How Social Media Has Enhanced our Social Lives

11/14/2011

A friend asked my to help her with a paper of social media and it’s effect on our social lives. I said how I believed social media has come to improve, not degrade our personal relationships. Today everything is becoming more social, thus many things we used to do as individuals, can now be done together. After all, Facebook and twitter are now linked to everything from blogs, to websites, to game apps, to dining room table seating!

Here are some examples:

1) This past week I was studying the personality types of some famous celerities (namely Abraham Lincoln and Bill Gates). I came across a blog written by David Keirsey, the son of the famed psychologist by the same name, and left a comment on my confusion with regard to types. (If you care, I was wondering what made Lincoln an extravert). I also clicked on the feature to notify me if a follow up comment was left. Within 48 hours I received an email notifying me that Keirsey had responded to my comment. (Turns out, Lincoln was far more expressive than he was attentive).

2) We have all heard of Twitter, but few of us truly understand the profundit of this explosion into the world of social interaction, of the highest order. Once upon a time, kings and nobles sat in royal chambers light years from the simplest layman. When one sociologist confirmed a study where he proved a mere 6 degrees of separation between any random person to another, it was received with fanfare. Today though that study is insignificant. Chat up any famous celebrity or personality and if you’re interesting enough you might just get a response! (Me and President Obama by the way: 2 degrees of separation).

The other day I attended a TEDx event here in Orlando and I was talking to a coordinator who does game design. The conversation turned to Twitter and he was saying how he wasn’t too familiar with mini-blogging but decided to post a question/problem he was having. After a few days he had found the answer and updated his status, in brief 140 character form. This continued a few times before suddenly he started getting followers. Not just randoms, but avid game designers who were intrigued by his knowwledge and acumen. He has since become an “online expert” in the field of game design.

3) There was recently an app developed that allowed people to reserve seats in restaraunts through a social media platform. One can choose where they would like to sit, near who, or not near who. This was soon advanced to gala dinner arrangements (as we all know how picky honorees can be). And I have heard that a rabbi, who familiar with the app, tweaked it so that members of his community can pre-arrange their seats for Shabbat dinner. So the virtual becomes actual.

4) I have a group of close friends, and we have developed an online mastermind group. Essentially whenever we feel motivated, or the need to be motivated, we share our inspiration, frustration or encouragement with the group. Of course, we can each view these updates and comment in our own time, so it avoids the issue of having to coordinate an exact time of when we can all talk. We are truly moving into a world of “asynergy” where we no longer have to all be present at the same time to engage with others.

I can probably go on and on, but the point is that the telephone didn’t make us less social (as TV did), and as the greatest technological advancement since the radio, the internet has found ways to bring us together, to find common ground where we’d otherwise either fail to notice or lack the means to follow up. An interesting conversation used to end with “You’re interesting, give me your number so I can never call you”. Today it ends with, “Wow! You’re fascinating, I’ll hit u up on Facebook and even if I don’t message too often, we’ll be able to stay in touch”. Today an innocent comment pertaining to dissatisfaction with a product or service on a Facebook discussion Board can send ripples through a company’s quality control rooms.

Some say we are becoming less social. Some say we are learning to breach the barrier and communicate with people in ways we never thought possible. I say, it’s all what we make of it.

How To Accidentally Waste 12 Months of Potential + a must read

06/19/2011

So I’m going through my Dreamline…

A Dreamline is your list of goals, all the things you’d love to have, be and do (see the Four Hour Workweek page 54). Think of it as a 12 month bucket list (see 5 Things You Must Have on Your Bucket List).

Download your own 4HWW Dreamline here for free!

… and I noticed something rather interesting. Since writing my dreamline 12 months ago:

  1. I had completed over 85% of the items on the list! This is a known phenomenon to success, that by merely writing down your dreams and goals you are a major step closer to achieving them! Which brought me to realization number…
  2. My goals were too small! Some goals were as small as “purchase 2TB hard drive” “join a gym”. Now although I went way past these 2 incredibly simple tasks…
  3. I forgot to follow through on my goals. You see, in every aspect of life, from golf to martial arts to design to friendship, it’s all about staying with your intensity as far as it will carry. This is why…
  4. I had never heard of Action Method. Action Method is a productivity app based on the book Making Ideas Happen. You can find the iPhone/iPad app in the iTunes store ($3) or at the website ActionMethod.com (basic is free; premium version $13 a month). Action Method had has a profound impact on my productivity. Where once there was a To-Do list, there is now a series of projects (prioritized by energy levels), tasks (specified by urgency), and focus items (up to 5 per day).

All in all, I can only imagine how much I could have accomplished if I would have caught my mistakes 12 months ago.

Using a Priority Inbox system. Every single email that arrives in your inbox should be either:

  • Actionable – placed into Action Method as an actionable/delegated task).
  • Backburner – things to catch up on at a later time. (I create new folders like “To Read” “To Do” for emails I’d like to come back to) and
  • Reference – information which requires neither action or follow-up. Evernote (another amazing app you can download for free here) works great for this storing 10,000’s of notes stored on cloud that you can access anywhere at anytime.
Get used to sending yourself emails containing action tasks or information to direct into either Actionable, Backburner or Reference. Both Action Method and Evernote offer you email addresses so you can process things directly.

The Importance of Organization

Everyone can juggle things in their heads. Some go even further and think of new and creative ways to keep an unbelievable amount of conscious information in their minds at once.

However, when you are focusing on actionable tasks there must be both fluidity and renewal. Items must be completed, delegated, altered or discarded. Then, if the project is expected to move forward, a new action task must fill its place.

Getting Motivated Inspired!

People don’t need motivation, they need inspiration. And its often the case that we are fully capable of inspiring ourselves. A dream, a goal, a passion, a need — anything that engages and penetrates our emotional essence is a great source of inspiration. Some people make collages of all the things they can buy with a million dollars (you’d be surprised!). Some drive after every hard day’s work and pay a visit to the house they intend to buy some day. Some people photoshop their bodies to what they expect to look like after they hit the gym every day for the next 12 months.

