Patents– Great for Big Business, Trolls… But For All Others– Its Worthless, Stifles Innovation, Not Enforced, Waste of Time.

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Patents litigation costs companies millions of dollars in time and lawyer fees; but just how effective is a ‘patent’ anyway? According to Florian Mueller; analyzed 222 smart-phone patent assertions– with Android being major target of many of them– only to find that 90% of those cases have gone absolutely nowhere… about half (49%) of assertions have failed thus far, while 42% of assertions were dropped without a comprehensive settlement or ‘comparably negative fate’… As it turns out, only 20 or the 222 patent assertions (9%) were able to establish liability, but only 10 of those 20 cases resulted in ‘lasting injunctive relief’… In other words based on patent litigation by; Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia, Motorola, and host of others litigation– more often than not, it’s a serious waste of time and money for all parties involved…

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According to Erik Heels; filing for a patent is ‘a waste of time and energy’, not to mention money… Indeed most startups think they need a patent– often claiming that VCs won’t invest without it… but as many smart VCs point out, having a patent in a startup is near worthless without well conceived strategy with products that provide value and relevancy to target markets, and rarely is a patent a significant difference maker… According to Gil Silberman; a fake gun is just as good as a real one if you don’t have to fire it; similarly, a worthless patent can still be useful for raising money on perceived value, or as ‘threat’, in defending against competitors… however, the value of a patent is often unknown until litigation, which usually costs more money than most companies can afford…

In the article Most Small Companies Patents Are Worthless by Todd Hixon writes: A widespread meme in the tech community holds that patents are a path to riches: An entrepreneur who solves a key technical problem and receives a patent can build a business on the technology and ride to glory… However in reality, most patents are just about worthless… Many entrepreneurs misunderstand the real value patents create and how difficult they are to enforce… A patent is a sword, not a shield; it gives you the right to attack a competitor who makes commercial use of (or ‘infringes’) patented technology… But enforcing patents in courts is a nightmare, e.g.; plan on 3-5 years and $3-$5 million to get to a judgment and then there are appeals…

Patent litigation is the true sport of kings; it costs $20k-$30k to file a final (‘utility’) patent. Some companies make dozens of filings, spending a good fraction of a million dollars,and there are no guarantee that these investments will pay off… However, there are situations where patents do pay off, e.g.; patents for drugs are indeed a lynchpin of value, or patents for information technology has been shown to be effective… But, usually these patents are in the hands of big companies that have the resources to defend them. Whereas in smaller companies the value of ‘patents’ is questionable, hence a few tips for smaller companies:

  • Don’t base a business strategy on patents and don’t try to raise money primarily on the basis of patents…
  • Pay close attention to patents that others hold which might enable competitors to block you– ‘freedom to operate’ is more important when evaluating a business plan than patent ownership…
  • Non-patent intellectual property (IP) strategies can hold-off copycats more effective, e.g.;  trade secrets, knowledge of customers, series of connected innovations…
  • Build the business on real competitive advantages, e.g.; value, relationships, rapid innovation… don’t count on patents to defend from competitors…

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In the article Are Patents Useful, Useless, Necessary Evil? by David Allsebrook writes: Decisions about how and whether to patent protect innovations are hard, e.g.: start-ups have it worse, since usually they have little cash and the cost of patent applications are very expensive, plus 75% of venture capitalists say they will only invest in companies with patents… According to Don Lancaster; patents are useless and makes no sense for most  small business… patents guarantees only the right to fight to protect the ideas, and fighting takes a large amount of resources, e.g.; lots of time, negotiating assets, lawyer fees, emotional stamina… whereas often same results can be had without patents by– moving fast, staying nimble, leveraging ideas… Patents is big business, there corporate games… and should be avoided by anyone trying to work outside of that framework…

In the article Relax: Let Your Guard Down by David H. Freedman writes: Companies continue to treat intellectual property (IP) as an asset to be kept out of the hands of others at all costs, but there are compelling reasons that such aggressive IP protectiveness is not only unnecessary but also counter-productive… Some $5.5 trillion worth of IP is said to be rattling around computers and file drawers of U.S. companies accounting for significant percentage of the nation’s GDP… About twice as many patent-related lawsuits were filed last year as were 20 years ago, suggesting that companies are more determined than ever to keep others off their good ideas… And yet simple truth is that most companies ‘rarely succeed’ when protecting patents, or ‘rarely fail’ because they do not– there are other strategic factors that determine success or failure…

Ninety-five percent of patents end up being of absolutely no commercial value, even in high-tech where IP is king, the best rule of thumb for patent protection is: Don’t bother… According to Glen Whitman; the faster the pace of innovation, the less important are patents, or to put it another way; superb strategy and execution trumps a patent every time… That’s because it usually isn’t the individual big-bang idea– in and of itself– that makes or breaks a company; but rather it’s a ‘constant stream’ of smaller good ideas that drives the business… According to researchers; patent protection is of little or no benefit when it comes to an ongoing string of ideas… Which makes sense given the time it takes to get a patent into place and the relative perishability of any single idea… Business tend to have a greater chance of profiting when patents are relaxed and the door is opened to increased competition and imitation…

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However, many big companies see it differently, after all, they have the resources to prevail in patent disputes… As a result when smaller companies trying to bring out new products, especially in high-tech, they often find themselves buried with administrative and financial requirements for license fees for processes, technologies… covered by patents… Of course, there are some situations in which patent aggressiveness may be reasonable and even essential, e.g.; the pharmaceutical industry is a clear example; it takes about 10 years and the better part of a billion dollars to identify the one molecule out of trillions that works against a disease and then drag it through the multi-staged testing process. Once the pill is out, it might take only a week to bring out an imitation that could be sold at cut-rate prices to take over the market…

Patents have become gold standard of national competitiveness, but academic studies have typically failed to find much of a connection between patents and innovation… But still the patents have created a ‘Scylla-and-Charybdis’ world where companies must navigate between– infringing on countless patents, or paying multitudes of stiff licensing fees… One study found that companies spend an amount equivalent to 14% of research and development budgets on patent litigation… According to Jordan Weissman; many companies spend billions on ‘defensive patents’, which are essentially worthless other than as protection against lawsuits… This is common practice when a business is forced to license a patent from a litigious ‘troll’… Also, untold dollars are spent on legal fees and unnecessary patent filings for ludicrously broad or impractical ideas…

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According to Gene Quinn; questions that all companies must  ask themselves are: Why do you want a patent? Is it an asset and foundation for building a business, or is it a wall ornament? For example; there are millions of smartphone/software ‘apps’, and many of them are developed by very smart people whose objective is to build a business (although for some there may be other motivations)… But since it costs on average $30,000 for a software patent– does the return on investment make good business sense? The world of business and technology is rapidly changing and companies must objectively think about: Why is a patent needed? What’s its purpose? How will it be defended? What are workarounds? Let’s face it, overwhelming percentage of patents have very little, if any real economic value, hence think hard, smart… about the practical realities before wasting time and resources filing a patent…

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Illusion of Control– Management in Control is an Illusion! It’s a Façade! Control Freaks Over-State Their Ability to Control Events…

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‘Control’ is a concept that necessitates completeness, it cannot exist in partial terms (you cannot ‘kind of’ or ‘pretty much’ control anything), you either have control or you don’t… but sometimes leaders have an illusion of control– control that in reality does not exist… Most leaders think they have it, management struggles to get it, workers want more of it– its power to decide, to exercise influence, to set boundaries… its power to influence, or direct people’s behavior, or dictate course of events… According to Patrick B. McGrath; control is an illusion– most leaders are not in ‘total’ control; they may have control of some things but total control is not achievable… control doesn’t exist; you think it exists, its only an outside appearance– a coincidence of sorts in which factors that were visible appear to come together… 

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According to studies; CEOs of Fortune 500 companies routinely over-estimate their capacity to control events surrounding their companies, employees, markets… and as a result they often take-on an air of egotistical  invincibility– and outcomes are usually devastating… A study in Psychological Science; suggested that power and perceived control can literally ‘go to one’s head’, causing individuals to think they have more control over outcomes than they really do… but illusion of control is adaptive and it can help power-holders make the seemingly impossible, possible… But also the notion of simply having some level of power can lead people to grossly over-estimating their abilities to control events…

In the article Illusion of Control by Pat Weaver writes: One of the key ways of dealing with risk is accepting the reality that there are things that you simply cannot control… Under-estimating uncertainty has very serious implications for risk and management must pay special attention to what can be predicted, and what cannot be predicted… In the book ‘Dance With Chance, Making Luck Work For You’ by Spyros Makridakis, Robin Hogarth, Anil Gaba; find that people tend to assume they can control much more than they actually can and as a consequence they under-estimate the role of chance… The authors pinpoint two kinds of risks: Subways and Coconuts– You can plan for subways but its difficult to plan for the coconuts, e.g.; on one hand, you can research and be relatively sure that the subway will be predictable most of the time (but never all of the time!)…

