Over the weekend, The Disco Biscuits performed three late-night shows at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas. This wasn’t the first time that the Biscuits played a late-night run at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas during Phish‘s run at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and it certainly won’t be the last. Fans from all over the country flew in to witness what they expected to be three nights of madness. Well, they got what they were looking for.The band kicked things off on Thursday night with “Confrontation” > “I Feel Love” (Donna Summer) > “Confrontation”. It was a good way to ease the Phish fans in attendance into the Biscuits and their style of playing. Next, “After Midnight” > “Basis For a Day” > “Necromancer” > “Basis For a Day” contained some of the best trance-fusion of the night. The final “Basis” jam was blissed-out while still possessing high energy “untz,” but it was only the first night and the band had a lot more to offer fans during the sets that followed.The Disco Biscuits kicked off the second set of night one off with one of their classics, “Crystal Ball”. Keyboardist Aron Magner took the lead during the improvisation, which produced a handful of thoroughly exciting moments. Next up was “Little Shimmy in a Conga Line” > “Tempest” > “Little Shimmy in a Conga Line”, a hands-down highlight of the night. The band was clicking and pushing musical boundaries in a way that is now expected by their fans. It’s segments like this that keep the band’s diehard fans coming back for more. The sandwich featured some tasteful riffs from guitarist Jon “Barber” Gutwillig, and bassist Marc “Brownie” Brownstein was right behind him. They ended the second set with a Las Vegas-appropriate cover of Elvis’ “Suspicious Minds”.Night 2 started off with a cover of Prince’s “1999”. The Biscuits did the classic song justice and they laid down some premier space funk during the jam. A twenty-six-minute version of “Astronaut” came next, marking one of the most ferocious improvisational highlights of the run. “Jigsaw Earth” > “Triumph” > “Jigsaw Earth” followed, serving as a prime example of the Biscuits’ use of contrast. It got dark and heavy, but also bubbly and light-hearted showcasing opposite ends of the spectrum of their musical range.The following featured just three songs, starting off with a twenty-one-minute version of Men Without Hats‘ “Safety Dance”, a classic cover that’s been in their repertoire for years. As the band gets older, songs like “Little Betty Boop” have truly begun to shine, and they executed this one with patience and purpose. “Spraypaint” closed out the set with twenty minutes of power that echoed throughout Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas. They encored with “Floes”, a song written by their original drummer Sam Altman. All in all, Night 2 was good—but the best was yet to come.The third and final night of the run was by far the best of the bunch. The jams got deeper and the band was communicating on a near-telepathic level. The “Little Lai” > “Fifth of Beethoven” got the crowd warmed up and pumping, and the “Digital Buddha” > “Pilin’ It Higher” > “Abraxas” > “Digital Buddha” that closed set one was easily the best segment of the entire run. From blissco to relentless drum n’ bass, the entire band was soaring—they could not miss. If you missed the run, go back and listen to this chunk at all costs.Trance-fusion is a style of music that can be replicated, but only one band can execute it at the highest level, and that’s The Disco Biscuits. The final set of the weekend started with a twenty-two-minute rendition of the Gutwillig classic, “Hot Air Balloon”. That jammed straight into an inverted “Bernstein and Chasnoff”, an impressive change-up for hardcore fans as the song is usually used as a drop-segue. Next came one of Brownstein’s new songs, “Miracles”. A lot of fans have mixed feelings about the song, but the lyrics are strong and it has continued to earn its stripes as a jam vehicle. This one got dark and dirty before transitioning into Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell”. And then… boom! The band jammed back into “Hot Air Balloon” to bookend the set. Finally, the band encored with LCD Soundsystem’s “Home”, which made its way back through “Run Like Hell” to close out the run with style and swagger.In all, this was a successful weekend that definitely outshined the previous Worchester run, but the best is still yet to come. Their shows at The Palace Theater on November 23rd and 24th are going to give fans an example to see top shelf fall Biscuits. After that, the band has a three-night run in the mountains of Colorado at a brand-new venue in Frisco, followed by Holidaze, an event whose potential for greatness is self-explanatory. But the most anticipated run of them all is their return to Philadelphia for New Year’s Eve over four nights at The Fillmore starting on December 28th. The Disco Biscuits are playing more and more dates, and whether you love them or hate them, go catch one and witness their live show. There is nothing else like it in the scene.You can watch full pro-shot video of The Disco Biscuits at Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas on November 2nd below via the band’s YouTube page:The Disco Biscuits – 11/2/18 – Full Show[Video: The Disco Biscuits]For a full list of The Disco Biscuits’ upcoming shows, head to the band’s website.Setlist: The Disco Biscuits | Brooklyn Bowl | Las Vegas, NV | 11/1/18I: Confrontation-> I Feel Love-> Confrontation, After Midnight-> Basis for a Day-> Neck Romancer-> Basis for a DayII: Crystal Ball, Little Shimmy in a Conga Line-> Tempest-> Little Shimmy in a Conga Line, Suspicious MindsE: Munchkin InvasionSetlist: The Disco Biscuits | Brooklyn Bowl | Las Vegas, NV | 11/2/18I: 1999-> Astronaut, Jigsaw Earth-> Triumph-> Jigsaw EarthII: Safety Dance-> Little Betty Boop (inverted)-> Spraypaint VictoryE: FloesSetlist: The Disco Biscuits | Brooklyn Bowl | Las Vegas, NV | 11/3/18I: Little Lai-> Fifth of Beethoven, Digital Buddha-> Pilin’ it Higher-> Abraxas-> Digital BuddhaII: Hot Air Balloon-> Bernstein & Chasnoff (inverted)-> Miracles-> Run Like Hell-> Hot Air BalloonE: Home-> Run Like Hell
