEY TAKEAWAY

The ‘5 Ps’—Packages, Pets, Plug-ins, Play, and Personal space/Privacy—are mainstays shaping function and livability in today’s residential interiors, according to MCA. Designs that take into account these factors impact residents’ well-being, inspiring positive moods and motivation.

“Long before we start thinking of color, pattern, and ornament, we have to start with something more basic,” Mary Cook says. “What should the space be? How should it work? What are the needs of the people using it?”

When we live in the era of ‘work from home’—including online teaching and learning as well—it’s important that home design match our increasingly complex necessities. A well-designed interior space may just turn someone’s simple home into an oasis.

To download the report or read more about how Mary Cook Associates uses psychographics, an understanding of target markets, and insights into shifting lifestyle needs, check out the full white paper on Mary Cook’s website.

https://www.constructutopia.com/5-ps


10. Rohn: A Good Life Contains These 6 Essentials

Success.com By Jim Rohn | September 9, 2014 | 

 

The ultimate expression of life is not a paycheck. The ultimate expression of life is not a Mercedes. The ultimate expression of life is not a million dollars or a bank account or a home. The ultimate expression of life is living a good life.

Here’s what we must ask constantly, What, for me, would be a good life? And you have to keep going over and over the list—a list including areas such as spirituality, economics, health, relationships and recreation.

So, what would constitute a good life? Here is a short list:

1. Productivity

You won’t be happy if you don’t produce. The game of life is not rest. Yes, we must rest, but only long enough to gather strength to get back to productivity.

What’s the reason for the seasons and the seeds, the soil and the sunshine, the rain and the miracle of life? It’s to see what you can do with it—to try your hand to see what you can do.

2. Good Friends

Friendship is probably the greatest support system in the world, so don’t deny yourself the time to develop it. Nothing can match it. It’s extraordinary in its benefit.

Friends are those wonderful people who know all about you and still like you. I lost one of my dearest friends when he was 53—heart attack. As one of my very special friends, I used to say that if I was stuck in a foreign jail somewhere accused unduly, and, if they would allow me one phone call, I would call David. Why? He would come and get me. That’s a real friend—somebody who would come and get you.

And we’ve all got casual friends, friends who, if you called them, they would say, “Hey, if you get back, call me and we’ll have a party.”

You’ve got to have both real friends and casual friends.

3. Your Culture

Language, music, ceremonies, traditions, dress. All of that is so vitally important that you must keep it alive. The uniqueness of all of us, when blended together, brings vitality, energy, power, influence, and rightness to the world.

4. Spirituality

It helps to form the foundation of the family that builds the nation. And make sure you study, practice and teach—don’t be careless about the spiritual part of your nature because it’s what makes us who we are, different from dogs, cats, birds and mice.

5. Don’t Miss Anything

My parents taught me not to miss anything, not the game, the performance, the movie, the dance. Just before my father died at 93, if you were to call him at 10:30 or 11 at night, he wouldn’t be home. He was at the rodeo, he was watching the kids play softball, he was listening to the concert, he was at church—he was somewhere every night.

Go to everything you possibly can. Buy a ticket to everything you possibly can. Go see everything and experience all you possibly can.

Live a vital life. If you live well, you will earn well. If you live well, it will show in your face; it will show in the texture of your voice. There will be something unique and magical about you if you live well. It will infuse not only your personal life but also your business life. And it will give you a vitality nothing else can give.

6. Your Family and the Inner Circle

Invest in them, and they’ll invest in you. Inspire them, and they’ll inspire you. Take care of the details with your inner circle.

When my father was still alive, I used to call him when I traveled. He’d have breakfast most every morning with the farmers at a little place called The Decoy Inn out in the country where we lived in Southwest Idaho.

When I was in Israel, I’d have to get up in the middle of the night, but I’d call Papa. I’d say, “Papa, I’m in Israel.” He’d say, “Israel! Son, how are things in Israel?” He’d talk real loud so everybody could hear. I’d say, “Papa, last night they gave me a reception on the rooftop underneath the stars overlooking the Mediterranean.” He’d say, “Son, a reception on the rooftop underneath the stars overlooking the Mediterranean?” Now everybody knew the story. And giving my father that special day only took five or 10 minutes.

