Mastermind.Quote .: Anthony Hopkins
Sir Philip Anthony Hopkins, CBE (born 31 December 1937), is a Welsh actor of film, stage and television. Considered to be film’s greatest living actor, he is perhaps best known for his portrayal of cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, its sequel, Hannibal, and its prequel, Red Dragon. Other prominent film credits include Magic, The Elephant Man, 84 Charing Cross Road, Dracula, Legends of the Fall, The Remains of the Day, Amistad, Nixon and Fracture. Hopkins was born and brought up in Wales. Retaining his British citizenship, he became a U.S. citizen on 12 April 2000. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003 and was made a Fellow of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2008.
Mastermind.Quote .: Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist[I] who established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection. He published his theory with compelling evidence for evolution in his 1859 book On the Origin of Species. The scientific community and much of the general public came to accept evolution as a fact in his lifetime, but it was not until the emergence of the modern evolutionary synthesis from the 1930s to the 1950s that a broad consensus developed that natural selection was the basic mechanism of evolution. In modified form, Darwin’s scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life.
Darwin’s early interest in nature led him to neglect his medical education at the University of Edinburgh; instead, he helped to investigate marine invertebrates. Studies at the University of Cambridge encouraged his passion for natural science. His five-year voyage on HMS Beagle established him as an eminent geologist whose observations and theories supported Charles Lyell’s uniformitarian ideas, and publication of his journal of the voyage made him famous as a popular author.
Puzzled by the geographical distribution of wildlife and fossils he collected on the voyage, Darwin investigated the transmutation of species and conceived his theory of natural selection in 1838. Although he discussed his ideas with several naturalists, he needed time for extensive research and his geological work had priority. He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories. Darwin’s work established evolutionary descent with modification as the dominant scientific explanation of diversification in nature. In 1871, he examined human evolution and sexual selection in The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, followed by The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. His research on plants was published in a series of books, and in his final book, he examined earthworms and their effect on soil.
In recognition of Darwin’s pre-eminence as a scientist, he was one of only five nineteenth-century non-royal personages from the United Kingdom to be honoured by a state funeral, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton.
Fishing for a whale? Here’s how to woo your target companies and build a solid – and profitable – relationship.
It’s the singular goal of most entrepreneurs: landing a million-dollar sale. Nailing down that major-league client or dream contract often marks the transition from a nice little business to an influential industry powerhouse. But getting that first big sale is sometimes easier said than done because winning such a contract rarely comes down to being the lowest bidder.
Landing a Million-Dollar Sale: Do Your Homework
To get started, you need to know who your target market is and what value you’re going to bring to the table, says Earl O’Garro Jr., President and CEO of Hybrid Insurance Group, which is based in Windsor, Connecticut. That means making a list of the big companies out there that you know will be a good fit for your product or service – not just a list of big companies with money to spend. “The primary tool needed in landing the million-dollar deal is believing you or your firm is deserving of the deal and can truly add value,” he says. “That doesn’t mean simply playing golf with the decision makers or by picking up a dinner when you see a potential client at your favorite restaurant. That’s not the sort of value I’m referring to. Landing the deal is a process that should begin well in advance of ever really knowing the players attached to the deal.”
O’Garro says that you should do thorough research on your potential target by not just doing standard online research, but also speaking to the company’s competitors to come up with potential solutions any potential weaknesses before ever meeting with the client. Then, once you score a meeting with the target company, you can impress them with your advanced insight into solving their biggest issues. “Nothing floors a potential client more than sitting in a meeting with a would-be service provider who has done their homework in anticipation of that day,” he says. “It not only shows one’s commitment, but it also demonstrates your aggressiveness and commitment which many million-dollar deals require.”
Landing a Million-Dollar Sale: Make Your Pitch
The truth is that big companies don’t really want to have to switch vendors unless they have to or if there is a really compelling reason for them to do so, says Jill Konrath, author of the books Selling to Big Companies and Snap Selling. “One of the biggest mistakes that entrepreneurial clients make is to fall in love with the product or service they are selling,” she says. “So they end up spending their time with the client talking about all the bells and whistles they provide rather than talking about the business case for why the product or service will help them solve a problem or ease a pain. They won’t change unless it’s really worth it.”
