Friday, December 30, 2011

Been Thinking

I've had some time, some time to think about things. And lately I listen to the wind, and watch the stars, and stare at nature doing its thing. And I've come to realize my struggles, my flaws, the imperfections that make me who I am in life. And I've been thinking about all the different ways I've viewed the world. And lately, I've been exhausted from dreaming, dreaming all these years about things getting better for me - momentum. And I've been thinking about reality, and what makes it so threatening to my dreams. And the liquor doesn't taste good anymore, and the things that used to move me don't register like they used to, and I've given up on hoping for better, because it is what it is. And I've been thinking about the beauty of time, and how it reveals the things that are real and true, and exposes those things that are not true, and I've been thinking about how time has revealed the things about me that are true, and not true. And whether I like what I see or not, it truly is what it is. And the people that hurt me in the past don't hurt as much anymore, because I've realized that I've hurt people too. And maybe, just maybe, we are all doing the best that we can. If it were more it would have been that - no need in dreaming about it. And I've been thinking that as much as we think the world has changed over time, we have always done the best we could.

I've been thinking a lot lately, that maybe I'm over-thinking this thing.

For 2012, just be glad you have a shot at it - win or lose. You've got another chance.

Best wishes,

Ex-dreamer.


Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Great Quote

"Entrepreneurs are simply those who understand that there is little difference between obstacle and opportunity and are able to turn both to their advantage." - Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli



Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441 

Sent from my iPhone

(BN) U.S. Consumer Confidence Climbs More Than Forecast on Improving Job Market

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

Gain in U.S. Consumer Confidence Exceeds Forecasts: Economy

Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Confidence among consumers rose to an eight-month high in December as an improving job market helped Americans regain all the ground lost following the mid- year government budget battle and credit-rating downgrade.

The Conference Board's index increased to 64.5, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg News survey and the highest since April, from a revised 55.2 reading in November, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. Another report showed home prices fell more than projected in October.

Unemployment that dropped last month to its lowest in more than two years and the cheapest gasoline since February are prompting households to take advantage of discounts during the holiday shopping season. The improvement in sentiment may help sustain household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, into the new year.

"A large part of the problem in the economy is one of confidence, and to the extent that sentiment begins improving it would be a positive for growth," said Dana Saporta, director of U.S. economic research at Credit Suisse in New York, one of three forecasters that projected a reading of 63, the highest in the Bloomberg survey. "There are still a lot of headwinds out there, including the continued decline in home prices."

Stocks were little changed after the reports as concern about Europe's debt crisis overshadowed the improvement in confidence. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.1 percent to 1,266.76 at 12:01 p.m. in New York.

Italian Retailers

Italian retailers had the worst Christmas in 10 years, consumer group Codacons said today, as austerity measures to combat the sovereign debt crisis prompted households to cut spending. Italians spent 48 euros ($62.75) less per person this holiday season than the average of the past five years, Rome based Codacons said in a statement on its website.

In China, profit gains at industrial companies cooled. Net income increased 24.4 percent in the first 11 months of 2011 from a year earlier to 4.66 trillion yuan ($737 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website today. The pace compared with a 25.3 percent gain in the first 10 months and a 27 percent rise in the first three quarters. The lingering Europe debt crisis and a cooling domestic property market are dimming growth prospects for the world's second-largest economy.

The median forecast of 69 economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast the U.S. consumer confidence gauge would rise to 58.9. Estimates ranged from 52 to 63. The measure averaged 53.7 during the recession that ended in June 2009 and 98 during the economic expansion that ended in December 2007.

Confidence Measures

Other surveys have reflected similar gains in optimism. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index improved to minus 45 in the period ended Dec. 18 from a reading of minus 49.9 the prior week, marking the biggest seven-day gain since January. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment rose to a six-month high in December.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home values in cities dropped 3.4 percent from October 2010 after decreasing 3.5 percent in the year ended September, the New York-based group said. The median forecast of 27 economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a 3.2 percent decrease.

The real-estate market is bracing for another wave of foreclosures that may keep pressure on home prices, indicating any housing recovery will take time to develop. Nonetheless, rising builder confidence, a pickup in construction and fewer unsold new properties for sale are among signs the industry that triggered the last recession is steadying.

Striving for 'Equilibrium'

"It's a picture of a market that's trying to get back to equilibrium," Karl Case, co-creator of the index, said today in an interview on Bloomberg Radio. "Different things are happening in different markets. It's very segmented. You've got these huge inventories that we've never really had before."

The Conference Board's confidence data showed a measure of present conditions increased to the highest level since September 2008. The measure of expectations for the next six months also climbed.

The share of consumers saying jobs were plentiful rose to the highest since January 2009, while those saying employment was hard to get decreased to the lowest since the same month.

Confidence slumped in August when S&P stripped the U.S. of its AAA credit rating after congressional gridlock on raising the debt limit almost forced a government shutdown and brought the nation to the brink of default.

Debt Limit

A similar battle may be on the horizon. The Obama administration will ask Congress to increase federal borrowing authority by $1.2 trillion as the nation approaches the debt limit set by law, according to a Treasury Department official. The White House will send the request to Congress on Dec. 30, the day the debt is projected to rise to within $100 billion of the $15.194 trillion limit, the Treasury official told reporters today on condition of anonymity.

Americans will be helped by Congress' decision last week to pass a two-month payroll tax cut extension, eight days before its scheduled expiration. Yet fiscal policy uncertainty remains as congressmen are debating measures to cut the budget deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years.

The labor market has gained traction in recent weeks, gasoline prices have fallen and stocks have climbed as European leaders worked to resolve their debt crisis, helping revive confidence.

Fewer Firings

Initial claims in the week ended Dec. 17 declined by 4,000 to 364,000, the lowest level since April 2008, while those continuing to receive benefits fell by 79,000 to 3.55 million in the prior week, the lowest since September 2008.

The unemployment rate in November fell to 8.6 percent, the lowest since March 2009, while the S&P 500 gained 9.2 percent from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23.

A gallon of regular unleaded gasoline fell to $3.21 on Dec. 20, the lowest since February, according to AAA, the nation's largest automobile association.

Holiday sales will rise 3.8 percent, compared with a 5.2 percent advance last year, according to the Washington-based National Retail Federation.

As they have throughout the season, retailers continued to discount and keep stores open longer than ever. Almost all 600 Toys "R" Us U.S. locations were to remain open from Dec. 20 to Christmas Eve -- or 112 hours straight.

"We took a number of actions to drive our business, including running effective promotions across multiple channels," Brian Dunn, chief executive officer at Best Buy Co., the world's largest consumer-electronics retailer, said on a Dec. 13 conference call. "We're excited about momentum we've seen in hot products like mobile phones, tables, and e-readers for the rest of the holiday season."