If a father walks out of the house and he can still feel his daughter’s kiss on his face all day, he’s a powerful man. If a husband walks out of the house and he can still feel the imprint of his wife’s arms around his body, he’s invincible all day. It’s the special stuff with your inner circle that makes you strong and powerful and influential. So don’t miss that opportunity.

The prophet said, “There are many virtues and values, but here’s the greatest: one person caring for another.” There is no greater value than love.

So make sure in your busy day to remember the true purpose and the reasons you do what you do. May you truly live the kind of life that will bring the fruit and rewards that you desire.

Related: Rohn: 13 Ways to Improve Your Life

https://www.success.com/rohn-a-good-life-contains-these-6-essentials/

Topley’s Top 10 – December 23, 2021

1.December Sector Performance…Defensive Lead

www.dorseywright.com

2.Performance Difference 2020-2021 Between Non-Profitable and Profitable Stocks.

From Irrelevant Investor Blog

https://theirrelevantinvestor.com/2021/12/20/animal-spirits-massive-etf-inflows/

3.Private Markets Surpass $10 Trillion…Tons of Dry Powder on Sidelines.

Some extra trillions in buying power

In 2021, private markets (mainly PE) have surpassed the $10tn threshold. In 2021, a substantial increase in allocated capital took place as dealmaking was difficult in 2020. The fundraising in 2021 also caused the dry powder to remain high despite large commitments. Most of the assets are managed by the private equity industry and other types of assets.

https://www.zerohedge.com/the-market-ear/frustrating

4.Biggest Spread in U.S. Outperformance vs. International Since….You Guessed IT……1999

Just to put things into perspective: US stocks beating rest of world by most in 2 decades. The S&P 500 has surged 25% YTD compared w/3% gain from the MSCI All-Country World ex-US Index, BBG has calculated.

Holger Zschaepitz

https://twitter.com/Schuldensuehner

5.$119,717,895,834,140

Bloomberg That’s the total value of global equity markets, which reached a record of $120 trillion and has doubled from the low point reached at the start of the pandemic in March 2019. The rise has been relentless.

By

Mark Gilbert and

Marcus Ashworth

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-12-20/what-eight-charts-are-telling-us-about-markets-in-2022?utm_content=view&utm_medium=social&cmpid=socialflow-facebook-view&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_source=twitter&fbclid=IwAR1zhXoVA-TStrCMD1s0bizGkK1xjymLHFUYUN49meMYmAzvXR5e4Qa-lrU&cmpid%3D=socialflow-twitter-view&sref=GGda9y2L

6. Global oil consumption is expected to return to an average of 99.5 million barrels per day in 2022, about the same level it was at in 2019.

https://www.reuters.com/markets/commodities/global-oils-comeback-year-presages-more-strength-2022-2021-12-23/

7.Methane Gas Breakdown.

Found at 1440 Digest Letter https://join1440.com

McKinsey The Year in Charts

https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/2021-year-in-review/2021-the-year-in-charts?utm_source=join1440&utm_medium=email&utm_placement=newsletter

8.Faster NFL Wide Receivers Doesn’t Mean Better

Five Thirty Eight Blog

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/faster-nfl-prospects-arent-always-better/

9.The U.S. city where 1-bedroom rents rose the most since 2020 isn’t in California or New York

“The issue of affordability issue has been mounting for decades.”

Shawn M. Carter@SHAWNCARTERM

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Twenty/20

After a slowdown during the beginning of the pandemic, rent prices are bouncing back big time. The median monthly cost for a one-bedroom apartment rose 11.6% over the course of the year, according to Zumper’s 2021 National Rent Report, and some cities have risen well beyond that.

While most people may think one-bedrooms have surged most in expensive states like California or New York, they’re actually rising faster in Florida.

Here are the 10 U.S. cities where costs have jumped the most.

10. St. Petersburg, Florida

Median one-bedroom rent: $1,580
Year-over-year growth: 24.4%

9. Mesa, Arizona

Median one-bedroom rent: $1,210
Year-over-year growth: 24.7%

8. Boise, Idaho

Median one-bedroom rent: $1,410
Year-over-year growth: 24.8%

7. Henderson, Nevada

Median one-bedroom rent: $1,590
Year-over-year growth: 25.2%

6. Jacksonville, Florida

Median one-bedroom rent: $1,220
Year-over-year growth: 27.1%

5. Glendale, Arizona

Median one-bedroom rent: $1,200
Year-over-year growth: 27.7%

4. New York, New York

Median one-bedroom rent: $3,190
Year-over-year growth: 32.4%

3. Orlando, Florida

Median one-bedroom rent: $1,620
Year-over-year growth: 32.8%

2. Tampa, Florida

Median one-bedroom rent: $1,630
Year-over-year growth: 38.1%

1. Miami, Florida

Median one-bedroom rent: $2,280
Year-over-year growth: 38.29%

https://grow.acorns.com/cities-where-rents-have-jumped-the-most-since-2020/?utm_source=join1440&utm_medium=email&utm_placement=newsletter

