The Magic beneath Food Truck Location

ice-cream-van-roma-cafe-mid-40'sBack in 2012, the U.S. food truck industry for the first time blew past the $1 billion revenue mark (it in fact reached $1.5 billion that year), making it one of the fastest-growing sectors of the national food and restaurant market. Still, food trucks are often seen as the enemy of local restaurants. Just as cab drivers have taken to protesting Uber and other ride-hailing services, brick-and-mortar restaurant groups have rallied in cities across the nation to ban or limit food trucks.

But what do food trucks actually mean for urban economies? What impact do they have on local restaurants, food industries, and our choices as consumers?

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A recent study from Elliot Anenberg of the Washington, D.C. Federal Reserve System and Edward Kung of UCLA takes a detailed look at the economy and geography of food trucks in our nation’s cities. To get at this, the study uses unique data on food trucks from the U.S. Census Bureau and a dataset of daily Washington, D.C. food truck locations, as well as social media data from Twitter and Google Trends. The study is particularly interested in the connection between food trucks and new digital technologies—especially social media—and how food trucks make use of them. Here are its five big takeaways.

via The Secrets to Food Truck Location – CityLab.

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1. Twitter is a big factor in food truck location.

Food-seeking flocking behaviour.

2. The connection between food trucks and digital technology is greater in big, dense cities.

Network effect, more nodes, and more importantly, more connections. Check out Valdis Krebs.

3. When it comes to location, variety matters a lot.

We, birds, humans, weasels, get bored eating the same stuff. And to maintain health we need to eat different stuff. Variety matters. Duh.

4. Food truck location is spiky.

Even normal economics understands this power law effect.

5. Food trucks cause households to spend more money on eating out.

See 3 and 2.

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Complexity fans will have spotted the lack of underpinning theory in the otherwise excellent CityLab piece. So I provided it, in bold italics. You’re welcome.

 

 

Edgeofchaos is not an edge and it’s not about chaos, and it’s not about order: World Problematique

Some people appear to misunderstand, says the arrogant author, that part of my work/thinking which they describe as being about ‘chaos’.

I feel moved to attempt, vainly*, to counter that misunderstanding. (*both senses)

It has to be said: I’m largely to blame for this misunderstanding.

So…

My work is widely understood as being about chaos. It isn’t, it’s about the edgeofchaos.

Let’s say that we are talking about two things: order and chaos. Think of it like this: we have black and white, like a chessboard. We can see only black and white: is that a black square or a white square? Not sure.

We keep seeing squares which sort of look black and sometimes maybe look sort of white. Some of us aren’t too bothered by this, we take a quick look, decide whether a square is black or white and get on with our lives.

Until this Greek bloke, ex-follower of Aristotle,  pops up and starts eurekaring. There is another colour, he shouts! There’s loads of it about!  I’ve given it a name! I’m calling it ‘blackywhitishwhiteyblackish’. It’s not black! But it’s not white either! It’s sort of in-between. There aren’t just two shades, there are loads!

Weeks later his wife decides that blackywhitishwhiteyblackish is a stupid name. She decides to call it grey instead. She writes a book about the profound implications of her husband’s discovery: ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey Instead’.

He forms a band called ‘Aristotle’s Error’. They have a minor hit with a cover version of Steve Strange’s song ‘Fade To Grey’, which had been a number one hit for him and his band, Strange Attractor.

It’s not about chaos.
It’s not about order.
It’s not black and white.
It’s complicated.

To be precise: it’s complex.

This thing in between order and chaos is ‘neither one nor t’other’ it is a thing in its own right. You can call it the edgeofchaos or you can call it the edgeoforder or you can call it complexity.

The world is not black.
The world is not white.
The world is grey.

The world is not order.
The world is not chaos.
The world is many complex adaptive systems at the ‘edge of chaos’.
The world is complexity.

When things are really connected, that’s order.
When things are really disconnected that’s chaos.
In between is complexity.

It’s about the connections between things. In an NK network, it’s about the K not the N. Would that we could relabel them KN networks.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boolean_network

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._H._Waddington

Waddington, C. H. (1977) (published posthumously). Tools for Thought. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd.

http://www.amazon.com/Navigating-Complexity-Essential-Business-Management/dp/1858358701

When I wrote my little book ‘Navigating Complexity’ I had the immense ‘Tools for Thought’ as my lodestone:

” At the deeper level, we find that most aspects of life and its interactions with its surroundings are interconnected into complexes. No powerful action can be expected to have only one consequence, confined to the thing it was primarily directed at. It is almost bound to affect lots of other things as well […] We need nowadays to be able to think not just about simple processes but about complex systems… We have found ourselves faced by a series of problems- atomic warfare, the population explosion, the food problem, energy, natrural resources, pollution and so on- each complex enough in itself, but then it turns out that each of these is only one aspect of, as it were, a Total Problem, in which all aspects of the world’s workings are inter-related. This Total Problem is sometimes called the World Problematique.”