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Willis in Washington at bwillis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz cwellisz@bloomberg.net

Find out more about Bloomberg for iPhone: http://m.bloomberg.com/iphone/


Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441 

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hitting the Finish Line

As I come close to the end of a very interesting year, I am reflecting on what has been learned to establish some goals for 2012. We've sen a lot of changes globally this year, in the midst of a very stagnate economy. That being said (or written), it appears that success will be difficult to fake in the future. Maybe we partied too much. Maybe it's a good thing.

If I had to make predictions for the future of marketing, business, and strategy, I would say that hitting the fundamentals will be essential to success. Unfortunately, we have partied so hard that no one has an idea of what "fundamentals" means anymore. It means 12-hour days reading, thinking, and struggling with concepts. It means getting out of your chair, or couch, and living the experience. It means serving to understanding leadership. It means practicing the right way to do it so much that it becomes second-hand during execution. It means that the numbers can't lie for your anymore, and faking the funk will only prolong your recovery. It means BEING ALL ABOUT IT!

Go to work!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Job Training for American Workers Must Change

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SGvNp8dDF4&feature=youtube_gdata_player


Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

(BN) Alwaleed Buys $300 Million Twitter Stake Amid Wave of Social Network IPOs

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPad.

Twitter Wins $300 Million Alwaleed Investment Amid Site Revamp

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc., the microblogging service with more than 100 million users, won a $300 million investment from Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal as it pushes through a redesign of its site to attract advertisers.

Alwaleed, ranked the richest Arab businessman this year by Arabian Business magazine, and his investment company agreed to buy a "strategic stake," Kingdom Holding said today. Alwaleed is the largest individual investor in Citigroup Inc. and his other investments include holdings in Apple Inc. and General Motors Co. Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding jumped as much as 8.9 percent on the local exchange.

Twitter, which lets its users send 140-character messages, is revamping the site to make it faster and simpler to navigate. The San Francisco-based company may boost ad revenue by 86 percent next year as it attracts more international advertisers, according to EMarketer Inc. Alwaleed's investment comes as Facebook Inc., the most-popular social networking site with more than 800 million users, is said to consider raising about $10 billion from an initial public offering.

"Twitter are looking to give themselves some more running space," said Jeff Mann, an analyst at Gartner in Amsterdam. "Their strategy has always been first get big, they're still holding reasonably close to that. Having a big audience is more important than a short-term revenue stream."

'Strategic Asset'

Twitter confirmed the investment in an e-mail, declining to give additional comments.

Demand for technology IPOs reignited in November after a summer lull, setting the stage for Groupon Inc., Zynga Inc., the largest maker of games for Facebook, and Angie's List Inc. to go public. Facebook may file for an IPO before the end of the year, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month. The sale may value the company at more than $100 billion, twice as high as it was in January, when the company announced a $1.5 billion investment from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other backers.

Alwaleed's investment may value Twitter at $10 billion, said Jack Neele, a fund manager at Robeco Groep NV, which had about $194 billion under management at the end of June. DST Global, the technology fund managed by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and an investor in Facebook, led an $800 million financing round in Twitter in August. That investment valued the short-messaging service at $8 billion, people with knowledge of the plan said at the time.

"Twitter is seen as a strategic asset within the social media space, given its large user base," Neele said. "But the business model in its current form isn't ready for the public market."

Co-Founders

Twitter is seeking to speed up its ad rollout program, its main source of revenue. The microblogging service's revamp will feature tabs at the top of the screen that let users more easily access their home pages, connect with others and discover new content. EMarketer cut its estimate for 2011 ad revenue to $139.5 million from $150 million in September because Twitter has been slow to roll out some services.

Twitter is also facing the loss of its two of its co- founders. Both Evan Williams and Biz Stone have lessened their involvement under Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo, who took the reins in October 2010. Mike Abbott, a vice president in charge of engineering, also has stepped down.

The agreement followed "several months of negotiations," Kingdom Holding said its statement. The company, controlled by Alwaleed, a nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, added 5.1 percent to 8.25 riyals at 3:39 p.m. in Riyadh. Before today, the stock had lost 4.3 percent this year.

'Savvy Investor'

"Kingdom realizes the importance of social networks like Twitter and their future growth prospects, and decided to benefit from this trend," said Samer Darwiche, an analyst at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai.

The prince was ranked the richest Arab businessman this year by Arabian Business magazine with assets valued at $21.3 billion. Kingdom Holding, 95 percent owned by the prince, is building the tallest tower in the world in Jeddah at a cost of 4.6 billion riyals ($1.23 billion).

Alwaleed "is a savvy investor and the hot thing in the I.T. world is social networking," said Nabil Farhat, a partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mourad Haroutunian in Riyadh at mharoutunian@bloomberg.net Jonathan Browning in London jbrowning9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

Find out more about Bloomberg for iPad: http://m.bloomberg.com/ipad/


Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

@HarvardBiz, 12/14/11 1:19 PM

Harvard Biz Review (@HarvardBiz)
12/14/11 1:19 PM
Three Innovation Trends in Asia s.hbr.org/vHa48n


Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

Monetary Policy in 2011: Unconventional and Necessary

http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2011/1214_monetary_policy_kohn.aspx


Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

Saturday, December 03, 2011

San Diego

I just returned from a good conference in San Diego. I really like that city. I'm ready to move!

Anyway, I hope all is well with everyone. I am still digging out of my coursework problems. The pressure and circumstances at work presented more of a problem than I anticipated. I will do my best to limp through the semester. I'm running out of time to deal with my doctoral program the way I would like to. I guess the important part is simply finishing the journey.

Give back today, to someone or something, even if it is a smile. Do it for those who don't have the capacity, the drive, or the discerning power to give.

5000

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chattanooga mayor faces recall vote


Chattanooga mayor faces recall vote

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield's detractors have won the latest round in their long-running bid for a recall election.

Original Page: http://www.tennessean.com/article/20111118/NEWS02/311180065/1972/news02

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Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441 

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Maybe We Should Be Working On Something Else


Sad Moment

After ten years of operation, I have officially closed down the business of K.L. Creative Solutions, Inc. It has been an awesome experience; something you can't buy anywhere on this planet. I will wait to reflect on the journey until I reach the end of this calendar year. But briefly, I want to lay out my thoughts about K.L. Creative and my role as the CEO.

The business had been on my mind well before 2001. The only reason why I launched the business was because of my dissatisfaction with my job and the market, my need to grow and develop new skills, and my belief that I could one day become an entrepreneur. All of these objectives were met in some form or fashion. Unfortunately, the process was somewhat unplanned, and the launch began with extreme pressure to render quick results - 5-month old daughter, wife, mortgage, and bills. Even worse, my business skills were lacking on many fronts, and my professional development was mediocre at best. But, it was a failure I would not trade for the world.

