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Reflection Paper on Three TED Talk Videos

Reflection Paper on Three TED Talk Videos

Josh Luber, “Why Sneakers Are a Great Investment”

Main Points Raised in the Speech

  • The secondary market of sneakers is in many aspects similar to the stock market. Yet, what makes it unique is the fact that there is no legal age limit for participation in the trade. Thus, sneakers are legal and accessible investment opportunity for any individual or business. Therefore, any person, including even those, who have not reached the legal age, can get experience in trade by reselling shoes.
  • The price of sneakers is not fixed and it greatly depends on the demand for a particular model of shoes. This fact results in the existence of a secondary market of shoes, which brings over 1,2 billion USD revenue that is not regulated by the government.
  • The speaker claims that the central actor of the market of sneakers is Nike, which has a complete domination in the share of shoes sold and resold in the United States. It became possible due to a false construct and a very limited supply of the Nike sneakers. For this reason, businesses can gain high profits by providing a moderate supply in a market with a high demand for their products, and thus get additional interest from buyers.
  • Unregulated secondary market of sneakers creates a highly risky environment for the investment. Despite of the fact that the secondary market of shoes is highly profitable, it is not transparent and often not authentic, so it is highly risky for a person to participate in it. Therefore, the government should intervene and establish additional safeguards for the stock market of things in order to make the participation in it more secure.

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Facts and Data in Support of the Main Arguments

  • The speaker did not mention the sources of the statistical data, presented during the speech, yet he referred to the fact that in the period of 12 months, before October 2015, over 9 million pairs of shoes were resold in the United States at a value of more than 1.2 billion USD.
  • Without referring to any source, Josh Luber also claims that Nike, including the Jordan brand, takes 96% of all the sneakers resold at the secondary market and at the same time gets a third part of the overall profits that amount to 380 million USD. Being the closest competitor to Nike, Skechers company earns only 209 million dollar, thus being almost twice less popular on the market.

Statements That Can Be Agreed with

  • With highly limited supply and a high demand for the product, the price on the item can dramatically increase at the secondary market and thus, encourage customers to pursue the rarest models of sneakers, without taking into account the price as a primary factor for purchasing the item.
  • The whole system of the secondary market of sneakers can collapse due to an increased supply of the Nike shoes. However, it would contradict the interest of the company and result in the lower demand for their products.

Statements That Cannot Be Agreed with

  • It is difficult to agree with the fact that the sneakers market has clear similarities with the drug trade, since even if the government does not regulate it, this market, unlike the drug trade, does not have an illegal character.

Facts and Points That Are the Most Interesting and Provoking

  • Analytic platforms, used for prediction of the price for a particular pair of shoes, apply the same calculation methods and algorithms as those, used in brokerage agencies.
  • In a number of occasions, profitability of the business of sneakers re-selling has inclined people to commit homicides in pursue of the rare models of shoes.
  • The author claims that the lines of people, who look for new lots of rare models of Nike sneakers in Footlocker stores, are as big as for the Apple production, even though they occur 104 times more often.

Three Questions That Could Be Addressed to the Speaker about the Topic

  • How the government can establish control over the secondary market of sneakers?
  • How a potential buyer or seller can recognize the best offer for sneakers on a resell market and predict the price of a particular shoe in a year time difference?
  • What tendencies in the secondary market of sneakers can deprive Nike of its dominant position and lead to its replacement by Skechers?
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Seth Godin, “The Tribes We Lead”

Main Points Raised in the Speech

  • Changes in the world do not occur due to money or power redistribution but rather appear because of the movements of people that are headed by a leader, who takes the responsibility to challenge the status quo and to connect people around their idea. It has an influence on businesses and the government and urges them to change a focus towards the society and to work on the ideas, expressed by people in order to get their trust.
  • According to the idea of tribes, there is no need for a person to create a new movement and to convince others to follow it. On the contrary, it suggests that a leader has to find a small social group and lead it in order to represent mutual interests.
  • Any person, irrespectively of the age, charisma, and experience, can set a tribe within 24 hours. In order to transform the tribe into a full-scale movement, the leader has to create a system of communication and identification as well as to connect different tribes together. Moreover, an individual has also to answer three questions: what change is needed, what tribes are needed to be connected, and what is the target audience for creating a movement.
  • Most leaders, who have changed the world, such as Steve Jobs, Bob Marley, and Bill Gates did not invent new ideas but rather observed what ideas were popular in the society, and then connected individuals, who had a desire to pursue a mutual goal.

