Daily Archive: May 7, 2005

IT Conversations – New Solutions

NewsolutionsListen here.  This was a truly inspirational interview, David Bornstein talks about a project to bring electricity to poor people in Brazil: single wires going to houses, grounded in the soil, low voltages. The project is also bringing solar panels to rural areas, renting them for what people generally pay for candles, kerosene, etc. He also talks about “child line” in India, now in 55 cities. It’s a number you can call if you see a child in distress. It started with one woman who spent 3 years trying to get the equivalent of an 800 number for it. It’s deeply affected India’s child protection policies.

There is one very touching story about a business man who rings the Child Line to report a naked two year old at the airport suffering from burns and left alone.  The Child Line organisation has enlisted the street children as its “runners” and by the time they arrive the child has been effectively kidnapped by a beggar aiming to use her to improve his trade!  The boys eventually prevail and the child is taken into care and eventually adopted.

I am amazed at the idea of using the street children to be …

IT Conversations – Corporate Disney

DisneyListen here.  In this interview Dr. Moira Gunn interviews James Stewart, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of “Den of Thieves.” His latest endeavours have been a look inside the wonderful world of “Corporate Disney.” 

I found this interview interesting, largely because of Moira’s insightful comments and questions, but the subject matter is not hugely important to me.  A few snippets of the interview stood out. 

  • the fact that most executives at Disney have to go through the experience of dressing up and acting out the part of a Disney character
  • the fact that James Stewart tried it,  after considerable preparation, and found it to be a very moving experience
  • Walt himself was never a senior officer of the company, preferring instead to concentrate on the creative side of the business
  • it was interesting to see that the company lost its way the more powerful its CEO became, in another IT conversations interview on leadership the sweet spot for a leader to be in place is considered to be about 7 years.


IT Conversations – Big Cotton

CottonListen here.  I am trying to broaden the subjects I listen to on IT conversations, so “big Cotton” seemed to fit the bill.  In this interview Dr. Moira Gunn speaks with journalist Stephen Yafa about a crop that has been with us for over 5,000 years: cotton. It’s also a crop which continues to significantly impact the environment. Moira also speaks with Stephen about his new book “Big Cotton — How a Humble Fiber Created Fortunes, Wrecked Civilizations, and Put America on the Map.” 

As always the interview was excellent and Stephen Yafa was a great speaker.  I was fascinated to hear about how the expansion of cotton growing in the South of the US was the tripping point for the Civil War and horrified by the level of environmental pollution and soil erosion caused by Cotton growing.  Even worse was the way that America provides massive subsidies to the cotton growers, effectively allowing them to dump cotton on the global market, crippling the cotton growers on the developing world.  If you want to know more you can check out Stephens Book – Big Cotton and also these web sites:

Sustainable Cotton, which is about The Sustainable Cotton …