Boom and Bust, Localized

We tend to think of boom and bust cycles on a macro level.  Either The Economy (as if it is some monolith you can actually corral) or some industry is going through a boom or a bust period.  This is of course a logical fallacy as some companies boom during an economic downturn and others cease to exist during boom times.  However, we as humans have a pack mentality and if the evidence we have access to seems to point toward things being bad, we will make them worse by acting on our fears.  This is all reasonable behavior and it explains the market instabilities that we have observed over the last decade.  That being said, how does that apply to staffing levels?

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Value: The Quicksand of Commodities

Premium items cost more due to their inherent value.  That is a generally accepted as fact by a wide swath of the population.  However, is this reality?  Does a shirt with a designer logo inherently possess a higher value than an identical shirt without the designer logo?  What if an individual is not aware of the existence of a designer brand?  Does ignorance alter true value of commodities?

In order to arrive at any conclusion on this topic, we must first go back to basics and think about what traditionally makes up the value proposition for a commodity.  Commodities by their definition are not necessary for life, they simply enhance the comfort of the person possessing them or using them.  In the same way that bread and water will provide a person with calories just as well as a well balanced gourmet diet, commodities can generally be substituted for with either a less refined product or through a workaround.

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Price Stability: The Mirage of Capitalism

Living in a capitalist system, you inherently accept and live on a razor’s edge.  Assets needs to rise in value over time, but not too quickly, or a lot of people will be left without assets.  With this in mind, the average person has to play a dangerous gambling game where they risk their future worth by purchasing and holding assets with perceived future value.

As an example, we consider a private home to be an asset that can be sold for profit in the future.  The other alternative is to rent a residence.  Rentals have the associated concept of burning money since all rent is considered to be “thrown away”.  However, let us consider the home as an asset further before rendering a verdict on its actual future value.

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True Price: Calm Down and Do the Math, Things Are Not That Bad

The value of goods and services has been a matter of discourse since there have been goods and services. People value certain goods and services and are willing to pay others to build and/or perform those same aforementioned goods and services. How much? That is the key question to a majority of discussions in our lives.

How much should we charge others for our own services? That is the question that we each must ask ourselves when seeking employment.

How much should one pay for housing? That has been a key question in the American economy for the last few years.

How much should one pay for a cup of coffee? That is a question I wish more people would ask themselves on a daily basis.

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Samsung Chromebook 2 Review

What does a computer need to do to be useful?  With the flood of smartphones, tablets, slates, phablets and Chromebooks that try to bridge the gap between a pure communication device and a traditional PC, the question looms large.

This is the question that I asked myself when looking for a new laptop.  What did a laptop really need to do in order to be useful to me on a daily basis.  I already had a perfectly functional Core I7 based laptop, but I wasn’t happy with it, so I started looking.  The concept of the Chromebook has been around for a couple of years now, but so far, the machines have generally fallen into the toy-puter category.  Too small and slow for real work (I have by all account a pair of veritable gorilla hands, so the keyboards on the 11″ Chromebooks out there just frustrate me).

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Finally, Finally, FINALLY, The Rasslin’, Has Come Back, To the Internet?

I am a professional wrestling fan.  Let that sink in for a second.  OK, now that we have gotten that inconvenient bit of truth out of the way we can move on.

Yesterday, the WWE (aka the only wrestling company that still matters in the US) went live with their WWE Network product.  It promised a live 24/7 stream of curated content as you would see on a TV channel and a “massive” library of content (more on this later) that is accessible on demand.  All for the low, low price of $9.99/month.

Now, before you think that I don’t like the product, I’ll just come out and say it: I like the product.  It is good value for the money as far as I am concerned.

However, there are some issues and that is what I wanted to speak to.

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Halftime with the Icon, the Legend, Mr Bruno Mars?

Don’t get me wrong, I think Bruno Mars is a very talented musician with tons of upside in terms of both his portfolio of music and his performance skills.  But, and trust me this is a but that Kanye would leave Kim for, he is not the correct choice for headlining the Super Bowl halftime show.

Before we go any further, we should probably address the elephant in the room.  Why is Bruno Mars not the correct choice and what makes a choice right or wrong?

In order to arrive at that answer, we need to look at the essense of what the Super Bowl has become over that last decade.  The Super Bowl is violent secular Xmas.  I used the advertiser friendly Xmas instead of Christmas for a very simple reason, the meaning of Christmas vs Xmas.

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NFL Generation Battle

Leadership, it defines football in both the direct and synergistic approaches.  A football team’s leadership generally will make the difference between winning and losing, “between livin’ and dying” (sorry, I couldn’t help myself).  In practical terms, the lack of leadership on the field for a football team will lead to a general lack of communication, more penalties and on average more losses.

There is no position on the football field that defines this leadership generates wins as well as the quarterback.  From reading defenses, to calling audibles, to making the decision to throw, tuck and run or even just eat a sack now and again, there is no player that can affect a team’s sucess quite as much as its quarterback.  For reference, read up on what happened to the Colts the year that Payton Manning was out with a neck injury and they tried putting anyone with a pulse in at quarterback to try and salvage the season.

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Change Control and Being Difficult to your Customers

“I may not be the project manager the customer wants, but I’m the project manager the customer needs.”

OK, so most PMs aren’t exactly Batman, but maybe they should be more like Batman.  Think about it, the customer wants their functionality in Production, bug free, as cheaply and quickly as possible.  But if any of those requirements I just mentioned are taken even one iota to the extreme, the entire project could easily fail.

This particular, rather balmy, Dallas winter’s day I want to speak about Change Control.  That’s right, the big CC.   Continue reading Change Control and Being Difficult to your Customers

Big News, Economy Meets Financial Forecast: A Fantasy Tale

I do have to apologize for the rant I am about to go on, but I have something to get off of my chest.

Why do the financial experts even bother to forecast what will happen?  At this point, they are right less often than long term weather forecasts.

The rate at which the economy will grow?  I think I would have as good of a chance of estimating it as I do of picking the score for the Super Bowl at half time (and we still have about 3 months of football left to decide who is going to play in that game).

How about the unemployment rate? Here, I’ll make a guess, 7.8% at the end of Oct.   Continue reading Big News, Economy Meets Financial Forecast: A Fantasy Tale