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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Notations On Our World (Special Month-End Edition): On The Possibilities in Our World

Monday, May 28, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Mid-Week Edition): Random Thoughts On Our World

Friday, May 25, 2018

Notations On Our World (Friday Edition): On Disaster Recovery

Please enjoy courtesy of FEMA:

CERT eBrief

Columbiana County CERT Sounds the Alarm

As part of the American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign, the Columbiana County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) installed 75 smoke alarms in 45 homes in September 2017. 
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Columbiana County CERT

CERT Takes Community Preparedness to China

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) activities continue to grow in popularity across the United States. Last year, CERT volunteers took their record of success to China where they hosted workshops for local officials. 
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Bedford, NH CERT Promotes Lifesaving Skills Until Help Arrives

Several months ago, the Bedford Fire Department approached the town Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) about offering the You Are the Help Until Help Arrives program to residents.
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Isolated Beach Community Creates Preparedness Sheds for Residents

Dillon Beach, CA, is a remote town accessible only via a one-lane road. To address emergencies which may render the access road impassable, the town CERT established preparedness sheds for resident use.  
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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Special Mid-Week Edition): On the Economic Status In Our World

Gorgeous shows economic status of world population. Check for stark differences between neighbours. The stronger the gap between nations the more likely borders are to be strictly controlled and regulated. Source:

Monday, May 21, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On "Intelligent Change"


Please enjoy this courtesy of the team at Intelligent Change as we welcome all to a new Week here in our Properties: 

Hi mike,
Last week we discussed the foundation of how top performers progress faster is by choosing a vision for their work. Knowing where you are trying to go helps solve  the 1,000s of decisions that will inevitably follow. As we learned, we must always begin with the end result in mind.
Now comes taking that vision and turning it into a plan of attack.
The Master Plan behind Elon Musk
From Day 1, Elon Musk has been transparent that the master plan behind Tesla has been to provide sustainable energy to the world. In a blog post, he describes how he planned to achieve this:
  1. Create a low volume car, which would necessarily be expensive.
  2. Use that money to develop a medium volume car at a lower price.
  3. Use that money to create an affordable, high volume car.
  4. Provide solar power. No kidding, this has literally been on our website for 10 years.
Elon continues in the post, providing his reasoning:
The reason we had to start off with step 1 was that it was all I could afford to do with what I made from PayPal. I thought our chances of success were so low that I didn't want to risk anyone's funds in the beginning but my own…
A low volume car means a much smaller, simpler factory, albeit with most things done by hand. Without economies of scale, anything we built would be expensive, whether it was an economy sedan or a sports car. While at least some people would be prepared to pay a high price for a sports car, no one was going to pay $100k for an electric Honda Civic, no matter how cool it looked.
Elon could have jumped to Step 3, creating an affordable, high volume car on Day 1, and in all likelihood he would be among the majority of bankrupt car makers (Google Mr. DeLorean). All his prioritized tasks lists for the day would have been a fool’s errand. What Elon needed was leverage. The low volume Tesla Roadster was the means by which he wanted to achieve his more ambitious goal of providing sustainable energy.
What leverage do you need to achieve your more ambitious goals?
How Amazon and Basecamp Prioritize New Projects

