Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Good News about 2009 (Part I of III)


Now that everyone has come down off their contact high with the groundbreaking election (dare I say a well deserved victory), we can all start doing our work to figure out what the heck we civilians should be doing to help turn things around. If you've been following this blog for the last few months, I've been posting advice on how to get everything done more efficiently in the world of web, tech, computers and sometimes your interpersonal relationships (hint: if you try to put  your wife in Hibernate mode, it's time to take a step back from work).

Anywho, in my stream of consiousness way, I'd like to begin a three part series: The Good, the Bad, and the Lucky. Now I know all of you out there in Internet world want to get rolling right away with the lucky...but if you've earned your bones in business you know luck is something that is earned - not freely given. BTW Click here for an article from About.com about the scientific background of luck. So I encourage you to thouroughly read through the first two parts of the series, and then roll with the third. Think of it as your trip through Heaven & Hell on the way to the Truth of things.

So, let's begin...

The Good: Part I of III

Most of us saw history in the making two weeks ago. The election of President Barack Obama has given a decent number of Americans - and members of the International Community - that small slice of Hope that things are gonna get better in the coming years. Of course for some in Middle America, the concept of having a President in office that doesn't think that Jay-Z is a well marketed sneaker manufacturer might be new to some, but I imagine that over time, the culture shock of that revelation will sink in, and we will all live in better harmony with one another.

Beyond this, there are some really, really cool things that the President brings to office. I will cite three in this blog.

For a primer on the first item, please quickly check out this article: Obama's personal win: keeping the BlackBerry - Yahoo! News.

Special thanks to Linda O'Donnell from Home Instead Senior Care for providing this article. 

Awesome thing #1: Yes folks that is correct - Mr. President will be bringing the concept of technology back into the Oval Office. It will start with the Blackberry that he often checks to keep in touch with friends and family (no, he's not TMing Abdimihniminiajed just yet), but if he sticks to his intent, we may just have the first President in history to have a laptop on his desk. 

Seemingly innocuous as it sounds, that is a wonderful cultural shift for Americans in general. As noted in the inaugural speech, the President cited our responsibility to help to return our Nation back to a place that we can all be proud of once again. Part of that challenge to us involves embracing ideas and initiatives that can help us to overcome the latest supposedly insurmountable odds that have been stacked against us. To accomplish this, I feel that embracing technology as a whole will play an integral part of the picture moving forward. More people will get on board - and not just soccer Moms checking up on their kid's activities on Facebook (a good thing).

Just think about the devices you use on a daily basis. From GPS systems to mobile phones to your computer loaded up with Microsoft Office (probably 2003...but you just gotta try 2007 - it rocks), most of us already have all the tools we need to more intricately track the projects, prospects and profit that flows through our hands on a daily basis. And when the financial industry recovers from its severely flawed processes of indulgence, the phoenix rising from the ashes will be - as my good friend Sven from Valley Cabinets says - "leaner and meaner". 

Additionally, new technologically savvy tracking methods, compliance and regulatory practices will be locked in, preventing the most affluent and wealthy of our society from taking more than their share...well, for the most part. I mean there will always be a few people who benefit from bucking the system and causing great harm, but in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, "When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it, always."

From an Intenet-based perspective, the picture is even brighter. Just looking at some of the current trends, we can already see a difference:
  • One survey cited 49% of retail respondents updating their web presence, either through design, development or search engine optimization
  • 76% of those expect higher sales as a result of their initiative
  • In December of 2008, Facebook added 222 million new unique visitors, and has grown 10% each month since September of '08. It is gearing itself up as a marketing platform for a new generation of people - not just to throw a fake snowball at your friends list (ugh), but to let your crew know what you and your business are really all about. (Source: Advertising Age - February 2, 2009)
  • New kid trends on the block will continue to grow, such as cloud computing - which allows many to start businesses and use only the small amount of resources they need in order to get things done. a good example is Salesforce.com, which charges a monthly rate for Customer Relationship Management tools for the mobile workforce. This translates to a more measured way of doing business - akin to the concept of pay as you go mobile phones, which will open the doors of commerce to a new startup generation.
Positive shift #2 is that sharing and giving are back en vogue. For those of you who sympathize with Bernie Madoff, let me explain in very simple terms: The 2/3 of the world that don't have the advantages that the rest of us are blessed with NEED OUR HELP. And through the advent of new government-inspired programs, as well as truly good-hearted people such as Sensei Mike Malandra, those who suffer will not be forgotten.

