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Ajay Kapoor
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If the goal of the economy is to provide decent-paying work for everyone, that economy clearly isn't doing a good job at the moment. Real wages for most Americans haven't increased in 40 years. Real unemployment—which includes the "under-employed"—is above 10%. Many jobs are now part-time, flexi-time, or "gigs" with no benefits and few protections. And, we spend a lot of money to subsidize so-called "bullshit jobs": more than 50% of fast food workers receive some form of public assistance, for instance.

Mason says we need to move towards a "postcapitalist" economy, where working for money loses its centrality, where goods, information, and intellectual property are shared, and where economic actors collaborate in new ways, whether it's credit union-type financial institutions or co-operative-type retailers. Importantly, Mason also shows how current economic orthodoxy—based around "free markets," globalization and an oversized role for the financial services industry—isn't some historical end-state, perfecting everything that went before. Rather, it's the result of a particular set of choices, starting in the 1980s, that advantage some people over others.

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"The reason that companies fail when they try to move up the stack is simple, argues Mr. Sharma: They don’t have firsthand empathy for what customers of the product one level above theirs in the stack actually want."

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"We believe the starting point is to create a qualitative understanding—a map—of market drivers. You need to get into the heads of consumers and be able to tell their stories. It is both art and science. The purpose of the market map is to define dissatisfactions, hopes, dreams, and fears. Winning solutions respond to the distinct and specific needs of a group of consumers."

"... listen to tight summaries of in-depth consumer profiles and is always curious to understand what we call the “wheel of consumer emotions.” Consumers don’t neatly fit into any one segment."

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