Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday E Book is here!

YAY! If you weren't already in the holiday mood with the growing number of Christmas lights appearing, trees going up, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers, then maybe this will do it for you. :-) The Holiday E book on TpT is ready! I should say E BOOKS, because there are 3 this year! There's a 1-2 version, 3-6 version, and 7-12 version to suit your needs. The E books are each filled with 50, yes 50 holiday FREEBIES from some of TpT's finest!  The E book can be downloaded at the following TpT stores...






1-2 Holiday Freebies










3-6 Holiday Freebies














7-12 Holiday Freebies












I was SO HAPPY to be able to contribute TWO FREEBIES to one of the E books this year!  I hope you can use and ENJOY this holiday season.  :-)




Bananas for the HOLIDAY SEASON!  *Maybe, just maybe I'll get my own tree and lights up this weekend!  ;-)




Thursday, November 29, 2012

Business Jazz - 30th November 2012 - Being a Misfit


We're going to break a little from tradition this week and talk about someone else. Don't worry, Chris is here too. But we're going to start with a man who recently sent out an email actively encouraging people to go to cafes to steal a magazine.

That's right. Theft. You have his blessing.

Such a person can only be called a misfit. In fact, make that a capital "M". Misfit.

Who is this man?

His name is AJ Leon. He and his wife Melissa head up Misfit Incorporated, and they've just launched their magazine: Misfit Quarterly.

Online, it's free. Go get an e-copy.

Want a hard copy? Well, you can sign up to become an honorary misfit (though if you do, AJ and Melissa would probably capitalize you: Honorary Misfit). Or, you can trawl around after them and pick up a free copy wherever they happen to leave one. They're on a 1,080 day journey around the world. They might stop in at your local coffee shop some day.

Misfit Quarterly is an example of fresh thinking. Same goes for Chris Brogan's email last week as well. He wonders whether you usually slowdown in the run up to the end of the year. Is December a wind down month for you? Is your annual race run?

"No!" cries Chris. Beware. Push extra hard in December. Do stuff. Steal a march on your competitors. Steal a march on your former self. Make December really count.

Paul and Roger chew on this and much more (including Daley Thompson) in this week's episode of Business Jazz.

To hear the podcast, just click on the play button on the embedded player at the top of this post. We're also in iTunes. We'd love it if you subscribed.

You can download this week's episode of the podcast directly here: Business Jazz - 30th November 2012.

Be a mMisfit


Intrigued by this man who is giving away his magazine? The man who invites you to steal one?

You can connect with AJ Leon here: Pursuit of Everything.

Invite Chris into your inbox



If you'd like to subscribe to Chris' emails yourself (the ones we discuss here), you'll find a place to sign up on his website. 
If you're interested in The Impact Equation, the book he recently published with Julien Smith, you can find it on Amazon US and Amazon UK. 


Business Jazz Player


This podcast is a collaboration of people dotted around the world. Most of us have never met each other. It's quite a story and it's still evolving. 
If you'd like to read what's happened so far, you'll find it here: Our Story.


PS 


Would you like to hear more? Immediately after each recording of the podcast proper, Paul gets out his iPhone and we record an Audioboo with additional thoughts.

Here's this week's:

Cash transfers instead of subsidies

India is embarking on a major revamp of its social security system - replacing subsidised food, fertiliser, fuel, etc etc with direct cash transfers to the bank accounts of the "poor". Is this good or bad ?

The current system involves heavily subsidised foodgrain, fertilisers, fuel, etc being made available to ration card holders through the public distribution system. This suffers from a whole host of problems. Bribery, corruption, pilferage, etc ensure that only a fraction of the stuff ends up in the hands of the targeted people.  In some areas like fuel, cooking gas cylinders are widely misused and the diesel subsidy lands into the pockets of rich car owners. The waste is so incredible that something ought to be done.

The solution proposed is to eliminate all subsidies progressively and instead simply transfer cash by electronic transfers to bank accounts of the target population. Initially it will cover various anti poverty schemes, then extend to cooking gas and kerosene and only finally to food and fertiliser. The Aadhar scheme is intended to enable foolproof identification. This way middlemen and cheats are largely eliminated. The poor use this money to buy their requirements from normal shops selling products at market prices.

The scheme has lots of advantages. Firstly corruption will go down, although it will not be eliminated. The middlemen taking cuts will be put largely out of business. The country's subsidy bill will drastically fall - as the waste will significantly reduce. The entire rotten public distribution system can be disbanded (although it works quite well in states like Tamil Nadu and Chattisgarh).  Today's technology can ensure that fraud and stealing can be drastically reduced.

However, my worry is that once cash reaches the intended family, what will they use it on. The problem is that their buying behaviour is not predictable or controllable. Undoubtedly many men will use this money to drink . Families will use this money for atrocious causes such as dowry, or  to show status. The brilliant book, Poor Economics, draws on extensive research to prove how their decisions might not seem rational. Research shows, even with present incomes, the poor could spend 30% more on food, if they cut out liquor and tobacco.  When they buy food, the choices are not based on calories or nutrition, but on taste and style. On the medical front, they shun expenditure on low cost preventive measures like mosquito nets or chlorine tablets, even when provided free, and instead go to the local quack for a costly useless injection.

Of course, it is not for me, or anybody else, to prescribe what any individual wishes to spend money on. But I certainly have a problem if my tax rupees  go to fund drinking liquor.

Cash transfers have worked in some other countries, notably the Bolsa Familia in Brazil. But this is a conditional transfer scheme - they get a small amount of money ($12 a month) if  the children stay in school, mothers attend pre natal care, etc etc. India plans to give some $70 a month or so as a straight dole.

On balance cash transfers appears a good thing, but it is not an altogether perfect solution and needs to be implemented with care (not gunghoism). It is wise to recall how Kamaraj in the 1960s raised the literacy levels in Tamil Nadu. With great insight he introduced the mid day meal scheme. Families sent children to school so that they could have a square meal. I doubt the move would have been that effective if he had instead given cash for them to buy a meal.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Business November 28th 2012, The "Black Cyber Wednesday Door-buster!" Edition

 Did you shop til you dropped all pretense of human decency and clawed at the eyes or your fellow man to get the last off-brand, 47 million inch TV? Did you laugh all the way to the bank? Did you also cry when you got there and realized you had spent all your money in a tryptophan induced frenzy? If you didn’t shop, did you maintain a vigilant presence on social media so the world knew you were saving it by not shopping?

Either way, The Business wants your business!

We have a super spectacular list of g
uests that are available for lease or purchase.

Drennon Davis is back for a limited time only, get him while he’s hot and fresh!

From his elaborate characters and sketches, to his provocative songs and animation, Drennon has made a name for himself as one of the most innovative minds in today’s comedy scene. His live performances of the Imaginary Radio Program combine live music and beat-boxing with one-man sketches into a show that the Los Angeles Comedy Bureau writes "not only lives up to its name, but exceeds expectation in what you could possibly think it is." Drennon was featured on NBC's Last Call and was a semi finalist on Last Comic Standing. His new animated show The Long Legs can be seen on MTV's rebirth of Liquid Television in 2012.

Drennon comes 2 for 1 with DJ Real!

Nick Stargu is DJ REAL, a San Francisco-based alternative musical comedy act. Performing all original songs, complete with costume changes, bad dance moves, and interactive multimedia, DJ REAL’s live act has been likened to the Talking Heads, The Residents, and Steve Martin. With a wide range of influences, DJ REAL’s songs vary from hip-hop, to folk, to the bizarre.

PLUS we will be joined by Portland darling and beautiful animal Ian Karmel.

Ian Karmel is a Portland comedian whose style zig-zags between the eclectic and the universal, appealing both to crowds who own homes in the suburbs, and crowds just staying with their parents in the suburbs until they figure some things out. Coming from an improv background, including time with The Groundlings and the Upright Citizens Brigade, Ian entered the world of stand-up with a unique perspective that helped him win the 2011 Funniest Person in Portland, 2010 Portland Amateur Comedy Competition and has given him the opportunity to perform at the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Bumbershoot, Austin’s Moontower Comedy and Oddity Fest, Portland’s Helium Comedy Club, Philadelphia’s Helium Comedy Club, Austin’s Cap City Comedy Club, Seattle’s Comedy Underground and Los Angeles’ Comedy Store. In addition to stand-up, Karmel has appeared on television, playing a character in IFC’s sketch show Portlandia and as a post-game analyst and commentator for the Portland Trailblazers.

 
We are also happy to have Matt Lieb and William Lushbough. Your regulars will be there as well. Mr. Sinister and Mr. Drucker will be back next week, but Mr. Keane, Mr. Koll, and Lady Gill will be holding down the fort.

THIS WHOLE SHOW COSTS JUST $5.
$5!

AND you can bring a friend for free. http://thebusinesscomedy.blogspot.com/

We sell out! Get there early for a seat.

BYOBargain Burrito.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Oh ! What a mess

Come on Argentina. How often do you ask everybody to cry for you ?  On Wednesday, a US District Court Judge detonated an atom bomb (metaphorically, thankfully), in the world of financial markets. As usual, Argentina was at the centre of it. Here is the story, with a little bit of history.

In 2001, Argentina defaulted on its sovereign debt - one of the rare instances of a major country doing so. A default essentially means that a country has no money on the due date to repay a loan it had taken and tells the creditors to fly a kite. The consequences of such an action are drastic - the country immediately becomes an international pariah in financial markets and nobody would lend to it anymore. That has been Argentina's lot for the last decade, and the situation Greece is desperately trying to avoid today.

When Argentina defaulted, most of its creditors got together and negotiated a "restructuring package" which meant that they would get something back at least - spread over a long period of time. It was a crappy deal for the creditors, but at least they would get something. They did this settlement twice- once in 2005 and again in 2010.

Two hedge funds Elliott Associates and Aurelius Capital, however chose not to negotiate and filed a case in the US courts asking for payment in full. The court gave its sentence last Wednesday, which is the metaphorical atom bomb I referred to. The judge ruled that Argentina will have to pay in full to these two hedge funds who sued, even in priority to the vast majority of creditors who settled ! The amount is some $1.3 bn.

This action is like poking a stick in a hornet's nest. All sorts of ramifications abound. First is the predictable response from Argentina, telling the US judge to go stuff himself, saying he cannot order a sovereign nation to do anything. But since the original debt was issued in the US and in dollars, there is some jurisdiction for US courts. However, short of sending in the army, how would the US enforce this decision ? It is hardly likely to start a war to satisfy two hedge funds.  It can resort to freezing Argentinian assets and the like, creating a messy situation.

The creditors who negotiated and settled are crying foul. They will have to wait for some 30 years and get a percentage of the amount, whereas these two funds are supposed to get their money in full immediately. They are suing to stay the decision giving these two funds priority. So anybody who negotiates in future is an idiot. Greece, which is trying to negotiate a restructuring package currently is quivering in the boots.

Then there is the question of a nation "starving" to raise money to pay "evil hedge funds". An angle that is sure to stoke the fires against wicked capitalists. Cristina Fernandez, the Argentinian President, who can effectively rabble rouse, is already singing this tune.

Argentina is appealing (interestingly while saying that the US courts should f@&* off at the same time !) . This will go all the way to the US Supreme Court. 

All this raises the issue of countries borrowing too much and not being in a position to pay the debt back. Very often the money borrowed is wasted away - in subsidies, doles, etc etc. Every country is guilty of this; just witness what the US is up to with debt at completely unsustainable levels - where are they spending the money they are borrowing ? - in fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in providing free health care to the elderly and the poor and doling out money to the unemployed. How will any of this yield a return so that the debt can be paid back ? Every country is simply borrowing more to pay back the original debt and keep doing exactly what it has been doing.

 Oh ! What a mess.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Business Jazz - 23rd November 2012 - Get Back in Your Box

 
 
"Think outside the box"

"I don't like being placed in a box."

"Don't get boxed in."

These are common sentiments, often heard. Being in a box is bad. Restrictive. Repressive.

Life is better outside the confines of boxes.

Really?

Chris Brogan begs to differ. He says getting into a box is good. In fact, it can liberate you rather than imprison. Embracing boxes can give you and your ambitions wings.

In this week's episode of Business Jazz, we talk about using boxes to your advantage.

To hear the podcast, just click on the play button on the embedded player at the top of this post. We're also in iTunes. We'd love it if you subscribed.

You can download this week's episode of the podcast directly here: Business Jazz 23rd November 2012.

Invite Chris into your inbox



If you'd like to subscribe to Chris' emails yourself (the ones we discuss here), you'll find a place to sign up on his website. 
If you're interested in The Impact Equation, the book he recently published with Julien Smith, you can find it on Amazon US and Amazon UK. 


Business Jazz Players - We welcome David Bailey MBE


This podcast is a collaboration of people dotted around the world.

We have a new player. David Bailey MBE. David lives in Bosnia and writes about his experiences here: David Bailey's blog. David contacted us about placing the podcast in a regular slot on Belgrade Life - an internet-based radio station. Would we be interested?

Of course we were.

Our first broadcast was on Wednesday at 4pm GMT. We all missed it due to various diary screw ups.

Nevertheless, we're all hugely appreciative of David's invitation and we count him among our growing band.


If you'd like to read our complete story so far, you'll find it here: Our Story.


PS 


Would you like to hear more? Immediately after each recording of the podcast proper, Paul gets out his iPhone and we record an Audioboo with additional thoughts.

This week, we missed a beat.


WOW!

We have been left speechless by the effort of Nick Holloway, who has transcribed this episode of the podcast.

You can read it after the jump:
Transcription

Business Jazz 23.11.2012

-------------------------------

Welcome to Business Jazz with Paul O'Mahony and Roger Overall.

