Why Newspapers and The News Are Not Only A Dying Model, But Dead

“I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.” – Thomas Jefferson

I don’t subscribe to the newspaper anymore, but I got one this morning.  I’m sure that it was a teaser to try to get me to subscribe.  Upon reading it, I realized I already knew everything in the paper except the local high school football scores from games after I went to bed.

A DYING MODEL

The subscription rates to newspapers are dying, not even a slow death.  Similarly, the evening news is also a dinosaur.  They report what we knew as much as a full day before.

I am on twitter and read blogs all day long.  I occasionally go to the news sites,  but as I discuss below, their bias (I hold both left and right guilty equally here) usually makes me fact check what I’m trying to find out which defeats the purpose of fact-finding, especially if it involves politics. That subject is pretty much unavoidable these days.

Nevertheless, I enjoy many other subjects which you could read about it on other blog entries if you have nothing better to do, and I find good information about them that is interesting and INSTANT.

I’m a boomer, although a technically savvy one having been in the IT industry all my life.  The Gen X,Y, millennials,  and whomever follows them demand even more instantaneous everything virtually dooming the news model of our prior generation.  Thank you Internet.

THE END OF THE BASTIONS OF NEWS

We have establish that we are now used to getting information instantaneously.  The other reason that the model is dying is that they are biased.  This is ok if you are a neo-con or a loony lefty, but for everyone else (the other 80% given 10% on the edges of left and right) we don’t trust them anymore.

Once, these two sources were the basis of our world and local information.  Besides being static rather than dynamic, they also have stopped being factual sources of information, rather they are partisan, with Fox on one side and CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, NYT, WAPO, LA TImes, Reuters, AP, HuffPo, Local News, Local Papers and most other news sources on the other side of issues.  All are positioned in a place that position the facts from a point of view.   Some of them blatantly lie.   Reporting was supposed to be the facts of the story that let the reader make up their mind on their position.

We’ve actually learned that the news has been biased for at least as long as there has been television, we just didn’t have the instant fact checking that the internet and the other sources have provided.

There is a joke from Bernie Goldberg that said if they had been reporting on Moses at Mt. Sinai, the headline would read “Moses get the 10 Commandments from God, and here are the two that we think are important to you”.

Walter Cronkite said that the Viet Nam war was lost during the time that we were winning.  LBJ said that if he’d lost Cronkite, he’d lost America.  We’ve since learned that the then “most trusted man in America” was also one of the most biased.

LIFE MOVES ON

Other things have died and we have lived and moved on.  Black and white TV, network only channels vs. cable TV and landline phones vs. mobile (cell for those in the US) phones.  Such is the fate of newspapers and TV network news.  Here is just one fact concerning the NYT declining rates.  I’m sure you could find somewhere that their subscriptions are increasing, but this would seem deceitful given the nature of digital delivery.

So am I disturbed by this trend?  Actually I didn’t even notice it until I saw the paper in my yard this morning.  I haven’t subscribed for news in many years (note: I get the Sunday paper for the coupons as long as they pay for the 1 day delivery – my sister calls me a tightwad but it leads to becoming this).

I get my news from the above stated sources and know more about what is going on than the anchors have time to present in their biases manner.

So as they say, life moves on.

Do We Need Bosses Anymore?

 

I took this idea from “Should we Banish Bosses” by Wendy Appal.

She sums it up like this:

The most valuable things my former bosses did was to share information from above and across the organization; to set the vision and direction; to jointly set my goals and objectives; to advocate for me and my ideas; to make sure I got salary increases and bonuses; to approve vacation dates.

My former bosses also held me accountable to honor my agreements and commitments, to adhere to the organization’s ethics and standards and to be the best I could be.

One of the most unnecessary functions they performed was the annual performance review. By the time I got my review, the information was so stale, it grew mold and had to be tossed.

A comprehensive list of destructive boss behaviors can be found in the Forbes article. If the list weren’t so real and tragic, it would be funny.

Ideally, bosses are available to advise and counsel, to sooth and encourage, to help build confidence, to motivate and inspire … Ideally a boss is someone who is wise and transmits that wisdom to help their direct reports develop, grow and thrive both personally and professionally.

If part of the problem is the title Boss / Manager, I continued to wonder, what alternative is there?

This took me to “The 31 Signs You are a Horrible Boss”

No one starts out their career trying to be a horrible boss.  Yet, it’s amazing what a vast majority of folks seem to accomplish this feat with absolutely no training whatsoever.

Maybe we’re born bad bosses.  It just comes naturally.

Hopefully, you can shake off some of the worst traits.

The first step for any addict is recognizing his or her problems.  So, start by reviewing the list below.

How many of these do you violate?

These are the 31 telltale signs you are a horrible boss — and what you probably think of each of these points:

While I’m not going to go through all 31, I will call out a few that stuck out for me.

8. There’s constant turnover in your group.  People are constantly quitting or being asked to transfer out.  Change is good.  New blood on the team helps bring in new perspectives.  So what if some people left?  They weren’t up to the challenge of what you’re building here.  It’s not for everyone.  It takes a special person to be able to work under you.

This was my last boss at IBM.  I got a review that said be more independent, but run everything through me.  People left in droves.

Here is the list of thing good bosses should never do courtesy of Leadership Freak

Not doing is one side of finding success.

  1. Never let the bottom line be the bottom line.
  2. Never pretend things are ok when they aren’t.
  3. Never let what you’ve never done be the reason not to try.
  4. Never get ahead by resenting those who get ahead. – This one is for my boss who is now the Director of PR for Lenovo
  5. Never let those who aren’t doing something prevent you for doing something.
  6. Never do on the road what you wouldn’t do at home.
  7. Never trust anyone who never admits mistakes.
  8. Never achieve greatness through negativity.
  9. Never pretend you can do what you can’t.
  10. Never let others fail before doing everything appropriate to help them succeed.
  11. “An executive has never suffered because his subordinates were strong and effective.” Peter Drucker
  12. Never find wisdom in excuses, defensiveness, or blame.
  13. Never think of loyalty as a gift.
  14. Never waffle when it comes to taking responsibility.
  15. Never waver when it comes to giving credit.
  16. Never make excuses. “Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.” JohnWooden

Bonus: Never create the future by recreating the past.

Why Doesn’t Honey Spoil?

 

Compliments of Jonus Luster:

For something to spoil there has to be something to spoil it. Honey is almost unique among organic compounds in that it constitutes a “perfect storm” or attributes against spoilage:

Most honey is a supersaturated, the rest is a saturated solution of sugar. Sugar acts hygroscopic, that means it attracts water. Bacteria and some other microorganisms that come in contact with this solution are being desiccated (water is drawn from them into the solution) and explode (ok, ok, they kind of just shrivel, but I like the idea of them blowing up) and die.

This supersaturation of sugar also inhibits the growth of yeast and other fungal spores.

Its pH is 3.26 to 4.48, a killing field for bacteria. Combined with the above-mentioned supersaturation you have both a pH that weakens bacterial walls and a hygroscopic environment. Them bacters don’t stand no chance.

And if all that isn’t enough, bees process honey by means of an enzyme called glucose oxydase which modifies sugar into gluconic acid ( D-glucono-δ-lactone, a contributor to the above-mentioned pH) and hydrogen peroxide. You might know glucose oxidase from something else: it used to be called “Penicillin A” and is now known as Notatin. Poor bacteria, eh?

This is, by the way, why you should never leave a jar of honey standing open. The supersaturated sugar solution will absorb moisture from the air and gradually become weaker, losing its anti-bacterial properties.

One last warning: honey is, as we discover above, rather safe. It does, however, sometimes contain inactive spores of Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium responsible for botulism. Healthy humans don’t get sick from that but infants whose intestinal tract dilutes the honey without digesting it quickly can get sick from it. There is honey that has been radiated with gamma rays to kill those spores dead for good that can be purchased for lots of money. Just wait until the kid is a year old or so and you’ll be safe.

