Good Thinking


In May I posted Food Waste (a.k.a. Garbage) Diversion.  Specifically, a new class of companies in the food waste innovation sector who are converting landfill waste into viable food products (e.g., snacks, jams, etc.).  Below are two new solutions that I would like to highlight.

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  • Vegetable and Fruit Trim – Baldor, a specialty food distributor out of the Bronx in New York, after washing, chopping and packaging their vegetables, they bag all the leftovers and sell them to chefs to use in stocks and sauces. Fruit scraps are sold to cold-pressed juice manufacturers, plus those that are not considered edible for human consumption (e.g., cantaloupe rinds) are converted to animal feed.
  • wastED Pop-Ups – A community of renown chefs organized by chef/activist Dan Barber back in 2015 served dishes composed entirely of ingredients destined for garbage in his NYC restaurant. This year, Dan took the wastED pop-up concept to the rooftop of a department store in London (2/28 – 4/2) collaborated with chefs throughout UK and Europe to cook with “ugly vegetables”, vegetable pulp, beef tallow, skate cartilage and waste-fed pigs.

Imagine, garbage diversion, an innovative food waste prevention solution doubling as a fine dining experience.  Good thinking!

A Community Tale


In June, I posted about an Anchorage Alaska food initiative, a prime example of my mantra: “To build a better world, start in your community.”  While health care is the “buzz du jour” on Capitol Hill, the city of Hayward, California has initiated an innovative community health care solution.

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The southside of Hayward, California is a neighborhood with high rates of poverty, unemployment and crime, plus residents with bad health (e.g., obesity, diabetes, etc.).  Health care options are limited; thus, Hayward was considered a health care desert until late 2015.  A former Director of Alameda County Health Care Services conceived a solution for improving the community’s access to care based on manpower and location.  Manpower: Firefighters trained as paramedics (note: approval ratings for firefighters far exceed other public servants).  Location: Fire stations are usually strategically located in a community, therefore why not build a health clinic on the campus of the fire house.  Conclusion: 70 percent of the 911 calls were for medical emergencies.  Some were routine and could be treated in a lower-cost setting, thus freeing up the need for more expensive E.R. visits.

Typical of most innovation, there were the naysayers.  In this case the California Nurses’ Association.  They believed that paramedics aren’t properly trained.  Politics prevailed; the clinic was launched with a staff of nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.  They are looking to eventually hire a full-time doctor.  Regardless, the firefighters are close by for life saving emergencies (e.g., strokes, heart attacks) or to transport patients truly in need of the primary care provided by E.R.

Any future cuts to Medicaid would impact the Hayward clinic.  But this experiment, the partnership of firefighters and health care workers is a first for California, a potential model to improve health services for other communities nationwide.

Remember: “To build a better world, start in your community.” 

Paper Dinosaurs – An Update


Back in 2015 I examined whether catalogs were paper dinosaurs – Paper DinosaursMaybe someone in the marketing department at L.L. Bean read my post.

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Last week, L.L. Bean (for the record a 105-year-old brand) rolled out its “Be an Outsider” campaign utilizing a new website augmented by a digital movement.  In addition, this week they will introduce some new TV spots.  Their Senior VP of Creative indicated they were shifting from a heritage brand in catalogs to a product company.  They will be spending twice as much in back-to-school marketing dollars this year compared to last year.  Good move given the National Retail Federation is projecting that back-to-school, back -to-college spending will reach an all-time high of $83.6 billion, up 14.2% from 2016’s $75.8 billion.

Smart marketing L.L. Bean.  Will other paper dinosaurs go digital?  Save the trees!  



Forever Relevant – Brevity Works (12/28/09)

Millions of blog posts are published every day.  Among those that do attract readers, 55% of those readers will read the blog post for 15 seconds or less.  Some posts – forever relevant!

Brevity (noun): shortness of duration; shortness or conciseness of expression.

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  • Got Milk?
  • Just Do It!
  • “Don’t leave home without it.”
  • Twitter – microblog: 140 characters post.
  • President Obama’s campaign mantra in 2008 – Hope & Change (Change We Need
  • Google’s Mission – Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • Madonna.
  • Unfriending.
  • This blog.

Brevity Works!




Back in April, I provided detail about the official list of real issues compiled by the United Nations, specifically their online Twitter engagement.  Environment was ranked second.  Usually climate change dominates all Global environment conversations.  To me, we should be equally concerned about food security.  Environmental solution: Community!

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Food security is the state of having reliable access to sufficiently quantity of affordable, nutritious food.  The decline of food security will lead to Global social disruption.  Remember the event that triggered the Arab Spring?  Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire after he was banned by the government from selling fruit at his local market to earn a meager living.  The event sparked public protests throughout Tunsia; the rest is history.

“To build a better world, start in your community.”  Last night’s fortune cookie.

My fortune cookie reminded me of a great TED Talk by celebrity chef/scholar, Dan barber titled How I fell in love with a fish.  He speaks in depth about a fish farm in Spain with a sustainable ecosystem (note: worth googling).  At the end, he concludes we need a radically new agribusiness model; create conditions where every community will feed itself.

A great example of a food community project is Alaska’s Seeds of Change.  Located in Anchorage, it is a vertical, energy efficient hydroponic greenhouse that provides education and employment for young adults (16-24 years old) year-round.  Their leafy greens and herbs are sold at their local market, featured at a local restaurant plus delivered by Artic Harvest to Anchorage consumers.  A community project supplying fresh produce and building skills for future generations.

Are you engaged with a community project?     

The Professionals


One of my favorite TV shows is the documentary series on Japanese TV titled The Professionals.  Every week they feature professionals from various fields that share their viewpoints of what motivates them day in and day out.  This past week was about the tofu craftsman (a.k.a. tofu master), Takeshi Yamashita.

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Takeshi Yamashita is the owner of a small tofu shop founded 145 years ago (5th – generation).  In addition to cultivating his own soybeans, he utilizes a natural nigari coagulant in his manufacturing process that produces a delicate texture and rich flavor.  Thanks to decades of experimentation, Takeshi Yamashita has evolved into a renown Japanese tofu craftsman.

Some of his guiding business principles for success resonated for me as I watched the documentary:

  • His father told him to keep the business small and simple (a.k.a. boutique).
  • An avid reader of philosophy, he quoted Aristole: “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
  • At any age, 40, 50, 60, etc., you need to have intellectual curiosity to truly experience the “Joy of Living.”

What are some of the key attributes you think are important in becoming a true professional?

Intercept Marketing 2.0


The original concept of intercept marketing was to provide products/services to capture incremental sales in locations your consumers frequented during their daily routines– FedEx drop boxes, Godiva chocolate bars at Macy sales counters, etc.  Get ready for intercept marketing 2.0.

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Intercept marketing 2.0 will be the utilization of app partnering for complementary brands.  The Weather Channel app is the latest app to integrate complimentary services (e.g., Uber, Groupon, Caviar, etc.) next to their weather forecasts using location-based context.  Weather affects everyone as they plan their daily activities.  Stormy weather forecasted, an Uber button will appear so you can schedule a ride.  Sunny, 75° weather forecasted, a Groupon button appears for local beer garden specials targeting thirsty guests.

Intercept marketing 2.0; smart marketing!