For our weekend business and political readers:
THE 100 MOST CREATIVE PEOPLE OF 2013
They are CEO’s, “data-geeks”, actors, scientists, designers, marketing directors and futurists. All selected for their unique creative qualities for the list of top 2013 creative leaders by Fast Company.
You can scroll down for a quick look at all these innovative honorees or you can click on each selection for a full profile look of why they were chosen for this elite list at this link.
HOW TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR WITHOUT TOTALLY LOSING YOUR MIND
Lane Merrifield is a very bright guy, who also happens to be very rich. In 2007 he sold his social networking website for kids, Club Penquin, to Disney for $350 million.
For five years, Merrifield helped his Internet baby grow within the entertainment juggernaut. He resigned late last year to work on a new startup, the student assessment software company FreshGrade, which will focus on “building some cool stuff for schools,” among other promising-sounding ideas.
So what are the “challenges of launching, running, and selling a startup?” Find out by clicking this link for a revealing video from Fast Company.
ROBOTICS AND THE REALITY OF HOME CHORES
His name is Colin Angle and he is the CEO and cofounder of his company iRobots. With 25 years of robot experience, one of iRobot’s most notable products is the BackPot used by explosive ordinance specialists in combat war zones as well as on the homefront.
Every single EOD [explosive ordinance detonation] technician I’ve interviewed has started off saying, ‘Thank you, I’d be dead without your robot.’ ” The 4,000 iRobot PackBots in service have saved countless lives hunting IEDs in Afghanistan and Iraq–and more recently at home, where iRobot’s fleet was deployed during the Boston Marathon bombings manhunt – less than 30 minutes away from the company’s headquarters in Bedford, Mass.
Now with the U.S. pulling out of Iraq and America’s involvement in the Afghanistan conflict winding down, defense contracts for iRobot are shrinking, but that hasn’t stopped the company’s bottom line from expanding with domestic products. One of its biggest sellers is the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner.
Supported by the Roomba’s rapid growth, iRobot has invested millions of dollars to develop its big new thing: the RP-VITA, the first remote-presence robot approved for use in hospitals.
What is the RP-VITA and how did this “nerd dream” form into a company with consumer sales of $436 million in 2012? Click on this link for the full story from Forbes.
HOW LEADERS SHARE THEIR VISION
Harvard Business Review reports that a survey response of thousands of workers around the world that asked for the most admired quality in a leader tallied “honesty” as the number one answer.
But the second-highest requirement of a leader, that he or she be forward-looking, applied only to the leader role. Just 27% of respondents selected it as something they want in a colleague, whereas 72% wanted it in a leader.
Among respondents holding more-senior roles in organizations, the percentage was even greater, at 88%. No other quality showed such a dramatic difference between leader and colleague.
But are most leaders forward-thinking and if so, can they actually share that vision? If not, how can such an important leadership quality be developed? The Review has an in-depth analysis along with lessons learned at this link.
IMMIGRATION REFORM HEADED TO THE SENATE
The Washington Post reports in a poll conducted along with ABC News that 58 percent of all Americans support a so-called “path to citizenship” that offers those currently living in the United States illegally a way to achieve legal status if they pay a fine and meet other requirements.
But the Post says a majority of Republican voters are against the plan making for “conflicting pressure” on GOP lawmakers.
The overall support for the bill’s most controversial provision, however, masks partisan divisions that have colored the congressional debate. Majorities of Democrats and independents back the path to citizenship proposal, but 52 percent of Republicans say they oppose it. Among Republicans who oppose the idea, most, 67 percent, say they could not support a candidate for Congress who backs a citizenship path.
The poll also blasts the Senate’s vote on gun control that would have expanded background checks.
Fully two-thirds of all Americans say the Senate did the wrong thing in blocking the proposal, with majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents in agreement.
For more on the polls and the controversies surrounding them, click here.
WARNING SIGNS AGAIN FOR HOUSING MARKET
While the country was struggling through the worst financial funk since the Great Depression with millions of mortgages defaulting, “securitization” was at the center of the losses.
Early last decade, mortgage securitization exploded on the scene, disrupting the fairy tale. Big, ugly giants with names like Countrywide Financial and New Century packaged huge pools of mortgages, sliced them up into securities, and sold them to investors, who now bore the risk if the loans defaulted. Because the mortgage bundlers — or “securitizers” — were paid upfront, they had powerful incentives to generate as much volume as possible, with little regard to whether homeowners could afford the loans. “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone” or “IBG/YBG” became their mantra. They pushed loans whose interest rates would later spike, and of course, the infamous NINJAs — mortgages that required no income, no job, and no assets. Yield-hungry investors snapped them up. And as we all know, this story did not end happily.
