Tag Archives: business

New study – baldness is a business advantage, men perceived as taller and stronger

From The Wall Street Journal:

Men with shaved heads are perceived to be more masculine, dominant and, in some cases, to have greater leadership potential than those with longer locks or with thinning hair, according to a recent study out of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

…Men with shorn heads were even perceived as an inch taller and about 13% stronger than those with fuller manes.

 

I don’t care if this study is true or not – any good news about balding is fantastic. I’m losing my hair and it’s nice to have something to look forward to – the shiny bald look will make me taller and stronger.

Though, it would have helped more in high school when the receding hair line began. Those early years are the hardest to deal with. And I know there are millions of men out there who agree with me.

The study also points out that the in-between period is the worst. The best is having full hair or no hair, but scruffy sides like George Costanza, received the worst ratings. So, men get out the razor when the recession gets too deep.

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The Atlantic goes full speed ahead on digital, internet – gives up on print, magazines

Only a few print magazines understand the internet – and The Atlantic is one of them. Now in their third year of profit, after spending a decade losing millions, the magazine is ready to expand. And the next step is to let the print magazine die and expand with more websites. From the N.Y. Times:

“It’s become very, very clear to me that digital trumps print, and that pure digital, without any legacy costs, massively trumps print,” David G. Bradley said.

And digital is where The Atlantic is going, with three successful sites - TheAtlantic.comAtlantic WireAtlantic Cities - and one more launching this week, Quartz.com. A business news site focused on a global audience – from the Editor’s Note:

We’ve assembled a team of digital journalists and developers to create a new kind of business news offering that is global, digitally native, and designed for the mobile and tablet devices.

Full speed ahead on digital, mobile, and social. And while this sounds like just another website, the team has some interesting insights that may give them an advantage. “Data is ubiquitous while real insight on the news is a rare commodity.” I would agree. When everybody reports the same news, if you can consistently provide better insight – that’s an advantage.

“Any good blog or magazine has defining obsessions, and we’ll structure around the ones that we think smart, globally minded people will be interested in.” Don’t you love how he interchanges the words blog and magazine – as if they are the same thing.

Finally, the site will be free – no paywalls or subscriptions – instead showing ads from sponsors in the news stream. It’s the newest digital model that avoids big banner ads – and the company already has four paid sponsors until the end of the year.

And we shouldn’t be surprised they’re adopting the latest digital innovation. The company is diving into digital and giving up on it’s print roots. Something that few print publications will ever do.

 

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The EPA is screwing up the discussion on global warming

The EPA is reporting the wrong information on global warming and I want them to get it right. The information they publish becomes the gold standard and is reported in the media, covered on TV, and published all across the web. It reaches the eyes and ears of a majority of Americans, and so why are they screwing it up?

The first problem is in using economic terms over plain language. The average person has a hard time understanding the meaning of ‘by economic sector’ or ‘end user emissions’. And nowhere in their mission statement does it say they should be communicating like college professors:

The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment.

Neither does it say they should communicate clearly, but that’s covered in the Plain Writing Act of 2010.

Another problem they face is choosing what data to report. Again, they seem to be focusing on macroeconomic data sets instead of what will help the average person. Here is the data set spread out across 20 pages on the EPA website and reported many thousand times over in the press:

 

Emissions by Economic Sector

  • Electricity generation – 34%
  • Transportation – 27%
  • Industry – 21%
  • Agriculture – 7%
  • Commercial & Residential – 11%

 

Very helpful for the big picture and if you’re writing policy, but worthy of ignoring by the common person. What are they supposed to do about electricity, buy a wind turbine? For transportation, go out and buy a new car? What does industry even mean?

For those steeped in the economics of global warming this makes total sense. Our energy is slowly moving towards renewables, cars are becoming electric, homes and business can similarly electrify, and that would make 61-90% of our emissions from electricity. Yes, it is vital we pick up renewables.

