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17 Feb 06:28

Backyard Playhouses Inspired By Ito, Le Corbusier, Van der Rohe, And More

by John Brownlee

Andrew and Lindsay - I think you need one of these for John. Would go nicely with his kitchen

Barcelona architect David Lamolla designs the most beautiful backyard playhouses you've ever seen. What a time to be a kid!

What's a good way to nurture a life-long love of good design and architecture in your kids? Buy them a backyard playhouse inspired by the real-world buildings of Le Corbusier, Toyo Ito, Mies van der Rohe, and more.

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31 May 10:56

Paris’ Best Natural Wine Bars & Shops

by Emily Dilling

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

La Buvette

While it is exciting to live in a city that is increasingly open to international influences and imported ideas, it’s also reassuring to know that Paris holds its own as a trendsetter in certain fields. The natural wine scene is definitely one of the domains in which the French capital has gained and maintained solid footing. Senior natural wine sellers such as La Quincave and La Cave des Papilles established themselves as reliable outposts for vin nature in the early days of the movement, bringing low-intervention wine from small-scale vineyards to the city. These role models have inspired a new wave of wine bars to open in Paris, making natural wine increasingly present and accessible.

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Le Mary Celeste

Camille Fourmont, owner of La Buvette in the 11th arrondissement, is representative of the new guild of natural wine purveyors. When not behind the bar, preparing carefully curated small plates or serving bottles of wine, Camille can be found tasting wines with her peers at some of her favorite addresses around the city, notably La Cave à Michel. “They always have some wines I don’t know” Camille explained, “so I discover something new each time.” Camille also cites two favorite personalities in Paris’ natural wine scene: “There are two guys I could listento talk about wine for hours – Guillaume Dupré of Coinstot Vino and Pierre Jancou.”

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

La Cave à Michel (first image); La Buvette

Someone who has been passionately following the natural wine scene in France for years, and sharing it with students in her vegetarian cooking classes, is Terresa Murphy of La Cucina di Terresa. Terresa names Le Siffleur de Ballons as one of her favorite spots to sip in the city, describing the neighborhood bar as, “low key, down-home, simple, heartfelt. It’s light and bright inside, has a wonderful cheese plate, and a good range of natural wines.”

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Le Garde Robe

Terresa also suggests checking out Le Garde Robe, where you’ll have, “no problem finding a seasonal dish to savor with a beautiful ‘naked’ wine in this cozy lair… always try to sneak in and out during quiet hours,” Terresa advises, adding, “I like my silence and my calm with my wine.”

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Coinstot Vino (first two images); Le Siffleur de Ballons (second two images)

Paris-based cocktail specialist and founder of the site 52 Martinis, Forest Collins also had a few things to say about where to find natural wines, noting that these places often coincide with the cocktail scene. “Cocktails and natural wine seem to be a pretty natural combo these days” Forest says, underlining just how much natural wines have increased in popularity. She suggests people who are interested in both check out Le Mary Celeste in the trendy Northern Marais neighborhood.

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Le Mary Celeste

Natural wine geeks will have a new watering hole to look forward to when Oliver Lomeli of Café Chilango opens up his first wine bar in the space next to his café/Mexican restaurant. Oliver’s bar, called La Chambre Noire, will focus on low-interventionist wines from small vineyards. “I want the space to be open and be a place where people can share their projects” Oliver explained to me, as we visited the soon-to-be-opened bar, with its largely untouched interior that shows off the charm of the original architecture. An artist friend of Oliver’s had just finished etching a grapevine into a chalky moulding on one of the walls. The carved vine and grape bunches fit naturally in their new environment, setting the scene for more natural wine discoveries in Paris.

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Café Chilango

La Quincave – 17 Rue Bréa, 75006. Tel: +33 (0)1 43 29 38 24

La Cave des Papilles – 35 Rue Daguerre, 75014. Tel: +33 (0)1 43 20 05 74

La Buvette – 67 Rue Saint-Maur, 75011. Tel: +33 (0)9 83 56 94 11

La Cave à Michel – 36 Rue Sainte-Marthe, 75010. Tel: +33 (0)1 42 45 94 47

Coinstot Vino – 26 Passage des Panoramas, 75002. Tel: +33 (0)1 44 82 08 54

La Cucina di Terresa – 4 Rue Voltaire, 75011. No telephone.

Le Siffleur de Ballons – 34 Rue de Cîteaux, 75012. Tel: +33 (0)1 58 51 14 04

Le Garde Robe – 41 Rue de l’Arbre Sec, 75001. Tel: +33 (0)1 49 26 90 60

Le Mary Celeste – 1 rue Commines, 75003. Tel: +33 (0)9 80 72 98 83

Café Chilango – 82 Rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011. Tel: +33 (0)1 47 00 78 95

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Natural Wine Bars in Paris

Le Garde Robe; La Buvette

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Written by Emily Dilling for the HiP Paris Blog. All images by Palmyre Roigt. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Natural Wine Bars in ParisLa Cave des Papilles
19 Sep 15:14

How To Use Values To Build A World-Class Culture For Your Startup

by Bhavin Parikh

Interesting. What values are most important to you guys in a company?

What do you think defines your company's culture: The feel of the office? The perks? Maybe it's the people who work there?

Now, what if I told you none of them define the culture? All those factors are merely products of an already existing culture, one that's been there since day one.

That's because founders impact the culture of their company before they even start building it. And leaders who want to facilitate a sustainable culture--one that continually inspires, engages, and motivates--need to proactively define the kind of culture they want to create. How? It all starts with identifying values.

If you fail to articulate your values in the early days of the company, prepare for frustration, arbitrary decision-making, and confusion galore. As a CEO, I've had my fair share of challenges establishing culture. But that ended once I identified our company's values and started building a team around them. As a result, we have a team that's been working together toward a shared goal for three years now with no turnover.

It's never too late. Establish your own set of values. Write them down; stick them all over the walls; frame them in your house. Do whatever it takes to keep them at the forefront of your mind. Now you're ready to create a world-class culture for your company. Here's how:

1. When Hiring, Put Your Values Lens On

There are universal traits every CEO looks for in a potential hire: dedication, hard work, the ability to work in a team, etc. But even if an applicant fits the "quality bill," they still might be a bad fit for your company.

At Magoosh, we use our values as a lens by substituting generalized questions like, "What are your biggest strengths?" with targeted questions that help us determine whether the applicant is a good fit.

For example, one of our core values is Wow > Profit, meaning we aim to deliver excellent customer service over solely making profit. To determine whether an applicant aligns with that specific value, we give them a scenario and ask how they'd address the issue. By asking, "How would you respond to a student who asks for an extension on his or her account access?" we can gauge the applicant's values. We always know the answer we're looking for and can easily sift the good candidates from the great ones--ones who will be continually inspired and motivated by their work.

2. Downplay The Perks

Sadly, yes. In order to guarantee your team will stick around, you need a culture that goes a bit deeper. Would your employees still be excited about your company if you didn't have catered lunches and five Ping-Pong tables in the break room? If your answer is "I'm not sure," you're in trouble.

I've seen too many companies focus on perks to define their culture and lose employees as a result. Perks are great, but they come secondary to having a team that values being part of your mission.

3. Let The Values Guide Decisions

One of the most important parts of having clearly defined values is the elimination of arbitrary decision-making. They exist not only to build the team, but also to hold that team accountable. This includes the CEO.

Values, if created strategically, should guide your company in the right direction and trump subjective decisions by any member of the team. Whenever someone is facing a tough decision, he or she should be able to look to the company values for direction, therefore eliminating arbitrary judgment.

4. Give Your Team A Voice

Another core value at my company is Communication > Efficiency, which means we prefer our employees communicate too much rather than avoiding communication to save time. While you don't have to adopt this value as your own, I recommend it. Give your employees a platform to provide feedback, throw out ideas, and even complain.

In our office, we use Asana, an online task and organization app, which publicly allows any employee to contribute ideas to any department. TINYPulse allows employees to rate their level of happiness or reveal internal problems anonymously. It also lets me converse with people providing feedback even though I don't know who they are. And if I reach out, they're usually willing to sit down and sort out the issue.

Employees rant and gossip when they feel powerless--when leadership doesn't ask for feedback or refuses to address it. Empower employees by giving them a way to contribute. Then listen. Open communication and defined values are the makings of a fair and balanced decision-making platform in the office--one that will allow for collaboration, new ideas, and dynamic company growth.

If you want to take charge of your company's future, consciously define the values that you want to steer your startup. Use those values as a standard to hire, make decisions, hold people accountable, and share ideas. As your company grows with those values at its foundation, you'll see your own unique, world-class company culture begin to take shape all on its own.

--Bhavin Parikh is CEO and cofounder of Magoosh, a company that creates web and mobile apps to help students prepare for standardized tests such as the GRE and GMAT. He loves advising startups on growing their ideas and building great cultures.

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program.

17 Sep 17:21

Too Many Marketing Teams Are Stuck in the Past

by Mei Lee
andrea many parallels...

Many marketing organizations are still operating like it’s the 1990s — or even earlier. Duplicative marketing teams exist within the same company across multiple product lines. Digital marketing teams are centralized yet isolated from the broader organization. Marketing groups are splintered into communications, consumer marketing, brand marketing, and digital marketing units with no common thread in strategy and execution.

