Web 3.0

In this talk from the 2007 EG Conference, held last year in Los Angeles, California, author, editor and publisher Kevin Kelly offers some things to look for over the next 5,000 days, for the World Wide Web.

“…so you’ll begin to think of a shoe as a chip, with heels, and a car as a chip with wheels…”

Listen.

Creature Comforts by Katy

Time was, if you had to leave your pet alone for more than a little while, you brought it to the kennel, or maybe you’d drop a few bucks on one of the neighbor-kids, and he or she would come over and walk the dog, or pet the cat, while you were away. Maybe things would work out, maybe they wouldn’t. Certainly your pets would never tell.

True animal lovers were the first to recognize the risk in all this, and the need to look at Pet Sitting as a business. Reports have it that 63 million Americans call 65 million dogs, and 77 million cats part of the family. No wonder then that Pet Sitting has become one of the fastest growing small business ventures in the nation today. And when you think about it, everybody wins.  You get to travel,  with the peace of mind that you’ve left things in the hands of a professional, a good Sitting Service gets to do for a living what they love most – being around animals, and your pets get the benefits of  “sameness”, in their routine.

There’s no short-list of other things to consider when you need to be away for a while, and a responsible

Pet Sitting Service will have taken that into consideration.

Katy’s Creature Comforts, is Denver’s newest locally owned and operated Highlands Ranch Pet Sitting Service, offering  quality care for your pets, and other things you’d rather not worry about while you’re away. Contact them
today to learn of the many benefits they may afford you and your pets.

0% Money

The Fed meets December 15th & 16th.

A growing number of analysts now predict that the economy is so weak that the Fed will have to reduce its official target to zero if it wants to jump start the stalled economy, as it said in its last  policy statement.

Japan’s central bank reduced its benchmark interest rate to zero for five years, from 2001 to 2006, primarily to combat a  persistent case of deflation (a broad-based decline in consumer prices) and to revive economic growth. The jury’s still out on the move’s success.

Some analysts here see signs that the United States faces a similar threat.  American banks have become so decimated by losses in real estate that they are either unable or unwilling to resume normal lending practices.  And as prices for oil and many other commodities have crashed during the past two weeks, these same analysts now warn that deflation might be a threat here as well.

If the Fed funds rate does drop to zero, it would not mean free money for consumers or businesses. The zero rate would only apply to the reserves that banks are required to maintain and that they lend to one another. Customers would still have to pay some

interest, but the rates could be extremely low for some business borrowers.

Jobless Benefits Extended

At 8 A.M. Eastern this morning, President George W. Bush signed into law an extension of unemployment benefits, according to the White House.

It gives seven more weeks of unemployment payments to workers who have exhausted their current jobless benefits. For those in states with the highest unemployment rates, an additional 20 weeks will be allowed.

On Thursday, the government reported the number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits last week was at its highest level in 16 years and more than 4 million people were now receiving unemployment benefits.

With more Americans filing jobless claims than at any time since the 1992, the Senate’s passage of the House’s unemployment insurance extension legislation will help speed a few weeks of relief to more than 2 million workers who continue to search for  jobs in tough economic times.

Sonny Gets Blue

6,000 loyal customers of Sonny’s Diamonds & Jewelry, 100 Fillmore St., in Cherry Creek North, received an email earlier this week, saying the once venerable retailer is going out of business.

Sonny’s building lease is ending after nearly 30 years in business, and the owners said they were unsuccessful in finding a suitable new location.

Michael Nedler started the business with his father in the late 1970s. At the time, customers’ tastes trended toward black-tie affair showpieces and high-fashion jewelry.

Sonny’s will keep its doors open until it has liquidated its entire $4 million inventory. The skittish economy, which is taking a toll on luxury goods retailers like Neiman Marcus and Saks, factored into the decision to close Sonny’s, but apparently it wasn’t the principal reason.

In his 29 years, Nedler has seen “some pretty tough times,” though he added that Sonny’s never had an unprofitable year.

“It’s certainly as tough as I’ve ever seen it,” he said. “But the one thing in business that I’ve learned is appreciate the good years because they don’t last forever, but don’t despair with the bad because they don’t, either.”

Six Sonny’s employees will lose their jobs.

