The Power of Meditation

man-meditates-wp

Meditation is transitioning from an obscure quirky phenomenon to a generally accepted habit for American workers. Two factors are driving this shift in perspectives: Western studies on the practice, and social proof.

Recently Wired published an article about how tech giants at Silicon valley are utilizing meditation at work. The article: Enlightenment engineers: meditation and mindfulness in Silicon Valley

Vermont Hard Cider’s Strong Move

By ceding control of distribution for Strongbow to Heineken, Vermont Hard Cider is making a strong and smart strategic move.

Photo Credit: Dave Linger

Recently the Wall Street Journal reported that Vermont Hard Cider, who manufacturers and markets the domestic Woodchuck Hard Cider brand is giving control of Strongbow, the #2 cider brand by sales in the US to the Dutch brewer Heineken. Here is a link to that article.

This is a classic strategy play, give up market share to grow the market for everyone.  Clearly Heineken will back Strongbow with more marketing dollars than Vermont Hard Cider could have provided, benefiting Strongbow, and likely taking share from the Woodchuck brand. However, some estimate that the Hard Cider market could grow 4X over the next 5 years, and with the marketing budgets of international brewers such as Heineken, you can bet more drinkers will seek hard cider in their stores. Woodchuck Hard Cider, the current US market leader, with 24% of the US hard cider market, will likely benefit from the increasing American appetite for hard cider.

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What GrubHub’s CEO took from the Freemium Strategy

Today’s Wall Street Journal reports on the Freemium model. When it works, and when it fails. Additionally, Matt Malone, GrubHub’s CEO, also shared his experience of switching from a freemium to a subscription model after testing his product and listening to his customers.

First the successes: The article cites Dropbox Inc., LinkedIn Corp., and Skype Inc., as examples of companies successfully building a free user base through positive network effects who recommend and rely on others using their services. Some percentage (1%-2%, according to David Cohen, founder and CEO of Tech-Stars) of the free users then pay for premium features or bring in paying users through word of mouth.

It is easy to see why the freemium model is so attractive to startups, but the liability of a large freeloading user base is increased operating costs, and potentially negative reviews of your brand if you fail to meet expectations.

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Water Skiing

Pretty choppy water but just had to get out on my uncle’s new boat. First attempt with the GoPro Hero2. The floaty back works great to give the camera floatation, but has the unfortunate effect of limiting your range of angles. Hence, the video is skewed too far DOWN. Sorry ya’ll, will have to go back and do it again soon!

What other angles would you like to see?

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Breakfast Sandwich Smackdown in JP

Every morning in Jamaica Plain, local kitchens battle to serve the best breakfast sandwich to the eclectic blend of mothers strolling their children, overeducated dog-walkers, bleary eyed hipsters, starving artists, queer folk, and savvy self-employed freelancers, and constantly running-late professionals.

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Sustainable Product Design

Last night I attended Net Impact Boston’s Sustainable Design panel hosted by Dassault Systems. The panel was moderated by Asheen Phansey, North American Sustainability Leader and Sustainability Product Manager at Dassault Systemes. Panelists included Johanna Jobin, Sustainability Manager at EMD Millipore; Peter Girard, GaBi Product Manager at PE International; and Dr. Matthew Gardner, Director at Sustainserv. To be honest, I didn’t learn anything new about PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) through the lenses that I am familiar with: LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) or PDD (Product Design and Development.) However, it was the specific stories that resonated most with me. I won’t disclose specifics regarding the clients or projects of the various firms, but I will highlight the over arching theme that often there are conflicting stories told by what one organizational function requests and what the data show. The panelists all agreed that more often than not a rough LCA is enough to generate actionable results. The 80-20 rule in effect.

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Zilok

Just signed up to list my unused goodies on Zilok!

After searching for a GoPro HD Camera to rent for this weekend’s whitewater rafting trip at Crabapple Whitewater in Charlemont, MA. I came across one on Zilok. I had read about Zilok while reading “What’s Mine is Yours” (The Rise of Collaborative Consumption) by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers. Zilok is basically an online platform that lets you list and promote things that you own that others are interested in renting. The concept is simple: we all want what we want when we want it, BUT most of the time we don’t need what we own. So by renting our neighbors items we gain the access to what we want, without having to bear the economic expense and physical burden of owning the items.

Here is my page on Zilok: http://us.zilok.com/t/178632

Check it out and try renting out my GoPro Camera! I got some amazing footage that I promise to upload soon. Also I have a halloween costume, kegerator equipment, my nintendo wii, and of course, my car, all available for rent.

Hubway

I just signed up for Hubway today, Boston’s bike sharing program sponsored by New Balance. They had a deal for annual membership at $50 instead of their standard $85, which I learned about during “Let’s Talk about Bikes” an event at the BSA Space. BSA Space is in the recently built LEED Certified 280 Congress St. the same building shared by Trade restaurant, (Amazing Cocktails) Boloco (Sweet touch screen ordering proces) and Fidelity. My buddy from BU just started working over at Fidelity and will one day be a CFO of a fortune 500 company. Not so for me. I am fascinated by collaborative consumption and sharing things rather than acquiring them. This is why I support Hubway.

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In support of Net Impact

I just submitted my video submission for a chance to address many business school deans during Net Impact CEO Liz Maw’s keynote address on June 12th.

I was so glad that I came to BU for my MBA/MSIS and wanted to share my experience with Net Impact with others that I jumped on the opportunity to make this video. Even if it isn’t selected to be broadcast, I loved the chance to share. You can check out my video and let me know what you think.

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Collaborative Consumption, the way of the future.

This blog is about the Sharing Economy.  This relatively new paradigm of buying, renting, sharing and using tangible things is projected, by some, to disrupt our existing way of life.  Others dismiss it as an isolated and passing fad.  My personal opinion lies somewhere in between.  Beyond my academic interest in the topic, I am personally invested in that I rent my own car through the peer-to-peer carsharing platform RelayRides.  Future blog posts will detail my good and bad experiences as both a supply and demand side member of the two-sided network.