Thursday, July 19, 2018


Silicon Valley entrepreneur pens advice book

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 19, 2018

Zen of Zinn Instant Wisdom from Silicon Valley's Longest Serving CEO

Zen of Zinn Instant Wisdom from Silicon Valley's Longest Serving CEO

Photo: Ray Zinn

Ray Zinn spent decades as head of Micrel, a financially successful Silicon Valley company. Now that he is retired he founded ZinnStarter to provide seed funding to college students launching new products. The program, still in the initial stages, is at five universities with plans on expansion next year. As part of his efforts to reach a young demographic he spent two years writing Zen of Zinn Instant Wisdom from Silicon Valley's Longest Serving CEO ($9.95), a 195-page softcover book published this year.

His target audience? “Anyone who seeks understanding and wisdom concerning the dynamics of people, society, business and culture,” Zinn said via a spokesperson by email. His goal was “To impart 37 years of executive insight and 50 years of Silicon Valley experience concerning how people, organizations and society are interconnected.”

The book is divided into an introduction and ten chapters titled: Leadership, Entrepreneurial Lift, Management, Startup Life, Discipline, Determination, Government and Society, People, and Life. Each chapter is made up of small segments of text, many of them a paragraph long.

“Two factors fed into the book’s conception,” he said when asked what prompted him to write a collection of short tips for the entire book. “First, along with my daily observations about business and Silicon Valley that I shared on social media, I offered my insights and experiences into the soft side of people. It were these latter elements to which people reacted most positively. The second factor is that in the 21st century, people want content in small, bite-sized pieces. Hence, I designed the book as a collection of memes, that can be read quickly remembered discretely and shared easily.”

When asked how his first and second books differ he said, “Tough Things First was my management and leadership opus, one specifically for business leaders from founders of brand new startups to seasoned executives. Zen of Zinn is for them as well, but also for the masses. Many parts of Zen of Zinn deal with the spiritual essence of humans, and how that shapes communities and organizations. Anyone looking for insight and uplift will find value in Zen of Zinn.”

When asked “You discuss dignity and respect in the book, how does that align with the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley and elsewhere?” he replied, “Indeed, part of my goal with Zen of Zinn and Tough Things First was to show that dignity is tied to profitability. Respecting the dignity of all people was a cultural foundation of my company, Micrel, and we were profitable 36 of our 37 years (and the one unprofitable year was a paper loss due to the closing of a redundant facility).

As you suggested, a lack of dignity and a lack of diversity are often interrelated. Any action that marginalizes people because of their differences is a form of disrespect and an afront to their dignity. This in turn results in lower diversity. This is a shame because diversity breeds innovation. Too many Silicon Valley companies are losing out because they do not encourage a corporate culture that values diversity.”

When asked to share wisdom based on personal experience regarding diversity he said, “Two elements come to mind. First, leaders have to put effort into making diversity work. It is not automatic. Simply proclaiming that your company embraces diversity is insufficient. It takes commitment, monitoring, corporate culture shaping, and real work. Second, it requires diversity being part of the corporate culture, part of the organization’s mind set. If you force diversity onto employees that don’t fully embrace it, you may cause more problems.”

When asked if Silicon Valley has peaked he replied, “I say the best parts of Silicon Valley are being cloned elsewhere (my ZinnStarter program is one small piece of this process). Silicon Valley will continue to be itself, but it will slowly quit being the epicenter of technical innovation. That will be everywhere smart people live.”

Zen of Zinn Instant Wisdom from Silicon Valley's Longest Serving CEO

Click to buy Zen of Zinn

Is Hispanic consumer confidence dropping?

Posted by Elena del Valle on July 12, 2018

Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director, FAU BEPI

Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director, FAU BEPI

Photo: College of Business at Florida Atlantic University

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) believe Hispanic consumer confidence stalled in the second quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of the year. They drew their conclusions from a new national consumer sentiment index conducted by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative (FAU BEPI) in FAU’s College of Business. The conclusions were derived from a recorded survey online and by landline of 850 Hispanics 18 years or older.

“Hispanics are less optimistic of their financial situation and the short-term economic outlook of the country,” said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director, FAU BEPI. “They’re concerned about what they perceive as a rising cost of living, gas prices and interest rates. All of this leads Hispanics to be less eager to consume more.”

