Thursday, March 15, 2018

Trump Preparing to Suspend Constitutional Rights

Why is the Trump-hating media saying nothing about it? 
As Trump issues a second Executive Order, the media's silence is deafening. Either the two Executive Orders are meaningless or the media is showing a strong conflict of interest. So far Trump has issued two remarkable Executive Orders. The first was signed during the Christmas week last December. The second order became public just a few days ago. Both are part of a clearly related, yet quiet strategy to bring into justice some of the most powerful people in  the world. Through the first order, Trump claims temporary executive privileges that give him the right to conduct military tribunals against enemies of the state, national and international. These tribunals would suspend all constitutional rights of those deemed to be a risk to the stability of the country. US citizens accused of such treasonous crimes would be deprived of the usual stuff. You know, the whole Sixth Amendment guaranteeing the right to a public trial by a jury of peers would be out the window. Protocols like having to Mirandizing the arrested will be ignored . The second order changes the structure of military tribunals by allowing the hiring of civil judges and lawyers. In other words, it hints at the fact that present military court staff will be so busy as to not be able to handle all the cases that are sure to come up. While the first order describes the seriousness of the expected punishment, the second one portrays the gigantic number of cases that are anticipated.
Executive Order Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption
Trump's Executive Order to 
go after pedophile network
For a media that accuses Trump of being a tyrant, one would think that the threat of suspension of civil rights would present a valuable opportunity to attack. Under the right spin, the media could use these events to demonstrate to their audience that Trump has lost it, that he is about to eliminate all his enemies at once, just as Chavez, Castro and all other dictators did. Still, nothing is said. There is no mention of any of the two orders. Why?
When coming to power, Trump was welcomed by two intelligence sides who wanted his attention. By now, he has realized that he lucked out by getting himself surrounded by generals. While the military state has plenty of corruption to deal with, this time it was the safer bet for Trump. He now knows that the other side has deep roots into a world of corruption like nothing else ever seen in our country. The connections stretch back to the death of both President John F. Kennedy and his little brother, presidencial candidate  Robert Kennedy; from the Iran-contras scandal to the Medellin cartel. Over decades, US military bases around the world have served as logistics networks for the CIA; an intelligence group that has operated under the control of the wealthiest and most powerful people for decades. Everything from guns, to drugs, to children are trafficked through this logistics network. All along, military intelligence has witnessed what has been done in the name of our nation. Perhaps out of political envy or perhaps out of a sense of patriotism, this same military intelligence has been building a case against the pedophile ring that is said to be used as a way to control politicians and powerful businessmen. In a world where everybody in power seems dirty, the pedophilia ring blurs the edges of where good citizens who found themselves at the wrong place end and where the bad guys begin. As they say, never attend a private party in Washington DC at less that you are fine being drugged up and waking up next to a nude child and a few Polaroids to serve as evidence.
2018 Amendments to the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States
Trump's Martial Court Amendments
There has been a lot of rumors that the military has readied the Guantanamo base in Cuba to accept more than a thousand criminals to face the military tribunals. It is also said that there are close to a thousand sealed indictments ready to be delivered. One thing is for sure. So far, the target list of foreign nationals is over a thousand pages long. Published by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the list gives personal and businesses information. Yet, the big names are to be announced before the 2019 deadline for the Executive Orders.
Understandably, the ring of corruption, if it materializes, will surely extend to some in the media. This may explain why the New York Times and the Washington Post, both of whom hold deep hate for Trump, say nothing about the orders. Any front page mention will force everyone to look closer at what is happening. Then, once questioned, Trump could announce the reason behind the Presidential Orders and publicly trap the media through their own pages. By now, every political opinion expert in the nation has witnessed the great ability Trump has at playing high stakes chess.
In any case, the whole thing should become public pretty soon. It is clear that the White House is reading for their final move. Trump shun the media when he directly announced on Twitter that Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was fired. In a double move intended to clear the CIA from its corrupt leadership, Tillerson was replaced by former CIA director, Mike Pompeo. Pompeo on his part was replaced by former CIA Deputy Director, Gina Haspel. All of which is sure to remain unconfirmed by the Senate for months. Could it be that Trump's plan is to maintain the CIA headless until he can get a better handle of congress?
Meanwhile, US Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is considering the possibility of firing FBI Deputy Director, Andre McCabe. McCabe is surrounded by many controversies relating to his relationship to the Clintons, former FBI Director James Comey and a separate issue relating to donations to his wife's campaign for Virginia State Senate. If fired, this would occur right before McCabe's official retirement date; a fact that would take away his 22-year-career pension. This would be indeed quite poetic considering that he refused to recuse himself from the Clinton email scandal investigation until right before the Presidential elections.
OFFICE OF FOREIGN ASSETS CONTROL Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List
List of People and Businesses
to have their assets frozen
Meanwhile those who are attacking the President have now shifted to desperate moves. Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, continues to interview Trump with the goal of trapping him on a technical lie. That would be the last chance at an impeachment that would stop the military tribunals. Mueller is also continuing to target Trump's son-in-law. The environment in Washington is sure to become radioactive in the near future.
I don't like the idea of a President evoking the privilege to call for Martial Law. But if this is the best way to make sure that the pedophilia ring comes to an end, I am all for it. If any of these predictions prove to be correct, there is a strong probability that powerful people within central banks, the Vatican and government will go to jail. There is even a chance that a constitutional crisis may place a dark cloud over the US history. If Obama's presidency is somehow deemed to have been illegal, all his appointees would become illegal too. All of his orders would have to be reversed. Any moneys used may have to be clawed back. It would be a mess.
Keep an eye on the historic events unfolding right before our eyes.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Today's HR Hires Mediocrity

