Election 2012

So the polls say this thing is a done deal. Really, Obama for 4 more years? Is He not the most radical president we have ever had? What the hell will he try and do in the next 4 years, when he doesn’t face reelection? Really, Obama for 4 more years? Can we point to one area that he has succeeded? Not really. Can we count the number of hours he has sat through national security briefings? About 420 hours. The number of hours he has spent golfing, about 630 hours. Did I just make that number up, yes but we know he has been at least 105 times, you do the math. Am I angry, You bet ya! That’s why I’m posting.
Would anyone argue that economy is floundering? Other than Paul Krugman, who has left his position as an economist and became a political shrill, would anyone say we are on the right path. When you see Paul Krugman on television he gives a subtle clue he is not being honest. It’s when his lips are moving. This jackass would never approve of a national debt when a Republican was in office. Anyone? Anyone? I thought not. I hate double standards.
What the hell will America look like in 4 years? Will we punish success and reward losers? Pathetic people that want to suck off the American Teet and never have a full understanding of where the money comes from in order to afford their life. We just saw it this week with Obama Phones. An interviewer asked where the money comes from to give you an Obama Phone, the person in Cleveland said I don’t know it’s Obama money. When 51% takes from the government has no idea where the money comes from, this country is doomed. I love the look on liberals face when they suddenly realize their policies have hurt people. Wow, I had no idea, wow. These stupid fucks are killing this country. Am i being polite, no but the destruction of this country isn’t polite either. Oh, I’m Angry.

TwoKegs
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Angry About Retirement Parties

I’m angry about retirement parties.

“Happy Retirement” keg stands in your future?

The University of Connecticut (and pretty much the state of Connecticut), just threw a retirement party for longtime head basketball coach Jim Calhoun.  He worked hard for them and stayed loyal and they stayed loyal to him during some rough times as well.  He had a hugely successful career that included 3 national championships over his 26 years as head coach at UConn.  He helped generate much success and revenue at UConn and he’ll collect a hefty pension to retire on; no one feels guilty or cheated.

My father had a retirement party when he left his employer of 45 years.  He worked relentlessly for all of those years and drove achievement of ever higher sales goals year after year.  Nights, weekends and even while officially “on vacation” for 2 weeks per year he was dedicated and “on the job” for his company and his customers.  He loved the challenge and beating the competition and overall he was well compensated enough to raise a large family and send them all to college.  The party was great and included old photos and stories about his dedication and drive as well as humorous anecdotes from co-workers, bosses, employees and his customers.  He made them a lot of money and they were grateful for his contributions, happy he would get to travel and relax, and sad he wasn’t coming in to work next week (or ever again).

My father-in-law is retiring in November and will no doubt get a similar, well-deserved send-off too.  He’s very smart (Mensa smart), hard working and dedicated, like almost all of my friends and relatives who will be forced one way or another to change jobs every 5-10 years or so in the name of “maximizing shareholder value,” “management restructuring” or something similar to make a fiscal quarter or two smell better.  My generation and those which follow it will follow a different path than the “company” men and women that preceded us in the workplace, a much more wasteful one for all involved in my opinion.

Yes, I’m angry about retirement parties.  More specifically I’m angry about the lack of real retirement parties (like Dad got) to look forward to for the rest of us.  An impromptu happy hour drink or trip to the nudie bar with a few co-workers on your last day before taking your next job doesn’t cut it.  I want a cake, a keg, bourbon, embarrassing stories and perhaps even a stripper or two in the office when I “retire” after a long career in a good firm that understands the irreplaceable value of institutional knowledge possessed by its smart, loyal workers.  Too much to ask?  Probably- (11)

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Dragons and Zombies are clearly real.

Here’s the thing, as a thinking sentient person I find the boundary between what is okay to believe and what is myth to be very difficult to comprehend.

Let me summarize

I’m told that it’s okay to believe that the world is 6000 years old, and that the universe was created in a few days by a unique deity.

It’s okay to believe that there was a Garden of Eden, and a talking snake convinced the only woman on earth at the time to take a bite out of an apple that was forbidden.

It’s okay to believe in burning bushes, talking lords that no one else can see or hear, devils and angels, alien overlords, spirits and saints.

But it’s not possible for dragons and fairies to exist. And zombies and vampires are just myths.

Frankly I don’t see any difference!

If in a thousand years time, people find a copy of lord of the rings in a cave, does that make it more truth and less fiction?

Just because stories have been around for a long time does not make them any truer.

The American Constitution is an incredible document that transcends many of the limiting social and political restrictions of its time, that were placed on people around the world by those who had (and wanted to remain in) power.