On other hand, you know that coconuts fall from trees, but you can’t predict when they will fall or where they will land… The authors argue that management must accept the reality that there are things they simply cannot predict, and as consequence the control of some things is simply an illusion… But management can also devise creative strategies to move forward; the authors call it ‘triple A’ strategy of— accept, assess, augment: First, ‘accept’ that there are things you cannot control… Second, ‘assess’ the uncertainties associated with things that you cannot control… Third, ‘augment’ your plans to ensure that the things you can control are managed effectively…

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In the article Illusion of Control by Seth Godin writes: It’s a very widespread belief; it motivates you; it frightens you; it drives consumer mania… It’s the idea that you are in control; that your work is so leveraged and important that through the force of ‘will’, you can ensure things will turn out as you choose… But in reality you are never really in control — everything you do is a matter of influence… and perhaps, sometimes, you can influence events and things can turn out in ways that you plan… However, in business, more often than not it does not work that way… more often you are shrugging your shoulders and say, ‘it’s out of my control’… and more often than not your boss is saying the same thing… When the ‘illusion of control’ collides with the ‘reality of influence’, it highlights the reality that the entire ‘illusion of control’ is based on the fact that– you are responsible for what you do, you are accountable… but often you don’t have authority or control over the outcome; it’s a reality– you cannot hide from it, so embrace it and deal with it…

In the article The Illusion Of Control by David Brock writes: Let me confess; I’m a control freak– it bothers me to think that ‘being in control’ is an illusion… In business– leaders, managers… are always trying to control something, or reluctant to do something unless they are in control, but in reality there is very little total control… However, despite the lack of control leaders are still accountable for producing results– no excuses! Leaders often blames their failure to achieve results on their lack of control, or factors ‘outside their control’… And then there are other leaders who quietly sort things out, and come-up with creative strategies to achieve for their business– they may not have total control but they still persevere and achieve; whether it’s exercising influence on people involved in the decision, or whether it’s finding ways to eliminate obstacles, or finding ways to reduce uncertainty… Control may be an illusion, but leaders are still accountable and they must find ways to achieve the desired outcomes…

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In the article Illusion of Control by Leo Babauta writes: When you think you control something you are probably wrong… It’s amazing how often you think you are in control of something when really you really are not– control is an illusion… You constantly make plans that never actually turn out the way you envisioned… You have been trained to set goals and then work on actions that achieve goals… But, how often have you tried to control a future that you cannot predict? Yet you continue to believe in the illusion of control– you face a chaotic and complex world and you seek to control it, in what ever way you can… So how do you move forward? Perhaps considering the travails of fish might help; yes fish! A fish swims in a chaotic environment, in which it cannot possibly control; much as you do…

However fish, unlike you, are under no illusion that it controls the sea or other fish in the sea. Fish do not even try to control where it ends up– it just swims, either going with the flow or dealing with the flow, as it comes. It eats, hides, mates without trying to control a thing… You are no better than that fish, yet your thinking creates need for an illusion– so let go of your illusionary thinking, and learn from the fish… Hence when you are in the midst of chaos let go of the need to control it; experience it, deal with it and go with the flow, but don’t try to control it– it’s a completely different way of thinking, once you let go of the illusion of control…

Being in control makes most people feel happy; it’s been proven in studies that having the feeling of being– ‘in control’ produces– optimism, high self-esteem… In contrast, studies have shown that the ‘absence of control’ produces– withdraw, depression… According to Iyanla VanZant; being in control is the number one human addiction… when you are in control you are on a high and things go your way… and you believe that if you continue to exert control that things will continue to go your way. As great as this may sound it’s a dangerous illusion, because the flip-side will inevitably circle back around…

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According to Daniel Kahneman; the comforting conviction that the world makes sense is based on your almost unlimited ability to ignore your ignorance… Life plays limitless hands of poker that you are even too busy to see… You know it and feel it intuitively; yet you carry the false belief that if you just– try harder, focus stronger, meet the right person, lose the extra pounds, close the elusive deal, win the mind-blowing lottery… then and only then will you gain some level of control… The ‘illusion of control’ may be comforting, but it’s only illusion; it’s a façade; it’s fantasy built-on sense of self-importance. Hence, control is not the answer; it’s your sense of self-worth, it’s confidence in your ability to achieve, it’s your determination to be relevant... that’s what really matters. So don’t try harder, try different!

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Government Businesss Regulations, Pointless Laws, Stupid Rules– Run Amok: Destroying Small Business…

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Government seemingly has an insatiable appetite to develop non-solutions to non-problems through– more business regulations, more laws, more pages to the tax code… People love to laugh at the ridiculous– business regulations, rules, laws, absurdities, red tape… that governs how business is done but it’s not a laughing matter… According to a ‘Competitive Enterprise Institute’ (CEI) report; regulation cost U.S. economy $1.882 Trillion in 2015– this amount is larger than the entire GDP of all but 11 countries in the entire world… whereas official government estimates done by ‘Office of Management and Budget’ puts the cost more in hundreds-of-billions range… So whether it’s trillions or hundreds of billions the cost for complying with federal regulations is a huge burden on the economy, business, and the consumer who ultimately pays for it… Government has created a massive vegetative, unproductive universe of workers dedicated to dealing with federal regulations, rules, laws…

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In addition to federal government, state and local governments also apply regulations on business… the result is that business (especially small business) spend much of their resources dealing with– lawyers, accountants, consultants… just to comply with absurd government regulations… The problem is the big guys (corporations) and not the little guys (small business) are the ones that can afford to hire lobbyists and schmooze with special interest groups to negotiate the rules with the unelected vegetative bureaucracy. Which brings to mind saying; ‘if you are not at the table, you are on the menu’… According to Competitive Enterprise Institute; the number of regulations are so large they become almost meaningless, e.g.; there are over one million federal regulation restrictions; over 175,000 pages in the ‘Code of Federal Regulations’… and these do not include; state and local regulations… Government regulations are a major obstruction for start-ups and development of small business… and politicians must begin to re-evaluate the ‘state of regulations’ on business– it’s a matter of economic life or death…

In the article Rising Business Regulations Driving Down Business Formation by Scott Shane writes: Small business is increasingly frustrated by government regulation, which has become a major problem in recent years. Twenty-two percent of small business owners surveyed by National Federation of Independent Business say; government regulation and red tape is the most important issue that they face… next to the over-whelming burden of taxes– federal, state, local taxes… Moreover researchers at a variety of think tanks suggest that government regulations are doing more than just causing entrepreneurs to gripe; they are finding that rising regulations are keeping would-be entrepreneurs from starting companies. Over past three-and-a-half decades federal regulations have been rising, while new business creations have been falling… and researchers believe the pattern is more than a coincidence…

Correlation doesn’t imply causation, of course; but researchers have several reasons to believe that rising regulation is deterring entrepreneurship… According to Jonathan Ortmans; the more regulations increase; the more complexity there is in operating a business… and that deters many people from starting them… According to Anthony Kim; rising cost of regulations makes many entrepreneurial ventures unfeasible… and that causes start-up rates to decline… Moreover regulatory compliance often has a high fixed cost, and for small business that means they face higher percentage cost for complying with regulations… There is evidence– more regulations hinders entrepreneurial activity…

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In the article Control Freaks Are Killing Business With Ridiculous Business Regulations by Michael Snyder writes: The control freaks are winning and they are absolutely killing the country… For some reason, the political system tends to attract psychotic control freaks that want to micro-manage the way people run their businesses and actually dictate–how, when, where… business should make decisions. These control freaks are convinced that freedom and liberty are ‘dangerous’ and there should be– rules, regulations for just about everything. This is not just happening on the federal level either; the truth is that the control freaks are often worst at local level. When you add-up the red tape at all levels of government, you literally have millions of laws, rules, regulations… All the red tape is suffocating business and destroying the economy…

In the article More Government Business Regulations, Not Less by David Macaray writes: The argument ‘against’ government regulations goes something like: Most regulations are confusing, cumbersome, expensive, inefficient, vaguely ‘unconstitutional’, ultimately counter-productive… and they destroy businesses. The argument in ‘favor’ of regulations goes something like: The promoters of minimal regulations are believers in the so-called ‘self-policing’ doctrine and these ‘do what you want’ zealots are a danger to society… Without regulations many in the private sector would act with unrestrained greed to– exploit, steal, lie, rob, cheat, and devastate the public sector in order to enrich itself with no regard for the well-being of the population…

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In the article Business Regulations Run Amok by Bob MacDonald writes: Regulations are a reaction to past bad actions that try to anticipate future bad actions… The concept of regulating malfeasance is as old as– biblical Moses, and it started when God personally handed Moses the ‘Ten Commandments’. (There is suspicion that God actually gave Moses 20 commandments, but lobbyists and special interest groups persuaded Moses to drop 10 of them.) A research survey by the University of Michigan (funded, of course, by a federal grant), determined that there are now enough regulations on the books for every one of some seven billion people living on earth to have 734.6 regulations of their very own…