The world is not order.
The world is not chaos.
The world is complexity.

JANE JACOBS! How New York Became New York: A Love Letter to Jane Jacobs, Tucked Inside a Graphic Biography of Robert Moses | Brain Pickings

http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/12/18/robert-moses-master-builder-new-york-nobrow/

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By that point, Moses has developed “such arrogance that he started to think himself irreplaceable.” Jacobs, on the other hand, operates with equal determination but from a deep place of humility and compassion for the citizen’s experience. The two titans of urban planning soon clash over their differences, exposing the disquieting fact that no ideal is without its tradeoffs and that what is most effective, more often than not, comes at the expense of what is most ennobling.

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OUR BOYS ARE NOW AT GREATER RISK THAN GIRLS. By Dottie Lamm

http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/boys-now-greater-risk-girls/

Sobering, eye-opening article. Also, of course, true of the UK. Here is an edited summary of the data:

” • EDUCATION: This is the first generation of boys in U.S. history who will have less education than their dads.

Yet male teachers are scarce. Recess and vocational education are being curtailed.

Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, drop out of school or be expelled than girls.///

• FATHERLESSNESS: A third of boys are raised in fatherless homes. This lack of a dad leads to poorer academic and behavioral results for them than it does for girls. A recent study of boys revealed that by the third grade, boys with absent fathers scored lower on every achievement test.

Most gang members come from homes without dads.

• EMOTIONAL HEALTH: Depression remains hidden in boys because of the male taboo against the showing of feelings.

Boys’ risky, anti-social or violent behavior often serve as a mask for depression. Usually that behavior is punished but the underlying depression not treated.

Between the ages of 13 and 20, BOYS’ SUICIDE RATES SOAR TO FOUR TIMES THAT of girls of the same age.”

Love affairs with clients

Anyone remember the arthouse French movie “The Man Who Loved Women”? (Please ignore the vile US remake starring Burt Reynolds).

I’m the man who loved clients. Each freelance assignment feels like like a brief and bitter-sweet love affair.

How was it for you?

provocation #3 ‘Why oh why did this happen, can you see what it is yet?’ (file under: contentious and and half-baked) | LinkedIn

An occasional series of provocations for management thinkers.

May contain elements of offense.

(File under: contentious and and half-baked)

provocation #3

 

 

WHY OH WHY DID THIS HAPPEN, CAN YOU SEE WHAT IT IS YET?

NB: My target here is managerialism, not committed, ethical, hard-working public sector employees and elected representatives.

Rearrange these into the correct order:

1. Give police targets determined by politicians, and managers subservient to them

2. Import managerialism into the public sector

3. Destroy the multi use approach to city and town street life – thanks planners, abandoning the streets after 8pm to ne’er-do-wells, clubbers, drunks, and the poor and desperate.

4. Think it clever to save social services budgets a few quid by buying cheap places in care homes for vulnerable kids in depressed towns like Rochdale.

5. Close your children’s homes and allow the market to create cheap children’s homes in low cost areas.

6. Send vulnerable kids half-way across the country

7. Don’t see children and youth as valid members of society with needs, rights, and AGENCY, so don’t cater for their leisure and affiliation needs

8. Rack up business rates so that only poverty-level wages for fast-food work are viable in town centres.

9. Prioritise car theft, based on public complaint, over missing children who don’t complain because they don’t matter (“scrubbers” anonymous policeman, BBC Radio 4 Friday, September 12, 2014 13:37).

 

That was a trick question: there isn’t an order only a pattern.

Then wonder why the Rochdale Child Abuse Scandal.

Discuss. Use both sides of the argument and the brain.

 

_____________Footnote

if you find this offensive is it less or more offensive than the Rochdale Child Abuse Scandal?

via provocation #3 ‘Why oh why did this happen, can you see what it is yet?’ (file under: contentious and and half-baked) | LinkedIn.

INTRODUCING: musings|half-baked… ‘who should run the world and why’

Introducing ‘musings: half-baked

This is a new category, in some ways going back to my original idea of a scrapbook in the form of a blog. So half-baked musings are scraps of thinking, that I might do something with, or might pique my or someone else’s interest.

So here is the first one, file under ‘who should run the world and why’.

Very cool lady judge presiding over the Pistorius case. I’m going to extend the ‘the world should be run by 8 year old girls’ to include ‘successful black women of pensionable age’ (context: where black is an oppressed group within the dominant societies on this planet. Your culture may vary. May contain traces of nuts).

Despite being jovially couched, this is a serious notion. Its about experiences and perspectives. Its an idea emerging, slowly.

The idea is to specify, in a quasi-scientific manner, the ‘necessary and sufficient conditions’ for a thing. In this case ‘running the world nicely’. It’s like a concept car for management systems thinkers.

Judge MasipaArticle is from yesterday's 'i'