Friday, December 24, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
A reason to celebrate, according to timeanddate.com
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Things need to change quickly or the mall concept will become obsolete.
The morning dawn is a cruel taskmaster however a necessary one.
Friday, December 17, 2010
This recession has much in common with this meandering flatwater as a lot of the reserves that have kept individuals from succumbing to the icy cold of the recession are being depleted. Unless the economy thaws quickly the phase transition will occur and individuals who have been barely holding on, will let go!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Roger Dooley shares this,
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Americans are pragmatic; we all know that. But rarely have we seen so much widespread interest in reinvention as we’ll be seeing next year. Boomer Joes and Janes will look to apply “Yes, we can” not to politics, but to their sense of reactualized human potential.
The phenomenon slides from individual to institutional. Just as people confess and redeem their crooked roads through new good works—I see a big trend to volunteerism among boomers.
Our answers will prioritize self-reliance. Respect accrues to brands that can talk to the hands, as the can-do spirit resurges not just in ever-burgeoning DIY movements
Friday, November 26, 2010
That’s your challenge: To figure out what you were made to make. To learn what you were designed to cure. To discover what God had in mind when she put you together. This is life’s most critical assignment. Ignore it at your own peril.
Besides: How dare you dedicate your days to anything else? Isn’t that the point? Isn’t the highest way to show gratitude for the gifts you’ve been given to regift them in the service of the world?
You better believe it. That’s how you pay your rent, validate your existence and offer thanks for your natural endowments. By contributing. By adding value. By leaving this cosmic campsite better than how you found it. Do that, and your customers won’t just thank you – they’ll throw your arms around you.
Remember: Usefulness is worship. Learn why you are, or risk losing who you are. What were you born with that you’ve been ungratefully denying?
REMEMBER: Gratitude isn’t just something you do – it’s something you are.
This week, as you sit down to break bread with your loved ones, and as you and celebrate all there is to be thankful for, keep one thing in mind:
What’s being served on the table isn’t as important as who’s sitting around it.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
- Ideas often come while reading a book
- Good ideas come from bad ideas, but only if there are enough of them
- Ideas hate conference rooms, particularly conference rooms where there is a history of criticism, personal attacks or boredom
- Ideas occur when dissimilar universes collide
- Sometimes ideas come from fear (usually in movies) but often they come from confidence
- Useful ideas come from being awake, alert enough to actually notice
- An idea must come from somewhere, because if it merely stays where it is and doesn't join us here, it's hidden. And hidden ideas don't ship, have no influence, no intersection with the market. They die, alone.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
In their book "Spend Shift" John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonio make several arguments that the credit consumer society of the past has been purified by the Great Recession and a new debit culture has taken it's place. Though I agree with the rise of generosity detailed in the book the premise that the credit society has been altered is completely false. The credit society has not been altered, what has occurred is that the credit facilities that fueled the society have been withdrawn. When the credit flows again and it will, the credit society will come roaring back unabated by the memory of the Great Recession
here is a sampling,
Saturday, November 13, 2010
- Identify. Identifying the correct problem to work on is often where people trip up. It’s not as simple as you might think — breeze over this step at your own peril. Think about a business that has revenue issues. There could be a few hundred reasons for that issue. Asking the right questions and being a smart detective help you zero in on the problem with precision. The good problem solver asks a lot of questions about what the problem really is, instead of guessing and making snap decisions about it.
- Ideate. Now that you have a short list of what the problem might be, brainstorm all the possible solutions. The best brainstorming happens when you have the opportunity to bounce ideas off others. Get the right people in the room and think of as many solutions as you can. This is not the time to evaluate. The physiological brain process of generating ideas is not the same as evaluating them, and they cannot be switched on at the same time. They are both critical processes, but don’t turn off the ideation by turning on the evaluation.
