Two Things To Know

There are two things to know.

  • Know-how:  That’s knowing how to do things yourself.
  • Know-who:  That’s knowing who to go to to get everything else done. 

None of us is perfect.


We each have strengths and weaknesses.


No one has all the answers–despite some big egos out there!


That’s why we all need each other.


Knowledge is great, but networking magnifies your potential many times over.


These are two things you definitely want to know. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Clip-Clip

So recently I started cutting my own hair. 


Uh, yes!


Not sure what made me actually do this…


But it just seemed like I was wasting money at the Hair Cuttery on something that I could do myself. 


Also, I remember fondly how my dad used to cut his own hair for decades.


So I gave it a try–that’s not me in the picture!


I purchased a simple Wahl clipper and went at it.  


First a little tentatively and then more boldly as I got the hang of it. 


The best part of the clipper is the color-coded guide combs so I don’t completely screw this up. 


What I also like is that ability to give myself a little trim whenever I want. 


Don’t have to wait to get to the barber or to wait on line there. 


So far so good, thank G-d–no big hair disasters.  


And frankly, I look a lot happier than the guy in this photo. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Make The Right Move To Agile Education

So, unfortunately, our education system in this country is highly troubled


Generally, we teach by strict curriculum forcing children to learn what we consider “the fundamentals”.


But they are anything but that and kids come out not knowing how to do the very basics or survive in life. 


Test scores have not been improving–that’s not the student’s fault, but the education system, which cannot force feed what students minds are rejecting as “old school” and out of touch.


Not only don’t we fish for them, but we don’t even teach them to fish. 


We throw at them esoteric subjects to memorize, spit back, and forget. 


Wash, rinse, repeat. 


We waste years of their life and the productivity and creativity of society. 


Ever really wonder why GDP growth is only around 2% despite all the rapid technology that we are rolling out. 


It is just not drones that we are rolling off the assembly line, but human automatons as well. 


This is where agile education comes into aspect. 


Like with software development, we can gather requirements and build, and then show the customer, and then refine again and again. 


We let the development grow and mature naturally as the code takes shape. 


No more years of development and voila here’s something for you, and with the customer exclaiming loudly, “What the F*** is that!”


So too with education, we need to follow the spirit and train of thought naturally. 


Where we let the students guide the teacher to what their questions are, what they are interested in learning about, where their creative juices take them, and what is relevant. 


Rigidity in the education system leaves our students as dead ends, and not as critical thinkers and innovators.


We have a dearth of leaders we can look up to and a plethora of people that couldn’t survive the Spring without their Visa/Mastercard.  


Ever wonder why so many of our great innovators are college dropouts who built their companies in their garages instead of occupying a seat in a classroom and filling their heads with teacher rhetoric. 


Most people learn by seeing, internalizing, and doing useful things for themselves, not by listening and violently rejecting the irrelevant in their lives. 


Let us release the choking reigns of our education system. 


Teachers should be able to follow the questions and interests and natural evolution of thought and creativity and wonderment with their students. 


The mark of learning is not the answers on a standardized test, but the light bulb of critical thinking and innovation from our progeny. 


Exploration and discovery and skills to be self-sufficient and survive are far more beneficial than what we are giving our children today.


We owe them a better education, but we are not delivering because we are the automatons of yesteryear. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Got Skills

I thought this was a very telling sign right off the highway in Washington, D.C. 


“Does your child have life skills?”


And then it lists things like:

“Cooking, budgets, sewing, ironing, time managment, communication, and fun”


The classes are offered by ActualLifeSkills.com.


I took a look online at what a typical 6-week class offered on Sundays for 3-hours at a time and at a cost of $345. 


It even covered things like:

“Handshakes, eye contact, and conversation starters
Voice projection and confidence
Party/guest etiquette, gifts and thank you notes”


And of course, aside from the cooking and budgeting already mentioned, there were more of the foundations such as laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping.


I would suggest adding things like computer basics, child rearing, human relations, home maintenance, car mechanics, hunting, fishing, gardening, first-aid, fitness, and even self-defense. 


Since, we spend so much time teaching book skills, I have often thought why we don’t spend more time teaching these fundamental life skills. 


We are raising a generation of kids that can score 1500+ on the SATs, but they don’t know sh*t about real life and couldn’t survive a week without electricity, Internet, or mom and dad taking care of them. 


Back to basics. 


Back to life skills. 


Back to survival. 


Back to being self-sufficient. 


There is no reason that we can’t add these items to our broken school curriculums. 


