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Online Reputation Monitoring

» Here's a primer for businesses and organizations that want to take a more active role in tracking their reputation on the Internet: Online Reputation Monitoring Beginners Guide. (via sew [ 04/25/07 ]

Grants for Student Social Entrepreneurs

» Ramit points to a contest for Socially Conscious student entrepreneurs. Conscious Lifestyle is offering grants of up to $1000 to 10 students with a socially innovative ideas. Deadline is May 11 [ 04/23/07 ]

UPS's whiteboard ads

» It turns out those new UPS commercials featuring whiteboard drawings are directed by documentary filmmaker Errol Morris ("Fast, Cheap, & Out of Control", "The Thin Blue Line", and "The Fog of War", among others).   [ 04/16/07 ]

Japanese: Bring on the high calorie foods

» 'In-your-face-food' a hit in Japan. Krispy Kreme, the McDonald's Mega Mac (4 patties!), and other high calorie foods are in such high demand that other American fast food companies are planning to expand into the market. I will say that I'm rather shocked to learn that a Krispy Kreme doughnut is 250 calories. (via jh [ 04/06/07 ]

The Global Glass ceiling

» Wow this chart is interesting. It's the Economist on the percentages of women in senior management, by country—and I would never have predicted these results. What explains Brazil? (via dm(5) Comments  / [ 03/21/07 ]

Managing change with one sticky note

» Ramit interviews Courtney Kingston on how she transitioned from a Web design job to her dream of managing her family's wine business.

It was a tough transition. One of the biggest challenges for me was going from a job that was reactive (e.g. a highly scheduled day managing other people) to starting a business with a blank slate every morning. Every day, there were a thousand things that seemed urgent that I needed to do to get things going. It was a little paralyzing and I didn't know where to start. My friend Rob gave me a great piece of advice: decide what *one thing* is critical to your concept's success. Write "ONE" on a little yellow stickie, and stick it on your computer monitor as a daily reminder to accomplish one thing-no matter how small--that will get you one step closer to that goal each and every day.
For Kingston Vineyards, our biggest challenge in the beginning was finding a talented pinot noir winemaker who wanted to explore the new frontier of making pinot in coastal Chile. My "network" in Napa consisted of only two people when I started. And they weren't even winemakers! But with that little yellow stickie reminder, every day I sifted through the thousands of urgent-but-not-important distractions to get one step closer to our goal of finding a winemaker.

Also useful: Ramit's digression on "The Shrug Effect".  [ 03/16/07 ]

Why are some generic drugs nearly as expensive as name brands?

» WSJ: Mind the gap. Some "generic" drugs are simply not that much cheaper than their name-brand counterparts.

Stores say they regularly review prices. At Inc., generic simvastatin until recently had been at $125 for the common 30-tablet dose, compared with $135.99 for Zocor, even after the six-month exclusivity period ended in late December. After a reporter called to inquire about the price, on Friday dropped simvastatin to $27.99, which the company said was part of a regular review. Zocor now costs $139.99. On, simvastatin's price hadn't fallen after the six-month period's end. After a reporter inquired about it in late February, it dropped to $89.99 from $129.99. A spokeswoman said the price had already been under review.
[...] At Costco Wholesale, whose Web site yesterday listed the common dose of generic Zocor at $11.96, the company says that even at such prices, Costco is making a profit. Charles Burnett, senior vice president of pharmacy at Costco, says the company can acquire the 30-tablet, 20-milligram dose of simvastatin for $2.71. He says the price on today will fall to $10.66. Patients are allowed to use the pharmacies of clubs such as Costco and Sam's Club, even if they aren't members.

And that's the biggest lesson here: Shop around, and be sure to try the clubs. (thanks, David!)  [ 03/15/07 ]

Which microlender makes the best use of my $20?

» Slate: Which microlender makes the best use of my $20? is a good rundown of the strengths and weaknesses of 6 microloan charities. In November, Cool Tools founder Kevin Kelly offered his own rundown of microlenders [ 03/15/07 ]

A Brand Called You

» Remember this one? I used to have it linked on one of my Web design pages, back in the day. The Brand Called You, Tom Peters. Here's a Personal Brand Equity Test to help you get focused on what you are doing, and what you need to do to. (1) Comments  / [ 03/14/07 ]

Business blogging checklist

» I was just clearing my desk of some papers and found a little list I had made one day in preparation for a meeting to help a company think about the considerations for starting a business blog. Since I don't want to keep the scrap of paper, I'm reproducing the list here.

