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Hotel SearchIn the current global political climate, traveling can be stressful for even those of us who worry less than we should when visiting exotic locales.

And high net worth travelers often have a lot more to be concerned about than terrorism.

On one recent trip, I met a well known single traveler who said she traveled almost exclusively with Abercrombie Kent, as much for the security afforded by its guides and experts on the ground as for its range of product offerings.

And while many wealthy people have their own security staff, a new global concierge security service called Zone Intelligence offers a variety of real time, technology based threat mapping and tracking services that can be combined with on the ground security.

Developed in partnership between Helios and Matheson Analytics, which uses artificial intelligence to analyze big data, and Red Zone, creator of an app that maps crime data, Zone Intelligence offers packages ranging in price from $29.99 to $150,000, according to Helios CEO Ted Farnsworth, who said he came up with the idea on a trip to Israel.

The basic package offers an analytical report on your destination and access to a 24 hour hotline.

“Say you are going to Israel, or Turkey, or some other place in the Middle East,” Farnsworth said. “We’ll do a whole dossier for you about what kind of security issues there are. You get a full blown report by email. It’s usually about 30 pages long and it tells you everything about what’s going on economically to whether there have been uprisings, rioting, what hotels are threatened.”

Starting in the $5,000 range, he said, are services that include on the ground, armed “human assets” and people who can come in and “extract” you from a dangerous situation.

He expects the most popular package to be the one for $499, which includes geotracking that alerts a team if, for instance, you go out of your designated zones. That can also provide geofencing, which enables Zone to put a virtual fence around, say, a traveling child, so the parents can be alerted about the child’s whereabouts or potential trouble.

While there are other ways via Google and smartphones for families and travelers to track each other’s whereabouts in real time, Farnsworth says Zone Intelligence is the only service he is aware of that brings together the intelligence and real time technology with more traditional on location physical assistance.

For that, Zone works with the global security firm Viollis Group International

“The key factor in effective global safety is proper security proportionate to the risk, which is heightened when protecting corporations and high net worth individuals,” Viollis CEO Paul Viollis said last week in a press release about the launch of Zone. “A company is only as good as its intel, and the reliability of that intel is paramount.”

Farnsworth said he has not yet worked out any formal arrangements for paying commissions to travel agents but added he has begun conversations with some agencies.
timberland skhigh rock Another travel item to consider

timberland skhigh rock don’t let your fingers do the caulking

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Above all, don’t let your fingers do the caulkingSATURDAY’S HERO

October 22, 1994By ROB KASPER

I have been caulking incorrectly. For years I have been using my fingers to smooth out the bead of caulk that I had put in the gap around a bathtub or a window frame. Then the other day I learned that it was risky to smooth the caulk.

Smoothing the caulk bead with your finger may make the caulk too thin. A bead of caulk that is too thin can’t expand to fill the gaps. That is what caulk is supposed to do, fill gaps. But skinny caulk can’t provide as much protection against water as a bead of caulk that is pooching out.

“Pooching out” is not a technical term. In technical terms you want a “convex bead.” That means you want a caulk bead that bulges slightly at its center, a situation I identify with. I found it refreshing that, somewhere in the world, being pleasantly plump was applauded.

The “please don’t smooth the caulk” tip was one of the many I picked up during a recent intensive review of caulk literature. This was conducted when I was sitting in hotel rooms and in airports. Other people who travel may use their idle moments to read thought provoking novels or pore over steamy magazines. When I traveled to Atlanta recently, I read about caulk and sealants.

Caulking is a hot topic this time of year. I found advice on how to use caulk to stop drafts and leaks in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, as well as in “The Homeowner’s Guide to Caulks and Sealants,” a faux newspaper published by the Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute. Until I read its publication, I had never heard of this institute, but it turned out to be run by a Philadelphia area company devoted to caulk.

I also discovered that there were two ways to apply caulk. The push and pull methods. Both use a caulking gun, a metal apparatus with a trigger and a plunger that pushes the caulk from cardboard tubes that have plastic nozzles. Caulking guns are cool.

I knew about the pull method. I knew how to put the tube of caulk into the caulking gun, to hold the gun at 45 degree angle, and to gently squeeze the trigger. Then I slowly pulled the gun along the gap that needed to be filled.

The new method was the push method. To use it I was supposed to hold the gun, higher, at about a 60 degree angle, squeeze the trigger and push the gun forward. The push method was supposed to put more caulk in the cracks, but was said to be messier than the pull method.

The more I read about choosing the right type of caulk, the more confused I got. There were caulks made of butyl, latex, acrylic and silicone. Some could be painted, some couldn’t.

DTC Finally I memorized a phrase that I could repeat when I went to the hardware store. It was, “I want a top quality, water based all acrylic or siliconized acrylic caulk.” As I was practicing this phrase, Ned Gordon, a caulking specialist at Rohm and Haas, called me. I tried the phrase out on him. Gordon liked it. He said if homeowners chanted those words in a hardware store they would end up with a tube of $3 caulk that would be suitable for most home repair projects.

We talked about where to caulk. Gordon, who confessed that he might be “caulk obsessed,” ticked off a list of spots around the home that were likely to benefit from a shot of caulk. If there is a half inch gap between your marble steps and your rowhouse, he said, you could fill it with an acrylic sealant. If the gap is wider than that, use a mortar repair sealant.

We also talked about caulking around electrical outlets. I couldn’t figure out why anybody would want to do that. But Gordon said he caulked around an electrical outlet on a lamp post outside his house. The caulk bead, he said, kept rain water out.

People have been known to caulk around the edges of electrical outlets inside homes to block drafts, he said. The best product to use to stop drafts from an interior electrical outlet is something called a foam sealant, Gordon said.

Before he hung up, Gordon invited me to visit Spring House, Pa., where he and his colleagues study caulk at a house called “an exposure facility.” “We’ve got some samples of 30 year old caulk,” he said.

I don’t think I will make the trip. My house is filled with old caulk.

