Thursday, April 29, 2010

Star of Sustainability - Jacqueline Novogratz

The Blue Sweater story of Jacqueline Novogratz, the Founder and CEO of Acumen Fund is a great story about interconnectedness. Understanding our interconnectedness with each other and our planet is a key to leading sustainable lives and building and growing sustainable businesses.

Watch a 2 mins 45 secs video of the story here.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Leadership - the forgotten people

Nan Gu is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Physics at MIT. He has written a great article on leadership here.

It is an article about the so-called ordinary people who lead and hardly ever get recognised. It is these folk who inspire me to get up every morning and I trust that Nan Gu's article will inspire you to appreciate others more and to celebrate your own leadership more as well.

Personal leadership and empowering people to bring everything they are to everything they do is a key theme of this years differencemakers tour master-class. Please find out about the tour here.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality

“When you are no longer able to change the situation, you are forced to change yourself.”

Viktor Frankl

Man’s Search For Meaning

(Psychologist & Concentration Camp Survivor)

Viktor Frankl’s quotation is perhaps the most touching, sharp, provocative and simple quotation on what it takes to be a differencemaker. Sounds simple, but don’t mistake simple for easy to do.

To be a Differencemaker is to begin by making a difference to yourself. It’s about finding the courage and tenacity to either change your situation or change yourself; or both. It’s about thinking differently and independently from the conditioning and rules that have made you who you are today. It’s about finding new possibilities in your life and acting on these new possibilities. It’s about touching different lives as you change yours.

I know people who says they would make a difference once they achieve a certain status, job or financial stability. In other words, they need to change their current situation and have to be ‘doing well’ before they would contemplate ‘doing good’. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Differencemakers are people who understand you can ‘do well by doing good’.

Your mind has the power to imagine better – and this starts with imagining a better you. A better you doesn’t depend on your job, your status, your friends, your family or your wealth. It’s simply about you. What is the difference in you that you can imagine and what are you willing to do about it?

And you don’t have to make earth-shattering differences in someone’s life. For example, if the difference you wish to make is to spend more time with the family, then what’s the difference in you that you have to make in order to spend more time with the family?

In December 2008, I was staring into the abyss because my new career in leadership development was failing spectacularly. I couldn’t change the situation and it looked like I had to go back into the IT industry again. Then came the announcement that the UK high street store Woolworths was closing down with the lost of 27,000 jobs. I decided I would help 500 people facing redundancy locally and not charge for this.

I spent a whole day (literally) thinking and dealing with my commercial conditioning that says ‘I will only share my insight if you paid me.’ After all, I had not earned any money for over 8 months. In the end, I was forced to change myself; to get rid of my conditioning, to think independently and to search deep down about my authentic intention for helping people. After 24 hours of thinking, I was finally happy with my intention, which was ‘I am happy to share my leadership learning freely because I know it can make a difference to people’s lives’

In forcing myself to change I began to see other possibilities to help people. With the Internet being such a great leveler for sharing insight, I realised I could share my leadership thinking with 20 million people through a blog. That’s how Leaders CafĂ© was born!

As Plutarch, the great Greek philosopher said so eloquently “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality”.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Star of Sustainability - Adam Werbach

Adam Werbach the CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi S is one of my sustainability stars.

I would highly recommend a visit to his website and download his The Birth of Blue speech or watch the video introduced by non other than Paul Hawken.

Also on Adam’s website there are many great tools and a PSP (Personal Sustainability Practices) White Paper that has some great insights. As all politics is local so to is sustainability firstly personal.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

What do you want?

What do you want? Really - what is the outcome you would like to see? That is the ultimate question - not because you always get what you want, and not because greed is good, or because selfishness is a state of mind to which you should necessarily aspire.

The answer to the question, "What do you want?" is so important because it determines your goal, your intention. This begs the other question, "To what extent is this intention within your sphere of control or influence?" We all want the economy for example, especially our own little pieces of it, to improve right now. But even the guys setting policy can't do it alone. The "What do I want?" question is immediate to you, and once answered, influences the actions you take, at least if you are being authentic - congruent with yourself.

When you ask yourself, "What do I really want?" it's to get beyond the shoulds. Shoulds are borrowed visions - things you were taught by your parents and other key influencers during your formative years. Shoulds are the standards that your friends have, or that your neighbors have. They aren't really yours unless you choose them.

A very wise colleague of mine asked the question years ago, "Are you decision making or problem solving?" At the time his question didn't have huge meaning for me, but I think it was because I had already made a definitive decision - that of being my own boss - and there was absolutely no going back. I didn't give myself an escape hatch. I had answered the original "What do you want?" question, and all the rest became the process of making it happen.

Was it easy? No. There was a list of obstacles as long as my arm. There were people who didn't understand why in the world I would take such a risk. There were people whose "Good luck!" had an overtone of cynicism that read, "She'll be back." There were statistics at the time that talked about the failure rate of new businesses. And of course there was the learning curve of learning to do my craft, do the books, plan how I was going to market - even choosing a name and a logo. But none of that stopped me because I knew what I wanted. So I overcame the obstacles and did it.

The biggest thing that is keeping you from creating the life you want to live is your avoidance of the question, "What do you want?" The next biggest thing is when you have two things that you want, and the two of them are in conflict with one another. Dr. Vatz, my persuasion professor from college, would probably be astounded to know that more than 30 years after taking his class I still remember him saying, "You can't be both a good daughter and a good date." Hahahahaha - that was hi-larious as a college student, but you get his point. At some time you have to decide which you want more.

To do otherwise, to move onward indefinitely with these two conflicting "What do I want?" ideas in your mind is like standing with one foot on the dock and the other foot on the boat. You can strengthen your leg muscles and get better at holding the boat in place, but sooner or later the boat is going to have enough pull that you're going to have to choose to be one place or the other - or you'll fall into the water.

When you are living with what you don't want for a long enough time -
  • You're likely to become stressed and/or depressed.
  • You're going to complain a lot, and after a while the people who are supportive of you and listen to you are going to get tired of hearing it.
  • You might manifest your upset in emotional weight, excess drinking, etc.  
So which weighs more - the thing you want or the obstacles you have to overcome in order to get there? Only you know the answer to the question. But sooner or later you are going to have to answer it. You can always choose to wait until a future date - but that's simply more time that you're choosing to delay in having the life you want to live and the person you want to become.

On-line Success is a Process, Not An Event

I was recently reading Kat Eden's excellent article "The X-Factor: Why Some People Effortlessly Stay In Great Shape" in her Body Incredible blog. In it, she shares the "secret" of success in physical fitness.

It's this: Consistent effort.

Consistently exercising. Consistently drinking enough water daily. Consistently eating a healthy breakfast. Consistently doing what it takes.

Not a very exciting secret, huh? She admits as much, but insists it is the only secret to success.

The same applies to your on-line strategy.

Too many business owners treat their on-line strategy as a series of one-off events. This won't work. Internet marketing is not about launching a Web site, creating a blog, publishing a video to YouTube, or posting to Twitter.

Success on the Internet is a process, not an event. It's about monitoring your Web site, posting to your blog (and other people's blogs), publishing a video stream on YouTube, and using Twitter regularly.

In high school, we learned that water is called the "universal solvent", because over time it can dissolve anything - even rock (mind you, that takes centuries!)
Be like water with your Internet marketing: Drip ... drip ... drip.

Just like your physical fitness, your on-line fitness relies on consistent effort.

I'll say it again: Consistent. Effort. Consistent effort.

The bad news is: This isn't exciting.

Sorry! Launching your blog is exciting because it's an event. But launching a blog and expecting it to bring business is like installing a phone line and expecting the phone to start ringing. Or printing business cards and waiting for the cheques to start rolling in.

