Archive for March, 2011

Omidyar "Accidentally" Buys Hawaii

March 31st, 2011
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April 1, 2011 (Faux Newswire Services) - Philanthropist Pierre Omidyar inadvertently bought the state of Hawaii after a night on the town, when he purchased what he thought were domain rights to "Hawaii.com," according to a spokesman for the Ulupono Initiative, a non-profit organization created by the eBay founder to promote social activism in the islands.

An insider with CivilBeat.com, who wished to remain anonymous since Omidyar also funds that website, said the zillionaire had a few pau hana drinks with staffers and "joked" that he was going to add a local TV news station and radio channel to his growing media empire in Hawaii, but wanted an all-inclusive domain name for the venture. After a night of internet binge buying, his wife discovered the next day that Omidyar had actually acquired approximately 95 percent of Oahu and significant portions of the outer islands that had "Hawaii"' listed in their website keywords.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie welcomed the unexpected purchase of state assets and property. "Let's be frank. Pierre has more capital than we do at present. And he could always put some of the land up for sale on eBay if things get a little tight. I think you'll also find much more positive news coverage, once he consolidates Civil Beat with his TV and radio news operations."

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In all seriousness though, mahalo to the Omidyars and Civil Beat for their good work!

This April Fools Day news item is brought to you by www.CareerChangers.TV. Watch us daily on OC16 or view video segments on our CCTV YouTube Channel.

Posted in Career Changers TV, Humor | Comments Off

Signs It's Time to Quit

March 30th, 2011
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Sign #1: If you're reading this blog at work, perhaps you should check out the links at the end of this post pertaining to miserable jobs. I was reading comments on the U.S. News article, and someone asked how many people are truly happy to go to work each day. Many said they didn't like their current occupation, but felt they had no choice in this weak economy. Is that your situation?

Other signs not mentioned in the article would include physical symptoms -- trouble sleeping, upset stomach, headaches, muscle tension, etc. I think excessive drinking and overeating can often be related to an unsatisfying career or negativity in the workplace. But I also feel that any job worth doing is going to encumber challenges and stress at times, even if you love what you do for a living. In fact, facing deadlines and dealing with daily pressures can be a positive experience if it's framed the right way.

For instance, I'm reading a non-fiction book ("Page Fright" by Harry Bruce) which is about the habits of successful writers, going back to the days of quill pens and manual typewriters. What's interesting is how many famous scribes say they dreaded the blank page and had to force themselves to sit down and produce a certain amount of words per day. Personally, when I'm in the "flow" of a writing project, time flies by and I actually try to stop in the middle of a scene I'm excited about so that I can start the next day raring to go. (That's a screenwriting tip I picked up from somewhere, which is attributed to Norman Mailer in the 'Page Fright" book.)

But most jobs don't offer that kind of flexibility. Truthfully, I don't know which is worse -- hating your job, or merely tolerating it for the money. On the plus side, "hating" your company could be strong incentive to move on and find something that excites you. However, a tolerable situation might lull you into complacency... the I'll-start-looking-tomorrow syndrome, in which you dutifully show up, perform your tasks, then one day you realize you've been stuck in a rut for three or four years, maybe longer.

So I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. How many of you wake up, looking forward to work and why? Or do you dislike your job so much, you almost wish they would fire you?

Here's the link to the article, 10 Signs It's Time To Quit Your Job and the Amazon.com page for the book, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. If you scroll down the Amazon page, there's an interview with the book author that's worth reading -- especially for managers and bosses. He offers clues on how to make work more rewarding and meaningful for their employees.

For positive, uplifting stories about people in Hawaii who are passionate about what they do, watch Career Changers TV on OC16! You can find daily viewing times on our website, and see video segments on the CCTV YouTube Channel as well. Our new April show will premier Thurs., April 7 at 8:30 PM.

Got Business Problems?

March 25th, 2011
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A screenwriting mentor once told me that writing was really all about problem solving. But to find the solution to your plot or structure problems, you had to ask the right questions. I think the same holds true for businesses and individual career plans. When I interview people for the Career Changers TV show, you'd be surprised how often they stumble over basic questions, such as: What makes your company different or better than the competition? What is your long-term career goal? What are the biggest challenges in your line of work?

