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3 July 2009

Daring Move

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Daring Move

Wal-Mart is marching on its own in its decision to support employer-paid health care. It is a daring move that has upset peers in retail and in most of industry for that matter. But, the company is so large it can take a contrarian position and make it stick. Why Wal-Mart has decided to break ranks is not entirely clear, but it obviously has good reasons for doing so. Economically, with its huge employee population, the company will be able to negotiate better deals for health insurance than smaller competitors.

From a PR perspective, the company's position is forward thinking and guaranteed to put it in a better light. Even if in the end employers don't have to provide health insurance, Wal-Mart will have gained a reputation for concern for employees. This is a huge change from a few years ago when the company was accused of exploiting its workers.


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FW: TED's Facebook fans asked Gever Tulley absolutely anything -- and he answered

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TED's Facebook fans asked Gever Tulley absolutely anything -- and he answered

GeverTulley_blog_ask.jpg


Today, Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School and the man behind today's TEDTalk, agreed to answer any question that our TED Facebook fans proposed. Here are his answers, accompanied by a personal note:




I thank you all for your excellent and thought-provoking questions. Since Tinkering School is itself being tinkered with, it is always interesting to share ideas and see what people think. I tried to answer as if you were sitting at the kitchen table with me now, except that I am able to ramble on unchecked.


I hope that you will all follow along on the blog as we update nightly during Tinkering School starting on July 12th.


As a father myself, I find that parents are overly cautious with their children. How do you respond to critics who claim that children can't handle power tools which will in turn lead to death/dismemberment/lawsuits? -- Nick Wilson


Firstly, I try never to think of the person asking this question as a "critic". I recognize that I am more comfortable with the notion of children being capable than most modern parents, but there is a valid concern at the heart of the emotionally charged issue of putting potentially life-threatening tools in kids hands. I put it in the context of all of the dangerous activities we participate in as toddlers -- like toddling (or is that toddlering?). There is no question that a child can seriously injure themselves by falling flat on their face, but we learn, through a series of very minor bumps and knocks (some worthy of yelling about, some we don't even notice), to put our hands out and catch ourselves before our noses meet the floor.


In their wonderful book The Body Has a Mind of It's Own Sandra and Matthew Blakeslee describe some of the amazing science behind how, when we pick up a stick or a tool, our minds extend our sense of "self" out to the end of that stick. We can "touch" things with the stick and get a very accurate "feel" for the object we are "touching". So, it stands to reason that a power tool is just a very dangerous stick and we can learn feel through it as well -- we just need the safe context in which to learn how to mitigate the risks the power tool presents. These risks are both real and imagined in many cases and part of the learning process includes dispelling the imaginary risks by developing skill through practice.


It is often easier to teach the child to use th...


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O.K. Condoms : Truck [Image]

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O.K. Condoms : Truck [Image]

O.K. Condoms : Truck [Image]
Don't say, "It won't happen to me"
Advertising Agency: RPM Radar, Istanbul, Turkey
Creative Director: Robert Paul McMillen
Art Director: Emrah Meshur
Copywriter: Derya Banista
Photographer: Emrah Meshur
Published: May 2009


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So Long and Thanks for All the F-Tests

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So Long and Thanks for All the F-Tests

I've been reading a truly excellent book by Joshua Angrist and Jorn-Steffen Pischke called Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion. It's not written for a general audience, but if you pulled an A- or better on a college-level econometrics course (and if you love Freakonomics), then this is the book for you. It should be required reading for anyone who is trying to write an applied dissertation. It is the rare book that captures the feeling of how to go about trying to attack an empirical questio; and it does this by working through two or three dozen of the neatest empirical papers of the last decade (often coauthored by Angrist). It is also peppered with references to Douglas Adams's writing -- so what's not to like?

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Local as Differentiator

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Local as Differentiator

This content from: Duct Tape Marketing

local-burgerSeveral years ago, Hilary Brown decided to open a burger joint in Lawrence, KS. She readily admits that folks around town questioned whether the world, or for that matter Lawrence, needed another place to get a hamburger. After all, this is a college and fast food is plentiful.

Brown tells that to her doubters she enthusiastically replied, "what I'm creating is the next generation of burger joints." Local Burger, as her restaurant is called, takes into consideration where food comes from as well as the environment, unnatural additives, and sustainable agriculture. All of the creative dishes served at Local Burger are prepared from foods grown or raised no more than 200 miles away (some less than 5). In addition, most products are organic and gluten free, including local wine and beer.

The restaurant is billed as The World's Most Local Burger and the menu even features a chart displaying products purchased from local farmers and suppliers and the distance to each. It also happens to be one of the few places around where you can get elk, buffalo, pork, turkey and tofu burgers.

Using local as a way to differentiate an otherwise commodity type business and then backing it up with every brand element and process is a powerful way to fight chains and the need to compete solely on price. Brown's strategy and business model have landed her on the pages of Gourmet, Bon App├ętit, Outside and on the Sundance Channel. You can follow Local Burger on twitter.

In our current economic environment, local has a nice feel to it as well.

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