February 17th, 2013 | Author: Alex | No Comments »
For most authors and agents, a book deal in the mid-six-figure range would be an unqualified win. But when a major publisher made just such an offer to Guy Kawasaki—tech entrepreneur, Apple “evangelist,” and in-demand corporate speaker—for his 12th book, he decided there might be a better option. Kawasaki opted to pass over the major publishing houses and publish on his own.
He had several good reasons to go the self-publishing route. Chief among them was that the book was about the benefits of self-publishing. Titled APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book, it makes the case that the spread of distribution technology and the growing role an author plays in marketing his or her book has reduced the need for major publisher support.
Another reason goes back to an incident that occurred with the last book that he published traditionally (through Penguin Portfolio). Kawasaki had a buyer interested in sending copies of the e-book version of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions, to 500 customers as part of a promotion. But when he reached out to the publisher, who then referred him to Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble, he was told the only way the buyer could do that was to buy the single promotional code 500 individual times.
Read full story at Publishers Weekly.
February 2nd, 2013 | Author: Alex | No Comments »
The executive meetings of the Broadband Cable Association of Pennsylvania (BCAPA) were not originally meant to be grand affairs. The board members of the organization, which includes cable operators, equipment suppliers, and programmers from the Pennsylvania region, meet several times a year to discuss strategic and operational issues affecting their industry and how to best manage them.
“We talk about what threats and opportunities we see on the horizon — the nitty gritty of the industry,” says Dan Tunnell, president of the association.
But since BCAPA began holding its executive meetings at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort & Spa, in Bedford, PA, Tunnell has sensed a change in the events’ tone and attendees’ experience. The 217-year-old property has hosted 12 U.S. presidents and served as President James Buchanan’s summer White House during his tenure. The rooms radiate Presidential history in their architectural design and furnishings, as well as the original photographs and documents framed on walls or on display under glass.
But this is not just a nice addition to the property; the ambience actually enhances the BCAPA meeting’s strategic goals.
“It creates this sense of heritage,” says Tunnell. “There’s an ‘executive office’ allure to the property that actually gets our board members thinking at a higher level, and in a long-term manner.”
Tunnell is not alone. Many organizations looking to host high-level brainstorming sessions or board meetings seek out boutique and distinctive hotels that not only offer top-notch accommodations, but put a spotlight on a particular theme or value that can fuel the meeting’s mission.
Using a historical property can give a broader significance to a meeting where important decisions must be made, while an art-oriented property can help get the creative juices flowing for a brainstorming event. A property that showcases its outdoor space can be an ideal backdrop for an organization focused on wellness or aiming for out-of-the-boardroom thinking.
Read full story at Successful Meetings.
January 21st, 2013 | Author: Alex | No Comments »
A 1965 Ford Mustang with braided racing stripes. A transparent Buddha floating just off the shore in the East River. The Virgin Mary cast in bird seed. These are just a few of the intriguing works a visitor will encounter while strolling through Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City. They are part of the organization’s latest Emerging Artists Fellowship Exhibition, an annual program it holds each year to spotlight some of the most creative and compelling emerging sculptors working.
Now in its 12th year, the fellowship provides artists with a $5,000 commission and a residency in the park’s outdoor studio, including technical support from the staff. Though the definition of “emerging” can vary, with some sculptors as relative newbies and others with a long exhibition history, few if any have done any outdoor work on this scale before.
“It’s one of the most unique situations probably in the city and even in the country,” says John Hatfield, executive director of the park at 32-05 Vernon Blvd.
Also unusual is the level of openness to the creation and installation process. The park is open 365 days a year, allowing for the public to see the progression of pieces as they take shape.
“In some cases, when an artist is doing something very site specific in the landscape, the installation of the work is happening while people are visiting the park,” says Hatfield. “Invariably a dialogue ensues between the artist and the public.”
Read full story at Queens Times Ledger.
January 2nd, 2013 | Author: Alex | No Comments »
McDonald’s Happy Meal toys might be small, but almost everything else about the fast-food chain is huge, from its global footprint (more than 34,000 restaurants in 119 countries) to the amount of French fries it sells in a single day (about 9 million pounds). As the company has worked to make its meetings more eco-friendly, its sustainability efforts have been as big as its brand.Nowhere was this more apparent than at the company’s 2012 Worldwide Convention of 16,000 owner-operators and global staff, held in Orlando last April. McDonald’s undertook a number of initiatives to enhance its green practices in virtually every aspect of the four-day show, creating a model of sustainability that the brand is putting into place throughout the company.“Because of the size of the show, we can test-pilot and implement initiatives in a way that makes it a good microcosm of what can be done on a larger scale in all of our restaurants on any given day,” says Julie Larson, project manager for McDonald’s meetings and events, who spearheaded the sustainability efforts.
The entire conference, held at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), was run as something of an extension of McDonald’s overall corporate goals and planned in close contact with the company’s communications and corporate social responsibility teams, according to Larson.
Read full story at Successful Meetings.
December 23rd, 2012 | Author: Alex | No Comments »
Self-published authors may not have the publicity and distribution apparatus of a major publishing house, but as social media has evolved they are finding more ways than ever to garner new readers. A range of new services from book-centric companies like Goodreads and Amazon, developments from Facebook and Twitter, and a handful of apps are making it easier for authors to be discovered by new readers and to grow their audience.
The book market has become increasingly competitive in recent years—350,000 new print titles were published in 2011, up about 61% from a decade before, according to research firm Bowker. This makes it difficult for any author, especially a self-published one without a publicity team, to stand out from the crowd. But by using social media tools, self-published authors are finding they can go it alone and still discover a passionate audience.
“It’s such a great time to be thinking about publishing and leveling the playing field between established authors and new authors—all those same tools are available to anyone who wants to participate in offering their content,” says Libby Johnson McKee, general manager of independent publishing for Amazon.
Few companies have worked as aggressively as Amazon to help self-published authors promote and sell their books. The retailer’s CreateSpace was the largest self-publishing company in 2011, releasing 57,602 titles (the next largest, AuthorSolutions and its various imprints, came out with 41,605 titles).
In addition to CreateSpace, Amazon has been boosting its investment in Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), its e-book publishing arm, to help self-published authors improve their discoverability. At the end of November, the company announced that it would be adding an additional $1.5 million into its KDP Select fund. The program allows authors to offer their books, or their entire catalogues, for free for a limited period, with the agreement that for 90 days thereafter they will sell their e-books exclusively on Kindle.
Read full story at Publishers Weekly.
December 22nd, 2012 | Author: Alex | No Comments »
I learned two years ago that my great granduncle used to answer Santa’s mail. For decades, letters that kids addressed to Santa Claus went to the post office’s Dead Letter Office where they were eventually destroyed. But in 1913, my grandma’s uncle — an eccentric publicist and Christmas enthusiast named John Duvall Gluck Jr. — approached the New York City postmaster with an idea of how to answer these wishes. Thus was launched The Santa Claus Association.
The group worked like an early version of crowd sourcing, with a donor taking one or 100 letters and personally delivering the child’s Christmas wish — whether a toy, food, or in at least one case, an artificial limb. It required little bureaucratic overhead beyond promoting the group’s work and routing the letters to willing donors. By the end of its first year, the Santa Claus Association had answered 28,000 letters and the New York Times dubbed it a “revolution in methods of distributing charity.”
The group ran for another 14 years, gaining support from the biggest stars and political leaders of the time, and working from high-profile headquarters like the Woolworth and Knickerbocker Buildings. But the group’s lack of oversight eventually ran them into trouble with city officials. In 1928, Gluck’s fundraising practices came under scrutiny and the organization was forced to close up operations, never to be heard from again.
Read full story at The Huffington Post.
December 15th, 2012 | Author: Alex | No Comments »
Unprecedented change. Those words apply to every aspect of the business of health insurance in 2012. Each consumer sees opportunities or new costs ahead. Every company is facing pricing changes, difficult benefits decisions, and risk assessments. Financial executives at companies of every size are finding themselves often with more questions than answers. And Dave Huber, CFO of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (Horizon BCBSNJ), the largest health-care insurer in the state, is in many ways right in the eye of the health-care reform storm.
The storm has been gathering for four years, ever since President Obama took office and wrestled through Congress legislation — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) — that attempts to rein in high medical care costs and extend care to uninsured Americans without changing how most working people obtain coverage. Even now, plenty of questions remain about precisely how these reforms will be implemented on the state and federal levels.
Navigating a major insurance company through the potential risks raised by the PPACA in a bad economy and a thick fog of uncertainty would make the average person have trouble sleeping at night. But when Huber discusses these industry-shaking developments, it is with the unruffled ease of a man who is comfortable with change.
“This is a seismic shift with an awful lot of uncertainty,” says Huber. “[But] I thrive on opportunities and I like to work in this kind of environment where there is a lot going on and there is a chance to do things differently or do things better.”
