The Research Design Associates Blog

(Doug Wood)

Keystone XL Pipeline in Changing Times

With the turn in the US election the Keystone Pipeline is back on the agenda for the start of the next Congressional session in January 2015.  Unfortunately the economics that drove this process when it was first announced have changed dramatically.  The Canadian Government after extreme frustration without passing Keystone earlier has explored other routes.  Most of the pipeline has been or will be built and operated in any case.

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Why Are Consultants So Expensive?

As all businesses are turning more to frelance workers and consultants, there is sometines sticker shock at the costs. Here are some ideas for consultants trying to figure out how to price service and some guidelines for those uning consulting services.

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Knowing Candidate Antidaote to False Accusations

While on a national election is it harder to have that personal connection with voters that actual know the integrity of the candidate.  On the local level where a candidate has met or been seen many times by the voters, it is harder to prove the lack of integrity without true validation and providing a broader context to the issues. 

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Niche Businesses Survive the Recession

So much changed during the recession–many small businesses closed and never re-opened. But some hung on and are coming back stronger than ever. Two examples show how perseverance and strong business acumen helped two fledgling enterprises to profitability. Both are niche service providers who would normally have the odds against them: a concierge service and a food delivery service.

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Using Big Data To Create Value

One source of Big Data with broad implications for any company is tracking how people use your website. The path they follow, how many times they frequent a page, or search more deeply for answers is of value to your company but may also be useful to others. While another company’s data may not have great value by itself, but when aggregate with another data base, becomes extremely valuable.

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Gee Wiz Technology and Big Data

As it is summer, I thought I would reflect on two books that I recently read. One light read, “The Lost Throne” by Chris Kuzenski written in 2008 with a Dan Brown theme.  The part that was interesting was the discussion of technology.  A gee whiz moment in the book was the 3 oz printer that easily fit in a laptop case, or going to an internet café to read an important encrypted email. The other was the ability of the government to search numerous databases to find out individual’s occupation in other countries and find their location via cell phone. Numerous times in the novel items needed to written down or photo copied. There are 25 to 30 pages of story line development on implementation of these technologies or lack thereof.

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Meet all of Georgia's International Trade Reps

Georgia has 10 trade offices across the globe that develop and coordinate trade and investment with Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the rest of the Americas. This gathering will include the State of Georgia’s representatives from Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Europe (Munich, Germany), Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico and the United Kingdom. They will host a seminar and a networking reception. If you are exploring one of these countries, what a great chance to gain firsthand information on countries that you may be exploring to expand your business. Or if you are currently in-country and have not connected with these representatives, it is an excellent opportunity to do so.

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Business Matchmaking Between Southern States and Canadian Provinces

Time to start planning to be part of Southeast United States and Canadian (SEUS-Canada). Over the last four years I attended the partnership held in Newfoundland, Mississippi, New Brunswick and South Carolina. This effort was put together to facilitate business between the states of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee with the provinces of Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec. There are two components: a conference with seminars on leading trends in one of the three targeted sectors and business-to-business meetings among companies in those different sectors. The previous sectors were advance manufacturing, IT, and energy.

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Favorable Market Factors in Saudi Arabia

Business friendly opportunities for American businesses to expand. Even if you establish a sales and distribution office, 50% of the salaries can be covered by the Kingdom. This begins to establish a reasonable risk for a business looking to expand their market overseas

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Saudi Arabia has continued economic growth

Recently Saudi Arabia again touted its continued economic growth during a seminar in the UK. Opportunities are in the housing sector. The Kingdom projects a shortage in housing of 1.2 million homes. To alleviate the shortage the Kingdom has allocated $1.2 billion for the construction of 500,000 homes this coming year. Comparing this to the United States it is little less than a month supply of new homes in the entire country. Considering the size and density of the country this is very robust growth rate.

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