The 3 Keys to Getting Things Done

Here are 3 activities that have enabled me to be my most productive and get the most productive work done in incredibly brief spurts of time:

  1. Focus! It’s not enough to just create powerful goals. There must also be an unwavering commitment to achieving them. If your goals get boring, there’s a good chance that they aren’t powerful or meaningful enough. If you must accomplish one menial task in order to reach a more meaningful one, focus on the passion of the end-result. This will often make the prerequisite task much easier.
  2. Ritualize! What do you do first thing when you wake up? How about after that? How about after work? Before you go to sleep? Everything in your life has a place and for that you need a ritual. Anyone who follows a ritual will immediately begin to see more purpose and productivity to their day.
  3. JFDI! This stands for “Just Do It” with an added acronym. This is the only poster on my wall, and its done wonders. There is no more powerful trait than the ability to make swift and intelligent decisions. If you are going to do it anyway, why not do it right now? Moreover, there’s usually some sort of pain or discomfort with doing it later. So… Just Freakin’ Do It!

Some Tips for Productivity:

  • Get up early! And finish something important before the world awakens! I trained myself to wake up at 7 am every morning and working on getting that closer to 5 am! It also helps to familiarize yourself with the concept of sleep cycles.
  • Set daily ass-kicking! Ask yourself “If I could only accomplish one thing today, what would it be”.
  • Check email only twice a day. And see if the world will still rotate as before. Although this is not possible in all professions, you don’t need to be like a dog on a leash either.
  • Wire-in! You know what this is if you write code or watched “The Social Network”. It’s when you zero in completely at the task at hand, and nothing else matters. In sports this is imperative. Kobe fans will remember this.
  • Batch. The mind takes time from move from one type task to another. Batching similar tasks — such as making phone calls, answering emails, doing interviews, and running errands — can suddenly open up huge windows of time you never knew you had.
  • Automate similar tasks as much as possible. Can it be delegated (to someone competent enough)? Can it be taken care of later (like an old video rental)? Does it have to be done at all?
  • Let small bad things happen. This one fascinates me. We all have just a short window of opportunity each day consisting of approximately 16 hours. Yet some of us do great things, while others waste it all on petty tasks. The key then is to allow small bad things to go wrong, while we focus on larger, more important and meaningful tasks.
  • Eat elephants one bite at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but one day at a time. Divide larger tasks into short smaller actionable ones and you’ll be astounded at your gradual yet forward progress.
  • keep everything stupidly simple
  • Create a NOT to do list. Think of your bottlenecks, things that slow you down or circular jobs you keep doing that end in a downward spiral of unproductive time-wasting. Add them to your NOT TO DO list.
  • Remember the 3 C’s: conceive, comprehend, connect.
  • Clear inbox + clear desk = clear conscience. 
  • Take a day off once a week. No work, no phone, no TV. Just be.
  • Now get back to work! :)

Check out Action Method today! (trust me)

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A MUST Read:

I want to just add a sub-note regarding something I came across while I was backpacking through Vietnam a month ago. It’s a book called The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida. Some have labeled it sexist (although all the women I have suggested it to have approved of its almost utopian ideal), and the author himself states the thoughts therein may seem controversial (often with those content with mediocrity and the status quo). Yet, there is little doubt in my mind that many of the problems we face today with regard to personal fulfillment, sense of purpose, a better life – physically emotionally and spiritually – stem from a lack of understanding of the gems hidden in “The Way of the Superior Man”.

The book will teach you about the true dynamics between man and women, libido, creativity, purposeful living and it might just change your life!

Revisiting Investing

06/02/2011

I originally started blogging in 2006 under the name “Investor Sentiment”‎ (all posts are still available) which recorded  my thoughts and feelings of the general market, long before the financial crisis came on the horizon. The focus was to answer some fundamental questions about success with regard to money: Why do the rich get richer, while the poor get poorer? How is the real money made in a mad world like today? If everyone has all the answers, why isn’t everyone rich?

Pages could probably be written in attempt to answer these questions. But in short: Because it takes money to make money. By understanding the fundamentals of wealth and investing. Because most people fail to act when the time warrants so.

Market Trends

We seem to be at a sudden turning point in what I consider a secular bear market. You see there are two timeframes, which often last years, and sometime decades. When stocks as an asset class rise exponentially, and when stocks don’t really do much.

The 1980s and 90s were much like the first. Rising stocks, good economy, enormous profits. The second scenario is what we’re experiencing since 2001. If you look back, the market is only a few points higher than it was at its January 2000 peak of 11,723. That’s a long time to earn a measly 5% (not including dividends of course, but we won’t even get into adjusting for inflation).

In these large super-cycles however, we do find smaller ups and downs, and this is how most traders make their money. As a matter of fact, some only make money when things get really volatile (wild).

From the beginning of the real estate debacle in 2007 until 2008, we saw a crash in fiscal assets and then a quick rise, sending markets to almost 85% gains, and some stocks (financials) to gains in the 100s of percents.

Passive Style

I consider myself a passive investor, as oppose to an enterprising one. I don’t like sitting in front of double screens all day (6 for some), and I don’t believe that there are many great opportunities in any given time frame. There are times however when there are so many opportunities, that it simply becomes a matter of choosing the best risk reward option.

There are two types when it comes to financial investment. Those who seek opportunities and follow the markets, and those who really don’t care much about what Mr. Market is doing but is able to notice when the bells start a ringin’.

I feel like I used to be part of the first category, but graduated towards the second. Investing is an art of sloth, Warren Buffett once said. It never was my thinking that made the big money for me, it always was my sitting, said the legendary Jesse Livermore.

Pareto’s Principle states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. If such is the case, we may infer that 80% of the profits are a result of 20% of the trades. (You may even take this a step further and argue that 99% of the profits result from just 1% of the trades).

I take this opportunity, as an outsider, to offer an objective viewpoint of the financial landscape.

Where We Stand and Opportunities Ahead

Markets fell 2.2% today. Ironic, since the old mantra goes “Sell in May and Go Away!”.

We know that healthy markets climb steadily upward. The more worry or doubt as to a market upward rise, the healthier the rally. The greater the excitement and mayhem, the greater the inevitable disappointment.

300 point moves on the Dow are rarely positive, regardless of whether they are up or down. Corporate profits remain at unsustainable levels, with companies firing on all cylinders trying to stave off any hint of recession. And dividends remain at historical lows. While there were eras (pre-1950) when the average company on the S&P 500 offered a generous 10% yield, today the most generous dividend from a Dow company is 5.45%. Finally, market conditions seem overly ambitious almost completely downplaying the economic condition. Tomorrow’s profits don’t come from yesterday’s market reports.

Let’s hear what Mr. Market had to say about today’s action:

“We need to find real yield and real returns on these assets… The dividend yields on these stocks look awesome relative to all the other investment vehicles out there” – Peter Yastrow, market strategist.

