Zuza Hicks is the former art director for Comstock’s magazine.
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While big data can answer questions we haven’t even thought to ask, the hidden costs add up
Big data can have real benefits, but it can also undercut common sense, frustrate employees, alarm customers and come with some hidden costs
Status Check: Bridging the Divide
West Sac makes progress on transportation upgrades
Last year we reported on the massive transportation shift taking place in West Sacramento (“Bridging the Divide” by John Blomster, October 2014) Check out some of the progress that has been made since then:
Startups Meet the Smart Meter
SMUD wants to turbocharge technologies that can raise the IQ of its smart grid
Giving customers price incentives to use less energy during peak periods is a key feature of SMUD’s smart grid. That new metering system is designed to let both the utility and customers better monitor energy use in homes. Now SMUD is hoping to take its grid to the next level. It’s partnering with entrepreneurs who can give customers technology that lets them use SMUD’s price incentives to save money
Send in the Crowd
Equity crowdfunding offers small investors a slice of the pie, but will they take a giant hit?
Pauline Marx, 63, had been a pretty conventional investor in stocks and bonds until April 2014. But to her, the rock-bottom interest rates on fixed-income tools like Treasury bills and CDs felt like stuffing money under the mattress.Then a friend told her about Fundrise, a website that lets investors buy small shares of real estate ventures around the country.
Legal English as a Second Language
Why can’t lawyers communicate like other humans?
Richard Wydick has spent much of his professional life trying to change how lawyers write. In 1978, he led an article for the California Law Review with this broadside: “We lawyers cannot write plain English.” That piece created such a positive response that he turned it into a foundational book on legal writing that’s now in its fifth edition.
For the next generation, family-business survival rests squarely on formalized governance
There’s an old saying about family businesses: Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations. Grandpa hustles and creates the business,Dad takes the baton and then Junior goes down with the ship. According to the Family Firm Institute, just 30 percent of family businesses survive into their second generation, and only 10 percent make it to their third. Why do these firms fail?
The Incredible Lightness of Shrinking
The tiny-house movement wants to change the way you think about housing
In the past five years, 57-year-old Elaine Walker has lived in four cities: Washington D.C., two in Northern California and now Orlando, Fla. And in all four, she lived in the same house.That’s because it’s a farmhouse on wheels.
Room to Grow
Should the Capital Region focus more on global exporting?
In 2012, the Capital Region ranked 48th of a total of 100 metro areas on total value of exports and 95th on export intensity. Can more be done?
Using digital services is second nature, but protecting them is not
Are you putting yourself at risk? If so, you’re not alone.
Extreme Makeover: Work Edition
Does your office need an etiquette expert?
You know That Guy. He wears too much Axe body spray, he makes loud personal calls while you’re trying to work, he chews food with his mouth open. He’s a close-talker with his shirt open one button too far. He’s also really good at his job. If you’re a manager, what do you do with That Guy?
How Much for the Right to Pollute?
Traveling this holiday? Consider your fuel...
California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32) requires the state’s major industry sectors to return California’s emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. To pay for AB32’s associated Cap-and-Trade Program, the cost of gasoline and diesel fuels will increase approximately 12 cents per gallon beginning Jan. 1, 2015.
Cyber Security is Golden
4 tips to protecting yourself and your business
In February, Attorney General Kamala Harris released a guide to help the state’s small- to mid-sized businesses protect against and respond to threats of malware, data breaches and other cyber risks. Key recommendations include:
On the Cover: Web of Thieves
Big-name cyberattacks make headlines, but smaller businesses have more to lose.
In cyberattacks against multimillion-dollar companies, computer criminals break in and steal personal information from millions of customers. Though there will be big losses and maybe a high-profile resignation, the reality is, these retail giants will live to sell another day. But the stories that won’t make the front pages involve the most frequent targets, whose survival isn’t guaranteed: small businesses.
3 ways financial institutions can safeguard against cyberattacks
Compared to other industries, banks operate from a unique position, in that they have to focus intently on their own security, but also make sure their clients have the knowledge and tools to protect against computer criminals. Providing that protection usually comes down to a matter of security versus convenience.
Bridging the Divide
West Sacramento’s massive transportation shift is redefining its identity
Long regarded as the region’s industrial bastion relegated to the other side of the river, today’s West Sacramento is barreling out of the past.