Liquidation begins today with a 2.6-carat yellow diamond set among 1.3 more carats of diamonds marked down to $46,400 from $58,000. A strand of Tahitian pearls is 70 percent off its $14,000 original price, and all Oris Swiss-made watches are 20 percent off.

Countdown to the Holidays

New Year’s Eve
What are the options? An expensive dinner out, at-home entertaining or something in between? Going out doesn’t necessarily mean going all-out…make reservations for an early simple entrée out, followed by a spectacular dessert and champagne at home en famille or surrounded by friends. Or stay in but put on a party mood. Drape your dining table with simple, yet dramatic white table linens. Sprinkle with fake snow and apply Styrofoam snowballs as tabletop decor. Power up the romance; illuminate your setting with an overload of white candles from Cherry Creek North. Take-out simplifies too…and Whole Foods can meet your every culinary whim.

Snow Etiquette, the New Rules

When the weather outside is frightful, conditions call for special forms of etiquette

Imagine Miss Manners in UGG boots. Would she have worn them through dinner? Likely not. And neither should you. Ladies, it is fashionista-appropriate to wear your heavy-duty snow boots with formal eveningwear. Just park them at the coat-check where you can discretely slip on your Manalos.

Stamp your boots/shoes clean outside the boutique or restaurant NOT inside. Who wants a puddle at the entry door?

Gentlemen: Unlike any other time of year, it is perfectly acceptable in deep snow season to drop your lady friend off at the door of your destination, circumventing her having to wade through a snowdrift. Meet her where she is waiting inside the warm entrance and then, kind sir, please do the same closing out the evening.

Drivers: Clean the frost and snow from ALL the windows of your car, not just a swath across the driver’s front window. Peripheral vision is the new Lasik. And pedestrians will thank you.

Pet owners: Check your pet’s paws for salt if you’ve walked them on sidewalks covered in it. Salt can irritate their paws and ruin your BFFF….that’s Best Friend Forever’s Floors

Shop Until, Well, the 25th and then Shop the Sales

Thanks for the Swarkovski Crystal Collar. . . WOOF! Whatever the economy brings, our four-legged friends are never short-tailed on holiday gift lists. A manager at CB Paws, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues on Fillmore, says a common store mantra is “We’ve cut back on ourselves, but no, not on our pets.” Crystal collars fly out the door. Anything breed-specific sells. Treat Bowser to yogurt-covered snowmen or gingerbread mailmen from this bakery bonanza. If you’re a cat person, the catnip candy canes will send kitty into convulsions of joy.
HOLD THE SLEIGH! Last-Minute Gift-Giving: $25 and Under One stop at the venerable Artisan Center on Third Ave. at Detroit solves all your last-minute gift quandaries with items from $10 to $200. Fused glass angels by a New Mexico artist start at only $16. For the guys on your list: An Oregon-based company is producing key chains ($8.50), bottle openers ($12) and picture frames ($39) crafted from recycled bicycle chains. Free gift wrapping with every purchase adds Manager Julie Hayward.
Hey! It’s Mom’s Turn At The Wizards’s Chest, on Fillmore between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, general manager Cliff Jackson says families are overwhelmingly opting for board games (that the entire family can play) versus video games that only a solitary player can use at one time. Besides the quality time spent together, board games can “be played more than once,” notes Jackson. Settlers of Catan from Germany ($42) is a hot European strategy game for kids and adults. Stuff the stocking of the person on your list who’s big on do-overs with collectible $1 Iweko erasers from Japan shaped like French fries or a slice of cake.
Stow Your Bag Safely

Pinecones’ best-selling stocking stuffer: the $24 “purse holder,” a device that safely clips your handbag to the arm of your chair. Use it at restaurants or at meetings to safeguard your bag from being lifted. They’ll call you “Moneybags” when theirs go missing and yours doesn’t. Also at Pinecones on Third Avenue between Fillmore and Detroit, dual-duty outerwear—the season’s hit. Jan Berge, owner, reports that reversible jackets–fur on one side, suede on the other–deliver 2:1value. The little black skirt that coordinates with 10 different tops is selling better than single-service clothing.

