Rehosting

Hi Folks,

Due to the overhead and flakiness of trying to keep my own instance of WordPress alive I’m rehosting my blog to wordpress.com. It will be a process, but you can see the work here https://worldoflonniemandigo.blog/. Once it’s stable I’ll point the lonniemandigo.com domain to that site and retire this one.

If you’re registered on this site, you’ll need to re-register on the new new site.

I’m looking forward to posting more regularly on my usual random collection of topics and adventures. Stay tuned.

All the best,
Lonnie

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Don’t Argue with Physics

Some things just happen. They’re no one’s fault. There are no specific actions that could have been taken to avoid them. Sometimes life just sucks. When I see this I remind myself to not “argue with physics”. Physics isn’t good or bad, it just is. This reminder can help to bring my attention back to things I can influence.

Note that I’m not timid about what I believe I can influence. These things require the focused application of time, energy and insight. If you learn about what people have accomplished and are accomplishing then you know that we have an enormous amount of influence. We should not be timid, but we should insightfully and efficiently choose where we’re going to spend our time and energy. This is wisdom and it’s worth a lifetime of study and practice.

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TED Salons

I’ve started a thing I call a “TED Salon”. The basic process is pretty simple.

  1. Invite a small group of people over.
  2. Eat, drink and socialize a bit.
  3. Watch a TED Talk.
  4. Talk until that last person you invited decides they want to leave.

We’ve had a couple of these so far and they seem to have gone well. The conversations have been fascinating. The people I hang with are phenomenally smart and TED Salons so far seem to be a way to share what they’ve learned and what they’re thinking about at the moment. The universe is incredibly complex and each of us sees only our own small wedge of it. Getting together and talking is a way to “triangulate” on different notions so that we can understand them more thoroughly. TED Talks provide a starting point, if not an anchor, for these conversations.

My motivation for TED Salons was triggered by the recent election catastrophe in the U.S. In the end, this may be the best thing that could have happened to us. It’s a kick in the head that should knock us out of the complacency that we slid into. As has been said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”1 Vigilance requires awareness and considered evaluation of the circumstances and the alternatives; skills that seem to be in insufficient supply lately. TED Salons are intended to provide a venue for exercising those skills in a way that that has some advantages over random Facebook posts. Think of it as a dojo for critical thinking2.

The process is still being refined, but I believe that part of what has made it work so far is who participates. For me, the first filter is the obvious one; would they enjoy a gathering like this? It’s not for everyone. If you have strong, rigid beliefs and aren’t inclined to honestly and openingly consider other points-of-view this is probably not the place for you. Notice that it’s not about the beliefs that you have. These are yours and I respect your right to have them. It’s about the beliefs you’re willing to consider and evaluate. From a personal ontology perspective, this isn’t for the timid. Second, I try to encourage participation by a group of people with a range of age and experience. Participants who’ve actively engaged so far range in age from 11 to 70. Everyone has had something to offer and is treated as an equal in the conversation no matter how much life they’ve lived or are about to live. Third, and this was mostly by coincidence, invite people with different backgrounds. This helps keep conversations from lapsing into work topics; at least to a degree.

I’m happy with it so far. It’s addressing my need for these kinds of interactions as well as my need to feel like I’m actually doing something positive for human society. For all I know it may take several generations to have a real impact, but if that’s what’s required then why wait.

If you decide to create a TED Salon, I’d love to hear about it. Tell me what works and what doesn’t. Additionally, since traditions are fun, the first TED Salon was on February 3 so I’m trying to schedule subsequent salons on or near the 3rd of each month. Your traditions are, of course, up to you.

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Relationship with Investors

An on-going ponder for me is the difference between managers and entrepreneurs as classified by The E-Myth Revisited. One way to distinguish between the two may be by observing their relationship to the investors in their companies. A manager behaves like an employee of the company. This is particularly true in established companies where the shareholders hire a board of directors, the board of directors hire a CEO and the CEO or his or her delegates hire everyone else.

In contrast an entrepreneur is focused on realizing a vision of generating value. The simple rule-of-thumb for accomplishing this is an idea, skills, and money. In other words, money is just a component of the system they’re creating to generate the hoped for value. As such, investors are a supplier. They are not employers.

In any supplier/consumer relationship the consumer trades an asset that the supplier wants for a an asset that a supplier has that a consumer wants. Unfortunately, the asset often traded during business creation is an equity stake in the company. When this occurs the investor becomes a co-owner of the enterprise. This is fine if they also share the vision for the value creation system that the entrepreneur is building. When they don’t then it becomes death by a thousand cuts and eventually the business dies due to incompatible interests. Institutional investors, by the way, are particularly inept at building and sustaining value generating systems.

It’s my opinion that when building a business you should spend as much attention to selecting your investors as you do to selecting your employees; particularly if you’re trading equity. This, of course, may call into question the value of going public. Yes, you’re likely to get a large injection of cash, but at what cost?

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ACOILUSD

It’s time I wrote something about ACOILUSD. I have this conversation frequently with my colleagues in Brazil and elsewhere and I just had it again with a chef friend of mine over drinks at a local bar1. If you interact with any other human beings then you produce products and ACOILUSD matters to you. Continue reading “ACOILUSD”

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