Monday, December 27, 2010

What of It, 2010 is all but Gone

This is a dissertation on the nature of everything, in some form or another. Just a general end of the year kind of note to thinking about what have you.

Religion, well everyone that knows me, knows by now my stand on religion. For the sake of my gentle reader I will give you the $0.10 cent tour of my religion saga. I believe that religion is a good business, and that had I gone into it, I think I would feel the same. I don’t want you to get confused on what is religion and what is faith, as I think faith is a good thing, but religion, at least the accepted practices of religion are all forms of mass population manipulation. They all have an element of profit, what ever the end result, the same can be said of the Red Cross, they may be listed as a not for profit, but they are really just a for profit organization whose end goal is to give the profits to those that need them instead of their stock holders. The same can be said of most religions and religious organizations, with a twist. They aren’t selling their charity, they are trading on your charity for something they can not provide any proof or for that matter even a shred of material fact about. This takes nothing from faith, and faith in anything is a good thing. This also does not negate the human need for the supernatural and immaterial, these things are part of what makes us, us, we need dogma, it fulfills a certain role in our self worth. So if religion helps you pray, or wish, or hope, or dream, or visualize, or transcend, or any of the other types of selfless aspects, well so be it, continue your journey as if your religion was whatever you believe it to be, because it is the belief that really matters. What saddens me about religion is the excuse it provides people for some of the worst behaviors that a person is capable of. This does not require religion, many people are capable of these things without religion or even faith, but often religion not only is used as the excuse for such behaviors, but it often provides the vehicle and on occasion even the financing for such works.

Well that’s the short version, and I am going to move on now to some other things. But hey while we are still on the subject for a moment, I have never refused a prayer, and brother I could really use a few right now.

The next little bug is about business, and of course the other hand of business, finance. I don’t want to sound like I am some type of guru, but I have a fair bit of knowledge about the world of finance and business, having been in and out of the loop a few times myself. Now let me first get this out, business plans and all that are for the timid. The really bold business folk right some stuff down on a piece of scrap paper and then they go for it. The reason most businesses fail is because there is always someone out there in the business world that is trying to tell most of the people who are trying to go into business that they need this thing or that thing, and that without them they will fail. Let me tell you something my friends, most of the most successful business tycoons out there don’t have PHD’s or even Master Degrees, hell a lot of them never even finished high school. Well that is not the case for most of them any more, but most MBA graduates are really bad business leaders. Sure, sure they are good managers, and sometimes even a CEO, but captains of industry, well that takes something they don’t teach in school, in fact they unteach it, it is imagination, perseverance, and just plain ole grit and determination. Here’s the other little known fact about business, wage slaves (I’ll go into that a little later) will never be anything more than wage slaves, no matter what their wages are. You have to be willing to risk it all, willing to take the step off the plank, into the deep treacherous sea of business with no life jacket, swim with the sharks, or you will just be another chum. In the world of business and high finance there are only two kinds of people, the quick and the dead.

Oh sure if you got a Daddy with some deep pockets and a soft heart, you can act like a tycoon, but unless you got the ability to wear the dirt and still look pretty in the end, you ain’t nothing but a glad flash and no one but your glam fleas will give a shit. There are exceptions to every rule, but the truth is with out grit there is no polish. So how can you be a business person, I can hear it, and I see it all over the place, how can I be successful in a business of my own. First there is the what would you do question. I don’t mean what do you want to do, I mean what would you do if you could do it, and would it be marketable. You should certainly like what you are doing, cause you is going to be doing all of it for some time before you can convince other they should do it for you, so you should like it, but what would you do. Don’t buy into that old saw, I did this and it worked for me, so it will work for you, that is a classic scheme. Sure it works for the first few participants, but after a while that gambit gets worn out and soon you will realize you are still only making someone else rich. Well every thing has been done before, how many types of coat hanger can there really be, before people realize they could just fold their clothes. Hopefully that won’t be an issue. The truth is, you can always present something in a different way, provide a different level of service, or market it to a different market, and so on and so forth, there is no limit to the possibilities. Sure Microsoft has the majority of the desktop space, and really the majority of the server space as well, but that doesn’t stop you from making a better OS and providing a better marketing vehicle. You might not beat Unilever in the soap business, hell P&G can’t do that, but you can certainly carve out a little bit of the soap market if you have a better product and provide a different model.