Have you ever heard of an exceptional employee who stayed at the same job for ten years? How about for five years? No, remarkable performers shine above the rest and quickly take on bigger challenges. So, why then is it that today's human resource (HR) departments prefer job applicants who have sat at the same desk for long? Why do they display a bias towards mediocrity?
Let's agree on the following: just as performance everywhere can be illustrated with a bell curve, so does performance at work. In a bell curve we see that most participants saturate the middle of the curve. While it isn't nice to call those in the middle "mediocre", the term 'medius' comes from Latin and means middle. In other words, mediocrity is what people in the middle do.
Then, as performance increases to the right of the bell curve, we see very few participants. The higher individual performance is, the smaller the number of participants. Finally, to the left of the middle, we find the opposite. As performance drops, we see that there are fewer and fewer participants.
This matches my empirical experience. As an executive, I found that most people wanted to do a good job at work but couldn't for a reason. I saw that their performance was average when compared to the pool of available workers. Most displayed mediocrity.
If we now ask the proverbial monkey to select employees by flipping coins, we'd find that the company's workforce will display the same characteristics as that of the pool of available workers; the same bell curve with equal performance levels. After years of solving problems at many companies, I have concluded that performance standards are generally equal everywhere. While every company seems to have a couple of great performers, these usually carry the weight for a couple of underperformers. In the meantime, the rest of the employees are not bad, but not good either. The bell curve is similar in most companies. So, being that this is the case, why should organizations have an HR department at all? When HR's performance is no better than chance, why pay for anyone who claims to be specialized on the art of identifying special talent?
There are two main reasons why employees don't perform better. Either they do not have the knowledge or they don't want to use it. It's that simple.
While looking for the knowledge part, most hiring managers place way too much emphasis on identical job experience. They think that the only way to test for the needed technical insight is by matching the posting's title to the candidate's previous job titles. This is the wrong presumption. There are uniquely exceptional candidates who may presently lack some of the necessary knowledge who, as long as they have sufficient brain power, will have no difficulty with any technical aspect of the job. In no time, they will be up and running.
I have often told customer service agents in highly technical industries not to worry about being stumped with difficult inquiries. I assure them that, after a single day of thirty to forty tough calls, they will become experts. Therefore, hiring managers should look for evidence of either the technical insight needed for the position and industry or the brain power to get it. Thus, limiting the search to only those with the same title short-changes the company's chances at placing exceptional performers at every desk in the office. Moreover, looking for resumes sporting the same job title for many years is a sure way to identify candidates who performed at average levels. It certifies that their superiors didn't see any additional potential in them. While this is not the case for all everyone, this is surely the statistical problem with most of them. Yes, some employees worked for bad bosses who could not identify the employee's superior performance levels, but why did the employees stay there if the company didn't match their standards? Where was the fire in the belly they now claim to have?
As for identifying candidates who are willing to use their knowledge on their quest to the land of exceptional performance, the issue requires looking for signs of engagement-with-integrity, with emphasis on integrity. Let me tell you: you get smart people with very low integrity or ethical standards in your company and they will clean the company's bank account. Looking for brain power isn't enough. Any person who fails to have the qualities of engagement and integrity represents an eminent risk to the company. The least they can do is to sit on their hands when asked to take on additional responsibilities. Unfortunately, this is very common in all organizations. Still, it isn't as bad as it could be. Under the worst case scenario, the employee could absolutely sabotage the company. From corporate espionage, to destroying the relationship with key customers, to utter theft, are all possibilities.
Now I ask you, the HR expert, where in a resume or on your online application form do you have a way to identify exceptional candidates? Why is it that your application-filtering process takes the chance of getting rid of the many fantastic candidates who happen to fail some not relevant trait or experience? Yes, I am suggesting that you start by questioning the use of the job posting software you are currently using until you find a way to discern a candidate's technical knowledge, the need brain power and their engagement-with-integrity level. Don't be surprised if your hiring software of choice is letting you down. That would just be as expected; it would be mediocre.
Is it possible to get great employees at every single position? Yes. Read the book Money Ball by Michael Lewis. The book shows how a systemic approach, one not based on luck, can be used to build an exceptionally performing team. Moreover, the book demonstrates that paying more for better talent isn't necessary when the right system is in place. These facts also match with my experience. If I would have let database algorithms pick employees for me, my professional career would have been much less fun. Instead, I looked for those with high brain power and just enough technical insight to get started. I focused on gauging their will to commit while maintaining high integrity at all times. 
But guess what? Following this method is not easy. It requires work. It also forces hiring managers to make better decisions all the time.
No one has ever been fired for hiring an identical match to the job description. That's the safe thing to do. On the other hand, hiring a person from a different industry is scary to many. Not all people are up for the extra work or the pressure to make better decisions. Hiring managers, after all, are no different than the rest. Most are statistically mediocre.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Net Diversity at Work

