Friday, May 31, 2013

A very interesting man by the name of Elon

It is very rare for you to all-of-the-sudden get a serious desire to go out and buy a $70,000 car just by watching a short, but very interesting video of that car's CEO. But it just happened. To me. Maybe it will happen to you as well. Here is the interview of Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at D11 talking cars, space and internet. Check it out. It might make you very inspired to think BIG.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I own very few unique thoughts

I started this blog over 6 years ago. Most of the allure of blogging back then was distilling interesting thoughts that I came up with on my own and sharing them with the world. I have since realized that if I thought something up, chances are someone out there has also thought it up as well. But I can always rely on sharing with my unique perspective.
Here is the latest phenomenon I've come to find out is true: the inevitability of bloatage and excess in the lifespan of an organization or product. Take a disruptive product or company and you'll find a very efficient, elegant and focused methodology. The founders of the product or organization also usually have remarkable abilities and drive to produce an extraordinary product or culture. But then comes the hard part: growth to target other desired audiences or additional employees to sustain future growth. Sometimes growth can include not necessarily getting bigger, but adapting to changing markets. The bottom line is that it is very hard to do. Instead of growing, organizations instead either get gobbled up by the next darling to come along or by buying out the would-be competitor.
I have thought a out this principle a lot lately with regard to law firms. Sometimes I look at the way firms are structured and I think it can't be sustained. Clayton Christensen has researched this area of business extensively. I'll have to read up on his research sometime.
I've also thought about this principle with regard to the united States. Here was an extraordinary nation built by extraordinary people and principles. It has done remarkably well for many years, but the past few years have really highlighted some fundamental problems.  
We have a huge public debt. Ads and politicians have been stressing this point until blue in the face.  So it kind of loses its punchline.  But its importance cannot be overstated. We have a dangerously neglected infrastructure. 
We have a deterioration of morality.  Morality has sustained our nation as its lifeblood.  A faith in a higher power is what made our nation work and what has sustained us for the past two and a half centuries.  But this fabric is in serious decline.    
We have a greatly overextended system of criminal punishment. With limited resources, we need to pick our battles in fighting crime and we seem to not be picking them wisely. 
We have a seeming inability to come to grips with serious environmental problems such as global warming. And the results are everywhere. 
We have a very costly but inadequate educational system that fails to compete internationally despite multiple reforms. 
We have unsound immigration policies. 
We have an embarrassing obesity epidemic. Sure America may be improving in this regard, but it is still embarrassing how bad the epidemic continues to be. 
We have an excessively costly health care system. This is a problem that must involve both sides coming together. 
We have a possible rise in structural unemployment. One of the most disturbing aspect of the high unemployment rate during the past 4 years may be the large number of the unemployed who have been out of work for at least 6 months. These people need a break and it doesn't look good. 
We have a federal government that is borderline inept. Maybe this is an exaggeration. Maybe it is an accurate statement. I know that there are many good people in Congress, but I really don't think that the federal government was designed to be this big. And it shows in endeavors in which the government needs to come together. They don't. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Movie Review/Recommendation

Today's movie recommendation goes back to 1993, to a touching movie called What's Eating Gilbert Grape.  This movie tells the story of people-pleaser Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp before he was big at all) who takes on the role of caretaker of his family.  He cares for his somewhat dysfunctional family, which includes the family's missing father, a mentally undeveloped 18-year-old brother Arnie (Leonardo Di Caprio before he was big too), an obese mother that hasn't left the house in 7 years, and a house that has some serious issues.  While the acting in the film is nothing short of phenomenal, I think the true brilliance of the film is its ability to connect to viewers, especially me. Most viewers will enjoy the family drama, the romantic intrigue, scenes of compassion and selflessness, family pride and unity themes, daredevil defiance of heights, and a house going up in complete flames. I liked the film for these reasons and because I saw in my growing up years a part of Gilbert Grape. I give it 4.5 stars. Check it out on Netflix instaview.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

My new question that Google refuses to answer

I've recently tried researching a topic that's hard to pose as a question to Google: which jobs pay the most per hour of work? For instance, many high paying jobs require ludicrous hours. Also, most high paying jobs require expensive training, which if you consider the opportunity cost of not working, that's really deductions factored in to the hourly rate. But for some jobs, all that training really pays off, for instance a surgeon can do one procedure and earn enough for a down payment on a house. On the other hand, some jobs allow for one time work that gives residual income requiring little or no further work or even marketing, like app development. Plus, some jobs may at first require ridiculous hours, like starting your own business, but then you can sell it for a boatload. So now I pose this question to you blogosphere and twitter sphere: which jobs provide the most pay for each hour worked.

