Monday, December 31, 2012

Division of Labor, Talent and Journalistic Branding

A clear divide exists between generic labor and talent in media companies and it is now increasingly dividing journalists. The divide initially appeared in the motion picture industry and moved into broadcasting as competition led companies to vie for the talented people—or at least those who could generate the largest audiences and revenue for media companies.

The talent concept moved into journalism with the development of television news and salaries for news presenters and leading correspondents that were far above those of average television reporters.   In print journalism, talent initially involved columnists and then encompassed a few well-known reporters.
Today, the appearances of journalists at events and on talk shows, individually-authored digital news sites, and the increasing uses of blogs and social media by journalists is transforming many into individual brands that are being using to improve their social standing and connections with audiences. This journalistic branding no longer primarily supports employers’ interests for audience creation and retention. Instead, it creates an individual brand that increases the demand for the services of the branded journalist. This, of course, can be translated in higher wages, better employment opportunities, or self employment via the digital media.

The fact that individual journalists are finding ways to increase their value isn’t a problem, but journalists need to thinking about the point where branding transforms them into celebrity—thus moving them from being an observer to a participant in the news they report.
The development of talent—whether as journalists, investment managers, sports personalities, and even publicly recognized scholars—represents a significant shift in capital-labor relations.  In industrial society, capital had disproportionate power because it controlled factories and labor had few ways to counteract that power outside of collective bargaining. In post-industrial society, however, power is shifting toward talent because these branded professionals are a new class of personnel who are crucial for companies—but talent doesn't fall into the traditional capital or labor categories.

One of the downsides of this shift, according to Roger Martin, dean of Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto, is that it is creates two classes of labor: generic labour and talent. The first is often undervalued and the second sometimes overvalued.  The process is creating disproportionate incomes, opportunities, and mobility for the latter group and there is growing animosity between generic labour and talent because they do not share similar experiences or have a common identity.
What talent will mean to the future of journalism is uncertain, but digital communications are clearly making it possible for some journalists to separate themselves from others and to move into the talent category. It is something we should be watching.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Highlights

As I have been looking back at everything I have crafted in 2012, it's amazing how one can forget how much can happen in a span of just 365 days. I am amazed by how much the kids have changed in just a year's time. 
I have been blessed beyond measure this year. 
I want to thank you all for following along on my little journey. I appreciate all the kind words and encouragement you give me. It's nice to know that people like what I do:o)

So I thought I would share my 12 favorite crafts from this year. 
It was hard to choose, but I was able to narrow them down:o)

My first pick would be the dresser re-vamp I did for E. I was quite proud of this because it was the first piece of big furniture that I had worked on completely by myself. 
The hubs was quite impressed:o)

I loved our family movie nights that we had this year. They started to spread out when school started, but the kids seemed to have so much fun with them:o) 
They really had a ball with the Drive-In Movie Night.

The birthdays were a total blast this year. I always enjoy putting the kids parties together, and this year's themes were so much fun to work on.
S.R. made a sweet little Dorthy in her Wizard of Oz party.
My, how this little one has changed! 

E's party was so much fun as well. I didn't dive into it like I normally do, only because I am totally not a Star Wars fan, but thankfully there were so many awesome ideas on the internet.  
Love these sweet faces!!

I did a lot more sewing this year than I have in years past, and I love that my kids get excited about the things I make them. It hasn't always been that way unfortunately. I have finally figured out what they actually like, so that there isn't any disappointments on either end:o)
Here are a few of my favorites for S.R 

This dress is my absolute favorite:o) The flower girl dress. She looked like a little princess! 
We were stopped by so many people in church and at the grocery store a few weeks later saying how beautiful her dress was...I might have been a little proud;o)

Here are my sewn favorites for E.
 This little ottoman was super simple to put together, and E absolutely loves it. He lugs it around all over the place to sit on it. Definitely a score for his mommy!

This little vest and bow tie were absolutely 
adorable on him as well:o)
My biggest project of the year wasn't even in my own house. A very dear friend asked me to completely over haul her house and give it an updated look. I won't lie and say I loved every minute of it. It was exhausting, and with only one good hand during the process, there were times when I wanted to throw in the towel. But it turned out great and she loved it so much that she did the HGTV can't get a better response than that:o)
The before and afters are really something.

And the last of my favorites for 2012 would definitely have to be the "Famerican" Girl doll bed and bedding.
I wish you all could have seen how sweet S.R. was on Christmas morning when she saw the bed. I asked her if she new who made the bed. She said Santa..I told her that her Daddy had made it. She said,
 "Wow! He did a really good job." 
Such a sweet heart!

