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Archive for March, 2010

Attn: Grad Students Rich With Ideas, But Poor in Cash

Monday, March 15th, 2010

As a grad student myself, I totally understand the plight of the grad student.  Super cool and rich in ideas. Poor on time and capital, in most cases.

Fear not!  For behold!  We bring you great tidings of an awesome poster contest!  This, although in law school is ALL About aLL grad students everywhere in the US!  Check this out! This is the FIRST EVER poster contest for the program on law and state government at IU Indy School of Law this fall.

If you are a grad student (in any professional background in the US) YOU qualify – just turn in your abstract on your idea on public entrepreneurship and state government and you MAY have a crack at presenting your idea in a poster at the law school AND, if your top of the class, win cash for your idea.

Who says ideas aren’t worth $$$?  If so, they are WRONG!  Share YOUR ideas and we hope to see you at IU Indy law in the fall!

The Hardest Part…of Writing: It’s Like the Time Change

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

As a writer, I often get asked what the hardest part of writing actually is.  To me, it’s simply this:

getting started.

Once I’ve got the idea in my head and heart, and the muse shows up, the party is rocking! But, sometimes it is hard to get over the ‘starting’ part.  If you struggle with this as I do, I welcome your thoughts on how to make it better.

The best thing that helps me thus far really isn’t magical.  It is to just to sit down, shut up, and start writing.  Even if it is maddening.  Even if it sucks.  Even if it is NOT really what you want to write about. Just sitting down and cranking it out gets the muse to show up.  And some days are better than others.  When the writing day is good, hours will have gone by and you won’t even have noticed.  Like switching to eastern time, by several hours, without having to adjust the clock.

The Chanel Jade Effect

Friday, March 12th, 2010

So, you hipsters out there already know this, but Chanel has created a limited line of green spring 2010 nailpolish called Jade.  It’s so rare and so in demand, that it’s selling on ebay for $200 a bottle (yes, for fingernail polish!)  I’ve resorted to Sally Hansen’s Mellow Yellow myself (as I cannot afford to pay $200 for a bottle of fingernail polish…but then again, who can…?) I digress.

My point here is: how can we each bring our own Chanel Jade Effect to our lives and work?  We all have rare, limited and fantastic qualities we can shine at (albeit green or yellow shining, mind you.)  We all have capabilities that make us rare, unique, and priceless.

Put on your best shade of the Chanel Jade Effect today…go ahead!  It won’t cost you a cent, and it just might bring you more happiness, sunshine, or fun to your day!

The Financial Balance Sheet: Is It Enough Anymore?

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

As part of the fellowship program on law and state government this year, we’ve been working on the topic of public entrepreneurship.  One of the ideas the professor in charge of the program today brought up was a really good one, and one I hadn’t thought about before in a concrete way, which is this.

In a for profit organization, we look at really only one metric around a company’s success – the balance sheet.  The financial statements.  The income.  THE MONEY.  BUT – is that really enough anymore?

What about a social balance sheet?  What about all the good a company does, EVEN IF sometimes that means not necessarily maximizing shareholder value?  There must be value in companies who use organic products, or locally grown products, or give away their employees’ time to a cause, or other philanthropic efforts (beyond writing checks) that provide extra value for that community.  BUT, are we really quantifying this?  Do we care?

I think we do.  I think this is the future of any organization.  It’s not just going to be about the benjamins anymore.  It really can’t be.  If we want this country back to the level of prosperity and sustainability we envisioned before this economic downfall, we’re going to have start considering other factors beyond “the bottom line” in dollars and cents.

Let me leave you with a few questions to ponder:  if you had a choice, would you buy a locally made product over one made in another country?  Would you still buy it even if it was a little more expensive?  If so, how much more would you be willing to pay for it?  Furthermore, if in the production of that product you also helped your community (because your colleagues in your neighborhood developed that product), would that be enough to offset the additional cost for you?  Also, as an investor, would you invest in a company that had sustainable plants and ideas, even if their stock’s P/E ratio wasn’t as great as the company who manufactures overseas?

We need to start looking beyond the financials both as consumers and investors, if we want to make this world a better place for our communities.  The next time you’re at eTrade shopping for stocks or the grocery store shopping for food, I’d love for you to ponder these questions…as I will.

