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Showing posts from May, 2011

Say Good-Bye to the Wallet, and Say Hello to the Smart Phone

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Finally, the time will come very soon when Americans can use smart phones to pay for almost everything. According to this CNN News video, smart phone users can download a free app that allows them to make payments with their phones. For now, this app only works on the Android system and is only available in certain Nexus phones. The developer is urging more merchants to adopt this app and will soon introduce this concept in big markets like NYC and San Francisco.
Using smart phones as a means of payments works great for those who enjoy city life. When people go out for parties at night, they no longer need to carry anything else but their cell phones with them. How cool is that? This app, however, also raises privacy and security concerns. As a business owner, what are your thoughts of adopting this mobile trend? As a consumer, how would you like or dislike the ideas?
Relevant discussion:
Smart Phone Trends Smart Phones as Hotel Room Keys Smart Phones as Boarding Passes Using Cell Phon…

Attention Chefs: A New Guideline for Cooking Meat

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According to CNN, the U.S. Department of Agriculture just released a new guideline of cooking meat. Chefs need to remember three temperatures: 145 °F (62.78 °C), 160 °F (71.11 °C), and 165 °F (73.89 °C). That is: 
145 °F for whole cuts of meat, such as pork, steak, roasts, and chops. Pork had to be cooked at 160 °F as suggested in the old guideline. Now, meats are required to wait for additional three (3) minutes after they are cooked and before they are carved or served.   160 °F for ground meats, such as beef, pork, veal, and lamb. This rule remains as the same as the old one.  165 °F for poultry, such as ground chicken and turkey.   This new regulation is introduced for consumers’ safety. In addition, cooking temperatures have a great impact on the quality of food being served, the cooking time, and the means of how the meats are served. It seems to me, however, this new regulation only made some mild amendments and should have little impacts on food preparations. What do you think?…

Job Interview Tips

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I hope that all college graduates have launched their first job already by now. If not, let’s revisit an old topic of job interviews. The following discussion is built on a CNN News video: 
Practice “Elevator Pitch” --- A candidate needs to catch the interviewer’s attention in 10 to 30 seconds. Prepare five or more copies of resumes --- It is possible that more than one manager will be interviewing the candidate. Have an online profile ready (i.e. LinkedIn) and list the hyperlink on the resume --- It would be better if a candidate’s profile has good recommendations to support his/her credentials and qualifications. Maintain a professional demeanor --- Showing up on time (not too early or late; it is good to show up 10 minutes before schedule), wearing professional dress, and having a firm handshake are important. Listen and maintain good eye contact --- the video suggests a “50/50 rule”, which means 50% listening and 50% talking. Writing down two or three thoughtful and engaging quest…

An Interview with Stephen Starr: A Successful Restaurant Entrepreneur

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I still believe that now is not a good time to start a restaurant business. If a person “does everything right,” however, s/he can still turn her/her restaurant business into a multi-million enterprise. Stephen Starr, the Founder of Starr Restaurant Groups, is one of the examples. He shared some of his experience and advices in an interview on Fox News.

It seems to me that the quality of food and a unique “theme” of a restaurant contribute to his success. Starting from one restaurant in Philadelphia, the group now has 17 locations and earned $125 million in profit last year. His advices to (restaurant) entrepreneurs include: Be very careful if they want to open a new restaurant now because it is really not a good time. Get ready to wreck apart their business idea and make sure everything is “undefeatable” before executing a business plan. Be creative, think “cheaper, smarter,” and “be persuasive in selling” their ideas in financing. What do you learn from Stephen Starr’s interview?



Working for a Social Media Firm

According to this CNN News video, there are many job opportunities in the field of social media, from those well-known and well-established social media firms to startups. Just like any other businesses, social media firms need all kind of talents. One does not need to be a programmer or an IT expert in order to work for a social media firm. Then, regardless of a candidate’s background, what qualifications does a social media company look for?
Flexibility --- We discuss the importance of flexibility and adaptability at work before; Social media firms are not the exception. Multi-tasking --- When an employee needs to be flexible at work and does a variety of tasks for a company, s/he had better to be multi-tasking and be able to execute different types of assignments well. Collaborations --- We all know that “two heads is better than one.” Many big projects need to be accomplished by a “team.” If you want to work for a social media firm, how would you demonstrate your qualifications in…

No Ronald McDonald = No More Kids with Diabetes in the U.S.?

