A question of business ethics

October 23, 2009

Did you know that business ethics are a form of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment?

Though I may not have defined it that way, I certainly know what they are and I definitely know when they should be questioned.

I guess you only know in the moment if you can choose to do the right thing, and if you choose wrong what does that say about you? And then if others subsequently choose wrong because of the first ethical crisis, what becomes of them? It’s a slippery slope.

And one I am really glad not to be on.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter :  newscaster

From Video to Mounts, from Speakers to Control…Caster Clients totalled more than 500 stories off CEDIA

October 15, 2009

Coming off CEDIA is always a busy time at Caster. With ten clients on the floor, prepping for the show is hard enough, but coming back everyone wants their show reports. The line up of press stories they had is what keeps our clients smiling and keep us slammed through Columbus Day. If you estimate seven clients with two news releases each multiplied times 50 top tier news outlets covering the show, we captured over 500 news articles.

These are some of my favorites this year:

1. Paradigm: CEPro’s Julie Jacobson’s recap of her Toronto trip and blind listening of the new SE speakers attained a lot of buzz. Steven Kim at Engadget sure appreciated the story and supplied his take, the comments are especially titillating

2. Control4: With back to back shows, news from Control4 spanned the energy and utility space and its core business in home automation. Smart Grid News offered this take Texas Utility Choses Control4 for HAN Control and Energy Management while Stewart Wolpin wrote this on the new EMS 100 system for DVICE. Janet Pinkerton’s take on how the Smart Grid is going to impact CE retail and custom installers was a hit over at Dealerscope.

3. NuVo had a tremendous show nabbing  2009 CEDIA Manufacturers’ Excellence Award, Best New Product: Renovia and the press agreed with stories like HomeTheater.com – NuVo Renovia May Be Harbinger of Future and Twice’s  Retrofit, Remodeling Get CEDIA Expo Focus.

4. OmniMount had a powerhouse of a show as furniture and  TV Mounting Options Continue To Expand and with lots of sightings of their OmniLite Series, New Classic Series and Modena Series, and a huge volume of hourly giveaways posted through their Twitter site.

5. MartinLogan impressed the audio crowd at this year’s  Expo.  HomeTheaterForum.com offers this CEDIA 2009 Martin Logan Booth Tour and BigPictureBigSound.com highlights MartinLogan Shows Wireless Subwoofers: Dynamo 700 and 1000.

6. Anthem ran a great demo showing of their Statement D2V, fans flocked and the booth was slammed throughout the show. Home Theater Review posted their thoughts on the Anthem Statement D2v with Anthem Room Correction Reviewed.

7. Runco rounded out our clients at CEDIA with one of the most applauded video demos at the show, from their new entry level LightSyle to the debut of their Quantum LED line, the pools of drool were deep and accolades many as attested by Projector Central’s  Runco Takes Xtreme DLP Projection to the Next Level…  and engadgetHD.com with their Price check – Runco’s LS-3 projector within reach of mere mortals.

All in all, I’d say a very good show!

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter : newscaster

Which Utilties are Leading Smart Grid Development?

September 30, 2009

Rick Nicholson and H. Christine Richards of IDC Energy Insights published an article in the July/August edition of Intelligent Utility detailing their assessment of which utilities are leading the pack towards a Smart Grid.

 Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), Austin Energy, Edison International (NYSE: EIX), Oncor, PG&E Corporation (NYSE: PCG) and CenterPoint Energy (NYSE: CNP), all of whom are based in either California or Texas, top the list of utilitites leading the way. I personally thinked they missed Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative (who is working with Caster client Control4)who aren’t just at the forefront of grid transformation but also leading the charge in consumer Smart Grid education.

Locally, National Grid (LSE:NG;NYSE:NGG), the nation’s second-largest utility, has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy for $200 million in stimulus funding to develop an “end-to-end” smart grid deployment that will include approximately 200,000 customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

According to National Grid, the project will demonstrate the benefits of combining “smart” and “green” technologies from end-to-end (transmission to consumer) including demonstrations of clean energy technologies such as plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and solar and wind power as well as energy storage technology. The result will be one of the most technologically advanced smart grid deployments in the U.S. This initiative will provide an increased understanding of the interface between the next generation of green energy supply and the smart grid to pave the way for the broader roll out of these technologies in the states where National Grid operates.

