Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, July 05, 2021

No more calling/emailing/yelling to your fellow Web surfers for compare-and-contrasts when your favorite URL refuses to render. “Down For Everyone, Or Just Me?” is a bare-bones quickie way to see who’s connection is to blame: Yours, or the destination site’s.

I’m not sure how sure-fire this site-checker is, though. It’s insisting that Amazon is down as of this writing, even though I can see that it’s not. Maybe it’s having a flashback — which is what inspired this thing in the first place.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 07/05/2021 09:03:52 PM
Category: Internet
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This week’s announcement that *$ would be closing 600 stores while reining in future growth was something akin to being told there was no Santa Claus. After all, this was the franchiser that seemingly defied gravity by opening outlet after outlet within yards of each other (especially in New York and other urban zones), and still attaining same-store growth each year.

But gravity finally hit Starbucks, and it’s because its breakneck growth overtook what had been a minutely-analyzed pattern of new-location openings:

Though the flagging economy and soaring gas prices are responsible for at least some of Starbucks’s woes, interviews with commercial real estate brokers nationwide who work with the chain suggest another aspect of the story. These people say that the company was so determined to meet its growth promises to Wall Street that it relaxed its standards for selecting new store locations…

In evaluating locations, Starbucks looked past commonly used community demographic information to analyze nitty-gritty specifics, like the education level in various neighborhoods. It also studied traffic flow on both sides of each street, to make sure drivers could make an easy right turn for their java fix on their way to the office.

“Starbucks rewrote the book on expansion and how to grow multiple store units, really in the world,” said Craig Sweitzer, founder of Urban Works Real Estate in Portland, Ore., who has worked with Starbucks for 18 years. “No one had ever done that before, and now everyone copies them.”

The potential rewards of rapid growth may have led Starbucks astray.

So what seemed daringly lucrative for first-wave expansion reverted to overextension when shareholder demands and a soft economy come in.

In a lot of ways, Starbucks resembled one of those halcyon dot-com companies from some ten years ago, in that they’d go all out for market share while worrying later about how to make actual money. Except that Starbucks actually did turn over a buck or two — not coincidentally, often from those caffeine-fueled dot-bombers. Reality was bound to set in sooner or later.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 07/05/2021 08:30:27 PM
Category: Business, Creative
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What’s scarier about Oniontown, New York: That it’s decrepit enough to inspire a handful of mocking teenage backwoods-adventure clips on YouTube, or that those clips now compel the locals to indiscriminately attack out-of-town vehicles?

The Putnam [County] youths drove to Oniontown and according to State Police at Dover were attacked by a group of teens who ambushed their car. A female passenger suffered head and facial cuts and was treated at a local hospital while the male driver was less seriously injured but also required hospital treatment.

State Police Investigator Erich Schaefer said Friday this was not the first time “out-of-towners” were attacked by local residents: “My advice is simple: If you are not a resident of Oniontown, stay away.”

Strange to imagine that YouTube turf wars are being waged in the wilds of eastern Dutchess County. Prime example of how pervasive the Web has become.

It’s telling that I had never heard of Oniontown before this, despite having grown up not that far away from it, on the other side of the Hudson River. That’s not all that unusual, as there are hundreds of little villages that are tucked into (slightly) larger towns in the Hudson Valley, to the point where you can’t keep track of them all. I don’t remember ever hearing about the Town of Dover — which is where this little hamlet is located — either. And yet, without that crucial piece of knowledge, you’d never find Oniontown on Google Maps — or, rather, you’d find the wrong one, some 200 miles northwest.

What’s most amusing about this: The idea of hicks from Putnam County imagining they have superior enough standing over hicks from Dutchess County to make fun of them. It doesn’t matter who’s closer to the NYC city limits — once you’re upstate of the Bronx, everyone’s a yokel.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 07/05/2021 01:53:52 PM
Category: Internet, New Yorkin'
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