Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Articles 05.31.11

The Paradox of the Modern City

The central paradox of the modern city is that as the cost of connecting over long distances has fallen proximity has become even more valuable. What will now happen as the cost of connecting over long distances starts to increase as energy and transportation costs continue their upward trend? My guess: central business districts will become even more valuable as places for businesses to operate. Stay tuned.

More on the Value of Proximity

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights how artists and musicians working in close proximity with each other helps facilitate the flowing of the creative juices. Incubator space is an important facilitator for small businesses. This can work not just for artists and musicians but also for any industry or business that depends upon the exchange of information and ideas and on the sharing of physical resources such as artist studios, research facilities, medical uses, light manufacturing, food preparation etc. For incubator space to succeed it's necessary to create a critical mass of related and synergistic uses and to provide an infrastructure and an atmosphere that encourages cross-pollination and the sharing of ideas. Converting obsolete industrial and commercial space into business incubators is a terrific use of these assats and a great way to promote job growth.

Local Idiosyncrasies

It’s amazing how virtually any place you visit has its local idiosyncrasies many of which flow from the stupidity of local politicians. I recently spotted a sign in a Tucson taxicab that specified not just the rates but also the designation "35 psi". I thought that a little odd. Apparently, a local Ordinance requires cab drivers to post the required tire pressure for their vehicles so that passengers can check to make sure that the tires aren't underinflated. Under inflation results in the meter charging too much. I didn't ask, but I was wondering if every cab driver was also required to carry a tire pressure gauge to allow a passenger to actually to check the tire pressure.

How Many “In Boxes” Do You Have?

Think about it. Add them all up. You probably have far more than you think. Include all your various phone mail accounts (don't forget your home phone-you probably forget to check that all the time), various e-mail accounts, BBM’s, instant messaging, Facebook, linked in, Four Square, any other social media, texting, tweeting (or, as I call it, "twitting"). Oh, and let's not forget the old school way of communicating, regular mail (although, for the life of me, I can't remember the last time I actually received anything that was hand written, not even a parking ticket), Federal Express, faxing (yes, it still exists). Is it any wonder that despite all the various advances that have been made in the area of communication it is getting even more difficult for us to communicate with each other?

Only on the Upper East Side

No joke, I actually spotted a sign posted in a garage on the Upper East Side of Manhattan advertising bicycle parking for "$137 per month". I guess if you own a $15,000 bicycle, you wouldn't hesitate to pay $137 per month to park it. Although, if I spent that type of money on a bicycle I would display it in my living room as a piece of artwork.

iPod syndrome

I use this term to describe how the electronic media has affected our attention spans. It used to be that you would buy a record (you know, that 12 inch vinyl disc that you play on a turntable) and listen to an entire side before either flipping it over or putting on another record. Now, on your IPod you're lucky if you even listen to an entire song before skipping to the next.

Electronic readers are now doing to books what the IPod has done to recorded music. I am a voracious reader and would typically read one or two books at the same time. Now that electronic readers has made carrying an entire library of books with you at all times, I now read 8 to 10 books at the same time and rarely finish any.

Listening to the radio in my car has also evolved in much the same fashion over time. Worse, now with XM radio, I constantly skip from station to station to find a song that I like. And even if I find a song that I like I'm still seeing if there's another song playing that I like even better.

Five Minute Management Course

Rather than spending two years your life in graduate school and over $100,000 in tuition, read this amusing article. It will teach you everything you need to know to succeed in business.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

While this Wall Street Journal article ("Long Arm of the Law") about "noodlers" is pretty funny you need to take a look at the photograph to truly understand the stupidity of this activity. I guess they figured that sticking their legs into the mouth of a catfish was too hazardous and that using their arms was a better idea.

No comments: