Anyone who has read his work can attest that our in-house demography guru Neil Howe is one of the brightest shining bulbs out there. In the brief bullets below, the man who coined the term "millennials" cuts through recent news headlines and shares a few observations on topics people are talking about across America.

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  • Applebee’s is reversing course on a Millennial-friendly rebrand that it says alienated its existing customers. Much like many of its peers, Applebee’s went all-out to acquire a youthful vibe only to discover that Millennials simply aren’t interested in casual dining chains—even ones that sell sriracha-lime turkey sandwiches. (The Washington Post

Neil Howe: When times are tough across the board--and in the restaurant industry, most sales-tracking indexes look pretty grim right now--the first lesson is to not alienate your core customer. Especially when your core customer (>55: Boomers) has actually generated more restaurant sales growth than the alternative (<35: Millennials) since the Great Recession. (See: "Why Restaurants Are Starving.") Besides, many chains get the whole "Millennial makeover" thing wrong: Yes, young adults want better food at lower prices in friendlier settings, but the whole metro/cool vibe redo does little for them, especially in suburbia (where most Applebee's are located).

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  • Last week, the Federal Trade Commission cleared Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods. While many forecasters believe this deal signals a turning point for Amazon, the retailer still has a long way to go in order to catch up to Walmart’s brick-and-mortar grocery dominance. (The Washington Post

NH: The grocery giants shuddered yesterday when Amazon announced deep cuts in Whole Foods prices. Great. Here's one more sector where Amazon hopes to gain market share in return for lowering its profit margin to zero (or below). Let's add some scale to those losses! (See: "Amazon and Walmart Battle for Retail's Future.") To judge from the huge popularity of an article (title: "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox") written by a recent Yale grad, progressives are starting to crusade for a stricter antitrust policy. And, yes, here Donald Trump and Margaret Warren make for strange bedfellows. Yet while the anticompetitive consequences of growing market concentration is a legitimate issue, Amazon is a poor example ot the sort of company (one with imbedded regulatory advantages and crushingly dominant market share) policymakers ought to be most worried about.

Hunting Truth With Neil Howe - yo0 

  • Author Kurt Andersen says our national “post-truth moment” is not a sudden phenomenon, but one decades in the making. He wisely points out that America’s founding credo of personal and intellectual freedom opened the door for alternative facts—before the Boomer-led New Age movement in the 1960s helped to blast the door wide open. (The Atlantic

NH: This essay is worth reading. As Lord Chesterton (a Christian apologist back in the 1920s) once wrote: "When people no longer believe in something, they will believe in anything." We may be just about there in America. You have your "truth," and I will keep my "truth." The late Pat Moynihan once famously declared that "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts." Pat did not live to hear the introduction of "truthiness" (thanks, Steve Colbert) into the English language.