This leads to the most logical question of all; If regulations don’t work, then why even have them? Unfortunately the answer is that without regulations, business would be a chaotic mess… The truth of the matter is that regulations are needed and they do work; they just don’t work to the level of perfection intended, because the world is not perfect. This frustrates those who seek a mandated perfect world and irritates those who believe an unfettered free-market is a perfect world… By their very nature regulations are a prime target for those who believe the essence of freedom is unrestrained activity. Many see regulations as a sinister conspiracy on the part of government to limit freedom…

Others see regulations as a magical way to assure and safeguard freedom of activity for all… As result of this schizophrenic attitude, government regulations have become an easier whipping boy– for both the left and the right… There is no magical solution when it comes to dealing with regulations; the nature of regulation creates conflict… However, there is a more reasonable approach to regulation that would moderate some of the dynamic tension created by those who view any regulation as too much, and those who believe the answer to any malfeasance is more regulation…

The objective of regulation should not be to legislate morality, or anticipate the bad things people can think to do, or decide what is best for people… these idealism simply do not work. The purpose of regulation should be to create a– transparent, level playing field for all. Regulations should not decide– what can or cannot be done, but they can be designed so that everyone knows what everyone is doing… An approach that offers the freedom to do what one wants to do, while giving others the freedom to decide what they believe is best for them…

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Unfortunately, the simple philosophy of regulations designed to create a level playing field is not likely to catch on… Because there will always be constituencies that want more regulation, just as there will always been those who favor less… And politicians are smart enough to know that the safe re-election position is to appeal to ‘the base’… And to change existing philosophy of regulations would deprive bureaucratic regulators of the power to decide what is best for all people… It’s unfortunate, but until a fresh approach to the ‘objective of regulation’ is adopted… and no matter how voluminous or detailed regulations may be– the ‘muckers’ who want to run-amok will be able to do so, and the other ‘less-muckers’ are left to deal with the muck…

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Killing is Big Business– Thriving U.S.$-Trillion International Arms Trade: Shadow World of Big Deals, Corruption…

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Global arms, weapons, military expenditure is estimated to have totalled $1.77 trillion in 2014, that is more than $250 for every person on the planet. This was a fall of 0.4% on the previous year and is about 2.3% of global GDP… Even during global financial crisis from 2007 to 2012, weapons spending increased by 24%… The small arms trade is worth at least $8.5 billion a year, but its deadly impact is far greater than the dollar sums suggests… More than 1,000 companies from nearly 100 countries produce small arms, light weapons. The global arms market can be split into three sectors: 1.) legal sales where governments buy arms from corporations… 2.) sales on the black market… 3.) legal gray area where governments, military, intelligence agencies, terrorists… rub shoulders with shady and corrupt dealers in order to carry out covert agendas…

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Ironically, there are more laws governing the international trade of bananas and coffee than of arms, despite the fact that thousands of people are killed daily from armed violence,and six out of 10 human rights abuses involve weapons… International arms trade is global business which manufactures weapons, military technology, equipment…  An issue that the defense industry is constantly tackling is ever-increasing sophistication of products and their dual use: The same technology that might have been developed for military purposes might find wide application in civilian field, or other way round…

The latest additions to the normative framework to regulate the international trade in conventional arms is the UN ‘Arms Trade Treaty’ (ATT)… Adopted by the UN in 2013 and in force from December 2014, it establishes common criteria and international minimum standards to govern the trade in conventional arms to be applied by countries as part of their national export control systems, mainly for the purpose of avoiding the misuse and diversion of arms to illicit markets. A major driving force behind the treaty is the need to improve international controls of arms transfers to prevent them from ending up in places where they might be used to commit violations of human rights, or where they could fuel violence and unrest instead of bringing stability and peace that the arms trade is meant to serve…

According to Alex Ward and Morgan Timme; the ‘Arms Trade Treaty’ is just a feel-good regulation without much substance… it fails to take into account that very seldom is there purely benevolent actors. Trying to remove ‘bad options’ takes ‘least bad options’ with it, assuming a world of only ‘good’ and ‘bad’ options do not exist. While intentions of the ATT are well-disposed, the real world is rarely so Manichean…

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Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Report: SIPRI is independent international institute in Sweden, dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control, disarmament… They manages a database on international transfers of major weapons to countries, international organizations and armed non-state groups going back to 1950… The group publishes a report summarizing the weapons trade in 2010-2014, and how it has changed from its previous reporting period of 2005-2009… Here are a few of the most interesting takeaways:

  • China is becoming a much more powerful player: China surpassed Germany as world’s third largest arms supplier, supplying 5% of international arms exports in 2010-2014. This was a precipitous climb from ninth place in 2005-2009, accounting for 3% of international arms exports. China’s largest customer is Pakistan, which buys 41% of Chinese arms followed by Bangladesh, Myanmar… China also exported arms to 18 African states, Venezuela and Indonesia, as well as drones to Nigeria to use against Boko Haram rebels… China is one of world’s largest arms ‘importers’, though arms imports actually fell 42% between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 due to the rapid development of its own domestic arms industry. Today, China produces many advanced weapons from; British-, French- and German-designed engines for aircraft, naval ships, armored vehicles…
  • Russia’s exports are also growing rapidly: Russian weapons exports rose 37% between 2005-2009 and 2010-2014… That is mostly due to India, which purchased nearly 40% of Russia’s exports in that period. Russia’s three biggest customers are;  India, China, Algeria… accounted for almost 60% of its exports… This may come as surprise to some in U.S. who think of India as U.S.’s democratic ally, but Russia and India have been close since the Cold War… According to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi; Russia is India’s closest friend, preferred strategic partner… However, U.S. arms exports to India have increased since two countries established tighter ties in mid-2000s; U.S. now supplies 12% of India’s arms compared to Russia’s 70%…
  • U.S. is world’s largest arms dealer: U.S. remains the world’s largest arms supplier, accounting for 31% of international arms exports compared with Russia’s 27%. U.S. exports of major weapons grew by 23% in 2010-2014 from 2005-2009. Together, U.S. and Russia account for 58% of all exports… Adding in China, Germany, France… these five countries accounted for almost 74% of all arms exports between 2000 and 2014…The U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of drones, mostly unmanned reconnaissance vehicles… also, U.S. sold ship-based anti-ballistic missile defense systems to– Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates in 2010-2014…
  • Europe is getting out of war business: Due in part to Europe’s struggling economy, both imports and exports from European countries were down in 2010-2014 from 2005-2009, the only region to see this trend… UK fell from top five countries in terms of arms exports, but UK is still largest weapons ‘importer’ in Europe, receiving 14% of deliveries… Germany’s biggest customer was U.S., while France and UK both send most weapons to former colonies– Morocco and Saudi Arabia, respectively…

In the article Arms Trade– Major Cause of Suffering by Anup Shah writes: The arms trade is a major cause of human rights abuses. Some governments spend more on– military expenditure than on social development, or communications infrastructure, or health… combined. While every nation has the right and the need to ensure its security, in these changing times, arms requirements and procurements may need to change too… The arms trade is one of the most corrupt trades in the world, fueling conflict and poverty. Since early 1990s there has been efforts to review and develop arms-transfer principles and codes of conduct to ensure that arms are not sold to human rights violators. The U.S., EU, and others… have developed some codes but they are fraught with problems, loopholes, lack of transparency, open to corruption…

Also ‘military aid’ can be very problematic; its stated aim is usually to help– allies, poor countries fight terrorism, counter-insurgencies, or to help suppress drug production… Military aid may be given to opposition groups to fight nations, which was common- place during the Cold War, where even dictatorships were tolerated or supported in order to achieve geopolitical aims… The aid may be in the form of training, or even giving credits for foreign military to purchase weapons and equipment from the donor country… It’s argued that strengthening military relationships can strengthen relationships between nations and military aid may be a way to achieve that. But it seems some aid goes to oppressive regimes which may help with geopolitical aims, but may not necessarily help people of the recipient nation…

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In the article Shadow World: Corruption and the Arms Trade by Andrew Feinstein writes: Arms deals stretch across a continuum of legality and ethics from the– official or formal trade, to the grey and black markets… In practice, boundaries between these markets are fuzzy; they are often intertwined and dependent on each other. With bribery, corruption commonplace, there are very few arms transactions that do not involve illegality, most often through middlemen or agents… Many arms dealers who provide services to large defense companies and governments, continue to operate in the black and grey markets… According to Joe Roeber; trade in weapons accounts for almost 40% of all corruption in global trade– arms trade is hard-wired for corruption, and very structure of arms trade explains the prevalence and nature of the corruption that characterizes it…

These arms trade deals are worth ‘million or even billions of dollars’, and they are being decided by very small groups of people, behind a national security imposed veil of secrecy; these are perfect conditions for rampant corruption. Those involved in arms trade wield enormous political influence through phenomenon of ‘revolving doors’, e.g.; movement of people between positions in– government, politics, military, intelligence agencies, defense companies… The consequences are distortion of policy making– and not just in ascendancy of war-making over diplomacy, but also in foreign and economic policies… A crucial dimension of these arrangements is the link between– defense companies, arms dealers, governments…