I don't profess to have all the answers. However, I do have access to experts who can provide guidance and advice if you have specific questions related to job hunting, starting a business or ways to boost profits. Just send me an email and we'll see if we can help you. You can choose to remain anonymous, or use the opportunity to plug your company... and if you're interested, we might want to put you on CCTV as a case study that others can learn from.

For example, I recently asked readers to suggest names for the motorized cooler scooter that Mark Bell is selling in Hawaii. We haven't chosen a name yet from the submissions we received, but that contest idea was a direct result of me asking him what he was going to call it for the local market. Rather than pick a name on our own, we decided it would be a good way of getting publicity for his product, while also tapping into the creative minds of you folks out there. In a couple of months, we'll be featuring that product on CCTV and will sell it through our website.

Another example of asking the right question is my last post about the pre-game atmosphere at UH basketball games -- or lack of it, I should say. I noted that many fans came late, leading to traffic jams and parking woes. The question is, why don't they arrive earlier to avoid these problems? Is it because, like me, they couldn't stand the pre-game music? Is it because they don't like the food being sold there? Would they come earlier and spend more money in the Rainbow-tique if there was a wider variety of products, such as retro-Bows merchandise? (That little shop gets crowded whenever there's more than 5 people in it... should they have tables out front with clearance items or special deals?)

A lot of useful ideas come about simply by posing a question, then allowing others a chance to offer feedback. So if you have a business problem you need help with, let's put it out there and brainstorm on it. Feel free to post them in the comments section, although it may take awhile before they appear online since I have to moderate comments by first-time posters on this blog.

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TV ALERT: One of my favorite reality shows, Shark Tank, returns Friday night at 7 PM on KITV. Ordinary people with big dreams pitch their products and inventions to successful entrepreneurs, who may invest their own money if they like what they hear. Check it out!

For daily viewing times of Career Changers TV on OC16, please visit our website. You can also watch video segments from the show on the CCTV YouTube Channel. Have a wonderful weekend!

More Cowbell!

March 22nd, 2011
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When the UH basketball team lost Saturday night, my wife and I were among the 6,000 fans who walked out disappointed. What hurt most was how they lost. The Bows led all the way to the end, and then a combination of missed free throws/bad decisions/fatigue, or just choking under pressure, allowed the University of San Francisco to steal the win. Correction: the USF Dons earned the victory. The visitors stayed close, hung tough and stepped it up in crunch time.

That's the takeaway I got from the game. In business, you still need to do the basics and little things from start to finish. All your good work will be for naught if you get sloppy or rush to complete a task. If you're competing for a job or up against a rival business for a contract, it means don't give up until it's over, no matter how bad the odds look. Your competitor might get complacent or fail to check one small detail that opens the door for you.

But what I really wanted to comment on is the turnaround in the UH basketball program. I had season tickets back when Anthony Carter and Alika Smith were packing the arena and beating big schools like Indiana and Kansas. Under Riley Wallace, there were some pretty good teams and at home, the Bows were rarely out of any game. Unfortunately, in his final year and the next three seasons under Bob Nash, the electricity was gone. However, that's not why we stopped buying season tickets for basketball.

The real reason was the atmosphere at the Stan Sheriff Center. By and large, the SSC does a great job of being fan-friendly. It's the little things though that turn off people, or conversely, get them excited about attending sporting events. Whether it's football or basketball, a common complaint is parking problems -- usually because crowds tend to arrive less than an hour before game time. So to avoid that situation, my wife and I used to get there early. If you're a business-minded person, you'd think this would be an ideal opportunity to take advantage of a captive market, right? Instead, that extra hour before tip-off became an excruciating headache due to the mind-numbing rap/hip-hop that was being played game after game, with no regard for the fact that most of the fans were over the age of 45 or parents with young children.

