Xoe’s Giraffe

Posted by Jennifer

In today's San Antonio Express-News, eight year old Xoe Cano made a plea to the residents of San Antonio to help her get a new giraffe for the San Antonio Zoo. She sent four quarters to the Zoo, and is asking the rest of us to do the same.

The background and history of many well-known causes is chock-full of individuals - many times children - taking a stand on a particular issue to draw attention to a need or raise funds.

Jason O'Neill started Pencil Bugs when he was nine as a way to make homework more interesting for himself and other kids. Once he started making money off the venture, he started donating money to different causes. He got on Twitter back before it exploded, and got a pretty nice following out of it! Now he's even got a new book out, titled Bitten By the Business Bug: Common Sense Tips for Business and Life from a Teen Entrepreneur. You can check out the book - and purchase it - on his site or at Amazon.

Locally, Eliza Rosenbloom has been raising money for the San Antonio Red Cross through hot chocolate sales at her school. This year, she made a $2,200 donation to the organization! Her efforts have even earned her the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy award from the San Antonio Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals this year at its annual National Philanthropy Day Event.

I love the idea of getting kids involved in fundraising early in their lives. Helping them to understand there are things in this world outside themselves - and helping to develop compassion and a sense of philanthropy - is a lesson they'll carry with them throughout their lives.

Make your donation today for a new giraffe at the San Antonio Zoo and help Xoe's great idea become a reality. She's only asking for a dollar, but donate more if you can.

San Antonio Zoo
3903 N. St. Mary's St.
San Antonio, TX 78212


Creativity: The Brightest Spot in the Economy

Posted by Terry

An article by Linda Naiman entitled “Reports on The Creative Economy” concludes that, according to recent reports from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the “Creative Economy” is undergoing unprecedented growth compared with traditional services and manufacturing.

The Creative Economy: How People make Money from Ideas (2001) by John Howkins defines creative industries as “the sum total of four sectors: the copyright, the patent, trademark, and design industries – together constitute the creative industries and the creative economy.”

Economist Richard Florida suggests that America’s (and Canada’s) workforce advantage lies in our ability to solve problems, forge new frontiers and quickly adjust to changing economic forces. The creative economy recognizes everyone is inherently creative and that creativity is a driving force of innovation.

Here is what got my attention about the creative global market:

  • It’s forecast to grow by 10%
  • It’s the leading sector in advanced countries
  • It’s stimulating the urban regeneration of cities
  • New ventures for developing countries leap frog into value-added areas

And from the Conference Board of Canada, July 2008:

“Not only does the arts and cultural industry make a valuable economic contribution in its own right, it also stimulates creative activity in other sectors of the economy,” said Michael Bloom, vice-president of organizational effectiveness and learning. “A dynamic culture sector plays a key role as a magnet for talent, enhances economic output, and acts as a catalyst for prosperity.”

Our future depends on our ability to cultivate imagination, creativity and innovation, to foster social and economic growth, and improve our quality of life.  Yet our current government has cut 60 million in funding for arts and culture programs by citing the need for good governance and the need for fiscal responsibility. This isn’t an either or proposition. We need both. Clearly, in this economic climate, the same it even truer for the U.S!

Just two years after these sentiments were spoken, and in current light of the economic and political issues we are all faced with today, it is good to note that America’s strength still lies in its creativity and innovation. And those traits, which have distinguished the American spirit for so many generations, may still guide us toward a brighter economy.


Wordsmith Wednesday

Posted by Jennifer

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a French writer and aviator. He is best remembered for his novella The Little Prince.

A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


Does Social Media Belong in News Reporting?

Posted by Jennifer

Earlier this week KDFW/Fox News 4 in Dallas posted this video spoofing news coverage using social media. In it, reporters are tweeting, posting to Facebook, using Skype to broadcast...all while avoiding reporting on the (made up) shooting and hostage situation going on around them.

Created for the Lone Star Emmys, KDFW was obviously having some fun, but like a lot of spoofs, there is typically a kernel of truth from which the idea originates.

The days of news stories being researched for days or weeks before going live seem to be in indirect proportion to the number of bloggers who can get a story posted while sitting in the Starbucks down the street. The Wall Street Journal has taken a decidedly scoop or be scooped approach, so what's a news junkie to do?

Are journalists becoming too dependent on social media platforms? Is it possible to tell a news story in 140 characters? Are news organizations more concerned with scooping the competition than with getting the story right? There are countless stories of reporters making rash decisions and posting to Twitter or Facebook and then having to retract or apologize for the comment.

Does social media belong in news reporting? What do you think?


Wordsmith Wednesday

Posted by Jennifer

Nolan Bushnell, often called the Godfather of Gaming, poses with the first "Pong" machine.

Everyone who's ever taken a shower has an idea.  It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference. ~Nolan Bushnell


Chevrolet Outdoor Board Campaign

Posted by Roger

Each year for the last 15 years, hundreds of thousands (and now, even millions) of car enthusiasts gather in Detroit to celebrate the world's largest automotive event - the Woodward Dream Cruise.

And each year, Chevrolet commissions its agency, Campbell Ewald, to develop a series of outdoor boards for the weekend event. Based on some of the fabulous pieces that have come out of this campaign, Chevy obviously allows the agency to have a lot of fun with the development of the creative. Here are some of our favorites from the last 10 years.


Virtual Branding

Posted by Jennifer

McDonald's was the first. Nearly two weeks ago they offered players of the popular Facebook game, Farmville, a branded and interactive "neighbor farm" where players could grow mustard and tomato seeds, earn McCafe consumables within the game, and even earn a big red hot air balloon, painted with the well-known golden arches, to place on their own farms.

In a similar move, this week Farmers Insurance will start offering virtual crop insurance to Farmville players. Placing the familiar silver Zeppelin on a player's farm insures against what you might call "virtual crop wither."

I love this idea of product placement within online interactive gaming. With more than 60 million players, Farmville is a great place for brands to get their name - in a fun and funny setting - placed before would-be customers.

I haven't heard reports yet about the cost of this type of product placement, but it can't be cheap with access to the millions of people currently playing Zynga (and other) games. What other brands make sense for Farmville placement? And what of the other Zynga games available on Facebook? Will we see Smith & Wesson do brand placement in Mafia Wars? Will Purina give PetVille a test run? What do you think about this new arena for advertisers?



Posted by Terry

There seems to be a flood of conversation recently about how our economic environment is changing the face of business.  As business methodologies morph,  they are creating challenges and demands which are requiring managers to re-invent or re-think how they acquire and retain business.

Like so many of us, if this is one of your dilemmas, you might want to pick up  a copy of Linchpin: Are you Indispensable? by Seth Godin. “The premise of Godin’s book is that as a business owner or manager, you want to change your business into something that your customers can’t do without – something so special, so different, so unique that your success is inevitable.”  Godin’s book is recommended by entrepreneur Mitchell York, who reinvented the Maui Wowi franchise system and believes that you’ve got to constantly examine how to grow and change.

Would love to hear about unique challenges you are currently faced with and how you are dealing with this ever-changing business climate.


Wordsmith Wednesday

Posted by Jennifer

Source: Library of Congress, "Copyright John D . Schiff, New York" but "Copyright not renewed, 4/2000" according to LOC.

If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. ~Albert Einstein


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