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However, countries do have the right to purchase arms, to defend themselves and their citizens, as well as; the right to engage in– research and development and production of arms as a legitimate business venture… Hence, it’s importance to differentiate between legitimate and illicit arms trade… Unfortunately a universal and false perception is that governmental actions, multilateral coordination and stricter laws would bring an end to the illicit arms trade… Black and grey markets survives on simple rules of economics, where market forces dominate the game… And bad people, i.e.; terrorists, rebel groups, dictators of all sorts will do anything and pay anything to get the weapons they need to do destructive things… It’s a simple matter of supply and demand…

Hence, even with stricter laws, embargoes… the demand for arms, weapons… remains high even though it means greater risk, which implies paying higher prices… According to Aaron Karp; short of world governments, powerful system of collective security– countries and groups will continue to engage in illicit arms trade… Hence reality is that the control of the flow and widespread use of arms–  black and grey arms trade– is highly dependent on countries of the world working collaboratively together in the best interest of humanity… But since the ‘world’ has failed to stop or even control illicit– ‘drugs’ trade, or ‘humans’ trade, or ‘animals’ parts trade… and list goes-on. There is no reason to believe that it can succeed to– stop or even cripple illicit ‘arms’ trade to any significant degree: (How depressing; quest for– profit, power, greed… endangers very existence of humankind)…

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Worker Empowerment Absurdity and Absolute Necessity: Maneuvering the Wide Gap Between Rhetoric and Reality…

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Empowerment is the notion that an organization is most productive when its workers are empowered to make and take decisions on their own… when authority is devolved down to all levels of the organization… To some people it’s just a feel-good idea, and to others it’s critical for an organization’s sustainability… Employee empowerment is a powerful motivational tool because it touches the core of the human spirit that desires to be in control of one’s destiny, and to bring about a one’s own sense of self-created order in a chaotic world… The idea of ’empowerment’ was most closely associated with Rosabeth Moss Kanter in the book entitled ‘When Giants Learn to Dance’,where she argued that large companies need to liberate employees from stultifying hierarchies if they are going to be able to ‘dance’ (be productive) in the– flexible, fast-changing future…

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But then later Chris Argyris in the book entitled ‘Empowerment: The Emperor’s New Clothes’ wrote; empowerment is a ‘nice idea but the results are a shame’… everyone talks about empowerment but it’s not working… Argyris argued that these programs are riddled with contradictions and they send out mixed messages, such as; ‘do your own thing but do it the way we tell you’… Empowerment has its limits and it should not be a goal in itself; it’s only a means to an ultimate goal of superior performance… According to Theodore Roosevelt; best executives are those who have sense enough to pick the right people to do what needs to be done… and then keep from meddling with them while they do it…

In the article Employee Empowerment by lightspeed writes: Think of empowerment not just as a management strategy but also as business gold mine… If you can create a culture of ownership where ideas are encouraged and respected you develop a strong workforce willing to– weather storms, embrace change, go the extra mile to see the business succeed… However first and foremost, business must truly see the value of empowerment and be willing to change the way the business is managed… Hence, take the time to listen to employees and find out what sort of empowerment they need to do their job better…  Also set appropriate boundaries of empowerment and give employees the tools they need through training and development… Finally, make empowerment an ongoing vision of the business and continually look for ways to develop ownership in each and every employee…

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In the article Effective Empowerment in Organizations by Gary A. Yukl, Wendy S. Becker write: Empowerment is an elusive concept; its been studied from different perspectives, including; employee perceptions, leadership behaviors, management programs… and despite the positive rhetoric, the programs that are designed to increase empowerment seldom achieve the benefits promised. The inclusiveness and seemingly contradictory outcomes stem from the fact that few companies give employees significant control and access to management information… Part of the problem is definitional; all too often management initiatives evoke the name of empowerment when the initiatives are not truly empowering… It’s important to differentiate between– trying to change employee behavior, and programs that actually empower employees… Too often empowerment programs are viewed as a simple way to motivate employees to do more…

In the article Employee Empowerment: Why It Matters by Bret L. Simmons  writes: Empowerment is a tremendous concept but in practice it’s more of a loaded buzzword that managers toss around but rarely appreciate or fully support. Like many worthy concepts (e.g. engagement), the rhetoric of employee empowerment usually far exceeds the reality… According to a study published in ‘Journal of Applied Psychology’; managers should provide more reality and less rhetoric when it comes to employee empowerment… The study findings suggest that empowerment does drives both employee behaviors and attitudes, e.g.; empowered employees were more satisfied and committed at work, less likely to experience stress, less likely to think about leaving the organization… But it also takes a specific type of employee to be successful with empowerment programs…

According to the study; practical implication of the results suggest that organizations might consider selecting employees who have positive self-evaluation traits to help establish a workforce that is more willing and able to show initiative and take an active role in improving its own performance… In other words; it’s important to hire the right type of people who have the aptitude and attitude for empowerment, e.g.; people who will act in best interest of the organization, who are trustworthy, who can take autonomous  actions, and who are dependable stewards of their decisions… Empowerment is an individual thing; it’s relative and it depends on the situation of the organization and the ‘ability’ of  individuals… Management must have/or have developed full confidence in each and every employee who is empower with certain responsibility… likewise, each employee must demonstrate that they understands the effects of their decisions/actions on the organization and are fully accountable…

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In the article Empowerment Vs. Control by Wayne Madden writes: You probably know  managers who consistently demonstrated that they believes that power comes from control, e.g.; micro-manages everything; demands to be ‘in-the-loop’ on every decision; instructs you to not make a move before ‘running it by them’; hoards critical data or information as if it’s a secret; says things like ‘you don’t need to know that’ or ‘don’t question, just do’… These type of managers work under the illusion that power comes from control– controlling information, controlling employees, controlling decisions…

Unfortunately, this illusion leads directly to building a reputation of– power-hungry managers, managers who do not empower others, they want all the credit, they want all the accolades, they trust no one… these are not actions of winning managers and, more important, of a sustainable organization… Whereas managers (and organizations)who either intuitively know or have learned through trial and error that real power comes only through empowering others with– real power, real traction… and creating teams that feels motivated, empowered, accountable to move forward… and to provide unselfish guidance that enables individuals/team to flourish instead of controlling every move… While some might say this is just– lot of ‘bull’ and ‘game of words’… while other say; empowerment is critical for a sustainable organization…

Empowerment is only effective when everyone has a common understanding of the desired outcome, performance objectives, and their part in the effort… Empowerment relies on a well-defined set of ‘values’– beliefs that create a sense of identity and clear expectations; these values are the moral criteria/moral compass by which decisions are made and prioritized… It’s essential that all members of an organization hold ‘similar’ values, common mind-set of purpose with shared responsibility and accountability…

Empowerment without accountability is a recipe for chaos… According to Robert Simon; fundamental issue facing managers in the 21st Century is how to exercise adequate control in organizations that demand– flexibility, innovation, creativity… and still empower the organization with a sense purpose… It’s a highly competitive global world with informed customers, disruptive technologies, market uncertainty… and that means that most organization must rely on employee initiatives to engage global customers, seek out opportunities… Empowerment at some level is an imperative, but empowerment also exposes to organizations to added risk or invite behaviors that can damage a company’s integrity… The dilemma: How does management protect the organization from ‘control failures’ when empowered employees are encouraged to redefine how they do their jobs? How does management ensure that subordinates with an entrepreneurial flair do not put the well-being of the organization at risk?

