Burt Bacharach's book is far from 'C Major'-Vanilla!

Burt Bacharach's book,' Anyone who had a heart' really got me, when he said of the pop music of the sixties; 'A lot of those songs consisted of just three chords, C to F to G. If they had thrown in a C major seventh that would have been a lot more interesting, but the plain C major chord just seemed so vanilla to me'.

Perhaps I've been a fan of Burt's all these years without being able to admit it! His music is a 1000 miles from Mick Fleetwood's cowbell thumping 'Gold dust woman', the rip and raw of Neil Young's 'Rust never Sleeps'.... part of my teen age 'sound track'.... but in all my attempts at writing a good 'Beetles tune'... I never had a C major in it...ever! C maj 7th/D perhaps.... Burt has a great quote from Darius Mihaud, his Carpinteria composition teacher; "Never be ashamed to write a melody you can whistle".

The Book started to get me before page 43! .. 'once I saw a piece performed that Lou Harrison had written for Martha Graham. It was sixteen minutes long and thirteen minutes were complete silence'! Additionally, Chapter 3 'I Married an Angel'; 'The attraction between us was physical, because she was really good-looking and had great breasts, which back then could not be prefabricated'!

I've only just started the book, but am sure I'm up for plenty more Bacharach 'raindrop' stories! The writing is a little; and then I went, and then I did, and then I met... however I'm going to stick with it; wishing I was on a Auckland to San Fran flight, getting stuck into it .... there's nothing like laughing out loud on a plane... people looking at you with a, shocked-quizzical-missing-out sort of look!

Reid Hoffman to Receive 2012 Difference Maker Award

The Stevie® Awards today announced that Reid Hoffman, Executive Chairman of LinkedIn Corporation and a Partner at Greylock Partners, will be honored with its 2012 Difference Maker award at The 10th Annual American Business Awards new product and tech awards banquet on September 17 at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco. “Reid Hoffman embodies the entrepreneurial spirit in America,” said Stevie Awards President Michael Gallagher. “In addition to being an influential entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Reid devotes his energies to philanthropic and educational initiatives that work to inspire a new generation of startups in the U.S.A. and worldwide. We’re honored to be able to recognize his achievements with an honorary Stevie Award.”

In 2003, Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking service, in his living room. LinkedIn has more than 175 million members in 200 countries and territories around the world. He led LinkedIn through its first four years and to profitability as CEO and Chairman.

Hoffman joined Greylock Partners in 2009 and currently serves on the boards of Airbnb, Edmodo, Mozilla (Firefox), Shopkick, Swipely, Wrapp, and Zynga and has co-led investments in Coupons.com, Groupon, and Viki. He also leads the Greylock Discovery Fund, which invests in seed stage entrepreneurs and companies.

He believes strongly in the ability for entrepreneurship and technology to improve the world. Hoffman serves on the boards of Kiva.org, Endeavor.org, DoSomething.org, and StartupAmericaPartnership.org. He also co-authored the best-selling book The Startup of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career.

Wildfire, Co-Founded by Ex-Pat New Zealander Victoria Ransom Bought By Google

Co-founders, Victoria Ransom and Alain Chuard, launched Wildfire just four years ago. Since then, they and their team have built a service that helps businesses like Virgin, Cirque du Soleil, Gilt Group and Spotify manage their social efforts across numerous social websites. Wildfire is a platform for brands to manage their pages, apps, tweets, videos, sponsorships, ads, promotions and more, all in one place with, according to Wildfire, the ultimate goal better and fresher content, and more meaningful interactions.

Eli Broad - The Art of Being Unreasonable

Accomplished men usually have something worthwhile to share, sometimes in the form of simple word phrases, triggers ‘game changing’ in personal values.

This article in Fast Company on Eli Broad and his Time Management tips was sent to me by my wife. http://www.fastcompany.com/1836821/how-eli-broad-works-24-7-and-still-gets-8-hours-sleep-every-night

Most of us have read numerous ‘windy’ books on time management, keeping logs, strategies etc.

Eli’s advise is the simple phrase, ‘now let’s move on’ sounds too simple but the way he explains it in terms of moving meetings along that are dragging out, is brilliant!

In addition, the reminder that eight good hours sleep help ensure the other sixteen are well spent is refreshing if, like me, you have the tendency to keep at a thing until it is done. My wife has successfully been getting me in bed in the PM rather the early AM. Life is good, better, obviously simple stuff again, energizing all the same!

It would seem Eli Broad makes time for lighthearted fun, taking off his dress shoes and celebrating in the renovated Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain on Thursday to cap off an opening ceremony for downtown's new Grand Park.

Looking forward to reading and commenting on more of this book as time permits and as an artist, I love the title. The ART of being unreasonable.