This is the general consensus of the investing community. And that should work out, that is until the Fed starts raising interest rates to catch up with the quantitive easing of capital. (This does not mean that the Dollar will drop, on the contrary, raising rates may be the only thing that the Fed can try that will do so). When this happens, the interest rate, from both the government and banks, will far exceed that of most equity dividends.

Then questions of QE2 (QE3?) and another real estate meltdown come to mind. If you’ve ever jumped from paycheck to paycheck, from interest payment to interest payment, you know how it feels to be in a bind. The money has got to come from somewhere, and where that is, is very important. The American consumer was in bad condition before the rout, so what could we expect now? Usually when you’re on the verge of collapse you’ll reach into the coffers and start liquidating things you never thought you would – old savings accounts, long-term investments, retirement money, childrens’ college funds, family heirlooms – everything and anything in your power to hunker down and not go bust.

That cash may be coming from rising assets, like stocks. But if markets continue to fall, it will turn into a death spiral. Because when that cash flow depletes, it’s all over, and that’s where I think the American consumer is now. They’ve already dug into their essentials. When that’s empty, so is their financial stamina and the greatest consumer-driven anti-recessionary buying binge since WWII.

The Way of Markets

In the event that real rates remain negative (i.e. the rate of inflation continues to rise faster than the rate of return on investment), money will continue to flow to where it is treated best – namely, gold, commodities, unfinanced real estate, and government securities.

You see, the issue with data and financial projections is that they are just that: yesterday’s data and a projection based on yesterday’s data. But when surprises emerge, similar to what happened today, you get a rout. It is obvious then that investment of any kind must be based on more than just data, but a general understanding of the wide dynamic at play (why we use mega-data or history as a guide) and the depth of the perception (much like seeing that the cash on the balance sheet is worth more than the supposed market cap).

The market must be watched closely over the next few days for signs are market irrationality. A recovery from today’s carnage should be expected and then a bumpy ride down. If this does occur (I imagine volatility going nuts with a few daily 250+ point swings) then an equity shorting opportunity may be incumbent.

How To Play This Move

Shorting with Funds: There are a number of funds you can use to short the general market: Ideally are the SDOW (Dow), SQQQ (Nasdaq) and SPXU (S&P) each of which offers you 3x leverage on market losses (and 3x the loss if markets rise). You can find a full list here: http://bit.ly/muwNSn.

Shorting with Options: Another way would be to buy options on market losses for a few months out. These options could be sold once in-the-money. An option is basically insurance against possible events. In this case, a falling market and a tapped out American consumer.

Always remember to cut your losses and let your winners run!

Disclosure: I own no open positions, long or short. I do own some metals which I do not intend on selling at any price.

Why Action Induces Success

05/18/2011

We live in a world of fragmentation. Everything is here in perfection, yet it seems to exist only in forms of randomness. Our job here is to integrate these components into usable and functional frameworks and organization.

Now in English: Work now, money later.

Our world thrives on creativity, not money, fame, or status. The reason we were stuck in the stone age for so long was simply due to out lack of creative application. First there was a wheel, then came DaVince, and sooner or later we got Google. The issue with our ancestors was not their lack of brainpower, but in their ability to apply their ideas into a working model (version 1.0) which then evolved over time into better ideas, projects, businesses and industries that bore even greater ideas, projects, businesses and industries, and hence forth.

An aspiring businessman once asked a wise man for some advice in his upcoming venture. “Start the business.” he said. “You’ll figure the rest out”.

If your truly want to innovate you must first begin. Somewhere. And unbelievably, it doesn’t matter where.

Many innovators think of Mark Zuckerberg as the visionary of Facebook, while in reality its genius was nothing more than a simple process: brainstorm, execute, brainstorm, execute, brainstorm, execute. No pre-launch testing, no monetization models, no major management overhauls. Brainstorm, execute, every once in a while looking at the big picture to put it all in focus. You stop, you die.

There seems to be a strong aversion to execution in today’s world. Ideas are infinite yet great businesses are seldom. Every one of us should have at least one great idea that we have implemented and profited from, which would then enable us to focus our influence to either expand our existing idea or develop new ones.

One of the mind-blowing effects of creative power is that it increases exponentially the smaller the area we are focusing on. We apply this same dynamic in the physical leverage used in screwdrivers, pulleys and doorstops. What we lose in distance we gain in height, or in this case, what we lose in vision, we gain in impact.

Powerful ideas come from powerful questions. But brilliant ideas come from spade questions.

Remember that our impact is only as great as our ideas multiplied by our execution. If we lack the discipline to follow-through we are but dreamers. But when we act, and then brainstorm new avenues to growing and learning through our actions, we become unstoppable! 

The 5 Minute Business Plan

04/06/2011

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Shark Tank or witnessed a desperate business owner trying to pitch his product to a potential customer you may have observed something interesting: the guy or gal on the other side of the desk often knows within the first 15 seconds how the meeting’s going to end. It’s very much like a first date: It’s either an immediate  and absolute “No” or a gradual almost seductive narrative to a possible “Yes!”

The goal then is not to totally bore your audience in the first few minutes. Now although the dating example will have to wait for another time, in entrepreneurship its a dual-play between the entrepreneur and the actual business.

So let’s get started.

There are 10 things that every potential investor, buyer or associate wants to know. Everything else is commentary.

Follow the Rule of 10 / 20/ 30

  • 10 Slides – That’s all you need to get them hooked. All the rest is follow-up.
  • 20 Minutes – Ideally, the presentation should take 5-10 minutes, followed by Q&A.
  • 30 Point Font – If it doesn’t fit on the page, it doesn’t belong in your plan.

Forget special graphics (besides for a logo on your cover page), forget special background, and for heaven’s sake – leave out anything that moves.

The 5 Minute Business Plan

  1. The Team – Who are you (tell them) and why bother with it all? (Some VCs suggest putting this at the end. I say introduce yourself).
  2. The Story – How did you get to where you are and who did you drag with you? (Concise, to the point).
  3. The Problem – What’s so wrong with the market that you’re losing sleep over it?
  4. The Magic – Why you’re better than everything and everyone else out there?
  5. The Demand – How you can prove people actually want what your offering?
  6. The Money – How can you prove that people will actually pay for what you sell?
  7. The Attraction – How do you intend to let your ideal clients know you exist?
  8. The Exit – How long you plan on staying in before you get out?
  9. The Vision – What are the long-term growth options of your company?
  10. The Call to Action – What’s your next move and what do you need to make your millions?

