Thursday, November 08, 2012

Statistician Crush



So, I have a confession. I am a numbers nerd! For those of you that know me, this probably not a surprise. However, to the blogosphere this may be :)

Anyways, during election season I was seriously addicted to polls. But I would totally ignore all the national poll mumbo jumbo, because if I learned anything from the worst election ever (hellooo 2000. nightmare) it's that national polls mean nada. So instead I relied on my favorite statistician in the world -- Nate silver over at five thirty eight blog on nytimes.com. I first started following him last election in 2008 and was seriously impressed by his ability to translate complex polls, numbers, etc in a readable and interesting blog. Oh and he was insanely accurate. He thus became my 'go to' guy whenever I needed to know what was really going on in this election. Just take a look at the graphic below to see how accurate he was....
Impressive, right? (OK, maybe I'm the only one getting giddy about data). Secretly, whenever I was freaking out over how close this election was, I knew in the back of my mind that nate silver said there was a 91.9% chance Obama was going to win on election day. And when working with the numbers, that is a seriously good chance of winning. As one of my favorite blogs said when they read a statistic that Romney was maybe going to win Pennsylvania..... "Nate silver please hold me and tell me everything's going to be ok." Everything was okay and I thank him for helping me sleep soundly on tuesday night when I knew most of North America was glued to the TV watching the battle royale.

Anywho, this will be the last political post from me for a while. Phewwwww. I did appreciate the few congrats I got in the office on wed. It was all me! (although, Both Barack and Michelle congratulated and thanked me via email, so I can understand their confusion). :)

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

If France Could Vote in the US Election....

So, in case you've been living under a rock, or just woke up from a coma (pretty much the only options), TODAY IS ELECTION DAY. OMG Even while living on another continent, the campaign has been driving me bonkers. I'm sooooo happy it will be over soon and we'll be able to continue our normal news programming (errrrr jk 24 hour news cycles are the pits).

Anywho, I knew in my gut how France would vote if it could in the US election, but a quick google search confirmed it with data -- France loves OBAMA. (Read more at the financial post). The post said that Obama may have "no stauncher friend than France" and Hollande apparently quipped that he should endorse Romney to move people to Obama's side ha.

Feeling pretty helpless on this side of the pond, I may or may not have made a few donations after watching the debates on youtube. Andrew has strictly forbidden me from watching debates or basically video of Romney whatsoever, for fear that I will donate our life savings (errrr pennies) to the Obama campaign. He may or may not be right to worry.

In the end, I cast my ballot about a month ago. Proof below! Good luck America!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Predicted popular Baby names in France 2013

So I'm happy to report that @Natalie's news is pregnant with a baby boy!! I was unable to attend the gender reveal party, but I take pleasure in knowing that she told me a good 4 days before people in the US due to outrageous costs of flights from paris and the annoyance of jet lag. It looked like a super fun time, although it seems fairly cruel to do a baby shower at a winery when the mama can't drink! Natalie, however, reports that it didn't matter to her and the setting was beautiful. She's a saint -- Only juice for all guests if I ever have one of these things! (I kid, I kid...sort of).

In honor of their precious cargo on the way, I thought I would give the happy couple some help in the naming department. I came across a list of predicted 'hot' baby names in France for 2013. Check out these gems!

Boys : Nathan, Lucas, Léo, Enzo, Louis, Gabriel, Jules, Timés, Hugo, Arthur, Ethan, Raphaël, Maël, Tom, Noah, Mathis, Théo, Adam, Nolan and Clément.
(And just to tame your curiosity, here are the girls names. Or in case the ultrasound was wrong! not to freak you out, but it happens)
Girls: Emma, Lola, Chloé, Inès, Léa, Jade, Manon, Louise, Zoé, Lilou, Léna, Sarah, Camille, Maëlys, Lina, Éva, Louna, Clara, Alice and Romane.
I must say Enzo Pratt has a nice ring to it. Or Maël. I think that's a practical decision -- putting the umlaut  or any accent on an american boy's name. I can just see the tennesseean's reaction now...Is it spelled mail as in the post or male as in the gender? That has to be the darndest name I ever done seen.
According to a totally unreliable website, the top American baby names for 2013 are:
Boys' names in the top 100: Elijah, Grayson, Henry, Ian, Isaiah, Levi, Oliver, Parker
Those are pertty cute...sounds like there is a bit of a biblical name revival going on, but I dig it. Although Grayson skirts dangerously close to the main character in Natalie and my's favorite trilogy as of late 50 shades of Gray :)
Anywho, I am beyond excited to meet the little guy! He better get ready for some cute parisian outfits which include stripes and a beret! weeeee (once again the southerners are going to LOVE it...what is that strange piece of cloth on that poor baby's head?)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Starbucks in France

I've previously written about the counter-intuitive success of MacDo in France. I recently read an interesting New York times article about Starbucks and their lack of success in Europe. Remember that I cited keen market insight as the resason for MacDo's success (not biased!) and that knowing deeply the French eating habits helped them tailor their offer to the French economy? Starbucks, on the other hand, tried to bring 'american coffee habits' to French people. Which is just absurd. The French may not be as crazy as the Italians when it comes to coffee, but they certainly have strong opinions on the subject (quel surprise!).

Cafe Culture is huge in Paris. It's what you dream about as a tourist, sitting in a cafe, people watching, sipping endless espressos and trying to look cool and calm reading a newspaper. Parisians excel at this sport and it requires a few things. 1) A place to sit 2) Cheap, but good espresso 3) things to read (even my 'quick' lunch places has free magazines). Starbucks has been in France for a decade and is seemingly just starting to understand this. Starbucks in the US makes most of it's money from to-go coffee and, in fact, until recently they all but discouraged the cafe hanging out culture. People just do not walk around with a coffee in Paris. Taking a coffee break is sacred business and no matter how rushed, stressed, or busy you are, you sit and you drink the coffee. PERIOD. Changing habits are hard and it's more effort than most companies have time and patience for.

So what is Starbucks doing? They are giving a lot of their outlets a facelift for a sleeker, cool neighborhood feel. They are expanding to have places to sit. They probably should consider re-formulating the 'char' taste (fine-line since Americans didn't like the taste of Starbucks to start either...but then again they were used to shit coffee). And they need to appeal emotionally to the French consumer to differentiate themselves from the bajillion cafes. The only thing differentiating Starbucks from every other cafe is the 'starbucks' experience seen in the movies and TV shows. Starbucks is hip and they need to exploit that. But they need to exploit it while fitting into cultural norms. Perhaps they should hire some ex-mcdonalds market researchers :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Paris vs NY in Video

If you haven't noticed, I have an obsession with the Paris Vs New York website, which is now a book, which is now an animated video!!

It's a fun little thing -- take a look :) Link here.  Thanks to one of my favorite paris blogs Pret-A-Voyager for pointing it out.