"No one ever went poor from giving." Anne Frank

The Thanks Economy: Companies & People Giving Back to their Communities

 November 27, 2013 

In less than 24 hours, households around America will be setting tables, gathering ‘round, feasting on turkey, and talking about what they’re thankful for. While these are typical family activities during the month of November, it’s easy to forget how important it is to spend time with the people around us and appreciate what we have during the rest of the year.

For businesses, remembering to give back to your community is equally difficult. With the constant focus on earning revenue, brand marketing, social media and content strategy, and simply clearing out those emails, who even has the time to think about giving? Most businesses would be nothing without their consumers.
For inspiration, here are some awesome companies and individuals giving back to their communities:

Salesforce Foundation

According to their website, “The Salesforce.com Foundation is based on a simple idea: Leverage salesforce.com’s people, technology and resources to build collective knowledge and enable action to improve communities throughout the world. We call our integrated philanthropic approach the 1/1/1 model.” The 1/1/1 model was created by the founder of salesforce.com, Marc Benioff. When he started the company 14 years ago, he knew that he wanted to incorporate philanthropy in his business from the start. He decided that he would donate 1% of salesforce.com equity, 1% of his employees’ time, and 1% of his product to make the world a better place. Since then, the foundation has donated over $50 million in grants and has even created a program to help the world’s youth learn technological skills and build businesses using the salesforce.com technologies.

Toms Shoes & Eyewear

Per Toms’ website, this company is “in business to help change lives.” They have certainly done just that. If you’ve followed Toms over the past few years, you probably already know that, for each pair of shoes that they sell, they donate a pair to those in need across the globe. Recently, Toms expanded to eyewear with the same principles. In the past seven years, Toms has donated 10 million pairs of shoes and millions of dollars to affiliate companies in partnership with over 70 countries to help those in need.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk might be one of the most well known businessmen of our generation. Something interesting about Gary is that he truly plays by his own rules. He started out selling wine and has never stopped moving upward. One of the reasons for this is that Gary Vaynerchuk, lovingly known as @garyvee to his 1 million Twitter followers, knows how people work. He knows that you get what you give, and he certainly gets a lot. In a recentpiece in the New York Times, the giving part of this adage was explained for all to see. About once a week,@garyvee asks all of his followers what he can do for them. Whether the requests he subsequently receives are genuine or just people trolling him, he always chooses a few to fill. Once, he even had a burger delivered to a man in Minnesota. I don’t know about you, but if I wanted a burger and all of a sudden, one was delivered to me thanks to Gary Vaynerchuk, I would probably consider buying his next book. Intentions aside, though, this man is more than capable of helping others out, and he certainly does just that.

Charity Miles

This fitness app, launched about a year and a half ago, provides a way to donate to charities without ever having to reach into your wallet. Essentially, the company is funded by its founders as well as investors, and has partnerships with numerous charities, including the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Pencils of Promise, Feeding America, and Habitat for Humanity. The entire mission of this company is to encourage physical activity and give back to the community. Each runner, biker, or walker who uses the app records his/her mileage and, with a simple share to Facebook or Twitter, has an amount of money – based on said mileage – donated on his/her behalf from the company.

Parlez-vous diplomacy? English won’t serve the UK abroad

report from the British Academy has warned that a lack of foreign language skills could undermine the UK’s future security and capacity for global influence.

Parlez-vous diplomacy? English won't serve the UK abroad | English as an international lingua franca in education | Scoop.it
The report warns of an apathy towards language learning in some parts of government. But the “radically different landscape of international engagement and security” that we find ourselves in makes these skills more important than ever.
Because of globalisation, international communication is no longer the preserve of the Foreign Office and diplomats. Our energy policies are international, our business policies are international and our defence activities are certainly international.
The report’s emphasis on the importance of languages will come as little surprise to many analysts of contemporary international affairs.
Language skills have long been recognised as fundamental to successful diplomacy. An important role of diplomats since antiquity has been as messengers. That role can only be properly fulfilled with an understanding of language.
This doesn’t always mean being able simply “speak” a foreign tongue but to be able to communicate with an “other”. Language is determined by time, place and cultural context. To that end, we would do well to remember that language skills are not just about picking up vocabulary and grammar but relate to the more general concept of communication.

