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The data on the site, called AbouttheData.com, includes biographical facts, like education level, marital status and number of children in a household; homeownership status, including mortgage amount and property size; vehicle details, like the make, model and year; and economic data, like whether a household member is an active investor with a portfolio greater than $150,000. Also available will be the consumer’s recent purchase categories, like plus-size clothing or sports products; and household interests like golf, dogs, text-messaging, cholesterol-related products or charities.
Each entry comes with an icon that visitors can click to learn about the sources behind the data — whether self-reported consumer surveys, warranty registrations or public records like voter files. The program also lets people correct or suppress individual data elements, or to opt out entirely of having Acxiom collect and store marketing data about them.
Although the site shows visitors a few facts that some might consider sensitive, like race and ethnicity, it initially omits, at least in the version I saw, intimate references — like “gambling,” “senior needs,” “smoker in the household” and “adult with wealthy parent” — that Acxiom markets to corporate clients but that might discomfit consumers if they knew they were for sale. (Acxiom said that the site includes the “core” facts it has collected about consumers, but that it might add “derived” data, like propensity for gambling, at a later date.)
This kind of anodyne presentation of data-mining, says Joseph Turow, a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, could prompt people to collude in their own surveillance by perfecting their profiles. That would improve the quality and resale value of the data for Acxiom, he says, perhaps to consumers’ detriment.
We've been tracking this issue for years. Mara Leveritt's related cover story in 2004 is one example.
Leading the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, "synthesizes all of my interests and passions," Warwick Sabin said today by phone. After five and a half years as publisher of the Oxford American, he said the timing was right for him to leave and that he was confident he was leaving the magazine on good footing.
He begins as executive director of the new nonprofit on Sep. 1. He'll be focused on encouraging entrepreneurship in the region.
The new job won't keep him from continuing his term in the state House of Representatives, he said.
"All of the members of the legislature have other professional responsibilities. Certainly if any conflict were to arise I would seek to avoid that and maintain my ethical integrity."
Sabin said advertising director Ray Wittenberg will serve as interim publisher of the Oxford American.
Sabin led the Oxford American during a tumultuous period. He became publisher while working a full time job at UCA after an office manager at the magazine embezzled more than $100,000, sending the magazine into bankruptcy. He was an unpaid volunteer during his first year and a half on the job. Last year, of course, he weathered a nasty exit by founder and editor Marc Smirnoff and managing editor Carol Ann Fitzgerald, who were fired by the Oxford American board following allegations of sexual harassment. Sabin's hiring of former Harper's editor Roger Hodge to replace Smirnoff was seen as a coup in the media world. Earlier this month, the magazine opened South on Main, a restaurant and performance space.
Sabin said that the magazine's circulation and advertising sales have stabilized since the trying financial times, and it's recently won more grants and charitable donations than at time in the magazine's history.
I have a note into Rick Massey, who's on the Oxford American board, about plans for a publisher search.
The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub was announced in late July. Similar projects have produced great results in some other places. The announcement was accompanied by instant controversy — petty politics on the part of Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, who didn't want the Museum of Discovery, which receives $200,000 annually in city support, participating in a project in North Little Rock.
Sabin didn't specifically comment on any of that, but did say, "It's very important to me that this new effort is really about building a regional and collaborative approach to this kind of economic development. Because I think that Central Arkansas is ripe for a coordinated and collaborative effort very much modeled after what’s happened in Northwest Arkansas."
We wrote about start-up culture in Northwest Arkansas last year.
Warwick Sabin has been named the executive director of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, a new non-profit organization that will promote entrepreneurship through business incubation, academic research, technical and manufacturing assistance, and job training. Sabin will assume his responsibilities on Sept. 1.
"I am honored to have the opportunity to establish a new collaborative regional approach to promoting entrepreneurial business development in Central Arkansas," Sabin said. "The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub will bring together corporate leaders, educators, nonprofit foundations, and local, state, and federal governments in a focused effort to assist startup ventures and prepare the workforce for the jobs that will follow. This is a comprehensive, cooperative, and practical way to achieve our potential as a region."
