Sunday assorted links

1. “Our results reveal that biographies remain in our communicative memory the longest (20–30 years) and music the shortest (about 5.6 years).

2. Facial boarding.

3. Erik Torenberg free lunch list.

4. “In 2016, Marriott Hotels, which had 19 hotel brands, merged with Starwood, which had 11. They didn’t abolish any brands in the merger, and so the company faced a challenge: How to explain to customers, or even to its own employees, what makes all 30 of these brands different from each other.”  Here is more from Josh Barro.

5. New Egyptian tomb discovered, what else to come?

6. Daniel Gross podcast on Pioneer and talent discovery, with Erik Torenberg.


Ashes, ashes, we all forget the songs ....

Well, apart from the fact that song is centuries old, though it is likely that most MR commenters have not sung it for the last 5.6 years.

Your style is really unique compared to other people I've read stuff from.
Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this blog.

4. Hotels are in the advertising business, not the hospitality business; they are much like so-called tech. As Barro points out, Marriott et al. don't actually own the hotels: they franchise them to owner/operators. My father owned a Holiday Inn (which I suspect is a name not recognized by many readers), and was one of the first franchisees. Holiday Inn, along with Howard Johnson, were the first companies to enter the hotel advertising business, a model so successful that it is the prevailing model today. Of course, the problem with actually owning a hotel is that it's expensive to maintain, and eventually becomes obsolete. Think about all those Holiday Inns that were "motels" (i.e., the rooms were entered from outside). Many of those old "motels" still exist but they aren't really motels: they are the places poor people, who cannot afford the upfront payments for an apartment (deposits, utilities, etc.), live. One day, probably not far in the future, all those nice "hotels" won't be actual hotels but something else entirely, maybe retirement homes for the one-time hucksters in Silicon Valley getting their just reward.

Of course, Donald Trump doesn't actually own most of the "Trump" hotels and real estate developments: he licenses his name to owner/operators. As Michael Corleone would say, "It's a smart move". Here's an oddity: Trump got the idea from his Russian friends. Trump isn't the only businessman who uses the model and thereby limits his risk. None other than Jack Nicklaus does too. Nicklaus learned the hard way: in the early years of real estate and golf course development, Nicklaus would buy and develop the real estate himself. The "hard way" acknowledges that he almost went bankrupt while holding lots of real estate during a real estate recession/depression. "Never again", said Nicklaus. Unlike Trump, however, Nicklaus paid his creditors.

Perhaps real estate development only makes sense for organized crime, as they can black mail city council members to not screw them.

In the old days, one could look at the zoning, and figure out what is possible. Today, that is just a starting point on a long extortion process.

#1 What about biographical songs?

#5 For some strange reason, the fact that Brazil sent a crack team of archeologists to observe as the situation unfolds gets unmotioned. Apparently no good deeds go unpunished.

3: NNTaleb has written that going to parties is a key to happiness and success. Of course, he and Erik may be talking about different types of parties.

It's almost as though these types of post represent the authors subjective opinions and personal biases rather than hard and fast rules for success!

#4 It's actually rather easy. Have the upper mgmt provide employees with copies of each chain's brand book. For those familiar with this lovely bureaucratic device you'll instantly see the solution. Then their employees would look at them and ask, "what's a brand book?"

"Well, it's something that tells us the international color code for the shade of tope we use and style of bow tie for bell hops at Renaissance brand hotels," Management would reply. "Don't you understand how important that is?"

#5 Supposedly in pristine condition too. An egyptologist on history channel once explained they legit believed that once sealed the ba (soul) would manifest itself in the tomb and have a sort of party with the grave goods and effigies inside. I actually think this would make a good sitcom, Egyptian pharaohs hanging out in the afterlife. Chillin with Ahmenhotep, coming this fall.

While stupid spelling mnemonics you learned in 2nd grade (“We all went To Get Her” for together”) last a lifetime and still creep though when typing.
Memories of every horrible disease you read about in grade school—e.g., stone man syndrome—have a similarly long shelf-life.

The pathetic and dishonest Weekly Standard, run by failed prognosticator Bill Kristol (who, like many others, never had a clue), is flat broke and out of business. Too bad. May it rest in peace!

4) Yes, just how did those pesky hackers keep all those Marriott/Starwood brands straight?

#2: I've run into this twice, two different airlines, both times barely functioning. As in, about 1/3 of passengers recognized, 2/3 went through the scanner and then had to see an agent anyway, because "you were wearing glasses / you weren't wearing glasses / the lighting here is not bright enough / the system crashed" etc. I know, I know, the technology will improve, just saying in my RCT sample of 2, it was slower to board WITH this than WITHOUT.

4 is not really news to those in the industry (or involved in financing the industry, like me), although even insiders have trouble keeping track of all the flags (aka brands). Incidentally, the categories that Marriott calls Luxury, Premium, and Select in its internal material are called Luxury, Upper Upscale, and Upscale in the industry. There are a lot of brands further down the quality ladder, from Hampton Inn (Upper Midscale) to La Quinta (Midscale) to Days Inn (Economy). You get what you pay for.

1: I can't read the article at the moment, only the abstract which is frustratingly vague as to both subject and method. It does sound intriguing.

They evidently compare songs, movies, and biographies and find that biographies persist in "communicative" memory the longest. I presume they're literally talking about songs that we listen to (or sing) and talk about; movies that we watch and talk about (presumably including movies on VHS, DVD, and online); and biographies in the form of books. It would hardly be surprising that most popular songs come and go quickly in popularity whereas books will have more staying power -- so why did they focus on biographies? Perhaps in the article they looked at other sorts of books (celebrity tell-alls, cookbooks, dictionaries, novels, poetry anthologies, and Tyler's bete noire, travel books)? Similarly, did they lump all music together or look at categories (Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach retain cultural relevance to this day; Rick Dees' "Disco Duck" much less so).

Their use of a biexponential function is also intriguing, but from the abstract and googling I can't tell exactly what function they're using and why it has theoretical value as well as fitting the data better. My googling did lead to some interesting articles by ... I guess we could call them cytometricians, researchers who study cytometry, the measurement of cells and their characteristics and activity. In cytometry, as in econometrics, it's often useful to transform the data such as by looking at the logarithm of the values. But in ctyometry sometimes this over-compresses the small values, and there's often a problem with data showing negative or zero values. Transforms based on biexponential functions seem to have become popular solutions in recent years, including one they call the logicle transform.

'literally talking about songs that we listen to (or sing)'

And at this time of year, many of those songs are considerably older than 5.6 years old.

'and talk about'

Well, not too many people are likely taking about 'Silent Night' or 'Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.'

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