Regardless of whether they get the grant money or not, I hope National Grid stays in the game; they have a chance to lead this initiative and really make a difference.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

PR Can Help Utilities Build Community and Support for Smart Grid Roll Out

September 21, 2009

I believe the Smart Grid is an eventuality. It may come with or without fanfare, it may be accepted begrudgingly or met with whole hearted resistance, it may even be greeted with open arms by some, but of this I am sure, for it succeed as utilities want, the utilities have to step up and educate their communities about what it is, what it means and what it does and doesn’t do.

I’ve talked to a number of homeowners and I’d like to offer three very different perspectives on what they think the Smart Grid is and what it means to them and offer my view on why utilites need a PR firm.

Laura, John and Family

With three kids, this affluent family runs a lot of electricity. TV, lights, video games, hot water and appliances not to mention the array of mobile devices and laptops are always being charged. When I asked them if they had heard of the Smart Grid they said they had not, when I explained what it was and what it could do and how it could even help them manage their electricity consumption to save money, they thought it sounded great that they could be “green”. LOL

My Parents

This is a tough one. My parents are die-hard Rhode Islanders, and they’re republicans. My dad is a blue collar guys who feels the sun sets based on what Rush Limbaugh says. My mom is an MBA with a high profile job. They simply do not get that there is a problem and a need for energy conservation; my dad thinks he’ll be dead by the time it matters. Either way there is no way he is going to let the government control how much electricity he can and can’t use. No way no how, not going to happen. SIGH

Craig and Kelli

An engaged couple living in their first house, they are trying to save enough money to pay for half their wedding and honeymoon. Constantly worried about their monthly bills, the economy has taken a toll on both their incomes. They realize that spending less means doing without or cutting back. Neither had heard of the Smart Grid, but knows about the local wind power project. When I asked if they use a device that helped that understand how they could save money by reducing their electricity they loved the idea.

So of all three homeowners, none of them had heard of the Smart Grid. None of them know about the efforts and grant money National Grid has applied for to bring two-way meters to New England. If National Grid wants this deployment to succeed, they and utilities like them, have to look to driving awareness around this project. If people in neighborhoods think that this about government control, people will not cooperate and the project will fail. If homeowners are not excited about using energy management devices then they simply won’t use them. And if they don’t use them than this was for nothing.

Utilities should look at three approaches to building community support for Smart Grid roll outs:

Social Media: Using Twitter and Facebook, utilities should look to top utility heavyweights like Duke and Nashville Electric Service both of whom have active grassroots campaigns designed to build followers, engage their customers and communicate everything from outages to demand response events.
Town Hall Events: Just like the Presidential campaign, utilities can invite key stakeholders like government officials, industry experts and community members to question and answer events designed to educate and enthuse the public for the coming Smart Grid deployment.
Demo Center: National Grid (and others) should create a demo center where the public is invited to come see what the meters will look like, how they will work and again, educate the users on how this will function in their home when a conservation event occurs or if they want to reduce their energy bills.
These are just some early suggestion, there are obviously other options such as trade shows, literature, a solid grassroots PR campaign and of course advertising, but education will be the key to public awareness and acceptance of the Smart grid and must be done at a local level not by the federal government.

Hmmm, I wonder if Caster can help National Grid with its PR plan?

Posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter: newscaster

The Crap in my In Box

March 6, 2009

I hate my in box.

If I get on a phone call and don’t read email and the call in one hour long, when I get off, I have at least 50 emails.

If I got to status, and it drags on as it usually does for upwards of two hours, I come back to 75 emails (lower than average because my staff is at status with me and hence they are not replying all or emailing me at all).

Overnight, I average 110 – 140 emails EVERY night.

I hate my in box.

I swear I am on every email list out there. Top emailers who assault me daily:

1. Lands End — Is it really necessary to email 5 times per day. I like your stuff. I will buy bathing suits for my children, but please, please stop emailing me.