10.Some Stoic End of the Year Thoughts-Ryan Holiday

Here we are at the end of the year once again. It’s ironic to me that sandwiched at the completion of one year and the beginning of another, we have two vastly different rituals.

On the one hand, we have Christmas, which has for too many of us, become so materialistic and gluttonous. We expect gifts and good food and overindulge in both. On the other hand, we have the “New Year, New You” mentality which promotes ambitious new resolutions in which we commit to utterly change ourselves in the upcoming twelve months (or until we abandon these inconvenient goals).

It all seems to be all so misguided. In a way, one creates the problems that the other attempts to solve.

New Year’s resolutions can however be a useful way to reflect on your bad habits.

For example, one of my friends recently managed to give up smoking after first making the switch to vaping. This time last year, he bought an e-cigarette and some e-liquid from the Air Factory range and slowly but surely began to suppress his nicotine addiction. It’s no secret that vaping is claimed to be a safer alternative to regular cigarettes, so resolutions such as this can certainly have a positive impact on our lives and well being.

Furthermore, the Stoics provide good advice here, as always. These two thousand year old, pre-Christian philosophers offer us a clearer way to live–without the ups and downs and extra helpings of self-loathing.

Let’s look at three quick insights for the holiday season:

First, practice your “contemptuous expressions.” I know contempt seems like a weird emotion to bring to Christmas but stay with me. As you look out over the bountiful offering of Christmas–the presents, the food, the lights–remind yourself what this stuff really is: a bunch of stuff. As Marcus Aurelius once wrote, sounding like he was almost describing a Christmas dinner:

“Like seeing roasted meat and other dishes in front of you and suddenly realizing: This is a dead fish. A dead bird. A dead pig. Perceptions like that—latching onto things and piercing through them, so we see what they really are. That’s what we need to do all the time.”

What’s important are the people and the thoughts. Don’t let yourself get distracted from them.

Second, live in the present moment. That is, don’t obsess over what has happened in the past or lose yourself in visions of the future. Focus on what is right here, right in front of you. Make the most of it, and enjoy yourself. This moment could be all you have after all–it’s so much better to think that 2015 is not a guarantee and then to be grateful for all of it, then to have expectations and entitlements that go unfulfilled.

As Marcus Aurelius reminded himself:

“Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand.”

What matters right now is right now. Enjoy it.

Third, if you are going to try to improve in the next year or you do have some regrets about the previous year, don’t just hope that this will happen. That’s not how it works. As Seneca wrote to a friend who’d asked for advice, you need to pick a person or a model to hold yourself against.

“Choose someone whose way of life as well as words, and whose very face as mirroring the character that lies behind it, have won your approval. Be always pointing him out to yourself either as your guardian or as your model. There is a need, in my view, for someone as a standard against which our characters can measure themselves. Without a ruler to do it against you won’t make crooked straight. ”

So, who will it be for you this year?

**

Stoicism is not something you “believe”, it’s something you do. It’s a practical philosophy. The more you work it, the more it will do for you. So why not start now? There isn’t a better time.

As a final parting thought, remember that we choose whether this was a good year or a bad year. We choose whether everything is good or bad. As Seneca said, “a good person dyes events with his own color…and turns whatever happens to his own benefit.”

This is the attitude for success and optimism in all situations. By controlling our perceptions, we create a reality in which every situation, no matter what it is, provides us with a positive, exposed benefit we can act on, if only we look for it.

With this in mind, I hope you enjoy the holidays and consider the Stoics when you can.

For more on Stoicism visit The Daily Stoic.

https://ryanholiday.net/some-stoic-end-of-the-year-thoughts/

Topley’s Top 10 – December 22, 2021

1. 2021 1000 IPOs

Overall, 2021 marked the strongest year for IPO listings and volumes in history, with the barrier of 1,000 offerings being hit in the last month of the year, according to Dealogic data, which showed a record $315 billion raised when that total had never before hit $200 billion in a year. More than half of those deals were SPACs, as 606 blank-check companies went public in 2021, with most of them heavily frontloaded into the beginning of the year — 298 of the SPACs that went public were in the first quarter of 2021, according to Dealogic.

