Dwayne Johnson just launched his own creative ad agency

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Anyone who’s followed The Rock’s career knows never to underestimate the man known as Dwayne Johnson, or put his 6-foot-5, 258 lb frame in any specific career box. Otherwise you’d never have guessed the same guy who asked WWE fans if they could smell what he was cookin’ would one day sing in a hit Disney film.

Now he can add advertising agency founder to his resume: While Johnson is no stranger to brand work (witness Project Rock, the co-branded Under Armour lifestyle line he developed with Droga5 and WME, and his recent Siri campaign for Apple), he’s now getting directly involved by launching his own creative ad agency called Seven Bucks Creative.

According to AdAge, the new creative company, cofounded by Johnson’s manager Dany Garcia, will be led by chief marketing officer Chet Gulland, a former head of strategy at Droga5.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

TFS Scholarships Launches Online Toolkit to Provide College Funding Resources

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SALT LAKE CITY— TFS Scholarships (TFS), the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding, has launched a free online toolkit to provide counselors, families and students with resources to help improve the college scholarship search process. The toolkit, available at tuitionfundingsources.com/resource-toolkit, provides downloadable resources and practical tips on how to find and apply for scholarships.

The launch comes in celebration with Financial Aid Awareness Month when many families are beginning the FAFSA process and researching financial aid options.

“We hope these resources help raise awareness around TFS and the 7 million college scholarships available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “Our goal is to help families discover alternative ways to offset the rising costs of higher education.”

The resource toolkit includes flyers, email templates, newsletter content, digital banners and table toppers which are designed to be shareable content that counselors, students and organizations can use to spread the word about how to find free money for college.

The newly revamped TFS website curates over 7 million scholarship opportunities from across the country – with the majority coming directly from colleges and universities—and matches them to students based on their personal profile, where they want to study, and stage of academic study. By tailoring the search criteria, TFS identifies scholarships that students are uniquely qualified for, thus lowering the application pool and increasing the chances of winning. By creating an online profile, students can find scholarships representing more than $41 billion in aid. About 5,000 new scholarships are added to the database every month and appear in real time.

Thanks to exclusive financial support from Wells Fargo, the TFS website is completely ad-free, and no selling of data, making it a safe and trusted place to search.

For more information about Tuition Funding Sources visit tuitionfundingsources.com.

 

About TFS Scholarships

TFS Scholarships (TFS) is an independent service that provides free access to scholarship opportunities for aspiring and current undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Founded in 1987, TFS began as a passion project to help students and has grown into the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding. Today, TFS is a trusted place where students and families enjoy free access to more than 7 million scholarships representing more than $41 billion in college funding. In addition to its vast database that’s refreshed with 5,000 new scholarships every month, TFS also offers information about career planning, financial aid, and federal and private student loan programs as part of its commitment to helping students fund their future. Learn more at tuitionfundingsources.com.

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8 Inefficiencies in the Architecture + Design Industry (and possible solutions)

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MRad

LOS ANGELES, California – (February 7, 2018) – Every industry has their fair share of inefficiencies which can stifle production. But once in a while, a leader comes along who can not only identify the problems, but also offer solutions. These thought leaders have the ability to revolutionize an industry. The world of architecture and design is not immune to inefficiencies, but one industry leader has some ideas on how to fix the broken system.

“You never bathe in the same river twice, because things change, which keeps everything fresh and interesting,” explains Matthew Rosenberg, the founder of M-Rad Architecture + Design, located in Los Angeles. “The same goes for the architecture and design field, where for far too long the river was standing idle, becoming stagnant. Our business model and proposed solutions are helping to get it flowing once again.”

