Friday, June 24, 2016

My 2 bits on Bitcoin and Brexit

I am highly worried about Brexit even though I buy nothing and sell nothing in England and rarely go there.  I have almost no interaction although I do know a few people who speak English.

I worry the ripple effect of the vote will cause a worldwide recession.  We are in delicate times and it does not take much to turn psychology.  A turn in psychology will cause a slowing which will cause a drop in oil price which will cause the Canadian $ to drop.

We live in an interconnected world.

I had a private presentation by Alex Tapscott on his new book - Blockchain Revolution - How the Technology Behind Bitcoin is Changing Money, Business, and the World.  Then, of course, I read his book.

Bitcoin is likely to be big.  Block Chains will be bigger.  I behooves us to understand them.

Blockchains use distributed nodes like the internet.  They create a public ledger of transactions.  All transaction tie onto the previous one.  So it is perfect in tracking true ownership.  So it would work great in a land registry.  This makes it almost impossible to fraud since any change requires changing all previous parts of the chain which is almost impossible to do.

Bitcoin is based on Block Chain.  Block Chain is the technology - Bitcoin is the currency.

Every 4 years, the number of Bitcoins issued decreases by half.  Bitcoin tops out at 21,000,000 Bitcoins.  The argument can be made that this will make it an appreciating currency rather than a depreciating on.

One argument that is used both for and against Bitcoin is it is not controlled by the government.   The issue with currencies that are government controlled is they can just issue more currency and devalue what is now out there.  Governments generally dislike anyone but themselves issuing currency and there is a long history of stopping anyone else who tries to issue currency.  Of note - the creator of Bitcoin has not come forward but remains an anonymous pseudonym.  It will be interesting to see how Bitcoin plays out in that.

If I have issues with Bitcoin:

 1 - I still do not understand the math (and I have read much more about the topic than just this book). My experience is often things that are too complex to understand are not real or lacking.

2 - If I understand how it works - it uses complex calculations to slow things down so the proper priority registration can happen.  Right now, that takes a lot of computing power and electricity (so I object as an eco-dweeb) and I believe in Moore's law.  So it may soon not be viable since the methodology will not be slow enough.

3 - I worry that digital methodologies will get obsoleted over time.  For example, I had VCR tapes of my kids playing and converted them to CD but will I even be able to play those in another decade?  So might the money be lost?  While we are on that topic, I still have hundreds of audio cassettes of my first book Time Leadership - Using the Secrets of Leadership for Time Management" - I am thinking of putting them on sale.

4 - I worry it could be a bit of a Ponnzi.  Early entrants get Bitcoins cheap so want others to use the currency that becomes scarcer and scarcer which makes the value increase.  But it could be like tulip bulbs.

Tapscott has sections in his book where he denigrates the "middlemen".  As someone who has been a middleman all my life, I believe middlemen add value.  Where they should be cut out is where the charges for the value are not fair.  And the middleman business is highly competitive so people are always figuring out ways to reduce their costs.  Still sometimes I wish I were more of an Oscar Meyer Weiner (so everyone would be in love with me)

One of my friends, Mark Jeftovic from EasyDNS had sent me a related provocative audio book on commerce and money - "A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology and Creating jobs for All The Future Belongs to Work that is Meaningful" by Charles Hugh Smith (If I were Charles Smith, I would use my middle name too).   You would have thought they could have come up with a longer title.  Mark and I had discussed the future of payments and money.

I have always thought the best way to make money was to start a government or a religion now I add to that - a currency.

Speaking of government - Danby got a license to use the Canada 150 year logo and included in it was a clause that we cannot represent ourselves as being the government.  So instead of sending out those tax bills like I had planned, we will just have to sell more freezers.

Loving Audible and love the speed up feature.  I listen to books at +20% so a 5 hour book takes me only 4 hours.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Bullet Journal

I really do not have original ideas.  Even my Ted Talk emphasized that.  The next 2 concepts were emailed to me by friends.  Thanks!

I love technology...and I don't.  So I was very impressed with the Bullet Journal concept.  I have been using a system like this for years which I simply evolved for myself.  EG - I have a series of symbols I use to indicate things like "send an email".  

The Bullet Journal has a well thought out system (way better than what I do - and better thought out).  So no point in sharing my system which is not as comprehensive.

The video on the Bullet Journal page is worth watching.

Let me know in a month if you continue to use this system.

There is a great article in HBR on the inefficiency of email.    The compelling title is "Some Companies are banning email to improve Productivity"!

One line I love in the article - "email as a new form of knowledge pollution".

I know email can distract.   I also know it can contribute to "busy work" at the detriment of accomplishing larger and more important things.

I think rather than killing email, it is best to develop killer systems for managing the volume.  Simple disciplines like blocking no-email times and only checking email at specific times.  Email is still more efficient that phoning or speaking to someone.  I once read a stat that a person could do 7 times more email than phone conversations.  I think even that is low.

Send me an email with your thoughts on this article.

And the gardens are growing:

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

What is in a Tag Line? Do the Right Thing

I recently read a book (big surprise) that had a list of taglines and that got me thinking.  Do taglines work if they are just words?  Or does the company have to do something to earn the right to their tagline?

In some cases, I think just having the tagline works - when it is in sync with what we think the company is.  For example:

Just do it - Nike (they stole that one from me before I thought of it)
Quality never goes out of style - Levi
Challenge everything - EA (Genius for a video game company)
Live in your world, play in ours - Playstation
The greatest tragedy is indifference - Red Cross

Some that resonate less with me:

There is no substitute - Porsche  (well actually there is - for example a Prius.  And if you want a sports car, go with a red Prius like me).

Between love and madness lies obsession - Calvin Klein (I did not know madness was the opposite of love and is obsession really a good thing?  I think that is why they invented the restraining order and 12 step programs)

When you care enough to send the best  - Hallmark  (I hate to say it, if that's the best you have...)

I'm loving it - McDonalds (do I really need to comment?)

Open Happiness - Coca Cola (is sugar, cavities, obesity really that happy?)

Interestingly, the taglines I did not know - McDonalds and Coke resonated the least.

I did just do a blog entry mentioning all these companies by name so they get the free press and massive surge in business that will result.  So in that sense - taglines work.

For Danby and DDE Media the tagline or mantra is "We Do the Right Thing".   We came up with this after being repeatedly asked why the Syrian thing?  Obviously - because we do the right thing.  And in business, it applies to almost everything.  How do you treat co-workers?  How do you treat customers?  Is the product good value?  etc.  It can be used to answer almost any question.

People often approach me for investment advice.  This is what I currently suggest: