Spacetrip – Christmas Present of the Year

There’s no doubt what the most popular Christmas present will be this year. Influenced by the launch of the first manned mission to Mars next month, you will most likely get a present with stars, a gift card for a spacetrip.

The interest in the suborbital trips (100 km above the surface of the Earth) have grown steadily since the launch 20 years ago, but the market has basically exploded this year since the official announcement of the Mars mission. More low cost spacelines have entered the market and you can now find suborbital flights for as low as US$ 3,495.

Space tourism is one of the markets that have developed the most during the last decade, with the opening of the Starbright Hotel on the moon, as well as the low orbital hotels that started accepting guests. However, accommodation in space is still expensive for the average household, so the suborbital flights with thirty minutes weightlessness during the three-hour flight, with four hours preparation, will for some time be the most popular trip.

The spacelines might however in the future face fierce competition from space elevators, like the one that are projected for construction start within a couple of years. Once it is fully functional it will start to ship cargo to space, but it will as soon as possible accept passengers to get back the giant investment. Even though the elevator become successful, it will take several years before there will be more elevators in the world, to get in the competition for the space traffic with the spacelines.

How to Hire a Negotiator

In life, there are some situations that you will be called on to negotiate in order to get what you want / need. However, there will also be situations in which you have the time (and the budget!) to reach out and get outside help.

Getting outside negotiating help can be especially critical if the type of negotiation that you are preparing to start is of a very technical or detailed nature. If you can find someone who has “been there, done that” you can significantly improve the odds of being successful in the negotiations. Now the big question is just how does one go about hiring a negotiator?

The challenge in interviewing someone to do negotiating on your behalf is that negotiation is a very difficult job to do. The reason that negotiating is such a challenge is because it doesn’t just require one or two specific skills, but rather a whole collection of skills that we really don’t find in business.

At a very high level, a good negotiator has the ability to show good business sense while at the same time displaying a deep understanding of how people think and act. It is a rare thing indeed to find both of these qualities in a single individual. Couple that with any special knowledge or experience that you are looking for and choosing the wrong negotiator to represent you can appear to be all too easy.

The following 10 characteristics of a good negotiator are what you should be looking for when you are interviewing possible candidates. It’s going to take some probing on your part to uncover these traits, but it will be worth the effort:

1. Must have the ability to negotiate well with members of YOUR team. If the candidate can’t win the confidence of your team, how can you expect him to succeed in the negotiation with the other side?

2. Must show that he/she has the ability to construct a plan and the commitment to follow it through. The ability to realize that not all information may be available before the negotiation starts and the willingness to check facts and alter plans as new details emerge are also critical.

3. Did I mention the need for sound business sense? The ability to see through the fog of negotiations and identify the issues that will have an impact on your bottom line is key.

4. The ability to deal with both ambiguity (both before and during the negotiations) as well as conflict during the actual negotiations.

5. The willingness to aim high when setting goals for the negotiations.

6. The ability to realize that a negotiation is a process and the patience to wait for the other side to reveal more so that the process can move forward.

7. The ability to personally connect with both your team and the other side. Yes, negotiation is a business process, but the personal touch can make all the difference when it comes to closing the deal.

8. A realization that his / her personal integrity is what matters above all else.

9. The ability to, no matter how heated a discussion gets, listen with an open mind to what the other side is saying.

10. The self-confidence that is needed to see a negotiation through from start to finish.

Top Five Wedding Present Ideas

It’s never simple to know what people will prefer or appreciate as a wedding present. How do you find unique wedding gifts? Or how will you find personalized wedding gifts for a couple? Are there particular times that you should go off the registry for getting people something better or different? And what might the expectations for groomsmen gifts and bridesmaid gifts be? Listed below are some great wedding present ideas which the bride and groom will genuinely like-organized into five useful ideas.