As a forward thinker in the field, Rosenberg has identified 8 major inefficiencies in the architecture and design industry, as well as a solution for each of them. They include:

  1. PROBLEM: Brokers. Paying a middleman to find projects takes away revenue for the architect.
    SOLUTION: Cut out the Broker by forming relationships directly with developers and clients.
  2. PROBLEM:Underpaid, overworked designers and architects. The architecture industry is notorious for low wages, heavy workload, stressful deadlines until you “make it” to the top.
    SOLUTION: Allow the designers and architects to take equity in their projects.
  3. PROBLEM:Designing independently from actual community needs.  When architecture firms design a building for a client without considering the needs and wants of the surrounding area, the project may not benefit the community or the client.
    SOLUTION: Use a positioning tactic to understand what the community is lacking and incorporate these ideas into the project.
  4. PROBLEM:The industry is heavily reliant on unpredictable markets. With the real estate marketing and cost of living in constant flux, it’s difficult to predict the stability of the industry, which is reliant on the financial status of the client.
    SOLUTION: Consistency, strategic business moves, and keeping an eye on markets allows architecture and design firms to be proactive and shift their practice to better suit the economy.
  5. PROBLEM:City planning process and restrictions. Sometimes designing or building structures takes many years, as they are stuck in the city planning process. One minor mistake can set a project back months or sometimes even years.
    SOLUTION: It can be difficult to get around or speed up the city planning process, but being involved in the community, town hall meetings, and voting on city measures can help improve the process.
  6. PROBLEM:Politics within the industry. Politics occur in every industry, but when millions of dollars are exchanged, expectations are high, and egos can get in the way of business.  The political elements in Architecture can get sticky.
    SOLUTION: Stay professional and only partner/work with people who have positive reputations.
  7. PROBLEM:The scope of the architect is becoming smaller. Technology advancements cause more complex buildings, which causes increase in liability and legal aggression which prompts architects to hand off elements of the design process to “experts in their field,” ultimately chipping away the responsibility and profits of the architect.
    SOLUTION: Increase the scope of the architect.
  8. PROBLEM:Stealing intellectual property. It’s hard to determine when a design is stolen or original.
    SOLUTION: No real solution. Can try to prevent your design being stolen by trademarking, keeping records, photographing the design progress, certifying the design, and by being careful of releasing designs to public view.

“At our firm, we have gone to great lengths to determine effective solutions to the inefficiencies within the architecture and design field,” added Rosenberg. “By making these changes, we are benefiting those who work in the field, as well as those we build the projects for. It’s a win-win for everyone to create the most efficient field that we can.”

Rosenberg‘s firm is on a mission to create better communities, neighborhoods, and cities. Their system includes a multi-faceted approach that starts with pre-architecture, maintains during the architecture phase, and continues during post-architecture.

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Canada, Rosenberg spent nine years studying architecture and environmental design. Rosenberg has earned bachelor degrees in fine arts and environmental design in architecture, as well as a master degree in architecture. When he was ready to bring his architectural influence back to the West, he headed to Los Angeles to launch M-Rad and start making a difference.

About M-Rad Architecture

M-Rad Architecture + Design, based in Los Angeles, is revolutionizing the industry by revealing inefficiencies and creating solutions to universal problems. Their multi-faceted business model, allows M-Rad to expand the scope of the architect and build resilient communities through enhanced experiences. The M-Rad team is currently working on projects around the world; from apartment buildings in Los Angeles, to a private members club in Philadelphia, to a boutique hotel in Taipei. They have created mixed-use towers, luxury hotels, sports parks, and more. For additional information on the company and to view their unique business model, visit: https://www.m-rad.com.

 

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This One Simple Thing Can Help You Learn Better

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Listening to Music

Next time your dormie tells you to turn the music down, just reply, “it’s helping me learn!” A study by the Stanford University School of Medicine found that listening to music can help the brain focus and organize information.

Listening—And Learning

For decades, researchers have been studying the link between learning and listening to music. The concept was introduced into the popular imagination in the early 1990s, when Dr. Alfred A. Tomatis coined the phrase “the Mozart effect.” The term referred to Dr. Tomatis’ finding that listening to Mozart could temporarily improve performance on certain spatial-temporal reasoning tasks, such as the Stanford-Binet IQ test. People quickly mis-translated the finding to “listening to Mozart makes you smarter,” and a new industry was born: To this day, there are all sorts of “intelligence-boosting” products available that claim to harness the power of Mozart.

