Tuesday, January 31, 2012

College Sorority 101

Atlanta Panhellenic has announced its annual College Sorority 101 informational event for high school girls and their families. Click the image above to download your own flyer.

No doubt if you are headed to college you've heard about sorority life - either from friends or relatives, or from TV and movies.

This is your chance to meet sorority women in person, including collegians, alumnae and some national leaders of NPC sororities and ask any question you have about recruitment, requirements and what to expect from sorority life in the 21st century.  And I do mean any questions.

This informational is important for anyone considering formal recruitment for sorority membership.  If you are not familiar with sororities in real life, you will learn first-hand what you can expect.  If your mom or aunt or other older relative were in a sorority, AAPA would love to see all of you because a lot has changed since their college days.

Please RSVP online at www.atlantapanhellenic.org.
Your information will not be shared; it is only to plan for the number of guests and to contact you in case of any changes.

Monday, January 30, 2012

MS Office Live free business websites is going off into the sunset

If you have been using Microsoft Office Live Small Business and their "free" small business DIY website service, get ready for a change.

Office Live is morphing into Office 365.  The key difference for you is that now it costs money to host your site with Microsoft.  The FAQ section at the site above quotes $15 per month with a free trial period.  You have until April 30, 2012 to decide what to do with your website.

If you stick with MS, you still have to manually move all of your text and images and whatever else you have on your Office Live website onto the new one with Office 365.

Before you decide make sure to read up on all of the features that are going to be available and take some time to determine if they are going to meet your needs.

If MS Office 365 has the interactive features that you need, then all you have to do is recreate your website.

Is the new offering is too much tool (or the wrong tools) for too much money?  You have other low-cost options.    Some small businesses can get away with using WordPress or even Google's Blogger to create their sites.  Or you may need a custom hosted solution.  Either way, don't forget a custom design to broadcast your brand.

Drop me a line if you need to review your options for your MS Office business site.  I can create a theme for your solution that looks just like or better than what you created in Microsoft.  While we're at it, let's make sure that all of your business communication needs are met in the transfer process.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dunwoody Rezoning: T minus 7 hours and counting

It's finally here, the beginning of the zoning rewrite.  A standing group meeting on a large project has monopolized  my Tuesday nights so I doubt I'll be one of the throng at Dunwoody Baptist Church tonight.

Here's the news announcement from Patch:

Here's Duncan|Associates that Dunwoody City Hall hired for the project.  (No relation)

Here's the guy heading up the project in Dunwoody.  You'll probably see him around tonight

Here's his email address:  kirk@duncanassociates.com

The descriptions of the company's past projects aren't specific as to how they rewrote codes, only that they did to make them more internally consistent, streamlined, etc.  This is a good thing.  But there's no clue as to how they're going to implement that here.  As I type this there are closed door meetings happening with the usual groups, which will probably be speaking again at the public meeting tonight.

I've already posted what type of approach to zoning will benefit the most residents in the long term.

Specifically, a solid zoning code has to have a clear, practical definition of "nuisance".  Find a way to make that word an objective, measurable benchmark by which all activities and complaints are measured.  As long as "nuisance" is subjective, any ordinance built on it is a house of cards waiting to fall.

Every resident in Dunwoody wants their neighborhood to be an enjoyable one where it is peaceful to live.  The problem comes from the fact that there is no unified agreement as to what that entails.  There has always been a spectrum of opinions on what constitutes "residential" and that spectrum became clearer after incorporation.  My personal thing about home businesses is only one of the questions being raised.  Don't forget the "urban farmers", the "backyard chickens", the "alternate transportation" and other causes that are questioning the definition of a "residential" activity.  Those questions are not going away.  Fighting at City Hall every single time a new idea comes into fashion is a waste of the city's time and money and residents' energy.

There is one thing that will decimate a community's quality of life more than home businesses, more than backyard chickens, and more than any other "new" activity to be dreamed up.  That one thing is a reputation as "The City Of 'NO' ".  When the entire life of a city is defined by one group within it, and anyone deviating from it is considered an "auslander" to be avoided or suppressed you're going to end up attracting fewer and fewer people to be a part of the city.  The result is, the quality of life that is supposed to be preserved becones "groupthink" and crosses over into stagnation.  What some will find ironic is to preserve a certain lifestyle, it's necessary to find common ground and coexistence within that spectrum of thought.