The Guarantee of Hyperinflation

Economist John Williams of Watchdog.com describes why we will suffer from hyperinflation that will begin no later than 2014 and why.

Open ended QE will cause treasury debt which leads to long range insolvancy of the US Government.  If they had to report income under GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles)  rules, we are losing $5 trillion annually.   Taking 100% of peoples income would still not pay for this debt.

We are broke.

Government has been kicking the bucket down the road and the result will be inflation.

The global loss of confidence in the dollar happened with the raising of the debt ceiling last year.

The Fed’s primary goal is to keep the banking system solvent.  They haven’t done anything to stimulate the economy.

More evidence that inflation is just around the corner from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

What Are The Biggest Time Wasters of Your Life

I found this from Anuj Agarwal, Founder Feedspot.com. but I wish I’d known about it earlier in life as I could have been more productive.
Common things:

  • Anger
  • Worry
  • Regret
  • Procrastination
  • Watching TV
  • Dwelling on the past
  • Not learning from past mistakes
  • Trying to change things outside of your control
  • Seeking revenge
  • Quarreling
  • The Internet/Social Media
  • Thinking too much about the future
  • Working hard and nothing is coming out of it.
  • Facebook
  • Facebook (2)
  1. The fear of missing out. – If you feel anxious because you constantly feel like you’re missing out on something happening somewhere else, you’re not alone.  We all feel this way sometimes.  But let me assure you,you could run around trying to do everything, and travel around the world, and always stay connected, and work and party all night long without sleep, but you could never do it all.  You will always be missing something.  So let it go, and realize you have everything right now.  The best in life isn’t somewhere else; it’s right where you are, at this moment.  Celebrate the perhaps not altogether insignificant fact that you are alive right now.  This moment, and who you are, is absolutely perfect.  Take a deep breath, smile, and notice how lovely it is.
  2. Avoiding pain and defeat. – Not to spoil the ending for you, but everything is going to be OK – you just need to learn a lesson or two first.  Don’t run from the realities of the present moment.  The pain and defeat contained within is necessary to your long-term growth.  Remember, there is a difference between encountering defeats and being defeated.  Nothing ever goes away until it teaches you what you need to know, so you can move on to the next step.
  3. Holding on to what’s no longer there. – Some of us spend the vast majority of our lives recounting past memories, and letting them steer the course of the present.  Don’t waste your time trying to live in another time and place.  Let the past, go.  You must accept the end of something in order to begin to build something new.  So close some old doors today.  Not because of pride, inability or egotism, but simply because you’ve entered each one of them in the past and realize that they lead to nowhere.
  4. Retelling a self-defeating story. – If we continue to repeat a story in our head, we eventually believe that story and embrace it – whether it empowers us or not.  So the question is: Does your story empower you?  Don’t place your mistakes on your mind, their weight may crush your current potential.  Instead, place them under your feet and use them as a platform to view the horizon.  Remember, all things are difficult before they are easy.  What matters the most is what you start doing now.
  5. Attempting to fit in by becoming someone else. – The hardest battle you’re ever going to fight is the battle to be you, just the way you are in this moment.  We cannot find ourselves if we are always searching for, or morphing into, someone else.  In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self.  Be your own kind of beautiful right now, in the way only you know how.
  6. The picture in your head of how it’s supposed to be. – What often screws us up the most in life is the picture in our head of how it’s supposed to be.  Although every good thing has an end, in life every ending is just a new beginning.  Life goes on – not always the way we had envisioned it would be, but always the way it’s supposed to be.  Remember, we usually can’t choose the music life plays for us, but we can choose how we dance to it.
  7. Berating yourself for not being perfect. – Don’t be too hard on yourself.  There are plenty of people willing to do that for you.  Do your best and surrender the rest.  Tell yourself, “I am doing the best I can with what I have in this moment.  And that is all I can expect of anyone, including me.”  Love yourself and be proud of everything that you do, even your mistakes.  Because even mistakes mean you’re trying.
  8. Waiting, and then waiting some more. – Stop waiting for tomorrow; you will never get today back.  It doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past.  It doesn’t matter how low or unworthy you feel right now.  The simple fact that you’re alive makes you worthy.  Life is too short for excuses.  Stop settling.  Stop procrastinating.  Start today by taking one courageous step forward.  If you are not sure exactly which way to go, it is always wise to follow your heart.

