Hip Hop Can Make You Rich…

According to a Business Insider article “Dr. Dre Earned More In 2014 Than Any Entertainment Star On Record:”

[$620 million is] the amount the rapper-producer-entrepreneur earned before taxes in 2014, according to Forbes, which crowned Dr. Dre the “Hip-Hop Cash King.” His earnings represent the highest annual total for any entertainer ever evaluated by Forbes.

In fact, that figure is more than the combined earnings of everyone else on Forbes’ annual Hip-Hop Cash Kings list, which includes P Diddy and Jay Z, tied at the No. 2 spot ($60 million); Drake at No. 4 ($33 million); and DJ Khaled at No. 20 ($7 million).

Hip Hop rich

We are developing an educational startup that combines chess and computer programming. One of our upcoming projects is developing an open source social network based on friendica. This startup will be featured in the documentary addressing inequity called I Could Be…

We will also be addressing the fact that the standard research techniques of corporate America are cheating us of many great experiences. Malcolm Gladwell describes this as the “Kenna problem:”

If I ask you why you think what you think, can I trust your answer?

This process [standard market research] is fundamentally flawed. It is completely screwed. We totally overrate the significance of what we find out when we go through this kind of formal process and the consequence of that overreliance on this system is that we are cheating ourselves of all kinds of wonderful experiences that we would otherwise have [such as Kenna].

About 10 years ago, I developed a local entertainment television show called Live From VA that interviewed such guests as: Academy Award winner Mo’NiqueRussell Simmons & Rev RunKanye WestPharell Willams & Chad Hugo (the Neptunes), and Katt Williams. The underlying idea for the television show was to develop a tech company based on the strengths of African-Americans, for example music. Considering the recent $3 billion sale of Beats By Dr. Dre to Apple, maybe there is something to this basic philosophy.

Chad Hugo & Pharrell Williams Live From VA.

Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams doing a plug for Live From VA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtdSeiIgsTE

Continue reading


Want Your Children To Succeed?

Teach Them Chess & Computer Programming!

Magnus Carlsen and Bill Gates

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen playing second wealthiest person according to Forbes Microsoft Co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates.

According to studies:

  • Chess boosts brain power in kids.
  • Chess improves IQ.
  • Chess enhances arithmetical skills.
  • Chess hones verbal skills.
  • Chess sharpens critical thinking skills.
  • Chess boosts emotional intelligence and psycho-social skills.

Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, Will Smith, Bono, and Madonna were or are avid chess players. Tennis legend and six-time Grand Slam singles champion Boris Becker said:

“I used to prepare for my tennis matches by playing chess, and it would get my mind stimulated and focused before going on court. It was essentially a mental warm-up.”

And learning computer programming has never been more important. According to Douglas Rushkoff, author of Program or Be Programmed:

When human beings acquired language, we learned not just how to listen but how to speak. When we gained literacy, we learned not just how to read but how to write. And as we move into an increasingly digital reality, we must learn not just how to use programs but how to make them. In the emerging, highly programmed landscape ahead, you will either create the software or you will be the software. It’s really that simple: Program, or be programmed.

We are developing an educational startup that combines chess and computer programming. One of our upcoming projects is developing an open source social network based on friendica. This startup will be featured in the documentary addressing inequity called I Could Be…

Continue reading

Saru Jayaraman: Activist, Organizer, Professor

Saru Jayaraman

Saru Jayaraman

As part of our continuing “This Girl Is On Fire” campaign to close the achievement gap, we conducted an interview with Saru Jayaraman.

Saru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

beyond-kitchen-door600She was profiled in the New York Times “Public Lives” section in 2005, and was named one of Crain’s “40 Under 40” in 2008, 1010 WINS’s “Newsmaker of the Year,” one of CNN’s 10 Visonary Women in 2014, and one of New York Magazine’s “Influentials” of New York City. Saru co-edited The New Urban Immigrant Workforce, (ME Sharpe, 2005) and authored Behind the Kitchen Door.