Source: http://mahlonsmissivescom.ipage.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Eli-Broad-Art.jpg

Blackstone Invests in Soon-Shiong’s NantPharma

Company will become premier provider of bio-derived products and critically needed injectables of the highest quality Los Angeles, CA, and New York, NY, July 24, 2012 – California-based NantWorks, LLC, announced today that a fund managed by Blackstone (NYSE: BX) has invested US$125 million in NantPharma, a NantWorks company whose products include high quality, biologically derived pharmaceuticals. NantPharma operates a number of drug manufacturing and research facilities around the country. In January 2012, it announced the acquisition and redevelopment of a former Pfizer facility in Terre Haute, Indiana, with a commitment to invest $85.5 million to produce critical care injectable and oncological drugs. The new plant is expected to become operational in 2015. California-based NantWorks, LLC, announced today that a fund managed by Blackstone (NYSE: BX) has invested US$125 million in NantPharma, a NantWorks company whose products include high quality, biologically derived pharmaceuticals. NantPharma operates a number of drug manufacturing and research facilities around the country. In January 2012, it announced the acquisition and redevelopment of a former Pfizer facility in Terre Haute, Indiana, with a commitment to invest $85.5 million to produce critical care injectable and oncological drugs. The new plant is expected to become operational in 2015.

NantWorks and NantPharma Chairman, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, has previously founded two successful pharmaceutical companies addressing the unmet needs of critically ill patients. The injectable drug company he led, APP Pharmaceuticals, was the nation’s only safe source of heparin during the supply crisis in 2008, and his biopharmaceutical company, Abraxis Bioscience, developed the world’s first protein nanotechnology cancer drug transporter for breast cancer and now is in trials for pancreatic and lung cancer. Dr. Soon-Shiong sold these companies in 2008 and 2010, respectively, raising several billion dollars to pursue his vision of personalized medicine.

As part of the deal, Chinh E. Chu and Anjan Mukherjee, Blackstone Senior Managing Directors, and Arthur J. Higgins from Blackstone’s dedicated healthcare group, Blackstone Healthcare Partners, will join Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong on the NantPharma board. Mr. Higgins is a former Chairman of the Board of Management of Bayer HealthCare AG, who led that company’s restructuring, including the acquisition of Schering AG and the over-the-counter medicines business of Roche. He is a former head of Abbott Laboratories’ pharmaceutical business in the United States, and a 34 year veteran of the pharmaceutical business.

“I am delighted that we will be building this company together with Blackstone and with seasoned executives Chinh Chu, Anjan Mukherjee and Art Higgins,” said Dr. Soon-Shiong, welcoming the agreement. “Our country must have absolutely reliable sources of blood plasma products. The effective treatment for auto immune and other diseases will depend on this. We must have the highest quality standards for all biologically derived drugs. Safety is paramount with such products.”

“We must also enhance our capabilities to manufacture injectable and next generation drugs in America,” added Dr. Soon-Shiong, noting that since 2010 there has been a growing and alarming shortage of injectable drugs for cancer sufferers and other critically ill patients.

Chinh Chu and Anjan Mukherjee, who have led many of Blackstone’s investments in healthcare, welcomed the agreement with NantPharma: “We have followed Dr. Soon-Shiong’s extraordinary career with much interest for nearly a decade and we see great opportunity working together with him at the leading edge of the healthcare industry, both in this exciting venture and other initiatives.”

Bank of America Merrill Lynch acted as financial advisor, and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP served as legal counsel, to NantPharma and NantWorks in the transaction. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett served as legal counsel to Blackstone.

Soon-Shiong Forms Toy Venture with Jakks ‎

JAKKS Pacific and NantWorks Partner to Produce Next Generation Interactive Toys New venture, DreamPlay™ Toys, will use state of the art image recognition technologies to revolutionize toy and consumer products

LOS ANGELES & MALIBU, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 17, 2012-- Leading toy manufacturer JAKKS Pacific, Inc. (Nasdaq:JAKK) and technology leader NantWorks, LLC, founded by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, announced that they have signed a letter of intent to create a joint venture to develop, market and sell next generation toys incorporating NantWorks’ proprietary image recognition technology. The new venture will be named “DreamPlay Toys.”

“We are witnessing a major transformation in the play patterns of children,” said Stephen Berman, President and CEO of JAKKS Pacific. “More and more they are turning to smart phones and similar devices as their major source of fun and play. JAKKS, through its partnership with Dr. Soon-Shiong and NantWorks, has made the commitment to become a leading toy consumer products technology company that will take recognition technologies and interactivity in products and play to new heights.”

“The most interesting things happen when experts from different industries come together to rethink their worlds,” said Dr. Soon-Shiong. “This is what we are doing with DreamPlay. Toy experts and technology experts are combining to create a whole new world of possibilities for children, and indeed for consumers generally.”

