Forward Thinking

By Marta Bright, Blair Campbell, Bobbie Hartman, Kate Pavao, Joe Shepter, and Tara Swords, May 2008

$100 OMELET Debuts in Beverly Hills

At The Blvd, the restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, chef Conny Andersson now serves a US$100 omelet. Ham and cheese are out; instead, this omelet features organic eggs, chive crème fraiche, and osetra malossol caviar from the Rio Negro in Uruguay.

That third ingredient, of course, kicks this omelet into three figures. The family-run Esturiones Del Rio Negro sturgeon farm, which produces the caviar, is the only sturgeon farm in the southern hemisphere. The half-million fish on the farm, which descend from Russian sturgeon, live in the basaltic waters of the Baygorria Dam on Uruguay's Rio Negro—a site chosen by satellite survey for water cleanliness and temperature. The female sturgeon live in gravity-fed raceways for 7 to 10 years (older fish produce better caviar). Harvested eggs are rinsed three times using bottled Fiji water; special salt is added to the third rinse to bring the caviar to the 3.5 percent level needed for the malossol (Russian for "little salt") designation.

The process is intentionally slow and labor-intensive, says Graham Gaspard, president of Southern Star Imports, importer of the caviar into the United States. "It's not a race," Gaspard says. "We're more concerned about making sure that we have consistently high-quality caviar coming from this farm."

Which suits the patrons of The Blvd just fine. Known for its view of Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard, the restaurant is a see-and-be-seen place. Why not be seen enjoying a $100 omelet?

Walking to Work

Are you spending all day in front of a computer and watching your waistline suffer? Now there's something you can do about it without even leaving your desk. The Walkstation from Steelcase lets you check e-mail, crunch numbers, and take a walk at the same time.

"The question is how can I leave work healthier than when I got there," says Bud Klipa, president of details at Steelcase. "That's the new frontier in office ergonomics."

The Walkstation is the brainchild of Dr. James Levine, an obesity researcher at the Mayo Clinic. He became intrigued by the fact that Americans burn more than 1,000 calories less per day than they did 100 years ago. The culprit? Sedentary workplaces.

And so, Levine began experimenting with machines that allowed users to move and compute simultaneously. Steelcase eventually developed his ideas into the Walkstation, which combines a treadmill with a fully functional computer desk. With a top speed of only 2.9 miles per hour, it's not meant to give you a chest-thumping workout. The gentle movement allows you to concentrate on your work and keeps you from sweating too much.

"The first fifteen minutes you're on it, it's a little strange," says Klipa. "But then you completely forget it's there and go about your business."

The device is currently available only to corporate clients and costs between US$4,000 and US$4,500 per unit. But home users need not despair; a consumer version is also in development. Of course, it's not clear whether the Walkstation is a trend or a bold step into the future. But even at this price, it could help companies control those pesky healthcare costs.

A Fast Pass Through Airport Security

If you're a frequent traveler, tired of the lines at airport security, here's how to get around the crowds. For a fee, you can enroll in the Clear program, which prescreens you and issues you a card that contains your fingerprint and iris scan information and allows you to access designated airport security fast lanes.

"You no longer have to worry about whether the wait at the security checkpoint is five minutes or an hour and a half," says Clear CTO Jason Slibeck. "For business travelers, that's one of the biggest frustrations. Our service improves predictability and takes some of the hassle out of the security checkpoint experience."

At the Clear lane, attendants are there to speed you through the process, helping you with bins and your boarding pass. Travelers pay an annual fee of US$128 to use the Clear lane at 18 airports throughout the U.S. The company is working to expand its service to additional domestic and international airports. Go to www.flyclear.com to get started.

Alternative Education 100 Things You're Not Supposed to Know

It can be tricky coming up with anecdotes to open speeches—or inventive small-talk topics. But with Russ Kick's 100 Things You're Not Supposed to Know at your fingertips, your listeners are sure to remember you long after you're gone.

The book, published by Disinformation and available through Barnes & Noble in the United States, contains what Gary Baddeley, president and CEO of Disinformation, calls "A smorgasbord of different kinds of information, whether it's politics, religion, sex, or history."

Inside, you'll find plenty of conversation starters (for example, 4.5 trillion cigarette butts end up as litter each year) and material that will really take a crowd's breath away (2 million workers die on the job each year, making work a bigger killer than war). Beyond the fun and not-so-fun facts, Baddeley says there's something else executives can learn from 100 Things, which exposes several of big business's secrets: "Be honest in the information that you put out to the public. If there is a dirty secret, don't try and hide it," he says. "Spin it, maybe, but don't hide it."

