Yes, your co-workers should thank you for taking vacation


Whether you head to the beach or somewhere else, your vacation is helping everyone. (Felipe Dana/AP)

Here’s a look at five ideas impacting the way we live, work and play.

1. Why vacation is good for everyone. I just got back from the longest vacation I’ve ever taken, and the first extended break I’ve had in almost a year. I’m struck by how much better and renewed I feel now. So it seems fitting to kick off my first post back with a look at the merits of vacation, thanks to The Washington Post’s Brigid Schulte:

When people go on a relaxing vacation, they tend to return happier and more relaxed. (The operative word here being relaxing, not frenzied whirlwind.) Traffic? A smile and nod instead of flipping the bird. An upset at the office? A deep breath and a focus, not on the drama, but on the task at hand.

And those mellow, good vibes, [psychologist Terry Hartig] said, spread “like a contagion” to everyone you come in contact with. “Even people you don’t know personally,” he said. Send everyone away on vacation at the same time, and that contagion takes off through the population like a viral happiness pandemic.

2. An argument for taking digital learning more seriously. An interesting read from Chris Dixon’s blog:

Online courses are to offline courses as movies are to plays. The marginal cost of delivering online courses is minimal. The potential audience is everyone with a smartphone and an internet connection – about 1.5 billion people today and growing quickly. There is no reason we shouldn’t be investing as much to produce online courses as we do to produce Hollywood movies.

3. Tesla wants to fix cars at a remarkable pace. From Bloomberg Businessweek:

[Elon] Musk noted an additional way he expects Tesla to differ from traditional car companies in the months ahead: It has brought in Formula One mechanics to teach Tesla service technicians how to fix cars at record speed. “Instead of one person per bay and working on a car over several days, a team comes on and attacks [the car],” Musk said. He hopes that Tesla can fetch a car from someone’s office and return it before the work day is done. “We want to fix the car and give it back to you without you even knowing it was gone,” he said.

4. The future of shopping malls could involve a lot more turnover of stores. Via CNBC:

A.T. Kearney’s Mike Moriarty said the future of shopping will hinge on time rather than space. He envisions a shopping center where 20 percent of the tenants will constantly be changing, giving consumers a sense of urgency to head to the mall.

Companies that cater to this idea are already starting to sprout. Story, a Manhattan retail location, changes its store design and product mix every four to eight weeks, allowing small brands to experiment with brick and mortar. Taking a different spin on the same concept is Storefront, a website that connects retailers with space to rent.

5. Why Time Warner and Fox teaming up doesn’t make sense. Former Time Warner chief executive Jerry Levin gave a lengthy interview on the future of media and why he thinks partnering with Google would make more sense. From Deadline Hollywood:

When we started HBO in 1972, the concept was to have a subscription service, and it was the most primitive on-demand. We just repeated programs so people could find them when they wanted, but we knew it was the end of the network concept, where I could just ladle out programming as I wanted to program it. Now, the consumer is programming. That’s the disintermediation and the studios have to get on board. Rupert [Murdoch's] idea in putting Fox and Time Warner together is an old fashioned idea. It makes no sense in any respect. It’s not forward looking. …

Everybody says, oh, well, this will be terrible for the market if you get a Google and a Time Warner. But just to use that example; what business is Google in? Google is in the content business with YouTube, and at the same time, it has a culture that says, we’re going to finance anything that’s crazy, anything that looks like a moonshot. There is an algorithm of creativity there.

Matt McFarland is the editor of Innovations. He's always looking for the next big thing. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.
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