With the new year upon us, and many of us boxing up last year's files for safe keeping, it becomes essential to touch upon a much overlooked topic - backing up - the process of creating duplicate digital files as insurance against the possibility of damage or loss.

To be clear, you cannot back up your files too often. Here's why:

A respected colleague and close friend asked me an unusual question just before the holidays, "What is the dumbest thing you believe I could do?" While notions of robbing a bank, driving the wrong way on a freeway, streaking in crowded shopping mall and other such moronic activities popped into mind, the reality was much worse.

While toying around with administrative settings and preferences on his computer, the entire content of his machine's hard drive was accidently erased. Poof. Gone.

While that was a major screw-up, it was my belief that his inadvertently deleted files could be easily retrieved from backup storage - minimizing his loss to one or two days of data at most. The sad reality was that no regular backup routine had been implemented and the last comprehensive backup was performed six months ago. Six months!

Of course, we all learn from mistakes, especially whoppers like this.

So, no matter how careful you are with your data, please be sure you are backing up on a regular basis. And when the files are exceptionally important, save and back them up as you work. No sense risking a couple hours, or even a day's productivity, when the simple task of backing up can make all the difference.

With lots of manual and automated options to choose from, I recommend you seek guidance from a professional IT advisor who can tailor an approach compatible with your operating system and network.

One last recommendation - keep at least one copy of your back-ups in another building. The idea is that, should fire or other such tragedy hit your office, your files kept off-site will still be safe. While I have lots of back-up files in the office for fast and efficient retrieval, Studio Spear would be in bad shape if we were to lose more than a few days worth of data.

I can't tell you how many ways I've learned from the mistakes of others. Nowadays, we're constantly saving work in progress throughout the day; we back up everything at the end of the day; and maintain a comprehensive back-up archive in our bank's safe deposit box. After all, better safe then sorry.

Practicality and efficiency are core values at Studio Spear. We also value strategic and creative thinking. To see how we apply these core values, click here. If you have specific marketing or creative needs, please call 866 787 8761 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email: jeff@studiospear.com

Over the past year, we've read a number of good books and enjoyed a few movies. Not surprisingly, many have central themes that explore some aspect of culinary-based activity. Here are just a few we thought you'd enjoy.

The central character, Billie Breslin, is hired to work for one of New York's most influential culinary magazines. Seduced by all the culinary charms that Manhattans has to offer, Billie takes readers on an adventure of mystery, magic and delight.

[My Life From Scratch] 
A true account that follows Bullock-Prado's departure from her high stress career in Hollywood to the opening of her own bakery in Montpellier, Vermont. Must be nice for the author to have a super star (Sandra Bullock) for a sister.

[Murder With Fried Chicken And Waffles] 
Something else beyond cooking has been taking place in the kitchen. This easy to read misadventure, while more for foodies and less for serious murder mystery enthusiasts, was enjoyable. Plus, there are a few recipes shared along the way.

[Salmon Fishing In Yemen] 
No cooking tips here. This fairy tale story, set in the middle of the desert, is about the unlikely notion of fish farming and fishing. Stars Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor give endearing performances that will leave you smiling.

[Life From Scratch] 
There's a lot of family history and emotional baggage explored in this book. It's also about finding ingredients, and finding friends, while cooking dishes from every country on the planet.

[Edible History of Humanity] 
If you have a hunger for food history, and have a burning curiosity for the ways in which food motivated our species and inspired civilizations, this is for you. By reading this book, we learned a new term: Tortillas for the Gods.

[Seafood Expo] 
In ever growing and fiercely competitive markets, you must understand and exploit every possible advantage to remain credible and offset challenges posed by your rivals. The way in which you create and maintain powerful, compelling and culturally aligned brands - and the marketing strategies that you employ to attract buyers and provoke trial - cannot leave anything to chance.

In this seminar, Spear will discuss the strategies, tactics and creative solutions that are proven for their impact and effectiveness. If you are planning to attend Seafood Expo North America, come here Jeffrey's perspectives and recommendations for effective brand building. 


For nearly 40 years, Studio Spear has been building influential brands and designing everything from trademarks and packaging to websites and cookbooks. Just recently, we were recognized by Graphic Design USA for excellence in both packaging and website design.

If you'd like to learn more about Studio Spear's creative services, click here.

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About Studio Spear
Studio Spear is a leading global marketing consultancy specializing in consumer packaged goods and lifestyle-oriented brands. The company relies upon thorough research, strategic planning and emotionally charged creative solutions to produce significant and statistically proven growth for its clients. "It's our goal to enhance your product's reputation, generate higher levels of sales and see your brand outperform its competition," says Spear.

If you'd like to learn more about what Studio Spear can do for you, call, write or email Jeff Spear at:

Studio Spear
PO Box 51291
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32240
Phone: 904 685 2135
Toll Free: 866 787 8761
Fax: 410 486 9492


Beet Hummus
There's more to hummus than garbanzo beans. Plus, this flavorful and brightly hued alternative makes quite an impression with guests. If you like carrots, use the same recipe, substituting 1 pound of cooked carrots for the beets.
Makes 2 1/2 cups

1 lb beets, cooked and cleaned
1/2 C tahini
1 lemon, juiced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
salt & pepper to taste
extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
sumac, for garnish

Place beets, tahini, juice, and garlic in a food processor and puree. Add salt & pepper to taste. If the hummus gets a bit too thick, add water, a little at a time, as needed.

To serve, garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with sumac.

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