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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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The Twitter & Social Explosion in Africa

May 19, 2014 by  

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Things are changing in Africa. Foreign companies are no longer looking at the continent solely in terms of what they can take out, but what they can get in. You might not know that Africa is home to six of the top ten fastest growing countries in the world and U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa were a staggering $22.6 billion last year. Russia, Europe and China are also heavily invested in Africa and have major stakes in the continent’s natural resources. According a recent piece in the International Business Times, this massive growth in cell phone use, social media — particularly Twitter — is exploding in Africa and everyone from multinational corporations to shrewd venture capital firms and tech start-ups want in on the action. Samsung South Africa’s Twitter account has more than 100,000 followers, and Adidas, Diageo, Magnum Ice Cream and several other popular brands are not far behind. So, what are some key cultural tips when doing business in Africa? Well, for starters, you must consider that Africa is a continent, not a culturally cohesive monolith. Language and culture will shift by country, often in dramatic fashion. However, here are…

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DLD: Digital Life & Design Hits New York City’s Chelsea For First Time

May 8, 2014 by  

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The DLD (Digital-Life-Design) Conference has been around for awhile albeit more well known in Europe than in the states. It makes sense since it started in Munich Germany in 2005 and only expanded in recent years, first in Israel and most recently to the states with their first official U.S. conference in New York City from April 30-May 1, 2014. Vertical Business for Internet panel (7) Their mission is to act as a global network on innovation, digitization, science and culture which connects business, creative and social leaders, opinion-formers and influencers for crossover conversation and inspiration. DLD is organized by DLD Media, which is part of Burda Digital and originally founded by Steffi Czerny and Marcel Reichart. DLD has also hosted events in Beijing, San Francisco, London, Moscow, New Delhi, Rio, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv, where there is a growing community because of the efforts of Israeli-based Yossi Vardi who acts as Chairman of the conference together with Hubert Burda. Yossi and Steffi DLDNYC (2)
Who attends? The conference is invite only, but the categories and interests of those who make up the audience are aligned with the content. Think creative communities,…

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Which Companies are Now Building the Green Internet?

April 26, 2014 by  

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The GreenPeace Report puts technology companies into groups of energy use: Dirty Energy, Middle Of The Road and Green Innovators. As an analyst, we talk a lot about the newest types of software, computers and gadgets of which need energy to run. And there is real resurgence of entrepreneurial spirit, where people are looking to feel satisfaction from the work they do and make the world a better place, rather than just tolerating brain-numbing work for the sake a of paycheck, only to find enjoy somewhere else. With all the enthusiasm also comes a great deal of energy use that we may or may not be aware of.
According to the Kaufman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity (KIEA), the entrepreneurial rate in the U.S. is already well above the dot.com bubble of 15 years ago. From social media to music, streaming video, email and commerce, we are increasingly moving much of our lives online. But which companies are storing all of that data, and how are they getting the energy? Here’s who hosts some of the internet’s most popular sites and services in their data centers – and whether those companies are using dirty or clean energy. Three Types of Energy As the expansion of technology…

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Behind The Scenes of Doing Business in Lithuania

March 16, 2014 by  

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  You might not be able to locate Lithuania on a map, which is why it may surprise you to learn that this small Baltic nation is now one of the fastest developing economies in Europe. In fact, the World Bank’s Doing Business 2014 report claims that Lithuania is the 11th easiest nation in which to start a business and ranks 17th overall for ease of conducting business. Considering all of this, it’s no wonder that Lithuania is considered a Baltic Tiger standing on the cusp of greatness. With a population of just under 3 million people, Lithuania has distinguished itself as a business and technology powerhouse. This is no small feat — especially when you consider the fact that it only entered the free market economy with the collapse of Soviet Union in 1990. Since the early 2000s, Lithuania has experienced unprecedented economic growth and was among the few European nations to maintain a positive GDP during the 2008 economic crisis. In the wake of this economic growth, Lithuania has enjoyed a rapid influx of both start-ups and established organizations looking to expand their reach in the Baltic region. If…

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We Blog the World Makes AlwaysOn Power Players in Technology Business Media List

October 3, 2013 by  

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AlwaysOn just announced their first annual Power Players in Technology Business Media List. The AlwaysOn Power Players in Technology Business Media list honors editors, writers, and bloggers in the technology world who are keeping technology entrepreneurs informed and connected. Reporting on the massive technology breakthroughs hitting the market almost every day, this list of media have become the voices behind the ideas that make the Global Silicon Valley an incubator for success.
press_blogger_power_players_300x260 Cool beans that We Blog the World made the cut, which at face value may not make sense, but it’s largely because I also write about technology trends, conferences, events, start-ups, launches and entrepreneurs on Down the Avenue, on the Huffington Post and of course on We Blog the World, mostly in the products and events section.  The site also has a Mobile category as well as a technology category, however the products covered range from luggage and fashion to mobile devices, social apps, gadgets which may help the on-the-go warrior and digital cameras. While the list is extremely long, and the more traditional cast of characters are listed (NY Times, Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch, Mashable,

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