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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Small Business Tips and Advice Stories from 2014

Top Small Business Tips and Advice Stories from 2014

10 Killer Habits that will Improve Your Leadership

With the new year just around the corner, you may be ready to wipe the slate clean and take the first steps into future with the hopes of doing things a little better this year. Perhaps your resolution is to eat healthier, or to save money, or maybe it’s to better your business.



10 Killer Habits that will Improve Your Leadership

Play-Doh's phallic-looking toy pulled

Hasbro will replace a toy found in Play-Doh's Sweet Shoppe Cake Mountain playset after consumers complained it resembles male genitalia.



Play-Doh's phallic-looking toy pulled

Census Bureau Projects U.S. and World Populations on New Year’s Day | Department of Commerce

As our nation prepares to ring in the new year, the U.S. Census Bureau today projected the United States population will be 320,090,857 on Jan. 1, 2015. This represents an increase of 2,334,187, or 0.73 percent, from New Year’s Day 2014, and 11,345,319, or 3.67 percent, since Census Day (April 1) 2010.



Census Bureau Projects U.S. and World Populations on New Year’s Day | Department of Commerce

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Air Products to Broadcast First Quarter Earnings Teleconference on January 29

From Air Products:


News ReleaseAir Products to Broadcast First Quarter Earnings Teleconference on January 29

December 30, 2014 Lehigh Valley, Pa.
Air Products (NYSE:APD) will release its fiscal 2015 first quarter financial results on Thursday, January 29, 2015 before the stock market opens. The company will review these results later that day in a teleconference at 10:00 a.m. ET. The teleconference will be open to the public and the media in listen-only mode by telephone and Internet broadcast.

Live teleconference: 719-325-4837
Passcode: 8508729
Internet broadcast/slides: Available on the Event Detailspage on Air Products’ Investor Relations web site.

Telephone replay: (888) 203-1112 (domestic) or (719) 457-0820 (international)
Passcode: 8508729
This will be available from 1:00 p.m. ET on January 29 through February 6 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Internet replay: Available on the Event Details page on Air Products’ Investor Relations web site.

About Air Products
Air Products (NYSE:APD) is a leading industrial gases company. For nearly 75 years, the company has provided atmospheric, process and specialty gases, and related equipment to manufacturing markets including metals, food and beverage, refining and petrochemical, and natural gas liquefaction. Air Products’ materials technologies segment serves the semiconductor, polyurethanes, cleaning and coatings, and adhesives industries. Over 20,000 employees in 50 countries are working to make Air Products the world’s safest and best performing industrial gases company, providing sustainable offerings and excellent service to all customers. In fiscal 2014, Air Products had sales of $10.4 billion and was ranked number 276 on the Fortune 500 annual list of public companies. For more information, visitwww.airproducts.com.  

Spotlight: Welcyon Helps Adults Over 50 Get in Shape

For many people, the new year is a new opportunity to get in shape. Gyms are often overcrowded this time of year with people looking to maintain their resolutions. But for some, this type of environment isn’t conducive to getting the best results. Welcyon, Fitness After 50 is dedicated to creating a better environment for some fitness enthusiasts to thrive.
As the name suggests, Welcyon is a health club specifically for adults over 50. The business creates exercise protocols specifically designed for the needs of people in this age group. Learn more about Welcyon’s business concept and philosophy in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.


Spotlight: Welcyon Helps Adults Over 50 Get in Shape

Shifting Gears - YouTube

Raytheon partnered with the U.S. Army and General Motors to train transitioning soldiers for civilian careers as automotive technicians.

Video (2:16)



Shifting Gears - YouTube

Fireworks and Air Safety

December 30, 2014


From the Federal Aviation Administration:




Do your big plans for New Year’s include fireworks? Bring them on your flight and 2015 will start off with big fines or worse. 

