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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rolling Jubilee - Buying your debt for 5-cents


I always wondered why banks would forclose upon someone's house and sell it for a fraction of the mortgage debt, yet wouldn't refinance the home'owner' and accept that same amount from the people living in their home? If I had the authority, I'd just forgive the debt and keep people in their homes. So when I found out about the Rolling Jubilee I decided it was genius. I'm starting one for San Diego.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Strange Fruit

I always wondered why there were never any whistle-blowers from the Wall Street Crash? It seems there is one, but even he doesn't give specifics about the criminal behavior at Goldman. I think they all have made big money and are afraid of breaking their non-disclosure contracts.

Listen to the interview on CBC DAY6:
Former Goldman Sachs VP Greg Smith made a splash with a very public resignation from the financial firm in March with an op-ed in the New York Times. In it, he detailed why he believes the culture of the firm turned toxic, and accused his co-workers of callously ripping clients off. His new book Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story was releasesd this week.



End Debt Slavery; OptOutPrescreen.com

Among other things you can do to free yourself from the cycle of debt-slavery, including moving all financial accounts from banks to local credit-unions, moving all investments out of wall street brokers like Goldman Sachs into government bonds and local small businesses, and end your use of credit cards.

Now you can permanently remove yourself from all credit card prescreen mailing lists, so you will never be tempted by 0% interest bait and switch deals.

Simply go to https://www.optoutprescreen.com
Fill out the form, print and mail it in.

The consumer credit reporting industry (i.e. monopoly) will stop including your name when they sell their lists:
  • Equifax 
  • Experiean 
  • Innovis 
  • Transunion
If you choose to Opt-Out, you will no longer be included in firm offer lists provided by these four consumer credit reporting companies.  

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Clinton Global Inishitive

Bill Clinton is the best man for the job of bringing bright minds together to cooperate and build solutions to some of our most critical global problems.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Legal requirement to maximize profits.


The lesson is don't incorporate as a for-profit, and don't sell stock to raise money.
But what I think should be the law — and what a couple politically-biased professors claim is the law — isn’t necessarily the law. Under eBay v. Newman, the law is as Franken said:  “it is literally malfeasance for a corporation not to do everything it legally can to maximize its profits.” Just ask Jim and Craig; no one disputes it’s their company, but they’re legally prohibited from taking steps to preserve the profit-alongside-community-service mission that’s served them well. Maximize profits, or else. 
The impact of this duty-to-maximize-profits stretches far beyond mere investments. Under Citizens United, corporations now have the First Amendment right to influence our fragile democracy however they want, since they’re “people,” just like you and me, albeit profit-maximizing zombies who care not for truth, justice, or the American way.
http://www.litigationandtrial.com/2010/09/articles/series/special-comment/ebay-v-newmark-al-franken-was-right-corporations-are-legally-required-to-maximize-profits/

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

SAN DIEGO SOLUTIONS

Please give us a listen, then post the link below to your facebook friends or email them: http://soundcloud.com/san-diego-speaks/sdsolutionsdemo
In this Program:
This has been a San Diego Speaks production of "San Diego Solutions". This is a demonstration project for a new one-hour, weekly talk-show about Non-Profit Businesses in San Diego and the solutions created by social-entrepreneurs to deal with local issues.
If you want to find out more about San Diego Solutions, and listen to extended interviews, go to our web site SDSpeaks.com 
There you can log-in and find ways to contribute to your local community, volunteer, become a citizen journalist, or submit a your favorite charity for an interview. 
The people of San Diego face many issues, If you would like to be part of the solution, then join the conversation online, and contact us with your thoughts about how we can improve this local show and create a better tomorrow. Together, there is nothing our community can't accomplish. 
Please, support our local Charities. Lean how to find worthy non-profit businesses in your area, and achieve results in your neighborhood. 
You can support San Diego Solutions through our web-site, simply subscribe to our email newsletter and listen to the podcast. You can listen to archived shows and extended interviews with local leaders about the challenges and opportunities we all face together. 
When you join our community, you'll find you are not alone, and that what at first may seem overwhelming is manageable when we share the work. Best of all you can express yourself, tell us your ideas, and propose your solutions to the issues you care most about. 
Thanks for listening, and welcome to "San Diego Solutions". 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

From Creative Cow - Clients and Grinders


Understanding the "The Market's Three Basic Personalities"

All markets can be broken up into three layers because there are three basic kinds of people. Sure, there are infinite nuances of human personality but there are three basic personality types and here's how they work...

  1. "Have you ever had one of those great clients that relies on your judgment and expertise and values your experience and always pays on time and never haggles about price? They're rare but they're there. They are that Top 15% of the market that I call the "clients" and everyone wants them. But they rarely shop projects once they find someone they trust and once they learn that they can respect you and get good service from you, nine times out of ten, they'll not even send out an RFP looking for bids. You see, these people are all about trust and relationships and once you build that trust it's something that no "low-baller" could ever come in and destroy. These people know what they are worth and they do business with you because you know what you are worth as well -- and they'll send a "low-baller" packing because it's clear to them that the low-baller knows what their self-worth is as well! These people are quick to recommend you to their friends and associates -- usually, people just like them as "birds of a feather really do flock together" -- and they will actively try to help your business grow (just as they see you offering ideas to help them grow their own business).

  2. In the middle of the market is what I call the 70% middle market and as a group they are, for the most part, fair-minded, honest and they do not usually beat on you for deals -- though they do appreciate a good but fair price. They may not have the sense of loyalty that the top 15% of the market have but they do try to be fair (they know they are not perfect and they have made their peace with themselves and they treat you the same) -- and they will try to work within relationships wherever possible. Within this middle 70% group, you can fine-tune their reactions by their proximity to either the Top 15% of the market or the Low-End 15% of the market. As these middle market people get closer to the top or the bottom, they act accordingly and take on traits of excellence or traits of ugliness that you will live to regret if you choose to do business with them (if they near the crossover point where they fall into the lower 15% of the market). As you learn to spot where within this majority 70% market area they stand, you will quickly be able to spot those "clients" you wish to work with or those "grinders" that you want to send packing -- nicely of course, but packing nonetheless!

  3. I am always amazed that the Low-End 15% of the market is the first part of the market that most new businesses set out to work with. Some do it consciously and others unconsciously but the end result is the same -- a lot of work for very little money, if any. This often happens because many people think that you have to undercut existing businesses to build a new business. That's simply not true. But if you believe that you do have to undercut the market and you price yourself as a "low-ball" artist, you set yourself up to attract the people that occupy the lowest 15% of the market. I call these people "Grinders" and for good reason: They will grind you and demand that you treat them like the people in the Top 15% category -- and they will expect that treatment from you as they push and push to get things below your cost. They'll promise you more jobs down the road and that just this one job needs a deal -- the others will make you some money. Yeah, right! The truth is: they'll never let you make a dime off them while you suffer through insults, mistrust, constant changes and arguments over what you agreed to or didn't -- and no matter how well you do, nine times out of ten there will almost always be something wrong with the job you did. They will never be happy. They do not recommend you to their associates and this is probably due to the fact that they know themselves quite well and think that everyone is like that creep they see in the mirror every morning. If they need to invent a reason not to pay you, they can get incredibly creative! The Net is full of stories of people trying to collect on debts made by these people.

Now that you know how these basic personality traits manifest in the business world, what can you do with this information to help you in the days ahead -- what's the "real world" application of this knowledge?

When you set out in your next negotiation or even a job interview -- it always works the same -- watch how the three market types are something that you can count on like clockwork. Adjust your presentation to interact with these people. If they are a Top 15% personality, focus on things you can do for them. Build your stock in their eyes by letting them know what you can add to their business -- now that doesn't mean sell yourself, it means sell their story and how you can empower it. Sell them on the research you have done on their company without telling them you've done so -- make their story come alive to them. After all, you are a communicator and you are there to sell them on your abilities to champion their cause, are you not?

If they are in the middle market and it's a job you want to take, then work with them so that they understand that you have a vision for their project. If you do have to give something away to get the deal, then do so by taking something else away from the project -- it doesn't have to be something huge, just something that establishes that they can't get something for nothing. (They understand this and will respect it.)

But if during the course of your negotiations it becomes clear that you have a "Grinder" on the line -- then for goodness sake, pull the hook out of their mouth and throw that smelly ole fish right back into the water! If you don't, you'll surely come to regret the decision just as sure as eggs is eggs!

Trust me: They're not good eating and they're just full of bones anyway!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Occupy Bankers

Watch Money, Power and Wall Street: Part Four on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

When even the bankers don't know how the system works, then how the system works doesn't matter. All that matters is that the system doesn't work. Never sign a contract that you do not understand. Let the buyer beware.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

FRONTLINE: Money, Power, Wall Street



How strong is your stomach? Learn how credit-deafult-swaps were created and used. Traunches = pools equity of the same risk level. Derivatives = bets, synthetic collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), Blind Short-Selling - betting against the market on credit.