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One solution is to go back to the fundamentals of control developed in the 1950s and 1960s for machine-like bureaucracies. In that era, managers exercised control by telling people how to do their jobs and monitoring them with constant surveillance to guard against surprises… However, in most organizations operating in dynamic and highly competitive markets, management cannot spend all their time and effort making sure that everyone is doing what is expected. Nor is it realistic to think that management can achieve control by simply– hiring good people, aligning incentives, hoping for the best… Instead, today’s organizations must encourage and empower employees but with a level of balance between– employee ’empowerment ‘and management ‘control’ so as to maximize outcome and minimize risk…

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Value Creation Dark Side Value Destruction, Decay: Deliver Value-Prosper; Destroy Value-Doom…

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‘Value’ lies at the heart of business– success, survival, failure… it’s the bloodline, and without it there is no business… Business begins with value creation– the purpose of any business is to create and deliver value in an efficient enough way so that it generates profit after cost… According to Cliff Bowman and Véronique Ambrosini; despite its central role in establishing competitive advantage many business don’t understand ‘value creation’, in fact, most companies actually engage in ‘value destruction’…  According to Dr. Moshe Davidow; ‘value’ is a ratio between the benefits received (value creation) and the costs endured (value destruction). Any customer experience has elements of both value creation (positive value) and value destruction (negative value)…

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According to Seamus Gillen; all companies destroy value in one way or another when they engage in activities that don’t improve their competitive position, e.g.; they don’t grow revenues, or they don’t reduce costs, or they don’t take prudent risks, or they don’t hire competent management, or they don’t have effective leadership… these types of activities actually destroy value; they are liabilities in the true sense of the word… Perhaps the largest destruction of value ever, was the consolidation of AOL Time Warner, back in 2001… This boom-time deal resulted in the destruction of more than $220 billion in shareholder value… But to be fair these figures are based on inflated 2001 valuations, though by any measure, Time Warner dearly overpaid for AOL… In fact, during the ‘dot-com bubble’ era, there was over $5 trillion in market value destruction of companies from March 2000 to October 2002…

In the article Destroying Value and the Misuse of Indicators by Kevin Kaiser and David Young write: Great swathes of wealth have been destroyed because of a common tendency among business executives who seek to achieve KPI (key performance indicators) as the mechanism for value creation… Differentiating between real long-term value creation and what managers often do instead, which is chase pre-defined indicators, and that ultimately destroy value… The real value of a business is ‘the future free cash flows of the business discounted at the opportunity cost of capital’, which means that the money returned from business activities must be greater than the money invested, taking into consideration what other uses you could have made from that invested money…

… we (Kevin Kaiser, David Young) introduced concept called ‘blue-line management’, an approach in which all decisions of consequence are made with one aim; to create value. This approach stands in stark contrast to more common practice of ‘red-line management’ where ‘value creation’ is the stated goal, but the business is managed to deliver on specific ‘indicator’ targets, independent of whether these efforts are value creating or value destroying…

This is not anti-indicator and does accept the fact that organizations do require ‘Key Performance Indicators’ (KPIs) to enable them to assess how the business is progressing, but also adamant that;

… the primary function of KPIs is to promote organizational learning, a mission that will certainly be undermined when indicators are used for incentives… Indeed, much of the most useful organizational learning occurs through failure. When companies are managed on the ‘red-line’, extraordinary amounts of time and energy are devoted to hiding failure, enabling managers to avoid the consequences that can result…

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In the article Growth Can Destroy Corporate Value by Ed Hess writes: Companies can destroyed value by either taking excessive risks, or acting badly in the pursuit of growth… The culprit is a maniacal obsession with meeting the market’s insatiable hunger for more and more growth. When generating revenue or minimizing costs trumps– quality, safety, customers, reputation… eventually value is destroyed. Most business executives accept, without question, the beliefs that growth is always good, bigger is always better… and that the healthy vital signs for a company, include; ever-increasing quarterly growth that is continuous and linear. The problem with those beliefs is that there is no scientific or business basis that supports it…

Companies are simply following a traditional business strategy: Grow or die… At the heart of bad decisions and self-inflicted wounds of companies, is the assumption that continuous growth is the most important goal of business. The reality is that sometimes the best business strategy is to say ‘no’, to certain types of growth. Companies need to understand that growth creates risks that need to be aggressively managed. The market’s obsession with growth at all costs drives bad decisions. It’s time to acknowledge that the market operates under faulty growth assumptions and that many business leaders have ceded control of their companies to ‘the market’…

Leaders must be smart about growth by managing the risks of growth. Growth must not harm the essence of– brand, value proposition… they are the elements of sustainability. Being better/different is more important, in long run, than being bigger… Something is fundamentally wrong when pressures to grow causes ill-advised corporate decisions… Balancing the demands of Wall Street and the hard realities of smart growth is not easy, to be sure: It requires courageous leaders, but that’s just part of the deal… with leadership comes an obligation to be good steward of the public’s trust, and in the best interests of– shareholders, employees, customers, partners…

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In the article Destruction of Value by Dale Furtwengler writes: consider the hypothesis that value erodes over time, which stems from the fact that most people quickly take for granted things that once ‘delighted’ them… So no matter how big a splash your new product or service makes initially, it’s value declines as customers grow accustomed to that level of quality, service or combination of the two. Or, as a result of some disruptive competitive action… hence, inevitable, value erosion/decay occurs… However, this whole idea of destroying value does raise one interesting question: Is there ever a time when a business should actually self-destroy value? Seems like an odd question, but the answer is ‘it depends’: most successful companies actually do destroy value with a strategy of planned obsolescence… whereas, as other companies try to develop a ‘cash cow’ strategy…

According to Erika Ginnis; you cannot really create without destroying and you cannot destroy without creating… Nothing is ever actually lost it’s only transformed, and one of the ways that change happens is through the process of ‘creating and destroying’, and ‘destroying and creating’… Destruction in and of itself is not a bad thing. Without it there can be no change, no transformation… In order to change one must be willing to let go; this letting go is a destruction of the old pattern of things, and when you destroy you create a space for new things to appear…

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This kind of creative destruction is admittedly difficult to achieve on long-term basis, but pursuit of this goal is one that even when a company falls short of the goal, it still allows it to maintain a high degree of customer loyalty and extended periods of highly-profitable growth… Don’t be preoccupied with competitors; focus on your company’s– strategy, decisions, execution, resources… and identify ways it’s destroying value and eliminate them… Your customers will pay for ‘superior value’ and become even more loyal in the process… Now that’s value creation!

It’s a tough world out there and only firms that succeed in creating value will survive in the long-term. The key is to focus on what your customers really want… That requires both an understanding of value, as well as, the skills and ability to deliver the value in a way that more than compensates for the price paid… According to Kevin Kaiser; focusing on the bottom line alone is another cause of value destruction. When boards of directors orient their company around short-term targets, that often require value destruction to deliver results, which means that they literally pay people to blow-up the company… 

Value destruction is certainly evident in most companies and many companies are  finding it more difficult to– sustain what is not sustainable… Many companies fall by the wayside, either; because they fail to adapt to changing circumstances, or because they follow misguided strategies that destroy value… The key to business sustainability is a proper understanding of value and how to create it, and the lesson is simple: Deliver value and prosper… Or, destroy value and be doomed…

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Innovation Is Dead– Ingenuity is Mother of Invention: Doing More with Less– Ingenuity Drives Creativity…

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Innovation is dead; killed off by– overuse, misuse, narrowness, incrementalism, failure to evolve… According to phil mckinney; focus on ‘ingenuity’ it’s the key component that enables innovation… Ingenuity is the power of creative imagination; the quality of being cleverly inventive or resourceful; inventiveness. Ingenuity is the key ingredient and the spark that creates innovation… According to Norman Heatley; pursuit of innovation demands ingenuity– the ability to come up with solutions that are original and clever, within the given constraints. As technology and markets converge, the gap between what’s possible and what’s practical gets smaller… Human ingenuity enables a company to jump that gap before its competitors do… Ingenuity drives innovation– today’s challenge is  creating more value using fewer resources; it requires real ingenuity and it’s happening all over the world… the ‘more for more’ business model is running out of steam…

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Accoding to Navi Radjou; businesses must tap into the most abundant cheap resource: human ingenuity… In India they call it ‘jugaad’, a Hindi word meaning an innovative fix or improvised solution using ingenuity and resourcefulness. Jugaad solutions are not sophisticated or perfect, but they create value at a lower cost… They cleverly transform adversity into opportunity and turn something of less value into something of high value. In other words, they master the art of doing ‘more with less’… A similar approach is called ‘gambiarra’ in Brazil, ‘zizhu chuangxin’ in China… it’s MacGyver-ism, TV show in 1980s, where the character ‘MacGyver’ had uncanny ability, with just most basic resources to produce ingenious answers to almost any challenge… his name is synonymous with creative ingenuity…

In the article Ingenuity: Pathway to Innovation by Matthew May writes: Ingenuity is equal parts creativity (something original), application (something built), and value (something useful)…. Why ingenuity? Because creativity as a concept scares the average big company denizen, for two reasons: First, because conventional wisdom treats it as special quality, a mystical talent, selectively reserved for ‘le artistewho waits for a kiss of the muse to inspire a masterpiece. Which, of course, is nonsense but certainly convenient; by thinking of creativity as natural gift you can relieve accountability for ingenuity, and excuse failure to innovate all in a single stroke…

Second, because creativity seems somehow ‘soft’ and unrelated to the hard-edged tactics thought to be needed to succeed on the business battlefield… Every year, work gets more complex. Business gets more competitive. Jobs get more specialized. Careers get less stable. Goals get more challenging. Budgets shrink. Deadlines tighten. And all the while, the pace of change just keeps accelerating… How are you going to deal with all that? You’ve got more to do and less to do it with. You have no choice other than to get more creative, more resourceful… You have to build, ship something, and that something needs to deliver value to someone somewhere, or you’ll quickly find yourself irrelevant… Ingenuity is closer to that kind of applied creativity…