If you want to ring in the New Year with fireworks, please do it safely and legally. This includes keeping fireworks out of your checked and carry-on baggage when traveling by air. Heavy fines and possible arrest are the consequences for passengers caught carrying fireworks on a commercial flight. For more information, visit: bit.ly/PackSafe

Griffin Missile

December 30, 2014

From Raytheon:




Like its powerful, mythological namesake who protects on land and from air, Griffin missiles are multi-platform, bringing precision to land, air and sea:http://rtn.co/1xuUEjX

WeWork Coworking Space Raises $355 Million

A startup that leases office space to other startups is now worth an estimated $5 billion.
But the long-term fate of WeWork is debatable, even after it just raised another $355 million in funding, according to a Wired report.


WeWork Coworking Space Raises $355 Million

Hackers recreate fingerprints using public photos - Dec. 30, 2014

A German hacking group claims that it can recreate your fingerprints from the other side of the world.

At a cybersecurity convention in Hamburg last week, the "Chaos Computer Club"demonstrated how it can mimic a fingerprint just by analyzing photographs.


Hackers recreate fingerprints using public photos - Dec. 30, 2014

The Marijuana Show | Watch The Marijuana Show Episode #1 - YouTube

Video (17:55)



The Marijuana Show | Watch The Marijuana Show Episode #1 - YouTube

US Army Corps of Engineers Partnerships - YouTube

Video (6:54)



US Army Corps of Engineers Partnerships - YouTube

How to Unite Your Sales and Marketing Teams

They go together like peanut butter and jelly. But sometimes they just can’t find their way to the same sandwich. Your sales and marketing teams must be a united group to fulfill their individual functions to the best of their ability.
If you’re struggling to pull your teams together, it’s time to implement some unifying strategies.


How to Unite Your Sales and Marketing Teams

5 Tax Issues You Must Resolve Before Year's End

This time of year zooms by, and before you know it, it will be January. Waiting until then to get your business tax affairs in order can put you in a time crunch at the start of the year, so get started now to ensure you’re ready for 2015. Here are five things you can do now to ensure you get off to a great start on New Year’s.



5 Tax Issues You Must Resolve Before Year's End

Russian banks starved for cash as funding crisis worsens - Dec. 30, 2014

Russia's banks will likely need more government handouts as they battle the country's growing funding crisis.

The country's financial sector is under tremendous stress from the plunging value of its currency combined with Western sanctions imposed over Russia's actions in Ukraine.


Russian banks starved for cash as funding crisis worsens - Dec. 30, 2014

Monday, December 29, 2014

Gilead Announces Amended Agreements With Janssen to Develop and Commercialize Tenofovir Alafenamide-Based Single Tablet Regimens for HIV Treatment

From Gilead Sciences:


Gilead Announces Amended Agreements With Janssen to Develop and Commercialize Tenofovir Alafenamide-Based Single Tablet Regimens for HIV Treatment

FOSTER CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 29, 2014-- Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq:GILD) today announced an expansion to its agreement with Janssen R&D Ireland for the development and commercialization of a new once-daily single tablet regimen containing Gilead’s tenofovir alafenamide (TAF) and emtricitabine, and Janssen’s rilpivirine. The original agreement was established in 2009 for the development and commercialization of Complera®, marketed as Eviplera® in the European Union, which combines tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, emtricitabine and rilpivirine in a once-daily tablet. Gilead will initiate Phase 3 studies of emtricitabine/rilpivirine/TAF in the coming months. Pending the product’s approval, Gilead will be responsible for the manufacturing, registration, distribution and commercialization of the regimen in most countries, while Janssen will distribute in approximately 17 markets.
TAF is a novel nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor that has demonstrated high antiviral efficacy at a dose 10 times lower than Gilead’s Viread® (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), as well as an improved renal and bone safety profile.
“We believe that TAF’s efficacy and safety advantages may make it a strong backbone of new fixed-dose combinations and single tablet regimens,” said Norbert Bischofberger, PhD, Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer, Gilead Sciences. “Gilead is pleased to continue its collaboration with Janssen to bring improved treatment options to patients living with HIV.”
Gilead and Janssen also have amended a licensing agreement for the development and commercialization of a once-daily single tablet regimen for HIV containing Gilead’s TAF, emtricitabine and cobicistat, and Janssen’s darunavir. Under the amended agreement, Janssen will be responsible for further development of the regimen and, subject to regulatory approval, the manufacturing, registration, distribution and commercialization of the product worldwide.
Separate to the Janssen agreements, Gilead is advancing its own TAF-based single tablet regimen containing elvitegravir, cobicistat, emtricitabine and TAF. The company announced on November 6, 2014, it filed for regulatory approval in the United States.
TAF and TAF-based regimens are investigational products in the United States and have not yet been determined safe or efficacious in humans.
About Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Gilead has operations in more than 30 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.
Forward-Looking Statement
This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including risks related to whether ongoing clinical trials of TAF-based combinations will be successful and Gilead’s ability to coformulate new single tablet regimens containing TAF, emtricitabine and rilpivirine, and TAF, emtricitabine, cobicistat and darunavir. In addition, Gilead and Janssen may make a strategic decision to discontinue development of the TAF combination products if, for example, the market for the products fails to materialize as expected. As a result, the agreements may terminate. Further, regulatory authorities may not approve TAF-based regimens, and marketing approvals, if granted, may have significant limitations on their use. As a result, TAF combination products may never be successfully commercialized. These risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These and other risks are described in detail in Gilead’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2014, as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Gilead, and Gilead assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements.
U.S. full prescribing information for Complera and Viread is available at www.gilead.com.
Complera, Eviplera and Viread are registered trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc. or its related companies.
For more information on Gilead Sciences, please visit the company’s website at www.gilead.com, follow Gilead on Twitter (@GileadSciences) or call Gilead Public Affairs at 1-800-GILEAD-5 or 1-650-574-3000.
Source: Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Boeing, U.S. Air Force Achieve Successful First Test Flight for KC-46 Tanker Program

EVERETT, Wash., Dec. 28, 2014 – Boeing and the U.S. Air Force successfully completed the first flight of the KC-46 tanker test program today. The plane, a Boeing 767-2C, took off from Paine Field, Wash., at 9:29 a.m. (PST) and landed three hours and 32 minutes later at Boeing Field. The aircraft will receive its military systems following certification.



Boeing, U.S. Air Force Achieve Successful First Test Flight for KC-46 Tanker Program

Why is United Airlines suing a 22-year-old? - Dec. 29, 2014

A young computer whiz from New York City has launched a site to help people buy cheap plane tickets. But an airline company and its travel partner want to shut him down.

United Airlines (UAL) and Orbitz (OWW) filed a civil lawsuit last month against 22-year-old Aktarer Zaman, who founded the website Skiplagged.com last year.


Why is United Airlines suing a 22-year-old? - Dec. 29, 2014

Una Pizza Limits Selection to Improve Quality

When you walk into Una Pizza in San Francisco, don’t expect to be able to choose from an unlimited selection of toppings.
Anthony Mangieri has been baking pizza since childhood, and he’s attained his dream of owning his own pizza shop. He sticks to traditional Neapolitan style pies, with a handful of fresh toppings, and relies on the quality of the ingredients and care in the preparation to speak for themselves.


Una Pizza Limits Selection to Improve Quality

World Accessibility in Rural America

From USDA:


USDA Rural Development and NCTC break ground on a new high speed broadband project serving rural Tennessee and Kentucky.
USDA Rural Development and NCTC break ground on a new high speed broadband project serving rural Tennessee and Kentucky.
Access to the world via internet and mobile phone services is at the fingertips of most Americans, but this is not the reality for residents of many rural communities across the Nation.
In October 2014, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $190.5 million in grants and loans to make broadband and other advanced communications infrastructure improvements in rural areas.
In December 2014, I visited with groups of people whose families and businesses will benefit from a $1,771,035 USDA Rural Development Community Connect Broadband Grant awarded to North Central Telephone Cooperative (NCTC) in Lafayette, Tennessee.
This rural area bordering the Tennessee/Kentucky state line has seen their share of businesses closing and families moving “closer to town.”  Many of the longtime residents understand why their children and grandchildren feel isolated and have decided to move away, but they, along with community and business leaders, hope the improvements that NCTC is making with the help of Rural Development funds will turn the tide and draw businesses and people back into the area.
Upon completion, NCTC service area residents will have access to internet speeds ranging from 5 Megabits per second (Mbps) to a full 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps). This means businesses will be able to capitalize off of e-commerce business strategies and offer teleworking options to their employees; community members will have more efficient and reliable access to commercial and emergency services.
I was reminded by a young father that shared how much he enjoyed raising his family on the same road as his parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles while also describing the challenge of not being able to work at home because he did not have access to high-speed internet service, that building a stronger rural America is not only vital to our nation economically, but as an underpinning to strong families.
Breaking ground on this project felt more like USDA Rural Development and NCTC were breaking antiquated barriers that have prevented America’s rural businesses, services and families from accessing the world.
USDA Rural Development’s Community Connect Grant Program is designed for communities like Lafayette. These grants enable access to broadband technology that will sustain existing and attract new businesses to rural communities. Broadband makes the world accessible even in rural America.
If your rural community needs financial assistance to make broadband access a reality, USDA Rural Development is accepting applications* from state or town governments, cooperatives, incorporated organizations, Indian Tribes and Tribal Organizations for Community Connect Grants.
Together let’s break down the barriers and make the world accessible. For more information contact your local USDA Rural Development team.
Nancy White with North Central Telephone Cooperative gives RUS Acting Administrator Jasper Schneider (middle) and Rural Development Tennessee State Director Bobby Goode (right) a tour of their broadband facilities in Lafayette, Tennessee.
Nancy White with North Central Telephone Cooperative gives RUS Acting Administrator Jasper Schneider (middle) and Rural Development Tennessee State Director Bobby Goode (right) a tour of their broadband facilities in Lafayette, Tennessee.

4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Retail Salespeople

I’ve been reading tons of articles about the future of shopping, the growth of mobile in the shopping experience and how major retailers are taking advantage of technology to transform their stores. Not only is online shopping the new normal, but even in-store, many shoppers prefer to get product info from their phones (PDF) rather than a live salesperson.
It’s enough to make a retailer worry that shopping in a physical store with help from a sales clerk is becoming as obsolete as using a typewriter.


4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Retail Salespeople

Excalibur N5

From Raytheon:




Packing heat in a precision-guided artillery shell, this "magic bullet" for Soldiers can fly 30 miles at 760 mph and score a direct hit. The new Excalibur N5 will bring the magic to Sailors: http://www.raytheon.com/newsroom/feature/rms14_precision_projectile.html

Lake-effect Snowstorm

From Raytheon:




This is what a massive lake-effect snowstorm looks like to
our VIIRS sensor. More of 2014’s best pics:http://rtn.co/1tuMx5l

Beretta wants to be U.S. Army's new gun. Again. - Dec. 29, 2014

The Italian gunmaker Beretta wants to be the U.S. Army's standard-issue handgun one more time.

Beretta has been supplying the Army with its M9 handgun for the last 30 years.


Beretta wants to be U.S. Army's new gun. Again. - Dec. 29, 2014

Fun Grand Canyon Photo

December 29, 2014.

This has nothing to do with the theme of this blog, but we like the photo:




Plan a trip to Grand Canyon and take a moment to enjoy the park after dark!

The crisp, dry, and cold winter weather is a great time to take photos of the night sky at Grand Canyon. If you're looking to take star photos, our next New Moon is set for January 20th, which is the best to see the dark night sky. Be sure to check the weather ahead of time to make sure the sky will be clear:http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/weather-condition.htm 

JLTV Tailgate

From Lockheed Martin:




Our Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) is ready to protect our warfighters! If you're headed to #LMAFB, come take a #JLTVandme selfie at the JLTV Tailgate:http://lmt.co/1HWrqKb
If you're watching the game from home, learn more about JLTV here: http://lmt.co/1HWrqKo

How Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Differs at Big and Small Businesses

Many people are aware that big companies are much more likely than small businesses to offer employer-sponsored health insurance to their employees. TheMedical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), an annual effort to query nearly 40,000 establishments, conducted by the Federal Government’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that only 34.8 percent of private sector establishments with fewer than 50 employees provided workers with health care coverage in 2013, as compared with 95.7 percent of those with 50 or more workers.
Bigger companies are also more likely than smaller ones to offer health care coverage to retirees. The 2013 MEPS reveals that only 1.3 percent of business locations with fewer than 50 workers offered health insurance to retirees under the age of 65, and only 2.3 percent offered it to older retirees. By contrast, 23.5 percent of private sector establishments with 50 or more workers provided health insurance to retirees under the age of 65, and 19.5 percent offered it to retirees over 65.


How Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Differs at Big and Small Businesses

The Infographic Resume: Pros, Cons and How-To

Pictures are not only worth a thousand words, they can also help you get a job. Visual content is more appealing to look at and can illustrate quickly, making them ideal for resumes. While many creative types are using infographic resumes, there are some situations in which you’ll want to stick to traditional text in presenting your work history. Learn the pros and cons of infographic resumes, and get tips on how you can create and use one to land a job.



The Infographic Resume: Pros, Cons and How-To

KC-135R Stratotanker

From U.S. Department of Defense (DOD):




Air Force Airman 1st Class Johnny Lamb signals to a KC-135R Stratotanker pilot to stop on McConnell Air Force Base, Kan., Dec. 22, 2014. Lamb is assigned to the 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. 

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Victor J. Caputo

Sunday, December 28, 2014

AirAsia CEO takes to Twitter fast in wake of tragedy - Dec. 28, 2014

In the hours of uncertainty after an AirAsia passenger jet went missing Sunday, the airline's CEO quickly addressed the watching world via social media.



AirAsia CEO takes to Twitter fast in wake of tragedy - Dec. 28, 2014

Four Generations Maintain Pig Ear Sandwich Business

Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The founder of a popular restaurant is responsible for one of the most unusual sandwiches around. That’s because he built his business on an ingredient others were throwing away.
Back in the 1930’s Juan Mora, also known as ‘Big John’, owned a tamale cart that he pushed up and down Farish Street in Jackson, Mississippi.


Four Generations Maintain Pig Ear Sandwich Business

DoYouGreen Can Turn Old Christmas Trees Into Lingerie

If you have a Christmas tree in your home right now, you’re probably planning to put it out on your curb with the rest or your garbage in a week or two. But in the future, you might be able to give your old tree a new life as something else.
French company DoYouGreen has come up with a way to turn pine trimmings into a soft fabric, perfect for garments like lingerie. The fabric is smooth, thin and naturally anti-bacterial. In addition, it requires no chemical processing to go from wood to fabric. So it’s even more of an environmentally friendly process than other wood-based fabric materials like bamboo.


DoYouGreen Can Turn Old Christmas Trees Into Lingerie

'The Interview': $15M on 2M streams - Dec. 28, 2014

In a landmark moment for digital movie distribution, "The Interview" has earned more than $15 million through online sales in its first four days of release.



'The Interview': $15M on 2M streams - Dec. 28, 2014

Northrop Grumman & Cybersecurity

From Northrop Grumman:




On today’s electronic battlefields, we’re bringing #cyberand #EW together to keep warfighters safe.

Raytheon & Toys for Tots

From Raytheon:




The Toys for Tots Mission: 1,000 Smiles toy drive was a success this year. El Segundo, CA employees donated over 1,500 toys to children in need. Our Finance organization won the competition by bringing in 500 toys via127 employees. Four FIRST Robotics teams helped move the toys to the Toys for Tots trucks.

A Simple Concept Often Wins With "Awesome" Brand Names

The book Hello, My Name Is Awesome teaches readers how to use simple principles to create awesome names for their marketing.



A Simple Concept Often Wins With "Awesome" Brand Names

Spyware abuse – partner tracking reaching “epidemic proportions”

The use of spyware software – used to track partner’s movements, texts and even listen in on calls in realtime – has seen a dramatic rise over the past few years, according to an exclusive report by British newspaper The Independent.
A survey by domestic violence charity Women’s Aid concluded that 41% of abuse victims it had been involved with had been the victim of harassment using electronic devices or spyware abuse, while a second survey – this time by Digital Trust – claims it found that 50% of abusive partners had used spyware or electronic devices to snoop on their victims.


Spyware abuse – partner tracking reaching “epidemic proportions”

When Should You Use Online Surveys (and When Not)?

