Join us at Cycle for Survival!

Cycle for Survival
Many of us know what it’s like to have a friend or family member diagnosed with cancer. You might feel helpless, depleted, filled with sadness, but there’s one other thing I’m sure you also felt: an insatiable desire to do something about it, to help in any way possible.

Two years ago, my oldest son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Luckily the tumor ended up being benign, but I still felt that need to do something. Even now after the tumor has been successfully removed and his condition improved, the feeling does not go away. We all want to do something positive with our lives and make some sort of tangible, positive change, however sometimes it’s hard to find the time or the right opportunity. Well here’s your chance: Cycle For Survival.

Cycle For Survival is not just a fundraising event, it’s movement to beat rare forms of cancer. Since its founding in 2007, Cycle For Survival has raised over $100 million to fund clinical trials, research studies, and major research initiatives in pursuit of a cure to various forms of rare cancer.

Many people may not realize this, but almost half of all people fighting cancer are rare cancer patients. Unfortunately, many of these patients end up not having access to treatment options because research on these rare forms of cancer is so underfunded…which is exactly why Cycle For Survival is so important.

One of the reasons why we at 4th Bin love Cycle For Survival so much is because 100% of every dollar raised is directly allocated to rare cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center within 6 months of the events. Cycle for Survival cares about one thing and one thing only: saving lives.

In 2016, Cycle For Survival raised an incredible $30 Million for rare cancer research, but now’s not the time for complacency. Each year, Cycle For Survival aims to surpass the fundraising total from the year prior…meaning we’ve got a lot of money to raise! My colleague John Kirsch and I are participating this year as members of Team PEDS for peds.

This December, Cycle For Survival is running its “December Challenge”. The goal is to raise $1.5 million in the month of December alone to fund supercomputer equipment that will help us unlock key clues in the hunt for treatment and cures to rare cancers.

We would like to kindly ask your for any donations to the cause. My fundraising goal is $2,000, and, while I’m well on my way there, I don’t want to simply hit it…I want to blow it away. Want to get even more involved than just a donation? Join team PEDS for peds! More information on our fundraising efforts and on Cycle For Survival can be found here: Cycle For Survival: PEDS for peds.

Why the CTO is the New COO

The business world is evolving at a rate which we have never seen before. Technological innovations are being implemented across a wide range of industries, from finance with the FinTech revolution to advertising & AdTech, all the way to the medical profession and MedTech. Technology’s pervasive presence in business is inescapable and virtually every industry is taking the steps necessary to stay current and not get left behind.

A major problem arises when a business become technologically complacent: new companies come along, providing the same services as their predecessors, but do so more efficiently and with fewer costs. Commonly referred to as “disruption”, the resulting apotheosis of young businesses and startups typically comes down to their eagerness to make technological innovation a centerpiece of their respective business models. Adapting to new technologies has become vital to the success and survival of business and this is starting to be reflected in corporate offices. The CTO is the becoming the new COO.

Being at the forefront of technological innovation and being technologically literate used to be considered assets in C-level executives. Now they’re necessities. A company needs to be driven by an individual who has total command of emerging technologies. Some of the high level challenges facing today’s COO include alignment of vision and strategy across all business units, marketing, information security, managing customer satisfaction, ensuring industry specific compliance requirements and hiring, managing and retaining a workforce of changing habits (i.e. remote). Each of these challenges often involves extensive use of technology as part of the larger strategy to achieve the respective goal

Even the nitty gritty daily operational tasks now involve technology. For example, sales force productivity is driven by data and workflow tools such as services like Salesforce and G Suite (Google’s business services) and the ability to merge these systems together. Business needs in the workplace demands that the COO have a developed understanding of these pieces of tech.

Just look at the world around us. Technology and digital services are prevalent everywhere. Politicians’ email are hacked and leaked. A presidential candidate tweets post-debate responses at 3am to considerable fanfare. Companies are constantly having their data breached resulting in high level executives being fired and/or sued. And these are just the high profile uses of technology. Imagine all of the untold and top-secret stories.

With the immense need for proper cyber security, the CTO is the one who best understands that, unless data and sensitive information are secure, the company cannot survive. A recent study by tech market research firm Vanson Bourne found that 82% of the companies who participated reported a lack of cyber security skills within their organizations. Not only is it likely that the CTO will have some cyber security skill, even if they do not, they’re more likely to recognize the dearth of cyber security talent within an organization and, in turn, take the necessary steps to alleviate this issue.

Just as the role of COO is paradigmatically different from what it was a decade ago, so is the role of the CTO. Formerly relegated to managing small teams and implementing esoteric technological concepts into a core product or service, the CTO now manages large teams and divisions tasked with providing essential services that keep the business afloat.

The CTO also has to have a command of what the market wants and needs. Look at Apple. They released dozens of amazing, cutting-edge computing products in the 80s and 90s that were unique at the time. But no one wanted them. (Remember the Apple Pippin? The video game system from 1995 was priced at $599 and sold just 42,000 copies until it was discontinued in 1997.) A piece of technology is only as great as a person’s desire to use it. One can think of countless examples of other amazing pieces of technology that were total busts on the consumer market.

From Marketing and daily operations, to team leading and cyber security, it’s clear that CTOs must become integral parts of executive teams at companies of all sizes. As the responsibilities of the COO and CTO continue to merge, it will become more and more clear that the unique skills and capabilities of the CTO provide companies with the highest potential for profit, security, and success.

The Dirty Truth About E-Waste Recycling

e-waste graveyard
Have you ever donated clothing to a thrift shop like AmVets or Salvation Army? If so, I’m sure you’ve felt the satisfaction, no matter how minor, of giving to help further a cause. Now, imagine if the clothing you donated to the poor was instead taken and sold off for minuscule profit rather than going where you were led to believe it was going. You would feel cheated and lied to, but, more importantly, the people who need the clothing are left out in the cold.

If the public were to find out a charity was turning donations for profit, there would be justifiable outrage…and yet that is exactly what’s occurring in the world of e-waste. The e-waste recycling industry has a major problem on its hands: recycling companies exporting e-waste to developing nations rather than recycling on their own.

So how is it that when I take my old computer to an e-waste recycler, there is a possibility that it will end up in a junkyard in Hong Kong where it is scraped for pieces, exposing laborers to toxins and destroying local ecosystems? There are a few causes:

  1. The Basel Convention: Primarily, this phenomenon occurs because there are no domestic laws inhibiting it. Regulation regarding e-waste began with the Basel Convention in 1992. The international treaty, designed to diminish the amount of hazardous waste moved between countries, especially less-developed countries, has been ratified by every signatory nation except two: The United States and Haiti.
  2. Legislation: Domestic efforts to pass legislation have been futile. Currently, there are no federal laws prohibiting the e-waste exports. States do not have the jurisdiction to restrict international exports so state by state legislation carries little weight.
  3. The Commodities Market: When the commodity market is bullish, the processing and recycling of e-waste presents a lucrative business opportunity. Not so in a bear market. For many companies, the current state of the commodity market means that exporting e-waste is far more profitable than domestically processing and recycling the materials.
  4. Information Asymmetry: Finally, there’s a lack of coherence as to whether or not e-waste companies exporting their waste is even an issue. The UN says that anywhere between 10-40% of US e-waste is exported. Meanwhile, the International Trade Organization claimed that only 0.13% of US e-waste is exported. Contrary to these reports, Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network conducted a tracking experiment and found that about ⅓ of the electronic devices they put trackers on and then delivered to e-waste recycling companies eventually ended up overseas.

None of these causes even address the scariest issue about this: there is very little you can do about it. You can campaign and lobby for new laws, but lawmakers in D.C. have been blocking legislation on this exact issue since the early 90s.

Reputable e-waste recyclers will, at the very least, be certified. Sometimes companies will attempt to circumvent their certification. There are going to be bad apples everywhere. But not every single e-waste company is dumping in foreign markets. That makes it vitally important for you to research and vet any e-waste company before partnering with them.

Here at 4th Bin, we are very aware of these issues and the problems within the systems at play. This is why we are so committed and passionate about ensuring ethical, responsible and efficient end-to-end recycling solutions for our clients’ electronics and e-waste. We never export, send to landfill or stockpile anything in our care. Frankly, our e-waste collection and electronics recycling is incomparable.

We care deeply about two core issues—protecting your sensitive e-waste resources while also protecting the environment. This is what fuels the work we do.

Interested in learning more about our work? You can read about our responsible recycling solutions here.