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In the article The Leader’s New Chisel by Craig Perrin writes: Innovate or die– is no longer a cliché… It describes the real choice many organizations face in the current economy– rethink everything from strategy to products to daily operation or risk oblivion.  Ingenuity, has taken on new meaning and new urgency. Today, offering and executing good ideas is not enough. Leaders must create a culture in which innovation can thrive. To respond to new threats and opportunities, leaders must question everything… Innovation at one time was a little-used skill at the bottom of a leader’s tool box, and fished-out for incremental improvements here or there. Today, leaders need sharp new tools and requisite skills to create true culture of ingenuity: curious, challenging, collaborative, confidence, team building, customer relevant… Leaders strong in the zone of ‘ingenuity’ must help their teams to create a motivating shared-vision of future success…

In the article Ingenuity: Super Skill by Dorothy H. Bray writes: Ingenuity is the skill of working out how to achieve things or invent new things or ideas… Ingenuity is unique as a pluralistic skill; it’s a blended skill, built on fusion of– aptitude, capability, proficiency, ability… It’s a super-skill; deriving its energy from shared-communication, creativity, cognitive problem solving… its inventive skills; imaginative and clever new ideas, and interdisciplinary… Synonyms for ingenuity include;  inventiveness, resourcefulness, shrewdness it’s a cooperative process resulting in the production of ideas that solves real problems… Recent research suggests that creativity is not simply a product of personality or individual psychology, but rather rooted in teachable competences that includes; idea generation, improvisation, metaphorical and analogical reasoning, divergent thinking that explores many possible solutions, counterfactual reasoning, synthesis of competing solutions…

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In the article Ingenuity by Jordan Ritter writes: When you talk about something that’s ingenious, there’s a confluence of three factors; challenge, idea, pursuit of solution… Today in technology, most people are substituting the word ‘innovation’ for ‘ingenuity’, and that this is getting in the way of real experimentalism and true breakthroughs… Part of the problem is that the word ‘innovation’ has been co-opted in a marketing context; people are exposed to an explosion of information, there’s a cascade of ‘cutting-edge’ or ‘leading-edge’ solutions that are characterized as ‘innovations’… when in fact they are an exercise of ingenuity…

Call it tinkering. Or testing. Or tweaking… Whatever you call it, it’s the enemy of the status quo, of complacency, of the ordinary… Want to work like an artist? Then new and different is the creed, because for an artist– ‘as is’; just isn’t acceptable… So it’s not enough to be technically proficient at something; sure, to be a true master at anything, one must first gain command of ‘old school’ methods, but competence and workmanship is just the ante to the game… According to Matthew May; ingenuity is about new, better, different… and it’s a marvel when some people not only perform the basics to near perfection, but then actually change the game and achieve hero status… it’s the application of imagination and ingenuity. It’s constant exploration and leveraging different ideas, methods… it’s a creative mind-shift…

According to Kelvin Odoobo; to achieve ingenious results you must be unattached to ‘having’ the right answer and instead, being attached to ‘finding’ the right answer… it’s experimentalism… and bias towards action, ability to move and change, willingness to be versatile in action and agile in thought… The people who have the greatest potential for ingenuity are those who have the greatest capacity for– fearlessness, critical thinking, adventurously learning new things… According to Manish Jha; often would-be innovators  stand on the shoulders of many successful giants of innovations who came before  them–to learn, to be inspired, to mimic… which is all good, but sometimes in this process the would-be innovators lose their originality and ingenuity and end-up accomplishing less…

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Is there a better way, different way? Exploration always starts with a ‘question’… And the ‘right question’ is far more important than the ‘right answer’. According to Milan Kundera;  people’s stupidity comes when they have an ‘answer’ for everything, whereas people’s wisdom comes when they have a ‘question’ for everything… The problem is that most people forget how to ask ‘questions’… In vast majority of– universities, institutions, organizations… they breed too much conformity of thought and not enough curiosity… They often are adamant about what is know and believe to be true; they limit themselves only to options that are– right in front of them, and fail to consider what’s truly possible…

Remember this fact; everything that is ‘known’, in today’s world, was at one time– unknown, unimagined, undiscovered… so it’s important that each person, as major part of their daily work, make a serious effort to– discovery, uncover, create… something that is currently unknown in the organization, something that improves state of– technology, or customers, or workers… Ask ‘questions’ and offer ‘creative’ solutions; ingenuity is all about asking the ‘right’ questions. Hence you too, by asking the ‘right’ questions, at the right ‘time’, at the ‘right’ place… and offering ‘creative’ solutions can become another MacGyver…

 

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Language of Social Media, Internet… Sustainability: Business Must Embrace Online Language– Tweets, Acronyms, Emoticons…

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If you want to change a nation, change its language… If you want to change a business, change it language… Social media, Internet and online technology are driving the rapid creation and proliferation of new language… social media has spawned new vocabulary and morphed old ones… it has changed not only the form of language but how people interact and communicate… and this has a profound impact on how business is done; how products are developed, packaged, promoted, sold… to be sustainable a business must embrace and apply this new language of– social media, Internet, digital technology…

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According to Lee Densmer; technology-enabled communications have changed the very structure of language and biggest factor is the ever-increasing velocity of language… Social media has condensed– words, phrases, vocabularies… this adaptation of language is more concise, faster… and people communicate more quickly, efficiently, effectively… Technology has expanded people’s ability to communicate, and it certainly does not follow the traditional rules of ‘proper’ grammar. Hence some say; it’s pathetic… other say; it’s efficient. Language is alive, vital, highly mutable… for sustainability, business must embrace it…

In the article Change Language and Reframe How You Interact With Customers by Erik Flowers writes: Changing language changes very foundation of a business relationship… The purpose of changing language is to change ‘intent’ on how you do business– the interaction has a different mindset, although it seeks the same result… and that means, shifting the way you frame (or reframe) relationships and language used to embrace it… Changing language such that it better relates with customers is the first step for building a sustainable business… According to Mitch Joel; there is only one strategy for building a successful business– and that strategy is to connect with customers… and if you don’t talk the customers’ language– you are toast…

Social Media and Internet is Changing Language: Social media is fast growing influence on language… The introduction of new words, new meanings for old words… changes in the way people communicate. These all show the increasing importance of social media, and the stamp it’s making on language, e.g.; emoticons, tweets, acronyms… growing adaptation of language express a person’s feelings; it’s fashionable, it’s cool, it’s simple… It’s an evolving language in the world of social media, which is changing the way business must communicate…

According to Zoe Kleinman; changes in languages is not new, but historically language changes very slowly… however with the increasing use of the Internet and social media, changes in language has accelerated and is now an important factor in the way people communicate… many more people are using things, such as; ‘word play’ to form groups and impress peers… It’s like a badge of ability, e.g.; at a local ‘skate-park’ you might see kids who make skateboard do wonderful things… similarly online, people show brilliance by manipulating the language for– social media, Internet… these adaptation of language are increasingly being embraced by the general populations…

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In the article Social Media Must Speak Business Language by Zane Safrit writes: The language of social media is great, but for business it must be translated… so as to tell the story in the language of CEOs, CFOs… The language CEOs and CFOs want to hear is the language of numbers, i.e.; number that go-up and numbers that go-down… Language that tell story of how certain numbers for the business– go-up, e.g.; leads, conversion rates, customer accounts, sales per customer, revenues, profits, cash-flow… and story of how these numbers for business– go-down, e.g.; customer churn, customer acquisition costs, marketing costs, advertising costs, employee turnover, hiring costs…

The language for managing business is language of numbers… words such as; tweets, re-tweets, trackbacks, links, rss feeds, feed readers, blogrolls, hackers, spambots, organic SEO are the words of an unintelligible language outside the echo chamber of social media experts… and therein lies the rub: A business built around power of conversation speaks only in its own language… and although CEOs and CFOs are hungry, anxious… for power of social media… social media language must speak and connect with language of business, e.g.; cash-flow and customers, prospects and conversion rates, hiring costs and employee turnover… That’s the language that CEOs and CFOs of millions of businesses speak every day…

In the article Social Media is Changing Language by Kate Wilson writes: Social media impacts language by altering the meaning of words, e.g.; the ‘Pinterest’ platform has changed the way people view the words– ‘pin, ‘pinning’, ‘pinned’… People know these words to be representative of a physical ‘pin’ used to ‘pin’ something to a physical surface, wall, board… Whereas in the online world, ‘pin’ or ‘pinning’ is descriptive of a similar concept, but the surface only exists digitally… Just as social media alters the usage of words, it also has introduced the usage of descriptive phrases, e.g.; full ‘verb-phrases’ have become common acronyms that are now used in everyday conversation, not just online…

These phrases include; “as far as I know” (AFAIK ), “ask me anything”( AMA), “before anyone else”(BAE), “Be right back”(BRB), “by the way”(BTW), “Got to go” (GTG), “I don’t care” (IDC), “I don’t know”(IDK), “In my humble opinion”(IMHO), “Let me know” (LMK), “Laughing out loud” (LOL), “Oh my god” (OMG), “On my way” (OMW)… these short acronyms are creeping-up in everyday language… According to some people; these type verb-phrase acronyms cuts down on the number of words and characters used to hold a conversation, and that enables more efficient communication and greater speed… According to other people; these are perversions of language and bad for– business, society… However it’s matter of fact, social media is transforming and changing the way language is being used… and as technology and social media continues to advance, there will surely be more language-altering shifts occurring…