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A couple months ago, when I first heard about the news that some people (not sure if they are nutritionists) advocated for a retirement of Ronald McDonald, the clown and symbol of McDonald’s, I did not take it seriously because it seems like a joke to me. Today, MSNBC brought up this issue again. I finally notice I need some help to clarify some questions.

Am I too naïve? Or is it because I have not lived in this country long enough to understand the “real” American culture? Honestly, I have difficulty of figuring out the logic behind this movement. May I ask: if the government (not McDonald’s) fires or gets rid of Ronald McDonald, will there be no more American kids with diabetes? If that is the case, would it be easier to demand every restaurant that sells hamburgers and French fries to close the doors? How about just prohibiting all restaurants from selling unhealthy food? Even better, how about prohibiting all supermarkets from selling any ingredient that can be used for unhealthy…

Social Media and Job Search III

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We have covered the topic of using social media in job search before. Today, however, I would like to bring up this “old” topic again by sharing another ABC News video with you; I am going to highlight three “new” suggestions.

First, a LinkedIn profile could be more important than a resume. Many recruiters may feel that a public profile on the Internet can better reflect a candidate’s “real” credentials because people tend to be “honest” when they disclose their experiences, responsibilities, and education online. To me, a LinkedIn profile is definitely more important than a resume because I have found it more efficient and effective to refer a student or a job seeker to my connections on LinkedIn.

Second, keep in mind that few employers want to hire negative persons --- a negative person can be referred to as those who constantly complain about just anything. Job seekers need to be very careful of what they put on the Internet. Here, avoiding negative complaints is different from h…

“30 Under 30” by Zagat

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Last month, I shared a Fox News video, in which Tim Zagat, the Co-Founder & CEO of Zagat Survey, discussed why it is not a good time to open a restaurant. Today’s discussion is also inspired by an interview of Tim Zagat. In this ABC News video, Tim once again informed us how difficult it is to run a restaurant business; today’s discussion, however, will focus on the “traits” of the “30 under 30” --- what makes these 30 young entrepreneurs/professionals succeed in restaurant business?

According to Zagat, years of work experience in the restaurant industry contributes the most to their success. They are top because they know what they are doing and they can do things well. Many of them started working in restaurants even when they were teens.

I must agree with Zagat that relevant work experience is crucial to a hospitality career. I conducted a qualitative study and a quantitative study about the important factors affecting a hospitality student’s employability upon graduation. My…

Background Check

Background check is an important component of the hiring process. Today, I share with you a Fox News video about background check for small business. It suggests that: Depending on the jobs, employers may also need to check a candidate’s credit history, driving history, and criminal records in addition to personal and professional references.  Employers need to have the candidate’s permission/consent before conducting a background check.  Be fair and consistent to every candidate, and everyone is supposed to go through the same process.  Be aware of identity theft: a candidate might be a victim of identity theft and hence is not responsible for a bad record.  Inform a candidate’s the decision with specific reasons if s/he fails to pass the background check, allowing this candidate to clarify the information if applicable.  It is fine to outsource background check, but make sure to find a reliable agent.   In the end, this video brings up a topic of using social media and the Internet …

Employee Engagement: What GE Does to Retain Top Talents

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Nancy Martin, an SU alumnae and the Manager of Technology Leadership Development at the GE Global Research Center, was invited to speak at the Whitman School of Management at SU Tuesday. Nancy plays an important role of retaining the top talents of GE and is responsible for creating, teaching, and running global education programs for the company’s technologists. Her topic was about employee engagement.
Employee engagement becomes more important than before because the market value of many stocks went down dramatically during the recession, which makes stock options no longer an effective way to retain top talents. Now that the economy is heading to the right direction, companies might find their top performers leaving for another company/competitor if they fail to engage with their employees. So, what can companies do to keep their top talents? According to Nancy, here are the nine questions that GE considers:  Are employees working with the best people in the field?  Does the company …

Mobile Technology and Company Security: A Post Contributed by Steven Farrell*

The explosive growth of mobile technology has done wonders for business communications and employee productivity. Smart phones are now more than 15 percent of the handset market in the U.S. Tablet PCS are flying off the shelves and laptop computer sales remain strong. A person no longer needs to be in an office to retrieve, send or create important documents. GPS and tracking software on PDAs and smart phones make it easy to confirm where and employee is and what they're doing. Though these devices increase productivity, they are not without risks for companies and employees alike.