So those are my favorites for this year. I've got some big projects lined up for this next year and I can't wait to get started on them...just don't tell the hubs;o) 
Have a great New Year. I'll be back here next week to share with you all a new dress for S.R. and a Tooth Fairy Monster I made for E(it's ugly and he loves it:o))

Saturday, December 22, 2012

18" Doll Bed, Quilt, Pillow and a Mattress Tutorial

Are you guys ready for Christmas yet? Do you have all of your gifts bought, wrapped and tucked neatly under the tree? We are done for the most part. I think I am going to make one more thing for E and then we will be done. 
Today's post is about what we(the hubs and I) made for S.R.
She has asked for an American Girl Doll for Christmas this year. She is 4 years old...she ain't gettin' an American Girl Doll. However, she is getting a "Famerican" Girl Doll...(Faux-American). Ole Santy Claus is bringing her the doll from Target that looks just like the real deal, and it's 1/3 the cost.
So, I came across a really cool building plan for a doll bed on Ana White's Blog. It is perfect!
I knew the hubs could make it, and so he did:o) 
I decided that I needed to make some really cute bedding to go along with it. 
This Famerican Girl will be resting in style:o)
(I got a little impatient, and decided to take pictures before the hubs could get it of the final product will come after X-mas)
This is my very first quilt to actually quilt myself. I found an easy tutorial at Mommy by day, Crafter by night. I was able to make this little quilt in about an hour and a half. The fabrics were from a fat quarter bundle purchased from the Hob.
 The pillow was an absolute must as well:o)
 Here is the under-side of the quilt.
When I laid the quilt and pillow across the bed, the quilt wouldn't lay right. The spindles were in the way, and it just looked like it needed an extra something, so that's when I realized this bed needed a mattress.
This is sort of a tutorial, but not really a step-by-step because I was in a rush to get this done before S.R. got home from school yesterday:o)
I started with two fabrics, you could use the same fabric, but this was leftovers from the fat quarter pack, so I used what I had.
I stitched them together to form what looked like a pillow. I realized I didn't have enough to cover the base of the bed, so I had to add a strip across the top to lengthen it. Once it was re-stitched, I laid it across the bottom of the bed to make sure it fit.
I then stuffed it with poly-fil, and closed the end up by hand-stitching. I usually avoid any hand-stitching at all cost because I am too impatient. However, I really wanted this to look nice, so I bit the bullet, and used my little needle and thread. 
To prevent the mattress from looking like a big pillow shoved into the bed, I tufted it. I had a fabric button covering kit(is that what they're called??), and I used the purple polka dot fabric to cover the buttons. This task was a little more labor intensive. I used a long needle, and lots of patience. At one point, I really thought I was going to need a Band-Aid as well...OUCH! 
This is the back-side of the mattress. Yes, I realize that there are two sets of buttons...why, you ask? Because this was a last minute project, and I didn't have time to go buy matching buttons:o) And, yes, it's staying that way.
So it's complete, and I am thrilled with the results. 
 Perfect for her Famerican Girl Doll!!
Participating in these parties:
Classy Clutter

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fabric Coasters

I am at the end of our Christmas list. (Hooray!!) I still have one or two more things I have to make, but then I will be done. 
Today I worked on some fabric coasters for the kids' teachers.
Simple, easy and very little time to make.
You can find the tutorial HERE.
In about an hour, I had 3 sets of coasters made.
Today was also Polar Express day for E. He got to wear his jammies to school and he got to take a coffee mug full of goodies for a gift exchange. 
Can I just say that I love this time of year, and all of the fun things that there are to do?!?
The hubs and I have both been busy little elves. He made S.R. a doll bed the other day, and I made a quilt and pillow. Pics tomorrow if I get around to it;o)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Business December 19th 2012, The "Life Is Excellent" Edition


We will, we will rock you. Rock you.

Well, more specifically, we are more than happy to welcome Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggets to rock you!!

Bobby Joe Ebola and The Children MacNuggits began in 1995, in a trash-strewn fast-food parking lot in Pinole, CA. Guitarist Dan Abbott and singer Corbett Redford rose from humble circumstances as a satiric folk rock band that played for friends to their current majestic heights with hilarious and sometimes frightening acoustic performances. The MacNuggits have gathered loyal legions of fans with their infamous combination of searing social satire, soaring harmonies, outlandish and shocking truths, and poop jokes. The songs draw upon a variety of pop culture, of global crises, of interpersonal labyrinths, of nightmares and daydreams, skewering them on a rusty spit for the world to see. With a nod to social satirists like Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, and musical influences ranging from Slick Rick to They Might Be Giants, Bobby Joe Ebola is the vaudeville routine for your personal apocalypse.

