Watch DeMarcus Cousins dunk all over Kevin Durant in game of one-on-one

first_imgOAKLAND – Following practice, Friday afternoon, injured Warriors’ center DeMarcus Cousins threw down a thunderous dunk on teammate Kevin Durant to seal a win in a post-practice one-on-one game.The play left onlookers in shock and signified the next step in Cousins’ rehabilitation from a torn Achilles.“He beat me today,” Durant said shortly after. “But I live to fight another day.”DeMarcus Cousins dunked on Kevin Durant so hard to win their one-on-one matchup that Quinn Cook came over to …last_img read more

Spreading the love – and profit

first_imgJennifer SternThere’s never a dull moment at Vida e Caffe. Never a quiet one, either. This trendy coffee chain is characterised by big smiles, loud laughter and rapidly shouted orders as the perfectly brewed espressos and giant muffins move over the counter at a rapid pace. On the other side of the stream of delicacies patrons enjoy a quick espresso with friends or linger for ages over a double mucho cappuccino while penning that bestseller on their laptops.It’s been accused by devotees and detractors alike of being too trendy by far, but there really is more to this runaway marketing and business success story than the beautiful life and clichéd European-style sidewalk coffee culture.Started in 2001 in Cape Town’s trendy Kloof Street, Vida e Caffe was an instant success. With a simple formula of really good coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice and a range of huge and delicious sweet and savoury muffins, Vida hit the spot. While the queues are seldom unbearably long, it is almost unheard of to walk up to the counter and find yourself first in line.Room for improvementIn 2005, Grant Dutton, William Dutton and Shaun Bond joined Vida as joint venture partners in three new stores. Before the year was out they had bought the company, all five-and-a-half stores (the Green Point store was still being built). Today, there are 36 Vida stores across South Africa.They had bought a successful business built on serious marketing savvy and clever strategic relations, but there is always room for improvement. And the one place they decided they could make some real improvements was in their staff. They figured that happy staff meant happy customers so they work hard to keep those guys in the hip Levis jeans and funky T-shirts smiling.Almost all their workers live in the townships and struggled to get to work at 5:30am to start baking those yummy muffins. So the first thing they did was buy a few of houses – one close to each store – that could operate a bit like a student digs with staff members going back to their families on their days off.While almost every aspect of the staff relations in this chain is – well – just a little different, it’s the training that really sets it apart. Every staff member – absolutely every staff member – starts off clearing tables and mopping the floor. Yes, potential marketing managers – and even shareholders – start off doing what they call “meze,” which is Portuguese for “table”.Each new staff member will have a “buddy” who guides him through the learning curve. Before we continue it’s probably a good idea to explain the apparently sexist language. There are virtually no female employees at the shop-front at Vida – quite a few in head office, but none in the stores. The few that started only lasted a couple of weeks so any female job applicants are encouraged to work at their sister store (no pun intended) O Sumo. O Sumo is a new brand focusing on healthy wraps, salads and soups with fresh juices and smoothies. And the staff at O Sumo is exclusively female.  It may sound a bit weird, but it works for the staff in both stores.Back to the training. Each new staff member starts off cleaning the floors and clearing tables and eventually moves on to washing dishes, baking, making coffee and running the till. And every step of the way he is supported by his buddy, who is often an old friend, brother or cousin. Yes, that’s the other interesting thing. Most new employees are friends of existing ones – another way of keeping that happy family going. With the pace of work, the frenetic high energy and the constant need to be friendly and to smile, there is just no place for personality clashes, petty jealousies or rivalries.It takes about three months, on average, to get someone trained up as a barista and to a point that they can handle the till, do the baking and generally put a hand in wherever it’s needed. The good thing about this is that if there is a staff shortage in one store, they can call on staff from another and they will slot in effortlessly.The mystery shopperBut let’s be honest, most people don’t go to work in the morning because they get on with their colleagues. The motivation is usually far more pragmatic, and Vida employees are paid better than average. And there’s also a good bonus scheme. If they keep waste to a minimum, they get a bonus and – this is a sneaky little one – if they pass the “mystery shopper” test, they get another bonus. A mystery shopper that no-one (not even management) knows visits each shop once a month and, if every aspect of customer service is in place – voila – a bonus for the guys.But, of course – regardless of how much fun it is – an ambitious lad does not want to stay a barista for ever. So, another way of keeping the staff happy and working hard is to make it clear from the beginning that the sky is the limit. Every trainee who comes in at the bottom cleaning the floors can see people who’ve been there a year or so working their way into management positions.Papa Charles Masara is just one such person. Having emigrated to South Africa from Zimbabwe some time back, he started working at Vida three years ago. He did the whole progression from meze to baker, barista, cashier, assistant manager and store manager. But he didn’t stop there, and is now a senior regional manager overseeing 18 stores in the Cape Town area. Once he was financially secure, he brought his family out of Zimbabwe and then – spotting a good gap, helped them to set up a business doing laundry for Vida e Caffe, as well as other clients.Global expansionMost of Vida’s 36 stores are in Cape Town and Johannesburg, with a few in Durban, one in Pretoria, one in Bloemfontein and one in Knysna.  “We’ll never go above 45,” says marketing director Shaun Bond. Then he smiles and adds, “Never say never.” But they do intend to stay small and manageable. “We don’t want to be Starbucks,” Bond says, laughing. “But we are in the process of opening our first two stores in London – one in Regent Street, and one just off Carnaby Street.“It will be a great opportunity for the guys,” he adds, saying that they will take 12 baristas to London for between six months and a year to work in their UK stores. They’ll have all their transport and accommodation paid for and they will get to earn pounds, some of which Vida will insist they deposit in a bank account back in South Africa. It seems like a great opportunity to see some of the world and, if they exercise some fiscal discipline, they can come home with quite a nice little nest egg.So, next time you need a quick caffeine fix and you head for the bright red Vida e Caffe logo, you’ll know why your service comes with a smile. Some good news for anyone flying out of OR Tambo International is that Vida e Caffe is opening a branch in domestic departures beyond the security barriers, so you can get a coffee and muffin served with a smile and take advantage of Vida’s free Wi-Fi while you wait for your flight.Do you have queries or comments about this article? Email Mary Alexander at [email protected] articlesSouth African foodA walk on vibey Vilakazi Street SA chilli sauce bites the world Wine: South Africa’s French connectionNando’s blazes into the US Useful linksVida e Caffelast_img read more

