Decision to use pitched concrete instead of asphalt shingle will save US$2 million

GORE Homes has opted to use pitched concrete instead of asphalt shingle for its roofs going forward.

The developer expects that the use of cement made in Jamaica by Caribbean Cement Company (Carib) will eliminate the need to import US$2 million in construction material, including wood, asphalt shingles and metal tiles for roofing each year.

“The new pitched concrete roof will look exactly like the current roof but will be solid concrete and cream in colour,” said a release issued by the company on Monday. “This roof is intended to make the house cooler and safer, and will last much longer than the traditional asphalt shingle roof.” Continue

Innovation: ScanDrop a portable instru­ment to detect various bio­log­ical spec­imen

A few hun­dred dol­lars and 24 hours: That’s what’s required to scan bio­log­ical mate­rials for impor­tant bio­markers that signal dis­eases such as dia­betes or cancer, using industry stan­dard equip­ment. But sup­pose you wanted to mon­itor live cancer cells. For that you’d have to use an entirely dif­ferent method. It takes just as long but requires a whole other set of expen­sive top-​​end instru­men­ta­tion. Want to look at bac­teria instead? Be pre­pared to wait a few days for it to grow before you can get a mean­ingful result.

Researchers face enor­mous time con­straints and finan­cial hur­dles from having to run these analyses on a reg­ular basis. To solve this problem, Tania Konry, an assis­tant pro­fessor of phar­ma­ceu­tical sci­ences at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, has devel­oped a single instru­ment that can do all of the scans men­tioned above at a frac­tion of the time and cost. That’s because it uses con­sid­er­ably less mate­rial and ultra-​​sensitive detec­tion methods to do the same thing.

Konry’s cre­ation, Scan­Drop, is a portable instru­ment no bigger than a shoebox that has the capacity to detect a variety of bio­log­ical spec­imen. For that reason it will ben­efit a wide range of users beyond the med­ical com­mu­nity, including envi­ron­mental mon­i­toring and basic sci­en­tific research. READ MORE

What Makes Apple Better than the Competition? Learn How to Give Your Company an Edge

Want to be taken more seriously?

Want to move more people to action?

Want to be a great leader who inspire others to give blood sweat and tears for a cause you believe in?

If yes, I encourage you to watch the video below. It starts out this way:

“How do you explain when things don’t go as we assume? Or better how do you explain when others are able to achieve things that seem to defy all of the assumptions? For example, why is Apple so innovative? Year after year after year after year they are more innovative than all their competition and yet they are just a computer company. They are just like anyone else. They have the same access to the same talent, the same agency, the same consultants, the same media. Then why is it that they seem to have something different?…Why is it that the Wright Brothers were able to figure out controlled powered-man flight when there were certainly other teams that were better qualified, better funded and they didn’t achieve powered-man flight, the Wright Brothers beat them to it?

 

“An Introduction to Operations Management” by Wharton School of Business Mar 3 – Apr 25

This course will teach you how to analyze and improve business processes, be it in services or in manufacturing. You will learn how to improve productivity, how to provide more choice to customers, how to reduce response times, and how to improve quality.

Course Syllabus

The course is broken up into six modules:

  1. Introduction
  2. Process analysis
  3. Productivity
  4. Responsiveness
  5. Quality
  6. Product variety

There are two tracks in this course, an academic track and a practitioner track. For the academic track, the final grade is determined based on five homework assignments and a final exam. It is also possible to complete the course via a practitioner track, which requires the completion of a real world application project.

Course Format

The class will consist of lecture videos, which are between 7 and 12 minutes in length. Many of them contain 1-2 integrated quiz questions per video. There will also be standalone homeworks that are not part of video lectures. The course ends with a final exam. For the practitioner track, students need to complete a course project along the way which, in each week, applies the learnings from the modules to a real world problem.

Get Valuable Tips from a Successful Entrepreneur: Mark Zuckerberg (Part II)

Mark Zuckerberg needs very little introduction considering that his most famous product – FACEBOOK – was being used by 1.23 billion users worldwide by the end of 2013. Here Mark shares some of the back stories behind Facebook.

WORTH READING

Facebook: 10 years of social networking, in numbers

Facebook’s 10th birthday: from college dorm to 1.23 billion users

Get Valuable Tips from a Successful Entrepreneur: Daymond John (Part I)

“A young entrepreneur, an industry pioneer, a highly regarded marketing expert, and a man who has surpassed new heights of commercial and financial success are just a few ways people have described Daymond John. Over the last 20 years, Daymond has evolved from one of the most successful fashion icons of his generation to one of the most sought after branding experts, business, and motivational speakers in the country.”

“Daymond’s creative vision and strong knowledge of the marketplace helped him create one of the most iconic fashion brands in recent years. FUBU, standing for “For Us By Us”, represented a lifestyle that was neglected by other clothing companies. Realizing this need in the marketplace, Daymond created the untapped urban apparel space and laid the groundwork for other companies to compete in this newly established market.” READ MORE

Listen to an interview with Daymond John

Review of Jamaica’s Economic Performance October – December 2013

The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) published an economic performance report dated February 19, 2014. This report covered the performances of different sectors of the economy such as agriculture, forestry & fishing, manufacture, construction and tourism.

Here are some of what you will find in the report:

Tourism
Real Value Added for Hotels & Restaurants grew by an estimated 5.6%
Total arrivals up 11.6%
Stopover arrivals up by 7.2%
Cruise passenger arrivals up 17.7%

Construction Industry
Real Value Added for Construction increased by 2.0%, reflecting higher levels of output for all components.
Building Construction estimated to have grown due to:
Increased housing starts up 50.0%
Increased value of Mortgages up 3.3%

Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing
The Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing industry grew by an estimated 10.0% due in part to:
Plantains up 41.8%
Condiments up 31.1%
Vegetables up 19.0%
Fruits up 11.2%
Potatoes up 8.6%

Mining & Quarrying
Real Value Added for Mining & Quarrying grew by 12.0% as a result of:
Total bauxite production increased by 8.2% reflecting:
Alumina production up 15.5%
Average capacity utilization rate at alumina refineries increased to 44.8%, up 6.0%
Increase in crude bauxite production by 2.9%

SOURCE: Planning Institute of Jamaica

An Introduction to Operations Management (Mar 3)

COURSE TAUGHT BY CHRISTIAN TERWIESCH OF THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

This course will teach you how to analyze and improve business processes, be it in services or in manufacturing. You will learn how to improve productivity, how to provide more choice to customers, how to reduce response times, and how to improve quality.

About the Course

PART OF THE WHARTON FOUNDATION SERIES

Remember the last time you went to a restaurant. What did you expect from that restaurant? You wanted to find something on the menu that you liked, you wanted the meal to be prepared according to high quality standards, you wanted to get it quickly and didn’t want to pay too much money for it. Now, remember the last time you went to a doctor’s office or a hospital. What did you want the doctors and nurses to do? You wanted them to provide the right care for you, you wanted the care delivered with great quality, you wanted to get the care quickly, and you (or your insurance) didn’t want to pay too much for it.

Put differently, the management skills that you need to run the operations of a restaurant are the same that you need to run a hospital. And these are the skills you will learn in this course. Specifically, you will learn how to improve productivity, increase responsiveness, provide more choice to the customer, and deliver higher quality standards. In short, you will learn how to analyze business processes and how to improve them. Along the way, you will learn about topics such as Lean Operations, Six Sigma, and the Toyota production system, you will hear about bottlenecks, flows rates, and inventory levels. And, much, much more.

Course Syllabus

The course is broken up into six modules:

  1. Introduction
  2. Process analysis
  3. Productivity
  4. Responsiveness
  5. Quality
  6. Product variety

SOURCE: Coursera.org

Recommended Reading for the Jamaican Entrepreneur

Consider the businessman who has been catching and selling fish for 15 years. Over the years he has gained valuable knowledge and experience that have served him well. He is reluctant to take any classes or learn anything new about his industry. He thinks he has figured out all there is to know having worked in the business for many years. Unfortunately this attitude may prove costly. There may be things impacting the business that he is not aware of.

Is there overfishing in the area? Is the business sustainable for the next 10 or 20 years? Is pollution a concern in the area? Is there a shift in consumers’ taste? Will there be the same demand for fish 10 or 20 years from now? Is there any new regulation or licensing requirements? Will the supply of fish diminish by the increased presence of the predatory lionfish? (Lionfish invade Negril)

This article is not about fishing but we consider the above scenario to make a point. Entrepreneurs should always be looking for new or updated information about their field/industry.

There are many reasons for this. Market conditions change. Competition affect your business. Environmental changes can destroy your business. Consumers demand better quality and sometimes they spark new trends. Forecast for your business may require changes or adjustments. All of these could affect revenue.

How do you keep abreast with changes in your industry? Seminars, meetings, classes, conferences, videos and probably the easiest way READING.

So as an entrepreneur what are you reading? What are the more successful business men and women reading? Here are some recommendations that you can add to your list.

ENTREPRENEUR (entrepreneur.com)
12 Awesome Gift Ideas That Appeared on ‘Shark Tank’
7 Essential Habits of a Healthy Entrepreneur

INC. (inc.com)
How to Build a Company That Lasts Forever
3 Hot Startup Opportunities in Health Care

BRANSON CENTRE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP (bransoncentre.org)
IdeaTrade helps businesses promote themselves, find new markets and boost their sales

FORBES MAGAZINE (forbes.com)
The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014

BLOOMBERG (bloomberg.com)
Microsoft Targets Global Internet Growth With Cheaper Phones

FINANCIAL TIMES (ft.com)
EU warns west must be ready to rescue Ukraine

THE STREET (thestreet.com)
What Is Common Stock and What Is Preferred Stock?

YAHOO SMALL BUSINESS ADVISOR (smallbusiness.yahoo.com/advisor/)
Social Media’s Impact on Moms’ Shopping Habits

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION (sba.gov)
7 Inspiring Home Business Ideas for Stay-at-Home Moms (or Dads)

 

Useful Technology: FingerReader a Wearable Interface for Reading On-The-Go

The FingerReader is a wearable device that assists in reading printed text. It is a tool both for visually impaired people that require help with accessing printed text, as well as an aid for language translation. Wearers scan a text line with their finger and receive an audio feedback of the words and a haptic feedback of the layout: start and end of line, new line, and other cues. The FingerReader algorithm knows to detect and give feedback when the user veers away from the baseline of the text, and helps them maintain a straight scanning motion within the line.

SOURCE: MIT Media Lab

FingerReader – Wearable Text-Reading Device from Fluid Interfaces on Vimeo.