By 2024, we’ll have a fully established Information Economy where data is critical to businesses looking to predictively spot new opportunities to gain a competitive edge. Standards-based information will be sold, donated and traded on open exchanges. Data marketplaces will facilitate the transfer of data in and out of siloes more fluidly and people will start to broker their own data. We’re already seeing many signs of this – but it’s only the beginning.Within this landscape, your company’s data is important – that’s obvious. But just how important is it? How can you measure its value? Today, we talk about ‘data as the new currency’ and we try to give it a price tag. Typically, data is worth what someone is willing to pay for it. That simple transactional view does not tell the whole story.As organizations race to make sense of the opportunities and problems associated with our increasingly data driven world, businesses are coping with the need to more accurately measure its true value.But have no fear – it’s not all doom and gloom. Savvy businesses will take note and prepare for the future by ‘architecting for value’ – understanding and creating business and IT valuation processes within the company that reveal the real value of data. Let’s take a look at some examples of new data valuation activities being undertaken by organizations today.Data Becomes Your New Product: A recent report on Big Data’s market disruption by Capgemini and EMC found that 63% of respondents consider that the monetization of data could eventually become as valuable to their organizations as their existing products and services. This speaks volumes about Big Data’s potential – companies that have long sold products for revenue may start generating more revenue from data value than product value. French tennis racket manufacturer Babolat makes a ‘smart racket,’ the Babolat Play, which generates and collects data about a player’s performance on the court. By creating a smart product, Babolat took the first step to data value. This data could become an entirely new revenue stream. Babolat might, for instance, sell this data to app developers looking to make new products and user experiences or sell the data to athletic research organizations for data mining. A tennis racket can only be sold once, but the data it produces has endless monetization potential.Data Valuation for the Worst Case Scenario: Large-scale cyber-breaches are becoming far too frequent, resulting in great financial loss for multiple companies. As a result, data insurance policies are becoming a necessary part of doing business. Working with the insured, data insurance companies have to place value on a data set that not only looks at the value of the data to the insured’s business, but also takes into account the multitude of other factors that happen in the event of a data breach. Customer notifications, reparations and other costs such as PR for damage control all must be factored into the price of insurance. AIG’s CyberEdge, ACE’s Privacy and Network Security, and Lockton’s Cyber & Technology division offer companies coverages in the event of a breach that factor in the nuanced effects.Data in a Digital Bankruptcy: Caesars Entertainment Operating Co., which controls Caesars Palace, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Reno and more than a dozen regional properties, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. Interestingly, the most valuable individual asset that creditors are vying for is Caesars’ Total Rewards Loyalty Program, the company’s big-data customer loyalty program that it has built over the last 17 years. It is said to have data on more than 45 million customers. This data is valued by creditors at $1 billion – that’s a fairly large number. It exceeds the value of any of Caesars’ physical Las Vegas properties, which really puts the value of data in perspective. The program is also said to be 17% of the total value of all Caesars’ operating assets. Since the gaming industry does not have agreed upon valuation policies and practices for data, the value of the Total Rewards Loyalty Program will be contested in court and could result in interesting rulings around data valuation.Data Deals; Mergers and Acquisitions: Data is now one of the primary assets companies are after in an M&A, in some cases more so than the people, IP, or real estate. In LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of Lynda.com, data was likely the biggest asset to come along with the acquisition price. LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner made note of Lynda.com’s extensive library of premium video as a compelling reason to buy the company, meaning that LinkedIn was after Lynda.com’s data assets to augment its professional network. Out of the $1.5 billion, it’s likely that a significant portion went toward the purchase of video data assets.Information Economy for a Better World: The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) aims to develop pharmaceutical and diagnostic targets in cancer by making it easy to share genetic data. This collaboration of NCI and the National Human Genome Research Institute in essence looks to code genomic data so that standards-based, common data elements can be shared through open-source infrastructure.To succeed in the Information Economy, an organization must place data at the heart of everything that they do, every day. Businesses have to prioritize data valuation for technical and business-driven content throughout the organization. They must make it part of their business strategy by developing tools for valuation and policies and services to acquire or sell data. In order to leap ahead in this new world, companies must remain focused on honing their ability to achieve data-driven insights by predictively spotting new opportunities.Some start-ups and traditional organizations are already making headway in this arena. For others, it’s not too late. But as the Information Economy takes shape in the years ahead, those that move too slowly will not survive. The race is on – don’t be left behind.
