Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Business August 1st 2012, "The 2012 Summer Of London" Edition

 In just the first 24 hours of the 2012 Olympics, more than 60 hours of footage was on TV. AND WE STILL CAN’T GET ENOUGH. The incredible athletes, the tear jerking and inspiring stories, and BOB COSTAS, BOB COSTAS, BOB COSTAS. Since we can’t catch a flight out to fill in one of those much maligned empty seats, we are bringing YOU the gold this Wednesday night, so you can take an Olympic break, breath some fresh air and catch some live entertainment. Live entertainment that is less likely to make you feel like a failure for not trying harder at 5 years old.

Our guests this week are real champions.

The comedy of Kevin O'Shea centers around one thing, the truth. He is full of the truth. He has an over abundance of truth. Some people say that he has too much truth for his own good. These people are right. Last week a doctor found truth in Kevin's urine. He needs your help now more than ever, as he faces a never ending series of painful dialysis treatments. (If you read this to yourself in a BOB COSTAS voice, and don’t cry, it’s because you’re a robot.)

We will also be joined by Red Scott. When not on stage, Red explores the myriad of ways an individual can be indoors and fully protected from the sun. His podcast discussing Game of Thrones, “Boars, Gore, and Swords” has twice been featured on BoingBoing. He performs all over the Bay Area, and is a regular at The San Francisco Punch Line, The San Jose Improv, Rooster T Feathers, as well as the usual dive bars and laundromats.

We also welcome Jeff Kreisler, Winner of the Bill Hicks Spirit Award for Thought Provoking Comedy, radio host on PRN, regular on Showbiz Tonight & MSNBC, writer for Comedy Central, IFC, TheFinalEdition.com & TheStreet.com, cast member of Shoot The Messenger, author of the bestselling "Get Rich Cheating," exec editor of "My Wall Street Journal," and star of hit international festival shows, Jeff Kreisler explores politics, business, culture, and life with passion, absurdity, and hope. Jeff now lives in New York City where he enjoys his newborn son, naps, commas and run on sentences.

“There's like five women pregnant at my office. I've taken to falling down the stairs when I leave just to be safe.”- Colleen Watson. I won’t say anything TOO nice about Colleen, as I know she is skilled in the art of compliment avoidance, (“Some nice woman complimented me on my comedy at an open mic. I replied, ‘You have low standards.’ I need to work on taking compliments. “- Colleen Watson.) but you can find these and other hilarious Colleen quotes @colleen_watson and you can see her with us this week!

Alex and the Chrises (Chrisi?) are down in LA, getting ready for the arrival of the whole Business crew for our Friday Aug 3rd show at NerdMelt with Guy Branum and Bobcat Goldthwait . Sean, Bucky and Caitlin will be here holding down the fort.

Word to the wise- The Business has been selling out! Be there on time to make sure you get a seat. No one will be turned away without a high five.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Big 500 Giveaway

Can you believe it?  I made it to 500 followers! YIPPEEE!   This calls for a celebration!  You know me, I like my themes and I like things simple!  So here's the drill! The theme will be in 5's (in honor of my 500!)    The winner gets all 5 of the following:  

1.)   $50.00 TpT gift certificate (Yep!!! 50 buckaroos to spend JUST IN TIME for some back to school shopping)

2.)  5 things from my TpT or TN store (Your choice!  Anything goes!)

3.)  5 items from 5 of my bloggy friends with great stuff in their stores!  

A.  Nicole from Teaching with Blonde Ambition   Nicole is giving away her 45 Reading Response Sheets unit.  WOW!  This item is LOADED with incredible graphic organizers and goodies!  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/45-Reading-Response-Sheets-for-Common-Core-Standards

B.  Katie from Queen of the First Grade Jungle is giving away one ITEM OF CHOICE from her incredible TpT store!  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Katie-King-Queen-of-the-First-Grade-Jungle/

C.  Lisa from Learning is Something to Treasure is giving away her Kids of Character pack, which is perfect for those new students you're about to get!  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kids-of-Character-Character-Education-for-Every-Week-of-the-School-Year

Kimberly from Love of Teaching is giving away one ITEM OF CHOICE from her growing TpT store! http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/For-The-Love-Of-Teaching

Pamela from Teaching 4 Real is giving away a Rounding to Tens, Hundreds, and Thousands Sorting Activity, which is Common Core aligned!  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Rounding-to-Tens-Hundreds-Thousands-Sorting-Activity

4.)  a $15.00 Starbucks gift card (Who DOESN'T need to grab a coffee or two, or three, on that first week back to school?!)

5.)  5 Free "Shout Outs" through social media  (I can either blog about a post you've done, PIN something for you, tweet about an item, Facebook post for you, etc.)  Anything to help you promote your store, blog, items, freebies, etc.  (Who doesn't love free traffic?)

The giveaway will be done through Rafflecopter, because I HEART Rafflecopter it's easy and Rafflecopter does all the work for me!  :-)  There are lots of ways to enter!  So come help me celebrate!  

Bananas for all 500+ of ya'! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Dollar Days are HERE! $$$$

Today and tomorrow ONLY you can grab some items for only $1.00 or $2.00 on TpT.  (It's like a trip to the DOLLAR STORE! YAY!) The BEST way to get there, though is through the Lesson Cloud!  The Lesson Cloud authors got together and listed over 200 items on sale by grade level to make it easy.  Here's the Road map:
1.)  Click the Lesson Cloud Sale image for a list of items you'll be able to find on sale by grade level.  (While you're there, become a follower....Lots of great posts daily!)
2.)  Find a grade level that works for you and click on any of the images for a direct link to that specific TpT store.
3.)  Most of the Lesson Cloud authors listed anywhere from 5-7 items each on the master list, HOWEVER, you might want to browse their store carefully.  Several (including myself) put MORE items on sale for $1.00 and $2.00 in addition to the ones listed.  Think of it as a big treasure hunt!   (I have 16 items in my store available for either 1 or 2 bucks! )  Here's a sneak preview of just a few of the items:

**Don't forget to enter the $75.00 gift certificate giveaway to Really Good Stuff while you're there too!  

Happy hunting and shopping!  Good luck in the giveaway!  If you find some time, stop BACK by here and let us know what "MUST HAVE" treasures you found!  :-)

Bananas for good bargains,

Lesson Cloud DOLLAR DAYS Sale and Spotlight Saturday!