When the constitution was created, the civilized world had already developed a very powerful method of teaching and disseminating great ideas. We already had books, schools and a social framework most people adhered to.

Imagine if a great document (like the constitution) had been created thousands of years earlier. The people of that time would have created stories to pass from person to person to teach the ideas outlined within it. These stories would have had to be exciting, powerful and memorable to be passed from village to village and generation to generation. But they still would have been stories.

Groups would have got together to refine the stories keeping the best ones and replacing those that were not strong enough with better ones. Eventually these stories would have been written down and passed around in scrolls and books to ensure consistency.

None of this makes them any less fictional or any truer. It just speaks to the importance of teaching the best ideas to as many people as possible to create a consistent society.

There is a lot of good that can come from teaching people, and from sharing ideas and cultural memories from generations past. But if anyone thinks that because the same story has been shared for generations that gives it some special dispensation for being called true without evidence, then as a sentient person, question it!

You may decide you like the idea of living your life guided by the stories of ancient people, or in some cases contemporary people. Or you may decide on a different path, thats the choice everyone should have. Enjoy.

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Wars lead to something beyond war – But it’s always painful for everyone involved.

England had a war with France for over a century. It happened between 1337 and 1453AD, and today there is still animosity between the Frogs and the Roast Beefs (their names for each other).

If you ever wondered where “giving the finger” came from it was a French response to the effectiveness of the English Long Bow. The French vowed to cut of the fingers of the longbow men if captured. So the longbow men would wave their fingers in the air as a taunt to the French.

This “longbow salute” has over time been simplified to a single finger. But the French still resent it’s origin.

And while Winston Churchill used the salute as a “V for Victory”, you can be sure that he and those who saw his salute knew of this double meaning.

The Irish Catholics and the Irish Protestants, still fight regularly. Thankfully the bombing campaigns of the IRA have stopped, and at a political level there is discussion of their differences. But children still fight, and men still argue with more than words in pubs and at sporting events.

After the forming of an Independent post-colonial India and the subsequent forming of Pakistan and the murder of the world renowned peaceful leader of that amazing change, we still see aggression between the two sides of that argument who now both own the worlds most destructive weapons.

The simple fact is that when arguments turn violent and people are hurt and killed, then the friends and family of those lost will always put aside logic and reason and look for revenge.

If you want to create crazed people who are likely to join together as a mob, who put the idea of killing their enemies ahead of everything else, including the welfare of their loved ones, then it’s easy just kill their son, brother, mother, father, uncle, aunt, sister or wife.

Is there a way of stopping the madness? Well there has never been found a simple way, but a slow and careful set of actions that embrace religious and ethical influencers and the holders of power has been proven to work to some extent.

The Chinese still hate the Japanese because of the atrocities of world war II. Don’t believe me? then count the Japanese cars on the streets of Beijing, You won’t need many fingers.

If you want to know what it takes to move from fighting to talking, just look at the Irish conflict. It’s not over of course, but has made amazing progress. Have a look at http://www.infoplease.com/spot/northireland1.html

The only way to stop killing is to talk. Initially most of the talking happens through back channels. But eventually each side in a conflict must address why the other side holds the position then do, and some form of compromise must be considered before true open discussions can take place.

These discussions are taking place all around the world every single day.

But when a politician stands up and says there is a simple and absolute answer to any conflict, what they are really doing is pandering to one part of their electorate, and they don’t expect their words to lead to a resolution, just make it harder for their political opponents. That is a cowardly and destructive act, and should be derided by all peaceful people.

The issue is every single politician does it! And it makes me very Angry…..

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How evolved are we?

Is it actually possible for someone who has read a simple description of evolution supported by experimental evidence or modeled the idea on paper or a computer to seriously question the concept?

And why would someone who has not read a simple description of evolution and has not bothered to review the supporting evidence or modeled the idea think that they have enough information to make a valuable contribution to the discussion?

There in nothing in the concept of evolution that explicitly negates the idea of a supernatural influence on the universe, even though there is nothing in the concept that requires a supernatural influence.

But there is a lot that helps explain the natural world we see, and helps expand the knowledgebase and allow many fields of technology and areas of science to progress.

Why would anyone want a generation to grow up without the skills to work in these fields for the betterment of humanity?

Not teaching evolution is not just irrational, it is frankly abusing children, reducing their ability to understand the world and work in some of the most exciting fields that will appear in their lifetimes.

