The Weekend Digest: New Pope, New Technology & Cool Office Spaces

by Talk Business & Politics staff ( 5 views 

For our weekend business and political readers:

Forbes says we are on the brink of “a new digital paradigm where the capabilities are beginning to outstrip our own” and trends are driving it all.

Trends can be important, especially those long in the making. If lots of smart people are willing to spend years of their lives and millions (if not billions) of dollars on an idea, there’s probably something to it.

Forbes takes a look at five trends that are driving the future of technology. Find out what they are at this link.

According to Marketo, it’s hard to do but a must.

Measuring the contribution that a given marketing program has on revenue and profits is the holy grail of marketing measurement. As a result, perhaps the most common question marketers ask is, “Did this program (this tradeshow, this email blast, etc.) deliver a return on our investment (ROI)?

Marketo has broken the process down and says its blog post “is all about how marketers can answer this challenging question – and build a sensible framework for measuring the effectiveness of their decisions.”

To decipher the challenge go to this link.

The American has taken an in-depth look at what it believes is a formula for healthier relationships between banks and government. It says it begins with a “new approach” to credit guarantees.

When a government has a formidable reputation, its cost of obtaining obedience is low. It can easily raise money through taxes and borrowing. This ability to raise money easily translates into actual strength. When a bank has a formidable reputation, it will enjoy low borrowing costs. These low borrowing costs will in turn improve the bank’s profit margin. Again, this translates into actual strength.

Working together, banks and government can enhance this positive feedback loop. A government with a reliable group of lenders will be stronger than a government without such support. Banks with government guarantees will enjoy more confidence than banks without such guarantees.

Learn more about this primer on better bank/government relationships including the “The Two Drunks Model” by clicking here.

Is your office space drab, boring, and uninspiring? How about turning a hallway into a subway car, or installing a slide for some slap stack fun during breaks, or perhaps even a bowling alley? Those are fun and innovative ideas that some companies have designed into workspaces that help inspire as well as offer a mini-getaway from the daily grind.

“Creating a cool office space can and should reflect a company’s culture,” says Samantha Zupan, a Glassdoor spokesperson. “It can be a sense of pride for employees and an attractive selling point to recruits. Depending on how you design the workplace, it can offer a host of benefits. For example, an area with video games gives employees a chance to decompress and not focus on work for a little while, or a meeting area that’s filled with color and interesting structures could help stir up employees’ creative juices.”

Take a tour of some hip offices as Forbes takes you inside “10 Cool Office Spaces” from companies like Google and Facebook.

“Radical humility.” That will be the calling card of the newly elected Pope Francis says the New York Times.

Francis, who chose the name of a medieval patron saint of Italy who came from a wealthy family and took a vow of poverty, is the first pope to come from the Jesuit order, whose members take a vow of poverty and have traditionally shunned careerism, instead focusing on service, education and engaging with the world.

The Times reports also that Pope Francis will use a more conversational style deep in biblical references.

In a homily delivered in a Mass in the Sistine Chapel with the cardinals who elected him, Francis spoke of the need to build faith the way the apostle Peter built the church on the foundations of the Gospels. “When we don’t walk, we stop,” he said, as rows of cardinals in pale yellow vestments scrutinized him closely.

“When you don’t build on stone, what happens becomes like what happens to children on the beach when they build sand castles. Everything falls down,” he added.

Go inside the Times post for the profile of the kind and humble Argentine Jesuit, Pope Francis.

Under his plan Republican Wisconsin U.S. Representative Paul Ryan wants to “balance the federal budget in 10 years, rolls back the health care legislation passed in 2010, transforms Medicare and creates just two personal income brackets, 10 percent and 25 percent.”

Stuart Rothenberg with Roll Call reports:

Whatever you think of the proposal as a policy document, Republicans are gambling that they will benefit from a comparison between the Ryan budget and a budget that Senate Democrats are offering.

“The whole point of the Ryan budget is to have a fight with the Democrats,” one GOP strategist told me recently. “The alternative is the status quo, and we haven’t done very well with that.”

Rothenberg says that Democratic poll numbers are up while Republican numbers are sliding, making Ryan’s proposal even more of a gamble.

Democrats are absolutely giddy that they have yet another shot at the Ryan budget, figuring they can use the same weapons against the GOP that President Barack Obama and his party have used for years.

For his full take and a look at the numbers go to this link.

It’s the new guard vs. the old guard and it’s getting nasty.  From the Washington Post:

The future of the Republican Party took some shots at its recent past on Thursday, as two top potential 2016 White House hopefuls made a conspicuous effort to distance themselves from the past two GOP presidential nominees.

“The GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered,” Sen. Rand Paul said. “I don’t think we need to name any names here, do we?”

Actually we will. Paul was referring to Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has also joined in the assault saying that “Romney’s presidential loss says nothing about conservatism because Romney isn’t a conservative.”

Read more about this GOP dust-up from The Washington Post at this link.

If she runs, and many pundits believe she will, what will it take for Hillary Clinton to win the White House in 2016? Democratic strategist Paul Begala writes for the Daily Beast:

How would she do on the trail the second time around? It would depend in large part on whether she’s learned the lessons of 2008—above all how to run a presidential campaign. I love Hillary and find it hard to be objective about her, but even I have to admit that her last campaign was a mess. It was riven with rivalries, some of her people were deeply disloyal, and the dirty laundry was aired in public. Hillary herself hates such behavior — and yet it flourished on her watch and under her nose.

But Begala points out that “Hillary’s tenure at the state department indicates that she has indeed learned the painful mistakes of four years ago and consistently applied them on the job.”

What are those lessons learned and how will they apply for a successful run to become the first woman president – if she runs?  Click here for the full story.

That’s a good question and The Atlantic has the answers, but what would happen if the earth spun the opposite way?

The BBC’s meteorologist Peter Gibbs has worked through this thought experiment, and his answers, though very back-of-the-envelope, give you an idea of just how much of our climate depends on the planet’s current rotational direction – beyond the obvious shift to a sun rising in the west and setting in the east.

Find out those answers by spinning to this link as well as the reveal on which planet actually spins backwards to all the other planets in our solar system including Earth.

It can be used in advertising or any type of industry “from medicine to construction.” Simply put it’s using technology to make things seemingly come to life or making the invisible, visible.

Imagine a building contractor pointing his iPad at a wall and instantly seeing electrical wires, pipes, and so on. So when you’re looking for problems in a building or trying to fix something, you’d be able to see through the walls.

Marketplace Tech takes a look at many applications for augmented reality and how some real sharp minds are figuring out ways to use it in daily life. Find out more by clicking this link.

In order to make its supply chain more sustainable, reports that Walmart’s retail buyers now have scorecards to assess supplier sustainability and that “now 5 percent of buyers’ performance objectives must come from sustainable suppliers.”

“A couple of tangible tools and metrics have entirely shifted the momentum,” said Brittni Furrow, Walmart’s director of sustainability for food and consumables. Furrow and other experts delved into how companies are using scorecards to boost supply chain sustainability during two panel discussions last week at the GreenBiz Forum in San Francisco. Much of the discussion focused on how Wal-Mart is using assessment criteria from the Sustainability Consortium, the nonprofit it helped to create in 2009 to measure product sustainability.

So how does the scorecard business work and what are the assessment criteria Wal-Mart and other companies are using for sustainability?  Go inside the GreenBiz post at link to learn more about the process and how one California company, Annie’s Homegrown Inc., uses scorecards to assess supplier and manufacturer sustainability.