- Evaluate. This is when you evaluate the ideas you came up with during the ideation phase. Evaluate ideas first based on their impact on a goal, and secondly, on the complexity of the idea. Complexity is not about difficulty. Instead, it is determined by only two things: time and money. Can the idea bring about successful results in the time constraints you have, and does it fit any known budget constraints you have? Ask yourself how large an impact the idea has. If you’re trying to cut $10,000 out of a budget and you come up with an idea that saves $100, the impact is relatively low. One with $1,000 becomes a higher-impact solution. You are looking for high–impact, low-complexity ideas.
- Execute. This is another step average problem solvers often skip. It does no good to come up with a great idea and then bungle execution on it. We’ve all been in those meetings where ideas are brainstormed and funneled into a few doable deeds, only to walk out of the meeting and never know when or how the ideas will be executed. Fruitless. Come up with a plan to get your idea done. You don’t have to be the executor of the full idea, but as a problem solver, you have some responsibility for implementing the solution.
- Re-examine. The final step is to check in with the solution’s progress and determine if it is still the right one. There will be times when the problem still exists because the solution wasn’t right. Don’t throw in the towel. Go back to step two and get going on the next solution to try.
- There are people around you, fellow travelers, magnetic energy, shared joy.
- Something might go wrong. The artist is like a tightrope walker, taking big chances and the drama it creates is engrossing.
- You might be surprised. Something new and wonderful might happen and it might jar you awake.
MP Mueller explains
There are Mandarin guides to Millennium Park, a great favorite among Chinese visitors, and to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park. Macy's department stores offer "savings passes" in Mandarin. The Wendella boat cruises' Web site has a Mandarin section listing its schedules and prices. The John Hancock Tower offers a Mandarin language audio guide to its observation deck.
"This lake is a great attraction for Chinese people," said Wang Suqi, a visitor from Beijing looking down on Lake Michigan from the Hancock last week. "It seems as vast as an ocean."
Wang, 58, was touring the city with a group of Chinese travel agents to better familiarize themselves with Chicago's attractions. Chinese culture helped explain his fascination with the lake.
"For us, water symbolizes luck and hope, and it symbolizes money," he said.
Most Chinese coming to Chicago in the past have combined tourism with business and convention trips, Wang said. They return home impressed with the city's architecture, museums, music, dining and shopping, he said.
It also doesn't hurt that two airlines, United and American, now fly nonstop daily between O'Hare International Airport and China.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I can see the restaurant ads. Eat more ice cream and slim down!
Chris Woolston's article explains
according to a long and fascinating article recently published on Psychology Today. According to author Erika Casriel, “the reality is that most socially confident people deliberately learn specific skills.”
So what exercises do the experts recommend for the confidence-challenged who are keen to learn to keep cool in front of others? First, forget about simply repressing your anxiety, which simply makes you more self-conscious. Then, consider honing the following skills:
- Read your body right: “You can create a crisis of confidence by overreacting to your own normal heightened alertness. But if you can work yourself up simply by misinterpreting your body’s signals, you can chill yourself out by reading them correctly. The irony of misreading your nervous system’s cues is that far from harming you, your natural excitement can enhance your performance. Increased activation is not a sign that you’re failing, but that you want to do well and your body is ready to help.”
- Focus on helping others: “Mastering social skills requires tuning in to your self-esteem. But instead of being self-conscious and fixating on your anxiety, work on creating positive interactions that make the people around you feel engaged and happy. Focusing less on yourself and more on others will yield big payoffs in expanded social opportunities.” Also, “feeling allegiance to a larger cause can make your discomfort more tolerable”
On Nov. 17, Michelin will announce the selection for its first-ever MICHELIN Guide Chicago. Today, however, Michelin offers a sneak peek at the first collection of what's in store from MICHELIN Guide Chicago 2011 – the Bib Gourmand selection. The Bib Gourmand designation denotes good cuisine at a reasonable price in a variety of comfort categories. Defined as "Inspectors' Favorites for Good Value," Bib Gourmand restaurants offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included), and are often of most value to a city's residents, who regularly dine in neighborhood restaurants.
Some good restaurants are on this list
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Robert Reich has this,
James Galbraith takes the administration to task for not doing enough.
