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Fast Forward

Is it time for you to face change head-on?

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Imagine how heads would turn if GM suddenly announced it was selling all of its gasoline-engine manufacturing capability to Ford so it could concentrate its efforts on electric vehicles.

Something like that happened last week in the energy industry. Consol Energy, which started its business life as the largest coal-producing company in the U.S., sold its coal subsidiary to a competitor. It’s going to use the proceeds to invest more in natural-gas operations. The few mines it is keeping will be used to generate more cash for drilling in the Marcellus and Utica shales.

So there you have it. When business makes a serious move that reflects what politicians and economists have been trying to convince us of for years, you know it’s not just talk anymore.

Sometimes ideas flow the opposite direction, though – from the private sector into government (and not nearly often enough, you could argue).

Our story on massive open online courses in our special issue on continuing education Oct. 18 drew, appropriately, a lot of online traffic to www.cpbj.com. Here’s an update that was announced last week: A top online platform for MOOCs is partnering with the State Department to make them even more available than they already are.

The idea behind these learning hubs is to expose foreign students to American education. Of course, as the article notes at the end, U.S. universities are already facing competition in this new cyber-education realm from foreign schools, so they need to respond.

How long will it be, though, until you meet home-grown job candidates who not only have MOOC certification in skills you need in your workplace but also those certifications coming the Sorbonne, the University of Munich or an institution from any of a dozen other countries, since language barriers are beginning to fall on all sides?

While you’re pondering how complex making a good hire has gotten, here’s another question for you: How will you know when the tides have shifted in your business and it’s time to walk into the future by shedding or drastically modifying your core product or service?

The week ahead

Our Powerbook issue publishes this week. Who do you think will be on this year’s list?

Maybe you’ll meet some of them this week, if you decide to get out and network. Find opportunities here.

And maybe I’ll see you at our Business of the Year event Monday night at the Hilton Harrisburg?

The rewind

Not everybody has gone cold on coal. Poland, in fact, is digging in its heels even as it gets ready to host a U.N. conference on climate change.

And for those who enjoy tech nostalgia, do you remember this?

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Write to the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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