Talk Like A Pirate Day

The pirate speaks,”Today be Talk Like a Pirate day. I haven’t blogged about it in a while, but it be very important t’ enjoy somethin’ this distractin’ from your work. Go t’ talklikeapirateday.com and learn about this important, yet unappreciated day. Celebrate hero’s like Blackbeard instead o’ worryin’ about cowards like the yellow belly in ye old Whitehouse. True Pirates would attack t’ muslims and defeat them like true men. We’d use our cutlass and six pounders t’ defeat them and free t’ world.”

Keynesian Policies Keep Failing

It’s not that the Keynesians aren’t smart, nor poorly educated, nor bad economists (at least they studied it to make their economic position), rather it is that they are not students of history.  I may have to argue that they are bad economists later though as it has yet to work and is failing again.

Here are 2 articles:

Moving beyond contorted Keynesian Logic.

From Doug French whom I neither endorse nor hold up as an economist, but there are lessons here to observe.

So what kind of Keynesian world are Bernanke and the other wise ones in Washington shaping for us?

Keynesians see a depression as a lack of aggregate demand — as opposed to Austrians who know a depression is the required cleansing of the malinvestments created by the preceding boom of the government’s making. Policy makers, following the Keynesian playbook, enact policies to stimulate aggregate demand and offset the fall in private investment. On the fiscal-policy side, Keynesians advocate higher government spending. On the monetary side, they insist on lowering interest rates to zero if necessary.

The world has recent experience with attempts at resuscitating a bubble economy. The Bank of Japan cut interest rates six times between 1986 and early 1987 and all that new money caused the Japanese economy to bubble over. As Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin write in Financial Reckoning Day Fallout,

the problem with all money is that it is as fickle and unreliable as a bad girlfriend. One minute she goes along with the flow. The next minute she turns silly and bubbly. And then, she gives you the cold shoulder.

The prolonged period of low interest rates created one of the largest domestic bubbles in the world. For a brief moment in 1990, the Japanese stock market was bigger than the US market. The Nikkei-225 reached a peak of 38,916 in December of 1989 with a price-earnings ratio of around 80 times. At the bubble’s height, the capitalized value of the Tokyo Stock Exchange stood at 42 percent of the entire world’s stock-market value and Japanese real estate accounted for half the value of all land on earth, while only representing less than 3 percent of the total area. In 1989 all of Japan’s real estate was valued at US$24 trillion which was four times the value of all real estate in the United States, despite Japan having just half the population and 60 percent of US GDP.

“The Japanese asset bubbles were identical to other asset bubbles in the sense that they were essentially inflated by credit,” writes Asian bank regulator Andrew Sheng in his book From Asian to Global Financial Crisis.

Banks lent to highly leveraged developers to buy real estate against inflated collateral values, which then fueled the bubble further. Asset prices bore no realistic relationship to their return on capital, particularly since cost of funding was exceptionally low. The minute the credit stopped, the bubble began to deflate, and the main victims were the banks themselves.

After the bubble popped in Japan, that government pursued a relentless Keynesian course of fiscal pump priming and loose fiscal policy with the result being a Japan that went from having the healthiest fiscal position of any OECD country in 1990 to annual deficits of 6 to 7 percent of GDP and a gross public debt that is now 227 percent of GDP. “The Japanese tried to cure an alcoholic with heroin,” writes Bonner. “Now, they’re addicted to it.”

