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6/30/2005

A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age by Dan Pink

Filed under: — 12:02 am

Again, I picked some great books for my vacation reads. Dan Pink (blog) starts off A Whole New Mind by introducing the reader to the brain. For those of you unaware, the left and right side are no where near equal. Pink argues that society is moving from the left side (logical) to the right (emotion). Surely its not that simple, but Dan certainly makes it easy to understand. His book, too, looks at society and how things are changing. We no longer live in a time of necessity. This becomes quite clear when our overwhelming number of choices end up bringing us to Target to purchase designer toiletbrushes. The brush is hardly a need, its a want. There are a number of metaphorial toiletbrushes filing the world around us.

Some main concepts Dan introduces us to are Asia, Automation, and Abundance and also the ideas of high-concept and high-touch. In a world being shaped by AAA (nothing to do with cars) it’s now time to focus and become high-concept and high-touch. In order to suceed, he argues, there are six senses one must master. Design. Story. Sympathy. Empathy. Play. Meaning. These senses echo Tom Peters and Seth Godin (Design and Story, respectively) which only reinforce the importance of this new ‘Conceptual Age’ which is upon us.

What’s interesting is Dan offers a ‘Portfolio’ at the end of each sense’s chapter which outline activities to sharpen that sense. For instance, Empathy points to a EQ test. The book not only serves as an interesting look at where society is headed but gives you a guidebook on how to prepare yourself. But, Dan argues, each of these senses are already innate and largely present in our lives. The point is, society is beginning to expect one to utalize them more widely.

With jobs being sent off to Asia are you sure you’re doing something that can’t be done cheaper or faster by a computer (or asian)? Are you enjoying life or just going through the motions? This is a very interesting business book that I could, again, recommend to just about anyone. I think students and parents should definitely read this book because it speaks volumes to you and what you might do about your (or your children’s) future.

6/29/2005

Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner

Filed under: — 11:40 pm

Vacationing on Lake Powell gave me plenty of time to read. One day on the houseboat I sat down and read Freakonomics. Well, it ended up being 2 or 3 sittings throughout the day… but the point is, it was amazingly hard to put down. Freakonomics, as the title suggests, is an exploration of some of the lesser known facts of life. Levitt is the economist who uses the simplest of tools (statistics/probability, incentives, etc) to analyze a number of disjoint subjects (sumo, real estate, parenting). Levitt’s co-author, Stepher Dubner, is a great writer who was just as equally important to the book. Together they produced an excellent read.

This book is easily my favorite. As mentioned, I couldn’t put it down. It’s hardly cohesive but each chapter rolls into the next with more insight and analysis that truly makes you think and wonder. The book poses a number of questions (and answers some, too) but also leaves the reader with a number of stories, histories and facts. With these it becomes easy to come up with your own questions and wonder what the implications are.

The most interesting, in my opinion, is the section on abortion. Certainly the most talked about as well. The facts are just too convenient to suggest anything else: legalized abortion reduced crime in the 1990’s. Doesn’t sound right? Seems slightly immoral? Definitely. Just one reason why I enjoyed this book.

I think the next best section is the detailed analysis of a gang (franchise?). I honestly thought that everything I needed to know about life was buried deep inside Grand Theft Auto. Boy was I wrong…

Simply put: these authors are a powerful combination. The book had some interesting history lessons, practical advice and profound analyses of society. I’d recommend this book to anyone.

Free Starbucks Ice Cream

Filed under: — 11:49 am

MarketingShift has some good news today. Starbucks is giving away another freebie; this time it’s ice cream. Today is the day though… you’ve got some time…

6/28/2005

Grokster Loses, Cuban Responds

Filed under: — 12:51 pm

Business2Blog - The Supreme Court rejected peer-to-peer networks claims today that they are not repsonsible for copyright infringment that occurs over their networks. Hollywood and music labels are cheering as we take one more step towards the Copyright Police State.

Mark Cuban (who financially supported Grokster) has responded on his blog.

