Category Archives: Business

Princeton Regional Chamber Events, useful tips from U.S. 1 Newspaper

Connect with your audience

EileenSinett_colorI was lucky enough to be able to take Eileen Sinett’s 4 Points of Connection  earlier this year. In this workshop I was able to put together a talk about social justice — not an easy task but she skillfully guided me through it. Her next presentation of this workshop is on October 18, details here.

Sinett knows how to connect with her students, whether a student is frightened to just open her mouth, or is an experienced speechmaker seeking to hone her skills. Everybody comes away more confident, more ready to step up to the podium.

 

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Facts Tell, Stories Sell

All speaking is not the same! Speaking has many nuances, structures and applications, says Eileen N. Sinett of Speaking that Connects.

“It is the communication vehicle most of us have for conveying ideas, developing relationships, sharing feelings, debating points of view and negotiating terms,” says Sinett. She offers two free webinars to support professional development and speaking success. One is on networking introduction and the next, on storytelling.

“Networking that Connects” is on August 16, and I have a conflict for that date.

But I am looking forward to taking advantage of her free offer to tune in to the webinar on Wednesday, September 6 on the subject of “Facts Tell, Stories Sell.” That’s a subject dear to my heart as a newspaper reporter who must “sell” my story to the reader, to make it worth her/his/their time.

Here’s how to register — the only thing you pay is your time!

And having attended many of Eileen’s workshops and seminars, I can vouch that it will be worth your time.

From worm poop to designer bottles?

TerraCycle_CEO_Tom_SzakyGarbage is certainly the hero at the Terracycle headquarters, says Diccon Hyatt, who tells of Tom Szaky’s latest iteration, a new business model for his throwaway manufacturing business. It’s Diccon Hyatt’s cover story in the issue dated July 4 but being distributed a day early, click here, 

It’s a long way from when the headquarters for Szaky’s four-person start-up was a basement room, with a futon cot, on the corner of Nassau and Chamber Street.  U.S. 1 has charted his progress. His success story – leaving Princeton University to start a business –  is no comfort to hand-wringing parents of students aiming to quit school to follow their dreams.

 

Listen well to get at the truth

OwlthenaLogoFINAL_Full-Logo-on-White

An article from the Harvard Business Review courtesy of Niki (Veronica) Fielding’s  new newsletter Owlthena, validated one of my favorite approaches to reporting: Keep prepared questions to a minimum and just ‘follow the trail’ of where the conversation leads.

It works only when there is no time limit, and when you have the freedom to circle back to the subject again, but it’s pretty exciting to start at square one as if you know almost nothing. When you let one question lead to another, both you and your subject may be surprised at the discoveries.

HBR says: Follow-up questions seem to have special power. They signal to your conversation partner that you are listening, care, and want to know more. People interacting with a partner who asks lots of follow-up questions tend to feel respected and heard.

It also works for me to say, at the beginning, anything can be off the record:

HBR: People also tend to be more forthcoming when given an escape hatch or “out” in a conversation. For example, if they are told that they can change their answers at any point, they tend to open up more—even though they rarely end up making changes. 

The article came to me in Niki’s new Owlthena newsletter, “What’s Hot Wednesday,” an assembly of business studies that I would not have seen. The one from HBR was by Alison Wood Brooks and Leslie K. John. (Feminist thought: is it a coincidence that this intensive study on listening was done by women?)

One caution about this approach: Many busy people don’t want to give you the time to meander down uncharted lanes. Keep the prepared questions in your pocket.

 

 

 

Hands off the wheel?

volksy

Would you trust your family to be safe in a self-driving car? Would you trust your own car on the road along with self-driving cars? And will insurance skyrocket?

Michael Scrudato, senior vp of Munich Re, could answer those questions at the Princeton Regional Chamber lunch Thursday, June 7 at 11:30 a.m. at the Forrestal Marriott. Walk-ins aren’t charged extra. Here’s a preview. 

College Admissions: a different perspective

wongHere is a guest post by Greg Wong, co-founder with his brother Kevin of  Princeton Tutoring and PrepMaven. Engineering majors at Princeton, they began their careers as  strategy consultants and hedge fund operators. Now, as they apply their data and research-backed problem solving skills to the college preparation process, they emphasize personal development, character, and service as key components of college admissions success.

The Wongs are on the right track. Having interviewed high school seniors for my alma mater for more than 30 years,  I see too much angst over ‘resumes’ and not enough attention to what really matters. Here are some good thoughts to start the school year, no matter what age the student is.  

Admissions rates for highly selective colleges continue to fall. For example, Princeton University has had record low admission rates for each of the past EIGHT years.

Unsurprisingly, many of the families that we advise are increasingly stressed about college. These students are increasingly pressured to overload on AP classes and pack on the extracurriculars in order to compete. Many of their schedules are so over-prescribed that they don’t have any time to think about why they’re doing their activities in the first place.

Is this what colleges really want? NO.

Whether they like it or not, colleges and universities have a huge impact on millions of high school students based on their college admissions requirements. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions around these requirements.

