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Learning Something New in Kansas City

October 27, 2014 by  

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Frequent travelers know about the major cities in the world and this is where they flock for the most part – Paris, London, Dublin, New York, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Singapore, Sydney, Stockholm, Hong Kong, Berlin…..but what about the lesser known gems that have a whole lotta culture but perhaps not the draw of a non-urban getaway that the allure of Canada or Patagonia’s natural beauty provides? And yet, in the serene wildwest, Kansas City has it’s fair share of natural beauty, from sunsets to architecture as is the case of these two beautiful shots of the Kansas City Mormon Temple. Rolling into Kansas City, you might just notice a quirky blend of a growing urban center with innovation and cultural activities you wouldn’t have expected ten or even five years ago. The city is changing and as it does, it gives a fresh new impression to the phrase America’s Midwest. Some of this is due to the fact that Kansas City has had a history of hosting industries others haven’t – like Minneapolis in that there’s a twin city thang going on between…

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Canva On iPad For Creating Great Designs On The Go

October 21, 2014 by  

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Whether you are a social media professional or just a professional in any career -  graphics is an important part of presentations, events, group, online and meeting communications.  In the past expensive and complicated graphics software was needed to create and “size” graphics. I have been following and learning about social media from Guy Kawaski for years and recently he shared information about Canva as a great website to create graphics. I started using Canva for my social media and professional graphic projects and was thrilled at how easy it was for even people like me (graphically challenged).  I just received a press release that Canva is now available on the iPad, which makes it even easier to create graphics on the go!
“Canva makes it amazingly simple for everyone to create professional quality graphic designs. Its online design platform brings together a simple drag-and-drop design tool and a library of more than one million photographs, graphics and fonts, allowing anyone to take an idea and present it beautifully in print or online. Canva can be used to design almost anything: presentations, posters, blog content, cards, online marketing materials, invitations, flyers and so much more. 
 Key Features: “Design for…

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Trends & Indian Culture in the Work Environment

October 20, 2014 by  

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shutterstock_146703290 Earlier this week, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide announced its plan to move their global headquarters nearly 8,000 miles and ten time zones from Stamford Connecticut to India for the month of March 2015. The Times of India reports that this is the third temporary “leadership move” Starwood has undertaken, which fosters an innovative approach to developing a global business culture and fostering relationships in developing markets. Previously, Starwood Hotels has sent their executives to China in 2011 and Dubai in 2013. Starwood President and CEO, Frits Van Passen had this to say about the one-month move:
This is a particularly exciting time for us relocate to India. Its renewed focus on travel infrastructure is much needed, as travel demand is fueled by economic growth and a population expected to overtake China by 2030. We all know of India as a hotbed of technological innovation and global services. Coupled with the rise in entrepreneurship and investment, millions of people are joining its middle class every year. And, of course, this means millions of new travelers. At the same time, India is both unique and immensely diverse. Our extended time there will allow us to immerse ourselves and


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Underground Cellar Helps Wineries Sell Wine Online

October 6, 2014 by  

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I recently met Jeffrey Shaw, CEO of Underground Cellar, a startup focused on helping wineries sell wine online. He and his team has developed a great technology platform to allow wineries to market themselves and sell their wines but it is also using its own platform to sell wine on behalf of many wineries — using a clever business model. Shaw explained that when wineries want their help to shift certain wines, Underground Cellar will taste the wines first and then agree to sell a set number of cases and take a sales commission. It always asks the winery to give it additional cases of some of its other lines, often high-end expensive vintages, and those are used to reward its customers. When customers order wine, they have a chance to win additional bottles for free, equivalent to what they have ordered, or better. The probability of winning extra bottles is shown each time in real time. [All it needs (below) is some revolving cherries to create a virtual one-armed bandit.] DSC00019 Customers used to have to wait until their order arrived to see if they had won but Shaw says telling…

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A New Heart for Paris – the Renovation of the Forum des Halles Shopping Centre

