Legos and Hewitt Associates….The Magic of Innovation and Creativity

Thank you Debra and family!

When you look at a company like Hewitt Associates which began as a small insurance company seventy years ago and see how it has grown and diversified with global outreach in 33 countries, it is a testimony to how creativity and innovation sparks growth and success.

It is this wonder and innocence that spurs children and grownups to build. To take thousands of small unfocused pieces and build a structure that defines a moment is what has made Legos a defining product of educational growth for years.

Together through the diligence and innovation of two key landmarks, Hewitt Associates and Lego have found a partnership together.

Enjoy our tribute to creation, implementation, growth and success:

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Now You Can Bump iPhones to Become Facebook Friends

Provided by Mashable.com and YouTube.com

Bump, the app that makes it super simple to exchange information with other users by bumping phones, has just released Bump 2.0 [iTunes link] for the iPhone.

The app features an updated and refined interface plus the ability to compare calendars, instantly connect on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, and the ability to send messages back and forth without another Bump. Like its predecessor, Bump 2.0 is free.

Bump is a great app for people that travel in groups with lots of smartphone users because it makes it simple to transfer information without the need to pass out business cards. It’s easy to use; just open up the app and make the “bump” gesture with the device to share your contact information.

You can set up your contact profile in Bump by selecting your existing address book entry or by creating something brand new. You can then customize what information you want to include or exclude. We like that you can save multiple profiles, one of which you could use for, say, business contacts, and another for personal ones.

The ability to compare calendars and set up meetings on-the-fly is a great addition to Bump. It’s sort of like Tungle.me and strikes us as being especially useful for business networking events.

If you set up Bump to let you share your Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn information instantly, Bump can even compare friends you have with the user you are “bumping” and show you items like photos from Facebook.

Bump also lets you share contacts and photos with the person you are bumping — another nice touch. Bump alerts you when someone sends you their info and you can choose to add them to your Friends list or follow them on Twitter.

While Bump 2.0 is for the iPhone, there is also an Android version of Bump available in the Android Market and the apps are cross-device compatible.

Do you use an app to exchange information with new people, or does a business card and a cocktail napikin suffice?

Should LinkedIn Be Afraid of BranchOut and Facebook? (Can Facebook Take on the Professional Success of Linkedin?)

By Mathew Ingram – Provided by Gigaom.com

BranchOut, a new startup that wants to bring LinkedIn-style business networking to Facebook, launched today with a Facebook application that pulls together information from your friends’ profiles about what companies they work for, have worked for in the past, as well as any other business-related details the app can find. It also includes a job board feature, which makes it easy to see whether there are openings at any of the companies friends in your network are associated with (the company plans to charge for this feature). Should LinkedIn be afraid of this new competitor? Yes and no.

BranchOut was founded by Rick Marini, former co-founder of Tickle.com, an early social-gaming site that got more than 200 million users before it was bought by Monster.com in 2004 for about $100 million. It was later shut down. Marini also founded and was the CEO of a social entertainment site called SuperFan.com.

At the moment, the BranchOut site directs users to install a Facebook app, which ingests their entire “social graph” (i.e., all of their friends and contacts) and then pulls up a kind of dashboard view of the corporate relationships within that group, along with a search bar that allows you to search for companies your friends might be associated with.

Not surprisingly, one big portion of the app is a friend bar that asks you to “grow your empire” by inviting your other Facebook friends to install the app. By doing this, the company says (in a video how-to that is embedded below), users can “unlock all your friends’ career data” as well that of their friends, since their corporate connections will also be revealed once your friends are added to your network. Of course, that’s assuming these friends-of-friends have filled out their corporate affiliations as part of their profiles, and also that they have chosen to make that information public using Facebook’s privacy settings (when I signed up, the app told me I am connected to more than 550 companies through friends, and almost 6,500 companies through friends of friends).

There’s no question BranchOut is a clear shot across the bow of LinkedIn, which is where most people go to post their resumes, look for job leads and network with others. LinkedIn has been busy over the past year adding social-networking style features pioneered by both Twitter and Facebook, including the ability to follow other users, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise to the company someone would choose to turn the tables by using Facebook’s network to recreate LinkedIn’s features.

What LinkedIn has going for it — apart from sheer size and the network effects of having more than 70 million registered users, of course — is that it is specifically a corporate network, one where users have become comfortable revealing their business affiliations and posting and responding to jobs. Facebook is a much broader and more personal social network, with games, photos, applications and other features that have nothing to do with business. Many people likely have both a LinkedIn corporate profile and a Facebook profile, and may actually prefer to maintain a church-and-state separation between the business and personal aspects of their lives.

For those who don’t mind mixing those two worlds, however, BranchOut could make for an appealing alternative to LinkedIn. And as LinkedIn adds more Facebook and Twitter-style features, it risks blurring the line between it and those other networks, something that could lower the competitive barriers for apps like BranchOut even further. Of course, LinkedIn could always just buy BranchOut, since it has claimed to be in the market for acquisitions.

http://www.branchout.com

Opening the Door to a New World – Follow Trollie the Troll on his adventures

Have you ever dreamed about sailing around the Gallapagos Islands?
Scaling the swiss alps
Standing in awe by Mount Rushmore
Overlooking the majestic Golden Gate Bridge
Jogging on the Great Wall of China
Wondering how Stonehenge got there….