The podcast about how to be genuinely attractive in business today.

 -------------------------------

Paul: I'm pulling up a cup of tea in Black Rock Castle. I'm here with Roger Overall and welcome to Business Jazz podcast. Roger, you're leaving me to start things off this week, is that correct?

Roger: I am, it's your turn.

Paul: Say who you are.

Roger: My name is Roger Overall and I'm a digital storyteller.

Poor: And my name is Paul O'Mahony and I come from a company called Change Agents. The reason I come from a company called Change Agents is that I am a change agent. This podcast is all about change, isn't it?

Roger: It is.

Paul: How to be genuinely attractive in business today.

Roger: Yes.

Paul: That involves changing customs, practices, habits, culture. I mean what's the point of doing this if it isn't about change, Roger?

Roger: Well, I think if we're not influencing people, and we're not helping them go through change… and a change can be as simple as achieving your goals, getting from where you are to where you want to be is a change.

Paul: So, let's make change happen let's be useful and helpful to people, let's provide them with a service Roger. That's why we're here.

Roger: Let's do that.

------------------------------------

Paul: You're looking at your iPad here and you're looking at an email Chris Brogan sent out on Sunday. It arrived into my in tray at two minutes past nine, as it does for some weird reason, on Sunday morning.

Roger: Well, I'm disappointed you get yours 25 minutes before I get mine. That's favouritism that is! Does Chris Brogan have favourite subscribers?

Paul: This whole email began with Chris Brogan talking about Lego.

Roger: Well, he uses Lego as an example and actually there's an interesting thing, I don't know if people have seen the progression in Lego? When I was a little boy Lego was bricks, just small bricks, and they came in a set number of shapes, and it was your imagination that turned them into whatever. But these days there is very little imagination involved because you get a kit, and the kit is put together. So, you get a Star Wars kit, so you can put together something from Star Wars. When we saw Star Wars in 1977 we used Lego to make what we saw, but of course it wasn't perfect because we were building these bricks. These days it comes in a pre-set pack. Now, Chris says that's a good thing because that helps people achieve things, your choice is limited. I'm less sure about that

Paul: This is a challenging email because as you've just indicated you're not sure about it, so your first reaction was "this line of thinking I'm not sure I like it". So, Chris Brogan is actually, in this very nice, very human way, he's actually going to set out to change the way you think about being within a box. We've all been told we have got to get out of the box, think outside the box. Now, here we have this week Chris Brogan saying, "think inside the box".

Roger: To add to your point there, when you ask, for instance, photographers, "What kind of photographer are you?", a lot of them will say "Oh, I don't like to be put in a box, I don't like to be put in a category, I don't like to be, almost, restricted". But actually, here's the thing, if you put yourself in a box, if you put something in a box, it does give you focus, and I think that's something that Chris touches upon in his email. If you say "I am this kind of photographer", then that's the work you do, it's also easy to get your message across but I think it also gives direction. So, sometimes, I agree it can be good to get in a box.

Paul: Lego used to come without a box, if you like, in a box but without any direction or any instructions on what to do with it, how to make something, you were able to invent your own objects. It moved on later because they realised they could provide an additional service to people by giving them a plan for what they could do. But I know kids who've bought, let's say, the Batman Lego kit and they've amalgamated with the garage kit, or the space kit, and they then show me stuff which is a bit of this added to a bit of that added to a bit of the other, and it's different. So, I would contend that being in a box only provides you with something that you can link with other boxes and that you can amalgamate two boxes together and make a new box that was invented only by you.

Roger: I think that latter bit "that was invented only by you" is very significant because even in my day, we got Lego, there were no rules, you could make anything, you were still actually really limited in what you made because you're bringing your experience to the Lego. So, it's not like you're bringing everything, as a little boy you have certain interests, and those are the boxes, if you like, that you bring to the Lego, and you put the Lego in the box. I think the interesting thing you're saying there is children, in essence, don't care about these boxes that have been given to them, they're very free thinking. In my day, I'll take things from outside the box and I'll create this thing from Lego to represent what I want to, and these days children are saying "Well, thank you very much for the box and the rules that come with the box, but you know what? I'm going to amalgamate Batman and the garage, not necessarily because the Batmobile needs an oil change, but because I can do crazy things with it", because a child's imagination just takes off. I like that concept you've just sketched there of putting boxes together.

Paul: This reminds me of Caravaggio, and this reminds me of many of the great, great painters in history and many of them began their life as apprentices to other painters. So, while they were apprentices of their master they learnt to paint, they were in a box, they learnt the formula, they followed the plans designed by somebody else. Did that mean that they were incapable of becoming themselves? Absolutely not. It provided them with a basis for learning certain skills which they were then able to take into a different box which was their own. I cook, I love to cook food, and I took it very seriously, I don't do as much as I used to do, but I took it very seriously. But I use cookery books nowadays and I'm actually at my most creative when I try to replicate a dish that somebody else has designed and told me what I should do. The reason for this is, give me a load of ingredients and I'll put together a dish that is not a problem for me, I do it, it's my comfort zone, I get out of my comfort zone when I go into a box that says "here is the recipe", then I start to do things with the food that I haven't thought of and that aren't from within my existing frame of reference. I think it is helpful to actually practice a particular skill in a particular way, with rules, regulations, boundaries, discipline-  just do it, and then see what happens

Roger: And that's really the progression because, you ask the question there, once having learnt all the rules and the regulations and the hows and the techniques, can painters become individuals and develop their own style and their own expression? Well, they have to, because otherwise painting would still be the same as it was 300 years ago, now. In fact it would never have been invented because nobody would have ever actually ever thought about creating a new box that would have created painting the way it was to start with. I think having almost a comfort zone of rules allows you, once you've mastered the rules, to start playing with the rules and expanding the box and adding to the box, which is really what children do, in that example that you gave. I'm now going to stick Batman's head on the nurse's body for a bit of fun! Then we have a cowled nurse going round the hospital, or maybe a super nurse whose healing these people, I don't know.

Paul: Hey, you've just invented a new children's comic, you realise? SUPER NURSE!

Roger: BAT NURSE!

Paul: BAT NURSE! You just invented a new character, you just get a bit of slime, wrap a particular nurse in it and she'll emerge out of the chrysalis of the slime as BAT NURSE! SUPER BAT NURSE!

Roger: SUPER BAT NURSE! What have we just done? We've taken a box and we've added onto this box a new genre of superhero.

Paul: Let's talk about Moleskin for a second. I want to quote from Chris Brogan, this is one of the early paragraphs in the email, after talking about Star Wars, after talking about Batman and Lego, he says "This is why Moleskin sells both blank journals plus travel journals. You can obviously use a blank journal to record your travel but if the journal says travel on the outside, you've been given a box to stay within". So, I go into the shop and I'm going to go on holidays and I want a Moleskin notebook to take with me and I've been used to having Moleskin notebooks that have just plain line, nothing on the cover, but I'm going on a holiday and Moleskin provide me with an identical notebook to the one I want but this one is branded with the word "Travel" on the outside. I immediately breathe a sigh of relief that says, "Oh good, they've actually thought of me and my need, so good for Moleskin, I'll use the one saying travel". Inside it's identical with the one that says "Plain Moleskin Notebook" but Moleskin have given me a box.

