Scene 1: Afternoon. Novotel Mumbai, Juhu BeachRanveer Singh doesn’t walk into a room, he makes an entry. Preferably with a portable speaker in hand. It’s a signature of sorts. On his first meeting with Maneesh Sharma, who would direct him in his debut Band Baaja Baaraat (2010), Ranveer came in,Scene 1: Afternoon. Novotel Mumbai, Juhu Beach Ranveer Singh doesn’t walk into a room, he makes an entry. Preferably with a portable speaker in hand. It’s a signature of sorts. On his first meeting with Maneesh Sharma, who would direct him in his debut Band Baaja Baaraat (2010), Ranveer came in dancing to ‘My Name is Lakhan’. He was lugging it again, at 1 am, before sitting down for a roundtable with Rajkummar Rao, Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal and Pankaj Tripathi for a TV show in December. For the shoot with india today, Ranveer announced his arrival with ‘Aankh Marey’, from his latest superhit, Simmba. It’s his second film to cross the Rs 200 crore mark, the first being Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s controversial Padmaavat (also 2018) in which his flamboyant Alauddin Khilji stole the show.2018 was a remarkable year in Hindi cinema. For the first time in almost a decade, none of the three Khans-Aamir, Shah Rukh or Salman-registered the highest earning Hindi film. It was left to Ranveer, with two films collectively earning Rs 500 crore, to emerge as the most bankable actor of the year with back-to-back hits. The face of 26 brands, one half of the #DeepVeer power couple, he was also the youngest male actor in the top 10 of the 2018 Forbes India Celebrity 100 list, with earnings of Rs 84.7 crore. And Ranveer is only getting started. His next, Gully Boy (releasing February 14), which will have its world premiere at the Berlinale, sees him play Murad, a rapper from Mumbai’s slums. Thereafter, he works in the nets to nail Kapil Dev’s bowling action for 83, a film about India’s World Cup-winning turn, and another period epic, Takht, later in the year, in which he plays Dara Shikoh, son of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.advertisementThe 90 minutes of the shoot feel like a blur. The songs keep changing, to suit the mood… first Eminem, then Mumbai rappers Emiway Bantai, Divine & Naezy…. What doesn’t change is Ranveer’s ‘trademark energy’.No other director so far has tapped into it with as much success as Bhansali. “This [energy] is infectious and that’s what makes him stand out,” says Bhansali of his hero in Goliyon Ki Rasleela… Ram-leela (2013) and Bajirao Mastani (2015) also. As a sign of how much Ranveer values his collaboration with Bhansali, the actor bought a house in the Mumbai suburb Goregaon, to be closer to the Padmaavat set in Film City. To get into Khilji’s skin, he’d lock himself up there for three weeks. “If I’m doing an intense role, I can’t switch on and off,” he says. “I have to carry the mood throughout.” In the film’s now iconic song, ‘Binte Dil’, which begins with a kohl-eyed, bare-chested Ranveer swaying in a bathtub, Bhansali instructed him to channel both Jim Morrison and Zeenat Aman. “He stunned me with how he improvised and interpreted it,” says Bhansali.For Ranveer, talent alone does not suffice, it has to be accompanied by hard work. An avid football fan, he likes to quote legendary football manager Alex Ferguson, “Hard work will always overcome natural talent when natural talent does not work hard enough.” To which Ranveer adds his own two bits: “Your ability is no good if you don’t apply yourself. I enjoy the process of creating a character with different voices, mannerisms and body language. Given the time and the bandwidth, I’d like to do it more.” It’s a work ethic that has already caught the eye of many filmmakers he aspires to work with one day.Scene 2Night: Ranveer’s Vanity Van, Mehboob StudioRanveer is resting. It’s a rare moment of repose for an otherwise effervescent personality. The van is minimally decorated, barring a Simmba poster and a whiteboard etched with his mantra for life: “Good vibes only. Stay blessed. Be kind. Work hard. Stay humble.” He’s shooting for Simmba’s end credits song, ‘Mera Wala Dance’, choreographed by Ganesh Acharya, who’s also behind his other hits ‘Tattad Tattad’ and ‘Malhari’. “I’m conserving my energy,” Ranveer tells us. “It’s what Anil Kapoor taught me during Dil Dhadakne Do.”Vikramaditya Motwane, who directed Ranveer in Lootera, a box-office failure but in which the actor posted his most accomplished and restrained performance as a thief who has a change of heart, calls him the love-child of Anil Kapoor and Govinda. They are the two actors Ranveer grew up idolising along with Amitabh Bachchan. Govinda, for him, continues to be “the complete performer”. “Whether it is emotion, comedy or dance, he is head and shoulders above everyone else in terms of sheer talent,” says Ranveer. He also finds inspiration in Anil Kapoor’s “intensely emotional” persona. “He