Self-Reliance vs. Interdependence

I remember my survival skills training as a Boy Scout.  There was something seemingly terribly important about learning how to start a fire, find food in the wilderness, and to stay safe.  We read about these things, talked about them in groups, and then went into the woods to practice our craft.  Merit badges were only part of the reward; there was something deeply satisfying about becoming self-reliant.

Perhaps you also remember the TV series with Bear Grylls where he would go into situations that even I would have no idea how to survive, often with a frail female companion to further complicate his efforts.

Our lives today have become so complex that we can no longer be self-reliant like that.  We depend upon a host of medical practitioners rather one family doctor … after all, today everyone is a specialist.  We probably can’t do our tax returns, maintain our cars or properties, or even manage our families without help.  Then, when things go wrong, we are often dependent upon a host of people we barely know.  Thankfully most of them are honest and helpful.

So, with this increased level of interdependence, why doesn’t that show in our behaviors?  When I was a child, I was told that you never talk about three things: sex, politics, and religion.  Maybe we should take those out of our narratives once again since the current polarizing forces on these is so debilitating.

We take sides on almost any and every issue these days, as if we knew for sure

we were right, and by standing our ground, the others would give in to us.  We seem way too content to just keep insisting on our ways rather than to find common or even higher ground to do something that will help.

We can call this by a nice word like polarization as if that somehow makes it acceptable.  Labels never really change situations for the better.  We need to work on things, adjust our paths, and push for progress.

Let’s work together to create jobs for everyone who wants to work, and inspire the ones who do not, to see that working leads to a better world for themselves and their families.


The News Media Misdirections

Have you been noticing the tendency lately for the media to take what seem to be reasonable facts and then spin it in a way that just isn’t really quite truthful?

“GM Might Eliminate Some of its Popular Cars” is what it read.  That sounds like GM is no longer making cars we really like, doesn’t it?  Take a look for yourself.

The correct news headline should have been something like “GM cars decline forcing GM to eliminate unpopular ones” or something like that.  Clearly GM does not want to disappoint customers who clamor for certain cars.

I just wonder whether we are seeing something a bit deeper and darker in the news media.  Could they be looking for ways to indicate the economy is not doing well?  They don’t seem to want to cover the stock market, which is on a tear.  Or that our President and First Lady represented us proudly on the world stage.  They don’t seem to want to cover anything that is good or getting better in the world.

As I posted months ago, the song Dirty Laundry comes to mind.  I guess it just sells papers … and they need that for sure … they are dying you know … maybe that is at the root of all of this … they haven’t resigned themselves to that.  In the meantime, enjoy the song one more time.




The Latest in Bait and Switch

If you have spent your time in marketing and sales, you are aware of this trick.  You get the customer’s attention with a low price or outlandish claim and the refine their understanding after they express an interest.  As immoral as it is, the idea is to engage a prospect you can then close.

The Internet is awash with advertising that most of us ignore, so the latest trick is to offer something we might find interesting.  You will see “then and now” photos of stars and “strange facts” that are intriguing.  But, more times than not, when you do the one they claimed you would see is not in the list.

The one I clicked on specifically because I thought it was absurd that a snake could take down an elephant.  Sure enough, after putting up with 40 horrible snakes … none that could, or even would, attempt to do this.

How many of you remember the “truth in advertising” regulations of year’s past?  It seems we need some.  Oh, I just checked, and this is a clear violation … but who is going to take the time to file a complaint?


Busy Bees

This is the time of the year to watch the birds and the bees.  I knew bees were important to our crops and our well being, but I never knew how little each bee contributes to all this:

In order to produce 1 pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited. A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey. One bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year. An average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime.

Talk about feeling unimportant … it takes a dozen bees to make one teaspoon of honey for their entire lifetime?

Yet they work together, tirelessly, and are fully willing to give up their lives to defend the hive.

That is a society we can admire … or do we?  Why doesn’t the demise of bees get into the news?  We are losing our populations of bees and it is threatening our food supply … much faster than any consequences of global climate change which does always seem to get into the news!

Read it for yourself at of all places the NRDC: Click Here

And, now that I have your attention, and since many of you are worried about water, which is already threatening our well being … pay attention to what you eat: Read more here.

We are all busy these days … but as you will read, we can all make a huge difference by changing small behaviors in our daily lives.  What we do does matter.


IoT moves to IaaS

The hot topic lately has been the Internet of Things or IoT.  And, well it should be since we are moving into a connected world.  But, it seems to me that the words of the great hockey player Wayne Gretsky apply here.  You don’t skate to where the puck is to be great … you skate to where the puck is going!

Few would argue that the small letters “aa” are the key here.  Businesses, including ours, are building software applications that offer services instead of selling the applications directly.  This enables huge reductions in costs and permits fluid improvements that occur in the background of most people’s lives.

But, there are some new and perhaps unexpected twists in this evolution.  Take a look at the following:

  • SaaS Examples: Google Apps, Salesforce, Workday, Concur, Citrix GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx.

If I gave you the acronym IaaS what would you think the “I” stood for?  Right now, it is infrastructure.

  • IaaS Examples: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Metapod, Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Joyent.

That is where the puck is right now.  Where is it going?  I believe the “I” will very shortly stand for “Information.”  That is what our latest product for low income customers really achieves:  Information as a Service” to those who most need it and who now seldom receive it.

If you are interested, we have a webinar illustrating it.  Sign up here and see the future.