New Lantern

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Welcome to the New Lantern blog. Our goal is to shine light on leading innovators and creative artists, and how your business can learn and profit from them. Companies large, medium, and small can benefit from employees who think more creatively. New Lantern may be just the source of inspiration your company needs to spark more innovative products, services, and processes.

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Monthly Archive for August, 2011

Here’s Looking at You, Kid

Posted by on August 29, 2011 at 7:43 pm

On this day, Swedish film star Ingrid Bergman was born in 1915; and it was on this same day she died in 1982 from breast cancer on her 67th birthday.

Bergman was one of the most accomplished and recognizable actors of the 20th century. Winner of three Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Emmys, and a Tony Award, Bergman is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute.

She is best known for her role as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942), in which she starred alongside Humphrey Bogart. It was in that iconic movie that Bogart uttered one of the most famous lines in cinema to Bergman, “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

Bergman’s movie career spanned six decades from 1939 to 1982. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Gaslight in 1945, Anastasia in 1957, and A Woman Called Golda in 1982. She was nominated for an Academy Award in For Whom the Bell Tolls in 1944, The Bells of St. Mary’s in 1946, Joan of Arc in 1949, and Autumn Sonata in 1979. She won the Best Supporting Actress Award in 1975 for Murder on the Orient Express.

Ingrid Bergman was born in Stockholm in 1915 to her Swedish father, Justus Berman, and to her German mother, Friedel Berman. Her mother died when Ingrid was three. Her father, who was an artist and photographer, died when she was 13. She went on to live with two different aunts, and later studied at Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theatre School, where actress Greta Garbo had studied years before.

During the 1930s, Bergman starred in more than a dozen films in Sweden and one in Germany. Unable to speak English, she was brought to Los Angeles by Hollywood producer David Selznick in May 1939 to appear in Intermezzo: A Love Story. She fully expected to return to Sweden after the film, but the American public quickly accepted her as one of its most promising stars.

Biographer Donald Spoto described Bergman as “arguably the most international star in the history of entertainment.” She successfully acted in five languages and won top awards for her work on stage, screen, and television. Director George Cukor once said to Bergman, “The camera loves your beauty, your acting, and your individuality. A star must have individuality. It makes you a great star.”

Today, global appeal and individuality also are key to success in business. Identify what makes your product or service unique, and talk about it in a language that a customer can understand.

Like it did for Bergman, it will likely make your company a great star.

Gone Fishin’

Posted by on August 19, 2011 at 10:13 pm

August traditionally is vacation month for many parts of the world. In countries such as France, employees take off the entire month of August. Don’t bother trying to make reservations at a nice restaurant in Paris during August. Chances are it will likely be closed.

Americans are known for their lack of vacation compared to their foreign counterparts. Most American employees get only two weeks of paid vacation. Some take days here and there throughout the year, while others take the full two weeks at one time — many times taking advantage of Federal holidays such as the Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.

Every employer should treat an employee’s vacation time as sacred and fully appreciate its value. Employees need to know that their hard work 50 weeks out of the year entitles them to two weeks of true vacation time, i.e., offline, unplugged, and totally disengaged from work. Healthy time away from the office can contribute to greater productivity while in the office.

In fact, where employers are able to provide additional vacation time and/or so-called “flex time,” these small accommodations can in fact lead to even greater productivity. For example, providing Friday afternoons off once a month or during the summer months, allowing for four 10-hour days of work a week, or providing employees with the opportunity to work from home can all contribute to a healthier and more productive workplace.

Coupled with this flexibility is the need for an employer to establish clear expectations for work product and quality. Employees should know that the price for greater flexibility is meaningful work. If work product suffers as a result of a more flexible work schedule, then the flexibility should go away.

In short, employees should make sure they are taking full advantage of their vacation time and any flex time that is available. Meanwhile, employers should make sure they are providing ample vacation time and flexibility for their employees.

The results will be simple: happier and more productive employees, which will make for happier employers and shareholders.

Enjoy the month of August. Unplug if you can and fire up that “out of office” automatic reply on your email program. And, re-introduce yourself to your favorite pastime. I think I might go fishin’.

A New Copper Lantern

Posted by on August 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm

On a small street in the French Quarter of New Orleans sits a non-descript store front, which is home to one of finest copper lantern makers on the globe, Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights.

Andrew Bevolo, Sr. opened his light company in the French Quarter in 1945 based on the skills he had learned working at several leading manufacturers of the day, including Ford, Sikorsky, and Higgins. Bevolo took this knowledge and revolutionized the gas lantern industry with a hand riveting technique. Up until that time, gas lamps were made with brittle soldered joints, which greatly reduced the longevity of the lanterns.

A few years later, renowned architect A. Hays Town found his way to Bevolo’s workshop, and the two formed a partnership and the iconic French Quarter copper lantern was born.

Sixty-six years later, the company is now run by Drew Bevolo, grandson to the founder. Today the company has 40 employees and its famed hand-made copper lanterns can be found on some of the most discriminating homes and commercial buildings in all 50 states and in 28 countries.

Bevolo now boasts scores of different lantern designs, and can also custom design a lamp on request, working with its own designers or a project’s architect. Each lantern is still made by hand and in Louisiana.

Craftsmanship and artistry are words that have increasingly become lost in today’s flat world, where instant gratification and demands for the lowest price now rule the day. But too much focus on low price can come at a price. It penalizes creativity, it trivializes design, and it rewards mediocrity.

Applaud and shine light on the artists and creators, and those among us who continue to honor the old way of doing things – when the old way is better.

In fact, I have a nice, new copper lantern that can provide just the right light source.