When Segway was released in 2001, it was supposed to revolutionize public transportation. Instead, it became one of the most noted business failures of all time. Their assumptions had no foundation upon which to achieve their end goal.
  • Would consumers really ditch their cars for a $5,000 weird looking scooter thingy or willing to pay $5,000, in addition to their car?
  • Would local governments suddenly put in the infrastructure to make the segway a viable city transportation option?
  • Where would you keep your segway at work?
Of course in hindsight, it’s easy to point out the reasons why something did not work but Segway’s seem very thin when laid out.
Compare this to Amazon.
Before releasing any new product, product managers at Amazon are required to write a press release detailing exactly how the item solves a problem and who would buy it. Ian McCalister, a general manager at Amazon, notes, “Iterating on a press release is a lot quicker and less expensive than iterating on the product itself."
Here’s an example outline for the press release:
  • Heading — Name the product in a way the reader (i.e. your target customers) will understand.
  • Sub-Heading — Describe who the market for the product is and what benefit they get. One sentence only underneath the title.
  • Summary — Give a summary of the product and the benefit. Assume the reader will not read anything else so make this paragraph good.
  • Problem — Describe the problem your product solves.
  • Solution — Describe how your product elegantly solves the problem.
  • Quote from You — A quote from a spokesperson in your company.
  • How to Get Started — Describe how easy it is to get started.
  • Customer Quote — Provide a quote from a hypothetical customer that describes how they experienced the benefit.
  • Closing and Call to Action — Wrap it up and give pointers where the reader should go next.
While less formal, software management company Basecamp follows a similar practice. Before committing to a project cycle, Basecamp has “idea pitches” to see the impact it will have on their business. These pitches are happening on an ongoing basis where they try to poke holes in a potential idea to make sure it has no glaring weaknesses and if it can be fit into a six-week cycle, their preferred way of structuring work. The default response to when a new idea comes up is, “no, maybe later.”
As Steve Jobs said,
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things.”
Your Personal Idea Lab
The above are all business examples, but what if you wanted to apply it personally?
Here is a simple 5-Question Framework you can use (get the spreadsheet here):
  1. What project / goal / habit / career / decision am I trying to make?
  2. Why do I care about it and what do I hope to gain?
  3. How will I feel about it 10 minutes/months/years from now from now if I do or don’t do it?
  4. Make a decision based on what you are most excited about / will have the most impact long term.
  5. What are the potential pitfalls of you not taking action and what systems are required to overcome these obstacles?
Similar to how Amazon is creating press releases for their products or Basecamp is doing idea pitches, you are selling your ideas to yourself. Because you only have so much time, most will not make the cut.
Investor Warren Buffett is notorious for his 5/25 rule. Write down 25 things you want to accomplish, choose 5, and actively ignore the rest until you accomplish your top 5.
Also, another way to frame your priorities is by focusing on what won’t change, Jeff Bezos’ strategy behind Amazon:
“I very frequently get the question: "What's going to change in the next 10 years?" And that is a very interesting question; it's a very common one. I almost never get the question: "What's not going to change in the next 10 years?" And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two -- because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. ... [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that's going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection.”
Akin to how journaling can help you deal with pent up emotions, seeing your master plans on paper can help you evaluate its true potential and the roadblocks you will need to overcome along the way. You need to Waze your ideas from the start!
Now get to work!

Friday, May 18, 2018

In Tribute: A Symphony For Palestine

We will be going dark over the weekend  in our properties in tribute to the fallen of Gaza as we presented this Symphony for Palestine in all our properties :

Monday, May 14, 2018

Notations On Our World (Weekly Edition): Father Greg Speaks

The founder of Homeboy Industries spoke at Pepperdine University during commencement
    A very powerful 14 minutes as we wish all the best of weeks:

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Notations On Our World (W-End Edition): On Poppy Day

As we approach Memorial Day Here in the United States, we wanted to report on this significant event sponsored by the American Legion as we salute all who have served:

The tradition of wearing a poppy dates back to 1920, when it became the memorial flower of The American Legion Family.
The red poppy came to symbolize the blood shed by those who fought and those who continue to fight for our country following World War I. It was popularized by the publication of the wartime poem In Flanders Fields.Written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, M.D. while serving on the front lines in World War I, the poem honors soldiers killed in battle.
The American Legion led the charge of having Congress designate the Friday before Memorial Day as National Poppy Day®, a tradition found in many countries around the world. National Poppy Day® encourages all Americans to wear a red poppy to honor the fallen and support the living heroes who have worn our nation’s uniform.
On May 25, join us by wearing a red poppy to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice and support the future of veterans and their families for generations to come.
The American Legion

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Notations On Our World: On This #TeacherAppreciationWeek

We've come a long way since 1872--but teachers are a special breed!!   We salute all the teachers on this Teachers' Appreciation week all around the World as we hope all enjoy these selections from the "Grid" we chose as we bow in respect as today is Teacher Appreciation Day--and as we hope all teachers do check out all that vendors have been gracious enough to extend to the valiant selfless souls who serve as teachers:

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Notations On Our World (Weekly Edition): On Labor Day


The world’s biggest labor celebration started with a bloody union rally in 19th century Chicago

Wednesday, May 2, 2018