Japan’s monetary policy was to aggressively lower rates to .5 percent between 1991 and 1995 and has operated a zero-interest policy virtually ever since.

Between 1992 and 1995, the Japanese government tried six stimulus plans totaling 65.5 trillion yen and they even cut tax rates in 1994. They tried cutting taxes again in 1998, but government spending was never cut. Also in 1998, another stimulus package of 16.7 trillion yen was rolled out nearly half of which was for public-works projects. Later in the same year, another stimulus package was announced, totaling 23.9 trillion yen. The very next year an ¥18 trillion stimulus was tried, and, in October of 2000, another stimulus for 11 trillion was announced. As economist Ben Powell points out, “Overall during the 1990s, Japan tried 10 fiscal stimulus packages totaling more than 100 trillion yen, and each failed to cure the recession,” with Japan’s nominal GDP growth rate below zero for most of the five years after 1997.

After five years in an economic wilderness, the Bank of Japan switched, during the spring of 2001, to a policy of quantitative easing — targeting the growth of the money supply instead of nominal interest rates — in order to engineer a rebound in demand growth.

The move by the Bank of Japan to quantitative easing and the large increase in liquidity that followed stopped the fall in land prices by 2003. The Bank of Japan held interest rates at zero until early 2007, when it boosted its discount rate back to 0.5 percent in two steps by mid year. But the BoJ quickly reverted back to its zero interest rate policy.

In August of 2008, the Japanese government unveiled an ¥11.5 trillion stimulus. The package, which included ¥1.8 trillion in new spending and nearly ¥10 trillion in government loans and credit guarantees, was in response to news that the Japanese economy in July suffered its biggest contraction in seven years and inflation had topped 2 percent for the first time in a decade.

Newswire reports said the new measures would include assistance to the agriculture sector, support for part-time workers to find better employment, and rebates on toll roads. Additional spending was also to flow to healthcare, housing, education, and environmental technology.

Just this past April, the Japanese government announced another ¥10 trillion stimulus program. This was after Japan’s economy shrank by a record 15.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2009. This drop was on the heels of a 14.4 percent drop in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Last month, Reuters reported that the Bank of Japan reinforced its commitment to maintaining very low interest rates and may provide even further easing. “The bank said that it would not tolerate zero inflation or falling prices.” The bank left its policy rate at .1 percent and analysts see the rate staying low possibly until 2012.

According to Reuters, the Japanese government “is fretting over the risk of the economy flipping back into recession and is pushing the bank for action.” Economy flipping back into recession? Are they kidding? Japan’s GDP at the end of this year will be no higher than it was in 1992–17 lost years.

“After 17 years of bailouts and stimulus programs, the Japanese should be getting good at them,” write Bonner and Wiggin. “But it’s a little like a guy who’s getting good at suicide — if he’s so good at it, you’d think he’d be dead already.”

But Keynesians are wont to grade on a curve. Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, for one, points to Japan’s fiscal stimulus packages as having “probably prevented a weak economy from plunging into an actual depression.”

And finally, here is a video on Keynesian Economics.

Things Airline Pilots Won’t Tell You

A collection of stories written by pilots
I’m an airline pilot flying domestically under the banner of a major airline.  Most people are unaware of how much of their flying is done by a “regional” airline.  Regional airlines today fly a huge percentage of the actual seat miles flown for their Major airline partner (Delta, United, US Air, etc.).  However we are paid a fraction of what the major airline pilots are paid, and even these major airline pilots are paid significantly less than their counterparts several years ago.
Many regional airline first officers make the same as your friendly pizza delivery driver.  (It is typical for most of them to make no more than 16K/year the first year.)Here are a few things we won’t tell you:-Don’t drink the coffee.  The potable water the aircraft is serviced with is absolutely disgusting.  Chemicals are inserted into the water tanks to prevent bad things from growing, but the bad taste of the coffee isn’t the coffee–its the chemicals…

-We don’t know where we are most of the time…  (kidding for the most part)  In all actuality there are much more sophisticated avionics units on most small general aviation aircraft.  Those units display many aspects of geographic awareness where most of ours simply display the route that we programmed in the flight management computer before departure.  We can tell you how far away we are from the next navigation facility and where we are in general terms, but aside from that and what we can see out the window, we typically only have a general idea of where we are when at cruise altitude.  Of course we all carry maps, but not too many of us will open the map and follow our progress on a 3 hour flight.  (That all changes as we begin descending toward the airport.  Situational Awareness is extremely important then.)

