07/10/20

Breathing Life Back Into A Company

If you are the CEO of a startup, a small business, or a medium business, you are currently dealing with a unique situation — how do you re-invigorate an enterprise that has been rocked by three distinct issues:

 1. COVID19 on a personal, human scale;

 2. Externally imposed economic and workplace restrictions and impacts based on COVID19; and,

 3. The public backlash from racial issues related to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I will call this last one the Black Lives Matter issue.

These things taken together are likely to have created a negative impact on your company at the individual, granular level and at a business survival level.

There are a few companies who have prospered in the COVID19 environment, but who are still impacted by the BLM impact.

I think that most CEOs would agree that there will be changes, perhaps huge changes, on the other side of these impacts. That is, of course, if y’all survive to emerge on the other side.

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06/2/20

Antifa — Strategy And Tactics

Today, we find our streets filled with a much better tactical terror unit in the modern version of Antifa. They have dramatically improved their game in the last five years.

It is time to see Antifa for what they are — a well organized street gang that employs violence as a primary and first use core value to achieve their self-proclaimed political mission. They are, indeed, a domestic terror organization.

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05/26/20

Fear V Danger — Perspective

Fear is an emotion. Scary things create fear. How we deal with fear and scary things is within our control. Sometimes, it takes real will power to control fear and to  deal with scary things.

Dealing with scary things is part of adulting. Not everybody is good at adulting. Not everybody wants to be good at adulting. Life is a swirl of choices. One of those choices is to be an adult about scary things.

Danger is a measure of risk. What is dangerous to one person — jumping out of an airplane, as an example — is not dangerous to another person. It is an acquired sense. You can mitigate danger through prudent action.

If you are a startup CEO/founder on your first company, everything is dangerous, risky, scary, and fills you with dread — fear. Sorry, that is normal.

If you are a startup CEO/founder on your sixth company, you are perfectly comfortable with the danger — yawn, been there, done that, hold my beer, on second thought go get me another beer — whilst it is not nearly as risky on No 6 as No 1, and it is not scary and you have no sense of fear.

You have learned how to deal with these two impostors — hat tip to Rudyard Kipling and that beauty of a poem, IF. Well played, Rudyard.

Glad I could be of service, Big Red Car, you lyrical bastard.

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05/12/20

Trusting the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Far away and long ago, my company was the landlord to the FBI’s Austin By God Texas office. This brought me into close contact with the men who worked there. I judged them to be good men.

There are a lot of peculiarities when you build an office for the FBI — wouldn’t be smart for me to discuss them.  You get to know them very well and the way the offices, the conference rooms, the reception area is built teaches you something about how they conduct their business. Amigos, they use a lot of technology. A lot.

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05/7/20

Cheat From Home — Online Learning

Higher education has a new problem — how to administer and proctor tests in an online learning environment. How does online learning deal with cheat from home?

How does a professor ensure that her students are not cheating as they take those tests and final exams?

All of you engineers with your open book problem solving exams can just STFU with your superior attitudes and admonitions about how engineering is taught and tested. Yes, I’m an engineer and most of my exams were completely open book.

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03/8/20

Oil War

If you slept in on Daylight Savings Time, then you may have missed that we have another war erupting in the Middle East — Saudi Arabia (through the newly public Aramco which it controls) has lowered the price of its crude, while threatening to increase crude oil production by more than 2,300,000 barrels daily to a total of 12MM barrels per day.

This is a hissy fit on the heels of an unsuccessful OPEC + meeting (the plus being the addition of Russia) attempt to reduce production by 1.5MM barrels.

As always when this group meets, there was a lot of discussion, but no consensus.

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02/14/20

Positive Images

I was working with an entrepreneur on a pitch deck. It was a damn good deck, but it had a stock photo that was not the best selection. I mentioned it to him several times, but he didn’t change it.

Please note it is always perfectly fine not to follow my advice. It doesn’t bother me in the least.

We got to talking about the kinds of images one should use — I favor original, fresh, light, pleasant. I like images of people who you would want to meet, or who you think might be like you.

The chap asked me, “How bad could it really be?”

That made me think of this picture of former CIA Director John Brennan.

Do you want to have a beer with this guy? Sit at the same table with him? Does he look like a friendly chap?

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