The secret to good leadership is learning from our mistakes, those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat it. Those who don't understand market economies are doomed to be defrauded.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Victoria Grant, 12 yr. old Canadian

Apparently Public Schools in Canada Still Work

A concise description of the Debt Money Banking System.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cooperative banking has arrived

Alternative to the bad corporate giants are growing in the U.S. and abroad -- and they could transform our economy




This article originally appeared on AlterNet.
According to both the Mayan and Hindu calendars, 2012 (or something very close) marks the transition from an age of darkness, violence and greed to one of enlightenment, justice and peace. It’s hard to see that change just yet in the events relayed in the major media, but a shift does seem to be happening behind the scenes; and this is particularly true in the once-boring world of banking.
AlterNetIn the dark age of Kali Yuga, money rules; and it is through banks that the moneyed interests have gotten their power. Banking in an age of greed is fraught with usury, fraud and gaming the system for private ends. But there is another way to do banking; the neighborly approach of George Bailey in the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Rather than feeding off the community, banking can feed the community and the local economy.
Today, the massive too-big-to-fail banks are hardly doing George Bailey-style loans at all. They are not interested in community lending. They are doing their own proprietary trading—trading for their own accounts—which generally means speculating against local interests. They engage in high-frequency program trading that creams profits off the top-of-stock market trades; speculation in commodities that drives up commodity prices; leveraged buyouts with borrowed money that can result in mass layoffs and factory closures; and investment in foreign companies that compete against our local companies.
We can’t do much to stop them. They’ve got the power, especially at the federal level. But we can quietly set up an alternative model, and that’s what is happening on various local fronts.
Most visible are the Move Your Money and Occupy Wall Street movements. According to the Web site of the Move Your Money campaign, an estimated 10 million accounts have left the largest banks since 2010. Credit unions have enjoyed a surge in business as a result. The Credit Union National Association reported that in 2012, for the first time ever, credit union assets rose above $1 trillion. Credit unions are non-profit, community-minded organizations with fewer fees and less fine print than the big risk-taking banks, and their patrons are not just customers but owners, sharing partnership in a cooperative business.
Move “Our” Money: The Public Bank Movement

The Move Your Money campaign has been wildly successful in mobilizing people and raising awareness of the issues, but it has not made much of a dent in the reserves of Wall Street banks, which already had $1.6 trillion sitting in reserve accounts as a result of the Fed’s second round of quantitative easing in 2010. What might make a louder statement would be for local governments to divest their funds from Wall Street, and some local governments are now doing this. Local governments collectively have well over a trillion dollars deposited in Wall Street banks.
A major problem with the divestment process is finding local banks large enough to take the deposits. One proposed solution is for states, counties and cities to establish their own banks, capitalized with their own rainy day funds and funded with their own revenues as a deposit base.
Today only one state actually does this: North Dakota. North Dakota is also the only state to have escaped the credit crisis of 2008, sporting a sizeable budget surplus every year since. It has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, the lowest default rate on credit card debt, and no state government debt at all. The Bank of North Dakota (BND) has an excellent credit rating and returns a hefty dividend to the state every year.
The BND model hasn’t yet been duplicated in other states, but a movement is afoot. Since 2010, 18 states have introduced legislation of one sort or another for a state-owned bank.
Values-based Banking: Too Sustainable to Fail

Meanwhile, there is a strong movement at the local level for sustainable, “values-based” banking—conventional banks committed to responsible lending and service to the local community. These are George Bailey-style banks, which base their decisions first and foremost on the needs of people and the environment.
One of the leaders internationally is Triodos Bank, which has local offices in the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Germany. Its Web site says that it makes socially responsible investments that are selected according to strict sustainability criteria and overseen by an international panel of “stakeholder” representatives representing various community, environmental, and worker interest groups. Investments include the financing of more than 1,000 organic and sustainable food production projects, more than 300 renewable energy projects, 33 fair trade agricultural exporters in 22 different countries, 85 microfinance institutions in 43 countries, and 398 cultural and arts projects.
Two U.S. banks exemplifying the model are One PacificCoast Bank and New Resource Bank. Operating in California, Oregon and Washington, One PacificCoast is comprised of a sustainable community development bank with around $300 million in assets and a non-profit foundation (One PacificCoast Foundation). Its commercial lending business focuses on such sectors as specialty agriculture, renewable energy, green building, and low-income housing. Foundation activities include programs to “help eliminate discrimination, encourage affordable housing, alleviate economic distress, stimulate community development and increase financial literacy.”
New Resource Bank is a California based B-corporation (“Benefit”) with $171 million in assets, which focuses its lending and banking services on local green and sustainable businesses. New Resource was recognized in 2012 as one of the “Best for the World” businesses, being in the top 10 percent of all certified B-Corporations and scoring more than 50 percent higher than 2,000 other sustainable businesses in overall positive social and environmental impact.
All this might be good for the world, but isn’t investing locally in a values-based bank riskier and less profitable than putting your money on Wall Street? Not according to a study commissioned by the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV). The 2012 study compared the financial profiles between 2007 and 2010 of 17 values-based banks with 27 Globally Systemically Important Financial Institutions (GSIFIs)—basically the too-big-to-fail banks, including Bank of America, JPMorgan, Barclays, Citicorp and Deutsche Bank. According to the GABV report, values-based banks delivered higher financial returns than some of the world’s largest financial institutions, with a return on assets averaging above 0.50 percent, compared to just 0.33 percent for the GSIFIs; and returns on equity averaging 7.1 percent, compared to 6.6 percent for the GSIFIs. They appeared to be stronger financially, with both higher levels of and better quality capital; and they were twice as likely to invest their assets in loans.
CDFIs
Along with the values-based banks, community investment is undertaken in the United States by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), including community development banks, community development credit unions, community development loan funds, community development venture capital funds, and microenterprise loan funds. According to the CDFI Coalition, there are over 800 CDFIs certified by the CDFI Fund, operating in every state in the nation and the District of Columbia. In 2008 (the last year for which a report is available), CDFIs invested $5.53 billion “to create economic opportunity in the form of new jobs, affordable housing units, community facilities, and financial services for low-income citizens.”
Two of many interesting examples are the Alternatives Federal Credit Union and Boston Community Capital. Alternatives FCU, located in Ithaca, New York, is committed to community development and social change and is part of the Alternatives Group, which includes a non-profit corporation (Alternatives Community Ventures); a 40-year old trade association of community groups, cooperatives, worker-owned businesses and individuals (Alternatives Fund); and a not-for-profit organization that facilitates secondary capital investment in the credit union (Tomkins County Friends of Alternatives, Inc.). The credit union has over $70 million in assets and offers many innovative financial products, including individual development accounts—special savings accounts for low-income residents that offer matching deposits of two to one up to a certain amount—in addition to more traditional services such as loans for minority and women-owned businesses, and affordable mortgages. The credit union also offers small business development (classes, seminars, consultation, and networking programs), free tax preparation, and a student credit union.
Although its lending programs focus on lower-income borrowers, Alternatives FCU has had lower delinquency and charge-off rates than many major banks that avoid these types of customers. Boston Community Capital (BCC) is a CDFI that is not actually a bank but invests in projects that provide affordable housing and jobs in lower-income neighborhoods. BCC includes a loan fund, a venture fund, a mortgage lender, a real estate consultation organization, a solar energy fund, and a federal New Markets Tax Credit investment vehicle. Since 1985, it has invested over $700 million in local organizations and businesses. These funds have helped build or preserve more than 12,800 affordable housing units, as well as child care facilities for almost 9,000 children and healthcare facilities that reach 56,000 people. Their investments have helped renovate 850,000 square feet of commercial real estate, generate 5.9 million KW hours of solar energy capacity, and create more than 1,500 jobs.
Less Money for Banks and More for Workers: The Models of Germany and Japan
Values-based banks and CDFIs are a move in the right direction, but their market share in the U.S. remains small. To see the possibilities of a banking system with a mandate to serve the public, we need to look abroad.
Germany and Japan are export powerhouses, in second and third place globally for net exports. (The U.S. trails at 192nd.) One competitive advantage for both of these countries is that their companies have ready access to low-cost funding from cooperatively owned banks.
In Germany, about half the total assets of the banking system are in the public sector, while another substantial chunk is in cooperative savings banks. Germany’s strong public banking system includes 11 regional public banks (Landesbanken) and thousands of municipally owned savings banks (Sparkassen). After the Second World War, it was the publicly owned Landesbanks that helped family-run provincial companies get a foothold in world markets. The Landesbanks are key tools of German industrial policy, specializing in loans to the Mittelstand, the small-to-medium size businesses that drive the country’s export engine.
Because of the Landesbanks, small firms in Germany have as much access to capital as large firms. Workers in the small business sector earn the same wages as those in big corporations, have the same skills and training, and are just as productive. In January 2011, the net value of Germany’s exports over its imports was 7 percent of GDP, the highest of any nation. But it hasn’t had to outsource its labor force to get that result. The average hourly compensation (wages plus benefits) of German manufacturing workers is $48—a full 50 percent more than the $32 hourly average for their American counterparts.
In Japan, the banks are principally owned not by shareholders but by other companies in the same keiretsu or industrial group, in a circular arrangement in which the companies basically own each other. Even when there are nominal outside owners, corporations are managed so that the bulk of the wealth generated by the corporation flows either to the workers as income or to investment in the company, making the workers and the company the beneficial owners.
Since the 1980s, U.S. companies have focused on maximizing short-term profits at the expense of workers and longer-term goals. This trend stems in part from the fact that they are now funded largely by capital from shareholders who own the company and want simply to grow their returns. According to a 2005 report from the Center for European Policy Studies in Brussels, equity financing is more than twice as important in the U.S. as in Europe, accounting for 116 percent of GDP compared with 62 percent in Japan and 54 percent in the eurozone countries. In both Europe and Japan, the majority of corporate funding comes not from investors but from borrowing, either from banks or from the bond market.
Funding with low-interest loans from cooperatively owned banks leaves greater control of the company in the hands of employees who either own it or have much more say in its operation. Access to low-interest loans can also slash production costs. According to German researcher Margrit Kennedy, when interest charges are added up at every level of production, 40 percent of the cost of goods, on average, comes from interest.
Globally, the burgeoning movement for local, cooperatively owned and community-oriented banks is blazing the trail toward a new, sustainable form of banking. The results may not yet qualify as the Golden Age prophesied by Hindu cosmology, but they are a major step in that direction.
Ellen Brown is an attorney, author, and president of the Public Banking Institute. Her latest book is Web of Debt.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Nick Hanauer, Censored by TED