Many other regions of the country have embarked upon similar efforts with positive results, including New Orleans, Louisiana, and Northwest Arkansas. In May 2013, after a successful pilot program of the innovation hub model in Youngstown, Ohio, the U.S. government announced competitions for teams across the U.S. to win a combined $200 million to develop manufacturing innovation hubs. Furthermore, U.S. President Barack Obama's 2014 budget proposal included $1 billion to launch 15 advanced manufacturing hubs throughout the nation.
The first phase of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub is the recently-unveiled Argenta Innovation Center (innovateargenta.com), which includes a co-work space, a youth arts program and an advanced-technology maker space that will operate in tandem to provide education, training, prototyping, and startup and entrepreneurial opportunities.
"Central Arkansas has the talent, amenities, and resources to support the development of cutting-edge new businesses," Sabin said. "But we need to work together — as cities, counties, colleges and universities, school districts, corporations, chambers of commerce — with the recognition that everyone has something to contribute to this effort and everyone has something to gain from its success. This is our chance to synthesize our assets and grow our regional economy from the grass roots in a way that is sustainable and real."
Vikon Farms is going to spend more than $5 million to restart a former Petit Jean Poultry plant in Arkadelphia that will employ more than 172 people processing a special breed of chicken sold to Asian markets. It's a free-range chicken fed organically and wins high marks for flavor around the country.
Here's a story from LA weekly on the chicken:
The company sells Vikon chickens, a heritage, brown-feathered breed that falls under the United States Department of Agriculture categorization of "Buddhist-style" poultry.
The main difference? "Buddhist-style means the head and the feet are still attached," Dana Phu, owner of Cal Fresh said. The whole chicken represents familial unity.
Dana and her husband Quan Phu, Chinese immigrants from Vietnam, began their business in 1991 because they saw a lack of eviscerated chickens with the head and feet still attached in the market.
"Our parents would tell us to buy fresh chickens with the head and feet attached. We would have to drive all the way out to Los Angeles in Chinatown to get it," Dana said. "The chickens are used in Buddhist or Taoist religions to worship ancestors."
In 1991, the couple started up a hot bird plant (meaning it follows California slaughterhouse regulations) in Rosemead and in 1993, opened up a USDA-approved facility. "We ship as far as Chicago, Washington State, Texas and Kentucky," Dana said.
Their particular breed of chicken can be found in most Chinese grocery stores in the San Gabriel Valley and affluent Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood like New Capital, Ocean Star and NBC Seafood Restaurant are among the company's clients. But ancestral worship isn't the only appeal for their customer base. Compared to mainstream chicken, the poultry at Cal Fresh is a perfect fit for cooks. "I would describe the texture as firmer, almost more al dente but still really moist," Trang said. "It's great for braising or steaming."
It's already starting up the publicity, with a news release on the manager of the shop/entertainment venue.
I note this with great interest both because of Otter Creek developer Tommy Hodges' long up-then down-then up pursuit of the store as an anchor for commercial department handily located near state wetlands and because, after much legal wrangling and taxpayer subsidy talk on a proposed North Little Rock location, Bass Pro decided to locate in Little Rock on the strength of the deal Hodges made and the location near the junction of I-430/30. Some highway work is expected to improve access to the area, someday to include other retail, motel, restaurant and other commercial entries. But it's looking like the free market worked and what's not to cheer about that?
Check the jump for an introduction to manager Will Anderson, a native Arkansan who, the news release says, likes to teach kids to "bait a hook and fish, start a campfire and pitch a tent.”
Thanks to Austin Kellerman from Channel 4 for grabbing a photo of work in progress above and saving me a trip out there.
I'm expecting an additional news release Monday from Bass Pro about a call for applicants for jobs at the new store. I'll add some details when I have them.
UPDATE: The jobs fair will be held from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday next week at the Metroplex Events Center.
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