Worth remembering…

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Whatever your beliefs, know this:  You are lucky to spend a small time on this warm, lush and life-filled orb. Whether by chance or design, you have much to be thankful for. The hurts, disappointments and bad turns pass away. The manifest blessings of life march on. So pray!

If the only prayer you said in your life was, “thank you”, that would suffice.  Meister Eckhart

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.  Thornton Wilder

Now, let’s eat!

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… So pumps the ole’ calliope.

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Sadly, there will be a new saint among their number.  We lost a grand and wonderful mother this past weekend. We will miss her, but she will add to Heaven’s great complement. Of that, there is no doubt!

Louise John Brooks (Carrie Louise Murrell) died Friday, November 11th in Cincinnati. She was born December 20, 1920 in Taylorsville, Kentucky but moved to Erlanger as a child. She was the daughter of Grover and Eddie Mae Murrell and was preceded in death by four brothers and sisters:  Martha Whimpey, Virgil Murrell, Hattie Funderburk and Grover “Red” Murrell, Jr.

Louise was widow to Philip Preston (Pres) Brooks (2002-2015) and Arthur Victor John (1948-1984). She is survived by all of Mr. Brooks’ children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, who all loved her dearly.

Louise graduated Lloyd Memorial High School in 1939, and attended the University of Cincinnati after the Second World War. During and after the war, Louise built a career as an administrative and executive assistant, working for various firms including Gibson Greeting, General Motors, and First National Bank (US Bank), capped off by 25 years at Central Trust (PNC).

In retirement, Louise was active in many charitable and volunteer causes. She volunteered at the St. Francis – St. John hospital (Mercy Queen City Medical Center) in guest reception. She spent more than 20 years as volunteer at Cincinnati Music Hall, eventually serving as supervisor of volunteers for Music Hall and Memorial Hall, serving The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, May Festival, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet. She was a founder and early board member of the Lloyd Memorial High School Alumni Association and remained active with the Alumni until her death.

Louise enjoyed family and friends, adopting many friends as family. She also had a passion for travel, visiting all 50 states and numerous foreign countries. Her favorite form of travel, however, was by steamboat, having made more than 20 trips on the Delta Queen and numerous trips on the Mississippi Queen and other paddlewheel steamers.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Lloyd Memorial High School Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, 450 Bartlett Avenue, Erlanger KY 41018-1685.

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So read the Armistice order in November, 1918.  And the guns fell silent.

Today, the English speaking world Remembers … it is Remembrance Day, honoring the dreadful sacrifice of an entire generation on the fields of France and Flanders.

We in the US have broadened this holiday to honor all our military veterans.  Take a moment to thank them for their service!

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Nov 9

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Just as I was glad Scotland stayed in union with England and Wales, I am for BREXIT! This great nation that has been such a power for good in the world needs to reclaim its destiny.  These two perspectives seem right:

Famed professor Clayton Christensen hits upon a major problem with an increasingly secular, expert driven society. When individuals lose their moral underpinnings, they can no longer be cooperative in the social contract. Then the authoritarians take control and the whole ball of wax melts away. Christensen is profoundly right…

Professor Deirdre McCloskey is at it again. In Saturday’s Wall Street Journal she laid out the reason wealth and progress took off at the end of the 18th Century and hasn’t looked back. (Despite significant and ongoing effort to strangle the baby.) In summary:

The answer, in a word, is “liberty.” Liberated people, it turns out, are ingenious. Slaves, serfs, subordinated women, people frozen in a hierarchy of lords or bureaucrats are not. By certain accidents of European politics, having nothing to do with deep European virtue, more and more Europeans were liberated. From Luther’s reformation through the Dutch revolt against Spain after 1568 and England’s turmoil in the Civil War of the 1640s, down to the American and French revolutions, Europeans came to believe that common people should be liberated to have a go. You might call it: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

To use another big concept, what came—slowly, imperfectly—was equality. It was not an equality of outcome, which might be labeled “French” in honor of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Thomas Piketty. It was, so to speak, “Scottish,” in honor of David Hume and Adam Smith: equality before the law and equality of social dignity. It made people bold to pursue betterments on their own account. It was, as Smith put it, “allowing every man to pursue his own interest his own way, upon the liberal plan of equality, liberty and justice.”

