I think strategic pro bono work is a hugely untapped resource for nonprofits, so I was delighted to recently learn about this tool. It’s certainly in a beta stage, but it has a lot of potential and already evident functionality.
After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding - I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.
Monopoly players around the kitchen table think the game is all about accumulation. You know, making a lot of money. But the real object is to bankrupt your opponents as quickly as possible. To have just enough so that everybody else has nothing.
Richard Marinaccio, the 2009 U.S. national Monopoly champion
Question: If this is indeed the object, what personality, traits, or demographic background might a good monopoly player tend to have?
Yikes. What a conundrum. People increasingly need the internet to help complete school assignments, research and apply for jobs, stay current with the news, and be connected with their networks. Not everyone can afford Internet, so they look for places offering free WiFi. Cue McDonald’s, the home-base for all things unhealthy, to offer that service at more than 12,000 locations. Health issues are tied to economic status. If you’re going to McDonald’s to use their free WiFi, you’re in a demographic that is at higher risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. This is not the greatest scenario. But, who else is stepping up?
He just introduced himself, told us about his family, and got one of our pigs.
Jessica Vanderberg, 32, director of Foxy & Winston’s print shop and design studio in Red Hook, about Mayor Michael Bloomberg going into her store.
Bloomberg had coffee with small business owners in Red Hook and folks who have been instrumental in rebuilding the community post-Sandy. I think he’s doing a great job with recovery and rebuilding efforts by listening first, planning with his team second, and only then taking action.
I saw this article and was not surprised at all; I’ve been fearing this for months.
I really think this is something we’re going to hear a LOT more about over the next few years. It is now possible to buy a printer that will let you make your own guns. This is not theoretical; it exists.
This changes everything about guns, gun laws, gun control. Every person with an opinion about guns is going to have to figure out what to think about this.
At a time when we can’t even well-control violence with guns that are known about and obtained ‘over the counter’, do we really want more guns in circulation that are not known about? What sort of regulations can we fairly put on them, and subsequently enforce? And, (human nature prove me wrong, please!) will people actually print guns given the ability?
There are so many exciting possibilities with 3-D printers; let’s hope innovation can continue on a positive trajectory rather than one that perpetuates violence.
This winter, we’re (really, officially) opening a new space in Prospect Heights.
It’ll be the Brainery you know and love, along with a neat new addition: coworking! The space will be open during the day for all of us freelancers and coffee-shop nomads, a place to work around other awesome folks to learn from and collaborate with.
What’s a new space without a get-together? Let’s drink some beer about it on Monday, October 15th! Since the space itself is still under construction, let’s head to Soda Bar (629 Vanderbilt) at 7pm, where we’ll probably show you lots of iPhone pictures of the space like proud parents.
RSVP’s are much appreciated, and everyone’s welcome, whether you’re looking to sign up for a desk or just want to meet some neighbors.Essential Details!
You all know I LOVE the Brooklyn Brainery; nothing makes me happier than knowing it will be just a few blocks away from my humble abode! Freelancer friends and skill-sharing fiends, put this happy hour on the calendar and get excited!
I am SO EXCITED by my new custom-made kicks courtesy of guicemann (aka Charlie)! When I was recording Flee The Scene, Kasey and Dave told me about their own spiffy sneakers, and I loved the idea. I asked Charlie if he could possibly do a pair with all of my favorite Brooklyn things, and he surpassed my expectations. I love how unique they are and how perfectly suited they are for me. I highly recommend getting a pair of your own perfectly-you shoes; I’m happy to connect you! Such a great small business.
(Fun Fact: You might notice the black bike on the sneakers. I’ll never forget you, bike!)
I don’t think American taxpayers should be footing the bill for people’s pie purchases. To me it’s no different than nail salons and Lottery tickets. It’s pastry, it’s dessert. My pies are great, but come on.
Andrea Taber, proprietor of the Ever So Humble Pie Co. in Walpole, MA, who sells her baked goods at the Braintree Farmers market. Ms. Taber does not accept EBT cards, because she argues that on principle, if taxpayers are underwriting this program, purchases should go towards healthful foods whenever possible and not luxury, decadent pastries.
I agree with Ms. Taber ideologically, but I also value consumer choice. A person on food stamps should be able to indulge their sweet tooth every now and again the same way a person not on food stamps should. Ms. Taber, however, is under no obligation besides from the farmers market where she vends that “encourage[s] everyone who sells eligible products to participate;” I respect that she is willing to sacrifice a few more purchases to run a business in line with her beliefs. It is non-discriminatory because she is not saying a person on food stamps can’t shop at her business, just that they must use money instead of monthly food benefits. If someone wants to purchase baked goods with their EBT card, there will almost certainly be somewhere else that they could purchase it, too.
It’s a fascinating issue to think about. What do you think?
We need to make space for new shows, new talent, new ideas. That’s our mission, and ultimately, it’ll be good business, too, to have exciting new shows bring in new audiences.
