Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Archive for the tag “technology impact”

Update on the astoundingly wide open and possibly lucrative frontier of publishing. Want to write a book? Anyone can.

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

One of the most amazing open frontiers today is the ability of anyone to publish a book and get it on the market. If you have ever wanted to write a book and see in print, you can do so easily and oh so inexpensively. The wide open doors to opportunity are right in front of you.

Lots and lots of people are publishing. No longer are huge New York publishers an insurmountable barrier for unknown writers.

9/15 – The Arts Mechanical – How To Win the Battle and Lose the War – Huge battle last year was between Amazon and Hachette. Amazon wanted to deliver books at prices customers were willing to pay. Hachette wanted to price e-books far higher, near the same level as print.

Read more…

The dark side of life…wage theft…nuclear proliferation

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Image courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Yet one more illustration of why regulatory agencies need to be fully staffed – employers who rip off their employees…

A person who owns 15 hotels in North Dakota agreed to settle a federal lawsuit claiming he cheated at least 192 employees out of overtime pay and didn’t pay some of them a minimum wage. He apparently is not hurting for money since he paid up $122,871 in back wages and $61,436 in penalties a mere four days after the judgment was issued.

Read more…

Thoughts on jumping into cloud computing

Bruce Schneier has a series of articles that ponder the risks and rewards of jumping into cloud computing. That is the concept of storing your data and computing power with an on-line service provider.

(This discussion is cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, because understanding cloud issues is a major part of keeping up with the massive change around us.)

Some things to consider:

6/10 – Schneier on Security – Should Companies Do Most of Their Computing in the Cloud? (Part 1) – The answer is complicated. The efficiencies and cost savings are real and a major advantage.

On the other hand, there may be legal issues, such as your government creates far higher privacy standards than the country where your data will be stored or another country places severe restrictions on data you store there. Read more…

Downside of cool modern tech: Massive breach of federal personnel systems

The public now knows of two rounds of massive breaches at the federal agency that handles all personnel records. First round looks like it was essentially the basic personnel file of all current and many former federal employees.

Second round is the long forms used to process security clearances. Looks like it was military and spy agency records. Great. Those files list all relatives, making them vulnerable to coercion. Provides lots of ideas on how to turn or compromise employees.


Hackers meandered around the systems for a year.

If you want to build a deep profile of military, diplomatic, and spy agency staff for use over the next several decades, this would be a fantastic starting point. Will take a while to process all the files and synthesize with social media and published news reports, but those countries who wish us harm will have a superb database to track and compromise federal employees.

Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontier of technology – 3/26

Some fun articles on how pastries are made, a new way of looking at the phrase “Kodak moment”, and there are more challenges to the commercial use of drones than just the new regulations.

How Hostess makes Twinkies and Cupcakes:

3/17 – How’s this for a major change in the way your advertising tag line is interpreted? My friend John Bredehoft sent the following tweet:

kodak tweet

From Read more…

Transportation costs dropped 95% in the 1800s

There are a lot of data points on travel cost and travel time during the first half of the 1800s mentioned by Allen Guelzo in his fantastic book, Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President.

Here is the most amazing part:

Overall drop in cost to transport freight with canals, steamboats, and railroads (location 641):

  • 95%

I want to accumulate some of these tidbits since I’m amazed at the radical change created by technology.

Transportation time and cost


Travel by stagecoach: Read more…

Be careful on the ‘net. It is cruel and unforgiving. Draw wrong attention and you get dissected, then shamed.

If you are in any social media platform at all, you need to be really careful about what you say. You need to be cautious in saying things that are flippant or can be misunderstood.

There are severe dangers that go along with all the supercool technology available today.  This article is cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.

The twitter shame mob

A PR manager from a company sent smart mouth tweets to her 170 followers. Sent a few before travelling to London. Checked her phone there, found no reaction, and sent a few more smarty-pants comments.

While on the 11 hour flight to Johannesburg, another person saw her tweet, and sent it to his 15,000 followers hinting the person was a bigoted racist.

