Category Archives: Business

There’s A Revolution Brewing

Today’s Tea Party Rally was a good time. But it was a little sad that rallies needed to be held at all. Thousands gathered in Richmond to protest massive deficits and government spending. 

The federal government is simply out of control. This is not a new phenomenon. But the problem has mushroomed under President Obama and a more liberal Congress.

Both major political parties have failed the American people. The U.S. national debt has swelled to                                  $11, 177,148,418,577.99 according to the National Debt Clock at  http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

That number is unbelievable. President Obama has doubled the national debt according to the Heritage Foundation. You can read more at http://www.heritage.org/research/budget/bg2249.cfm

This chart tells it all.

alc_46_300px_1

All Americans should be concerned about the size of the debt and what it means for future generations. While I am all for good government, I am not for excessive government.

I want to encourage all my friends and anyone who reads this blog to contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to curb excessive spending. Second, you should strive to elect or re-elect people who do more than just talk about reducing debt and taxes. We need to elect real patriots who do the right thing no matter the political cost.

You can find out more about government spending from these Web sites:

http://www.fedspending.org/

http://www.ntu.org/main/

http://www.usbudgetwatch.org/stimulus

http://www.recovery.gov/

http://www.cato.org/pubs/tbb/tbb_1208-51.pdf

What Is the Future of Reporting?

B2B Magazine recently carried articles on the the future of newspapers and newsweeklies. These two articles identified issues that have haunted me for a while. The news industry has sure changed from my college days at Mizzou. You can read the article by clicking on the links below.

 http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090119/FREE/301199990

http://www.btobonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090119/FREE/301199995/1149/ISSUEMB

With rising distribution costs and dropping circulations, it is only a matter of time. The news industry is suffering from Internet fatigue. People want news quickly, and the value of professional journalists as gatekeepers seems to appear less important. It is funny. Google doesn’t produce any original content. But the Internet (especially sites like Google) is helping to kill news content producers.

Some news brands still have a lot of public value. But the actual results for advertisers appears to be dwindling as ad dollars decrease at the same time. Some news companies will take advantage of the changes and will rise from the ashes to be stronger players in the market. This is not the final gasp for breath from a former institution. But it certainly is a clear shock to the system.

I believe the future of reporting will be…

-More collaborative. Newspapers need to work to involve readers more as extensions of their newsroom. This means that there will be greater need for fact checkers and editors.

-Print will be a luxury that people will have to pay a high price to receive. Most people will get publications via the Internet.

-Community publications will be the most profitable, sough-after publications. I believe there will remain a strong demand for very local reporting because people like to know what is going on with their neighbors, school sports teams, etc.

-Newsweeklies will have to offer premium content. That means something you can’t really find elsewhere.

-Electronic readers and e-paper will decrease the need for print publications. Customers will adapt and learn to embrace electronic readers as they become more like print and less clunky.

-More content will have to be put back behind the firewall so that only subscribers can read it. Too much free content makes it appear as if good information should be free. 

-Many newspapers will go out of business. Journalists will look for work in related fields, such as truck driving. 🙂

The New Paper – Electronic Paper

While reading through Technology Review tonight, I came across a truly amazing product. And I am wondering how this will change the publishing industry forever. I first saw this concept as a kid at an exhibit at Disney’s Epcot Center in Orlando, F la. Back twenty plus years it was heralded as the future. I knew it would come around some day. And it looks like the day may be here for true electronic paper.

Plastic Logic has developed a technology that provides an e-reader that resembles a pad of notebook paper. Using plastic electronics, the device is supposedly lighter, thinner, stronger and more durable than any other e-reader. It is supposed to be open source and will support multiple document formats.

The screen is much larger than an Amazon Kindle and is being marketed to the business audience.

Just imagine if you could carry around one piece of paper that stored all your important documents. Wow! I wonder if this thing will be as great as the developers claim.

Technology should make the next 20 years very interesting.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid980795693/bctid1778578839

Random Thoughts from the Last 48 Hours

Here’s an assortment of ideas that I have pondered over the last two days.

  • Some pundits and Eagles fans are calling for the team to move on from the Donovan McNabb era. While I am no McNabb apologist, who exactly would take his place? A rookie? The free agent talent pool is pretty thin. Choices include Kurt Warner, Matt Cassell, Jeff Garcia, Kyle Orton, Kerry Collins, etc. None of those look like much of an upgrade. Was the recent loss really McNabb’s fault? Was he the one who let Fitzgerald score three touchdowns in yesterday’s game? No, McNabb almost led back the team to victory. The Eagles need to resign McNabb unless he wants outrageous money. Also, they should get him some more offensive help. Desean Jackson is not enough to scare opposing defenses.
  • The Blackberry Storm should have come with Wi-Fi. I see no reason not to include it except of course planned obsolescence.
  • Paying $15 to check a bag on a plane. That is ridiculous. I paid yesterday for the first time in my life to check a bag. And I don’t intend to do it again. Northwest Airlines – you just lost my business. Now, it looks like I will have to fly on AirTran, Jet Blue, and Southwest when possible.
  • The Rockies are absolutely gorgeous. Whenever I see a large mountain range, I am reminded of the Scripture that says the mountains melt like wax before the Lord.
  • Many people in this country are hurting financially, and the federal government is spending more than $100 million on the Obama inauguration. I don’t care how much or how little was spent in the past. My concern has nothing to do with who won or lost the election. In a time when we are all being asked to make some sacrifices, when does the federal government lead by example? I think this was an opportunity for Obama to show that he truly is a different type of leader. It looks like the new president may just be more of the same.
  • On a slightly different note, I am praying for Obama that he will guide with wisdom, fear God and not man, and will work to shore up our struggling economy. I hope that his change is something that I can come to believe in…We’ll just have to see.
  • Skiing is a relaxing activity until you hear the sound of snowboarders closing in from behind.
  • Praise the Lord that hostilities in Gaza have come to an end. I pray that Hamas will truly seek a lasting peace and will refrain from firing rockets into Israel.
  • I’m still looking for a new favorite football team. No real winners yet. Every one of my contenders has let me down to this point. Maybe I’ll have to go back to my first love (the Cowboys). At least, I am not a Lions or Bengals fan.
  • A parent on the plane next to me yesterday mentioned the high cost of a college education today. When are colleges going to get it? $30,00-40,000 per year for a bachelor’s degree is nuts.