  [ 02/23/07 ]

National Geographic's smart new brand extension

» National Geographic has a smart new brand extension—a pre-paid travel phone that works in over 100 countries. It's an unlocked Quad band GSM cell phone and battery, a universal wall charger, and international plug adapters.  [ 02/22/07 ]

Yahoo abuses customer trust

» More on corporate abuses of trust: Reevaluating our relationship.

While I was certainly glad to give you all the benefit of the doubt on the whole Flickr account merge issue, it didn’t help when you betrayed that trust by trying to trick me into a premium email service by withholding information at the precise moment I would need it in order to make an informed choice. You were this close to having a customer who was solidly baffled by the group of folks who question their ability to trust Yahoo with their Flickr accounts; instead, you managed to make me question whether it’s reasonable to trust you as a company.

How hard—seriously—is it to look at your corporation's actions from the customer's point of view? (6) Comments  / [ 02/09/07 ]

Bruce Schneier's Roadmap for Professional Achievement

» Kit Seeborg, commenting on the Bruce Schneier interview: "Many good insights here, from someone already established in his field.... I have passed this on to others who are in full stride with their careers and would benefit from blogging at this level." She's right. If you're interested in using your blog to advance your professional reputation, it's worth studying Bruce's Blend—blogging, writing, and speaking—to guide your own efforts.  [ 02/02/07 ]

Virtual Standup Meetings

» Software firm 37Signals on their method for holding daily "standup meetings" with a dispersed online workforce. (Read through the comments for more detail on the kind of information they share in their [IN] and [OUT] communications.)  [ 11/02/06 ]

Starbucks CEO's Time Management Regime

» How Jim Donald, the CEO and president of Starbucks, manages his time. (via s1a [ 10/18/06 ]

The Greening of Wal-Mart

» The world's largest new Green Machine: Wal-Mart. They have started a sustainability initiative that is bound to influence the behavior of their massive customer base, and they've almost instantly become the world's biggest seller of organic milk and the biggest buyer of organic cotton. They're pulling ideas (and consultants) from everywhere, from NGOs to Amory Lovin's Rocky Mountain Institute. What's next? "I can honestly say I never expected to be at Wal-Mart's headquarters watching people do the Wal-Mart cheer." John Hocevar, a Greenpeace campaigner.  [ 09/01/06 ]

Gladwell: The Risk Pool

» Malcolm Gladwell: The Risk Pool. What’s behind Ireland’s economic miracle—and G.M.’s financial crisis? (1) Comments  / [ 08/22/06 ]

Wal-Mart/Yahoo! Avatar Fashion Show

» Yahoo and Wal-Mart have teamed up to create an avatar fashion show, designed to promote "Wal-Mart style".  [ 08/11/06 ]

Another stolen laptop, another privacy debacle

» Dear All Businesses and Government Agencies:

Let's make a rule: From now on, no personal information about any customer may be placed on a laptop computer.

rcb (1) Comments  / [ 08/10/06 ]

Home Depot and CVS offering dual-residence jobs to retirees

» Retired, and Rehired to Sell. Home Depot and CVS are accomodating the ultimate in flextime for some retirees: summers in their home city, and winters in Florida. Why are they doing it? Because these folks would simply stop working if the company didn't accomodate them. "If we were not able to retain, train and hire and keep older people, we wouldn't have a business. The younger folks, there's just less of them. We need those older people to stay in the workforce, and people are living longer, healthier lives." Stephen M. Wing, director of government programs with CVS.

I can't help comparing this to the family benefits most employers offer to their employees who are responsible for family care (read: women), ie, very few. It was such a struggle for women to enter the workforce years ago that they really couldn't demand anything the men weren't already getting. And now it's such an economic necessity that they still don't have the leverage these retirees, many of whom don't strictly need the jobs, have. (2) Comments  / [ 08/01/06 ]

Whole Foods to start supporting local farmers

» Whole Foods has responded to criticism that they are part of the industrial organic complex by creating a new initiative that will provide grants to small farmers, and require stores to feature produce from at least 4 local farmers [ 08/01/06 ]

Summer Reading: Business Skills for Creatives

» A summer reading list in business skills for creatives. Anything you would add (or delete)?  [ 06/23/06 ]

Booksprice whole-cart comparison shopper

» is a new online comparison service that allows you to place several books, DVDs and CDs into a cart, and then compare prices between online services on the full order, including shipping.  [ 06/22/06 ]

Do online sales cut musicians out of the profits?

» Well, this is disappointing, if not surprising. Weird Al says he makes less on downloaded songs than on CDs, in spite of the lower overhead required for online sales. (There are, of course, IT costs but these would be borne primarily by the store selling the music, not the recording company.) And the recording industry can't understand why so many people don't mind cutting them out of the profit stream—they've made a career of doing that to musicians. (thanks, Kevin!)