Posting to your blog 2-3 times a week doesn't seem as exciting. But it's the true secret to success.

What does this mean in practice?

The good news is: Even if it's not exciting, it isn't very difficult! Especially if you're an expert, with lots to say.

Here's what I recommend you do:
  • Write a newsletter article (about as long as this one) every two weeks and send it to your e-mail newsletter list. What - you don't have an e-mail newsletter list? Shame on you! But it's never too late to start, so start building one now (with permission).
  • Every time you send a newsletter, copy and paste the article to your blog.
  • Tweet about this on Twitter, with a link to your blog post.
  • Update your Facebook profile, with a link to your blog post.
  • Update your LinkedIn status, with a link to your blog post.
  • Bonus points if you read the blog post out loud, record it and post it to your podcast (audio newsletter).
Is that all you should do? No, but it's a minimum, and a bloody good start. What's more, it will put you ahead of 95% - maybe even 99% - of Web site owners. And isn't that worth striving for?

Live recording by Seth Godin on Linchpins

As anyone who knows me will tell you I am a big fan of Seth Godin and his work.

Subscribers to Seth's blog like me were given this link today to a 45 talk by Seth on linchpins. I hope you enjoy it.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Farewell C.K. Prahalad by Toby Webb

Toby Webb writes an excellent blog called Reflections on Ethical Business.

His 18th April tribute post to a hero of the modern era in ethical business C. K. Prahalad is worth a read here.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Seven special steps to successful collaboration

A few times in my life I have felt let down by what I perceived was betrayal by others of perceived agreements to do certain things.

The last time this happened I allowed myself to feel hurt for many months. The positive consequence was that I developed a process for reaching agreement with others. I trust you will find it valuable in making your collaborations successful.

There are three worlds. The one in here - that’s my world; the one out there - that’s your world; and the one that is vital when it comes to collaboration - the world we share.

I find that there are three main reasons for human conflict:

1) disagreement about the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s.
2) disagreement about how the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s will be achieved.
3) assumption of agreement in 1) and/or 2), and a negative response when such assumptions result in perceived betrayal.

Seven special steps to successful collaboration

1) Establish that there is agreement concerning the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s. Don’t move on until you are absolutely certain there is agreement.

2) State what you can and will do to achieve the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s.

3) Ask the other person or people involved to state what they can and will do to achieve the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s.

4) State what you feel are the milestones or measurements that will indicate you on on track to achieve what you say you will in 2).

5) Ask the other person or people involved to state what they feel are the milestones or measurements that will indicate they are on on track to achieve what they say they will in 3).

6) Agree on dates and times you will be in touch with each other to discuss progress and celebrate achievements.

7) Confirm in writing via email or letter your agreements in 2) through 6) and ask for a confirmation response from the other person or people involved.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lack of collaboration = lack of leadership

At the moment the Federal Government in Australia is attempting to take over the running of the health system and the State Governments are resisting. Petty behaviour on all sides is on full display every day in the media. It's pathetic; spin, posturing, huffing and puffing, all resulting in a lack of collaboration which in my view = a lack of leadership. And of course the people, everyone involved is claiming to serve, lose. The same thing happened in the USA. President Obama succeeded but at what cost to the people and in the end will the compromise really deliver the good that was intended!

It seems opposition to government parties all over the world, and even those in the same political party as is the case with the current health system debate in Australia, are driven by self-interest rather than enlightened self-interest.

Real leadership is not about compromise, it is an ability and a willingness to achieve a co-promise and that means we need to leave out our egos and truly serve for the common good.

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Significant shifts of the new world we are building

Much thanks to my colleague Roshanna Evans who posted the following on our differencemakers community site.
The list comes from another tribe Roshanna belongs to.

It is a list I plan to ponder a lot and take action accordingly.

Old: Man is born into sin, essentially corrupt at the core.
New: All people in their core essence are beautiful and worthy of love.