Jump on over to the Lesson Cloud tomorrow morning July 29th and Monday, the 30th for some fantastic deals from some of TpT's finest creators.  Lesson Cloud authors are putting a few select items on sale these two days for either $1.00 or $2.00.  If you check back tomorrow morning, there will be a direct link to the Lesson Cloud site where you'll find these items listed for you (with direct links to the TpT store where they can be found) categorized by grade level for some easy shopping!  Have fun and LOAD UP for your new school year!

It IS Spotlight Saturday too!  You ought to go check out Lindsay's Common Core Journal Prompts.  It includes 19 different journal prompts that are great to use with any non-fiction text!  I think I like them so much because they are easy to cut apart and use in a variety of ways:  exit tickets, bell-ringers, reading group discussion topics, "parking lot" responses, etc.   It's 22 pages of quick, informal assessments on your students' understanding of non-fiction text!  As always, leave Lindsay a thank you note for her generosity!

Finally, I'm at 497 followers!  WOOHOO!  500 is quickly approaching.  I have a fantastic giveaway planned...JUST IN TIME for some Back to School shopping for you! 

Bananas for great sales, freebies, and my last "official" weekend of summer vacation.  

Who carries the flag tells something about your country

If you didn't stay up all night, that is if you are in India, you missed something. It was a lovely show. Olympic opening ceremonies have easily become the greatest show on earth. Beijing was awe inspiring in terms of sheer magnitude and scale. It was an almost impossible act to follow, but London did, in a very different way. You would have had to be a Brit or a complete Anglophile like me, to appreciate the nuances, but even otherwise, as a sheer spectacle it was magic.

This post is not about the ceremony, or the sport to follow. Its a lazy, and completely unscientific,  interpretation of national stereotypes from their choice of who would carry the country's flag in the parade !

Some nations simply go for glory - they give it to their most famous sportsman. Serbia gave it to Djokovic. Jamaica gave it to Usain Bolt. Veronica Campbell Brown, their senior sprinter amongst the women would have been a more logical choice, but who is more well known than Usain Bolt. Spain was led in by Pau Gasol, the NBA star.

Others gave it , not to their most successful athlete, but the one to whom their hearts went out. Australia let their women's basketball captain Lauren Jackson carry the flag. She'll never win gold , only because nobody can beat the US , but she has made Australia the second best team for so long and even in a country with so many gold medal winners, they let her lead them. The USA's choice was similar. Their logical choice would have been Kobe Bryant, their senior statesman in basketball and easily the most recognised and famous star. Or Michael Phelps, their most successful ever. Instead they gave it to Fencer Mariel Zagunis, who was voted in by their 500 strong team. So typical of that nation that they would elect their flag bearer . Both countries, sporting giants on whom success rests easily.

The individual class act was Switzerland. Roger Federer is easily the most well known Swiss athlete. He carried the flag in Beijing, but this time, he gave it to his doubles partner Stanislas Wawrinka. Trust Federer to do something as classy as that.

The award for boldnesss should go to Zimbabwe. Kristy Coventry, their champion swimmer, carried the flag and she is easily their most successful and best sportsperson. But she is in virtual exile in the US , and is opposed to Robert Mugabe, although he has embraced her as a national treasure. Here she was, carrying their flag.

India's was easy. Leander Paes should have been the obvious choice as this is his fifth Olympics, but the man has aged badly and nobody likes him anymore. Abhinav Bhindra, Gagan Narang, Saina Nehwal and Vijender Singh, other possible candidates are all competing on Saturday or Sunday and had to miss the ceremony. So it fell on Sushil Kumar, bronze medalist from Beijing to carry the tricolour.

But the most disappointing act was China's. They had a clutch of great sportsmen and women who deserved to lead them in. Lin Dan, perhaps the greatest badminton player of all time. Liu Xiang, the 110 metre hurdler who is China's favourite sportsman - but they are so paranoid about the guy winning, that they wouldn't even let him go to the loo unchaperoned. No way they would let him risk four hours standing around. What about Li Na, French Open Champion from 2011. Or Sun Yang, the champion distance swimmer. Instead their criteria was that the flag bearer had to be male, had to be tall and had to be handsome. Yuk ! Yi Jianlian, a second rate basketball player led them in, even though China has won nothing in basketball and will never win either. His sole redeeming feature is that he is some 7 ft tall ! Come on China; you are the greatest sporting nation on earth. Do you have to be that insecure ??

The Games have begun. Ahhhh.; two weeks of sheer bliss.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Facebook's business problems are symptomatic of many large digital firms

Facebook is wrestling with a business challenge more traditionally found in legacy media: how do you translate consumers that don’t think they have a commercial relationship with you into relationships that that other firms will pay for?

Despite 955 million active users and increasing revenues, the company has lost a third of its share value since its IPO in the spring.  The exuberance that surrounded its IPO and overpriced its shares has worn off and investors are realizing that being big isn’t enough to ensure business success. Its latest earnings reports show the firm lost money, $157 million, in the second quarter on income of $1.18 billion.

Facebook’s challenges are symptomatic of a long line of “successful” digital firms that are experiencing monetization problems, including Yahoo, You Tube, AOL, and Twitter. Despite large numbers of users globally, they still lack effective business models to generate revenue levels congruous with their size. They may provide great communication functions for users, but they are not transforming very well from innovative users of technologies to highly profitable commercial enterprises.

Part of their challenge is that they have to focus so much effort on non-paying customers and those customers think of the services as personal communications—making them resistant to many efforts to monetize them. This problem has long plagued traditional media, but they are conceived as mass rather than personal media and have been around so long that many people are now used to a certain level of commercial exploitation. They also have a proven track record of return on advertisers’ investments that digital media have not yet been able to deliver for many types of advertisers.