According to widely circulated data from the coverage of The Alman Brothers suit against Sony BMG, you could expect something like $45 of each thousand songs sold to be paid to you in royalties. That's around 4% of the amount paid to Apple for your work, and around 5.7% of what was paid to the label. For The Almans', that works out to $24,000 when taking Nielsen SoundScan data of 538,000 Almans' songs sold as downloads since mid-2002. I don't have SoundScan data on your sales, but I'm sure you do. So the labels and Apple got 96% and you got %4. And as you said, there were no packaging, shipping or storage costs for your album sold though iTunes.

  [ 06/19/06 ]

Urine Samples on the Web

» Welcome to Affordable Urine Samples.   [ 06/16/06 ]

IBM now in the Avian Flu consulting business

» For $10,000-$150,000, IBM is now offering businesses an Avian Flu assessment service [ 06/15/06 ]

The Rise of Crowdsourcing

» I call it "Participatory Culture". Others have called it The Pro-Am Revolution [pdf] and "Mass Amateurization". I think it marks the end of the Industrial Age, and it's the very thing I've been speaking about this year, on this trip and elsewhere. Meet the Packagers, the Tinkerers, and the Masses: The Rise of Crowdsourcing.

Pharmaceutical maker Eli Lilly funded InnoCentive’s launch in 2001 as a way to connect with brainpower outside the company—people who could help develop drugs and speed them to market. [...] The "solvers" anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 per solution. [...] Jill Panetta, InnoCentive’s chief scientific officer, says more than 30 percent of the problems posted on the site have been cracked, "which is 30 percent more than would have been solved using a traditional, in-house approach."
The solvers are not who you might expect. Many are hobbyists working from their proverbial garage, like the University of Dallas undergrad who came up with a chemical to use in art restoration, or the Cary, North Carolina, patent lawyer who devised a novel way to mix large batches of chemical compounds.

  [ 06/08/06 ]

2006 100 Best Corporate Citizens

» Business Ethics Magazine: 100 Best Corporate Citizens for 2006. (Here's an article with an easier-to-read list at the end).  [ 06/02/06 ]

Are bookstores necessary?

» Professor of Economics Tyler Cowen argues that, with the rise of the Internet, independent bookstores are no longer necessary. (via rc3oi [ 05/17/06 ]

Presenting: How Steve Jobs Does it

» Want to be a better presenter? How Steve Jobs does it. (via htstw [ 05/15/06 ]

Will economy class become standing room only?

» Airbus has devised a way to squeeze even passengers more efficiently into a plane: by strapping them, standing, against a padded backboard. Update: Airbus calls the NYT report "crap".  (1) Comments  / [ 04/26/06 ]

Nutricate helps restaurant customers eat healtier

» Good idea: Nutricate is a company that enables restaurants to print meal-specific nutrition information on customer receipts. (via usfp [ 04/12/06 ]

Personal MBA Reading List

» If you want to think like a CEO, but you don't have the time for school, Josh Kaufman recommends a list of 42 books and periodicals he calls The Personal MBA. If you're very motivated (or need motivation) you can join the PMBA Forum and work through the series with others. (1) Comments  / [ 04/12/06 ]

Attention Deficit Trait = Acquired Attention Deficit Disorder

» Science finally catches up with me: "Dr. Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist who's studied attention deficit disorder for more than a decade, has identified a related disorder he calls attention deficit trait, and he says it's reaching epidemic proportions in the corporate world." (via 43f(1) Comments  / [ 04/11/06 ]

If corporate logos were like heraldic crests

» What if corporate logos were like heraldic crests? Brilliant.  [ 04/11/06 ]

Boycott Sew Fast/Sew Easy

» Boycott Sew Fast/Sew Easy claims that the Sew Fast/Sew Easy, Inc is attempting to shut down local Stitch and Bitch groups (which they apparently see as rivals) by asserting that they were the first to coin the term "Stitch and Bitch" in 1997, and thus own the term. However, in her social history of knitting, No Idle Hands, Anne Macdonald writes of World War II knitters, "In Akron Ohio, twelve young women, who moved in with their parents or in-laws when their husbands went overseas, gave their elders a free night once a week to attend 'Stitch and Bitch Club' meetings." That dates the term back to at least the 1940s. Boycott Sew Fast/Sew Easy has a good timeline detailing numerous prior uses of the term. Knitting lawyers: who wants to step up the plate on this one?  [ 04/10/06 ]

Procrastination explained and solved

» Procrastination explained, with this classic advice: "The simple cure? Do everything opposite."  [ 04/10/06 ]

