Posts tagged with "Quartz"

Cannabis courses and degree programs are multiplying like weeds

August 6, 2019

A big challenge for employers in the nearly $14 billion global market for legal marijuana is not a shortage of applicants—but a lack of qualified applicants, according to a recent report by Quartz.

“We have one of the biggest industries developing without any trained professionals,” says Jamie Warm, co-founder and CEO of Henry’s Original, a Mendocino County, California-based cannabis cultivator and distributor.

Instead, he’s pulling staff from packaged goods industries such as liquor and fashion, where the “particular business feels like their experience translates,” he says, but there’s still a “learning curve.”

However, that’s about to change, as universities and colleges nationwide start offering courses and degrees in cannabis cultivation, distribution, and retailing.

This autumn, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, will offer the undergraduate course, Cannabis: Biology, Society and Industry.  The course will explore the history, culture, pharmacology, breeding, horticulture, and legal challenges associated with cannabis in an effort to inform and stimulate new ideas towards solving these problems—motivating future plant breeders, horticulturists, farmers, pharmacologists, and entrepreneurs to be successful in the cannabis industry.

Even more in-depth is the program being offered at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.  has launched a new Master of Science (MS) in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to support patients and the medical cannabis industry, add to existing research in the field, and develop well-informed medical cannabis policy.

Based at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) in Rockville, Maryland, the two-year program blends online learning with face-to-face experiences, and is designed for any individual who has completed his or her undergraduate degree and is interested in pursuing a career in the medical cannabis industry.

The MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics is the first graduate program in the country dedicated to the study of medical cannabis. It aims to meet the needs of all individuals interested in advancing their knowledge about medical cannabis, including health care professionals such as physicians, nurses, and pharmacists; scientists and regulators; growers and dispensary owners; and policy and industry professionals.

“Medical cannabis has been legalized in 33 states, including Maryland, as well as in Washington, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy. “This number is only expected to increase in the future, fueling a demand for an educated workforce that is well-trained in both the science and therapeutic effects associated with this medicinal plant.

She continues, “Our MS in Medical Cannabis Science and Therapeutics has been critically designed to prepare students to meet this demand. Innovations in instructional design throughout the curriculum will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to make a positive impact on communities across the United States.”

two-year program starts in late August, which also is when the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia will offer the first of four courses in a new MBA option for students interested in studying the cannabis industry.

And in Canada, which last year became the second country in the world to legalize weed nationwide, McGill University plans to offer a graduate degree in cannabis production starting in 2020.

The growing number of colleges adding degrees and courses in cannabis (there are also online cannabis certificate programs out there) reflects a hot industry with needs for both high-level and broad-based skills, whether in horticulture, chemistry, entrepreneurship, pharmacology, policy and regulation, communication, or the law.

Jamie Warm, who has interviewed ex-employees of Nike and Tesla for jobs at Henry’s, said in an interview with Quartz that his company has just over 100 employees now and expects to double its headcount by next year. He says that in addition to management skills and agricultural know-how, there’s a need for people with startup experience who are comfortable with “tackling things at more of a grassroots level.”

There’s also the obvious challenge of attracting professionals to an industry that is not completely legal in most countries, including the United States.

Research contact: @qz

Uniqlo replaces 90% of staff with robots at newly automated warehouse

October 15, 2018

They don’t take bathroom or lunch breaks; and they don’t commute or need medical benefits: At a warehouse in Tokyo that was once mainly staffed by people, robots now are inspecting, sorting, and packing the clothing bound for stores operated by Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo, Quartz reported on October 10.

The company recently remodeled the warehouse to install the automated system, which was created in partnership with Daifuku, a provider of material handling systems. Now that the system is up and running, Uniqlo has been able to cut staff at the warehouse by 90%—and to schedule operations 24 hours a day.

According to The Japan News, which toured the facility, the robotic system transfers products delivered to the warehouse by truck, reads electronic tags attached to the products, and confirms stock numbers and other information.

When shipping, the system wraps products placed on a conveyor belt in cardboard and attaches labels to the boxes. Only a small portion of work at the warehouse needs to be done by employees, the company said.

The Tokyo warehouse is just a first step in a larger plan envisioned by Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, which already has announced a strategic partnership with Daifuku with the goal of automating all of Uniqlo’s warehouses in Japan and overseas.  The companies did not specify the number of warehouses that would be updated.

Uniqlo plans to invest 100 billion yen (about US$887 million) in the project over an unspecified timeframe. (The Japan News reported that it costs anywhere from US$9 million to US$90 million to retrofit one existing warehouse.)

Uniqlo believes the system will help it minimize storage costs and, importantly, deliver products faster around the world. The company has set a target of 3 trillion yen (about $US26.6 billion) in annual revenue. Last year its revenue was about 1.86 trillion yen (US$17 billion).