The Catholic Church (which has been one of the most conservative institutions over many centuries with respect to science) accepts the concept of evolution (even though they have no formal position on how species evolved). Have a look at http://www.catholic.com/tracts/adam-eve-and-evolution

Religion and Science while clearly very different should not fight over proven knowledge. Those who seek knowledge are partners.

Religion cannot decide to use ignorance as a virtue. It is not virtuous; it is plain stupidity leading to fear of the unknown.

People who play with words to try and disprove a concept are just wrong. The word “theory”, means “a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena”.

If you don’t agree with a theory then show another set of test results that prove its inaccuracy. If you don’t agree with the theory of gravity then show some results of some test you have performed that explain why what we see is what we see.

If you don’t like the theory of evolution then show the results of some test that explain why what we see is the way it is. It is not enough to come up with a fable that makes you feel better if you don’t think about it too much. The evolutionary process has helped people make many advancements in medicine and biology and can be proven in the laboratory. When you think about it, it makes absolute sense.

A slow moving rabbit is much more likely to be eaten by a predator, so the chance of a fast moving rabbit escaping and mating is much higher. This is natural selection, it works and the results we see are exactly what we would expect to see.

We now know how genes and DNA work (at least at a simplistic level) and we can see the vast array of permutations that can be created. It makes sense that over generations desirable attributes are more likely to be successful and will lead to more offspring with those attributes and how over time the best match for a species and its environment will be most successful.

Denying what we can see and explain is a trick from the middle ages.

Great philosophers, great religious thinkers, great scientists, all are willing to have their ideas tested by others, and when they are shown to be wrong, are happy to learn and rethink their ideas.

There was a time when the Muslim world contained the greatest thinkers in the world. There are still pockets of great knowledge there, but it’s clear that when fundamentalists take control of a religion and choose to dominate their people through the propagation of ignorance, no good will ever come.

This should be a lesson to the western world. We cannot allow fundamentalist religious bigots (or any other bigots) to take control, as it will lead to terrible things.

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Does Your Hiring Criteria Include Diapers and Landmines

Hiring philosophies run the gamut from “We always hire grads from these Top 5 schools and train them to be like us” to “We need people that are fully trained and already had a similar job and therefore know the job” and everything in between.

Do you want an “untouchable” employee?

One hiring philosophy that I find interesting comes from The Untouchables’ Malone who told Eliot Ness, “If you’re afraid of getting a rotten apple, don’t go to the barrel. Get it off the tree.”

So, what characteristics are you really looking for when your firm needs to hire?  Of course they need to be smart enough to handle the role but beyond that, what is most valued?  Is it where they went to school or where they most recently worked?  Is it their current skill set/s or their aptitude to learn?

I would think desire and dedication in the form of being willing to work harder and longer than others would be high on the list.  Also, candidates that will listen to their bosses and follow instructions would be very high on my list.  Finally, I believe you want people that can handle surprises and adapt on the fly.   If you agree with me on these points, then I have 2 pools of candidates that may have flown under your radar:  Military Veterans and Retail Veterans (especially those who’ve worked seasonal retail for 2 or more seasons).

You can work them slide sled dogs and they won’t complain (they’re thrilled to actually get a weekend off and work less than an 11 hour day).  They’re clearly not motivated by getting rich quick (or they never would have worked in retail or the military in the first place), and I’d wager they’ll be more thankful and loyal to your firm.

Few things nastier than a steaming one of these…

They’ve already learned to deal with surprises on the job and to deal with very irrational, rigid and unpleasant people; they also can handle landmine-type obstacles and traps (the retail equivalent of which would be dealing with a discarded “loaded” diaper I guess), because they’ve done it before.  Frankly, anyone who can adeptly handle a life-or-death situation or an angry housewife with screaming kids is a plus for my team.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention what school the candidates went to or where exactly they worked before – that’s because I don’t think it is as important as the characteristics I did mention.  I guess I could use the school as a tie-breaker for two otherwise equal prospects but I would want to know what they did for their summer and Christmas break jobs… And if it was ROTC or toy retail (with loaded diaper parking lot patrol), they’d get the edge. (29)

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The second huge marketing mistake. And how to circumvent it.

I wrote a note a few days ago about the pain that many marketers face, when they look to reach a market before they have a clear understanding of their message, and the tremendous costs that are associated with this.

When you have your message and tested it with your audience, then you are ready to build a process to deliver it consistently.

