Next: the GlideCycle

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Archives - October 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Unbike

In the world of odd-looking exercise contraptions, the GlideCycle fits somewhere between Suzanne Somers’ ThighMaster and your favorite treadmill at the gym. Riders sit upright in a bouncy seat and propel the cycle by gently stroking the ground with their feet in a running motion. “It’s like a Fred Flintstone car,” says inventor David Vidmar. The seat, tweaked more than 90 times in the design process, is meant to give the rider a sense of weightlessness, with the supporting arched frame acting as a giant spring. Vidmar, founder of the Ashland-based Glidecycle company and its chief inventor, touts the machine as a cardio-aerobic workout that’s easy on the muscles and joints. His catchphrase: “All of the gain with none of the pain.” Two years ago it was the pain in his knees and his doctor telling him he couldn’t run anymore that inspired him to build the cycle. Now he envisions athletes with prosthetic legs using the GlideCycle in the Para-Olympics. The biggest challenge, Vidmar says, is getting people to see the GlideCycle as a viable exercise machine. We see a perspiring Chuck Norris using it in a Sunday morning infomercial. 

JASON SHUFFLER


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Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

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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