One-year later – Apple has a new look and it’s all Tim Cook

Reuters has put up an interesting piece – calling the iPhone 5 the product of Tim Cook. Citing the Apple Maps rollout and possible blunder. “The speed of the global launch that astounded” analysts by getting millions of phones into stores with supply chain perfection. And most importantly for fanboys, his role in the Keynotes where he appears at the end and beginning with brief messages.

It’s the new Apple under Tim Cook and he is molding the company that Steve built – into his own image – again from Reuters:

He has introduced a dividend to pay out part of the more than $100 billion cash stockpile, raised salaries for a rabidly loyal but low-paid workforce in the Apple stories, and sped up product rollouts.

Not to mention opening up Apple to charities – by offering a matching gift program. These are things Steve never would have done, but the world seems okay with that. Shoppers are eagerly buying the iPhone 5, traders are buying Apple stock – it’s still going up – and  the company is still growing.

The only remaining question is can Tim Cook come out with a new product. So far he has only improved and continued the existing line. And that is always a company’s biggest challenge.

Continue reading One-year later – Apple has a new look and it’s all Tim Cook

The best beach & sports sunscreens

The best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt. No chemicals for the skin to absorb, no questions about whether the product works, no bogus claims like “sunblock.” (No conventional product blocks out all rays. That’s why the FDA is trying to ban the term. )

But when you can’t avoid exposing your skin to the sun, use EWG’s Sunscreen Guide to find top-rated sunscreens with broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) protection but fewer hazardous chemicals that penetrate the skin.

***

The list has narrowed down over 1800 sunscreens to 188 of the best beach/sport options.

Each one contain the minerals zinc or titanium. They are the right choices for people who want the best UVA protection without any chemical considered to be a potential hormone disruptor. None of the products contain oxybenzone or vitamin A, and none are sprayed or powdered.

See if your sunscreen is on the list, or find one to buyEWG Sunscreen Buyer’s Guide 2012

Continue reading The best beach & sports sunscreens

Venture capitalists invested $5.8 billion in the first quarter of 2012

Venture capitalists invested $5.8 billion in 758 deals in the first quarter of 2012.

The report shows that after a strong fourth quarter 2011, VC investment activity for the quarter fell 19 percent in terms of dollars and 15 percent in the number of deals compared to the fourth quarter of 2011 when $7.1 billion was invested in 889 deals.

  • Life Sciences and Clean Technology sectors saw decreases
  • Double-digit percentage increases in the Consumer Products and Services, and Telecommunications industries.
  • The Software industry received the highest level of funding for all industries

 

Read the full reportLeena Rao, TechCrunch

 

“To make something great you have to be willing to throw away something good” – Steve Jobs (video)

Perfection, or rather the pursuit of perfection. It’s a quality that only the rarest individual can achieve.

In my opinion, Steve Jobs came very close with many of his products, even though in the fast-pace world of technology they become dated just a few years later. To achieve this he would often talk about the need to start over. To go back to the beginning even when you’re halfway done, against a deadline, and going to upset a lot of people.

The more I listen to him explain this concept the more I understand it. In the early stages of development a lot is learned and mistakes are made. This process often influences the development of the product and even makes it into the final release.

To start over, to take that new knowledge back to the beginning often results in a far superior product. Yet, for some reason, all of us are afraid to scrap our rough drafts and spend the time to start over.

If we can meld this with our own desire to achieve perfection, or even greatness, then perhaps we can achieve what Steve was able to achieve.

Steve Jobs on Design

Some transcribed quotes from the video:

Steve: “Design is a really loaded word…I don’t even know what it means. So we don’t talk about design a lot around here, we actually just talk about how things work. Most people think it’s how they look but it’s not really how they look it’s how they work.”

Johnny Ive: “When we were developing the iMac we were at a point where we had a couple of solutions, and we thought they were good. But, then we had that sinking feeling, you know when you start to convince yourself that something is better than you really know that it is.”

Steve: “Sometimes you just have to look at it yourself and say, you know it’s just not really great, it’s ok, it’s good, but lets not fool ourselves and call it great.”

Steve: “We are willing to throw something away because it’s not great and try again, when all of the pressure of commerce and business are at your back saying no you can’t do that.”

"To make something great you have to be willing to throw away something good" – Steve Jobs (video)

Perfection, or rather the pursuit of perfection. It’s a quality that only the rarest individual can achieve.

In my opinion, Steve Jobs came very close with many of his products, even though in the fast-pace world of technology they become dated just a few years later. To achieve this he would often talk about the need to start over. To go back to the beginning even when you’re halfway done, against a deadline, and going to upset a lot of people.

The more I listen to him explain this concept the more I understand it. In the early stages of development a lot is learned and mistakes are made. This process often influences the development of the product and even makes it into the final release.

To start over, to take that new knowledge back to the beginning often results in a far superior product. Yet, for some reason, all of us are afraid to scrap our rough drafts and spend the time to start over.

If we can meld this with our own desire to achieve perfection, or even greatness, then perhaps we can achieve what Steve was able to achieve.

Steve Jobs on Design

Some transcribed quotes from the video:

Steve: “Design is a really loaded word…I don’t even know what it means. So we don’t talk about design a lot around here, we actually just talk about how things work. Most people think it’s how they look but it’s not really how they look it’s how they work.”

Johnny Ive: “When we were developing the iMac we were at a point where we had a couple of solutions, and we thought they were good. But, then we had that sinking feeling, you know when you start to convince yourself that something is better than you really know that it is.”

Steve: “Sometimes you just have to look at it yourself and say, you know it’s just not really great, it’s ok, it’s good, but lets not fool ourselves and call it great.”

Steve: “We are willing to throw something away because it’s not great and try again, when all of the pressure of commerce and business are at your back saying no you can’t do that.”

Are cars causing Global Warming?

I often hear folks complain about cars and the pollution they cause. This seemed a little off so I did some investigating.

Out of all the ways to go green, including reducing energy use, buying green products, and driving less…

 

Which one is the best for the environment?

 

The EPA keeps a tally of these things on their Climate Change page and in an Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions (pdf).

The results are astounding. Cars account for only 17% of all emissions. While 80% comes from home use, business, and food.

 

[box type=”shadow”]

2009 US Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • Business — 35.6%
  • Electricity — 33%
  • Personal vehicles — 17.8%
  • Agriculture — 7%
  • Residential — 5%
  • US territories — 1%

* Business = factories, business vehicles, office buildings
** Residential = gas heating
*** Includes CO2 and all other gasses 

[/box]

 

To put it another way. If you buy a recycled product or reduce your energy use, that has 2x greater impact than driving less does.

This means things like hang drying your clothes, buying recycled toilet paper, reusing floss, and turning off the A/C, are much more important than biking to work.

I know, I know, this just doesn’t seem right.

The numbers don’t lie…so next time you get in the car think, instead, about how you can reduce your energy use or buy a sustainably created product.

 

More on the Numbers

 

If you think about driving, most of the recommendations are for health concerns instead of pollution problems. Things like biking to work and reducing traffic congestion. Or, it is about geopolitics and our reliance on other countries for oil.

The thing is, most of the car industry is green and even innovative. There are smog checks, 40 mpg cars, engine filters galore, a huge used car industries (i.e. reuse), and awesome junkyards (recycle).

From the top, where the rich subsidize the innovations like electric cars. To the bottom, where the middle and poor buy used to save money. The entire industry appears to have itself aligned in an environmental way.

Compare that to the energy industry and green product market where that alignment isn’t quite there yet. Buying a used car saves money and helps the entire industry, and it is considered cool/smart. Whereas, buying recycled or hang drying your clothes makes you kind of extreme, and not all locations offer products.

Not to mention the incentives are tiny. The pennies and dimes I save in electricity use make me to question the extra effort. The only thing that keeps me going is “think of the kids”, lol.

This may be a good place for smart government. A good example would be the car industry, where those who drive a lot or purchase low MPG cars pay much more at the pump. They also pay more taxes and if you look at how much tax is loaded into each gallon, it’s a lot.

Perhaps there could be an extra tax on those who use more electricity. Make those who own big houses or a million appliances pay more. Use that money to fund clean energy projects.

I’m seeing this happen in a few regions but not at the scale where it needs to be. I say tax the hell out of wasters and over-users otherwise it makes all my reductions inconsequential.

Plus, it sure would be nice to get rid of these coal and gas power plants…

 

Which one would you rather have in your backyard?