Believe it or not, great rewards can be garnered from the simple child-like Faith to give. Take for example Mohammed Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. He took the concept of Microcredit and applied it to the financial industry, offering very small loans to humble impoverished souls who could not offer any collateral. Astoundingly, the loans were paid back, and Grameen continues to grow today. In 2006, Mr. Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Click here to learn more about Grameen Bank.

Even if you're sitting at home in your PJ's thinking "yeah whatever", let me put this out there for thought - I admittedly haven't had that much time on my hands this past year, working to organize Rockland Web Design into a business that can provide attractive, affordable and measurable website results (that's my 5 second commercial). However, one day after our radio show last year I was blessed with the presence of a woman who has struggled throughout her entire life. All she has wanted to do is make a difference...simple as that. And through our now weekly conversations, we're finding ways to keep that dream alive, even when it seems all hope is lost. (If you're reading this, ---------, I'll do my best to help you with the Anti-smoking initiative. ) My point is that you don't have to donate your entire life; just reserve some time each week to give back. Simple as that.

Cool thing #3 is that the world just got a little greener. :-) Over 50 billion dollars of the economic stimulus plan is reserved for energy efficiency projects, such as a smart electric grid, loan guarantees for renewable energy and more. This is a huge incentive for companies older than the first Christmas fruitcake to finally get on board, retool their manufacturing / production processes, and finally keep tabs on the environment.

One of my biggest pet peeves is paper. Way back when I used to work at Next Steps as a technology instructor, and I kept on pushing the staff to go completely digital. And while I do admit that paper has its purpose (recreational reading and quilted wiping), I still can't reconcile the unbelievable amount of paper waste that exists in this area even in light of our efforts toward recycling. So, I found a great tool that may help Rockland Web Design as we return from our networking and on-site Internet service efforts...the NeatDesk! It is a high speed scanning system that allows one to empty their pockets and desks of receipts, contracts and invoices, popping them into an Automatic Document Feeder and digitizing everything. When I saw it in action, I nearly cried.


Pardon the fuzziness, I needed to reduce the size of the embed coding.

Back to the point, a hopefully real green initiative means several things:
  • A new industry and opportunity for businesses to in which to grow,  innovate, profit
  • A source of employment for Americans searching for the next growth sector
  • Less waste and more reusable materials to get our work done
  • Perhaps, just perhaps...the existence of a breathable Earth in 2050
  • and very, very cool cars - check out the Aptera, currently being tested in Cali
Conclusion

For those of you that are looking for more hard numbers to justify all the Faith and Hope that I've spouted out in this article, all I've got is links to lots and lots of resources which may satisfy the naysaying for now (Peter Griffin: "And for all you naysayers, I have one thing to say to you...Cmon...cmon!".) If you read the next blog: "The Bad, Part II of III", you'll probably relish its content much much more. But for those of you that still have a little spark left in you, those that wonder if tomorrow can actually produce believable, significant meaning in our and others' lives, for those who are ready to RockOn...I salute you. This is your time. Let's get to it.

See you next week. Bring your notebook.

Tom Ossa
Web Strategist
Rockland Web Design
Stony Point, NY
(845) 271 - 4488

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tom: I'm glad to read that there's a part II & Part III coming to your Blog. I would comment on some of your points but I have choosen to wait until I read the rest or your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted to see that your writing continues to be as articulate and motivating as when we shared a Sr. seminar class at Ramapo. You WILL be published (on paper) one day!
Sue

Tom from Rockland Web Design said...

Sue,

Thanks for reading the blog. I've already gotten some critical acclaim from it...some of it just critical. :-) But in the interest of being more fair and balanced than Fox News with special guest host Al Franken, I figured I'd put it all out there.

Stay tuned. More fireworks to ensue...

Tom Ossa
Rockland Web Design
Stony Point, NY
(845)-271-4488

alfredr said...

Tom,
It seems that If President Obama wants to bring a more technical means of approach to the White House during these economic times, I say good for Business and great for the economy.

Tom from Rockland Web Design said...

Alfred,

Thanks for your comments. I think that a more technical approach to the nation's ongoings, as well as international events, will certainly help in the long run. it seems like such a small shift, but to me it is an important one. Imagine if George Washington had a cell phone...

Tom