Commentary

Working from anywhere

Yesterday Paul Haggis, writer-director of Crash, won Oscars for best original screenplay and best picture. His is another example to add to the long and growing list of things that can be done almost anywhere. Haggis suffered a heart attack while filming Crash. While he was getting well he decided against hiring a fill-in (after all this was his baby). He had monitors brought into his hospital room and finished directing his film from his bed. What was perhaps even more impressive is that he did it while whacked out on medication. Related: Telecollege (?) gets a boost And a milestone for a telecommuting-friendly company:

Eighty percent of JetBlue’s reservation agents work from home. And as the airline just passed its six-year anniversary of allowing its agents to telecommute, the company reports that the move has not only saved them money and expensive office space… it’s also increased productivity. … Six year ago, when the company first got off the ground and telecommuting was first offered to the reservation agents, JetBlue had 40 agents, seven supervisors and four support staff people. Today, there are 1,500 agents and 1,200 of them have opted to telecommute. Having so many workers telecommuting gives the company the flexibility it needs to compete in what can be a turbulent industry. Miller says it’s much easier to ask workers to jump on their computers when the company needs extra agents manning the phones and dealing with a flood of customer calls than it would be to ask them to jump in their cars and head out to the office. … Gartner, Inc., an industry analyst firm, reports that this commingling of roles will continue to increase this year. A January report out of Gartner shows that analysts there expect telecommuting, buoyed by concerns about fuel consumption and the growing availability of broadband Internet access at home, will increase by 9 percent this year. That growth rate is predicted to be 8 percent between 2004 and 2008. … [Dave Foster, a research analyst with the Aberdeen Group] says this kind of flexible work arrangement is opening up a whole new pool of available talent for the company. ”They might be attracting people who might not want to go to an office — a whole new market of people who would like to telecommute.” And Miller says that’s exactly what’s happening. ”It was a popular and successful program because we had a lot of mothers who wanted to get back in the workforce but didn’t particularly want to leave home,” she adds. ”It’s really worked for us.”

Article here. Related: Homeshoring.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.

Ted is the director of Can We Take a Joke?, a Korchula Productions feature documentary about the collision between comedy and outrage culture featuring comedians such as Gilbert Gottfried, Penn Jillette, Jim Norton, Lisa Lampanelli, and Adam Carolla. Ted is producing Little Pink House, a Korchula Productions feature narrative about about Susette Kelo's historic fight to save her beloved home and neighborhood. The film stars two-time Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener (Capote, Being John Malkovich, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Emmy nominee Jeanne Tripplehorn (Big Love, The Firm, Basic Instinct).

Ted produced the award-winning shorts The Conversation and Cute Couple. He is an executive producer on the feature documentary Honor Flight, and produced the film's first trailer, which attracted more than 4.5 million views. The Honor Flight premiere attracted an audience of more than 28,000 and set the Guinness World Record for largest film screening in history.

Ted is a founding member of ReasonTV, where he produced hundreds of videos and documentary shorts, including Raiding California, which introduced a nationwide audience to the Charles Lynch medical marijuana case.

Ted is co-creator of The Drew Carey Project, a series of documentary shorts hosted by Drew Carey, and creator of the comedic series Don't Cops Have Better Things to Do? and Nanny of the Month.

His ReasonTV contributions have been featured by The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, and on the he John Stossel Special Bailouts and Bull, a first-of-its-kind joint project between ABC News and ReasonTV.

During Ted's tenure, ReasonTV received the Templeton Freedom Award for Innovative Media and in 2008 Businessweek recognized his short Where's My Bailout? (created with Courtney Balaker) as among the best of bailout humor.

Prior to joining Reason, Ted spent five years producing at ABC Network News, producing hour-long specials and 20/20 segments on topics ranging from free speech to addiction.

Ted's written work has appeared in dozens of publications, including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Reason magazine, The Washington Post, and USA TODAY. He is the author or co-author of 11 studies on topics ranging from urban policy to global trade, and his research has been presented before organizations such as the Mont Pelerin Society and the American Economic Association.

Ted is co-author (with Sam Staley) of the book The Road More Traveled (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), which Chapman University's Joel Kotkin says "should be required reading, not only for planners and their students, but for anyone who loves cities and wants them to thrive."

Ted has appeared on many radio and television programs, including ABC World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News, and has interviewed hundreds of thinkers and innovators, ranging from X Prize recipient and private spaceflight pioneer Burt Rutan to Templeton Prize-winning biologist and philosopher Francisco Ayala.

Ted graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Irvine with degrees in political science and English.