Restaurant Opportunities Center

What inspired you to start the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC)?

I was asked by the union that was inside Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of the WOrld Trade Center. On 9/11/2001, 73 workers died in Windows on the World and 250 workers lost their jobs. I was asked by the union to start a relief center for the surviving workers and the families of the victims. I did, and we called it ROC. However, we were pretty quickly overwhelmed with cries for help from restaurant workers all over the city, and then all over the country. Twelve years later, we have 13,000 members in 32 cities nationwide, 100 employer members, and several thousand consumer members.
Continue reading

I Could Be… a documentary addressing inequity

I Could Be...

And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday.
~ Isaiah 58:10

Steve Denning’s Forbes article, “Roger Martin: How ‘The Talent’ Turned Into Vampires:”

How did America—a country dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal—become one of the most unequal countries on the planet? Why do the nation’s leaders now spend so much of their time feeding at the trough and getting ever more for themselves? Why has public-mindedness in our leaders given way in so many instances to limitless greed?

These questions are being raised, not in some anti-capitalist rag from the extreme Left, but in the staid pro-business pages of the Harvard Business Review, in a seminal article by Roger Martin, the former dean of the Rotman School of Business and the academic director of the Martin Prosperity Institute: “The Rise and (Likely) Fall of the Talent Economy.

One key factor, argues Martin, is a fundamental shift in nature of the economy. Fifty years ago, “72% of the top 50 U.S. companies by market capitalization still owed their positions to the control and exploitation of natural resources.” But in the latter part of the 20th century, a new kind of organization began to emerge: an organization that prospered not by natural resources but through “the control and exploitation of human talent.”

If we are not utilizing over 50% of the population to their full capacity then how can we expect to thrive and prosper nationally or globally?

  • There are currently only 15 women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies this is less than 4%.
  • Women make up only 3% of clout executives of media, telecom and e-companies.
  • Women hold 17% of the seats in the House of Representatives.
  • Only 34 women have ever served as governors compared to 2319 men.
  • In 2011, women comprised 18% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.
  • Source: http://www.missrepresentation.org/about-us/resources/miss-representation-sources/

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg writes:

Conditions for all will improve when there are more women in leadership roles giving strong and powerful voice to their needs and concerns.

David Tepper

David Tepper

Top hedge manager, David Tepper, earned $1,057,692 an HOUR in 2012 — that’s as much as the average American family makes in 21 years!

Over the last thirty years, the United States has been taken over by an amoral financial oligarchy, and the American dream of opportunity, education, and upward mobility is now largely confined to the top few percent of the population. ~ Predator Nation by Charles H. Ferguson

The economic disaster was driven, Ferguson writes, by a combination of “very low interest rates, pervasive dishonesty through the financial system, massive lending fraud, speculation, demand for high yield securities, and not insignificantly, a squeezed American consumer desperate to maintain living standards, and told by everyone – including George Bush and Alan Greenspan, the brokers and the banks, that home borrowing was the way to do it.”

Charles H. Ferguson won an Academy Award for his documentary Inside Job.

Continue reading

Berkeley Chess School Founder Elizabeth Shaughnessy

Elizabeth Shaughnessy at the 2008 Chess Olympiad

Elizabeth Shaughnessy at the 2008 Chess Olympiad in Dresden

As part of our continuing “This Girl Is On Fire” campaign to close the achievement gap, we conducted an interview with Berkeley Chess School founder Elizabeth Shaughnessy.

Elizabeth was born in Ireland and one of her early memories was watching her father play chess with a Lithuanian WWII refugee. Her family was sheltering his family. She learned chess as a child but it wasn’t until she attended University College in Dublin to study architecture that she began to seriously study the game when she joined the chess team there.