-We forget about the fasten seatbelt sign all the time.  When you look up at the sign (and disregard it typically) and it has been illuminated for the last 45 minutes in smooth air, we simply forgot.  Lots of guys will leave it on all the time.  However, sometimes we do have reports of choppy air ahead and will leave it on until we either experience it or take a wild guess that the air ahead will be smooth.

Some of us carry guns.  This is certainly public knowledge, but Federal Flight Deck Officers can carry a firearm in the cockpit.  Lots of protocol exists to ensure that the training, concealment, and utilization is standardized.

They never announce, “That was close !!” As in, a near mid-air encounter with other air traffic.Only from personal experience and asking the pilot as I disembarked from the aircraft, can I relate this story.Landing at Newark airport in 1986, I was sitting in a window seat about mid section, left side of the plane. I was looking out of the window for a good view of NYC. After seeing that, I was watching the area around the airport as we came in to land. We were about 300′ altitude, or less, and all of a sudden I was stunned to see another plane taking off. It was very close as it took off, nearly underneath our plane as it was climbing out. I don’t know how close we were, just that I could see the passengers in the windows of the other plane close enough to see if they were male or female. My view only lasted about 5 seconds, but I thought they were my last! When I got to the front of the plane and the pilot was standing there I said, “That was close…?” He said, “No, not really.” Very calmly.

I wonder how often that happens, and I bet they NEVER tell the passengers that piece of news!

Most pilots won’t tell you that “air traffic control delays” aren’t really ATC’s “fault”; these delays would be better termed “overscheduling delays”.The vast majority of what the airlines and system term “ATC delays” are actually from a pretty simple supply-and-demand situation.  There’s too many airplanes (demand) trying to land in a limited number of arrival slots (supply) at a given airport over a given time period.Airports have what are known as “arrival rates”.  A standard, one-runway airport with well-designed taxiways (including “high speed” taxiways) can safely handle, in good weather, around 60 operations an hour- one per minute.

This can be 60 landings in an hour, or 60 takeoffs in an hour, or 30 of each, or whatever combination you want to come up with, but that’s about the limit.

(This is a bit of an oversimplification with really good design, you can usually depart faster than arrive, but bear with me for now.)

So say you’ve got this airport, and say it’s got more than enough gates for all the airlines and planes that want to use it.  The only limiting factor is that 60/hour number, right?

Yeah- until crappy weather shows up.  Now they can only land 30 planes per hour.

Unfortunately, the ATC system- run by the FAA- does not regulate how many flights can be scheduled into an airport.  (That’s what deregulation gave us.)  So the airlines that operate in there all schedule as many as they think they can get passengers for.

So during this hour, the airlines have scheduled 60 arrivals, but only 30 planes can land because it’s a cloudy, rainy day.

What happens to the other 30 flights?  They get delayed.

And who delays them?  ATC.

And what do the airlines call these delays?  “Supply and demand delays”?  “Weather delays?”  Nope.

“ATC delays.”

But the reality is that they’re overscheduling delays.  If the airlines and/or the airports would limit the number of flights to the BAD weather limits, the number of delays in the system would be massively shrunk.

That the Airbus A320 is known to have routine cockpit power outtages.  And that this plane that you are on right now, which is among the most popular in the world, might not be fixed!

