Who Would You Want Hanging Off a Building with You?

first_imgWhat would you do if you could walk on air? That’s the question that our customer Nike put to viral photographer Benjamin Von Wong. And Von Wong replied “I want to showcase everyday people defying gravity a 1,000 feet up in the air.”He didn’t know exactly how to do it, but he didn’t have to worry about having a computer that would stand up to the challenge. Von Wong took his Dell Rugged Latitude 30 stories up the side of a building in Manila, Philippines.©Von WongThe results can be seen on his blog, but I also got a bit of the behind-the-scenes story from Von Wong.Because he didn’t want to wait until he was on firm footing to know if he had the shot he needed, his laptop went out on a wire with him.“Every time I’d jump around, it would crash into the glass,” side of the building he said and described it as “very exciting.”I’d call that putting it mildly. Hanging on the side of a skyscraper while taking photos of social entrepreneurs – not professional models or stunt people – and even at times having someone hold your feet up to get them out of a shot would be vertigo-inducing for many of us.“My rugged did get out of it a little dinged up,” Von Wong said. “But that’s what it’s for!”Yes, Dell Latitude Rugged systems are designed specifically to take a beating, so few dings are no big deal. But with photography as his profession, why would Von Wong have had a rugged laptop even before undertaking this adventure?©Von WongWell, Von Wong doesn’t typically play it safe in a studio. Hanging from buildings is just one way he takes photos that, as he puts it, “people think are photoshopped.” His surreal imagery has been known to involve both fire and water, so he needs a system that can be prepared to face the elements.But why did he choose to place social entrepreneurs in the element of air for this particular project?Von Wong has a passion to connect people and a recent focus on conservation related projects.“I greatly believe in the power of humanity to solve problems,” he told fstoppers this summer. “When we decide to do something, we can.”Some of his recent work is designed to get people talking about plastic pollution. A topic near and dear to Dell’s Social Good Advocate Adrian Grenier whom Von Wong joined on a Dell-hosted panel discussion at last year’s SXSW.Grenier helped Dell understand the breadth of challenges our oceans face today, and now we are creating the first commercial-scale global ocean plastics supply chain. But you don’t have to be a worldwide corporation to make a difference, and that’s what Von Wong wanted to convey in his latest work.“By showcasing everyday people doing extraordinary things, I hope that viewers, will feel empowered to challenge themselves, support others and to pursue amazing life experiences of their own,” he said.I’m glad to see that our Dell Rugged system was there to take a few hits and help Von Wong create his own amazing experience. You can see from the expression of the Manila school children pictured below looking at the just-captured images, it’s pretty jaw-dropping.©Von Wonglast_img read more

Five myths of strategic execution

first_img 14SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Credit unions have thousands of guides about developing a strategy, but very few on how to execute one. And the difficulty of achieving executional excellence is a major obstacle at most companies, according to Kathy Pearson, Ph.D., who recently spoke at CUES Symposium: A CEO/Chairman Exchange.Leaders often attribute poor execution to a lack of alignment and a weak performance culture. However, it turns out that in most companies, activities line up well with strategic goals, and the people who meet their numbers are consistently rewarded, according to Pearson, founder and president of Enterprise Learning Solutions and a senior fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.Instead, for successful execution of strategy, companies must foster coordination across units and build the agility to adapt to changing market conditions.During her session, Pearson summarized research from “Why Strategy Execution Unravels–And What to Do About It” from the March 2015 Harvard Business Review, and shared five strategic execution myths and realities… continue reading »last_img read more

