Conversations.

Conversations with Dean Horowitz
This blog is focused on bringing the Furniture/Today community together in a discussion of ideas and technologies that will ensure our individual, and collective, long-term value to the customers we serve. It’s the back and front-office. It’s the opportunities to save money, spend money and connect with information in new and exciting ways. The success of this endeavor will be measured by your contributions and the exchanges that facilitate growth for all involved. We are in this together. Here's to being connected.
  • Furnishing an environment where individuals live, work, play... and breath

    University of Utah recently launched a new concept in student housing called "Lassonde Studios." It is a $45 million project designed for the housing (and work space) of 400 entrepreneurs in the making. The studios are an expression of the Lassonde Entreprenuer Institute and is open to similarly driven students. It provides resources like networking, business plan competitions but, most importantly, access to similar mindsets with diverse skills in programming, design, accounting, etc. ... 35 different majors in total.  HP and Apple's romantic company launches out of garages evolved into student dorm room launches and now campus environments designed to ... Read More
  • Beer run, only this one was automated

    With "Proudly Brewed. Self-Driven." displayed on the delivery truck, last year OTTO and Budweiser partnered on a self-driving truck test: 51,744 cans of beer were hauled 120 miles in Colorado.   The senior director of logistics strategy at Anheuser-Busch said: "I see a future where this technology becomes ubiquitous; it becomes similar to automatic transmission or cruise control." Please watch this video about how the test was conducted. It doesn't eliminate human involvement in the delivery process, but it does offer a solution for our industry that has been discussed and speculated about for a few years. What do ... Read More
  • Has KOOHL officially run its course

    Taking an uncomfortable stab at Apple computer's infamous 1984 Super Bowl commercial, SNL introduced us to the KOOHL toilet.  "Nothing will ever be the same," is the closing comment.  While humorous, it does provide a wake-up call.  Thirty-plus years later, Apple computer enters into a high number of products and digital services that have become cool for cool's sake perhaps. Their design and influence has impacted companies and products and individual's self-esteem since. But has it run its course? Are you as excited about the new Apple iPhone as you once were? Is it that different from ... Read More
  • Google, Amazon and Home Accents

    Google Home. Google is a bit late to the party, but it is Google. Apparently it brings family happiness, but so does Amazon Echo. ... my Amazon Echo was first to market, does everything Google Home promises and taught us what to expect from this type of device. Plus, it offers almost daily upgrades to its operating system.   What does this mean for furniture retailers? 1) These devices are modern and nice home accents. 2) The largest companies in the world are getting into the home in a serious way.  At what point does furniture become incorporated into our digital expectations ... Read More
  • Analytics from your website can predict your weekend

    Simple tools, most free, can be incorporated into your retail website and provide insights into how your weekend will perform. You cannot afford to allow only the people involved in your website to have access to this information. Reviewing monthly or weekly reports just won't do it. You must gain access and an understanding of this information so you have a valuable set of decision tools. The basics: What products visitors are viewing the most on your website - could this indicate sale or merchandising opportunities? What zip codes are most of your visitors coming from - new location opportunities? marketing ... Read More
  • Kickstarter for home furnishing launches

    Why not lower your risk in introducing your new product roll-out by putting it on Kickstarter? ZEEQ Smart Pillow: Stream Music, Stop Snoring, Sleep Smarter is a great example of doing it right. Their pledged goal was $50,000. As of this writing, they have generated $400,000+. Not all products associated with our industry are doing as well. For example, the Nitelite coffee and end tables has so far received a $25 pledge against a $25,000 goal. And some are pretty cool and practical. LBS (Lean Body Support) "is an office and home leaning chair that makes the ... Read More
  • Domestic, Automated Sewing funded by the Pentagon

    Steve Dickerson, SoftWear, gives a Tedx talk about the automation of garment sewing. He explains manufacturing and energy are the largest U.S. trade deficits. The imbalance in manufacturing is electronics and garments. For garments he has developed a solution.     That solution is a business spun off from Georgia Tech that is partially funded by the Pentagon. The goal is to make computer-controlled sewing machines that will manufacture clothing for less than it costs to do it in China. The contract, issued by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) involves a $1.2 million grant. The company ... Read More
  • Goodbye Google Fiber rollout; hello quicker access to wireless?

    100 times faster than broadband. Lighting-fast speeds to residential users. I witnessed the early roll-out in Kansas City in the early 2010s. It was so desirable. The Internet speed we all want, installed neighborhood by neighborhood. Google had facilities set up, feeling like an adult version of a kid's museum, that explained once a critical number of neighbors applied for service, then installation will begin. Plus, a public facility, like a hospital or school, in that area would benefit by receiving free service as a community reward. Legislative battles regarding utility poles in cities Google targeted quickly escalated the ... Read More
  • Microsoft Surface Studio - What happened? We all need this now!

    Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella said earlier this week, "We are the company that stands for builders, makers and creators." That the company is a "learn-it-all" culture and not a "know-it-all" culture.  Under his leadership, Microsoft has become the company to watch once again. I was an Apple fan for most of my life, but after purchasing a Microsoft Surface Book a year ago, I am ... can't believe I'm stating this ... a huge Microsoft fan. Check out this video of its new product release - Microsoft Surface Studio.  It brings a new level of excitement to a company we ... Read More
  • Amazon's Q3 and what we can learn from it

    The number one online retailer, Amazon released its Q3 results this week, and here are the key points: Global revenue grew by 29% over a year ago. Net sales across all businesses total $32.71 billion - UP 29% over a year ago. 50% of products sold were from its Marketplace sellers - UP from 46% last year. Amazon makes a 15% commission on goods sold by these Marketplace sellers. Its summer "Prime Day" event on July 13th generated 60% more orders than the previous year. Prime Day orders placed on their mobile app doubled year over year. Employees increased to 306 ... Read More
  • Technology at the High Point Market and bringing it back home

    There was lots of talk about technology at this week's High Point Market. A real focus on who will be the winners and losers based on their shift in mindset from "I'm not going to get the payoff this year, so it isn't worth it" to "this will solve many of my current and future issues." Low cost beacons, customer relationship apps, freeing salespeople from the showroom and sending them out to chase sales via their iPads, decreasing inventory requirements by showcasing furniture in the showroom via interactive screens and the absolute need for an enterprise solution ... Read More
  • Virtual Reality Headsets for $299

    Microsoft is working with Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc., to begin to offer Windows-compatible VR headsets for the starting price of $299.  Existing headsets plus associated equipment currently run $2,000-plus. What does this mean and why should you care? This quickly evolving product-type will soon be as common as a computer mouse, speakers and earbuds. Perhaps they will become part of a bundle like printers have been for a few years now. According to Microsoft's announcement "coming in 2017, these accessories will contain built-in sensors to enable inside-out, six-degrees of freedom for simplified setup and to more ... Read More