Such as United Flight 731 which “had no way to communicate with air traffic controllers or detect other planes around them in the New York City area’s crowded airspace.” [1]That “France-based Airbus told NTSB investigators in 2008 that 49 electrical failures similar to the Newark emergency happened on its planes in the U.S. and abroad before that episode. Nearly half involved the loss of at least five of six cockpit displays.” [1]And…that a mere 46 hours and $6,000 is the only thing holding back every single plane in the air from this crucial upgrade due to “economics”

The Airbus A320 family includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321 models — passenger jets with 100 to 220 seats.

And you wonder why I take trains and boats????

Note: these came from other people and I don’t guarantee 100% accuracy

9/11, 11 Years Later…A Roundup of Posts

Today we remember the 11th anniversary of the worst attack against America on our home soil.  This year, it is mildly different as the perpetrator, Osama Bin Laden is now dead due to the bravery of Seal Team 6 (video of the actual operation here).

I congratulate the president on executing the mission to attack him, although it would have been better if we had been able to waterboard him for more information.  I believe that except for the most rabid of pacifists, most Americans would have been happy to give the same order.

Likewise, we should give credit to the Bush administration for setting up the intelligence network and the extracting and the correlation of the intelligence that lead to his demise.  So a great number of people who contributed should share in the credit and be praised for a job well done.

Here is a round up of coverage during the day regarding this anniversary.  I’ll gladly include any other coverage that is respectful and accurate.

9/11 And a shining city

We could have captured Osama before 9/11 but let him get away

Fortunately, we didn’t close Guantanamo Bay

Enhance interrogation on KSM helped find OBL

How and why we failed to coordinate the evidence about 9/11

The Path to 9/11

The makings of the next attack which could be nuclear

Rudy Guilinani: The Pain Stays, the Fight Goes On

9/11, A day of remembrance

9/11, Good vs. Evil

American’s prepare to mark the anniversary of 9/11

9/11 at 11: A Patriots day

United Airlines Flight 175 South Tower 9:03 a.m.

American Airlines Flight 11 North Tower 8:46 a.m.

5 words and 2 numbers – the note from the 84th floor

9/11: Remembrance, Resolve, Action

9/11: Americans remember attacks on 11th Anniversary (Photos)

A Tribute to 9/11 victims

Allen West’s statement on the 9/11 Attacks

The Pain never dies

Game Over, Evil Is Revealed

The Best News For PowerPoint Users Since Its Creation

From this link, Jeff Bezos says it is the end of PowerPoint.

To be honest, I don’t really give a flying fig or a rats rump about either Bezos or his product, but PowerPoint has always been a crutch that rarely connects emotionally with the audience.  Of all the tools we’ve used, it must rank lowest on the rung of real importance when compared with the time wasted compared to other tools.

The author explains it:

In no way am I advocating that you ditch PowerPoint. I am recommending that you ditch PowerPoint as we know it—dull, wordy, and overloaded with bullet points. Image-rich presentations work effectively because pictures appeal to the right hemisphere of the brain—the emotional side. You can have great ideas backed up by data and logic, but if you don’t connect with people emotionally, it doesn’t matter.

START FROM THE BEGINNING

Back in the dark ages, companies used overhead projectors and presented “foils”.  This was the forerunner to PowerPoint only you had to manually change them.  Given the projector fails I’ve seen, it at least was more reliable, albeit archaic.

It was a hoot to watch people try to figure out how to configure a projector or a multi-media room to get their PC to connect.  Entire sessions have had to be conducted without PowerPoint due to operator or machine error.  For the most part, they were likely more productive meetings.

THE DEARTH OF OUR EXISTENCE BEGINS AND CREATES MANY JOBS

The jobs being created were PowerPoint slide creators.  A pretty easy job if you were ahead of the curve.  The only caveat was unrealistic executives who thought they were presenting to the UN. One VP of Social Business Evangelism at my last company used to put us through 20 changes minimum, often commenting that it was not what she wanted.  When asked what it was, the comment was usually, “I don’t know what I want, just go fix it and bring me back what I want”.  On a humorous note, one time we brought back version one as a ruse and she commented now that is what I really wanted to begin with, why didn’t you bring me this to start with?  Go figure.