Interview with Lyndsay Rae Meiklem, Small Business Owner and Artist
For weeks, I’ve been excited by the national Mission Small Business contest sponsored by Chase and LivingSocial, which will award up to 12 individual grants of $250,000 to 12 small businesses. The business application calls for a thoughtful essay and community (online) support, and the project with my vote (and hopefully yours! It’s easy!) is Lyndsay Rae Meiklem’s Meiklem Kiln Works / Centerspace Wellness Studio. With just under two weeks left to vote, I sat down with Lyndsay to learn more about her business philosophy and share it with you.
Jen Bokoff: When you started Meiklem Kiln Works in 2002, did you have any idea that it would be more than just a small pottery studio?
Lyndsay Meiklem: My vision of the studio when we first began in a tiny 700 sq foot building was that we would eventually outgrow the space and need to move into a bigger facility. At that time, I had not envisioned the yoga and wellness studio although I knew I wanted to gather a community of like-minded individuals who could collaborate and help one another to grow their businesses. The business wallet has not been as large as my vision through the years, but still, in 8 years we managed to grow from that original space to a two building, 6000 sq. ft. property housing our entire arts and wellness facility! Now, we’re thriving and that original community I had envisioned has encircled the property; we all embrace one another’s strengths and support one anothers dreams.
JB: Besides your parents, you credit the motto “Conceive, Believe, Achieve” for your success. Can you walk me through what each of those components mean to you?
LM: I’m a fan of motivational speakers like Dr. Wayne Dyer and Carolyn Myss, who speak often about the inner obstacles that can hold us back and prevent us from achieving our dreams. I have always been a visual learner, when I think of an idea, I think of it in pictures in my mind first; this is the conceive part for me. I conceive of what it is that I want to design, create, or set in motion, and then I take a step back and truly stand strong in the faith that it can happen; this is the believe part. You have to have a clear picture of what you are reaching for, and then BELIEVE you can get there. Once those two pieces of the puzzle are in place, there is a certain amount of surrender that needs to happen in order for the universe to create space to provide, which is the achieve part.
JB: You wear a lot of hats including business owner, instructor, potter, and event planner. What’s your favorite hat?
LM: It’s easy to narrow that list to three things that I love: creating artwork, teaching pottery, teaching yoga. I’m not sure I can honestly pick a favorite among those three, but each one feeds a different part of my soul.
JB: What’s the toughest challenge you face in running a small, creative business?
LM: Time. There is never enough of it. Every day, I wish the day were 10 hours longer so I actualy have time to create art, teach a class, AND get office work done. Many times, the office work consumes all of the daytime hours and this is a huge challenge. Even though I’m ready to delegate more of the ‘running the business’ work, the business can’t afford to hire full time employees right now.
JB: If you had a day to do absolutely whatever you wanted (and control the weather and other hindering factors), what would your day look like?
LM: Easy. Wake up and practice yoga with friends. Sit down to the potters wheel and create pots. Take a long lunch and lunchtime hike by a river. Spend some more time creating artwork. Shop for veggies at a local farmers market and make a wonderful vegan dinner for family! Finally, get a good night sleep of 8 hours!
If you’re inspired and have a spare minute, please add a vote in this contest for Meiklem Kiln Works (just search ‘Meiklem’ and vote; don’t worry, there’s no Facebook spam), and share with your network. I support this because I so admire how Lyndsay had a dream and went for it; isn’t that what we all want? And, it’s difficult to stay above water in a creative field, but it’s immeasurably important to have businesses like these in the community. Paradoxical, yes; doable, absolutely! You can also support the business and do some great yoga or pottery making (or other things, too!) by stopping by!
The two groups, the twin engines of wealth-creation in our time, both donate substantially. But these rich are different from Fortune 500 CEOs. Hedge-fund and tech-sector donors aren’t content to write checks for established programs, says Bruce Flessner, a principal at Bentz Whaley Flessner, which advises non-profits on how to score grants. Rather, the hedgies and techies look for non-profits that are as inventive as they are. “They give to change the world.’ Flessner says.
My brother shared this article with me about philanthropic giving trends with folks working in hedge funds and technology. Yesterday, we enjoyed a conversation on different ways to invest and impact a community, and I’m glad to see this conversation happening more frequently in different sectors and in the media. While approaches may be different, the idea of improving the world by reinvesting resources we earn is shared across the board.
Give it a read and feel free to share your thoughts.
This is really hilarious. Push a button and voila! A Verb + Adjective + Noun/Phrase is generated and you can use it! Here are some that I got:
quantify state-of-the-art stakeholder feedback
commission community-driven models
ramp up interactive listening tours
respond to inclusive change agents
explore emerging B corporations
You get it. It’s ridiculous - I hope people don’t ACTUALLY use this as a tool - but it’s a definite humorous commentary on how buzzwords proliferate our do-good industry. At least we’re not getting phrases like “complain about unfairly low bonuses” or “cheat vulnerable constituents”… yet.