Business

The Mortality of the Meritocracy Mentality

*Who is the luckiest person you have ever met or known? Were they all wealthy, or did they have some other sources of satisfaction with their lives, be it love, family, religion, other than being filthy rich?

Clifton Mark, in an article on the website Aeon, closed a disappointing essay on meritocracy with the following:  “Despite the moral assurance and personal flattery that meritocracy offers to the successful, it ought to be abandoned both as a belief about how the world works and as a general social ideal. It’s false, and believing in it encourages selfishness, discrimination and indifference to the plight of the unfortunate.”

My first question would be: Don’t those people who were born into wealth, sent to expensive private schools (fully stocked with legacies), and who then take positions in organizations where legacies are the rule and not the exception, also have a considerable amount of selfishness, discrimination and indifference to the plight of the unfortunate? Why stop with meritocracy? Aristocrats have a long history of a callus disregard for those less fortunate than themselves.

The prevalence of the term “privileged” used to epitomize a generation that regards hard work as pointless is approaching its maximum; Mr. Mark is preaching to the choir of the privileged generation, who are dyspathetic to hard work of any kind. Keep Reading

Bogus Blaming of Baby Boomers

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*One Lyman Stone, in The Atlantic of June 24, 2019, blames the Baby Boomers for many of the problems in America, in an article titled “The Boomers Ruined Everything.” According to Stone, the younger Americans (Gen X, Millennials) are having a hard time, economically and otherwise, because of the acts and behavior of the Baby Boomers. The Baby Boomers ruined everything about America? Hardly. Stone’s universal generalization is the first key flaw in his argument. But let’s take a look.

To start off with, Stone begins with this gem: “The average U.S. state constitution is more than 100 years old. We are in the third-longest period without a constitutional amendment in American history: The longest such period ended in the Civil War.” What about our treasured Constitution needs to be changed? He offers no suggestions, so allow me to suggest one. Keep Reading

Tumblr’s Tumultuous Tumble

*David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, didn’t invent Tumblr. According to Business Insider: “In March 2005, a 17-year-old German high school student named Chris Neukirchen invented this tumblelog system, specifically for super-short blogging.” Karp is in no way guilty of purloining the software, as demonstrated, again, by Business Insider: “It’s important to point out that Karp didn’t ‘steal’ Tumblr. His format was new and advanced the short-form blogging format in several ways.”

Lots of good ideas are started, and then someone takes the idea to a higher level. Andrew Carnegie didn’t invent steel, Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile, but both became wealthy by capitalizing on an existing idea. Originally, the internet was a way for scientists to communicate with one another. Look where it has gone. Keep Reading

Glassdoor Reviews – Miscreant Managers Mangling the Message

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*We all know that internet is teeming with liars. Conspiracy theorists and quasi-governmental “officials” claiming all kinds of things that never happened, and denying things that actually happened, in order to create doubt or encourage beliefs that will help them advance their atrocious agendas. As long as the liars stay within certain parameters, their impact is minimized and their fraudulence doesn’t affect many people. But then, not to affect many people would not serve the motives of the lying internet scoundrels. Keep Reading

General Motors – Change for the Sake of Change

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*How to succeed in business in the twenty-first century: Outsource as much as you can, to the point that the CEO makes over four-thousand times what the poor schlub doing the grunt work is paid. Ask the government for bailouts, and then make sure you have an excuse for not paying back all that you were loaned, by compensating the government with stock you know will never be worth the amount you borrowed. Concentrate your efforts to specific models or types of products as the future, even when you’ve suffered huge losses by betting on that model’s marketability, and your firm’s limited ability to make new models profitable (let alone work) before. Put all of your bets on unproven models, unproven technology and areas where your firm has limited experience and expertise, especially when your firm’s past experience with innovation is sketchy at best, and when your business has a track record of abandoning innovative thinkers. The American car culture is passing on. Read on to see why.