Roger: Can you not make the box yourself and just buy the regular one and stick a sticker on the front?

Paul: I could, but you know what? Moleskin are helping me, Moleskin have also got a notebook that says, here's your wine journal, now they put extra things into it to enable me to say it's a wine journal. And they also put some extra things into the travel journal, now Moleskin one of the greatest companies in the world, one of the greatest designs ever invented, in my opinion, it's the most wonderfully rolled out brand, they've got products for a number of different things. When I first came across Moleskin doing additional notebooks to the bog standard, core, brilliant notebook that they do, the one I valued so much, and I have volumes in my library at home, I've 20 or 30 of 40 of these Moleskin notebooks, the point about it is they now have gone down the road of giving me one for travel, giving me one for genealogies, giving me one for this and that, and it is helpful extension of the idea.

Paul: Right, the second chapter within the podcast this week moves on from this idea about Batman and Lego and Moleskin, to some very real practical things about how to use boxes to help you structure your thinking.

Roger: Well, Chris provides what he calls the anatomy of a project and I think many people listening to this may have an idea that they want to do a project similar to this, write an ebook, but as a big project that can be  a little bit daunting. What he does here in his little anatomy of a project is he breaks down into boxes.

Paul: Into boxes, okay.

Roger: So, for instance, he starts with some presumptions, or guesses, or outlines. How many pages? Say the book is going to be 100 pages, what are the main concepts? Well those main concepts could very will break down into chapters, so you may have 10 concepts, therefore you may have 10 chapters. So, already you have 100 pages divided into 10 concepts, so that's 10 pages per chapter, so you could say chapter is a box. Suddenly your book of 100 pages, one big box, has been broken down into 10 smaller boxes. But you can go further than that really, because you can also then start looking at goals. How do you achieve the actual finished product? For example how many words should the book be? It could be 50,000, 25,000, however many you want it to be. How many can you write in a day? Now, Chris says he can write 4000 on average a day. Now, that's a lot of writing, but then he's a skilled writer, he's a practised writer.

Paul: That is 400 words per hour.

Roger: Which is fine if you not doing anything else with your life other than writing.

Paul: Okay, but if you work on then from, let's make this manageable, this is a day's work, a days work, you produce 4000 words. I know many authors who produce an awful lot less than that in a day and some who produce a lot more, but when you break it down per hour, divide the 4000 by 10 hours work in a day, and you get 400, right you divide that by 60 and you get so many a minute, and you find that he probably only has to produce, what is it, you can do the maths better than me, perhaps, let's say, he only has to write seven words a minute. Seven words a minute is achievable. I remember when I tried to write 50,000 words during the month of November for NaNoWriMo and loads of people were still labouring away really hard to finish off their 50,000 words during this month of November. But if you break it down to how many words you need to write per minute, it becomes an awful lot easier to start writing

Roger: It does, but I do think that kind of analogy can be a little bit dangerous. I mean, if I were to say to you, you're going to walk 48 miles and you're going to walk a mile and hour for 48 consecutive miles, that's only a few steps per minute, but actually to complete in that way would drive you nuts, you know to do 48 miles in 48 hours consecutively.

Paul: But it might be started, you see, the point is this is all about getting started, you see if I say to myself all you've got to do in the next minute Paul is walk the first 100 yards, right? So, I say, okay, I'll do that. The thing that stops us all from doing something is the thought about the immensity of the project, right? So if I say, okay, here's the day, it's now eight o'clock in the morning, God, it's impossible to think how I'd walk 48 miles today, so the first thing is, in the first minute I walk 100 yards, right? The walking of the first hundred yards helps me to walk the next 100 yards. I then can say all I need to do in the next hour is walk 2 miles. I then walk more than 2 miles in the next hour, I get a real release of endorphins into my brain, I'm feeling good about myself, before I know it I'm having the same experience of people having the gym every day.

Roger: That's an important thing, I think if you hit on another issue here, and that is the feeling good about what you're doing, because a lot of people may be daunted by the number of words involved in writing a book, and breaking it down into bite-size pieces that you can manage, a daily quota that is very achievable for you, is one thing. But then what a lot of people do is they get bound up, and Seth Godin recently wrote about this, they get bound up in the idea that it's not good enough, and that can be a killer as well. So, yes, by putting things into boxes and helping people achieve that number is very, very, very good, but what they mustn't do is stop to read too much what they're writing, because I think that will put people off as well, do your editing at the end. Once the box is full, do your editing, not while you're filling the box.

Paul: Can we go back to Chris's example, because I do think we would be providing a service to people if we take people through precisely his example.

Roger: So, he's saying that your book could be 100 pages, we have now broken down into 10 concepts, so 10 chapters of 10 pages…

Paul: That's a box, right? So, I'm writing 100 pages with 10 chapters.

Roger: So, he is reckoning on about 250 words per page, okay? So, I think he has worked that out to be 25,000 words, for the hundred page book. So, if you're writing an average of 4000 words a day, now he's talking about writing a book with somebody else, but we'll just say, if you were doing it on your own, you're going to get that book finished in two weeks.

Paul: So, you can write 12,500 words, if you're writing 4000 words a day, you can write the book in three days, in three days, right? You can produce an e-book in three days.

Roger: Or, if you got at a slower pace, you can write it in six days.

Paul: Okay, but we're deftintely talking about this now, we're now beginning to feel, bloody hell, this is manageable, I could actually get an e-book out. You've often thought about producing e-books, haven't you?

Roger: I'm working on one.

Paul: Read out the email you sent to Chris Brogan.

Roger: "Dear Chris, do you live in my head? How could you otherwise deliver an email that so perfectly provides answers to questions I woke up with? Because I'm in the middle of plotting an e-book that needs to be finished in two weeks time."

Paul: Now, look, that's one set of boxes, right? That's about getting the work done. The next box is all about stuff like, who will buy the book? Who do I know that knows them? What form will the ebook take? What will we price it? We need boxes for each of these.

Roger: And in turn those boxes get divided into more boxes again. He takes the point of, "What will we price it?". We could price it high, we could price it low, but if I price it high then that leads to another set of considerations, or price it even higher and bundle it together with another quality service offering. There's lots of different things that then come into play, because when you start thinking about what I going to put into this box, it immediately almost leads you to subdivide the box again.

