Posts filed under ‘business’

Dear Executives Feigning Employee Welfare Concerns: Take a Hike

an associated press article posted on yahoo! covering responses to a recent tobacco tax increase quotes jeff borysiewicz, vice president of cigar rights of america and president of corona cigar as saying:

“Kids aren’t addicted to handmade cigars… We’re an affordable hobby. We’re not part of the problem with children.”

certainly, that is an interesting statement for someone who claims to be concerned for the welfare of employees (i wonder if his employed parents would agree with him?). it shows some audacity when companies imply they are not part of a problem or imply they may be “forced” to relocate operations outside of the u.s. to deflect increasing costs (see reference to  Enrique “Kiki” Berger in the same article).  i hardly believe  they need convincing to do so. keeping costs down, while maximizing profits is exactly why they are in business. tax increase or no, if the bottom line will be improved by moving outside of u.s. borders, few will pass up exploring the opportunity.

employee welfare always seems to miraculously surface when a company faces profit reduction concerns. executives that use it as an excuse when it seems to suit them should drop the social concern facade and be frank about their positions. perhaps borysiewicz should make it plain and ask for a bailout… or ask his industry colleagues to subsidize cost increases with their bonuses.

April 1.2009 at 1:19 pm Leave a comment

Anita Who? Happy Ada Lovelace Day!


as part of a 1900+ person pledge to blog about a woman in technology honoring ada lovelace day, i have to put out the name of one, anita brown. it was a toss up as we could only pledge to blog about one person or i would certainly have included red burns in the mix (red, if you are reading this:  i am very excited about working under your guidance at ITP. you’ll get my post next year!).

brown founded one of the earliest (if not first) online resources, the now defunct black geeks online, to address digital divide issues, particularly  for african americans. she was an avid advocate to close the digital divide in the u.s.- before it was popular and after the topic seemed to fall to the wayside in the u.s. i met ms. brown at columbia university several years ago. i was inspired by her knowledge and passion for the subject. i am still surprised  at how little i hear of her in conversations about early web pioneers who didn’t limit their aspirations to financial gain. i could hardly find news of her passing (she was 63) , save for an obituary in the washington post nearly three years ago.

like too many civic-minded entrepreneurs, brown seemed to run out of steam just as digital divide concerns were beginning to become of interest to the mainstream again. i am constantly reminded of lesser known talented people who could truly stand to benefit from the kind of support that will provide lasting energy to overcome fatigue. entrepreneurship can be a lonely experience. being focused on more than the bottom line can take a toll on more than the psyche. i often wonder what it might have been like if ms. brown were alive to experience the wave of socially-focused entrepreneurs and initiatives that support them including echoing green, ashoka and the school for social entrepreneurs

it’s easy to mistake her name for others: anita baker, anita bryant, anita hill (yes, i went there)-  but her legacy remains. there are those who know and value her work, endeavoring to carry the torch for digital literacy and information for all. i count myself as one. three cheers for passion, ideas and inspiring people.


learn more about the pledge here:

March 24.2009 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

Apple’s New Shuffle: I Am Not Biting


i enjoy apple’s products, but the one product quirk that drives me craziest is the love-hate affair with their earbuds. they fall out after a while and tend to fray at the end connector to paired devices. i have two sets, each of which came with my ipods (i have a first-gen shuffle and a first-gen touch). so, as for the latest ipod shuffle with voiceover, until they make super-duper, invincible earbuds, i would not sink cash into something controlled solely by earbud remotes. i was also expecting the voiceover feature to work a bit differently, enabling a user to activate controls with his or her voice, giving something akin to a little shazam or midomi-like action. alas, it merely includes an automated voice (much like what you get standard on your computer) that tells which track or play list you are listening to. a bit of a let down. had they made a mini hand-held remote to accompany it or embedded  two-way voice control features, apple might have been on to something.

March 11.2009 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

ChildCry Rings Wall Street’s Opening Bell

ChildCry Opens Wall Street

ChildCry Opens Wall Street

i was thrilled to see members of Times Square Church’s humanitarian mission, ChildCry, present Thursday morning to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. it represented a different perspective toward what we should be focusing our time, energy and money on: helping others. ChildCry feeds thousands of young people in countries around the world through proceeds from offerings by its performing and recording artists.

