Who’s Afraid Of Free?

Free: The Future of a Radical Price is a new book from Chris Anderson that has caused various folks to turn red, argue, get defensive and worry. Most of the worry was already there. But Free provides structure. That is a benefit. I chose to read Free while drinking herbal mint tea at Barnes & Noble. The venti tea cost $2.06 (I forgot to use my membership card). I was able to milk my tea for the several hours it took to read Free. I did not pay for Free. Which means I read Free for Free. By following the principles of Free, Barnes & Noble earned $2.06, instead of $25 something. While I do not believe this pleases Barnes & Noble, they earned more than Amazon this time around. That is also a benefit and maybe a quandary. How to get herbal mint tea out of a Kindle. hmmm.

Parking Meters

Parking meters are a necessity uptown, since without them shoppers would be crowded out by commuters using the nearby train. But there is a fine line between limiting the time one can park to avoid spaces being tied up all day and making parking so expensive shoppers go somewhere else. This neighborhood shopping center is in Chicago where parking meters have become a bit of an issue due to price increases and ‘privatization.’ Now parking is still not very expensive, but it is 4 times more expensive than it was. It is no longer about making parking available for shoppers, but about raising revenue for the city. That makes folks think about shopping elsewhere. That hurts the stores along this street. That moves business out of the city one hour at a time. Small business can often be blindsided by regulations and costs their customers and they have no control … Continue reading

New Ways For Entrepreneurs To Do Business With China

UPDATE: I just found out only the first day of the conference had been planned to be streamed, this being a first and all.  I was very impressed with the professional quality presented.  Technically, on-screen graphics for each speaker, multi-camera switching, good lighting, excellent sound.  It was obvious that IU had some capable media folks making things happen.  It was quite an improvement over some other ‘streaming broadcasts’ I’ve seen which tend towards one camera, low-def set-ups. I mention the technical end only because as the experience improves so does the learning.  The speakers were of very high quality and some great issues were discussed. Next step suggestion – let us send our questions in on-line for the speakers in real time! UPDATE: Live video link is here. This week, for the first time, a live video feed from the Indiana University China/US Business Conference will be officially available in China and set … Continue reading

The Slash and Burn Prune.

Is this an example of good pruning or bad? Of course the choices weren’t good. Either a severe prune or get yanked out by the roots. So this probably will turn out better for the bush.  Summer will tell. We are told budgetary cutbacks demand careful pruning. That cuts must be made strategically to ensure that the organization can survive recession as well as prepare for future growth. We are told to move resources towards the areas that are strategically important, cut off dead end projects, make hard decisions. In other words, do exactly what we should have been doing all along.  Problem is, if it was that easy then we would have been doing it all along.  Most budget cutbacks follow a familiar pattern:  First – nibbling.  Every department can cut a few percentage points off their budgets without making any strategic decisions about the business.  The survivors have to … Continue reading

Open Source Banking – Dutch Widening The Crack?

I like the idea of open source banking.   Today’s roiling financial markets are creating opportunities for technology and new capital sources to rewrite how money flows.  By pushing for an open source model we could end up with advantages driven by transparency, networking, and robust testing of business models. So what happens when banks actually bid on your savings account?  Looks like the Dutch are about to find out.  The auction model is being tested by www.sparbod.com (In Dutch, unfortunately, here is a bit more information.) You post how much you are willing to save and banks ‘bid’ on your business.