“That men do not learn much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”- Aldous Huxley Keep Reading

The Cracks in the Cogency of Corporate Culture

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*Describe the culture here” is a question I like to ask in interviews. Like it or not, most of the places you work will have a culture. I was told once that I should try to fit into the culture where I worked, and my unstated response was that if nepotism and pilfering were the corporate culture, I would just as soon go elsewhere. Looking back upon it, I think that I was supposed to give credit to the solutions I devised to the group. The only problem with that scenario from my perspective was that when it came to the application of any solution, I was the one who would be working overtime, or coming in on my day off. It was strongly in my interest to solve the problems before they arose, if simply to keep from spending my life working overtime addressing problems created by other managers. Keep Reading

The Trifling Take of Truckers

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*The economy of 2018 is booming, according to any indicator you would choose to pick. One of the indicators of a booming economy is the volume of items sold. Most household or business items sold need to get to the household or business of destination, whether transported by the buyer, the seller or a third party. Every time the economy picks up, people buy more things.

While today’s economy has a lot of intangible products such as streaming or downloaded products, there are still a lot of material products being purchased. Material products, be they commodities or finished goods, have to be moved, and the vast majority of times, the material products are moved by a truck. The trucking companies have lots and lots of potential customers, all wanting the company to transport something for them. Every time this economic condition happens, the trucking companies cry out that they cannot get enough drivers.

There’s a national driver shortage, and has been one for a long time. As someone who has extensive experience in the trucking industry, I can safely tell you, there is no driver shortage. Sorry, the driver shortage is another urban legend, conspiracy theory, fake news, whatever description you wish to use to describe something that doesn’t really exist.  Keep Reading

Big Data & Big Business = Big Bucks

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NICE GUYS FINISH LAST

I’m not in opposition to “big” things. I am, however, fearful of “big” things going bad. Hedge funds losing billions of dollars (Knight Capital) and having the stones to ask for their money back. Brian Hunter of Aramanth losing $6 billion. Big moves can lead to big mistakes. Torch Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world, where catching fire on a regular basis is the norm. The Titanic, which was the biggest ocean liner in the world, within a short period of time, became the biggest ocean liner at the bottom of the Atlantic.

Make no mistake about it; we are in the era of Big Data. Data collected on every click you make, every time you press a key on your keyboard.  Insight, pattern recognition and projection, all aspects of human intelligence, are being performed by machines that may or may not be making the best of judgments.

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Sunny Balwani – Pecunious, Punctilious, and Prosecuted

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*Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani was the president and Chief Operating Officer (CEO) of a company named Theranos for seven years. The founder of Theranos was Elizabeth Holmes, whose life goal was to be a Silicon Valley billionaire. The unfolding of the story is rather sad, a story whose path was not unlike the fictional character Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good” theme. Theranos’s business concept was a great idea, and should a company such as one like Theranos actually work, it would change a lot of how we view medicine, but the concept and reality never actualized.
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Some Will Go To College – All Will Go Through Life – Appendix A

Appendix A for Part One

A Working List of Skills and Knowledge Covered in Sophomore Life Prep Courses

  • The ability to use a personal computer for basic tasks.
  • The ability to fill out a job application – both online and on paper.
  • The ability to create and balance a household budget.
  • The ability to balance a checkbook – both online and on paper.
  • The ability navigate one’s city, either by driving a car or mastering public transportation.
  • The ability to cook basic meals.
  • An understanding of how pregnancy occurs, STDs are spread, and optional methods to prevent both.
  • The ability to explain how interest ($) works, and how credit cards are different and dangerous.
  • The ability to do laundry & clean the house.
  • Basic communication and relationship skills.
  • An understanding of the two-party political system, and some of the basic differences between the parties.
  • The ability to recount a general timeline of American history, at least including and in order, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, the world wars, the Technological Revolution
  • A knowledge of alcoholism and other addictions and how they work.
  • A working knowledge of First Aid
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