August 12, 2014 by  

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My wife grew up in the Centre of Paris and can recall going to Les Halles with her grandmother to gather up leftover flowers from the flower wholesale market. My son played in the parks there every other day, my wife takes a framing course there, and I go shopping in the mall about once a week. All that is to show that Les Halles has been an important part of my neighborhood in Paris, and I care about what happens to it. Les Halles  (The Halls) was the wholesale food market until 1969 when the pressures associated with delivering enough food everyday to feed Paris became overwhelming and a decision was made to relocate the wholesale market to the outskirts of Paris. The cast iron structures of the old Halls were largely demolished and an enormous hole was dug to construct what would become the central hub of the future RER transportation system. As Parisians are apt to do whenever a new project is announced, much discussion occurred over the construction details , particularly as far as the public utilization was concerned, to the point that “the hole of the Halls” as it became known…

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Aspen Ideas Festival 2014: Challenging Limitations

July 10, 2014 by  

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The 10th anniversary Aspen Ideas Festival, produced by the Aspen Institute in collaboration with The Atlantic magazine, continues to trumpet optimism over the future, as the event has from its inception a decade ago. Yet this year’s theme of “Imagine 2014″ – looking a decade ahead rather than at the decade past – felt tempered also over concerns about the limitations of progress yet to be won, ranging from the perception of Congressional gridlock and Supreme Court setbacks to deficiencies of funding and civil liberties quandaries resulting from medical and scientific advances, to name a few. A theme running across many of the talks and conversations engaging luminaries in the audience as well as on stage was how to address issues of scarce resources in the face of vulnerable infrastructures, underperforming education institutions, opportunities to conduct hugely promising research and  the challenges of war, human suffering and environmental degradation. But before proceeding, let me describe the IdeasFestival a bit more. Begun in 2004, the event seeks to bring together hundreds of leaders in fields of business, government and scientific endeavor, as well as social entrepreneurs, into a weeklong series of talks and conversations. The festive conference…

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The Aspen IdeasFestival Turns 10

July 3, 2014 by  

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In keeping with the spirit of “WeBlogTheWorld” and having a global perspective, I flew from Stockholm to Oslo to London to Washington, D.C., to San Francisco en route to Aspen, Colorado to cover the second half of the 10th Anniversary of the Aspen IdeasFestival, an annual gathering of luminaries meeting in this alpine paradise to discuss burning issues of the day. In the middle of the six day, two session marathon of seminars, talks and panel discussions spanning 16 topical tracks is an “afternoon conversation” plenary involving attendees of both segments.  This year, interviewees included Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi, former vice president Al Gore, former UK prime minister Tony Blair, and former CIA director David Petraeus. Impressive that the first three speakers on this top profile stage in the Benedict Music Tent were women, as was noted by David Gergen, who interviewed Al Gore. Watch this space over the remainder of this week for highlights and themes from this august gathering. Of course, if you are reading this, you…

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Kaizen Being Tested & Tried in Africa

June 20, 2014 by  

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Looking for a way to improve the production and quality of native businesses, the Ethiopian government sought the counsel of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a Japanese governmental agency focused on development through technical cooperation. JICA found Ethiopia’s current business climate similar to what Japan experienced in the years after WWII, and introduced the work and management philosophy of Kaizen to the African nation. Kaizen, literally translated as, “Change for the Best,” is a Japanese management philosophy that allows companies to improve their productivity and quality continuously by utilizing available resources and avoiding dependency on new, particularly outside, investment. Both ancient and modern, Kaizen philosophy is a blend of Japanese Zen Buddhist principles of introspection and group harmony and the scientific method of experimentation. This enables company wide systems, protocols and philosophies to be examined, refined and tested in order to create the most harmonious and productive work environment. The fact that Kaizen is taking root in Ethiopian business culture, and to great effect, is testament to the good things that can happen when countries and companies are open to the cultural traditions of foreign lands. Fascinating to think that a management philosophy that helped…

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