Why haven’t you done these things?

I don’t have enough money?
I will someday?
My life is too busy right now?
It is not that easy.
Excuses, excuses, excuses….

Each day is a gift. You have the ability to breath in and experience the magic that is life.
If you do nothing else today, make that bucket list of all the places you dreamed of seeing and go plan the next adventure.

As a little motivation, we thought we would take you on a little journey with Trollie the Troll.

Watch as Trollie experiences life one place at a time.

Don’t blink, you may miss Trollie’s next adventure.

A little frog jazz anyone?

Missy the Grassy Cow was a great tourguide.

Even Trolls get hungry.

And thirsty...

Troll made a new friend

Gotta use the little Troll room

Troll loves to capture his adventures in his blog

Bed Time. Good night.

Media is Dead! Long Live Social Media (Don McLean would be proud)

Who would have thought a modern rendition of American Pie would have such a significant impact on how we have shifted away from traditional media and networking to a social media explosion that has global ramifications.

The time is now. Get on the train or watch it pass you by.

If we cannot laugh at what our culture has become then buckle up. It is going to be a wild ride.

Enjoy the Video provided by YouTube and Mad Avenue Blues:

Top Ten Business Tips from the Grateful Dead

When we look at businesses, products/services and clients/customers, it is easy to become narrow minded and focus only on your industry and the culture. The key to a success business enterprise, big or small, is to incorporate the creativity of others and subject yourself to diverse ideas and cultures to determine the best utilization for your needs.

As you determine the stability and growth of your business during this economic turmoil, we thought we would take advise from LAWeekly and provide some tips from one of the most successful bands of all time – The Grateful Dead

How does these translate to your business?

Provide by LAWeekly.com and Joshua Green at The Atlantic:

10. FOCUS ON THE FANS: “Without intending to–while intending, in fact, to do just the opposite–the band pioneered ideas and practices that were subsequently embraced by corporate America. One was to focus intensely on its most loyal fans. It established a telephone hotline to alert them to its touring schedule ahead of any public announcement, reserved for them some of the best seats in the house, and capped the price of tickets, which the band distributed through its own mail-order house. If you lived in New York and wanted to see a show in Seattle, you didn’t have to travel there to get tickets–and you could get really good tickets, without even camping out.”

9. TREAT CUSTOMERS WELL: “‘The Dead were masters of creating and delivering superior customer value,’ Barry Barnes, a business professor at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University, in Florida, told me. Treating customers well may sound like common sense. But it represented a break from the top-down ethos of many organizations in the 1960s and ’70s. Only in the 1980s, faced with competition from Japan, did American CEOs and management theorists widely adopt a customer-first orientation.”

8. EMBRACE THE CORPORATE: “As Barnes and other scholars note, the musicians who constituted the Dead were anything but naive about their business. They incorporated early on, and established a board of directors (with a rotating CEO position) consisting of the band, road crew, and other members of the Dead organization.”

7. DON’T BE AFRAID TO USE LAWYERS…: “They founded a profitable merchandising division and, peace and love notwithstanding, did not hesitate to sue those who violated their copyrights.”

6. …BUT DON’T OVERUSE THEM: “They famously permitted fans to tape their shows, ceding a major revenue source in potential record sales. According to Barnes, the decision was not entirely selfless: it reflected a shrewd assessment that tape sharing would widen their audience, a ban would be unenforceable, and anyone inclined to tape a show would probably spend money elsewhere, such as on merchandise or tickets.”

5. BE FLEXIBLE: “It’s precisely this flexibility that Barnes believes holds the greatest lessons for business–he calls it ‘strategic improvisation.’ It isn’t hard to spot a few of its recent applications. Giving something away and earning money on the periphery is the same idea proffered by Wired editor Chris Anderson in his recent best-selling book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price. Voluntarily or otherwise, it is becoming the blueprint for more and more companies doing business on the Internet.”

4. BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR PRODUCT: “Much of the talk about ‘Internet business models’ presupposes that they are blindingly new and different. But the connection between the Internet and the Dead’s business model was made 15 years ago by the band’s lyricist, John Perry Barlow, who became an Internet guru. Writing in Wired in 1994, Barlow posited that in the information economy, ‘the best way to raise demand for your product is to give it away.'”

3. FAMILIARITY = VALUE: “As Barlow explained to me: ‘What people today are beginning to realize is what became obvious to us back then–the important correlation is the one between familiarity and value, not scarcity and value. Adam Smith taught that the scarcer you make something, the more valuable it becomes. In the physical world, that works beautifully. But we couldn’t regulate [taping at] our shows, and you can’t online. The Internet doesn’t behave that way. But here’s the thing: if I give my song away to 20 people, and they give it to 20 people, pretty soon everybody knows me, and my value as a creator is dramatically enhanced. That was the value proposition with the Dead.'”

2. PREPARE TO RIDE BAD CYCLES: “The Dead thrived for decades, in good times and bad. In a recession, Barnes says, strategic improvisation is more important then ever. ‘If you’re going to survive this economic downturn, you better be able to turn on a dime,’ he says. ‘The Dead were exemplars.'”

AND THE NUMBER ONE BUSINESS TIP FROM THE GRATEFUL DEAD:

1. DON’T TAKE THE BROWN ACID!!!!!

FULL LINK