Not every lifestyle or activity is going to be workable within the city.  I would like to see the starting point of the discussion be an attempt at coexistence, rather than immediate barriers to growth and differentiation.

For tonight, I hope those attending avoid three "H"s:

Let's see if we can get through the night without overreacting to different opinions, dire warnings about "slippery slopes" or just making up a bunch of nonsense because someone doesn't like another idea.

Hell, if this ordinance code ends up getting written well enough, you might even convince me that chickens aren't so bad!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Fine Print

Whenever John or the City posts documents, take some time to check them out.  I know a lot of this is dry analytical stuff but it's worth it to read over because it gives interesting insights into City Hall's perspective.

This caught my eye:  General Fund Resources & Uses Forecast

It starts out as an overview of economic conditions facing Dunwoody and a perspective on approaches to keeping the city financially solvent consistently as the economy fluctuates.

This quote from page 6 is worth pondering:

We benefit from a more educated work force.  The unemployment rate for those without post-secondary degrees is more than double those with post-secondary degrees.  Without doubt, it is my opinion our strongest weapon for fiscal resiliency is ensuring our labor market is trained and ready for growth while attracting those businesses that will hire our labor.  

No one will argue against the benefit of having large companies relocate to Dunwoody.  Large corporations provide a lot of jobs and a lot of benefits.  But a large portion of the city's business community is in small businesses and entrepreneurs - the things that create large businesses.  If our citizens are smart enough to be hired, are they not smart enough to create jobs as well?  If we are smart enough to attract corporations, are we not smart enough to create home-grown corporations  inside our borders?  There is no mention of the impact of the small business community in Dunwoody in this report, and nothing about intentions to create businesses at home, rather than just attract them from outside.

The economic growth we saw in the 2000s came from small businesses, not large corporations.  After an economic decline, like our recent recession, the small businesses were the first to recover.  Small businesses are a key indicator in economic recovery after a decline.

Does City Hall recognize this?  If so, where is that incorporated into the financial recommendations?  If not - why?


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How SOPA Can Affect Your Business and You (Yes, YOU!)

I'm not going to get into the flashy symbolic graphics or page-blocking JavaScript, or wax sadly poetic about the evil pall of censorship.

We're just going to keep this really simple for the small business owner who uses the Internet.

Start by reviewing this article from Mashable, with links to the full text of the bills and direct references in the analysis.

Another discussion in simpler terms and spelled out in the form of a hypothetical situation is available at the blog of Splendid Communications, a marketing firm catering to the wedding industry.

If you want it even simpler than that, here is an infographic.  (Be patient.  It's big.)

While much of the media focused on blocking foreign websites with bootlegged material or other malware (what I affectionately call "Chinese Takeout" due to the frequency of spam from that region) there are severe penalties for owners of US websites that are reported as "infringing".

Most people know next to nothing about copyright law.  The public has become so used to seeing frequent images that they ASSume they are public domain.  Very little is public domain.  So if you even unknowingly have information on your website that crosses a copyright line, however obscure, however subjective, a complaint will cut your bottom line off at the knees.  Online transactions and advertising can be blocked and you're relegated to the stone age.  That's just inadvertent infringement.  I'm not going to bother with deliberate theft that is passed on to an unknowing flunkie.  It's covered in the Splendid Communications article.

A precaution I always take as a web designer is a boilerplate statement in all of my contracts that once the site goes live and ownership of the completed code is turned over to the customer, that the customer is legally liable for all of the content on the site.  There are going to be webmasters thrown under the bus with a law like this:  "Hey, it's not my fault.  My web guy put it up.  Prosecute them!"  Not on my watch.

We're not just talking about commerce websites either, gang.  All of you blog owners out there:  John, Bob, Kerry, Rick, TOD, Paula, Cerebration, the other Bob, Donna, Lindsay, anybody else I missed - I know you're all reading this! - think about your comments section.  (Except for TOD who doesn't allow comments.)  You know how the spammers will sneak in their links by registering a Google ID, then posting some bland generic stuff on an old post and then a link to whatever it is they're hawking?  And it takes you a while to find it and delete it?  Under this bill, you're liable for that content.  If no one notices, you get lucky, you delete the comment and go on your way.  But if you miss it and someone complains, you're toast.  I don't know about you but I never feel that lucky.

It's a couple of bad bills that need to go back into committee.