It's well accepted that diversity is the key to corporate success. We all can agree to it. Unfortunately in business, the road to hell is really paved with great intentions. The problem with diversity has everything to do with its definition.  In a politically correct (PC) world, diversity focuses on characteristics like ethnicity, color, gender and religion. Yet, looking at diversity from this perspective isn't enough. In fact, under many circumstances, defining diversity in this way results in low net diversity.
In a country like Japan where most citizens are of a tightly homogeneous background, bringing people of a different color or ethnic background will in fact improve net diversity. But in a country like the US where people of different color, religious affiliation and gender grew up in the same area, attended the same schools and admired the same music, it is very difficult to improve net diversity by grouping superficially different people who think and act similarly. In other words, corporate human resource (HR) departments in diverse communities must look beyond the surface if their goal is to create the most prosperous environment for a business and its stakeholders.
Let's say that HR fills the corporate bus with a superficially diverse group formed by identical perpetual-optimists. HR reaches a perfect mix in all regulatory diversity metrics. Gender, race, color and religion are all accounted for and well balanced. PC at its best. Yet, since emotional profile diversity isn't part of their diversity metric, the company ends up with all the people in the bus feeling and thinking the same. With no realists on board to ruin the pleasure, the proverbial corporate trip will sure feel happy and exciting. Unfortunately without a healthy dosage of realism, the day-dreaming bunch will soon end up in LA-LA land; literally. They will travel far and fast but will arrive to nowhere soon. As the bus dives into the Great Canyon, we will hear nothing more than their chants of happiness fade as they accelerate towards the bottom.
On the other hand, fill the bus with a superficially diverse bunch of highly structured people and there will be no end to the complaining. After analyzing and debating every possible thing that could go wrong the bus will remain safely static. Next, fill the bus with a superficially diverse group of natural leaders and you will do no better.
These illustrations reflect the reality that a company's success is closely tied to net diversity and that net diversity is more than skin deep. Instead of looking at applicant superficial traits, HR departments should be blind to them. Instead, it is paramount to look at the emotional profile of each individual. Thankfully, emotional profiling has been around HR departments for many years now. First look at the position to be filled and then define the ideal emotional profile. Every job description best matches a unique emotional personality profile. Accounting tasks requires highly structured people who are adept at tightly following pre-established rules and work best under highly predictable, read repetitive, environments. Operational tasks demand people who love accomplishing. Emotional diversity is even needed within a marketing department. Idea generation is best dealt with by natural optimists who enjoy the trip rather than the arrival while marketing production requires a profile similar to those in many operational positions. Repeat finding the best candidate with the right personality match over and over and the company will end up high performing net diversity. In the end, this should be the real goal.
Unfortunately, many of today's HR departments become too concerned with hiring too many members of a given color or gender. Unfortunately, the sad reality of this attitude is that they are no longer being religion, color or gender blind. They are becoming biased. To bias something means to apply an unequal weight over a section of that something. This applies as much to physics as to social issues.
Yet the worst part of developing this bias is that HR departments end up subsequently exposing the company to unnecessary performance risk. By forcing an employee onto a job for which they are not a natural match, professional underperformance will result in apathy, a lack of engagement and finally low employee morale. A job requiring meticulous attention to detail and a high tolerance for repetition will be poorly done by a flexible, imaginative and charismatic worker. In fact, the employee will soon hate the job. No matter how well intended everyone is, the company and the employee lose when PC biases exist.
Get instead someone who naturally feels an adrenaline rush every time each fraction of a task is finished, one of those structured people who never breaks and never lets you down, and everything changes. The company gets super productivity while employee satisfaction is maximized. Everyone wins even in situations where the racial balance is off target, for example.
Despite the absence of the Kumbaya feeling that materializes when all PC metrics are in order, HR departments everywhere need to recognize that net diversity trumps superficial diversity. Closely follow standard PC metrics and HR will build an unhappy and underperforming organization.
I thus suggest not to stress too much about the usual PC metrics. By remaining blind to superficial diversity, by applying random selection of color, ethnicity, gender, etc., net diversity can be achieved. Let's consider that a roulette wheel that lands nine consecutive times on black is not necessarily biased. This is because true randomness has no memory of what just happened. Statistically, it is perfectly acceptable for black to occur nine times in a row within a real random environment. Likewise, it is possible that a randomly operating HR department may hire nine women in a row. In a random environment, the trend periodically migrates away from the mean. While such pattern of similar hires may be a three standard deviation event, the trend will sure revert to the long term mean based on company size and employee pool availability. Statistically, any deviation from accepted PC diversity should be solved in a random selection system over the long term without needing to apply any weight or bias to the system.
Former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch recognized that a company's future success is highly dependent on the performance of its HR department. Think of it. All corporate success stories first pass through HR. So, thanks to an ever more competitive environment, the responsibility of all hiring managers has never been greater. If we then consider the massive burden that superficial PC diversity metrics place on their shoulders, it is no wonder that most companies underperform when compared to industry leaders. Therefore, it is time to realize that in an already diverse society like that of the US, emotional diversity will result in the superior king of net diversity needed by employees and employers.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Nunes Memo - Released

The world of politics has been waiting for the release of the previously classified memorandum that summarizes the findings from an extensive investigation that started in 2016 after anomalies in the FBI's and Department of Justice's (DOJ) behavior were uncovered.
By now, all the media have received their talking points directly from the deep state: those colluding with and protecting Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. The disinformation media has started their coordinated defensive maneuver against the memo. Reuters describes the memo as "a previously classified memo that alleges bias against Trump by the FBI". But don't let them obfuscate the truth. The memo does not allege bias. No, being biased is lawful, Instead, the memo claims law breaking at so many levels and by the most "decorated" cops in the country. Read it for your self below. The memo describes illegal activities like collusion, breaking constitutional rights, perjury (lying) to the FISA court, perjury (lying) to congress, and blackmail of a US President. These are all crimes.
The left would have us believe that the memo is disrespectful of the honorable FBI and DOJ. That is because the socialist minded see government as not having to be accountable. To them, questioning mommy-government is unthinkable. But we know better. We understand that government officials work for us and must be made accountable at all times. So yes, we love the FBI. Still, we will exercise our right and responsibility to make them liable for their actions. In any case, the rank and file at the FBI, the real cops, know very well that their leadership has tainted their institutions and thus must be cleansed.
The New York times and democratic party politicians will argue that the memo gives no evidence. Well, this is correct. It is only a memo. The document detailing all the investigation process is still classified. In any case, democrats in the intelligence committee have seen it but will surely act ignorant.
Finally, the globalist-controlled media will continue to convince their international audience that the Mueller investigation is 'almost' ready to convict Trump. Of course that they will say nothing about the fact that special counsel, Robert Mueller, has just requested the court to postpone the sentencing of Michael Flynn, a former Trump aid facing charges unrelated to Russia or any election meddling. Mueller knows that his case is now about to fall apart. In a nutshell, Robert Mueller will be happy if he gets out of this mess without being taken to prison like the rest of the DC swamp as illustrated by the following mugshots. These are the people listed in the memo as in violation of laws:

James Comey, then FBI director

Andrew McCabe, then FBI Deputy Director

Sally Yates, then Deputy Attorney General

Dana Boente, then Deputy Attorney General

Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General

Bruce Ohr, then Associate Deputy Attorney General

Let's be vigilant. The deep state will be specially active with false flag events as they attempt to protect their behinds. Their strongest tool is fear. So, the Super Bowl will be a prime target just as republican congressmen were last week while traveling on board the Amtrak train that was attacked. Unfortunately, a person died during the incident. Fortunately, the many congressmen on the train were fine after the attempt at derailment failed.
Following are the individual pages from the memo and from Donald Trump's order to unclassify it. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The 2017 Fake News Awards

I recently watched a great movie about the fantastic journalistic work done by the Boston Globe barely fifteen years ago. Spotlight, the movie, describes how Spotlight, the special investigative team within the Boston Globe, uncovered the corruption of child abuse by the Catholic church in Boston. Taking on Catholicism in a city where more than half of the population are of the same religion was quite heroic to say the least. The Boston Globe risked ruining their business in the process of their investigation. Not only where city officials and police corrupt, but catholic readers could have taken their anger against the newspaper as well. 
To compound things, all relevant documents needed to prove the crimes were either hidden by the court system or fell outside of the Freedom of Information Act. Then there was the issue that statute of limitations were long expired since all children molestations were being reported mostly after the victims became adults. Still, the movie depicts how real reporters had to work; doing exhaustive research to find the truth. That was a time when a single source of information wasn't enough. Newspaper editors demanded at least two credible sources for all news to be printed. 

Compare that to what is happening today. You have The New York Times, formerly the most credible news source in the world, stating that Trump did something wrong and quoting a single source who didn't show the document to the reporter but who read it over the phone instead. And what about a second source to corroborate what is being reported? Well, the media giant no longer cares about such formalities. They are now the gunslingers of the news.
It's incredible to see how far they have strayed away from the truth. It all looks and smells like the last days of an industry that soon will be gone. I have seen this before. I have witnessed the same drums of decay resonating through the air. The clear corruption among the great names of yesterday seems to define the last chapter on the life of such giants. And then there is the fact that the real publishing and investigative work is now being done by non-profits. Just a few years ago, no one had heard of WikileaksProject VeritasJudicial Watch and the American Center for Law and Justice. Yet, they have quickly become our only sources for transparency.  
Honestly, I don't think we'll miss the old names. As soon as they stopped delivering the truth and focused on promoting their so called 'fair' opinion, they became irrelevant to us. Thankfully, we figured it all out quickly enough. We should be grateful towards the free-market that provided us with viable alternatives at the time we needed real information and transparency most.

