Not related to a blog assignment, but I just wanted to share: my abroad alma mater, Semester at Sea (which I think I’ve managed to talk about in 95% of my blog posts and comments), is teaming up with a project called the Unreasonable Institute to further global learning and entrepreneurs.
The Unreasonable Institute is a ridiculously cool program which I just found out about a few hours ago, when someone from my SAS voyage posted this video on their pairing on our Facebook voyage wall. From their website:
“We are solving the world’s biggest problems by arming the entrepreneurs who can take them on with the mentorship, capital, and network to make it happen.
Each year, we unite 25 entrepreneurs from every corner of the globe to live under the same roof for six weeks in Boulder, Colorado. These entrepreneurs receive training and build long-term relationships with 50 world-class mentors, ranging from the former Managing Director of Investments at Google.org, to the CTO of HP, to an entrepreneur who’s enabled over 19 million farmers to move out of poverty. In the process, they also form relationships and build their businesses with 20 investment funds, receive legal advice & design consulting, and pitch to hundreds of potential investors and partners.”
These 25 chosen entrepreneurs are deemed the “Unreasonable Fellows” and are picked through an intense selection process; each entrepreneur must be nominated by one of UI’s 140 partners, and go through a 3 stage selection process. And – get ready! – next year, the Unreasonable Fellows will be joining the spring voyage of Semester at Sea to sail around the world and spread their knowledge all over! Their program is named Unreasonable At Sea; they call it transnational entrepreneurship. The Fellows will sail to 14 countries to meet with top government officials, pitch their ideas in front of hundreds of investors, and meet with each country’s top entrepreneurs as well. And I can personally attest that the 600 students who will be joining them on that voyage are all intelligent, driven, and wildly creative; the chances that someone’s idea will not grow, improve, or spread is likely extremely low. This is a truly remarkable spread of global technology and knowledge.
If this does not somehow manage to integrate everything we’ve been talking about in the past few weeks AND the most life-changing, amazing experience ever, I just don’t know what else would fit that list of superlatives. (Excuse me for being sappy, yesterday was my 1 year anniversary of my return to the States after SAS, and I’ve been sad about it all day.) Watch the video here:
A place that I have never been but am very interested in visiting is St. Louis, Missouri. In my spare time, I enjoy reading fantasy books and one of favorite series takes place in St. Louis. The series is by Laurell K. Hamiltonand her 22 book series (all of which are not completed yet) is called Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter. The series is about Anita Blake, a powerful sassy woman who has the power to raise the dead (it is also her occupation) and her increasing involvement with the supernatural world. In the series, the supernatural coexist with the humans and everyone is subject to the law. Since I have been reading this series since high school, St. Louis has become quite an interest of mine. I would love to visit the place that some of my favorite fictional characters live and die.When I think and envision St. Louis, the first thing that comes to my mind is the symbol of the city, the St. Louis Gateway Arch. The Arch was designed by Eero Saarinen and Hannskarl Bandel and was finished building in 1965. The arch is a part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and is the tallest man-made monument. It is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River and symbolizes the “Gateway to the West”. Since it is such an important monument of the city, I wanted to further my understanding of what the Arch symbolizes for the city and if that coincides with the view that I have developed of the city through the descriptions provided in the Anita Blake series. Continue reading
This week’s prompt allowed me to discover an intriguing business concept as well as its leader – Samasource, founded and led by Leila Janah. Samasource works as a go-between for a company that needs some sort of technological work and a woman, youth, or refugee living in poverty. Essentially, Samasource intends to end poverty by providing the underprivileged with jobs, and therefore, an income. Well, duh, you might think – not exactly a novel concept when you get right down to it. Yet Samasource has found a clever and productive way to go about its mission. Continue reading
In browsing through the “people to watch” I came across someone I find inspiring. This someone is 25 year old Tammy Tibbetts who was featured in Meet The Change Generation. She founded She’s The First in 2009, bringing together ideas and experimenting with creative ways to raise money. This money is used to fund girls in the developing worlds be the first in their family to graduate.
Right before his senior year of college, my high school friend Zach Sims, decided to jump on the entrepreneurial bandwagon, drop out of Columbia University and co-found a company called Codecademy. The mission of the company is to teach just about anyone how to code through their simple and user-friendly interface. And it’s free. Codecademy launched a program in 2012 called “Code Year” to encourage people to make learning how to code a New Years Resolution. The popularity of the company has grown dramatically over the past few months, and is evidenced by Mayor Bloomberg’s tweet in which he said, “My New Year’s resolution is to learn to code with Codecademy in 2012!” During their first round of funding in October 2011, Codecademy received $2.5 million from investors, including investment from the renowned venture capital firm Union Square Ventures. The founders of Codecademy believe that in the 21st century, coding is going to become almost as essential as reading and writing and will transform to be one of just a few marketable skills.
I personally have pledged to be a part of Code Year, have participated in a few lessons, but am definitely far away from creating the next Facebook. I have found it hard as a busy college student to dedicate time to learning this skill. When I’m 65 years old, is coding literacy going to be equivalent to pressing the power button on a computer today (a skill my grandparents never quite got a grasp of)? I want to remain technologically competent, but is Codecademy the answer?
Now, more than ever consumers, investors and employees are placing increasing importance on corporate social responsibility and firms can take advantage of this by appealing directly to them. Demonstrating concern for the environment, human rights, community development and the welfare of employees has become an essential marketing strategy for companies in the global economy.
General Electric is one example of a company that is acting responsibly and living its values. It is pursuing environmental sustainability by working to protect and improve people’s current and future living environment.
For over 6 years now, GE has been branding its green, environmental, and sustainability efforts as Ecomagination. When it was first launched, the Ecomagination campaign asserted that GE, one of the world’s largest corporations, was going green and embracing environmentally-friendly policies. According to CEO Jeffrey Immelt, the new Ecomagination initiative represented “GE’s commitment to address challenges such as the need for cleaner, more efficient sources of energy, reduced emissions and abundant sources of clean water”. Continue reading
The popularity of off-shoring and outsourcing labor is incredibly relevant to corporate America today, particularly in the aftermath of an economic meltdown when unemployment in our own country has skyrocketed. From the Baseline Scenario blog, I read an eye-opening article by James Kwak entitled “The Price of Apple.” The blog post discusses the Chinese factories and the workers within these factories who produce Apple products. This post triggered my research into the subject, where I found an article in The Huffington Post about employees at the Apple Manufacturer called Foxconn, who were forced to sign a ‘No Suicide’ Agreement. So many suicides occurred at Foxconn that they felt it necessary to hang large nets in an attempt to catch workers who try to kill themselves.
In Kwak’s post, he claims that while he thinks the Apple operating system is far superior to Windows, he “would gladly switch back if I had confidence that my computer’s manufacturer was an appreciably, demonstrably better employer than Foxconn.” While this is an honorable statement, I’m not sure we could find a large percentage of people who would say the same. This is problematic. Continue reading