Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Final Blog Post

I think that this class was a good combination of old vs. new.  We went over some of the basic business writing documents that you still encounter today in the business world, but we also looked into the business documents of the future.  So a resume and cover letter may turn into your facebook, twitter, or linkdin page.  Also we looked at the uses of technology to drive business and spread information.  Some of these were more enjoyable and applicable for me than others. 
      At the start of this class i had a very bias opinion towards twitter and thought that it was just some stupid site where people with nothing better to do would go to see what Kim Kardashian had for lunch today or where Lebron James was going to spend the next few hours of his day at.  I found this to be extremely far from the truth.  Although Twitter can be used for the aforementioned it can also be used as a way to spread useful information, share research, and gain new perspectives.  It can also be used to promote events or new campaigns for your business.  What I found out is that it is all about how you use Twitter.  If you follow the right people and engage yourself in using Twitter as a forum for knowledge and information then that is exactly what it will be.  The business and social applications are endless, and that is why Twitter will be around for a long time to come. 
     The other new online experience that we had in this class was to create a blog.  In some ways I now see this as a resource for knowledge just like twitter but did not enjoy this nearly as much.  It is not quite as much to the point and I am not a big fan of the blogging experience.  The one thing that I did enjoy about blogging was that it kept me up to date on some business relative news that was going on around the U.S and the world.  Also both Twitter and brings about one more issue as well.  For the most part when something is posted on the internet it is there to stay.  I am not saying that anyone in this class would be in this group but I am sure there are often time posts are made on both Twitter and on blogs that people later wish they would not have done.  Whether it was simply typed in the wrong word, where angry about a certain topic and used social media as an outlet, or you posted something when you were slightly inebriated.  Those posts are there and there to stay.  Yes, you can go back and delete that post or rephrase what you said but once something has been posted on the internet it is never completely gone and can be accessed by almost anyone.
      All around I thoroughly enjoyed this class, because it did present some new ideas that I had not thought of before.  It was also a very interactive course as well which I also enjoyed.

Amazon Price Check May Be Evil But It's the Future

Much of this semester and many of the blogs that I have posted have referred to the changes that technology is bringing to our daily lives.  This article talks about how Amazon has developed an app that would allow you to scan the bar code of an item in a store such as Best Buy or Target and then find the price of that item on Amazon.  This issue has raised obvious concern among retailers because it would allow customers to find the price of their products at a lower cost right in the store.  According to this article Amazon does not have to pay a sales tax since they do not have a physical location so that alone allows them to offer items at a lower cost.  Also they do not have to hire employees to present the product to the customer and make a sales pitch, a customer can go to a store and get information on a product and then purchase it online.  This is a trend that will increase in use and may put an end to many smaller retail stores.  As hard as it may be to accept that this is the future of the retail business it will more than likely become the new source for consumers to find an item at the best and lowest price.  Which may raise another question.  If we are taking all of the retail stores out and people can just access this stuff online, what happens to the employees of that retail store?  Will we see another spike in unemployment due to the layoff of retail store employees?  All of these and many more concerns are raised by this advance in the use of technology.

Is 80 The New Retirement Age?

To many of the people in this class thinking about retirement is something they do not have to worry about in the foreseeable future, but it is something that we should be not only preparing for but starting at an early age.  This is a fact that many Americans are beginning to realize.  In a survey of 800 people with over $100,000 in assets 39% thought they needed to reduce their spending in order to afford retirement.  I think that most adults under the age of 40 have realized that there will not be any social security left by the time we retire and that creating our own retirement funds is going to be our only chance to have a retirement before we are 80.  There are a number of different reasons that we could point to for this turn of events, but I think the largest one is what has our economy in so much trouble.  It is once again the concept of overextending ourselves and trying to have that American dream.  People thought they needed and even worse deserved to live in a $400,000  house and drive an expensive car and have all of the toys they need.  That overspending has lead to people becoming eyeball deep in debt and forcing them to continue to work. 

Employers Ramp Up Wellness Penalties

This article talks about some of the different incentives as well as penalties that can be issued by a company to their employees for preventative health care.  The use of wellness penalties by employers more than doubled from 2009 to 2011, rising from 8% to 19% of employers.  Companies are more likely to offer an incentive for employees who are willing to take preventative health measusres such as have a check up with their doctor.  Some employers require that employees have a certain body mass index or cholestoral level.  I think that this is a great idea and think that employees should recieve incentives if they are taking steps to become more healthy and there should be penalties for not taking those measures.  There is no doubt that the United States is one of the least healthy countries in the world with a McDonalds or Taco Bell on every corner we have quick access to unhealthy food.  We wonder why our health care costs are so high and all we have to do is look in a mirror.  I believe that these types of programs could lower the cost of healthcare and help prevent health issues by catching them early.