That means, Konrath says, that once you do get in the door, you need to orient every discussion, conversation, and presentation toward making the business case for why it makes sense for the client to go through the pain of switching to a new vendor. Again, the point is not so much to stress how good your product or service is as to demonstrate how it will make life easier – or more profitable – for your client.
Landing a Million-Dollar Sale: Make it Safe
Once a big company decides that it will make a change to a new vendor, it will then begin looking around at its options. The bad news is that, as a small company, you will also be considered a far riskier option than your larger competitors, Konrath says. Clients might be worried that a smaller vendor won’t be able to handle the increased workload, to deliver on time or even that it will still be in business in two years. “When I first started my business, I had a potential client pick someone else because they were worried about what would happen if I got hit by a Mack truck,” she says. “It never dawned on me until then that I would be considered a risky option.”
To combat this challenge, then, Konrath says, you need to be proactive about the issue and be ready to bring up solutions and alternatives that will help make your pitch far less risky. “You can’t be scared to bring it up,” she says. “Just because they don’t bring it up doesn’t mean they’re not thinking about it.”
Not only will you win points for your honesty and forthrightness, you can then pitch the strengths that come with a smaller size – such as responsiveness to your client’s needs and a nimbleness to customizing products and services they wouldn’t find if they chose a larger competitor of yours. You can also line up partners who can fill in gaps in delivering the best value for your client. Konrath suggests showing your client a detailed roadmap of how you intend to deliver on your value pitch by emphasizing how you have done similar projects in the past, even if they were tailored to smaller clients. “You want to stress how you can deliver superior customer service to them than if they were the small fish in a big pond,” she says.
The good news is, no matter the size of your business, if you’ve been a part of helping them reach that decision, “you will be in a strong position because you will be considered a valuable resource that has provided guidance and ideas which gives you an inside edge in terms of which vendor they end up picking,” Konrath says.
Landing a Million-Dollar Sale: Be Prepared
Even as you make the preparations to land your first million-dollar sale, you should also be working on lining up the necessary resources within your company to support your new client once they come aboard, says Eva Rosenberg, author of the blog The TaxMama. “I’ve seen it many times where a business finally achieves its dream of the big sale, only to learn they can’t fulfill it – or they lose their business as a penalty for not being able to meet the delivery targets,” she says. “Sears was notorious for including clauses like that in their contracts.”
To get ready for supporting your big sale, Rosenberg says you need essentially three things:
1. Financial resources. These are necessary to pay for the production or staff to provide the products and services. “Understand that you’re probably not going to get paid in full until at least 60-90 days after you deliver,” Rosenberg says.
2. Back-up resources. In case production facilities break down, have a problem, or something unpredictable steps in. “You might also need alternative sources of staffing if you are providing services or additional bandwidth, servers, duplicate/redundant sites to expand to quickly if traffic suddenly floods in,” Rosenberg says.
3. The wisdom and patience to understand that things may go wrong. Also be aware that you might need to be able to step in and move quickly.
Landing a Million-Dollar Sale: Keep Fishing for Minnows
While landing the big million-dollar deal, which many sales professionals have dubbed “the whale,” can be an exciting achievement for your business, it shouldn’t be your only focus, says Clifford A. Bailey, founder and CEO of TechSoft Systems, which is based in Cincinnati. “Don’t focus solely on the whale,” he says. “Losing a million-dollar client can devastate your business, and it can happen by no fault of your own. A simple reorganization could put you on the street. A diversified client base can be your lifeline. So always keep fishing for minnows.”
Dig Deeper: 10 Ways to Support Your Best Customers
by .: Darren Dahl |
On one of the holiest nights of Ramadan, Marwa Atik chose a crowded Southern California mosque to debut her latest creation.
It was just after midnight when the 20-year-old walked into the Islamic Center of Irvine, dressed in a long, flowing burgundy robe, her head wrapped in a charcoal-colored chiffon hijab, trimmed with decorative gold zippers.
After the group prayers, sermon and Koran recitation, a woman approached Atik, gesturing at the scarf. “OK, I want one,” she said excitedly. “How can I get it?”
Atik has taken the Muslim head scarf, often known as hijab, and turned it into a canvas for her fashion sensibilities, with ideas inspired by designs from Forever 21 and H&M as well as haute couture runways and the pages of Vogue and Elle. Showing her latest design at a mosque was her way of gauging sentiment on scarves that go beyond the limited fashion realm they have thus far inhabited, such as floral and geometric prints or lace and beaded embellishments.
“I knew that I wanted to do a zipper scarf, because I knew that zippers were in style,” Atik said, her head covered this day with a sea-foam hijab, echoing the color of her light green eyes.
The hijab has long been a palette of sorts for changing styles and designs and shops across the Middle East are replete with colors and shapes that can vary from region to region. Some women in the Persian Gulf region wear their hair up in a bouffant with the scarf wrapped around it like a crown. Syrians are known for cotton pull-on scarves, the hijab equivalent of a T-shirt. And in Egypt veiled brides visit hijab stylists who create intricate designs and bouquets of color atop the bride’s head.
But Atik’s experiments with the hijab, which is meant as a symbol of modesty, are created with an eye toward being more adventuresome and risky.
To some, the trend heralds the emergence of Westernized Muslim women, who embrace both their religion and a bit of rebellion.
But to others in the Muslim community, what Atik is doing flies in the face of the head scarf’s purpose. When the scarf is as on-trend as a couture gown, some wonder whether it has lost its sense of the demure.
Eiman Sidky, who teaches religious classes at King Fahd mosque in Culver City, is among those who say attempts to beautify the scarf have gone too far. In countries like Egypt, where Sidky spends part of the year, religious scholars complain that women walk down the street adorned as if they were peacocks.
“In the end they do so much with hijab, I don’t think this is the hijab the way God wants it; the turquoise with the yellow with the green,” she said.
The conflict is part of a larger debate among Muslims on which practices are too conservative and which too liberal.
And at a time when Muslims hear stories about women filing lawsuits after not getting hired or being barred from wearing head scarves at work — most recently at two Abercrombie & Fitch stores and Disneyland — the message is reinforced that the hijab is still regarded with suspicion.
For women like Atik, an Orange Coast College student who works part time at Urban Outfitters, fashion-forward hijabs are an attempt not only to fill a void, but to make the scarves less foreign and more friendly to non-Muslims.
The Islamic religious parameters for hijab — that the entire body must be covered except for the face and hands — are broad enough to include those who wear black, flowing abayas to those who pair a head scarf with skinny jeans.
“We’ve gotten maybe just a few people saying, ‘Oh, this is defeating the purpose,’” said Tasneem Sabri, Atik’s older sister and business partner. “It really comes down to interpretation.”
The criticism means little to Atik, a petite young woman who favors skinny jeans, embellished cardigans and knee-high boots.Atik sees the fashion industry’s treatment of the hijab as staid and lackluster. She wants to make the scarves edgier, with fringes, pleats, peacock feathers, animal prints.
“We want to treat the hijab like it’s a piece of clothing, because that’s what it is, it’s not just an accessory,” said Nora Diab, a friend of Atik who began the venture with her but bowed out to focus on college. “We can still dress according to what’s ‘in’ while dressing modest.”
Scarves from Atik’s recent collections are sold under the label Vela, Latin for veil. In addition to the exaggerated zippers, there are Victorian pleats, military buttons and even a black and white scarf with gold clasps named simply Michael (as in Michael Jackson). A recent design features a plain scarf with a large sewn-on bow, called “Blair,” after the “Gossip Girl” character. There is also a growing bridal scarf collection.
The scarves have a certain unfinished look to them, with frayed edges and visible stitching. Atik sews many of them herself, though she recently hired a seamstress to help fill orders placed through theVela website. The scarves, which are not available in stores, range in price from $15 for basic designs to $60 for high-fashion styles, pricier than many on the market.
When not in class or at work, Atik spends most of her time researching trends, designing new scarves or filling orders. She makes frequent trips to Los Angeles for fabric.
Atik said she is inspired by risk-takers such as Alexander McQueen, the late avant-garde designer with an eye for shock value.
“I feel he says it’s really OK to be different,” Atik said while taking a coffee break in Los Angeles’ Fashion District.
Atik, whose parents are from Syria, began wearing the head scarf in eighth grade. She was the editor of her high school yearbook but found herself spending more time browsing fashion websites than looking at photos of student clubs and activities. After school she would spend hours at Wal-Mart reading fashion magazines. In the summer of 2009 when she and Diab decided to design hijabs, she took sewing classes, the youngest among a group of elderly women making patterned quilts.Before a photo shoot for her website this year, Atik did last-minute hemming and sewing at her makeshift work space in the kitchen of her Huntington Beach home. The kitchen table was covered with half-completed designs. Bags of satin and chiffon fabric sat on chairs and lacy and beaded scarves spilled out onto the fruit bowls.