goes about every movie like it’s his first film,” says Ranveer. “He isn’t blasé or jaded about it. He’s not being overconfident. He’s hungry and wanting to do better. He’s all heart. I want to be that way.”advertisement Only he already is, according to Maneesh Sharma. “He loves to do his homework, which is any director’s delight,” says the writer-director. “He maps out the character and the pitch for a scene.” Ranveer is meticulous about his work, carrying a diary in which he makes entries in colour pens and sticky notes. For Band Baaja Baaraat, the Bandra boy took a DTC bus to get a feel of the Delhi his character, Bittoo Sharma, belonged to. On one such visit, he managed to get into a class in Kirori Mal College and later hung out with 20 guys on the lawns. “There are actors who believe in being completely spontaneous. I think my ‘keeda’ for preparation is born out of a certain nervousness,” he told India Today in an interview in 2013. “Even if the prep didn’t help, it had a placebo effect on my mind… maine kar liya hai.” Initially, the excessive preparation was also a limitation for Ranveer, especially if his interpretation was not in alignment with the director’s vision. “For him to adapt to a different tone would sometimes be difficult,” says Sharma, citing the film’s climax where he was asked to “bring it down” and “be honest” and the shoot was pushed to the next day. Ranveer credits both Sharma and Motwane as well as Bhansali’s demanding direction for making him less rigid in his approach.Ranveer, 33, belongs to a new generation of actors that include Ranbir Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Ayushmann Khurrana, Varun Dhawan and Tiger Shroff. On the chat show Koffee with Karan, host Karan Johar, who directs him in Takht, asks his celebrity guests in the rapidfire round: Ranbir or Ranveer, who is the better actor? The responses so far have predominantly favoured Ranbir, but Ranveer is slowly stealing a march with his accessibility and ability to pick diverse projects. “In talent and track record, they are more or less at par,” says Prabhat Choudhary, founder of leading public relations firm Spice which manages some of Bollywood’s superstars. “The difference is in temperament and in the degree of hunger they possess. For someone to believe that you do your work and things will fall into place if they have to is being extremely simplistic. One has to realise that marketing and communication are part of your work. The stakes are way bigger today and the whole definition of stardom has undergone a change. Ranveer breaks the complacency and challenges the status quo.”While Ranbir breaks out of the ‘manchild’ roles, Tiger continues to thrive on the last action hero image and Varun picks films to demonstrate that he’s more than the next Salman Khan, Ranveer hasn’t pigeonholed himself into any genre or archetype. “He can play anything from Govinda to Ryan Gosling,” says Motwane. “He is constantly challenging himself. I am excited to see what he brings to the table in every film. He also has the pull to draw the viewers to theatres.”advertisementCinema is what Ranveer lives for. He has grown up relishing ‘masala films’. “I was such a Bollywood keeda that I thought Scarface was a copy of Vaastav,” he said at his show-stopping performance at the India Today Conclave in 2015 in New Delhi. Simmba’s problematic rape-revenge plotline is reminiscent of the big bad 1980s, but Ranveer sees in it a story that widens his reach. And the box office collections validate his approach. The line between actor and hero is blurred for him. “At the moment, my focus is to be a part of films that offer a ‘big screen experience’,” he says, “that encompass a broad spectrum of the audience.”Scene 3Evening. Yashraj Films Studio Ranveer doesn’t want to sit. He suggests a walk in the studio that gave him his break after three-and-a-half years of ‘struggle’. When he would sit outside production houses for six hours to hand in a portfolio or make cold calls to numbers stolen from the phone of casting director Shanoo Sharma who had famously spotted him putting on a show at filmmaker Shaad Ali’s house party. He was 16. The rumour that he “had to pay to be in a Yashraj film” still irks him. “I’d get Facebook messages saying, I have so much money, tell me how to go about it,” he says. “It took the shine away from my achievement”-of being one of the few outsiders after Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar to make it in Bollywood.Born to businessman Jagjit Singh Bhambani and his homemaker wife Anju, and raised in the plush Mumbai locality of Pali Hill, Ranveer was the ‘nautanki’ of his school, Learners’ Academy, where his friends included photographer Rohan Shreshtha who remembers him excelling in elocution and bagging all the lead roles in plays. “I wasn’t very good at sports, so they used to make me a mascot,” Ranveer had revealed in the 2013 india today interview. “I used