Dec 20

As I’ve been on somewhat of a writing hiatus while building my new company, Logic9s, I recently came across this CNBC video featuring Cypress Semiconductor’s CEO, T.J. Rodgers.

It really doesn’t get any better than this, so, yeah… what he said.

Happy Holidays to all!

Jul 25

Like lamenting against your ongoing inability to levitate, as hard as you work at it, you’re going to be lamenting for a long time, Mr. President, if you think the lack of economic progress by the middle class is going to change under your policies.   Such will be the case when you fundamentally fail to understand where economic success comes from.

Cover of "The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism"Throughout yesterday’s self-proclaimed “important speech” on our economy, you decried the seeming injustice of a person who “works hard”, only to come up short.     But if hard work were all that was required for success, we could simply encourage people to repeatedly dig holes with hand shovels and then fill them back up.   Backbreaking work for sure, and a task that has a great track record of not making people rich.

Where you and your fellow policy-makers consistently miss the mark is in never realizing that hard work for hard work’s sake achieves nothing.   What really counts is pleasing people.

To please someone, you have to put that other person’s needs ahead of your own.  It’s an inherently giving act.    You have to know the wants of the other person, and then do something that they value.  It’s the very opposite of the “Me Generation”, the rise of which might just correlate with your noted middle-class stagnation.

If you want to achieve a lot of success, do something that a lot of people value.   And if you want extreme success, do something that a lot of people value, but in a way that very few other people can do.   This, and only this, explains why top entertainers, for example, make what they make – they make a lot of people very happy, and their skills are incredibly difficult to duplicate.

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Feb 13

The Obama administration’s finger-to-the-wind political strategizing over birth control has touched off a furor amongst a variety of factions. Most of the controversy has rightly centered around the government’s ability to run roughshod over an individual’s, or religion’s, belief systems.

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But an equally important issue has been revealed by accident, and is perhaps getting less attention. New York‘s junior Senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, provides the setup, applauding the forced coverage of birth control by insurance companies:

“99 percent of American women take birth control, and this is basic health care for most women,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

Until this country stops confusing health insurance with health care, we’re on a road to certain national bankruptcy. Indeed, many would argue we’re already there.

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Dec 04
English: Russell Herman Conwell Title: Leaders... Decades before the 1929 stock market crash and Great Depression, a Baptist minister named Russell Conwell began to deliver a lecture to groups of impoverished and dejected individuals around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and ultimately, the entire country.  The lecture came to be known as “Acres of Diamonds”, and Conwell went on to turn his nightly mission meetings into Temple University.  He also went on to deliver that lecture over 6,000 times.

Fast forwarding a century to our own Great Recession and its corresponding groups of newly impoverished and dejected folk, one wonders what Conwell might have said to the ones who have come to participate in, or sympathize with, the Occupy Wall Street movement.   We need only to look to his “Acres of Diamonds” text to find out.

Equal parts inspiring, engaging and witty, and almost disturbingly prophetic, the lecture derives its name from its opening tale of “an ancient Persian by the name of Al Hafed”, who is lured into a search for diamonds in far away lands.   After spending his fortune in vain and coming up diamondless, he takes his own life.   As the story continues, we learn that if he had only dug in his own original backyard, he would have encountered acres of the precious stones, and achieved all of the riches he lost his life seeking.

But with the hopes of inspiring his audience out of their poverty-stricken ways, Conwell goes on to say  “I say you ought to be rich; you have no right to be poor.”   And he follows that up with:

I think the best thing for me to do is to illustrate this, for if I say you ought to get rich, I ought, at least, to suggest how it is done. We get a prejudice against rich men because of the lies that are told about them. The lies that are told about Mr. Rockefeller because he has two hundred million dollars — so many believe them; yet how false is the representation of that man to the world. How little we can tell what is true nowadays when newspapers try to sell their papers entirely on some sensation!

Much of Conwell’s eleven thousand plus words revolve around the relationships between society’s rich and its poor.  As the self-described “99 percenters” rail against the supposed injustices heaped upon them by the infinitely fortunate 1%, Conwell’s talk is chock full of wisdom that transcends the ages.   In fact, as we shall see, it is almost eery how currently applicable entire sections of the prose are.

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Aug 04

It’s interesting to watch what happens when a person is presented with a free-market solution to what has come to be seen as a problem for government to solve.  The problem might be health insurance, retirement planning, labor agreements, or nearly anything that people decide “they should do something about”, with the “they” being the government.   A lot of feedback I’ve received on my last several columns has a common theme: that the free-market sounds great in theory, but it doesn’t produce equal outcomes, and because of man’s moral imperfections, it’s idealistic to rely on the free-market to promote those outcomes.

I stand accused of being an an Idealistic Capitalist, to which I plead guilty.

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Jul 23

GreedGreedy, capitalistic corporations.   They caused the financial crisis and are destroying the American Dream.   They’re preventing the curing of diseases.  They’re endangering our environment and our national security. They’re even making our kids fat.

Or so too many people think, nearly enough for a voting majority that would fulfill de Tocqueville’s prophesy:

“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.” — Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Fortunately, to back safely and permanently away from the edge of the cliff, we need only allow for true capitalism to thrive and to replace the crony capitalism that so many people confuse it with. Crony capitalism feeds on greed.   True capitalism and truly free markets, defeat it.

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Jun 19

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When reading Paul Krugman’s latest New York Times column, “Medicare Saves Money“, it’s hard to fathom who the bigger fool is – Krugman, his employer, or the readers that keep supporting this junk.   It’s also hard to fathom a more complete demonstration of faulty reasoning.  All this from a Nobel Prize winner no less, and one calling out someone else’s supposedly bad idea, an idea according to Krugman “that’s so bad, so wrongheaded, that you’re almost grateful.”

Professor Krugman, I’m grateful to you.

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Apr 24

On April 13th, President Obama proposed his budget, one based on the progressive fallacy that our current level of government spending today is correct.  And because we have a deficit, we require more revenue to make up the difference.   So goes the thinking of a President who knows no boundaries as to what government can and should do.

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Feb 26

The inevitable battle between the runaway public sector and the private sector that funds it has begun.  What started recently in Wisconsin will continue to spread across the country as the unworkable fiscal mathematics that are so many state budgets finally degenerate into social unrest between the payers and the payees. More specifically, the instigators of this mess, the public sector union managements and their progressive political operatives, will struggle against their most existential threat to date.  It will not be pretty.

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Dec 24

Oh just forget about July 4th.  No way.   Macy’s fireworks on the Hudson?  Fuhgeddaboudit!

Mad Max’s Thunderdome?  “Two men enter!  One man leaves!”   Now you’re talkin’.

C-SPAN might just want to change its revenue model in time to catch the fireworks and/or steel-cage death matches that will start in January when Ron Paul takes over as chair of the House Banking Committee that oversees Ben Bernanke and The Federal Reserve.   This will be political theater that has the potential to top the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.

But better than the theater will be Paul’s educational opportunity, if he plays his cards right.

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