Take it easy…
How are you today? Great, I trust! Here where I live — in the mountains — (Guarda, Portugal) the weather is still undecided as to whether it really wants to move towards the summery months, sometimes giving the clear impression that it prefers to cling on to its wintery ways.
I don’t remember another month of May where I still needed to use long underwear! Is this what they mean by climate change? Or is nature just testing my memory?
On October 3rd of last year Dvorkovich & Company got themselves elected as FIDE’s new administrators. In the following 7 1/2 months we have seen something of a learning curve.
There have been some ambitious financial goals set with respect to the upcoming World Championship matches, as well we have seen a lot of new faces take up positions either within the administration or within one of the many FIDE Commissions (and sometimes the same faces on both!).
I can not remember another FIDE president encouraging so many strong grandmasters to lend their names to its team. Perhaps this is what Dvorkovich had in mind during his election campaign when he talked of the need to ‘make FIDE more professional‘?
But is being ELITIST more PROFESSIONAL?
My first observation is that while everyone of these grandmasters is a good, honest and hardworking individual, FIDE is risking being run for the next 4 years with a reduced skill-set. Apart from being very competent chess players, most of the professional grandmasters that I am talking about don’t have alternative skills or the experience that might be useful (necessary) for the running of a large organization like FIDE.
While in principle I welcome a change from the ways of the Kirsan-Makropoulos era, I see far less skilled people in today’s FIDE as a direct result of Dvorkovich’s deliberate influence and campaign policies.
Hopefully Dvorkovich knows what he is doing, but I fear that maybe all Dvorkovich really wants is to run FIDE like a chess club. A chess club where only the highest rated players have a say, or atleast having easy access to the president’s ears.
We will just have to wait and see, but let’s especially hope that the barn does not burn down before then…
Starbucks: honeymoon over in China?
We have all heard of Starbucks Coffee, but how many of you have heard of Luckin Coffee? This chinese upstart, in operation for less than 2 years, might send Starbucks packing from China.
Recently Luckin organized an IPO which raised a lot of extra capital for the privately owned chain. And it is growing so fast that Starbucks executives in Seattle might be doubting the wisdom of their decision to increase their investment at the same time as the Trump administration first warned American businesses about increased risk in China vis a vis trade talks.
The strategy of Luckin is definitely to counter Starbucks ambitions from the go. Undercutting them by price, Luckin has a policy of opening each new shop within 200 hundred of metres or less of existing Starbucks outlets. All over China!
On top of that, Luckin is a streamlined, cashless business. All purchases are done by apps, which means you can order your coffee in advance and just pick it up ‘enpassant’ on the way to the office. No need for lineups!
How dramatic is Starbucks situation? Just some stats: Starbucks has been in operation in China since 1999 and has some 3,700 shops. Luckin has been in operation for less than 2 years and already has 2,400 shops!
On top of that, Luckin is run by a woman!
43-year old Qian Zhiya is founder and CEO of Luckin Coffee. Primarily funded by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund at the beginning, little is known about this woman. She graduated from Wuhan Textile University in 1999, and has an executive M.B.A. from Peking University. She spent most of the last decade as COO of Shenzhou, a car rental app and website.
Anand weighs in on CCTV surveillance
Anand never ceases to amaze! How often do you find a sports celebrity openly co-operating with and supporting the police? He recently was featured in Indian media as part of a public relations campaign introducing and explaining the installation of a sophisticated CCTV camera network (Third Eye) in Chennai.
San Francisco bans facial recognition
In the meantime, bravo to San Francisco for being the first city in America for banning the use of facial recognition technology in public places. I am all in favour of the limited use of CCTV if it increases public safety, but how does facial recognition do that?
Clearly, this situation is beginning to get out of control. It has recently been rumoured that FACEBOOK and other social media platforms — where the public unwittingly uploads photos of themselves, their friends and family thinking that it is going to be kept private — have been secretly engaging in the creation and selling of huge databases of the photos of hundreds of millions of people — with their names, addresses and personal information automatically attached — with the expressed intent to jump start facial recognition AI.
Any and all police and military organizations around the world — who can pay for it — will have access to your entire life thru facial recognition AI.
How does this make the world a better place, George?
Let’s stop being naive! Whenever you tick to agree to the ‘cookie’ pop ups on the sites you visit, all of this invasion of privacy is cleverly hidden in the legal jargon of the fine print that nobody bothers to read.
Public safety? Poppycock! It never was about that! It is ALL about CONTROL.