February 13.2009 at 11:38 am Leave a comment

Times Spoof Makes Light of a Serious Game


following the Yes Men NY Times spoof, i consider various dialogs I engage in about the efficacy of serious games, i have one example to point to that they are indeed serious business- america’s army. the popular online game designed as a recruitment tool for the US army offers myriad lessons on how serious games can be designed to be interesting, persuasive and even educational. now… to make a compelling game that emphasizes diplomatic measures remains to be seen… or perhaps felt. applications of physical computing might be the missing ingredient.

November 12.2008 at 3:19 pm Leave a comment

About That Proposed Bail Out…

i just have one question, really: why the relative radio silence by moveon, color of change and the like on the lack of public hearings over the wall street bail out bill? it’s not as if there isn’t grumbling all across america about it. maybe i missed the emails that usually bombard my inbox.

did i say one question? i meant two- eh, three if you are detail oriented. since when did congress become more qualified to deal with a mess that wall street couldn’t keep out of? lawyers as investment bankers. maybe it is not such a stretch after all…

September 27.2008 at 7:23 pm Leave a comment

We’re Due For Another White-washed Public Debate Over Net Neutrality

so, this is not news- that some large media companies want to offer tiered levels of access to the Internet based on varying bandwidth speeds and place limits on consumption.  tw/comcast is definitely opening the door to more net neutrality beef.

i advocate a free, affordable AND reliable net (not necessarily services offered by those on it), but i don’t know if that means it must be balanced by government intervention. there can be a place for it, but i am not sure where, if at all in this instance. tiered service has the power to widen the existing digital divide (and yes, it does exist in the u.s. and other so-called western nations). still, i wonder if the market has not already signaled its acceptance of tiered offerings in the space and if so, does it render the net neutrality debate moot?

i am sure google and friends are going to weigh in on the matter publicly- again. in case both sides seem to use language that makes it difficult for consumers to understand their distinctions, don’t fret. it seems intentional because i am not entirely certain either side would be complaining if they believed they would come out with a truly sustainable ompetitive advantage in the first place. remember how the u.s. took microsoft to court? remember who got the witch hunt started (and i am not necessarily a microsoft fan, being mostly an apple and open source consumer)? it is interesting how companies hate intervening government arms (or rather hands, according to economists) until others in the industry and/or market are not going along with their plans; in that case, government suddenly become the intervening hero. hmmm…. big wonder.

June 3.2008 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

It’s My Money and I Can Buy If I Want To (Or Not)

it seems telling that some of the richest people in the world give away millions, but not necessarily billions of their wealth… it’s almost like they are hoarding money for some inevitable doom… like an american recession that will prove worse than believed by many, if not most.

“This is not a field of specialty for me, but my general feeling is that the recession will be longer and deeper than most people think.”

that’s a quote from one of the most respected richie rich club members, warren buffett, in a reuters interview on his take on the american economic recession. a lot of folks with less financial resources than buffett have been wagging their fingers at the situation, but there’s something more potent when a man that has a net worth greater than the equivalent sum of giving every person on the planet $1 publicly expresses concern.

does anyone know if our current president reads reuters? perhaps he could get some tips on creating a real economic stimulus plan; one that does not encourage us to spend whatever cash we get from tax rebate checks (as if that will really help). or he could get some tips from buffett over a game of bridge. oh wait– he [president bush] did graduate from the same b-school as those enron dudes. maybe he’s using their accounting methodology. i’ll have to check my notes.

April 28.2008 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

Because Philanthropy Is About Giving To The Needy

harvard got the warren buffett-to-bill gates treatment to the tune of $100 million. i am not usually one to have beef with what folks do with their own money, but in the midst of oil and food shortages, war and economic downturns, this might have been more graciously spent… just a thought. i could be wrong.

April 25.2008 at 8:18 pm Leave a comment

I, Robot. I, Spy.

honeywell international’s mav (micro air vehicle)dead or alive?

does anyone remember the swarm that was seen in parts of d.c. last year? you know, the one no one could explain and certainly couldn’t tell if the “things” that were swarming were real or mechanical? well, you won’t have to wonder down in miami. if the faa grants approval, mechanical pilot-less drones could be hitting the miami skies in an effort to assist in crime fighting. the drones weigh 14 pounds and are manufactured by honeywell international. perhaps we aren’t so far away from irobot-meets-minority report technology after all.

March 25.2008 at 10:40 pm 1 comment

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