The link between music and learning isn’t all hype, however. A 2009 study by Joseph M. Piro and Camilo Ortiz published in the Psychology of Music journal found that children who were exposed to music training performed better on vocabulary and reading comprehension tests than those who were not. The researchers hypothesized that studying music helped the children develop the mental coding systems necessary to learn language. Although they acknowledge that this is only a preliminary study—simply having different language instructors may have led to measurable differences in ability—the project is part of a growing body of research that suggests that music and learning are correlated.

Music Helps the Brain Focus

Enter the research team at the Stanford University School of Medicine. During a study designed to measure how the brain sorts out different events, they stumbled upon a concrete physiological link between the acts of listening to music and learning. The researchers played short symphonies by obscure 18th-century composers to subjects while scanning their brains with functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI. The research group found that music “lights up” areas of the brain involved with making predictions, paying attention and committing details to memory.

But don’t switch on that stereo just yet—peak brain activity actually occurred between musical movements. Dr. Vinod Menon, the study’s senior author, noted that “In a concert setting, for example, different individuals listen to a piece of music with wandering attention, but at the transition point between movements, their attention is arrested.” In other words, you get the most brain activity just after, or between, intense musical movements.

“I’m not sure if the baroque composers would have thought of it in this way,” Menon added, “but certainly from a modern neuroscience perspective, our study shows that this is a moment when individual brains respond in a tightly synchronized manner.”

So what does this mean for students? While Stanford hasn’t published a “learning with music” guide just yet, we think it probably can’t hurt to incorporate some tunes into your studying routine. Just remember: Study during the interludes.

Source: Study.com

NewME, A Pioneer in Tech Diversity

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NewME Angela Benton

Founded in 2011 by Angela Benton, NewME has accelerated hundreds of entrepreneurs through their online platform, residential “boot-camp” accelerators and equity portfolio. They pioneered diversity in Silicon Valley by focusing on helping entrepreneurs identify strengths from their non-traditional backgrounds and leveraging them in business. They’ve helped hundreds of entrepreneurs build better businesses some of whom have raised venture capital funding ($25+MM to be exact).

NewME has announced the relocation of its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Miami with $191,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The support will also help NewME expand existing programming focused on providing entrepreneurs with the advice, skills and access to resources that will support their success. By expanding its programming, NewME aims to improve the success of black-led startups through mentorship, coaching and community convenings. Through the program, black entrepreneurs and their businesses will further learn from and be exposed to angel and venture capital investors, along with NewME’s professional investor network.

NewME will target both local and global talent through weekly programming and monthly events, and connect them to online resources through the NewME platform. In addition, the accelerator will host quarterly one-week residential boot camps, which bring together a select group of tech entrepreneurs from around the world; industry experts then work with entrepreneurs to help accelerate their businesses. Additionally, NewME will hire a Miami-based program manager who will support the growth and sustainability of local black and other underrepresented minority-owned businesses.

“Relocating NewME to Miami was a natural choice given its diverse makeup,” says Angela Benton, founder of NewME. “Miami is already an international hub for innovation and the local community is rich with talent. I’m excited to continue my work with NewME in our new, inclusive home.”

Source: knightfoundation.org

Dollar General Announces Call for New Vendors

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Suppliers, companies and manufacturers with exciting new products who want to reach millions of consumers and partner with one of America’s fastest-growing retailers that is currently listed #128 on the Fortune 500 list and posted $22 billion in FY 2016 sales, listen up!

Dollar General (NYSE: DG) is encouraging new suppliers and those who have not sold products to the Company within the past 18 months to apply to attend its inaugural Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit in April 2018. The event aims to pair potential new vendors with respective Dollar General buyers and category managers. Suppliers must sell items in at least one of the following categories to be eligible to attend:

  • Beauty, Personal Care and Over-the-Counter/Wellness
  • General Merchandise/All Non-Food
  • Grocery.