Focus on each of these as if you had ONE chance to present them in front of the President of the United States, the Chairman of Microsoft, and the CEO of Goldman Sachs.

And remember, while great ideas come to us in our sleep, creating world-class businesses is something of another nature – focus, creativity and  persistence.

4 Reasons Why the “4 Reasons Today’s Tech Scene Differs from the ’90s Bubble” Aren’t Really Reasons

03/29/2011

I hope that the title of the article didn’t scare you. Yet I felt compelled to share with you the same confusion many in the social media world are currently going through with regard to company valuations.

I got to the article “4 Reasons Today’s Tech Scene Differs from the ’90s Bubble” through the article “Buffett Declares Social Media Valuations Overpriced“, in which Buffett, in eerily similar fashion to the Tech Bubble 1.0, claims “it’s extremely difficult to value social networking site companies” and that “some will be huge winners, which will make up for the rest.”

As a student of investor sentiment I love to point out when investors’ hearts jump far ahead of their minds. One of my favorite books of all-time is “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds” in which Charles McKay journeys through the greatest examples of herd-mentality people’s money has been subject to.

I’ve become quite keen of bubbles. Both finding them and pointing out false ones. Tops are more fun than bottoms, simply because bubbles are so much more entertaining.

It’s a funny thing money, because it’s something we work our whole lives for and yet it can drive us completely insane. We gamble when we have everything to lose and we shy away from the greatest of opportunities.

Back to the article.

If you insist that Facebook is worth $85 Billion today you deserve to be made fun of. Let’s begin.

Alexander Hotz is a freelance multimedia journalist and public radio junkie based in New York City. Currently he teaches digital media at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

So now we have a case of Buffett vs Hotz. Who do YOU think is going to win? That’s right. The 80 year old investor or some young “public radio junkie”. Sorry, Alex but my money’s on Buffett.

We currently have the following valuations:

Quora $1 Billion

Twitter $10 Billion

Facebook $85 Billion

Alex mentions 4 reasons why “this time is different”.

1. Startup Costs

“[In the 1990s], when you started a company, more money was pumped into office space, servers and equipment,” said Mimeo.com Founder Jeff Stewart. “Today, when you build a company, you don’t own a server — you might even have mobile office.” With so much infrastructure now in the cloud, entrepreneurs can focus more on the product than they could in the past. For their part, investors don’t need to invest as much, so at least in comparison to the 1990s, oftentimes the risk is less. Bottom line — it costs less to start a company today.

There are 3 immediate issues I have with that paragraph.

a. It’s not true. Yes infrastructure costs have lowered significantly yet other costs and other distractions have taken its place. Today, marketing, lead generation, code writing and technical expertise have taken the front seat – aspects just as time consuming as taking out the trash or actually selling product.

b. This doesn’t help us. If startup costs have dropped that means that the incentive for other competitors to compete has risen. What stops some potential college drop-out from spending his night writing better code than your oh-so-genius team?

c. This isn’t a reason. So let us assume that you do have a patent-pending for your state-of-the-art tech-savvy game-changing app. How do you make money? If there’s no money, there’s no valuation. Period. I’ll write that again because it will recur throughout this article. If there’s no money, there’s no valuation.

2. Public vs Private

In the 1990s, tech companies raced to secure a lucrative IPO. When the bubble burst in March 2000, those who got burned weren’t just angel investors and VCs, they were less experienced investors who had jumped on the tech bandwagon.

Today, younger companies aren’t in a rush to go public. Think Facebook’s “special purpose vehicle” with Goldman Sachs. What’s more, today’s public tech companies are market stalwarts. “You can’t call Amazon or Google or Apple overvalued,” said OrganizedWisdom CEO Steve Krein. “[In the 1990s] you could have called DoubleClick, Amazon and Yahoo overvalued.”

Krein agrees with Fred Wilson that the startup world has some “frothiness” or excess capital, but comparisons to the 1990s don’t take into account where the investors are coming from.

Firstly, investors are investors. And history has proven the astute “experienced” investors to be the ones who are often the most foolish ones. You may insist that small investors won’t get burned this time and, I agree, that’s a good thing. But that doesn’t in any way validate the stupidity of the affluent who we know spend millions of dollars on other stupid stuff like art, CDOs and credit default swaps.

I have no doubt that if the small guy could get in on this mayhem, he’d buy Facebook faster than he bought Enron and Pets.com 12 years ago.

Then he mentions Google, Apple and Co., which makes my head spin. Of course Google wasn’t overvalued in 1999. It didn’t exist! So while investors were piling into Yahoo and Juno their ultimate rival wasn’t even a prototype!

The second mistake is a bit more complex. You can’t use the survivor to prove the challenge. You can’t take the 1997 Bulls and claim that the Michael Jordan draft pick was a home run. Apple has come a long way since 1999. Jobs had just joined the company again after 10 years of struggling profits and a stagnant share-price.

3. Hubris

A less tangible difference between the 1990s and today’s startups is the dynamic between the up-and-comers and the established titans. “[In the 1990s] there was a sense of confidence that the new companies would knock off the old companies,” said MeetMoi.com CEO Andrew Weinreich. “Imagine Time Warner, the most venerable of media companies, literally giving away half of itself to an Internet startup AOL. If you were in a startup, you really thought that you would knock off existing players.” Today, the big players are the survivors of the dot com era.

I have to give it to him. He had the substance of a real argument until the last line. Which survivors are we referring to? When people talk about Google being taken over by Facebook, what does that say about hubris?

Finally, since when does hubris a necessity for a valuation bubble. All we’re saying is that investor aren’t discounting anything for the future. Webster’s  defines a “Bubble” as “a state of booming economic activity (as in a stock market) that often ends in a sudden collapse”.

When VCs are throwing (literally) money at these new tech startups there is a definite chance of a sudden collapse in economics activity, at least in Silicon Valley.

4. The Bubble Isn’t a Profitable Joke

In 2000, entrepreneur Philip Kaplan created the satirical website FuckedCompany.com (a take on Fast Company), lampooning the absurdities of the startup world. “When you have a profitable business built around making fun of the bubble, that’s an indicator,” said Stewart. The site made some serious money off the woes of the floundering dot com world. Today, while satirical blogs and social accounts are plentiful, none of them come close to the profitability of lampooning the last bubble.