Paul: You and I will walking the other night and you pulled out your iPhone while we were walking and you said we we're going to mind map this project. Now, I think there's a great similarity between you saying that to me, we're going to mind map, and what Chris Brogan is doing. He is using the work, the language of boxes, right? So, you have a box which says ""Wo will buy it?" That's a whole train of thought, all the questions about who will buy it. Then you get another box that says "Who knows those people?" Because they're the people who will buy it, but I have to still reach them, that's my marketing plan, who do I know that knows them? Might be I know the newspaper, and the newspaper knows them, because they buy the newspaper every day, therefore I put an ad in in the newspaper, and that's a particular way of doing it. It could be that I literally send a Tweet to somebody, that person will tell all of their followers, and that gets to exactly who I want. So, which ever way you do it, this is mind mapping, isn't it Roger?

Roger: It is, and it's very interesting you say that, because Chris put out an Instagram not so very long ago, which I responded to. In the photograph he shows what a course looks like at its early conception phase for him, and he has a page with boxes on it. I responded back to him, saying "I'm very curious about your thought process, your creative process. Do you use mind mapping?" And of course, this is exactly a way of…

Paul: Did he answer you?

Roger: I don't think so.

Paul: No, he probably doesn't... I would imagine Chris Brogan gets loads of people asking him questions. Now, he knows full well that if he were to say, "Yes, I use mind mapping", some people are going to go off copying Chris Brogan. It's an interesting question about "Will I use boxes or will I use mind mapping?"

Roger: Well, I think mind mapping uses boxes anyway. A mind map is, you start with a central concept, you draw lines, often new boxes which are related concepts, and you draw lines off those and you build almost a tree, or a fungus with spores. So, I think this is a form of mind mapping, most definitely, because it brings clarity, it's a form of planning, not only does it reduce your project down to bite-size steps, but it makes you think about other things. Your project develops tentacles in all directions, now whether you follow up on all these tentacles is entirely up to you, they may not be relevant, they may actually lead you to totally different projects which you then have to hive off, but nevertheless you'll have a visualisation and a lot of people find it very useful. You have a visualisation of what your project is going to look like and how you going to get there.

Paul: I've started one here, you know, just to try this out for this box idea. I put a big box at the top of the page which says "Reading 'The Impact Equation' together in Cork", right? I'm not going to go into details. Then I put another box here underneath it called "Shape", another box that says "Who'll be there?", And another box saying, "What we'll eat?". As you know, there are people coming along after we've recorded this podcast with whom we're going to do some work and this whole idea of actually, let's get a number of boxes so we can think within each of those boxes, I'm going to use what Chris Brogan has given in this week's email, I'm going to use it.

Roger: I think it will be very useful because is going to be four people, we have around about an hour to get this done, so we're going to need some kind of structure. I think therein lies another gift from Chris this week, here is something that you can use to actually get the planning process sorted out. How often do we sit there planning and we're staring off into space? Well, he's actually given you a tool to stop you staring off into space, write it down, draw some boxes or use of piece of mind mapping software.

Paul: Chris Brogan didn't say use a piece of mind mapping software.

Roger: No, I just did. Yes, I know, but this is part and parcel of what he's helping us do this week and that is actually to get the planning process sorted.

Paul: Okay, here are five or six bullet points. A box is a method for packaging up a challenge or chore or project of any kind. Okay, Christmas presents, tough thing to do, get yourself sorted, make a box. Boxes can be drawings to help you put together and modularise you're thinking. The box doesn't have to be boring like mine is here, there squares and rectangles, in fact this isn't my usual, I do more clouds and pictures of cloud formations is my boxes and that's probably the cross-referencing with mind mapping. The next one is boxes can be a way to measure achievements, so in each of these boxes we have for example, "Who'll be there?", and we end up putting down a list of all the people who'll be there, or else the type of people will be there. And that's the box and we will measure ourselves against it, did we get them in the room? Did we get all those people that we put in the box "Who'll be there?" in the room? In fact you could take responsibility for driving that box, that could be your box. Get these people into the room. It's just another way of thinking about a project, isn't it? Boxes can represent dates on a calendar. So, you have a box, and the box has all the key timelines, all the key, important milestones on the way, "By 15 January we have to have got an email into people's hands. By the 19 January we have to get back the response. By the 25 January we have to of got their money. By the 28 January we have to have done this. Bang. A box for dates. Now, this was the best part of the whole email, I have to tell you. I was rereading this email this morning before you came and I got to this excellent line, "There are other applications for boxes that I'm skipping for you to discover". Now, let me have a little hobbyhorse about this. This is all about the benefits of producing an imperfect, incomplete communication. This is about Chris leaving an opportunity for us to develop his thinking, by saying there are other applications which he hasn't listed. He could list another six applications for boxes and thereby make it harder and harder for me, or you, to come up with any new idea. But he has deliberately left space, so he's deliberately produced an incomplete email. Now, I think that is such a great thing to do.

Roger: Well, I'm glad he did, because otherwise we wouldn't have a podcast. We'd just be reading our Chris's email verbatim.

Paul: Well, we wouldn't do that anyway, even if Chris wrote the most perfect email, complete one, we would take it off in another direction anyway.

Roger: But he's encouraging people to take the idea of the box and move forward.

Paul: Roger's pointing at the time, so we're well aware of our time now, and we're moving into the final chapter of this week's Business Jazz. Right, Roger every time we get towards the end of the podcast we need to leave people with something of great value for them, right? So, considering this idea of boxes, considering about all that we've spoken about already, what is your takeaway for people this week, Roger? What are you going to give people of value?

Roger: I'm going to tie in with what Chris says right at the very end of his email and it's about this issue of the grind, doing the work, doing the stuff that needs to be done, but we don't really enjoy doing, but we need to do it to allow us to do the stuff that we do enjoy, or to allow us to achieve the goals that we want to achieve. There is always a little bit of work that's a chore, that's a grind. Now, I think, here is a very, very useful way to help us manage those grinds, those chores, put them into bite-size pieces, and then they will get done. That's my takeaway. Help yourself, don't swallow the medicine in one big spoonful, take it in small measures, and then you'll get there as well.

Paul: Okay, let me try a takeaway which is sufficiently different from what you've done to give people another option, right? My takeaway from this week is actually not about Chris Brogan's email at all, it's about Business Jazz podcast. The fact that we now have a man in India whose listening to it, we have a woman in the Netherlands who's listening to it and we have a man in Bosnia who's listening to it, now I just pick those three places. We haven't yet got somebody in Japan, somebody in Australia, there's a load of islands in Indonesia that we're not being listened to yet, so people listening to this could do something really interesting, they could join our team, join the project, and the project is to just get a load of people connected with each other, swapping ideas, inspired by original inspiration from Chris Brogan, who no doubt has a regional inspiration from somebody else. But basically, let's see if we can get this Business Jazz podcast moved to another country. Let's ask each person who listens to this to look at their Facebook, their Twitter, their email list, find somebody in a different country and send it to them, and see what happens this time next week.

Roger: Build community. Help us outside our box.

Paul: Help us all. I'll leave you to give the credits.