Royal Thalys pioneers first 300 km/h inter-capitals route

first_imgThe final piece of the TGV Nord-Europe jigsaw was slotted into place on December 10 when an inaugural Royal Thalys carried King Albert II and Queen Paola from Brussels to Paris and back to mark completion of the 71 km Belgian section of the 314·6 km high speed route. Murray Hughes was on board,’TODAY, FOR THE FIRST time in the history of international rail transport … two capitals are directly linked by services running at 300 km/h from end to end. We are very proud of this historic fact.’ Etienne Schouppe, Chief Managing Director of Belgian National Railways, was addressing guests at Brussels Midi station before departure of the Royal Thalys special train to Paris on December 10.Up on the platform, heavy rain and leaden skies seemed inauspicious omens for a royal launch as the final preparations were made. Quietly and without fuss, the first of three Thalys PBKA four-voltage sets slid out of one of the dedicated Thalys platforms to act as ‘sweeper’ ahead of the royal train waiting opposite. Camera crews jostled for position round the red nose of Thalys PBKA set 4303 as they sought to capture on film the black, red and yellow national flag. Other media crowded on a podium next to the car bearing the Royal crest below the door window.Minutes later the royal couple walked along the obligatory red carpet, chatted briefly with the waiting train crew, and boarded. Officials hurried the other guests into the meticulously turned-out set.Departure of Train 09386 at 10.33 was 8min later than scheduled, but by 10.46 the special was on the freshly built high speed line beyond Lembeek. Driver Walgraef at once opened up, and at 10.48 an SNCB official announced that the train had reached 300 km/h. Back in Brussels, and unnoticed by the press, a reserve Thalys unit set out for Paris.Sound barriers briefly obscured the view as the train sped towards France, but when the sodden landscape reappeared there were only leafless poplars and heaps of sugar beet to break up the plain. Staff at the lineside in yellow high-visibility jackets offered a flash of colour against the monochrome background.On board, hostesses in mauve Thalys uniforms began serving champagne and canapés at 10.50, coming into unfortunate conflict with prowling TV crews.A rock-steady ride belied the rate of progress, and attempts to detect the transition from Belgian to French track proved fruitless. There was a brief glimpse of the Fretin triangle outside Lille, and at 11.06 a Eurostar passing to a backdrop of the distinctive slagheap at Hénin-Beaumont confirmed we were well inside France. Set 4303 streaked through the mist and rain towards Paris.French pageantryGare du Nord was filled with sound and colour. The Royal couple arrived to a red carpet welcome with a guard of honour; military bands played the Belgian and French national anthems.While protocol and officialdom dominated the proceedings, there were other questions to be asked. The train had made up all 8min of the late start, and journey time from Brussels Midi was just 78min and 46sec. Enquiries to the traction inspector in the cab about the maximum speed attained prompted the response ‘strictly no more than 300 km/h’, but the driver’s grin and twinkling eyes told a different story.The royals were whisked off for lunch at the Elysée, and other mortals were bussed, with police escort, to a venue on the other side of Paris. Return to the Gare du Nord was by the same method, much to the anxiety of a very senior officer of French National Railways who was heard to remark to his Belgian counterpart that he was getting SNCF a bad name among Parisians for holding up the traffic.Arrival back at Nord found set 4303 turned so that the Royal couple could again travel in a specially turned out car near the front of the train. The ‘sweeper’ left at 15.50, followed by the Royal special at 15.58.The graffiti-covered walls of the Paris suburbs were soon lost to view, and by 16.20 the clouds were breaking to reveal shafts of sunlight and glimpses of pale blue over the gently rolling countryside. The train’s long shadow appeared briefly in the lineside fields as Thalys staff served juice, coffee and patisseries. Cars and lorries on the crowded autoroute du nord parallel to the TGV line appeared at a standstill as we swept past in the gathering twilight.At 17.05 the brakes squealed for the approach to Brussels, and piped music stirred those who had dozed off after their midday feasting. The Brussels Eurostar terminal appeared brightly lit out of the gloom as the Thalys set drew up in Midi station, but in contrast to those journeying from London, no passport or other checks awaited those who had left Paris just 78min earlier. CAPTION: Flag-bedecked Thalys PBKA set 4303 after arrival at Paris Gare du Nord on December 10CAPTION: His Majesty King Albert II (right) and Queen Paola wait to board. Belgium’s Royal crest adorned the entrance to the Royal coach (inset)CAPTION: President of French National Railways Louis Gallois (right) confers briefly with Chief Managing Director of Belgian National Railways Etienne Schouppe before the Royal Thalys returned to BrusselsLe Thalys royal inaugure la dernière liaison du TGV Nord EuropeLe roi Albert II et la reine Paola de Belgique ont ouvert officiellement la section belge de la ligne à grande vitesse Paris – Bruxelles le 10 décembre lorsqu’ils ont fait le trajet entre les deux capitales en 1h 18minutes dans un train Thalys royal spécial. Les services réguliers sont passés sur la nouvelle ligne en Belgique le 14 décembre, réduisant la durée du trajet entre Paris – Bruxelles, Paris – Cologne et Londres – Bruxelles. Les cinq sociétés de chemins de fer impliquées prévoient une solide croissance du trafic au fur et à mesure que les voyageurs profiteront de la première ligne à grande vitesse internationaleKöniglicher Thalys eröffnet letzte Verbindung von TGV Nord EuropeAm 10. Dezember wurde der belgische Abschnitt der Hochgeschwindigkeitsstrecke zwischen Paris und Brüssel offiziell von König Albert II und Königin Paola von Belgien auf einer Reise in einem königlichen Thalys-Sonderzug zwischen den beiden Hauptstädten eröffnet, die 1Stunde und 18Minuten dauerte. Der fahrplanmä§ige Verkehr ging vom 14. Dezember an zur neuen Strecke in Belgien über und verkürzt die Reisezeiten zwischen Paris – Brüssel, Paris – Köln und London – Brüssel. Die fünf beteiligten Eisenbahnen sagen eine starke Verkehrszunahme voraus, wenn Reisende die Vorteile der ersten internationalen Hochgeschwindigkeitsstrecke in Europa nutzenRoyal Thalys inaugura el enlace final en el TGV Nord EuropeEl Rey Alberto II y la Reina Paola de Bélgica abrieron formalmente la sección belga de la línea de alta velocidad París – Bruselas en 10 de diciembre cuando viajaron en un tren Royal Thalys especial entre las dos capitales en 1hora y 18minutos. Los servicios regulares cambiar? n a la nueva línea belga desde el 14 de diciembre, recortando la duración del viaje entre París – Bruselas, París – Colonia y Londres – Bruselas. Se prevé que los cinco ferrocarriles participantes disfruten de un gran crecimiento del tr? fico desde el momento en el que los pasajeros aprovechen la primera línea de alta velocidad internacional de Europalast_img read more

