Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Twin Cities Summer Music Opportunities: Get Out and Enjoy!

Since moving to the Twin Cities, my wife and I have always loved and appreciated the community’s strong commitment to the arts. From catching a musical at the Orpheum, to attending concerts at the Minnesota Orchestra, to impromptu open mic nights at our local brewery, we are constantly surrounded by a talented and passionate group of musicians that makes us feel at home.

This year, the Minnesota Orchestra said goodbye to its music director, Osmo Vänskä, who led the orchestra for nearly two decades and has been a pillar in our arts community. During his farewell tour, many fans have shared stories of Vänskä performing throughout the cities and prioritizing our community, reminding me of how lucky we are to have this flourishing community.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Is that the Real McCoy?

Counterfeit products are fake goods designed, packaged, and branded to look like the real thing. They were historically of a lesser quality. For many years, the counterfeit market was considered a problem primarily for manufacturers of well-known luxury or high-end consumer goods such as name-brand clothing, shoes, purses, shoes, watches, jewelry, and electronics.

The fake items were sold by street vendors to persons who might not be likely customers for the genuine products, so actual “lost sales” to the brand owner were questionable. In most of these situations, purchasers would have (or should have) a fairly good idea that they were not purchasing a genuine product, so lack of quality would not be a surprise or blamed on the brand owner.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Digital Assets: Lathrop GPM Takes on Consensus

Author: Julian Sansano 

I recently attended the largest cryptocurrency, non-fungible token (“NFT”), and digital asset conference in the world. Consensus by Coindesk attracts tens of thousands of people from around the world, in a variety of fields and sectors, who either participate in the world of digital assets or are looking to build their knowledge and network in the digital asset world. Incredible buzz and excitement—think trade show meets rock concert, but the rockstars were the largest players and influencers in the digital asset game. For example, the founder of Cardano, a cryptocurrency, presented in jeans and a tee-shirt about his optimistic views on the future of cryptocurrency and their utility in the modern world, while the Chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission presented in a suit about incoming crypto regulation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

A Hawaiian Sojourn

Author: Dara Alvarado

As we are getting into warmer weather here in Kansas City, and, finding myself hard at work inside, it’s hard not to reminisce about my time in Hawaii last October. I was lucky enough to visit Maui in October. My husband and I went for about a week.

It was our first time traveling to Hawaii and we had a connecting flight through LAX. We went through security, got to our gate, checked our tickets (awesome, a two-hour flight), engaged in some people-watching, and had some snacks while waiting for the plane. Fast forward—we are onboard and flying. One hour passes. Two hours pass. At three hours, I begin to wonder. I turn to my husband and ask, “Why are we still in the air?!” Yes, you’re right—the flight was actually six hours instead of two. We did indeed land in Hawaii two hours after our departure from Los Angles, but we forgot about the time difference.

We were exhausted from our supposed two-hour flight, but seeing this scenery definitely made the six-hour plane ride worth it. We drove to our first stop where we had an Airbnb for a few days. We stayed on the north side of the island – more remote and more scenic than the west side. Below is the view from our window.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Brian Klaas, Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How It Changes Us (Scribner, 2021)

It’s a view of human nature that we all accept. It tends to shape how we view our political affairs, our economic institutions, our business practices, and really any realm of human endeavor. It is expressed as an aphorism of only two words: “power corrupts.”

Political Scientist Brian Klaas—a Minnesotan, a contemporary of one of my daughters at a local high school, a graduate of two institutions of higher learning with which I am familiar, and now a professor at the University of London—has set out to examine this idea in light of the question, “Does power corrupt or are corrupt people drawn to power?”

The answer, it seems, is yes—both are true. While Klaas’s analysis focuses on obviously nefarious activities, he includes some aspects of corporate endeavor and business behavior along the same spectrum. His focus is on people who have wielded “enormous power,” be they “cult leaders, war criminals, despots, coup plotters, torturers, mercenaries, generals, propagandists, rebels, corrupt CEOs, [or] convicted criminals.”

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming? Or Maybe the FTC

As we watch the televised Russian invasion of Ukraine with horrific destruction and casualties caused by missiles, tanks, and other conventional warfare, the hostilities may seem far away and distant. As Russia continues to suffer setbacks in their conventional military approach, we are likely to see cyberattacks that could spread beyond the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

In a meeting with business leaders on March 21, Joe Biden gave the following warning:

“This is a critical moment to accelerate our work to improve domestic cybersecurity and bolster our national resilience. I have previously warned about the potential that Russia could conduct malicious cyber activity against the United States, including as a response to the unprecedented economic costs we’ve imposed on Russia alongside our allies and partners. It’s part of Russia’s playbook. Today, my administration is reiterating those warnings based on evolving intelligence that the Russian Government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks…….

If you have not already done so, I urge our private sector partners to harden your cyber defenses, immediately implementing the best practices we have developed together over the last year. You have the power, the capacity, and the responsibility to strengthen the cybersecurity and resilience of the critical services and technologies on which Americans rely. We need everyone to do their part to meet one of the defining threats of our time — your vigilance and urgency today can prevent or mitigate attacks tomorrow.”

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Crowdfunding the Entrepreneurial Spirit!

Author: Patricia Garrigner-Strickland

We had a bit of a snowy winter here in Kansas City and after every storm, I had at least one teenage boy ring my doorbell and ask to shovel off my driveway (for a price). On a recent trip to the grocery store, I encountered a group of Girl Scouts selling cookies (I bought three boxes of Thin Mints and ate an entire sleeve on my way home). A new client, a photographer and graphic designer, is looking to expand her business to include art shows and more event bookings. Another client is looking to develop an interactive video game based on martial arts instruction.