Erica and Matt Chua: Indonesia

baliIndonesia has a little something for everyone.  It is known for beaches, partying and diving, but there is so much more.  Heading east, the hard-partying ends in Lombok and the party gives way to nature’s best in Komodo, Flores and all the way to Papua.  Head north from Bali and Lombok and you’ll find much of the same in Kalimantan (Borneo) and Sulawesi.  In all of these places you’ll find one of the most diverse ecosystems anywhere.  This ecosystem extends to the sea, with some of the best diving in the world.  Culture buffs, don’t worry, there are thousand-year old temples and indigenous tribes that have had little outside contact.  If exploring and adventure isn’t what you’re looking for, don’t fret, there are thousands of miles of unspoiled beaches for you to enjoy.  Indonesia, a place with everything, to insure everyone leaves happy.

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DON’T MISS: The Gili Islands off Lombok, it is what secluded beach dreams are made of.  There is lodging for everyone, from $10 beach huts to $200 five-star hotels, all close to quiet, beautiful, beaches. MUST SEE: Prambanan (Yogyakarta, Java), Ubud (Bali), Gili Islands (Lombok) MUST TASTE: Soto Ayam, chicken soup with spice

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TRIP PLANNING: Indonesia is a vast archipelago.  A week is enough to enjoy the beaches and diversions of Bali and Lombok.  It takes at the very least two weeks to visit Komodo and Flores.  It takes at least a month to fully see Borneo, but two weeks in East Kalimantan will do for most. GETTING AROUND: Tourist buses and ferries are the easiest way to get around, including island-to-island.  Within cities only take the Blue Bird taxis as they are known to be the most honest taxis in Indonesia.

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OUR COST PER DAY (2 ppl): $58.44 COST OF A BEER: $3-4 KEY MONEY-SAVING TIP: The budget accommodations can be very nice.  If you arrive and start looking for $20/night rooms you may find a comfortable room, free breakfast, wifi, a pool and gorgeous surroundings.

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YOU NEED TO KNOW: Bali, especially the Kuta/Seminyak area is like Cancun for Americans or Ibiza for Europeans, there are loud, drunken parties.  However, there are plenty of places you can escape this, including northern Bali. IF WE KNEW WHAT WE KNOW NOW: We would have stayed for two months in order to travel east through Komodo and Flores, then up to Sulawesi.  Travel takes more time and effort than expected, making long-distance travel difficult. HELPFUL LINKS TO LEARN MORE: Travelfish, Wikitravel.  Please send us any sites you found useful and we’ll add them!

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WE WERE THERE FOR: 4 weeks OUR HIGHLIGHT: A friend’s Javanese wedding in Jakarta WHERE WE WENT: Java, Bali, Lombok, Kalimantan WE REGRET MISSING: Komodo and Flores…we’ll be back.

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Indonesia Highlights

Short on time? The highlight reel of our 4 week trip to Indonesia including ancient temples, a wedding, beautiful beaches, sunsets, dancing monkeys and more.  Tour Indonesia in 26 photos!

26 Photos

Ubud

Ubud is the cultural capital of Bali offering a more laid back and cooler locale than the beaches of South Bali. Around Ubud are temples, ancient sites and whole villages producing handicrafts.  The lush rice paddies and huge coconut trees lend a village feel, however the boutiques remind you that you’re in a tourist center.  In many ways Ubud offers the best of both worlds, culture and comfort.

25 Photos

Northern Bali

The Central Mountains of Bali are dominated by the mighty Gunung Batur.  The slopes of this and the other peaks in the central part of the island hold some of the most verdant rice fields, especially in Jatiluwh, and tropical vistas you can imagine. Along the northern coast Lovina offers attractive beaches. The best way to see the area is by your own transport, which allows you to enjoy the views at your own pace and get lost in the villages along the way.

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John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Random Thoughts

RandomThoughts2Our planet’s one great differentiator.

If there are other–and more advanced planets–in our universe, they may well be smarter and more technologically advanced and may even have wiped out disease, but there is no way that any planet has faster drive-thru service at fast food restaurants than we do here on planet Earth.

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Today is April 20th.

And I am really excited.

Why?

It’s not a holiday or my birthday or anyone else’s birthday who is really close to me. In fact, nothing special has ever happened to me on April 9th –in 50 years.

But it’s about time something did.

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jyb_musingsDaddy’s little helpers

A regular cup of coffee used to be enough to get me going in the morning but nowadays I need a large coffee with a shot of espressp at around 645am and to be late going somewhere by 655am.

