Welcome to the New, Completely Paperless World

After 80 years of making deals with colored funny money, Monopoly has finally modernized with the elimination of fake bills and introduction of credit cards and electronic scanners for transferring funds. In many ways, Parker Brothers is simply catching up to the way the world does business in the digital age. But they also may have seen the writing on the paperless wall.

While print publishing still comes to terms with the clunky print-digital balance, a slew of electronic readers is making the decision to forego paper easier.


It starts with Amazon’s second iteration of Kindle, the wireless reader that allows users to download newspapers, blogs and more than 240,000 books. A number of big electronics players are entering the e-reader business to compete with Amazon, particularly Sony whose version features a touch screen and illumination for low-light reading. Hearst has also invested in the technology and is preparing to introduce a digital reader. Even book retailer Barnes and Noble has jumped into the market with their recent purchase of e-book retailer Fictionwise for $15.7 million in cash.

Fascinating as the burgeoning industry has become with corporate players, the real innovators may be a couple of smaller European-based companies. The first, Plastic Logic, recently introduced its own version of the basic e-reader design that is slightly thicker than a sheet of paper. The touch-screen display is made primarily of transistors on plastic and could revolutionize the medium. Another European venture, iRex, offers a digital reader on to which you can "print" your documents for digital viewing further eliminating the need for paper.

And newspaper publishing is certainly seeing the dawn of a paperless age, even if it's arriving as a last-ditch move to avoid the recession's pinch. The biggest daily publication to soon fold will likely be the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, whose parent company Hearst has said it would go digital if they are not able to find a buyer. It’s a fate that has already befallen the hundred-year-old Christian Science Monitor. Throw in the earmarks from Obama’s stimulus plan to digitize government and newspapers and board games won’t be the only things missing paper.

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Why do people quit their jobs? Surely, there are a ton of factors: money, hours, location, lack of interest, etc. For Alison McMahon, an HR specialist and the CEO of TwoFold, the biggest reason employees jump ship is that they're tired of working for lousy bosses.

By and large, she says, people are willing to put up with certain negatives as long as they enjoy who they're working for. When that's just not the case, there's no reason to stick around:

Nine times out of ten, when an employee says they're leaving for more money, it's simply not true. It's just too uncomfortable to tell the truth.

Whether that's true is certainly debatable, though it's not a stretch to say that an inconsiderate and/or incompetent boss isn't much of a leader. If you run an organization or company, your values and actions need to guide and inspire your team. When you fail to do that, you set the table for poor productivity and turnover.

McMahon offers a few suggestions for those who want to hone their leadership abilities, though it seems that these things are more innate qualities than acquired skills. For example, actually caring about your workers or not depending wholly on HR thinking they can do your job for you.

It's the nature of promotions that, inevitably, a good employee without leadership skills will get thrust into a supervisory position. McMahon says this is a chronic problem that many organizations need to avoid, or at least make the time to properly evaluate and assist with the transition.

But since they often don't, they end up with uninspired workers. And uninspired workers who don't have a reason to stay won't stick around for long.

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