Languages and universities

The report emphasises a particular concern about the teaching – or lack thereof – of foreign languages in British universities. Modern languages are in a fragile state and face even greater challenges now the government has removed teaching subsidies and increased tuition fees, which are now supposed to cover the cost of teaching.
Because funding now comes from students, many language departments may struggle to make courses financially self-sufficient if they can’t recruit enough people to pay for them. This is a concern given the importance of these subjects to national security and prosperity.
But UK higher education institutions may well be able to play to a comparative advantage in the short term. They are well practised at teaching rigorous analytical skills across disciplines, particularly those that support communication. When an undergraduate studies for a business degree, they will take in all kinds of skills along the way. When they read law, they are taught theory and practice. When the learn in the arts and humanities they are often as not assessed with an essay; itself a written form of communication.
Now, more than ever, the practicalities of “having” a language are self-evident in looking at future careers and social relationships. What’s more, many universities strongly encourage undergraduates to study a language as a part of a joint honours degree with another subject.
That means universities can support a student’s understanding of communication as they learn the nuts and bolts of a language. The British Academy report notes that universities are taking steps to adapt to the changed world and that some parts of government are too.
But the UK has a tendency towards complacency when it comes to language that really won’t wash in a world in which China and India are emerging as global powers.
Equally, we should be in no doubt that being custodians of the lingua franca of the internet is not a perpetual guarantee of the prevalence of English. Language has undergone significant change in recent times, particularly in its electronic usage, and that is likely to continue.
The English language may well be the last vestige of a bygone imperial age: if it is, it will end as did the notion that the sun never set on the British Empire.

10 pueblos curiosos de España que probablemente desconozcas

Un pueblo que parece “aplastado” por una roca, y otro, que parece “colgado” de una roca. Otro al borde de un precipicio, un pueblo blanco, uno azul, uno en torno a un castillo de cuento, otro perdido en el medioevo. Son diez pueblos de España, todos curiosos desde algún punto de vista. Para quienes les resulten conocidos, verlos en lista quizás sea un buen motivo para despertar las ganas de viajar por gran parte de la península ibérica. Para quienes no los conozcan, sin dudas será una grata sorpresa, atracciones a veces no tan conocidas de un país que tiene tanto por conocer:

1. Una reliquia medieval (Besalú, Girona)

Las fotos de Besalú parecen una “reconstrucción digital” de un pueblo medieval, pero es tan real como lo puede contar su historia. Su magia se acrecienta por su emplazamiento y el entorno que ofrece vistas magníficas y una atmósfera difícil de repetir. Besalú es uno de los principales conjuntos medievales de España, un paisaje urbano congelado en el tiempo que incluye puentes, murallas y construcciones que no han cambiado por siglos.
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos

2. Un pueblo adosado a una roca (Setenil de las Bodegas, Cádiz)

Pareciera que una enorme roca está a punto de desmoronarse y aplastar las casas de Setenil de las Bodegas. El río Guadalporcún, ha modelado un impresionantes tajo a su paso por la ciudad. Y sus habitantes, han decidido no desaprovechar ningún espacio:
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos

3. Un pueblo blanco (Casares, Málaga)

En Andalucía se encuentra uno de lso estereotipos de los pueblos blancos andaluces, de calles estrechas y sinuosas con casas encaladas. Puede que Casares, sea además de blanco, uno de los más fotogénicos.
pueblos curiosos

Ampliación: si se trata de pueblos blancos fotogénicos la lista claro que se extiende. En comentarios nos sugieren Olvera en Cádiz, sólo por sumar ejemplos.