But that stymies any discussion about what individuals can do. Here is another data set left to gather dust, buried 200 pages deep in the EPA’s most important report:

 

Emissions by End User

  • Manufacturing – 30%
  • Homes – 18%
  • Business – 17%
  • Personal Cars – 17%
  • Farming – 8%
  • Freight Trucks – 6%
  • Airplanes – 2%

 

End user is an economic term for you bought it you own it. Meaning the person who drives the car is responsible for the emissions, not General Motors. From this perspective the story changes entirely. Transportation moves down into a tie for third most important. The three ahead of it – manufacturing, homes, business – all represent places where the average person has a significant impact.

Individuals could buy less or switch to recycled products, in simple ways, like buying recycled toilet paper. At home they could lower the thermostat or send less to the landfill. At work they could accept normal temperatures for the A/C and support any green company policies.

It is strange that this data, which places the responsibility on individuals and can easily encourage a change in behavior, is buried in favor of the economic report. It would seem like the EPA is purposely avoiding the issue of responsibility, or letting the economists control the marketing. Either way it’s unacceptable and screwing up the discussion on global warming.

Come on EPA get your head in the game!

 

 

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Cell phone recording of police is ok – says Washington D.C. police chief, Cathy Lanier

We’ve written a number of stories about police officers interfering with citizens who are trying to record the actions of police in public places. In some cases, cops have arrested citizens for making recordings in public. In others, they’ve seized cell phones and deleted the recordings.

The courts and the Obama administration have both said that these activities violate the Constitution. And at least one police department has gotten the message loud and clear.

In a new legal directive first noticed by DCist, Washington DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier explains the constitutional rights of DC citizens and gives her officers detailed instructions for respecting them. She addresses a number of scenarios that have led to controversy in recent years.

“A bystander has the same right to take photographs or make recordings as a member of the media,” Chief Lanier writes. The First Amendment protects the right to record the activities of police officers, not only in public places such as parks and sidewalks, but also in “an individual’s home or business, common areas of public and private facilities and buildings, and any other public or private facility at which the individual has a legal right to be present.”

 

Keep reading: ars technica - DC police chief announces shockingly reasonable cell camera policy

 

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Now that Foursquare has mapped every business – time to start adding features

I remember a few years back when all the location-based services, like Foursquare, didn’t have a complete set of locations to check-into. I would often find myself creating a new location or skipping the check-in altogether.

Today, that seems like an issue of the past, as Foursquare recently said:

“We’ve hit a pretty amazing milestone – there are nearly 1,000,000 businesses claimed on foursquare.”

With a near complete set, the next step is to start adding features to each of those locations. Check-out Foursquare’s latest update as they do just that:

Starting today, you’ll start seeing updates…from the places where you’re a loyal customer. It’s an easy way to keep up with news from places you frequent, including things like new specials, pictures of the latest shipment of shoes, or a serendipitous food truck appearance. The best part is there’s no extra work for you to do: we already know you care about a place if you’ve checked in often or liked it, and will show you updates from it when you’re in the same city.

Also, when you look for places or when you check in, you’ll see these updates on the page – kind of like the chalkboard where a restaurant writes its daily specials. For example, when you’re on Northern Spy Food Co.’s page, you’ll see their recent update about their latest seasonal drink.

To see what these look like in action, check out some of the businesses that have started sharing updates. Some are national chains, like H&MTogo’s SandwichesOutback Steakhouse, and Wolfgang Puck. Some are universities on foursquare, like University of Wisconsin-MadisonUniversity of South FloridaDuke University, Texas A&M UniversityIndiana University-Bloomington, and Boston University. And some are local New York favorites, like Luke’s Lobster,  New York Public LibraryNYC Parks Department, and Northern Spy Food Company.

 

Source: Foursquare Blog - Introducing Local Updates from businesses – keeping up with the places you love has never been easier!

 

 

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Starbucks to improve its baked goods – purchases artisan bakery, La Boulange

Starbucks got the coffee right. Now, it is trying to do the same with the food.

The world’s largest coffee chain announced on Monday plans to acquire for $100 million a small artisan bakery chain, Bay Bread and its 19-unit La Boulange bakery brand.

The move comes just months after Starbucks (SBUX) purchased the tiny Evolution Fresh juice brand and at a time Starbucks is pushing hard to expand beyond coffee and vastly improve its baked goods and other food offerings. Food is one of the chains fastest-growing businesses, now accounting for $1.5 billion in revenues even as its sales have grown by double digits over the past two years.

“After more than 40 years, we will be able to say that we are bakers, too,” says Howard Schultz, CEO at Starbucks.

via USA Today

 

The bakery chain, La Boulange, reminds me a lot of Le Pain Quotidien.

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North America poised to once again dominate world economic growth

The Economist published a barometer of world business according to 1,500 senior executives. It’s a complicated graph but very interesting because it shows North America will once again lead the world out of trouble.

Read it as follows, “Balance of respondents expecting:”

  • global business conditions to improve (let side)
  • their companies to have more employees in a year’s time (right)

On both sides North America leads the way with improving business conditions and new hirings.

“In North America more executives are bullish than bearish for the first time in a year. On jobs, the balance of firms expecting to hire over the next year has increased in all regions.”

 

 

via The Economist – Daily Graph

Email in any language – auto-translate now available in Gmail

Did you ever dream about a future where your communications device could transcend language with ease?

Well, that day is a lot closer. Over the next few days, everyone who uses Gmail will be getting the convenience of translation added to their email. The next time you receive a message in a language other than your own, just click on ‘Translate message’ in the header at the top of the message:

 

 

and it will be instantly translated into your language:

 

 

Back when we launched automatic message translation in Gmail Labs, we were curious to see how people would use it.

We heard immediately from Google Apps for Business users that this was a killer feature for working with local teams across the world. Some people just wanted to easily read newsletters from abroad. Another person wrote in telling us how he set up his mom’s Gmail to translate everything into her native language, thus saving countless explanatory phone calls (he thanked us profusely).

Since message translation was one of the most popular labs, we decided it was time to graduate from Gmail Labs and move into the real world.

via – The Official Gmail Blog

 

// Thx – Mihai Ionescu, Photo – Eyesplash

144 places to educate yourself online for free

The most extensive listing of free online education I have ever seen. Bookmarking for later.

12 dozen places to education yourself online for free

All education is self-education.  Period.  It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop.  We don’t learn anything we don’t want to learn.

Broken down by subject and/or category, here are several top-notch self-education resources I have bookmarked online over the past few years.

  • Science/Health
  • Business/Money
  • History/World Culture
  • Law
  • Computer Science/Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • English/Communications
  • Foreign/Sign Languages
  • Multiple Subjects/Miscellaneous
  • Free Books/Reading Recommendations
  • Educational Mainstream Broadcast Media
  • Online Archives
  • Directories of Open Education

Click to start browsing

 

// Photo – Ed Yourdon

President, Congress pass bill to allow venture capital funding via crowd sourcing

Earlier this month, President Obama sign the JOBS bill into law with strong bipartisan support, and no this isn’t the one you’re thinking of. This one is designed specifically for funding start-ups with a particular focus on crowd funding (i.e. Kickstarter).

Explained by author and professor, Jeff Jarvis:

The JOBS bill being signed by President Obama today is critical to the emergence and growth of the next generation of industries as ecosystems.

Those ecosystems are made up of three layers: platforms, entrepreneurial ventures, and networks.

Platforms (Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Facebook, Kickstarter, Federal Express, Foxconn), which make it possible for entrepreneurial ventures to be built at lower cost with less capital and reduced risk at greater speed. To provide the critical mass that large corporations used to provide — to, for example, sell advertising at scale or acquire distribution or acquire goods or services at volume — sometimes these ventures need to band together in networks (Glam, YouTube, Etsy, eBay).

The bill supports this flourishing start-up trend by updating some outdated laws, from the 1930s, and correcting some from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

Of interest to us, the regular people:

  • Entrepreneurs can raise up to $1 million per year through those approved crowd funding channels.
  • Investors with incomes of less than $100K will be limited to 5 percent, or $2K, investments.
  • Those who make over $100K/year will be limited at 10 percent, or $10K.

Previously, one could not sell equity through crowd funding and only registered investors with $100,000 could fund a company. Now, with the crowd sourcing provision anyone can get in on the action.

This is great for the industry and those with a nose for investing, but do be wary. Internet scammers and unskilled entrepreneurs will soon be asking for your money to fund the next Google.

 

Learn more about the billJumpstart Our Business Start-ups (JOBS) Act

 

// Photo – Guano