Archive for September, 2013

So in 208 B.C. in what is now part of China, a war raged. An army was pinned down and nearly starved to death when reinforcements came across the river.  The forces crossed the river and when the reached the pinned down troops they took all the supplies and destroyed them, then they burned the boats. The message was clear, retreat was not an option, the troops, in order to survive would have to win this battle. Of course they did.

Xiang Yu sent Ying Bu and Zhongli Mo to lead 20,000 men to cross the Yellow River and reinforce Julu, and they won a few skirmishes. In the twelfth lunar month of 208 BC, Xiang Yu personally led an army across the river to meet up with Ying Bu and Zhongli Mo. By the time he arrived on the battlefield, Zhao forces in Julu had been nearly starved under a prolonged siege by Zhang Han‘s deputy Wang Li. Xiang Yu ordered his men to carry only three days worth of supplies and destroy the rest, along with their cauldrons and cooking utensils, and sink the boats they used to cross the river. In doing so, Xiang Yu was sending a clear signal to his troops that they had no chance of survival unless they defeat the enemy and seize their supplies.”



This morning before coming to work I was reading an interesting info graphic about successful entrepreneurs. The graphic outlined traits that were common in successful entrepreneurs and most were expected.  Planning working hard and long and never quitting, but one was interesting and right away I thought about the burning of boats and breaking of cauldrons. Most successful entrepreneurs do not have a plan B.

It is this sense of total commitment to their idea that makes them work harder longer and have more endurance than anyone else. Now that is not to say entrepreneurs do not abandon plans when they realize they are incorrect. But there is usually never a plan B. A product usually succeeds or fails. One thing most investors will say is that companies who resort to plan B’s are simply putting off the inevitable and should let the product or service die and move on to the next.

Maybe this idea of no plan B is the missing ingredient for your success. Because you have always been able to…. you have not really tried to succeed. So today try burning the boats breaking the cauldrons and succeeding. Or   破釜沉舟

I know I will





What’s this?

Posted: September 27, 2013 in Uncategorized
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My nephew held out the VHS tape as he asked his dad the question. “Dad what is this.” He smiled and answered the question while he felt nostalgic and obsolete all at once.

Things change, quickly and it can become easy to get caught up in the details of something.  Are there still VCR and VHS tapes out there? Yes, but now the delivery method for high and low quality film production is more Blu-ray and digital. Perhaps blu-ray. The delivery method has changed but the need for good content has not. People want to be entertained, educated and inspired, that is what good stories and storytellers do. No matter what the media is, if you lack a good story you will lack an audience and you and your ideas will not be remembered .  I am not big on legacy or trying to be remembered (I probably should be more concerned with that) I  like to think I am more of a “right now, in the moment guy”.  Excuse the digression, whether you are in the moment or a legacy guy the fact remains, they was we receive information changes.


The  idea that changing mediums change the message, is of course wrong and  makes me  think about  “nihil novi sub sole”, the Latin phrase for “nothing new under the sun”. That phrase is a strange and powerful one. When studying history we  may quickly ascertain that the  think that it is incorrect, we see all kinds of change and new things throughout time. There was the horse, the car, the airplane, the space ship. Many changes but still it is all travel right? The mode of travel has changed.   We still have the option to travel by all those means to today.  So what really matters, what really counts is not the way you or I travel it is traveling and you and I. man will always travel, man (and by man I mean mankind so man and woman) will always love and learn and be surprised. Man will always push the limits discover new ways of doing this traveling, loving, learning exploring until he or she doesn’t then there will be change then there will be nothing new, but this has not happened ever since life was introduced on this planet, it has always been learning, exploring traveling, loving.  Ever since the sun shined down on 3.6 billion years ago on the first prokaryotes life has been going on.

Sometimes when we feel our selves getting caught up in all the changes and becoming obsolete it helps to remember that we harbor life. We are living and life will never change. If you do your best to Learn, Love, explore, discover and travel you will truly enjoy living and through living you will realize, that you are not obsolete. Life is never obsolete. Life is an amazing ride and should be enjoyed!

Have a great weekend everyone!



We have our rules

Posted: September 26, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Confession time.. I have not read “Cider House Rules”, I did watch the movie and I absolutely loved it. The movie made me wish I had read the book but I still haven’t maybe I will when I finish reading the book I am a quarter of the way through now. It remains to be seen.

The movie “Cider House Rules” is a heart warming tale centering on an orphan raised by the doctor who ran the orphanage. The orphan grows and learns how to be a doctor. He finally grows old enough to leave on his own and woks at someones apple orchard. Did I mention spoiler alert? Well I will try to keep from spoiling the movie. I only want to mention how the movie got it’s name. He lived with the Apple pickers on the orchard in the cider house and the cider house had the rules posted on the door to the house.

The orphan is told to tear down the rules because they were made and set by men and women who didn’t work or live in the cider house. The house which is the men and women in it had their own rules.