Roger: Business jazz is recorded weekly at the Black Rock Castle Observatory. We are kindly afforded space in the cafe there, the Castle Cafe. You can find them on Twitter at @Castle_cafe1. Business Jazz is produced by MCFontaine, Mark Cotton, and you can find Mark Cotton, go to Twitter and you'll find him at @MCFontaine.

Paul: He also produces the Bletchley Park podcast, get that as well.

Roger: Paul, where can people find out about you?

Paul: Just put into Google changeagents.ie, or else @changeagents_ on Twitter.

Roger: I am @RogerOverall on Twitter, you can find me at the digitalstoryteller.net, you can find the show notes for this episode, and all the episodes of Business Jazz, at businessjazz.net.

Paul: And, you can find Chris Brogan in "The Impact Equation" in your local bookshop, or else on Amazon. Some day, we must get in touch with Julian Smith who wrote the book is well.

Roger: And you can find Chris at ChrisBrogan.com. Thank you very, very much for listening. Please do join us again. And do let us know, do let us know this week, how did you get out of your box?

Paul: We better stop Roger, we have to stop. Okay, we'll be back again.


------------------------------





CYBER Mon. & Tues. SALE

HAPPY THANKSGIVING blog friends!  Hoping this season finds you thankful for so many things.  My list is so long I don't even know where to begin.  The 4 F's are at the top of my list:  Faith, Family, Friends, and Freedom!  The 3 T's are right up there close to the top of my list, too...Teaching, Tea (love my tea!), and TpT!  

TpT is showing their gratitude for teachers and the hard work they put in daily by running a HUGE CYBER DAY SALE!  Join myself and other sellers on Monday, Nov. 26th and Tuesday, Nov. 27th @ TpT for 28% off all your favorite items!  Be sure to use the promo code CMT12 when checking out to get the additional % off your purchase! 
Stock up on your favorite units, activities, games and more at huge savings!  I'm looking forward to having my WHOLE store on sale!   Here's a look at some of the newest items you can find...    *Click any of the pics for direct links!














Blessings to you and yours this Thanksgiving!


Bananas for some time off work to spend with family,

Other fabulous sellers who are participating in the TpT sale below!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Business November 21st 2012, The "Emily Squared" Edition

This Holiday season, we are thankful for our Emilys. Two Emilys in particular, and they will both be here on Wednesday so we can give them thanks.

Emily Heller is a comedian and writer who likes you very much. You may have seen her on the third season of John Oliver’s New York Stand Up Show on Comedy Central, or as one of the New Faces at the 2012 Montreal Just For Laughs Festival. In 2011, She was included in Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch, won Rooftop Comedy’s Silver Nail Award, and was named one of
the “Funniest People in Town” by 7x7 Magazine. Praised in San Francisco for what her friends call her “self-deprecating feminist slob poetry,” Emily now lives in New York City and performs stand-up all over the country.


Emily Maya Mills is an actor, writer and stand-up comic based in Los Angeles. She's been seen on Parks and Recreation, Ellen, Conan, Childrens’ Hospital, Key and Peele, Downers Grove, Harry's Law and many of television’s weirder commercials. Emily is a graduate of Emerson College is a regular performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Her three-woman sketch group, Birds of Prey, won Best Sketch Group in a Punchline Magazine survey and continues to produce exclusive videos for FunnyorDie.com and Cracked.com.

These fly birds aren’t Turkeys! They’ll cran your berry! You’ll want to do the Mashed Potato with them! You’ll want to fill your body cavity with their delicious stuffing!


Your regulars will be there as well, Sean “Sweet Potatoes” Keane, Bucky “Gravy” Sinister, Mike “Terducken” Drucker and Caitlin “Green Bean Casserole” Gill.


We sell out! Get there early to score a seat.


BYOBurrito de Pavo.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What happens behind closed doors in a bedroom

What do people do in bed, other than sleeping ? Should be an easy one, isn't it. Well, it turns out not to be so easy. No, it's not what you thought.  Apparently, the activity that is most often done in bed is working ! 

This blogger has often moaned about the complete encroachment of the office in to the home. The awful mobile phone started the trend. The tyrannical Blackberry, despite offering the serious affliction of arthritis of the thumb, turned zillions into addicts.  The tablet completed the victorious rout. The office has completely taken over the home. Wife and kids - can you move to the garage please. 

You know that working in bed is a reality when you see companies offering products that "improve your productivity" while in bed. I had thought that such a claim would strictly be in the realm of the magazines of a certain slant, but apparently these come with a U certificate. Take the example of this bed (online price $5,999)



No, this doesn't rock and shake. Apparently it has more prosaic qualities. It has power sockets built in and one side of the bed can be propped up to let you work while the other side remains flat for your spouse to continue sleeping.

Or how about this laptop holder from IKEA. 

Or something called the "Pyramid Pillow". While it helps you prop up the tablet, apparently its USP is that it can stop pens from getting lost under the sheet.


What is the world coming to ? The future of the human species is under grave threat, if the result of groping in a dark bedroom yields a pen !  If the dominant sound is a ping, instead of what you would expect (no; not a snore !) . When you missed "action" with your spouse (or the significant other) because it was not on your Outlook calendar ? All right, I shall stop here.

Isn't there anything sacred anymore under the onslaught of the office. Can't you retreat into a private sanctuary of your bedroom, without the office crowds joining you. That is why I am dead against the promise of video calling. If I have to do a call from bed, I would rather not have the calling party see me in my pajamas, or worse ! And I certainly don't want to see the other in curlers - and I thought she was very pretty.

Do me a favour. Erect a minefield around your bedroom and shoot the office if it tries to encroach. If your guard is slipping, remember this blog post. And remember that we would all not have been born if the second most common activity that happened in the bedroom was working !

Friday, November 16, 2012

Business Jazz - 16th November 2012 - Listen Good


Listen...

How good are you at listening?

Are you an active listener?

Can you listen well by speaking more?

Mastering the art of listening can give you a huge competitive advantage.

This week, Chris Brogan's email about listening causes Paul and Roger to not talk at the same time...

To hear the regular podcast first, just click on the play button on the embedded player at the top of this post. We're also in iTunes. We'd love it if you subscribed.

You can download the podcast directly here: Business Jazz 16th November 2012.

Listen directly to Chris yourself 



If you'd like to subscribe to Chris' emails, you'll find a place to sign up on his website. 
 If you're interested in The Impact Equation, the book he recently published with Julien Smith, you can find it on Amazon US and Amazon UK. 


Business Jazz Players 


This podcast is a collaboration of people dotted around the world.


If you'd like to read our story so far, you'll find it here: Our Story.


PS 


Would you like to hear more? Immediately after each recording of the podcast proper, Paul gets out his iPhone and we record an Audioboo with additional thoughts. This is this week's:

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Business November 14th 2012, The "North Atlantic Treaty Organization" Edition


A friend of The Business is back in town! We’ve missed him since he moved to New York, but he’s been visiting our living rooms every Thursday night via the excellent show he writes for, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. Come enjoy him live and in the flesh here in SF! We are happy to welcome Nato Green.

