The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 23 September 2015

Image: Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Follow the leaders?

Most normal organisations, faced with the prospect of a long meeting between 28 people who rarely manage to agree, would schedule it to begin early in the morning. The EU is not a normal organisation. Instead, the 28 European leaders will take their seats today for the emergency summit on the refugee crisis at 18.00, beginning with a slap-up meal. They’ll then debate (and argue) throughout the night, hoping to come to an agreement before dawn. Some say the late hours help to put pressure on those unwilling to budge from their position; the only way to get to your bed is by signing on. But is this really a sensible way to make such crucial decisions? Most observers, including us, would say no.

Image: Getty Images

Rethinking retail

An e-commerce boom and the arrival of fast-fashion brands have hit Australia’s department stores where it hurts – the till. But the 115-year-old department store Myer is hoping it can shake off the gloom by enlisting the help of its suppliers to improve sales. CEO Richard Umbers recently unveiled the “New Myer” strategy that challenges brands to be more imaginative in how they show collections in-store. “Just having clothes on racks is not going to work anymore,” says Eli Greenblat, senior business reporter with The Australian. “They are pushing brands to create interesting environments and loosening restrictions to enable them.” Myer is the last major Australian-owned department store and has watched its market share slide. But if done right, a little retail rethink could go down well in design-minded cities like Melbourne.

Image: Getty Images

Cable comeback?

Cable-television providers have not been enjoying their nights in front of the TV of late as they have witnessed online-service upstarts such as Netflix and Hulu grab both headlines and audiences. But French-Israeli cable magnate Patrick Drahi and his Altice telecoms group, headquartered in Amsterdam, are in ruder health. Last week Altice announced its takeover of the US cable-provider Cablevision in a deal worth $17.7bn (€15.9bn), creating the fourth-largest cable operator in the US. Although the recipe for Drahi’s success of slashing costs may please shareholders (stocks rallied to a 52-week high on news of the takeover), it’s less clear what this means for show quality. Yet there’s a more fundamental jury that will determine the long-term fate of cable: advertisers. Can Drahi get them to curtail their spend with the likes of Netflix and give him the ad spend?

Hold the phone

This week at London Design Festival, Swiss-based manufacturer Punkt. launched a thought-provoking alternative to the smartphone (in a nice way, a kind of dumbphone). Its sleek and blissfully unadorned Jasper Morrison-designed MP01 mobile phone offers a responsibly manufactured alternative. “It’s boiled down to the essentials of what a phone should be used for,” says Punkt. founder Petter Neby at the launch event in Somerset House. “Behind the products there’s an overall idea: giving people the instruments to take control of technology.” Indeed the stunning poster campaign includes messages such as “Got news? Talk”. In the month that Apple launches its new iPhone 6s, this simple alternative is about being confident to turn your phone off, talk to friends and definitely ignore any Snapchatting. Technology, says Punkt., should not overwhelm us. That’s a conversation we’re happy to be part of.

From Monocle 24

Image: The Modern House

The Modern House: UK architecture

On Section D this week we speak to the founders of The Modern House, a marketplace for people wanting to buy modern and contemporary architecture in Britain.

From Monocle Films

The Monocle Travel Guide Series: London

To celebrate the publication of The Monocle Travel Guide, London, Monocle Films brings you a cinematic portrait of the city. From great examples of urban design and lofty gardens to culinary discoveries and the best music venues, our film journeys to our favourite places in the city we call home.

Loading...

/

15

15

Live

00:00 01:00