4. El pueblo del castillo de cuentos (Olite, Navarra)

Si alguien busca uno de esos pueblos en torno a un castillo que se como los de cuento, debería recurrir a los escenarios de historias de fantasía, o trasladar a Olite.. El Palacio Real de Olite, de estilo gótico, posee un aspecto que agrada por demás a la vista, fruto de su construcción en donde los detalles estéticos tuvieron mayor relevancia que los defensivos. Construido durante el reinado de Carlos III, fue uno de los más bellos de Europa en su momento., aunque podríamos agregar que lo sigue siendo. (Ver también 10 castillos que parecen de cuento en España)
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos

5. Un pueblo que cuelga en el abismo (Ronda, Málaga)

Aunque hoy no es un pueblo (tiene más de 30.000 habitantes) su zona histórica lo fue, y hoy se conserva casi sin cambios. Situado en la serranía de Ronda, en Andalucía, la ciudad está asentada en una meseta cortada abruptamente por la erosión del río Guadalevín. El centro histórico, se asoma al abismo brindando unas vistas panorámicas inolvidables:
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos

6. Un pueblo que es parte del paisaje (Albarracín, Teruel)

Albarracín es un caserío que se adapta de un modo difícil de superar al paisaje que lo rodea, en la provincia de Teruel, comunidad de Aragón. Es uno de esos lugares que se puede caminar hasta perdernos en el tiempo. Para algunos expertos, es el pueblo más bonito de España.
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos

7. Un pueblo perdido en el Mediterráneo (Cadaqués, Girona)

Cadaqués fue y es un pueblo de pescadores (muy turístico) que permaneció aislado hasta no hace tanto. Por ello, sus calles empinadas se recorren a pie, y sus vistas poco han cambiado. Es un reducto bohemio y poblado por artistas, con un entorno tranquilo que supo amar Salvador Dalí, uno de sus residentes más famosos.
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos

8. Un pueblo al borde del abismo (Castellfollit de la Roca, Girona)

Casi se podría decir, que Castellfollit de la Roca es parte del precipicio de basalto, como si estuviera amurallado naturalmente. Su situación es evidenemente, fotogénica por demás:
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos

9. Un pueblo de montaña que parece de cuento (Sallent de Gállego, Huesca)

Si buscamos unos de esos pueblos de montaña que se nos hacen de cuento, Sallent de Gállego da en la talla. A orillas de un embalse, y al pie de altas cumbres del Pirineo, el pico La Foratata parece coronar el lugar.
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos

10. Cudillero, Principado de Asturias

Un paisaje abrupto, como un anfiteatro salpicado de casas coloridas que miran al mar, playas solitarias, tranquilidad por demás y un estilo de vida en torno al mar desde hace siglos. Cudillero es uno de los pueblos más bonitos de España.
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos

Extra: un pueblo azul (Júzcar)

La idea nació como una acción promocional de una película (Los Pitufos), pero al parecer, el color azul seguirá siendo una marca de identidad del pueblo. Júzcar se encuentra en Málaga, en el Alto Valle del Genal.
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos
pueblos curiosos

Some facts about the Spanish Language

The Spanish language is the most widely spoken Romance language, both in terms of number of speakers and the number of countries in which it is the dominant language.
There are more than 400 million Spanish speakers worldwide. Pronunciation and usage of the spoken Spanish language naturally vary among countries, but regional differences are not so great as to make the language unintelligible to speakers from different areas. Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a single spoken “Spanish”. There are different Spanish dialects because of the evolution of the Spanish language in different regions.

The Importance of Spanish Today

The Spanish-speaking population is one of the fastest growing segments in the world, especially in the United States. The Spanish-speaking segment constitutes a huge community that shares products, services, and culture, offering businesses and institutions a truly unique growth opportunity. Here are some important facts regarding the Spanish language:
  • Spanish, the official language in twenty-one countries, is the third most widely-spoken language in the world, after English and Mandarin.
  • More than 400 million people speak Spanish worldwide.
  • Experts predict that by the year 2050, there will be 530 million Spanish speakers, of which 100 million will be living in the United States.
Hence, as you can imagine, the demand for having documents and communications in Spanish is growing at exponential rates. This is especially true in the United States where the Hispanic population has recently become the largest minority in the country.