JAKKS Pacific will begin transforming its product line to incorporate the new image recognition technology, and will present the first examples at the International Toy Fair in LA in October. Children will be able to “activate” toys, and interact with them using smart phones or tablet devices, in their homes and in stores. The NantWorks platform enables instant connections between physical toys, video, posters, books, games and all other forms of media.

“Children will be able to bring toys to life,” said Dr. Soon-Shiong. “The only limit will be the child’s imagination, and we all know there is no limit to that.”

“In my over twenty year career in the toy industry, I have never seen anything as transformative, ground-breaking or exciting as this partnership with NantWorks and what it will mean to our business in the future,” added Mr. Berman. “And what begins now with toys will eventually extend to many kinds of consumer products soon after.”

Under the terms of the letter of intent, NantWorks will link JAKKS’ toy products to content and animation on mobile devices through the image recognition platform, and JAKKS will have the exclusive right to arrange for partnerships with other toy companies to make the platform available to them in the development, sale and marketing of their toy products. JAKKS and NantWorks will have a profit sharing arrangement for these third party toy relationships. Under the proposed arrangements, JAKKS Pacific will be providing resources, including personnel and facilities and the services of its CEO. Mr. Berman will also serve as General Manager of DreamPlay Consumer Products, which will extend image recognition technology to non toy consumer products and applications. The parties intend to complete definitive agreements within the next 90 days.

Congratulations Marissa Mayer

Yahoo! today announced that it has appointed Marissa Mayer as President and Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board of Directors effective July 17, 2012. The appointment of Ms. Mayer, a leading consumer internet executive, signals a renewed focus on product innovation to drive user experience and advertising revenue for one of the world's largest consumer internet brands, whose leading properties include Yahoo! Finance, Yahoo! Sports, Yahoo! Mobile, Yahoo! Mail, and Yahoo! Search. Mayer said, "I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the internet's premier destinations for more than 700 million users. I look forward to working with the Company's dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world."

Most recently, Mayer was responsible for Local, Maps, and Location Services for Google, the company's suite of local and geographical products including Google Maps, Google Earth, Zagat, Street View, and local search, for desktop and mobile. Mayer joined Google in 1999 as its 20th employee and led efforts for many of Google's most recognizable products, including the development of its flagship search product and iconic homepage for over 10 years. Mayer managed some of Google's most successful innovations, launching more than 100 features and products including image, book and product search, toolbar, iGoogle, Google News, and Gmail — creating much of the "look and feel" of the Google user experience.

Yahoo! Co-Founder David Filo said, "Marissa is a well-known, visionary leader in user experience and product design and one of Silicon Valley's most exciting strategists in technology development. I look forward to working with her to enhance Yahoo's product offerings for our over 700 million unique monthly visitors."

"The Board of Directors unanimously agreed that Marissa's unparalleled track record in technology, design, and product execution makes her the right leader for Yahoo! at this time of enormous opportunity," said Fred Amoroso, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Mayer received her B.S. in Symbolic Systems and her M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University, specializing in artificial intelligence for both degrees. She is credited as an inventor on several patents in artificial intelligence and interface design.

"Yahoo!'s products will continue to enhance our partnerships with advertisers, technology and media companies, while inspiring and delighting our users. There is a lot to do and I can't wait to get started," Mayer said.

Peter and Pam Vela Guests Of The Queen At Royal Ascot

Following in the footsteps of the success the New Zealand Wine Industry, the New Zealand Thoroughbred Industry is celebrating success at the highest level on the international stage, with the success of two New Zealand born and bred racehorses at the world's most famed Racing Carnival, Royal Ascot. Equine superstars Little Bridge and So You Think delivered a significant boost to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Industry, plying their wares with aplomb this week in front of a global audience of millions and the pomp and pageantry of the Royal Family, headed by racing's number one fan, Her Majesty the Queen.

Winning the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2000m), Waikato-raised So You Think denied the Queen a fairytale victory of her own, defeating her classy galloper Carlton House. The Champion galloper has now won ten races at the elite Group I level and has travelled the globe after initially racing in Australia , venturing to England , Ireland , France , Dubai and the United States in the past 12 months.

Likewise, the opening day success of sprinter Little Bridge in the King's Stand Stakes (1000m) - who is these days domiciled in Hong Kong - showed the versatility of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeding Industry, with both speed and stamina in our arsenal.

Both Little Bridge and So You Think were bred and raised in the lush pastures of the Waikato , before being sold at public auction at New Zealand Bloodstock's world class facility at Karaka for $9,000 and $110,000 respectively.

Like so many of New Zealand's finest thoroughbreds, Little Bridge and So You Think were exported to race for lucrative prize money on offer abroad, with So You Think set to commence stallion duties later this season, having been secured by Irish based breeding consortium Coolmore for a reported A$60 million.

The New Zealand Thoroughbred Industry exports in excess of 1600 horses annually with an estimated net worth of $135 million. The Thoroughbred Breeding and Racing Industry contributes some $791.6 million to the New Zealand economy and provides employment for more than 30,000.

Commenting on the success of Little Bridge and So You Think at Royal Ascot, New Zealand Thoroughbred Marketing Chief Executive Andrew Birch said: "It goes a long way to confirming the class of our thoroughbreds on the world stage - make no mistake this is a monumental achievement. This is probably the most significant week in the history of New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeding and the spin-offs from the global exposure could be massive for our industry. This is our World Cup victory."

"We have a natural advantage when it comes to breeding thoroughbreds, given our climate and our cost of production is vastly cheaper than the majority of our rivals. Meanwhile our horsemen and women are first class and substantial investment has been put into ensuring we breed to the world's best bloodlines."

On track to revel in the triumph was Cambridge couple Des & Janet Hawkins, breeders of Little Bridge, while prominent New Zealand breeder and owner Peter Vela ONZM and his wife Pam were guests of the Queen as part of the Royal Procession on Day 1 of the five-day carnival. Vela is also the Co-Owner of New Zealand Bloodstock and Vela Fishing with his brother Philip.

Thomas Barrack Elected to USC Board of Trustees

Thomas J. Barrack Jr., founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based Colony Capital, LLC, one of the world's largest private equity real estate firms, was elected to the USC Board of Trustees on June 6. Barrack founded Colony Capital in 1991. As chairman, he has invested approximately $45 billion in assets worldwide and oversees a global organization located in 13 cities and 10 countries.

"I am very proud to announce that Thomas J. Barrack Jr. has been elected to the USC Board of Trustees," said USC president C. L. Max Nikias. "A true Trojan, Tom brings the unique perspective of an extraordinarily creative and successful entrepreneur to our board. His spirit of adventure, leadership, and wealth of experience in finance and real estate development will be invaluable as we secure USC's place among the ranks of the world's truly elite universities."

The son of Lebanese immigrants, Barrack is a Los Angeles native and a graduate of Loyola High School. While a student at USC, he played on the varsity rugby team. He received a bachelor's degree from USC in 1969 and later attended the USC Gould School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review, and the University of San Diego, where he earned his J.D. in 1972.

Barrack began his professional career at the firm of Herbert W. Kalmbach, President Richard Nixon's personal lawyer. He then took an assignment in Saudi Arabia, eventually learning Arabic and working for several years as an adviser to sons of the Saudi king.

Back in the United States, Barrack began his real estate investment career in 1976 as president of Dunn International Corporation, a builder of industrial and office parks. He served as deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior during the Reagan administration from 1982 to 1983. Following stints as president of Oxford Development Ventures, Inc. (the largest Canadian development company), and senior vice president of E. F. Hutton & Co. in New York, he became a principal with the Robert M. Bass Group, the principal investment vehicle for Robert M. Bass of Fort Worth, Texas, a position he held from 1986 to 1991.

Barrack is a current director of First Republic Bank, one of the largest private wealth banks in the United States; Accor S.A., the largest European hotel group; the Fairmont Hotel Group, one of the largest international hotel groups; and Kerzner International Holding Ltd., an international gaming and hospitality company.

He is a past director of Continental Airlines; Kerry Properties, one of the largest property companies in Hong Kong; Korea First Bank; Azorra Bank, Japan; Public Storage Company; and Santa Anita Companies.

In 2005, Barrack received an honorary doctorate from Pepperdine University, where he is a member of the University Board, a national advisory body. He was previously a trustee of the American University of Beirut. He has been a trustee of Loyola High School for over a decade and currently also is a trustee of the Thacher School in Ojai, Calif.

In Paris in 2010, in recognition of his contributions to the French business and finance sector, French president Nicolas Sarkozy knighted Barrack as a Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, the highest award bestowed by the French government on citizens and foreigners.

Throughout his career, Barrack has been an active champion of his alma mater, where he currently is a member of the Board of Leaders of the USC Marshall School of Business. He has served as a commencement speaker for the school, and as a presenter at its 13th annual Asia/Pacific Business Outlook conference in 2000. In fall 2010, he joined actor Rob Lowe in sharing his experiences, advice and philosophies with USC students during a program titled "Making Movies, Making Deals and Making It Big," as part of USC Marshall's John Bendheim Executive in Residence Program. Barrack also partnered with USC trustee Gin D. Wong, a 1950 architecture alumnus, to support a presentation by Beijing-based architect Liu Jiakun as part of the USC School of Architecture lecture series in January 2012. Barrack is a frequent keynote speaker at the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate and various other USC venues.