The idea that doctrine being created and defined by those living in the situations for the doctrine is not a new one. The idea for a representative government hinges on this idea. A man or woman of the people decide what is best for the people.  Am I suggesting that we throw doctrine to the wind and create our own versions of right or wrong? No, but let me say this, other than the sanctity of life many of the ideas that we have about right and wrong have been constructed through our individual shared and learned experiences, and it is this attitude that should keep us from passing judgement on others so quickly.


A family does not have to be a Mother Father and 2 1/2 children to be a proper family. A family must exhibit and show love, that is what makes it proper.  The list of doctrine that has been passed down as absolute right is long and maybe a big part of what causes intolerance.

Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with a personal code of ethics or morals. This is something to admire, but it is wrong to force personal morals and ethics on others and foolish to assume that everyone has the same set of morals ethics or even doctrine. Of course in all of this we can never forget the sanctity of human life, this is something which is and should be universal.




Connect and Learn

Posted: September 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
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12 year old me: “Dad, how does a bullet work?” My 30 something year old dad: “Why don’t you look it up?” My forever 20 something year old mom:”That is why I bought these encyclopedias.”  My mom and her mom bought me and my sisters a few sets of encyclopedias. I learned at a young age the importance of research and the meaning of reference materials.

“Why don’t you look it up'” powerful words for a 12 year old to hear. I was always amazed at the massive amounts of information held between the covers of the encyclopedias. I only accepted the information found in the encyclopedias at face knowledge for a limited time, until I was about 13, then I wanted to know how the information was put in there and proven. I was impressed with science because the principles and concepts could be recreated and proven to be true. Empirical evidence has always amazed me. We know that at sea level water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Why do we know this? Well we read it in the encyclopedia and well we got our dads thermometer and measured all the ice in moms ice cube trays, duh. So science was easy, as was math and health but then came philosophy, political science and religion and I was introduced to the gray area.

To the encyclopedias credit articles concerning these areas simply display information, there really isn’t a right or wrong and isn’t that all we can do really? Ahh good point we can do many things. Let me rephrase isn’t this all we should do really? Who am I to suggest that the political party you vote for is wrong or for that matter the philosophy you adhere to or the religion you practice for that matter?  I shouldn’t tell you how to do any of that, but I can tell you that if your political party, philosophy or religion can justify or demand you take life well you should reconsider.  I am certain that for survival life has to be respected. Now I apologize for the digression, but the more I read it seems intolerance is becoming more acceptable and that makes me sad.

The encyclopedia was and still is a great starting point for anyone wishing to connect and learn, but we shouldn’t stop there. With dropping test scores and the political hyperbole thrown around by leaders, (this is truly a shame too, I really do not think the education system is as broken as the leaders make it out to be.  if you think I am wrong I would  challenge you to get to know some school age children), many of the school administrators teachers and other developers of the curriculum for the school system,  have been forced to evaluate the whole school system, here in the United States of America. Being educators analytic thinkers and   what not one of the first things the educators did was to try to, utilizing science and empirical, determine how students learned.

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It seems from the studies done so far hands on learning is the best type of learning for all ages. Students of all ages have to connect and learn and experiment be wrong and right. It seems what works in school, reading a book (connecting with the author), writing a paper about the book (hands on writing like the author) works best for learning.   Learning should never end. We have no excuse for ignorance. We are living in a time when the most people have access to the most knowledge ever. to not learn,  (of course this is not taking into account those with learning disabilities) makes us lazy, indifferent or both.

The reward for hard work is clear. ”

“You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true. You may have to work for it, however.”

Richard David Bach (born 1936);

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Today if we take the time to connect and learn through some hands on action, I really feel like we will have a much better day than if we were to go about and complete it as a lazy uneducated and indifferent oaf.



I became and excelled

Posted: September 24, 2013 in Uncategorized
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I was listening to a woman in a high management position outlining how she broke through the glass ceiling in her corporation, through becoming a better boss by engaging with her charges and employing empathy.

Focusing on purpose is what the experts call this change in management or interaction style. Questions which develop a purpose are internal questions and they are

1. What is good for my business?

2. What is good for me?

After realizing the answer to these questions you can be tempted to start work. Well before you do keep in mind that, these questions should be applied to every interaction during your work day.

Is what I am about to do good for my business?

Is what I am about to do good for me?

If you answer yes to both of these questions then you are headed in the right direction. After a yes plan your execution and march on. A no would indicate that something is wrong. After a no answer to either question, you have to ask more questions. Actually one question. Why is this not good for my business? Why is this not good for me?

These internal questions work for all professions and all professionals, but they also work on a personal level. Our lives seem to become more and more busy. As we grow older we may get involved in and start families, then life becomes exponentially busy.  The level of “stuff” to do seems to grow to monstrous heights and I can’t help but wonder, if I were to ask myself variations of these two questions would that help?

1/ Is this good for my family?

Asking this question my put a halt to many of the activities we engage in that do more harm to good. Asking these questions may also open up new ideas and new activities that give us a fuller richer and more robust life.

2. Is it good for me?

This question is one many family leaders forget to ask. We function in a stoic manner with concern only for our children spouses or parents but we forget if we do not take care of ourselves no one will. Also, if you do not care for yourself you will not be able to help others. You are important special and unique. Never sell yourself short take care of yourself and others always.

