Cool Video: Entrepreneurs Can Change the World

A small business management classmate posted this video in a blog post about the characteristics of an entrepreneur.

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What is changing? vs. What is staying the same?

Jeff Bezos, founder & CEO of Amazon.com, was interviewed on The Charlie Rose Show on February 26, 2009. Bezos was on the show to promote Amazon’s Kindle 2 wireless reading device, but the opening segment of the show was focused on how Amazon has remained successful in the current economic times.

You can watch the show for yourself, but here is a business strategy quote from Bezos that stood out to me:

People often ask me, ‘Jeff what is going to change in the next five years?’ but I rarely get asked, ‘Jeff, what is going to stay the same?’ If you base your business strategy on things that are going to change, then you have to constantly change your strategy. Whereas if you formulate your strategy around customer needs, those tend to be stable in time.

Nike Turns Your Old Shoe Into A Court

Since the Reuse-A-Shoe program started in 1990, Nike has recycled more than “21 million pairs of athletic shoes toward more than 265 sport surfaces; giving thousands of young people access to new playgrounds and athletic facilities around the world.”

Nike will take your old athletic shoes–they don’t have to be Nike–and they will grind them up into three separate materials–rubber, foam, and fabric.

Nike partners with industry-leading surfacing companies to integrate these materials into athletic surfaces such as basketball courts, tennis courts, and playground surfaces.  This product is called “Nike Grind.” Nike’s goal is to “incorporate an average of 10% to 20% Nike Grind by weight” into these surfaces.

The following list shows approximately how many pairs of recycled athletic shoes generally go into making each surface:
• Outdoor basketball court: 2,500 pairs
• Outdoor tennis court:2,500 pairs
• Full Field or soccer pitch: 50,000 – 75,000 pairs*
• Mini soccer field: 10,000-20,000 pairs
• Running track: 75,000 pairs*
• Playground: 2,500 pairs
• Indoor basketball court: 2,500 pairs
• Indoor synthetic basketball court: 2,500 pairs

* In the case of full-size fields and tracks, which use mostly Nike Grind from footwear manufacturing scrap material, the average use is equivalent to the rubber from about 50,000-75,000 pairs of shoes.

The Reuse-A-Shoe program is a part of the Nike Let Me Play commitment. Drop-off locations can be found on the Reuse-A-Shoe web page.

Magic Johnson and Urban Investment

Ervin “Magic” Johnson wrote a column in today’s USA TODAY entitled “Urban areas deserve investment, not fear.” Johnson has spent his post-basketball career investing in urban development, specifically providing entertainment and shopping options to under served communities.

Johnson writes that business leaders will find success with the following blueprint if they just get past their fears:

  • Diversify store locations
  • Hire senior staff that represent and understand the needs of a particular community
  • Market and cater to the needs of inner-city customers

Johnson states that it is hard to understand why major businesses have stayed away from the inner-city demographic.

It’s no secret that inner cities are heavily populated with minorities — particularly African-Americans and Latinos. This is a rapidly growing demographic with tremendous purchasing power. By 2012, these two groups will have more than $2 trillion to pump into the economy. Yet, many major businesses largely see more risk than reward in these neighborhoods.

Target just opened its first Washington, D.C. store in the neighborhood of Columbia Heights. Columbia Heights is a gentrifying neighborhood in Northwest Washington. It will be interesting to see if Target caters to the multiple needs of the diverse community, or whether it will offer the same product offerings as it would in any of its stores in the Metro D.C. Target stores.