I'm not sure what will become of me as a professional, entrepreneur, or leader. I've come to understand that I can only concentrate on the things in front of me. If I have that magical shot at doing something "big", I know this experience with K.L. Creative Solutions will be the difference-maker, in terms of my ability to understand what is involved with running a business. More important, having the opportunity to stare failure dead in the face has forced me to appreciate the little things that lead to success.

This blog entry goes out to all the small businesses out there trying to survive. The world has no clue about what you go through. Wall Street couldn't understand your challenges if it hit them dead in the face. Washington can't comprehend how important your efforts are to freedom.

I remember the day I began the business, and it felt like a start of a new life; a chance to do it the right way. Today, I mourn for that life I failed to keep alive.

Keep surviving. Keep trying. Keep believing.

IT'S NOTHING PERSONAL. IT'S ONLY BUSINESS.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Technology Access Center of Nashville

I am proud to be a board member of this great organization. I encourage everyone to consider supporting our Holiday fundraiser. Technology has made a significant difference in the livelihoods of our disabled and impaired citizens.

video

Transformative Infrastructure to Boost Exports and Manufacturing

http://www.brookings.edu/testimony/2011/1116_infrastructure_puentes.aspx


Thank you,


Sent from my iPad

Monday, November 14, 2011

Movember

Rock your mustache for Movember - http://us.movember.com/

Friday, November 11, 2011

Good News, or Not

Okay,

Before I could sulk too much about the state of public education, I stumble on this video. What's my point? If we, public education, choose not to modernize, don't be upset when Wall Street, or someone else, does it for us. If public education, especially higher education, believes the recent crackdown on for-profit colleges and universities settled the score, you are sadly mistaken. When they (for-profits) recover, the issues of quality, cost, and relevance to the immediate community will more than likely be non-issues, just saying.

What Happened


Yesterday, I took another tour of a high school using the career academy model – Whites Creek High School. Overall, the tour was very informative, and I am very impressed with the progress being made at the school. However, the experience has inspired me to present a thought to you about overall performance of our school systems, and how has inequity solidified itself in the system.

I am a graduate of Whites Creek – class of 1989. In my graduating class, we have a Harvard lawyer, the youngest African-American Nashville judge in history, a full professor at the University of Utah, a lawyer for the state of Tennessee (now deceased), surgeons and doctors, engineers and educators, vice presidents and pharmacists, and pro athletes – one with a Super Bowl ring. This was a predominately African-American population – 75%. Our class size is nearly the size is nearly the size of the current student population. I graduated number 16, and I remember my friends and I being upset about not making a 32 on the ACT.

Fast-forward 22 years later, and the percentage of this population that scores above a 21 at this same school is 6% - point zero, six. While I am grateful of the hard work of Marc Hill and the Nashville Chamber, Dr. Register and Jay Steele, the current principal of Whites Creek and others, I am at a loss as to what actually happened to the school. More important, I don’t know what happened to the school system. Granted I’ve only been back in the area for only seven years, and it may be out of line for me to question this matter. But, what changed in our approach, our view of education, and the students we are serving?

I think we are looking at this thing totally wrong - totally wrong. For a prosperous city like this, this is a scary reality.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Rough Year, but Good Ideas

Hello Everyone,

This has truly been an eventful and rough year for me. I will fill you in on the details later. For now, just know that I can't wait to get my thoughts on this blog. I have some new concepts and schematics in education, business strategy, and organization development to consider. Also, I have some new systems perspectives on technology, risk, and public organizations that I think may be useful to understanding how to make improvements in circumstances that fall outside of the traditional business view.

In any case, it will all have to wait until I finish these two courses this semester. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

CNBC.com Article: Wal-Mart Poised to End Nine Quarters of Sales Declines

CNBC.com Article: Wal-Mart Poised to End Nine Quarters of Sales Declines

Wal-Mart Stores said it is finally poised to end its nine straight quarters of declining sales at stores open at least a year in its core U.S. business, SW Retail Advisors analyst Stacey Widlitz told CNBC.

Full Story:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/44874256

------------------------------------------------
Download CNBC Real-Time from the App Store for Free and get Streaming Real-Time quotes, breaking news and the latest videos from CNBC.
http://www.itunes.com/apps/cnbcreal-time



Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441 

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Markets

I question what "they" are going to do about the valuation of all things economic. What is anything really worth, and how is inflation not in play - after all of this? Anyway, I can't wait to see what's going on.



Saturday, September 24, 2011

Friday, September 09, 2011

Moving Forward with Strategy

Strategy in the public sector is a very difficult endeavor. There are a lot of moving parts to consider. One, there are many values and objectives to consider. Two, there are varying definitions for the relevant metrics and measurements. And three, there is a reluctance to exclusion, and a perception of the possibility of inclusion.

This post will not answer the question of how to move forward with a good strategy for a public organization or institution. Rather, I would like to highlight the importance of creating new forms of syntax and linguistics to better aggregate values and objectives. We have been taught to dwell on our differences to extend the debate of anything. But, we have yet to develop a mechanism to collect the similarities in values and goals to move the conversation forward.

For example, why did we spend all that time on the healthcare debate, with ridiculous concerns? We could have started with a vote among our representatives, or the people, with an initial question - "Is healthcare a right or privilege?", and this could shape the path moving forward.

This is just a random thought.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Check out: 'The Renminbi: The Political Economy of a Currency' on the Foreign Policy

I thought you might find this Foreign Policy article interesting:

The Renminbi: The Political Economy of a Currency
By Arthur Kroeber
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/09/07/the_renminbi_the_political_economy_of_a_currency?wpisrc=fp_ipad


Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Theory of Everything

A few years ago, while walking with my father, he mentioned how the scientific community was looking for the theory of everything. I'm no scientist, and even worse barely getting through my doctoral program. However, the concept of a universal theory is very interesting to me.

If I had to answer this question right now, I would say this:

Everything acts and responds according to the values (gravity, money, etc.) inherit in its design. Everything has the ability to design other things. Context constitutes the independent variables, and values are dependent variables.

I know, this makes no sense, but I had to get the thought out.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cool Hunting: Google+

Google+

How some of the most tech-savvy are using the latest social network


With any new networking platform, the tech crowd always takes the lead while the rest of us are still complaining about our parents joining Facebook. When Google+ launched last month it seemed like a particularly novel way to stay socially organized, but we still weren't quite sure what to do with it. Turning to the digital community and beyond, we asked around to see how some of the earliest-adopters are engaging. From Refinery29's VP of Engineering Jorge Lopez, Gina Bianchi (who herself enabled anyone to make their own social network by co-founding Ning) and Selectism editor Jeff Carvalho to Jean Aw, Notcot founder, the overwhelming response from the total of 10 people that we surveyed was that, while there's tremendous potential, there's still a lot of learning that has to happen on both the consumer and Google's side.

