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June 2010

Schools get Lego robot funding

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Articles - June 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010

0610_ATS03Robotics education in the Gorge got new wind last fall when Google gave $43,000 to two groups in The Dalles for Lego Mindstorms. Kids ages 6 to 18 use the kits to build robots out of sensors, motors and Legos that can be programmed using simplified software.

 

Pentagon wind farm block raises question

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Articles - June 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010

0610_ATS02When the Pentagon blocked construction of the $2 billion Shepherd’s Flat Wind Farm because turbines could scramble aircraft radar at a facility in Fossil, Oregon’s congressional delegation went to bat for the state’s economy.

 

So many apps: Mobspot helps users choose

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Articles - June 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010

0610_ATS01There are more than 185,000 apps and growing in Apple’s App Store, and users are feeling overwhelmed. In April Ben Jacobsen of Portland startup Mobspot and three co-founders launched a social network for app users that works with Facebook and Twitter to show which apps your friends are using.

 

The Original Pancake House ignores the competition

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Articles - June 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010

0610_Tactics01The Original Pancake House has an unusual business playbook: the family plan.

It's certainly an unusual business playbook: buy only the best ingredients, don’t keep track of food costs, don’t advertise, don’t crunch numbers, don’t chase trends, ignore the competition, value relationships over profit, don’t answer the phone, worship butter. Don’t change. Anything. Ever.

 

Readers question health care reform

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Articles - June 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
0610_Input02Reader input this month: heath care reform.
 

From the Editor: Green dream teams

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Articles - June 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010

0610_EditorsLetter01 First, to dispel the rumors: Oregon Business’s glamorous editor Robin Doussard has NOT entered rehab. Nor is she planning a return to the Broadway stage — at least not as far as I know.

 
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Powerbook Perspective

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A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.


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Shifting Ground

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Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


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Tamara Lundgren tackles the challenges—without getting trampled.


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2014 was a year of wild contradictions, fast-paced growth and unexpected revelations.


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Growing a mobility cluster

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Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


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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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