Friday, February 5, 2016


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Former Silicon Valley CEO shares his secrets to success

Posted by Elena del Valle on February 5, 2016

Tough Things First

Tough Things First

Photos: McGraw Hill

When as a young man Ray Zinn decided to drop out of college he learned a lesson in discipline from his parents that influenced his life and eventually his career. In time he became convinced that we must do the things we don’t want to do because they are either not fun or look too imposing ahead of easy ones. This belief served him well when in 1978 he co-founded Micrel, a company that sells electronics for smartphones, consumer electronics and enterprise networks. He led the profitable company for 37 years until his retirement last year.

In Tough Things First Leadership Lessons from Silicon Valley's Longest-Serving CEO (McGraw Hill, $25), a 250-page hardcover book published this year, he shares his approach to business and leadership for an audience of entrepreneurs and business leaders. He is convinced that good leaders learn to love and embrace the distasteful tasks in their lives once they understand how important they are to their careers and success.

“I wanted to synthesize my 37 years of running a high tech company, with the purpose of inspiring and helping the up-and-coming entrepreneur in running their businesses correctly,” he said by email via his publishing company when asked about the main reason he wrote the book.

Ray Zinn, author, Tough Things First

Ray Zinn, author, Tough Things First

The book is divided into nine chapters and an epilogue in two parts: Business as a body: disciplining an organization from head to foot and Entrepreneurialism: building companies that last through the ages. Each chapter ends with a bullet point list of lessons. He wraps up highlighting seven aspects he believes are necessary to start a company. They are: outlining financial milestone goals, preparing an exit, establishing principles, coming up with a plan for the unexpected emergency that will come up sooner or later, striving for calm and good mental health, preparing for the long term, and being humble.

“The biggest surprise is the effort and cost to market the book,” he said. “Publishers today rely on the author far too much for marketing, and reaching broad audiences takes effort.”

Zinn founded Mentor Capital, an entrepreneur accelerator, to support the efforts of innovators wishing to establish new companies and to change the leadership foundations in Silicon Valley and beyond. He said the greatest challenge to the three year long book project for him was being legally blind. Tough Things First was his first book.

Tough Things First

Click to buy Tough Things First

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Executive proposes technology driven sales approach

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 29, 2016

Screen to Screen Selling

Screen-to-Screen Selling

Photo: McGraw Hill Education

As a growing generation of Millenials, accustomed to and sometimes demanding technology, penetrates the workforce and the circle of new buyers, businesses must adapt or risk loosing the race to capture their attention. Increasingly that generation relies on electronic devices in ways the Baby Boomers do not. For example, Americans in their 20s and 30s are more likely to make purchases with smartphones than by paying with cash or checks (see Bank time is now screen time, The New York Times, January 24, 2016).

Doug Devitre, author, Screen-to-Screen Selling How to Increase Sales, Productivity, and Customer Experience with the Latest Technology (McGraw Hill, $30) is convinced online and digital sales are essential. In the 304-page hardcover book, published in 2015, he strives to guide readers to grow sales, improve performance, and keep customers happy with apps, software and tools.

Doug Devitre, author, Screen to Screen Selling

Doug Devitre, author, Screen-to-Screen Selling

The book is divided into 20 chapters spread across three sections: Preparation, Conversation and Follow Up. According to the book, it is possible to customize the sales process when selling screen to screen to meet customer desires, based on their capabilities and their software or equipment, and that in turn humanizes the experience.

Also, trying new technologies will set leaders apart, the author says. He believes success in that space comes with inherent risks. Screen to Screen skills, he believes, has led him to improve other skills such as old fashioned pen and paper note taking as well as maintaining relationships easily, having a flexible work schedule and taking much needed time off.

Devitre, founder of Doug Devitre International, Inc., developed the concept of Screen-to-Screen Selling, a process for sales professionals to use technology during transactions to drive sales and increase profitability. Before founding the new company he was a realtor, trainer and speaker.

Screen to Screen Selling

Click to buy Screen to Screen Selling

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California online business supply company expects triple growth this year

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 20, 2016

StockPKG office

The StockPKG office is in Dana Point, California

Photo: StockPKG

While some speculate and worry about another recession, the management of StockPKG, a Dana Point, California discount business supply company founded in 2012, is hoping for triple digit growth. That was the growth the company experienced in the previous three years. To further the likelihood of such growth the company plans a catalog launch in March and hired Driven PR, an integrated marketing communications company.

The distributor plans to add 35,000 products in 2016, totaling 75,000 in all, as well as offering educational and consulting resources for those looking for assistance when starting or growing their business. The company has 25 employees and foresees growth in the sales and customer service teams. By the end of 2016, the company expects to have a national network of up to 75 employees.

“Our mission is to be a one-stop-shop for all business supply and flexible packaging needs for businesses and customers all over America,” said Sean Rudner, owner and president of the company, by email via a Driven PR representative. “We offer consulting services to businesses with complex packaging needs who may not know where to go or how to best service their customers. StockPKG’s customer service representatives are educated and always available to consult with businesses about their packaging options. We genuinely care about our customers and are passionate about seeing their businesses grow.”

The top sellers are Shipping Mailers, Clear Stand Up Pouches and Stretch Wraps. In addition to StockPKG’s online marketplace, the company offers consulting services to businesses with complex packaging needs. Powered by Global Plastic Supply, the company serves businesses nationwide through its website, by phone or in person.

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Georgia college professor writes young adult novel about challenges of young love, immigration

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 15, 2016

Dream Things True

Dream Things True

Photos: Kenzie Tainow, St. Martin's Griffin

Despite an already busy academic and personal life Marie Marquardt dedicated part of her time over five years to write and publish Dream Things True (St. Martin's Griffin, $18.99), her first fiction book, hoping to make readers 13 and older understand that “Undocumented immigration is complicated, and it’s so often misrepresented in the sound bites we hear on the news. I want to give readers a chance to see this issue through the eyes of love, and to be reminded that love is more powerful than fear."

The 330-page paperback book tell the story of a teenage couple who live in the same town and fall in love only to be torn apart by circumstances related to the young woman's immigration status. The undocumented minor, an illegal resident of the United States since she was two years of age who excels in school and has a loving family, and her love interest face the challenges of her situation and the complications brought on by immigration, young love and family.

“Because I’ve written non-fiction books about undocumented immigration, I often get asked to talk with groups of non-immigrants about these issues,” Marquardt said by email when asked what prompted her to write the book. “I know a lot of facts and figures, and these help people think about immigration in new ways, but I find that what really matters is relationship – knowing and loving a person who faces these issues is what makes a person care. Not everyone gets the chance to know and love an undocumented immigrant, but fiction can give us all the opportunity to step into their lives – the lives of immigrants and the lives of people who love them. This is powerful, and I believe it is so important – it helps us to overcome all of the politicized rhetoric, and simply to see each other as human beings deserving of love and respect.”

Marie Marquardt, author, Dream Things True

Marie Marquardt, author, Dream Things True

When asked why she chose fiction, she said “I have had the real honor and pleasure of developing close friendships with undocumented immigrants, and I’ve been a part of their children’s lives as they have grown up. I wanted to create a story that draws on the range of experiences I have had with undocumented young adults -- that dives into the emotions of those experiences, not just the facts. Plus, writing fiction is so much more fun!”

In May, 2015, the book was named one of five 2015 Book Expo America (BEA) Buzz Books. It has been featured in The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Huffington Post, and Mundo Hispanico. She participated in a blog tour around the time of release, and was featured on more than thirty book blogs. This month, her guest post is due to appear on Latin@s in KidLit, and the book is a January 2016 selection for the Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club Conversations with… series.

Marquardt, a college professor in Decatur, Georgia, was inspired by her work with Mexican immigrants in Georgia. For the past five years, she has worked with volunteers to run El Refugio, a nonprofit that offers temporary lodging and support for the loved ones of detained immigrants.

Dream Things True

Click to buy Dream Things True: A Novel

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United States Postal Service to issue Forever Stamp to honor Jaime Escalante

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 4, 2016

Jaime Escalante US stamp

Jaime Escalante US stamp

Photo: United States Postal Service

Following the recommendation of its Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, the United States Postal Service will issue a self-adhesive Forever Stamp to honor Bolivian born educator Jaime Escalante, probably in the summer of 2016. December 31, 2015 would have been his 85 birthday.

Press materials from the Service describe Escalante as a “beloved and charismatic California educator (who) used unconventional methods to inspire his inner-city students not only to learn calculus but also to pass Advanced Placement tests in the subject. With his colleagues at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, he proved that students judged to be 'unteachable' could master even the most difficult subject.”

