Packaging?!?!!!!

ImageReally? Seriously? Ah, come on… I don’t see how the boxes of crackers can get any smaller, the packages of cookies any littler, the ice cream containers any tinier, or the chip bags any more filled with air (and NOT product).  Do they think we don’t notice? Do they think we’ll be glad there’s less so we won’t eat as much? Do they think we appreciate that we don’t have to carry so many bags to the car from the grocery store? Do they think we are glad we have smaller boxes to clutter landfill? What?  I said REALLY????!!

I feel seriously ripped off. I just wanted to let them know that we are paying attention out here. Thanks for listening.

 

Trust

Trust is the new barter system. We trade dollars, but we really work on trust. Trust says, ”My word is my bond.” Trust says, “I’ll work  to help you grow.” Trust says, “I believe in the Golden Rule.” Trust says, “If you really, really want this dream to come true —this book to be written, this business to fly —it will be done.”

Trust is the partner of hope. Trust finds power in the Universe. In fact, it draws power to us from the Universe. Not God, not Buddha, not anything religious, per se. It’s a piece of The Force from Star Wars. It’s the belief that we can win. It’s the David of David and Goliath. It’s belief in oneself. It makes the world work: babies are born with it, companies spawned from it, ideas spread through it. In this increasingly soulless, weary world in which we live, trust is the safety net we crawl into — a hammock that lets us sleep at night. Let’s protect it by trusting in someone or something today.

Meditation — Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

OHHHMMM. Some believe that meditation started 1500 years BCE, give or take. Meditation could be traced to Buddhist India and Taoist China in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, although it is still open for debate. Fast forward to present day, and the practice was not a  large part of Western culture until the Beatles popularized meditation in the 1960s and 70s.  There they go again … changing the world!

Most recently, the cacophony of today’s society is trying to offset itself by meditation. Indeed, Goldie Hawn, Dr. Andrew Weil, Harvard Business Review’s Peter Bregman, Good Morning America’s Dan Harris, and many more espouse its benefits for mind, body and spirit.

Meditation is trending higher for business people, the media, Hollywood stars and just plain folks. It’s an important trend to combat a scary trend. Maybe it will keep us sane.

Coffee!

Did you know that coffee is in most years the second most valuable product traded worldwide, after oil?  The International Coffee Organization (ICO) gathers and updates consumption, production, export, import and pricing information for coffee. Their work is important because of the unique makeup of the industry.  Coffee is produced (grown) in over 60 countries worldwide, and this one crop, coffee, may account for over 50% of the export revenue for many of these countries.  The fact that most of the coffee is produced by independent small farmers lends a fragility to the marketplace, and creates a responsibility on the part of the participants to be good citizens.

The ICO was set up in 1963 under the United Nations. The ICO member countries (not all countries are members) have agreed to agree on activities that will sustain this economically and socially important system.  This governing document is called the International Coffee Agreement of 2007, and it was set in force in February of 2011 to enhance the stability, sustainability, and science of growing and selling coffee.

The daily coffee that we take so much for granted supports the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people. Stay tuned to this blog for trends and updates on a seemingly humble commodity that can make or break countries, companies, families, and individuals.

– See more at: http://www.ico.org/mission07_e.asp?section=About_Us#sthash.pcAiqpJl.dpuf

Curated Brands

Curated Brands

Image
The Getty

When is a post not a post? Hah. This post popped up on Twitter, but has yet to drop here.  It’s a mystery. Here it is today in my blog, and I hope it’s not a repeat for my followers.

Until now,  I did not tend to think of “brands” as being curated.  I think of museum pieces being curated. I think of a curator as in the Wikipedia sense:   “…from Latin, curare meaning “take care”). A curator is a manager or overseer. Traditionally, a curator or keeper of a cultural heritage institution (e.g. gallery, museum, library) is a content specialist responsible for an institution’s collections and involved with the interpretation of heritage material. The object of a traditional curator’s concern necessarily involves tangible objects of some sort, whether it be artwork, collectibles, historic items or scientific collections.”