BTW - to get around the Wikipedia blackout:  search your content and hover over the "stop" button on your browser.  The nanosecond the content loads, hit the stop button.  Read away.  The graphics and presentation of Wikipedia's point were good but the JS implementation was amateur-hour.

Taste of Dunwoody 2012 is SOLD OUT

Let the scalping ticket brokering begin....

Back again for the 9th year in a row is Taste of Dunwoody to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  Once again, SDOC is sponsoring the event and my husband and I can't wait for February 3!

Get tickets now.  No really, drop what you're doing, get your wallet, go here, and get tickets.  Back in early December, the event was 25% sold.  It has got to be more than that now.  Last year people thought they could buy tickets the day of or at the door and were shut out.  There were networks of people springing up looking to buy or sell.  Avoid the rush.

Taste of Dunwoody is produced by Dunwoody Friends of CHOA.  All Dunwoody moms and dads, organizing fundraising for all of the funding gaps every pediatric hospital faces.  Check them out on Facebook.  (And if any of the admins from this page are reading - update your info slide, it's about a year out of date.  8^P )  Share the TOD.  Share the FB event info too.

Last year I posted why CHOA fundraisers and support events are so near and dear to us.  Can't think of anything that has changed since then.  Some of you didn't believe my comment about working at the cancer kids' summer camp.  So I dug around and pulled out the camp group picture:

The counselors in their rugby shirts are around the edges and our patients with their siblings are in the middle.  That's one of the official group shots of Camp AOK ("Anderson's Older Kids") around 1995-ish.  It was 103 degrees in the shade and we all had sweat in places we don't discuss in polite company.  The photo was taken the first night of camp after the campers arrived and got settled.  I was the co-counselor of "Cool Chicks Only" cabin.

This summer camp was exactly like any other.  Except the camp nurse was a certified nurse practitioner with an oncology specialty and had to organize maintenance chemotherapy regiments for half of the campers.  Usually that just meant medication in pill form.  A pediatric oncologist was on site at all times.  The guys in the clinic fought over who got up to camp for the week.  The child life specialists (psychology team) sat with the counselors before arrival to discuss each of the campers - who was back this year, who was new, who would never be back again.  These teens saw life and death first hand more than many people do.  Child Life  was always on hand to allow them to talk out their feelings and cope with their own well-founded fears of their own mortality.  That was also the reason for "summer prom":  some of these kids did not live to see their high school senior prom.  But most of the teens in this picture are healthy adults today.

The support programs provided by CHOA through private donations and sponsors are similar to what I have worked with in the past.  Medical care is only the beginning.  For children with serious health issues and their families there's a lot of work involved in finding a new "normal life".  This is what Taste of Dunwoody and other Friends' events are paying for.  Taste of Dunwoody is a lot more than just a party!

Psst - tickets.  Go get 'em.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Dunwoody City Council Meeting January 9.

The short version:  paranoia and hate mail campaigns win the day.  Home based business owners can not expect any rights from this Council.  Except for the right to pay taxes to the city.

The long version:

The first read of the home occupation amendment was converted to a "discussion" per Heneghan.  He insisted that the council "slow down" on its recommendations regarding home business owner rights.  I guess 10 months of discussion is moving too fast for him.

The neighborhood nazis have the ears of the council. Bonser related an anecdote about an "illegal" business causing traffic problems.  She did not say if the people involved in the "illegal" operation were penalized in some way.  Heneghan claimed that the sign ordinance in combination with this new ordinance will allow homes to have commercial signage.  What the sign ordinance has to do with occasional customer contact was never made clear.  Home based operations are not permitted to have signage, period.  Shortal also shot down any expansion of home business owner rights.  He also was skeptical of having a page of links to community organizations on the Dunwoody city government page.  Deutsch explained that the Community Council wanted to streamline the process for home business SLUP applications.  Nall asked questions that pointed out difficulties in the practical application of parts of the amendment.  Thompson and Davis were silent.

There are some glaring contradictions in the "discussion".

Heneghan and Bonser are concerned with "unintended consequences" of allowing home businesses to visit with customers at home.  They were not concerned, however, with the unintended consequences of allowing the same homeowners to raise farm animals in their backyards.  The "needs" of a half dozen families indulging a hobby carry more weight than 500 families making a living.  Hmmmmmm..............

Concerns were expressed regarding "deliveries" at odd hours of the night that would disturb neighbors.  Concerns were not expressed about DeKalb Sanitation or the USPS making rounds as late as 9 PM the past few weeks.  Double hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmms.............

