Breakthrough ideas often come from the least expected sources. For Daniel Friedman, the flash came from a woman named Rachel Tutera. Friedman makes custom men’s suits, mostly for corporate clients in his end of Park Slope, Brooklyn.
As the New York Times recently reported, “Ms. Tutera runs a blog called The Handsome Butch. When she wrote to him last year, seeking a sales job, she had a proposition: Why couldn’t Mr. Friedman, with his expertise in men’s suits, make them for women like her — not women’s suits, but the same gear he was making for guys, with the same masculine profile, but fitted to women’s bodies? It was a question he had never considered.
“In a coffee shop near his home the other day, he seemed still struck by the world that opened to him after that initial email.
“The whole thing is really strange, and sometimes I can’t — ” he said, his voice evaporating into the wonder of it all. He was not even sure how to identify Ms. Tutera, gender-wise. Was she transgender or just mannish? Sometimes it was hard to know such things. What he knew was that she had changed his life. “When we started this business, it was for money,” he said. “And now it’s not. It was the emotion, the excitement that people had, that became everything for the company. At least for me. You don’t expect to turn a corner and that’s what you’re going to find.”
“On another November morning in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Ms. Tutera took a turn at describing what she brought to Mr. Friedman, 34, and his company, Bindle and Keep. Arriving from an appointment with her barber, Ms. Tutera, 28, who identifies herself as navigating “a very tiny space that exists between being a butch dyke and being a trans man,” wore a man’s cable-knit sweater and oxford shirt, her short hair plastered back on her scalp.
“I personally don’t ever put on women’s clothes,” she said. “I just can’t. Buttons are on the wrong side. I don’t know what size I am in women’s clothes. I feel I know how to dress in men’s clothes. I’m sure I could put on women’s clothes and not be completely freaked out, but I just wouldn’t want to.” For most of her life, Ms. Tutera said, this meant choosing between clothes that did not fit her physique and those that did not fit her sense of self. Then in 2010, she went to a tailor in Midtown to have a men’s suit made for her. It cost $1,500, a towering sum.
“I was trembling to be there,” she said. Where women’s clothing tends to accentuate the hips and breasts, she said, she wanted a silhouette like a man’s. She bound her breasts to make them less prominent (she has since had surgery to remove them). The suit turned out to be more than just an article of clothing, she told Mr. Friedman in her email. That moment started his education.“The suit really helped me in ways I never expected it to,” she said. “I hadn’t ever felt handsome before. I had put together these makeshift outfits for special occasions and always felt like I was being overlooked in some way. I felt like I was ready to be paid attention to. It brought me to the precipice of becoming who I am now.”
More at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/nyregion/custom-suits-to-make-transgender-and-female-clients-feel-handsome.html?pagewanted=all
Good news for parents: Those pricey piano lessons or random toy parts littering your floors may one day lead to the next scientific breakthrough.
That’s according to new Michigan State University research linking childhood participation in arts and crafts activities to patents generated and businesses launched as adults, as reported in MedicalNews today.
“In the study, which is published in the most recent edition of the journal Economic Development Quarterly, the researchers defined “childhood” as up to 14 years old.
“The team of multidisciplinary researchers studied a group of MSU Honors College graduates from 1990 to 1995 who majored in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, or STEM. They found of that group, those who own businesses or patents received up to eight times more exposure to the arts as children than the general public.
“The most interesting finding was the importance of sustained participation in those activities,” said Rex LaMore, director of MSU’s Center for Community and Economic Development. “If you started as a young child and continued in your adult years, you’re more likely to be an inventor as measured by the number of patents generated, businesses formed or articles published. And that was something we were surprised to discover.”
“Musical training seems to be important. The researchers found 93 percent of the STEM graduates reported musical training at some point in their lives, as compared to only 34 percent of average adults, as reported by the National Endowment for the Arts. The STEM graduates also reported higher-than-average involvement in the visual arts, acting, dance and creative writing.
“In addition, those who had been exposed to metal work and electronics during childhood were 42 percent more likely to own a patent than those without exposure, while those involved in architecture were 87.5 percent more likely to form a company. And children with a photography background were 30 percent more likely to have a patent. Continue reading “Early arts help with … business skills?”
“Why does the TV business hate people over 50?” That’s one of the most common questions I get asked by viewers.
This is not an idle query, writes Scott Collins in the Los Angeles Times
“The TV industry, like much of corporate America, chases youth. That pursuit has a major impact on programming. It helps explain why a low-rated show such as NBC’s “Community” can keep going (and going, and going …) while older-skewing shows are usually toast. Even if they have more total viewers.