More things are being curated these days:  I see in the business world the brand manager as curator, in that he or she is responsible for how that brand enters the marketplace and where it is placed relative to other brands. In the same way a museum only shows a selection of its collection, the brand manager strives to show the finest assets of the brand. Or they may choose to carefully and thoughtfully promote their brand to certain demographics, focused on a narrowly defined customer experience.

The curated brands in a recent USA Today article included Gilt, Target, and Apple. The piece was about AC Hotels by Marriott, and the journalist described the AC Hotel target audience as younger travelers, that the experience would essentially be more “tech-y” and hip. [my words]

Another place to look for curated material is at TED.com.  Nowadays, you can find someone you respect/love/would like to know/never heard of/ and see which TED talks they have in their curated collection.  It tells you a lot about that person by seeing how they would curate the thousands of TED talks.

My goal: to curate my own brand. Not there yet, but it is food for thought. Besides, it sounds so cool.

Tesla Motors, Autopilot Cars, You, Me, and Them

 

For starters, if you want to find out more about Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, head over to the TED Talk for a recent interview. Otherwise, stand back to witness the future unfold before your very eyes.

 

I hear you from all the way over here in my blog cave.  You’re saying, “Hah! Auto-piloted cars will never work.” And that’s what they said about toilet paper, airplanes, cordless phones (not to mention cell phones), and anything else that wasn’t here until it was.

 

The really cool part is that the visionaries that define these types of futures are “scientists” (or at least champions of the scientific method)  and dreamers all rolled into one. The Wright Brothers come to mind. Benjamin Franklin. Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. John Lasseter of Pixar.  (Is he a scientist or just a dreamer?)

 

Medical scientists do not radiate the pizazz of an electric car or a cell phone or an airplane, but they are visionaries all the same.  Example: People rarely die of infections any more thanks to Sir Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin back in 1928.  His claim to fame was that he paused to consider a fuzzy Petri dish on a vacation-neglected workbench. Visionary indeed.

 

Thank goodness we still have these folks in our midst. We are lucky to have people that believe they can do what they set out to do, and that they don’t give up.

I like to believe that you and I have the vision to stay out of their way.

IBM makes a movie!

Did you read that IBM has made a movie? It’s called “A Boy and His Atom” and it’s a 90-second tribute to science, creativity,  and (re)invention. IBM was the lumbering pachyderm star from the book Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. written over eleven years ago now. The book was a testament to the fact that people and companies can change, even if they’re big and slow.

So what’s best about the movie? It doesn’t really have a lot to do with computing, but rather to do with science, trying something new, and putting it out into the world. Because they can.

So put something creative out into the world. Because you can.

I will if you will.

Publish… or Perish

Paul Nicklen, photographer for National Geographic, states in his TED talk of March 2011 that National Geographic reminds him quite frequently, “We publish pictures not excuses.” As business people, we can only sell our products, not excuses. We can only sell our services, not excuses.

 

The growth and survival of our companies depend on this tenant. In fact, many companies over the years have unfortunately found that excuses kill. Sometimes excuses are the inability to see the changes before their eyes. Example in an eerily related industry: Kodak. Film cameras and film have all but ceased to exist. The successful slogan “Kodak moment” so well marketed, disappeared from the viewfinder, and they must shudder at their lack of vision. (Pardon all the puns.) They have no excuse. Their pictures go unpublished.

 

This week, IBM has had to retrench in a flurry of unexcused excuses. An Apple? Oh, golly our loyalties are fleeting, and trending shorter.

 

All the more reason to keep in mind that you can only publish pictures, not excuses, and if you don’t — perish.

Plan B

What is a Plan B, besides a morning after pill?

It’s a backup. It’s the spare tire. It’s what you should have behind your Plan A.

Plan B’s are scary because we rarely even have a Plan A.  Why not? Companies usually have Plan A’s. Or Plans. Do they have Plan B’s? Shouldn’t they? What happens if the new product fails? What happens if the production line slows or stops? What do they do if they cannot obtain the part they need?  What’s their Plan B?

What’s your personal Plan B for losing your job in a reorganization? What’s the Plan B for retirement if the kids come back home with your grandchildren in tow? Or THEY lose a job in a reorganization and need a place to stay “for a little while.”

If you don’t have a Plan A, you won’t ever have a Plan B.

So what are your plans for the weekend?

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