There were 1,000 IPOs in 2021 for the first time, but there may be some problems under the hoodBy 1.

Emily Bary https://www.marketwatch.com/story/there-were-1-000-ipos-in-2021-for-the-first-time-but-there-may-be-some-problems-under-the-hood-11640115839?mod=home-page

2. More Global Money Still Flowing into Bonds than Stocks….Savings Glut Holds Rates Down.

A Global Savings Glut Is Set to Anchor U.S. Yields Below 2%

Garfield Reynolds and Michael MacKenzie

(Bloomberg) — Anyone gearing up for bond yields to surge in 2022 should think again. A global glut of saved cash has the potential to restrain an increase in rates, even as central banks dial back their pandemic stimulus.

The strength of demand for bonds even in the face of deeply negative real returns underpins the broad consensus that 2% may act as a ceiling for U.S. 10-year yields in the coming year. Hedge funds have built up the biggest short positions in 11 months with rates expected to climb in 2022 thanks to both inflation and expectations that the Federal Reserve will respond. But strategists expect the advance to be gradual and top out in negative territory on an inflation-adjusted basis.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell highlighted the role of deep-pocketed foreign investors in repressing longer-dated yields just after this month’s final policy meeting for 2021. The way that dynamic is expected to keep anchoring yields helps explain why U.S. policy makers mostly seem relaxed about flattening yield curves, rather than fretting over whether they signal that aggressive rate hikes could kill off economic growth.

“Deep pools of savings in Europe, Japan and north Asia broadly are going to continue to underpin demand for bonds, hence the persistence of negative and ultra-low yields,” said Martin Whetton, head of fixed-income and foreign-exchange strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the nation’s largest lender. “These investors will always be attracted to positive yields, be they outright or FX-hedged, and so we expect 10-year Treasuries will find demand around the 2% mark.”

The global savings glut is set to come roaring back as a major driver in bond markets, offsetting a retreat from the Fed and other central banks as they end bond buying and start hiking rates in an attempt to cool off the strongest inflation readings in decades. While that may be bad news for bond bears, it could offer a sunnier path for equities and other risk assets by signaling that low longer-term yields don’t necessarily translate to a downbeat economic outlook.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/global-savings-glut-set-anchor-010154421.html

3. Chart Comments.

CNBC-Cramer-One piece of technical data that Garner is considering is the S&P 500′s longer-term monthly chart, according to Cramer. After breaking through the trendline ceiling of resistance roughly a year ago, Cramer said it is now very far above trend.

“Historically, these types of breakouts almost always see a retest of the previously broken trendline,” Cramer said. “In other words, she’d expect the S&P to pull back near the trendline, which …would put it around 4,000. People, that’s down almost 14% from here. … If we get a close below 4,000, she thinks that would pave the way for a much larger correction.”

In Garner’s view, other worrisome signs include the momentum indicator Relative Strength Index sitting in overbought territory on a monthly chart basis, Cramer said. “When you look at the action over the last 20 years, a reading this high can open the door to some nasty declines,” he said.

Charts suggest the S&P 500 may not be as strong in 2022 as

Kevin Stankiewicz@KEVIN_STANK https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/21/jim-cramer-charts-suggest-sp-500-may-not-be-as-strong-in-2022.html

4. Five Stocks Driving the Market

WSJ-One measure of market breadth compares the performance of the market-cap weighted S&P 500 with an equal-weighted version. The latter usually outperforms the former when a greater number of stocks are rising; that happened between November 2020 and April 2021, when the equal-weight benchmark outpaced its counterpart by 7 percentage points. Over the past six months, the S&P 500 has outpaced the equal-weight index by nearly 4 percentage points.

WSJ-Michael Wursthorn

https://www.wsj.com/articles/five-big-tech-stocks-are-driving-markets-that-worries-some-investors-11640060038?mod=itp_wsj&ru=yahoo

5. Euro Gas Prices 2021

From Dave Lutz at Jones Trading–Lower supplies into Germany will force Europe to keep withdrawing gas at high rates from its already depleted storages. As freezing temperatures spread across the continent this week, more gas will be needed to keep the lights on as Europe’s vast network of renewable sources also can’t fill the gap, with German wind output at the lowest in five weeks, Bloomberg reports.

