How YOU can save the world.

I’m a big-time supporter of B movies.  I also enjoy the occasional science fiction flick or novel.  Put them together, and you basically have the Sci Fi channel.  Any group that can put out a show like Firefly and still have room for preserving what’s good and gets tossed from the local networks.  But then, they go and organize something like this, and I’m completely flabbergasted.  Wait, what?  Science fiction still related to SCIENCE?  And with a moral outlook for actually making things BETTER?  I feel like I should be back in the 50s.  Or maybe at the Oven Mitt – oh wait, I am.

It is initiatives like this that redeem my faith in humanity.  So what if we happen to be a large corporation, an investment bank, or a small mom-and-pop retail store – we can still do great things.  The world should be a place filled with wonder and potential, not despair.  Even if we are disillusioned about many things, or battered by life, we all have a right to those occasional moments of hope and surprising and recognizable potential for our own future lives.

Spend-wary? How about health-wary?

Starbucks, like the rest of the world, has been suffering some financial setbacks.  Sales at the coffee giant have been decreasing, forcing even the closing (GASP!) of some stores.  In an attempt to garner more revenue, several promotions are being tested in a variety of cities across the US.  One promotion that is now going nationwide is the 2 after 2 deal.  If you buy something in the morning, you can get any iced grande drink for $2 after 2 pm simply by showing your receipt.

While the idea to give value to customers and increase afternoon traffic, there are also profound health consequences.  Increasing the amount of caffeine you imbibe (say, going from a cup in the morning to two cups total in a day) can increase the strain on your heart.  Drinking any caffeine after noon can also keep you from sleeping as well or as deeply.  In particular, the size of the afternoon beverages might increase caffeine dependence.  Not that people would have to buy coffee in the morning or afternoon – you could get a baked good in the morning and get an iced…chocolate(?) in the afternoon.  But I would guess the majority of customers would get coffee each time.

Like everyone else, I like a good bargain.  And I like the frou-frou sweet coffee drinks at Starbucks.  I think they are a good company, for the most part, with a strong business model.  But I wonder in this case if they are implementing a policy that will have widespread damaging effects.  After all, this particular model has already been tested in select cities.  If coffee consumption and revenues are up in these places already, that doesn’t bode well for our future health.

The Oven Mitt reigns again.

In case you didn’t know it, I love where I work.  I love the people, I love the benefits, and I especially love the great things we do.

One of the great things I love that we do is the International Development Design Summit, culminating (sort-of) this Wednesday, August 6 in final presentations (the blog is here, if you want more detail).  Basically, the summit is the starting point for a variety of projects that make life easier in the developing world.  Projects could include cheap devices for making water safe to drink, environmentally friendly portable stoves, or new methods to manufacture locally produced goods.  But while the summit does generate an abundance of ideas and excitement, it’s the actions following its culmination that really get me excited.  That’s the portion where these participants, from a variety of countries, go back home and begin to change the world, actually implementing the designs created.

it gets me excited, not just because it’s about people doing stuff.  It gets me excited because it’s another opportunity that I could be involved in.  I considered ‘trying out’ for it this year, but life didn’t work out as I’d planned in that regard.  Still, it’s one of those tremendous opportunities that I could, possibly, do in the future and really make a difference with.  I love that – it makes the world full of bright and shining possibilities.