You know where this is going. Oh, her extended family she was on her way to visit? They are all ANC supporters.

The attack tweet went viral.  By the time this person landed in South Africa, there was someone waiting to take pictures of her as she turned on her phone and saw the deluge. Huge numbers of people around the world were trashing her and visiting Orwell’s two minute hate on her.

Read more…

Knowledge is the source of value and wealth

Gotta’ question for you – How much does the economy weigh? (Cross posted from Attestation Update.)

Can’t answer?

Okay. How ‘bout this – Does much does the economy weight today versus 1950?

Before you answer, consider that I just counted 220 books on the bookshelves in my office. I currently have 195 books on my Kindle.

Now, how much does the economy weight today compared to 60 years ago?

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Would you rather be in the middle class today or the richest man in the world in 1836?

If it was possible to choose, would you prefer to live life in the middle class, struggling to get by in a lousy economy with an uncertain retirement, or would you rather live the life of Nathan Rothschild, who was the richest man on the planet when he departed this life in 1836?

John Kay discusses this idea in his article, Precise inflation figures ignore evolutions in product quality and consumer choice.

Mr. Kay points out that Mr. Rothschild was richer than either John D Rockefeller or Bill Gates. He was the second richest man in all of history.

Before you say you’d rather live his life than yours, consider this:

Read more…

About those dropping oil prices – 2



(Photo by James Ulvog; five more reasons why gas prices are going down.)

This is second of several posts on the drop in oil prices. Not to worry – human ingenuity will kick in again as prices drop.

10/31 – Bakken.com – Fracking is saving Americans billions of dollars – The American Petroleum Institute estimates that without fracking, crude oil prices would be somewhere between $12 and $40 a barrel higher. That means Americans would otherwise be paying around $250 billion a year more in energy costs.

10/30 – Wall Street Journal – Energy Boom Can Withstand Steeper Oil-Price Drop – Some drillers in the U.S. will have trouble as prices drop and some locations may not be economical, but there are huge numbers of drillers who own huge numbers of sites that will be profitable at lower prices that we see today.

Check out the range at which drilling is still profitable; data from the article and a cool chart: Read more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 10/25

A few of the articles on the open frontiers of energy, education, and technology that caught my interest.


10/6 – The Freeman – Who’s Afraid of the Workers’ RevolutionRead more…

More good stuff on the open frontiers – 7/7

A few articles on the open frontiers of space and technology that are worth a read and a brief comment.


6/14/12 – Popular Mechanics – Tapping the Riches of SpaceRead more…

Don’t complain about disappearing mom-and-pop record stores as you download an MP3 of your favorite song

Keep an eye out for the idea of creative destruction. That’s the idea that a new way of doing business will replace the old way and consumers reap huge benefits.

Many people bemoan Wal-Mart destroying lots of small shops. I understand the damage since that phenomenon affected friends of mine.

Before Wal-Mart, the large chain grocery stores wiped out lots of small neighborhood markets.

Don’t forget what happened in the music industry.

John Bredehoft, writing at tymshft, reminds us What goes around comes around – the record industry.

Read more…

14 hour delivery from Amazon


I ordered two items from Amazon at 8:11 Thursday evening. They promised Saturday delivery. Sounds fine to me.

Shipped out of the San Bernardino warehouse at 3:59 a.m. on Friday. Delivered by UPS at 10:07 a.m. Friday.

Next day delivery. Fourteen hours.

No extra charge with a Prime subscription.

Very cool.

Upside and downside of the Bakken boom – in-depth article & videos

The Telegraph has a full length article on Boomtown, USA. In addition to a great feature in words, there are 9 videos, of about 2 minutes each.


The upside of the oil boom is incredible. Lots of guys are making $100K to $150K by working hard doing difficult work.  The article guesses there are 10,000 men living in crew camps. Each of them is making, by my guess, between $70k and $125K a year.

My guess is most of those guys would be making $40K to $70K if they were working back home. Assuming they even had a job. Most of them wouldn’t.

Business is booming. Consumer stores are crowded. Construction is going as fast as the city can permit projects.

Read more…

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