March 2009

Editor-at-large Leigh Buchanan looks at the practice of paying employees a referral bonus when they recommend a friend for a job down the hall. "Companies that hire lots of people who know one another -- because they attended the same schools or play golf together every weekend or used to work someplace else -- may reduce the diversity of their work forces' experiences and perspectives," she writes. The problem: "Innovation flourishes in the interstices of unlike ideas."
Ever since Michael Dell started building computers in his dorm room at the University of Texas, ambitious college students have been launching money-making ventures. This month, Inc. looks at 10 current undergrads who have taken the entrepreneurial leap, starting companies that design online games, market bottled water, recycle mobile phones, and more. Read about them and then go online to vote for your favorite company.
"Laptop batteries don't last nearly as long as we'd like...The big culprit is your screen, which uses up nearly half of the battery power all by itself (43% to be exact). The hard drive is only responsible for 5% and graphics only 8%. Moral to the story: turn down the brightness on your screen."
-- Renee Oricchio, "A Laptop Battery's Worst Enemy"

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In "Armed With Data," Leigh Buchanan described how members of the military learn from their successes and failures through after-action reviews.
Here's a PDF of a 1993 U.S. Army document on how to conduct such a review from a website maintained by the Australian armed forces: http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/army/tc_25-20/tc25-20.pdf
Here's a link to order a copy of "Learning in the Thick of It," a 2005 Harvard Business Review article by Marilyn Darling, Charles Parry, and Joseph Moore, the co-founders of Signet Research & Consulting, a firm that espouses the importance of after-action reviews: http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/b02/en/common/item_detail.jhtml?id=R0507G
A few downloads are also available on Signet's website: http://www.signetconsulting.com/action_items/further_reading.php