Banks, autos, FMCG & pharma see big investment moves by FIIs, DIIs

Private and public sector banks, metals, automobiles and pharmaceuticals, among other sectors, saw additional flows from domestic and foreign institutional investors during the September quarter, data compiled by Edelweiss Securities has revealed.

The larger part of action revolved around banks, two-wheelers, FMCG, pharmaceuticals, gas distribution and midcap IT names.

DIIs rose their holdings in private banks, PSU banks, metals & auto, while FIIs increased exposure to the pharmaceutical space. They tread with caution in private banks, two-wheelers and FMCG names as well.

FIIs also added gas distribution players, while DIIs reduced holdings in them.


‘The biggest challenge is overcoming people’s apathy’: Inside Simple’s marketing strategy

Simple is re-introducing itself through an ad campaign its been running on billboards and subway ads in various U.S. cities.

The ads pair everyday concepts most familiar and tangible to the seven-year-old neobank’s target millennial customer base, like binge watching and sweatpants, to convey how enjoyable and sensible its own offering — banking and budgeting, the latter of which major banking institutions are only now building into their experiences — can and should be. The company also wants to show it’s not “just an anonymous organization that doesn’t have a point of view,” said Valarie Hamm Carlson, Simple’s vp of brand. It’s a group of people that share the view of everyday consumers that banking shouldn’t be complicated.

“Every once in a while we need to jump back out there and say, ‘here’s who we are and if you don’t know us we we want introduce ourselves’ so people get a sense of our personality,” Carlson said. “Ideally we want that to come from the product but it’s always good to have a little bit of air cover and we haven’t done a lot of that in the past.”


PepsiCo steps up marketing investment on its ‘big brands’


PepsiCo has revealed that it would be increasing its advertising spend behind its “big brands”, such as Pepsi, Gatorade and DEW. This is with expectations of positive impact, said Hugh F. Johnston, vice chairman, CFO and executive VP at PepsiCo.

Johnston added that the brand’s strategy in the beverage business is focused on brand building.

The brand’s strategy in the beverage business is focused on brand building.

He added that it is also focused on innovation and execution in the marketplace. However, “like most advertising campaigns, that will take several quarters to fully realise the impact”, he explained.

“So we expect sequential improvement in each of the quarters, starting with Q1,” Johnston said.

According to Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Inc, the company looks to step up investment spending in advertising, marketing, frontline workforce training, digital capability, data analytics and e-commerce. The move comes as its investment in e-commerce across multiple channels, from e-grocery, to direct to consumer, to pure play, helped drive exceptional growth in 2017, Nooyi said. As a result, PepsiCo’s e-commerce business is now approximately US$1 billion in annualised retail sales.

“We are leveraging big data and predictive analytics to sharpen real-time marketing messages, dynamic merchandising and tailored offers. And we’re increasingly collaborating with retail customers to make e-commerce a point of differentiation for PepsiCo,” she added.

The company also has “robust marketing innovation lined up for 2018”. This includes the launch of its Pepsi Generations campaign and the launch of Mountain Dew Ice, featured with Doritos Blaze at the Super Bowl. Other initiatives include the introduction of its new sparking water bubly, and further marketing support and packaging innovation. This comes as LIFEWTR enters its second year from launch.

“Furthermore, as a company, we will double down on new capabilities in areas such as e-commerce, digital and brand marketing to make us even more competitive,” Nooyi said.

Regarding its pricing strategy, PepsiCo expects its pricing to be competitive in the marketplace. However, pricing lower is not part of its strategy to gain market share.


Wanna get ahead? 8 sales leaders share their secrets to success

“Be like a duck.”

That might not immediately sound like sage sales advice, but to Anna Frazier, who is tronc’s Chicago Tribune director of sales, learning from the water bird’s subtle perseverance is the best thing a salesperson can do for their career.

We spoke with Frazier and seven other Chicago sales leaders to learn more about the secret tricks that help them succeed. From preparing extensively to knowing how to turn a quota into a strategy, here are the best pieces of advice we heard.

tronc chicago tech company

The media company behind brands like the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and the Baltimore Sun, tronc has an in-house team tasked with building technology to push its digital content distribution and monetization strategies forward. Anna Frazier, who is tronc’s Chicago Tribune director of sales, said the best advice she ever got ties back to the animal kingdom.

What is your secret sales weapon?

