Archive for November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Wish

I awoke this morning in Bamako, Mali — a country with a rich culture and a long and proud history. It is also one of the poorest countries in the world. There are so many paradoxes in life. If I’ve learned anything thus far it is that things are not as neat and straightforward as I would like, as we would like. I live in the U.S. — the richest country in the world. Yet 30 Million of our citizens experience hunger on a daily basis or are at risk of going hungry.

Undoubtedly most of us give thanks every day; we don’t wait until the last Thursday in November to do so. But Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to gather with family and friends in the ceremonial practice of giving thanks. We do so with food galore, surrounded by loved ones — or at least those we like.

On this day in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the way that we know it, but whose citizens give thanks for all that they have, regardless of how little, I wish that:

  • people don’t have to decide between whether to put food on the table or buy needed medicines or other basic necessities — whether here in Mali or at home in the U.S.
  • the citizen revolt that has made its way throughout the world continues to gain momentum
  • the 99% take the example from history of those whose shoulders we stand on and reclaim what is due “we the people”
  • we can move past the current political system that paralyzes us at every turn from doing what is in our best interest, even from agreeing on a budget
  • we would put people first and profits after, way after

Most of all, I wish us peace — internally and among ourselves.

Happy Thanksgiving and Peace to all.

Takeaways From Hello Etsy

Sunday, September 18, 2011, I attended what I hope will be the first of many Hello Etsy conferences. The Washington, DC summit was one of five such events held in the U.S. simultaneously with the two-day Hello Etsy: A Summit on Small Business and Sustainability held on September 17-18 in Berlin, Germany. The purpose of the two-day gathering was to provide a venue for small business owners to connect with their peers, learn the skills to find success and independence, and partake in the movement to build human-scale economies.

After the keynote address by Jenny Hart, I attended a Think Local First DC breakout session where the organization’s Executive Director, Stacey Price, provided information on the benefits of appealing to the local market as well as how to better tap into it. In addition to specific references and tools, one of the more compelling takeaways was how to use “local” as a unique selling point in promoting online shops.

I was pleased to have gotten an opportunity to meet Tara Gentile (http://www.taragentile.com/), creative business coach and blogging guru extraordinaire. I had read her 52 Week of Blogging and the follow-on 52 More Weeks of Blogging which have become my blogging library and are essential reading for those who are already blogging or hoping to set up a blog. Tara had lots of tidbits to share on how to bridge the philosophical gap between creating what you love and feeling justified in profiting from it. Her lecture focused on what she calls the pillars of making money: Passion, Productivity and Profit. My big takeaway from her segment was that “you don’t sell stuff; you sell experiences.” The experience is the deeper meaning behind the thing (item for sale) itself.

For more information on both presenters as well as their conceptual approaches, visit the following links:
Think DC First: http://www.thinkdcfirst.com

Tara Gentile: http://www.taragentile.com

I’m sure you’ll pick up something of value. I know I did.

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