Brett Renfer (Interaction Designer at Rockwell Group Lab told us that the more he uses it, the more he's discovered a need to share in the selective way that the site allows. Many from our list were on Google+ (or Plus, as some call it) since its launch, like technologist Joel Niedfeldt who described it as a "veritable ghostland at first." Matt Spangler (a friend of CH and digital entrepreneur) relays his more common experience, "I've read about it in articles more than I've used it."

Despite initial hesitations, most are checking Google+ two or three times a day. Ben Lerer, a Thrillist co-founder, and Taj Reid, who's the brains behind WeJetSet, point out they visit more thanks to the mobile app. And, as illustrator Keren Richter predicts, while it doesn't have the same activity as Twitter or Facebook, it "has a chance of catching on."

Which feature do you use most often?

Jeff: Circles, based on common interests. I have circles for people I know interested in technology and music, for example.
Jorge: The Stream is pretty much as far as I go with it. Going to Google+ has pretty much been a chore.
Taj: Definitely the Stream and Circles. I'm also interested in making more use of the photo section.
Gina: My team and I kicked Skype to the curb and now use Hangouts for our daily stand-ups because of the higher quality and reliability. I think they just nailed it.
Keren: I use the Stream, I post photos and update my status.

What's different about Google+ that you really like?

Ben: It feels like a blend between LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to me, but it has some advantages of all of them.
Brett: The Circles more closely mimic real-world social structure. I can see Google+ growing into more of a hub for me, especially in a work context.
Joel: They've built a very mature social networking platform that does away with the early-stage stuff that just annoys me now on Facebook. It's more of a tool.
Jorge: If they had events, I like that I could create a public event and exclude some people. (Sorry parents, I love you, but I don't want you to hang out with my drunk friends.)
Taj: I like how the posting works—it encourages stickier conversations.
Matt: I like the simplicity and clarity of its design and user interface. Its biggest advantage is integrating the magic of push notification alerts into my everyday media activity.
Gina: It's seamlessly connected to Gmail as well as my Google docs and apps, so it fits in beautifully with the fabric of my workday.

Is Google+ better for business or social aspects?

Brett: My job is very tech-centric, so my circles lean more towards people I'm interested in because of work rather than people I know in a social context.
Jeff: Socially. We'll see how their business model turns out for the service. I have a feeling it will not be free.
Jean: So far it's the same mess I have on Facebook and Twitter.
Matt: I've started creating some client-specific circles that I'm monitoring, but its just the beginning of that. Once they open up the API and allow for third-party developing, I think I'll both use the system more and it will drive a lot more adoption. I can imagine ways my small groups of trusted individuals can connect in more exciting ways, but it will depend on how well done the API is.
Keren: I'm not the most business-minded. Right now, it's mostly for friends and memes, but it's not SO much better than Facebook that there will be a mass exodus.

Read on Cool Hunting
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Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

Cool Hunting: Jojo

Jojo

A more transparent brand of social entrepreneurship showing you exactly how shoes change the world


Jojo, an altruistic Belgian shoe brand, picks up where philanthropic companies like Toms leave off. Designed to look like a bandaged foot, for every pair of Jojo shoes purchased, they plant one tree or provide one person with a year of clean drinking water. But you don't have to just take the company's word for it; the enterprising young pair behind Jojo allow customers to track the progress of their contribution well after the point of purchase.

With a "choose, act, check" tagline, Jojo co-founder Matthieu Vaxelaire explains that the last step—following the progress of your contribution—is the most important part. In the future they envision shoes labeled with unique code that buyers can use to locate via GPS the well or tree they helped fund, "to really see their personal impact."

The passion that Vaxelaire, along with his friend and business partner Christoph Nagel, share for bettering the world shows in every aspect of the brand. The Jojo blog is filled with Instagram photos of current inventory and brainstorm sessions, outtakes from video campaigns (such as their inventive pigeon delivery video), business information and more.

While they set out to produce the shoes in Brazil (where they first conceived the idea), after four months of working with manufacturers, the twosome realized this was nearly impossible and almost gave up. Their tenacity led them to finding a producer in China, who now makes the shoes in a clean facility using fair work ethics.

They put that same undaunted enthusiasm into finding Tree Nation and The Water Project, the charitable organizations with which they partner. Vaxelaire explained the need for "reliable NGOs, because it takes months and months to find the right place to build a well and we needed to be with them on every step."

To help with the replanting of trees in Niger or the building of water pumps in Sierra Leone, purchase one of seven styles of Jojo shoes (€80 per pair). Simply choose the color, decide which project to support and then check in online to follow its development.

Read on Cool Hunting
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Thank you,

Kenyatta Lovett
Sent from my iPad

Monday, August 08, 2011

(BN) Wal-Mart Joins Amazon to Pitch State Law for Tax Benefit Plan

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPad.

Wal-Mart Debates Amazon on State Sales-Tax Plan at ALEC

Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- In a windowless hotel ballroom, Utah State Senator Wayne Niederhauser presented his idea for a streamlined state sales tax to a task force subcommittee of the American Legislative Exchange Council.

The proposal would allow several states to impose the same sales tax rate on both brick-and-mortar retailers and online outlets. Seated around the table were representatives from Wal- Mart Stores Inc. and Amazon.com, along with other state legislators from Oregon and New Hampshire, which have no sales tax.

"The group was pretty polarized," said Niederhauser, a Republican. People argued back and forth for about 15 minutes in what he called an "animated debate" before the idea was tabled.

ALEC is a Washington-based non-profit group that brings state legislators, corporate lobbyists and policy experts together to write model state laws. Niederhauser was one of more than a thousand state lawmakers who traveled to New Orleans on Aug. 3 to attend the group's 38th annual meeting.

This week's conference included workshops on health care, energy and states' rights. To sit on a legislation-writing task force, Wal-Mart and Amazon would have had to pay a fee between $3,000 and $10,000, in addition to their membership dues which range from $7,000 to $25,000, according to ALEC's website.

ALEC Critics

ALEC has become a target for some activist groups who contend that corporations, which finance most of ALEC's operations and reimburse the travel costs for some elected officials who attend the meetings, shouldn't have a seat at the table when lawmakers are writing bills.

"Legislators are voting behind closed doors alongside corporations to change our rights," said Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, a Washington- based group that tracks news sources, who traveled to New Orleans to provide a counterpoint to ALEC's messages.

Niederhauser, whose home is in Sandy, Utah, said the criticism is overblown. "I get lobbied much harder in my own state," he said. He and other elected officials attending this week's gathering said they come to ALEC meetings to network with colleagues from other states.

Corporations are "definitely here, but I've not been lobbied at all," said Kansas Representative Mike Burgess, a Republican who has served in the state legislature for nine years. "I've not been subjected to any arm twisting."

Wal-Mart and BP

Companies definitely were there. Officials from Wal-Mart, oil giant BP Plc, and drug-maker Allergan Inc. were among the hundreds of private sector members at the New Orleans meeting. Three boards more than six-feet tall listed the event sponsors, which included United Healthcare Inc., cigarette-maker Altria and pharmaceutical-maker Johnson & Johnson.

When Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican, spoke at the opening day luncheon, the logo for PhRMA, the lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry, was displayed on a screen behind him. Shell Oil Co.'s yellow shell logo hovered over the head of economist Arthur Laffer when he spoke at a breakfast.

Corporate sponsors of organizations' annual meetings aren't unusual. It is ALEC's task forces that are coming under most scrutiny.

The committees meet in sessions closed to reporters and the general public, during which they debate and vote on model bills. Legislators and private-sector task force members must vote to endorse any model legislation -- and each group must deliver a majority before it is officially adopted, said Raegan Weber, ALEC's spokeswoman.

Elected Officials

Adoption doesn't mean it will automatically be considered for passage. It's up to the elected officials to bring the proposed bills to the state Capitol and usher them into law. Burgess of Kansas says he has gotten ideas at ALEC but has never brought a model bill home.

Representative Tim Brown, an emergency room physician who serves in the Indiana legislature, says last year he introduced a bill that would prevent Governor Mitch Daniels, a fellow Republican, from preparing to implement President Barack Obama's health-care law until a challenge to its constitutionality is settled. The bill died in the Senate.

To join ALEC, legislators pay $100 for a two-year membership. ALEC has task forces devoted to civil justice, energy and environment, commerce, education, international relations, public safety, taxes and telecommunications.

'ALEC Exposed"

The Center for Media and Democracy created a website last month called ALEC Exposed where it posted about 800 model bills from ALEC's library that previously were available only to members. The bills include measures that have passed in dozens of states, including laws requiring voter identification; measures requiring states to pull out of cap-and-trade programs, which are designed to curb carbon emissions; and bills that prohibit states from implementing the national health-care law.

Common Cause, a Washington-based group that advocates for limits on money in politics, said companies affiliated with ALEC, along with their employees, spent more than $38 million electing state legislators and governors in 2009 and 2010.

The non-profit investigative reporting group ProPublica on Aug. 1 published on its website a guide for reporters to trace ALEC bills to their states.

The exposure doesn't appear to have hurt. More than 2,000 people signed up for the conference this week, about a 25 percent increase from last year's meeting, said Weber. The group has also attracted many more corporate sponsors, according to its program.

ALEC's mission is to promote free markets, limited government, federalism and individual freedom, according to its website. Legislators at the meeting said they joined because it represents their beliefs.

As for the corporate members, Brown said, "I'll take their money but I'm going to vote the way I want."

To contact the reporter on this story: Alison Fitzgerald in Washington at afitzgerald2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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Kenyatta Lovett
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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Cool Hunting: Cool Hunting Video Presents: Making the Evoque

Cool Hunting Video Presents: Making the Evoque

A behind the scenes video with Range Rover learning about the bridge between design and manufacturing


When Range Rover asked me to be a City Shaper and help tell the world about their all-new Evoque one of my first requests was to meet the car's designers and visit the factory where they're being built.

Exploring the role of design at Range Rover we visited their creative team in Gaydon, England to learn about how the LRX concept vehicle was translated to the all-new Evoque. From there we traveled north to the factory in Halewood to see how the cars are manufactured and what it means to bring a design to life.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Conceptual GPS

It's been a while since I've provided a good personal account of my thoughts and what's going on in my professional/academic world. While the articles and news I post are very relevant to the focus of this site, it means nothing if I can't synthesize the information I want to share with the world. If you read my blog, I have no doubt you know what's going on in the world for the most part. It's a game of musical chairs, but every time the music stops they add another chair. Today, I would like to discuss some issues I've noticed in the realm of local business and education matters.

Of late, I've been heavily involved with the efforts to improve education and economic development in the Nashville metropolitan area. I have to admit, I've never been a fan of the city, and always thought the town was somewhat backwards in their view of the world, and how they enacted their version of being like other progressive cities (be careful who you compare yourself to). However, I have always told my friends that Nashville typically does well over the long-run because it never overcooks the meal in times of economic prosperity, and thus never loses the farm in economic downturns. No better example could be true than right now this nation.

When I begin to think of the states and cities I admire and have a desire to live one day, I see very little difference in terms of the assets that make them that much different from Nashville. While in terms of culture and diversity Nashville struggles to make the top 50 of 40 options (that was a joke, not a typo), this depression (yes I used the "D" word) has placed everyone on relatively the same footing. In that I mean, the presence of resource scarcity can make the most liberal of towns become ultra-conservative, racist, and isolationist. Not that Wisconsin is on my list, but they are going through some serious changes as a result of scarce resources.

I went on Zillow to look at the value of my first home in Atlanta. I bought the house for $140,000 in 1999, and sold it in 2003 for $170,000. The house is now worth $120,000, which more than likely means it could move today for $110,000. Using basic calculations, some would say "that's a 29% decrease in the home value, which is about the norm for today's market". How ever you choose to look at it, that &^$% hurts! Even worse, I'm not the proud owner of a home that is priced at 1990 levels, but was built in 1999. Needless to say, the markets in Nashville have remained relatively steady in these unfortunate times. Sure, I'm taking a bad hit on my home, which was purchased in 2007 - the peak of the lunacy period. But, I feel better about my chances to retain value in the region in comparison to Atlanta, Florida, California, and other places.

I love the concept of change and progression. More important, I want to always be associated with change and progression for the sake of collective improvements. Of late, I've experienced some great beginnings to significant improvements in the Nashville area. There is an energy within the Nashville Chamber, the school system, and the citizen base to truly make the overall state of education more advanced in the city. People and organizations are putting their money where their mouth is these days. Even outside the city, such as Sumner, Robertson, Wilson, Trousdale, and Macon county, I have witnessed a change in rhetoric and actions toward economic development and education. The reality of bleak employment outlooks has forced everyone to wake up and realize how accountability and responsibility can save the day. However, there are two things I am still looking for that will totally transform this region to become an emerging market in this nation: collective capacity and inertia.

During a recent educational summit I attended at Libscomb University, a speaker called for more initiatives related to collective capacity. I'll give you my definition, which is influenced by concepts of institutional and governance theories. Essentially, collective capacity, in the context of local governments and organizations, calls for the sharing of resources, assets, and infrastructure to develop a more comprehensive product/service platform for a particular region. From an educational standpoint, a system of sharing hard-to-find STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) faculty and support staff among a few counties could allow the relevant counties to have a more robust offering of courses and options for their students, in the midst of cost-sharing and strategic alliances through technology. For counties with limited funds and tax bases, they would have the opportunity to significantly increase capacity that would otherwise be unattainable because of cost. Another example of this centers on the regional dream of developing a rail system for collective travel. If cities can begin readjusting their infrastructure through codes and city planning to accommodate this new mindset of mass transit, it can allow for companies to consider the region more, due to the improved access of the desired workforce - capturing citizens from a wider region than the city limits. In short, collective capacity is the game-changer for the region. However, the concept creates political challenges that require internal consultation to develop a clear plan of action.

