Wealthy Russians aren’t buying U.S. homes

With the price of oil tanking and the value of the ruble hitting an all-time low against the U.S. dollar, high-end real estate brokers in Manhattan, Miami and other major cities have been losing some of their best customers: deep-pocketed Russians.

Mexico telecoms regulator sets 2015 interconnection fees

MEXICO CITY, Dec 29 (Reuters) – The Mexican telecoms regulator on Monday set the 2015 rates for interconnection fees between competing networks as part of measures to open up its historically…

Yuri Milner’s DST Global plans to invest more in U.S. start-ups

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Yuri Milner, the billionaire Russian who holds the largest outside stake in Chinese handset maker Xiaomi, said he expects to invest more evenly between the United…

U.S. launches air strike in Somalia targeting al Shabaab senior leader

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military launched an air strike in Somalia on Monday targeting a senior leader of the al Qaeda-aligned al Shabaab militant group, the Pentagon said.

Dendreon heads to auction without initial bidder

Dec 29 (Reuters) – Bankrupt cancer vaccine maker Dendreon Corp will move ahead with a court-supervised auction of the company without a customary initial bidder, known as a stalking horse, the…

What I Learned This Week: The Top Five Lessons of 2014 (Plus One!)

Well, it’s that time of the year again, when the media — new, old and everything in between, including this blog — fixates on compiling its Year-End List.

While the act of “Listification” seems to have suffered a bad rap due to overuse by content farms and click-bait websites, list legitimacy and relevance are re-validated as the annual calendar gets ready to turn its page.

More than just a cheap, easy way to generate content though, a bona fide Year-Ender forces its lister to look back and reflect over a period that passes by too quickly, and re-discover some of the thoughts, feelings, events, trips, speeches and other memories that are forgotten as time marches on.

With that in mind, I spent much of the weekend scouring the 52 posts of 2014…well, let’s make that 53, as I also snuck a peek at 2013’s Year-End List. In the end, that was perhaps the most relevant post of all, as I could only muster a top three list that year; I obviously learned (and enjoyed myself) a whole lot more in 2014, where my “Best Of” expanded to five.

So, kill the preamble — in no particular order, and with a little comment on each, here are my Top Five Lessons of 2014:

1) You Are What You Share (Feb. 24)

A reflection on a key metric in the new economy

2) Family Doesn’t Always Come First (Sept. 15)
Yikes! This one was controversial!

3) The Two-Step Secret to Going Viral (June 9)
From a very spirited summertime speech I gave

4) To Get a Backlash, You Need a Front-lash (Jan. 27)
The remnants of an explosion at a client meeting

5) Create Demand: Real Artists Sell (May 12)
Crossing the line between Church and State

But, as they say in those infomercials: “Wait, there’s more!

Despite the above, my major learning of 2014 was the immense value of learning itself. It’s one thing to experience things and write them down for others to (ostensibly) consume and share; it’s another when they come to life and work for you.

So, to close this year off with a spark of validation, here’s a little something extra; what bands used to call the “bonus track” on their albums (when people still bought albums…but I digress), my ultimate learning of 2014:

5+) Great Lessons Last Forever (March 10)

All that said and listed, here’s to a 2015 where you won’t merely learn something new…but act on it.

Apple Campus 2 Site to Include Preserved Historic Barn [Mac Blog]

Apple’s spaceship-shaped campus under construction in Cupertino will include a spot for a historic barn, reports the San Jose Mercury News. First constructed in 1916, the Glendenning Barn is a historic Cupertino site left from a time when the city was still a sprawling orchard.

During the teardown of the existing HP campus, Apple dismantled the redwood barn plank by plank and made careful notes on its construction because the company pledged to relocate the building to another site.

It was initially unclear whether the barn would remain on the campus, but it appears it will indeed stay on Apple’s property, nestled among the many fruit trees the company plans to build around its spaceship-shaped building. The barn, according to the Mercury News, will be used as an equipment storage facility by Apple and will be located directly adjacent to the employee fitness center.

Glendenning Barn, courtesy of the Cupertino Historical Society (via Mercury News).

To protect the structure during construction, Apple carefully dismembered the barn, numbering it piece by piece — every plank, nail and crossbeam — so it can be rebuilt just as it was, says Donna Austin, president of the Cupertino Historical Society. The company has even stockpiled redwood salvaged from an old grove in case any damaged planks need to be replaced.

Under Apple’s care, it will be a working barn for the first time in decades, storing sports equipment and the landscaping supplies the company will need for the thousands of trees that will shade the campus.

Apple’s second campus was designed in part by former CEO Steve Jobs, and one of his main goals was to give the site a more natural look and feel, returning many of the native plants and trees that grew in the area before it was turned into an office site by former owner Hewlett-Packard.

Apple’s growing focus on the environment is fully evidenced in the new campus design, which includes 80 percent green space, a central garden with outdoor dining areas, and more than 300 different species of trees. The campus was also built to use efficient water and landscaping and it will get 70 percent of its energy from solar and fuel cells.

Construction on Apple’s second campus is well underway, with the foundation complete and walls beginning to take shape. Apple plans to finish the campus by the end of 2016, and construction crews work at the site almost around the clock to keep the building plans on schedule.