The design of the stamp with a 49 cent price features Escalante in a digital illustration meant to resemble an oil painting. The illustration is based on a 2005 photograph taken by Jaime W. Escalante in a classroom where his father had taught. The average print run for Forever stamps is in the 20 to 30 million range. The print quantity for the Jaime Escalante Forever Stamp has not been announced. The Postal Service is promoting the stand alone stamp (not part of a collection) through print, TV and broadcast as well as mainstream media, Hispanic media and social media.

“There is no advertising budget,” said Roy Betts at the U.S. Postal Service Corporate Communications office via email. “The Postal Service typically promotes new stamps through media channels and in-store retail messaging in local Post Offices.”

Born to schoolteachers in La Paz, Bolivia Escalante learned to teach by trial and error and by imitating the methods of teachers he had admired as a student. In 1961, Escalante spent a year in the United States as part of President John F. Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress, a program to improve relations between the United States and countries in South America. As part of the program, Escalante attended classes in Puerto Rico and traveled to schools around the country to study their methods.

In 1963, Escalante received his immigration visa and arrived in the United States. He came alone, planning to find a job and housing and then send for his family. Because of his limited English, he had difficulty finding employment. Eventually, he found a job mopping floors in a restaurant, enrolled at Pasadena City College, and brought his wife and son to California. Since his Bolivian teaching credentials did not transfer to the United States he had to start his education from the beginning.

He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from California State University in 1973 and then won a prestigious National Science Foundation scholarship, which allowed him to study full time and earn his teaching credentials a year later. He quickly found a job at Garfield, a school in crisis with high dropout rates and gang violence, and in jeopardy of losing its accreditation.

Fame came to Escalante in an unexpected way when in 1982, 18 of his students took the Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus Exam. After they, Mexican Americans from a low-income area of Los Angeles, all passed and seven students received fives, the highest score, the ETS College Board accused 14 students of cheating and requested that they retake the exam. Twelve of the 14 did, and all passed the second exam, a different version from the first.

Their story made the national news, making him and his class instant heroes and led to the making of the movie Stand and Deliver. That same year, publication of Escalante: The Best Teacher in America, a book by Washington Post reporter Jay Mathews, brought him additional acclaim. Later Escalante showed how math is used in real life as part of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series Futures. In 1988, Escalante won an award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. In 1999, a year after he retired from teaching he was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. He died on March 30, 2010.

The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee is a group of private citizens with “a passion for American history and a love of stamps, who are appointed by the Postmaster General of the United States.” They are: Gail Anderson, partner, Anderson Newton Design; Peter Argentine founder, Argentine Productions; Justin Bua, artist and creator of genre known as “distorted urban realism;” B. J. Bueno, founder, The Cult Branding Company; Cheryl R. Ganz, author; Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research, Harvard University; Janet Klug, chair, Philatelist; Carolyn Lewis former chief executive of Texwood Furniture Inc; Harry Rinker, antiques and collectibles appraiser; Maruchi Santana, founder, The Brand Extension Katherine C. Tobin, Ph.D., commissioner, U.S. – China Economic  and Security Review Commission; and Donna de Varona, TV sports commentator.

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Happy New Year!

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 1, 2016

New Year 2016

As the New Year begins we take this opportunity to wish you the best for 2016 and thank you for visiting and following us in 2015.

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With song – Record label to release new artist hip hop album

Posted by Elena del Valle on December 28, 2015


Penance album cover

Photos and song: Mindless Sound Records, LLC

On January 12, 2016, Mindless Sound Records, LLC will release Penance, Lyrical Justifier's solo debut hip hop album. An aspiring artist for 14 years, Lyrical Justifier wrote all the songs on the album. Scroll down to listen to Music Is My Blood, a single from the new album.

Lyrical Justifier

Lyrical Justifier

Lyrical Justifier is the artist name of Stephen C. Sebastiao, the United States born son of a Portuguese father and a Brazilian mother. The album features 17 songs and includes the music of DJ SoulBuck (Beat Minerz Radio, DJ for Doodlebug); Gordon Nelson Jr., a former Gloria Gaynor background vocalist; Jamal Coltrane; Richard Reiter, an Emmy Award Winning Composer and sax and woodwind player; as well as several independent vocalists. Brother Noyze The Mad Musician produced the album and designed the album cover.

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Older Millennials, Hispanics driving distrust of large manufacturers

Posted by Elena del Valle on December 9, 2015


Millennials have a higher preference for fresh produce than non-Millennials.


As older generations decline Millennials are growing and are expected to continue growing over the next five years. Millennials represent one quarter of the population of United States, making them the largest generation at present. At the same time Millennials are highly diverse as a generation. Among Millennials 21 percent is Hispanic, according to Mintel, a data and market research company.

Divided into younger and older Milennials this generation is marrying later, saving money, going to school and or starting a family. They shop differently, like different products, and have different attitudes about food than previous generations, and their income ranges from below average to about average, according to The Millennial Impact: Food Shopping Decisions US, September 2015, a Mintel report.

A Mintel survey indicates that only 47 percent of Older Millennials and 35 percent of Younger Millennials surveyed said they trust large food makers. Among older millennial's 77 percent wish food manufacturers were more transparent about how they make their products while 70 percent of their younger contemporaries said they wish the same thing. Among non-Millennials 69 percent wished food makers were more transparent about the product that they make.

Millennial's like shopping for groceries and specialty stores and online, and according to Straight to You, a Mintel Trend, they prefer that products be delivered to them. Both younger and older Millennials have a higher preference for fresh produce than non-Millennials.

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New York publicist shares insights for authors

Posted by Elena del Valle on December 4, 2015

Publicity From The Trenches

Publicity From The Trenches

Photos: Sherri Rosen

Because of the fast moving publishing environment gaining attention in the increasingly crowded space of digital and print books can be challenging for new and experienced authors. Some authors know little about publicity self promotion.

Keeping that in mind, Sheri Rosen, head of Sherri Rosen Publicity in New York City wrote a book. She believes that in order to do publicity for a client's book the publicist must care about the book. She shares tips based on her experience and knowledge with a touch of self promotion in a book for authors. She published Publicity From The Trenches: For Published and Self-Published Authors Paperback, (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, $19.99), a 132-page softcover book (the PDF review copy had 124 pages) March 2015.

The book is peppered with colorful designs and photos, and highlighted quotes. In the section titled The Bottom Line About Publicity, she asks readers, “Imagine publicity with your style, your natural fit, your price, and always your personal satisfaction. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? We thought so, too, but every day, we strive to be a truly custom publicist. That’s our bottom line.”

Sherri Rosen, author, Publicity From The Trenches

Sherri Rosen, author, Publicity From The Trenches

She points out that authors are a business and it requires promotion. At the same time, they should spend their time writing while someone with the experience and interest in their work promotes their book. About social media she says it can do a help and also it “... can be a tangled web of wasted time...” Further on in the book she talks about the importance of branding, building a platform and personalized publicity.

Before leading her own publicity company for 17 years, Rosen was in live theater in New York City. According to her website, she writes articles for the, Elephant,, and for her own Redhead’s Rap Blog.

Publicity From The Trenches

Click to buy Publicity From The Trenches

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Kawasaki updates launch ideas book

Posted by Elena del Valle on November 20, 2015

The Art of the Start 2.0

The Art of the Start 2.0

Photo: Guy Kawasaki

This year, Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start first published in 2004, released an updated edition 64 percent longer than the original book. In it, he shares his ideas on starting a new business or launching a new product or service and advice about social media, public relations, advertising, business plans, pitching, and crowdfunding among other topics.

In The Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything (Portfolio Penguin, $29.95), a 326-page hardcover book, he says business plans are part of the past along with advertising and public relations. The book is peppered with questions and answers sections and exercises.

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki, author, The Art of the Start 2.0

It is divided into 13 chapters in four sections: Conception, Activation, Proliferation and Obligation. In Chapter 6, Kawasaki says, “I pitch, therefore I am.” Through the sentence he seeks to emphasize the importance he assigns to seeking buy-in through fundraising, agreement, partnerships, sales and hiring staff. He ends the book with a short chapter, recommending that readers seek a greater goal than riches and self promotion. He proposes that they help others who cannot reciprocate.

Kawasaki, chief evangelist, Canva, is trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation, and executive fellow at the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley. Formerly, he was an adviser to the Motorola business unit of Google and chief evangelist of Apple. Some of his other titles include APE (see Entrepreneur, app developer self publish book on digital publishing), The Art of Social Media (see Social media fans share their techniques in book), and Enchantment (see Guy Kawasaki, former Apple executive, discusses Enchantment in book).

The Art of the Start 2.0

Click to buy The Art of the Start 2.0

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