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In the article Language of Social Media by Elissa Nauful writes: social media has ‘gone corporate’… corporation are beginning to understand that the use of social media and its new language is good for business and offers many benefits for business and consumers alike… and corporate voice is beginning to adopt its langauge for online communities and developing programs that are relevant for social media, e.g.; they are not just regurgitate traditional marketing lingo– keeping the message short and sweet… providing relevant and interesting content– content is king… focusing on strong verbs and staying away from tired old words and phrases… Being playful, being corny, having fun… and, occasionally using a bit of gentle self-mockery… Ultimately the language you choose should resonate with customers, and for best results, keep it honest and authentic…

Some people say social media is killing language, and they mostly cite the excessive usage of– undecipherable initialisms, incorrect abbreviations, cutesy emoticons… Others believe (much smaller population, to be sure) say that social media is not ruining language, but rather simply changing the ways in which people use language to express themselves… Social media has prompted subtle revolution in language and in ways people communicate; people share more personal information and communicate with larger online audiences… Communication styles are more informal, more open… and this is seeping into other areas of business, life, culture… When communicating on social media, people have become more succinct; get to the point quicker, and operate within the creative constraints of 140 characters…

Facebook has also done more than most platforms to offer up new meanings for words, such as; friends, likes, pages, profiles… Other new meanings which crop up on social media channels also reflect the dark side of social media, e.g.; ‘troll’ is no longer just character from Norse folklore but someone who makes offensive, provocative comments online… or, ‘sock puppet’ is no longer solely puppet made from old sock, but self-serving fake online persona… or, ‘astroturfing’ is no longer simply laying a plastic lawn but also a fake online grass-roots movement…

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According to Carolyn Cohn; technology has great deal to say about how people interact and communicate… having dialogues in language of social media and Internet can give a business a competitive edge that they wouldn’t have otherwise… But business must vigilant; to learn, keep-up, adapt, embrace… language nuances of social media, Internet,  digital technology… Language is dynamic, alive and evolving… and to be a sustainable business, it must keep an open-mind about– new words, changing vocabulary, evolving language, new ways of communicating…

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Contentious Economics– Immigrants Create Billion Dollar Companies: Crisis– H-1B, Outsource, STEM…

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Believe it: U.S. is nation of immigrants, and U.S. economy is economy of immigrants.  Many U.S. companies, e.g.; Procter & Gamble, AT&T, Kraft, Colgate-Palmolive, U.S. Steel, Philip Morris, TIAA-CREF, DuPont, Goldman Sachs, Pfizer, Kohl’s, Capital One, Honeywell, PG&E, Nordstrom… just to name a few–  were founded by immigrants… Not to mention the many high-tech companies that are founded by at least one immigrant or children of immigrants, e.g.; Apple, Oracle, Ebay, Google, Yahoo, Tesla… Other growing fields, like semiconductors and medical devices, are full of immigrant-founded companies as well. The findings are clear: Immigrants drive the U.S. economy…

According to a study; 18% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant and over 40% were founded by either an immigrant or child of an immigrant… These companies employ over 10 million people worldwide and generate over $4.2 trillion in revenue annually… Almost by definition, immigrants are risk takers and hard workers and they, in turn, generate jobs for workers that are– less skilled, less risk-takers… The report also cites startups and established companies, both large and small, where immigrants serve in executive roles, such as; CEO, CTO, V.P.s… Immigrants in U.S. start new businesses at a rate that far outpaces their share of the population; from local neighborhood shops to U.S. largest companies…

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However, crisis is brewing: It’s workers skills gap… the new global economy is driven by technology and for U.S. companies to maintain leadership and competitive advantage they must have the world’s best engineers, programmers, mathematicians, scientists… Global competition for talent is very high; foreign nations are increasingly pursuing U.S. trained, highly skilled talent… Many skilled foreigners graduate from top U.S. universities, but U.S. immigration policy makes it very difficult for them to stay in U.S. In short, U.S. is training many of the world’s most talented workers, but leaving many of them with two options; go work in another country for non-U.S. company, or work for U.S. company in another country… As result, U.S. companies are moving jobs to other countries, while other countries are focused on luring away talented workers who cannot get H-1B visas…

In addition, U.S. desperately needs more STEM (i.e., science, technology, engineering, mathematics) graduates… U.S. must develop a stronger indigenous workforce of experts in technology… According to the U.S. Department of Labor; only 5% of U.S. workers are employed in fields related to technologies, yet technologies are responsible for more than 50% of U.S. sustained economic expansion… Hence, a critical U.S. national priority must be to encourage and provide incentives for more U.S. students to study STEM… But unfortunately, the U.S. is trending in opposite direction; 30 years ago about 40% of  world’s scientists and engineers resided in the U.S.– today that number has shrunk to about 15%…

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In the article Immigrants Are Driving Main Street Business Growth by Ken Gaebler writes: Historically, immigrants play critical roles in the U.S. economy… A report by the ‘Americas Society/Council of the Americas’; discusses rising influence of immigrant entrepreneurs in ‘Main Street’ business, i.e.; businesses that shape fabric of the nation’s local communities. The report shows that from 2001-2013, immigrant entrepreneurs (documented and undocumented) drove all of the nation’s net growth in ‘Main Street‘ business, e.g.; groceries, restaurants, clothing stores…

The efforts of immigrant entrepreneurs in launching and growing Main Street business is important because it helps to revitalize depressed communities, reversing population decline and increasing the economic base in hard-hit neighborhoods… In addition to Main Street business, immigrants occupy a larger place in the high growth small business economy, e.g.; from 2001 to 2013, immigrants were responsible for 48% of the overall growth of business ownership in U.S… Similarly, immigrants accounted for the net growth of ‘Main Street‘ business in 31 of the nation’s 50 largest metro areas… Findings include:

  • Immigrant entrepreneurs represent 28% of business owners–significantly higher than the share of immigrants in the labor force (16%) and the overall share of immigrant business owners (18%)…
  • Immigrant small business owners earned a combined $13 billion in 2013…
  • Immigrants comprise large percentage of Main Street business owners in major metros: Los Angeles (64%), San Jose (61%), Washington D.C. (56%), Miami (54%)…
  • Immigrants own 53% all grocery stores, 45% nail salons, 38% restaurants, 32% jewelry stores, 32% clothing stores…

What is H-1B Visa: The H-1B program allows employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in U.S. on a non-immigrant basis in specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability. A specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge and bachelor degree or the equivalent in the specific specialty (e.g. sciences, medicine, health care, education, biotechnology, and business specialties…).

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Current U.S. laws limit the annual number of qualifying foreign workers who may be issued a visa or otherwise be provided H-1B status to 65,000 with an additional 20,000 under the H-1B advanced degree exemption… also there is a H-1B Cap-Exempt, which allows employers that are not subjected to the annual H-1B visa numerical limitations… Employers that fall under the ‘Cap-Exempt’ category, include: Not for profit institution of higher education; Not for profit entity related or affiliated to an institution of higher education; Not for profit research organization or governmental research organization; Certain for-profit (e.g.; consulting/contracting) firms…

Research shows that U. S. faces significant challenges in meeting the growing needs of an expanding knowledge-based innovation economy, and H-1B workers must compliment U.S. workers to fill employment gaps in many STEM (i.e., science, technology, engineering, mathematics) occupations… The arguments that immigrants are freezing out native-born workers are rebutted by the reality of  the evidence, e.g.; unemployment rates are low for occupations that use large numbers of H-1B visas, and most STEM occupations have very low unemployment compared to the overall national unemployment rate… According to Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Estimates indicate increasing H-1B visas could create an estimated 1.3 million new jobs and add around $158 billion to U.S. GDP by 2045…
  • Conversely, research show that U. S. has missed out on opportunities to create new jobs by limiting the number of H-1B visas to 65,000 per year, i.e.; estimates show that had U.S. not rejected large numbers of H-1B visa applications in computer related fields, many more tech jobs would be created for U.S.-born workers… 
  • Although nearly two-thirds of requests for H-1B workers are for STEM occupations; there is high demand for workers in– healthcare, business, finance, life sciences…

In the article Myth of H-1B Job Creation by Michelle Malkin writes: Every day brings new headlines of U.S. workers losing their livelihoods to cheap H1-B visa replacements… Yet, it remains an article of faith among ‘big business flacks and beltway hacks’ that H-1B not only protects U.S. jobs, but also fuels miraculous job growth… The myths are recycled and regurgitated that foreign-born STEM workers complement U.S. workforce, and they don’t take U.S. jobs… According to statement by Bill Gates; study shows that for every H-1B a technology companies hire, then five additional jobs are created around that person…