Online surveys can be both overused and underused. On the one hand, many don’t take the opportunity to gather feedback when the timing would be best. On the other hand, people who are asked to respond to surveys too often suffer survey fatigue and refuse to participate in yet one more survey. However, when the timing and method is right, respondents are happy to participate and you’re able to get the responses you need to help make decisions. So, when are the best times to send out a survey?



When Should You Use Online Surveys (and When Not)?

F-35 Lightning II Program Meets Aircraft Production Goal for 2014 | F-35 Lightning II

The Department of Defense accepted its final F-35 Lightning II aircraft delivery for 2014 today meeting the program production goal of 36 aircraft. With the last delivery for this year, the government, Lockheed Martin and industry team has delivered 109 operational aircraft to the U.S. and partner nations since the program's inception. The 36th delivery, known as CF-19, was the first F-35C carrier variant delivered to the Marine Corps.



F-35 Lightning II Program Meets Aircraft Production Goal for 2014 | F-35 Lightning II

FOX News Gets Removed From DISH; Replaced By TheBlaze | The Federalist Papers

FOX News Gets Removed From DISH; Replaced By TheBlaze | The Federalist Papers

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Holiday Earnings Mixed: Cyber Sales Up, Retailers Miss Mark

Some say this was one of the best holiday shopping seasons to date. Others have a different view.
Depending on your perspective and your business, cyber sales or brick and mortar retail, interpretation of these numbers is best left to the beholder.


Holiday Earnings Mixed: Cyber Sales Up, Retailers Miss Mark

Russia empties the vault to prop up the ruble - Dec. 26, 2014

Russia's central bank is running down its stash of foreign cash to try to stop its currency from plunging and contain the crisis threatening its economy.

So far this year the central bank has burned through more than $110 billion in foreign currency supplies. That's more than a quarter of what it has in reserves right now.


Russia empties the vault to prop up the ruble - Dec. 26, 2014

SpaceX will try landing a rocket on a tiny ship at sea - Dec. 26, 2014

The way we send stuff into space hasn't changed much in the past 50 years: Multi-stage rockets spend their fuel and dump their lower sections as garbage.

That's too wasteful for Elon Musk and his SpaceX company.


SpaceX will try landing a rocket on a tiny ship at sea - Dec. 26, 2014

Radar-carrying Blimp:

From Raytheon:




Impress your friends with these 10 facts about our radar-carrying blimp: http://rtn.co/1HMH6zH

Friday, December 26, 2014

UPS Wraps Up The Holidays With Returns - UPS Pressroom

With a record number of consumers shopping online for the holidays, post-holiday returns and exchanges will keep UPS (NYSE: UPS) busy right through the new year. UPS National Returns Day is Jan. 6, 2015, when the company expects consumers will ship more than 800,000 packages back to retailers and merchants. By the end of the first full week in January, UPS anticipates transporting 4 million return packages in the United States.



UPS Wraps Up The Holidays With Returns - UPS Pressroom

'The Interview' makes $1 million at box office - Dec. 26, 2014

"The Interview" banked almost $1 million at the box office on Christmas Day, and it could make a couple million more over the long holiday weekend.

But it could potentially make a lot more money online, through $5.99 movie rentals and future sales to streaming services like Netflix (NFLXTech30).


'The Interview' makes $1 million at box office - Dec. 26, 2014

WestJet's Blue Santa Brings Christmas to Dominican Children

WestJet is in the Christmas spirit once again.
Last year the airline fulfilled the Christmas wishes of passengers on two of its flights, handing out everything from scarves to flat screen TVs. This year, the company brought the holiday spirit to Nuevo Renacer, an impoverished community in the Dominican Republic. The event came complete with Santa, tree, snow … and, of course, gifts for young and old.


WestJet's Blue Santa Brings Christmas to Dominican Children

9 Things to Be Thankful For in Business This Year

The end of the year is quickly approaching. For small business owners, this offers the perfect opportunity to reflect upon the past year and evaluate all of your successes and failures. And in businesses, even the things that didn’t quite work out can be helpful in the long run.
So this year, think about all of the things to be thankful for in business.