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I am convinced that by becoming and excelling at everything we do we will find our experiences in our professional and personal lives to be memorable powerful and truly impact the world.




When will earth reach her carrying point for humans? So the debate goes on in the scientific community. On one side of debate we have the idealist scientist who fell earth can never have too many humans. The gloom and doom philosopher will point out that we are already at earths carrying capacity.  Are you confused yet.

Let me try to clear up Monday’s muddy waters. Thomas Malthus was an 18th century philosopher, who wrote that the earth would reach a carrying capacity. The amount of people the earth can sustain has been argued, and I think will continue to be argued over for a very long time, by scientists from all areas.


You see most recently Eward O. Wilson wrote in his book, “The Future of Life”, that the Earth’s maximum capacity is 10 billion people. Wilson bases this calculation off of a limited resource model. However, remember the idealist scientist from the opening paragraph of the post?  The idealist will point out that sustainability can be reached and maintained despite growing populations. The maintenance of earths sustainability despite growing populations hinges on humans consuming resources smartly.  I know today is muddy waters Monday, muddy Monday and I apologize for the confusion, but allow me to explain.

Resources are limited, this is both true and false. In science there is a rule called the “conservation of mass” this rule states simply that no matter is created or destroyed it merely changes state. So a better way to state the whole “limited resources statement” would be “our optimal state of resources has a shelf life”.

More of an explanation can be seen in the timber industry. Paper and wood products are all around you an the industry has really begun to embrace a sustainability model that is admirable. Acres of trees are planted, cultivated destroyed and then replanted. This model is a prime example of resources changing shape and an understanding of conservation and sustainability.

Many energy companies are beginning to look into some  sustainable models for generating clean energy. There is much research to be done. The world still lacks the understanding of how crude oil is formed? But learning is taking place at a record breaking rate. So with the knowledge being gleaned from research into the earth and her many mysteries as well as responsible corporations, I way the future looks bright.

Now being a caring citizens of earth that we are, of course we look for ways to help out. What can I do?  According to a recent CBS news story, humans consumption of earth’s resources is currently unsustainable.  {I know gloom and doom right?) Hope is not lost though, as stated before many industries are working on research, building and implementation of sustainability models and at home we can take a page from our grandmothers advice and “just take what we need”.  Thee is an interesting website, that has a fun quiz you can take. The quiz will give you your “global footprint” and the website will give you tips for reducing this (if you need to). The tips are common sense things and most center on wasting nothing and not taking more than we need.

This idea of waste not want not is not new. It is tried and true, and, can make a huge impact on a personal level. When used, one will find that he or she basically has everything they need to live and enjoy a full life, without taking part in what seems to be an insatiable consumer desire. “Waste not, want not.” — Ben Franklin

Ben Franklin one of the founding fathers of the United States of America,  was a leading author, printer, political theoristpoliticianpostmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. It would be a hard sell to convince someone that Benjamin Franklin lead an unfufilled life, and yet he made famous the quote “waste not want not”

We would be smart to let the scientific community continue to debate the carrying capacity. While they debate we can do our part by not being wasteful and live a more full and rich life.






“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goals: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.”
Louis Pasteur

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Louis Pasteur, a French chemist who has probably saved the lives of millions of people through pasteurization,  was not a stranger to adversity. Pasteur was born into a poor family and did not excel at school. Pasteur failed, when trying to get his BSc degree in mathematics.  The failure did not stop Pasteur a year later he graduated with a poor degree in chemistry. After all of this Louis Pasteur went on to become a professor and father of five children. Only two of his five children survived to adulthood. Three died of Typhoid, in spite of this terrible tragedy Louis Pasteur worked harder to find cures for diseases and he was successful. Thanks to his research the medical world gained an understanding for germs and immunizations.   When many other men and women would have quit Louis Pasteur dug in his heels and fought back! Thank god he did too!

In 1992 Walt Disney founded Laugh-O-Gram Studios in Missouri. Laugh-O-Gram A year laughter Walt’s company went Bankrupt.  Walt sold his only possession, a motion picture camera, moved to Hollywood and kept on pursuing his dream.  In 2012 the DIsney company had over 73 billion dollars in assets!  The word Disney is almost worldwide, synonymous with a fun family time. Athletes who reach the pinnacle of their career  and win championships are asked what they are doing now and answer with, “I am going to Disney World.” Disney World is the Disney companies resort theme park. I would say that Walt was and is a winner. “It is good to have a failure while you are young because it teaches you so much.

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For one thing it makes you aware that such a thing can happen to anybody,
And once you’ve lived through the worst,
You’re never quite as vulnerable afterwards.”
-Walt Disney
Both Walt Disney and Louis Pasteur have known failure and success. Many, many more individuals have also known failure and success. The stories are endless but all have one common thread, a tenacious will desire that compels action and kinetic energy from someone.  I am not sure how well you are doing or what you are doing but I am pretty sure you have and will fail, the secret is that if you do not stop, you have not failed. As long as you are leaning forward and learning you are a success.
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We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

Walt Disney