Large digital players will continue to evolve and can be expected to improve their financial performance over time, but it will take a good deal of innovative thinking about the business rather than about the technologies and social value of their services.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dollar Days Sale $1 or $2

Don't you just love a good sale AND giveaway?  The authors of the Lesson Cloud are having a Dollar Days Sale this Sunday and Monday ... July 29th and 30th.  A lot of our items will be temporarily marked down to $1.00 or $2.00 for those two days only.  On the morning of the 29th, I will post a link directly to the Lesson Cloud site where you can see a list of items (categorized by grade level) to choose from. These items will have direct links to the creator's TpT store, where they can be found for 1 or 2 bucks!!  It's that easy!  While you're visiting the Lesson Cloud, be sure to become a follower if you're not already!  There are some great blog posts that appear daily, often times with links to great freebies. 
 I'm participating in the sale! I'll have 7 items available for $1.00 or $2.00 in the categorized list, but will throw in a few extra that will NOT be on the list.  So check my TpT store to find some additional savings!  

In addition to the big SALE, the Lesson Cloud will be hosting a giveaway for $75.00 to Really Good Stuff!!!  Be sure to enter!   

Speaking of giveaways, I'm SOOOOOO excited that I'm approaching 500 blog followers!  YES, I have a celebration giveaway planned, so stay close!  

Happy Shopping and Good luck in the Lesson Cloud giveaway!

Bananas for bargains,

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Business July 25th 2012, "The Regulars get Irregular" Edition

The Business has much to celebrate! Change is in the air. In exciting but bittersweet news, the imminent departure of beloved Businessman Chris Garcia to the wilds of LA means that we have just a few more opportunities to see him do his Business while he’s still reppin the 415. Don’t miss this one! Chris Thayer is down there already, so it seems The Business will soon have the Los Angeles Chris market cornered!

We also have some excellent guests joining us this week.

We are happy to welcome three time Laugh Factory Fresh Faces winner Stroy Moyd to the show. Stroy’s energetic and eccentric brand of comedy has made him a favorite at comedy clubs and campuses across the nation. Within one year of arriving to Hollywood, Moyd has already produced two of Los Angeles' hottest comedy shows, the Laugh Bowl at the Laugh Factory and Young Funny Sundays at the Improv. The owner of the Laugh Factory, Jamie Masada, called Moyd "the next Redd Foxx". He is also producing excellent shows here in the Bay Area, we are happy he has a night free to stop by and Business with us.

Dave Schilling is a stand-up comic and the host of a monthly comedy variety show, Hottt Newww Videooo!!! w/ Dave Schilling, at the Hollywood Improv Lab in Los Angeles, CA. He is currently working on the writing staff of the web series, How It Should Have Ended, for the Machinima YouTube network. Soon you can see him in the feature film adaptation of Tao Lin's novella, Shoplifting from American Apparel, which is currently making the rounds of the festival circuit. He also likes to write about himself in the third person (which is convenient for us in the first person plural).

As always, the show is just $5 and your Burritos are welcome.

2 for 1 coupons at http://thebusinesscomedy.blogspot.com/ !!!

Speaking of things to celebrate, The Business has been selling out. If you want to secure your seat, arrive before 8!!

If we sell out, no one will be turned away without a high five.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Spotlight Saturday Freebies and a Growing Blog Roll

Yay!  It's SATURDAY!  You know what that means! I've got a few freebies lined up for you, so get your clicking finger ready to go!
1.)  Teach fact and opinion?  If you do, you'll want to click on the frog image for an adorable download from Pamela @ Teach4Real.  This one is a keeper and already in my Fact and Opinion folder.  Super for independent work, center activity, homework, etc.  If you have a frog theme or animal unit going, it's simply a bonus!  

2.)  Julie and Krista have a whopping 30 page packet for you FREE if you're looking to challenge your kids with root words and prefixes/suffixes.  This is one of 10 sets in their Greek and Latin roots reading program.  It's designed to increase vocabulary skills in a fun way.  It comes with quizzes, organizers, keyring cards, word wall words, awards, etc.   If you teach upper primary, this is SOOOOO worth investigating.  

3.)  If you're a teacher, I know at some point you're dividing your students into groups.  Need an easy way to put them into teams, groups, or pairs?  Aileen has a little 11 page packet with a variety of cards and ways to do just that!  These would be great to print off, laminate, and keep handy forever!  

My "To copy and print" file folder on my desktop is bursting at the seams.  I'm counting down the days until my "Craftivity" day with a couple of teacher friends.  We plan to fire up the printer, laminator, and whatever else we can get our hands on that day to create all the goodies we want to create.  

I say this every Saturday and probably sound like your mother, but don't forget to THANK these creators for sharing their stuff!  If you truly like it, tell them that.  I know when I get positive feedback on a freebie that I've taken some time on,  it drives me to create more and more for teachers!  Show them the love.  

Faithful bloggy friends--If you are a follower and want to link up your blog to my "blog roll," please do. Just link up (preferably once) in the right category!  The link up will be open a few more days.  Follow the yellow brick road BLOGS TAB at the top! :-)  Happy Saturday!
If I'm "M.I.A." a little bit this week, it's because my friends from Ireland are here along with some additional family.  (The last count was 16 in my house!!!)  In my best Arnold S. voice...."I'll be back!"  

Bananas for a house full...my motto is the MORE the MERRIER! 

Friday, July 20, 2012


Oh Los Angeles.
Ohhhhhh Los Angeles.

It's been a while since the Business and Los Angeles got friendly, and SO MUCH has been going on. We need to talk all about it when we return to The Nerdist Theater at Meltdown on Friday August 3rd. And we're returning bigger and better than before. How we doin' that you ask? Check it out:

Not just will all original members of the Business (Alex Koll, Sean Keane, Bucky Sinister and Chris Garcia) be on hand to get funny, but our two newest recruits will be with us: Caitlin Gill and Chris Thayer. It's time to show LA what out sold-out crowds in SF already know: These two are the BUSINESS! Real talk.