THE HUMAN PROBLEM

A big problem with PowerPoint is that it rarely could tell the story on its own, and that it depends on the human presenting it.  My favorite observation during analyst briefings was the game that they played to try to get the executives off their slides and onto a tangent.  It was my job to get them to stay on topic, but for fun I let it stray…even nodding to the analyst to let them know I knew what the game was.

Also, everyone goes to the page count to see the torture they will be put through.  That in itself is an indicator of its usefulness.  At one meeting, there were 137 charts by the GM of our group.  There was a collective groan by all, and a cheer when it got interrupted by a fire drill.  Hardly anyone returned for the finish.

So basically as a tool it is deficient and a serious time suck.  It also is held up as the idol of meeting communications similar to how executives fret over a press release as if it was what anybody actually read or re-quoted.  I’ve got news for you guys, we could actually do without both.

A GENERATION OF SLACKERS

What also chaffed my behind was that those held up as PowerPoint experts created a job niche that in reality was a re-cycle exercise.  Once you knew the executive, you could re-use their charts with minor changes and act like it was some big production….then kick back and act like it was a Renoir.

IF YOU HADN’T NOTICED…..

I loathe PowerPoint.  I have been working with office suites since the introduction of Visicalc.  I’ve always been able to master them down to a coding level, but I rank PowerPoint at the bottom of my list of usefulness.  Worse than this were knock-offs like Symphony that even the company that created it wouldn’t use it except for the division responsible for it.

I’ve always been far more engaged by a speaker who could tell a story in words and be effective.  Ahead of that is a genuine discussion without the high school drama of charts. You always have to send documentation after a meeting anyway, so dispensing with this for an engagement tool always mirrored the way people have interacted over the years.  In reality, it wasn’t the next best thing.

EU to Force Diversity to 40%, Good or Bad?

I read a recent article documenting that the EU is requiring 40% Women on their company’s boards.  Having a diverse set of views and opinions is good for a company rather than cronyism that could lead to all kinds of incestual behavior, which many can find evidence of.

THE CAVEAT

The diversity should come from talent and competence rather than by law or Force Majeure from induced shame.  Without this step, the forced diversity could overlook a true leader or worse, pick those who could lead a company in the wrong direction, or be an empty suit (or dress).

As stated by Politics.ie:

The EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding is proposing to introduce legislation at commission level to force private companies with over 250 employees or who are listed on the stock exchange to have at least 40% women making up their boards.

To try and tell a private company who are the real creators of wealth how the should administer themselves is a step too far and one that could prove detrimental for Europe; particularly if companies decide to headquarter themselves elsewhere.

Listening to RTE News at One on the Radio earlier they were interviewing some woman (can’t recall her name) who was in favor of this, and wait for it, because “men focus too much on the bottom line”! The absolute cheek of them, to actually think a company should maximise it profits

Gender quotas will not help Europe’s boardrooms, what they will do is ensure that women are appointed to boards who are currently not viewed as capable of running a company. This can only be bad for private companies in the long run, if in fact they can any longer be called private if the EU is dictating who should run them.

WE’VE BEEN DOWN THIS PATH BEFORE

I’ve witnessed the intrusion of diversity and have observed it’s successes and failures.  Many (of all minorities) have had doors opened to them that were previously closed.  It has turned out many leaders other than the old boys Ivy league club which created a glass ceiling.

Unfortunately, it has promoted unqualified people to positions to fill quota’s over the more qualified candidate.

At one company I worked for, the VP of HR  killed a commercial for our company because the actors were eating lasagna.  Why is this bad, because they were African-American and stated that it was not a meal they would eat.  Another female VP of Marketing is avoided like the plague because of her terroristic behavior towards employees.  She also routinely would promote “not men” because of their gender.  A typical male executive would have been fired for this.  These are but a couple of examples, but the list  of abuses goes on because they can lean on diversity, but that belies the point of hiring the best candidate for the job rather than filling a quota