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Self-Actualization in Business

Question: How much of business success is predicated on personality?

 

Chip Conley: Maslow would say that each of us was put on this earth for a reason and one of the secrets of life, the magical life over the course of your life time, getting clarity of what that is, recording in a different level of say it’s all about purpose and I think that there’s something be to said for people feeling like there’s a unique reason I am here on earth.

Forget about the spirituality of the religion attached to that, but just know that you’re here and there are certain things that you’re supposed to actually learn, discover and do and be in your life, and so each of us is unique in that way. And we are going to have a different you know reason and purpose for being here. So Maslow would buy into that, absolutely. How companies can buy into to that and how the commercial world can look into that is to realize that we live in an era of mass customization.

The question is if we’re going to have every single customer be different, how do you create a product that is not the generic one size fits all? How do you do it in a way where everybody feels I got something that was meant for me? Just like that Yvette the hotel matchmaker example where we created a psychographic profile of the customer and then we can deliver back mass customized travel advice. That was a way of us to actually reaching out to every single customer feeling like they’re different. But doing it in a way that actually worked for us so that we didn’t have to have a concierge or a human concierge, having a phone call from every single guest who’s coming to stay in our hotels. So I think, the key is to know that what I look at from the boutique hotel business and hotels in general is that retail has made a big shift in the last ten or fifteen years. Fifteen tears ago, it was Sears and JC Penney’s and Montgomery Ward and they’re the big bucks retailers. And today, those guys are in trouble or going away and it’s either Wal-Mart or Target who are lower end they’re fighting against or some of the higher and luxury ones or most importantly it’s the smaller retailers, chain retailers Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, [Whims ‘n Noma], Abercrombie and Fitch those are the players who in their own little niche way have sniped at Sears and JC Penney’s ankles to the point where the big dinosaurs are actually falling on to the ground.

How’s that relevant to boutique hotel business or hotel business?

Is we are the Anthropologie or Pottery Barn of the hotel business.

The Holiday Inns, the Radisson, the Wyndhams and the Doubletrees, these sort of big behemoth mid-price hotel companies or hotel brands are all very generic and they all have the same potential of becoming the Sears of their own industry, of our industry. And as boutique hoteliers, we are realizing that in fact, just like retailers, the sort of lifestyle or designer in retailers have moved into the suburbs, so have boutique hoteliers. I mean, used to be, ten years ago, you would only find a boutique hotel in Manhattan and South Beach and San Francisco and New York and Seattle and Boston but you would never see it in a secondary city like Sacramento and you wouldn’t see it in the suburbs, you know. So what we now see is one of the biggest trends in the hotel business today is the suburbanization of boutique hotels. But it’s just like retails. We’ve seen the retailers move into the suburbs, and seen quality, designer and stylish retail immersed itself in retail shopping centers throughout this US. And so it’s not surprising that boutique hotels will have to do the same.

 

Recorded on: April 14, 2009

 

Hotelier Chip Conley on ways leaders can convert personal goals into business success.

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  • Maybe it's still there, but much less luminous and/or covered by dust.

A "very massive star" in the Kinman Dwarf galaxy caught the attention of astronomers in the early years of the 2000s: It seemed to be reaching a late-ish chapter in its life story and offered a rare chance to observe the death of a large star in a region low in metallicity. However, by the time scientists had the chance to turn the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Paranal, Chile back around to it in 2019 — it's not a slow-turner, just an in-demand device — it was utterly gone without a trace. But how?

The two leading theories about what happened are that either it's still there, still erupting its way through its death throes, with less luminosity and perhaps obscured by dust, or it just up and collapsed into a black hole without going through a supernova stage. "If true, this would be the first direct detection of such a monster star ending its life in this manner," says Andrew Allan of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, leader of the observation team whose study is published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

So, em...

Between astronomers' last look in 2011 and 2019 is a large enough interval of time for something to happen. Not that 2001 (when it was first observed) or 2019 have much meaning, since we're always watching the past out there and the Kinman Dwarf Galaxy is 75 million light years away. We often think of cosmic events as slow-moving phenomena because so often their follow-on effects are massive and unfold to us over time. But things happen just as fast big as small. The number of things that happened in the first 10 millionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang, for example, is insane.

In any event, the Kinsman Dwarf Galaxy, or PHL 293B, is far way, too far for astronomers to directly observe its stars. Their presence can be inferred from spectroscopic signatures — specifically, PHL 293B between 2001 and 2011 consistently featured strong signatures of hydrogen that indicated the presence of a massive "luminous blue variable" (LBV) star about 2.5 times more brilliant than our Sun. Astronomers suspect that some very large stars may spend their final years as LBVs.

Though LBVs are known to experience radical shifts in spectra and brightness, they reliably leave specific traces that help confirm their ongoing presence. In 2019 the hydrogen signatures, and such traces, were gone. Allan says, "It would be highly unusual for such a massive star to disappear without producing a bright supernova explosion."

The Kinsman Dwarf Galaxy, or PHL 293B, is one of the most metal-poor galaxies known. Explosive, massive, Wolf-Rayet stars are seldom seen in such environments — NASA refers to such stars as those that "live fast, die hard." Red supergiants are also rare to low Z environments. The now-missing star was looked to as a rare opportunity to observe a massive star's late stages in such an environment.

Celestial sleuthing

In August 2019, the team pointed the four eight-meter telescopes of ESO's ESPRESSO array simultaneously toward the LBV's former location: nothing. They also gave the VLT's X-shooter instrument a shot a few months later: also nothing.

Still pursuing the missing star, the scientists acquired access to older data for comparison to what they already felt they knew. "The ESO Science Archive Facility enabled us to find and use data of the same object obtained in 2002 and 2009," says Andrea Mehner, an ESO staff member who worked on the study. "The comparison of the 2002 high-resolution UVES spectra with our observations obtained in 2019 with ESO's newest high-resolution spectrograph ESPRESSO was especially revealing, from both an astronomical and an instrumentation point of view."

Examination of this data suggested that the LBV may have indeed been winding up to a grand final sometime after 2011.

Team member Jose Groh, also of Trinity College, says "We may have detected one of the most massive stars of the local Universe going gently into the night. Our discovery would not have been made without using the powerful ESO 8-meter telescopes, their unique instrumentation, and the prompt access to those capabilities following the recent agreement of Ireland to join ESO."

Combining the 2019 data with contemporaneous Hubble Space Telescope (HST) imagery leaves the authors of the reports with the sense that "the LBV was in an eruptive state at least between 2001 and 2011, which then ended, and may have been followed by a collapse into a massive BH without the production of an SN. This scenario is consistent with the available HST and ground-based photometry."

Or...

A star collapsing into a black hole without a supernova would be a rare event, and that argues against the idea. The paper also notes that we may simply have missed the star's supernova during the eight-year observation gap.

LBVs are known to be highly unstable, so the star dropping to a state of less luminosity or producing a dust cover would be much more in the realm of expected behavior.

Says the paper: "A combination of a slightly reduced luminosity and a thick dusty shell could result in the star being obscured. While the lack of variability between the 2009 and 2019 near-infrared continuum from our X-shooter spectra eliminates the possibility of formation of hot dust (⪆1500 K), mid-infrared observations are necessary to rule out a slowly expanding cooler dust shell."

The authors of the report are pretty confident the star experienced a dramatic eruption after 2011. Beyond that, though:

"Based on our observations and models, we suggest that PHL 293B hosted an LBV with an eruption that ended sometime after 2011. This could have been followed by
(1) a surviving star or
(2) a collapse of the LBV to a BH [black hole] without the production of a bright SN, but possibly with a weak transient."

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