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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Where I Get My Information

I begin each of the "Retail Marketing Strategies" classes I teach with a simple exercise I call "Retail in the News".


My students, who are asked to pay attention to retail-related news throughout the week, are given the opportunity at the start of each class to share recent retail-related news articles and explain why they are interesting or relevant.


There are three reasons I facilitate this exercise.


First, it gives students a chance to contribute to the class, which is important since participation is worth 30% of their final grade. (Introverts have the opportunity to contribute too: there's an online discussion forum where students not comfortable speaking in class can earn credit for posting their articles and accompanying thoughts.)


Why such an emphasis on class participation? Because I believe that in a great learning environment, students can contribute as much to the class as the instructor, so I do my best to facilitate interesting class discussions. (I don't always succeed, but I try!)


Second, starting the class with this exercise gets the class "warmed up" and makes them more willing to contribute to subsequent class discussions. Throughout my lectures, I'll ask the class questions about the assigned readings, their personal experiences, and a variety of other things... and when I ask questions, I want my students to feel comfortable attempting to answer them. (Mostly because when they're not, the class can get pretty dull.)


And third, "Retail in the News" forces students to develop a habit of paying attention to the news. As a marketer, I believe understanding the business environment is a critical part of my job, and I want these aspiring marketers to build the habit of observing the world so they can better understand it. Paying attention to various news sources is a good start.*


A few weeks ago, one of my students asked me what I read to keep up-to-date on the world around me. I told her I read a lot of different news sources every day and promised to assemble and share a list when I had some time. And this weekend, I had some time.


The following is a list of sources I use to keep myself informed about the world.



Social Media:

I get the majority of my news via carefully curated social media feeds.

  • I follow various thought leaders on LinkedIn, and when they post content, it appears in my feed. I often comment on these posts or reshare them on my feed, so you can follow me on LinkedIn to benefit from this content.

  • I look at both Threads and X once per day, but not more than that: I've found the toxicity that runs rampant on both platforms is mentally draining. Despite the negativity, I spend time scrolling through both platforms daily to access different viewpoints: I consider myself politically moderate (fiscally conservative and socially liberal), but the far-left stances found on Threads and far-right positions so readily available on X force me to continually challenge my thoughts and opinions.



My News Subscriptions:

  • The Globe & Mail

  • The New York Times

  • The Wall Street Journal

  • The Washington Post

  • Fast Company

  • Wired


I freely admit I don't read any newspaper or magazine cover-to-cover anymore. Instead, I get newsletter summaries and news alerts for these publications, and when headlines interest me, I read the stories on my phone via each publication's app.



Retail-Focused Websites I Visit at Least Weekly:


Both publications offer great retail-related stories that keep me up-to-date on what's happening in the industry.



My Must-Read Business / Technology Newsletters:


Seth has published over 8,000 articles since he first started blogging. His posts vary by length, but I love how he doesn't need a lot of words to deliver his point. It's something I continue to work on myself, truth be told.


Wonderfully developed charts and graphics on interesting topics, each accompanied by well-supported write-ups. I use more than a few of these graphics as part of my class slides. (Fully attributed to the source, obviously!) 


More great visualizations of interesting data points, like this one on The Richest People in the World in 2024 or this one on Which U.S. College Major is the Worst for Finding a Job?, to use but two examples.


Written by the incredibly impressive Peter Diamandis, this newsletter primarily focuses on technology. You can get the same tech news anywhere, but the deep-dive thinking Diamandis offers in every issue makes every newsletter a worthy read.


AI-curated content about the latest developments in tech from influential thinkers and credible sources. If you want a sneak peek of what the future holds, sign up for this newsletter.


I've been a fan of Professor Galloway since I read The Four. His newsletter, published every few days, expands on the business, tech, competition, and men's health/image ideas he regularly discusses in his Pivot podcast (which he co-hosts with Kara Swisher).



My Must-Read Non-Business Newsletters:


Don't laugh! Arnold's free daily newsletter from Arnold Schwarzenegger and his team (billed as "the positive corner of the internet") is amazing. It delivers positive encouragement for anybody aspiring to a healthier lifestyle and shares many credible science-based tips on how to make that happen. I also loved Arnold's latest book, Be Useful; do yourself a favour and buy the audiobook version, which Arnold narrates himself.


It's been several years since I worked in the alcohol-free-adult-beverage space -- and thus would read this insightful newsletter for work purposes -- but the terrific insights, articles, and research that Mark shares daily make it tough to unsubscribe. If you work in the beverage industry, this one is a must-read. (And if you don't, it's still worth checking out...)


David A. Gross publishes "Unbiased movie box office information for entertainment professionals, insiders, and movie lovers." His weekly newsletter recaps the box office figures for the past week and makes industry projections for the upcoming quarter. If you watch enough movies (I do!) and read enough of these newsletters, you'll start to get a good sense of what's worth watching in the theatre and what can wait for streaming.



That's not an exhaustive list of everything I read on any given week, but if you're looking to expand your weekly reading list, it should serve as a good start.



A photo of numerous open books.

* I'm always pleased when students email me at the end of the course to let me know "Retail in the News" was one of their favourite weekly exercises. And I always tell them the same thing: there's no reason to give up on this habit! I encourage them to keep finding interesting articles and posting them (along with their thoughts) on their LinkedIn page; sharing interesting insights regularly is a great way to build your professional brand!

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