Old: Hatred and vengeance are justified for wrongs suffered. An eye for an eye.
New: Love is the most transformative force. Forgiveness is an act of courage and compassion.

Old: Don't show real feelings, or you will get hurt. Create a convincing persona to present to the world.
New: Welcome authenticity and vulnerability. It's all about being honest and real with each other.

Old: Emphasis on hierarchies. Focus on competition so that the best rise to the top of the hierarchy.
New: Emphasis on equality. Focus on cooperation in order to support the greatest good for all.

Old: Tend to avoid personal responsibility by blaming those above or below them in the hierarchy.
New: Take personal responsibility for actions and learn from our mistakes.

Old: People need to be led or controlled by those believed to be better or more capable.
New: Each individual is a powerful creator capable of meeting their needs with the help of others.

Old: The mind and science is supreme. The scientific paradigm supersedes God and religion.
New: The heart and personal relationships are of paramount importance. The deepest essence of life is a divine mystery to be welcomed and explored.

Old: Don't question the accepted scientific paradigm. Focus on three-dimensional, five-sensory world.
New: Foster fluid intelligence. Explore the edges of consciousness, especially other dimensions and capabilities not believed to be possible under the old paradigm.

Old: Categorizing and dissecting nature allows us to better control it and to profit from it.
New: Recognizing the interconnectedness of all life leads to greater growth and harmony.

Old: Focus on order, discipline.
New: Welcome flexibility and even occasional chaos and disorder as means to see new possibilities.

Old: Value boundaries, borders, and divisions. These give security, safety, and comfort.
New: While respecting and honoring differences, look for shared vision and ways to work together. Take risks in order to grow. Short-term pain can bring long-term gain.

Old: You can't trust anyone.
New: Surrender to and trust in a divine force greater than our egoic selves.

Old: Focus on defeating and conquering the enemy, us versus them. War against evil.
New: Committed to transforming and integrating life's challenges. The external reflects the internal.

Old: Focus on details, complexity.
New: Remember the bigger picture. Identify simple principles behind the complexities of life.

Old: Look outwards for guidance. Don't trust self. Have rigid rules and beliefs.
New: Look inwards for guidance. Develop intuition. Have flexible guidelines and beliefs.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Are Goals Blocking Your Happiness?

"I just won't be happy until I have an iPod Touch!" (or fill in your own child's acquisition desire du jour) Doesn't this sound so absurd that it makes you smile? Well, perhaps after you squash the urge to wring your dear child's neck? "I want, I want, I want - and I won't be happy until I get it, whatever it is!"

The idea that goals might block a person from experiencing the fullness of life seemed a bit counterintuitive to me. After all, one of the ways that I've described myself for the past 20 years is that I'm in the goal achievement business - my role has been to help individuals and companies define and achieve their goals more consistently, more quickly, and with less stress and strain. I've helped them gain clarity on what they want, and then go get it, whatever it is.

Yes, the idea seemed a bit contradictory to me - until I looked at it from the perspective of the opening paragraph. I didn't come to this realization on my own. I was recommended to read a book titled, "Goal-Free Living - How to Have the Life You Want Now!" by Stephen M. Shapiro. His premise is that goals cause us to live for the future rather than living in the present. Shapiro says that you're doing the same thing the child does when you say "I'll be happy when I live in this kind of house, or make this amount of money, or wear this size of clothes, or get married, or get divorced."

In addition to keeping you future focused, having a continuous string of goals can be like looking through the scope on a hunting rifle - the objects you see in the crosshairs are clearly defined, but you don't see the opportunities on the periphery of that intense focus. You might be seeing a crystal-clear view of nothing but (what appears to be) empty woods, yet off to your left is a 12-point buck that's standing and watching you looking intently elsewhere, missing your chance at a prize.
Perhaps a more generalized direction, rather than a specific route, might be in order to increase the happiness in your life. Your path to a joyful, enriched life might not be a straight line. Sure, there are situations where you're going from here to there, and a plan will help you get there. But other times if you're paying attention right here, right now instead of way down the line at your desired destination - you'll see an interesting side path that you want to follow. What will happen if you don't take it? What might happen if you do?