In recognition of his professional achievements and service to the university, Barrack was honored with USC Marshall's Alumni Award for Business Excellence in 1999. The USC Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies named him "Entrepreneur of the Year," in 2005.

An avid surfer and polo player, Barrack resides in Los Angeles and also owns and operates a vineyard and horse ranch in Santa Ynez, Calif., with his children.

Peter Thiel partners with NZVIF to invest in New Zealand

A $40 million New Zealand-based venture capital fund has been established involving a partnership between the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund and Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures. Valar has been operating since 2010 with the current investment round closing on January 1 of this year. Peter Thiel is a prominent United States technology investor. He co-founded and was CEO of PayPal before he sold it to eBay, and was the first outside investor in Facebook. Valar Ventures provides growth capital to early-stage New Zealand technology companies for the development of technology and expansion into overseas markets.

NZVIF chief executive Franceska Banga said the partnership brings not only new capital but also deep experience in developing world-leading technology companies and significant networks into the United States and international markets.

“Peter Thiel is one of the world’s most successful technology investors. He and his team bring a considerable track record of expertise and resources. For young New Zealand technology companies, Valar Ventures’ presence in the New Zealand market is a significant opportunity. “Alongside a scarcity of investment capital, the biggest challenge facing early-stage New Zealand technology companies is breaking into international markets. For web-based technology companies especially, the major market is the United States. That is where Valar Ventures’ networks – whether in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street – will be significant.

“Valar Ventures also brings considerable experience to bear on behalf of their portfolio companies. Their team has been through every stage of the start-up process, from inception to IPO, and they have the financial resources to fund companies throughout their growth stages.

“With NZVIF and other New Zealand investors, such as investment company Rangatira, participating in the Valar Ventures fund, we will retain a New Zealand stake in these businesses as they look to build an offshore presence and become international companies.” Thiel said New Zealand is an attractive investment proposition.

“Over the last several years, New Zealand has been nurturing more early-stage tech companies. I’m delighted that the government’s New Zealand Venture Investment Fund is partnering with Valar Ventures to enable more of them to expand and compete on the global level.”

“Through our work with globally focused technology companies like Xero, we’ve seen how much New Zealand’s start-up ecosystem is flourishing,” said Valar Ventures’ Andrew McCormack. “We were drawn to invest in New Zealand because of the vision and hard work of entrepreneurs like Sam Morgan and Rod Drury, incubators such as the Icehouse, and government initiatives like the NZVIF. New Zealand has good technical talent and an attractive cost base, and we’re looking forward to strengthening the ties between Silicon Valley and New Zealand.”

Valar Ventures LP is a $40 million fund with $20 million committed by NZVIF, approximately $5 million from other New Zealand investors, and the balance from Thiel.

Reid Hoffman Funds $1 Million in Free Kiva Trials

Kiva, the world’s first and largest microlending platform, and Reid Hoffman, one of Silicon Valley’s most successful entrepreneurs, are joining forces to alleviate poverty and open the doors of entrepreneurship worldwide. Hoffman is funding a $1 million free trial program, allowing 40,000 new Kiva users to make a $25 loan to the borrower of their choice at no cost. Since this week’s free trial launch, the rate of new users signing up on Kiva is nine times faster than usual. More than half of the 40,000 free trials were claimed in less than a week, setting in motion a ripple effect of entrepreneurial support around the globe. “Kiva brings us all closer to a time when each of us has the opportunity to reach our full potential, whether we live in the world’s biggest cities or most remote villages,” said Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, Kiva Board Member, and co-author of The Start Up of You. “Through Kiva’s Free Trial program I am inviting 40,000 people to make that potential a reality for tens of thousands of people worldwide so they can create a better future for themselves and their families.”

Kiva helps to break the cycle of poverty worldwide by connecting lenders to borrowers through loans that change lives. During the free trial, new users of Kiva.org/free can take $25 out of Reid Hoffman’s account and lend it to the entrepreneur of their choice. As the loan is repaid, they receive updates and notes from the borrower on how the funds were used and how they are doing. After a user tries Kiva for free, they can then decide if they want to lend their own money to another borrower on the site.

“Kiva offers each of us the chance to be a part of a growing community of people who care about the impact they have in the world,” said Premal Shah, President of Kiva. “The momentum at which people are claiming these free trials proves to me that the passion to lend support and help someone lift themselves out of poverty is widely felt around the world.”

Over the past few days more than 22,000 people have flocked to Kiva to sign up as new users—a number that Kiva would typically see only after two months. It is not just the initial sign-ups that are promising for this nonprofit organization. Kiva is experimenting with a not-for-profit application of “freemium” models that have propelled growth for companies like Zynga, Paypal, and LinkedIn.