Bobby Joe Ebola will be CELEBRATING the release of their brand new new CD/LP, TRAINWRECK TO NARNIA on Rooftop Comedy Productions & Dirt Cult Records! Come pick up a copy!
We are also pleased to have Kevin Hawkins joining us. The internet says: “Kevin Hawkins has worked as a teacher, principal, school head, and social worker in the UK, Africa, and Europe. He brings to education a holistic understanding of children and young people from his lifelong work with adolescents, and he strives to support the development of young minds through enhancing students’ self-awareness and emotional intelligence. “ but I’m pretty sure that’s a different Kevin Hawkins, and our guest this week is just a cool funny dude up from LA.

Your regulars will be there “Alex Reflux” Koll, Bucky “SARSnister”, Caitlin “Rhinovirus” Gill, Sean “Croup” Keane, and Mike “Diphtheria” Drucker.

The show is just $5! If you want to bring a friend, bring em for free!!  Print out you your 2-for-1 coupon from above!!!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Which Best Practice Is Ruining Your Business?

For many decades, newspapers were big; printed on the so-called broadsheet format. However, it was not cheaper to print on such large sheets of paper  – that was not the reason for their exorbitant size – in fact, it was more expensive, in comparison to the so-called tabloid size. So why did newspaper companies insist on printing the news on such impractical, large sheets of paper? Why not print it on smaller paper? Newspaper companies, en masse, assumed that “customers would not want it”; “quality newspapers are broadsheet”.

When finally, in 2004, the United Kingdom’s Independent switched to the denounced tabloid size, it saw its circulation surge. Other newspapers in the UK and other countries followed suit, boosting their circulation too. Customers did want it; the newspaper companies had been wrong in their assumptions.

When I looked into where the practice had come from – to print newspapers on impractically large sheets of paper – it appeared its roots lay in England. In 1712, the English government started taxing newspapers based on the number of pages that they printed. In response, companies made their newspapers big, so that they could print them on fewer pages. Although this tax was abolished in 1855, companies everywhere continued to print on the impractical large sheets of paper. They had grown so accustomed to the size of their product that they thought it could not be done any other way. But they were wrong. In fact, the practice had been holding their business back for many years.

Everybody does it
Most companies follow “best practices”. Often, these are practices that most firms in their line of business have been following for many years, leading people in the industry to assume that it is simply the best way of doing things. Or, as one senior executive declared to me when I queried one of his company’s practices: “everybody in our business does it this way, and everybody has always been doing it this way. If it wasn’t the best way of doing things, I am sure it would have disappeared by now”.

But, no matter how intuitively appealing this may sound, the assumption is wrong. Of course, well-intended managers think they are implementing best practices but, in fact, unknowingly, sometimes the practice does more harm than good.
One reason why a practice’s inefficiency may be difficult to spot is because when it came into existence, it was beneficial – like broadsheet newspapers once made sense. But when circumstances have changed and it has become inefficient, nobody remembers, and because everybody is now doing it, it is difficult to spot that doing it differently would in fact be better.

The short term trap
Some bad practices may also come into existence being bad, but the harmful effects only materialize years after their implementation. And firms implement them because its short-term consequences are quite positive.

For example, in a project with Mihaela Stan from University College London, we examined the success rate of fertility clinics in the UK. A number of years ago, various clinics began to test, select, and only admit patients for their IVF treatment who were “easy cases”; young patients with a relatively uncomplicated medical background. Indeed, treating only easy patients boosted the clinics’ success rates – in terms of the number of pregnancies resulting from treatment – which is why more and more firms started doing it. However, our research on the long-term consequences of this practice clearly showed that selecting only easy patients made them all but unable to learn and improve their treatment and success rate further. Clinics that did do a fair proportion of difficult cases learnt so much from them that after a number of years their success rates became much higher – in spite of treating a lot of difficult patients – than the clinics following the selection practice. Unknown to the clinics’ management, the seemingly clever practice put them on the back foot in the long run.
What this example shows is that the long-term negative consequences of a seemingly “best practice” can sometimes greatly outweigh its short-term benefits. But the problem is that, where managers can see the beneficial short-term effects, they often are unable to understand, when after a number of years their competitive position starts plummeting, that this is due to this “best practice” they implemented years ago. Therefore, the practice persists, and may even spread further to other organizations in the same line of business.

Self-perpetuating myths
What makes some seemingly best practices even more difficult to uncover as harmful is that they can become self-perpetuating. Take the film industry. Film distributors have preconceived ideas about which films will be successful. For example, it is generally expected that films with a larger number of stars in them, actors with ample prior successes, and an experienced production team will do better at the box office.

Sure enough, usually those films have higher attendance numbers. However, professors Olav Sorenson from Yale and David Waguespack from the University of Maryland discovered that, because of their beliefs, film distributors assign a much bigger proportion of their marketing budget and other resources to those films. Once they acknowledged this factor in their statistical models, it became evident that those films, by themselves, did not do any better at all. The distributors' beliefs were a complete myth, which they subsequently made come true through their own actions. However, the film distributors would have been better off had they assigned their scarce resources differently.