“As part of Dollar General’s continual commitment to provide quality products at everyday low prices to our diverse consumer base, we are thrilled to announce our first Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit scheduled for this spring,” said Jason Reiser, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. “Having the right products to best meet our customers’ needs is a foundational cornerstone at Dollar General. As such, we look forward to meeting with potential new vendors, learning about relevant products for our customers and expanding the number of unique and specialized offerings available in our stores.”

To apply, interested suppliers, companies and manufacturers may submit their product information at www.rangeme.com/dollargeneralfrom Tuesday, January 30 through end of day on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Selected companies will be subject to a $500 participation fee and notified via email by Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) of the time, date and location of their meeting with a member of the Dollar General merchandising team.

Continue onto Business Wire to read the complete article.

There’s green in being gay: LGBT businesses contribute $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy

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The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), a trade group that represents businesses owned by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenders, reported this week that the typical LGBT business has been in business, on average, for more than 12 years and that LGBT businesses contribute more than $1.7 trillion to the U.S. economy and have created more than 33,000 jobs.

The report serves as a reminder of the enormous and growing role LGBT entrepreneurs and business owners have in the United States. But it also sends a message to the community: if you’re an LGBT business then get certified as one. Otherwise, you’re missing out on some money.

More than 10 years ago the chamber created a certification program to recognize its best-in-class members. According to the chamber’s press release “over a third of the Fortune 500, many top federal agencies (including the Small Business Administration, Department of Transportation, and the Department of Agriculture), the Commonwealths of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, major urban municipalities (including King County, WA; Essex County, NJ; and San Francisco, CA), and the Public Utilities Commission of California actively seek out certified LGBT businesses

Continue onto the Washington Post to read the complete article.

The Top 10 Architectural Trends that Should Be Left Behind in 2018

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Smart Coffee Table

Each year, as technology progresses and lifestyles evolve, old trends are replaced with new ones. This process happens across all industries including architecture and design. But trends don’t appear from thin air – typically change comes from progressive industry leaders who are one step ahead of their competition. As new trends emerge providing better options, it’s time to expire outdated ones.

“We are happy to be at the forefront of change in the world of architecture,” explains Matthew Rosenberg, Founder of M-Rad, an architecture and design studio located in Los Angeles, California. “While some trends hold steady and survive the test of time, some trends should never have developed in the first place.”

Here are the top 10 architectural trends that should be left behind in 2018:

1. Furniture designer knockoffs. In 2017 millions of knock-off furniture pieces were sold, but what most people don’t realize is that supporting these cheaply made goods results in negative outcomes. Often there are safety risks and questionable labor practices involved. If you can’t afford the real deal, save until you can and support the craftsmanship and moral labor practices of authentic goods.

2. Artificial turf. While during drought stricken times, ripping up your lawn and replacing it with artificial turf may have seemed like a good idea, research shows ‘fake grass’ is harmful to the environment and human health. The synthetic fibers in artificial turf are typically chemical-laden, end up in landfills and eventually the chemicals seep into our oceans, contaminating marine life. While real grass and soil naturally regenerates itself and recycles the air, an organic process which lowers C02 emissions- artificial turf does not, creating a ‘heat trap’ layer which adds to global warming problems and allows bacteria and mold to grow, making it harmful for kids and pets.

3. Greenwashing. The words “green” and “sustainable” don’t mean much in the marketing world anymore. These words, and even the use of the color green have been so overused by industries to sell products (which may not even be at all environmentally friendly), consumers don’t know what is actually a healthy or sustainable product anymore. Since there is no true definition or regulation of the words, leaving them behind will give people a chance to evaluate a product without fear of misconception.<

4. Instagram Museums. Creating art merely for the sake social media hits is a trend that should be left behind in 2018. Instagram museums and art murals created solely for the purpose of social media misses the point of developing a piece of art. Art should be created for the sake of self-expression, not Instagram followers.

5. Realtors and Brokers. Leaving out the “middleman” in real estate transactions is a trend that will save buyers a lot of money. The future is designers working directly with developers. Cutting out the middlemen allows architects and designers to have more control and equity with the projects, which will help reduce costs for buyers.