The premise of Kiva’s freemium model is that after having the full Kiva experience, new users will opt-in to lend their own money. From Kiva’s free trial pilot last August, more than 14% became regular lenders—a rate three times what is typically expected for freemium models.

Often only a relatively small amount of money stands in the way of Kiva borrowers and their dreams. Whether it is a family in New Orleans hoping to start a small business, or a young Bolivian woman who lacks the tuition for nursing school, Kiva gives the people the chance to lend their support to these and countless other borrowers. And, by lending as little as $25 to a borrower, you not only help an individual lift themselves out of poverty, you are setting in motion a ripple effect of change for their families and communities. Check out Kiva.org/free and be a part of the ripple effect for change.

Peter Hargreaves and Stephen Lansdown Receive Honorary Degrees From The University of Bristol

Peter Hargreaves and Stephen Lansdown, who formed Hargreaves Lansdown in 1981, have both been awarded a Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of their outstanding success in creating a global financial company worth billions of pounds and with half a million clients around the world. Their partnership is being upheld by the University as an example of building “something special” in Bristol which has weathered recent financial storms and grown continuously for the last 30 years.

Peter and Stephen, both trained accountants, ironically met when they went for the same job at a financial firm. As luck would have it, they were both employed and ultimately decided to take the plunge and go into business together.

Hargreaves Lansdown began life on 1 July, 1981, in Peter’s spare bedroom in Clifton. At the heart of the business model is the idea that customers are offered a one-stop shop where they can transact through the company, choosing between a large number of low-risk investments such as unit trusts.

The company makes its money by taking a very small amount of money from a large number of investments and has never borrowed money to grow the business, a move which has stood it in good stead.

From the day Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy in 2008 until Portugal’s debt was downgraded last year, Hargreaves Lansdown’s share price went up over three and half times, at the very time that economies were collapsing and financial markets were in turmoil.

Professor Paul Grout, Professor of Political Economy, is delivering the oration and said: “This story is also a story for the City of Bristol, one that the city should be proud of. I’ve been a professor here for over 25 years and have come to love the city.

“We know very many of our students want to stay here when they graduate. The success of Hargreaves Lansdown shows that you do not need to leave the city and rush off to London or New York to build something special. It can be done right here.”

Professor Grout described how the pair’s connections with the city of Bristol go deeper than their business, which they’ve both now stepped back from running. Peter remains an Executive Director while Stephen’s turned his attentions to his sporting interests.

In addition to being the leading shareholder in Bristol City Football Club, Stephen has just been identified as the new owner of Bristol Rugby, having bailed the club out when it was on the verge of going into administration.

Bruce Plested Supports ‘Duffy Books in Homes’ Charitable Foundation

Bruce Plested is Chairman for the ‘Duffy Books in Homes’ Charitable Foundation, which provides five new books to participating students, with the aim of developing better education and a love of reading in children.  One of the main sponsors for this programme is Mainfreight. Since the initial relationship, in which Mainfreight sponsored books which were given to children in low decile schools, the firm has increased its support of the programme and has become a major sponsor of the literacy initiative.

In addition to sponsoring 54 of the 541 schools involved in the programme, Mainfreight provides a rent-free office, allowing the charity to direct more of its funding towards books which make their way into the hands of more than 100,000 children in low-income communities nationwide.

One of Mainfreight’s most anticipated contributions to the Duffy programme is the annual Mainfreight Award for Excellence in Attitude.

Each year a senior student in each Duffy school is awarded a high quality reference book, cup and certificate signed by Bruce Plested, Mainfreight’s Executive Chairman. Many schools choose to make this their major end of year prize for departing students.

This year’s book prize is The Complete Human Body – The Definitive Visual Guide by Dr. Alice Roberts. The book uses computer-generated illustrations and the latest medical and microscopic imaging to explain every aspect of the human body more clearly than ever before.

Representatives from Mainfreight, Daily Freight, Owens and Chemcouriers are invited to visit schools and help present the award – an opportunity which they all relish.

Linda Vagana, General Manager of Duffy Books in Homes believes that Mainfreight’s support has been a cornerstone of the charity’s success. “Mainfreight’s amazing success as a company over the years makes them the ideal supporter of such an award – promoting excellence and awarding our future young leaders in Duffy schools nationwide,” she said.

Since the official launch in 1995 with 80 schools, 16,000 students and 14 sponsors, the Duffy Books in Homes programme has grown to encompass 541 schools, around 100,000 students and more than 200 sponsors in 2011. More than seven million books have been distributed to children in low-decile schools since its inception and the programme now distributes more than 600,000 books annually.

Vinod Khosla Sees LanzaTech as a Role Model for Black Swans

LanzaTech’s key investor Vinod Khosla has been in New Zealand meeting with the clean energy technology company’s team – and checking out other investment opportunities. Khosla Ventures, which the entrepreneur and tech visionary set up in 2004, focuses on both information technology investments and clean energy technology ventures. However, Mr Khosla listened to pitches from eight companies from a wider spectrum while he was in New Zealand.