So here we stand on the basis of what is business, and how can I build a better Walmart. Well you can’t really, and that would seem to me a bad idea in the first place, as Walmart is really a bad model to base your business on. Don’t discount the work of Sam Walton, he created the model for what is today Walmart, but what Sam Walton did and believed in is something quite different than what Walmart does today. I would not go as far to say as Sam Walton would not approve of what Walmart is, or even some of their tactics for eliminating competition, all I am saying is that Sam never envision this, nor would he most likely have gotten here, because although it takes a person like Sam Walton to lay the foundation for a business like Walmart, it takes a corporation to make a business like Walmart succeed.

Well now I think I have gone on long enough about business and such, so I would like to touch on another subject. As I stated at the beginning of the document this was a brief run down of what I am thinking about as the year runs down. I haven’t really gotten into the personal stuff, but maybe later I will, for now, let us look at one particular sector of the society and economy that without it we would all starve.

I will let that word stand on its own, because it represents the basis behind all that is our culture, society and economy since we humans first discovered light. There is a lot that goes into that word, but let me bring it down to a more simple aspect, farming. Where ever I go I get two reactions to farming, the first is why would you want to do that, and the second is wow that is really awesome. I myself was in why the hell would you want to farm camp when I was younger, except I understood even then the necessity for farming, even though I wanted nothing to do with it. My answer to those of the why would you want to do that camp is; it is a good thing I am farming because if we all believed the way you did we all would starve. My answer to the other set of “oh I think farming is so cool” set is; put your money where your mouth wants to go, and buy from your local farmer, but they rarely ever will, that would be like work man. Granted farming is work, in the real dirt under the finger nails kind of way, but it is good work that pays in dividends that are not readily seen by those that have not done it and even to some of those that have. Now I could go into a long winding path about farming and anti-farming, and all that, and such, but that would just take up space here, and I just want to touch on this quick and let you make up your own mind. Believe it or not, farming is the basis of all commerce, economy, and life on this planet right now. And if you wanted to really do something to help your fellow man, you would either be a farmer, or you would support your local farmer, notice I said local farmer. Sure there are huge corporate Agribusinesses, but they aren’t concerned with your welfare, or the welfare of your community, the local farmer is, so support your local farmer, and do something good for a change.