6. ‘Smart’ coffee tables. A coffee table was never supposed to be a catch all, with a refrigerator, charging stations, lights, speakers, and more. Such all-in-one designs might make sense in a ‘man cave’ or den, but not for use in the everyday home setting. “Smart” coffee tables promote laziness and tend to look cheap and unattractive.

7. Patterned facades. One look around a newly developed city block and it’s clear to see, the patterned facade trend has gone too far. Facades are not always necessary however if using a facade, one simple pattern is more appealing than going overboard with multiple layers, textures, and patterns.

8. Basic residential interiors. As the “hygge” lifestyle becomes more popular, boring designs, flat ceilings, box style rooms will become a thing of the past. Complex designed ceilings, secret reading nooks and cozy crannies, unique lighting, and interesting angles are much more appealing than walking in a basic, square sterile room.

9. Dining Rooms. Millennials are buying houses now, and do not use a dining room for formal dinners like their mothers and grandmothers once did. The new norm is converting the dining room into a more efficient and useful multi-purpose space such as an office/ dining or additional living space.

10. One level parking lots.  As cities become more populated and real estate less abundant, one level parking lots will begin to convert to stacked parking or multilevel to make the most efficient use of valuable space. In the future, as lack of parking and green space continue to be a problem in growing cities, we will see designers and architects start to implement hybrid parking/ green space structures.

“The architecture industry is evolving at a rapid speed right now,” added Rosenberg. “But not all change is for the best. It’s important to recognize what trends are beneficial in the long run and allow people to make the most efficient use of places and things they interact with.”

Rosenberg, who was born and raised in Saskatoon, Canada, spent nine years studying architecture and environmental design. He has traveled all over the world to study structures and cultures which inspire him. Rosenberg has earned Bachelor degrees in fine arts and environmental design in architecture, as well as a Master degree in architecture. When he was ready to bring his architectural influence back to the West, he headed straight for Los Angeles to open shop and start implementing his vision into action.

Currently, the team at M-Rad are working on projects around the globe, from apartment buildings in Los Angeles to a private members club in Philadelphia, to a boutique hotel in Taipei. They have created designs for mixed-use towers, luxury hotels, sports parks, and more.

About M-Rad Architecture

M-Rad’s mission is to revolutionize the architecture industry by creating bespoke solutions to universal problems. M-Rad’s unique, multi-faceted business model incorporates their work in every step of the development process; from design and building to marketing, branding, and products. Expanding their scope allows them to re-conceptualize architecture and urban growth through social and environmental research and provide cities the opportunity to thrive. For more information on the company and to view their business model visit: www.m-rad.com.

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Why These Three Southern Cities Attract The Most Black Entrepreneurs

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There are currently 2.5 million businesses owned and operated by African-Americans, according to the U.S. Census’s most recent survey of business owners.

Although black entrepreneurship is on the rise, black founders are still receiving less VC funding than their white peers and have limited access to capital. Less than 1% of black founders receive funding, and this lack of capital leaves many black-owned business to be operated by one person, limiting their ability to hire other employees in order to grow and build their businesses. As cost of living soars, underrepresentation and limited support for these business continues for many of these black enterprising professionals in tech hubs like New York City and Silicon Valley. However, others are thriving in the Southeast.

A recent report by Blacktech Week that used data from the U.S. Census Bureau Statistics Data and Kauffman Foundation’s 2017 Index for Startup Activity revealed that the top three cities where black-owned businesses are thriving are Memphis, Montgomery, Alabama, and Atlanta.

With a large number of African-Americans residing in the Southeast, a low cost of living, an increase in incubators like Atlanta’s Digital Undivided popping up in Southeastern metro cities, along with support a historical lineage of supporting their own, black entrepreneurs are finding their niche below the Mason-Dixon line.

Mandy Bowman, the founder of the Official Black Wallstreet app and website, which has a listing of over 4,000 black-owned businesses in the U.S. (and has been downloaded over 70,000 times), isn’t surprised that the Southeast is popular with black entrepreneurs. “The reason why these cities stand out so much is that the cost of living is much lower. The South also has a long history of entrepreneurship, especially through the Jim Crow era. People in these cities had no choice but to start their own businesses, and because of that history, I think it’s something that’s been ingrained in those cities. On top of that, these cities have a large African-American population, which is why there are many entrepreneurs in the Southeast.”