He added that the trade war between the US and China also seemed to be subsiding, which was helping global markets generally.The asset owner has seen good performance across high yield bonds, emerging market debt and equity overall, however, it doesn’t expect numbers of the same magnitude for 2020, Fawcett said. NEST, the UK’s largest master trust with assets worth £9.6bn (€11.4bn), will continue adopting a cautious stance regarding its investment strategy, even though it has seen a positive year as returns for all its major asset classes posted positive returns during 2019.Mark Fawcett, chief investment officer at NEST Corporation, the master trust’s trustee body, said: “Our current stance is on the cautious side, making sure we have enough exposure to growth assets that will continue to deliver strong returns.”He told IPE its US equities had been its strongest developed market on returns – NEST holds tech shares in companies such as Amazon and Google, which have a major impact on the global economy.He said the positive returns were driven by an accommodative Federal Reserve stance and the fourth quarter saw a final tailwind come through as markets welcomed signs of economic stability. Source: NEST CorporationOver the last five years, NEST’s sharia fund has seen a cumulative performance of 95.7% as of end of December 2019, while its ethical growth and higher risk funds have returned 66.8% and 64.6%, respectively.Long-term diversificationNEST receives more than £400m a month in member contributions and is forecasting £20bn in asset under management by 2022.With a forecast to almost double its assets in the next couple of years, it is imperative that the trust avoids short-term asset allocation changes, and focuses on a long-term strategy, while also keeping an eye on market risks, Fawcett explained.The investor has a low equity allocation (55%), he said, compared to other master trusts, which hold around 80-90% of their assets.“We’ve made use of this lower risk profile and use the rest of our assets for a well diversified portfolio, which is likely to work out well over the next few years, as we see the economic cycle peak,” Fawcett added.The CIO sees investment opportunities in renewables, infrastructure debt and equity – it launched a tender last month seeking unlisted infrastructure equity managers in a bid for further portfolio diversification.He also said NEST has already started funding its first private credit projects – which included wind and solar farms in Europe and is also looking for opportunities in the US.“If growth underwhelms, public financial markets are likely to struggle to achieve the stellar returns seen in 2019”Mark Fawcett, CIO at NEST CorporationThe trust received authorisation last month from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to form NEST Invest as an Occupational Pension Scheme (OPS) firm, which will help implement more sophisticated ways of investing on behalf of its members.Looking ahead, economic expansion is expected to continue, though significant geopolitical risk remains, Fawcett said. “Markets must wait for UK-EU trade talks, the US presidential election, whether the ‘Phase One’ [trade] deal will hold and whether the tension in Middle East will escalate.”He said: “If growth underwhelms, public financial markets are likely to struggle to achieve the stellar returns seen in 2019. Our caution is a significant factor in seeking investment returns in alternative areas such as private credit, which we recently added to our portfolio.”Responsible investmentFawcett told IPE that one of the key factors to drive NEST’s asset allocation is the increased focus on climate change and the need to transition to a low carbon strategy.NEST has published its fourth annual responsible investment report, ‘Paving the Way’, which outlines the trust’s work on integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into its investment approach, engaging with companies and other stakeholders and communicating with its members.“We included our key highlights through the year such as the several letters we wrote to companies listed on the FTSE100 urging them to become accredited Living Wage employers,” he said, adding that it has also joined Climate Action 100+.The trust has also co-authored and published a report late last year with RPMI Railpen on cyber security, which Fawcett hopes will act as a guide for asset owners on integrating cyber security considerations in their investment approach.NEST facts£9.6bn assets under management0.3% annual management charge/total expense ratio1.8% contribution charge8.8m members