And now for something completely different. I also have another blog, Techno-Quest, and it is where I usually tackle such subjects as technology. Today that is different, because I am winding up my year of thinking or not, and technology is part of what I think about, and sometimes it is all I think about. However all the things I could go on about, this particular little bit is going to be about one company, and that one company is the company that makes it possible for me to publish this little ditty. That’s right today I am going to talk about Google. I am a Googler, that is to say I have been with Google from day one on the web. The first day they put up their search engine on the web I said I am going to try that. I pointed my AOL powered Netscape browser on my Mac LC to, and I haven’t looked back. I have run with them every step of the way. I have tried everything they have offered me, and given them feed back on whatever I can, so I might contribute to making Google a better place, or I might not, it all depends on who you are. I have watched Google closely, while at the same time I have opened up everything to them, giving them free access to my existence, my entire catalog of life, and data, as well as I can. I have not held anything back that would assist them in cataloging the world’s knowledge, and I have said that although yes there may be danger in this relationship, there also might be something new and different in it as well. I have made little demand of Google, suggesting some things here and there, but mostly only providing feed back on the things they present to me for try. I watch their labs develop and I test everything I can find a use for, and I also make sure I watch their blogs, notices, and yes their videos so I too can stay in the loop to some degree on what goes on in the minds of Google engineers. That all aside, I must say this and it does take some doing for me to say this, as anyone that knows me at all knows I am no fan of Microsoft, only a reluctant user of their systems as they are the giant in the closet, you might say (that’s an inside joke for the FE’s out there who spend their days, and sometimes nights in cold dark closets full of loud fans and frigid temperatures from air conditioners turned up way to high for human comfort). When Steve Balmer came out on stage and said that Google did not have a business model, and could not compete in the business environment, he was right on the money. I don’t know how long that will last, and I think it was partly their own undoing for saying so, because if I know something about Google it is that the instant that SB said that, a group of GE’s were tasked with correcting that issue, and doing so fast. So that is where I sit right now, as 2010 closes, and I have looked over all my Google real estate, where is the business apps. Everything about Google is uber cool and awesome to play with, but it is just not quite ready for prime time yet. Hey no problem, they are the new kids on the block, that is to be expected, but here’s my take on this. Sure they have proven they have a model for making money, but now they need to put away the skate boards and ping pong paddles for a minute and really dig into the old stodgy world of traditional business. The “cloud” is their opportunity to turn their model on its head and for that matter end the slow and painful death of the Windows world of bad software for more than it is worth. They have the structure, the foundation, time to open the doors for business, and get ready for the hail storm that will en sail. The big three will be waiting for this, have been waiting for this, and will be ready to jump on them the minute they present their first real integrated APP for business, but as long as they take the right road and continue to innovate and use the open model they will prevail. I think IBM will see quickly how joining in with Google will be the better bet, but I can’t say how MS and Oracle will see it. Larry is a fickle man with an itchy trigger finger, and SB and Gates are cocky mates with a lot of background in the world of artful dodging, so it remains to be seen what will come out of all of this. I don’t count out Steve and Apple either, but they are not in that world yet themselves, and have only begun to present a viable case for their consumer products in the field. Already while Jobs and crew are striving to make a play for the small format market, Android is coming in with a comparable product, and I think in the end will be the clear winner, although Apple has proven in the past that you can make it on less than 20% of the market, it just isn’t as fun.

So without going into detail, that’s my shot over the bow of Google’s cruise ship, and I hate to tell them this, but I have been right to many times. Oh sure Google could survive as Apple did with a dedicated 1.1% of the market share, but could they continue to innovate and provide their engineers with dog walkers, that may not be in the cards, unless, unless, they roll up their sleaves, put the leggos away for a bit, and if not break out the cigars and single malt scotch, at least they should put out some truly integrated solutions including hardware specifications, that work in the cloud, and for business, really work. And they will need to quickly get some standards ready, and some focus on stable releases that can be supported in the field by certified and trained technicians or they will not get the drop on the others, while they are still laughing over that comment from Steve-o. Hit them next year with cloud appliances (get together in a dark alley way with Cisco or better still find an upstart switch company that could use the boost and give them the specs to build cloud appliances and give them the code to build HUI front ends for their clients, and get out there and sell like you never sold before, so by the time the biggies know what happened it is already to late for them to see anything but tail lights on the highway. You have done it before Google, quietly released a few parts to something much bigger, and then launched it under the radar and by the time the others knew what was coming you were already to far gone for them to know what hit them. Do it again, but this time in the business and server environment. Hit them where it really hurts, in their bread basket. I am cheering for you, but I am also warning you, if you don’t, well somebody will, and like Netscape, who almost won and was a star for a while, just winked out under the weight of their rival who saw the writing on the wall and Netscape just thought it was graffiti.

Well that’s it for now, although I expect to hit on a few other areas before the year is out, like insurance and medicine, and, and, and oh there are so many things I could on about, but I have to add wood to the fire and heat to my soul, not to mention sleep sometime. So until next time, sleep well, and dream sweet dreams, if you still can.

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