Thursday, July 31, 2008

Real World Stories from the Creative Economy: Daniel Reardon

Check out this blog module from Bob Barancik over at Creative Ledge

In it, he interviews Daniel Reardon. Dan was the former CEO of Bass Shoes (a $400 million division of the Phillip Van Heusen corporation) and is currently a senior business consultant to L.L. Bean. He also developed and managed the retail operation of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for three years. Dan is an avid art collector and a longtime supporter of organizations that serve at-risk youth.

Creative Ledge is starting to pump out a lot of good stuff on the creative economy, and it's definitely worth joining the mailing list and RSS feed if you're the type who is constantly searching for ways to get that inspirational spark..

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

MIT helping its community reduce dependence on driving

MIT is helping its students, staff and faculty reduce dependence on driving. I really like #2 (although #1 is the one that benefits me as a regular T rider). I was once heavily dependent on driving myself being from the suburbs. It was hard for me to imagine taking public transportation anywhere until my girlfriend got me to try it out. Now I'm convinced that the need for car ownership is an American myth, especially for a city dweller. You can get just about anywhere with a combination of walking, taxis, public transportation and ZipCars for teaching.

Here's the letter to the MIT community from the administration on the program. Hopefully other urban situated universities are implementing similar programs.

Dear Members of the MIT Community,

Many of us are feeling the pinch of rising energy costs, which is why
I am pleased to announce several new benefits for commuters.

1. MIT will increase its subsidy of MBTA commuter rail passes up to
50% for all zones. The increase, which will cover passes issued
for the month of October onward, will result in savings for nearly
600 members of the MIT community. We hope that this increase in
subsidy will also help many who are not currently using the
commuter rail to discover that it can be an attractive alternative
to driving, especially when combined with an occasional parking
pass, which lets you park up to eight times per month on campus at
a cost of $4 per day.

2. To encourage drivers to try public transportation, MIT will offer
free transit passes for the month of September to employees who
currently park at MIT five days a week. The offer will give
community members a chance to test whether public transportation
works for them. Importantly, signing up for the offer will not
affect the status of your parking passes.

Also, if you find that transit passes work for you, it may be a
good option to consider combining this option with an occasional
parking pass at the frequency/rate stated above. If you currently
drive to work and park full-time, you will soon receive an email
from the Office of Parking and Transportation with details on how
to take advantage of the free passes.

The new services build upon the wide range of flexible,
environmentally friendly and cost-effective options already available
to MIT commuters, the details of which are available at this newly
updated site: <>. We
encourage you to visit this site and learn more about options that you
may be unfamiliar with, such as our emergency ride home program for
transit and bike commuters; occasional parking permit for walkers,
transit and bike commuters; discounted parking fees and preferential
parking for vanpools and carpools; and much more.

We will be providing updates on additional services for commuters in
the weeks and months ahead. Ideas we're exploring include subsidies
for cyclists and expanded parking spaces at key commuter locations in
and around Cambridge. Most importantly, we will be setting up an
online form to solicit ideas and suggestions, and we welcome hearing
from you.


Theresa M. Stone
Executive Vice President and Treasurer

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Smoking/naked light is prohibited within the petrol

One of the humorously mistranslated signs I saw during my trip to Hong Kong.

"Smoking/naked light is prohibited within the petrol." I mean...that is really far off. Especially in Hong Kong, where there are a lot of people who speak English.

My friend's roadtrip through Armenia

My friend Areg is blogging his trip to Armenia and discussing the rapid pace of change. He generally has a pretty unique perspective on things so I thought I would post the link to his blog:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cialdini's Six Principles of Persuasion

Just a quick summary of Robert Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion that I put together for my own reference.

