Old Man

Today is my 34th birthday. For the first time, I had to actually calculate from my birth year to figure out how old I was. 2000 – 1984 = 16, 2018 – 2000 = 18, 16+ 18 = 34! Scary.

Life is very good to me and has pretty much been continuously improving since I was born. I am fortunate to have had the great people in my life and opportunities to learn about web technologies and build my own businesses.

I am also very happy I met my goal of launching ProvenRecruits prior to my birthday! The app is done, but the marketing site is just getting started.

World Governing Body

A friend asked me if I was advocating for the establishment of some sort of world governing buddy based on my recent post on Organizational Punishments.

I do think that a very constrained, well thought out structure for a world governing body is going to be necessary. Establishing one is dangerous though as there will be no higher power or competing similar sized power to get it in line if something bad happens. My thought is something similar to the United States federal vs states system. You would want to write into it’s constitution that it absolutely cannot grow like our federal government has. I think you would want the federal government to have more power than any individual state, but less power than the largest couple of states put together. This is a tricky question of how to do this in such a way that won’t allow a totalitarian government to rise, but also to have enough power to be effective in it’s job.

Stock Market Opinion

It is my opinion that the market reached it’s high water mark of the current expansion Jan 26. There are new wages reports showing big increases in wages which is going to show the Fed that inflation is really starting to rise. The Fed will react by starting to increase interest rates and start to pull back on the trillions in quantitative easing it did. This will cause the stock markets to start going down. This will cause investors to lose faith in the market, which will cause rapid drops in stock prices down to more sustainable levels of 1.5 price to sales… http://www.multpl.com/s-p-500-price-to-sales.I have often been wrong when predicting stock price movements, but I do think that a price to sales ratio of 2.3 where it is currently is unsustainable. Rising interest rates will also cause real estate prices to drop. The alternative if the Fed does not raise interest rates is inflation, which is a danger to watch out for as well.

Football

My Saturdays and Sundays in college were often spent watching football. My roommate Fletch would debate with me whether there was any merits to watching football. At the time, I had some arguments on why it was worthwhile… I can’t remember them anymore.  Today will be the first game of the season I watch – and that is only because I am going to a friend’s (from Vistage) Super Bowl party.

I used to care a lot about watching football (see this post from 2007). Somehow I evolved from there to ten years later not watching football and even thinking it is unethical to watch in 2017.

Organizational Punishments

I have been listening to a fascinating Audible lecture series entitled “The Big Questions in Philosophy”. The last lecture was a dismantling of free will. The guy laid out a simple, clean argument for why no human can have free will.  Our personalities are shaped by our brains and our experiences… our brains are shaped by DNA which we have no control over and our experiences are given to us by the outside world where we also have no control.

Anyone who watches the news can see a repeating pattern: a large organization of people makes self-interested decisions that wind up hurting a larger majority of people out there. Just a few examples:

  • The NFL covering up that the sport causes concussions and even small hits to the head build up over time to cause brain disease.
  • Dictatorial regimes in North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and many other countries using violence to hold most citizens in poor conditions while the people on top live luxurious lives.
  • Tobacco companies hiding for years strong evidence that cigarettes cause cancer.
  • Wells Fargo cheating customers by opening millions of fake accounts for them.
  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies basically being giant Ponzi schemes / other digital variations on ancient scams.
  • Media companies turning out over-hyped garbage to get more clicks / views.

I don’t think this is a matter of a few bad apples. I think this is due to the way we have structured our systems of organization. I think these results are inevitable outcomes of the systems that are in place.

In each of the above cases, I believe that the humans who work there become trained over years to always make decisions in the best interest of their organization. At first, most of those decisions are quite reasonable, but at some point years down the line people start getting asked questions of questionable ethical value. People are trained so well that they continue to automatically make decisions in the best interest of their organization, even though now they are harming humanity as a whole.

I think this is a question of human nature. We are just as susceptible to behavioral training as any other animal and only have the illusion that we have free will. The people who work at these organizations are not inherently evil… the organization itself is just poorly set up to lead to evil results.

We need to make organizational changes to the world to prevent these results… my suggestion is that organizations themselves start to be punished with the death penalty. Any organization that violates a core set of rules, whether it is a company, nonprofit, nation-state,  should be shut down completely. Organizations will start to behave in their own self interest to prevent the risk of their being shut down.

Happy Camper

Right now, I am extremely happy. I have discovered that the harder I work, the happier I am in the moment. I have been working out most every day. There has not been an alcoholic drink that has passed my lips in 206 straight days. I have been having lots of interesting lunch / breakfast dates with CEO’s in my Vistage group. Laurel and I are getting along well and are excited to move into the house we are closing on. I just launched the app version of ProvenRecruits for Coalition and next week should be able to finish the marketing site, fix the remaining bugs, and launch the app publicly. I worked 12+ hours today. And I wrote this blog post!