In direct response to the ever-increasing arms race that we’re all seeing and feeling, the Harvard Graduate School of Education released a report in 2016 called “Turning the Tide” that I encourage every parent to read.

The report shares a vision of college admissions that emphasizes not just individual achievement but also concern for others and the common good. It is endorsed by over 80 college admissions officers and other key stakeholders.

Additionally, a group of 90+ institutions including all the Ivies and Stanford have developed a new alternative to the Common Application called the Coalition Application that “encourages reflection and self-discovery” through an online portfolio that students can start populating as early as ninth grade.

Pamela T. Horne, vice provost for enrollment management at Purdue University, explained in an interview with Inside Higher Ed that “the idea isn’t about how you should pad your resume, but about how you should have significant experiences as part of your education.”

Whether you think that the ability to start populating components of your college application and sharing information with admissions officers as early as ninth grade is a good idea or not, the intentions behind these new tools seem to be well meaning.

The “new” thinking behind the “Turning the Tide” report and the Coalition Application gels with the way my brother Kevin and I have been thinking about things for years. We’ve done quite a bit of research on what top colleges really want, and we’ve identified 3 major characteristics of the most successful college applicants:

  1. Academic Achievement
  2. Extracurricular Distinction
  3. Character and Personal Qualities

Many students and families focus way too much on #1 and #2.

Our personal philosophy is that students should also emphasize the things that will make them successful in LIFE – character, personal development, and concern for others.

By doing these things, students will automatically set themselves up for college admissions success (if they choose to go to college of course), which should be the happy byproduct, not their life’s end goal.

 

 

 

So much good stuff this week

So much good stuff this week in U.S. 1.

Aside from the cover story, there is Richard K. Rein’s fascinating column on D-Day in Normandy.

A review of my new favorite restaurant in Hopewell (Basilico).

A primer for employees on tipping, as relates to a Princeton Regional Chamber breakfast this Wednesday.

And two intriguing revelations about celebrities with Princeton roots.

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, is a trustee at Institute for Advanced Study and is donating millions for research on machine learning.  (Win Straube will be pleased; he’s been touting online tutoring for forever.)

And when you see a  Kushner name on a commercial real estate property in Princeton, you now know for sure what THAT Kushner has to do with THE Kushner, Jared. As here: 

“The founder of Kushner Real Estate Group is Murray Kushner, and his son, Jonathan Kushner, serves as president. Murray is the estranged brother of the developer Charles Kushner whose son, Jared Kushner, is the son-in-law of President Trump.”

To meet the folks who put out this paper every week, come to the Summer Fiction reception, Wednesday, August 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Tre Piani restaurant in Princeton Forrestal Village. The free event begins with informal networking, accompanied by a cash bar and free hors d’oeuvres, with introductions of the poets and authors beginning at around 6 p.m.

person to person still matters

franklin corner deli

It’s 6:30 am at Franklin Corner Deli, and in walks Jerry Fennelly, one of my best ‘sources’ when I was reporting on real estate, picking up morning coffee for his 13 hour day. What’s new, Jerry? He obligingly launches into his trend analysis (I haven’t seen it, but you can order it). My take on what he said:

  • landlords should worry, businesses are taking smaller offices than their job roster warrants because many workers will be traveling or working from home.  Fennelly cited a company that is taking half the space that the workforce size would warrant.
  • retail real estate dealers should worry because the whole world of real estate is morphing into an Amazon-endangered zone.

fennellyFennelly and I enjoy a back and forth about the prospects of shoe stores and food stores. Shoe stores, he admits, might survive because bunion-sufferers like to try on shoes. The food business might be transformed by the Peapods and the Blue Aprons, but folks will still patronize the entertainment side of food – restaurants.

Today a New York Times article underlines Fennelly’s proposition. What we in Princeton know as “shared office space” began l-o-n-g ago with businesses like Princeton Office Solutions in inexpensive (now ancient) developments like Hilton Realty’s Research Park. The cheapest rental space is the mailbox they keep for you, and you can rent conference rooms if you need to meet a client.

In the ’80s and ’90s independent landlords operated these spaces all over Greater Princeton. Last time I looked (disclaimer, I retired 5 years ago and no longer track this), virtually all the Class A spaces had been bought out by Regus. 

The next new business model might be for large co-working space operators to rent large amounts of space for, according to a NYT source, “commercial landlords who want to maintain a hands-off approach with renters and not have to provide copy machines, mail forwarding and receptionists to individual tenants.” In other words, the co-working spaces will house – not just start-ups and entrepreneurs but significantly sized companies.

Yet – yet – the Wall Street Journal says the opposite. 

Employers are ending or reducing remote-work arrangements as managers demand more collaboration, closer contact with customers—and more control over the workday. But bringing workers back to the office isn’t easy.

