"Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time. ."
"We Choose To Go To The Moon"
Mar. 5, 2013 In line with what's below; -Asking the right questions goes hand in hand with leadership.
To lead you have to have a goal in mind. What's our national goal? Is it for everyone to be in debt up to their eyeballs. Indentured slaves?
I propose to create androids by the end of the 20's.
Here's JFK's famous quote of the 60's moment:
"There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. "
President John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1962, at Rice University, Houston, Texas
Asking Good Questions
Mar. 4, 2013 I was asked today what I thought of the new budget amendments put through Congress on Friday. All I could do is shrug; - none of it's news! This happens every year and the answer's always the same. Who cares?
Some will surely make ad hominem attacks on me or my patriotism or some such nonsense for not participating in that fallacy, but really who does? The President can't even move the country to ask good questions. Roe vs. Wade is like asking what the meaning of life is; - It's all dependent on your moral worldview.
Most everyone seems to agree that we're in a tailspin. Times are tough no matter what they say about new housing starts. I'm not saying that we're down for the count, I'm just saying that we have to start asking ourselves some important questions.
Imagine, that you've somehow become so loved by your country that people will hang on every word that you say. That's a lot of power. You saw that the single biggest waste of time in the country was the configuration and repairing computer equipment. You determined that, systems costs and maintenance costs along with the cost of telecommunications, were the biggest expenses incurred by companies and the public and that if you could mitigate that expense that the country could thrive on doing, instead of fussing over the same technologies that were supposed to make us more efficient.
With this authorative power you would rule:
Every Man, Woman and Child would be given a PC commensurate with their productivity.
Free Internet and ubiquitous WiFi
Free Basic Cable
Free Software which would include Business, Graphics, Music, Film, Art & Science software.
Free 4G Telephones with free directory assistance and long-distance services.
Free Camera with every PC
Free website for every child born that would be their new Social Security Number
Lojacks on every PC and Phone with free Antivirus
Free Computer Programming Training
Standards on energy efficiency and recycling for electronics. Free disposal.
Free patents and copyrights.
No taxes for technology companies
Severe penalties on spam, virus and computer crime would be legislated.
All new technology coming out of this would be embargoed from the world for 1 year.
How would this affect our future, the telecommunications infrastructure, the speed of our growth in culture, knowledge and creativity? Would we not jump leaps and bounds ahead of others?
How would all of this affect your career, business, your free cash-flow and time?
How about asking good questions?
Mar. 3, 2013 When we think of leaders we often envision the likes of Churchill, Patton, and Pope Benedict XVI because they're icons; -Top of their class. We can immediately associate and feel a level of trust in the fact that they're widely accepted. The common denominator helps us communicate complex concepts and social norms and beliefs efficiently so to join our efforts and protect us from evil doers. Mostly, famous leaders are a good thing; -the Hitler' and Mussolini' being the exception to the rule.
The trouble with this is that there can be an insidious affect; -unless someone has status, we can be cynical and question the cogent thought of newcomers, deferring to the safe harbor of the famous or powerful. This stifles change.
How many times have we heard the allegory of the King with No Clothes, or the Congressman that goes to Washington with good intentions?
If we are aware of this prejudice, we can affect ourselves to become open to concepts and leaders that may have our best interests at hand, even if they are not recognized as the current zeitgeist. Instead of creating an environment where many people feel; -'why bother, it's like banging your head against a wall', let's foment a creative one.
What I speak of is not only a terminal condition in government, it is de rigueur in corporate America.
I have placed hundreds, in corporate positions and there is no shortage of jaundiced pre-conceived notions of who is worthy, and who is not, based simply on minutia such as what school the person went to, or whether they had a degree. I can't be sure, but such things as looks, gender and race are all suspect as well.
If Bill Gates or Steve Jobs had come to me for a job, I can assure you that there isn't much chance that either could have been placed; -simply because they didn't have Degrees. That's the insidious force at work.
People make decisions based on Cub-Scout merit badges instead of deeper character considerations. Don't get me started about the loss to American business from eschewing creativity. Even ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), is a relative thing and can be a valuable trait for some senior roles, like CEO's of a start-up; -but try to get that past HR.
Lest I digress further, the point that I wish to make is that we have to be careful that we don't become the "Why Bother Generation".
Make it a point to help those that are not at the top of the heap have a chance to get there. We can do a lot to further this idea by starting to rule people into jobs, instead of ruling them out. Ruling them out is just to easy anyway. Any idiot can do that.
The payoff is huge; -there may be an unlikely leader in our midst.
I have always admired this 3 minute TED presentation that points out that you don't have to have notoriety to lead; just actionable gumption enough to do it: Derek Silvers: How to start a movement.
What's Wrong With This?
Mar. 2, 2013 Why is it that in the days of "Mad Men" that every middle manager (Yes there was such a thing), had his own secretary or two? What is a secretary?
Our Dads' went to work and Mom stayed home to manage the household and raise the children.
When we called AT&T an operator actually talked to us on the first or second ring and our problem whatever it might have been was corrected in less than 5 minutes. Now we are lucky to even speak to someone in Ceylon in the first half hour of phone pin-ball.
We have faster computers on our toddler's high chairs than NASA had back then, but we are sand-bagged, stone-walled and treated like something the cat dragged home.
What is wrong with this?
Is that Photo Worth $40K?
Mar. 1, 2013 While on the topic of websites, here is an exhaustive and interesting (if Copyright, or sidestepping a lawsuit is of any interest to you): "Design Rights, Legal Terms...Learn Everything"
Written by laymen for laymen it is not without challenge, but it will certainly make you cognizant of the liability.
