Friday, February 26, 2010

Gym Poster

Wes had me out again at the gym last week where Gillian fences.   The contrast between the fencers and the boxers is part of the draw of this place for me.  Boxers on one side, and fencers on the other gives quite the contrast to this club which is really just a barely heated warehouse next to Big Boss Brewery.
Somehow, we are going to throw a few of these photos at some kind of poster for the gym.

Wes, obviously is a little kooky, but he runs a tight ship.  He is usually barefoot and always in shorts even in the winter time, and loves to play the pirate. Given the attendance at pirate night, he has found his calling.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Bloom Box. Clean energy made simple? Maybe.

I was intrigued by the 60 minutes piece on Bloom Energy and their supposedly revolutionary fuel cell that could replace the energy grid as we know it.

They claim that every home will have one in the
back yard and that a box that you can hold in your hand will power an entire household....well...maybe two boxes for an American household.

Obviously the cost needs to come down for it to be a viable solution.   Customers such as Google and Ebay have already purchased systems and claim that they are saving $100,000/ year on energy costs.  What 60 minutes didn't question was Ebay's $3.7 Million cost of the devices...a staggering amount that would take 37 years to make back based on the savings...  but not including any of the financing required to purchase these boxes in the first place and the maintenance that will be inevitable cost.  (I'm sure Ebay paid cash) Assuming that the current cost of a home unit would be in the $10,000 range, then the savings to a homeowner would only be about $266/year.  

Ok wait a minute... that's still a savings, I agree, and certainly worth taking a closer look.  If the cost can come down dramatically and we can eliminate the existing power lines that are a blight on our environment, then the BloomBox might be the next great revolutionary change.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Erskine Bowles appointed to Obama Debt Commission.

We now know why Erskine Bowles is stepping down as President of the University of North Carolina system.
Today President Obama appointed Bowles as co-chair of a bipartisan commission to tackle the federal debt crisis.  Joining former republican senator Alan Simpson, they will form a commission that will given the task of bringing the federal budget deficit down to 3% of gross domestic product in the next five years compared to 10% today.
I had the opportunity to photograph Erskine last year for the book Secrets of Success, NC Values-Based Leadership.  He was gracious and accommodating, little aware of the impending NC State chancellor crisis that was soon on the front pages of the papers.  Out of 35 individuals that were included in the book, this was the one incident that may have caused us a certain amount of regret for including him had his leadership faltered.  It didn't. (Had our former senator and presidential candidate who will go unnamed have been included, it would have been a disaster)  The bottom line, however, is that good leadership over time is usually obvious and good leaders know how to deal with issues like what happened at NC State.

In an excerpt, Erskine describes his time as chief of staff: " proudest moment was putting together a team that had sharp minds and not sharp elbows.  We really focused on trying to move the country forward rather than to take some kind of partisan advantage.  We did it by taking partisanship off the table, establishing trust on both sides of the aisle."

I truly hope that Erskine can create a consensus.  My father-in-law, Earl Hubbard, a banker by trade, used to say that what those folks in Washington really want to is to maintain the status quo....that change is scary and dangerous.  To a certain extent he is probably right.  Getting Republicans and Democrats to actually work together would be a real change and would show true leadership.  I wish him luck.

Perhaps it was our book that convinced Obama to select Bowles.  Wishful thinking, but you never know who is going to see your work.  -S

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Local Agency gets kudos for highlighting "Pet Peeve".

Barking Dog Collar Commercial by Raleigh agency

Congratulations have to go to Five Points Productions
for coming up with the second most popular ad during the Super Bowl.   Both Leta and Gillian loved the concept even before we knew it was locally produced.   It just goes to show you how humor and a
controversial issue can offset the millions of dollars that other agencies had to work with.  Doritos is pretty smart as well...the $600K that they awarded Five Points was I'm sure a lot less than a what a major agency would charge.   I can appreciate that although bark collars are basically effective, I could never bring myself to use one after seeing dogs suffer in this way.  If owners think twice about using the collars, then the commercial has sold more than corn chips... and that's a good thing.
For the rest of the story go check out the News & Observer.