The Experience Gift

The wedding present idea here is to find them an item that they’ll enjoy and carry along with them beyond the utilization of the item itself. These usually turn out to be unique wedding gifts. Some examples include pitching in to buy them an upgrade on their wedding-night room, for the purpose of making sure it is extra plush, or sweetening their honeymoon experience. To upgrade their room, you’ll probably want to check with the bride’s mother or maid-of-honor (or whoever might understand these particular arrangements) to guarantee you put in for this before they sign their reservation. This definitely requires planning ahead of time! The same applies for sweeting their honeymoon experience. You might try to discover where they’re going and attempt to buy them a dinner while there, or a show, or maybe even pay to upgrade their airplane flight (which can be done rather last minute).

There’s scientific support for going this route. Psychologists, behavioral economists and philosophers studying what makes people happy have realized that because our brains encode memories selectively, we tend to remember favorable activities well. If you upgrade someone’s honeymoon, they’re more likely to remember it. Even if one of the couple got sea-sick on the cruise, that a part of the memory will more than likely fade (yea, really), and they’ll recall that you bought them an extra-special dinner.

The Expensive Item On The Registry

Depending on the group of people joining a wedding (are lots of rich people attending?), the expensive item or perhaps couple of expensive items, tend to be more of a wish-list-a wouldn’t it be nice if we got that? kind of item. So the wedding favor idea here should be to actually cobble together people’s funds to make the couple’s dream come true! They probably won’t receive the gift any other way, which means that this will blow them away!

Just make sure that if it’s a multi-gift item, like an expensive table-wear set, that you get them the entire set. This last bit is personal for both of us here. When we got married, people more or less completed our daily ware (yay!), but we had only three complete finer wear sets… It happens that a lot of our friends did arrange to get those and hoped that other people would pitch in, and that just didn’t happen. (On the up side: we did gradually complete the set over the next 36 months).

The Memory Gift

Of the suggestions for wedding favors, this is one of the best! It is a little like the experience gift, namely to acquire for them something they will look at a decade from now and say “Hey, remember that Ryan gave us that?” Some examples include towels (doesn’t everyone put that on their registry?), embroidered cloth, or engraved goods like glasses, watches, silverware, etc. Handmade or DIY (do-it-yourself) items also fall into this category, especially if they have some form of engraving or inscription upon them. You could also try the “time capsule” idea. For example, you might get them a nice bottle of wine with instructions to open it on their tenth anniversary.

Can I Give Cash?

The down sides for this wedding present idea are that it might seem not not-from-the heart or uncreative. The plus side: the couple can actually do what they need by using it. After receiving a mini heart-shaped waffle iron for a gift, we are able to say with quite a bit of confidence that we’d prefer cash. The important point to take into account here is that it’s rude to ask for cash, but it is not rude to be given it. Any newly married couple can use a bit more cash for moving expenses, a honeymoon, or possibly just a nice dinner together. If you’re pressed for time, or you just don’t know of a superior gift, cash is always welcome. And this is one of those cases where going off the registry for a wedding gift will be appreciated.

The Service Gift

The wedding present idea here is to find the couple a service they really want as opposed to a specific product for their unique gift. We mean services like housekeeping services, pre-paid car washes, yard work, car oil-changes, pre-paid dry-cleaning, etc. The crucial step to doing this right is knowing the couple well enough to be familiar with the sorts of services (1) they need and (2) that they are not likely to do themselves. All the points listed above are items that we would like taken care of ourselves: neither of us like raking leaves, vacuuming, washing the car (we are now living in NY so it’s usually cold), ironing dress shirts, getting underneath a car and looking to prevent oil getting everywhere, etc. We do have an uncle, however, who really likes changing his personal car’s oil-or at least he appears to like it-so probably a bad gift idea would be to offer that service for him. You understand the point.

Also, it may be tricky providing people with services that could be what you do for your individual business or job. If it’s something they will really use, it might be worth looking at, but don’t forget that you should avoid making it seem like you were just being cheap for the gift, and you need to be sure to keep friendship and business relations relatively split in that type of experience.