One of my mentors would always say, “Be like a duck.” On the surface, a duck glides gracefully and calmly. Beneath the water, though, a duck’s feet are working a mile a minute, battling the current and accelerating that duck in the right direction. Salespeople need to show that calm confidence to prospects and clients, who should never know the pressures of quotas or monetary concerns that go hand-in-hand with the potential close. This makes people want to buy from you and makes people want to follow you!

Moreover, have you ever seen water land on duck feathers? It rolls right off their backs. So many times, sales reps and leadership get bogged down with the office politics or distractions within a sale. Great salespeople don’t let those things get in the way of success. Be like a duck, close the deal and let everything else just roll off your tail feathers.

How do you pitch tronc to top-flight sales candidates?

Culture is everything. Tronc puts a big emphasis on your career path and internal growth. We have evolved our internal sales team to give our employees a traditional path while encouraging a self-starter mentality. I share multiple stories of salespeople significantly growing their skills and sales when they join our company. I may even share my own story of career development and how this company always encouraged me to strive for more. I came to tronc to become a part of something bigger than myself, and I want all potential candidates to know that same culture is awaiting them if they want to join us!

tronc is Hiring | View 20 Jobs
sprout social chicago tech company


Sprout Social’s software lets marketers manage social media strategies across all their channels, offering in-depth analytics about how customers engage with them. To sales development manager Jenny Poore, success is all about setting goals. Few sales reps cite quotas as their favorite part of the job, she said, but high performers find ways to break quotas into daily action items that help move the needle.

​​​​What is your secret sales weapon?

Tackling an ambitious monthly quota can be one of the most overwhelming aspects of sales, no matter what stage you are at in your career. It’s really easy to feel the pit in your stomach form as the first business day of the month approaches, but I find top performers are able to combat this by breaking down their quotas to create daily goals. This tactic enables them to focus on what is most important in the day ahead, better equipping them to chip away at the big number with a lot less stress.

How do you pitch Sprout Social to top-flight sales candidates?

My team at Sprout Social focuses on qualifying inbound leads and scheduling meetings for account executives, which means I’m often hiring sellers who are early on in their careers. With this in mind, I find it helpful to focus on one piece of the sales process that they can expect to truly master if they join Sprout.

I also highlight the incredible perks Sprout offers, such as an undefined PTO policy, unlimited snacks and beverages, and free workout classes twice a week. The best recruits typically are those who show curiosity in how they can grow, learn and hone their sales skills to advance their careers. For them, I emphasize our continuous opportunities for development through lunch and learns, one-on-one meetings with managers and more structured company-wide trainings.

Sprout Social is Hiring | View 15 Jobs
dialogtech chicago tech company


DialogTech’s call analytics tools help companies get more customers on the phone and customize those calls to the caller’s exact needs. Matt Forcey, the company’s senior vice president of sales, said the key to succeeding in sales is to prepare better than the competition.

What is your secret sales weapon?  

Sales remains a competitive sport. Like in any sport, the professionals who not only work smarter but also work harder than their peers and their competition exponentially increase their chances of success. That sounds like a simple recipe, but it’s amazing how many of our peers in sales roles will rely on the product or the marketing message to do their job for them.

We win deals by being more prepared for the engagement than the competition, period. Be prepared to ask the hard questions, be prepared to be a guide and a facilitator, be prepared to align and build consensus, and be prepared to add value at every step.

How do you pitch DialogTech to top-flight sales candidates?

DialogTech provides a stable, resource-rich environment where professional salespeople succeed and thrive in an atmosphere of respect and collaboration. And our market-leading SaaS platform, leveraging cutting-edge AI and machine learning technologies, adds significant value to thousands of corporate marketers and agencies every day.

DialogTech is Hiring | View 14 Jobs
g2 crowd chicago tech company


An online provider of reviews for business-to-business software and services, G2 Crowd helps companies find the tools they need to succeed. Founded in 2012, the company has gathered more than 340,000 reviews to date. For Andrew Stapleton, VP of customer success, the best way to succeed in the business is to take serious stock ahead of negotiations to ensure that the deal he reaches is one that will work for everyone.

What is your secret sales weapon?

Disempower yourself. Pre-determine how far you can go when your sale reaches the negotiation phase. Track everything your prospect could want and know what you can give ahead of time.

How do you pitch G2 Crowd to top-flight sales candidates?