The council expresses concerns about potential parking issues due to home based customer contact.  The same council is not concerned about the inconvenience of street parking for any other reason.   Especially when it is provided by the city as Joe Hirsch pointed out in his public comment. Triple hmmmmmmmmmmmms...........

The council is concerned for neighbors who may be "annoyed" by a home based business.  The council is not concerned about home business owners being harassed by council members' friends in HOAs.  Home business owners have no protection from accusations of "nuisance" that stem from a personality conflict or other frivolous source.  If there is a conflict, the blame will always be placed on the business owner.  I'm running out of hmmmmmmmmmms.

I have no hope that the "discussion" of this ordinance amendment is going to get anywhere.  The general assumption is that all home business owners are careless, evil, and the perpetrators of all things uncomfortable.  Any opinion defending a home business owner that did respect their neighbors was dismissed as an aberration.  Several hundred business owners smeared with a handful of anecdotes with no supporting evidence and no chance for appeal.  This is what Dunwoody calls "transparency in government."  I give up.

I do not and will not advocate violating the law. However tonight's discussion made it clear that homeowners who work from home will not have any rights or protections afforded them.   You can still apply for your SLUP if you insist, but you are subject to wholesale smear campaigns and whatever other tricks City Hall demands.  I predict that most home business owners will default back to "don't ask, don't tell".  The standard, per Bonser, is set by the scofflaws who do not bother to get licensed or pay their taxes.  All others are judged by that lowest denominator.

Is it worth it for a home based business to obey the licensing laws?

I believe not.  There are great expenses in time and effort with no support or positive acknowledgement from the city, and unchecked harassment from community activists.

Should every home based business obey the law anyway?

That's up to you.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

To Link or Not to Link - and When

Everyone wants links to their website.  You get more people happening upon your site, and you get better SERPs (search engine results placement).  More links means more eyeballs.  But there is a time when links are more trouble than they're worth.

Back in the day, everybody just linked to each other.  Remember "web rings" and link pages?  That was the beginning of SEO.  But like the rest of the Internet the perception of who links to whom has evolved.

Links to other websites have been used since 1995 to reference related content.  It made it easier for webmasters to connect content without having to duplicate it and take up space on their own server, or to reference copyrighted content that could not be legally duplicated.

When you put a link on your website to another website, you are implying an endorsement.  It's a big sign post that says, "Hey, look at this!  It's good stuff!"  If it wasn't related to your content, or beneficial to your site, you wouldn't bother.

Linking to other sites can have a downside.  It can take attention away from what you're promoting or selling.  If the linked site changes its content, it can reflect negatively on your presentation.

What if there is a conflict between the sites' purposes, regardless of the content?  For example, if the Playboy Foundation wanted to link to Dunwoody Baptist Church, would DBC benefit?  I doubt they would think so because the organizations' philosophies are so different.  Or what if a local city government wanted to link to one of their houses of worship - but only one, out of many in town.  You just ran head-first into the First Amendment, prohibiting the establishment of religion.

Dunwoody City Council is discussing adding links to community groups on its website.  (First agenda item for Monday's meeting.)  Having worked with government entities and organizations with government connections, I am very familiar with this type of situation.

The Background:  The DHA approached City Hall and requested that a link to the DHA be placed on the main page at dunwoodyga.gov, alongside the Chamber of Commerce and CVB.

Problem:  the entire reason for the links to the Chamber and CVB was because of an agreement between those two organizations and city government to create a "unified branding" to reinforce each other.  The DHA was not involved in this agreement.

If the City added a link to the DHA (and ONLY the DHA) in addition to the Chamber and CVB, everyone is between a rock and a hard place.  The Chamber and CVB are bound to a strict style guide in their marketing because of the branding agreement.  There are all kinds of restrictions on how they may or may not use images, logos, colors, etc in all of their materials, including the websites.  It can be a real hassle for each group to distinguish itself from City Hall.  (Ask me how I know....)

So on one side, if the DHA were to be displayed as the Chamber and CVB, they would have to be bound by the same marketing restrictions.  Since becoming more familiar with the DHA, I don't see that happening in this time-space continuum.

On the other side, if the DHA didn't have to follow the same branding style restrictions, the CVB and the Chamber would be on the phone screaming bloody murder at City Hall 2 minutes after the link appeared.

Beyond the implications of the branding project, you have the implied endorsement.  A prominent link by the City to the DHA alone implies endorsement of that organization, to the exclusion of all others.  Every other HOA in town would bristle.  How is it fair for a city government to endorse one HOA but not others?  The arguments over that scenario would make the Chicken Debacle look like a toddlers' playdate at Brook Run.

Hutmacher, in his memo associated with the recommendations (linked above) takes the right approach for any organization faced with the question of building links.  It's a good rule of thumb for any business looking to reference or endorse information outside their own website:

1)  If your business or organization is part of a larger national or international group, consult their guidelines first before adding any more that may conflict.  The memo points out that ".gov" domains have inflexible regulations on advertising private entities.  I learned about that working on websites for both M. D. Anderson (a state-funded hospital) and the DAR (a private organization that was incorporated by an Act of Congress which brings with it responsibilities for their content and the potential for intervention by the Feds.)

2)  Decide what information or content would enhance your site without competing with it. Think about what would make good reference material, or what would make your business or organization appear to be an authority on your subject.

3)  Use a legal disclaimer.  Disclaimers are the final protection between your intentions on your website and a court of law.  But it won't change the visitor's impression:  that your site is endorsing another.  Hutmacher's memo indicates a disclaimer that would absolve the City of any legal ramifications of a link to other content.  In addition, the memo outlines classes of content to be added as community organizations as a whole.  If a single link to a single HOA were added to the exclusion of all others, that would be an endorsement no matter what kind of disclaimer was posted.  But when you add all HOA's, plus houses of worship, and schools etc for good measure, that perceived endorsement is diluted.  The proposed content becomes an authoritative reference on Dunwoody life.

4)  Create a clear website policy going forward regarding the evaluation of links to outside content.  It will make your life much easier when this question comes again.  There will always be something new on the Internet (social media, anyone?) that may or may not be worth referencing.  With a clear focus on your site's goals, you can make decisions about outside links that will strengthen and reinforce your company's web presence equally and fairly even as the Internet evolves.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Business-Related Agenda Items at City Hall on Monday

Attention business owners in Dunwoody:  pay attention to the City Council agenda on January 9.  There's lots of crunchy issues that will affect many in our business community.

FIRST READ: Amendments to the Text of Chapter 27, Sections 27-183, 27-185, and 27-1321Regarding Home Occupations in the R-100 (Single-Family Residential) District and“Supplemental Regulations.” 
To review, there are several hundred home-based businesses operating inside of Dunwoody - about 20% of the licensed institutions, according to some estimates.  As of now, unless a proprietor is willing to put themselves through a merciless gauntlet of sequential meetings, city hall missteps, and occasional hysteria, a single customer may not enter a home to do business.  Enforcement is difficult as most of these companies will adopt a "don't ask, don't tell" policy of occasional customer contact and there is a double standard regarding traffic and parking between strictly "traditional" residential use and work-at-home use.

This amendment will allow customer contact by right in R-100 residential districts under conditions that will prevent business traffic (vehicle, human, etc) from exceeding that expected in an active residential community.

Given that a comprehensive zoning rewrite is on the horizon and re-evaluating zoning is always a hazard, I believe that these amendments are very fair both to non-working residential homeowners, and entrepreneurs or business owners who need to use their home for work.

Now with that said...  there is room for improvements.

For example - no one has adequately answered the question, "Why just R-100?  Why not R-75, R-50, etc?"  The city memo points out this discrepancy.  The test case that these amendments were inspired by is zoned R-50, which makes the restriction even more ironic.

Then there is this section:
(11) Home Occupations shall be limited to a maximum of 2 business related visitors at any time. Business related visitors include but are not limited to employees, business partners, contractors, subcontractors, clients, customers, students, etc.
This is new in that customers are not the only ones restricted.  Originally, the ordinance was silent on contractors, et al.  Now there is a limit 2 (or 4, depending on which version goes through).   We're still in "don't ask, don't tell" land.  Contractors for "residential purposes" are not limited.  But if you use your home for your business, and you have a contractor painting or repairing it, is that residential or business?  How would you know?  How would you enforce any penalties for the latter?  These questions can't be addressed in a mere amendment; I look forward to the thought behind the comprehensive rewrite of the zoning code.

And for today's giggle:

(18) Home occupation with customer contact shall not include the use of a dwelling unit for the purpose of operating a massage therapy, psychic, fortuneteller, tattoo, and/or body piercing establishment.
I am still waiting for any member of city government from the council on down to state with a straight face why this sentence is necessary.

