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October 2012

Wheels turning

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Articles - October 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012

1012 WheelsTurning 01Portland's longtime zest for going carless has helped boost the car-sharing industry...and there's still room to grow.

 

Fish story

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Articles - October 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012

1012 FishStory 01Businessman and environmentalist Duncan Berry began with the question of how to keep local seafood in Oregon. His answer was Fishpeople.

 

 

Market growth

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Articles - October 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012

1012 Dispatches GrocersTwo trends currently dominate the supermarket industry: concerns about price and locally grown, locally procured food.

 

Building bridges

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Articles - October 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012

1012 ByTheNumbers StateBridgesDrive, pedal or stroll through Portland and it’s easy to see the City of Roses is also a city of bridges.

 

Lawn-chair balloonist's day job

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Articles - October 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012

1012 GamePlan CustomerServiceKent Couch’s aerial exploits have been chronicled for the world to dissect and ponder. Known as the lawn-chair balloonist, Couch has pursued for the past decade an esoteric hobby. He attaches huge helium-filled balloons to a Bi-Mart lawn chair and ascends into the stratosphere to see where the winds will carry him.

 

Shoe company runs minimalist race

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Articles - October 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012

1012 GamePlan SkoraThe highest hurdle facing Portland minimalist running shoe company SKORA since it officially brought its first two models to market in February hasn’t been convincing runners of the potential of the new shoes. Instead, it’s been one of simple recognition among retailers in a field dominated by big guns like Vibram FiveFingers and the Nike Free Run.

 

Live, work, play: Gale Castillo

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Articles - October 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012

1012 LiveWorkPlay GaleCastilloGale Castillo, President of the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, balances life, work and play.

 
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Free Falling

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Editor's Letter: Power Play

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There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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