The other missing piece has to do with institutional culture. Although there is a lot of movement in the region toward education and economic development, the effort is a new concept, requiring people to consciously, and intentionally, work at being progressive. Great organizations, successful teams, and impressive societies find a way to take these intentional actions and make them normative behaviors and beliefs. Eventually, inertia sets in and an outsider would be hard-pressed to move this group of people off the goal of success. Why is inertia important for the Nashville region? When successful attitudes and actions are the norm, the transactional cost associated with high achievement are relatively low. If the region is unable to establish inertia for success in the culture of the citizens, government, and businesses, the surge in funding will eventually lose the ability to influence the forward movement. The problem with changing the culture and setting the right path for inertia to take place is that no one person or group can create it. However, it begins with a series of successes and achievements. I'm not talking about the traditional form of Nashville's version of success that compared its performance against itself. I'm talking about making comparisons against other relevant cities in this nation, and even international markets. I know, it may be wishful thinking, but can't let the idea go away without arguing for it.

In any case, I am very impressed with the city, for the first time in my life, for its effort to be progressive. This economy has done a good job of dispelling myths for regions, and Nashville  has certainly had its share of them. While the window of opportunity is there, let's do all we can to create new values and targets for the region. Ones that will sustain the region for more than twenty years. I encourage everyone to make the decision today to get involved with the many efforts to improve education and economic development in the region. Blog about it, talk about it, and BE ABOUT IT!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Plan To Bring 900 Jobs To Nashville Called Off


Electronic Express

Plan To Bring 900 Jobs To Nashville Called Off


Story posted 2011.07.19 at 12:03 PM CDT

NewsChannel5 Wireless News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A deal to bring 900 jobs to Nashville has been called off after concerns that the company closed several offices in Canada and laid off workers.

On Tuesday, Matt Wilshire, director of the Mayor's Office of Economic and Community Development issued a statement saying that the city is "no longer in conversations with IQT (Solutions) regarding locating their operations here."

The statement said that they spoke with the company, which is based in Canada, on Monday evening and said it is unlikely that they will move forward with their proposed operation in Nashville.

It went on to say: 

"We are disappointed these job opportunities won't be available to Nashvillians, but it is important to point out that no incentive dollars were expended. We are dismayed about what happened in Canada and don't think workers anywhere should be treated that way."

On Friday, IQT Solutions announced they were closing three call centers in Canada.

Other reports revealed that the company had not informed its workers in advance, and some workers said they had not gotten paid.

In June, the company had revealed major plans to move their corporate offices to Nashville and also build a customer support center. To encourage them to make the move, and bring hundreds of jobs with them, Metro even offered them a city grant worth $1.6 million .

In a statement issued Monday, Mayor Karl Dean said "We were surprised and concerned to hear about the developments in Canada, and I was dismayed by the way the company treated its employees there. Rest assured, Metro taxpayers are protected. Metro's agreements with IQT have not been finalized, and no incentive funds have been paid to the company. Consistent with my philosophy on economic development, the incentives offered to IQT are based on the company's ability to bring jobs to Nashville. If they don't create jobs here, they don't get incentives. We are not moving forward on this deal unless we get answers from IQT that satisfy my concerns."

NewsChannel 5 also got a copy of a letter that Mayor Dean's director of Economic and Community Development, Matthew A. Wiltshire, sent to IQT Chief Executive Officer Alex Morton.

He wrote: "we are deeply concerned about the announcement on Friday that IQT Incorporated had closed three operation centers in Canada. We prefer to be notified about this sort of substantive development prior to reading about it in the press. While we remain interested in attracting jobs to Tennessee, we will need a much clearer understand of IQT's plans and the commitment  of your clients before we move forward with our discussions."

IQT is a Canadian based company that does technical support for a number of major companies, for devices like cell phones.

Past Stories: July 15: Reports: IQT Solutions Laying Off, Not Paying Workers June 9: 900 New Jobs Coming To Downtown Nashville


Story posted 2011.07.19 at 12:03 PM CDT


© 2004-2011 LSN, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

.........



Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441 

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cool Hunting: Ideas Not Airships

Ideas Not Airships

Hangar Design Group's newest book commemorates 30 years of design brilliance


Italy's heralded multidisciplinary creative agency Hangar Design Group (HDG) recently announced the upcoming release of their book, "As I told you before, Ideas not Airships," to celebrate 30 years of creativity. The lengthy book aims to reveal the intricate narrative between creatives and their unique design process through over 500 pages of inspiring imagery and thought provoking text.

Within seconds of getting our hands on this hefty coffee table book we were enamored with the brilliant graphics and modern mantras of design and creativity. The life of the studio is traced by taking the reader "on an unconventional figurative journey: suggestions, inspirations, memories, faces, places... belonging to anyone devoted to the process of shaping an idea into its full form."

Leading from HDG's first design sketches to the recent Sunset mobile home project—winner of 2011 Compasso d'Oro Award—this retrospective operates as a bound, over-sized mobile inspiration board delivering seemingly endless content.

Keep your eyes open come September to find a copy of "As I told you before, Ideas not Airships," presumably available through the Hangar shop.

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Kenyatta Lovett
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Cool Hunting: Maharam Digital Projects at VitraHaus

Maharam Digital Projects at VitraHaus

Artist-designed digital wallpaper installations bring innovative beauty to interiors


New York interior textile supplier Maharam recently continued its foray into digital design with the newest edition of Maharam Digital Projects opening last month to coincide with Art Basel. The digitally-printed wallpaper patterns are installed at Weil am Rhein, Germany's VitraHaus, where they are on display to the general public throughout the rest of the summer.

VitraHaus, Swiss contemporary furniture company Vitra's stunning Herzog & de Meuron-designed flagship, provides a fitting backdrop for the seven Maharam designs. Spanning all four floors, each UV-resistant wall covering is the product of a different emerging or established artist (Cecilia Edefalk, Jacob Hashimoto, Maira Kalman, Harmen Liemburg, Karel Martens, Sarah Morris and Francesco Simeti) and is expertly styled with Vitra furnishings.

These tableaus show how the collection introduces a more affordable large-scale alternative than artwork or other pricey wall treatments into the home and office. As such, the wallpapers sell onsite at Vitrahaus, as well as through Maharam online.

Each design functions as a self-contained aesthetic while also exemplifying a conceptual reality. "Dutch Clouds" by Karel Martens (above) plays on perspective with a composition of artist-designed symbols which together form an image of the sky over Holland on the day of his grandson's birth.

"Coastal Plants" (above) chronicles a three-year period in which artist Cecelia Edefalk traveled the European seaboard and contains over 200 watercolors expressing her interest in the painted image.