to love entertaining people.” It was the same at home too. He recalled how his paternal grandmother, who fed his passion for Hindi films with VHS tapes, asked him to enliven a boring birthday party. Singh danced to ‘Jumma chumma de de’.But with no strong connections in Bollywood, a filmi career seemed a distant dream. After a two-year stint in HR College, Ranveer headed to the US for a degree in creative writing from Indiana University. Except that his love for cinema only grew after he put in hours at a video rental library. He was expected to stay back and work at an advertising firm. But Ranveer returned home to fulfil his childhood dream. The times were fraught for his family financially, with recession hitting his father’s business. “But I was never made to feel the pinch,” says Ranveer. He assisted Shaad Ali (Saathiya) on ad films and in the process did what every aspiring actor does-build a body, learn acting and shoot a portfolio. Only in Ranveer’s case, it had to be “one that could not be junked”, and so he conceptualised it with photographs that reflected different moods in varying situations. Soon, his audition for Band Baaja Baaraat would catch Sharma’s eye and he in turn would convince Aditya Chopra of his talent.The first couple of years were hard, as Ranveer tried to fit in desperately. “At one point, it became too taxing,” he says. In an industry where artifice is almost a virtue, Ranveer was an anomaly. Uninhibited and perhaps too authentic. “I have never put a filter,” he says. “Like most boys, I, too, was conditioned to believe that showing your emotions was a sign of weakness. But it wouldn’t work on me. I express very freely, to a fault sometimes.” It didn’t help that he dressed like no leading man in Bollywood had dared to. If body-hugging Being Human T-shirts are Salman’s style statement, Ranveer’s is just Being Himself. He can whirl in a pink angarkha at his mehndi ceremony; wear a ghaghra to an event and carry off loud motifs and bright colours with the same confidence as Rishabh Pant sledging in Australia. Ranveer’s sartorial choices challenge the conventional notion of a Bollywood hero. “A part of my being is really feminine,” he says, “and I don’t shy away from it. I have been raised by women.” His elder sister, Ritika, he says, is like a “second mother” to him.Ranveer the actor has so far revelled in projecting a sexuality that is at variance with the conventional hyper-masculinity of a Bollywood hero. Befikre’s Dharam teases the woman with a glimpse of his bare bottom; in …Ram-leela, his Ram takes off his kedhiya and brandishes his greased torso for the viewing pleasure of Gujarati girls; in Simmba, for all the bravado his character displays, he’s shy about confessing his love to the woman he desires. Madhavi Menon, director, Centre for Studies in Gender and Sexuality at Ashoka University, notes that the “sexually compelling and fluid” roles Ranveer has played, especially in Bhansali films, “don’t make him less heterosexual. Rather, they make heterosexuality less recognisable as the opposite of homo- and bisexuality. His big achievement as an actor has been to denaturalise heterosexuality as something easily recognisable and consistent. He (and Bhansali) gives sexuality the power to break the stereotype of sexual identity as fixed and controllable. With him, it becomes a moving object, moving both as touching and as unpredictable.” #Deepveer: ‘Had to work really hard’-for six years-before the couple got hitched in November 2018.Scene 4Afternoon. Back to Novotel Mumbai, Juhu Beach Deepika Padukone is calling. On FaceTime. “Hi baby, you are looking handsome!” she says. Ranveer talks about his wife with the same passion as he does about cinema. On Sunil Grover’s TV show Kanpur ke Khuranas, he told the audience, “Bahut mehnat karni padi (I had to work a lot)”-for six years-before he married Deepika in November 2018. Six months into their relationship, which began on the sets of …Ram-leela in 2012, Ranveer knew she was the one. “I genuinely believe she is a far more evolved and wholesome person than I am,” he says. “She is more responsible, mature and independent. Duniyadaari mein woh mujhse aage hai.” Deepika, who had come off a break-up, would take time to commit fully. The couple remained rock steady even as she battled depression and then pursued a career in Hollywood. “I was never unsure about him,” she told a film magazine in her first interview after their wedding. “We’ve fought, we’ve had our ups and downs. But we stuck together through all of that. He was extremely patient with me through all my doubts, my insecurities.” Ranveer has been secure with his now wife’s fame and success. He acknowledged her role in …Ram-leela’s success. “Deepika was killing it in 2013,” he says. “Some credit has to go to her for the opening numbers.”One of Ranveer’s most trying times came in late 2017 when Deepika received death threats from right-wing fringe groups