  1. Reciprocation – I’m obligated to give back to you what you first give to me. Try to be as helpful as possible, and pay keen attention to what the needs of who you are trying to persuade are.
  2. Scarcity – People want more of what they can get less of. Show why your product or service is unique and scarce and people will want it.
  3. Commitment and Consistency – Get people to write things down or get them to make a small contribution or commitment first (aka the foot in the door technique).
  4. Authority – Build legitimacy and seem like an expert on the topic at hand. This can mean past experience, credentials or perceived knowledge. Try to establish this early in the persuasion process to keep people listening to you.
  5. Consensus – People tend to be followers. Use testimonials, the more similar to the people you are trying to persuade the better. Likewise with people who are seen as having expertise or authority.
  6. Liking – Get people to like you and you are more likely to persuade them successfully.

Unique culinary experiences in the Cote d'Azur

Since we head for Cote d’Azur next week and will be covering from Saint-Tropez to Monte Carlo, I made a list of some of the more unique culinary enticements along the way. I figured there was no downside to sharing this publicly for anyone who might be head to the Cote d’Azur and researching their trip. These are a couple of things I compiled from the book “A Taste of Provence” by Francie Jouanin.

Roquebrune-Sur-Argens / Robert Bedot Master Cheesemaker

Robert Bedot is a master cheesemaker in the town Roquebrune-Sur-Argens. Especially recommended are the freerange goats. Their cheese varies from time of year as the different herbs of Provence mature. The aromas of the cheese take on the seasonal fresh herbs that the goats eat.

Iles de Lerins
A small island that requires a short boat ride (about 30 minutes) from Cannes Harbor. There is a beautiful fortified abbey where monks make some unique wines. Their white is 50% Clairette, 25% Ugni Blanc and 25% chardonnay. They also make a red consisting of 90% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre. They also make a traditional Lerina liqueur that is over 100 years old made from 44 plants, most of which they grow themselves or grow wild on the island. They also make a number of other highly distinct and unique liqueurs that sound amazing – Vervain, mandarin orange, and then a herb one (thyme, summer savory, orange blossom and other secret flowers). Sounds like a super unique out of the way trip to make.

Confectioner Florian in Pont-Du-Loup
A confectioner that specializes in making special candies made of violets, jasmine, citrust fruit and roses. They also make violet jellies and candied fruits.

Foods to definitely try:

Sacco: Chickpea and olive oil flatbread that is quite common in Nice. Recommended with a glass of chilled Rose.

Poutine: Tiny fried or poached fish, usually sardines or shad or young sprat. Srved with oilive oil and lemon juice.

Candied fruits: Nice (and Provence as a whole) is known for its candied fruits. It is suggested starting with the most mild flavored ones (apricots, plums, strawberries and fix, then to more intense tropical fruits such as kiwi, pineapple and melon and finishing with the most flavorful, clemintines, oranges and kumquats. Especially recommended by this the Taste of Provence book is the Confectioner Auer which is a 5th generation family business opened in 1820. The book recommends a toasted almond covered in chocolate tossed in powdered cocoa. There’s another one called the marron glace which I would love to try because I love chestnuts.

Porcheta: Stuffed, sliced suckling pig. Sounds like heaven for a Chinaman.

Pissaladiere: Anchovy tart that is native to Nice.

Ugni blanc: Varietal of regional white wine grape.

Other probably more obvious items on the list: Ratatouille nicoise, nicoise salade, different varietals of lemons from Menton, stuffed zucchini blossoms

I'll report back with thoughts during our trip.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The loss of a leader and a pioneer, Alex d'Arbeloff

Alex d'Arbeloff, an amazing entrepreneur who did it all passed away yesterday at the age of 80. He will definitely be missed as part of the Boston community. This summary of his accomplishments was sent to all members of the MIT community on July 9, 2008:

Alexander Vladimir d'Arbeloff '49, a visionary entrepreneur who
co-founded Boston-based high-tech company Teradyne before becoming the
eighth chairman of the MIT Corporation, died peacefully on Tuesday,
July 8. He was 80.

As chairman of the MIT Corporation, d'Arbeloff provided crucial
leadership for the Calculated Risks, Creative Revolutions fundraising
campaign, which had a transformative effect on Institute--from the
physical campus to its research agenda. The campaign ushered in
cutting-edge facilities such as the Al and Barrie Zesiger Sports and
Fitness Center and the Ray and Maria Stata Center and also sparked a
new emphasis on the intersection between the life sciences and
engineering at MIT.