Maira Kalman's "On This Day" (above) shows the illustrator's recordings of modern daily life's quirks and absurdities.

Francesco Simeti mixes hunting decoys and toy birds into his piece "New World" to playfully change up traditional nature-themed wallpaper.

Also on Cool Hunting: CH Editions: Maharam and Nike Sportswear and Maharam

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Kenyatta Lovett
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Cool Hunting: Media Design School

Media Design School

Study with some of the world's best creatives at New Zealand's award-winning design school


Advertorial content:

Given that technological advancements in digital art are progressing by leaps andbounds, it's almost impossible to produce an excellent portfolio by just playingaround on your laptop after work. If you've decided to bite the bullet and get backin the classroom, New Zealand's Media Design School is becoming one of the best places to get a visual arts qualification (undergraduate or graduate-level) in a range of specialists, ranging from interactive advertising, 3D animation and graphic design.

Located in stunning (and outrageously livable Auckland), Media Design School started with a class of30 in 1998. Over the past decade and a half, it's become one of the best places in the world to study creative technologies. Young Guns named Media Design School the fourth most creativeschool in the world over the past decade, a hefty accolade coming from the organizationdevoted to spotting young talent. Graduates have gone on to work with George Lucas'Industrial Light Magic and Microsoft Game Studio, among many others. And New Zealand VFX and post-production powerhouse Weta Digital (owned by Peter Jackson) do their part too–they are the largest employer of Media Design School graduates in New Zealand.

But the best testimonial on behalf of the school is the work of the students themselves.Led by James Cunningham, a 3-D filmmaker whose most recent work premiered at the 2009 Telluride Film Festival, Media Design School students produced "Das Tub." Cunningham directedthe short film, and acclaimed New Zealand screenwriter Nick Ward wrote the screenplay.The film recently won Best Short Short at the Aspen Shortsfest, one of the world's top film festivals, and now qualifies for Oscar consideration—a considerable achievement for a film animated by students, who now have industry connections far and beyond what any of them might have imagined when they started their program.

Students in the 3-D department can also showcase their talents with Media Design School' Real or Render Challenge. Evenseasoned connoisseurs of 3-D will have a difficult time pinpointing the differencesbetween real photographs and student-produced 3-D renderings of household objects.Even an intricately detailed map offers no obvious clues.

All classes take place in Media Design School's beautiful Auckland campus.They're currently accepting applications online, for both domestic New Zealandand international students. For more information on the courses and how to apply,check the Media Design School website.

You can check out the school in this video:

Video Walkthrough - Media Design School from Media Design School on Vimeo.

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Kenyatta Lovett
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Visualization Design - Envisioning Technology

Michell Zappa has developed an interesting mapping for understanding technology. The explanation on the site states:

“Envisioning technology” is a speculative and subjective overview of potential future technologies. Based on personal research and observations, this map is intended to facilitate predictions of where the technium is going, as well as provoke thought and stimulate debate.

Due to the intrinsic difficulty of speculation, the visualization is not to be interpreted as a roadmap, but rather as a point of reference for those investigating (or designing) the future of τεχνολογι
Mapping exercises are very helpful in understanding thought patters, especially your own. I currently use MindMeister to quickly map my thoughts during meetings using my iPad. The results have been tremendous. Most people are visual in nature. My maps have helped to frame conversations in a more effective light. Have you ever tried to explain servers and networks to a leadership team that's not very technical? Mind mapping is a good option for bringing in a translation source to create common modules of discourse.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

No One Is The Problem, No One Is Winning, and Everyone Is Doing There Job

Football Analogy
Imagine a quarterback coach telling the quarterbacks to get in the pocket, and then take off running. The running back coach is telling the running backs to be prepared to run a lot up the middle. The wide receiver coach is telling the speedsters that is all about being in position to catch the bomb. And the line coach is promoting the value of sticking together.

During the game, they all execute their plans based on the directives of their division. Everyone has a plan for winning the game, but they can't seem to score a point. Theoretically, everyone is right, but collectively they are wrong. In the end, the team has three options. One, they can blame other units for the collective failure. Two, they can go deeper in protectionism for their individual game plans. Or three, they can get a head coach who sets priorities among the individual units.

The game plan and priority list is all about realistically dealing with the opposing challenges, and nothing personally to do with the talent of each individual or division. This analogy is about discretion - mainly the degree to which it should be dispersed in a given plan. Priority places the ordinal context necessary for individuals and units to understand the freedom of discretion available within a given plan. Either unit plan mentioned above may work as a strategy, but the collective success will require all other units to alter what they originally planned for success.

Democracy rarely works in a social setting. It's even more difficult to execute in organizations, especially if you want to achieve certain goals.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Seth's Take on Legacy Costs

One of my favorite blogs/bloggers, Seth, recently posted his thoughts on legacy issues in organizations. For a few years now, I've been working on the best way to work new ideas in the presence of dominant legacy factors. Legacy issues are one of the two major problems with bureaucracies, goal displacement being the other. To be honest, I don't really know how to effectively deal with the drowning man holding on to the float that's running out of air. Honestly, I don't understanding the thinking in total. True, we all have our issues with legacy factors in our life or on our job, and maybe the situation is the equivalent to the story of Doubting Thomas.
My major fear for this nation is that we stall and stagnate the young leaders so much that when the obvious becomes apparent, it will be too late to effectively respond. After all, how many backup quarterbacks who sit the bench for years ever develop into superstars? Not many, if you are curious about the answer.

I guess I've reached a point of total frustration. Things are not quite that obvious now, but as Machiavelli wrote in The Prince, “In the beginning, problems are easy to cure but hard to diagnose; with the passage of time, having gone unrecognized and unattended, they become easy to diagnose, but hard to cure.” (1515)

I don't have the answer, and I'm not sure how to solve the problem. But, I do know it's a real problem.

Your thoughts.

Book Recommendation: Mojo

I very rarely look into self-help books. They typically repeat the same things. However, I have discovered an exception. In my first session with my new mentor, he challenged me with making a decision on who I want to be in the future - with some degree of detail. From this vision, we will work on charting a path, including some derivative of a SWOT Analysis. For my homework, he recommended that I read Mojo by Marshall Goldsmith. In fact, he sent me a copy of his book to read.

The book has been an enjoyable and easy read. I'm getting a lot out of the experience, and digesting a wide array of food for thought. The most important thing I've come to realize about my career/personal journey is the true lack of clarity in my mission. I've spent too much time being me to not know what I should be doing, or who I am in life.


Again, I highly recommend this book, as well as recommend that you find a mentor to keep you moving in the right direction.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

(BN) IPad Maker Foxconn Will Have Limited Effect From Plant Fire, Analysts Say

Bloomberg News, sent from my iPhone.