I didn’t snub Under-21s – Jones

first_img And on a visit to his old school, Balshaw’s CE High School in Leyland, to deliver football equipment he helped pay for as part of a combined initiative involving the Premier League, PFA and Manchester United, Jones decided to set the record straight. “I didn’t expect it and I am disappointed,” said Jones. “It is simply not true. I have represented the Under-19s, the Under-21s and the seniors. I said from the first day I pulled on an England shirt, it sent shivers down my spine. “How he can come out and say I didn’t want to play for the Under-21s is beyond me. “It wasn’t nice to read what he said and I am sure Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is thinking the same thing.” Having missed the first three months of last season, and another six-week period between the middle of February and the beginning of April with a knee injury, Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to protect Jones. In addition, England boss Roy Hodgson would not countenance any player chosen for the post-season trip to Brazil to also be selected for Under-21 duty. Hodgson informed Pearce he wanted Jones with him in Rio and the former Blackburn man subsequently completed the full 90 minutes in a 2-2 draw at the Maracana Stadium, having played the second half of a Wembley encounter with Republic of Ireland just four days earlier. Pearce singled out Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as two players who missed the European Championship because they felt dropping back down from the senior squad was beneath them. Yet, in speaking of players going through the “golden ivory towers of the seniors”, Pearce left Jones hurt and confused as that is not how the 21-year-old views the situation at all. Manchester United’s Phil Jones has hit back at Stuart Pearce’s claims he snubbed an England Under-21 call this summer. Press Association “It was totally out of my hands,” said Jones. “Roy Hodgson came out prior to the Under-21 tournament and said he regarded me as a senior player. “I went on to play against Ireland and Brazil, so it wasn’t a waste of time going with the seniors. “Probably if I had been on the bench I could have seen where he (Pearce) was coming from but I got a lot of experience from those two games. “Don’t forget also I had just come back from a knee injury, for the second time, and I had to manage it in the right way, control it and make sure I wasn’t overusing it. “That’s why I am really disappointed in these comments.” After a dismal performance in Israel, when his side failed to win a game and were eliminated at the group stage, Pearce has now been replaced by Gareth Southgate. Already Southgate has adopted a more pragmatic view of his role as Under-21 coach, reinforcing Hodgson’s belief that the aim of every age group team is to provide players for the England national side. “People are entitled to their opinions and they can make comments,” said Jones. “I will just get on with my football and ignore it. “It hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for England though. Definitely not. It is an honour to represent your country at any level and I will continue to enjoy that experience when it happens.” It was an unwanted diversion on a trip back to his old school, which is presently providing lessons to some of the pupils from neighbouring Leyland St Mary’s Catholic Technology College, which was burnt down on the eve of the school year earlier this month. Jones was able to deliver free team strips and training equipment through the initiative, which began in 2011, and involves players from each Barclays Premier League club donating £25,000 per club to create a £500,000 fund. The money is used to provide for schools, clubs and youth organisations. In addition, Manchester United also donated a number of items, including signed shirts, to help raise much-needed funds for the school. “It is always nice to come back,” said Jones. “I have a lot of fond memories from here. “Football was always my number one thing. “I got scouted for Blackburn at the end of year six in primary school, so when I came here I was already at Blackburn and stayed there right through my high school. “I used to miss every Tuesday in year 10 and 11 to train with the players from other schools in Blackburn. “Thankfully it paid off – otherwise I would have got it in the neck from the teachers.” last_img read more