Happy Earth Day. Read this in USA Today this week that sustainability is alive and well on college campuses.
Princeton Review, in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council, is out this week with its 2012 Guide to 322 Green Colleges and finds in a separate survey that 68% of more than 7,000 college applicants told them that a college's commitment to the environment would play a role in their decision to apply to or attend that school. The guide can be downloaded at princeton-review.com.green-guide or centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide.
Dean Homer Erekson at my alma mater, The Neeley Business School, asked several alums to contribute to a collection titled Major Moments for its 75th anniversary. I was honored to be invited and contributed below – I wrote it last year before my new book was out.
“I have had several mentors and major moments in my career, but the one I give most credit to is “Lady Serendipity” for what happened in October 1983.
I graduated with an MBA from Neeley in the summer of 1980, and went to work in the Fort Worth office of Price Waterhouse. Three years later, I had just received my first promotion, but I was restless.
I did not really enjoy being a CPA, and noticed an opening published in the firm’s newsletter. They were looking for staff in the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia office. Not a plum expatriate assignment by any definition…and the region was about to get very dangerous.
As I was getting to Saudi, the U.S. Marines’ barrack was bombed in Lebanon, and the Iran-Iraq war started soon after. Because the assignment was considered a “hardship,” we were allowed to leave the country every three months. It gave me a chance to see the world, and I have been to 40 countries.
Going to Saudi in 1983 was a major moment, because it honed my curiosity “antennae”.
Building on experience
My two-and-a-half years in Saudi Arabia allowed me to diversify my skill sets in a small office. I was allowed to work on technology projects I would never have done in a U.S. office.
I came back to the Dallas office, but jumped at the opportunity to go back to another assignment in Saudi. From there I spent two years in London (where I also met my Irish wife, who in turn had been to 30 countries on her own) and the Netherlands. My passport kept filling up.
From Price Waterhouse, I moved on to Gartner, an IT research firm, and then was an entrepreneur in a dot.com that failed.
The last five years I have been a technology strategy consultant. I also write two technology blogs, which has allowed me to write a well-received book on technology- enabled innovation, The New Polymath.
While the career has meandered, and the start-up challenged the family’s financial foundations during the technology meltdown of 2001-2003, each of these moves has brought a new set of industry contacts.
People are amazed when they hear I wrote my book -- which has interviews and profiles of over 150 innovators -- in just four months. My wide network allowed me to do so.
-- Take every opportunity to go out and shake as many hands as you can. I am part of every social network you can name -- Facebook, Twitter, Flickr etc. -- but there is nothing like breaking bread with people around the world.
-- Be curious about a wide range of subjects. Polymath, in my book’s title, is Greek for a Renaissance person like Leonardo daVinci or Ben Franklin, who were good at so many things.
-- In today’s society and workplaces, we are encouraged to be specialists. You need to specialize and be very good at what you are doing at that particular time. But…there is no law that says you have to do the same specialty over and over again, in the same exact location.”
One of the highlights of my visit to the Oracle Industry Analyst Event this week was a dinner at the Rosewood Hotel on Sandhill Road, bang opposite Kleiner Perkins HQ.
As this US News analysis says guests love "the ambience found in the library, which overlooks the hotel pool." Actually, all of the 16 landscaped acres provide a very relaxing, low-tech escape from the Valley that never sleeps.
It was a stunning evening, weather wise, and I wished the Oracle dinner had been outside, but they had an excellent reason to have it indoors - a talk by Ian "Fresh" Burns of the Oracle Racing team about the history and his team's prep for next year's Americas Cup.
The restuarant at the hotel, Madera, is top notch and our dinner was well, you be the judge from below :)
Photo Credit: Above Rosewood Hotel. Of dinner menu: Susie Penner
“As school districts across the nation attempt to modernize classrooms with new technologies, we are inadvertently widening the gap among students whom do not have the personal resources or access to benefit from these advancements”, says Octavio J. Visiedo former Superintendent of the Miami Dade Public Schools. “By using Ecofurbished products, school districts will be able to increase the number of devices available for students at a cost effective price thereby helping to bridge the educational digital divide.”
“High-end industrial code readers won't have a problem with the high-density version-40 codes. Smartphones are another matter. The 8 megapixel camera on a Samsung Galaxy S II can read a 50mm x 50mm v-40 QR code. The 5 megapixel camera on an HTC Desire struggles, but can accomplish the task at a closer range. The 2MP camera on a Blackberry Bold 9000 doesn't make the cut.
The medium matters as well; QR codes work best as black ink on white paper. They are far less readable as images presented on even the best computer or smartphone screen. The combination of camera ability and media variability places a real world upper limit on the information density you can expect to be able to present with a QR code of a given physical size.”
“We’ve been testing materials on a “Green Plane” since 2009, and those materials are now being incorporated into the interior. Each seat is nearly six pounds lighter, which adds up to a reduction of 635 pounds per aircraft and is expected to result in significant annual fuel cost savings. The new seats are made using E-Leather, which is an eco-friendly, lightweight, and scuff-resistant alternative to traditional leather. E-Leather is made from natural leather fiber that is upgraded using eco-conscious technology.
The new seat design also makes the bottom cushion lighter and more comfortable and provides better lumbar support. Additionally, we’re installing a fixed-wing headrest on each seat that will provide for a more relaxing experience. And we’re replacing the seatback pocket with a netted pocket that’s form-fitting to the seat, allowing for more knee room.
The carpet is made from completely recyclable, carbon-neutral material that will be laid in squares, rather than rolls, eliminating the need for total carpet replacement and reducing waste. Under the seat, we’re replacing our life vest pouches with lighter, more environmentally friendly canvas pouches. These interior elements will be installed on all new 737-800 aircraft delivered to Southwest beginning this year. We are currently in the process of retrofitting our entire existing fleet of 737-700 planes with the new interior, and we anticipate that the fleet-wide retrofit will be complete by the end of next year.”