What else? How about two amazing guests: Comedian/writer/actor/notary public Guy Branum and comedian/writer/actor/filmmaker/firestarter Bobcat Goldthwait!

Plus, as always, the Medically Transported Burrito Raffle and more...

Tickets are $10 at the door, but $8 online with NO SERVICE CHARGE!

Get tickets here:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Team USA Made in America Act

If ever there was a nonsensical piece of legislation addressing a farcically trivial issue it is the introduction of the "Team USA Made in America Act". If ever there was proof that US senators and congressmen do nothing useful, here it is.

A hullabaloo started when it was discovered that the US Olympic Team's uniforms for the London Olympics were actually made in China. Senators clambered over each other in expressing righteous indignation at this outrage. They are now passing a law that seeks to mandate that future olympic team uniforms have to be made in the US of A.

This triggered some admittedly nostalgic memories of my first ever post when I took up blogging three plus years ago. My very first post addressed precisely this issue; so much so that I couldn't resist dredging it up. 

Has much changed in three years ?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Visitors from Ireland and a Lost Freebie

We are in the process of redecorating a room, planting 9 new shrubs in the yard, re-staining furniture, and about 10 other things in preparation for our company from Ireland.  This will be their 3rd year visiting us.  Long story short...my parents met this couple on a cruise a few years back.   They were "table mates" at dinner each night.  They became great friends and the next thing we all knew is that they were coming over for a visit.  My parents are 77, going on 35.  They still travel, golf, work, or whatever they feel like.  So I was expecting their "new Irish friends" to be about their age.  They ended up being my age!! They have two beautiful children (yes... adorable, red headed, and boy do I love to hear them talk!) and have become very dear friends of our entire family.  So every summer we all get together for more fun and visiting.  We've been to Disney World, Kings Island, the Smokey Mountains, etc. together.  I am anxiously awaiting their arrival tomorrow!

In the process of cleaning my office  the dining room table for their visit, I found a "lost freebie" that I meant to post, ummm...probably 4 or 5 months ago when I was actually teaching shapes.  It was like finding a little treasure to share.  So....while I'm thinking about it, grab it and throw it in your Geometry pile and use when you're teaching 3-d shapes.  Yes, it has the little detective clipart on it (again).  It seems like anytime I do a discovery activity, I'm throwing on that adorable clipart.  It's probably the best $3.00 I've spent this year.  (Scrappin doodles)   :-)
During my solids intro, I  placed a variety of 3-d shapes at each table and allowed the students to explore them and fill out this graphic organizer together.  It prompted some great discussion since some of them weren't sure about the word vertices.  It's simple, but fun.  We checked together, discussing the solids' real names, fixed their errors, etc.  It's a great little intro to solids if you need one. Click on image to grab!

Bananas for my Irish friends and the little treasures we find when cleaning!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ramamritham acquires a new fan

My good friend Sriram, appears to have become a fan of Ramamritham, just like me. Sriram is an excellent blogger of incredible energy ; who else can keep the scorching pace of 2 or 3 quality posts a day.

His post of a few days ago, On the life sucking bureaucracy in India,  makes a very good read. Heartily endorse the post for readers of this blog.

Its a telling comment on our respective energy levels that by the time I have summoned up the effort to cross post, he has already made 3 newer posts despite the fact that he is traveling ! Ah, the advantages of being a younger man !!

The Reality of Strategy: The Case of London Business School

When Laura d’Andrea Tyson was the Dean of London Business School – some years ago – she put together a committee to examine and reformulate the School’s strategy. Several professors sat on that committee. When I once asked her, having a drink at her home, why none of them were Strategy professors, she looked at me for about 5 seconds baffled. Eventually, she stammered, “yes, perhaps we could consider that in the future….”.

It was clear to me, from her stunned silence (and she wasn’t easily lost for words), that she had never even considered the thought before.

I, in contrast, thought it wasn’t such an alien idea; putting some strategy professors on the School’s strategy-making committee. We had – and still have – people in our Strategy department (e.g. Costas Markides, Sumantra Ghoshal) who not only had dozens of top academic publications behind their names but who also had an eager ear amongst strategy practitioners, through their Harvard Business Review publications and hundreds of thousands of business books sold (not to mention their fairly astronomical consulting fees).

Today, our current Dean – Sir Andrew Likierman – is working with a group of people on a huge strategic growth decision for the School, namely the acquisition of a nearby building from the local government that would increase our capacity overnight with about 70 percent. Once more, strategy professors have no closer role in the process than others; their voice is as lost in the quackmire as anyone else’s.

If Sir Andrew had been an executive MBA student in my elective (“Strategies for Growth”) writing an essay about the situation, I would ask him for a justification of the need for growth given the characteristics of the market; I’d ask him about the various options for growth (geographic expansion, e.g. a campus abroad; related diversification, e.g. on-line space, etc.), and how an analysis of the organisation’s resources and capabilities is linked to these various options, and so on. But a systematic analysis based on what we teach in our own classrooms and publish in our books and journals has, it seems, not even be considered.

And I genuinely wonder why that is? Because it is not only strategy professors and it is not only deans. Whenever the topic of the School’s brand name comes up, no-one seems inclined to pay more attention to our Marketing professors (some of whom are true heavyweights in the field branding) than to the layman’s remarks of Economics or Strategy folk. When the School’s culture and values are being assessed, Organizational Behaviour professors are conspicuously absent from the organising committee (ironically it was run by a Marketing guy); likewise for Economics and OB professors when we are discussing incentives and remuneration. So why is that?

Is it that deep down we don’t actually believe what we teach? Or is it that we just don’t believe what any of our colleagues in other departments teach…? And that it could be somehow relevant to practice – including our own? Why do we charge companies and students small – and not so small – fortunes to take our guidance on how to make strategy, brands, and remuneration systems only to see that when our own organisation is dealing with them it all goes out the door?