Just in, the White House announced the 2017 Fake News Awards. To read more about these recognitions, click here to go to the Republican Party's website.

1st Place: The New York Times
The New York Times’ Paul Krugman claimed on the day of President Trump’s historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover.
Paul Krugman, 2017 Fake News Winner

2nd Place: ABC 
ABC News' Brian Ross CHOKES and sends markets in a downward spiral with false report.

3rd Place: CNN 
CNN FALSELY reported that candidate Donald Trump and his son Donald J. Trump, Jr. had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks.

4th Place: TIME 
TIME FALSELY reported that President Trump removed a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office.

5th Place: Washington Post 
Washington Post FALSELY reported the President’s massive sold-out rally in Pensacola, Florida was empty. Dishonest reporter showed picture of empty arena HOURS before crowd started pouring in.

6th Place: CNN 
CNN FALSELY edited a video to make it appear President Trump defiantly overfed fish during a visit with the Japanese prime minister. Japanese prime minister actually led the way with the feeding.

7th Place: CNN 
CNN FALSELY reported about Anthony Scaramucci’s meeting with a Russian, but retracted it due to a “significant breakdown in process.”

8th Place: Newsweek 
Newsweek FALSELY reported that Polish First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda did not shake President Trump’s hand.

9th Place: CNN 
CNN FALSELY reported that former FBI Director James Comey would dispute President Trump’s claim that he was told he is not under investigation.

10th Place: The New York Times
The New York Times FALSELY claimed on the front page that the Trump administration had hidden a climate report.

Honorable Mention: 
And last, but not least: "RUSSIA COLLUSION!" Russian collusion is perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people. THERE IS NO COLLUSION!
Russia Collusion Hoax