9 Things to Be Thankful For in Business This Year

Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 Top Moments

From Lockheed Martin:




This past year was was filled with innovation, exploration and discovery. From taking our first steps on our journey to Mars to unveiling new game-changing technology, 2014 had more than just a few defining moments. Revisit some of our top moments along the way: http://lmt.co/1th234Q #BestofLM

Former NYC firefighters join JetBlue cabin crews - YouTube

Video (4:05)



Former NYC firefighters join JetBlue cabin crews - YouTube

Season's Greetings

From Raytheon:




All is calm, all is bright. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours. 

[Image via NASA]

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

When a Mug Is Not Enough, Send a Personalized LEGO

It has been a very good year for Mark Anderson, professional cartoonist and proprietor of Andertoons, and he wanted to celebrate it with his customers. But he wanted to celebrate it in a special way, one that would be remembered and talked about for a long time.
So what kind of marketing promotion could he do that would have that “WOW!” factor?


When a Mug Is Not Enough, Send a Personalized LEGO

10 least affordable rental markets - Dec. 24, 2014

Home to the Yankees and often called the birthplace of hip hop, the Bronx now has another famous moniker: the country's most unaffordable rental market.

Tenants in the northern-most borough of New York City can expect to pay almost 68% of their income toward rent, with the 2015 fair market rent being $1,904 a month.


10 least affordable rental markets - Dec. 24, 2014

Can Your Biz Achieve Teamwork Like This Community Did?

Over the past few years, it seems like people’s holiday light displays have gotten more and more intricate. People have covered their entire homes in twinkle lights, set their displays to music, and racked up huge electric bills in the process. But this year, there’s a light display that puts all those others to shame.
YouTuber Jeff Maxey posted the videos below earlier this month. They show an overhead view of a neighborhood in Yucaipa, California. The entire neighborhood banded together to put on a Christmas light show set to music.


Can Your Biz Achieve Teamwork Like This Community Did?

JetBlue offers to fly police to NYPD funeral - Dec. 24, 2014

JetBlue (JBLU) is offering to fly two police officers from each department on its route around the country to New York for the funerals of two NYPD officers killed last weekend.

The New York-based airline is also working with its partners to have family members of one of the slain officers, Wenjian Liu, flown in from overseas.


JetBlue offers to fly police to NYPD funeral - Dec. 24, 2014

Why cook a gourmet meal when you can defrost it? - Dec. 24, 2014

A Christmas ham takes at least a couple of hours to prepare, and that's on top of making the sides, the appetizers and, of course, the dessert.

Or you can just defrost the whole thing.


Why cook a gourmet meal when you can defrost it? - Dec. 24, 2014

Here's where all the Jews are hanging out on Xmas eve - Dec. 24, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of year -- for Jewish singles to mingle and for savvy businesses to cash in.

And we're not talking Chinese restaurants and movie theaters. There's a growing number of "ball" events popping up at clubs -- from New York City's Tao Downtown Lounge to Miami's Fontainebleau -- all catering to Jewish singles on Christmas Eve.


Here's where all the Jews are hanging out on Xmas eve - Dec. 24, 2014

Creative Seasonal Marketing With Musical Dogs

Christmas songs “sung” by barking dogs have become a seasonal favorite for many. But one enterprising band took this concept to a whole new level by creating a video featuring live, not animated, dogs playing musical instruments.
The video shows the band Walk Off the Earth in holiday attire performing the song “Little Drummer Boy.” But along with the band, three dogs appear to be playing their own instruments: a keyboard, a cello and drums.


Creative Seasonal Marketing With Musical Dogs

Takata cuts executive pay and demotes president over airbag recall - Dec. 24, 2014

Takata is slashing the pay for its top executives and demoting its president as the Japanese firm faces an angry fall-out for selling defective, exploding airbags.

President and Chief Operating Officer Stefan Stocker is leaving both of those top roles and taking a 30% pay cut for four months. He'll stay with the company as a Takata executive director, according to a company spokesperson.


Takata cuts executive pay and demotes president over airbag recall - Dec. 24, 2014

Minimum wage hikes could impact 1,400 Walmart stores - Dec. 24, 2014

Some employees at about 1,400 Walmart stores could see their wages climb in 2015 due to increases in their state's minimum wage.

There are 20 states where the minimum wage is set to rise on Jan. 1, and another four states plus Washington D.C. where the wages are due to go up later in the year.


Minimum wage hikes could impact 1,400 Walmart stores - Dec. 24, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Did Your Christmas Tree Come From Canada?

If so, you wouldn’t be alone. Last year about 1.5 million Christmas trees sold in the U.S. hailed from across the border.
Why are Canadian Christmas trees such a popular U.S. import? Well, there are actually a number of reasons.


Did Your Christmas Tree Come From Canada?

Function over finesse with this bland GE range - YouTube

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Function over finesse with this bland GE range - YouTube

GE's Artistry Series range offers high-end design at a low price - YouTube

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GE's Artistry Series range offers high-end design at a low price - YouTube

Where you can watch 'The Interview' - Dec. 23, 2014

Now that "The Interview" is back on, where can you watch it?

Sony Pictures announced on Tuesday the controversial Seth Rogen comedy will run "in a number of theaters on Christmas Day."


Where you can watch 'The Interview' - Dec. 23, 2014

ATK and NASA Announce Commercial Space Capabilities Partnership

From ATK:


ATK and NASA Announce Commercial Space Capabilities Partnership

Dec 23, 2014

Arlington, Va. – ATK (NYSE: ATK) and NASA have announced an agreement to support near-term core technologies for space logistics, hosted payloads, and space transportation.

The Space Act Agreement (SAA) allows ATK’s Space Systems division and NASA to collaborate on technologies and new product development that meet the needs of the emerging satellite transport and space logistics industry. The SAA is an unfunded partnership through NASA’s Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities Office at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

 “The SAA agreement allows ATK and NASA to develop solutions that support NASA’s 2014 Strategic Plan to advance commercial space efforts in use of space logistics and space vehicle transport technologies,” said Tom Wilson, vice president and general manager of ATK’s Space Systems division. “By sharing these innovative commercial space capabilities, we will strengthen our existing partnership with NASA and expand the space logistics market for government and commercial missions.”

The agreement defines principal milestones on ATK’s scheduled commercial activities and allows NASA to offer assistance and feedback on key developments. By leveraging NASA expertise, ATK will continue to enhance its innovative in-orbit programs for government and commercial space customers.

ATK is an aerospace, defense, and outdoor sports and recreation company with operations in 21 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally. News and information can be found on the Internet at www.atk.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atk, or on Twitter @ATK.

Certain information discussed in this press release constitutes forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Although ATK believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be achieved. Forward-looking information is subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Among those factors are: changes in governmental spending, budgetary policies and product sourcing strategies; the company's competitive environment; the terms and timing of awards and contracts; and economic conditions. ATK undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. For further information on factors that could impact ATK, and statements contained herein, please refer to ATK’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Elf on the Shelf Helps Families Create Holiday Traditions

The holiday season is upon us. That means that kids around the world are trying to remain on Santa’s “nice” list. But how can they prove to Santa that they’ve been good this year? That’s what The Elf on the Shelf is here for.
The Elf on the Shelf is a family business that operates with the goal of helping families create holiday memories. The company creates products and stories based on their own family tradition. Read more about how this small company is marketing products to create new holiday traditions around the world in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.


Elf on the Shelf Helps Families Create Holiday Traditions

Russia debt closer to junk status - Dec. 23, 2014

Russia's debt has been placed under review for a potential downgrade by Standard & Poor's.

The ratings agency said Tuesday the move "stems from what we view as a rapid deterioration of Russia's monetary flexibility and the impact of the weakening economy on its financial system."


Russia debt closer to junk status - Dec. 23, 2014

Dow hits 18,000 for first time ever - Dec. 23, 2014

New Year's Eve is still more than a week away, but investors can bust out the bubbly now.

The Dow closed above 18,000 milestone for the first time ever Tuesday, putting an exclamation point on a stellar year. Not to be outdone, the S&P 500 also finished at an all-time high. The two indexes are now up nearly 9% and 13% in 2014, respectively.


Dow hits 18,000 for first time ever - Dec. 23, 2014