Chapter 14

In chapter 14 they talk about designing documens for the ready to make it easier to establish what is important to the reader as well as help make everything in the document flow.  You can use different types of text to help emphasize certain words or sentences that may have a hierarchy in the document.  The chapter also points out the use of grids to help you organize your document depending on the audience you are writing to.  Many of the concepts in this chapter are things that we have become used to over the years and growing up in the technological era.  Most of us know that if you want to make a word stand out you can make it bold, change the color, size, or font.  It is important to remember that these concepts are significant in any type of writing. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

6 Big Internet Trends To Watch For In 2012

All term long we have been talking about social networking and how the internet and other new sources can affect the way we communicate, work, and live our lives.  This article gave some of the big changes that the internet and social networks such as facebook or Twitter will bring in the near future.  We talked about in class how it is more important for employees today to be creative rather than knowledgeable because today all of the information in the world seems to be just a click away.  The article also talked about the mobilization of the workforce and that now we can access the internet from our smart phones or tablets from almost anywhere and this will change the way business is done.  This movement will also change the way that we view entertainment.  More and more people spend a larger percentage of their day online checking their social network pages or looking at a video on youtube.  Lastly the article talks about the way that advertising is beginning to change and becoming more geared to online ads than ever before.  This is an interesting article even thought it is not a long one it points out a lot of culture changes we are seeing today and the way that the internet is changing the way that we live and it is only getting started.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Business Article

In an earlier blog I talked about Bill and Melinda Gate's pursuit to rid the world of disease and their ongoing philanthropy.  I would like to broaden that scope and look at some of the other largest philanthropists in the world today and to take a look at some of the personal and business opportunities philanthropy can present.   In 2010 Bill and Melinda Gates along with Warren Buffet started the "Giving Pledge" which sought out billionaires and asked them to pledge at least half of their massed fortune to charity.  A year after this venture began 69 billionaires have signed on for the largest philanthropy endeavour in the history of our existence and with names like Ted Turner, Michael Bloomberg, and George Lucas it is hard to think that there are many billionaires out there who could afford to not be on this list. 
    There is not doubt that these contributions are more than any of the rich and powerful of our nation or any other have ever been willing to give and it is without a doubt more generous than most would expect.  This type of an effort was made once before by Andrew Carnegie when he wrote The Gospel of Wealth and failed miserably.    However, I look at this as another move in the game of chess that is the world of business that we are in today.  Almost all of these billionaires that have joined this movement are still active in the businesses that they have helped create and being on that list does not hurt the success of their business empire.  By becoming a part of the "Giving Pledge" these billionaires are able to affect two major aspects of business.  First, they are able to affect the public opinion of their business and of themselves as the President, CEO, CFO, or just majority stock holder in that business.  There is not doubt that public opinion can sway in dramatic ways and that a sway in the wrong way could mean a serious collapse in a companies stock price.  So this type of generosity can certainly generate a positive image to a company or individual.  Secondly, this will help to ensure the legacy of these individuals for years after they have gone.  Bill Gates will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the two founders of Microsoft and Warren Buffet will be remembered as one of the savviest investors to ever play the stock market.  By millions of others that they will have affected they will be remembered as the largest philanthropists to ever step on this planet.  This type of a legacy will not only ensure monuments will be risen in their name but you can bet will also ensure that the companies they built will continue to grow.  How can this be possible you may ask even when they are dead?  The hundreds of thousand and possibly even millions of lives that they will be making better or even saving will eventually turn into adults and consumers in this giant world of must have products.  Now do you think that someone who was saved by a measles shot they received because of the money that was donated by Gates will be buying an Apple?  I am seriously doubting it. 
     I want to make clear that I have nothing but gratefulness and respect for the individuals that are on this list.  What they have been able to do will change the world as we know it forever and give hope to those who would have had any before.  My simple point to all of this is that these titans of industry did not get where they are because they were soft loving puppy dogs.  Their genius was only equaled by their ability to destroy competitors and any other living thing that got in their way.  So, to say that they are making these type of contributions purely out of the goodness in their hearts may be a bit of a stretch.