Like when Microsoft propped up Apple for a while

» Wal-mart hopes to gain a foothold in urban centers by placing stores in high crime and unemployment areas. They have announced a a plan to support small business near its new urban stores with financial grants, coaching on how to compete with Wal-Mart, and free advertising. Why are they not offering this in rural areas? Because it's the urban areas that are shutting them out.  [ 04/05/06 ]

Goodbye Mom and Pop

» Colgate buys Toms of Maine. (via c'ist(1) Comments  / [ 03/24/06 ]

It's all so Meta-tastic

» Scott Rosenberg responds to Monday's post The Real Threat of Blogging. I was not clear in that post about what I thought Rosenberg got wrong (his characterization of the evening's tenor). In fact, I agree with most of his thinking in that post and in today's. I've tried to clarify my own position in comments to his post today.  [ 03/22/06 ]

10 Tips for Corporate Blogging

» When I met Jeremiah Owyang last August, his company didn't have a blog, nor did they want one. Thanks to his efforts, 6 months later they did. He has put together an outstanding and very practical 10 Tips for Becoming a Corporate Blog Evangelist. If you're interested in convincing your organization to start a blog, print this out and pin it to the wall of your cubicle. And then add Jeremiah to your daily rotation. His blog is full of insight and practical advice on the emerging field of corporate blogging. (1) Comments  / [ 03/21/06 ]

The real threat of blogging

» Salon's Scott Rosenberg recently attended a Berkeley CyberSalon on the topic of elitism in media and blogging and came away with the feeling that it was a rehash of the tired blogging vs. journalism argument that has been going on since 2003. But I think he has it wrong.

The dichotomy in the argument he describes isn't "blogs vs journalism". The unspoken premise underlying this argument is that books and articles are published commercially because they represent the best writing that is available. But that's not the way the publishing business works.

Publishers are interested in printing books and articles they can sell, nothing more, nothing less. When publishers evaluate a book proposal, they don't ask if the work is true or original or insightful or well-written. First and foremost, they ask themselves if they can sell it. If they don't think they can, they pass. If they believe there is a market and that they can effectively market the work, they buy it.

Magazine editors pass on well-written articles that don't fit with the focus of their publication. Editorial boards pass on well-written book manuscripts in genres they believe they cannot sell. Conversely, there are a lot of marginally-to-poorly written books on the shelves (The DaVinci Code, The Left Behind series, some genre fiction all come to mind). The Weekly World News is not noted for its superb journalism, but it apparently sells well enough to maintain a stable of advertisers.

So that's the false dichotomy. Blogs are threatening to a certain type of writer not because they allow mediocre writing to flourish — the commercial market already does that. They are threatening because they unequivocally demonstrate that commercial publishing does not necessarily represent the best writing that is available. (12) Comments  / [ 03/20/06 ]

Is Business Ready for a Flu Pandemic?

» Is Business Ready for a Flu Pandemic? "A pandemic flu outbreak in any part of the world would potentially cripple supply chains, dramatically reduce available labor pools. In a world where the global supply chain and real-time inventories determine most everything we do, down to the food available for purchase in our grocery stores, one begins to understand the importance of advanced planning."  [ 03/20/06 ]

Clueless PR Spam

» This is an actual PR spam:

Hello Rebecca,
With award-show season in the midst of Winter and the Academy Awards having just finished, I'm sure your Rebecca's Pocket readers wonder, "How do celebrities keep their great tans?" It must cross everyone's mind at one time or another, and the answer? Stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Britney Spears, Matthew Mcconaughey, and Beyonce all maintain their summer sun-kissed looks through visits to the fabulous [name redacted] Salons.

Were you, dear reader, wondering that?

We may not have our own personal stylist and professional make-up artists like the stars, but we can give ourselves beautiful, healthy tans by simply stopping by a local [name redacted] Salon.
Think that tanning salons might be harmful? Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from a tanning bed, such as those at [name redacted] salons, result in the production of vitamin D in our skin. When vitamin D levels are stable, calcium and metabolism is preserved, which in turn reduces the risk of faulty bone development that can lead to osteoporosis.
Busy with work or your family? With over 60 locations nationwide, [name redacted] salons are open every day of the week, and with more than twenty beds at each location, you never need to schedule an appointment. Also, [name redacted] has childcare services inside the salon, so just bring the kids along with you!
Visit [URL redacted] to learn more about the quality of their salons and services.
[Name redacted], CEO of [name redacted] would have time next Tuesday or Wednesday to have a casual 10-minute conversation regarding his company as well as the quality of his products and services.
Which day will work best for you?
I look forward to hearing for you.
[PR Flack]
Media Contact
[URL redacted]
[PR flack email]

I'm guessing this email resulted from a Technorati search for Academy Awards, with (obviously) no further research done at all. I wonder how much poor Redacted is paying for this email campaign?

