For our weekend business readers:
IS CONVENTION CENTER SPACE OUT OF CONTROL?
Although the number of those attending conventions has dropped, the pace to build convention centers has not.
That data, according to a post in The Atlantic Cities, says the rivalry among cities to host conventions is more “cutthroat” than any other competition.
Over the last 20 years, convention space in the United States has increased by 50 percent; since 2005, 44 new convention spaces have been planned or constructed in this country alone. That boom hasn't come cheap. In the last ten years, spending on convention centers has doubled to $2.4 billion annually, much of it from public coffers.
“It's a very, very, very competitive thing,” says Susan S. Gregg, managing editor of Association Conventions and Facilities magazine, one of a large number of trade publications devoted to the convention industry. “All these cities that are so competitive are constantly having to upgrade and expand and improve.”
What is the root of this convention center building boom? “Tourism dollars.” According to The Atlantic Cities, those dollars really began to flow in the 60's.
New conventions centers popped up like spring daisies across America in the post-Vietnam era with the expansion of the corporate sector, when domestic change brought women into the workplace and state governments took on the rebuilding of civic monuments and public places. In the name of urban renewal, time-worn blocks of housing and retail were razed to make way for the new convention centers, where too often the result was a streetscape of towering, windowless facades, excessive paving, and a scale that overpowered the remaining urban fabric.
But in 2012 are there enough conventions to go around and has attendance peaked? The Atlantic Cities article has the details along with a Brookings Institution analysis on the convention marketplace, plus an early look at how conventions got started.
HOW IS YOUR ENERGY LITERACY?
That's an intriguing question posed by online magazine, The American, in the first of a series of essays “that will explore issues in energy literacy and energy policy.” So what is energy literacy?
In the midst of all the debate over fossil fuels, we seem to have forgotten this fundamental role of energy in life. We think that all we need energy for is to drive our cars, fly around the world, run our electrical gadgets. But more important is that abundant energy is necessary for our way of life, for our civilization.
And The American says meeting those abundant U.S. energy demands has been for the most part low-cost, reliable, and safe.
This low-cost-energy blessing has not been an accident: Unlike many other countries, U.S. taxation on energy has been reasonably low; regulations have been significant, but offset by continued access to abundant and affordable energy; and we have benefited from a highly efficient private energy sector to discover, produce, and bring energy (both in liquid form and as electricity) to meet consumer demand.
Americans are also blessed with having increasingly safe energy supplies, which put out ever-decreasing quantities of hazardous air and water pollutants and operate with greater physical safety than ever before. Most people in developed countries such as the United States face dramatically fewer health risks from the production, distribution, and use of energy than they have in the past. The same is true for most animals and ecosystems.
Of note: more than a billion people around the world don't even have electricity.
DITCH THE “REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL” PLAN
Stop the runaround of investing huge amounts of man hours for a mock up that potential clients c
an eventually turn down at no cost to them and change to a rate plan of “charging for a discovery process.”
That's what one digital marketing shop did, and its co-founder explains in a step-by-step primer for on-line site 99% how your company can do the same.
Jake Cook says Digital Wax Works learned its lesson after one of its Request for Proposal packages was passed around to other firms for the lowest bidder.
We invested 3-4 days of our time conducting meetings, white-boarding ideas, and writing up our recommendations. We pushed the client into an awkward discussion around budget. But, at the end, we delivered a proposal with a rock-solid roadmap for executing the project.
Instead of hiring us, the prospective client simply passed around our ideas and deliverables to every other vendor for competing bids. Those vendors, in turn, said, “You bet we can do that – and for less.” We didn't get compensated for our time or our work, but our ideas were implemented.
No more he says. Learn further how Digital Wax Works implemented the change and why Cook believes, “the Discovery Option works” at this link.
SECRET CODES SET HEALTH CARE COSTS
You need a medical procedure and you're sure it will be expensive, but who really decides how much it will cost?
If you said insurance companies or the government, you're only half right. Because the prices your insurance company pays are based on a set of values listed in a phone-book sized directory of billing codes. Those codes are pretty much the economic hierarchy of modern medicine.
Here's the kicker, according to Marketplace: “Those values are set by a closed-door committee of the American Medical Association.” Those meetings are invitation only according to Marketplace, and “observers are sworn to secrecy.” Read more insights of this secretive process from the Marketplace health care desk and examples of the sometimes head-scratching, sometimes extremely lucrative decisions made on the “thousands of codes that are in play in any year” in this full report.
WANT SOME VERY COOL NEW APPS?
You can get six fresh and fun new apps and Mashable Tech has done the research for you.
It can be tough to keep up with all the new apps released each week. But you’re in luck: We take care of a lot of that for you, creating a roundup each weekend of some of our own highlights from the week.
Those highlights include an app that rewards for volunteering in your hometown and another that will help get expert advice on any problems you might have, such as a broken computer or clogged toilet.
Get them all by clicking this link.
DON'T YOU JUST HATE ANNOYING BUSINESS JARGON?
Writers for Forbes do and in a smart essay they say:
The next time you feel the need to reach out, touch base, shift a paradigm, leverage a best practice or join a tiger team, by all means do it. Just don’t say you’re doing it.
If you have to ask why, chances are you’ve fallen under the poisonous spell of business jargon. No longer solely the province of consultants, investors and business-school types, this annoying gobbledy-gook has mesmerized the rank-and-file around the globe.
Want to find out what Forbes thinks is the most annoying business jargon? Go to this link to get to the glossary and while you are at it, join the “Jargon Madness Bracket.”