But one cannot defend the actions of Team Obama on taking office. Law, policy and politics all pointed in one direction: turn the systemically dangerous banks over to Sheila Bair and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Insure the depositors, replace the management, fire the lobbyists, audit the books, prosecute the frauds, and restructure and downsize the institutions. The financial system would have been cleaned up. And the big bankers would have been beaten as a political force.
Michael Perelman reprints a letter sent to the President by John Maynard Keyes,
“You have made yourself the Trustee for those in every country who seek to mend the evils of our condition by reasoned experiment within the framework of the existing social system. If you fail, rational change will be gravely prejudiced throughout the world, leaving orthodoxy and revolution to fight it out. But if you succeed, new and bolder methods will be tried everywhere, and we may date the first chapter of a new economic era from your accession to office.”
The internet provides a wealth of information about your guests, some is relevant, some is not and like mining it require some effort to extract.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The second lesson is that if your are going to change, then change big because the result is the same. In too many cases the administration and the congressional leadership acted timidly because they were afraid of backlash. Well I am here to tell you that it is better to flame white hot across the sky and die out than to sit on the shelf of indifference and collect dust.
The third lesson is that this is only one election, there will be another. The politicking has already started. Keep Calm and Carry On!
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
-- December, 2007: Spending slightly more than last year, sub-prime mess is somebody else's problem
-- May, 2008: Gas prices way up, banking crisis in the news -- maybe we need to be little cautious
-- August, 2008: Democratic National Convention says things really are getting different this time, maybe more caution is warranted
-- November, 2008: Good, the election's over, and gas prices are down -- things are getting normal again
-- March, 2009: The 401K may be hurting, but at least we have the house to retire on
-- June, 2009: Unemployment numbers don't look good, but those usually start back down
-- January, 2010: Unemployment is getting worse, let's pay down our credit cards
-- May, 2010: There may be a recovery going on somewhere else, but it certainly ain't here
-- August, 2010: Politics are getting ugly again, things aren't about to improve anytime soon
There probably hasn't been two separate recessions in three years, simply one that has evolved in significant ways. But if this really is a "double dip" recession, then our data indicates that the "Great Recession" of 2008 was merely the precursor, and not the main event. It is this current dip that we should be really concerned about; the current contraction in consumer demand is about
structural changes in consumer behavior, whereas the "first dip" was about short term loss of consumer confidence.
This recession has been complex and constantly evolving in ways that policy makers have not been able to understand through their low resolution lenses. As a consequence their policy responses have been misguided, ineffective and wasteful. The Federal Reserve may be able to save the banking system by being the "lender of last resort", but it is powerless to change perhaps the one thing that John Maynard Keynes got right -- and what he mischaracterized as a "Paradox
of Thrift" -- as over 100 million U.S. households become economic "loose cannons", acting exclusively in their own best interests in 100 million different ways.
- fundamental attribution error (over-attributing intention and under-attributing circumstance to another’s harm-causing behavior while over-attributing circumstance and under-attributing intention to our own harm-causing behavior /1;
- clustering illusion (seeing patterns where none exist); and,
- confirmation bias (selecting from a vast amount of data only that which confirms our pre-existing opinions)
[N]othing ends well. In the end, the universe, like the house, always wins. Yet, we do not have to tolerate agony and pain all the way up until our inevitable demise. We live. We love. We laugh in defiance of that inevitability. If we have our heads on straight we’ll do it right up until the cold, bitter, utterly unjust and utterly unavoidable end. We are mortals — those who die. That fact should infuse our every value and animate our every action.
When my loved ones take ill they sometimes ask me — with hope in their eyes — “Am I going to die?” Yes, I answer, I cannot change that. But not today.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
- The value of "rich exchanges" and tacit knowledge is higher
- The potential of serendipitous interactions increases
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Though the most successful founders are usually good people, they tend to have a piratical gleam in their eye. They're not goody-two-shoes good. Morally they care about getting the big questions right but not about observing proprieties. That's why I'd use the word "naughty" rather than evil. They delight in breaking rules--but not rules that matter. This quality may be redundant, though; it may be implied by imagination.