Regulation reform was put in place “requiring securitizers to keep some skin in the game” but there were some loopholes and so was it enough? Why are some saying “regulators should make it virtually impossible for securitizers to escape having skin in the game” ?
CNN Money has the complete story at this link.
SHOULD THE IRS BE ABOLISHED?
In wake of the recent IRS scandal and because, as a Forbes op-ed writer claims, abuse from the IRS has been going on for 80 years, the agency should be abolished, the 16th amendment repealed and replaced with a national retail sales tax, or fair tax.
The IRS is one of the two great instrumentalities of progressivism (the other is the Federal Reserve). Progressivism holds that, when they wrote the U.S. Constitution, James Madison and the other Founders basically got it wrong.
Control over the lives of ordinary Americans should not be vested in the people themselves, but should instead be wielded by experts in Washington. Because Madison’s Constitution does not provide for this kind of government, the Constitution must be “progressively” dismantled and/or ignored.
Why would a fair tax be the best answer and how difficult would it be to administer? What other benefits are there for a fair tax that “go far beyond restoring and safeguarding our liberty”?
This libertarian-leaning editorial doesn’t pull any punches about distrust over the IRS and how it negatively effects American taxpayers’ lives. Click here for some hardball.
THE TALE OF TWO GOVERNMENTS
According to the Washington Post, there is one side of America that sees the recent government scandals involving the attacks in Behghazi, the IRS targeting conservative groups, and the FBI snooping on reporters phone calls at the AP as “government gone amok.”
On the other hand, the Post points out there are those who believe,”the death of four Americans at the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi was a tragedy, nothing more. The Justice Department acted legally. And the IRS officials who acted wrongly did so of their own accord and had absolutely no contact with President Obama or senior officials in his administration.”
Both sides cite polling — there’s enough polling these days for everyone to find something that suits them — that prove their point. According to a new CNN poll released Sunday, 53 percent of Americans approve of the job that Obama is doing, up from 47 percent two months ago. Fifty-four percent of Americans believe congressional Republicans have acted “appropriately” in the wake of the IRS scandal. And those numbers are from the same CNN poll.
You get the idea.
So what is the end result of these totally opposite views with supporters stuck on both sides of the bridge? Can the bridge be crossed and is there room in the middle? Find out what the Washington Post believes by clicking this link.
IT’S NOT ABOUT THE RIGHT OR THE LEFT, BUT THE COMMON GOOD
That’s the focus of a new book by Jim Wallis, “On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned About Serving the Common Good.”
Wallis asks his readers to consider what each side of the political aisle “gets right.” For conservatives, it is the idea of personal responsibility, which he has witnessed in his own family and sees as an essential ingredient to helping men and women overcome poverty. “It is right and good, and part of the common good, to emphasize such a conservative ethic in making … good personal choices.”
Similarly, the best liberal idea is social responsibility. This value expresses itself through compassion, a politics of inclusion, and our efforts to end poverty, Wallis says. “We will do better as a nation if we attempt to see the good in one another’s positions — not demonize our opponents.”
Go inside the summary post by The American of this intriguing new book that takes a look not only at politics, but what Wallis thinks liberal and conservative churches get wrong and his recommendations on foreign policy. Click here for a full overview.
HOW AN INVENTOR’S CREATION TOOK DOWN HIS OWN COMPANY
“Steve Sasson was working at the applied research lab at Eastman Kodak when he was asked to look into a new apparatus called a charge-coupled device. One year later, the first digital camera was born. But, while the invention changed the industry forever, it also caused the demise of one of the biggest photo companies in the world.”
“The revolution was going to happen,” Sasson says. “I didn’t know when, and I didn’t know how effective it would be. In the end result, the fundamental business model of Kodak was undermined by the new technology.”
Influencers Innovation has Sasson’s story that began in 1974 with his invention of the first digital camera, and the sad tale of how although it was one its technicians who invented it, Kodak ultimately lost the digital battle. Go to this link for the complete story.
SO WHO DESIGNED THE NEW CORVETTE?
The totally re-designed and most powerful Corvette ever will hit Chevy showrooms this fall. So who is the designer of this 7th generation (C-7) Corvette and why was this person chosen? A designer who is actually British.
The answer will surprise you, so zoom to this link for the reveal.
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