NY Times experiments with Spot.Us

To [Hoshaw], it is an opportunity she cannot pass up — a story she has long dreamed of, and a chance for a byline in The Times. To David Cohn, the founder of the nonprofit Spot.Us, it is a way for the public to commission journalism that it wants. For The Times, it is another step into a new world unthinkable even a few years ago.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/opinion/19pubed.html

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Managing Teach For America

…my senior year in college —

I just couldn’t find the thing that I really wanted to do. And that led me into a funk for the first time in my life.

And that’s what ultimately led me to this. Because I thought, “You know what I’d want to do?” Having never previously even contemplated teaching, I thought, “I’m going to go teach in New York City.” And I started exploring it and realized what a maze it was to try to teach in New York City.

That’s what led me to realize: You know what? We should recruit people to teach in low-income communities as aggressively as people were being recruited at the time to work on Wall Street.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/business/05corner.html

Managing Adobe

Q. How do you make sure goals are calibrated properly?

A. I like to say that if you can connect all the dots between what you see today and where you want to go, then it’s probably not ambitious enough or aspirational enough. On the other hand, if people look at it and say there is no way that’s going to happen, then it’s probably a little too much. So it’s a balance.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/business/19corner.html

Aspiration and dreams

“ANTONELLA is an attractive 28-year old woman who lives in Rome. Her life is focused on friends and fun, clubbing and parties.

She is also completely imaginary.

But her influence is definitely real. It is evident in the design of the Ford Fiesta, on sale in Europe now and arriving in the United States next summer as a 2011 model.

Antonella was the guiding personality for the Ford Verve, a design study that served as the basis for the latest-generation Fiesta. A character invented by Ford designers to help them imagine cars better tailored to their intended customers, she embodies a philosophy that guides the company’s design studios these days: to design the car, first design the driver.

[snip]

Using psychological archetypes and patterns is more important when designing for younger people, Mr. Callum said. Some younger buyers invest less emotion in their vehicles than their elders did. “This can be hard for us to understand.”

Ford’s involvement with the technique can be traced to 2002, said Mr. Yalman, when Daniel Kahneman, a cognitive psychologist and behavioral economist who taught at Princeton and other universities, shared the Nobel in economic science.

“What this thinking suggested to us is that emotion played a much larger role than we thought,” Mr. Yalman said.

[snip]

“We had done lots of models based on rationality, but now we are recognizing that emotions play a much more dominant role than we ever admitted,” Mr. Yalman said. “In buying a car, you have to fall in love.”

He added: “We now focus quite a bit on aspirations and dreams.”

These can be embodied in products. “Think of someone who has a really high-end parka in which you could climb Mount Everest. But the person only wears it on the train to work.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/automobiles/19design.html

Geoffrey Miller

“It is rare to find a young person who does anything in the evening that requires practice (as opposed to study or work) — anything that builds skills and self-esteem, anything that creates a satisfying, productive ‘flow’ state, anything that can be displayed with pride in public. “

http://www.edge.org/documents/questions/q2001p.html#miller

Walmart

“Walmart’s Sustainability Index is geared toward creating a way to gather sustainability information about companies and, eventually, products sold in Walmart stores. The Index will result from a set of 15 questions Walmart is asking of its 60,000 or so suppliers. (You can download the questions here – PDF.) It has asked for responses by October for its U.S. suppliers, later on for those elsewhere.”

http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/010169.html

Boiling the Frog

“…If the consensus of the economic experts is grim, the consensus of the climate experts is utterly terrifying. At this point, the central forecast of leading climate models — not the worst-case scenario but the most likely outcome — is utter catastrophe, a rise in temperatures that will totally disrupt life as we know it, if we continue along our present path. How to head off that catastrophe should be the dominant policy issue of our time.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/13/opinion/13krugman.html