Favorite Things – Burt’s Bees Hand Salve

‘Tis the season of desiccation, a New England winter, some serious wind chill, zero humidity, and I start to crack and split like a stream bed in a drought. Since real men don’t use lotion (… the prisoner puts the lotion in the basket), I have usually just let my hands suffer, abused by gloveless clam digging, wood splitting, and the wearing of monstrous wool mittens like a giant four-year old would wear.

I found a yellow tin of this stuff over the sink last month, abandoned there by my wife who said it smelled foul.

Yep. It stinks but I like it. Take two hurting hands, smear a concoction of olive oil, rosemary, eucalyptus and beeswax all over them, and proceed to smear big greasy fingerprints all over the mouse, the keyboard … I use it on my face too. Is that wrong? At least I’m not using Bag Balm, the infamous Vermont goo and your cows’ udders.

I just opened tin #2 and have one on my desk in North Carolina. Burt’s is based in Durham, N.C. but was founded in a turkey coop in Maine. Burt was an actual beekeeper and his face is the one on the can. Louise Story wrote in the New York Times on Jan. 6:

“IN the summer of 1984, Burt Shavitz, a beekeeper in Maine, picked up Roxanne Quimby, a 33-year-old single mother down on her luck, as she hitchhiked to the post office in Dexter, Me. More than a dozen years Ms. Quimby’s senior, the guy locals called “the bee-man” sold honey in pickle jars from the back of his pickup truck. To Ms. Quimby, he seemed to be living an idyllic life in the wilderness (including making his home inside a small turkey coop).

“She offered to help Mr. Shavitz tend to his beehives. The two became lovers and eventually birthed Burt’s Bees, a niche company famous for beeswax lip balm, lotions, soaps and shampoos, as well as for its homespun packaging and feel-good, eco-friendly marketing. The bearded man whose image is used to peddle the products is modeled after Mr. Shavitz.”

Ms. Quimby walked away with $300 million after Clorox bought the company. Burt? He still lives in the turkey coop (with $4 million) but it still doesn’t have running water or electricity.

There’s a Burt Blog. 

Wreckage and mobs

The intense storm that whacked into the Cape last weekend dislodged a chunk of shipwreck from the sand off of Wellfleet’s Newcomb Hollow, pushing it ashore and above the high water line where it rests today. Cape Cod Times had a story and I made a note to check it out this weekend, an excuse to journey to the most remote and beautiful edge of Cape Cod where the Atlantic meets the sandy berm that Thoreau walked in the middle of the 19th century.

So Cousin Pete, Wife Daphne and I grabbed digital cameras and drove east at noon on Saturday, hoping to get some fresh air on a nice 40 degree February day with a lunch stop at the Chatham Bars Inn (chowder, fish & chips, Cape Cod Red Beer).

The traffic was a little heavy on Route 6 as we drove through the middle of the afternoon. As we turned off onto Ocean Drive, it was obvious we weren’t the only rocket scientists with an urge to gawk at a fifty foot section of 150-200 year ship side on the sand. As we pulled into the parking lot of Newcomb Hollow it was hopeless. When you see an SUV parked at a 45 degree angle on a sand bank you know parking is tight, and we had no desire to stare at the wreckage in the company of a bazillion others. And Cape Cod used to be deserted in the winter …

So we banged a u-turn and came home.

Sigh. No side stop at First Encounter Beach where the Pilgrims killed their first Wampanoags. No side stop at the Pilgrim Springs where the Puritans found their first fresh water in the new world. No stop at the cemetery to look at the graves of the unknown dead who were buried there after washing ashore from wrecked ships.

Nope. No history today but I got a good lunch out of it.

Here’s a link to the slideshow at the Cape Cod Times.



Reid Walker, Lenovo’s VP of Global Communications and Sponsorships, just launched a blog on the Lenovo blog platform devoted to the topic of “worldsourcing.” Esteban Panzeri built this in record time and it launched a couple days ago. Reid writes of the World Economic Forum in Davos, CH:

“Lenovo’s Worldsourcing business strategy was front-and-center during a discussion between Lenovo president and CEO Bill Amelio with BusinessWeek’s tech writer Steve Hamm. Steve ended writing an insightful piece based on this discussion on his “Bangalore Tigers” blog entitled: Lenovo: A Company without a Country, where he posits how global corporations are transforming themselves into “transnationals.” Bill Amelio says he firmly believes that businesses must “operate as if there’s just one time zone,” and always be “on,” and goes on to describe how worldsourcing has transformed Lenovo’s headquarters operations, which are now distributed across the globe with quarterly board meetings rotated from region-to-region.”