Nato was named SF Weekly’s Best Comedian of 2010 and got his own cover story in 2011 for getting “smarter and faster” and putting on “legendary” shows that keep audiences “doubled over.” Nato is the
creator of Iron Comic, the Iron Chef-spoofing comedy game show that he often co-hosts with Moshe Kasher. Nato's humor commentaries have appeared in Huffington Post, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Rumpus, The Bold Italic, and more. Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, said Nato is, “Righteous and hilarious, bracing and a hoot, Nato Green is like finding a shot of bourbon at your co-worker's stupid vegan potluck.”




That’s not all! Also joining us will be the hilarious John Roy. He is visiting from Los Angeles, and we are pleased he has time to get down to Business.

John began his career performing in independent rooms in Chicago. After honing his act in clubs around the Midwest, John competed and was crowned the first champion of CBS' Star Search, in 2003. He has performed stand up on numerous television shows, including The Tonight Show, The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and Last Comic Standing, where he was a semi-finalist. He made his debut on Conan, in 2012. John's CD Dressed for Recess, was released in 2008 on RBC records and continues to receive frequent airplay on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Your regulars, Sean “Kosov-O-NO-YOU-DIDN’T” Keane, Alex “Greece-y Turkey” Koll, “Brussels” Sinster and Caitlin “Eisenhower? I barely knew her! I’m de Gaulled!” Gill will be there for you as well.

Make a treaty with yourself to join our organization! Tickets are just $5, and you can even bring a friend for free with one of these handy 2-for-1 coupons.

BYOBurrito, they are the international symbol of peace. Move over,  doves.

The incomparable Bill Gates

I remain confounded as to why Bill Gates is not universally loved in this world. Ask people at random to name the greatest living person  and you'll get a wide variety of names. But I bet, you won't see the name of Bill Gates very much. And yet , to me, he would rank right up alongside with Nelson Mandela for that honour.

Why ?;  do you ask ? here's why.

There have been many incredibly successful businessmen in the world. Few can deny that Bill Gates is one of them. But he is only one of many; many preceded him, and no doubt many will succeed him. But even in the success, you should laud his lifestyle - never ostentatious, low key, with class and style and the very epitome of what a successful businessman should be.

And then he gave virtually all his money to charity. In this, he is rare, but not unique. Others have donated large sums before too. The list of business tycoons, who have been major givers for social causes is an illustrious list.

But he is absolutely unique, in that not only did he give money, but that he quit corporate life and is now an active manager and leader of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has brought his incredible business and organisational talents to the the social work his Foundation is doing. In that he stands alone. No comparable peer is anywhere close to him in this regard. 

If you don't know what the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation do, visit their website. They have been one of the major players in the virtual eradication of polio around the world. Their work in Global Health is stupendous - he leads the fight against tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, AIDS, and such diseases that affect the poor. The work they do in women's health and family planning is like nothing the world has ever seen. Just witness the latest innovation awards that they sponsored. It was not in some sexy field in social work. It was in innovation in toilet design - sanitary facilities being the single largest problem and the largest cause of disease in the poor world. Who else can think of the Reinvent Toilet award ?

Listen to one of his TED talks here, where he dealt with malaria and education and you'll know what I mean.

Its not just the work that Bill and Melinda do. Its the way they do it. They have brought management excellence and governance to the social field where it was sorely lacking.  On a scale that is staggering. The social sector has been transformed by the Gates Foundation. They bring business discipline - project plans, funding, evaluation, corrections and results to the social field. They work with governments and make sure governance is good enough for the money to reach where it should. Most governmental aid disappears down the pockets of the corrupt. Not so with the Gates Foundation. Nobody dares to steal their money or produce poor results - he runs the programs with the same ruthlessness as in business. He works with governments to influence policy. He doesn't dicatate from corporate headquarters - he is on the field in every poor part of the world. He could remain cocooned in luxury - he instead chooses to visit the most difficult regions in the world. I can bet that he has seen more of India than any reader of this blog has - or for that matter, more than many many Indians.

He does all this with little fanfare. There are no sound bites, no photo ops. He doesn't care for any recognition ; not does he even contemplate indulging in many of the antics the rich do. He is truly a class act.

Is he a perfect human being ? Of course not. He has his faults like anybody else. He does go wrong. He is geeky. Not glamorous. In his business days he has been ruthless to competition like any businessman. But what he has achieved and the manner he is achieving them is almost saintly. Show me one other human being who does more for this world. If ever there is a role model for any businessman, nay, any man or woman, you have to  go a long way to find somebody better than Bill Gates. 

Tell me, why is Bill Gates not the prime candidate for the Nobel Peace prize every year ?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Many journalists can't provide the value-added journalism that is needed today

Journalists pretend they spend their time investigating the intricacies of international affairs, covering the inner workings of the economic system, and exposing abuses of political and economic power. Although many aspire to do so (and occasionally do with great effect), the reality is far from the imagined sense of self.

Most journalists spend the majority of their time reporting what a mayor said in a prepared statement, writing stories about how parents can save money for university tuition, covering the release of the latest versions of popular electronic devices, or finding out if a sports figure’s injury will affect performance in the next match.

Most cover news in a fairly formulaic way, reformatting information released by others: the agenda for the next town council meeting, the half dozen most interesting items from the daily police reports, what performances will take place this weekend, and the quarterly financial results of a local employer. These standard stories are merely aggregations of information supplied by others.

At one time these standard stories served useful purposes because newspapers were the primary information hubs of the community. Today such routine information has little economic value because the original providers are now directly feeding that information to the interested public through their own websites, blogs, and Twitter feeds. Additionally, specialist topic digital operators are now aggregating and organizing that information for easy accessibility.

Town councils place their agendas and voting reports on their own websites, many police and fire departments operate continuously updated blogs and twitter feeds that provide basic emergency reports and what is being entered in their blotters and logs, performance centers and concert promoters offer websites and digital notifications of upcoming activities and events, and companies and business information media offer direct distribution of financial reports and news releases to the public. All of these are stripping the value from newspaper redistribution of those kinds of information and making people less willing to pay for provision of that news.

To survive, news organizations need to move away from information that is readily available elsewhere; they need to use journalists’ time to seek out the kinds of information less available and to spend time writing stories that put events into context, explain how and why they happened, and prepare the public for future developments.  These value-added journalism approaches are critical to the economic future of news organizations and journalists themselves.

Unfortunately, many journalists do not evidence the skills, critical analytical capacity, or inclination to carry out value-added journalism. News organizations have to start asking themselves whether it is because are hiring the wrong journalists or whether their company practices are inhibiting journalists’ abilities to do so.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Business Jazz - 9th November 2012 - Being a Servant


This week, it's all about serving your customers. Chris Brogan says that everything works better if you consider yourself to be operating in service of others.