Most experienced executives have strong beliefs about what works and not, and logically they assign more resources and put more effort into the things they are confident about, eager not to waste it on activities with less of a chance of success. As a result, they make their own beliefs come true. The good box office results of the films distributors expected to do well reaffirmed their prior – yet erroneous – beliefs.  This reinforced the myth of the best practice, and stimulated it to spread and persist.
Hence, with all the best intentions, executives often implement what is considered a “best practice” in their industry. What they do not know, is that some of these practices are bad habits, masquerading as efficiency boosters, because their real consequences lay hidden. Yet, questioning and uncovering such practices may significantly boost a firm’s competitive advantage, to the benefit of the firm and, eventually, us all.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Business December 12th 2012, The "The Cartoonist and the Cartoon" Edition

This Wednesday night is gonna feel like a Saturday morning. The Business is bringing you a talented cartoonist, as well as a human who may very well be a cartoon.

Michael Capozzola has contributed to Mad Magazine, The New York Times and National Lampoon. Each year, Michael produces and hosts the Cartoon Art Museum’s annual “Comics for Comix” comedy fundraiser which he conceived as well. He has been in a bunch of commercials, you can see his broadcast/ TV reel at Born and rais
ed in New Rochelle, NY Michael subsisted on comic books and chocolate until he took up comedy and caffeine. He created his own comedy studies major while at Ithaca College. (NERD.)

Dr. Foxmeat is half warewolf, half cotton candy. He is part liger, part tigon. He is carbon based and also plays bass for The Carbons. He is always a true pleasure to have as a guest. Come experience him.

Your regulars will be there as well: Mike Daffy Drucker, Bugs Sinister, Yosemite Sean Keane, Alex Foghorn Leg-Kol” and Wile. E Caitlin Gill.

This whole show is just $5! You can even bring a friend for free! Just grab a 2 for 1 coupon here!
WE SELL OUT. Get there early so you can get a seat.

BYOBurrito. I still get carnitas, even though it means “That’s all folks” for a Porky.

A Basic Table Turned into Footstools

Happy Monday to you all! I know it's been a while since I posted on furniture re-dos. I have been so wrapped up in sewing projects over the last little bit, that I kind of forgot how fun it is to transform an old piece of furniture:o)
Today I want to show you how I gave a table a new look....a REALLY new look!
When we built our house, we had all of the bathroom sinks raised. That poses a problem when you have little munchkins running around the house. They have a hard time getting to the sink to wash their little hands or brush their teeth.
 My children literally have monkey toes. They climb those cabinets like nobody's business to get to that faucet. I knew something needed to be done before our cabinet doors started falling off of the hinges. 
I have always wanted to get the kids step stools, but I'm cheap, so I never bought any. 
So what do you do when you need something, but don't want to pay for it? You use what you have, and make it work.

I bought this table for $2 from my friend's grandfather. I didn't know what I would do with it because of it's odd shape, so it sat in the garage for A LONG TIME.
I finally got the idea to turn it into footstools for the kids. The legs were length and in size. 
I disassembled the table using a hand saw. Thank goodness I didn't use the table saw. There was a big metal rod down the center of those legs. I was able to saw down to the rod, and then unscrew them apart.
 I didn't want the finials, so I had to figure out how to re-attach the legs. I measured and mark a spot near the original holes.
 I screwed all the screws in where they barely broke the surface on the bottom side.
 I laid the board on it's side, and attached all of the legs.
 Since there were 4 gaping holes in each stool, I filled them with wood putty, and let them dry for a few hours. After it had dried, I sanded the spots down, and spray painted each stool.
The finishing touch was to add their initials. I used some wooden letters I had on hand and traced them onto vinyl, and cut them out. 
 Very easy, very inexpensive, and very functional.
 To save the cabinet door fronts, I added some foam pads to the backside.
Now my children's little monkey toes can rest easily on their new stools!!

This project was featured here:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

D.S.C.C.W.-Waterless Snow Globe

Last week I ran across a really cute Dollar Store craft over at the CSI project.
They were waterless snow globes. This particular craft is what got the wheels turning for this week's projects.
 Our snow globes look slightly different than the ones from CSI. So far, these are the kids' favorite Christmas craft:o)
The base for their snow globes are the same from the Snowman Ornament. They are found at the Hob.
I let them paint their bases any color they chose...I was definitely surprised by S.R.'s choice, but I think it's because she knows it's mommy's favorite color:o)
They both got to pour the sugar into the bowls. I used 1/4 c of sugar in each.
I handled the hot gluing. As you can see there was a tad bit of over kill on the hot glue:o)
So I added the ribbon around the the gunky glue area to clean it up. Super cute, super cheap, and super fun!!
In case you missed it, and would like to see what else we have been up to this week, click on the links below!!