I don't believe in the middle-class, it is a fiction created to help keep you from realizing the truth. There are only two classes, the worker class, and the capital class. The "middle-class" is a political illusion, a myth that workers can become capitalists by investing in capital, like their home mortgage & stocks, and become independently wealthy, retire in luxury, and pass their wealth on to their offspring.

BREAKING: You Know That TED Talk You Weren't Supposed To See? Here It Is. Nick Hanauer, self-described "super-rich" entrepreneur, gave a pretty compelling TED Talk about how the middle class—not the super-rich—are the real job creators. But TED, which has released over 100 different political videos in the past, thought this one was too partisan and chose not to release it. We didn't notice any flaming partisanship in it. We normally love TED, and were surprised they didn't think this talk was TEDworthy. Under pressure from the Internets, TED finally relented and released the video. Watch it and decide for yourself if it's really all that controversial to say that the "super-rich are not job creators." Then share it like crazy.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Amory Lovins: A 50-year plan for energy, video on TED

Update on Reinventing Fire by Amory Lovins of the Rockey Mountain Institute

Pay special attention at time stamp 17:50

Monday, April 09, 2012

Thomas H. Greco, and Reinventing Money

Please read "Money and Debt: a Solution to the Global Crisis" as a primer.
The End of Money and the Future of Civilization
by Thomas H. Greco



I'm looking into alternative money and have come across a remarkable author who has simplified the entire subject into a cannon of concise and detailed and instructive books.

There are only three types of truncations of wealth between people:
  1. Gifts - voluntary transfers
  2. Taxes - involuntary transfers 
  3. Exchanges - reciprocal transfers, trade
Thom H. Greco is concerned with the nature of money as a medium of exchange for trade, and claims that our Governments monopoly upon the 'Credit Commons', the unique sovereign right to create money from nothing, has been abused and sold to the Banks, and this power should be decentralized and returned to the people who can control credit locally. The question is HOW do we do that?

Greco advocates two strategies to monetize the local value added to goods and services: Voluntary Grassroots Action to form alternative money credit unions, and for-profit business-to-business credit exchanges. His plan doesn't eliminate money or even U.S. dollars, but creates alternative currency and credit that can be exchanged for dollars, goods, or services, at the same value as dollars.

All systems of exchange must assure reciprocity, and maintain the value of system credits. They require a sound system of exchange, a proper basis of credit issuance (empowerment), a rapid rate of credit reflux (liquid cash flow), competent, honest and transparent management, effective oversight and consistent participation by members, with revenue adequate to cover operation costs.

These alternative monetary systems are popping up everywhere all the time, but they tend to fail for many reasons: design deficiencies, management issues, or lack of scale and scope. With a proper basis of issue, and balanced limits on how much money/credit is issued, a clear agreement between those who issue and those who use the new money can be achieved. Management should be fully accountable and use transparent systems (online), adequate procedures and controls, never over-rely upon volunteers, and respond quickly to any threats from external forces. Finally, a critical mass of participation must be achieved from the beginning, with a broad assortment of goods and services, within the full scope of the supply chain, and good acceptance within the broader local business community.

Each cooperative money needs a business plan, an implementation strategy, a living document that details the design, management, financing, implementation, and marketing of the issue. You must have initial buy-in from all parts of the supply chain: materials, manufacturing, wholesale, retail, labor.

There are many variable strategies for issuing new money, it can be sold for dollars, and redeemed for 90% of cash value in order to establish foundation of value. The credit can devalue over time if it is not spent. The members can be restricted to redeeming blocks of $100 credits or the initial creditors could be given bonus rewards if they achieve full repayment (like real-estate gifts). The money is best spent upon real-goods and value (food, material objects, value added wealth).

It is difficult to insure a high quality of service and responsiveness to clients without paid staff and a well funded start-up, but rapid reflux of credit flow to avoid stagnation is critical for the success of the system, so those who keep and maintain the system should receive compensation (they must be smart).

To fund this new money system the credit-union could charge membership fees, transaction fees, brokers fees, even sell advertising. There are many models around the world (need links).

The success of the venture depends upon its acceptance by the 'main-stream' community and a critical mass of small businesses in both scope and scale, so that members have a spectrum of goods and services. Essentially you need an entire economy supply-chain for basic needs to make the system sustainable: commodities, manufacture, wholesale, retail, and employees from each level.

Strategically it makes sense to have a phased implementation in the bio-region. Promote substitutes for imports and increase local demand from local sources. Organize a community clearinghouse association, the cooperative credit-union. Issue the supplemental regional currency, granting productive sources large credit and record this in the system as a debit to their accounts. Develop a network of trust, where social capital is invested in quality of life. Keep an independent value standard (real-estate), so that long-term contracts for commodities can be honored (see Appendix B).

The Marketing of the new money system is critical. It must be easy for people to use (digital money exchanged by cell phone). The local businesses must be used, no supply from outside the county. It may be possible to engage the non-profit community to accept these credits as donations and supply the businesses that donate to them with tax write-offs in return, and the non-profits could pay their volunteers with credits that can be then returned to the businesses as partial payment, completing the cycle.

Critical anchor stores must also be involved. Retail grocery, like Peoples'. Wholesale hardware supply, like ACE. Local manufacturers, like ? Commodity suppliers, recyclers and farms. Plus we need labor, people willing to accept payment, 10%-40% in new money credits.

I still have many questions:
  • Is this new money totally debt free? (If so, how do you pay for the logistics?)
  • Are people forbidden from charging interest on loans of this new money? (If yes, they what is their motivation for lending? Or perhaps no lending is allowed?)
  • Are 'fractional reserves' allowed if people begin banking and hoarding this new credit money?
  • Does the currency (digital?) have a time-limit, an expiration date, or a half-life, or does it renew every time it is exchanged?
  • How do you pick "the most productive members of society" to which you begin by allowing them to spend the new money into the economy and incur a debt by credit?
  • Is this new currency taxable? If so, how do you pay taxes?

Many notes: add a conflict mediation agreement, use private exchange (appendix A) and follow the UCC - Uniform Commercial Code, see Kickstarter.com , cuttingedgecapital.com, the Public Banking Institute, Ithaca Hours, time-banking, corporate barter (* when business expenses = profits, no taxes), http://reinventingmoney.com/


Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Lean Start Up - Applied today to Non-Profits

From "The Nearly Cult of the Lean Start Up", by Ben Roony, from the Wall Street Journal's TECH BLOG Europe.


"I really believe that entrepreneurship is the management disipline that deals with situations of high uncertainty." - Eric Ries, Harvard's Entrepreneur in residence.
To hold entrepreneurs accountable we need to rely upon the actual metrics at micro scale. Continuious innovation and testing must be done. This agility is the core ability necessary for contemporary entrepreneurs, and we must have innovation accounting to track their skill level. Change is key, but must be in concert with high quality, profitability, and accountability.

At times Eric Ries’s presentation strayed dangerously close to the messianic, but every time the author of The Lean Start Up headed too far in that direction, he pricked his own bubble.
“I have had some terrible failures,” he told the packed audience of aspirant, and actual, entrepreneurs in central London. “Follow me and you too can have terrible failures.” It is a good line and gets a big laugh.

His self-effacement plays well among the nearly 600 people who turned out on a cold Monday night to hear this young start-up “guru” speak.

His lecture was peppered with highly tweetable quotes: “If our competitor can learn faster than us, then they deserve to win, and we deserve to die”; “The question is not whether something can be built, but should it be built”; “If we’re really honest, most startups represent a colossal waste of time and energy”; “Only failure promotes learning.”

Whether you agree or not with all of that, it does make for easily digestible fare. Nor is Mr. Reis apologetic for making things simple. “If you can’t spread your message…”

Putting on the “black turtleneck”
Aware of the “cult” swipes, in private Mr. Ries is dismissive of what he calls “success theater” or “putting on the “black turtleneck” and is keen to distance himself from the “great man theory of management”. He visibly flinches at the word guru. “I always think of Peter Drucker who said people used guru because charlatan is too long to fit into a headline.”

His theory of entrepreneurial management—and he is Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School—as espoused in his book published late last year in the U.S., is that entrepreneurs need a new way of measuring value. “I call it innovation accounting—not innovative accounting, that can end you up in jail.”

“I believe that the definition of entrepreneurship is the management discipline that deals with high uncertainty situations, that therefore the unit of progress, the way we measure our success as entrepreneurs, is learning that which is valuable to know.

“I call this validated learning. We should develop practices that optimize that learning, and because there already a management system that is based on learning how to eliminate waste and promote things that are valuable called “lean”, it could not be more obvious that we should take the best such ideas and apply them to this new context with a new definition of value.”

It has to be quantifiable or this is all a waste of time
This idea of value is what Mr. Ries means when he talks about accounting. “It has to be quantifiable or this is all a waste of time,” he says. We can draw a lot of valuable lessons from science. The proof in science is that you have learned how to do experiments that show the right results. The same thing is true for validated learning. If we have learned something interesting, then prove it by building products that are in line with that learning.”

This is the development cycle Mr. Ries calls “build-measure-learn”. Build your product, see how people use it, what do they like, what do they click on, what do they hate, and use that to inform your next decisions.

But in order to know how successful or otherwise you are, you need a system of evaluating value.
“That is accounting. We have all been indoctrinated with thinking that accounting is about tracking money, but money just doesn’t work very well when the numbers are so small, like in an early stage start up. There is no RoI, there is no profitability. Everything is close enough to zero that the accountants don’t care.

If 10 people in a row hate my product, isn’t that telling me something?
“The units of innovation accounting are not the gross numbers. Rather than focus on how much money we make, we might look at what is the percentage of customers who pay. We have to look at other things.

“The nice thing about those metrics is that they are not market-size dependent. If you have 100 customers you can already say what percentage are paying. If it is zero then I can already start to be a bit worried about the model.

“If 10 people in a row hate my product is that statistically significant? It is is not conclusive evidence, but it is certainly telling you something.”

Judging from the size of his audience at the Business Leaders Network event on Monday, the buzz afterwards, and the fact that Mr. Ries has had almost 20 meetings in his brief time in the U.K. and Ireland (including a meeting at 10 Downing Street), he is preaching to a receptive audience.
The Lean Start Up, by Eric Ries, is published by Penguin.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Define Entrepreneurship

"Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled." -Howard Stevenson, Harvard Business School
In other words, Entrepreneurship is the optimistic acceptance of risk regardless of consequences to (other people's) money. Entrepreneurs are confidence men. They build up your trust, offer you a deal that seems too good to be true, and take your 'investment' for all it is worth. The crazy thing is, in modern markets, controlled much more by feelings than facts, if you can convince enough people to trust your opinion, then you make money, regardless of the facts. That doesn't seem fair, does it? But such business is never fair. This is why the French invented the word and why Marxists despise entrepreneurs.
Breakthrough Entrepreneurship by entrepreneur and teacher Jon Burgstone and writer Bill Murphy, Jr.


The world is not fair, but it is we who make it unjust. I love JUSTICE (not Law, that is something different). Justice is how men make the world a fair place. That's why my personal evolution in business has taken a turn toward SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP, rather than traditional forms. Social Entrepreneurs have other goals besides money.

When we define our values, we can see our goals, and that helps us choose our actions. Right action is difficult in a complex world, and each individual situation requires a unique judgment, but with good values as your compass, you can find your way through the darkness of the forest, around obstacles, across rivers, to your goal. If your only goal is money, then that is all you shall have.