Data Theft

It is much easier to hack a cellular device than it is to tap a land line. While data encryption offers some control, it can be cracked by a determined expert. Theft is another problem. While many people treat their mobile devices as an appendage, they can still be left on a table in a restaurant or picked from a pocket in a crowd. If password protection is not rigorously used, sensitive corpo…

Mother's Day Special

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Holidays often mean more business to restaurants. On this Mother’s Day weekend, however, I would like to contribute a discussion to mothers --- Do you know how happy your mom is? Have you wondered how much your mother’s work is worth?

According to this ABC News video, Norway, Australia, and Iceland are the top three countries with the happiest moms. Mothers in the U.S. only rank the 31st among those mothers who are living in the 43 developed countries. If we break down a mother’s work into 14 different jobs/tasks and calculate how much we need to pay for a mother’s work based on the national average wages suggested by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we can come up with a salary of $61,436 for a mother.

I wish every mother a happy Mother’s Day; I am sure both my mother and father are happy. Even though I am not able to spend the Mother’s Day with my parents, I talked to them on the phone.

What is the cutest marketing campaign you’ve ever seen? Can business use some of the marketing …

Business Attire

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A couple days ago, I heard from a New York Times video that dress-down Friday has gone. “Evidence” shows that people in the City want to dress up. Today’s CNN News video features an interview with a young entrepreneur (tailor) in Hong Kong who loves “old-fashioned” suits. These two stories reinforce the idea that “old-fashion” business attire still works and will continue to work well in the professional work.
I require that students in my class wear business attire for interviews, tours, and class presentations. Once in a while, I hear students saying that they do not have money for a business dress. I will not force any student to buy expensive clothes with his/her money for meals or rents, but I feel that everyone should have at least one or two formal dresses for special occasions. Here, having a formal dress does not mean that a person needs to have custom-made dresses from high-end tailor stores either. Often, people can find good quality business dresses in department or reta…

The Hotlist: A Useful Tool for Partygoers and Event Planners

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I would like to share an up-and-coming entrepreneurship idea (a Fox News video) with you --- The Hotlist, a project that just received a $1 million fund from NYU. The Hotlist provides a service, with which users can discover where their friends are going out or where the “hot” place or party is. Users can sign in by allowing The Hotlist to access their Facebook accounts or using The Hotlist’s iPhone or Android apps.
The Hotlist could be very useful for partygoers. In my opinions, The Hotlist can also become one of those most-have tools for event planners. With The Hotlist, event planner can “spy” what and how their competitors are doing and probably track the traffic of different events. They may also be able to provide on-the-spot updates to attract more traffic to the event.
What strategies are effective in attracting more traffic to an on-going event? What potentials do you think The Hotlist have?


References:
The picture was downloaded from the official website of The Hotlist.

D…

The Hottest New Hotels of the Year

The Conde Nast Traveler magazine released the Hot List Hotels 2011. Every year, the magazine sent editors to check out new hotels anonymously and see “how special a property is” and “how special a hotel makes you feel.” This Fox News video features five hotels of the list. They are:
Mancora Marina Hotel in Mancora, PeruThe Waikiki Edition in Honolulu, HIThe Redbury in Los Angeles, CAThe Savoy, a Fairmont Hotel in London, EnglandHotel Beaux Arts in Miami, FL Some of these hotels are very small but all have “special” features. Not all of them are in the luxury market either, but many have unique “themes” and provide personalized service. Once again, I see the boutique hotel trend from the hot list. Have you been to any of the hot hotels in the list? How does it make you feel special as a guest? What hotel trend did you see from the video?