for defending freedom of expression in response to protests against Padmavati (before the name was changed to Padmaavat). “It was very frustrating because you are unable to express yourself and it’s just burning inside you,” says Ranveer. “I was very close to putting out a video saying what was on my mind. But I didn’t want to validate them by a responding. I had to be professional and follow the instructions of my producers. Their money was at stake.”Bonded by their nuclear family upbringing and outsider tags in Bollywood, #DeepVeer aspire for a long and successful relationship of the kind their parents have. “I’ve grown up seeing a marriage where the attitude is to make it work regardless of anything,” says Ranveer. “A marriage is a commitment, out is not an option. So whatever you have to work through, you do.” Ranveer currently stays in the Prabhadevi apartment that has been Deepika’s home for years. “The most sensible and convenient thing was for me to move into her set-up. She is comfortable there and I don’t want to displace her,” he says. “I always try to give her priority.” That said, they’re hunting for a bigger home.Scene 5Evening. Purple haze Studio In the midst of promoting Simmba, Ranveer takes a few hours off to dub for Zoya Akhtar’s film at a Bandra studio. Later that evening, he’ll collect his first trophy for Padmaavat. Akhtar knew Ranveer was her ‘gully boy’. “He’s obsessed with Bombay slang and speaks the lingo all the time,” she says. “He’s very influenced by hip-hop which you can see in his clothes.” Ranveer also took advise from artist Divine while preparing for the role. He has composed many of the tracks the actor sings in the film. “He’s so sharp with picking up stuff,” Akhtar recollects. “Because he has it in him, the training was a very short process.”In Gully Boy’s now-viral track, ‘Asli Hip Hop’, written by Spitfire, the two lines he raps perhaps best define Ranveer: “Kalakar main, kal ko aakar doon. Yehi hai mera dharm, Meri doosri koyi jaat na (I’m an artist, I shape the future. That’s my faith, I have no other identity).” As gully boy, he says, ‘Apna time aayega’. Ranveer’s time is now. And he’s making the most if it.Director’s cut | Making Gully Boy In 2014, while editing Dil Dhadakne Do, Zoya Akhtar was shown ‘Aafat’, a track by rapper Naezy aka Naved Shaikh. “It blew my mind,” she says. “It was so street, real, and I was like I have to meet this guy.” Musician and friend Ankur Tewari arranged a meeting, and so began a journey that saw Akhtar and her screenwriting partner Reema Kagti do extensive interviews with rappers, attend their gigs and meet their families, friends and girlfriends. The experience would inspire Gully Boy, Akhtar’s fourth feature, set in Mumbai’s street rap music scene. “You can’t put everything in, but you get a feel, you get their politics and their spirit,” says Akhtar.After Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Dil Dhadakne Do, in which Akhtar followed characters from the upper crust of Indian society across scenic locations abroad, the approach for Gully Boy had to be different as the focus was on an entirely different milieu. “When I made Dil Dhadakne Do, I wanted to be outside looking in, critique the human behaviour, the vehicle for which was the dog,” she says. “For Gully Boy, it was important that I be inside, looking out. I didn’t want to have a f***ing Bandstand gaze on Dharavi.” Instead, both Kagti and she captured how despite a fraught livelihood, the artists have no cynicism, are “extremely hopeful” and “out to change the world”. “It’s contagious,” says Akhtar. “We wanted to put that dream of theirs into the film.” Shot predominantly in Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum, the film centres on Murad (Ranveer) who gets hooked to the gully rap scene much to the chagrin of his father (Vijay Raaz). “Koi aur karta toh main jal ke raakh ho jaata [I’d be envious if someone else had done it],” says Ranveer, at the film’s trailer launch. “Yeh main hi kar sakta tha, main isike liye paida hua hoon [Only I could have done it. I was born for this role].” The film also stars Alia Bhatt, Amruta Subhash, Vijay Verma, Siddhanth Chaturvedi and rappers Spitfire, Emiway Bantai, SlowCheeta.Akhtar got Divine & Naezy on board as consultants, with the former helping Ranveer in vocal training as well as composing tracks. “Divine is such a generous artist,” says Akhtar. “He gave him tips on throw and basic technique, and stayed back and let him emerge.” The Gully Boy album is an amalgamation of existing tracks from the Mumbai street hip hop universe and tweaking of some others. One of Akhtar’s favourite tracks in the film, ‘Doori’, sees Javed Akhtar collaborate with Divine on lyrics.By bringing to the big screen voices from the underground music movement, Akhtar hopes to open up the music to a bigger Hindi filmgoing audience. She hopes music companies are watching too. “Music companies need to