A Week After

A week ago, the American people voted and made history. Whether or not you agree with the outcome, it will certainly be interesting to see how the first black president responds to a very challenging set of circumstances that face him.

Here are my quick thoughts on the Obama presidency and our current economic situation.

  • If I had bumper sticker to suggest how I feel about the election, it would say, “I voted for McCain, but I am praying for Obama.”
  • There is no magic bullet for our economy. It took 20-30 years of bad policy to get us here. There is no one person or even party at fault. The only hope for a somewhat speedy recovery is ingenuity and the courage to do the best thing no matter what the public believes is the right decision.
  • The media is likely to give Obama a free pass for a while, which may help bolster consumer confidence as reporters look for positive things to report. Note: this doesn’t mean our economic situation is improving even if the media says good things.
  • The government will likely keep chasing good money after bad. Bailouts for everyone… except small businesses, non-union shops and reject retailers (Circuit City).
  • Obama ran as a new kind of candidate. He presented himself as the first postmodern candidate who would try to work across party lines and develop common sense solutions. That means he will have to be careful trying to push through too aggressive of an agenda. He can only do this if he convinces the American people his reforms are not “socialism” wrapped in an American flag. 
  • Obama promised to be a different kind of president. But it appears he has selected a Washington insider, a beltway shark, to run the White House in Rahm Emanuel. And those aren’t my words. They were writteny by a major D.C. reporter. Also, it is rumored that Obama will pick many former D.C. heavyweights to fill other top posts. How is appointing a bunch of Washington insiders anything new in government? 
  • Guns sales have gone through the roof. I guess many people don’t think that Obama will really be favorable to gun owners. Does that mean that Ray Schoenke was wrong about Obama in his radio ads? Or do gun owners just spook easy?
  • Obama may have to back off on some of his tax hike plans. Rich people are the only ones buying anything right now.
  • Good news – I just paid $1.99 for gas. Wow! I never thought I would be able to say that.
  • It looks like inflation is staying in check except for the cost of college tuition. Endowments took a major hit with the recent Wall Street losses.
  • In his first 100 days in office, I think Obama will throw some bones to some of his favor backers – that includes abortion rights groups, stem cell researchers, unions and environmental groups. I expect for Obama to reinstitute the ban on offshore drilling. He will make it easier to get federal funding for abortions, and press through reforms intended to help unions form in smaller companies. 
  • Housing sales should pickup some as more new people enter the market due to depressed prices. This will primarily be first-time home buyers.
  • It won’t be a great holiday season for retailers. A number of big names could take a wallop at the register. A few might even go out of business.
  • Smart investors will look offshore for opportunities to seek decent returns. Some good stock deals will be available in American companies if you are willing to wait years for a rebound. Overall, economic contagion will impact all economies around the globe even China and the other Asian powerhouses.
  • Obama’s election will likely improve U.S. relations with many countries around the globe. It may also cause a few rogue nations to test the resolve of the new president.

This is a test for Technorati

<a href=”http://technorati.com/claim/ik35qnk3rc” rel=”me”>Technorati Profile</a>

Ridiculous Disclaimers

Have you ever wondered about the ridiculous disclaimers that people attach to the bottom of e-mail messages? I wonder if some corporate lawyer really things these make much of a difference. Does a disclaimer actually change the open nature of the Internet? No! Does the message really do much other than make people think first before pressing the send button? I don’t even know if it does that in most cases.

A few friends and I were discussing what would be a really good humorous message to attach to all of our business posts. This is a compilation of their two best ideas. Thanks Kevin and Luke.  

Notice: This email is intended for the use of the addressee only, all other use is prohibited. This message was passed among countless computers on its way to you. There’s no telling where it’s been all day. I recommend you run a virus scan before you even finish reading this. Then go wash your hands with soap and warm water. This email may or may not contain any of its original information, and the content may be displayed in a format other than intended. That’s because the countless computer servers that palmed, groped, held, pocketed, and then pushed this message along its way each took the liberty of modifying the message as they saw fit. Besides, you are probably using different software than the party who sent the message, and you probably don’t have the font they used. It doesn’t matter anyway, because all that you will remember in the end is the two weeks of down-time caused by the virus attached to this message, because you didn’t run the scan fast enough. Warning” This email was processed in a facility that also processes peanuts.

Or how about?

IMPORTANT: This email is intended for the use of the individual addressee(s) named above and may contain information that is confidential, privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humor or irrational religious beliefs. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email is not authorized (either explicitly or implicitly) and constitutes an irritating social faux pas. Unless the word absquatulation has been used in its correct context somewhere other than in this warning, it does not have any legal or no grammatical use and may be ignored. No animals were harmed in the transmission of this email. Those of you with an overwhelming fear of the unknown will be gratified to learn that there is no hidden message revealed by reading this warning backwards, so just ignore that Alert Notice from your antivirus software. However, by pouring a complete circle of salt around yourself and your computer you can ensure that no harm befalls you or your machine. If you have received this email in error, please add some nutmeg and egg whites, whisk and place in a warm oven for 40 minutes.