Read the full cover story at CFO Studio Magazine.
December 2nd, 2012 | Author: Alex | No Comments »
Few properties are as identified with their surroundings as the Fairmont Banff Springs.“We have an 80-year-old course and see ourselves as stewards of the course more than anything,” says Justin Wood, Fairmont’s executive director of golf. “If we have to cut down trees, we bring in someone from the game and fish department and it becomes a combination of three or four agencies working to protect the course but also to allow people to enjoy it.”
He points out that the Banff Springs area gets as many as 4 million visitors a year for hiking and other outdoor activities in addition to golf. Efforts to ensure the golf course is sustainable are connected with the need to be sure visitors and meetings groups can continue to enjoy its offerings long into the future.
All Fairmont-managed golf courses are enrolled with Audubon, as part of the company’s “Greening our Greens” initiative that it launched in 2008. Wood points to the use of gray water for irrigation and biofuels for the equipment as a few standard policies across Fairmont properties.
“We try to focus on all areas of conservation — not just water, but chemical applications and the impact it has on animals,” says Wood. “We make it more of a mindset than a program.”
Read full story at Successful Meetings.
November 30th, 2012 | Author: Alex | No Comments »
I’m very excited to be working with Brooklyn’s City Reliquary on a new exhibit about The Santa Claus Association. The group, which operated in New York City from 1913 to 1928, answered children’s letters to St. Nick.
For decades these letters had been forwarded to the post office’s Dead Letter Office (where any letter addressed to a fictional character went) where they were eventually destroyed.
But beginning December 1, 1913, these wishes were rescued and answered by the Association’s volunteers, who opened the missives and paired up each letter with a donor who would personally deliver the gifts for which the child asked. These ranged from Boy Scout uniforms to dolls to milk for a starving baby brother and even an artificial limb. In its first year the group answered 28,000 letters and was called by the New York Times a “revolution in methods of distributing charity.”
The Santa Claus Association ran for 14 more years, headquartered each December in one famous New York City landmark or another (The Woolworth Building, The Hotel Astor, Keens Steakhouse), attracting the support of the biggest celebrities of stage and silent film (John Barrymore, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks), as well as political giants like Mayor Jimmy Walker, Governor Al Smith, and even President Warren G. Harding.
The group has been completely forgotten since. I first heard about the group two years ago, when I learned that it had been conceived, founded, and run by my great granduncle John Duvall Gluck, Jr. which sent me on a two-year search for information about the group. I got in touch with relatives I’d never met before and uncovered some pretty fascinating stuff about my uncle and the group.
Perhaps most surprising was how the group finally ended. Despite the public adulation the Santa Claus Association received for much of its time, it started losing volunteers and leaders by the mid-20s and Gluck took to exaggerating how many people were running the group. The crusading public welfare commissioner Bird Coler got Gluck in his crosshairs and began investigating him more deeply, turning up evidence of false fundraising claims and financial malfeasance. Coler ordered the post office to stop sending Santa’s mail to the Association in 1928, and the group lost the faith of the public and its remaining donor base.
It was a tragic end to a heartwarming story, but a fascinating — and very New York City — Christmas tale. The exhibit includes original letters to Santa, loads of photographs and memorabilia, and even an area where kids can write their own letters to St. Nick. The show runs through February 10, 2013 at the City Reliquary — 370 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211.
We will also be having an opening reception this Saturday from 6pm to 9pm, serving Brooklyn Brewery beer and holiday cookies.
UPDATE 1/13/13: See press coverage, including WNYC story on the Santa Claus Association and my piece on Santa letters in the Huffington Post by visiting my new Projects tab.
November 14th, 2012 | Author: Alex | No Comments »
Review from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer today:
Weird-o-Pedia: The Ultimate Book of Surprising, Strange, and Incredibly Bizarre Facts About (Supposedly) Ordinary Things is a fun and educational collection of facts about all sorts of things, but it is not what you might expect from the title. There are no ghosts or aliens, no world record breakers or any of the sort of things you find in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.
No, this is trivia about the unusual world around us and about ourselves as well. The book deals with food, animals, insects, body, mind, work, play, friends and family, around the house and out and about, and nature. It focuses mainly on science, biology and psychology.
Some of this information, especially about insects, does sound as though it
could be the plot of a horror movie. For instance, did you know that there are insects that lay their eggs on other insects’ stomachs and then control them, causing them to create strange habitats and feed the parasites’ babies in preference to their own? That is just one of the twisted aspects of nature that Palmer reveals.
Read full review.