Google patents pickup location finder for self-driving cars

first_imgDavid Curry Tags:#Autonomous car#driverless#featured#Google#patent#rideshare#Self-Driving#taxi#top#Uber#Waymo Break the Mold with Real-World Logistics AI and… For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… Related Posts center_img 5 Ways IoT can Help to Reduce Automatic Vehicle… Google’s self-driving division is one step closer to launching a ridesharing service, now that it has patented an accurate location pickup finder for autonomous vehicles.The patent, first spotted by Patent Yogi, shows a concept app that finds the nearest location for pickup, taking the user’s current location into account. Once the user chooses a location, a self-driving vehicle is deployed to drive them to a destination.See Also: Google’s Waymo self-driving cars kept offline to avoid hackersGoogle filed the patent in 2015 and published it in December 2016. The search giant worries that some urban zones won’t be accessible for self-driving vehicles, meaning it will need a location finder to recommend the best pickup spots.The location finder updates every few minutes to check road conditions and emergency service activity, providing the rider with the fastest route. It uses Google Maps to check for available locations.The patent, like thousands of others from Google, could be unused, although it does show the company is interested in building a ridesharing platform. That should worry Uber, the dominant ridesharing platform, which is also working on self-driving taxis.Waymo already racking up the milesWaymo, Google’s car division, has over 150 cars on the road, including 100 modified Fiat Chrysler minivans. It tests the cars in San Francisco, Kirkland, Phoenix, and Austin.The division has not made public any plans to launch a ridesharing service, although Waze, Google’s other navigation platform, already includes the feature in San Francisco. Waymo may look to incorporate its self-driving cars into the ridesharing service, or launch its own in the near future.The autonomous car race is heating up, with BMW recently confirming that the 40,000 participants in its ReachNow carsharing service will be self-driving beta testers. Uber also confirmed the location for its autonomous research center, in Wixom, Michigan. IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A…last_img read more

TCI Woman on trial gets two years but not for sex with

first_img #Metoo-movement-type complaint, now investigation of high-ranking TCI Police Officer opened Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp T&T companies tap into Cuban market at Expo Caribe 2019 Recommended for you TCI: Man safe now, says he was trapped after lightning hit truck and it burst into flames Related Items:#notguiltyverdictinsexwithminorcase, magneticmedia Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#TurksandCaicos, January 22, 2018 – Providenciales – Scathing criticism emerges now for Prosecutors in the case where an eight year old boy claims he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a woman old enough to be his mother, once the jury found that woman, not guilty.  The case fell flat due to a lack of believable evidence, it is said.  It was hinged on the boy’s claims and very importantly, whether or not he contracted a disease which the accused woman has, purportedly.A letter to Magnetic Media said in part, “Turks & Caicos we really need to wake up when our children are being abused and the perpetrators can get off Scott Free then something is seriously wrong in our society.  Our children are the most vulnerable in our society and need protecting at all cost.”The woman was on Friday found not guilty of sex with a minor because the boy is healthy, found to not have been infected with the sexually transmitted infection, STI.The woman is not free though.  While she was not found guilty by a jury and therefore not imprisoned for the sexual assault allegation, she will serve two years at Her Majesty’s Prison for attempted bribery.  The report to #MagneticMedia is the woman tried to bribe members of the Royal Turks and Caicos Police during the investigation stage with $300 if they would let her go.#notguiltyverdictinsexwithminorcaselast_img read more