For our weekend business and political readers:
LESS RISKY FORMULA FOR START-UPS
According to Harvard Business Review, start-ups that have always used the tried-and-and true method of starting a company or small business have a very poor record of success.
According to the decades-old formula, you write a business plan, pitch it to investors, assemble a team, introduce a product, and start selling as hard as you can. And somewhere in this sequence of events, you’ll probably suffer a fatal setback. The odds are not with you: As new research by Harvard Business School’s Shikhar Ghosh shows, 75% of all start-ups fail.
But recently an important countervailing force has emerged, one that can make the process of starting a company less risky.
The Review says this new formula or methodology is called lean start-up and it “favors experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional big design up front development.”
Not having gone mainstream yet, the post points out the lean start-up methodology “is roughly where the big data movement was five years ago.” Harvard Review says lean start-up concepts like “minimum viable product” and “pivoting” have begun to be taught in business classes and are taking root.
Read the entire story to learn more about this innovative business plan for start-ups by clicking here.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW?
According to a recent New York Times’ op-ed column, finding the right job for colleges grads is becoming harder and more specialized. The column is based on a book by Harvard Education Specialist Tony Wagner, who says that schools K-12 and college are not “consistently adding the value and teaching the skills that matter most in the marketplace.”
Because of that divergence, columnist Tony Friedman in his op-ed paints a bleak picture for the less-skilled graduate job-seekers.
This is dangerous at a time when there is increasingly no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skilled job — the thing that sustained the middle class in the last generation. Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job. Every middle-class job today is being pulled up, out or down faster than ever. That is, it either requires more skill or can be done by more people around the world or is being buried — made obsolete — faster than ever.
So according to Wagner the goal of education today, “Should not be to make every child ‘college ready’ but ‘innovation ready’ — ready to add value to whatever they do.”
Is that possible and how can it be accomplished? Click this link for one expert’s opinion to solutions.
SAVE SOME GREEN WITH THESE GREEN IDEAS
Looking for some eco-friendly ideas that not only will make you green but also save your business some money?
Entrepreneur has come up with “7 Eco-Friendly Actions” that can do just that. More at this link.
WILL CONGRESS OPT-OUT OF OBAMACARE REQUIREMENTS?
By now, most citizens have heard about the insurance exchanges that are mandated as part of Obamacare. But according to Politico, congressional leaders are holding confidential talks “about exempting lawmakers and Capitol Hill aides from the insurance exchanges.”
The talks — which involve Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Obama administration and other top lawmakers — are extraordinarily sensitive, with both sides acutely aware of the potential for political fallout from giving carve-outs from the hugely controversial law to 535 lawmakers and thousands of their aides. Discussions have stretched out for months, sources said.
A source close to the talks says: “Everyone has to hold hands on this and jump, or nothing is going to get done.”
But why would lawmakers want to opt-out from the insurance exchanges, and if they do would they face a backlash from voters who could label them as hypocrites? For the full Politico story, go to this link.
“GOVERNMENT SPENDING ON…NOTHING”
Oh please say it’s not true. But according to the Washington Post, “This year, the government will spend at least $890,000 on service fees for bank accounts that are empty. At last count, Uncle Sam has 13,712 such accounts with a balance of zero.”
So even as the sequester budget cuts have begun idling workers and frustrating travelers, the government is required to pay $65 per year, per account to keep them on the books.
Why is this happening during extremely austere times for the federal budget, who is to blame, and what are some lawmakers planning to do about it? Click here for the bottom line.
GEORGE W. BUSH PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM OPENS
This past Thursday President Obama joined former president George W. Bush and all the other living presidents on the campus of SMU to dedicate Bush’s presidential library and museum.
There are twisted girders from the twin towers of the World Trade Center, the bullhorn he used from atop the pile of rubble at Ground Zero in New York, an exact replica of his Oval Office and, yes, even his personal collection of signed baseballs.
The 43,620-square-foot museum won’t be open to the public until next Wednesday but for a sneak peek of what patrons can expect to see when they visit and how it “touts” the legacy of the 43rd president, go to this link from the Washington Post.
GIRL SCOUTS GET MERIT BADGE FOR GAMING
The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles have truly gone hi-tech. Leaders had introduced a “Game Design merit badge to encourage its members to get interested in a variety of science and technology fields.”
The L.A. Girl Scouts chapter partnered with the Women in Games International organization to create a curriculum for the patch. Girls will be required to program their games as well as design them, using software called Gamestar Mechanic. The Boy Scouts of America introduced a Game Design merit badge last month, but it does not include the programming requirement.
But there’s more to this story. It involves gender discrepancies in the gaming industry and how that may be changing. Click here for complete details, plus a video.
NEED NEW MOTIVATION AT YOUR WORK DESK?
TripWire Magazine reports on a new motivational tool that is as easy to use as a daydream stare into your monitor. It’s what you’re staring at that matters.
When sitting behind the computer long hours every day, you might need an energy boost from time to time. Having a motivational desktop wallpaper can be just what you need to recharge yourself or set yourself up to the next assignment.
So with that thought in mind, Tripwire shares more than 50 motivational desktop wallpapers with information about each. If you think this would help you or you office mates, click on this link to get some great ideas, along with a little philosophy about motivation.
THE CIA MADE ME DO IT
A young Fairfax County Virginia man after being arrested for multiple attempted bank robberies says he was recruited by the CIA in a “secret operation testing the security of Washington-area banks.” Oh yeah, good one. But wait a minute, as the story and evidence he provides to authorities unwinds, suspicion begins to sway that maybe he was telling the truth.
Sound like a TV pilot or movie script? In fact it does, but the fact is… this really happened.
The 21-year-old man’s name is Herson Torres and he worked at a Target store before getting a call one day that would change his life forever. The call had been arranged by a well known friend named Carolina Villegas who handed him her cell phone.
Villegas introduced Torres to the man on the phone, Theo. He didn’t offer a last name. Theo said he worked for the government and was recruiting Torres to test the defenses of Washington-area banks. The plan was simple: Theo would tell him which bank to target, and Torres would give a manager a note demanding money. Armed security officers, threats to call the police, or a wait that exceeded five minutes would be cause to flee. If he left with money, he’d be paid $25,000.
Successful or not, he was guaranteed $2,500 for taking part. Torres would deliver any money recovered to a location near Richmond. If arrested, Torres should stay silent. Federal authorities would get him out in 24 hours.
Was this real or was it an incredible con among players that fooled almost everyone including police and lawyers. One thing for sure, it makes for a heck-of-a read from Bloomberg Businessweek. For an in-depth look at the whole incredible story, launch this link.