Sam Altman of Loopt is one of the most successful alumni, so we asked him what question we could put on the Y Combinator application that would help us discover more people like him. He said to ask about a time when they'd hacked something to their advantage--hacked in the sense of beating the system, not breaking into computers. It has become one of the questions we pay most attention to when judging applications.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Dave Logan has a great article on "muchness"
First, recognize that it’s your job to create muchness around you. Unlike raw goods and money (unless you own an illegal printing press), there’s no limit to how much muchness you and your company can create. How do you do this? By emphasizing untapped opportunities in the economy, including incredible talent looking for a place to call home.
Second, if muchness is lacking, create it in pockets. People are tribal by nature, and one tribe can enjoy muchness while the next tribe over is in despair. While it’s too simplistic to just tell your tribes to opt out of the bad economy, you can say you’re going to do things differently and choose not take part in the collective melancholy. It’s critical to avoid the common stupid business ideas that steal muchness from companies and individuals.
Third, see muchness as a cause, and not an effect. It wasn’t morning in America until Reagan said it was. When people believed him, the economic sun started to rise. Muchness comes before a great P&L.
A very different kind of Starbucks is on tap. It will serve regional wine and beer. It offers an expansive plate of locally made cheeses — served on china. The barista bar is rebuilt to seat customers up close to the coffee.
Most conspicuously, the place looks less like a Starbucks and more like a cafe that's been part of the neighborhood for years — yet that's "green" in design and decor. This is the calling card of independent java joints that have been eating and sipping away at Starbucks' evening business for decades. U.S. Starbucks stores get 70% of business before 2 p.m.
2. Rather than simply trying to get more out of us, great leaders seek to understand and meet our needs, above all a compelling mission beyond our immediate self-interest, or theirs.
3. Great leaders take the time to clearly define what success looks like, and then empower and trust us to figure out the best way to achieve it.
4. The best of all leaders--a tiny fraction--have the capacity to embrace their own opposites, most notably vulnerability alongside strength, and confidence balanced by humility.
All four capacities are grounded in one overarching insight. Great leaders recognize that the best way to get the highest value is to give the highest value.
Recent studies have linked garbanzo beans and a Mediterranean diet with numerous health benefits, such as improved heart health, reduced risk of diabetes and dementia, decreased risk for stomach cancer, and even a lessened appearance of wrinkles.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
SET CLEAR GOALS
CHECK YOUR DATA
Use the Foursquare analytic dashboard to glean valuable data about bar customers, like how they break down by gender, when they check in and with whom they check in. By doing so, he can discern patterns of how business ebbs and flows throughout a week.
Recently, the bar’s managers noticed that check-ins declined after 2 a.m. on Saturdays. In response, the Destination Bar started holding a late-night happy hour — spreading the word through social media. A rise in check-ins and sales followed. “I look at the Foursquare check-ins as a representation, like the Nielsen ratings,” Mr. Maccarone said. “You can tell a lot about your audience based on the breakdown of the people who are checking in because they are a good sample set of your regular customer base.”
Sunday, October 3, 2010
- Internal relationship between coworkers. Win-win, collaborate, all the way. Anything else is dysfunctional. Sure, the dysfunctional stuff - back stabbing, taking credit for someone else’s work, sugar-coating BS, CYA - all exists, but don’t fall into that trap. You either have to play it smarter or find a company that doesn’t accept that kind of crap.
- Boss-employee relationship. Again, Win-win, collaborate, all the way, same as with coworkers. Companies don’t exist for you, your boss, or your employees. They exist for two reasons: to provide a product or service to customers, and to provide value to shareholders. All employees at every level should be aligned to do that, simple as that.
- Competitors in the marketplace. I win - you lose. Period. Market competition is a zero-sum game, simple as that. To suggest otherwise is idiotic. And yes, you should befriend your competitors, call them frienemies, hang out and party with them, anything you like. Just listen more than you talk. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, right?