Foxconn Faces Limited Impact From Chengdu Fire, Analysts Say

May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Foxconn Technology Group, maker of Apple Inc.'s iPhones and iPads, should have limited impact from an explosion and fire at its Chengdu plant in southwest China's Sichuan province, as the base isn't a main production site, analysts said.

Foxconn makes most of the iPhones and iPads at its base in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, Vincent Chen, head of Greater China technology research at Yuanta Securities Co., and Macquarie Group Ltd. analyst Daniel Chang said by phone from Taipei on May 21.

"The Chengdu plant is primarily for computer assembly and the iPad assembly is being pilot run," Chen said. "Foxconn is a very professional manufacturer and is very experienced in making adjustment in times of crisis, and the impact should be very minimal."

Terry Gou, chairman of Taiwan-based Foxconn, has been shifting production to Chengdu and other interior cities in China such as Wuhan and Chongqing, where labor is about a third cheaper than in the country's south.

Three people were killed and 15 injured in the blast that occurred at about 7 p.m. local time on May 20. Of the injured, six were treated at a local hospital and released, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The fire triggered by the blast was later extinguished, Edmund Ding, a company spokesman, said by phone. He declined to say what products the factory makes or estimate any financial loss related to the accident. Initial findings show the accident was caused by an explosion of combustible dust within a duct at the facility, the statement said.

Opened in October

The $2 billion laptop plant where the explosion took place opened in October, Xinhua reported May 20.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the flagship of the Foxconn Group, fell 1 percent to NT$103 at the close of May 20 in Taipei trading before the incident. Apple Inc. dropped 1.6 percent in New York.

The affected plant makes Apple's iPad2 tablet computers, the Economic Observer said on its website on May 20, citing unidentified company workers. Gou flew to Chengdu, the Beijing- based newspaper said, citing unidentified company employees.

Production has been suspended at the site of the explosion until the completion of an investigation, Foxconn said in an e- mailed statement May 21.

The stoppage shouldn't cause any production disruption, Macquarie's Chang said, as iPads and iPhones are mostly made in Shenzhen.

"We are working closely with Foxconn at this point to understand what caused this terrible event," Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, said in a phone interview. "We are deeply saddened by the tragedy."

Dowling declined to comment on any possible supply disruptions, referring questions to Foxconn.

Police in Chengdu said they concluded preliminarily that the explosion, in a polishing workshop, wasn't intentionally caused, China News Service said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chinmei Sung in Taipei at csung4@bloomberg.net .

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net

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Thank You,

Kenyatta Lovett
770-601-7441 

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Goal Displacement in Marketing

A few years ago, a local hospital network decided to run a billboard campaign that provided a real-time digital display on their emergency room wait times. While I'm sure it seemed like a good idea from someone's perspective, the concept and execution is operationally a disaster for many reason.

One, anyone in a medical emergency, more than likely, has an urgent need to get to the closest hospital. It's very rare someone in cardiac arrest would say, "Honey, look that hospital has only a 15 minute wait time. Please drive past the other two hospitals so we can go there." So in terms of driving demand, this strategy has no impact at all on establishing new sources of revenue.

Two, and possibly the most crucial reason, the real-time display also lets the public know when the wait times are not that good. So, the person driving by the billboard looks at the 75-minute wait time, and then looks at the name of the hospital, and makes up their mind that they will never go there. This is why transparency doesn't apply to everything. Somewhere in their marketing arsenal, someone is apply the wrong marketing strategy to the wrong business.

First, transparency is a good thing for government (public sector) and not necessarily for private sector operations. Second, service metrics such as wait-times in the private sector are best suited for operations that have the risk of jeopardizing quality due to overwhelming demand, like a call center. The incentive is to discourage callers from staying on the line. You don't want to discourage people from going to your hospital. True, there is a customer service component to running a hospital, but you've never seen a restaurant post their actual wait-times on a big sign in front of their establishment, the same applies for a night club.

If you ever want to kill your brand in an automated fashion, you can do it in several ways. One, you can discourage people from even trying your product/service. Two, you can attempt to promote an operational metric you can't control. And three, you encourage potential customers to try other brands that simply sold the sizzle.

Your thoughts?


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Monday, May 09, 2011

Cool Hunting: The 99% Conference 2011: Day One Recap

The 99% Conference 2011: Day One Recap

Our day one overview of the idea-making conference


Now in our third year, the 99% Conference speakers are a group of hard-workers at the forefronts of their fields, carefully selected by Behance and Cool Hunting for how they manifest Edison's notion that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.

The 2011 line-up features 16 thought-provoking leaders taking the stage over the course of two days, including designer Yves Behar, Google Ideas director Jared Cohen, partner at IDEO Diego Rodriguez, Pixar's Dr. Michael Johnson and more. In other words, there's no shortage of information on how to break a creative sweat, and yesterday started things off with some of those great ideas on how to produce ideas, which we've recapped below.

Simon Sinek

Author and leadership expert Simon Sinek spoke to the group of nearly 400 people about the importance of trust, providing several examples on how the concept stems from an authentic set of common values. Sinek explained its significance lies in the fact that trust encourages confidence in experimentation and exploration. Proving the premise that "as a group we're pretty damn amazing," Sinek showed the power in numbers and delved into how much more successful an organization can be when they are consistent in their beliefs and authentic in their actions. The professor and communications strategist also touched on how much generosity impacts action. While there's "no equation" for this selfless sentiment, Sinek left us with the thought, "If you don't understand people, you don't understand business."

Tony Schwartz

Giving the audience a sigh of sleep-deprived relief, President and CEO of The Energy Project, Tony Schwartz explained the importance of shut-eye. Describing how you should "live life like a sprinter," Schwartz broke down some common myths about being a workaholic, explaining "human beings are designed to pulse" and that intermittent breaks yield far greater capacity for doing quality work than marathon all-nighters. Also emphasizing the importance of focus, his approach isn't to be confused with multi-tasking (or shift tasking as he calls it) since the brain actually can't do more than one task at once. Shift tasking actually disrupts the work flow and, according to Schwartz, you need to skillfully manage technology and focus on one task at hand for an extended amount of time. Summing it up with "sleep is the most important behavior in your life to get right," he advocates practicing renewal and recovery to align you with a natural rhythm that will give you the capacity to do better work.

Patrician McCarthy

Rounding out Schwartz's pragmatic approach to making ideas happen, Mien Shiang Institute founder Patrician McCarthy demonstrated how analyzing personality types can affect how you work. A professional in the Taoist technique of facial diagnosis, McCarthy gave an array of face shape examples, linking them to behaviors and explaining how to use them to find more a productive balance in the workplace. Understanding a face based on her classifications of Water, Wood, Earth, Metal and Fire helps better collaboration with colleagues by knowing their work habits.

If you weren't lucky enough to snag one of the now sold-out tickets, make sure to keep up with the action on Cool Hunting's twitter feed, the official 99 Percent feed or catch it all at the #99conf.

Photos by James Ryang

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