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Friday, August 30, 2013

SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott Joins Twitter

SAP co-ceo bill mcdermott on oracle

SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott took the plunge and joined Twitter this week and he's taking to social networking like an old pro.
His first tweet was a cheerful hello that expertly included the #SAP hashtag. 
And that made his second tweet hilarious.
Apparently, SAP employees found him and he was inundated, not with tweets, but with emails welcoming him to Twitter and alerting him of followers. He saw his inbox fill up and thought there was some sort of catastrophe in the company.

With that second tweet and a total of seven this week, he also instantly out-tweeted archrival Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, who joined Twitter in June, 2012, and has since sent only one. And that was a dis of SAP.
McDermott's tweets have been far friendlier, including a shout-out to Fantasy Football and Martin Luther King Jr.
Ellison managed to attract 40,000 follows to his single tweet. Ellison admits that Facebook is more his style. (His Facebook profile is not public).
In a few days, McDermott has attracted about 1,000 followers, so he still has a ways to go to beat Ellison on that count, but if he keeps up the action, he surely will.

India mobile market: Samsung's share shrinks, Micromax grows - Firstpost

The latest report by International Data Corporation’s (IDC) on the Indian mobile phone market for the second quarter indicates Samsung’s market share fell to 26 percent while home-grown manufacturer Micromax continues to strengthen its number two position with a 22 percent market share.
Overall in India vendors shipped 9.3 million smartphones for Q2 of 2013 compared to 3.5 million units in the same period of 2012.
The report also says that in the Indian market ‘phablets’ are the rage and smartphones with 5-inch and bigger screens grew 17 times when compared year-over-year.
“The growth in the India smartphone market is driven by consistent performance by local vendors who accounted for more than half of the total smartphone market in 2Q13. These vendors have been scaling up operations owing to rising migration of the user base from feature phones to smartphones,” says Manasi Yadav, Senior Market Analyst with IDC India.
Micromax logo is seen in this file photo.
Micromax logo is seen in this file photo.
“The key for growth in this market, as with most emerging markets, is a low-priced phone equipped with a large screen and dual SIM slots,” says Kiranjeet Kaur, Senior Market Analyst with IDC’s Client Devices group.
“The dual SIM phenomena, which had accelerated the growth of local vendors in feature phone, turned to dual SIM smartphones flooding the Indian market.”
The report says that the newly launched Samsung Galaxy Star is doing well for the South-Korean firm boosting volume sales. The smartphone is priced at Rs 4999.
Samsung currently has a market share of 26 percent, which is a fall given that Samsung had a 32.7 percent market share in Q1 of 2013. The report also notes that  Samsung’s cash-back and zero percent EMI worked in its favour, specifically for the Galaxy Note II.
Micromax remains steady at No 2 spot and crossed the 2 million unit mark in shipments. Phablets and the Canvas Series helped boost Micromax’s numbers. It now has a 22 percent market share which is much closer to Samsung.
Karbonn is the second Indian-manufacturer which is on the top five list with a 13 percent market share. In Q1 of 2013, Karbonn had a 10.9 percent market share. The report notes that the newly launched Titanium range is doing well in the price-sensitive market.
Nokia is at number four on the list with a 5 percent market share.Lumia 520 helped Nokia pick up volumes towards the lower end, notes the report. Lumia seems to be emerging as a new option for Indian consumers to choose from if they wish to avoid Android or Apple.
Sony is at number five with a 5 percent market share. The report notes that Sony’s mid-tier range of phones is doing well. This includes Sony Xperia M (under Rs 15 k), Sony Xperia SP (under Rs 25 k) and Sony Xperia E (under Rs 10k) Sony needs to add more phones to its portfolio, across a wider price-range, if it hopes to beat Nokia.
For Samsung, news that local vendor Micromax is steadily gaining could be worrisome. The Canvas 4 for instance offered some of the software features such as ‘Blow to Unlock’, ‘Smart Pause while watching video’, etc that are there in Galaxy S4. However, the Micromax phone offers it at half the price.
The Canvas 4 is priced at Rs 17,999 while the Samsung Galaxy S4 is currently retailing at Rs 33, 799. Even Samsung’s complementary range of Galaxy S4 phones such as the Zoom and the S4 Mini were priced at Rs 29,990 and and Rs 27,000 which is much higher than any of the Karbonn or Micromax phones.
Indian vendors are offering quad-core phones with 5-inch and bigger screens for half the price that Samsung is. Micromax’s growth is therefore not a big surprise.

Friday, August 23, 2013

How to Renounce Your Citizenship

Canadian-American. After the Dallas Morning News outed the Texas senator and Tea Party stalwart's dual citizenship (he was born in Calgary, Alberta), Cruz announced late Monday night that he would give up his Canadian citizenship.
While he said he has "nothing against Canada" and does not have a Canadian passport, he felt that as "an American by birth and a U.S. Senator" he "should only be an American."
But how does one go about renouncing citizenship? It's not as easy as burning your old passport. Practices vary from country to country, with some examples below.
Canada
Canadian regulations afford Senator Cruz a comparatively easy renunciation road. The first step, ticking off six boxes on the list of eligibility criteria , promises to be relatively straightforward. This will include demonstrating that he or she is over 18, that he does not reside in Canada, that he presents no security threat to the country, and that he understands the full significance of the action. An applicant must also prove that he or she will not be left "stateless"—lacking citizenship in any other country.
Having met the criteria, Cruz then merely has to fill out an online application and pay a nonrefundable fee of $100, the processing time for which can vary from three months to a year. Since Canada does not levy taxes on income earned overseas Cruz will not face any tax bill, as he would if he were giving up his U.S. citizenship.
Cruz will then join a very small group: Last year only 192 people applied to renounce their Canadian citizenship, compared with 1,130 in the U.S. for the second quarter of 2013 alone.
United States
Citizenship renunciation has had a complex history in the U.S. Prior to the late 19th century, most countries considered a person's birth citizenship to be permanent and immutable under the doctrine of perpetual allegiance.
This proved nettlesome for early British immigrants who, by virtue of their British birth, were sometimes pressed into service by the Royal Navy despite holding U.S. citizenship and having immigrated to America years, or even decades, earlier. The practice of impressment was so controversial as to have played a significant role in causing the War of 1812 between the U.S. and Britain.
Nor was the practice confined to Britain alone. Germany, Sweden, and other countries also frequently drafted into their militaries U.S. citizens visiting their homeland.
In 1868, Congress passed the Expatriation Act , which specifically allowed for citizens to renounce the citizenship of the country from which they emigrated.But since the U.S. had no control over other national policies, it also sought out foreign agreements that harmonized naturalization laws—what became known as the Bancroft Treaties.
Today American citizens opting to renounce their citizenship do so primarily for tax reasons, according to Freddi Weintraub, an immigration lawyer with Fragomen, a New York law firm.
The U.S. is the only country in the world that taxes all income by its citizens earned overseas above $100,000. In 2012, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverinrenounced his U.S. citizenship and became a citizen of Singapore, whose tax rules are substantially lighter by comparison.
But the renunciation process is not without headaches, says Weintraub. You must first go to a consulate or embassy overseas and announce your intentions.Then "there are a bunch of affidavits that you have to complete," she says, "because they have to make sure that you are of a sound mind, and that you understand the ramifications of what you've done."
A consular officer then conducts an exit interview and has the individual sign an oath of renunciation. And depending on a person's income and wealth, exit taxes may be accessed.
Russia
In the Soviet era, renunciation wasn't even an option for most citizens.Emigration was restricted except in extraordinary circumstances. When the Soviet Union finally allowed certain groups—such as ethnically Jewish citizens—to emigrate in the late 1970s, those moving to Israel were forced to hand over their Soviet passports at the border.
The current procedure is more flexible, if beset by bureaucracy. As with Canada, proof of alternative citizenship is necessary. But in Russia's case, the bureaucratic hoop jumping has just begun.
Nationals living abroad are first required to have an up-to-date Russian passport—which would have been a problem for someone in Senator Cruz's situation, since it takes months and a fat stack of paperwork to obtain one. You also need a translated and notarized copy of the other country's passport. Plus official proof that you owe no taxes to the Russian government, which is not so easy to get unless you live in Russia.
A fee is assessed. All documents are submitted in person. And only then does the six-month processing begin.
France
Like Canada and Russia, France only allows its citizens to renounce their citizenship if they first demonstrate alternative citizenship. They must also prove a "lack of family and professional ties in France," according to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In December 2012, French actor Gerard Depardieu renounced his French citizenship in a dispute over tax increases on the wealthy instituted by the new president, Francois Hollande. Facing an effective tax rate of approximately 85 percent in France, Depardieu first moved across the border to neighboring Belgium, where the tax rate stands at 60 percent.
Then in a strange twist, Russian President Vladimir Putin handed Depardieu a Russian passport, which the actor happily accepted. Now facing an income tax rate of only 13 percent, Depardieu is registered as a resident of Saransk , a small town in the Russian province of Mordovia, about 400 miles east of Moscow, and has plans to star in a Russian film set in Chechnya.
Japan
In contrast to the countries above, Japan does not allow dual citizenship.
Along with its neighbor Korea, Japan automatically revokes a person's Japanese citizenship once he or she is naturalized in another country. Minors under the age of 21 are allowed to hold two passports, but upon coming of age, they must renounce the second passport or forfeit their Japanese citizenship.
Though it was formerly quite common, actively barring dual citizenship has all but disappeared over the last several decades. Even Germany, previously a staunch adherent to the policy, has relaxed the restriction in recent years and now allows exemptions to be considered.

Why You Can See the Moon During Daylight Hours

I have a friend whose young son gets incredibly excited when he can see the moon during the day. After several excited shouts of “day moon!” the youngster asks his mom why he can sometimes see the moon when the sun is up, and not just at night. Good question.
Objects in the sky appear to pass overhead on a daily basis because the earth is rotating, or spinning on its axis. For example, at the equator, the sun appears above the horizon for approximately 12 hours a day (though this varies according to the season).
This is true for the moon as well – but the moon is also traveling in an orbit around the Earth.
“And because the moon travels around the Earth, its 12 hours above the horizon aren’t always the same as the sun’s 12 hours,” says Stephen Reynolds, an astrophysicist at NC State who was kind enough to talk to me about this subject. So, sometimes the moon is above the horizon only at night, sometimes only during the day, and sometimes a little of both.
However, any time the moon is above the horizon, you should be able to see it (though it’s a little less obvious in the bright light of day). With one exception.
While we talk about the moon “shining,” it is actually reflecting the light of the sun. And the side of the moon that is lit up is the side that is facing the sun.
Depending on the position of the sun and moon, those of us here on Earth can see different amounts of that “lit” side of the moon. That’s why we see different phases of the moon, such as a full moon or crescent moon.
If the moon is above the horizon, the only time you won’t be able to see it is when it is a “new” moon – meaning that the lit surface of the moon is facing away from the Earth.
Note: Many thanks to Stephen Reynolds, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor of Physics at NC State, for taking the time to talk with me about “day moons.” Any errors in the above post are mine alone.

What Happened When I Had Sex Every Day For a Year

Couple Kissing
I just had sex every day for a year, and I didn't tell you about it.
But I did video tape it, so check it out -> here!
Just kidding.
I wasn't even sure I was going to go into it, but here we are. *pats the empty space on the couch*
It was the email that never made the emails mostly because it was the kind of truth that stung a little too much.
May 22nd, 2012
Hey, could you list 5 things you love about my body?
to: [email protected]
from: [email protected]
Butt hair face lips cleavage.
to: [email protected]
from: [email protected]
Whoa, slow down Casanova, I'm about to end up pregnant, don't get so descriptive.
to: [email protected]
from: [email protected]
Well to be honest, I haven't seen you totally naked in years.
Well, shit.
The fact is, I am horrible at intimacy. I come from a family of non-huggers and I sometimes hate my body, so yeah, recipe for Temple Grandin hug machine. My husband is gorgeous and very, very sexy, but the issues we were having in the sack were all me. I could not shut my insecurity off, and sex quickly became a really anxiety-inducing experience that went one of two ways.
1. I avoided it, because it was hot and stressful hiding my body under two comforters and a snowsuit in the dark and instead ran a diversion play. I have cramps. I have too many deadlines. Gigi is too scared to sleep alone let's bring her in the bed with us. Yeah, I used a 4-year-old as the most adorable cock-block ever.You can't be in sex mode after reading three Fancy Nancy books, you just can't.
2. I tried to explain to him why I was self conscious, and then he asked why him telling me how pretty I was wasn't enough for me to get over it, and I felt like a horrible, horrible asshole.
So after a lot of crying and shrimp curry, I came up with the plan to have sex every day for a year, barring any medical problems or logistical issues, and he seemed to be pretty okay with it. I wish it could say it was a profound decision, but the truth is, I was getting worried he was losing interest because I acted uninterested out of insecurity, and he was getting nervous about me saying things like, how awesome do separate bedrooms sound!?
(Spoiler alert: I still vote separate bedrooms, but he's a snorer and sleep chewer who is vehemently against the color mint and my need for body pillows.)
We figured if we focused on intimacy, eventually it'd rekindle all the things we spent sevenish post-birth years back burner'ing out of sheer exhaustion and raging insecurity. This is the same way I got over my fear of eating oysters and driving in the snow. You just make yourself do it until you don't notice it feels like mucus or like you don't know how to control a motor vehicle. You make yourself do it until it becomes a place of comfort and safety. You make yourself do it until suddenly, you love it.
Now I can't speak for Andy, except to say he had a really good time, but for me, a year of sex became less about getting my sex on, and more about getting my brain to stop being an asshole when I took all my clothes off.
It started off pretty rough. I felt like I was always preparing for sex; Whore's Bath & Sink Shaving Badge #5: UNLOCKED. It got to the end of the day, and as I hunched over the sink washing my face, praying for cold sheets and sleep, I'd realize I still had the whole love-making thing to do, and it was like, awesome, another daily chore. 
But then it stopped being a chore, and became the moment of the day where I was most at peace. Where I could have an actual conversation with my husband and know he was listening to me and not secretly watching television or elbow deep in Lego assembly.
I told a few friends, and they reacted pretty much the same way, oh I could never do that. And I totally get it, but I actually learned a lot about myself between the sheets.
It's not you, it's me. Stop being weird about it.
So I disliked my stomach. My thighs. How I looked laying flat on my back. A myriad of irrational things, really, and I'd have the same conversation with Andy about it, telling him I'm self conscious and I just don't feel sexy, and then he'd spend 10 minutes telling me how gorgeous I am, and then another 30 minutes pouting and being hurt that it wasn't enough to make me change my mind. So on top of feeling insecure, I felt like a jerk. That needed to stop. I needed to explain to him that him seeing me that way is great, but unless I saw it too, it didn't count. I mean, at least if he expected me to be an active participant and not just a hole laying on the mattress. It took a lot of talking to make him realize that me not feeling sexy was not an attack on him, and him being hurt about it only made me feel worse. I wanted to enjoy sex, too. And the key for me being able to enjoy it is feeling confident and gorgeous, and that was a me journey, not a him journey, though having a cheerleader on the sidelines was a plus.
We quickly learned, confident Brittany sex is way better.
Pretty panties make me happy.
It's no secret that I love fashion and playing dress up, but I found that when I was at home in mom/wife/muggle/couch mode, I was opting for ease. And that's fine. Seriously, I am not some bitch here telling you to wear heels to the grocery store or pants to school pick up when you aren't even getting out of the car and it's a total waste of clean pants. But one day I was getting dressed for an outside wedding shower in 90 degree heat, and decided to forgo shapewear for regular underwear, when I realized the only underwear I owned was either ratty maternity underwear or cheap 99 cent briefs I grabbed at the end of a Walmart aisle to get me through my period week. No wonder I didn't feel sexy, I had the undergarments of an incontinent nursing home patient.
So I went to Cacique and stocked up on 5 for $25 panties. Some were plain and some were lacy, and when I wore them they looked so pretty across my hips. I'd even find myself walking from my closet to the bathroom wearing them, a stark contract to the primal run I did covered in a towel with my spanx shoved into a ball of clothes in my hands when I thought Andy wasn't paying attention.
I went back to buy more underwear, and even some cute lingerie that I tried on in the store and sent photos of to Andy at work. Needless to say, he was excited, but it was more than that. The effort I put into wearing the cute panties, even if they were under a pair of jeans or sweat shorts, made me feel insanely gorgeous, and my brain needed that.
I am my own sex advocate.
I like being on my knees and I'm not an inside climaxer, I'm an outside climaxer.I do like oral sex, but I don't like having my nipples touched, because they are numb. I also hate having breath on my neck because I am extremely ticklish, and then I get goosebumps and my leg hair grows in too fast. Please stop doing that.
All that? I had to work on being okay saying all that out loud, and get over the idea that I was being a selfish, demanding nympho. I deserve good sex as much as he does, and instead of waiting around for him to figure it out, which is totally unfair to guys by the way, I had to find my voice and use it.
Coincidentally, it was a major turn on. Who knew?
Now what, nympho?
We're not hell-bent on doing it every day anymore, but we definitely make more of an effort, and it helped us be a lot more open with each other. I mean, if you have "ball shaving" as a monthly google calendar alert, it's safe to say you're comfortable talking about almost anything.
August 5th, 2013
Alright man take two, five things you love about my body.
to: [email protected]
from: [email protected]
Only 5? I'd pick the curve of your waist between your boobs and your butt, the spot on your wrist where you dab perfume, your hair when you take it down in the morning, the really soft skin between your boobs, and all the freckles on your arms and shoulders.
to: [email protected]
from: [email protected]
Weird, those are my 5 favorite things, too. We have similar tastes in body parts, I should show you my freezer collection sometime.
Follow Brittany Gibbons on Twitter: www.twitter.com/brittanyherself

Ikea is so good at so many things. Why is it so bad at delivery?

A woman sits at a model room in an IKEA Store.
A woman sits at a model room in an Ikea store.
Courtesy of epsos.de/Flickr
It all started because I wanted the Nelson Swag Leg Desk . Not a new, licensed reproduction—I wanted the scuffed-up, 1960-vintage Nelson Swag Leg Desk I found on eBay. It seemed to me mostly irrelevant that I could not afford the Nelson Swag Leg Desk. But my husband suggested a budgetary adjustment: Instead of pairing the Nelson Swag Leg Desk with pricey custom-built bookshelves as planned, we could economize with a jumbo set of Ikea’s Billy bookcases , which fit the appointed space almost to the centimeter. At first, I resisted this financially expedient arranged marriage of a modern-design icon to a prosaic dorm-room staple that I associated with beer pong and Gustav Klimt’sThe Kiss . Eventually, though, I started talking myself into the compromise. I tried to think of it as a chic high-low flourish, like Anna Wintour pairing couture with jeans on her first Vogue cover,or Mike D plonking a Target poufsmack in the middle of his otherwise ultra-customized Brooklyn townhouse. Or something.
We completed the order, absorbing the blunt force of the flat $99 delivery fee.But the odyssey of the Billy bookcase, we discovered, had only just begun.
  • June 7. We buy the bookcase.
  • June 13. We receive an email from Ikea: “Your order has departed from the IKEA Distribution Center.
  • June 16. We receive an email from a company called UX Logistics stating that our order is ready to deliver.
  • June 16, Part II. Email from Ikea: “Your IKEA order is ready to be delivered. … You will receive a call within 2 to 3 business days to schedule your delivery date.
  • June 17. UX Logistics confirms via email that our delivery is set for June 21.
  • June 21. Another email from Ikea, asking to confirm our order.
  • June 21, Part II. UX Logistics confirms via email that our delivery is set for June 26.
And on and on and on. Each afternoon, my husband would call UX Logistics, who’d say something like, “We can’t deliver your item because it hasn’t arrived,” then call Ikea, who’d say, “They do have it—you need to call them back and find out why they’re not delivering it,” and so forth. At one point, my husband asked Ikea to cancel the home delivery so we could arrange to pick up the bookcase ourselves. Easy for all concerned, right? Wrong: Ikea claimed that cancelation of the delivery was impossible, because the bookcase had already been delivered—to UX Logistics, who said they didn’t have it. Even if we canceled the order outright, Ikea told us, we’d be on the hook for the delivery to the delivery company who hadn’t yet received the delivery.
It turns out that Ikea is not just a furniture retailer. It is also an epistemological time machine, casting into doubt everything we thought we knew about semantics and the space-time continuum and the ding an sich of particle board.
The nightmare of Ikea delivery is a truth so universally acknowledged that even the company cops to it. Chief marketing officer Leontyne Green talked about her own “very frustrating” Ikea delivery experience in a December 2011 Ad Ageprofile , which stressed the firm’s ongoing efforts to improve delivery and overall customer service. But as anyone who has found herself dissolving into the hypnotically well-appointed cattle chute of an Ikea showroom can tell you, this is not a company that does things by accident. The who’s-on-first shambles of Ikea delivery isn’t the flaw in the Eivor Cirkel rug . It’s instead a case study in how a large retailer can succeed by failing. Here are five reasons why.
Ikea has no rational economic motive to offer halfway-decent delivery.Like many big-box retailers, Ikea outsources all its delivery. “With sporadic orders over a wide geographic area, Ikea would need a fleet of trucks that might be idle one day and not able to handle the load the next,” says Robert Shumsky, a professor of operations management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Of course, other furniture retailers such as Crate and Barrel and Pottery Barn juggle similar logistical challenges, but have nothing like Ikea’s reputation for delivery debacles. Ikea may be OK with this because it doesn’t have much competition in the bargain furniture business—there’s no one else selling couches quite so cheap. The company sees its customers as fundamentally different: thriftier, for sure, but also stronger, more resourceful, stoic in the face of challenge! According to Santiago Gallino, also a professor at the Tuck School, “Ikea’s target customers are consumers who prize ‘value,’ and are willing to spend their own time to save money”—by pulling items from the warehouse, assembling the items themselves, etc. “Asking the customer to spend time to come to the store is consistent with this segmentation strategy,” Gallino says.
Ikea, unlike so many other retailers, has little to fear from Amazon.Consumers are increasingly conditioned to assume that virtually any product—even heavy, unwieldy products—can land on their doorstep 24 hours or less after purchase. Just one case in point: the frighteningly fast and cheap deliveries of heavy bulk purchases available via the Amazon subsidiary wag.com . But Ikea is, at least for the time being, immune to these expectations. According to Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei , “Amazon can disrupt anything that doesn’t have to be assembled or curated”—in other words, anything that isn’t Ikea. But heavy flat-pack furniture deliveries are a conundrum even Jeff Bezos hasn’t yet solved, and the most dazzling page of Amazon can’t begin to compete with any given IKEA alcove. “Yesterday, you didn’t know you needed a new strainer,” Frei says, “but today you do, because of how it was curated in the Ikea kitchen. Amazon can’t do that.”
Making you wait might make you happy. The longer we waited for Billy, it seems, the more we pined for Billy, which heightened our satisfaction when Billy did finally arrive. “The advantage of making people wait is that it creates a sense of anticipatory excitement,” says Michael Norton, a professor of marketing at Harvard Business School. Norton and Elizabeth Dunn’s recent book Happy Money makes the case that a pay-now-enjoy-later model of consumption leads to greater customer satisfaction than the enjoy-now-pay-later logic of, say, Amazon Prime.
Making you work might make you even happier. The 2011 article “‘The IKEA Effect’: When Labor Leads to Love” —written by Norton, Daniel Mochon, and Dan Ariely—argues that successfully assembling an Ikea product can lead us to value the item more than if the item arrived on our doorstep camera-ready. I jokingly ask Norton if my husband’s unpaid internship as an Ikea fulfillment manager might have created its own Ikea effect. “I’m not so sure the answer is no,” Norton says. “It was a real pain in the butt, but we do misattribute effort toliking, so he might actually like the bookcase more because getting it was such a hassle. There’s something about service recovery that creates a different, more meaningful experience.
Or not. “Working as Ikea’s fulfillment and transport manager had no impact on my enjoyment of the shelves once they arrived,” my husband said in a statement to Slate.
Being icy and withholding is part of Ikea’s unique alchemy. “Ikea refuses to expose itself to the idiosyncracies of its customers,” Frei says. “There is no way they could do their own delivery with that signature Ikea crisp efficiency—there are too many variables. So they make you conform to them.” Ikea makes great stuff cheap—and that is the draw. Helping you obtain that stuff, or even find it in their store, is not part of their mission, which also explains why you’ll rarely spot an Ikea employee who isn’t either working a register or hauling purchases to the parking lot. “If you come to their showroom seeking out a specific thing and you can’t find it,” Frei says, “you’ll probably just go and buy an adjacent thing.” 
Without meaning to, I recently tested this last hypothesis at my local Ikea in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Shumsky had mentioned that he’d wanted to purchase aSpoka nightlight for his daughter, but Ikea doesn’t deliver this item and his nearest showroom is two and a half hours away. I’m only about five miles from mine, so after checking online that the Spoka was “most likely in stock” in Red Hook, I hopped on my bike to go buy one for him. But once I’d slowly wended through the endless floor displays to the lighting emporium, I couldn’t find the Spoka nightlight, or any nightlights at all, or anyone on the floor to help me find the nightlights, so I bought and ate an Ikea cinnamon bun and got back on my bike and rode home. I know that Ikea won’t lose any sleep over me and my failed nightlight quest (which cost them all of $15) or the Billy breakdown. But it’s still a little strange—a little analog, a little pre-Amazon and pre-Apple Store—to realize that a bad customer experience is part of the design of a good business strategy.

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