Eight Days of Gratitude: PERC

Environmental conflict is often rooted in differing economic circumstances. The Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) explores peaceful and creative ways to solve environmental problems. 

On the second of my eight days of gratitude, I offer this thoughtful PERC video with philosopher David Schmidtz. I think Dave will make you thankful. For elephants, for sunsets, and for your safe and warm home with food on the table.

This Thanksgivukkah, I'm sharing eight points of light in what sometimes seems to be a dark and troubled world. Stay tuned for more worthy causes to support on #GivingTuesday (or any time of year).


Eight Days of Gratitude: I'm First

I've decided during this week of gratitude to share eight points of light in what sometimes seems to be a dark and troubled world.

First up in the holiday mashup? I'm First, an online community celebrating first-generation college students. To learn about this organization's work supporting kids who want to become the first in their family to get a college education, check out this piece on Marketplace. Then hear from members of their community on their Stories page.

Stay tuned for more worthy causes to support on #GivingTuesday (or any time of year) as we start the season of giving.


Unlabel: Personal Branding, Creativity & Authenticity

You are a brand. "Whether you know it or not. Whether you like it or not. A brand is not skin-deep... A brand has a heartbeat."

In his new book, Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out, Marc Eckō stresses the importance of authentic personal branding, which can foster creative and commercial growth.

Talking to Hip-Hop Wired, Eckō shared the secret of his success "I think ultimately, the that reason I succeeded, or have been successful, is that I understand that success is just the hangover of failure."

HT: @ktmarston at Dyme Branding

Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education

When you’ve got interest, then you have education.”
— Arthur C. Clarke

Sugata Mitra, Professor of Educational Technology at the University of Newcastle and originator of the Hole in the Wall project, walks us through the program's history.

"The whole point of the   Hole in the Wall project was to encourage children to think beyond monetary   gain and want to change the world, not simply become rich," Mitra told the Telegraph a few years ago.

In this TED talk, Mitra shares wonderful anecdotes about children and the discovery process and introduces the concept of his Self Organized Learning Environments (SOLEs), designed to provide "a healthy mixture of   competition and collaboration."

Technology, global community, independent thinking, and creative problem-solving? Sounds like the kind of hands-on education this generation needs.

Customer Service Still King

Inc. offers 10 Reasons Customers Will Pay More

Chief among them are reasons of convenience (lower transaction costs & quicker turnaround). In the world of overnight delivery, how do you think you'll come out ahead with a "please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery" disclaimer?

Also important to the customer is signaling (the status-symbol effect), but there are longer term considerations. If you promise less work in the long run, the customer will choose your product. Forget about the rainbow of colors, low-maintenance functionality is how Apple really retains so many customers, at least on the Mac front.  

And here's why branding is still key:

Customers are human and humans prefer doing business with their friends.  That's one good reason that developing rapport is so crucial in customer relationships; it provides a buffer that keeps the competition at pay.

If a customer knows your story -- and your mission! -- she'll feel like she knows you. This is how you earn brand loyalty.