2. MediaBistro — I signedup for one newsletter, I get on average 4-6 emails a day. I’ve tried to unsubscribe, but they keep coming.

3. PRSA – I have an entire rule dedicated to emails from the PRSA, I received 76 emails in February and that was a short month.

4. Newsletters. I dont’ know what happened here but I get every newsletter under the sun. My unread newsletters folder stands at 398 since February 2nd, and this doesn’t include the ones I read or that don’t have a rule attached. These include: CEPro, CEA Smartbrief, Dealerscope, min, HARO and  Chris Brogan (this alone adds another 6 per day)! I just can’t keep up.

5. Twitters. Qwitters. Tweeple Groups. Tweetworks. Lots and lots…398 unread at last count.

6. Narragansett Elementary – yes, my daughters school is email crazy. I can get 3-5 emails per day. Volunteer for this. PTO meeting. Soccer sign up. Book fundraiser. Blanket Bidding, Pizza pig out. How about 1 per week and summarizing?

7. AMEX – Yes, I know my bill is due.  I knew it 14 days ago, 12 days ago, 10 days ago, 5 days ago, and I still know it. I get it, you want me to pay my bill.

8. Ashley – Yes, you hold the record (aside from Joe) as most emails in my in box.

9. Don’t laugh too hard Lauren your second.

10. LinkedInUpdates – why can’t they just send them to my LinkedIn account. Maybe I don’t want to be so linked.

Just keeping my inbox workable, organized and clutter free takes me at least an hour a day. And I’ve lost control of it. My emails total more than 500 per day, that’s not including my spam which gets filtered. I’ve tried assigning by topics, by person, by client, by attachments, by importance. I’ve tried not being on email and just checking it at certain times (HA!) and nothing works. Our connectivity is destroying my productivity and I am not alone.

Excellent, only 2 days left for kids bathing suits. Lands End say I should act now.

Yes, I’m turning my OOF on and going to bed.

posted by KDL | follow me on Twitter : newscasterand check out my other blog at www.greenlifesmartlifeblog.comfor all our fun news around all things green including our green home building project!

Happy Stress-Free Sleep-Filled Holiday Week

December 25, 2008

Caster wishes everyone out there a delightful, stress-free, calorie laden, sleep-filled holiday week.


My week will be filled with children hyped on sugar, grandparents, excitement, toys and for me, wine…lots of wine. Happy Holidays everyone, thanks for another great year.

posted by: KDL | visit me on Twitter: newscaster

SELFLESSNESS: The Life You Impact Could be Your Own

December 24, 2008

The holidays are hectic, I know this and every year I get stressed. I rush through everything and then look back on Christmas night and think wow, it’s over and there are only so many left. My kids are little, 2 and 5, and their years of believing are short. I look at how the Internet has taken the mystery out of Santa and the imagination bursts so early. This is why we tryto make the holiday about more than Santa, but about building memories and sharing what we have that others may not.

As you settle into your holiday this week, whether its Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa; look at bringing Holiday to someone who needs it. A neighbor who is struggling with their heating bills or the ice in their driveway; kids who need coats and hats; or people who need food and someone to serve it to them.

Caster ran a holiday food drive the month of December, it was Ashley’s idea and it was a god one. It inspired me to do something as well. Every day all month I donated a Christmas dinner to a family. It cost me $7.95. It included their turkey and trimmings and as of right now I know I fed 25 families of four (I started on Nov 30). It’s not a lot, I didn’t save the world but my children and I did something. I explained to them that we are fortunate for everything we have and not everyone has the same opportunities in life, and it is good to help people when you are fortunate enough to be able to.

Right now there are millions of children starving; kids who won’t have gifts on Christmas Day or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa; kids who won’t have a bed to sleep in or heat to keep them warm. Look to your community to help today. Stop. Take 15 minutes and run by a local shelter and drop off a bag of food, a $20 or a coat. Bring your child and tell them we can all make a difference if we just slow down long enough to look around.

This uplifting post was brought to you by KDL. Follow my brighter commentaries on Twitter: newscaster