Besides, winter is coming and I’ve got to stop reading, load up my gun and get caulking. This year I’ve got to try to break an old habit. This year I’ve got to try to keep my fingers out of the caulk bead.
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How many loyalty cards do you have in your wallet? Between coffee shop stamps and gas station points and consumer rewards, it likely there quite a few (in fact, the average American is a member of 29 loyalty programs even though they only use half of them this year).Just one look at the recent Air Miles fiasco and it clear that these programs are a hassle for companies, too.Study after study has shown why they just don work. You essentially discount your brand in exchange for customer data, which feels cheap and tawdry. In the long run, it doesn yield economic returns studies have shown that companies with a higher spend on loyalty programs earn, on average, 10 per cent less than competitors. The reality is, do any of the cards you have really compel you to head back to the store?For companies, I think a dose of brutal honesty is in order. In the end, loyalty programs are about gathering information from your customers. If you want that precious data, be up front about it and give them a compelling reason to share it.Real loyalty, in my mind, starts with showing buyers you have integrity, heart and soul a purpose, personality and sense of values that transcend your logo. say it shared values that drive their brand loyalty, not discounts. charitable and giving programs and loyalty unexpectedly converge. These are usually thought of as two separate initiatives, but they don have to be. With a loyalty program that tied into a giving program, you enable customers to actually give back instead of getting punches on a card or piling up miles they never use.David Segal opened his fresh fast food location in Ottawa this summer.I thought about his a lot lately. I was never exactly happy with DavidsTea Frequent Steeper program not only was it complicated to manage, it cost us millions of dollars in product each year and did nothing to drive our already loyal customers to the store. When I launched my newest venture, I wanted to get this right. We recently rolled out a very different kind of loyalty program at Mad Radish: for every order a customer places on our app or online, a serving of fresh vegetables is donated to a local food charity on the customer behalf.CIBC divorce from PC Financial shines light on bruised loyalty card industryCanada Engage People wants to shake up global customer loyalty programsAfter trying it for two months and giving away more than 1,000 servings of produce I don think we ever go back to a 9 Get the 10th Free model. For other entrepreneurs looking to reboot their loyalty programs, here are a few principles we learned along the way.Pick the right partnerIf you going to tie loyalty with giving, it has to truly make sense for you and your customers. The right initiative should be intrinsic to your core business and its mission, not an afterthought. It not just about presenting a novelty cheque to charity once a quarter.For our program, for instance, we partnered with Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC), a national nonprofit focused on giving low income families in need access to fresh, healthy food. Rather than giving away canned and processed stuff, they build community food centres where the emphasis is on creating a space where people come together, cook together and eat together. Our business is about proving that healthy food can be delicious, so this was a natural fit.Consider keeping it localI think there something empowering and gratifying about helping people in your own backyard. This makes sense from a giving perspective, but also from the perspective of energizing your customer base to take part.I have tremendous admiration for one for one giving programs like those at Warby Parker and Tom shoes for making a huge difference in the lives of people around the globe. At the same time, one of the things I love about working with CFCC is that we donating fresh vegetables to people an hour away.Increasingly, companies even those with global reach are thinking locally when it comes to giving, for these very reasons. Telus, for one, has branded its charitable efforts Where You Live, investing in hyper local causes (such as the Bipolar Disorder Society of BC) and challenging employees to donate volunteer hours.Incorporate technology and make it realHere where giving programs can take a cue from loyalty initiatives, especially in terms of integrating technology and gamification. Being able to track and quantify your individual charitable impact adds a level of personal investment and commitment. We spent a great deal of time developing an app that logs each donation so that users can see in real time how many servings of veggies we given away and what their own contribution is.
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It was not immediately clear how many local workers were laid off or which stores would be closed. Zappos operates three outlet stores in the Las Vegas Valley, including one in Henderson near the Galleria at Sunset mall.The online shoe retailer, which is based in Green Valley and recently expanded its headquarters campus, has been hailed for its business model and meteoric rise to success, starting from scratch in 1999 and reaching $840 million in gross sales in 2007.But as the company’s sales growth has slowed this year, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh said the layoffs became necessary, despite how painful they were for a tight knit company that buys its employees lunch each day and has a dodgeball room in its corporate headquarters.”This is one of the hardest decisions we’ve had to make over the past 9.5 years, but we believe that it is the right decision for the long term health of the company,” Hsieh wrote in an e mail to employees that he also posted on the company’s blog.”I know that many tears were shed today, both by laid off and non laid off employees alike,” he continued. “Given our family culture, our layoffs are much tougher emotionally than they would be at many other companies.”Company officials declined to comment further on the announcement. But one section of the company’s Web site, which allows its employees to use social networking site Twitter to keep in touch with one another and update each other about what they’re doing at the moment, was full of employees expressing sorrow for co workers who were gone and gratitude for the ones still there.In his letter, Hsieh said Zappos had projected to break the $1 billion mark in sales in 2008, and though sales are still expected to be higher than in 2007, he said the company will not reach its goal and that investors last month directed Zappos to begin cutting costs.Hsieh said that laid off employees will be paid through the end of the year, and employees who have been with the company for three or more years will receive additional pay. He also said Zappos will pay for six months of health coverage for all laid off employees.”In doing all of this to take care of laid off employees, we expect that it will actually increase, not decrease, our costs for 2008, but we feel this is the right thing to do for our employees,” Hsieh wrote. “It will put us in the position of having a lot more financial flexibility in being able to respond to potential changes in the economy in 2009.”Despite the downturn, Hsieh said he remained confident in Zappos’ long term profitability as online sales continue to grow overall and Zappos strengthens its position as market leader in online shoe retail.”For the rest of 2008 as well as for 2009, we anticipate continuing to grow year over year,” he said. “Our current forecasts are that we will continue to be profitable and cash flow positive, as long as we are proactive instead of reactive in managing our business and financials.”Calendar 16 Sat17 Sun18 Mon19 Tue20 Wed .
timberland skhigh rock com laying off 8 percent of workers