be enlightened as they do not want to promote anything if it’s not attached to a Hindi film,” she says.”They haven’t caught such a massive underground movement. It’s big, people are listening to it and it’s not being given a platform. It should be promoted.”A MAN OF MANY PARTS: THE RANVEER FILMOGRAPHY, FROM THE FIRST TO THE LATEST SMASH HIT Band Baaja Baaraat, 2010; Rs 23 crore: Ranveer’s debut film, in which the Mumbai-born and bred lad played Bittoo Sharma, an effervescent wedding planner in Delhi, gave notice that the debutant had the makings of a star. Bajirao Mastani, 2015; Rs 183 crore: Was impressive as the powerful Maratha ruler and devout lover in this epic tragic romance. And his Marathi inflections were perfect. Simmba, 2018; Rs 225 crore (the film is still in cinemas): As the swaggering police officer with a funny bone and greed on his mind, Ranveer emerges as the single screen hero he has always wanted to be. Lootera, 2013; Rs 27 crore: Showcases the lesserseen, quieter side of Ranveer. “Not many know his emotional quotient is high,” says Maneesh Sharma. This gentle performance best demonstrates that. Dil Dhadakne Do, 2015; Rs 75 crore: Stood out in this ensemble drama as a young man and a reluctant heir to the family business. “There’s a lightness to him in it which is unrehearsed,” says Vikramaditya Motwane. Padmaavat, 2018; Rs 282 crore: In his first role as an antagonist, Ranveer’s madcap interpretation of Alauddin Khilji left a lasting impression on audiences.
Posted: June 10, 2019 FacebookTwitter AP, Updated: 10:33 AM AP Oralia Sandoval, center, holds her son Benjamin, 6, as she participates in an Immigrants Day of Action rally, Monday, May 20, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed offering government-funded health care benefits to immigrant adults ages 19 to 25 who are living in the country illegally. State Sen. Maria Elena Durazo, D-Los Angeles, has proposed a bill to expand that further to include seniors age 65 and older. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Some low-income adults in California living in the country illegally will soon get health benefits.Democrats in the state Legislature on Sunday agreed to make adults between the ages of 19 and 25 eligible for the state’s Medicaid program. Not everyone will get those benefits, only people whose incomes are low enough to qualify for the program. State officials estimate the program will cover an additional 90,000 people at a cost of $98 million.“California believes that health is a fundamental right,” said state Sen. Holly Mitchell, a Los Angeles Democrat who led the budget negotiations.The move continues to stake California’s position as a bulwark against the policies of Republican President Donald Trump. While the Trump administration has worked to weaken the health care law signed by former President Barack Obama, the budget agreement approved Sunday and expected to pass the state Legislature later this week would strengthen California’s commitment to the law known as the Affordable Care Act.In addition to covering some adults living in the country illegally, California’s proposed $213 billion budget would make the state the first in the country to help families earning as much as six times the federal poverty level pay for their monthly health insurance premiums. That means families of four earning $150,000 a year would be eligible for help of about $100 a month.But to pay for part of it, the state will begin taxing people who don’t have health insurance. It’s a revival of the individual mandate penalty that had been law nationwide under Obama’s health care law until Republicans in Congress eliminated it as part of the 2017 overhaul to the tax code.Republicans on the legislative committee negotiating the budget voted against the proposal, arguing it was not fair to give health benefits to people who are in the country illegally while taxing people who are here legally for not purchasing health insurance.The budget agreement still must be approved by the full state Legislature. State law requires lawmakers to enact a budget by midnight on June 15. If they don’t, lawmakers would lose their pay. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has 12 days to act on the budget once lawmakers pass it. In a news release, Newsom said the budget initially approved by lawmakers on Sunday is balanced and “creates historic reserves” and said he looks forward “to continuing to work with the legislature.”The health care proposals are a win for first-term Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who proposed both of them. Several lawmakers in the Democratic-dominated state legislature wanted to go further by offering health coverage to all adults living in California illegally. But Newsom opposed that, noting it would cost $3.4 billion.Newsom did not get everything he wanted in the deal. Advocates say more than 1 million people in California don’t have access to