I guess I simply don’t understand the psychology behind this. Wait… perhaps I should go ask my Organizational Behaviour professors down the corridor!



Since writing the piece above – perhaps not surprisingly; although it took me a bit by surprise (I didn’t think anyone actually read that stuff) – Sir Andrew contacted me. One could say that he took the oral exam following his essay on the School’s growth plans and passed it (with a distinction!)

In all seriousness, in hindsight, I think I was unfair to him – perhaps even presumptuous. I wrote “a systematic analysis based on what we teach in our own classrooms and publish in our books and journals has, it seems, not even be considered” and, now, I think I should not have written this. That I haven’t been involved in the process much and therefore have not seen the analysis of course does not mean it was never conducted. And it is a bit unfair, from the sidelines, to throw in a comment like that when someone has put in so much careful work. I apologise!

In fact, although Sir Andrew never lost his British cool, charme and good sense of humour, I realise it must actually have been “ever so slightly annoying” for him to read that comment, especially from a colleague, and he doesn’t deserve that. So: regarding the specifics of this example: forget it! ban it from your minds, memory, bookmarks and favourites (how would this Vermeulen guy know?! he wasn’t even there!)!

That you should pay more attention to Marketing professors when considering your school’s brandname, more attention to your OB professors when considering your incentive systems and values, more attention to Finance professors when managing your endownment and, God forbid, sometimes even to some strategy professors when considering your school’s strategy, I feel, does stand – so don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater just yet. But, yes, do get rid of that stinky bathwater.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Business July 18th 2012, “What Louv-ly Poseys” Edition

 “Three goats are playing soccer. Christopher Hitchens, driving an armored car with a huge, blunt lance attached to the front, chases them off the field while chuckling eruditely to himself.” – This is one of guest Matt Louv’s dreams. Find more of his subconscious musings at http://bearswithcigars.blogspot.com/
We are pleased to have Matt as a guest at the Business this week, along with the fabulous Brandie Posey.

Brandie is “a real sweet heart. Probably from all the high fructose corn syrup”. She hit Los Angeles in 2007, quickly making a name for herself in the comedy scene through nerdy jokes about Renn Faires, sharks and an affinity for Abe Lincoln. She has been compared to Patton Oswalt, Matt Braunger & Janeane Garofalo in style and in eyewear. It is a pleasure to have her back.
Also appearing, the natural force of good known as Dr. Foxmeat! They should name a tropical storm after him, but only a tropical storm that rains love and blows winds of funny. Foxmeat is the real deal. 

Rounding out the line-up are your Business regulars. You won’t see Chris Thayer this week, he’s off catching rays of smog down in SoCal brah, but Chris Garcia, Alex, Sean, Bucky and Caitlin will be there to tickle your fancies.

BYO$5 and BYOBurrito!

Back to School Binders & a Freebie

My dining room table is no longer a dining room table, but a teacher workstation.  I know we have an office, but I can't spread out like I can on my dining room table.  :-)  Anybody else having this problem?  What room have you turned into a temporary classroom this summer?
One of my projects this summer was to redo my binders.  My students are required to have a 3 ring binder that they carry with them back and forth from home to school EVERY SINGLE DAY!  It becomes such a habit, and they feel lost without it!  The parents know to look for it and it has become a survival tool for all of us.   My team and I try to keep it pretty simple for everyone involved, so it has 5 key ingredients!  

1.)  The first is the COVER sheet.  Each of the 3rd grade classrooms have a different theme.  (Hmmm...can you guess mine?)  Yes, it's monkeys.  So my students' binder covers all have monkeys on them.  If they get lost in our school of 800+ students, everybody knows it belongs to one of my kiddos!  If a fish, puzzle, owl, bee, or rock star notebook get lost, they know to look for my teammates!  

2.)  A clear plastic pocket (page protector) is the first item on the inside.  I label it with MONEY & NOTES!   It's transparent AND has a pocket on the bottom so nothing falls out! The parents and I can SEE if anything crucial is coming home or to school.  Kids put their field trip money in there, transportation notes, etc.  I put positive (mostly positive) notes about their child in there!  

3.)  Our school orders student planners for each and every student.  It contains a yearly calendar and other special things in there unique to each grade level.  The kids really like these!  We use them to do a Daily Agenda in.  It's my students' first job of the day to come in and copy  their agenda from the board into these planners DAILY.  That way when they go home, their parents can see exactly what topics were covered that day. Parents initial them nightly.  I cannot remember who our school orders them from, but they're available everywhere.  Amazon even has them!

4.) Two folders with pockets are the next items in the binder.  One of them is labeled "Take Home."  The stuff that goes in here goes home and DOESN'T come back!  It's mostly graded work, mail from the office, etc.  It's emptied nightly.  The second folder is labeled with SOCIAL STUDIES & SCIENCE.  Our 3rd grade actually changes classes for Science and Social Studies.  I teach my kids Social Studies for 4 weeks straight, then they switch to my teammate for Science for 4 weeks, while I teach her kids Social Studies.  Therefore they're either in S.S. OR Science...never both.  So that folder is used for those subjects.  We create and work on a lot of things in 4 weeks that we don't want to send home permanently.  The students have a unit test at the end of those 4 weeks, so a lot of the material they need to study with is IN this folder.  Parents (and students) are "trained" that everything in this folder STAYS PUT until after the test!  

5.  Most binders come with that extra little pocket in the front and back cover.  We label this pocket "HOMEWORK POCKET."  We do homework packets instead of nightly homework.  Students are given a packet on Monday, and it's due the following Monday.  So homework is NEVER LOST, okay, ALMOST never lost.  

That's it!  In closing, I have good news and bad news!  Bad news always goes first, right?  I have a bunch of binder covers...REALLY cute ones! (monkey, owl, rock star, giraffe, sports, frog, ocean, puzzle, etc.) available in my Back to School Packs on TpT!  They're not free though, because the packs are many, many pages long full of activities for the first few days of school!  The binder covers are included in that pack!  HOWEVER, that being said, you know I DO LOVE ya' and I can't really stand NOT giving you something to work with. :-) So I do have a binder cover in 4 different colors that's generic enough that you could use with any grade level and any theme....and it IS FREE!  So grab your favorite color and go!  Click on image to take you there!  