According to Madeline Zavodny, Mark Zuckerberg and others; 2.62 more jobs are created for U.S.-born workers for each foreign-born worker in U.S. who has a U.S. STEM graduate degree… However, many experts take exception to these claims, e.g.; the study Gates cited regarding the H-1B job generation– shows nothing of the kind, instead it finds a positive correlation between these visas and job growth… these visas could be an indicator of broader hiring at the company, rather than the cause… While industry lobbyists have employed dubious and convoluted means to show H-1B creates jobs, it’s brutally simple to show that H-1B workers take U.S. jobs…

Lost amidst the national debate on immigration reform is the critical fact that U.S. needs to attract or develop ‘skilled’ workers to sustain growth of the economy… According Scott Clemons; getting immigration right is an economic imperative for 21st century, as well as, expanding STEM education… The capacity of any economy to expand over time is a function of growth in the labor force plus the productivity of that labor force… A few simple dynamics determine growth in labor force, and they include; fertility, mortality, participation, education, immigration… These issues are routinely thought of being demographic or social issues but the economic implications are an imperative…

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Economic capacity is defined by– how many people are born, how long they live, how well they are educated, extent to which they participate in the formal economy, and whether or not the nation can ‘borrow’ population growth from other countries through immigration… Many global economies struggle with– stagnant and negative population, labor force growth, inadequate education… which illustrates how difficult it is to generate sustainable economic growth when ‘skilled’ workers are in short supply… The difference between a functional and dysfunctional immigration policy is the difference between a dynamic economic future, or one mired in malaise; U.S. economy needs highly skilled human capital and whether it’s– grown at home or immigrated from abroad… is almost relevant, because without it– it’s a crisis… 

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Absurdity of Social Media Obsession Defies Reality, It Sucks: More Social You Get, Less Real You Become

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Social media (or social networking) sucks; plain and simple: According to Daniel Nations; the term ‘social media’ is used to describe almost anything on the Internet… although there is vagueness in its definition most people equate social media to sites/apps, such as; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… and most people are absorbed with words, such as; ‘friends’, ‘engage’, ‘followers’, ‘connections’, ‘likes’… all kinds of other blather. Social media has become ultimate absurdity of human psyche; it’s– repetitive, purposeless, confusing… most information is stupid, preposterous, ridiculous… the metrics are insane, e.g.; millions of ‘friends’, thousands of ‘connections’, millions of ‘followers’, thousands of ‘likes’… the reality is that these metrics are meaningless– most people only communicate and build meaningful relationships with very small percentage of so-called; ‘friends’… less than 1% (assuming these are real people, not robots)… but for many it’s not a matter of value– it’s an ego thing, it’s mine is bigger than yours… it’s obsession and no sense of reality…

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According to Nate Elliott; Facebook has failed the business community– a Forrester survey of 395 businesses in– UK, U.S., and Canada– found that Facebook creates less business value than most other digital marketing programs… According to Rick Bomstein; understanding the Facebook phenomenon is something of an enigma; the idea of ‘connecting’ with so many people who you have not seen in years, if not decades… and, hundred if not thousands of people who you have never, or will ever meet, and don’t really care much about– seems absurd. Hence, social media is a perfect antidote for those feeling insecure about their mortal make-up… It’s simply another illusion for those desperately searching for a way to escape the reality of the world…

According to Jonathan; how stupid is Twitter? only something this tasteless could truly capture the frivolity of the compulsive… Deep-down you know that you could never get away with this level of self-important blather in any other communication medium… But as long as others keep ‘listening’ and retaliating with their own narcissistic brain-farts, you continue to group-think into the delusion that the emperor is wearing some skivvies; and it’s completely acceptable behavior to broadcast an announcement, e.g.; recovery from a hangover, or random facts you learn from reading pamphlets at the local super market, or waste away your day communicating trivia with people you don’t know or care about… Then there are the recursive loops of self-importance (better known to the self-important as ‘meta-tweets’)… it’s all an absurd waste of time…

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In the article Social Media Sucks! by Dawnna writes: About 80% of social media ‘sucks’! In fact, it sucks so friggin’ much that I think I am going to cut out about 80% of my network and only allow ‘real’ people in! Sounds radical? Maybe not. The first thing that I noticed is the ‘content’… Most people are just quoting other people and I could care less about what– Einstein, Steve Jobs, or others… have to say about a topic… If I wanted to know I would read the book… Then there is the ‘most popular person’ in the world syndrome– they have more invitations in their inbox that anyone else! But not to be out done; I tested the waters of social media to see what was real and what was fake. So I attempted to communicate with people only moments after their tweet or post would hit the airwaves. My replies were consistently met with silence. Maybe they passed out on the keyboard only milliseconds after the post went out, or maybe I was connected with one of the damn automated owls on ‘Hoot Suite’! I even asked people if they wanted to meet for coffee or have a real conversation (like on the phone) and again; the response was silence…

Am I bitter? Not really: I just refuse to waste time talking to an owl. Call me crazy, but I want real conversations with real people. I want to be– dare I say– social! And I want to be social with people who have their own original thoughts; write their own articles and have something to say other than what someone else said… I don’t mind if people post their own articles; or have something interesting to say about something they actually read. However, I will drop anyone that is 100% automated that quotes others constantly; and does not have enough of a brain stem to actually interact socially… I want to socialize with real people, about real things…

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In the article Absurdity of Social Media by bitchspot writes: It’s funny but the more I look at social media and the more I partake in social media, the less impressed I am with it all. Take Twitter, for example: Of what use is Twitter? All I see is people throwing insults, retweeting endless memes, tons of pictures with famous quotes but nothing else… What is the point of it all? What does it accomplish? There’s nothing useful going on. There are times when the same meme is retweeted more than a dozen times in a row. It’s short attention span theater! I’m not trying to insult people, but honestly, I don’t see Twitter attracting the best and brightest people… The majority of them seem to be, well, idiotic… That may very well be because of the way I use Twitter: I don’t invade other people’s hashtags and make fun of their– religion, race, politics…

Then there is Facebook and Google+, but none of these services are set up to allow intellectual discussions to occur. They are just an endless string of comments that follow one particular conversation, which is next to impossible to understand; especially when a couple of discussions are going on at the same time… it all pointless waste of time… Plus the fact that there are so many different groups on both Facebook and Google+ that your message gets diluted, e.g.; on Google+, I am member of 3 groups, 2 skeptical groups, a blogger group, several podcasting groups… and even though some of these groups have tens of thousands of members, very little is actually going on in the group… ‘lurkers’ outnumber ‘posters’ 1000-to-1, and most of the content that actually does get posted, there is a very low signal to noise ratio– it’s like watching 8 year olds post fart jokes… So where do all the intelligent people go?

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In the article Ridiculousness on Social Media by Marc Avery writes: Social media can be a gift and a curse depending on which day you login… One of the cool things about social media is connecting with people you may have lost contact with over the years… On the flip side, things tend to become ridiculous at times… Social media has opened floodgates for people who have nothing better to do than troll people on the Internet and then hide behind fake screen names and stock photos. I love when I see good things trending on social media, and I cringe when I see the smartphone videos going viral… Most of social media is a train wreck– there are out-of-context videos, narratives are twisted in all which ways and at the end of the day you have to make your own conclusions… Social media is what you make it, and it can be a great tool– for business, for fun, for education… if you can shield all the absurdities…

In the article Ridiculousness of Facebook Posts by Deanna writes: The ridiculousness of some posts on Facebook are stupid silly… As an avid social media user I understand the importance of ‘connections’ and I do enjoy catching-up on Facebook, and I also do my own social media postings trying to make them– interesting, fun… with some; sarcasm, charm, wit, authenticity, humor… But, what I hate is the glorification of anything that is relatively meaningless to most people, especially when a child is the star of the post… Every; Little; Thing; that Johnny has accomplished in his three short years of life does not need to be on social media… Yes, social media is for being social– but the over-sharing, the one-upping, five to six posts a day is saturation of anyone’s life, and frankly who has that much time to post? It’s time-consuming! Some posts are just unreal: Exaggeration and expectation of being something you are not…

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Most social media is absurd, ridiculous, stupid… and yet, like the prevailing human condition, we ‘connect’ to achieve some kind of significance… According to Michael Seidlinger; no matter how exhaustively you– post, tweet, comment, curate your feeds… It isn’t until you reach a plateau, a full-stop, that you realize how bound you are to the routine maintenance of your online identities… If Albert Camus were alive today, he would write ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ about people’s– massive, shared, ubiquitous digital brain and social media rendered as yet another component of absurdity… It’s likely he would explore and exploit social media as leading example of the duality of the human condition; on its surface– pursuit of happiness and meaningful connection, but underneath a void without meaning lurking behind the mirror of self-perception… Like anything else, social media is harmless, until it isn’t… until you wake and realize you no longer live without– its conditions, its effects, its functionalities…

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