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Low Friction Marketing

Ice skater in orange and black quickly moving right with the text "low friction marketing" on black letters on the rightWhat does marketing mean to your organization? Is marketing an operational expense or a profit center? The difference is not academic. It can mean leaving thousands or millions of dollars in profits on the table. In fact, marketing should be a leveraged asset to your company; it should transform a small operational investment into a much larger bottom-line improvement, today and overtime.
Exceptional marketing transcends the sum of marketing activities. This is a case where the 'whole' is much larger than the parts. Two companies can easily invest the same time  and money into equivalent marketing activities and still achieve completely different results.
Female Millennial Marketing Guru taking a selfie with extreme body languageSo how to know the difference? Let's start from the beginning. You hire a marketing expert. She looks the part; from fashionable dressing, to accentuated body language, to chic enunciation. All her descriptions rely on colorful images that seem to float in midair. Her marketing strategy is loaded with the latest trends in social media. Needless to say, it's hard to argue against any of it.
But how effective is all that? A little over 12 Years ago, marketing gurus exulted the value of Flash coding. Flash promised to be a fantastic way to make your website stand out over the crowd while making it much more interesting and entertaining. Thankfully, time proved that your online consumers don't have the attention characteristics of a two-year-old. After every website in the planet attempted to maximize the use of Flash, the hyperactive graphics slowed downloading and made them all look commonly noisy and annoying. Rather than standing over the crowd, they all became the crowd.
Today, we have worked our way back into the time-tested method of simplicity. The almost pale looking websites of today are easier to read and navigate. There's a lot to be said about simple and effective messaging.
Composite image in black and white of made up add for AMC Pacer with the text "New AMC Pacer. The first wide small car".
Yes, time proved that Flash gurus were wrong. This is because time is a ruthless judge. Almost all the must-have marketing trends of yesterday have reverted over time. Even AMC's Pacer was revered by the gurus after its launch. Disgusting indeed. I anticipate that the same reversion to the mean awaits the must-have trends of today. Regression from these extremes is normal.
But how is it possible? Aren't we a society that constantly demands progress? Don't we need marketing to evolves at the same pace as technology? Well, the answer is no. As for the reason, it's a simple one. Humans don't evolve at the same rate as technology. Our bodies have hardly changed for the last million years. While our mental processing has increased, we're doing it with the same old hardware.
Meanwhile, our environment is as noisy as ever. The number of things clamoring for our attention have certainly increased. As a result, it's simple and clear messages that gain our attention.
Composite image over white background of a pile of remotes on the left and an iPod on the right.
Think of the fact that tens of thousands of the most brilliant engineers and marketers continue to design ever more complex remote controllers for the many electronics around us. Every extra button promises to open a gate to a new feature. Moreover, consumer electronic manufacturers argued that a dependency on specifications made innovative technology intrinsically male. In other words, a larger number of buttons meant a higher degree of masculinity. Not surprisingly, they were very wrong. Remote control users, male and female, continued to ignore most of such buttons. Average users relied on a few familiar buttons for their operational needs. This meant that, to most people, most evolutionary changes in technology remained unnecessary.
And then something brilliant took place. Apple introduced the iPod. A little electronic gizmo smaller than most remotes. Remarkably, the iPod needed only two buttons to give access to a plethora of features and functions. The rest, as they say, is history. A revolution in consumer acceptance took place. Apple's products, lacking technological superiority over their competitors, became incredibly successful thanks to their simplicity. Contrast this with the fact that NOKIA phones where once the most advanced cell phones in the pre-smartphone era. Still, NOKIA sales in the biggest market in the world, the US, failed against all metrics. Apple's experience demonstrated that a holistic approach to marketing is paramount. It's essential to understand users and their nature. Humans gravitate towards simplicity.
In engineering terms, we're talking about low friction interfaces between the technology and the user. Any engineer will easily understand the idea that low friction is essential when designing a mechanical device. An engine with too many rods, exchangers, transformers and connections will result in excessive friction and a subsequent loss of energy. Aside from being deficient, the engine will inevitably self-destruct.
Generally, low friction is achieved through minimalist designs. In the same way, the conversion from technology to user experience goes through different interfaces that can result in predicted losses and perhaps catastrophic failure. This is what happens when your products and services are rejected by consumers regardless of innovation value.
BOSE makes some of the lowest quality consumer electronics products in the world. Have you ever heard professionals in the industry say "no highs, no lows, must be BOSE?" Still, these guys are masters of low friction selling, marketing and use. As a result, their consumers love BOSE widgets so much that they're willing to certify their affinity by paying the highest price premiums in the industry. Yes, BOSE like Apple know the bottom line value of low friction marketing.
But isn't marketing only about advertising and using social media? Again, no. Opening an Apple device is such an experience that hundreds of people document the process and share it over YouTube for anyone to see. Look it up. This means that properly designed packaging can give so much satisfaction as to create a viral wave. Talk about marketing effectiveness. Two companies create packaging at the same expense. One goes unnoticed while the other increases sales by transforming packaging into a profit center.
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as "creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large." They have clearly adopted the holistic view. Notice that their definition is not limited to just creating demand for a product or service. It is also worth considering the fact that they're not saying anything about social media which is today's buzzword everywhere.
composite image of "fired"sign on the left and steve jobs at the right, all over white background.Look at any marketing job description today and you will find that every one of them demands search engine optimization (SEO) and social media excellence. Under such conditions, Steve Jobs would never land a marketing job. Both SEO and social media reflect expertise on database and algorithm design. Neither have anything to do with understanding human nature; something that separated Steve Jobs from the rest.
Before our ubiquitous use of smart phones and tablets as personal assistants, Apple had a product called Newton that require a stylus. There's no doubt that the Newton deployed the latest and technology at that time. Still, Steve Jobs discontinued the product because the need for a stylus meant that consumers couldn't use their fingers to operate it. The stylus was an unwelcomed additional step in the user's experience. Steve Jobs waited until touchscreen technology made the iPad and iPhone possible. To create incredible success, Steve Jobs focused on human nature rather than technology.
composite image of social media names and logos in the background and two black and white people covering their ears in front of itBut can all job listings demanding SEO and social media expertise be wrong? Is it possible that social media is useless? Unfortunately the answer isn't so simple. Yes, most human resource departments are blinded by the social media fad. The noise is deafening in this zero-sum game.
Yet, social media use doesn't have to be a waste of time. Consider one of the most expensive kitchen utensils available in the market: a Bledtech blender. Yes, even something as basic as the time-tested kitchen blender can become exciting enough to go viral. But simply going viral isn't valuable enough. Real value resides in the tens of thousands of consumers who happily opened their wallets to pay a five-times premium for one of these machines. Blendtec created a series of YouTube videos that highlighted the durable nature of their blenders. Through a simply-produced series of videos, viewers can indulge all their destructive desires as anything from cubic zirconia to iPhone's are pulverized by a Blentec blender. Everything becomes liquefied; literally. Even Costco couldn't ignore the videos'effectiveness. In a world of highly commoditized products with perpetually lower profits, Blendtec found a path to extreme profits and a much wider distribution network than would normally be the case for such a niche product. Throughout, Blendtec's advertising costs remain very low by all marketing standards.
And then there's those who spend just to spend. It's said that Coca-Cola knows that 50% of their marketing budget is wasteful. Their problem is that they don't know which 50%. Don't make the same mistake. Many companies treat marketing expenses as pacifiers. Their leaders are emotionally satisfied only after continuing to spend on the same untested marketing efforts. Department managers are giving their marketing budgets with the expectation that they will spend all the funds. This is detrimental to your bottom line and produces no value to society. Everybody loses.
image of farmer following a herd of sheep.In a nutshell, understand your users, consumers, partners, distributors, buyers, sponsors and even your own salespeople. Focus on their fundamental nature. Make products and services that they all can resonate with. Communicate such resonating values to all of them in a simple and succinct fashion. Reduce all interface frictions. Measure all performance and don't waste your money. Finally, don't follow the herd and deploy low friction marketing. To be remarkable and effective, it's essential that your marketing stays clear of all trend noise and lands precisely over the fundamental human nature.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Swedish Century-Long Overnight-Success

composed image of Swedish flag and industrial crane profilesHow do you make a small fortune? You start with a bigger one. This is the model of the modern socialist system in Sweden. But many progressives and socialists will try to convince you that it is possible to create a successful country out of an economic model relying on high taxation and lots of welfare distributions.
Yet, the reality couldn't be further from the truth. If you think about it, it's mathematically impossible. Wealth depends on compounded accumulation rather than progressive redistribution.
picture of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Aristotle Onassis
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Aristotle Onassis
Even Aristotle Onassis, once the richest man in the world, had to divorce his American queen, Jacquelyn Kennedy Onassis, She was spending more in a day than his complete maritime empire could profit in the same period. The lesson to the world was that spending will always have the advantage over income.
Progressives will point to the fact that Sweden, despite high taxes and a large welfare system, is a rich country and ignore that Scandinavians under a different system in the US are also rich. This is the problem with correlations. It is difficult to know which what causes what, if at all. In some cases, correlations have no bearing on what causes things. Still, this doesn't stop those on the left to make the claim and feel to be on the rational side of the argument. They are ignoring the fact that it may be Swedes that create wealth and not their system.
picture of thoughtful Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
When Mikhail Gorbachev, the last USSR leader, was approached by his economic advisers to perhaps consider the Swedish economic model as a way to save mother Russia, Gorbachev is said to have asked "but where can we get all those Swedes?" Perhaps he knew better than modern socialists.
Meanwhile, the reality behind the apparent overnight success of the Swedish model is that it took close to a century to create. It started after the industrial revolution. It took a very trusting and homogeneous Lutheran society who shamed themselves for not working or for receiving social assistance. Their hard working ethic compounded with the most free of economic markets and the lowest collected taxes as a percentage of GDP. Here, it's important to highlight that we are not talking about tax rate but rather tax collections. As I previously discussed in this blog, US tax rates were highest during the second world war period while tax collections were lowest during the same period. That's the little dirty secret of the tax system. But we digress.
So, as Sweden grew personal wealth by openly trading with everyone, through low taxation, through exhaustive work and by not accepting any government assistance, things were ideal for the socialists to begin the process of wealth destruction during the 70's.
picture of Vladimir Lenin in front of a crowd
Vladimir Lenin
The socialist formula has never changed. First find a place where wealth was created. Since good living makes people lower their guard, start telling them that you are there to protect them. Make them believe you. Then start redistributing the money from the rich to the poor. If there are no poor, then import them. Later, when things start getting tough, blame free markets and businesses. Then repeat over and over again.
As Vladimir Lenin, the man who started the massacre of close to 100 million people in Russia used to say, "the truth about history is that it doesn't teach us anything".

For an additional look at the source that inspired this article, check this video by Johan Norberg where he discusses The Swedish model - myths and realities:

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Breaking News: Clinton and Democrats Pay for False Dossier

The Trump-Russia collusion story is based on a secret paper which the Washington Post, a Clinton loving newspaper, now says was paid by Clinton and the Democrats. No doubt that 'sunlight disinfects'. As the corruption of the left is exposed to the light of truth, more and more of their deceit and lies will evaporate.
The Clinton's Crime Syndicate under scrutiny

Friday, October 13, 2017

Tax Rhetoric Hides Real Issue

Media Noise on Tax Reform
Talk about tax reform is everywhere in the news these days. The media tells us that the proposed changes are bad for us. Understandably, those proposing the changes disagree. So what does all the noise mean to you and your business?
The problem with the subject of taxation is that it poses special difficulties to those attempting to forecast outcomes. It's possible for diametrically opposed tax plans to promise the same positive outcome, for example. Therefore, the subject lends itself to manipulation by unethical politicians and news people alike. The natural complexity also serves to hide what's really important to all of us. So, let's understand the effects of tax changes. Then, let's consider the real threat to the wellbeing of our nation; a subject no one is talking about.
To understand why tax reform outcomes are so difficult to interpret we need to look at how complex systems work. Complex systems act in a seemingly random fashion as participants within the system change their behavior in response to other participants.
Let me explain with the following scenario. Assume that we get together a thousand of the smartest PhD's in the country. We'll call them the Federal Reserve or FED for short.
Picture of Federal Reserve Board, circa 1917
Federal Reserve Board, 1917
This FED has the responsibility to ensure a better economic future for all of us. The FED will study the economic market; a flexible group of players following their self interest. Then, when it sees trouble ahead, the FED will intervene to prevent any negative outcomes. Ironically, the FED will thus become the largest player in the system.
This game really begun in December of 1913. So far, the super smart people at the FED have never anticipated a single economic downturn. In fact, the FED now accepts that they are 'data dependant'; they admit to being myopic. Without visibility past their nose, they utterly 'depend' on where 'data' is right now. To make matters more confusing, other players follow every action by the FED as a sign of what's to come. It's a real case of the blind leading the blind.
At times, complex systems follow a single general direction. For example, we know that more people in a market will make the number of transactions grow. While the relationship between number of players and number of transactions is not precise, the general correlation is positive. As population has continued to grow, the number of transactions has done the same in what looks like limitless duration.  
Complex System
But then there are times when these systems periodically return to their base or mean. Market risk is a good example. The risk faced by market players alters direction because it can't continue to increase or decrease indefinitely.
The problem with complex systems is that they represent the total combination of many of these two types of movements. At times, linear movements dominate only to suddenly give in to reversion to the mean.
Think about it. It's even possible for the same participants to act differently when faced with the same circumstances. Their actions could be altered by their memory of recent success or failure, for example.
All these facts make it impossible to establish rigid expectations. So don't be surprised when the smartest scientist can't guess the path of a hurricane a few days before it makes land or when the Federal Reserve makes a catastrophic mistake with the economy. Both, the economy and the weather are complex systems. Likewise, do you really expect the TV host to be able to correctly determine what will happen after a new tax structure is implemented? No chance.
Here, please pardon the fact that I took way too long to elaborate my point; I really wanted to make it very clear. News people are as clueless as any of us. Don't waste your time listening to their opinion disguised as a news fact. For a more productive outcome, read a fiction novel instead.
Still, the media will try to convince you. And since most of the media has a left bias, they'll generally argue that paying more taxes and a bigger government are better.
Government Skeptics
Now that if you see big government with skepticism, don't distress. You are not alone. In fact, you are in great company. Our nation's forefathers shared the same skepticism. This is why our constitution was written to limit government power.
Our constitution has served us well for close to 230 years; resulting in the most successful nation in history. Our system is in fact so great that countries all around the world voluntarily adopt many of its characteristics. Subsequently, billions of people have left poverty behind.
Yes, before Europeans started to brag about their young and relatively untested socialist system of big government and heavy taxation, they needed our help rebuilding after their past mistakes. So, when the left leaning media tries to tell you that European's pay more taxes and manage to live better than we do, remember that their opinion isn't so correct.
Look at Holland. To get all the extra goodies dished out by their government, the land of public sex displays has severely mortgaged their future. To revert path, Holland will have to cut national expenditures by 10% and then endure 10 years of doubling tax rates to 100%. Their debt is so humongous that it can only be solved with 10 years of complete slavery to the government. Now you see why their politicians are so happy. There is more than cannabis behind their smirk.
Historic Tax Rates
Another strong argument the media exploits to defend their position is that higher post-WWII taxes resulted in a better economy for the US. Here again, they are missing about half of the complex system's picture. Yes, the US had tremendously high taxes in paper after WWII. But no, people didn't actually pay them.
Does anyone recall that business schools were nonexistent until much after the big war? Before universities found a way to educate future business leaders most CEO's were attorneys. Back then, being a lawyer was essential for guiding a company around government regulation.
Tax rates down; tax revenue up.
When looking at government tax receipts on a per capita basis and adjusted to inflation, it's sad to see that we pay much higher taxes today than we did after WWII despite having a lower rate. The chart clearly shows how tax rates have gone down while tax collections have gone up.
Reagan found that tax evasion eased when taxes were seen as reasonable. The inverse of this fact is why Greece collects no taxes at all. When taxes are unbelievably high, people will do anything not to pay.
In the economic complex system, players will be more willing to increase their activity in an environment of fair taxation. Then, higher player activity will conceivably result in tax receipts sufficient enough to compensate for the loss by rate reductions. This is when politicians use the term "revenue neutral". Nonetheless, don't believe them when they use it. Both sides can easily claim revenue neutrality from clearly opposing plans.
Yet, tax receipts won't be enough for our present government expenditures. Right now, our government borrows an additional 48 cents for every dollar in taxes we pay them. It's clear we can't afford our present government. We would need to cut government spending by 32%1 to get back to break even. This will do nothing about paying off our debt. We would simply stop the bleeding.
US Total Budget, 2016
Look at the pie chart here and tell me what part of government would you cut to get the 32% reduction? I bet you can't. We are accustomed to the good stuff even when clearly insolvent.
Then, to compound our challenges, we spend the equivalent to little less than half of our massive military budget on interest payments alone. We are buried under a pile of debt.
Do you want to experience real fear? Consider the fact that our debt pays close to zero percent in interests. Think of it, if interest rates go to their 4% long term average, we will be spending double the current military budget on interests alone.
Let me make my opinion clear. Talking about taxes is important. But the real conversation to have is about debt. We are broke. We have to tighten the belt and figure how to get us back to balance sheet health. We can argue the best way to solve it. But there is no escaping the subject. Your business' future and that of your family are at risk. Let's redirect the conversation as soon as possible.

1 Take one dollar plus 48 cents. Then calculate it's inverse. Then subtract 1 to come up with the 32 cents or 32% needed in lower government expenditures to bring us back to a point where we are not borrowing any more money.