A full read is absolutely worth the time. The essay is a set up for McCloskey’s new book. But it builds on themes she has laid out before.

When the answer is so straightforward you have to wonder why so many politicians, academics, elites, and even “business leaders”, seem so desperate to put the genie back in the bottle?

May 4

Great little conversation here that explains a lot about how we got to yesterday’s election result …

 

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ONE:  How will Artificial Intelligence Impact the Future of CI

This was a great point, counter-point discussion between Ed Alison and Terry Thiele. Full coverage here.

Ed made the great point that we need the machine to grind thru (and think thru) the giant pile of data that we confront today and that will only grow more massive as we go forward. Ed wants us to enlist the tools of the digital age to tame the digital age. If we don’t, we’re toast.

Terry countered that this massive deluge actually requires more and better human minds to see thru and make sense of it. Terry bases this view on what he sees as the real impact of the digital age: The democratization of innovation and creativity. (My words.)

Of course, the debate’s conclusion was these points are likely more complementary than conflicting. We probably have to use more tools to grind the data. But we also need to recognize that most of the data is no more than effluent. Insightful, creative minds will be all the more critical to discerning threats, opportunities and to seeing the way forward.

Bottom line: This talk is why Reconverge is the best competitive intelligence forum in industry today!

TWO: Intelligence Impact over the Life of Products and Services

Jason Voiovich kicked off the Conference portion with a great talk about risk and insight as they relate to product lifecycle management. Excellent framework for thinking of how Intelligence needs to position itself and insert itself in the organization. Read here.

THREE: Intelligence for the Future … A C-Executive’s View

The “sleeper talk” from the conference was, in my view, Mike Suchsland’s. I say sleeper because it was not the best organized or most charismatic talk, but Mike’s perspective and insights are among the most important for intelligence practitioners.

Mike laid out the incredible challenge in front of intelligence leaders: reconciling management of the present state (organization, results, stakeholders) with reconnoitering the future … or in Mike’s term, inventing the future.

Mike shared great stories from his various C-officer stints and the challenges of matching strategic choices to business reality, organization character to company position and mission, and recruiting the right kind of people versus the just the kind of people you like.

In my view, any intelligence analyst or leader worth his or her salt needs to examine these questions very carefully BEFORE they commit one minute to their first intelligence project. (This, by the way, proved itself in the great Intelligence Shark Tank session at the end of the conference!)

FOUR: Financial Early Warning Indicators

Ryan Macumber from Best Buy talked about how careful financial analysis is crucial to the intelligence mission.

I couldn’t agree more. Understanding financial performance and capability is simply fundamental … and you don’t need to be a finance MBA to do it.

What you need to do is understand the critical performance metrics relevant to your industry. Then you need to understand how your company and key rivals deliver those metrics … the cash generation process. And then you need to understand how it is changing or how operational factors and industry trends will change it.

Bottom line, if you don’t understand how the math works, it’s hard to be effective with generating impactful intelligence insights.

FIVE: Little Problems in Big China

Tom Tao from James Madison University gave a great talk on where China is headed and also how to gather intelligence in China.

After listening to Tom’s insights, to say that China has big problems might be the understatement of the decade.

He gave us a lot information and data that all point to what we might call a “national restructuring”.  Bottom line, the assumptions on which China has built its economy over the last decade have simply evaporated. They built an infrastructure around an assumed competitive advantage -low cost basic industry- that others are now challenging (e.g., SE Asia, India, etc.) and that required a demand curve that is bent in the wrong direction.

Digging out and becoming a more entrepreneurial, open, high tech based economy is a daunting challenge. Tom thinks there’s no doubt the country has the ability to do it. But it will be a very rocky road.

Again, read about all the talks here: g2.reconverge.net/blog

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