You will learn a lot about how to sell from your work, as well as the products you’re pitching. G2 Crowd’s products solve problems across the spectrum of marketing and sales. Selling the tools that help sell other company’s products is a significant accomplishment. And our killer sales leaders and salespeople have become awesome professional mentors for one another, as well as their customers.

G2 Crowd is Hiring | View 14 Jobs
devbridge chicago tech company


A tech consultancy that specializes in building custom software, DevBridgeworks with some of the world’s biggest companies. Adam Rusciolelli, who is the company’s VP of business development, said building successful partnerships depends on being transparent about exactly where his company’s expertise lies.

What is your secret sales weapon?

You must build trust quickly. Transparency and honesty are powerful tools to accelerate this. At Devbridge we are laser-focused on defining, designing, and delivering custom software that solve complex problems for large organizations. We let our prospects know where it makes sense to use our services and where it may not. This is a refreshing approach for many and builds trust that ultimately forms long-term relationships.

How do you pitch DevBridge to top-flight sales candidates?

We have a top-tier team known in the industry for over-delivering while solving big problems for organizations such as John Deere, Fitch Ratings and Grainger. Really believing in the teams behind the products we build makes selling our services incredibly exciting and rewarding.

Devbridge Group is Hiring | View 11 Jobs
narrative science chicago tech company


With its AI-powered natural language generation technology, Narrative Science turns data sets into plain-English text. One of the company’s most successful sales strategies, said Matt Bramson, VP of sales, has been its formal entrance interviews with new clients, which ensure that everyone is on the same page about shared goals.

What is your secret sales weapon?

Shortly after we agree to enter into a partnership with a client, we organize an “entrance interview.” Imagine the opposite of an “exit interview.” We’re really able to understand why they chose to work with us and how they intend to capture value through the partnership. We then use these quotes to publish an internal press release, which ultimately rallies the entire organization around our clients. After all, everyone is in sales.

How do you pitch Narrative Science to top-flight sales candidates?

We believe that one single person shouldn’t be charged with recruiting top-flight talent. It’s a team effort, so let me emphasize the “we.” First, we need to understand what their motivators are. What are they passionate about? How do they measure themselves? What is their competitive outlet? Once there is alignment, we design a framework whereby we can help one another achieve our goals. Said differently, do they want a seat on the rocket ship?

Narrative Science is Hiring | View 7 Jobs
lotlinx chicago tech company


LotLinx makes digital marketing tools that let car dealers target customers with ads for specific cars on their lots. This allows dealers to serve up relevant ads and move hard-to-sell vehicles more quickly. Pat Ward, who is the company’s chief revenue officer, believes sales success comes down to a number of key factors.

What is your secret sales weapon?

It’s really a combination of things. First, you have to recruit good people who fit with your culture and identify what makes certain people your “A players.” Through having a plan that everyone is familiar with, tracking progress and offering constructive feedback, you want to help other team members get there. When you do that, everyone wins. Also, never underestimate what a team can accomplish when they’re focused. I have seen 10 people with laser focus accomplish more in a month than 100 people without focus could.

How do you pitch LotLinx to top-flight sales candidates?

I’m not sure I’d call it a pitch, but I do share stories about the team. The most important thing, though, is believing in the product or services you’re offering. If you don’t believe in them, you need to find something else to do. But when you honestly believe in, and are passionate about, your company, it’s contagious.

LotLinx, Inc. is Hiring | View 4 Jobs
urbanbound chicago tech company


UrbanBound’s relocation management software streamlines the process of moving for a job, making it easier for companies to recruit top talent from across the country. The platform helps employees deal with the logistics of moving, as well as getting to know their new home towns and neighborhoods. Chris Collins, UrbanBound’s VP of sales, attributes his team’s success to a willingness to improvise and play to its strengths.

What is your secret sales weapon?

We’re primarily inside sales, so I cannot credit our insanely good looks as a secret weapon. That said, too often, salespeople rely on the messaging, collateral and processes that were bestowed upon them by their employer. They simply become sales robots. Our secret weapon is hiring sales professionals who play to their own unique strengths, internalize the value their company provides and then make the message their own.

How do you pitch UrbanBound to top-flight sales candidates?

UrbanBound represents the unique opportunity to sell something that never existed before, and as a result, our sales team is in the enviable position of having virtually limitless upside. Because we are nimble and growing, our team is highly collaborative and cross-functional. This is why we attract salespeople who want to make a larger impact than just selling. They want to contribute to the strategic direction of our business. Also, our volleyball team is pretty awesome.