Keeping Your Distance

Nobody wants a doctor or dentist who "phones it in," but for many people (33 million in the U.S. at last count, according to telework research authors Kate Lister and Tom Harnish) telecommuting makes sense in more ways than employers might imagine. In fact, Lister and Harnish's research shows that telework could reduce Persion Gulf oil imports by 24 to 48 percent, reduce greenhouse gases by up to 67 million metric tons each year, and save as much as 7.5 trillion gallons of gasoline a year—a savings of US$110 million a day.

There are even a handful of experienced organizations—including the Telework Coalition, Commuter Connections, and the Telework Exchange—that are dedicated to the "work wherever you are" cause. "It's obvious that getting people out of their cars saves on fuel," says Chuck Wilsker, president and CEO of the Telework Coalition. "What's not as patently obvious is that teleworking also opens doors to finding top talent because it gives employers access to a larger and more diverse pool of candidates." In a 2006 report published by the Telework Coalition, research results showed that there are significant cost savings (an average of US$3,000 to $10,000 per employee) for organizations that have reduced their real estate holdings. In addition to saving money, offloading real estate mitigates risk.

Surprisingly, even the federal government, famous for its staid 9-to-5, glued-to-your-desk office work policies, is embracing the idea. In fact, according to Lister and Harnish, "all federal agencies are required to promote telework to the maximum extent possible," and legislation dating back to 1995 provides financial support for work-at-home programs.

Tech Events

Oracle Enterprise Manager Executive Briefing
May 8, Toronto, Canada
Get ready for an eye-opening roundtable discussion on managing business-critical applications and an introduction to Oracle Enterprise Manager's unique top-down approach to application management. Network with peers, share ideas, hear challenges, and learn from successful strategies when you attend this exclusive event for applications and systems management professionals.

HFMA ANI: The Healthcare Finance Conference
June 23-26, Las Vegas, Nevada
Don't miss the Healthcare Financial Management Association's Annual National Institute (ANI) 2008—the premiere education event of the year for healthcare financial executives. Engage with industry experts on leading issues, take home practical tools and best practices, connect with peers at top hospitals and systems, and experience the latest technology and innovative solutions in the exhibit hall.

Gartner SOA and Application Development and Integration Summit
June 25-26, 2008, London, U.K.
At this industry-defining summit, Gartner brings an array of more than 20 Gartner analysts, industry leaders, and visionaries to provide the latest strategies and tactics on SOA, application integration, Web services, middleware, rich internet applications, and more.

Sell Yourself

Résumés have long been the currency of the job search. But considering the conventional rules—no graphics, keep it succinct, two pages for only a long and illustrious career—it's no wonder that job seekers have a hard time standing out and hiring managers struggle to find gems.

Enter MyCredentials (www.mycreds.net), a new company that aims to bring Résumés into the Facebook age. Members can build a personal career portal that contains everything from a photo to reference letters to video and audio, all on one graphically laid-out screen organized with tabs.

"The résumé hasn't really evolved," says Jeffrey Calannio, president and founder of MyCredentials, adding that someone can build a personal portal within 15 or 20 minutes. "We want people to use this to enhance their interviews—the amount and quality."

The portal can display information not available on a traditional résumé, such as salary requirements and availability dates. Candidates can upload supporting documents such as marketing plans, presentations, or press clippings. Users can also upload audio or video of speeches or presentations. Calannio says the company is considering future online tutorials that teach users how to incorporate these more-complex content types into their portals. Plans for job seekers start at US$9.99 per month.

Message in a Bottle

Are you a wine lover waiting patiently for someone in the industry to meet your needs with the same level of customization you get from Amazon.com?

Meet Alyssa Rapp, founder and CEO of Bottlenotes.com, a wine community offering a customized wine club service and myriad other tools for documenting your preferences. "We deliver phenomenal wine from boutique and estate wineries from around the world," explains Rapp. "Our tagline is 'The Culture of Wine. Redefined.'"

What makes Bottlenotes different? For starters, when a customer signs up for a Bottlenotes club, the questions go way beyond simple preferences for red wine or white. Details such as how you take your coffee help the Bottlenotes team customize shipments to your specific tastes—as do tasting notes made in your "Virtual Cellar."

If the questionnaire sounds like too much work, you can join one of Bottlenotes' pre-established themed clubs, which cater to the tastes of a variety of prototypical wine drinkers. There are nine clubs in all, starting at US$44.95 plus shipping for two bottles.

 
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