safe drinking water. Newsom had proposed a 95-cent tax on most residential water bills as well as fees on dairies, animal farms and fertilizer sellers, to help water districts pay for improvements and boost supplies.Lawmakers rejected the tax, arguing it was too burdensome in a year when the state is projected to have a $21.5 billion surplus — the largest in at least 20 years.Instead, lawmakers decided to use $130 million in existing tax revenue to pay for the drinking water improvements. Most of that money — about $100 million — would come from the state’s sale of carbon credits as part of its “cap and trade” program. The move means the state’s agricultural industry, whose pollution is often blamed for the drinking water problems, would have about $100 million less than it normally gets from the program for various projects.Newsom also wanted to spend an additional $800 million to boost the annual tax refunds for low-income people who have at least one child under the age of 6. But to pay for it, he wanted to selectively adopt some of the changes to the federal tax code that Trump signed into law in 2017. The changes, which would mostly impact businesses, would have brought the state an extra $1 billion.But the legislature did not include the tax changes in its version of the budget proposal. Instead, lawmakers said they hope to reach a tax agreement outside of the budget process by July 1. California OKs health care for some adult illegal immigrants Categories: California News, Local San Diego News, National & International News, Politics June 10, 2019
Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Naomi Grossman The lessons you learn early in life often form the foundation for what you decide to do later on. That certainly holds true for Jeffrey Cornwall. The author, Entrepreneurial Mind blogger, and inaugural Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship at Tennessee’s Belmont University credits his interest in small business to discussions at the dinner table when he was growing up, and to his corporate-expatriate father, who he says is now an “active, octogenarian entrepreneur.” Cornwall also is an entrepreneur in his own right: In the late ’80s he co-founded and ran a health-care company in North Carolina before he returned to academia nearly a decade later.Cornwall’s books include “Bringing Business to Life,” “From the Ground Up: Entrepreneurial School Leadership,” and “The Entrepreneurial Educator,” his blog has been recognized as Forbes’ Best of the Web, and the entrepreneurial programs he has guided (not only for Belmont) have received national recognition. Suffice to say, Cornwall is well-entrenched in all things entrepreneurial. In his conversation with bMighty.com, Cornwall discusses the opportunities of group collaboration, the double-edged sword called social media, and where you should — and shouldn’t — cut back during a recession.bMighty: What are some of the trends affecting growing businesses and entrepreneurs?Jeff Cornwall: One of the interesting trends is a real decoupling of traditional organizations. More and more, you see networked organizations of people coming together as individual entities, or small teams coming together and working on projects. They are creating opportunities to tackle problems, but they also present issues of information-sharing and collaboration. [For example], a couple of my alumni have a business in the video market. They’re doing projects that take them into other arenas, and they need to subcontract and make joint ventures with consultants.It even creates international challenges. Another one of my students develops Web 2.0 programs, and he uses programmers around the world. It’s creating issues of quality assurance, but it opens up opportunities for him. But with opportunities come new challenges.The tech world is providing new solutions, and some of the convergence in tech will allow us to integrate even more. I could imagine technology evolving to the point where real-time conferences are on handheld devices. These not only create opportunities in the tech space, but it also creates opportunities for people to tackle problems.In a study sponsored by Intuit, the Institute for the Future envisioned a new merchant class with lots of individual people working autonomously and tackling projects together. There are 20 million people in the U.S. that classify themselves as self-employed. Many of them are banding together.bMighty: What tech tools do you recommend for entrepreneurs and growing businesses?Cornwall: I’m not a techie kind of guy, but I’m working with entrepreneurs who are. There are fascinating applications in Web 2.0, and now we’re getting to Web 3.0. The power and ability they give you to share information is incredible.bMighty: Do you think social media is beneficial to growing businesses or a waste of time?Cornwall: Anything can be either of those things. Years ago, I was one of the last people