Do we really need jokes to prove investor insanity? Mind you, every child knows that (bubblegum) bubbles take time to grow, but only an instant to pop. Investors should bear in mind the same. That one day there will be a joke, the next it won’t be so funny.

So is there a bubble?

No.

Guess you weren’t expecting that answer. The fact is that if investors are going this crazy now, it’s due to continue for some time. True, there are no jokes, there are no naysayers (and thus stark advocates) and it’s not the hottest topic on CNBC. Most of all, there aren’t enough people claiming it’s a bubble (yes, a bubble needs a conscience). Not yet at least. But once the IPOs start rolling out and the small investors do get wind of what’s going on, it will end, and badly.

Wait I say.

Wait for the “Facebook taking over Apple” articles.

Wait for the momentum, when volatility increases.

Wait for the young and inexperienced investors to sit on the set of CNBC and tout the reasons for their madness.

Wait until earnings become paramount, while balance sheet quality, cash flow from operations are ignored.

Wait until these “low cost” startups begin to run low on the mountains of cash they acquired.

Wait for when the accounting seems compromised, when large amounts of earnings stem from accruals rather than cash flow from operations.

Wait for the article that say “This time is different”, “P/E ratio’s don’t matter” and “If you don’t invest now you’ll die a broke old man”.

When Buffett said that he “didn’t get tech,” he didn’t mean that he didn’t understand technology; he just couldn’t understand how technology companies would earn returns on equity justifying the capital employed on a sustainable basis.

Why We Celebrate The Celebrated

03/14/2011

Throughout every niche and industry there are celebrities. Icons who dominate their respective field, be it academia, sports, pop-culture, religion or business.

But then comes some presumably logical thinker who challenges the status quo and asks “Why put them on a pedestal? They’re just like everyone else, or at best, less than worthy of the status their given”.

And there is some validity to their claim. We often attribute value to what other people attribute value. (This is known as the Law of Value Attribution).

Yet the truth that we often forget, or even fail to understand is how and why these people gained their stature and prestige in the first place.

Its not easy competing against 7 Billion people. We must assume that we don’t have all the information. We begin to deny the greats of their innate power and discredit their skill in reeplacement for luck or good fortune.

Is Michael Jordan really the best to ever play the game? Did Warren Buffett just get lucky? How good were the Beatles?

However, it is often the quiet champion who is unknown, rather than the celebrity who is overhyped.

An exception to this would be when we have an ulterior motive, something valuable at stake.

Example: Enron. The reason people failed to view things objectively because they chose not to. The balance sheets didn’t make sense, but their personal banking statements did. And as any student of behavioral psychology knows, when its win-lose we’d rather just win the prize and lose our minds.

Brainstorm #4: Child Education

01/13/2011

Each Monday we explore an edge on a new issue or existing problem. The spade question acts as a catalyst for creative ideas and objectives. This Monday we asked:

How can we improve the communication between parent, teacher and student to better educate our children?

Research from across the board overwhelmingly demonstrates the positive effect of parent-teacher communication and involvement on their children’s academic achievement and does wonder to the long-term accomplishments and competence of their child – including advancement for higher education and better career choices.

Study after study (Clark 1983; Comer 1980, 1988; Eccles, Arbreton, et al., 1993; Eccles-Parsons, Adler and Kaczala 1982; Epstein 1983, 1984; Majoribanks 1979 as cited in Eccles and Harold 1996) made the evidence indisputable that whenever students with similar initial background and aptitude were rated by their performance those with more parental involvement did better. Increased Communication Equals Better Education.

It’s no doubt then why the “No Child Left Behind” Act supports parent involvement and reinforces heavily the administrative responsibility towards every student – regardless of race, ethnicity or background.

We live in eventful times. Everything around us has suddenly become so interesting that we forget to take quality time from our busy day and think about the future of our children. In many cases it’s a phone call, or a an email, just to follow-up or receive feedback on a particular issue.

“Great teachers teach the Three R’s; great principals make great schools. And great parent groups make the difference between a big pile of bricks with teachers inside, or a real community” – Tim Sullivan, founder and president of PTO Today

And indeed it is so. Only a parent can choose to reinforce or compromise the quality of education and effort a teacher invests. Every child needs the support and self-esteem to lead them through the most challenging but also most quintessential part of their life.

So how can we  improve the communication between parent, teacher and student to better educate our children?

Here are some ideas that our readers and team came up with:

1. Listen! 75% of communication is listening to what the other person is actually saying. – C.D.

2. Be more humble and responsible: Simply get the parent/teacher to practice some modesty and practice on being humble – that will be a good start. The student should be willing and open to accepting their authority. – Y.K.

- Piggy-back comment: Create programs and events that encourage children to talk and express themselves their thoughts, feelings, and talents – in a judgement-free zone. Why does “Show & Tell” stop in 1st Grade?

- Piggy-back comment: We could also make kids in charge – offering children the opportunity to practice authority. A “Topsy-Turvy Day” where students play teacher and vice versa may shed light to each on how it feels to be in the other person’s moccasins.

3. Constant dialogue: Constant communication and interest both ways. – C.R.

4. Social Networking: A site where teacher, parent, student and class can all interact in friendly and safe environment. – N.K.

5. Let them out: Encourage kids to talk and express their thoughts, feelings and talents in a judgement-free zone. Why “Show & Tell” stop in 1st Grade?

6. More exciting PTA (parent teacher association): Make it fun, funny, interactive and focus more on accomplishments than the cons or where the child is falling behind.

7. Make education more fun! Adding more interactive, musical or multimedia presentations may enhance both the general attention level and the stickiness of the material (think Sesame Street).

- Other ways may be to have – in addition to the “Pledge of Allegiance” – a morning psyche-up where everybody gets excited about the coming day with a hokey-pokey, class cheers, games and positive affirmations.

- Have everyone (teachers included) say one nice thing to the person next to them.

- Another method for making lessons “stick” would be to add more sensory involvement – touch, taste, sight, smell and sound.

8. Play! Instead of bombarding students with homework, have them make a play demonstrating what they’ve learned on the subject matter. There would be a list of general items or questions that the students would have to answer or research and incorporate them into their act.

- Tools (music tracks, props, material resources) would be provided by the administration. Creativity and would be provided solely by the students.