Irina Krush, Elizabeth Shaughnessy, and Hikaru Nakamura

Elizabeth with Grandmaster Irina Krush (highest ranked U.S. women, six-time U.S. Women Champion, and BCS Master Class Instructor Alum) and Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura (highest ranked US Chess Player, and 2 time US Chess Champion).

In 1969 she played in her first chess Olympiad in Lublin, Poland. In 1970 she became the Irish Women’s chess champion. After graduating, Elizabeth went to Yugoslavia to be part of the international team that built New Belgrade.

In addition to starting the Berkeley Chess School Elizabeth served on the Berkeley School Board beginning in 1986. She and the other school board members were able to dispense of the state bankruptcy overseer and get the books back in the black within one year.

In 2002, Elizabeth was elected to the board of CalChess, where she served as President from 2003–2005. She was also elected to serve on the board of the United States Chess Federation in 2004.

Berkeley Chess SchoolWhat inspired you to start the Berkeley Chess School?

In September 1981,The Principal at Oxford, my children’s (K – 3) elementary school in Berkeley, asked the parents to offer free classes after school. The only expertise I had for such a request was to teach them chess so that is what I offered.

I was at that time Irish Woman’s Champion.

The class started in January 1982. I brought 6 board and sets to the class. I had expected about 10 students and thought they would be all boys. To my amazement 72 children showed up and about a dozen parents! The make up of the children was another surprise to me. They were 50% girls and 50% African American. I survived that day – some parents had brought cookies and drinks – and offered the class on two, instead of one day. I quickly got more boards and sets and a demo board and taught 36 eager, smart students. It was very exciting.

Berkeley Chess School

Word quickly spread in Berkeley and in no time I had requests to teach chess in other Berkeley schools. I found myself teaching 5 days a week and there were still more requests, I decided to go to the Berkeley Chess Club and ask for volunteers to teach in the schools I couldn’t do. Nobody was willing to do that but several men said they would do it if they were paid. I then went to the district- wide PTA and requested funds to cover the cost of an instructor. The answer was no, but the parents made it clear that they wanted chess classes for their own children and were willing to pay for it. I decided that I could charge the parents who could pay enough to cover the chess instructor and those who could not afford to pay could attend for free. The Berkeley Schools were and are integrated and the students are bussed to their school so we are never dealing with a school where all the parents are in a similar wage bracket.

So, the Berkeley Chess School was born. I first called it Chess in the Schools but that name was subsequently used by another organization, based in New York, so I changed the name to Berkeley Chess School. It became a 501(c)3 in 1995.

Berkeley Chess School Continue reading

First Lady of Biodiesel Dr. Beth Renwick

Dr. Beth Renwick

Dr. Beth Renwick, CEO and majority owner of Midlands Biofuels: http://www.midlandsbiofuels.com/

As part of our continuing “This Girl Is On Fire” campaign, we conducted an interview with Emergency Room doctor and Midlands Biofuel CEO Dr. Beth Renwick.

Dr. Beth Renwick is majority owner of Midlands Biofuels. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and currently practices at Lexington Medical Center Emergency Room. In addition to being an ER doctor, Beth is the CEO at Midlands Biofuels and cracks the whip to keep all of the “Midlands Biofuelers” in line.  She handles the taxes, books, and strategic planning at the plant.

Biodiesel cycle

What is biodiesel and how much of it do you make?

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel produced from local waste vegetable oil that can be used to power any diesel engine without modifications. Benefits of biodiesel versus petroleum-based diesel are better efficiency, engine lubricity, and decreased emissions. It is also sustainable, nontoxic, nonflammable, and easy to use. Bio is ready to go and can be mixed in any concentration with petrol diesel right in your fuel tank.

Midlands Biofuels produces 25,000 gallons of biodiesel per month, and we sell it in blends of B5, B40, and B100 (B5 = 5% bio and 95% petro diesel, B40 = 40% bio and 60% petro, etc). That 25,000 can be spread out over a large volume of fuel, depending which blend the customer prefers.

Continue reading