Research contact: marc@qz.com

Brits are wearing clothes once, for the ‘hashtag moment,’ before returning them

August 14, 2018

Buying clothes for a special event, tucking in the tags—and then returning them to the store the next day (hopefully, with no noticeable stains or stench)—is a notorious strategy of stingy shoppers. But today, people are doing it just for the social media status.

Indeed, based on findings of a recent poll conducted by payments company Barclaycard, and posted on Quartz, nearly 9% of UK shoppers admit to buying clothing only to take a photo on social media. After the outfit of the day makes it online, they return it to the retailer.

The survey of 2,002 adults showed that shoppers aged 35-44 are the most likely to do this, and, surprisingly enough. men outnumbered women. The study found that it is men who are more  socially self-conscious  than women – with 12%t posting a clothing item on social media and then returning it to an online retailer, compared to only 7% of women

According to Barclaycard, the introduction of “try before you buy” policies at online retailers—where people pay for clothing they ordered online after they’ve tried it on at home—could be contributing to this trend.

One major reason? The rise of social media means that everyone, not just celebrities, is expected to maintain and curate a personal brand. Since we’re constantly documenting our lives and posting them online for public comment, nobody wants to get caught in the same outfit twice.

There are brands that tailor specifically to the Instagram shopper, such as Fashion Nova. “These are clothes made for social media: meant to be worn once, maybe twice, photographed, and discarded,” Allison P. Davis wrote in her deep-dive about the company in New York Magazine’s “The Cut.” Another favorite of the Instagram age is Rent the Runway, which embraces the return philosophy and allows customers to rent designer clothing for a fee.

Some, however, are moving in the opposite direction. The concept of the “capsule wardrobe”—which calls for investing in a small number of high-quality pieces instead of lots of trendy, discardable clothes—also is making a comeback according to a recent report by The Washington Post.

And then there’s British fashion icon Kate Middleton  the Duchess of Cambridge, whose every outfit sells out in seconds, but who frequently wears the same outfit twice (as did former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, another trendsetter).

Research contact: Rebecca.butler@barclaycard.co.uk

Atlantic Media Sells Quartz to Japan’s Uzabase

July 5, 2018

Atlantic Media, a private, Washington, D.C.-based company that owns a slew of digital, print, event, social, and video platforms—including The Atlantic, Government Executive Media Group, and National Journal—has announced the sale of Quartz, a six-year-old business news site, to Japanese financial intelligence and media firm Uzabase in a deal valued at between $75 million to $110 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, revealed on July 2, Quartz will take over the English-language version of NewsPicks, the Tokyo-based company’s global subscription-news service for consumers, within 30 days.

NewsPicks launched in Japan in 2013—and in the United States in mid-2017, as a joint venture with Dow Jones. Designed to be the first place professionals, investors, entrepreneurs, and executives go each day to get a curated, but comprehensive, selection of news, the NewsPicks content is aggregated from both traditional publishers and new media. Users can also customize their own individual feeds based on the people, publications, and keywords they follow. In Japan, the service has 3.3 million registered users and 64,000 paying subscribers, with a price point of $15/month.

It was just prior to the Asian launch of the publication that Uzabase CEO Yusuke Umeda  became aware of Quartz. “Five years ago, when I was originally thinking about launching a digital media business, I discovered Quartz for the first time,” he said. “I thought that they were truly the first new media company to successfully combine quality journalism with mobile technology, and they played a big role in inspiring me to launch NewsPicks. I am very excited to enter the next chapter of NewsPicks’s growth with a company and team that I respect so much.”

By bringing together the Quartz and NewsPicks businesses, Uzabase, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, will be able to create a larger, more robust global business news brand that combines Quartz’s voice, original editorial content, advertising, product expertise, and international reach with Uzabase’s deep expertise in data and niche paid content. This partnership accelerates NewsPicks’ expansion into English-language markets in the United States and Europe. It also will accelerate Quartz’s transition into a paid- subscription operation.

Quartz’s two founders—Editor-in-Chief Kevin J. Delaney and Publisher Jay Lauf — will become co-CEOs of Quartz, reporting to Umeda. Quartz will retain its name and brand and continue operating from its New York City headquarters. Currently, Quartz has 215 employees, including 100 journalists based around the world; with offices in London, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.

On average, management says, more than 20 million people access Quartz each month across its suite of digital products, including its website, an app, email newsletters, and video. Other Quartz products include a bot studio and Quartz Creative— the commercial division, which works with brands on content, insights, strategy and other business solutions. Half of the Quartz audience is from outside the United States.

Atlantic Media will continue to provide corporate support to Quartz through a transition period of at least one year following the acquisition. Atlantic Media Chairman and Owner David Bradley will continue to work with the company as a senior advisor and shareholder. Bradley, with Atlantic Media President Michael Finnegan, will continue to own and operate the privately held holding company’s other businesses.

This is far from the biggest publication takeover to close this year. Meredith bought out Time—publisher of Time, People, Sports Illustrated and InStyle —in  an all-cash-backed transaction of $1.84 billion that closed in February.

Research contact: Emily@AtlanticMedia.com