There are certain choices in life that are permanent - but a whole lot more choices that aren't forever. Anymore you can have a tattoo removed if you realize later that you don't want that ink under your skin. In many, many areas of life you can make another choice later. You can take a year off to be with your children. You can take a pay cut to work for a nonprofit whose mission is important to you. You can change your career path to make a more sane daily existence for yourself and your family.

When I was a kid my family used to go on long car trips. My dad liked to drive, we wanted to explore lots of new places during our annual 2-week vacation, and for five of us the expense of flying was prohibitive. I remember the discussions on those car trips about whether to take the Interstate or to take a more scenic route. Those of us in the back seat usually voted (like we really had votes!) for the Interstate, because that would get us to tonight's hotel swimming pool the fastest. Our goal in the back seat was quite clearly defined.

But had we stuck solely to the Interstate we would have missed, the parks, the historical sites, the museums, the amusement parks, and the Grand Canyon, for heaven's sake! If we had flown instead of driven to our destinations we might not even know how we got there, much less had the opportunity to see things along the way! Perhaps there is something to be said for taking the scenic route.

Do you do things every day that amaze you?

I very much enjoyed a seminar recently with a colleague Paul Dunn who is known internationally as ‘the wizard of wow’.

I also love getting emails from Paul who often signs off with be sure to keep on doing things that amaze you.

Here are 5 ways you can do things that amaze you:

1. Little things make the big difference:

One of my favourite sayings comes from Anita Roddick, the Founder of The Body Shop. She said If you don’t believe little things make a big difference then you have never been to bed with a mosquito.

Take a look at all that you do for family, friends, and work mates and ask are they saying wow about my actions? And then change what you need to so that all your actions are ones that mean people say wow.

2. Embrace sustainability, it’s actually simple

Governments, as evidenced by the monumental failure of the Copenhagen summit on climate change, the posturing of some big businesses only interested in themselves, and the emergence of more bureaucracies, means sustainability can appear to be complex and out of reach for small to medium enterprises.

Forget what other people are or aren’t doing. Do the right thing by people and our planet yourself! And if you are in business consider that building a business that is good for people and our planet can actually make you more money! Don't’ believe me? Give me a call sometime. I can prove this beyond any shadow of a doubt.

3. Innovation is only possible when your culture allows it

In conducting my research for my conference and event presentations worldwide it is crystal clear to me that most business cultures make it hard for employees to turn information into insight into inspiration into ideas and therefore innovation, the successful implementation of an idea, rarely happens.

Does the culture of your business mean innovation is easy? And how about at home. Is innovation easy there too?

If you are doing what you’ve always done, most likely you are getting what you’ve always got. Is is time to change who you are and what you do?

4. People need big reasons to really be personally responsible

Best-selling author Daniel Pink has proved clearly that most business leaders do not understand motivation which is why a majority of employees do not produce their best work on a consistent basis.

Pink suggests that there are three primary motivators for us all:
Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives
Mastery: the desire to get better and better at something that matters
Purpose: the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

In your home and workplace and wherever else you gather are these three motivators being met?

5. Enlightened self-interest is an old idea that can make your life and business new again

The following entries are found at Wikipedia.

Enlightened self-interest is a philosophy in ethics which states that persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest.

It has often been simply expressed by the belief that an individual, group, or even a commercial entity will "do well by doing good"

In contrast to enlightened self-interest is simple greed or the concept of "unenlightened self-interest", in which it is argued that when most or all persons act according to their own myopic selfishness that the group suffers loss as a result of conflict, decreased efficiency because of lack of cooperation, and the increased expense each individual pays for the protection of their own interests.