9. Rewards and Incentives: One thing that parents could do to incentivize their little champs would be to celebrate certain milestones or goals. Throw a party or make a banquet “Perfect Attendance” Breakfast featuring their child’s favorite food! There isn’t a child in the world who doesn’t love getting woken up for a surprise party!

- This can also work as part of a general rewards program that is the result of effort between school and home, with input by both parent and teacher. – N.K.

- This can also work in more extravagant fashion as a national program where each child is issued actual mini-credit-cards (kids love ‘em) which rack up points or miles which are redeemable for cash, prizes and trips.

Which suggestions do YOU like best?

What are YOUR ideas?

Let us know!

Brainstorm Follow-up – Fashion

01/09/2011

Each Monday we explore an edge on a new issue or existing problem. The spade question acts as a catalyst for creative ideas and functional improvement. This Monday we asked:

What’s missing in the fashion industry that caters to the ever-growing need for design differentiation, customization and consumer preference?

Note that this was not designed as a genuine spade question, but as a general opener for ideas within the fashion industry at large.

Here are some of the ideas that our team and our readers came up with.


1. Focus on Children: A line that was all-the-rave for children. Top-notch high-end quality yet affordable durable and comfortable for kids, with outfits aimed specifically at making kids look great! – A.L.

2. Custom Shoes: Another custom market that can be tapped into is for high-quality stylish shoes in the sub-$140 range – Y.K.

3. An online builder app used to design affordable customizable made-to-fit clothing. – A.S.

- Designers can put up designs and potential buyers could vote on the ones they like. – M.L.

- Another section could enable fashionistas to design their own outfits from scratch with step by step instructions and tips.

- Yet another feature could permit people to upload pictures of themselves or their favorite celebrity (with approximate body measurements and “try-on” various assortments of outfits, accessories, hair-do’s, etc.

Synopsis:

Design today may give an edge to up-and-coming designers in the same way that YouTube made Justin Bieber into a celebrity. It wasn’t JUST that people were looking for something unique and different, but that they found it in a unique and different place that no one had looked before.
In marketing we call this phenomenon “perceived value”. This means that we submit more value to that which receives more attention. (video – Joshua Bell on his $3.5 million stradivarius). We can’t help it. We’re human! And as such, we can only consciously process a fraction of the information that floods our busy minds (video – selective attention).

I a world of fragmentation, the more places we look, the more overall results we’ll have. And if we filter through ALL those results – either through voting or “Likes” – and share our preference with all our friends it has the ability to act as a tipping point for viral success. If you can get 3 million hits, you can well assume that the equivalent of 1% of the American population has seen or heard about it. A week later it sells for .99 cents on iTunes.

Fashion may begin to work similarly. Anyone and everyone should be able to design their own outfits and feature them. Of course, unlike music video (which is solely an audio-visual experience), fashion has many subtle features – such as texture, material, comfort and fit. Yet for the most part these can be adjusted. Creativity and originality reside by and large in the field of visual appeal. Manufacturers could then line up to produce the highest rated outfits – just as record labels line up for final contestants of American Idol).

Which suggestions do YOU like best? What are YOUR ideas?

Spade Question #3: What’s Missing In Fashion?

01/04/2011
  • Last Week’s Brainstorm: No more prisons.
  • This week’s brainstorm: What’s missing in fashion?

Each week (on Monday) we feature our weekly brainstorm. This week we focus on the fashion industry at large.

What’s missing in the fashion industry that caters to the ever growing need for design differentiation, customization and consumer preference?

About The Fashion Industry

Ask any fashionista and they’ll tell you that fashion definitely ain’t what it used to be. Here’s why:

We got some insights from an article entitled “What’s Wrong With Fashion?” from fashion blogger Tricia Royal.

The economy: If you’ve been following the news over the past few months you’ll know that its no longer the roaring 90s and the American consumer (read: world consumer) is just about tapped out. As credit lines get tightened and families start to cut-back their budgets to within their means, people will be less willing to shell out their dollars each fashion season. This may begin a phase of second-hand shopping for bargain wear.

Not to mention the exorbant prices now demanded for high-end designer wear. Conversely, this may actually help to differentiate the Saks Fifth Avenues from the Stein Marts.

What is interesting is that some people would still rather spend good money of the latest gadgets (think: iPhone) something that ensures long-lasting, practical use, than buy lots of (inevitably) trendy, disposable clothes. It’s not just that the American consumer is tapped out, but that there’s nothing to tap them back in.

Lack of color: Many critics are beside themselves with regard to the schemes and design palates in recent lines. Black seems to be dominant. “People want and connect with color, but designers aren’t offering it” says Royal. “These dark colors for clothing seem almost funereal, and are, interestingly enough, an apt metaphor for the malaise and fear in the air culturally, politically and economically”.

The overhyped fashion industry machine: “Stuff is churned out so fast and slammed into our face so much – via magazines, blogs, websites and the like – we lose sense of what season we’re in and what’s really significant at any given moment stylistically”. Fashion seems to have sped up to the speed of churning out bulk runs of an identical item. As retailers push new, relevant designs out to their floors constantly, pleasing the customer, big designers have a hard time keeping up.

To make up for this glut, the industry “off-kilter delivery cycle puts clothing on the racks and shelves of stores months before a season actually starts. But people want to wear what they buy RIGHT NOW. Why stash it away for later?? Think putting out spring threads in the dead of winter, fall clothes in the heat of summer.”

In the fashion industry people like to see new and upcoming designs or design a selection of their own. What’s missing from the sales-end is the hit-single, the “must-have” item in the market.

So what’s the consumers biggest complaint and what can we expect in the future?

“Clothes are just blah in terms of style (non-comittal, non-novel, bland details). They are made cheaply of cheap materials. People want to feel their buying an item of value” Tricia tells us.

People want to look good and they want to look different and special. The one-model-fits-all-then-outsource-to-China model concept isn’t working anymore. People want diversity, options and fuction. Gucci and Donna Karen are so last century.

In an age where globalization and niche markets are all the rage, a one-off beats the fashion line any day of the month. The problem is that this model requires intense focus on the niche, and dedication to their marketing “NEADS“, as well as the funding necessary to attend to those neads.

In century 21 the consumer rocks, not the fashion artist. Today, you can create an entire line and be celebrated for one unique feature. Once upon a time an item was just an item – all flash, no fire. Today comfort matters (check these out!). Today affordability matters. Today function (durable, wrinkle-free, machine-washable) takes precedence over form. One could add a pocket here, or a flower there but when you put out a line for athletes that absorbs moisture better, or jeans for teenagers who like a tighter fit (if you have Facebook) – that’s a killer!