I have pursued justice without regard to money, and I am willing to use other people's resources toward that end. I'm a social entrepreneur, non-profit business proprietor, and I know my values and my goals. Do you?

Why I became an Entrepreneur

I grew up in the 1970's, at a time when the United States promoted it's business models around the world. It was the Cold War Era, and Capitalism was in a death match with Communism. What I didn't know then was that 'Capitalism' wasn't really capitalism and 'Communism' was really Stalinist U.S.S.R.

At that time we had a program called JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT which was a non-profit (I think) that would come into public schools to teach kids about the fundamentals of capitalism. We made widgets, and then sold them in competition with other schools, and whomever sold the most won. The program sucked, didn't teach us anything, and thus wasted our time, but looking back, I think that was the goal.

I did like the idea of being an inventor, of creating something, and selling it to make a living. Working for other people never appealed to me. In my teens, I stole some bicycle parts, and got caught. My Dad was so disappointed in me that it made me cry, but I was only 14 yrs. old, and could not legally work for money. I was dependent upon my parents for money, so I stole my families lawnmower and other equipment, and put out some fliers to houses within walking distance. Soon I had all the work I could handle.

Unfortunately, I wasn't aware of my sever allergies and hay-fever. It was the summer of '84 and every day I would mow a lawn, then go home and collapse, unable to breath for the next 8 hrs. At that time, I lived in Plano, TX, and the lawns were only 1/4 acre, and I charged only $20, which was a lot in my 14-year old mind. What I didn't realize was that the gas, the equipment, and my time were worth much more, and the 8 hrs. of recovery wasn't added in. I was loosing my life in the hot Texas sun for about $2/hr. It was only profitable with heavy subsidies from my parents, and child labor.

This experience taught me a lot about what it means to work. It taught me that I could pick and choose my customers, and that I should never work for less than I am worth. I vowed never to work for mean people, or make more money for a company than I made for myself.

Later, when I reached working age (16) I got a job at the local grocery store where I had stolen the bicycle parts. They paid me minimum wage ($3.35/hr) part time to bag groceries and collect shopping carts. It sucked, bored me to tears, and I quit after two weeks. I vowed never to do work that insulted my intelligence and had no opportunity for advancement again.

That year I paid $125.00 for a Red Cross Lifeguard Training Class, and even got a job with the big local pool ($6/hr.). It lasted two weeks, and I over slept one Saturday morning, had to walk to work, and was fired. Texas is big and lacks public transport, but my parents made my Driver's License dependent upon my Grades, and there was no way I could meet their expectations, every-time that I came close, they moved the goal-posts. So, I resolved never to work with anyone who broke their word. I then didn't work for two years, because I didn't have transportation.

Eventually I stumbled onto an opportunity with the YMCA, a non-profit. They hired me as a Lifeguard ($10/hr), and paid me to train as a swim-instructor. Then they charged local house-moms $30/child for two-weeks of swim lessons (ten 40-minute sessions). I was in heaven, working 50 hours/week, outside, with hot girls, fun summer. I worked for the YMCA part-time as a weight room attendant through the winter, and as a pool guard and swim instructor for a few years, but eventually I quit to make more money. Little did I know.

At age 19, my Mother wanted to throw me out of the house, and I wanted to go, but without any credit-history or a good paying job, no one would rent me an apartment. My Dad brokered a compromise, so I could stay at home and pay rent, if I was enrolled at the local community college.

At age twenty-one, I still had no car. It seemed impossible to save enough to buy a car that worked while paying school expenses and rent. My parents let me drive their cars, or gave me rides to places, but I wanted to move out of the house, and needed a job that paid more than I spent to save any money. Only problem was, those jobs were too far away from home, and I didn't have a car. My parents surprised me with a 1978 Chevy Monte Carlo ($1200). I had to pay the insurance ($2500/year), but it was mine, freedom. I immediately applied to work at the local pizza delivery store, and started making $20/hr. in tips (unreported income) plus minimum wage. (I ate a lot of free pizza, too)

I spent too much partying with my friends, but I still had money in the bank. I failed out of college, but I kept going back for more punishment, because my friends were there. Eventually I met a girl, and everything went to hell. But I had my rules:
  • Choose your customers
  • Demand what you are worth
  • Do what you love, love what you do, or don't do it
  • Never work for someone else unless you gain more than they do
  • Don't work with people you can not trust

That's how I became an Entrepreneur.

When Patents Attack: from THIS AMERICAN LIFE


Lawyers kill innovation, and steal the profits.