Atik fingered a beige and pink chiffon scarf.
“I think we’re going to try a couple on you,” she told her friend Marwa Biltagi, who had arrived wearing a loosely wrapped black and gold scarf. “Because either way you can work it.”
In the backyard, Biltagi and others posed beside palm trees, heads cocked to the side, backs arched. Someone commented that it looked very French Vogue.
“One, two, move, yeah exactly like that…. OK, I’m going to be taking like a lot so just keep switching it up…. Yeah, I like how you had your hand up on the wall,” Atik said as she clicked the camera. “I feel like we need music.”
Her mother watched from the kitchen.
“There are people who say that it’s not a hijab. As long as it covers the hair, I noticed these young people, they like these things,” Safa Atik said. “Why I encouraged her is because … she’s making something that looks nice.”
Alaa Ellaboudy, who runs the blog Hijabulous (“A hijabi’s guide to staying fabulous”), is familiar with the scolding that non-traditional scarves can prompt. The Rancho Cucamonga resident wears her scarf tied behind her neck and has a penchant for dramatic eye makeup and bright clothes.
“Everyone has their opinion, ‘Oh no that’s haram [forbidden], you can’t do that,’” Ellaboudy said. “But for me, it’s always about finding that balance and still looking good.”
On her blog, she defines “hijabulous” as being “exceptionally stylish yet conforming to the Islamic dress code.”
When the over-sized September issue of Vogue arrived, Atik flipped through the pages for inspiration.
A few weeks later, stocking up on fabrics and an ostrich feather in the Fashion District, she went from store to store with the same request: “Do you have a leopard-print chiffon?”At her third store she saw a leopard print but thought the look and feel of the silk fabric were not quite right.”
I wouldn’t want this on my head. If only it was chiffon, I’d be all over it.”
* Go to VELA SCARVES to see their entire catalog of affordable scarves.
FRESH.MUSIC .: LLOYD BANKS : START IT UP [feat. Kanye West, Swizz Beats, and Ryan Leslie]
Fresh.Kicks .: Jun Cha x Circa Footwear : Select Drifter
These would be fresh with a grey/black suit.
ILL.Video .: BIG SEAN x PHARRELL IN THE STUDIO
Check out this dated video of Big Sean and Pharrell back in the studio in 08’. Just being signed to G.O.O.D Music, Big Sean finds himself next to one of hip hop’s biggest inspirations, Pharrell.
Sean briefly discusses his come up back in Detroit and what his vision for Finally Famous was back then, and you could see how that vision has blossomed today.
by .: theyoungmasterminds
ILL.Video .: BIG SEAN x PHARRELL : IN THE STUDIO [part DEUCE!]
Check out Pharrell talking about leaving everything behind to “GET THE GOLD!”
The success of this campaign can be attributed to several factors. First, much like Dos Equis, they used a quick phrase. Even shorter than the funny lines from the Most Interesting Man, ‘Got Milk’ is easy to remember. Like I mentioned before, if it is easy to remember, it is easy to repeat. As…
Initially announced earlier in the year, Medicom Toy now provides us with a closer look into its upcoming Bearbrick set that features Jack Skellington and Sally, two key characters from the popular animated film The Nightmare Before Christmas. The dual set will feature both toys in 100% form, with retail set at ¥2,604 (Approx. $31 USD). Look for these starting October 8th, 2010 via select Medicom Toy accounts.
by .: L. Ruano
Mastermind.Quote .: Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), well known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. Twain is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), which has been called “the Great American Novel”, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). Twain was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.
Twain was very popular, and his keen wit and incisive satire earned praise from critics and peers. Upon his death he was lauded as the “greatest American humorist of his age”, and William Faulkner called Twain “the father of American literature”.
FASHION.FORWARD .: BIG SEAN : ONLY THE BRAVE
For the promotion of Diesel’s new cologne called “Only the Brave,” they got together with rising hip hop star Big Sean at Jack’s Eyewear in LA to discuss Detroit fashion and being inspired to dress fresh each day by Kanye, Ti$A, and Don C.