Category Archives: Business

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

Just tell it so they get it: gerrymandering

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As Sam Wang talked this morning on how to countermand the evils of gerrymandering —  legislative districts structured to favor one party — I kept thinking “he’s the perfect person for this.” Wang spoke this morning at the Princeton Regional Chamber breakfast. 

The battle to redistrict Congress will be fought in the courts, probably leading to the Supreme Court, which has turned down several cases for lack of a manageable standard.  As Wang said, lawyers don’t go to law school because they like math. (Nodded agreement from the 80+ attendees, with more than the usual number of lawyers.) Lawyers might be good in math but it’s probably not their forte.

So if you want to use algorithms to uproot gerrymandering, you’d better figure out how to make that math accessible to the lawyers’ brains, especially the SCOTUS brains.

If any one can do that, Wang can. He is an eminent neuroscientist with an unusual facility to state complicated concepts in simple ways, as in his first book “Welcome to Your Brain.”

Though Wang is still doing neuroscience he is also consulting on political statistics via the Princeton Election Consortium. During the question page he talked about testifying in various court cases and presented various “manageable standards.”

His webpage even has an option to do the math yourself – pick a data set and work out whether those districts are configured fairly.

On that page, Wang says he wants to do more than use math and polls to explain politics. He wants to stimulate people to act. Not just Democrats, but “all Americans who want to save institutions – whether they are liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican.” He recommends that we all

  • joining our U.S. Representative’s party (even though that may be hard to do)
  • work to keep the media ‘on task’

Are you looking for ways to make change? Read his  action items for democracy’s survival here.

Says Wang: “Voters should choose their representatives, not the other way round.”

 

Sam Wang talks – consumes no crickets

wang-bugSam Wang speaks to the Princeton Regional Chamber TOMORROW (if you get this on Tuesday), i.e. Wednesday, February 15.

He spoke to the chamber back in 2009 on  the title of his book “Welcome to Your Brain.

He made some election predictions last September at the Princeton Public Library.

He famously ate crow (or, rather, crickets) in a post-election mea culpa. :

He was included in the U.S. 1 cover story “Living in a Trump World” in January.

On Wednesday, February 15 for a Princeton Regional Chamber breakfast at the Nassau Club his title is The Long Collapse: A Data-Based Look at U.S. Politics from 1994 to 2017.  

Sorry for the late notice but if you see this before Wednesday at 7 a.m. it’s not too late to attend.

Richard K. Rein: Princeton newspapers

drive-papers-2-534x462Here’s Rein’s indepth account, admittedly from his point of view, of the history of newspapers in Princeton, including his own. It’s published in his monthly paper for Princeton, the Echo, and on the website of Mercerspace. Confused? Read the post.

I tagged it “Memoir” because I lived through it too.

Accelerating Team Effectiveness: McGrath

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Reduce friction to accelerate the progress of your team, says Rita McGrath, known for her savvy in connecting research to business problems.Her Valize team presents a morning workshop on Tuesday, January 31, in Lawrence.

Says McGrath: Most team effectiveness assessments focus on the level of satisfaction of team members. However, research has shown that there is not a strong correlation between satisfaction and team performance. During this 2-hour workshop, we will focus on five important elements that have great impact on the effectiveness of team performance. 

 Bring your team, she says, and you’ll leave with ‘actionable results.’

Find out the five elements and more about this workshop. 

Princeton’s Got Innovation

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Thirty thousand grand will be on the line on Wednesday, February 15, at the Innovation Forum organized by Princeton University’s Keller Center. Participants present their research in a three-minute “elevator pitch” to the audience and a panel of judges. Simon Cowell’s got nothing on this show!

Register to come and watch the excitement.  You get to see inside the Andlinger Center and there’s networking and refreshments afterward.

 

Protect our media watchdogs

If you don’t subscribe to the Times of Trenton or the Star Ledger or the Bergen Record or any other newspaper that still has a reporter covering the statehouse, do it now. If you aren’t a member of WHYY, with its newsroom at Newsworks, join now. Support Politico’s New Jersey desk. If you can find an independent online investigative reporter in your community, like Planet Princeton, contribute or advertise. 

You can march, you can write letters to the editor, you can call your legislators, but you can also help protect our democracy by bolstering the budgets of the investigative reporters trying to combat fraud and lies. 

I knew this before but this Wednesday New York Times column italicized my impulse.  David W. Chen, who wrote “In New Jersey, Only a Few Media Watchdogs are Left,” used to be bureau chief for the statehouse desk for the New York Times.

The New York Times no longer has a staff reporter covering New Jersey. The number of reporters at the state house has dwindled from 30 to 7.

John Oliver reminds us that social media and TV news mostly just repackage newspaper stories.

McCarter Theatre has it right. McCarter is running ads on Politico’s media page  

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.NYT photo by Charles Mostoller

Poignant detail #1: The print version of Chen’s article showed two lonely news boxes in downtown Trenton. One was for the Star Ledger, which has coopted the Trenton Times state coverage. The other was for U.S. 1 Newspaper. What?? U.S. 1 covers state politics once in a while, as in this investigative piece,. We cover important issues and the boss sometimes opines in his column, but statehouse reporting — that’s not our mission.

Poignant detail #2: Chen’s ender was a salute to the 87-year-old columnist who uses a typewriter.  A colleague converts with the typed page to a PDF, using her cell phone, and emails it in.

 

 

Post-election Rx for the Workplace

Tom Sullivan, in a Princeton Partnersullivans column, had some good ideas for how to deal with post-election stress in the workplace. “Use your company as an agent for change,” he says. Here is a five-step strategy, and for details  on the first three, click through to the post/ 

  1. Find a favorite issue:
  2. Identify a common cause:
  3. Share ideas:
  4. Take the first step: This can be scary, because inertia is hard to overcome. You can overcome that inertia if you have a strong team willing to take that first step together.
  5. Be humble: Be gracious and helpful when you engage with others who are already engaged in the cause you seek to assist. Ask questions, offer assistance and recognize that you will be more effective if your primary strategy is to build trusting relationships.

 

Top Two Buttons? Rein and Hilfiger

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Rich Rein and Tommy Hilfiger (photo by DiGiovanni Photography)

I have my own story about meeting a celebrity at the Princeton Chamber event at the Hyatt but Rich Rein’s is better.

He interviewed Tommy Hilfiger about his book American Dreamer and muses on that experience in his U.S. 1 Newspaper column last Wednesday.  .

For the occasion, Rein had outfitted himself in a T.H. shirt and tie from Macy’s, but apparently that wasn’t enough.

You’ll have to ask me in person about my own embarrassing story, it’s not something I want in print. But I can heap praise on the spectacularly displayed goodies at the VIP reception

food2031and the enthusiastic crowd of 400 that filled the Hyatt ballroom to capacity. Fashion students from Philadelphia, attending on free tickets but buying Hilfiger’s book, were thrilled to be there, along with many many on the Chamber email list, some U.S. 1 readers, and people who heard about it on the radio (I polled those standing in the booksigning line that curled around the room.)philly-students-imgp2045

To my somewhat surprise, since I am not a fashionista, I liked the book, a tale of derring do. I particularly liked the part where one of his buddies recognized that the river would flood the town of Elmira, so they enlisted everybody — family and fellow high school students — to move inventory from the basement to the top floor. After the flood, the Hilfiger stock was the only dry clothing for sale in submerged Elmira. Everybody — grandparents and teens alike — bought and wore his tie-dyed shirts.

Hilfiger’s is a Horatio Alger story of overcoming — not poverty, but dyslexia. It’s just amazing how talent and focus — and maybe a little luck and grace — can conquer disability.

You’ll have to read Rein on the top two buttons. I can’t tell it as well as he did.

 

Capital Networking Group: November 8

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High Level Networking: Tommy Hilfiger (in pinstripes) greets Princeton Regional Chamber CEO and board chairman Richard Coyne (Alice Barfield looking on) at the Hyatt ‘s VIP reception downstairs before he was interviewed upstairs by Richard K. Rein for 400 eager fans about his book “American Dreamer.”

Election morning — how did I do this? – I am scheduled to speak at 7 a.m. at the Capital Networking Group at my own church, Princeton United Methodist, at Nassau & Vandeventer.

Upstairs,  the church is a polling place for District 10. Downstairs, in Fellowship Hall, I guarantee no politics. Only stories. 

For the entrepreneurs in this group, which meets every Tuesday morning for breakfast (good bagels!)

I’ll talk about how to promote your business or nonprofit, based on my experience as senior editor for U.S. 1 Newspaper and, after retirement, doing pro bono public relations for Princeton United Methodist Church, Not in Our Town Princeton,  the United Front Against Riverblindness, and the New Jersey State Button Society. For info, email: CJerry@jerrylaw.com but if you just show up that’s ok too. Check the website.

The items below popped up in my news feed this week and may find their way into the stories I’ll tell.

The first seven words matter. In person, you may make your first impression in a millisecond, the blink of an eye, according to Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov (Association for Psychological Science) July, 2006.

“If you can’t be funny, be interesting.” Harold Ross, founder of The New Yorker magazine, from The Writer’s Almanac.

“If it’s familiar but has a certain something that sets it apart, you’ve got a hit,’ Tommy Hilfiger, American Dreamer, p.131

“Millennials expect transparency, sophisticated storytelling, and technical savvy.” Nicholas Fandas, “Beyond Money,” New York Times, 11-3-16

“The pay phone measured time in quarters, the Internet in taps and clicks.” In There’s Nobody Here by That Name, by Steve Bryant via Medium Daily Digest.

SO, you might ask, why did I use my photo of Tommy Hilfiger for this post? 

BECAUSE I COULD! Any good PR person knows never to miss a chance to tag along on celebrity coat tails, however slim the connection.

Of course — all the media attention to a certain celebrity is what got us to this point in the election cycle.

But, I promised, no politics.

11 Green Street

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My dilemma about 11 Green Street was explained well by Vincent Xu in this edition of the Princeton Echo . Can the historic preservation ordinance ‘save’ the Witherspoon Jackson neighborhood.