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There is no great genius free from some tincture of madness.
-- Seneca



Blog Posts for May 2011

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Sleeping with the Fishes

 

Due congratulations to the Bush and Obama presidencies and their support of our military operations to finally put a bad guy to rest.

In 2007, the U.S. learned [Osama's courier's] name.

In 2009, "we identified areas in Pakistan where the courier and his brother operated. They were very careful, reinforcing belief we were on the right track."

In August 2010, "we found their home in Abbottabad," not in a cave, not right along the Afghanistan border, but in an affluent suburb less than 40 miles from the capital.

Now, let's not forget that he's not the only bad guy.

ETC: I would hope, however naively, that the due accolades Obama receives from this success in his foreign policy urge him to be effective in matters of domestic policy as well. And since we're all seeing that socialism is not only ineffective, but damaging - mostly to those it would seek to help - I hope that he comes to embrace capitalism as he came to embrace Bush's Gitmo and Afghanistan policies.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 5/2/2011 7:17:28 AM
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Putzy Call

 

I wish I was making this up, but nope... in honor of his decision to whack Osama bin Laden - certainly a decision no other American would have the backbone to make - he registered, in homage to himself, GutsyCall.com. It points, of course, to his campaign web site.

Immaturity. Raw, transparent immaturity.

 

2 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 5/5/2011 8:51:39 PM
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Better For It

 

A little over a year ago, my trusted friend and business partner, Duane Goodwin, and I made a heavy decision to separate from our third partner. We didn't talk to too many people about the reasons, but I showed a bit of my cards in a blog post last March.

Another blogger in town, who benefited from the free service we provided through our startup, criticized our decision and said some pretty negative things about us at the time. I shrugged it off as an emotional response since he never bothered to learn more about our reasons by actually talking to us before criticizing us publicly.

Our separated partner helped to create WebCast One Live, and of course we emerged with Worldwide Amplified.

Today, we got notice that the other business is going through rough times. People have announced that they won't be broadcasting from it any longer, and - funny enough - the blogger is one of them and his reasons share similarity to some of our reasons.

Starting and investing in a business is hard stuff. Everyone involved in that project put everything they had into it and believed in it and nurtured it along. Our business model was different enough from theirs that there was plenty of room in the market for both of us, which we saw again and again over the last year.

I hope everyone who plugged into that venture is smarter and wiser and richer for the experience and the relationships gained through it all, and I wish them the best on whatever they do next.

 

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 5/7/2011 4:18:30 AM
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Helluva Week

 

In the last week:

  • My first national non-profit bought 247Toolset.
  • My first presidential campaign bought 247Toolset.
  • I had to buy a new laptop and set it up.
  • My new client wants me and my crew to help them through the year after a successful first two weeks getting oriented to their existing system.
  • My client of the last two years, for whom we built a very complex web site, had an extraordinarily well-received demo of the work we've done in front of California utility companies.
  • And so on, to the tune of a combined 180 billable hours last week, half of which was me.
I got to the end of the week exhausted, but happy, and with some new relationships and commitments in place.

Now to my slightly neglected 247Toolset codebase for some enhancements we need to make to support our existing clients. This week should only be about 140 hours...

 

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 5/14/2011 11:10:30 PM
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You Go, Sis

 

My sister-in-law has started a new photography business in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

And she's good at it.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 5/16/2011 5:21:33 AM
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Euphemism

 

Socialism is just a euphemism for granting yourself permission to acquire and spend other people's money. $3,000 a night hotel suites... flying first class...

Of course, once you convince yourself that you have a right to another person's property, not far behind that is convincing yourself that you have a right to another person.

The beginning of morality is your respect for the freedom and property of others, which is why socialism can't help but be utterly immoral, and which is why it must be scrubbed completely from a free United States.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 5/16/2011 7:56:53 AM
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Tour de Cure

 

I'll be riding in the upcoming Tour de Cure, which is the American Diabetes Association's annual bike ride, which takes place on June 11th at Waterworks Park here in Des Moines.

As you might know, we have a daughter, Tess, who is a Type I diabetic, and so this ride is very close to our hearts.

If you read this web site and you'd like to give $25 to $50 to help fund research for a cure, then please donate.

Thank you!

 

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by Brett Rogers, 5/17/2011 10:30:24 PM
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Smarts

 

My son, Nick, just finished his sophomore year in college and wrote thoughtfully about it in a post he titled "Degrees of Value." He questions the real value of college these days, as many do. Just look up "higher education bubble" on Google...

Over the last week, there's been much reporting on the Rapture, that eternally someday event for Christians when Jesus returns to sweep his people into his kingdom. The media's approach to this has been a wry "oh really?"

Of course, the small cadre of Christians who really believed that yesterday was the big day - well, it was a small group. But lots of reporting. So the word got out, and nearly everyone knew about the prediction.

Jesus coming back on May 21st, 2011... people should know better, right?

What is it that makes a person smart? What criteria do we use to grant "intelligent" as a label for someone?

The guy who spent $100 million on this ad campaign about the coming Rapture - was he smart? Today, quite a number of people would question that.

But he was smart enough to figure out how to acquire $100 million. Few would question that.

If you look at what people do in their lives, we all have moments of brilliance and other moments of laughable thought process. "What were you thinking?" our friends will ask us.

Look at the recent college graduate who winds up working for $9 an hour, netting somewhere in the vicinity of $18K a year, but now has over $30K in college debt.

Smart? I'll bet many people have used the phrase "idiot" in regard to spending $100 million to market this obviously wrong prediction. Would they also use "idiot" for the college graduate who can't make enough money to pay back those loans?

We all know (again, since he was first wrong in 1994) that Harold Camping is lousy at predicting the return of Jesus. He was working from the template that he believed the bible provided to him based upon his study of biblical numerology.

So is the person who acts upon the well-established template of going to college to obtain a degree (any degree, mind you) but ends up in a low-wage job - is that person smart?

Or how about the Jewish folk in the US who avidly supported Barack Obama - are they smart?

"I believed that then-Senator Obama would be as good as John McCain based on his statements at the time and based on his support of Israel. It turns out I was wrong," [former New York City Mayor Ed Koch] said.

...Exit polls from the 2008 election showed 78 percent of Jewish voters chose Obama over his Republican rival Senator McCain.

"I have spoken to a lot of people in the last couple of days -- former supporters -- who are very upset and feel alienated," billionaire real estate developer and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman said.

Based upon our assessment of a situation and our experience, we act, predicting what we believe is the best possible outcome for us. That's the definition of intelligence: accurately gather the facts, analyze, choose a course of action, and when it turns out favorably as we predicted, we're recognized as smart.

College should then teach us how to do the following:

  1. Accurately gather the facts.
  2. Analyze for patterns.
  3. Predict a best case future outcome.
  4. Embark on a course of action toward our predicted future outcome.
  5. Adapt, as necessary, to continue toward that future outcome - until we learn that our prediction was wrong.
But when college itself turns out to be the wrong prediction, it certainly isn't the right place to go to learn to be smart. At least, not for everyone.

Sometimes, people are eager to attach a high level of respect to those with university degrees. Moreover, they attach an even higher level of respect for those who come from well-regarded institutions of higher learning, such as Harvard.

But while he was a brilliant campaigner, Obama is really bad at predicting favorable outcomes. His economic policy has failed, his energy policy has failed, his foreign policies have only succeeded when he continued Bush's foreign policies...

Is he smart? Does it matter that he came from Harvard?

Look - at times in our lives, all of us are smart. At times in our lives, all of us are dumb.

Dumb decisions happen for all of us. What really measures our intelligence is whether we can adapt to the results we're seeing.

Said another way: we're only as smart as we are eager to learn from our experience.

Which has nothing to do with college, or pedigree, or past success, or past failure...

We're only as smart as we are right now.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 5/22/2011 11:49:29 AM
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Local 792

 

My grandfather, Jerry, was a union man, through and through. So much so that one year we got him pajamas for Christmas and because they were made in a foreign country and not union made, he took them outside and burned them.

As a joke, years later, my mom made him a nice terry-cloth robe and put a tag inside the collar: MADE BY NON-UNION LABOR.

He served as a union steward, hung out at the hall... my wife's Kia Sportage was not welcome in his driveway. His truck, as you see above, had a vanity plate representing him and his union. You get the picture.

When he died a couple of years ago, it was because of an accident. He slipped and fell on ice in his driveway that broke his ribs and punctured and deflated one of his lungs. From there, it just got worse until he died.

Through the union, he had an accidental death policy for about $10K or $20K. And when it came time to honor the policy he had through his beloved union, they fought it. Hard. And they won. They never paid out for it, and they didn't care.

A few other things happened in the years prior to that showed disrespect to the union's avid fan, my grandfather. He believed in the concept - one for all, all for one.

Yeah, whatever.

Watching how the whole brotherhood thing went down while he was alive is actually one of the things that soured my appetite for unions. Their deep antagonism toward business owners shocked me. It was always management vs. workers, and instead of driving toward mutual respect and partnership to deliver great service to customers, the union workers who were my grandfather's friends fostered ridicule of business owners and management. Somehow, though, the entire concept of how exactly they got a job and received a paycheck in the first place never occurred to them.

When it came time to finally reward his lifelong love for the union and pay out honestly on a life insurance policy, the union flipped him the bird. This caused my grandmother great angst, up through the last weeks of her life. It was a betrayal, though it didn't surprise my mother or me... it only re-affirmed the truth we knew that the union isn't at all about its workers. Workers are just tools for the union leaders to collect a fat paycheck that they don't earn.

My grandfather taught me to be unafraid to put my name to my opinion. "If you don't have the backbone to sign your name to it, you shouldn't have the backbone to speak it."

So there you go, Local 792.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 5/28/2011 9:11:25 AM
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