Code of practice on junk food marketing is worthless

Recent dubious marketing tactics by junk-food manufacturers included a competition to win your height in pizza to mark National Pizza Day.

Recent dubious marketing tactics by junk-food manufacturers included a competition to win your height in pizza to mark National Pizza Day.

 It’s hard right now to imagine future generations looking back on the State’s response to our childhood obesity crisis as anything less than a catastrophic dereliction of duty.

Recent State-funded research estimates that 85,000 of today’s children on the island of Ireland will die prematurely due to overweight and obesity – more than twice the entire Irish death toll in the first World War.

Yes, there has been significant progress, such as the impending introduction of sugar-sweetened drinks tax. But this is nowhere near enough to change the future and alter our current course towards perhaps the most fatal failure of political will, and of our children, in the history of the State.

This shouldn’t be taken as an attack on the Department of Health or the Health Service Executive, where those leading the fight against obesity care as passionately as anyone can about turning the tide. The deficiency of the policy response to date is largely down to a broader failure of government in areas including education, the environment, communications where responsibility for vital elements of health policy is devolved, along with other powerful areas of government where vested interests can find champions to protect them.

A cursory look at the latest litany of dubious marketing tactics includes competitions for children to get their faces on to packets of a well-known crisp brand

The Government’s latest initiative to tackle a big-ticket driver of obesity – a code of practice to restrict non-broadcast junk food marketing – smacks of a policy approach more acceptable outside than within the walls of the Department of Health. Because it’s a plan more likely to safeguard the multinational processed food industry from the requirements of public health than protecting the public’s health from the excesses of junk-food marketing.

Voluntary code

The problem is it’s a voluntary code. The department knows well these just don’t work, not least from its own regulatory impact analysis of the Alcohol Bill, a succession of failed UK codes and the current Irish advertising industry standards which have not diminished the relentless online targeting of children. A cursory look at the latest litany of dubious marketing tactics includes competitions for children to get their faces on to packets of a well-known crisp brand and another to win your height in pizza to mark National Pizza Day.


Marketing and IT Departments Need to Get In Sync to Best Capitalize on Mobile Technology

IT decision-makers report a much higher importance of mobile apps than their marketing counterparts.
Getty Images

While the decade between 2007 and 2017 marked the genesis and maturation of the mobile industry, technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are poised to accelerate this evolution even faster in the decade to come, according to Adobe—and it found marketers may not be as prepared for the coming changes as their counterparts in IT.

That’s according to Adobe’s latest report, The Next Mobile Decade, which includes a survey of nearly 500 marketing and IT professionals’ priorities and investments in mobile.

Adobe said most respondents have a centralized mobile leadership team, which means mobile strategy is no longer an afterthought. That being said, there’s still potential misalignment between marketers and that must be reconciled if brands want to capitalize on mobile technology and derive maximum benefit for their customers.

Marketers at least seem to view mobile websites as slightly more important than apps: Sixty-nine percent of marketers and 84 percent of IT professionals said apps are extremely or very important, whereas 81 percent of marketers and 83 percent of IT professionals said mobile websites are extremely or very important.

“IT decision-makers report a much higher importance of mobile apps than their marketing counterparts,” Adobe said. “This year we saw a year-over-year decline in the importance of mobile apps and mobile websites for marketers, with more ranking them as ‘very’ important versus ‘extremely.’ This might suggest that marketers are beginning to see mobile as a central component of an integrated strategy and no longer the hot new thing.”

Both groups said they’re somewhat more likely to focus their mobile efforts on apps over the mobile web with the top reason being broader reach and customer preference.

“At least two-thirds of marketers and IT decision-makers report apps being an extension of their web strategy,” Adobe said. “The primary functions and use cases for apps vary, but customer loyalty is still key to both audiences.”

Both IT pros and marketers said roughly one-third of their technology spend goes to apps or mobile sites—and retail companies report the highest overall tech spend for apps and mobile websites, with 42 percent of their budgets going toward apps and 45 percent toward mobile websites.

More than half of marketers said at least a quarter of their digital marketing budget is allocated to mobile acquisition, with an average of 34 percent. Adobe said a balanced approach to
 media—including paid, earned and owned—works best. But, for apps,
 paid media is chosen most often to drive
 customer acquisition, whereas owned media is preferred
 for mobile websites.

Adobe found IT professionals are more likely than marketers to
 measure app engagement and usage over time and said marketers “seem to be missing an important opportunity to learn more about their customers and their marketing efforts.”