You shouldn’t have to go to special classes to learn to live life. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

All American Chair

All American Chair.jpeg

Got to love this all American chair. 

Red, white, and blue. 

And stars and stripes everywhere. 

The only thing that I seriously wonder about is whether this chair was manufactured in the U.S. 

With the U.S. losing 35% of it’s manufacturing employment between 1998 and 2010 (from 17.6M to 11.5M), due in large part to outsourcing, there is a good chance this chair was made overseas. 

Now manufacturing makes up less than 9% of total U.S. employment

Also noteworthy is the loss of 51,000 manufacturing plants or 12.5% between 1998-2008.  

Together, agriculture and industry make up only approximately 20% of the entire U.S. economy

Manufacturing are agriculture are strategic capabilities for this country and any country. 

It’s not just what you know, but what you make!

Sure we can make things faster and easier with automation, but at this point there is a serious skills shortage (with millions of jobs going unfilled), and we need to safeguard the strategic knowledge, skills, capability, and capacity to make things vital to our thriving existence.

We need to be a more self-sufficient nation again and not a one-trick service pony. 

We need to use information to be better innovators, creators, developers, and builders. 

Information is great, but you can’t live by information alone. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Help Is Coming

Help

So I used to have a boss who said something really funny.


He used to go, “Everybody says they want to help us” and then bemoaningly he would seem to repeat that a few times. 


The next part which he didn’t need to explicitly say was that “But no one does!”


It was the words, but also much the tone–yes, the walls could be caving in, the ship could be sinking, everything going up in flames, and of course, everyone is there looking on, shaking their heads pitifully, and seemingly stretching out their hand in an offer of help. 


For this boss though, the help couldn’t come fast enough or with enough resources to help resolve all the issues going on at the time. 


I suppose first and foremost, we have to help ourselves. 


Secondly, there needs to be a core understanding from the beginning of what is really doable and what is simply fantasy fare. 


Third, if help is on the way–great, but it’s got to be timely enough and come with enough raw horsepower to make a genuine difference. 


Finally, sometimes miracles do happen and everything works out great–the day is saved–but even then so much underlying damage has been done that you need to rebuild from the core foundations again. 


And for the next time, you’ll need to ensure capabilities beyond what was ever imagined before. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Can You Say Coalition?

Face.JPEG

So count up the number of times the word coalition was thrown around last night in the DNC Presidential Debate. 


Every last sentence to every question asked was like: 


We need a coalition to defeat ISIS.


We need a coalition outside the U.S. to defeat terrorists grabbing land, and inside the U.S. to defeat the lone attackers. 


We need a coalition for climate change. 


We need a coalition to get our economy back on track.


We need a coalition to better regulate guns. 


We need a coalition on immigration reform. 


Of course, as the superpower, we can’t seem to do anything for ourselves anymore. 


We are disengaged, leading from behind, and have no real answers to any of the big problems we face. 


No matter that we have been using a coalition to fight ISIS these last number of years, and success has been marginal at best as they keep recruiting on social media. 


No matter that we can’t get binding agreements with Iran as they shoot off new ballistic missiles capable of carrying nukes into the ether, or on global warming because each country in the end will do what they want in their own best interests. 


No matter that ISIS, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea does what they want and don’t need permission, forgiveness, or anything from anybody–they pursue what is good for them and they are relentless in getting it. 


No matter that we constantly show fear and weariness and helplessness in the face of our enemies that have the resolve, patience, and determination to fight as long as it takes and do whatever it takes to win. 


One candidate spurted something about, “Do you know how many coalitions I’ve put together” or “I’ve been putting together coalitions for years” (like that has achieved what exactly)?”


Terrorism is on the rise from Paris to California, ISIS is on the move grabbing up territory from Iraq and Syria and now even in Libya, the world is an unstable powder keg from Taiwan to Sudan, and our problems at home are growing worse (national debt, racial discord, etc.)


Oh, we need to get Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Iraq to step up to the plate, so said another one of the candidates last night. 


But we spend billions and billions training them, and they are happy to take the American dollars, but when the first shot is fired, the troops head for the hills…why should they get killed fighting a war that we care about and against their own brothers.


You can’t relegate your problems to others or ask others to pick up your slack, while you sit back and drop some bombs from the air–la la la la. 


Are we in a complete and utter leadership void and stupor?


Coalitions are only effective when there is leadership and resolve.


Coalitions are a cop-out when we are stymied to fight for ourselves, to stand up for our beliefs and values, to demonstrate we are committed, and to lead the charge. 


Cowardice will lose the war and much else…if we don’t get off the coalition’s dime. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)