The second quarter Hispanic Consumer Sentiment Index (HCSI) dropped from 98.9 in the first quarter to an 86.4 in the second quarter, according to the 11-page report titled Hispanics Consumer Confidence Stall in Second Quarter of 2018 Cost of Living on the Rise and Less Likelihood to Buy a House or Car. Information provided by the university indicates that the HCSI continues to trail the general population score of 98.2 as published by the University of Michigan in June 2018.

When asked by email how researchers identify respondents Escaleras said, “Respondents self-identify as Hispanics. Specifically, this is the question that we ask: Are you of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin? If the answer is yes, then they take the survey. If the answer is no, then the survey ends.”

The poll, available to respondents in English and Spanish, was funded by the Dean’s Office in College of Business at Florida Atlantic University, according Escaleras, who declined to disclose the budget for the project.

“We use two modes of data collection: online and landlines,” she said. “The online sample is supplied by Survey Sampling International. For the landlines, the Hispanic phone lists are supplied by Aristole, Inc and then the questions are recorded in both languages English and Spanish. Finally, the we use a computer software call Stratics to randomly pick phone numbers and call. The calls are automated and the questions are pre-recorded or what is call robocalling. IVR stands for Interactive Voice Response which is a technology that allows respondents to interact with surveyor (which pre-recorded the questions) via a telephone keypad or by speech recognition.”

Hispanics’ short-run economic outlook for the country dipped, with only 50 percent saying they expect the country as a whole to experience good business conditions in the upcoming year, down 11 points compared to the first quarter. Among survey takers 52 percent said they think it is good time to buy big-ticket items, compared to 69 percent in the first quarter.

Four out of five poll takers said the cost of living has gone up, a 21 percent rise since the first quarter. Per the press release, this perception, along with increasing concerns over their level of debt, rising gas prices and interest rate hikes, may explain why only 51 percent said they think it is a good time to buy a house (down from 59 percent in the first quarter), and only 49 percent said it is a good time to buy a car (down from 62 percent).

Sixty-eight percent of respondents said they were born in the United States; 65.5 percent self-identified as Mexican, Mexican-American or Chicano; 50.5 percent were men; 36.5 percent said they were employed full-time; 64 percent said they owned their home; and 42.5 percent were between 18 and 34 years of age.

According to a press release, the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economic Polling Initiative conducts surveys on business, economic, political and social issues with a focus on Hispanic attitudes and opinions at regional, state and national levels via planned monthly national surveys. Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. The same release indicates the University serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students through 10 colleges at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida.

With video – Film explores factory farm methods and their effects on us

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 27, 2018

Eating Animals

Eating Animals - click to enlarge

Photo, video: Courtesy of Sundance Selects. A Sundance Selects release.

Ever wonder where you eggs, dairy and meat come from? The makers of Eating Animals, a 94-minute film based on a book of the same title by Jonathan Safran Foer, went in search of answers. Over five years they visited farms, spoke with farmers, professors, industry experts, activists, and whistle blowers. They filmed in California, Nebraska, Iowa, North Carolina, China, Germany, India and Sweden.  They imply that the factory farming practices of recent decades have degraded our humanity by making us part of the inhumane treatment of animals, polluted our environment and put our health in jeopardy. For animals lovers some scenes and images may be difficult to watch or forget. Scroll down to see film trailer.

Directed and produced by Christopher Quinn (Sundance award winner God Grew Tired of Us), the film was produced with Academy Award winner Natalie Portman (who also narrates it) and Foer. It indicates that nearly all Americans eat animals products produced in factory farms and that 30 states have passed Ag Gag laws to limit information and images of the harmful factory farming practices. The film opened in New York City June 15, 2018 and will roll out in theaters nationwide in the coming weeks. Information is available at the movie website

A statement about the film says: “Eating Animals aims to alter the very frame of public discussion about industrial agriculture and the future of meat, shifting media debates, minds, and markets alike. Moving past any sense that factory farming is a concern only for animal or environmental activists, we paint a vivid portrait of how industrial agriculture unraveled core national values and changed the world for the worse. The fight to end factory farming emerges not only as a fight to eliminate what may be the greatest crime against animal life ever committed, but as a commonsense and economic necessity.”

The film was made by Big Star Pictures in Association with Artemis Rising Foundation and The Neuman Family Foundation. Funding was provided by Obvious Group, LLC, Annenberg Foundation, Artemis Rising Foundation, Neuman Family Foundation, Jivan Fund, LLC, Simone Friedman, Samir and Puja Kaul and William Bettman.

