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Showing posts from June, 2009

Tech

Investments in certain technologies do confer a competitive edge — one that has to be constantly renewed, as rivals don't merely match your moves but use technology to develop more potent ones and leapfrog over you.

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Retirement

Can governments make sure this inevitable adjustment goes smoothly? In the recent past some policies have bordered on the demographically insane—for instance “job-creation” schemes that encourage older workers to take early retirement. Many things that make sense anyway, such as making benefits more portable, encouraging immigration, promoting private saving or reforming health care (see article), make even more sense now. Banning mandatory retirement ages in the private sector (as America has done) looks sensible, as does creating conditions in which people can retire more gradually. Above all, the retirement ages for state pensions need to be put back. Recent increases to 67 or 68 are doing no more than compensate for the likely rise in life expectancy: 70 would be a better figure. So far only Denmark has taken the radical step of indexing the pensionable age to life expectancy.

Central Bank

The European Central Bank provided a record €442 billion ($620 billion) to the euro area’s banking system through its offer of unlimited one-year funds at 1% interest. The measure has been dubbed a “stimulus by stealth”.

Internet Privacy

The police are right that the Internet is a playground and networking tool for all sorts of bad people. It's also true that you can walk into any crowded place -- a shopping mall, say, or a music concert -- and assume that among the throngs of people are some with nefarious intent. But the police don't randomly search everyone's pockets.

Boomers

"Connection" and "sense of purpose" loom large as reasons why all 50-to-70-year-olds want to get involved in their communities. These motivations drive boomers toward leadership roles with potential for impact on big problems. In many ways, their biggest impact will be on eliminating the term retirement and inventing a new stage of life, one with public and community service at the core. That could indeed change the world.

Touch Screen

In the latest silicon.com CIO Jury, IT chiefs were asked whether they're planning to offer Apple's touchscreen device as part of their range of corporate mobile phones - and the vast majority of IT chiefs said they are not.

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Russia WTO

IT HAD become almost a ritual. Every year Russian officials promised that by the end of the following year their country would complete the negotiations to join the World Trade Organisation. Every year the timetable slipped by another year. But now Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister, has broken with the ritual by announcing that, after 16 years of trying to get in, Russia no longer wants to join the WTO on its own but only as part of a customs union that it has forged with Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Batteries

It's one of those things we take for granted: official laptop battery life claims have an extremely tenuous relationship with reality. Not surprisingly, everyone's using the same tricks to conjure their silly estimates—and they don't plan on stopping.

Crescent Street

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If the names Casa Pedro, Les Halles, The Boiler Room, The Wrong Number, Flix Cinema, The Bicylette and Carol’s Snack Bar bring back waves of nostalgia, then you’re officially old.

Drinking pitchers of sangria at Casa Pedro’s, having fancy French table service at Les Halles or watching Ronnie flip burgers at Carol’s well into the wee hours.

These are memories from Crescent St. , the party block between de Maisonneuve Blvd. and Ste. Catherine St.

Who knew when the first wine bar, Chez Tonneau, opened in 1959 that this would become a destination spot for locals and tourists alike, written up in guide books and THE place to go on a party evening.

It’s been 50 years and the Crescent St. Merchant’s Association is throwing a street party to mark the occasion.

Driving limits

Over 170 countries now impose drink-driving limits, according to a new report by the World Health Organisation, although the amount of alcohol allowed varies considerably. Only 88 countries have a legal limit of 0.05 grams of alcohol (or less) per 100ml of blood, the maximum recommended by the WHO.

Working Remotely

Working with people in different cities and time zones with minimal face time presents a whole new set of challenges. While the tools available for working remotely are better than ever, it's how you use them that really counts. Constant and clear communication is the key to a good remote working relationship. Here are some best practices I've found for working remotely online.

Business models

As we move to business models that depend on people working together, on innovation, on individual expertise and craft, on crowds contributing to the whole, we must also move sharply away from our traditional concepts regarding the key responsibilities of senior executives.

Country wide

On Thursday June 4th America’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged the former boss of Countrywide, America’s largest mortgage lender before the credit crisis, and his former chief operating and financial officers with securities fraud. The civil suit also accuses Mr Mozilo of insider trading. He thus has the dubious privilege of becoming the first high-profile moneyman to be fingered for alleged wrongdoing in the credit crunch—Bernie Madoff was hardly a household name before the exposure of his ponzi scheme.

Economic downturn

In a period of economic downturn, the overwhelming instinct is to pare back, cut costs, and lay off. If you do that, do so with your strategy in mind. The worst mistake is to cut across the board. Instead, reconnect and recommit to a clear strategy that will distinguish yourself from others. Good leaders need a positive agenda, not just an agenda of dealing with crisis.

Executive Compensation

Time and again with executive compensation, we get noble rhetoric about turning executives into owners when the stock market is rising. When the market is falling, we suddenly hear solicitous concern about executive morale.

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