U.S. Hispanic Market

The largest minority group in the United States is Hispanics. U.S. Hispanics have become not only a powerful group in terms of buying power, but also represent a key demographic group for national, state and local politics. The U.S. Hispanic vote can shift the results of a presidential election. In particular, Florida, whose population is comprised of over 20% Hispanics, has typically been a swing state in the last three crucial presidential elections.

Join me in an informal Get-together on Skype – Spanish or English are available.

My dear friend, why not join me in an informal Get-together on Skype for about 30 to 40 minutes on a Saturday to be arranged?

You may as well send me an email to jordipicazosalomo@gmail.com and book to join me for a Get-together this Saturday at 10 AM Madrid Time (GMT+1) for Spanish and 11 AM for English. Minimum level required B1 European Framework for Languages or Intermediate. 
You just go and appear on Skype and contact me at “jordi.picazo“. We can create an informal group to share ideas and experiences.
This is the best way to learn a language: speak it. Once you have studied it, it is time to just speak it and give it a boost.
I’d love to get to know some of you that read the Blog from all over the world, regardless of whether your native language is the target language in the get-together or you want to practice it. We may as well start talking about the posts you most liked in here.
Deal? Go for it. I’ll be here waiting for you to join.
Greetings from the Cyberspace.


Escribe a Tommy Torres para que le ayude a conquistar a su chica, y el músico le contestó… Alejandro Sanz Ricky Martin Ricardo Arjona Querido Tommy

Juan Francisco Jiménez Jacinto

Un fastidio o una oportunidad: todos abrimos el correo electrónico y, a veces, tenemos que hacer frente a muchas peticiones o comentarios, algunos pueden molestarnos por el esfuerzo que nos demandan y que nos querríamos ahorrar.
Ahora imaginemos los mensajes que reciben personalidades públicas: políticos, deportistas, presentadores… y cantantes. Cabe suponer que muchos, muchísimos. Pues el compositor Tommy Torres decidió convertir algo que podría suponer un fastidio en una oportunidad.
Tommy, músico y compositor, ha producido para Alejandro Sanz, Ricky Martin o Ricardo Arjona, entre otros, canciones como: ‘Quién ’, ‘Acompáñame a estar solo ’, ‘Cómo Duele ’ de Arjona o ‘Tu recuerdo ’ de Ricky Martin. Todas son suyas y le han llevado a estar muy considerado en el mundo musical.
Pero un día este cantante recibió la petición de ayuda de un fan. Paco, como se llama, pedía al músico que le ayudara a conquistar una chica que amaba. Y entre los cientos de mensajes que Tommy recibía decidió escribir una canción para ayudarle. Pero no cualquier canción, una canción muy especial.

“Dile que la amas y nada más”

Y es que el compositor puertorriqueño no hizo otra cosa que poner música al correo que Paco le había escrito y que, al no recibir respuesta, escribió un segundo mensaje mostrándole su decepción y recriminándole que le había considerado “buena gente”. El texto es el siguiente:
Entonces el compositor decidió hacer alquimia con el correo de Paco, que sin saberlo, se vio convertido en todo un poeta. Tommy solamente le puso música a sus palabras y obró la transformación. Un hecho que destaca el valor humano de este músico que como buen maestro alquímico también convirtió una recriminación, que podría haberle supuesto un fastidio, en una oportunidad de hacer el bien y de crear un éxito.

Hay historias que no deberían ser olvidadas y, aunque ya hace un año del regalo que Tommy Torres le hizo a su fan, esta es una de ellas. El resto hay que dejar que lo acabe diciendo la música: