Sundry

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 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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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?

Apr 4

Reds are underway with the Phillies. Welcome home the boys of summer!

Here is a remarkable Peter Robinson interview with former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Not what you expect … Enjoy it!

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Friends, 2015 has been another interesting and eventful year. Thanks to all who have supported this project. And thanks to my clients and friends who have afforded so many rewarding experiences and new (or renewed) lessons about life and business.

As I noted last year, so much of what I get to do is accumulate, translate, and distill your learning and then try to “pay it forward” to others. I get better as my friends and clients get better. What a distinct privilege to be a part of this transaction!

I do want to mention a couple of important business relationships that flourished in 2015 and I expect will continue to be critical to success in 2016.

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First is SynFiny Advisors, a Cincinnati based financial management consulting firm founded by former P&G colleague Jeff Wuest. In addition to my day job, I am now leading SynFiny’s strategy practice and have been helping them with various client projects.

SynFiny grew steadily in 2015 by bringing to bear real-life, been-there-done-that experience to help clients transform the impact of their Finance & Accounting systems and organizations. I’ve gotten to tag along because more than a few SynFiny engagements turned up opportunities to work on overall strategy, bench-marking or competitive research. It’s been fun to watch this very talented group of folks make real impact on their client’s business.

If you have needs in Financial Planning & Analysis Transformation, Financial Systems Design, Shared Services and CFO support, SynFiny may be exactly who you are looking for!

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Second is Aurora WDC, a Madison, Wisconsin based competitive intelligence focused firm led by brothers Derek and Arik Johnson. As a member of their G2 network, I continue to stay close to Aurora and will often refer clients to them when really thorough and detailed primary research is required. Aurora is among the best at executing this kind of work. They dig deep,  move quickly and efficiently, and deliver outstanding value.

I also like to recommend Aurora’s intelligence software platform, First Light. While the range of available competitive intelligence systems has improved greatly over the years, First Light remains on the cutting edge. And every new client implementation leads to improvement.

Bottom line, you won’t find a better group of people to work with in industry than the folks at Aurora.

And if you are starting to plan your 2016 calendar, let me suggest you join Aurora, the G2’s and leading Competitive Intelligence practitioners at Reconverge:G2 April 19 thru 21 in Madison. It will be a great event!

So whatever your fears, hopes or ambitions, I wish you only the best in 2016. I look forward to sharing the experience.

“Once more unto the breach!”

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All the state loving dandies are gathering in Paris to solve the “climate crisis”. Luckily, little will come of this. Gaia hasn’t cooperated with their grand schemes. The 20 year warming hiatus continues and may, in fact, be gaining strength.

Further, the Indians and the Chinese aren’t going to let overfed Western technocrats deny them their prosperity.

But what I find so ironic is the incredible strategic mistake made by climate fanatics. While screaming “denier” at us skeptics, they themselves denied the most fundamental science by picking the wrong bogeyman:  carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is simply NOT a real pollutant or meaningful greenhouse agent. Instead, it is essential to life, especially the development and sustaining of biomass. Here is the proper perspective on carbon dioxide…

While dogmatic fanatics aren’t known for seeking knowledge and practicing introspection, the continuing vogueishness for educated people to believe in human caused climate change is starting to be unseemly. The consensus that never was is foundering on facts and evidence.

So, while it might have been fun to be a cool kid when the crisis was new and hip, now the whole thing is a foolish non sequitur:  Illogical and unscientific thinking, misplaced and misguided sympathies, all serving to put only the thinnest veil on the tyrannical intent to concentrate political power and stifle human freedom.

It is way past time to throw it off and concentrate on real problems.

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Whether you ate hemp mush or quinoa sauteed in beet juice, I hope you were able to successfully escape the GMO bugbear over the holiday? It meant more GMO fatted turkey and dressing for me! I appreciate it.

If you so deprived yourselves, here’s something to think about.

The evidence continues to roll in that you too are a Genetically Modified Organism and are likely still modifying this very minute. There’s a fascinating teaser piece in Monday’s NYT on how agriculture changed European humanity. Eating grains and yoking animals forced our biology to change, a lot for the better, and some not.

(Which makes me wonder whether all this Paleo diet stuff might also run counter to our Genetically Modified selves? Although I note that Google turns up 1.6 million results for “paleo pumpkin pie” which means there are a lot of ways to avoid the refined sugar and white flour and still stuff your gut!!)

All a way to suggest that adopting religious zeal (and near tyrannical absolutism) about the food we eat really only marks us as idiots. Life it still too darn short and still too many in our world go hungry.

So how about we just work to pass around more pie?

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Serendipity is a wonderful thing … probably should be studied on a larger scale.

On Tuesday I was talking to an industry group about whether they can make strategy and find competitive advantage in capital S sustainability (hint: they can’t!). Then this afternoon I come across this delightful little post. (Thanks Maggie’s!)

It is a humorous and THOUGHTFUL way to wind down the week.

I’ve said here and other places that we now live in the Age of Received Wisdoms, where we believe all manner of hogwash to the point of choosing self destruction over progress. David Warren gives us great historical perspective on the phenomenon…

This is an old story; I taught a course on it once. The same thing happened in the ancient world, to dismember an earlier development of empirical science in the Hellenistic age, centred finally on Alexandria. By the time of the Roman Empire, it was quite dead. The focus of all work was now on applied technology; scientific thinking had, not in contrast to this, but by the same oppressively practical habits, turned to astrology, alchemy, and other fanciful researches. Science had succumbed to scientism, and its results were now the product of “consensus.”

It took more centuries than ten for the idea of demonstrable scientific truth to slice back out of the cocoon of superstition — a large, still mostly unknown history that, in turn, connects the renaissance of the twelfth century with the baroque renaissance that led to such as Newton, and Pasteur.

Yet no sooner had that been achieved, than the gnostic impulse was re-asserted. By the nineteenth century, the “just so stories” (of Marxism, Darwinism, Freudianism, etc.) were back in play, masquerading as empirical science, and we began again weaving our way into a sack of darkness, under the direction of scientistic high priests, girded about by “consensus.”

Please laugh just a bit this weekend!

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