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Editor's Desktop

Smart People

Editor's Desktop
Photo by RAE HUO

Kaneohe Ranch CEO Mitch D’Olier likes to tell folks that Hawaii has a lot of smart people. I can attest to their existence, having had the pleasure of speaking with many of them through my association with this magazine.

Some of those local smart people were talking about the coming financial meltdown, before Lehman Brothers went down, Merrill Lynch was sold and AIG got bailed out. It was before the $700 billion “rescue package” got passed. It was before the stock market started taking recent breathtaking nosedives.

Hawaii Business made what I think was a smart decision by taking a temperature check with a diverse group of community leaders in our July cover story “How Bad Is It?” We didn’t irresponsibly create a run on the banks, but we did share that it was going to get worse and that it might not get better until 2009 or 2010.

Kelvin Taketa, CEO of Hawaii Community Foundation, was one of the smart people interviewed for that story. At a recent conference for directors and leaders of nonprofit organizations that drew about 400, Taketa told the audience that 20 percent was an important number to keep in mind.

It was the percentage by which the S&P 500 had dropped. It was about the percentage by which state agencies were being asked to possibly cut their budgets. It was not a good number for nonprofits seeking funding while trying to meet ballooning needs. Among the smart suggestions for nonprofits was to try to look at ways to cooperate between organizations or even merging organizations, where it made sense. Our fragile safety net and what we can do to reinforce it is something for all you smart people to keep in mind as we head into what will be a difficult holiday season for many.

SMART WOMAN: Kari Unebasami is 
the co-founder of

 On a brighter note, it is our pleasure to share with you the story of two young entrepreneurs, and smart people, who made millions off of the LOLcats phenomena and their Web site. One of them, Kari Unebasami, used to be our Web editor. The story of Kari and her partner’s success is one that is instructive to all smart business people as we navigate the new ways of doing business today.

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