Adobe also found IT professionals are more concerned than marketers about leveraging AI and other emerging technologies.

When asked how important leveraging AI will be to improve the mobile experience in the next three years, IT professionals said they are more concerned (53 percent) than marketers (34 percent).

Adobe found a similar split when it came to AR and VR experiences and the Internet of Things (IoT) and also that IT professionals are more likely to have a defined strategy for deployment or limited releases and tests in location-based marketing, IoT, AI, near-field communication (NFC) for content/offer delivery, personal assistants, chatbots, mixed reality, AR and VR.

“What has happened is that marketing—becoming increasingly digital—deals more with analytics and the need for real-time automation,” an Adobe rep said in an email. “The net effect is that marketing now becomes an important stakeholder when it comes to IT tech purchasing. It requires that the two teams work together, to implement and manage the tech stack that every company has. The two teams have to work together to drive having a clear/comprehensive view of the customer and be able to deliver a consistent experience on every touch point.”


The New Sony Xperia XZ2 Has Tools for Small Business Content Marketers

The New Sony Xperia XZ2 Made for Creators

Sony (NYSE: SNE) announced the Xperia XZ2 at Mobile World Congress 2018, where the prevailing theme amongst smartphone manufacturers this year has been cameras and entertainment.

Hideyuki Furumi, Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing for Sony Mobile Communications, explained in a press release, “If entertainment is your priority, then our new Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact are your smartphones. We have pushed Sony’s boundaries even further with our new products for movie recording, viewing, and music listening.”

However, for content creators, particularly small business marketers, the XZ2 also has some noteworthy features which may persuade them to consider it as their daily driver, especially if the price is right.

The Xperia, Sony’s flagship phone, comes in two different versions. The XZ2 and the XZ2 Compact have been designed with quality cameras, display and audio technology content creators involved in small business marketers can take advantage of.

For small businesses operating in a creative field, the XZ2 is a smartphone packed with powerful features for creating and consuming content.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Specs

The specs both phones share include: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage expandable up to 400GB with MicroSD card, 18:9 Full HD+ (1080×2160) HDR display, TRILUMINOS Display for mobile, 19MP rear camera and 5MP front camera, fingerprint scanner on the back, and Android 8.0 Oreo.

The XZ2 has a 5.7-inch display, Dynamic Vibration system, QI Wireless charging, 3180mAh battery, and is covered in a 3D Gorilla Glass surface.

The compact version has a 5-inch display, polycarbonate finish and a 2870mAh battery.

The standout features of both phones are fast connection speeds (up to 1.2Gbps) with second-generation Gigabit LTE, 4K HDR Movie recording, 960 fps Super slow motion video (FHD/HD), Predictive Capture (motion/smile), 3D Creator, Movie Creator and AR effect.

Price and Availability

The Xperia line is not the first brand customers think of when they are in the market for a smartphone. But if Sony prices this phone right — meaning much lower than the $1,000 price tag of other flagship phones — it has a great chance of getting more recognition.

Sony hasn’t announced how much these phones will cost when they become available globally in March, so a decision on whether small businesses can fit this device in their budget must wait. However, when the XZ1 launched it was $699 and the XZ1 Compact came in at $599. So if the latest Sony phones come in anywhere near this, they will definitely get the attention of many businesses and consumers alike.


Tamil film industry’s model makers move to greener pastures

Model makers, once an integral part of a Tamil film’s art department, have moved away from cinema to greener pastures

The use of scale models to shoot scenes that would otherwise have been difficult or expensive is as old as cinema itself. When combined with high-speed photography, a skilled cinematographer can convince the viewer of effects and images that would have been impossible to replicate in a life-sized setting. But with the advent of sophisticated visual effects technology, the use of miniatures in filmmaking (called the Miniature Effect) has largely been replaced.

With CGI taking over the use of models, the case is pretty much the same in Kollywood too. However, superstar Hollywood directors such as Christopher Nolan (action scenes involving Batman’s ‘Tumbler’ in The Dark Knight were shot using this effect) and Peter Jackson (in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) have kept it alive, choosing practical effects over computer-generated ones.

The same cannot be said about Kollywood. “It’s a dying art form in our industry,” says Abimanna Rajan V, a model maker and a former assistant of art directors Thotta Tharani and Rajeevan. “Even recently, a top director asked me if I could make a model helicopter for his film. Even before I could get started, he stopped me, stating that he’d found a ‘better’ solution in CGI.”

