A Dragster for Your Desktop
Executives in search of a thrill are buying "hot rod" gaming PCs that are about 20 times as fast as the average office machine and sport sleek cases and paint jobs that suggest racing cars. The PCs are made to optimize the wild 3-D graphics and surround sound of video games like Grand Theft Auto 2 and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 (and of course they can handle any spreadsheet or logo redesign). Made by private companies like Falcon Northwest, based in Ashland, Ore., and Alienware in Miami, gaming computers are custom assembled and can be personalized with neon lights and just about any graphic that can be baked onto aluminum. Gaming-PC companies are also known for superior tech support and customer service. Prices range from $3,000 to $10,000.
Wanted: Business-Minded Girls
Fully 97% of teenage girls expect to work outside the home, but only 9% list business as their first career choice--compared with 15% of boys. Those are among the findings of "Teen Girls on Business: Are They Being Empowered," a recent survey sponsored by Simmons School of Management in Boston, which specializes in training women M.B.A.s, and the Committee of 200, an organization of women business leaders. Patricia O'Brien, president of Simmons College, says the survey explains why women make up 50% of the nation's law and medical students but only 30% of its business students. "Girls have a stronger desire to help people than to make money, and it's invisible to them that business can have a positive impact," says Connie Duckworth, chairwoman of the Committee of 200. Minority girls, however, are more likely to see entrepreneurship as a ladder up: 56% of blacks, 50% of Hispanics and 41% of Asians expressed interest in starting their own business, compared with 39% of whites.
THE PLACE TO MEET
You're an event planner for a cost-conscious corporation, and you need to set up a three-day off-site for 100 executives who are based in cities all over the U.S. and are accustomed to four-star accommodations. Where do you book the meeting without breaking the bank? According to GetThere, a Menlo Park, Calif., company that produces automated travel-reservation systems, your best bet is Jacksonville, Fla. (shown at right). Using an online program called DirectMeetings, GetThere ranked 26 U.S. cities, using factors like cost of accommodations and airfares. Jacksonville, where you could hold the described meeting for $139,000, topped the bargain list, followed by Indianapolis, Ind., at $147,000. Most expensive were Honolulu at $265,000 and Los Angeles at $217,000. GetThere says automated meeting planning can save time and money, but the firm doesn't vouch for amenities in the cities. Says GetThere spokeswoman Noel Bilodeau: "I know nothing about Jacksonville."
Trash Talking in Taiwan