“So now you know why “Harry’s Law,” the legal drama with sexagenarian Kathy Bates, is no longer on the air. NBC executives said as much when they canceled the show.
“Most TV networks are chasing viewers in the “demo,” or the demographic ages 18 to 49 as measured by Nielsen. But how and why did that happen? And is that even rational?
“The first question is easier to answer. During the early years of commercial TV, Nielsen estimated total audiences. It sounds ridiculous in our tech-savvy world, but back then Nielsen’s measurements depended largely on written diaries that members of each household in the survey were obligated to fill out. That’s how we know, for example, that 73-million people watched The Beatles on Ed Sullivan’s show in February 1964. It’s also why network TV aimed for mass audiences and maintained conventions such as a “family hour,” when parents and kids could sit down together to watch shows. This led critics to charge that executives were programming a “lowest common denominator” medium — a “vast wasteland,” in the timeless phrase of former FCC chief Newton Minow — that weeded out minority views and tastes. But it was how TV worked for 40 years. Continue reading “Why youth obsession is bad for business”
In a unanimous vote last month, the Regents of the University of California created a corporate entity that, if spread to all UC campuses as some regents envision, promises to further privatize scientific research produced by taxpayer-funded laboratories, reports the EastBayExpress.
“The entity, named Newco for the time being, also would block a substantial amount of UC research from being accessible to the public, and could reap big profits for corporations and investors that have ties to the well-connected businesspeople who will manage it.
“Despite the sweeping changes the program portends for UC, the regents’ vote received virtually no press coverage. UC plans to first implement Newco at UCLA and its medical centers, but some regents, along with influential business leaders across the state, want similar entities installed at Berkeley, Davis, Santa Cruz, and other campuses. UC Regents Chairwoman Sherry Lansing called Newco at UCLA a “pilot program” for the entire UC system.
“The purpose of Newco is to completely revamp how scientific discoveries made in UC laboratories — from new treatments for cancer to apps for smartphones — come to be used by the public. Traditionally, UC campuses have used their own technology transfer offices to make these decisions. But under Newco, decisions about the fate of academic research will be taken away from university employees and faculty, and put in the hands of a powerful board of businesspeople who will be separate from the university. This nonprofit board will decide which UC inventions to patent and how to structure licensing deals with private industry. It also will have control over how to spend public funds on these activities. Continue reading “Privatizing the public university”
American manufacturing lost more than two million jobs during the recession, accelerating a decline that had begun long ago in the 1970s.
Yet since then, manufacturing has been one of the biggest drivers of job growth in the US, adding more than 500,000 jobs.
The BBC reports that “While much of that job growth could be attributable to post-recession pent-up demand, that is not the whole story.According to the Reshoring Initiative, a group of companies and trade associations trying to bring factory jobs back to the US, about 10% of those job gains – 50,000 jobs – were created by companies bringing back manufacturing from overseas. Continue reading “Jobs are returning to the U.S.”
If you’re not familiar with the phrase, “life-hacking” is a tech savvy term for something between productivity enhancement and self-help. What follows is a an item highlighted in the recent post of lifehacker.com, originally appearing in the Harvard Business Review, on the importance and strategic value (it’s business, after all) of saying “thanks.”
“John, the CEO of a sales organization, sent an email to Tim, an employee several levels below, to compliment him on his performance in a recent meeting. Tim did not respond to the email.
“About a week later, he was in John’s office applying for an open position that would have been a promotion into a management role, when John asked him whether he had received the email. Yes, Tim said, he had. Why, John asked, hadn’t he responded? Tim said he didn’t see the need.
“But Tim was wrong. John’s email deserved, at the very least, a ‘thank you.’ Continue reading “Life-hacking: Saying thank-you”
“Congratulations. Reading the first paragraph of this article has earned you a badge.” In a curious piece in today’s New York Times, Nick Winfield discusses a concept already well known in gaming circles: that the tasking and reward systems of video games have broader social implications. As the article continues:
“If this made-up award makes you feel good about yourself, then you are on your way to understanding gamification, a business trend — some would say fad — that aims to infuse otherwise mundane activities with the excitement and instant feedback of video games.
“Many businesses are using these game tricks to try to get people hooked on their products and services — and it is working, thanks to smartphones and the Internet.
“Buying a cup of coffee? Foursquare, the social networking app that helped popularize the gamification idea, gives people virtual badges for checking in at a local cafe or restaurant. Continue reading “The world as game”