There’s also been an increase in new residents: In the first decade of the 2000s, there’s been a reversal migration of black Americans moving to the South. According to USA Today, “From 2005 to 2010, the average result each year was a gain for the South of 66,000 blacks. Many came from the Northeast, but the flow also includes the Midwest and West.” As the South attracts college-graduate crowds and retirees to economic opportunities, it’s also attracting entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. There are also over 1,600 listings of black-owned businesses in the Southeast on the Official Black Wall Street app. Here’s a look at why these three cities are the top choices for black entrepreneurs.

1. Memphis

Memphis reigns supreme as the top city for black-owned businesses. It offers more than great BBQ and music. The city’s low unemployment rate in comparison to Atlanta and Montgomery supports a healthy economy to start a business. Nearby Bluff City also boasts a higher percentage of black-owned businesses than Atlanta, while having a lower cost of living index.

Brooklyn native Ekundayo Bandele moved to Memphis in 1994 and found a “thriving black intellectual and cultural community” where his love for theater flourished through his playwriting and eventually led him to become the founder and executive director of Hattiloo Theatre.

“The city invested in Hattiloo Theatre, which gave us $1.5 million to help us build our infrastructure. We started as a community theater and have worked our way to the top. The generosity of the Memphis community to volunteer their time and talent helped make Hattiloo successful. The philanthropic community of Memphis understands the equity in Memphis,” he says. His only drawback is access to talent. “Since Memphis is not categorically a theater town, there aren’t as many technical theater people in terms of theater arts,” he says.

Brit Fitzpatrick, the founder and CEO of MentorMe, chose to move to Memphis  because of its affordability. “The biggest advantage to starting up in Memphis as opposed to Silicon Valley is that it’s more affordable. Having raised a relatively small amount of money, I was able to stretch it a little further,” she explains. Proximity to other cities also makes Memphis a great choice for Fitzpatrick. “In the first two years of MentorMe, I traveled a lot to meet new customers, create partnerships, and find advisory board members. Memphis is a reasonable driving distance to cities I needed to hit.”

Although the city is in an early stage in comparison to New York City and San Francisco, “Memphis has a culture of hustle and hard work. I love that about the city. It makes it really conducive to entrepreneurship,” says Fitzpatrick.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

Student Recycles to Save Money for College

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Ryan Hickman earning the funds through his business, Ryan’s Recycling

Eight-year-old Ryan Hickman is an entrepreneur with a strong personality and a passion for recycling. He’s got years of experience, too—he’s been in the business since he was just three years old! To date, Hickman has saved more than $33,000 for his college education. Through his business, Ryan’s Recycling, Hickman has recycled an estimated 265,000 bottles and cans.

Every week for years, he and his family have sorted through bags of recyclables. As of mid-December 2016, he had earned $10K by recycling cans and bottles from his customers—friends, family, and neighbors. Once he reached that milestone, the mainstream media began to take notice. After first being mentioned on a website called One Green Planet, the story behind Ryan’s Recycling went viral. Since then, Ryan’s story has been seen by over 140 million people on social media channels.

Hickman has since been featured on just about every major news station in the United States and several around the world. He appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where he was presented with a check for $10,000, as well as a battery-operated vehicle to use in his work. His story has run in various newspapers, including USA TODAY and the Orange County Register, as well as on ABC World News and other social and mainstream media sites.

His father Damion says Ryan got started recycling when he took him along to a local rePlanet, the largest recycling collection network in the country. At just 3-1/2 years old, Damion says Ryan “really enjoyed going, and I gave him the money from the plastic bottles.” He says it didn’t take long for Ryan to connect the dots: recycled bottles and cans = money. “He asked all our neighbors to start saving for him. He then enlisted people in his grandparents’ neighborhood, and it just grew from there.”

Hickman has regular customers that call every month for a local pickup, and friends and family drop off regularly. Every three weeks, his biggest customer, El Niguel Country Club, fills up the family truck with cans and bottles. Ryan and his dad take it all home and begin sorting the glass, plastic and aluminum cans. “Everything is bagged up, and then we head off to the recycle center,” says Damion. “A typical trip for us takes about an hour, and Ryan usually makes around $200+ each trip.”

Damion reports that Ryan is involved in every step of his business, from collecting the cans and bottles from his customers to picking up the bags and gloves to do the work. “He even handles depositing his money in the bank, where they all know him as Ryan, the president of Ryan’s Recycling.” Early last year, Hickman sold T-shirts to friends, family, and customers and donated the profits to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach, California, where he serves as a junior ambassador. Ryan has donated over $5000 to their efforts.

Ryan continues to recycle and educate others through interview appearances. His father reports that he’s recently begun preparing his parents for the day that he’ll need to buy himself a real trash truck.

“I’m not sure where he plans to park it,” says Damion, “but I have a feeling I would lose my spot in the driveway!”

Ryan has received thousands of emails around the world with people that have been inspired to start recycling after seeing his story.

Recently Ryan started a new ten week recycling campaign to try to get everyone around the world involved with recycling 300,000 cans and bottles.  Follow Ryan below to catch weekly videos with updates and announcing new corporate involvement:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryans_recycling/status/949807967733452800

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEMYY5SlyV8&feature=share

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ryansrecycling/videos/773804682828029/

Need A Creative Idea In 10 Minutes? Play With The Stuff On Your Desk

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Designer Ayse Birsel explains why fiddling around with a bunch of pens and paperclips for 10 minutes each morning can get your creative juices flowing.

“Every morning I wake up and think of what I need to do, and I’m afraid,” Ayse Birsel confesses. “What if I don’t come up with a good idea? The only remedy to that is to start doing it.”

But Birsel, who’s the cofounder and creative director of design studio Birsel + Seck and the author of Design the Life You Loveknows it isn’t easy pushing past that fear in order to get started on something. “It’s the kind of thing I forget every night and have to remember every morning. I  put myself under pressure to come up with this great idea, and it never comes like that–sometimes it takes 10 minutes, sometimes it takes an hour, or a whole month–but this exercise is a way to get over that fear.” To help, Birsel takes a cue from illustrator Keri Smith, who has shared an exercise in which she scavenges objects from her home and the floor of her studio, then rearranges them in order to jumpstart her creativity.

In Birsel’s riff on Smith’s prompt, you don’t need a spacious art studio with a whimsically cluttered floor–you just need a desk with a few ordinary items on it.

HOW IT WORKS

Ready to get started? “Find seven things on your desk at your studio, office, or home and make something with them. You could make a sculpture, a freeze-frame, a tool, a composition–whatever comes to you,” Birsel explains. “Try to pick random objects, different materials, and varying sizes, and don’t think, just do! You’ll improvise as you go.”

The trick is not to spend more than 10 minutes fiddling with your desktop objects–that’s enough time to experiment with some interesting combinations without beginning to second-guess yourself. In one of Birsel’s own recent attempts, she says, “I put together a Japanese toy (which I keep on my desk to entertain myself), my must-have Post-It notes, smiley-face stickers, earphones, some tape, and a thin wooden African figurine. Without really planning, I started putting these random objects together playfully and ended up creating a romance scene!”

Birsel recommends doing this 10-minute exercise every day. “Come up with different mixes and matches of the same seven objects each day for one week, then change the items the following week–and the week after that, and the one after that,” she suggests. “If you created a sculpture, place it on a stool to highlight it. If you made a composition, place it on different backgrounds and post it on your social media.”

The main idea, she says, is to “take inspiration from your surroundings, nature, people, stories, and your imagination. And don’t forget to have fun! That’s a key component of creativity.” But don’t worry about the outcome, says Birsel. “It doesn’t have to be a new Picasso. It can just be a funky little thing. The goal is to get yourself “thinking about the same things differently. Once you’re in that space, you can move toward thinking about something else differently.”

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.