Together with Sir Stephen Tindall, another LanzaTech investor through his New Zealand-based K1W1 fund, and Renee Kwan, co-founder of Greater China Assets, Mr Khosla first presented to members of the biotech, clean energy and IT sectors, entrepreneurs and the wider science community at a NZ Innovation Workshop in Auckland.

Mr Khosla told the workshop audience he invested in “global” companies, rather than focussing on single countries. And he said there was far more equity around the planet than good ideas.

LanzaTech was a role model and represents “black swan” ideas Mr Khosla said. Black swans are high-impact innovations that are beyond the realm of normal expectations.

“LanzaTech is a company started by people with zeal and skills and Sean (Dr Simpson) had the conversation to make me believe that what was in the test tube he showed me had the ability to use waste streams to create energy,” he said. “When we started we didn’t know about the four or five other products that LanzaTech is now able to produce and the fact that there is every possibility that in five years from now 80% of its profits will come from products we did not envisage at the start.”

Following the innovation workshop, the eight New Zealand companies - Carbonscape, Seatrol, Carvus Traction System, Windflow, Biomimetics Lab, Near Field Communications, Rex Bionics and Yike Bike- made their pitches. They will not know for a couple of months if they have successfully attracted Mr Khosla’s further interest.

Mr Khosla also toured the LanzaTech pilot plant at the Bluescope steel mill at Glenbrook in south Auckland, which has been producing fuel ethanol from gases the steel mill flues for the past two years.

Cameron O'Reilly Brings Investment To New Zealand

Today consolidation of manufacturing was announced to create a stronger foundation for future growth in the Australian and New Zealand markets for Heinz. After an extensive review of the trans Tasman manufacturing footprint and capabilities, the decision has been made to consolidate production of sauces, beetroot, and some canned meal products from Australian facilities , to facilities in Hastings.

“These changes to our business will be implemented within 12 months. While a small number of new positions will be created, the Hastings facilities have the infrastructure to absorb the additional volumes into current operations.

Why come here when so many companies are moving out? "New Zealand has a level playing field, it's a good place to invest. And New Zealanders are very special and wonderful people. You have a very good work ethic, farming support, infrastructure - and a very competitive dollar."

Why is Tony O'Reilly, Heinz’s largest private shareholder and one of the world's four Western press barons, the highest-paid CEO in the United States, the man who spent $US3.84 million on the 40-carat diamond ring Aristotle Onassis gave to Jackie Kennedy for his second wife Chryssanthie (Chryss) Goulandris (52) - telling New Zealanders how to put the country back on the road? Because, say the cynics, he has $1.5 billion invested here. Those who know him well don't agree. Their theory? He simply wants to help a country he loves.

O'Reilly says, "If I wasn't an Irishman I'd be a Kiwi."

5th annual James Dyson Award

This summer, regional judges across the world are deciding which student inventions will make it on to the shortlist of the James Dyson Award. Each of the 18 participating countries will name a national winner. The shortlist then goes before a panel of Dyson engineers, and finally James Dyson will announce the 2010 winner in October. Entries have included a buoy that uses ultrasonic technology to warn wildlife away from oil spills, a human powered car battery charger and a bumpless speed bump.

Over 500 ideas from 18 other countries are competing to claim the £20,000 prize.

The award, run by the James Dyson Foundation, aims to celebrate young designers and inspire the next generation of design engineers. Current perceptions of engineering in Britain are reflected in the numbers who study it. There are only 24,000 engineering graduates a year and 58,000 engineering vacancies.

The James Dyson Award works with universities across the globe and will be open for entries from the 2nd February to 1st July 2010. Half of the prize money is invested directly in the winner’s university or college faculty and £10,000 goes directly to the winning students to help them make their design a reality.

James Dyson says: “We need to do more to support and celebrate the engineers of the future. Making things is not about grime and grease, but solving real life problems.”

Out of more than 400 entries, last year’s winner was Automist, an attachment for a kitchen tap that can detect fires and put them out by using mains water to create a fine mist. The project was developed by British students Yusuf Muhammad and Paul Thomas from the Royal College of Art in London.

Yusuf Muhammad comments: “Winning the James Dyson Award has enabled us to transform our idea from a prototype into a viable product – which we’re now close to being able to sell. The Award gave us two advantages – cash and recognition. The prize money has been crucial to keeping our small business going, but the interest we’ve received through coverage has been priceless. We’ve had emails from all around the world, both from big companies and from individuals who want to know when they can get hold of the Automist to install in their kitchen. We’ve just put it through another round of testing at the Building Research Establishment - specialists were impressed by the way our invention tackled fire effectively in such a different way. One of the best things is having the recognition of James Dyson, probably the best known inventor in the country.”

