Forward Thinking

By Marta Bright, Bobbie Hartman, Lisa Palmer, Kate Pavao, Fred Sandsmark, Joe Shepter, and Tara Swords, August 2008

Brain Food

It’s about more than the Sudoku. Dr. Louis Cozolino, a psychotherapist and professor at Pepperdine University, argues that if you really want to keep your mind sharp, you need to focus on people. His new book, The Healthy Aging Brain: Sustaining Attachment, Attaining Wisdom, scheduled for release in August 2008, suggests that our relationships with friends, partners, children, and grandchildren are key.

“Our brain is a social organ—that’s how it evolved, and that’s what it needs to stay vital and alive,” Cozolino tells Profit. “We stimulate each other’s brains to grow through interacting. If you’re a person who is connected in a way where you’re needed by other people—and I don’t just mean intellectually, to make money, but emotionally, in order to feel safe and warm and alive—that’s brain food; that’s the brain stimulation we need. ”

In The Healthy Aging Brain, Cozolino lays out his case with studies, personal anecdotes, and some fascinating facts. (For example, women who give birth after 40 are almost four times more likely to live to be 100. Cozolino suggests that this longevity may be due to caretaking’s biological and psychological demands.)

He also lists ideas for keeping your brain in shape, from playing with children to taking hikes to starting conversations with strangers. What advice would he give specifically to busy executives—especially those who travel a lot? “Try to create an electronic network of connection with your family and friends and loved ones while you are traveling,” he says, adding that executives need to work on relationships even when they’re not on the road. “The more invested and involved you become with business,” he says, “the more at risk you are of putting attachment out of mind—and also your own internal emotional life.”

You can contact Dr. Cozolino at Lou.Cozolino@pepperdine.edu.

Jet-Setting for the Semirich

Having a private jet at your disposal is a luxury very few can afford, but there’s a new online travel service that offers the next-best thing—minus the hangar rental and pilot’s salary.

JetCombo.com combines private and public charter airline services with commercial airlines in a single, easy-to-use Web site that gives consumers the opportunity to access thousands of smaller airports throughout the world. In the United States, 70 percent of airline traffic goes through 30 airport hubs, a system that results in those all-too-familiar delays, layovers, and cancellations that eat up precious time and cause frustration for travelers.

Created by two industry insiders, JetCombo.com offers an alternative. “As a private pilot,” says cofounder George Khairallah, “it seemed so inefficient to me that millions of passengers are jammed through just 30 airports when there are thousands of smaller, underused airports throughout the country.”

What generally happens when someone travels to a destination that is, say, 300 miles from the nearest commercial airport is that the last leg of the trip is a five- to six-hour drive. With JetCombo.com, users enter the city name of their true destination points. The service offers the most efficient route, which could be any combination of a commercial flight, a chartered private jet, and a deeply discounted empty-leg flight on a chartered private jet.

JetCombo.com caters to what it calls the “next-generation traveler,” someone who values time and convenience more than just money. Yet it keeps costs down by offering membership programs and even provides the option of making flights “carbon neutral” by contributing to projects that reduce an equivalent amount of pollution. If you’re ready for the next generation in travel, check out www.jetcombo.com.

Country Codes

August 2008

Every URL and e-mail address ends with a top-level domain (TLD)—and many of those are country codes. Keep a copy of this handy World Wide Web country code map near your desk and you won’t skip a beat when traversing the Web. Find it at www.bytelevel.com/map/ccTLD.html.

Catalog Clutter: Good-bye and Good Riddance

Are unwanted catalogs clogging your mailbox? Ones that sell candy you’ve never heard of and cosmetics you never buy? You’re not alone. Every year merchants send 19 billion catalogs to U.S. addresses, enough to consume 53 million trees and power 1.2 million homes. And most are unwanted.

The good news is that you now have a free way to say no. A Web site called Catalog Choice (www.catalogchoice.org/) lets you log in and quickly remove yourself from the mailing lists of unwanted catalogs. Launched last year, the service has already been a runaway hit with consumers.

“So far we’ve had 738,000 people sign up, and they’ve opted out of 9.9 million catalogs,” says project manager April Smith.

The service is not only popular with those who receive catalogs but also with those who send them. Nearly 200 merchants have signed up to participate in the program, and their motivation is not purely ecological. Every time a user opts out, the service asks him or her why. Those answers provide valuable data that catalog companies can use to build more-intelligent mailing lists.

“The No. 1 reason for opting out is that [users] want to help the environment,” says Smith. “But 15 percent say they prefer to shop online, and 37 percent have no interest in the products. That’s useful information for mailers.”