Fennelly went on his way and I went back to Delaware Valley Physical Therapy  to introduce aJames-W-226x150.-Schorsch,-PT,-DPT friend to the ministrations of the fabulous Jim Schorsch. Seems to me these two trends will prevail — the value of chance encounters like this one, and the viability of hands-on occupations like the various therapies. You can’t massage a sore knee with TV medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s hot at Reunions for Entrepreneurs

alumni web phone

All of these events are listed as open to the public. Declare an early weekend and network for free! 

Friday, June 2, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

20th Annual Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN) Startup Competition & Conference: Registration, Mimosas, and Networking Opening remarks: Mung Chiang, Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering; Founding Director of the Princeton EDGE Lab, Director, Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education and Inaugural Chair, Princeton Entrepreneurship Council, Princeton University. Moderators: Mayra Ceja ’03, President, Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network, and Eric Sharret ’02, Vice President, Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network.  Sponsored by the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network, Keller Center, Office of Career Services, Office of Technology Licensing, E-Club, Fitz Gate Ventures, LivePlan, Chaac Ventures and Sequoia. Friend Center, Auditorium 101.

10 to 11 am 

Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN) Fireside Chat with Two Generations of Princeton Entrepreneurs: Is It in Our DNA? Moderators: Justin Ziegler ’16, Chief of Staff, Andela; Mayra Ceja ’03, President, Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network; Eric Sharret ’02, Vice President, Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network. Speakers: Jeremy Johnson ’07, Founder, Andela and 2U, and Marty Johnson ‘81, Founder, Isles, Inc. Sponsored by the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network, the Keller Center, the Office of Career Services, the Office of Technology Licensing, E-Club, Fitz Gate Ventures, LivePlan, Chaac Ventures and Sequoia. Friend Center, Auditorium 101.

11-1 pm 

Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN) Startup Showcase & Lunch To 1:00 PM. Sponsored by the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN), the Keller Center, the Office of Career Services, the Office of Technology Licensing, the E-Club, Fitz Gate Ventures, LivePlan, Chaac Ventures and Sequoia. Friend Center, Convocation Room

1 -2 pm 

Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN) Pitch Competition Moderators: Mayra Ceja ’03, President, of the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network; Eric Sharret ’02, Vice President, Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network of PEN. To 2:00 PM. Sponsored by the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ 13 FRIDAY, June 2 Network (PEN), The Keller Center, Office of Career Services, Office of Technology Licensing, E-Club, Fitz Gate Ventures, LivePlan, Chaac Ventures, Sequoia. Friend Center, Auditorium 101.

2 -3 pm

20th Annual Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN) Reception.  Sponsored by the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network (PEN), the Keller Center, the Office of Career Services, the Office of Technology Licensing, E-Club, Fitz Gate Ventures, LivePlan, Chaac Ventures, Sequoia. Friend Center, Upper Atrium.

and you might be interested in

Interactive Vehicle Demonstration To 4:00 PM. Sponsored by the Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering (PAVE). 1972 Plaza, in front of McCosh 10. on Friday, 2 -4 pm 

 

my personal favorite is Saturday, June 3, 10:30 am to noon 

Journalism in a Post-Fact Era Moderator: Joel Achenbach ’82, Washington Post reporter. Panelists: Joe Stephens, Ferris Professor in Residence and Washington Post investigative reporter; Edward Wong, visiting Ferris Professor and New York Times international correspondent; Nancy Cordes *99, CBS News congressional correspondent; Juliet Eilperin ’92, Washington Post senior national-affairs correspondent; Richard Just ’01, Washington Post Magazine editor; Jennifer Epstein ’08, Bloomberg White House/political reporter.  Sponsored by the Princeton Alumni Weekly and the Ferris Seminars in Journalism in the Council of the Humanities. Frist Campus Center, Room 302.

and some more folks you might want to network with . . .

Alumni-Faculty Forum: Entrepreneurship: Sowing the Seeds of Innovation Moderator: Mung Chiang, Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering; Founding Director of the Princeton EDGE Lab; Director, Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education; and Inaugural Chair, Princeton Entrepreneurship Council. Panelists: Dinni Jain ’87, Former COO, Time Warner Cable; Duncan Van Dusen ’92, Founding Executive Director, CATCH Global Foundation; Stephen K. Shueh ’97, Managing Partner, Roundview Capital; Jon Hayes ’07, Founder and CEO, RewardStock.com; Arielle Sandor ’12, Co-Founder and CEO, Duma Works. Sponsored by the Alumni Association of Princeton University. Julis Romo Rabinowitz Building, Room 399. Friday, 2:30-3:45 p.m. 

And the P-Rade starts at 1. All details here. 

If you are not a true alum, you might have trouble figuring out some of these locations but, hey, it’s Darwinian selection. 

 

 

Peter, Scott, Jessica on Thursday

Hear success journeys at the Princeton Chamber’s  Independent Business Summit on Thursday, with a panel that includes Peter Dawson (Leigh Imaging), Scott Needham (Princeton Air), and Jessica Durrie (Small World Coffee). Pictures to view, clean air to breathe, and caffeine to drink — they are three ‘gotta have’ products! It will be interesting to follow their proprietors’ journeys.