Over the past dozen years, I have participated in both the infusion of digital capabilities into traditional marketing organizations and the establishment and maturation of digital marketing organizations at Disney, J.Crew and, now, Conde Nast Entertainment where I am VP of marketing-digital. Based on this experience, I see five areas that need to change in order for marketing to function effectively in the digital age.

Internal structure: Most marketing teams are organized by either functional expertise (such as social media marketing or marketing analytics) or brand. To be a successful digital marketing organization, your team needs to be organized by functional expertise rather than by brand, project or platform in order to deliver coherent, integrated campaigns across all consumer touchpoints. The customer who is a fan of your brand’s Facebook page should receive a more personalized email newsletter after visiting your website. She should be given a personalized promo code in her email to shop at your brick and mortar store based on her online shopping history, and later, be reminded with a push notification message on her mobile phone when the promo code is about to expire so she can take advantage of it online.

My team at J.Crew was organized by function such as affiliate marketing, paid search, email marketing, and search engine optimization. At Conde Nast Entertainment, my team is also organized by function across social media, paid advertising, earned/owned media, insights/analytics, and audience development. Each functional expert is responsible for all 12 brands that we work on. This structure is effective in a multi-brand environment with a centralized marketing team because each brand benefits from deep functional expertise as well as consistency across touch points.

Functional alignment: Many marketing organizations suffer from a failure of cross-functional collaboration. For example, IT decisions that affect marketing may be made without a thoughtful analysis about the resulting user experience beyond page load speed and server uptime. New product features may be introduced into an e-commerce site without understanding how they will impact traffic conversion rates and average order value.

Digital marketing teams need a seat at the table so they can infuse digital-first marketing insights into product and technology planning. Website feature changes should not be released without thoughtful analysis of the potential impact on traffic. Email marketing templates should not be altered for design reasons without a/b testing the impact of the change on click-through rates. Website page title changes should not be based solely on editorial considerations but also search engine optimization competitiveness.

Meritocracy vs. hierarchy: In traditional marketing organizations, job responsibilities and titles are hierarchical and rarely fluid. Each role is clearly defined and limited in scope. The new digital marketing organization thrives on a less hierarchical structure with more flexibility and an emphasis on meritocracy. Your Email Marketing Manager may also happen to be an expert in Instagram. Hence, your next email campaign may be highly integrated with social media. At Conde Nast Entertainment, digital marketing execution sometimes falls to whoever on my team can figure out the best way forward first.

When technology and consumer behavior patterns are changing so quickly, there may not be time to wait until the person assigned to the campaign gets around the task.

Data-driven decision making: Compared to digital organizations, traditional marketing organizations have a longer feedback loop on their campaign performance and results of their go-to-market strategy. In digital organizations, immediate data allows marketers to be smarter and faster in their decision-making. It is time to capitalize on the marriage of traditional and digital marketing data. Digital marketing insights can guide the strategy of traditional marketing and verse versa.

At J.Crew, I would determine my paid search marketing investments and choose which clothing product categories to drive online demand based on in-store sales data. For example, if the mint green cashmere sweater is a top category seller at stores in New York City, I would shift my paid search advertising to concentrate on relevant keywords, and target by geography and remarketing lists to customers in similar zip codes as they shop through search engines.

Governance: A few forward-thinking organizations are doing without a chief marketing officer, and instead have given the job of leading marketing to a chief digital officer. The question of who owns digital marketing in an organization is often uncertain. Accountability for digital revenue, digital product innovation, omnichannel strategy, and online audience growth blurs the line between many traditional roles from marketing to technology to product development to strategy.

Organizations that seek to be more digitally focused should first ensure alignment at the top between vision and execution. The CEO’s vision must prioritize digital marketing innovation. The execution of the vision could be governed by either a Chief Digital Officer or a CMO. Having this a CDO role could make sense if the company is revenue and product focused in an advertising supported business model. The CMO role could make sense if the company is consumer and content focused because of the specialized knowledge required to drive an effective traffic and audience strategy.

What’s next? As a marketer, I have witnessed two camps of organizational transformations in the digital age.

Camp one is characterized by cycles of digital misalignment across the company. The company makes significant investments in digital marketing, infrastructure, product design and technology to optimize digital performance, only to gut everything and start over again every two to five years. This is not only disruptive to the people in the organization but also to your company’s bottom line.

Organizations in the second camp define a pivotal moment at which they will become a digital-first company with a commitment to invest in digital marketing, technology infrastructure, and digital talents. From this point on, the organization reorganizes its workforce, strategy roadmap and investments to build a new marketing organization that fully integrates traditional and digital marketing in a sustainable way.