He suggests that you ask yourself five questions:


1) Is it easy for my buyer to reach me if they have a question? (Define "buyer" how you wish.)


2) Is my online presence as inviting as a store or office? Will people know what to do first when they connect with me? Do I guide them where they should go next? 


3) Do I make my product or service clear and understandable so that people feel they understand it?
4) Am I doing what I'm selling to make my buyer the hero? 


5) Am I ready to commit to full satisfaction from my customer?

Paul and Roger discuss each one in turn. They don't agree on the last one - the one that Chris highlights in particular. There is more on that in the follow-up recording below.

To hear the regular podcast first, just click on the play button on the embedded player at the top of this post. We're also in iTunes. We'd love it if you subscribed.

Serve yourself



If you'd like to subscribe to Chris' emails, you'll find a place to sign up on his website.

If you're interested in The Impact Equation, the book he recently published with Julien Smith, you can find it on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Business Jazz Players


This podcast is a collaboration of people dotted around the world. 
If you'd like to read our story so far, you'll find it here: Our Story.


PS


Would you like to hear more? We record an afters session on Audioboo. This is this week's:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Veterans Day Freebie

Veterans Day holds a special place in my heart every year. Read below... I'm RE-POSTING an "oldie, but goodie" blog post from last year.  I added a FREEBIE to go with it!  Enjoy and Happy Veterans Day! 


If you're looking for a cool, meaningful volunteer or service project to do with your students, consider "adopting a soldier" who is currently serving overseas.  My classes and I for the last several years have adopted at least 10 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.  "Adopting" a soldier consists of making the commitment to send one letter a week and one care package a month to someone on active duty. (Which is easy when you have 20 some eager students ready to write their letter!)  My students and I have made some great friends, encouraged someone is serving our country, and participated in some of the most amazing events through this adoption.
How do you "adopt" a soldier?  You sign up with the non-profit organization called Soldiers Angels.
After they give you clearance, they will assign you a soldier and give you his/her address overseas and you're ready to go!  Who says the academics have to take a back seat?  I teach my parts of a friendly letter, map skills, addressing an envelope, focusing on common/proper nouns, some history, and of course, citizenship and volunteering.  I'd love to say that all my soldiers have been actively involved in the process of writing back to us faithfully, but that's not the case.  I've had everything from no letters in return because they're just too busy, to other soldiers who write us back faithfully.  I've even had one show up for a visit on Veterans Day the following year he returned from active duty.  Last year my students got to be involved in a soccer ball drive with our soldier.  He wanted us to collect soccer balls to send to him overseas where he distributed to the local village children in Basrah, Iraq.  The whole "adoption" process has been a WIN/WIN for everyone involved.  Enjoy some photos from some of our FAVORITE moments.
The soccer ball drive was on the news and
in a military publication. My students were
so proud that they helped get 200 soccer balls
delivered to such eager children in Iraq.





Some very excited 3rd graders collecting 
soccer balls for a good cause









We were lucky enough to have one of our 
adopted soldiers come VISIT us on Veterans Day!  
He presented our class with a certificate of appreciation,
coins from his platoon, and a flag flown over their 
camp in our honor while he was stationed in Iraq.


As always, if you would like some additional information or are interested in getting started, just let me know!  I'll help in any way I can!  

Click on the image to grab your FREEBIE Veterans Day timeline.  

Bananas for those that serve and sacrifice for our freedom,

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Business November 7th 2012, The "Roseanne Barr Victory Party" Edition

We did it everybody! We made it through another election cycle as a docile populace unwilling to topple our overlords!

No matter how you feel about the election results, you should come to The Business to celebrate/mourn. We have invited Kevin O’Shea, a friend of The Business and one of our favorite guests to join us.

Established in 1984 following the mergers of Steven and Cathy O’Shea, Kevin O’Shea has been one of San Francisco’s leading manufactures of mirth, laughter, hilarity and all around good ti

mes! Kevin has been commonly described as clever, absurd, awkward but in a funny way and too smart for his own good. He has been seen on the Independent Film Chanel and ComedyCentral.com. He is a favorite of comedy festivals such as: The SF Sketch Fest and the Bridgetown Comedy Festival. Go see him now as his 4th quarter productivity has never been higher!

We will miss Bucky Sinister this week, but the rest of your regulars will be there. All defenders of democracy, all proudly wearing “I Voted!” stickers (probably just cause we’ll be wearing the same shirts we wore on Tuesday. AMERICA).

As always, the show is just $5 American. If you want to bring a friend, bring em for free!! Don't forget to grab your 2-for-1 coupon at the top of this page!
 
BYOBurrito. Carnitas 2016.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Companies need a geography lesson

Ahhh ! If only the world was as simple as 50 years ago. Global companies found it quite simple then to divide the world ; there were only three regions in the world - America, Europe and Rest of the World. If you were an American company, 70 % of your revenues came from America, 27% came from Europe (Oh god; we have to improve there) and 3% came from Rest of the World (where's that ?). If you were an European company, 70% came from Europe, 27% from America (the bloody Yanks) and 3% from Rest of the World (where's that ?) Quite simple.
 
Alas life has got a bit more complicated for global companies. How to cut the world ? A popular division is to split as America, Europe and Asia Pacific. That threw up a problem - what about Africa (where's that ?). So came EMEA - Europe Middle East and Africa. Right - President Americas, President EMEA and President APAC.
 
That threw up more problems - does it make sense to group France and Mali in the same group ? And Venezuela and US didn't seem the same either.  So companies moved to split as per the continents - North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
 
That threw up more problems. In Europe, Western Europe was dead and declining. Central & Eastern Europe was growing at 35% per annum. Lumping them together under the same management seemed daft - they required completely different strategies. And what to do about Japan & China. Japan was more like Europe. China was an altogether different story. And was Dubai Asia or Africa ??
 
So companies started inventing "clusters" - the world was North America, South America, Western Europe, CEE, Africa & Middle East, South Asia, North Asia and South East Asia & Australia. Each had a President.
 
But that's got its own problems. Australia was more like the UK than Asia. Japan and China got still grouped together. So what to do ??
 
So, how to carve up the world ? In the good old days, geriatric Brits (since Britain owned most of the world), in smoky pubs, took out a world map and drew some random straight lines - how straight the line depended on how many beers they had had.  That's how country borders were created - if you see a map of Africa for example, that's why many so many national boundaries are straight lines. Never mind that it divided tribes, or ran halfway through a lake , and so on.
 
Now the same thing has been going on in companies. Substitute geriatric Brits for political company bosses, and smoky pubs for company boardrooms, and exactly the same things happen. There isn't a single company where this is being rearranged every three years.  Empires are made and they fall, just like in the political world.
 
I suggest that company bosses enroll for Geography 101 with Sriram,  before they start to draw their lines ! They might become a little more educated on the world.
 
Meanwhile readers are invited to present their own pet carve up of the world !