Worldsourcing is an interesting (to me) meme that addresses the future of global corporate operations, to wit, Lenovo’s status as a company with no headquarters per se, but a floating center that moves fluidly between Beijing, North Carolina, Paris, Singapore … where-ever and whenever (which is around the clock) the business demands it.

Reid defines Worldsourcing:

What is Worldsourcing?

Increasingly, we live in a world with just one time zone and business must source materials, innovation, talent, logistics, infrastructure, and production wherever they are best available. And they must sell wherever profitable markets exist, anywhere in the world. In a nutshell, that’s worldsourcing — a business strategy that taps global diversity and resources and distributes management, operations, processes, and production to create more efficiencies wherever they will function best to deliver the best value to customers. Worldsourcing is not about cutting costs, it’s really about growing your company’s value by leveraging the right expertise in the right places to identify and serve markets in both developed and emerging markets.”

I should post sometime about my thoughts on working for a so-called “Chinese” company — my boss is an Indian who grew up in Michigan, one of my closest colleagues in Indian from Kerala by way of California, our CEO grew up in Pittsburgh, VP of Alliances is a Frenchman, one close colleague is from Newcastle …. — English is the corporate language, we operate in who knows how many countries …. This is Walter Wriston’s Twilight of Soverignity taken from theory to practice.
One of the most astonishing things about working at Lenovo is its personification of the principles laid out in Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat. Thanks to technology we can source talent and expertise from anywhere in an instant. The fact that there is “no there, there” means a guy like me can attempt to run a global digital marketing operation from a old Captain’s house in a Cape Cod village, and that can be a very good thing.

So please check out Worldsourcing, Reid is no newcomer to blogging and has a front row seat at one of the more progressive organizations around.

Here’s a link to Scoble’s post on his interview with Lenovo’s CEO, Bill Amelio at Davos.

Seeking a shave

I’ve never had a real, hot-towel, straight-edge razor barber shave and after two weeks of giving my face a break from the daily scraping, I want one.

But after a few phone calls I guess the concept is dead, done in by disposable razors and unisex salons and the passing of a generation that went into the woods for a week, came out, and took a single bath every Saturday night. Where has Floyd the barber gone?

I know there is a place in New York City — The Art of Shaving — that gets raves, but here on Cape Cod, alas, there is nothing but my 12-bladed Turbo vibrating Gillette razor and a can of blue goo.

More Micro-hoo

Sorry, but there’s something about the Micro-hoo stuff that makes me think of two slightly out of breath fat people holding hands and jumping off a bridge together.

This may not be the politically correct thing to say, but mergers never seem to result in a spectacular chemical reaction. M&A may hope for the online equivalent of baking soda and vinegar — a violent and quick expansion with lots of bubbles. I think the result will be what happens when you turn on the blender and what comes out is gray and a little bland.

Neither party actually brings something awesome to the party. This aggregates a big audience (and big audiences are gray blobs). The hidden jewels inside of Yahoo — Flickr, del.icio.us — are still there but aren’t going to justify the $44 billion tag on their own.

Interesting to read that Jerry Yang went scrambling to News Corp. and AT&T looking for counter offers. AT&T? News Corp. I get — said so below. But AT&T?

There is great commotion and uncertainty in the interactive media world today. 2007 was the year of the Great Silent Avalanche, when online advertising won its victory over traditional media but no one really held a party. But right now, everyone is holding their breath, looking at the big consolidation, and on the edges, in the bushes, are those darned little furry mammal creatures ready to rush out and eat the dino’s eggs.

MSFT-YHOO: my blink reaction

  • The deal will go through
  • It’s the best competitive response possible to Google dominance
  • It doesn’t solve the central issue of Search – how do you dislodge the verb “to google?”
  • It begs the question of how much media creation the combined new entity brings to the party
    • Google is platform and denies it is a media company
    • YHOO has tried to be a media company (and too many other things)
    • MSFT has tried to be a media company and now is trying to be a portal/search/platform company
  • Does this set the stage for two different standards for web based applications and services?
    • Will the world further divide into Google People and Yasoft People?
  • Who gets hurt?
    • Consolidation on this scale hurts traditional media trying to build scale. News Corp. comes right to mind

I’ll think some more, but right off the top, I’d say this is going to happen and 2008 will become a very very weird year. 2007 was the year of ad networks – Google/Doubleclick, Microsoft/Atlas. This is the year the superpowers line up. Will there be a cold war?

Silicon Alley Insider — Blodget et al — are liveblogging the Microsoft call.

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