Bananas for organization tools that work,

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Spotlight Saturday and New Teacher Toys

Happy Saturday, friends!  Hope you're ready for fantastic finds out there in bloggy land.  FREE, of course.  It IS Spotlight Saturday, so let's get to it!  :-) 
Who doesn't love a good game of "Go Fish?"  Except this is "Go Darth"...as in Darth Vader! This Star Wars themed game focuses on equivalent fractions and is designed to be a student led, independent activity, so it comes in handy if you're busy with a small group!
Go check out Fern's fun game by clicking on Darth.  May the force be with you!  

Freebie #2 is comes from The Teacher Garden who has some really cute Math posters with problem solving reminders written as acronyms.  U.P.S. Check (Understand the Problem, Plan how to solve it, Solve the problem, and Check your answer!)  The other poster has C.U.B.E. on it.  (Circle the numbers, Underline Important words, Box the question, and Eliminate unnecessary information.  The greatest thing about these posters is that they're available in 9 colors!  The link I'm sending you to is the Teacher Garden's blog so you can choose your color from there!  Then download away!!  These are great reminders for the upper elementary kiddos!  (Including my 3rd graders!) 

Are you ready to rock?  Ashley from The Teacher's Treasure Chest has an adorable Long O practice for you!  It's 29 pages of student activities with Long O regular words, nonsense words, alphabetizing long o words, sorting long o words, etc!  Get your groove on with this freebie.  Great for centers, small groups, or teacher directed activities!

As always, drop these teacher friends a thank you note if you download!  As a lot of you know, it takes a lot of effort to create, upload, layout in an attractive manner, and then GIVE it away!  They do it because they love sharing!  

YES! YES! YES!  I broke down and purchased some new 'teacher toys.' I got myself a home laminator AND a stacker toolbox that everybody seems to be creating this summer!   I haven't even taken them out of the box yet.  I'm saving up for a CRAFTIVITY day I'm having at my house in a couple of weeks with some teacher friends of mine!  We're having a make and take workshop on my dining room table!  I'll take pictures!!!  Stay tuned!  

Bananas for friends that love teaching as much as I do!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Digital journalism reaches sustainability, but transitional business problems interfere

The income streams of digital news providers continue to grow and many have now reached the point of sustainability. Fundamental financial and business problems, however, are keeping publishers from moving out of print and becoming digital-only operators.

This leads many publishers and journalists to continue bemoaning the fact that digital media do not provide as much income as print and many still argue that organized, regular newsgathering and distribution cannot survive in a digital-only environment. They point to the fact that digital advertising produces only about 15 percent the income of print advertising—largely because it does not appeal to retail, display advertisers--and that paid circulation for digital products is growing slowly.

Their analysis is flawed, however, because publishers do not require as much revenue online as offline because the costs of digital operation are so different.

Editorial operations account for only about 10-15 percent of total costs of operation of print newspapers, but they are the primary cost for digital operations. About half of the costs of print are taking up by printing and expenses for getting papers to readers; when the costs of paying for and maintaining buildings and land used to house presses and circulation equipment are factored in, those costs rise to about 60 percent of total costs. Expenses to maintain the large advertising operations found in print newspapers add another 10 percent to overall costs and the managerial costs due to the large number of personnel and functions in non-editorial activities add about another 5 percent. Thus, switching to digital operations can take out at least three-quarters of the costs of print newspaper operation, making the lower revenue of digital operation sustainable.

A growing number of newspaper companies are already generating 15-20 percent of their total revenue from digital operations, making nearly enough money to sustain the kinds of journalism practiced by legacy news media. So why does negativity about the future of journalism remain so high and why are newspapers not yet moving to digital-only operation?

There are three primary reasons:
  1. Print newspapers still continue producing above average returns compared to all industries. No publisher is willing to throw away those operating profits even if the costs of print operation are higher than digital.
  2. Retail advertisers get more return on investment from newspaper advertising than any other form of advertising, including digital. As long as they remain willing to advertise in newspapers, no publisher is willing to give up the revenue stream and operating profits that they now provide.
  3. Owners of print newspapers have a great deal of capital tied up in facilities, printing and distribution equipment that cannot be withdrawn because few buyers want to acquire the used equipment today.
The fundamental challenge today isn’t that digital journalism has not reached sustainability; its how does a publisher transition from the print to digital-only operation in a way that is financially feasible and desirable.

The transition is critical for society because it will bring with it the reportorial strength and organization that exists in newspapers. That is something that digital startups do not provide because they generally lack the capital to build and sustain staffs as large as those of print newspapers and because they lack the reputations and brand identity of established papers.

Newspaper owners, publishers, and journalists then need to stop decrying the digital revenue problem and start focusing on solutions to the business challenges of when and how to realistically reduce and end the print operations. It will happen at some point in the future; the problem is how to plan and manage the switchover.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Story Game Board Freebie

Well, I've returned from my RELAXING, FABULOUS, CAREFREE beach trip...Only to come home to my refrigerator not working. UGGGH! Seriously? Reality check and quick reminder that my days as a beach bum are over! Not all is a total loss...When your refrigerator is out, you have no food to cook, therefore you get to go out to eat and don't have to cook! (insert evil laugh here)

So....who caught that I just TOTALLY skipped over my Spotlight Saturday feature last Saturday?  Yeah, sorry about that.  (Beach bum mode totally took over that day!)  Thought I'd make it up to you by throwing out another freebie.  I took an excerpt from my Genres Bundle unit.  It's a cute activity you can do with any story you read.  It involves students creating a game board that matches the theme and story elements of a book/story they've read.  It's a great way to allow students to be creative and still practice some essential reading skills.  My students LOVED actually playing their game boards once they were done creating them!  (Check out some of their creations!)
Easy to put in a center, use as a cooperative group/pair activity, or even use as a form of assessment.  (Add a rubric to it that holds them accountable for adding characters, setting, problem, solution, plot, etc.)  An optional idea:  If you teach 3rd grade or older, you could have students create a board that they can take down to a younger grade level and play with them...especially if it's a story they're familiar with.  (Like the fairy tale game boards my students made in photos)  

You can grab the FREEBIE by clicking the image at right.  