The MGM Grokster decision wont help the content business make more money. It wont help artists make more money. This deal gave something to both sides, but it gave the most to lawyers and lobbyists.

In addition, Barry points out the fact that this won’t have any impact on P2P activity.

…very true, there’s plenty of good movies bound to be released online soon. If I can’t find Herbie on Morpheus I’m headed to Google Video. ;-)

Google Stock Above $300

Filed under: — 12:41 pm

InsideGoogle - Google stock today surpassed and closed above $300 for the first time ever. GOOG rose $6.85 to close at $304.10.

…this can probably be attributed to Google Video.

John Walton Dies

Filed under: — 12:38 pm

Reuters - Billionaire John Walton, the second son of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton and a Wal-Mart board member, died on Monday when a small plane he was piloting crashed shortly after take-off near his Wyoming home.

6/27/2005

MIT Blog Survey

Filed under: — 3:13 pm

I just participated in a quick survey for MIT. For the sake of analysis anyone else with a blog should certainly submit an entry as well.

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

6/22/2005

Vacation to Lake Powell

Filed under: — 1:25 am

I’ll be gone until the 28th or so. It’s time for vacation and moving into my new place… enjoy!

6/21/2005

Toys R Us CEO and COO Resigned

Filed under: — 2:46 pm

Reuters - Toys R Us Inc. on Tuesday said Chairman and Chief Executive John Eyler and Chief Operating Officer Christopher Kay have resigned from the toy retailer.

..well, it seems like the recruiters have their work cut out for them today. The resignations will go in effect as soon as the company goes private (”$6.6 billion takeover offer by private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Bain Capital and real estate group Vornado Realty Trust”).

Krispy Kreme Officers Removed

Filed under: — 2:42 pm

Reuters: Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. has forced out six company officers after a special board committee looking into the restaurant chain’s accounting practices said they should be “discharged.” … Krispy Kreme did not identify the officers and a spokeswoman declined to say why the names were being withheld.

AMC to Purchase Loews Cineplex

Filed under: — 2:40 pm

Reuters: AMC Entertainment Inc., the No. 2 U.S. movie theater chain, on Tuesday said it will buy its next-largest competitor, Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corp., to challenge market leader Regal Entertainment Group.

6/18/2005

GM Discounts Help Sales

Filed under: — 8:35 pm

WSJ: GM’s heavily promoted offer of “employee discounts” to all buyers is sharply boosting the No. 1 auto maker’s U.S. retail sales, according to preliminary June sales figures released by the Power Information Network.

…what did you call ‘dibs’ on?

“You don’t need an employee discount to get a great deal from us,” say Chrysler’s ads.

…fair enough, but numbers talk and GM is grabbing market share and definitely seeing an increase in sales.

Google to Offer Payment Service

Filed under: — 8:31 pm

WSJ: Google plans to offer an electronic-payment service that could help the company diversify its revenue and may heighten competition with eBay’s PayPal unit.

Beyond a possible additional revenue stream, an electronic-payment service could give Google more insight into the effectiveness of its core advertising service. Google might be able to better track whether users who click on search-related advertisements make purchases from the advertiser.

…Google is going to know more about me than I know about me pretty soon.

MasterCard Breach Announced

Filed under: — 8:27 pm

WSJ: MasterCard is notifying member banks of a security breach that could expose more than 40 million cards of all brands to fraud.

The compromised data included names, banks and account numbers — not addresses or Social Security numbers, said MasterCard spokeswoman Sharon Gamsin. Such data could be used to steal funds but not identities.

Phew, my identity is secure… no need to worry.

A Student’s Guide To Landing a Great Job

Filed under: — 2:23 pm

The first thing to keep in mind is your first jobs might, well, suck. Personally I can testify to this fact. The best part is, getting a better job takes some experience. So, essentially it’s a Catch-22: to get a good job, you need experience. Where do you find that experience? At a good job. Well, that’s not entirely true…

…I worked as a Lifeguard in the mornings last summer. After work I went home, changed my clothes, and drove over to Sears to sell electronics. Now I’m attending a university, will receive a Masters in Accounting and am majoring in Information Systems. Why get a job as a lifeguard and salesman? There are a number of things I can talk about with a future employer.

