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L3C: For Profit Entity with Non-Profit Soul

May 28, 2008 by  

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To the extent that new legal structures can be exciting — which is a long shot for many, I admit — there is one on the horizon.  The L3C (Low-Profit Limited Liability Company) officially came into being in Vermont last month.  It has national applicability (thanks to the fact that it is essentially a modified version of the LLC which exists in all 50 states) and provides enormous potential to facilitate socially beneficial and “double bottom line” investing by commercial investors and philanthropic entities alike.  Among other advantages, it flips the traditional investment model on its head by enabling (1) foundations and donor advised funds the ability to meet Program Related Investment (PRI) requirements by taking an equity position in the L3C (high-risk + low-return), with the possibility of receiving financial returns in the future, and (2) market investors increased opportunities to enter the social investment arena due to such equity cushion (low-risk + high-return). The L3C is a fascinating model and appears to be broadly workable.  The more I learn about it, the more I like it…  Perhaps a longer post about it in the future.


I work for myself. Who do you work for?

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The subjects of work and economy have been issues of considerable conversation recently, both with people I know here in Vietnam and my email friends back in the US and UK. Inflation rates globally are at 7% with over 4% in the US and UK and 20% here in Vietnam – and
Carlson communications, Asshole, FDI Vietnam, Jerk Boss,Vietnam Advertising Association, ARTI,  Leona, Marketing, Paul Graham, Philip Kotlersalaries are not keeping pace, anywhere – there is truly no place to run. China’s not the answer that’s for sure. Just read The New York Times story on the problems with construction of the Olympic facilities and realize the headaches of the international architects and low commissions they’ve accepted – yes, arguably, to build some of the finest examples of contemporary architecture this century has yet to offer – because the opportunity and low labor costs make comparable buildings impossibly unfeasible in any developed economy. Nobody’s making any money in China right now but they are just working because that’s where the work is. And that beats not working at all.
In Vietnam things are no different. For all the massive construction projects and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) it’s hard to see the trickle-down theory in practice aside from providing plenty of


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Mississippi: Ground Zero for the Blues

May 20, 2008 by  

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Everyone knows that Mississippi is the home of the blues. It’s the place Robert Johnson supposedly met the Devil at the Crossroads and was given the vision of music, like Moses getting those tablets. But until I went there, I don’t think I really understood the blues, and I’ve been a big fan most of my life. It didn’t take a Devil to make this music. Just hanging in this land of blistering heat, sweltering cotton fields and bottomless poverty, the soul of this sad and heroic music quickly became clear. The blues is living in a see-through home, where you can see always see daylight through the cracks in the wood walls. Cimg2460 You feel like you are underwater, always weighted down by the humidity and heat. And it is only spring. It’s looking at buildings and not being able to tell if they are about to be torn down, or are open for business. Cimg2467 The blues is going to the local pharmacy, which has a quaint 1940s-style ice cream fountain, and an armed guard because people are cashing pay checks here…

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Sweden Culture Tips

May 20, 2008 by  

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swedishflag460.jpg Some basic cultural knowledge will be helpful when doing business with Swedes: * The concept of “lagom” – “just enough” or “everything in moderation” – affects Swedish attitudes and beliefs.
* People expect to be treated with an equal amount of respect and will express their opinions based upon their ability to contribute.
* Since many people view status symbols as pretentious, you cannot evaluate an individual’s rank or importance based on external cues.
* Swedes see themselves as being egalitarian and direct and are comfortable addressing everyone in a concise mode of expression.
* It is considered disrespectful to be late for business meetings or social occasions.
* Sweden is a relatively low risk and low change tolerant culture; societal change is difficult to bring about and not received with enthusiasm.
* Swedes can be quite exacting about punctuality, agendas, and timetables.
* Swedes use silence to think before speaking and to avoid confrontation. Do not continue speaking simply because the other party is silent.


Why Hillary Lost My Daughter and Me

May 13, 2008 by  

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This morning I asked my 15-year-old daughter what she didn’t like about Hillary Clinton. “I mean at the beginning, before she started going negative and attacking Barack Obama,” I said, trying to rewind history. My daughter was sitting at the kitchen table, where thousands of impassioned conversations in America have taken place last year about the historic possibility of the first female president. She didn’t have much trouble answering. Not simply because she’s a thoughtful young woman, an unabashed feminist, who relishes a good political argument as much as her mother. Compared with that other historic candidate, for her there was no contest. “I didn’t find her inspirational at all,” she said flatly of Clinton. As for Barack Obama, she heard in his soothing voice, his brilliant speeches, his very demeanor, the language of her generation. The language of inclusion and hope. “He talks about change, and I believe him,” my daughter said, her face lighting up. We’ve heard a lot about the power of inspiration during this long heated race. From the beginning Hillary was roundly dismissive of such talk. Oh, those naïve young people! she condescended. Those starry-eyed kids drinking the Obama punch! Maybe if she had been…

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Interview with Muhammad Khaldi in Khawalid

May 12, 2008 by  

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Taken from JD’s site – video footage he shots in Israel when we were all there together in April. Description here: a 3 minute 45 second chat with Muhammad Khaldi in Khawalid, a Bedouin Arab village in northern Israel, and his son Ishmael Khaldi, who is the deputy consul of the Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest in San Francisco. We had the talk during a visit to the Khaldi home by a group of 10 Innovation Israel bloggers from the San Francisco Bay Area. Both Ishmael and Deborah Schultz interpret Muhammad’s remarks from Arabic into English.


Tokyo Reporter Fights Mob

May 12, 2008 by  

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One of the highlights of my recent Tokyo trip was meeting Missouri-born cop reporter Jake Adelstein, who covered police for a daily newspaper in Tokyo, and has run afoul of the mob there. I didn’t want to write anything until this article came out.
You can see why when you read it. Adelstein says he thinks this story may save his life, getting attention on the hit that has been ordered on him, and on the lack of response from law enforcement. I hear other newspapers, including the LA Times, are following the story today. Adelstein took me and my friends around Tokyo, to a Euro-trash bar opening party and to a quaint jazz club. He had cops living in his house and watching him 24/7….but never mentioned, as he does in this story, that the Japanese mob likes to take out people around their victim as well. I knew I felt a little twitchy around him for a reason. Regardless, radio hosts will want to book him when his book comes out…He’s a great story teller and has views of Japan that no other American has seen. At his home, he showed me a tape of…

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Remembering our Mothers Today

May 11, 2008 by  

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In honor of the mothers in our lives, some lost, some gone, but never forgotten. Thooandmominoldkitchen


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