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer.  When do you go back to school?  Are you mostly relaxing or planning?  

Bananas for my week at the beach. Not so bananas for a broken refrigerator. 

The Business July 11th, 2012, "Rick's Wish Is Our Command" Edition

You know that song where Rick Springfield sings, "You know I wish that I had Jesses, girl"? Well his wish was granted, kinda...cause this week THE BUSINESS GOT THE JESSES, GIIIIIIIRL! There's no "i" Jesse, but we've got II:

Jesse Elias--2011 Twisted Biscuit winner and alumnus of both SF Sketchfest and Bridgetown Comedy Festival--returns to the business with his bashful exhibition of mental-doodles created in the absence of social interaction.
Twitter: @JesseNElias

Jesse Hett has performed at the San Jose Improv and the Rooster T. Feathers comedy club. He likes to say comedy, pet animals, build machines and take naps.
Twitter: @JesseTheHett

If the Dark Room is a kind of bottle, then this week's regular Business-genies are Caitlin Gill, Bucky Sinister, Chris Thayer, & Sean Keane. Come and rub us the right way!

@ The Dark Room
2263 Mission St. (b/w 18th & 19th)

*Alex Koll and Chris Garcia are out this week, both auditioning for the role of Apu in the upcoming Aladdin porn parody on ice.

Strategy is a Story

Stevie Spring, who recently stepped down after a successful stint as CEO of Future plc, the specialty magazine publisher, once told me, “I am not really the company’s CEO; what I really am is its Chief Story Teller.”

What she meant is that she believed that telling a story was her most important task as a CEO. Actually, she insisted, her job was to tell the same story over and over again. And when she said ‘a story’, she meant that her job was to tell her representation of the company’s strategy: the direction she wanted to take the business and how that was going to make it prosper and survive. She felt that a good CEO should tell that kind of story repeatedly, to all employees, shareholders, fund managers and analysts. For, indeed, a good strategy does tell a story.

All successful CEOs whom I have seen were great storytellers. Not necessarily because of their oratorical skills, but because the characteristics of the strategy they had put together lent themselves to being told like a story — and a good one too! The most important thing for a CEO to do is to provide a coherent, compelling strategic direction for the company, one that is understood by everyone who has to contribute to its achievement. For that, a story must be told.

When I say this, I am not implying that CEOs need to engage in fiction, nor do they need to be overly dramatic. In my view, a good business strategy story has three characteristics.

First, the story must provide clear choices.
Stevie Spring’s choices were as clear as her forthright language: “We provide specialty magazines, for young males, in British.” Hence, it was clear what was out; there were to be no magazines on, say, ‘music’ (that is too broad), no magazines in German (although that could be a perfectly profitable business for someone else) and no magazines on pottery or vegetable gardens (unless that has recently seen a surge in popularity among young males in the UK without my knowing it). A good strategy story has to contain such a set of genuine choices.

Moreover, it has to be clear how the choices made by the company’s leaders hang together. For example, Frank Martin, who as a CEO orchestrated the revival of the British model-train maker, Hornby, by turning it from a toy company into a hobby company, put his strategy story in just 15 words. “We make perfect scale models for adult collectors, which appeal to some sense of nostalgia.” He decided to focus on making perfect scale models because that is what collectors look for. Moreover, people would usually specifically collect the Hornby brand because it reminded them of their childhood, and with it a nostalgic, foregone era. Frank Martin’s choices were not just a bunch of disconnected strategic decisions; they hung together, and, combined, made for a logical story.

Second, the story must tie to the company’s resources.
Importantly, the set of choices has to be clearly linked to the company’s unique resources, those that can give them a competitive advantage in an attractive segment of the market. Although Hornby had been hovering on the brink of bankruptcy for a decade, it still had some valuable resources. First of all, it possessed a valuable brand that was very well-known and appreciated by people who had owned a Hornby train as children.

Additionally, the company had a great design capability in its hometown of Margate. However, these resources weren’t worth much when competing with the cheaper Chinese toy makers. The children who wanted a toy train for their birthday didn’t know (and could care less) about the Hornby brand. The precision modelling skills of the engineers in Margate weren’t of much value in the toy segment, where things mostly had to be robust and durable. However, these two resources — an iconic brand and a design capability — were of considerable value when making ‘perfect scale models for adult collectors’. It was a perfect match of existing resources to strategy.

I observed a similar thing at the Sadler’s Wells theatre. Ten years ago, before the current CEO Alistair Spalding took over, the theatre put on all sorts of grand shows in various performing arts. Yet, the company was in dire straits, losing money evening-on-evening and by the bucket. Then, Spalding took over and highlighted his leadership with a clear story. He started telling everyone that the theatre was destined ‘to be the centre of innovation in dance’.

He did this because the company was blessed with two valuable resources: (1) an historic reputation for dance (although it had diversified outside dance in the preceding years) and (2) a theatre once designed specifically with dance in mind. Spalding understood that, with these unique resources, he needed to focus the theatre on dance again. Beyond that, he made it the spider in the web, a place where various innovative people and dance forms came together to create new art, a place where stars were formed.

Third, the story must explain a competitive advantage.
The story must not only provide choices that are linked to resources, it must also explain how these choices and resources are going to give the company a competitive advantage in an attractive market, one that others can’t easily emulate. For example, Hornby’s resources enabled it to make perfect scale models for adult collectors better than anyone else, but those adult collectors also happened to form a very affluent and growing segment, one in which margins were much better than in the super-competitive toy market. It isn’t much good to have a competitive advantage in a dying market; you want to be able to do something better than anyone else in a market that will make you grow and prosper.

