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04 May 2017 
The idea of the "utopian" community has a long, storied history (and a largely unsuccessful one at that), from the fictional island dreamed up by Sir Thomas More to present-day attempts to build the perfect urban ecosystem. And even though the perfect society has eluded us, that hasn't stopped people from trying. Seekers attempting to leave behind the conventions and restrictions of traditional society have created self-sustaining communities ranging from groups of tofu-making hippies in rural Virginia to expatriates living in treehouses in the Costa Rican rainforest (and yes, there is a community called Yogaville).

"The criticism of utopia is that it's impossible to achieve perfection, so why try?" J.C. Hallman, author of "In Utopia," told Salon in 2010. "But the impossibility of perfection does not absolve us from the path of pursuing a more perfect union."

Is it just cities people are trying to escape? Fed up with society as it is? Check out these nine fascinating case studies in alternative modes of living, spanning from the Arizona Desert to the Korean coast.

The Farm, Lewis County, Tennessee

the farm

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In 1971, a group of 300 flower children and free-thinkers left San Francisco to blaze a trail out east, settling in rural Tennessee to become the founders of what is now America's oldest hippie commune.

The Farm, located just outside Summertown, Tennessee, is still around to this day, and was the subject of the 2012 documentary "American Commune." Now composed of roughly 200 members, the vegetarian intentional community was founded on -- and still lives by -- their core values of nonviolence and respect for the environment.

Green Bank, West Virginia

green bank

Green Bank, West Virginia is a safe haven away from the reach of technology where the "electrosensitive" can come to escape the digital Best Insulated Water Bottles world. The small town is located in a U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000-square-mile area where electromagnetic radiation (yes, that includes WiFi and Best Insulated Water Bottles cell phone signals) is banned so as not to disturb the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. About 150 people have moved to Green Bank and created a community for the precise purpose of escaping radiation, which they believe is harmful to their health.

"Life isn't perfect here. There's no grocery store, no restaurants, no hospital nearby," a resident of the town recently told Slate. "But here, at least, I'm healthy. I can do things. I'm not in bed with a headache all the time."

Arcosanti, Arizona

arcosanti

The "urban laboratory" that is Arcosanti was first created in the 1970s in the Arizona desert 70 miles north of Phoenix as a social experiment of sorts, and it's still standing to this day. Citizens of Arcosanti collaborate in creating and selling their signature product, ceramic and bronze wind bells, according to The New York Times.

The roughly 50 inhabitants of the community ("arconauts") continue living out founder Paolo Soleri's idea of "arcology" -- architecture fused with ecology.

Finca Bellavista Sustainable Treehouse Community, Costa Rica

finca bellavista

Finca Bellavista is probably the closest that real life can get to Swiss Family Robinson. The sustainable treehouse community is comprised of more than 25 elevated structures, as well as a base camp community center, located deep in the Costa Rica rainforest more than a mile and a half from the nearest town. Its typical resident is a laid-back, environmentally conscious American expatriate, according to founders Erica and Matt Hogan, who started building Finca in 2006.

"In general, people [who live here] want a simpler lifestyle," Hogan told Business Insider. "They want a life less ordinary. They're usually very green, environmentally-conscious and want to live off the grid."

Twin Oaks, Virginia

twin oaks

Founded in 1967, the intentional community of Twin Oaks is one of the most successful of that era. The small commune is situated on 450 acres of land in Louisa, Virginia and is famous for its tofu. Approximately 100 residents live in the community now, which consists of seven group houses along with a gathering area, swimming hole, graveyard, soy production facility, several greenhouses, and more.

"Of the thousands of similar communal experiments forged throughout the '60s and '70s, Twin Oaks is one of only a handful to have survived," Cluster Magazine wrote in a recent profile, "as other utopian experiments collapsed under the pressure of self-sustainability and interpersonal drama."

New Songdo City, Korea

songdo

Whereas most of these communities are a throwback to a simpler time, New Songdo City on the South Korean coast is an ambitious new community project that couldn't be more futuristic-looking. Scheduled for completion in 2015, New Songdon will be located on Incheon Bay, and will include city-wide WiFi integration and will be highly environmentally friendly. The city will be built from scratch, like Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

"They're promising full technological integration," Hallman told Salon. "Lamps and tables and cars and everything will be computerized and Best Insulated Water Bottles on a network. You won't even need a BlackBerry or a laptop."

Yogaville, Buckingham, Virginia

yogaville

Virginia's Satchidananda Ashram and the surrounding community is known as Yogaville, a space where people of diverse backgrounds have come together to live the yogic lifestyle. The holistic community was founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda, a spiritual leader who aspired to share his message of peace with like-minded others.

As the community's website describes itself, "We came from various places. We have various tastes, various temperaments, various faces, various beliefs, but we are living here as one family, helping each other."

The Ecovillage at Ithaca, New York

ecovillage

Created in 1996, Ithaca's Ecovillage is a sustainable intentional community and education center which describes itself as an "alternative model for suburban living which provides a satisfying, healthy, socially rich lifestyle, while minimizing ecological impact." It currently has two 30-home co-housing neighborhoods, named "Frog" and "Song," with plans to build a third (the forthcoming "Tree"), as well as community gardens and organic farms.

Polestar Yoga Community, Big Island, Hawaii

polestar

A cooperative yoga and meditation community located on Hawaii's Big Island around 30 miles south of the city of Hilo, Polestar was founded on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda, author of the best-selling 1946 spiritual manifesto "Autobiography of a Yogi." The community lives by its core value of karma yoga (selfless service) and essential purpose of "deepening the spirit."

