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Washington State: weed goldmine not so lucrative with new product glut

(Business News) Now that several states are on board with cannabis legalization, there is a surprising surge of cannabis growers, driving prices down.

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Legalization of weed is a business goldmine. Right?

Remember the early days of legal cannabis in Washington, when it was selling for $20 or $25 a gram and stores were closing because they were literally sold out of weed? Those days are officially over. Prices in recreational stores have been falling with every passing month as more shops open. Now there is a glut of pot and it’s forcing prices way too low.

The Stranger reports, Ian Eisenberg, the owner of Uncle Ike’s, a recreational store in Washington, says prices at his store range from $10 to $23 a gram, which is competitive with most medical stores, but “wholesale prices are still literally half of what they were in September.” Good for those who need it, but not so great for those potpreneurs.

Currently Washington offers three tiers of growing licenses for cannabis: less less than 2,000 square feet; 2,000 to 10,000 square feet; and 10,000 to 30,000 square feet. So far, they have issued approximately 336 licenses statewide.

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Alison Holcomb, the Seattle attorney who drafted the legal pot law. “There are 10 times as many applications as we need.” Holcomb called the glut of pot-growing applications “a real problem for the people that want to go into production because if you apply for a 30,000-square-foot grow and incur all the expenses for the lease and buildout, you don’t want to suddenly learn that you can only grow 2,000 square feet,” she said.

“No one knows what’s going to happen.”

“Our biggest clients are sweating it,” said Seattle marijuana business attorney Hilary Bricken. “People are paranoid and they have every right to be paranoid, because no one knows what’s going to happen. As a business strategy, can you rely on everyone else’s failure so that you can have the size grow you want? I would say, no, not if you want to sleep at night.”

Some of this has to do with timing: “This fall was the first harvest of outdoor crops grown over the summer, which means the harvest rates mushroomed from almost 900,000 grams in September to more than 3 million in October and 6.5 million in November. Because of that, growth in production is outpacing growth in sales, which have climbed steadily from about 233,000 grams in September to 321,000 in October and 384,000 in November. Production will slow down now that we’ve reached the winter, but indoor growers are still ticking along, and the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB), continues to license growers all over the state.”

Should the surplus be surprising?

The surplus is no surprise to the WSLCB, according to board spokesperson Brian Smith. “The market is still maturing, not everyone is going to make it…we knew the supply system would be pretty robust.” It seems as though robust is an understatement.

What does this mean for other potpreneurs? I believe the question will indeed become: “can you rely on everyone else’s failures, so that you can seize the size growing license you need to flourish?” As with any business, this seems to be a calculated risk. In some areas, the risk is definitely worth it; in other overflowing areas, like Washington, your money and time may be better spent in other business ventures.

#WeedGlut

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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Tech News

Want to save snippets of a Zoom meeting? Listener makes it possible!

(TECHNOLOGY) Listener lets you screenshot or bookmark important sections of live meetings, as well as curate a playlist of snippets, to share or playback.

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Listener for Zoom tool landing page on laptop.

We live in a very computer-mediated world where the bulk of communication is done virtually. Many of us spend a great deal of time – whether for work or pleasure – on video calls connecting with people that we’re unable to meet with in person.

Zoom became the unofficial mascot for the pandemic and has shown no signs of going anywhere. So naturally, people are looking for ways to put this to even more of an advantage – like by creating messaging extensions to utilize in lieu of live meetings.

Now the folks behind Listener are getting in on the action by creating Listener for Zoom.

The new tool allows users to bookmark important moments of Zoom calls in real-time and easily turn long recordings into bite-sized video clips.

As founder Nishith Shah puts it, “Zoom meetings just got more productive!”

Listener allows users to do a myriad of things, including live bookmarking to create short video clips; ability to transcribe your entire meeting; edit video clips by using transcripts instead of struggling with video editing tools; share video highlights with your team; create playlists from video highlights across different Zoom meetings to tell powerful stories; use projects to organize your meetings and playlists.

Founders say that Listener is designed for pretty much anyone who uses Zoom. In early testing, the founders found that it is especially helpful for product managers and UX researchers who do customer interviews.

They also reported that early-stage founders have been using Listener to add powerful customer videos to their investor pitch decks. It is also helpful for recruiters and hiring managers who search transcripts across hundreds of hiring interviews to remember who said what and to pass on important clips to other people in the interview process.

The tool is also beneficial for teams and hiring, as customer success and sales teams create a knowledge base with Listener to train and onboard new employees. They also use it to pass on customer feedback to the product teams.

This could also be great for clipping video elements that are appropriate for social media use.