With his wife, Brit SM '61, d'Arbeloff created the Fund for Excellence
in MIT Education to support teaching innovations in science and
engineering. The pair also supported a professorship in the MIT
Department of Mechanical Engineering and established the d'Arbeloff
Lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

"All of us privileged to know Alex are deeply saddened by his loss,"
said MIT President Susan Hockfield. "MIT has lost an extraordinary
friend who paired his passionate devotion to the Institute with a
brilliantly dispassionate, clear-eyed view of how it could grow even
stronger. Through the d'Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in MIT Education,
among many other gifts, Alex and Brit tapped a deep vein of creativity
that has transformed MIT. We will sorely miss his warmth, charm, humor
and remarkable gift for framing complex problems and inspiring
visionary solutions."

D'Arbeloff was born in 1927 in Paris to parents who had fled the
Russian Revolution a decade earlier, and his family led a nomadic
existence during his adolescence. As the clouds of war gathered in
Europe, the d'Arbeloffs moved to South America in 1936, to New York
two years later and to Los Angeles the following year, before
returning to New York in 1940.

After graduating from MIT with a bachelor's in management, d'Arbeloff
found that his can-do attitude didn't always sit well with
superiors. In later years he was proud to note that he was fired from
three jobs during a 10-year period, and that while serving in the
U.S. Army reserves, his commanding officer berated him for having
"antagonized every officer" at their post.

"I didn't feel I had," d'Arbeloff told an interviewer in 1997,
recalling the episode. "I didn't do it on purpose. I just wanted to do
more than they were willing to do."

In 1960, d'Arbeloff co-founded Teradyne Inc. with Nick DeWolf--a
former MIT classmate whom he had met when they had to line up
alphabetically during an ROTC class. During his tenure as president
and CEO of Teradyne, which manufactures automatic test equipment and
interconnection systems for the electronics and telecommunications
industries, the company's annual sales rose from $13 million to more
than $1 billion.

In 1997, he was named chairman of the MIT Corporation, having served
as a member since 1989. At the time, he said he was aware of the
differences between academia and the business world but preferred to
focus on the common ground they shared.

"You begin, in both cases, with talented people. Then you have to
develop an effective organization and instill a sense of mission. You
have to strive to win. And, ultimately, you have to provide something
of value to society," he said.

"MIT is a great institution, with great impact on the nation and the
world. I am truly honored to have been given this opportunity to serve
as MIT's chairman and to contribute to an institution of this level of
excellence, this magnitude, and one that has such an impact on

D'Arbeloff became honorary chairman of the Corporation after stepping
down as chairman in 2003. As a professor of the practice, he taught at
the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Department of Mechanical
Engineering. D'Arbeloff also served on the board of the Whitehead
Institute for Biomedical Research.

Friends and colleagues recalled him as a dynamic personality who
constantly strove for improvement and challenged the ways in which
things are done. MIT President Emeritus Charles M. Vest said
d'Arbeloff possessed "one of the most active minds" he had ever seen.

"As chairman of the MIT Corporation, Alex properly and productively
challenged the ways in which academia functions. His rethinking of
MIT's budgeting processes was invaluable," Vest said. "He radiated
energy, loved to challenge ideas, and was as at home in a classroom as
in his board room. He left a great legacy in Boston and MIT."

D'Arbeloff was the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a fellow of
the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and a director of the Isabella
Stewart Gardner Museum. He also served on the boards of several
corporations and on the board of the Whitehead Institute, which he
chaired from 2004 to 2006.

He is survived by his wife, Brit; daughters, Katherine and Alexandra;
sons, Eric and Matthew; and six grandchildren.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Developmental entrepreneurship at its best...

Too remarkable a story not to post. My girlfriend Vickie introduced me to this organization a few years ago and I thought it was pretty neat. But to see some an example of this type of impact is really neat.