The Computer in the Classroom: Good, Evil, or Somewhere in Between?

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

One of my friends and I got into an intellectual duel this morning on Facebook about whether or not computers should be banned from the classroom.  S/he said yes…computers have no place in the classroom.  I disagreed.  S/he’s wrong.  Here’s why.

First, part of being a GOOD educator (or any speaker for that matter) is being engaging with an audience.  If you don’t connect with your audience, it really doesn’t matter what content you are delivering…they are tuned out. Furthermore, you really can’t fake engagement – you’re either personally passionate about what you are discussing (esp. if you are smartest person in the room about the subject) or you aren’t.  If you’re not, people can smell it a mile away.  My point here is that if you are an engaging speaker, people will listen.  It really doesn’t matter what else is in front of them (computer or not) – if you’ve got something to say and can engage, people WILL listen.  Passion is infectious, and far more powerful than people give it credit.

Second, generation Y (the majority of classrooms these days are filled with gen Y) are natural multitaskers. Some of them have the power to multitask and some actually say they benefit from multitasking while learning.  We know this is wrong when it comes to mechanical things like driving (at least in general studies with multiple generations), but do we know this to be true for mental exercises with gen Y?  I don’t know.  But I can say while I sit in a classroom as a law student with a bunch of peers of a different generation than me, they DEFINITELY learn differently.  They like games.  They like gadgets, and they like multitasking in the classroom.  They are more hands on in terms of their learning than my generation (X).

Third, I think computers and especially the internet can ENHANCE learning.  For example, if I’m lecturing about entrepreneurship, and being a part time entrepreneur, I like to talk about etsy.com.  Do I have a problem with the students surfing over to etsy.com while I speak?  Absolutely NOT!  I want them to go there and check it out while I’m talking to them.  It’s SO COOL to have the power of the internet in the classroom to supplement learning – I WISHED I had that power when I was in undergrad, but I’m THANKFUL to have it now as a law student.

Most of my law professors have allowed me the opportunity to have my own laptop in lecture.  I am thankful for that opportunity.  And to all the educators out there who are afraid to have the laptop between them and their students, my question back to them is: why?  If you love what you teach, have passion for it, and see the laptop as a tool rather than a torture, you’re already well on you’re way to being a fantastic educator…don’t worry – you’re students REALLY ARE LISTENING.  Congrats!

Rock Star Habit #321

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Last night as I watched the Oscars, I was noting and reminded of rock star (or rather, movie star) habit #321: be sure to thank others.

Case in point: Sandra Bullock’s thank you.  She thanked EVERYONE!  She thanked her mom, she thanked her husband, she thanked everyone she worked with, she thanked the real life person she played a character of, AND, best of all, she thanked every one of her peers in the category of best actress for inspiring her.  She provided thoughtful, poignant comments on everyone she thanked and did it eloquently and with humility.

This is a rock star habit.  Be sure to thank people who inspire you.  Go out of your way to try it today, and every day.  People love to be appreciated.  Besides, if you never thank anyone, how will they know they had any positive efficacy on your life?

The Power of Putting it on Paper

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

The Little Pink book, one of my daily favorite emails discussed something I’m starting to believe in the power of today – the vision board.  They linked their newsletter to this site on Oprah.com about the same concept. This year, I also sent out a new year’s card and dared everyone to articulate in writing their best year and what it might look like.

One of my friends actually wrote me an email yesterday (whom I sent one of my new year’s cards to) – and she’s already had one piece nearly come true!  The person she most wants to meet this year is Madeleine Albright, and ironically, the friend will have the opportunity to meet her later this month at a talk she’ll be giving less than a mile away from my friend’s house.  How ya like that for the power of the universe?

Vision boards, writing down your goals, asking the universe for what you want in some type of written or visual form I think is pretty powerful.  Just like a good contract – when it’s clearly in writing, there’s really not a lot of messing around.  Parties get it.  Including that “universal” party, bigger force out there guiding us along the way.

So, if you have a vision board or some written goals for this year. Congratulations!  Even if you don’t meet all of them, just one is powerful.