Monday, September 03, 2012


I'm now a ward missionary. I go to the Gospel Essentials Sunday school class and participate in fundamental lessons about life. This is all very nice and all, but sometimes when you take part in basic lessons, where the instructor's goal is to distill truth into its simplest form, it leads to very dumbed-down answers to some of life's difficult questions. Take this past Sunday, for instance.  Everything seemed to go back to how all God wants for us is to be happy. Maybe this is true, maybe this is not true. I know that He wants us to learn and grow and to love Him and to love others. A natural by-product of all of these desires is happiness, I suppose.  I'm getting on my soapbox at this point, but I think that our society is a little too preoccupied with being happy. I can be doing interesting work, have good family relationships, good hobbies and good health, and still have down moments. There are sometimes no reason for me to be "unhappy" but it happens. We naturally go up and down. If you are always worried about the fact that you're not happy, I think that's kind of jacked up. You should expect to sometimes be happy and sometimes be sad. Embrace it all. Happiness is elusive and comes in the pursuit of it. It also comes when you don't worry about your own state and instead look to make other people happy.

You may be wondering what inspired this post? Jamaica, O&B, Little Broken Heart, President Obama, Virginia humidity, and grease.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

My critique of Paul Krugman

My blog used to contain a fair amount of political opinions and thoughts.  Recently, not so much.  But living in a swing state for what looks to be a very close presidential campaign has me at least thinking political thoughts very regularly.

Every once in a while, I read this blog (Conscience of a Liberal) by NY Times columnist and renowned economist Paul Krugman.  I like his witty and intelligent writing style.  I read his blog to get another perspective to the classical economists that free market conservatives tend to gravitate towards.  Paul Krugman very regularly posts scathing pieces on Romney, but it seems that ever since team Mitt tipped its hat to Paul Ryan, the Krug has been on a mission to rip the prospective VP and his fiscal hawkishness to pieces.  That's great, right, because when Paul Ryan was declared the Veep, both sides agreed that now it was going to be a battle of two distinct ideologies.  So let the debate begin.

Here is some logic that I wanted to pick apart (read the entire article here).  One of Krugman's biggest argument is that Ryan's plan will cut federal spending but at the same time cut many more trillions of dollars of revenue in the form of tax breaks.  This, he argues, translates into serious budget problems.  $4.3T in tax cuts with only $1.7T in federal government spending cuts = -$2.6T.  However, even assuming that these are true and not oversimplified facts of Ryan's plan, there is a very large assumption that is going on here.  Do you see it? When you cut the federal government's capacity to raise revenue (freeing up people to spend it) and you also cut the size of the federal government's role in people's lives, that is not going to have an effect on growing the economy.  This is a simplified example of a very complex tax system, but it's similar to saying that the taxpayer that goes from paying $100k to $80k because he has to pay less in taxes is going to stuff that extra $20k that isn't going to the government either in the mattress or shipping it to an overseas account.  Even if he shipped it to the overseas account, in this increasingly interdependent world, it's hard to say that money would not have an effect on economic growth.  Anyway, that is the assumption, and I don't know if it's a good assumption to make.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The post traumatic event diagnosis

You've gotta learn to listen to your body. It tells you what's going on, you just don't believe it a lot of times. Maybe sometimes there are multiple variables and you may not want to jump to a certain conclusion, but listen to your body man.

That was just a rant from my body. I would tend to agree with my body. The problem is that a lot about understanding what your body is playing it out. If you end up predicting something correctly, it's easy to get cocky about your skills. Much like it's easy to play the quarterback role Monday morning. Its much more feasible to diagnose yourself after processing all the different variables. But that communication from your body was there the whole time. You just had to be listening to it.

Here is my current diagnosis, get yourself and your thoughts as far away from work as possible this weekend!