What Type of Legacy are you Leaving

My uncle passed away last week.  I attended his funeral and had the privilege of listening to the eulogy delivered by his son-in-law.  It got me thinking….what kind of legacy will I leave behind?

One of the catalysts for me starting volunteer work was this simple reason – leaving a legacy for my children. There’s an older, but still, a fantastic movie called My Life, where Michael Keaton plays a guy who has terminal cancer (1993).

His wife’s pregnant and he decides to videotape himself (make a documentary) so his unborn child can know his father.  It’s really an amazing movie.  It puts life into perspective and I highly suggest watching it.

At the very least it reminds us that life is short and we all have it pretty good, as long as we’re breathing.  I plan on writing a lot about this topic and this is the first installment.Continue reading

Friday Five: How much do your dreams cost?

In lieu of a post about Citizens Giving something possibly less interesting. Here is part of an interview with Kelly C, a Flint-based volunteer with Citizens Giving. So here’s the Friday Five meme, instead!

1. What would you do right now, if money were not an issue?
I would go on an overseas trip until July, which is when university will start, for me.

2. What would you do for the next three years, if money were not an issue?
Go on overseas trips whenever I could, buy/rent a very nice apartment in the city, employ a personal chef, volunteer the time I would spend working to good causes.

3. What is bringing you the most joy right now that requires little or no money?
Reading and helping other people succeed.

4. What types of things do you find enjoyable that require no money?
Aside from the aforementioned reading and volunteering, I love to play and laugh with my nieces and nephews, daydream, play with my cats, swim at the beach, create new things out of old things, to name but a few.

Continue reading

Community Volunteering

Community Volunteering is a great way for laid-off managers to support the residents and organizations within their communities. This service is frequently deemed necessary to support senior staff to improve the lives of less privileged individuals in their neighborhoods. In this sort of situations, this more extensive but still cost-effective version of “Outplacement Service” is highly recommended and appreciated.

In Michigan, there are several workshops available (usually covering just a few consecutive days) that provide more in-depth training and coaching for volunteers, such as hands-on support for residents on main fields such as how to prepare a good CV,  the application process, networking, pathways onto the employment market, and how to write a good letter. Of course would a copy of ‘Your Career Control System’ need to be included in the package.

These Managerial Outplacement Workshops require a great level of attention, so the groups are generally limited to up to 8 participants and are offered at no cost to former managers and executives who want to dedicate their time to the well-being of their communities.

Continue reading

Free sampling As A Business Model – Money For Nothing

While the something-for-nothing business model has gone the way of Dionysian launch parties, two Web-based free sampling companies are trying to evolve into full-scale market research firms.

Both FreeSamples.com and StartSampling started their businesses by offering free product samples from their respective websites. But now, both realize that the real value of these offers is the information collected from the people who respond.

In fact, San Francisco-based FreeSamples.com admits it will likely change its name later this year to reflect the work it’s doing in partnership with United Business Media, a media research conglomerate. “The free sampling offer has become an actual hook to incentivize consumers to provide valuable insight,” says former FreeSamples CEO Jeff Malkin, who claims that two surveys sent to more than 200,000 of its sampling customers generated a 40 percent response rate.

That kind of customer data allows FreeSamples to target special offers to very specific consumers. “We’re using the offer to influence the behavior of consumers and result in increased sales,” Malkin says.

Continue reading

Death Of Car Salesmen?

When automakers created the franchise dealer network in the 1910s, they believed they had invented a means of passing off enormous inventory costs to an army of salesmen. But as dealers became the sole point of contact with the auto-buying public, Detroit has often regretted the decision.

Today, simply getting a car to the customer adds more than a third to the sticker price. If manufacturers could just cut the dealers out of the picture, they could increase their margins significantly.

When auto shoppers started flocking to the Web to kick virtual tires years ago-8 out of every 10 car shoppers now browse online before making a purchase-carmakers believed they finally found a cost-effective way to make an end-run around the dealers. Nice try.

They ran head-first into a wall of state laws and other regulations that prohibit manufacturers from selling their vehicles directly to consumers-rules set in motion by Detroit itself decades ago.

Continue reading

Why some startups fail

A couple of years ago. high-profile disaster Boo.com exemplifies everything that went dead wrong for dot-coms and the showy London-based urban sportswear site had to fire its employees and liquidate its assets. In a year and a half, Boo’s two Swedish founders had blown through roughly $250 million in venture capital. The spending spree resulted in lots of high technology but no sales.

Boo spent more than $25 million on a pre-launch advertising campaign, then hit the Web six months late. It set up distribution centers in the States and Germany, sprinkled offices around the globe, launched the Website in seven languages, and prayed that its pan-linguistic brand would catch on. It didn’t.

By the summer that followed, New York-based fashion portal fashionmall.com and British technology company Bright Station ultimately came to the rescue. Boo.com never lived again.

Continue reading