Polestar consists of a small core community of permanent residents, but also welcomes guests to visit and stay on its 20 beautiful acres, enjoying the yoga temple, spiritual library, orchards and organic gardens. One guest described it as "a strong environment for spiritual transformation."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/21/utopias_n_3768023.html
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04 May 2017 
Do you gamble with your marketing dollar? Do you invest it wisely and expect a return?

These simple questions still throw people off and many feel the need to justify and explain why they can't. The usual excuses are "you don't understand what we do," "it can't be measured," it's all about long-term branding," etc., such answer could easily constitute a book of excuses in itself.

The situation is simple, you must expect positive returns from your marketing, it's not a gamble. Hope has nothing to do with it.

Marketing is a risk


The evolution of marketing

Marketing is a fairly old (but not often respectable) discipline having evolved through many stages from the mum-&-pop shops of old to the gigantic marketing budget many FMCG companies exhibit today. And in no time in its history as it been more important to define its true value than today. It's interesting that in the days of risk analysis, marketing has largely remained unscathed, untouched. The past few years have seen a revival of Marketing ROI but not an advent, as it existed before. Measuring marketing risk however is fairly new and is still evolving as a discipline.

There are many ways to calculate risk and the formulas are often as complex as the person behind them wants them to be. For the purpose of tightening marketing, we can look at three basic economic principles to ensure that our investment in marketing is near risk-free as we possibly can. These elements are people, time and money.

People

What could you do without people? Where could you go?

The problem today is extremely acute: We can find good marcom people but not business-focused, true marketers.

In the past ten years, the quality of marketing people has increased tremendously and it is now fairly easy to find good public relations managers, direct marketers, event managers and even strategists. It is however difficult to find people with enough business acumen to turn their skills into true business weapons for your arsenal. There are two missing elements to this equation:

- Few of them have ever sold anything directly

- Most of them have never run a business

The good news if you are a marketer is that both skills are easier to get than ever before. It is now easy to set-up a small business and if you are early in your career, you should consider it, it will make you a better, more rounded business person and your contribution to any future business will increase proportionally. As for selling, it would be useful for all marketers to either start in sales or do a few years stint there before moving to marketing. Once you understand the hunger and fear that comes with missing your quarter, as well as the elation when you meet it, the better you'll be at setting-up strategies and tactics that matters to the business, not to the award committees.

On that note, if you are looking for marketing people today, add these two points to your recruitment list, it will increase your chances to succeed.

Time

If there is one element that we're all in short supply of, it's time. The funny thing is that we are also all given the same amount every day.

Time squandered will never come back, we don't have the time to do it right but always find the time to do it again, etc., etc. Time is both infinite and in short-supply and in the heat of action moves at the speed of light but when business Best Insulated Water Bottles is not coming in, it moves at the speed of a snail. We could go on. You understand the metaphors.

Time is your second big risk Best Insulated Water Bottles factor. You need to use it in the best you can as it moves without fail towards a result (one that you might not even like.) Don't get me wrong, it's not about controlling time, it's about controlling your use of it.

There are mainly two ways to control it better: reach and frequency (one just doesn't go without the other.)

Reach is simple, do you have access to the people that matter in your sales cycle?

If the answer is no, then you need to redesign your database strategy as 'no great database, no great business'. It is the life blood of your marketing operations and now includes analytics where you develop more and more relevant segments based on statistical behaviour. This level of segmentation allows you to develop the right campaigns which, coupled with sending them at the right time, can turn your marketing into a powerful business force.

So implementing a campaign at the right time is the first aspect of leveraging time to the fullest. The second is sending it frequently enough so that each campaign has an impact (but not too often so that it doesn't become a nuisance.) That balance is crucial in an opt-in world where customers have more opportunities to complain, or walk-away, than ever before.

Money

Where would business without money?

It's best not to answer that question, the rhetoric would take too long.

If you are like most businesses your marketing budget (and others) will be finite. So what can you do to maximize (or optimise) it? Answer: Treat your budget just like any other financial investment and conduct a risk analysis.

A typical risk analysis will comprise both a qualitative and quantitative aspect forcing you to look at each element and ask what would happened if we didn't invest it? What are the internal and external factors influencing this investment? What are the threats? Etc. One of the most important question is what would happen if we invested this amount in another project?

The last question is crucial as we all take for granted that investing in marketing is necessary. It's not. If you do it badly, you're better-off investing that money into a more secure project where the returns outweigh the costs. This is a crucial issue and no marketer should expect to have his or her budget simply because the department exist.

Fundamentally, marketing is a necessity in today's environment but not matter how big the investment is, it should be subject to scrutiny just like any other business investment. The funny thing is, it is not and often marketers expect their budget to grow from year to year without really questioning its relationship to other parts of the business.

There you have it. Marketing is a risk and you can't go on happily thinking that whatever you're doing is working for the best of the organisation. By the time you do so, the market will have shifted from under your feet.

One last point, when doing a risk analysis remember that marketing is often an opinion. An opinion tainted by the marketer's worldview, or his boss's, an opinion based on campaigns that worked and are expected to work again. Let's face it, marketing evolves even though some of its fundamental precepts are eternal. So the risk here is not just people, time and money, but to be closed minded, not be open to testing, not trying new things, that is the biggest risk of all.

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/marketing/article_3478.shtml
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