Rajan, whose miniatures have been featured in films such as Kushi, Sivaji andChandramukhi, says a career as a model maker in Kollywood is no longer viable. “Even in Hollywood, directors prefer models to CGI for a particular kind of shot. But in our industry, everyone’s in a hurry. If they’re asking for models, they want it in no time… and often at no cost too.”

He remembers a time when model makers were much in demand. “Even if it wasn’t for a scene, a bigger film would still need models, because a film’s lighting, set design and choreography were all discussed and decided using small models. Films can now use 3D software for that.”

Greener pastures

A graduate of College of Fine Arts, Chennai, Rajan says very few of his classmates work in cinema, having joined the IT industry in jobs such as graphic designer, Maya modeller, 3D Max modeller and more. “It’s because of the IT industry that a lot of the Fine Arts students have found work. Earlier, the only two options we had were to work in films or join an ad agency.”

Rajan, however, has kept his art form alive by finding work wherever he can. Recently, he was commissioned by the Chennai Metro Rail to build models of Metro Rail stations. “I see making detailed, near-perfect miniatures as my calling. That’s why I didn’t want to become an art director, because that involves other types of work which would have distracted me from making models. It’s like the concept of the film Boys, I can only do what I’m passionate about.”

The road ahead

When he’s not busy taking up assignments (his last film assignment was making Karthi’s army general costume in period drama Kaashmora and a model of the hijacked Air India aeroplane for Malayalam film Kandahar), he pursues his lifetime dream. “I want to make a miniature park in Tamil Nadu. A park where the public can view large models of India’s temples and monuments. Such parks have been around in other countries for decades, but we still don’t have one in our country.”

Explaining his dream, he underscores the difference between films and this park. “In art direction, the things we make have a short life span and we use temporary materials to build them. Even when others were using materials like thermocol and foam, I wanted to build using acrylic and fibre because the latter lasts longer. It’s the same with the park as well. I want my art work to last.”


I left my serious job for the frivolous food industry. But chefs can bring change to the table

Restaurants can go carbon-neutral by changing the way they grow, ship, cook and dispose of food.
Alot of people who cook food – and even more who write about it – have asked themselves at some point what the hell they’re doing. Particularly recently, as deeply entrenched institutional inequalities and biases are brought to light – not only in food but across numerous industries – a nagging question presents itself: am I doing something meaningful with my life?

These panicky moments vary in severity. Some are passing irritations that strike as we stand at the sink peeling a bucket of carrots, or while staring blankly at white pixels on a screen trying to come up with yet another word for “delicious”. Other times, it feels existential. More than a few people have left successful restaurant careers to pursue something they find more consequential. But the narrative you hear more frequently is about the person who leaves their desk job to work with something more tangible – namely food.

This is more or less my experience. I worked for the better part of a decade editing books – oral histories documenting human rights crises, experimental fiction, literary nonfiction, that sort of thing. If you’d asked me at the time, I would have labelled such work as serious work, as opposed to my lifelong interest in food, which I would have described as frivolous. And I would have been correct on some level. While for most of human existence, food has been a survival necessity, it hasn’t been confined to that role for more than a millennium. In the economically advantaged parts of the world, the majority of us don’t eat most of our meals because we need to; we eat because we want to.

But my experience of working in the food world has been different from what I expected. Seven years ago, I left my serious publishing job to make a food magazine called Lucky Peach. At one point during the magazine’s run, I doubled down on the food world and started a nonprofit organisation called ZeroFoodprint, which helps restaurants understand and reduce their climate impact. Whenever I ask myself what the hell I’m doing, I try to take the long view of these two endeavours.

I won’t get too deep into the nitty-gritty of restaurants’ relationship to climate change, but the long and short of it is that growing, shipping, cooking and disposing of food is a major contributor to greenhouse gases. It’s not impossible to counteract the effect – in fact, it’s easier than people think – but it still takes time and thought and a little bit of money. But the payoff for doing so is largely intangible: you feel better about yourself and there’s some unsubstantiated logic that, if you do right by the world, people will notice and come to your restaurant.

But even with such vague rewards, restaurants have been eager to do their part. Chefs and restaurateurs reach out to our organisation to ask how they can contribute. They open up to us about how much money they spend on ingredients and energy, where it comes from and how they use it. Then they listen to what they can do better. It’s a mind-boggling and uplifting thing to witness.