Ta-Ta to Taffeta Ribbon: Creative Gift Wrapping So what if the $10/yard silk ribbon that your mother-in-law prefers her gifts be swaddled in is a little out of reach this year? Top off her gift organically using natural pine cones, branches and dried leaves (avoid berries, which can be toxic). For kiddos, wrap gifts with the Sunday funny pages and forgo the expensive bow in lieu of tying on an inexpensive stuffed animal. Innovation turns a skein of worsted yarn into “ribbon” that will go around every package on your list. Recycle your home projects leftovers using fabric in lieu of wrapping paper or tucking the gift into a basket or tin. Who said wrap had to be paper?
The Gift that Gives Twice Ten Thousand Villages, located on Third Avenue between Columbine and Clayton, is the Cherry Creek North store where every gift gives twice: Once to the person to whom it is given and again to the person – usually halfway across the world – who created it. “People definitely shop here because they know their money is going to a good cause,” says Assistant Manager Charlotte Otto. Ten Thousand Villages is a fair-trade store, staffed by only three paid employees plus 50 volunteers. This year, along with ornaments and native jewelry, food preparation packets made by The Women’s Bean Project, a local group from The Gathering Place, top the best-seller list.
Junior at the Wheel

Forget the big-screen TV. This year many dads are shopping for the ultimate baby stroller, complete with the best shock absorbing system money can buy. “It’s their little car,” says Janci Lowry Frisby, co-owner of Belly at 3rd and Milwaukee. Dads kick the tires of the stroller wheels as seriously as they do when making a real auto purchase. Baby daddies are also porting their offspring around in designer slings of reversible fabric: bright prints on one side (for mom), solids on the other (for him). Slings have been the preferred method of baby transport for hundreds of years in Africa, albeit they’ve only been introduced to U.S. parents recently. Parents are dressing their youngsters in green (and we don’t mean the color) fabrics such as bamboo. Gift of choice: Diaper bags. “Parents may not be spending on themselves this year,” Frisby says, “but they still dote on their children.”

Shoot for the moon “Bigger than ever,” is how Kim Walker, owner of outdoor DIVAS, describes women’s Moonboots, available in assorted colors starting at $129. Another trend: wider skis, a big seller already. For stocking stuffers, reusable Baggu Bags ($8.95), and water bottles. “Looking good while staying fit is what our clients want,” says Walker, whose store is on Third Ave. between Clayton and Detroit.

Banner photo by pbo31, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

Up The Corporate Lattice

When it comes to building a career these days, a good many of us still labor under the mistaken impression that success will be measured by how high we’re able to climb the corporate ladder. The “ladder” model has been the standard of personal success in the corporate world ever since the first organizational flowchart was drawn. This traditional idea about work, and the workplace took root at the start of the Industrial Age, when structure was everything, and work was the only thing.

A good many of us can remember when a vast majority of American households were the traditional kind.He went off to work each day, and she stayed home to raise the children.You don’t have to look far to see that things have changed.

Today, only about 15 per cent of households enjoy the Ward and June Clever lifestyle. That leaves 85 per cent of the population on the sidelines when it comes to tradition in the workplace.The simple fact of more women and aging boomers in the work force has blurred the relationship between work and life and redefined what it means to build a career. In short, a saw has been taken to the “Corporate Ladder”.

Perhaps a more accurate depiction, than a ladder, of how today’s careers are built and talent is developed, might be a “Corporate Lattice”, where growth and the climb, are visible along many paths. This approach can be found everywhere. Executives who’ve climbed the ladder for years, but now insist on more family time. Working mothers who’ve been away for a while, and decide to return. Younger generations of workers who change jobs regularly, and hold few if any loyalties. The modern work force is complex, and born of nuance.

Today’s challenge is to fit work into life, and life into work, where maybe you reach a comfort level of responsibility and compensation, and stay in that position for a while, to balance work and life’s demands. Then begin the climb again, or not. This use to be known as a “lateral” career move, and not exactly a glowing description of your climbing skills in the corporate world. But today the term is more descriptive of the way things really are, as the desire to balance work and family has transformed the traditional career path, and reshaped the structure that was once the only path to success.

Suites For The Suite

The Boardroom at Cherry Creek has signed on for a 10-year extension to its renewal agreement for office space, in the Ptarmigan at Cherry Creek building in Cherry Creek. Located near the intersection of Cherry Creek North Drive and Colorado Blvd, Ptarmigan at Cherry Creek is a 400,000 + square foot class-A office complex.