All over the world I have seen ‘unenlightened self-interest’ destroy businesses, families, and lives in general. The good news is that I have also seen productivity and positivity go through the roof when the awesome power of ‘enlightened self-interest’ is at work.

Is enlightened self-interest driving you? Could you do more for your world and therefore for yourself?

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PS Do you live in or near Dubai, Toronto, Chicago, Manchester, Oxford, Singapore, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Auckland, or Adelaide? These are the cities for this years differencemakers master-class that I am honoured to be co-presenting with Innovator of the Year Alexander Blass, and a special guest presenter in each city. This master-class explores the incredible impact we can all make by combining sustainability, innovation, and social entrepreneurship. Find out more here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Hi all,

I got these wonderful quotes sent to my email, and I couldn't resist reproducing them here.

1. Our Deepest Fear

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do” --Marianne Williamson, A Return To Love
 If not you, then who? We are taught as children that others are great, and that we are not, so I ask the question, “Where do the “great” come from?”

I submit to you that the great arise from the most mundane of places; the great are those who refuse to remain as they are; the great are those who believe in their greatness.

2. You Will Become What You Think About

“The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart, this you will build your life by, and this you will become.” --James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

The thoughts that you harbor in your mind, the ones that you continually give your attention to, those thoughts will eventually become your life.

If you see yourself as a success, then you will become a success; whatever you consistently ponder, you will become.

3. Your Life Should be an Adventure

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”--Helen Keller

Whatever your dream, go after it; never settle for a life of quiet desperation, never become a realist. John Eliot said, “As soon as anyone starts telling you to be “realistic,” cross that person off your invitation list.” Your life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.

4. You Should Never Overestimate the Competition

“The fishing is best where the fewest go, and the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone else is aiming for base hits. There is just less competition for bigger goals. If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.”-- Timothy Ferris, The Four Hour Work Week

Someone has to be successful, someone has to write the next bestseller, someone has to be number one, someone has to be on the best, why not you! As the famous poem goes, “You have all that the greatest of men have had, two hands, and two feet.”

5. Just Keep on Working

“I do not have superior intelligence or faultless looks. I do not captivate a room or run a mile under six minutes. I only succeeded because I was still working after everyone else went to sleep.”--Greg Evans

Keep working, and keep working, and keep working towards your goal, eventually you will get there. The key is to remain focused on your goal! I like what J.C. Penny said, he said, “Give me a stock clerk with a goal, and I will give you a man who will make history. Give me a man without a goal, and I will give you a stock clerk.”

6. If You Want It, Go Get It

“You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.”--Will Smith in the Movie: Pursuit of Happiness

There will always be “little men” telling you “how you can’t, why you can’t, and how you’re going to fail when you try.” But if you have a dream, go after it; never let someone tell you what you can’t do. You can do whatever you believe you can do.

7. Remember: Success Always Starts Small

“The greatest achievement was at first, and for a time, but a dream.” --Napoleon Hill

The largest tree was once a tiny seed. There was a time when Microsoft wasn't on any computers; there was a time when Michael Jordan had never scored in a basketball game. Never despise small beginnings, every success starts small. So stay focused, if your focus is steady, you will succeed!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Prove Your Value BEFORE They See Your Web Site

Internet marketing has changed. People no longer stumble across your Web site first to discover you. You need to prove your credibility, authority, expertise and value long before they find your Web site - in your blog, forums, Twitter and other on-line places.

The good news is that you don't have to do everything, and you don't have to do it all at the same time. In this video I'll show you which on-line tools should be your highest priorities:

So whether you're promoting yourself, your idea, your passion, your movement or your business, remember: You've got to prove your value before they see your Web site.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The New World waiting to be born (my title) - a profound presentation by Jeremy Rifkin

This talk by eminent scientist Jeremy Rifkin is a much watch for all who care about our future and how to make it how it should be.

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