This week, we’re talking about work…what we do…and how our attitudes and expectations concerning work have fared under the long shadow of the 2008 financial crisis. Today, we’re taking advantage of some good timing. New Hampshire-based tech company Dyn is holding its third annual 'Culture-Con' tomorrow in its Manchester headquarters.
We talked with two participants in the gathering to talk how companies create workplace cultures that attract and engage and retain workers in meaningful and lasting ways, Dyn's COO, Gray Chynoweth, and Amanda Osmer of Grappone Automotive Group.
Note of disclosure: Grappone is an NHPR underwriter, and Gray Chynoweth serves on NHPR's Community Advisory Board.
The plan includes more than 100 policy recommendations covering nine areas believed to be essential to the state’s economy. The recommendations include some classic BIA issues, like streamlining access to the Research and Development tax credit and increasing STEM education. But there’s also a recommendation to emphasize arts, culture and history in schools.
Three years after it was put up for sale, an 11-generation family farm in New Hampshire has been sold.
Members of the Tuttle family owned the 135-acre farm in Dover since 1632, one of America's oldest continuously operated family farms. They put the fruit-and-vegetable farm up for sale in the summer of 2010 as they dealt with competition from supermarkets, pick-it-yourself farms and debt.
New Hampshire's tax receipts are $25 million ahead of estimates so far this fiscal year despite a weak showing in October.
Administrative Services Commissioner Linda Hodgdon said receipts were $2 million below estimates, but October is a relatively small tax month. The state collected $105 million and had forecast receiving $107 million. Hodgdon said business taxes were down over $4 million, but such a small tax collection month makes it difficult to know if that signals a trend.
Since July 1, the state has collected $541 million.
There’s been a lot of fuss made in recent years over the increasing “gamification” of everyday life – that is, the use of game mechanics in unusual settings like personal fitness, or in schools – where the incentive to get points or awards might have more motivational power than getting good grades, or dropping a dress size. In the workplace, companies like Cold Stone Creamery and the Miller Brewing have starting using video games to train fresh hires – and a recent study by the University of Colorado found that employees trained using video games did their jobs better, and retained information longer than those who were instructed by more conventional methods. One company thinks video games can play a role in businesses even earlier – before an employee has even been hired.
Fall in New Hampshire means fairs, foliage – and getting out to one of the state's 300-odd apple orchards to pick your own. Elaine Starkey is out at Butternut Farm in Farmington, with her sons and grandkids, to do just that.
"They usually have donuts, but we got here a little late."
'Pick Your Own Apples' now means not just picking the fruit, but also hay rides, corn mazes, petting animals, And enjoying other seasonal products, like cider, pies, and yes, donuts.
The Department of Labor reports that last year’s national wage rate crept up only 2%, confirming what many US workers can already tell you: wages have stagnated. Not so for one high-demand job: babysitters. Over the past 30 years, teenage babysitting rates have risen nine times faster than the rate of inflation – commanding an average of $10 per hour. Depending on location and a sitter’s skill set, parents can shell out as much as $17 an hour for a night out. Megan Woolhouse covers the economy for the Boston Globe’s business section. Her article on babysitters making bank alerted us to this one sector of high wage growth.
How much tip do you typically leave for your server when you dine out? Maybe 20% if the service is good? 18% if you can do the math? The New York Post reported last year that many diners in that city leave a 25% to even 30% gratuity to their bill. Tipping is meant to incentivize and reward exceptional service, but a new movement proposes that the quest for the mighty tip is at the root of some problems in the restaurant industry. Bruce McAdams is a seasoned restauranteur and professor leading the Sustainable Restaurant Project at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada…he gave a Ted-X talk last year on the problems with restaurant tipping.
It’s been a pretty big couple of weeks for Amazon.com. First, President Obama chose one of the company’s fulfillment centers as a backdrop for a speech on raising the minimum wage. Then, news broke that Amazon’s founder, billionaire Jeff Bezos, had purchased the venerable Washington Post. Amazon now has one hundred and twenty-six million monthly users. But they might want to start reading product reviews with a grain of salt. Cited as the largest single source of internet consumer reviews in 2010, the online giant is susceptible to a deceitful practice called astroturfing. When Susan Crawford’s book “Captive Audience” about the Telecom Industry was published in January, it attached a number of bad reviews later revealed to be fake…with a political agenda behind them. Our guest Mike Masnick weeded out these fake reviews and published an expose for Techdirt that reached the front page of Reddit. Masnick is the founder and CEO of Floor64 and editor of the Techdirt blog, we spoke with him about his findings.
The subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math are all the rage these days among politicians, business and education leaders who say we need more emphasis on these subjects to compete globally. But others say we’re going overboard on STEM and that society benefits from a broader approach that includes the arts, communication, and critical thinking.
Fred Kocher: President of the New Hampshire High Tech Council and founder and president of Kocher and Company, a marketing and communications firm.