Facts and Data in Support of the Main Arguments

  • The speaker did not refer to any sources and did not provide the data for supporting main statements. However, he gave examples of particular movements in support of the main thesis. For instance, he referred to Nathan Winograd and SPCA San-Francisco, Diane Hatz and her ‘The Meatrix’ project, Derek Sivers and the CD Baby Company, as well as to Tony Hsieh and Zappos.

Statements That Can Be Agreed with

  • It is true that the change of the status quo requires a movement of people, united by a central goal and headed by a leader. In this matter, it is also easy to agree that ideas for a change exist beforehand and the society is just waiting for a leader to connect the individuals in order to pursue the final goal.

Statements That Cannot Be Agreed with

  • It is difficult to agree with a statement that there is no need in charisma to create a movement, and that this characteristic is obtained only after a person becomes a leader. The reason for this claim is in the fact that without charisma no tribe will accept a person as a leader.

Facts and Points That Are the Most Interesting and Provoking

  • It takes only 24 hours to become a leader of a tribe and start a movement.
  • The speaker claims that the idea of a factory, practiced by Henry Ford, is inefficient for movements, because its innovation depends solely on constant minimization of costs and raising effectiveness of machines. At the same time, movements require connection of minds for innovation, so that the financial aspects do not play a crucial role.

Three Questions That Could Be Addressed to the Speaker about the Topic

  • How can a leader assess the potential of a tribe they are going to lead before engaging in it?
  • Should a leader with the chief position in a tribe have powers to decide on the composition of the tribe?
  • What are the best strategies for a tribe to build relations with the other tribes that have confronting views?
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Sheena Iyengar, “How to Make Choosing Easier”

Main Points Raised in the Speech

  • The speaker addresses a problem of the choice overload and claims that with the growing number of options the choice becomes harder to make. Therefore, the best strategy for offering products or services to customers is limiting possible choices and concentrating on the best offers.
  • Businesses and individuals are advised to reduce the number of options and to concentrate on products of the highest quality. Furthermore, in order to make the choosing process easier, both, individuals and businesses, should clearly state the differences between options, divide choices into categories, and create a condition of complexity.

Facts and Data in Support of the Main Arguments

  • The speaker refers to a survey of 2000 Americans that was targeted at finding the number of choices that people make daily. It showed that a typical person makes around 70 choices a day. A similar survey, mentioned by the author, showed that an average CEO is engaged in fulfilling 139 tasks a week, and each task involves numerous choices. Up to 50% of these choices required nine minutes or less, while as much as 12% of their decisions took more than an hour.
  • Sheena Iyegar supports her main idea by telling the results of an experiment that used 6 and 24 different variations of jam, put in a tasting booth. Sixty percent of visitors have stopped by the table with 24 options, while only 30% of them actually proceeded to purchasing the product. The experiment showed that people were six times more likely to buy a jar of jam in case if only six options were offered to them.
  • Another fact in support of the statement was revealed in a study conducted by the speaker together with Gur Huberman, Emir Kamenica, and Wei Jang. The study examined the participation rate of a million of Americans in the retirement savings programs. The results of the study showed that the participation in the retirement plans that had only two options reached over 70%, while the participation in plans that offered 60 funds has significantly dropped.
  • The speaker refers to specific business cases when reducing the number of offered products has boosted sales. In particular, when Proctor & Gamble stopped producing 11 different kinds of shampoo, the sale rate has increased by 10 percent. Golden Cat Company has increased its profits by 87 percent by eliminating their 10 worst sold cat litter products.
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Statements That Can be Agreed with

  • The choice overload problem negatively affects the way people make decisions and prevents participation in deals that offer numerous options.
  • Categorization of possible choices can make the decision making process easier, since in this case a person is concentrated on the categories first, and then makes a choice within a limited range of options, contained in the presented category.

Statements That Cannot Be Agreed with

  • It is difficult to agree with the fact that limitation of choices always has a negative effect. When being offered a low range of options, the target audience can be deprived of the ability to find a rare product or an offer they are looking for.
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Facts and Points That Are the Most Interesting and Provoking

  • There is direct relation between numerous options and the participation rate in deals. The more difficult the offered choice is, the less people tend to make it at all.
  • In cases, when there is a great variety of options, people tend to make delayed decision, to choose worse options, and to be less satisfied with the decision they make.
  • The dissatisfaction with a decision made by an individual is caused by their inability to make a calculation, to compare two options, and to make a rational choice among the variety of products, since each of them has its own unique characteristics.

Three Questions That Could Be Addressed to the Speaker about the Topic

  • How can businesses determine the services and products that should be removed from the list of offers?
  • What is the optimal number of choices that can be offered to a customer?
  • When simplifying a choosing process, what justification can businesses use to explain their approach to customers, who have built their opinion about the business, basing on the great variety of choices that they offer?

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