According to promotional materials for the film the book Eating Animal is the only book in the category “animal rights” besides Peter Singer’s 1973 classic Animal Liberation that has remained a top ten Amazon bestseller since 2009; the U.S. version of the book has sold 400,000 copies and the book has become an international bestseller with language rights sold in 27 countries.

Click to buy Eating Animals

Podcast with Amelia Geary, director of Program Development and Quality, Orbis International, about world’s only flying eye hospital

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 18, 2018

Amelia Geary, director of Program Development + Quality, Orbis International

Amelia Geary, director of Program Development + Quality, Orbis International

Photo: Geoff Oliver Bugbee

A podcast interview with Amelia Geary, director of Program Development + Quality, Orbis International is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, During the podcast, she discusses eye healthcare and world's only flying eye hospital with Elena del Valle, host of the podcast.

Amelia has worked in the international non-governmental organization sector for 15 years, with a professional focus on program design, management and implementation. She obtained her master degree in International Affairs with a focus on infrastructure development from Columbia University. Her career has spanned across Africa, Asia and Latin America, where she delivered programs in prevention of blindness, maternal newborn and child health, water and sanitation, nutrition and training of medical professionals.

Prior to joining Orbis, Amelia worked with several emergency and development organizations, including Action Against Hunger – USA, United Nations Development Programme, The World Bank Water and Sanitation Program, and Concern Worldwide. Amelia first joined Orbis in 2007 as the Flying Eye Hospital program manager. She returned in 2014 to her current position.

To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Amelia Geary” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the June 2018 section of the podcast archive.

Independent publisher releases bilingual titles for children

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 14, 2018

Babies Nurse

Babies Nurse/Así se alimentan los bebés

Photos: Platypus Media

Platypus Media released two new bilingual titles this month, Babies Nurse/Así se alimentan los bebés, for children four to seven years old, and Cuddled and Carried/Consentido y Cargado for children up to four years of age. The softcover titles, in full color and 32 pages in length, each sell for $9.95. The first booklet was written by Phoebe Fox and illustrated by Jim Fox. The second title was written by Dia L. Michels and illustrated by Mike Speiser. Both were translated by Victory Productions.

When asked about the translation Michels, owner, Platypus replied: “The bulk of the translation was done by Victory Productions, a company based out of Massachusetts, but we also had many many trusted individuals look over the translation to ensure accuracy. Most notably, Edgardo Moctezuma of Latin American Book Source, Inc volunteered to guide us through the translation process and gave his advice along the way.” 

Cuddled and Carried

Cuddled and Carried/Consentido y cargado

The publisher plans to target educators, especially those with a high percentage of English Language Learners or who offer dual language programs,  librarians, health care providers and departments of health, breastfeeding organizations, mother-to-mother support groups, early childhood centers, and literacy programs across the country. 

Dia Michels, author, Cuddled and Carried

Dia Michels, author, Cuddled and Carried

“We are committed to the promotion and protection of breastfeeding, and donate a percentage of profits to groups that work in this field,” said Michels. “These two publications are the inaugural titles in our new Beginnings series of books for young readers.”

Michels is an internationally published science and parenting writer who has authored or edited more than a dozen books for children and adults. Her titles include If My Mom Were a Platypus: Mammal Babies and Their Mothers and Look What I See! Where Can I Be? With My Animal Friends. Her books have been translated into Spanish, Hebrew and Dutch.

Mike Speiser, illustrator, Cuddles and Carried

Mike Speiser, illustrator, Cuddled and Carried

Speiser's artwork has been featured on the covers of Wild Animal Baby magazine and on fundraising products for science organizations. His paintings have been displayed at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. He is involved with efforts to protect the natural world for future generations. He lives next to the Black Hills of South Dakota. 

Phoebe Fox, author, Babies Nurse

Phoebe Fox, author, Babies Nurse

Phoebe Fox wrote Babies Nurse / Así se alimentan los bebés to show children that all mammals provide milk for their babies. She has degrees in Early Childhood Development and Curriculum Instruction and experience as an elementary school librarian.

Phoebe Fox, illustrator, Babies Nurse

Jim Fox, illustrator, Babies Nurse

Jim Fox is Phoebe's father-in-law. He retired from the NBA, where he played for the Phoenix Suns.

Platypus Media is an independent press that “creates products with a broad appeal to diverse families who believe in the importance of close family relationships for the full and healthy development of children.” Platypus books are distributed through National Book Network and are available widely through bookstores, retailers, and online sites as well as through the publisher's website. Title 1 schools, literacy groups, and non-profits can find them, at deep discount, on the First Book Marketplace.

Click to buy

Cuddled and Carried

Cuddled and Carried / Consentido y cargado

Babies Nurse

Babies Nurse / Así se alimentan los bebés


Podcast with Laura J. Miller, Ph.D., author, Building Nature’s Market about evolution of natural foods market

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 4, 2018

Laura J. Miller, Ph.D., author, Building Nature's Market

Laura J. Miller, Ph.D., author, Building Nature's Market

Photos: author photo courtesy of Elias Johansson-Miller*

A podcast interview with Laura J. Miller, Ph.D., author, Building Nature's Market: The Business and Politics of Natural Foods is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, During the podcast, she discusses the evolution of the natural foods market with Elena del Valle, host of the podcast.

Laura J. Miller is associate professor of Sociology at Brandeis University. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego, and previously taught at the University of Western Ontario and Vassar College. Her research focuses on the intersection of cultural and economic factors within industries characterized by moral commitments to their products. Building Nature's Market was published in 2017 by University of Chicago Press. She is also the author of Reluctant Capitalists: Bookselling and the Culture of Consumption.

To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Laura J. Miller, Ph.D.” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the June 2018 section of the podcast archive.

Building Nature's Market

Click to buy Building Nature's Market

*Book cover courtesy University of Chicago Press

Executive enthusiastic about advantages of storytelling in business

Posted by Elena del Valle on May 23, 2018

Let the Story Do the Work Let the Story Do the Work

Photos: Leadership Story Lab

After dedicating 20 years to evaluating the potential of future leaders to succeed for a living, as a university admissions officer, Esther Choy, M.B.A., decided to change career tracks. Now she is president of Leadership Story Lab. Taking advantage of the lessons learned in both jobs about the value of stories in the business environment she wrote a 230-page hardcover book for business leaders with technical, quantitative and analytical expertise who need to master communication so that they can inform and influence a broad set of audiences. Last year, Let the Story Do the Work The Art of Storytelling for Business Success (American Management Association, $24.95) was published.

“I’ve seen it from both sides,” Choy said by email when asked what makes her an expert on the subject. "Spent my twenty-year career on developing and evaluating leaders’ potential to succeed. The key is storytelling, which leads to job promotion, new clients and record fundraising.”

In the jacket of the book she promises readers it will help them by breaking down the art of storytelling into step-by-step guidelines, insights, and examples so they can weave storytelling techniques into their communications and strengthen their impact. The book, which has several pages of end notes, is divided into eleven chapters and three main parts: Anatomy of a Story, Bringing Stories to Life, and Stories in Action.

When asked if there are business types for which letting the story do the work is not advisable or doesn't work she replied, “No. I wrote the book with a general business audience in mind. However, one thing to note is that Let the Story Do the Work is not meant to be a book on writing. Contrary to popular belief, oral storytelling shares more things in common with performing arts and it does with writing.”

Esther Choy, author, Let the Story Do the Work

Esther Choy, author, Let the Story Do the Work

The author believes in the power of well told personal stories combined with social influence to elevate a narrator's ability to stimulate effective networking and inspire conversations as well as audiences during presentations. Asked about data accumulation by third parties, that some people may be shy about sharing more private information, and what other options they have she replied, “It’s precisely because third parties data collection is constant and inevitable that we have to take active control of our own narrative. Keep in mind, your compelling story shouldn’t just have your credentials or competence, which are both easy to search in this day and age. It should first and foremost share your characters. What make you you is the core of personal storytelling.”

When asked about the impact of technology, including AI, on the work environment and whether story telling may be affected she said, “Technology can connect us in ways never imaginable. If misused, however, technology create more harm than good. Just think the term, 'Death by PowerPoint.' The key to using tech without abusing is to never assume that it will solve all our problems. People still need other people, that may never be replaced by machines.”

In her current company Choy coaches managers in storytelling techniques. She also teaches in the executive education programs at Northwestern Univerity's Kellogg School of Management. Prior to that she served as admissions officer for the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Let the Story Do the Work

Click to buy Let the Story Do the Work

Personal finance blogger pens book emphasizing frugality

Posted by Elena del Valle on May 10, 2018

Meet the Frugalwoods

Meet the Frugalwoods


Photos: Courtesy of HarperBusiness, Nate Thames

​​​​The rat race sometimes gets to be a bit much, dragging down the best of us. A few lucky people discover a way out. Fewer still find financial independence of some kind and share the story of how they did it. Elizabeth Willard Thames and her husband Nate are working yet living life on their own terms. While many may not want to relocate permanently to remote and rural Vermont as they did achieving their goal of financial independence may appeal to many of us.

In Meet the Frugalwoods Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living (Harper Business, $22.99), a 229-page hardcover book published recently, Elizabeth Thames shares the experiences in life and work that led her and her husband to quit their jobs and leave a conventional life in upscale Cambridge, Massachusetts in search of a more meaningful and satisfying life in the country. She also explains in general terms how they followed a more frugal than most approach for years that allowed them to save enough (as much as 70 percent of their take home income at times) to make big purchases with relative ease without having to always borrow for a mortgage or bank loan.

Elizabeth Willard Thames, author, Meet the Frugalwoods

Elizabeth Willard Thames, author, Meet the Frugalwoods

Thames is the blog voice behind the Frugalwoods website, focusing on personal finance from her personal perspective. She, her husband and their small children live in a homestead in the Vermont woods. She did not respond to questions submitted more than one week in advance via her publishing company.

Thames holds undergraduate degrees in political science and creative writing from the University of Kansas and an masters in public administration from American University. Prior to following her calling as a writer and homesteader, she worked for ten years in the nonprofit sector as a fund-raiser and communications manager.

Meet the Frugalwoods

Click to buy Meet the Frugalwoods

New recording tells story of small Mexican town massacre

Posted by Elena del Valle on May 3, 2018

The Making of a Massacre

The Making of a Massacre

Images: Audible, ProPulica

On May 4, 2018 the final parts of The Making of a Massacre, a five-part audio series (The first part of the series is already available for Audible members on the company website) should become available. In the series, Ginger Thompson, investigative reporter, ProPublica, takes listeners through the nonfiction story of the disappearance of dozens of people from Allende, a small Mexican border town. She relies on interviews, English voice over excerpts of interviews with townspeople, officials, and cartel members to illustrate “the way in which well-intentioned efforts to curtail the drug trade had devastating real-life results.”

The review edition of the audio recording, about two hours long, had uneven volume and at times it was difficult to distinguish sounds and words from sound effects and background noises. Despite multiple requests submitted two weeks in advance via a publishing company representative first and later directly to the journalist, Thompson declined to respond to questions about the recording.

Ginger Thompson

Ginger Thompson

According to promotional materials, Thompson spent 15 years at The New York Times, including time as a Washington correspondent and as an investigative reporter whose stories revealed Washington’s secret role in Mexico’s fight against drug traffickers. While at The Times, she covered Mexico’s transformation from a one-party state to a fledgling multi-party democracy and into breaking news events across the region, including Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela.

For her work in the region, she was a finalist for The Pulitzer’s Gold Medal for Public Service. She won the Maria Moors Cabot Prize, the Selden Ring Award for investigative reporting, an InterAmerican Press Association Award, and an Overseas Press Club Award. Thompson was also part of a team of national reporters at The Times that was awarded a 2000 Pulitzer Prize for the series How Race is Lived in America.

Latin Alternative Music Conference

Posted by Elena del Valle on April 26, 2018

Information provided by Event Partner

Latin Alternative Music Conference 2018
July 10th – 14th, 2018
New York City - Stewart Hotel

The Latin Alternative Music Conference is the only major conference devoted to bilingual and bicultural cutting edge music, art and entertainment. The five-day event includes industry panels, concert showcases, parties and films and draws a tastemaker crowd of leading artists, executives, journalists and forward thinkers. This July, the LAMC will be celebrating its 19th year. The conference will take place at the Stewart Hotel in Midtown Manhattan with concerts throughout New York City including Central Park SummerStage, Celebrate Brooklyn at Prospect Park, Lincoln Center, the Highline Ballroom, SOB's and other iconic New York venues.

In its 19 years, the LAMC has made a name for itself as a hub of Latino culture, bringing talent from all over the world to celebrate Latino identity each summer. The NY Times hails it as the “Sundance of Latin music”. Don’t miss the dynamic industry panels, featuring many of the movers and shakers who are helping to further define today’s music market. Head over to ( before online registration closes Sunday, July 1st!