Resume

Most people abide by the standard resume format. Put your name at the top, what your future goal is and then, in reverse chronological order, list your jobs and a few big things each job entailed. Any number of employers will let you know a few things. First, your ‘goal’ or ‘mission statement’ or ‘purpose’ or whatever it is you’re putting at the top of your resume is wasting space. You’re not a good enough writer to articulate what you’d like to do with your career. Besides, everyone you hand your resume to should be a part of your goal. Use your resume and cover letter to discuss why.

Second, if you’re like me, you may have only had one or two “real” jobs. If you were to put those two on your resume there’d certainly be some white-space. Instead of categorizing your job with its respective skills, try categorizing your skills by including your previous jobs. In other words, that marketing internship you’re looking at wants to know you can understand the customer. A lifeguard has constant interaction with its guests. Talk about that! Put that under a ‘Marketing’ header, not a ‘Lifeguard’ header. Talk about that lawn mowing job, too. Heck, start a project. Help with a fundraiser, make a website for someone, volunteer at a doctor’s office. Just make sure your resume demonstrates your abilities (time management, team work, etc).

For an example, please feel free to take a look at (and critique) my online resume.

Read

Just because you sat (slept) through Finance 2021 last semester doesn’t mean you’re anywhere near qualified for a job. Congratulations, you know the basics! Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure a lot was learned. But keep in mind, there was, what, 200 other kids sitting with you in that class? Congratulations, you’re mediocre! No, wait, you’re different; you’re on the dean’s list. Whatever… we all know grades are over-inflated. Want to know what can set you apart? Have a conversation with a marketer about a marketer. Go read Seth Godin’s blog, or hey, maybe one of his many books. How many other students have read ‘Purple Cow’? According to TheFaceBook.com, only 3 other people at CU have listed it. What about The Tipping Point? There’s plenty of material to talk about in both these books. Not only will your overwhelming amount of knowledge make you more confident during an interview, it’ll impress the hell out of the person on the other side of the desk… trust me.

Relevance

Now, I did suggest you need to start somewhere. In my case, I was a lifeguard in the business of making customers happy. That’s one thing to realize. No matter what job you have, you wouldn’t have it if there were no customers. Customers are your boss. Your employer knows this. If you show that you are genuinely interested in keeping people happy then you’re one step ahead (because the bottom line will take care of itself at this point). You can do this at a restaurant, on a sales floor, or even a front desk. Just make sure your resume supports you and lets your future employer know that you understand…

Now that you’re an excellent employee and have conquered your current job make sure you challenge yourself. Sure, the pool is great for the first summer but there’s no reason to go back. Build on your foundation. Gain relevant experience. People sometimes ask me ‘why do you drive all the way downtown for x dollars an hour?’ They clearly don’t understand the importance of relevance. Sure, I may not be making as much as some other place (although I’m doing quite well) but the experience that comes with the job will pay for itself in the end. Sometimes taking a shortcut will lead you to a dead-end job with no place to go from there. At that point, you’ll want to move and then you’ll take, perhaps, an even bigger cut (at a time when you have more bills to pay, more stress in life, etc).

Conclusion

I realize this may not be of much value to many people but I hope it can be for some. Heck, even one person. My friends ask me for advice and I’m glad to give my input. I’m told that I’ve helped a number of people on occasion. I’m not arguing that everything works for everyone. Plus, you may have your own great ideas. Put simply, having talked to a number of people and listened to a number of employers (and employees), this is what seems to be important to them. These are just some good ideas. Certainly there’s much more out there. But, as a student I sometimes see my peers go to ‘Career Services’ and receive some of the most out-dated advice possible. They don’t know what else to do and they get hosed in the end. So please, if you know someone that may not know where to start, feel free to send them this way.

PS: If you have your own valuable suggestions (or strongly disagree) please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Thanks to Wayne for the inspiration for this post…

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