I know of one person that was sued for $100k, and settled for $40k, just for using one photo on his website without authorization.
Is that photo worth 40k?
A Website to Rent or Own
Feb 28, 2013 When you contract for the design and management of a website, be sure that your provider has not written a rider into the contract that they own the proprietary rights to the template, insomuch as you may wish to port that site to another provider in the future.
This will save you an entire rewrite and $$$.
Acting Like A Monopoly
Feb 27, 2013 Automated phone systems decrease costs but are an incredibly stupid idea.
How many pound signs and lists of options; -how much time in loops of Shostakovich Muzak; how many intermittent interruptions extolling how important one is to the company must your customers' gauntlet? That's the way Network Solutions browbeats it's loyal customers (and that's being generous).
If people find you on the web and call you, isn't that the best thing that could possibly happen?
It is here.
Fire Your Clients
Feb 26, 2013 Have you ever heard of Paddi Lund?
He is a dentist in Brisbane, Australia that fired his clients.
Paddy was sick of the amount of aggravation that half of his clients gave him. They were constant complainers. The other half loved his work and referred new business.
By reducing the client base by half, he now works half the time but has doubled his profits because he can concentrate on better service without having to spend money to get referrals.
What Are You Measuring?
Feb 25, 2013 Many an argument could be avoided if we could agree on the measurement of facts and truth.
Selling over 100,000 singles in a week used to be a minimum threshold for a #1 hit on the UK pop charts. Iron Maiden's "Bring Your Daughter ... To The Slaughter" was the heavy metal band's only #1 single and hit the top for two weeks after Christmas 1990, it sold only 100,000.
By 2004, that low number had degraded to under 65,000 for Ja Rule featuring R. Kelly and Ashanti. The lowest weekly sale for a number one single is 17,694 copies held by Orson's "No Tomorrow" a year later.
Today it is zero singles sold can still net you #1.
What's going on?
"The addition of downloads to the UK charts has made it hard to sell such low amounts overall, but has meant that singles can now reach number one with zero physical sales. The first but not last, singles to achieve this was Gnarls Barkley's Crazy in early 2006."
It's all in the measurement.
Take for example the cost of going to the theater. It was $7.00 in the early 90's and now, 20 years later, it's $14.00. If you were well to do, you might go to three movies a week in the 90's. Multiply that by two's company, add popcorn and drinks and it was an outing costing about $35.00 for an evening. That's over $100 a week. Now it's approximately $55.00 or $165 for two people going to three movies a week.
Today however there is Netflix and Pirate Bay. We watch 7 to 14 movies for between $0.00 and $3.00 a week.
So, is there inflation or massive deflation? It's all in the measurement.
I bought a personal computer in 1990 for $12,000. That was back when we made things in America.
Now, the Chinese are so significantly more productive than us and a computer that costs $1500 made in China would cost triple, if not more, made at home.
Is there inflation or massive deflation? It's all in the measurement.
How to Deal With Bottom-Feeders
Feb 24, 2013 “Do not argue with an idiot they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.” - Mark Twain
My Seven Rules
Feb 23, 2013 Here are some things that I have learned that young entrepreneurs, artists and musicians should try to heed.
|1.||Your ideas are not going to make you famous.|
|2.||As soon as you lose your humility, you're bound for failure|
|3.||If you think that you need a non-disclosure agreement you're a fool.|
|4.||No one is going to steal your ideas. Share them widely.|
|5.||Focus on fame and it will never happen.|
|6.||A married partner is trouble waiting to happen.|
|7.||Always get it in writing.|
Clicks, Cameras & Paperclips
Feb 22, 2013 How do you feel with someone looking over your shoulder?
Is it ethical to surreptitiously videotape staff?
What about secret keystroke logging of every site and click?
It seems there is always some lame excuse for the invasion of privacy made by the perps; -For example, safety.
Of course only the most gullible will believe that the government's invasion of privacy and freedom is for anti-terrorism; -or as they say, public safety.
Here is the next step towards an America that is more Logan's Run every day.
The problem with this technology is that there are so many potentially nefarious uses, easily cloaked in specious virtue.
If you can make the argument that your staff is not trustworthy or honest; -How is that any different from some officials in Quantico saying the same about you?
If you can claim that your employees deal with the public, and therefore for their safety, you require surveillance equipment; -then perhaps you should be hiring a Pinkerton instead.
The real question should be, why aren't they told they are being recorded and watched? Why is it that they're hauled into the office (not knowing what hit them) and castigated by petty tyrants for glancing at a text on their smartphone?
It all reminds me of a particularly miserly Commercial Real Estate mogul that went absolutely apoplectic on an employee because he found a twisted paperclip in their wastepaper basket! I was there. Just another egocentric psychopath; -but he was the boss. If you are rummaging through trash to find paperclips then you are the problem, not the help.
Does being the CEO or Partner in a firm give one the right to treat underlings with such disrespect and bullying?
Before you invade, you should ask yourself if your staff owe every second to you while on the job. Do they ever do you favors on their time? Is anyone ever going to meet your taskmasterly expectations? Are you ready to keep finding fault in everyone that you hire? What is the cost of time to retrain or reinitiate every contractor or employee that you hire and fire because you're snooping on them? Are you 100% efficient yourself?
People are human, and if you don't treat them as such (invading their privacy is not), they will do the natural thing; -find an escape route from the paranoid dictator that you have most certainly become.
If you're counting paperclips, expect people to remember you for it.