Goal: I win - you lose
- Customer-vendor relationship. Customer-vendor relationships should always yield the perception of a win-win, especially if you want an ongoing relationship. That said, when you approach negotiations, your goal is to get the better deal while the other guy thinks he did okay too. I think of that as “I win - you don’t lose.” Camp provides a pretty good approach for doing that. It’s not easy at first, but you do get better at it with experience.
Goal: I win - you don’t lose
- Job or consulting opportunity. It’s important to note that, in this situation, you all have to live with each other after the fact. So, whichever side of the equation you’re on, don’t overpromise and risk underdelivering or underplay your hand and risk losing the gig. Best to be genuine. That said, when it comes to negotiating dollars and cents, it’s the same as customer-vendor.
Goal: I win - you don’t lose
Saturday, October 2, 2010
The work looks at the results of the Peter Principle, which predicts that people are promoted to the level of their incompetence. Their skill gets them a series of job advances until they are ultimately promoted one level higher than abilities warrant. This results in an organization promoting itself into declining performance.
The Italian researchers ran computational models and concluded that ”counterintuitively, that in order to avoid such an (Peter Principle) effect the best ways for improving the efficiency of a given organization are either to promote each time an agent at random or to promote randomly the best and the worst members in terms of competence.”
Is your dart board in top working order?
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
So, where did coffee come from and how did it get so popular? Coffee dates as far back as the 9th century. It was first discovered in Ethiopia by a goat herder named Kaldi. He noticed the stimulating effects that the coffee berries had on his goats and began to experiment with them.
A century later, coffee began to be roasted and traded by Arabs. From there, the beans entered Indian and European markets and the first coffee shop opened in Constantinople in 1475. The popularity of coffee took off and began to grow at an exponential rate.
Today, over 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year. It is a world commodity that is second only to oil. Hot, iced, flavored, decaf, espresso, cappuccino, or latte, there are many ways to enjoy your coffee. Don't forget to take a coffee break (or two) to celebrate this historical and important beverage!
Monday, September 27, 2010
Focus: Focus on your values, vision, mission, strategy, goals, tactics and processes. Clarity of thought and attention to detail will take you where you want to go. Don’t focus on failure; focus on success.
Explore: Search out your fears and confront them. Be willing to learn from your fears. I have learned far more from my fears and failures than I ever have from my victories. Introspective thinking is one of the most productive things you can do to advance your learning.
Assess: This is your time to innovate…Take stock of what you learn during times of self-assessment, failure analysis, introspective thinking and research. There is nothing wrong with failure assuming that you learn from it, leverage it, and not fall prey to the same mistakes in the future.
Respond: Develop a bias toward action…Use focus, exploration, and assessment to develop actionable steps to managing risk and achieving your goals. You can accomplish great things through action and few things through inaction.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
There is no sense of scale to the expressed thought. There is no perspective to view the impact of actions. It is no longer true that if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, did it make a sound. Now all the sounds are immediately broadcast for all to listen to or ignore at their peril.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
marketwatch .com had this ditty.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
The endless ebb and flow, of birth, death and birth again. Enjoy the journey around the sun!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
To sum up: "It's bad," Hamilton says.
We're apparently drinking a lot -- beer, wine, and liquor stores are doing well.
Strangely, child care centers are still doing well, even though you'd think there are fewer people needing child care since more are unemployed. That one's a puzzle to me.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Turns out that good ideas and strong talent is as fickle as it is seducing. As soon as you start making big-company compromises, the good idea turns average, and the average turns into a write-off.
There’s always a fresh crop of shiny ideas and sassy talent available to try that-which-does-not-work once more.
The natural human diet is made up of fresh fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds. People who eat this along with small amounts of meat, fish and dairy are more likely to stay thin and healthy to a ripe old age.
There is the ability to go national with the first mass mover in this concept.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
reflecting on past successes (plural) leads your brain to unconsciously, and quite naturally, assume that since you are the common denominator in all of those successes, your traits (e.g., your intelligence, creativity, charm) are the reason for your success.
Believing that you've got it, whatever it is, makes you more confident, and provides a very real boost to your performance.