It seems that people want to design their own clothes more and more. And those who don’t at least want someone who “gets” them. The fashion market – like the music industry and the publishing industry – is customizing, moving gradually away from the industrialized model, and into the new-age phenomenon of long tails.

Today, thanks to the internet, niches can find niches, and anyone can become their local version of Vercace or Aramani. When this happens, while its true that the power-laws still stand strong (yes, Armani will still outsell most generic brands), small time designers (yourself included) may find their niche.

Lastly, the recent phenomenon of earth-friendly greener ways of living will make a deep impact on fashion (see fact #10). In the same vein, the need to express ourselves will have to go in a very different direction than simply believing that “less is more”. Our ethical and moral standard have been shot to hell, along with what the fashion industry has stood for up until the late of last century.

In the near future the attentive designer will outperform the insensitive ones. Everything will be custom to YOU. Glasses that suit YOU. Suits that fit YOU. Fit and preference that matches YOU. Styles and patterns that cater to your personality. Wear that compliments not compromises your convictions.

“What would YOU like to say” will become an industry-wide trademark.

So today our spade question (is it still?) takes on a different nature. Instead of focusing on a specific problem we are brainstorming ideas for future ideas. The question opens the floor to an array of new ideas and we want to hear them!

What’s missing in the fashion industry that caters to the ever growing need for design differentiation, customization and consumer preference?

We want your ideas! And after that, send the link to some friends. Let’s hear what they have to say!

Brainstorm #2 – No More Prisons

12/29/2010
  • Last Week’s Brainstorm – Being More Productive
  • Interesting Fact – Prisons Today.
  • This week’s brainstorm – No More Prisons Tomorrow.

Just in case you missed it, we featured our first weekly brainstorm on our Facebook Page last week. Our Spade Question was:

What can I do to get more important work done in less time and with less effort?

Here are some of the answers we came up with. (Note how the general ideas begin radical and are then tempered to produce practical, reasonable solutions).

  1. Get excited! Make work something to look forward to. Make it fun and reward yourself.
  2. Slow down time! Get the pre-liminary stuff done during off-hours, then execute powerfully in your most energetic time slots.
  3. Beat bureaucracy! Get people to respond quickly to rapidly developing projects (phone and meetings, over text and email.
  4. Let the work do itself! Make repetitive tasks turn-key by using frameworks and templates. Delegate what you can.
  5. Batch! Pool similar tasks with each other and execute in 50 minute spurts of complete focus and attention.

Prison

This week we based our Spade Question on an interesting fact I came across this week:

The United States puts 0.7 % of its population in Prison – a vastly higher percentage than any other nation. This means that at any given moment there are over 2 million people incarcerated. One can imagine that this does very little to fix an ever growing problem. Is the United States truly safer than ANY other country? Is there no better way to spend the $22,000 – the cost, per inmate, per year?


Think about this one: An individual sentenced to five years for a $300 theft costs the public more than $100,000. Only in America.

Most prisoners come from disadvantaged backgrounds. Most have not completed high school. Many can barely read. Roughly one-third were been unemployed before imprisonment. Another third had annual incomes of less than $5,000. How can months or even years in prison correct this?

It’s no wonder that 52% – half – of prisoners who are released from prison are convicted and sent back within 3 years.

This all begs to question: Are all these “correctional facilities” really correctional?

How can we eliminate Prisons and Incarceration within 10 years?

Here are some ideas we came up with:

  1. Death Penalty! How could we use the death penalty for petty crimes while still being civil? We can fine them “to death” by charging exorbitant fees for crimes – just like we now do for speeding. Everyone hates tickets, why? Because they work!
  2. Tell on them! What if we told everyone who they know what they’ve done. We know that embarrassment isoften the greatest restructuring of a con. A great change occurs when unsympathetic arrestees gain a deeper understanding as to the effects of their crime. This requires education, not imprisonment.
  3. Nuke the lower class. What if we “nuked” the lower class with education that helped them understand the severity of their crimes or that explained how their talents could be put to better, less risky, more profitable use. What if we explained in simple English (or any other language) that selling TV’s can make more money than stealing them (and then selling them).
  4. “ConStraints”. A new device that would act as an “ankle weight” with properties that a) alert law enforcement of the constant whereabouts and up-to-date information on the “prisoner” b) is able to shock the con (similar to taser) – in the event they compromise the safety of their environment. Different features could be added for various levels of the crime committed.

A case for lesser stringency for second convictions: State prisoners with the highest re-arrest rates were those jailed for stealing cars (70%), possessing stolen property (77%), larceny (75%), burglary (74%), robbery (70%), or those possessing illegal weapons (70%). Within 3 years, only 2.5% of released rapists were arrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide. These are the lowest rates of re-arrest for the same category of crime.


Sources:

http://www.heartsandminds.org/prisons/facts.htm

http://www.stateline.org/live/ViewPage.action?siteNodeId=136&languageId=1&contentId=14835

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/rpr94.htm

“The Causes of Recidivism in the Criminal Justice System and Why It Is Worth the Cost to Address Them.” Nashville Bar Journal. Dec 06/Jan 07. (April 21, 2009).

What is a Spade Question?

12/29/2010

One of the techniques of brainstorming – of gathering a pool of possible ideas for any given issue or project – is to lead with a “spade question”. This opens the floor to an array of ideas and possibilities albeit in a focused and concentrated area.

So what is a Spade Question?

The problem with most brainstorming sessions is that people get side-tracked. They begin discussing one subject but quickly find themselves going down a whole different path. It’s not that anyone is right or left, but that the focus in the beginning wasn’t narrow enough. The best answers often evolve from the best question.

The spade represents both a conclusion and something at a distance far away.

This is what we try to focus on during the brainstorm; to produce a question that naturally narrows not our perspective but our focus. This enables us to pin-point a particular issue and address it head-on. We then broaden our creative minds to expand on all the possibilities within this range.

The best spade questions are those which address the who, what, when and where we wish to get answered.

Example:

Instead of asking:

“How to become a morning person?”

I might ask:

“How could I better arrange my day so that I get a great night’s rest and wake-up early and energized in the mornings?”


Ancient Lions and The Modern Man

11/28/2010

By Tzvi Greenberg

Roman and Germanic Armies Battle

Understanding the past is critical to understanding the present. Attention to history slows the racings of contemporary life. It lends context to confusion and provides the lens which sharpens our perspective.