But building such a process can easily unleash a new uncontrollable beast, one that allows non-marketers to twist the process into an unmanageable mess. Let me explain:

Over the last few decades many of todays business leaders and middle managers started their careers as interns. And some of the places where these interns get to help is in the post room or in the marketing department, stuffing envelopes for mailshots or helping out at photo shoots. For a young person just out of university this can seem very glamorous, and it leaves them with a sense that they truly understand the marketing world. Decades later when then are running a company (or a significant proportion of one), these early memories morph into a belief they truly understand marketing.

I didn’t get where I am today by thinking

So when the marketing team are building a working process for delivering a healthy mix of awareness, demand generation and loyalty marketing activities, a seniors manager may ask questions like “how many leads will that print ad generate?”.

On the surface questions like these sound reasonable, as they are using marketing language (marketese) and so conversations are engaged in. But here’s the catch, not all marketing is equal, and marketers are very aware of this, but non-marketers are not. And once the conversation is underway, it’s almost impossible to explain this.

If you assume that all marketing is equal and that everything can be measured in exactly the same way, you will end up with a terrible mix of marketing assets being delivered through the wrong mediums, and the results will be atrocious.

It is absolutely critical that every delivery of every asset is measured using a unique and appropriate measure. For example a print ad in a major publication may be for the purpose of enagaing that publications editorial staff to write an article including your product or company, or it may be to create a third party asset for your sales people to use as a handout for their prospects. While an online web banner may be to invite people to a webcast or to visit a web page. Clearly the measures are all different.

What is important though, is that the marketing department have a plan that drives prospects towards sales people in a measurable way in terms of volume of prospects and time for the purpose of generating and keeping business.

So here’s the lesson: Agree on a set of strategic goals (number of prospects in the funnel, rate of progress of prospects down the funnel, forecast of fully qualified leads to sales etc), and report on these to the management team. Then build the right process to deliver these results, where a much more complex mix of marketing is build and manically managed, with each asset having its own measures. The management team doesn’t need to see the complexity inside the engine, just the fundamentals of how the engine is performing.

In just the same way that a modern car runs, the driver gets to see the speed, revs and amount of fuel being used, and can control the speed and direction. But the driver does not need to know the millions of decisions the computer is making every minute to provide maximum efficiency and performance.

If the driver could see and tweek the engine process then 99.999% of the time he/she would make it less efficient and less effective. This is exactly the same in the marketing engine.

The very best marketing teams are run by Chief Marketing Officers (CMO’s), or VP’s of marketing who get this. And know how to keep the well meaning but destructive fingers and minds of the non-marketers out of the engine.

And if you’re wondering who the characters are in the photos, checkout http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/fallandriseofreginaldperrin/

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Consultant Speak

Tech Blogging   —   Is it news or commentary?

Does anyone know the difference?

I am impressed that some authoring tools for wannabe and isarenow bloggers include  the following grammar and style rules checking to be invoked at some point in the writing / editing / approval and posting process

But gee willickers, Batman, I don’t how any decent opinionated nerd with words can produce a few thoughts to share without at least 2 or 3 of the following elements:

  • Bias Language
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I am not sure exactly why this makes me so angry,  But I am sure someone will tell me how I

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I like kids, but I couldn’t eat a whole one…

Kids.

I like kids.  I couldn’t eat a whole one – well, not in one sitting anyway.  But on the whole they’re quite pleasant creatures.

What irks me is their owners.  Some people call them parents, and apparently some of these parents can even have names.  That’s fine, don’t expect me to remember them all, that’s simply impractical and slightly unfair. But I accept that kids have owners, and the owners feel some insane obligation to make outrageous demands.

Like play dates.

It is my firm belief that play dates were invented by the devil, just after flies, and just before bubble gum.

It goes like this.  Would your child like a play date with my child?  Yes, good, then you can pick up my child from school, take it to your house, where it can behave like a trained circus monster, then you can feed it – here’s a list of things it won’t eat – and a list of things that it WILL, which is shorter – and finally could you pop it back to me at such and such a time.

Nannys and childminders charge a fortune for that service, but child owners happily trade tit for tat trade offs like that all the time.

But that’s not the worst of it.  Play dates are a doddle compare to the identity theft which is parenthood.  Before : You’re Quentin. A 32 year old financially systems synergiser.  You have a reasonable social life.  Go to he bar, meet friends, have the occasional late night with missed last trains and shared cabs, and everyone knows your name.

Then you have kids.

Now you’re thingumy, you know, play dates dad.  You do something, can’t remember what, but finish work at five and is dropping my kid off around six, after he’s refused to eat the lobster which was the ONLY thing he ate last week.

I love my kids, but only sometimes am I sad that they’re only on loan.

 

 

 

Blobsters Blog. (12)

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