We’ve helped multiple restaurants go completely carbon-neutral, and dozens more reduce their emissions. For instance, a few years ago, the restaurant Noma in Copenhagen learned through our study that they were getting their electricity from a coal-fired power plant. By sending an email to their power company and requesting their power source be switched to a sustainable one, they reduced their emissions by 30%. Their energy bill went up, but they didn’t flinch.

There are limitations to what restaurants can change, of course. Of all the things we eat, commodity-raised beef is the single largest contributor to climate change, owing mostly to poor manure-disposal techniques. High-end restaurants can turn to more sustainable choices (grass-fed and “carbon-ranched” cattle are better alternatives) but as long as diners want $1 cheeseburgers, feedlot cows will continue to fart and poop our planet warmer. Plus, in the grand scheme of things, the restaurant industry makes up only a small part of the food system, which accounts for somewhere around a third of the world’s greenhouse gases. Even if we recruited a thousand restaurants to go carbon-neutral, it wouldn’t change the trajectory of the climate.

But this is where the frivolous side of food is important. Food is not simply a commodity – it’s a cultural undertaking. In fact, it’s pop culture. People admire chefs and covet restaurants. If chefs as a group decide that sustainable food is better food, consumers will follow. Twenty-five years ago, organic produce meant very little to most people. Thanks largely to the work of chefs, organic is now a widely held value.

And there’s the rub. Food’s not a worthwhile pursuit in spite of its frivolity, but rather because of it. Whenever my chosen profession has me questioning my purpose, I think about the countless meals I’ve had in the pursuit of good food and good stories – many of them with people who look differently, speak differently and believe and uphold opposing values to my own. It’s too optimistic to say food can bridge these divides, but I think it can be shared ground.

We can choose to believe we have nothing in common with people on the other side of the aisle or the world, but the way we eat proves otherwise. I’ve sat in restaurants with people whom I’d never want to socialise with and had dinner with people whose opinions differ totally from mine except for a mutual affection for pizza and cold, cheap beer. That might not sound like much, but it’s enough to get us around the same table.


5 Tips For Staying Interested In Your Career

Do you wake up feeling pumped about work, or wanting to stay in bed? So much of our lives is spent working. Don’t waste those precious hours doing something you don’t care about. At the very least, you should be interested in what you do.

Only 13% of employees worldwide say they are engaged in their jobs. What about the other 87%? Many of my coaching clients come to me looking to find more meaning in their career, and I am here to tell you that it is possible. You, too, can break out of your career rut and find your purpose.

Don’t know where to start? Here are five tips for staying interested in your career.

1. Know your “why.” This is fundamental and where you need to start. Why do you do what you do? Make sure you’re in a line of work that you find interesting, and then clearly identify why you’re doing it. I highly recommend Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Why, so that you can more deeply connect to your personal career mission.

2. Set digital goals. Now that you know why you’re doing what you do, set up short-term and long-term goals to keep you engaged and on track! I love digital tools and apps since they can give friendly reminders. Want to get promoted in 12 months? What are the steps you can take to get there? Get them on the calendar, and start working.

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3. Pick up a new skill. Keep your brain sharp by learning something new. Look into trainings at work, or ask to go to a seminar or conference. Select something that falls outside of your comfort zone but that is still relevant to your career. Your boss will love the added value you’re bringing to the team, while it won’t hurt to add an additional skill to your resume either.

4. Ask for feedback. If you aren’t getting the feedback you need, ask for it.A good manager will want to see that you’re interested in your career as well. Feedback can motivate you to perform better since you’ll feel more valued at work, and it’s a tool for continuous learning. Staying stagnant in your career most likely won’t keep you interested in anything more than a steady paycheck…which can work for a while (if you’re getting paid what you’re worth), but generally isn’t sustainable for career engagement.

5. Be mindful. Start each morning with a positive mantra. Then, watch what you say to yourself and others throughout the day. Avoid negative thoughts and comments about your job, and skip the office gossip. Stop taking everything so personally. Bonus: when you practice mindfulness at work, your stress levels subsequently will go way down.

If you flat out hate your job, follow these tips to stay positive until you’re able to make a switch. Do not stay in a career you despise! I promise that you will never find it interesting.

We all fall into career slumps at one point or another. Personal growth is the key to staying engaged. If you want to stay interested in your career, keep a positive mindset and never stop learning.

I’m excited to see where you go from here.