So let us survey the plains of the past. Let us gather ourselves about the hearth of lore and legend and perhaps be enlightened.

There was a time when every sunrise was the dawning of a fresh terror. The crowing of the rooster was a lament for a day that had not yet begun. It was the age when violence was the language of nature. A time when nation confronted nation with the glint of the sword held high, as the hooves of their armored horses scarred the ground in the exaltation of war.

Despair consumed the hearts of those who surveyed the wealth of tradition as it lay trampled beneath the feet of advancing civilizations.

Yet throughout, men and children whispered beneath the floor boards, their eyes straining over forbidden text as small prayers issued from their trembling lips. And at night, hunched against the cold, ignoring the protest of their stomachs, some of them had the nerve to dream of freedom.

Today, we are the children of ancient endurance. We eat warm meals in brightly lit homes and are free to pursue a livelihood in an environment that poses no threat to our lives. We can enjoy our parks, museums, cafés, and all the allure of culture unhindered.

Basic comfort is not a pursuit; it is a given. Today, true horror is the stuff of film and the business of far away countries. And although misfortune visits everyone from time to time, it does not afflict our country on a large scale.

It appears that we are witnessing the triumph of civilization. Mans turbulent past has given birth to his relatively stable present. We live in a time when different beliefs and religions, once the instigators of conflict, coexist in relative peace and understanding. Leaders of various faiths meet at the lectern as opposed to the battlefield. People have graduated from the duel to the debate, and our liberty and ingenuity have allowed us to capitalize on the error and industry of millennia.

Yet, in the background of our culture some critical alarms are begging to be heard. There is something about our alleged progress that speaks of sinister regression. It warns that amidst the intricacy of our advancement, there might very well be the symptom of a subtle retardation of the psyche.

Let us return to the past and ask a question. What served as the fuel for the ancient extreme take on life and events that gave rise to those ensuing chaotic periods? What mentality supported the epic violence and massacres? Could such capacity for destruction and cruelty be conceived in a vacuum?

There is certainly an explanation and we shall endeavor to bring it forth with an analysis, however briefly, of the relationship of man and his ideas.

On the one hand, there is the “isolated idea” that is, the idea itself, the theory, formula, belief. It is impersonal, and its uses and responsibilities have no bearing on the individual. It exists in the mind as an apple might in the hand, and cannot nourish the person so long as he is holding it.

The second relationship between the individual and his idea is the “personalized idea.” It is the conscious joining of the man and his beliefs, the two separate entities becoming one. This is the consumption of the apple and its ingestion. Man and his thought merged into a single being and the intellectual wall and distance is removed. The idea is allowed access into his perspective, and given the discretion to influence his attitudes and decisions.

In ancient times, man and his ideas were indivisible and indistinguishable. Man did not “practice” religion, he was religious. He was his thoughts and his thoughts were one with him. He was the embodiment of the “personalized idea.”

There is a strong aesthetic appeal to this composite unity, this vibrant picture of the ancient personality.

On the negative side, this ancient beauty only worked for a single person or a single faith and left no room for any contrary opinion. The natural attitude that results from this mentality is, “if I am right then you are wrong, you must join me willingly, by force or be destroyed, for you cannot be saved if you do not believe as I do.” In addition, as a byproduct of this outlook; intellectualism and abstract thought were considered vanities or even heretical, and were often forbidden in any form. Ancient mans’ holistic beauty was also the most fertile environment for his dogmatism and intolerance. It resulted in the death of millions.

Extremism and tolerance cannot coexist, and therefore we must pronounce him a colossal failure.
Contrast this with today where the situation is quite different. We are tolerant and understanding. We can listen to discussions about the validity of faith with total calm. We debate religion and topics that once shook the very foundations of the world with objectivity and personal detachment. We have learned that violence is not the appropriate response to our differences.

Yet what effect has this tolerance exacted on our collective psyche?

It has come at the cost of the “isolated idea.”

Our “open mindedness” and “understanding” has left the inner pillar of human identity fractured. Our reaction to historical intolerance is indiscriminate acceptance. The cosmic embrace of modern man is his very loss of self. Our individual devotion and passion, the very essence of the individual, has been diluted by excessive acceptance of parallel devotions and foreign faiths. In our uniting with others we have divided ourselves.

Our very language betrays this internal division when terms like “family life,” “business life,” and “married life” become commonplace. Whatever happened to just, “life?” We adapt technology to provide endless forms of entertainment and distraction, and we become easy targets for the influence of advertizing which teaches us to want things that we don’t need. And when the tides of distraction dissipate and we reach a fickle moment above the fray, we remain dehydrated of meaning and thirst for answers to unarticulated questions.

Ancient man was at peace with himself and at war with his neighbor. Modern man is at peace with his neighbor and at war with himself.

The result is the stranger that stares back from the mirror.

The solution is balance. We must join the strengths of the past with the strengths of the present and fix them in their appropriate places.

When reflecting on oneself, one must take the “personalized idea” approach. We cannot afford to compromise on truth merely because someone else has a different definition of the term. We must pursue our individual purpose with discipline, focus, and yes, “narrow-mindedness.” It is our ultimate imperative to synchronize ourselves with our service to G-d, and the fulfillment of His commandments. We must strive to reflect our faith and conviction in our thought, speech, and action.

Extremism, that firebrand, does have a place where it does not destroy; in our hearts where it warms our lives and ignites that passion in our eyes. And when channeled only toward the self, endows man with the strength, energy, and beauty that reflect his Creator.

When viewing the world and the opinions of others, one must take the “isolated idea” perspective.

We must respect another’s right to search for truth, purpose, and meaning. It is not our task to respect a different faith, but it is our responsibility to respect another’s right to practice it. For G-d has many children, and who can fathom what he might desire from your neighbor?

It is only G-d who can make ultimate decisions and judgments. The individual can only make a judgment for himself alone. Tolerance and acceptance toward others are not pursuits in their own right, but are the natural byproducts of the understanding of the human condition.

The knowledge is there, the facts have been presented. And now action is the task at hand.

Writing History

08/01/2010

“In a few hundred years, when the history of our time is written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event those historians will see is not technology, not the internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time, literally, substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves.
“And society is totally unprepared for it.”

~ Peter Drucker

Maybe It’s My Fault – Michael Jordan

06/29/2010

“Maybe you’re just making excuses”


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