Being late causes my body to excrete cortisal and adrenaline –and is cheaper than Starbucks–and by 7am I am super amped up and damn near frantic.

And ready to greet the day.

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Today, for my success strategy, I am going to try to tap into my inner Forrest Gump.

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About as perfect as I will ever be… is to be imperfect with my sleeves rolled up.

Which is a good definition of being perfectly human. And trying to do a little better.

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Being over 50 is a lot like being the owner of a retail store and suspecting that a certain product should be discounted—but not discounting it and hoping no one notices.

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10154390_10154063969215515_5221296883408629443_nSome things –like what you notice is listed at the bottom on your iPod–you hope others don’t notice, too.

I admit it. I downloaded “U Cry.” And listen to it sometimes when no one else is around.

 




Jason Grill on Live with Rink and Laura

Rink-Laura-logoIn this full hour interview, RP Jason Grill discusses JGrill Media, Sock 101, and his political past.

Enjoy.

 




Saul Kaplan: It’s the Innovator’s Day

innovation_leader_logo_intro-300x250-1Today is the Day of the Next-Generation Innovator

I am an innovation junkie. It’s a good place to be right now because there’s no more important time for New England to fulfill its promise as a regional innovation hot spot. Our region has the capacity to lead the way out of this economic mess and toward solutions for the big issues of our time, including health care, education, and energy independence. We must play offense.

Here’s some good news: Innovators thrive during turbulent times. In the 2001 recession, Apple Inc. unveiled the first iPod and The Procter & Gamble Co. launched Crest Whitestrips. The bad news is that innovation has become a buzzword. Everything is an innovation and everyone is an innovation expert. We must get below the buzzwords. I have a simple definition: Innovation is a better way to deliver value. I also differentiate invention from innovation. I assert it is not an innovation until it delivers real value to a consumer.

Ideas, inventions and new technologies are the lifeblood for innovation. We must continue to invest in basic and discovery research. It is necessary, but it is not sufficient. We also must improve our ability to get inventions out of the lab and into the real world, where they can solve problems and deliver value.

Business model innovation is the key to realizing the full potential of new technologies. A business model is a network of capabilities and a sustainable financial model to deliver value to target customers. Successful executives are really good at squeezing more value from existing business models. In this context innovation means either revenue growth from new products and services or reducing operating costs with process improvements. For most, innovation is about finding ways to ring the cash register by pedaling the bicycle of today’s business model faster.

Institutionalizing innovation While there’s nothing wrong with an incremental strategy, there is a problem. Business models aren’t lasting as long as they used to, and most CEOs have only had to lead a single business model throughout their career. Going forward, I suspect CEOs will have to change business models several times over a career and establish an ongoing process to explore new business models — even models that might threaten the current one. Organizations must establish R&D for new business models the way they do R&D for new products and services today. Business model innovation needs a discrete focus or it will get marginalized, producing again only incremental change.

In today’s networked world, business model innovation means connecting capabilities across traditional boundaries. Companies, schools and government agencies all must rethink existing business models and all struggle with the capacity to explore and test new ways to deliver value.

photo-saulDon’t you wonder, as I do, with so much new technology available why we haven’t made more progress? Technology isn’t the barrier to business model innovation. It is humans and the institutions we live in that are stubbornly resistant to change. Everyone loves the idea of innovation, until it has a personal impact. I used to think that we could enable large-scale change and create more innovators by proselytizing. But that doesn’t get you past the buzzwords. I now believe in sorting the world to identify the innovators and finding ways to connect them in purposeful ways.

The best opportunities to create value will be found in the gray areas between silos, sectors, and disciplines. And progress on the big-system issues of our time will require a road map and manageable platforms for systems-level experimentation and change. It doesn’t matter if the customer is a patient, student, citizen, or consumer. R&D for new business models is imperative to remain competitive, harness technology, and deliver more value with fewer resources.

In the months ahead I will share personal observations from around the region in the hopes of catalyzing conversation, connections and action. Join the conversation and pass along your business model innovation stories.

This post originally appeared as the debut “It’s Saul About Innovation” column in Mass High Tech.




John Y. Brown, III: Sunday Morning Worship

sunday morning worshipSunday morning worship is for humans trying to do better not for people trying to pretend they aren’t flawed.

Great Sunday school class this morning: Biblical, spiritual, practical and relevant.

Left me feeling connected to my faith a little stronger than when I arrived this morning –and with a slightly larger calling for the week ahead.

JYB3_homeAnd even gave me the spiritual strength to try to forgive that asshole I wasn’t going to forgive until next week.

And maybe even apologize myself to people who were planning to wait until next week to forgive me.