The Boardroom at Cherry Creek, a privately owned executive suite/office business center will now continue to occupy its more than 14 thousand square feet of Ptarmigan space, offering dedicated office spaces, meeting rooms, and virtual office services for businesses  both large and small.

First established in Denver in 1990 by Charles & Carol Jansch, The Boardroom at Cherry Creek is a privately owned executive suite offering a sophisticated office atmosphere for industry professionals to conduct day-to-day operations.  Additionally, more than100 other businesses utilize their virtual office and conference room services enhancing their corporate efficiency and profitability.

In today’s tight economy, and a market place that’s as competitive as ever, a small business just may not be able to shell out for new office space, and the tools needed to get it up and running. But by offering an array of first-class services and amenities, including furnished and unfurnished professional offices; virtual office services; conference room rentals; free visitor parking and underground garage parking for monthly clients; telecommunications, like fiber optic Internet service, and dedicated telephone lines; live call answering; and administrative support, The Boardroom at Cherry Creek helps take a lot of the pain out of the process.

Read the details of their re-commitment to the Cherry Creek Community, here.

Retirement’s Soft Landings

Our 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, observed, “ There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means.”

And for a good many of us, namely those preparing for retirement, words more true may never be spoken.   Tight credit and a general downturn in the economy make the prospect of a decent job, affordable housing, and a low cost of living, top priorities for this significant number of Americans.

Where you decide to spend your retirement can apparently  have a lot say about just how much you wind up enjoying it, too. So says a recent article in Forbes Magazine Online that takes an in-depth look at cities where your nest egg might go farthest. To find out just how retirees were feeling about where they found themselves in their golden years, Forbes looked at the aggregate migration for persons over 65, to get a feel for just how living longer is working out.

Denver Colorado raked 7th on a top ten list, headed up by Columbus, Ohio. The article points to a Rocky Mountain retirement where “outdoor living”, and a “beautiful environment”, compliment “a manageable cost of living”. Noting that Denver has long been a city that attracts people of all ages, the article goes on to point out that life in the Mile-High City “makes it a good long-term bet for retirees who want to ensure that they’re settling someplace with a bright future”. A point well taken. Denver residents, young and old who’ve settled there, would probably say they don’t know the half of it.

But see for yourself, at Forbes Online.

Parting Ways

Gone are the days when you joined a company right out of school and there you remained until retirement. Gold watch, retirement package, and all. Today, we change jobs more often during our lifetimes, and unfortunately it’s not always voluntary, as anyone who’s been laid off can tell you. If you’ve  been laid off or fear you soon might be, here are a few ways to deal with what may be your immediate future:

  • Cut Back. On everything.

Finding another job could take a while, especially in today’s economic environment, which means your savings could vaporize in the process. If you haven’t been a saver, start now creating a budget and stick to it. Know exactly how much money you have, and keep close track of how much money you’ll need. The first of the month seems to come around more often when you’re out of work. Track your expenses. Put off major purchases and trim smaller ones. There are more ways to save money than you may think.

  • Reduce retirement savings.

This is where a short term loan to yourself

, can make a big difference. If you’re still employed but fear the worst, this may be the one and only time it makes some sense to temporarily halt contributions to your 401(k) plan . Could very well be that you’ll need that money to survive the next few months, and early 401(k) withdrawals come at a steep price. Besides, you may be able to make a lump-sum contribution later if it was a false alarm. Consult a financial professional about your particular situation.

  • Ask about severance benefits.

If you’re laid off, find out what benefits you may have coming. Many employers offer severance pay or help with health insurance premiums. But there’s no law that says they have to, so check. Many companies also provide outplacement counseling, which could include professional assistance with resume writing, interview skills, and job searches.

  • Put some polish your resume.

There’s a good chance you’ll be competing against hundreds of other job applicants, so you want to make sure your resume stands out. It should accurately reflect your accomplishments and show potential employers you have the experience and qualifications they’re looking for. Be concise and look organized. It’s a good idea to update your resume regularly anyway, especially after a promotion or a change in job responsibilities.

  • Get on your network.

Let family and friends, and acquaintances know you’re looking. They may know of opportunities, or be inclined to spread the word on your behalf. Look for networking events sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, local colleges, trade associations or other business and social organizations. Help, in this case, will be where you find it.

Now it’s not the end of the world, but being laid off can be stressful. So you have to have an effective game plan centered around good common sense, and determination, to get you back in the game.