On January 11, 2022, Listener was awarded #3 Product of the Day on Product Hunt.

Listener for Zoom is free while in Beta. The tool works only with licensed (paid) Zoom accounts.

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Opinion Editorials

Job listings are popping up left and right, so what exactly *is* UX writing?

(EDITORIAL) While UX writing is not technically new, it is seemingly becoming more and more prevalent. The job titles are everywhere, so what is it?

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UX writing

The work of a UX writer is something you come across every day. Whether you’re hailing an Uber or browsing Spotify for that one Drake song, your overall user experience is affected by the words you read at each touchpoint.

A UX writer facilitates a smooth interaction between user and product at each of these touchpoints through carefully chosen words.

Some of the most common touchpoints these writers work on are interface copy, emails, and notifications. It doesn’t sound like the most thrilling stuff, but imagine using your favorite apps without all the thoughtful confirmation messages we take for granted. Take Eat24’s food delivery app, instead of a boring loading visual, users get a witty message like “smoking salmon” or “slurping noodles.”

Eat24’s app has UX writing that works because it’s engaging.

Xfinity’s mobile app provides a pleasant user experience by being intuitive. Shows that are available on your phone are clearly labeled under “Available Out of Home.” I’m bummed that Law & Order: SVU isn’t available, but thanks to thoughtful UX writing at least I knew that sad fact ahead of time.

Regardless of where you find these writer’s work, there are three traits an effective UX writer must-have. Excellent communication skills are a must. The ability to empathize with the user is on almost every job post. But from my own experience working with UX teams, I’d argue for the ability to advocate as the most important skill.

UX writers may have a very specialized mission, but they typically work within a greater user experience design team. In larger companies, some UX writers even work with a smaller team of fellow writers. Decisions aren’t made in isolation. You can be the wittiest writer, with a design decision based on obsessive user research, but if you can’t advocate for those decisions then what’s the point?

I mentioned several soft skills, but that doesn’t mean aspiring UX writers can’t benefit from developing a few specific tech skills. While the field doesn’t require a background in web development, UX writers often collaborate with engineering teams. Learning some basic web development principles such as responsive design can help writers create a better user experience across all devices. In a world of rapid prototyping, I’d also suggest learning a few prototyping apps. Several are free to try and super intuitive.

Now that the UX in front of the writer no longer intimidates you, go check out ADJ, The American Genius’ Facebook Group for Austin digital job seekers and employers. User-centric design isn’t going anywhere and with everyone getting into the automation game, you can expect even more opportunities in UX writing.

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Tech News

How Apple is trying to combat the AirTag backlash (hint – its not working)

(TECHNOLOGY) Apple’s weak-kneed attempts at fixing their AirTags issues aren’t working. They can be placed on anything (or anyone), and it is detrimental.

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Apple airtag being held between two fingers.

A few weeks ago, I wrote up an article on how the Apple AirTag can be used to stalk and track people, and now it’s happening. Unfortunately, not all stalkers have the same glamour as Joe from the hit series You.

Engadget reported that model, Brooks Nader, says someone used an AirTag to track her. Per her account, she didn’t receive the notification until she was walking home, alone, at night. If that’s not scary enough, now imagine she was an android user. The only way for her to know someone was tracking her would be if she had installed the Tracker Detect app.

As stated by TechCrunch, “Apple has made its own post-launch efforts to tighten up how AirTags that don’t belong to a certain user can be detected, but these notifications have proven buggy and have often waited far too long to alert users. Add in the fact that Apple has seemed to treat Android integration as an afterthought, not a necessary partnership in order to ship a device like this, and Apple’s incompetence looks a bit more severe.”

The app itself, which was released on December 11, 2021, is getting a lot of negative feedback. One issue is that to see if you’re being tracked you have to manually scan to find the AirTag. How often and when you do that is up to the user. Whereas with the Apple Find My app, it alerts you automatically without the user having to scan anything. It’s not perfect, however. It’s buggy and can take hours to notify the user that an AirTag is tracking them. However, it’s still better than the android app.

Another dreadful scenario that hasn’t been factored in this equation is children. Not all kids have devices, much less Apple devices, nor should they necessarily, but if someone was going to track them, they would be easy targets.

Apple, for the love of all that’s decent, pull AirTags and reconsider how they function. Examine the ways an AirTag could be used without using the mesh network of all iPhone users so that it doesn’t continue to emit a location or, I don’t know, give up. If it doesn’t mean anything to you to risk other’s lives with this product then consider the possible dangerous consequences as a reflection on Apple.

Contrary to popular belief, not all publicity is good publicity.

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