Thus, it has to be clear from your strategy story why the market is attractive and how the resources are going to enable you to capture the value in that market better than anyone else. The story of the CEO of Fremantle Media, Tony Cohen, for example, was that his company was going to make television productions that were replicable in other countries, with spillovers into other media. Because of their worldwide presence, Fremantle Media were better than their national competitors at rolling out productions such as the X-factor, Pop Idols, game shows and sitcoms. While their local competitors could also develop attractive and innovative shows, Fremantle’s multinational’s presence enabled it to reap more value from them. Therefore, that’s what they focused upon: shows that they could replicate across the globe. It was their competitive advantage, and they built their story around it.

Of course, a good story alone is not enough. A leader still needs good products, people, marketing, finance and so on. But, without a good story, a leader will find it impossible to combine people and resources into a forceful strategic thrust. A good story is a necessary — although, alone, not sufficient — condition for success.

My message for leaders: if you get your story right, it can be a very powerful management tool indeed. It works to convince analysts, shareholders and the public that where you are taking the company is worth everyone’s time, energy and investment.

Perhaps even more importantly, it can provide inspiration to the people who will have to work with and implement the strategy. If employees understand the logic behind a company’s strategic choices and see how it might give the company a sustainable advantage over its competitors, they will soon believe in it. They will soon embrace it. And they will soon execute it. Collective belief is a strong precursor of success. Thus, a good story can spur a company forward and eventually make the story come true.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Farewell, old girl

As you grow older, you start to yearn for the familiar. In an ever changing world, that's a real challenge.  Wouldn't it be nice if some things never changed. A fixed beacon in the cauldron that is the world ? Alas that can only be a pipe dream as there is nothing that is impervious to the passage of time. And so, when something that is long standing , finally succumbs to Father Time, it is time to shed a tear. Especially something that has stood for 71 years.

When I first went to London, there were two places I HAD to see immediately. The second of them was a trek to Tunbridge Wells in Kent to stand on the hallowed pitch where in 1983, one of the greatest cricket innings of all time happened - Kapil Dev's 175 that launched India on the path to World Cup victory. But the first, even above that sainted place, was for me, Bush House, the home of the BBC in the Strand. You can't enter the building, unless you are an employee, so I contented myself with gazing at its majestic facade in awe. And a visit to the BBC World Service shop, which you can enter, of course.

Bush House, for 71 years stood for something special. As the home of the BBC, it was virtually the centre of the world. Right through the decades , until about 15 years ago, BBC Radio was the window to the world for most of its population. I grew up before the internet era ; actually even before the TV era had really established itself. I became a global citizen thanks to the BBC. My education was 50% at school and 50% thanks to BBC World Service. Fiddling a small short wave transistor radio, and trying to listen through the static and crackle, and there would come the magic words - This is London.

The BBC is shifting homes and abandoning Bush House to move to fancier (and presumably cheaper) quarters in London. The logic is impeccable. Bush House was never made for the digital age. Its old world rooms and corridors are a positive nuisance for a modern office. And yet, and yet .......

The BBC itself has changed of course. World Service Radio (at least on the short wave) is more or less dead.  TV has taken over. Budget constraints are taking their toll. But then the BBC is not going away - its only Bush House that's retiring. So why the nostalgia ? Especially for a building that I haven't even been inside. I can't explain it, except that, at my age,  it seems to be the passing of an era.

In four days time, at precisely mid day in London, the last World Service news will be broadcast from Bush House.  From the next hour onwards, the News will still come bang on time, but from the new quarters. Its the same BBC. Its the same news. Its the same anchors. But, surely, it will not be the same. The world may perhaps not notice. But I will heave a big sigh.

One more familiar sight in the world will go down.  Farewell old girl. Here's a big hug. You will always be one of a kind.

Friday, July 6, 2012

400 followers, Freebies, & Tap Lights

Good morning friends!  Wow! I'm in a good mood!  Three cheers for reaching 400 followers, a new Freebie, and I'M STILL AT THE BEACH!  YAY!!!! Wooohooo!!  Yippppeeee!
I'm not sure which I'm most excited about! 
First of all thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me reach yet another milestone with followers!  I'm always so happy and feel so 'at home' when I'm blogging.  I'm grateful I have time to share, learn, collaborate, and hang out with other educators!  Instead of another giveaway so soon, I'll just GIVE AWAY a couple of freebies that I'm very excited about!  On my last trip three trips to the Dollar Store (The guy that works there just laughs when I come in now!) I've been scooping up all their Tap lights.  Have you seen them?  I saw them at a workshop I went to awhile back. You put batteries in them, tap them, and the light comes on.  Yes, they are only $1.00!!  They also come in a variety of shapes!  So... I went "tap light" crazy and just started creating TONS of games to go with them.  So as a THANK YOU for sticking with me, I'd like to give you ONE, well, actually TWO of them!  I created one game for facts 0-10 (for my bloggy friends who teach the youngers) and the other one is for facts 0-20 (for my bloggy teacher friends who have kids who need to work on facts to 20!) *I have some 3rd graders who still need some work here!   Click image to grab one or both as a THANK YOU for all 400 of ya'!     If you enjoy the freebies, be sure to check back in the next few days and weeks for all the other tap light games I've created:   nouns, verbs, adjectives/adverbs, geometry, fractions, counting money, patterns, and the list goes ON and ON!  I've been a busy girl!   :-)

On another 'sunny note,' my beach week is going GREAT!  We've had beautiful weather, I've finished a book, we are enjoying being able to  spend some quality time together, NO SHARKS in sight, and YES, I've managed to stay off my computer (okay, well most of the trip!)

NEED some additional DOLLAR STORE IDEAS?  Check out Sweet Tea Classroom's Dollar Store Idea LINKY! 

Hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July celebrations!  ....it's back to fun in the sun for me!

Bananas for 400 followers, the Dollar Store, and crab legs for dinner!  YUM!