But what if instead of reflecting on your past successes and failures plural, you just thought about a single success or failure? What does your brain do with just one particular memory? The answer: it unconsciously draws the opposite conclusion! That's right - remembering a single episode of success can make you doubt yourself, just as the memory of a single instance of failure can leave you feeling more confident. But why?
You get the same boost of confidence from thinking about a single time you screwed up that you do from reflecting on the many times you really shined. And you fall victim to the same nagging self-doubt from thinking about that one time you did something right, that you do from dwelling on all the times you did everything wrong.
So if you're looking to bolster your confidence and really motivate yourself before your next test, or your next blind date, or maybe the next meeting you have to run, remember that it's a good idea to draw on your memories of success, so long as you have a string of successes in mind. That way, your unconscious mind (which is so often the maker or breaker of a great performance) will clearly understand that your awesomeness is not the exception - it's the rule.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
No business wants to be collecting dust along with horse buggies and buggy whips. The danger is that in reaching for a new market your business ignores the "x" that is still paying the bills, albeit for a short time. There is no magic formula as to how much of ones resources to devote to the new. Clearly new involves the ongoing standards war "VHS v Betamax", the not knowing which will work and which will not. Pioneers "first movers" can be richly rewarded with fertile fields or they can die by being ill prepared for the cold dark winter. Settlers on the other hand come in when law and civilization have been established. They don't make as large a profit, however they survive at greater levels than the pioneers.
If your offering is always better, you don't have loyal customers, you have smart ones. Don't brag about how loyal your customers are when you're the cheapest or you have clearly dominated some key element of what the market demands. That's not loyalty. That's something else.
Loyal customers understand that there's almost always something better out there, but they're not so interested in looking.
Rewarding loyalty for loyalty's sake--not by paying people for sticking it out so the offering ends up being more attractive--is not an obvious path, but it's a worthwhile one. Tell a story that appeals to loyalists. Treat different customers differently, and reserve your highest level of respect for those that stand by you.
The majority of businesses reward new customers while essentially the gouging the ones that come week after week. How does that action or the perception play out? Not well.
"Location is not necessarily the goal of the interaction. Rather, location is a piece of information that provides context to the user experience and can create a more relevant and engaging interaction with the consumer," Becker said.
That's because of inexperience and fears about threatening consumers' comfort level. "The next few years will be very important for companies to get it right and not abuse the location information they're getting," he said.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date; Bill
Amy Reeves details how Panera was able to introduce a high price point winner against the same economic maelstrom that everyone else faced,
Panera is also taking the non-discount approach to its new loyalty program, called MyPanera, which is currently in testing. Rather than rewarding customer loyalty with, say, the occasional freebie, Shaich says Panera aims to give its diners unique experiences.
"It may be coming in early to get an opportunity to see our new products, come in for a tasting, (or) cooking school, working in the bakery itself with the kids," he said. "We also do find opportunities to surprise people with something they didn't expect, a gift maybe. But it's all unique to that individual."
Over its 29-year existence, Panera has endured several recessions. And its main key to survival is to not panic, says Piper Jaffray analyst Nicole Miller Regan.
"They're benefiting from what they didn't do," she said. "Unlike some of their peers who've cut labor costs, cut services and discounted menu items, they just stuck with their core strategy."
Sunday, September 5, 2010
"We store memories of what we think we've consumed and that somehow affects and regulates the hunger we've experienced between meals," Brunstrom said.
It also has implications for foods advertised as low-fat, Schoeller said. "If people are expecting that it's not going to be very satisfying and also that it's something they can eat without gaining weight, there is a tendency to eat more of it. And this study suggests that part of that might be related to our perception of how full we are."
Still, it's premature to hook a pump to your soup bowl in hopes of tricking yourself into losing weight, Schoeller said. "You don't know for sure if this translates from a single meal to a chronic effect of 12 weeks of eating smaller meals." That's because physical hunger cues may overpower visual cues once someone has tried to cut calories for a longer period of time, he said.