Succession Planning 101

If luck favors the prepared, many organizations would be smart to work through the many “what ifs” of staffing: What if something happens to the CEO? What if a competitor poaches the rising star in R&D? Profit discussed these issues with William Rothwell, author of Effective Succession Planning.

Profit: What is succession planning?

Rothwell: Succession planning focuses on developing internal talent within the organization. That’s different from talent management, which focuses on developing in-house talent but also fully integrating that with recruiting and selecting staff from outside the company. There are other terms that get confused with both of those. One is replacement planning. Replacement planning considers the organizational chart static—and we know it isn’t necessarily, but we assume that it is. For those purposes, we ask: what do we do if we lose key people in the organization?

Profit: Should people who are in line for succession know that they’re in line?

Rothwell: The real question is not “to tell or not to tell,” because that makes us prone to the either/or fallacy in logic. It’s a question of “who to tell, when to tell, and how to tell.” “Who to tell” means when we have people we cannot afford to lose, we need to tell them they’re valuable to us and that we do foresee a future for them. “When to tell” would be when we get wind that they might be out looking. The other issue is “how to tell,” and we have to be careful in doing that. I advise clients to have HR and legal come up with a talking-points document so that when the need arises, management knows how to talk about it without creating an oral contract. We have to make sure that managers can give employees a realistic picture, rather than giving them the illusion of some kind of certainty that they really can’t deliver on.

Tech Events

SHARE in San Jose
August 10-15, San Jose, California
With the theme of applying technology to solve business problems, SHARE presents information on major issues in enterprise information technology, including service-oriented architecture and virtualization.

Oracle OpenWorld 2008
September 21-25, San Francisco, California
The world’s largest gathering of Oracle customers, partners, developers, and technology enthusiasts, Oracle OpenWorld 2008 offers more opportunities than ever for learning, collaborating, and connecting with experts and peers. Regular updates on conference details, an Oracle OpenWorld blog, and registration information are all available online.

SAOUG 2008 User Conference
October 14-15, Sun City, South Africa
The SAOUG 2008 User Conference is expected to attract some 1,000 delegates including executives, IT decision-makers, technologists, and developers. This year’s event will focus on maximizing the benefits of Oracle Fusion Middleware.

Oracle Executive CRM Summit 2008<
October 19-21, Paris, France
Learn about the latest in customer relationship management (CRM) and discover how moving to CRM 2.0 can help your organization become more effective. Oracle President Charles Phillips will discuss Oracle’s view on future business trends and how you can prepare your organization to address them.

Peer-to-Peer: Problems Persist

Think that data security problems associated with peer-to-peer (P2P) networks faded out with the original Napster back in 2001? Think again.

The SANS Institute, a provider of information security training and certification, lists P2P file-sharing applications among their top 20 security risks and says that despite legitimate uses for P2P, the technology can still be exploited to steal copyrighted information and obtain confidential data for identity theft.

Most problems arise when P2P programs such as LimeWire are improperly configured, according to Todd Feinman, CEO of Identity Finder and creator of software that finds passwords and account numbers on computer disks. “People download a file-sharing program, and the installer asks what you want to share out,” he explains. “They click C:\ and every file on their computer is exposed.”

Feinman says people often don’t realize how much personal information—their own and others’—resides on their computers. “Social Security numbers may be in a hidden column of an Excel worksheet mailed out by an HR representative,” he says. Maybe users don’t know how to find hidden data, he says, but identity thieves do.

The SANS Institute says that a new computer can expect to exist online for only about five minutes before being attacked because automated programs constantly search the internet for victims. Take a look at www.sans.org/top20 to see 11 strategies for protecting against P2P vulnerabilities.

Studio Golf

Hectic schedules can make it hard to find the time for a relaxing game of golf or even a quick visit to the driving range. Just imagine if the driving range came to you.

Studio Golf USA is introducing a range of modular golfing studios that offer protection from extreme heat, cold, rain, and high winds. “You can’t improve if you can’t practice,” says Stephen Geldard, CEO of Studio Golf USA. “Mother Nature has her own plans, so my goal was to create a portable, high-quality golfing studio that would offer golf enthusiasts the opportunity to practice their game regardless of the weather conditions.”

Studio Golf USA has teamed up with K-VEST—which manufactures a game improvement system that offers a sensor-laden body vest with swing analysis software—to provide pro-level feedback on nitty-gritty details such as kinetic chain speed, sequence, and timing. Learn more about K-VEST and Studio Golf USA at www.k-vest.com and studiogolfusa.com, or e-mail Stephen Geldard at stephen@studiogolfusa.com.

 
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