6. What is Web 3.0?

Zerohedge–So what form might “Web 3.0” take? We lay out a few key principles:

  • Likely more control by the user of their data (including data residing on-device);
  • Likely a more micro focus – a mean reversion on scale (either in end market being tackled or in relationship between the platform and the user);
  • The rise of individual as creator & creator monetizing their content more directly with “fans”;
  • Increasingly decentralized (with the possible breakdown of the mobile operating system/app store distribution model over the next 5-10 years ); &
  • Flexibility (if not innovation) on payment mechanisms aimed at a mix of themes, including decentralized privacy and anti-establishment.

https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/jack-dorsey-elon-musk-slam-web-30-what-it

7. Crypto Poaching Silicon Valley Tech Talent.

By Daisuke Wakabayashi and Mike Isaac

OAKLAND, Calif. — When Sandy Carter left her job as a vice president of Amazon’s cloud computing unit this month, she announced in a LinkedIn post that she was joining a crypto technology company. She included a link for open positions at the start-up.

Within two days, she said, more than 350 people — many from the biggest internet companies — had clicked the link to apply for jobs at the firm, Unstoppable Domains. The start-up sells website addresses that sit on the blockchain, the distributed ledger system that underpins cryptocurrencies.

“It’s the perfect storm,” Ms. Carter said. “The momentum we’re seeing in this space is just incredible.”

Ms. Carter is part of a wave of executives and engineers leaving cushy jobs at Google, Amazon, Apple and other large tech companies — some of which pay millions of dollars in annual compensation — to chase what they see as a once-in-a-generation opportunity. That next big thing is crypto, they sasoared around 60 percent this yearid, a catchall designation that includes digital currencies like Bitcoin and products like nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, that rely on the blockchain.

Silicon Valley is now awash with stories of people riding seemingly ridiculous crypto investments like Dogecoin, a digital coin based on a dog meme, to life-changing wealth. Bitcoin has , while Ether, the cryptocurrency tied to the Ethereum blockchain, has increased more than fivefold in value.

But beyond that speculative mania, a growing contingent of the tech industry’s best and brightest sees a transformational moment that comes along once every few decades and rewards those who spot the seismic shift before the rest of the world. With crypto, they see historical parallels to how the personal computer and the internet were once ridiculed, only to upend the status quo and mint a new generation of billionaires.

Investors, too, have flooded in. They have poured more than $28 billion into global crypto and blockchain start-ups this year, four times the total in 2020, according to PitchBook, a firm that tracks private investments. More than $3 billion has gone into NFT companies alone.

“There is a giant sucking sound coming from crypto,” said Sridhar Ramaswamy, chief executive of search engine start-up Neeva and a former Google executive, who competes with crypto companies for talent. “It feels a bit like the 1990s and the birth of the internet all over again. It’s that early, that chaotic and that much full of opportunity.”

“There is a giant sucking sound coming from crypto,” said Sridhar Ramaswamy, chief executive of Neeva, outside the company’s office in Mountain View, Calif.Credit…Jessica Chou for The New York Times

Crypto, which has also been rebranded as the less foreboding web3, may be no different from past speculative bubbles like subprime mortgages or the tulip craze of the 17th century, skeptics said. Much of the mania, they said, is being driven by a desire to get rich quick by trading an asset class that often seems based on internet jokes.

https://www.nytimes,com/2021/12/20/technology/silicon-valley-cryptocurrency-start-ups.html

8. Here Are the 10 Trendiest Cities in America Where You Can Still Afford To Buy a Home

Realtor.com By Sara Ventiera

https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/where-the-cool-kids-are-10-trendy-u-s-metros-you-can-still-afford-to-buy-a-home/

9.Top 6 Wealth Killers

Peter Mallouk

@PeterMallouk

Top 6 Wealth Killers:

#1 by a landslide: credit card debt

2. High student loans without a high earning degree

3. House(s)/car(s) beyond needs and with a higher carrying cost than you can afford

4. A partner that encourages excessive spending

5. Lifestyle creep

6. Divorce

https://twitter.com/PeterMallouk/status/1473453913894436875

10.Are You Developing Skills That Won’t Be Automated?

by

Harvard Business Review Stephen M. Kosslyn

Summary. The future of work looks grim for many people. A recent study estimated that 10% of U.S. jobs would be automated this year, and another estimates that close to half of all U.S. jobs may be automated in the next decade. The jobs that are likely to be automated are…more

The future of work looks grim for many people. A recent study from Forrester estimated that 10% of U.S. jobs would be automated this year, and another from McKinsey estimates that close to half of all U.S. jobs may be automated in the next decade.

The jobs that are likely to be automated are repetitive and routine. They range from reading X-rays (human radiologists may soon have much more limited roles), to truck driving, to stocking a warehouse. While much has been written about the sorts of jobs that are likely to be eliminated, another perspective that has not been examined in as much detail is to ask not which jobs will be eliminated but rather which aspects of surviving jobs will be replaced by machines.

For example, consider the job of being a physician: It is clear that diagnosing illnesses will soon (if not already) be accomplished better by machines than humans. Machine learning is spectacularly effective when data sets are available for training and testing, which is the case for a wide range of diseases and ailments. However, what about sitting with a family to discuss treatment options? This is far less likely to be automated in the foreseeable future.

Now consider a profession at the other end of the status spectrum: barista. In San Francisco, Cafe X has replaced all baristas with industrial robot arms, which entertain customers with their antics as they make hot beverages. However, even Cafe X employs a human, who shows customers how to use the technology to order their drinks and troubleshoots problems that arise with the robot barista.

Contrast being a barista with being a bartender. People often strike up a conversation with the bartender. This job clearly is about more than just mixing drinks. Like the physician, we can easily parse this job into two components: the repetitive and routine one (actually mixing and serving the drinks) and the more interactive, unpredictable one that involves listening to and talking with customers.

After reflecting on characteristics of numerous jobs and professions, two non-routine kinds of work seem to me to be particularly common, and difficult to automate:

First, emotion. Emotion plays an important role in human communication (think about that physician sitting with the family, or that bartender interacting with customers). It is critically involved in virtually all forms of nonverbal communication and in empathy. But more than that, it is also plays a role in helping us to prioritize what we do, for example helping us decide what needs to be attended to right now as opposed to later in the evening. Emotion is not only complex and nuanced, it also interacts with many of our decision processes. The functioning of emotion has proven challenging to understand scientifically (although there has been progress), and is difficult to build into an automated system.

Second, context. Humans can easily take context into account when making decisions or having interactions with others. Context is particularly interesting because it is open ended — for instance, every time there’s a news story, it changes the context (large or small) in which we operate. Moreover, changes in context (e.g., the election of a maverick President) can change not just how factors interact with each other, but can introduce new factors and reconfigure the organization of factors in fundamental ways. This is a problem for machine learning, which operates on data sets that by definition were created previously, in a different context. Thus, taking context into account (as a congenial bartender can do effortlessly) is a challenge for automation.

Our ability to manage and utilize emotion and to take into account the effects of context are key ingredients of critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication, adaptive learning, and good judgment. It has proven very difficult to program machines to emulate such human knowledge and skills, and it is not clear when (or whether) today’s fledgling efforts to do so will bear fruit.

And in fact, these are the very skills that employers across industries consistently report seeking in job candidates. For example, in one survey, 93% of employers reported that “a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than his or her undergraduate major.” In addition, employers seek candidates who have other sorts of “soft skills,” such as being able to learn adaptively, to make good decisions and to work well with others. These sought-after abilities, of course, fit perfectly with the sorts of things that people can do well, but are and will continue to be difficult to automate.

All of this suggests that our educational systems should concentrate not simply on how people interact with technology (e.g., by teaching students to code), but also how they can do the things that technology will not be doing soon. This is a new approach to characterizing the underlying nature of “soft skills,” which are probably misnamed: These are the skills that are hardest to understand and systematize, and the skills that give — and will continue to give —humans an edge over robots.

Read more on Automation or related topics Technology and analytics, Careers, Managing yourself and Business education

SK

Stephen M. Kosslyn is President and CEO of Foundry College; former Chief Academic Officer of the Minerva Schools at KGI, and former John Lindsley Professor, Department Chair, and Dean of Social Science, Harvard University. He’s the author of Building the Intentional University: Minerva and the Future of Higher Education.

https://hbr.org/2019/09/are-you-developing-skills-that-wont-be-automated?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=hbr&utm_source=linkedin&tpcc=orgsocial_edit