There is also no condition expressly stated that would ensure that a business based in a home would remain a residence.  Not that it would ever be permitted to happen but I can just see someone trying to pull a fast one by opening a business at home, then saying, "Oopsy-daisy!  I need to expand, let's rezone to retail."  Um, no.  It's not worth the inevitable hassle and bad karma.  Just put it on the record that home-based businesses have to remain a residence first and you spare yourself a ton of drama down the road.  

I am glad to see this type of legislation finally being added and I look forward to showing the skeptics that the ~500 home-based business owners are not a threat to their homes.

2)  "Branding" (read:  redevelopment) of Georgetown

First thing you notice about these proposals is how they are awash in the currently fashionable, politically-correct buzzwords of "multi-use", "mixed use", "transit village", "transit-oriented",  "transit-friendly" "livable centers", and "(insert niche group here) - friendly" .  Once you sweep away all that static and get down to the legitimate suggestions, there's an interesting mixed bag.

Next thing you notice is that every one of these plans suggests the construction of more-than-single-family density on any piece of land available.  Townhomes are multifamily housing too, gang, so think carefully how that conflicts with the general public consensus of "no more higher-density" housing.  Either the company that created this plan thinks we're not going to notice the conflict, or they don't care.

Different pages have conflicting recommendations.  Page 24 recommends more "open spaces/parks" but elsewhere in the document, those same open spaces are recommended for some kind of housing.  Can't have it both ways.  The example of the old Shallowford ES site stands out.  Why not make this a recreational space as a buffer between the commercial and residential areas (can the gymnasium be renovated or is it beyond repair?) instead of more townhouses?  

I would be cautious about building communities on the promise of access to bus stations.  MARTA is notorious for changing schedules or deleting routes altogether.  What would happen if you built a nice community with the promise of transit access and then MARTA pulled the route?  Who is willing to gamble that much time, effort, and money when the "mass transit" draw isn't guaranteed - and why?

Page 6 of the zoning analysis is an example of what I described before as an overly-objective analysis of a business use that disregards the realities of the consumer's use of it.  They showcase an image of the Georgetown Kroger as "undesirable" because it has "parking out front" and is "auto dominated".  No kidding, Kojak!!  When shoppers go to the store to stock up, they drive their cars and they want to park out front!  Sounds pretty darn desirable to me.  Even the Dunwoody Green Market packs the parking lot with minivans and SUVs, not bicycles.  They all vie for the closest space too, no one wants to walk an extra 10 -20 feet back to their car!   This is what happens when you guide your "sounding boards" with static pictures separated from real-life property usage and elicit emotional reactions separate from their actual behavior.  I don't think the person(s) who wrote this was stupid - but they believe that we citizens are.

On the other hand, the proposal is also surprisingly specific about the business opportunities in this region.  The housing (proposed and current) will cover almost every demographic:  older seniors, younger couples and singles, and families with children.  So your potential customer demo is:  people who are alive.  About 2 miles away is Perimeter Mall and you also have Dunwoody Village nearby.  The report points out the potential competition, but also the opportunity for a different business approach.  The opportunity is ripe for businesses that are:
a)  small enough to not be able to afford rent at the Perimeter
b)  large enough to require a storefront
c)  not currently available in Dunwoody Village
d)  can market to any of the above age demographics and/or their subgroups
e)  is locally owned to appeal to the community spirit.

See page 49 ("Retail Targets") and the "Detailed Market Assesment Report".  Not only does it line up the dots, it connects them for you.  IMHO, best part of the whole report.  

Local entrepreneurs and niche marketers rejoice - this is your place!

BTW - "Branding" takes up only a couple of paragraphs and finally gets mentioned on page 52.  In general I am not impressed with a lot of the suggestions because of the "buzzword bingo" mentioned above but I do believe they are on track with suggestions of a focal point in the PVC farm.  This *is* the place to elicit a positive emotional bond - like The Farmhouse in Dunwoody Village.  IMHO, it's a good idea to have some kind of symbol and expression of pride in every commercial center in town.  The Farmhouse will always be "THE" emotional heart of the city but if you strengthen the identity of other centers as well, the whole city will benefit.  Don't underestimate the value of symbolism in this process.

That's enough for one day.  Back to work!

Monday, January 2, 2012

World Peace

Ran across this while sorting files on my server.  From Snowpocalypse 2011.  Just seemed appropriate.