to get a fax machine. I wasn’t sure it was cost-effective. I saw it being used a lot as a waste of time. Any new technology takes time to figure out how to use, and also how to use it effectively. I use things now that I used to be skeptical about being productive. I am seeing some real indications that these social media tools can be used productively. There is a lot of overkill, but I think it allows for collaborative work that’s collaborative in a truly synchronous state. That can get to be pretty powerful. If I can do applications with someone across the world in real time, that is really powerful. It takes the whiteboard, creative-solving process out of the conference room.How The Economic Crisis Affects Entrepreneurs & Growing BusinessesbMighty: How do you anticipate the economic situation affecting entrepreneurs and growing businesses?Cornwall: Not very well. Many entrepreneurs are young. Forty percent of my incoming freshmen have a business, and even entrepreneurs under the age of 40 have not had to manage through a significant recession. Those of us who are baby boomers have been through severe recessions and inflation. I feel like my Dad when I say you don’t understand, but now I know why they tried to warn us. We can get caught in a bad situation.Small and midsize businesses cannot increase their prices by that much, or they are often locked into prices with big clients. So I am telling entrepreneurs and growing businesses to build up cash reserves and bring debt down. Bring down overhead, keep it low, and cut back. But don’t stop spending to build your customer base. Marketing is where entrepreneurs and growing businesses should spend. Don’t cut costs there because now is the time to stay in front.I had this debate on my blog. One guy said businesses just need to increase prices. But customers don’t work like that. Individuals are being careful, and they can great deals now. Consumers are starting to alter their behavior. They are preserving their cash, and that’s what businesses need to be doing now. Remember the old phrase, cash is king? That is more even true in inflation. That becomes your buffer when you can’t increase prices quickly enough.bMighty: Why did you start blogging?Cornwall: About five years ago I came to Belmont to start this Entrepreneurship Institute, and a successful blogger, Bill Hobbes, asked me if I wanted to start a blog. I thought it was an interesting forum and figured I’d give it a shot. I started playing around with it; I got some traction, and it went from there. All of a sudden several thousand people were reading my blog every week. I keep thinking blogging will go away, but it keeps growing and chugging along. I’ve been asked to do video blogs, but I don’t know if I’ll do it. It has been an interesting journey.bMighty: How do you measure the success of your blog?Cornwall: Traffic is important. I do enough writing — academic journals, books — that nobody reads! I measure success in volume and also in impact. I’ll get a random e-mail where someone will tell me they read my blog and it made an impact. I’ve been getting things from people around the world — the Middle East, Africa, Australia. They encourage me to keep it up. That’s what keeps me going. If all I saw were numbers, I wouldn’t be blogging. The personal feedback matters. I’ve also made some very good friends through blogging, and it gives Belmont a visibility that’s beyond anything they could get — an incredible reach nationally and internationally with recognition that is beneficial.bMighty: What’s the best blog post you’ve written this year?Cornwall: Often it’s the ones that surprise me, but it’s usually the ones that put my heart on my sleeve. Sometimes it’s a public policy issue or a struggle of an entrepreneur. My wife is never surprised what strikes a chord! Mine is not as interactive a forum as some other blogs. I’m more of an information source. I deal sometimes with controversial issues, but it’s more like reading an editorial. I get more e-mail than comments posted to the blog. They want to talk to me, not the world. I switched locations from an .edu to a .com because of the increase in traffic, and I got all these e-mails asking me where I went. It’s cool that they missed me.bMighty: Other than your own, what blogs do you think are “must-reads” for business and technical decision-makers?Cornwall: There are a lot of really good ones out there. I’ve always loved Small Biz Trends; I like what [Anita Campbell] does. I don’t read a lot of blogs, and I don’t engage in dialogues with other bloggers. Occasionally I go to Duct Tape Marketing. What I like in a blog doesn’t matter. Everyone has their own flavor of what they like. I read Seth Godin sometimes, and Guy Kawasaki has some cool stuff. Otherwise what I read is pretty random.Naomi Grossman is assistant editor of bMighty.com. 7 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. October 30, 2008 Register Now »