Look, I'm no old fuddy-duddy, who hates all new music. On the contrary, I'd love to see a mix of old and new, along with mash-ups that blend R&B, pop, rock and hip-hop. Music can set a mood from the moment you walk in the door. It can make strangers smile and nod at each other. Watch the opening of any Ellen DeGeneris show -- she gets her crowd up on their feet dancing. And they love it, because motion is emotion. We've seen it before at UH volleyball matches when a couple of students would start dancing in the aisles between breaks. The key though was it came from the students, and it was largely spontaneous. That's not something you can easily manufacture. But the UH is starting to bring back students to the games, and for that, they are to be commended.

Anyhow, at Saturday's game, the music levels weren't ear-splitting and the rap stuff (which sounded more like angry dogs barking non-stop) was mixed in with a couple of local tunes, and then some old school Motown like "Signed, Sealed, Delivered"... but it was as if the music guy wasn't even there. Go to a club and watch real DJs in action. They try to pump up the crowd. I happened to be sitting next to the area where DJ Slacker was "programming" music, and the young dude seemed utterly bored. He slouched down, pressed a key on his laptop, and that was it. His body language said he didn't care, and the fans were pretty flat when the game began. Can't they find someone who actually loves music and knows how to play to a crowd?

This goes for businesses too. You can't fake passion or enthusiasm. Find people who love what they do -- people who want to grab that cowbell and bang it for all its worth to sell themselves or your company's services! Then reward them for it, because those are the ones who will keep customers (and fans) coming back for more. That's what UH coach Gib Arnold has brought back to the basketball program: enthusiasm and a sense of fun. He even smiles on the court once in awhile. Now, if only the sports marketing people can tap into that renewed energy and liven up the pre-game atmosphere, we'll really have something to get excited about for next year.

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Thanks for the comments on my "Made in Japan" blog post and name suggestions for the motor-cooler. Although comments are closed for both due to the barrage of spam-bot comments, you can still email me name ideas for the cooler at richfigel@gmail.com. Winners won't be announced for awhile. I'll also have more to say about the growing wealth inequality in the U.S. that some of you wrote about. It's real, but why aren't more people outraged over it?

And I'd just like to bang the cowbell for my Career Changers TV show. The current episode, which features segments about Wilhelmina Hawaii, plus Judy Bishop's excellent interview and resume tips, airs through next week on OC16 and their interactive on-demand Channel 96. Click here for daily viewing times and links to our CCTV YouTube Channel.

Name This Motor-Cooler Thing!

March 18th, 2011
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Motor coolerWith all the bad news this past week, I'm looking forward to the weekend and going to see the Bows basketball game Sat. night. It's not the NCAA tournament, but hey, they're one of the few Division I teams still playing in March -- and Miah, Zane, Vander are worth the price of admission! Good seats are still available, so get 'em while you can.

On a somewhat related note, everyone in Hawaii knows we love tail-gating at football games and weekend cook-outs. But sometimes you have to park a long way from the picnic site and lug heavy ice chests pretty far. Well, local inventor Mark Bell came across a motorized ice cooler, which is in the same legal classification as motorized wheelchairs and mobility devices, and has the Hawaii dealership rights for the product. We're going to be selling it through the Career Changers TV show and our website. But first, we need a local style name for it!

The battery-powered device can hold up to 300 pounds and will go 15 miles on a single charge, according to Mark. Hook up a wagon or another cooler with wheels on it, and he says you can pull an additional 300 pounds in grinds and beverages.

If you submit a name that we decide to use, Mark said he'll give you some kind of "cool prize" and CCTV will kick in a free dinner or something like that (value about $50). While shooting a future segment on the product at Magic Island last week, a lot of curious people -- locals and tourists alike -- stopped and stared. Many of them thought it was a great idea, so we're excited about the prospects of rolling it out soon... pun intended.

Just click on comments and enter your suggestions below. Since I have to manually approve all comments, it may take awhile before they appear online.

Don't forget to check out our current show, which features segments on the new Wilhelmina Hawaii modeling agency, plus Judy Bishop's resume and interview tips. For show times and links to our YouTube Channel videos, please visit www.CareerChangers.TV.