James Dyson will announce the global winner on 5th October 2010.

Michael Dell's new CMO

Congrats abound for Karen Quintos, marketing executive at Dell for more than 10 years, has been named senior vice president and Chief Marketing Officer, reporting to Michael Dell, chairman and CEO. As CMO, Ms. Quintos is responsible for building the company's brand for Dell customers, team members and stakeholders around the world. She leads brand strategy, global communications, social media, corporate responsibility, global research, marketing talent development and agency management.

"Karen's success at Dell has come from her tremendous focus on our customers and her strong understanding of our commercial IT solutions," said Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell. "She is a world-class marketing professional and one of our most inspired and engaging leaders, and we are pleased to welcome her to our executive leadership team."

Ms. Quintos was serving as vice president of marketing for Dell's global public business, responsible for driving global marketing strategies, product and pricing programs, communications and channel plans to reach millions of higher education, government and healthcare institutional customers. Previously, she was vice president of marketing for Dell's Americas commercial business and has also held various executive roles in Dell's services, contact center management and supply chain teams.

She succeeds Erin Mulligan Nelson, who is leaving Dell to join Bazaarvoice, a private Austin-based company that provides Software as a Service (SaaS) social commerce solutions.

Ms. Quintos joined Dell in 2000 from Citigroup, where she served as vice president of global operations and technology. She also spent 12 years with Merck & Co., where she served in a variety of roles in marketing, planning, operations and supply chain.

Ms. Quintos holds a master's degree in marketing and international business from New York University and a bachelor of science in supply chain management from The Pennsylvania State University State College. She has served on multiple boards and currently serves on Dell's Hispanic Networking Board and Board of Visitors for Penn State's Smeal Business School.

Travis Knight Named President And CEO

LAIKA has announced that Travis Knight has been named President and CEO of the company. Knight succeeds Dale Wahl, who has held the position since 2005. Knight, who sits on the LAIKA Board and has been Head of Animation since 2007, was one of the lead animators on Coraline, the first stop-motion animated feature film to be produced in 3D. The appointments were announced by Philip H. Knight, LAIKA’s owner and Chairman of the Board. Mr. Knight is also Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of Nike, Inc. “Travis’ passion has always been the arts in general and filmmaking in particular,” said Phil Knight. “He was Coraline’s earliest champion, playing a key role in our decision to greenlight the project and his creative contribution as lead animator on the film was immense. His ambitious business vision for LAIKA grows out of a first-hand understanding of, and reverence for, the creative process. I’m confident that our new leadership team will continue to move LAIKA to the forefront of the animation industry.

“Dale Wahl steps down as CEO at his request,” Mr. Knight continues. “After four years and at age 65 he felt, in his words, it was time to smell one rose. Dale moves into the position of Vice-Chairman to help Travis transition into their new positions until his retirement from LAIKA at the end of this October. In addition, he will temporarily fill the role of Executive Vice President of Business Operations and CFO until we complete our search to fill that position. With his steady leadership and business acumen, Dale has presided over our nascent feature film operation as well as our thriving commercial division, led by LAIKA/house President Lourri Hammack. The success of both areas of the company under his leadership has gotten us off to a great start.”

Travis Knight says, “At our core, LAIKA is an audacious, scrappy, and inventive community of filmmakers, driven by our love of animation, a belief in its endless possibilities, and confidence in its promise to touch the world. LAIKA’s potential is limitless. In both the entertainment and commercial arenas, we will continue to develop our visual and storytelling expertise across all animation formats. Simply put, we hope to grow into the boldest, most innovative animation studio in the world.”

Travis has been involved in all business and creative decision-making at LAIKA since the company’s inception in 2003, when Phil Knight took over Vinton Studios, Portland’s renowned animation studio with a distinguished 30-year history, and re-christened it LAIKA. Travis joined Vinton Studios in 1998 as a stop-motion animator, working on the Emmy Award-winning television series The PJs, produced with Eddie Murphy Productions and Imagine Entertainment, as well as the animated series Gary & Mike on UPN. He earned his CG animation stripes by animating numerous television commercials (McDonald’s, Hostess, M&M’s) and promo spots, including the NFL on Fox campaign. In June 2007, he was honored by Animation magazine as one of the Rising Stars of Animation. He has served on LAIKA’s Board of Directors since 2003.

Fashion Week 2009

Our Daughters modeled at Fashion week; Marlana was flicking all the 'celebrity front row legs' with her feather like a kid with a stick and a corrugated iron fence.... No one seemed to mind... they all seemed to 'know' who she was..... Marlana the marketing expert...!  She's current 'writing' the book on connecting....