I wish there were a clearinghouse blog where we could just forward this kind of email. That way, organizations who were considering laying down cold, hard cash on a blog PR campaign could sample the wares, as it were.... (1) Comments  / [ 03/12/06 ]

Paper Shredders Are Causing Horrific Injuries to Pets and Children

» Children (hands) and dogs (tongues) are being horrifically injured by paper shredders, even with adult supervision. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that shredders remain unplugged when not in use. I just unplugged mine. Go unplug yours right now. And please pass it on. (via dm [ 03/10/06 ]

Berkshire 2005 Shareholder's Report

» I guess I haven't read too many shareholders reports, but Warren Buffet's 2005 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders is honest, philosophical, and actually entertaining. [pdf] It's easy to see why Buffett has such a cult following. Read it. You'll enjoy it.

(On CEO compensation) "It doesn’t have to be this way: It’s child’s play for a board to design options that give effect to the automatic build-up in value that occurs when earnings are retained. But — surprise, surprise — options of that kind are almost never issued. Indeed, the very thought of options with strike prices that are adjusted for retained earnings seems foreign to compensation "experts," who are nevertheless encyclopedic about every management-friendly plan that exists. ("Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.").
(On the Berkshire Annual Meeting) "Kelly Broz (neé Muchemore), the Flo Ziegfeld of Berkshire, orchestrates both this magnificent shopping extravaganza and the meeting itself. The exhibitors love her, and so do I. Kelly got married in October, and I gave her away. She asked me how I wanted to be listed in the wedding program. I replied "envious of the groom," and that’s the way it went to press."

(via iwtytbr [ 03/09/06 ]

Non-Dairy Rich

» Obituary, Robert Rich: How a war-time ice-cream manufacturer invented a soy-based, frozen topping and coffee creamer, fought off 42 separate lawsuits from enraged dairy men, and created the biggest family owned food-service company in America.  [ 02/28/06 ]

Indie bands shun Hummer

» General Motors wants their Hummer vehicle to be hip, but in spite of their best efforts, most indie bands won't sell them their music. "My standard line is you guys will play a hundred million gigs before you see this amount of money. Usually they come back with, 'We'll do anything BUT Hummer.'" Lyle Hysen, head of Bank Robber Music, a licensing group that pitches songs to film, television and advertisement companies. (via rw [ 02/27/06 ]

I guess any publicity isn't always good

» In the wake of revelations that his Oprah-endorsed "memoir" was fictional, James Frey has now lost his book deal [ 02/27/06 ]

The rise of niche DVD clubs

» Further evidence of the balkanization of American culture: the rise of DVD clubs that cater to niche audiences. It works for book clubs, why not film? "Basically, we just noticed that within the [Conservative Book Club] we were selling more DVDs. [...] Our long-term goal is to sell product, but also to be a place where conservative filmmakers know that they can market their wares." Jeff Rubin, head of the Conservative DVD Club.  [ 02/27/06 ]

New KFC commercial rewards DVRs

» Brilliant. A new KFC commmercial rewards DVR users, who can only crack a hidden message if they play the spot back slowly on a digital video recorder or VCR. As it was and ever will be, businesses who can exploit opportunities inherent in new technology will thrive; businesses who spend their time trying to turn back the clock, not so much.  [ 02/27/06 ]

WoW is the New Golf

» Is World of Warcraft the New Golf? argues that the world's high-tech movers and shakers are making connections and making deals in the massively multiplayer online game. "Warcraft is like a really, really well-designed UI for real-time, ad-hoc group collaboration and management of tons of people. The tools are really interesting because they apply to stuff that we'll be using in the real world." Joi Ito, venture capitalist and entrepreneur.  [ 02/24/06 ]

Netflix for books

» Zoomba is using the Netflix model to automatically ship member boks they have requested, one a month, for $9.95 each. Thanks to the library bookmarklet, I now use the library this way, requesting any book that seems interesting to me, and then picking them up from my branch as they come available. (via elv [ 02/21/06 ]

Best Practices: Privacy Policy Changes

» Best Practices News: The new Google Talk Privacy Policy includes a link to the older version, marked up to show what has changed. Quite honestly, the very best practice would be one that allowed you to opt-out of a service — meaning that they would erase your personal data — if you didn't like the changes that had been made. (via sew)   [ 02/08/06 ]



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