Prescott is a graduate of Babson College, served as an officer in the US Marine Corps, trained police officers at the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, launched POLITICO Pro Defense, and now serves as the International Research Consultant for his family business, 300 Below, Inc. After cardiac arrest, brief death, and subsequent revival, his reflections on an inspired second chance at life are posted here daily.
Reflecting beyond the day I found out why.
There are wars in pursuit of interest. In these wars, nations pursue economic or strategic ends to protect the nation or expand its power. There are also wars of ideology, designed to spread some idea of “the good,” whether this good is religious or secular. The two obviously can be intertwined, such that a war designed to spread an ideology also strengthens the interests of the nation spreading the ideology.
Since World War II, a new class of war has emerged that we might call humanitarian wars — wars in which the combatants claim to be fighting neither for their national interest nor to impose any ideology, but rather to prevent inordinate human suffering. In Kosovo and now in Libya, this has been defined as stopping a government from committing mass murder. But it is not confined to that. In the 1990s, the U.S. intervention in Somalia was intended to alleviate a famine while the invasion of Haiti was designed to remove a corrupt and oppressive regime causing grievous suffering. Continue reading
With some extra pancake batter this morning, I decided to whip up something savory. Inspired by a savory truffle macaroon I had at the Ferry Building in San Francisco yesterday, I thought the batter might well duel some of my leftover spices from Thanksgiving dinner.
This recipe is quite simple and yields a breadstick-like appetizer. I’m calling it a North Beach Cable Car because of the track treads found on the snack. I incorporated a panini press to provide a conduit for a strip of sauce in the middle, which is not only functional– it allows for a unique presentation, too. Continue reading
This is an AMAZING piece by George Friedman! I love the comment on traveling through observation, which is what I seek to do when I travel. I also respect his words when he says, “I should add that I make it a practice to report neither whom I meet with nor what they say. I learn much more this way and can convey a better sense of what is going on. The direct quote can be the most misleading thing in the world.”
I hope you are equally spellbound by the words within.
One of my favorite old computer games was Theme Hospital, and my jaw dropped when I realized this was released back in 1997. I miss the sarcasm involved in game play, the training of doctors to treat the weirdest names of diseases, and placing plants and radiators aimlessly in rooms to keep patients happy. I’m honestly not sure why I loved this game, but I would imagine it wrongly taught me that micromanagement was oh-so-important. I never made it past the first few levels thanks to the buggy nature of the ported product from a DOS environment, but I still managed to enjoy the game after countless wasted hours of my childhood lifetime. If there’s anyone else out there that played this game, leave me a comment. I’d love to hear about your memories from old times. What amazes me is that the game was ported to the PlayStation console in August of this year, and is now being sold on the PlayStation network for download.
I’m noticing a lot more trends in managing excess capacity this year, across a wide array of industries. One of the top Inc 500 businesses, in terms of growth, grew successfully with managing backhaul in the transportation industry, which means filling the excess capacity of freight trucks on return from their original destinations. Amazon’s explosive growth with AWS (Amazon Web Services) was implemented when they realized they could manage excess capacity on their servers and sell it to third-party organizations that needed the additional computing power for their own operations.
Panera’s new “MyPanera” customer appreciation program appears to be an offshoot of capacity management, too. Panera usually donates all their extra unsold baked goods to charitable organizations at the end of the day, thus their customer loyalty program also cuts down on potential waste while increasing customer satisfaction. And this allows them to award baked goods earlier in the day when they are more fresh. I was initially confused by the seemingly random awards offered to their customer base, which is not necessarily driven by purchasing decisions but, it seems, by repeat visits to a store. This allows a statistical spread so they can randomly assign the “outliers” of baked goods and other minor items to an additionally randomized spread among consumers who visit their store. Instead of giving away free samples to anyone, they are ensuring that their repeat customers benefit from increased attention. If this is what they are doing it’s very smart, and if it’s not then I just gave them a cutting edge way to manage their inventory fluctuations. =)
After speaking with several senior Marines who have assisted in my job search, it appears that much of the entrepreneurial work is also headed toward managing excess capacity for government contracts. One program in particular adopted mathematical formulas from the oil industry and migrated them into a software modeling program that was applied to aviation platforms. When the operational tempo was taken into consideration in a simulated environment, it was determined that several major corporations were unnecessarily selling the government additional replacement parts for their contracted components based on a linear maintenance curve.
Capacity management is nothing new, but the ways in which businesses are calculating their formulas are causing significant downstream effects for streamlining business operations, and also for shifting the revenues of suppliers involved in manufacturing replacement parts. Often times the “giant” suppliers are offended by new advances in capacity management, because it means their revenue is coming under the chopping block.
In addition to capacity management, increasing the longevity of maintenance parts is also a frustration for major suppliers. If you increase the life of brake rotors by 200% or 300% after cryogenic processing, that means a brake manufacturer is potentially seeing a 200-300% decrease in their profits if all of their customers find out about the matter.
For providers of specialized maintenance-related items, a reduction in demand might also mean the value in doing a factory production run for replacement parts is lost. Often times in small part production runs, the cost per unit becomes prohibitively high with this shift in demand.
Just something to think about, but it’s a trend I’m seeing. I’m looking forward to seeing how America’s entrepreneurial community can capitalize on this trend in the near future, too.
I got in a New York City taxicab this evening and had to laugh when I saw that my ride was brought to me by “Windows – Out of Virtual Memory”
It amazes me that they’d use Windows to power an interactive display inside a taxi. But it does not surprise me that Windows refuses to run the program properly. How does something like this run out of memory?? It’s not like we’re doing video editing inside the cabs here…
If you’re building a mobile application, take notice of the unreliability here and stick with Linux. Mac OS X was built on a Unix core for good reason. What amazes me is how many people in our government are still attached to Windows OS contractors, even after proven reliability in the *nix world in datacenter environments. Oh wait, am I stepping outside my box by criticizing a brand? Give me until 2011 so I can elaborate freely…
If you’re ever near the White House, make it a point to stop by the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery. President Kennedy saved the building from destruction in 1962 and, after a long history of government use dating back to the civil war, it reopened in 1965 as a museum, as the house was originally intended for in 1858.
Since May 2009, the Art of Gaman exhibit (Gaman means “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity”) has been displayed, which features artwork from Japanese Americans living in internment camps from 1942 to 1946. These unintentional artists, composed of farmers, gardeners, shopkeepers, and homemakers, used peach pits, dried seeds, onion sack string, pipe cleaners, and old toothbrush handles to craft their designs. They acted through art to pass the time and ensure their emotional survival. One of the photos that stood out for me was of wood carvings of Hitler, Mussolini, Churchhill, and Stalin. I often wonder if their faces were burned into the memories of these trapped people from such a dark time in our nation’s history.
Another section worth visiting is the Bresler Collection, which opened September 24th and features beautiful wood designs from artists like Hugh E. McKay. His wood work is featured in one of my photos, seen with a stone inlay.
The upstairs ballroom is also worth visiting and I can imagine hosting a non-profit event here with an incredibly relaxing vibe. If you have any interest in wood work or crafts of any kind, I highly recommend a visit to this gallery.
I couldn’t help but wonder whether or not blind folks are actually changing diapers these days. That’s not a job that I’d want to be feeling around for– I’m pretty sure you need eyes for something like that. I noticed braille on the side of this changing station in the bathroom at Panera. So that made me wonder, would a blind person change the diaper of their child, exchange money with the cashier, and then eat a sandwich? I just hope their hands are clean.
After my last appendectomy at Fort Belvoir, it looks like I needed another reminder of why the military medical system rocks… I sliced my hand open tonight when a bottle broke while cooking and they got me all stitched up in under an hour! The staff at DeWitt Hospital is absolutely awesome and I’m thankful to have had such great care!