Monday, June 22, 2015

Merkel and Charybdis

Odysseus, King of Ithaca, would know what to do.


Every Greek man, woman, and child; every European man, woman, and child, has a right and the need to have his or her leaders call for and succeed in Chancellor Merkel stepping down. Now.

The Analysis is Simple

Have we followed Merkel's lead? Yes.
Have things gotten better? No.
Have things gotten worse? Yes.
Conclusion?  Do not follow Merkel's lead.

This is not politics.  This is not economics. This is common knowledge and common sense!

I have been calling for Merkel to step down since last year.

European Leaders who follow Merkel are by definition, not leaders.

European Leaders who follow Merkel are by definition followers.

As for Merkel, if you can't manage, you can't lead.  Merkel has failed to manage the crisis.

The Chancellor has proven willing to discuss any idea or plan that will impede or prevent any solution to the crisis being implemented.

You cannot cut wages, fire people, raise taxes, and call it a disaster plan--disaster plans are intended to prevent disasters, not cause them.  A one-pronged approach is not a solution--it is a weapon.  The very approach is designed to decrease the GDP.
I also warned that the Firewall around Greece would not help Greece's neighbor--Spain.  This is proving to be true.  In Spain, the most popular Tweet is "Stop Merkel."

The following are fairly comprehensive.


EuoBondage and Leadership.



Merkel's Last Stand



The EuroCrats Trojan Plan--Destroy Greece



Too Greek to Fail



Firewall or Farce?



Now is the time for European Leaders to lead.


Sincerely,

Slim



Copyright (c) 2012 Slim Fairview
All rights reserved.

Monday, June 8, 2015

GreekEnomics



Today, President Obama, addressing the press at the G-7 meeting, invoked the mantra I’ve propounded for almost five years. Capital Investment.

How long have the EuroCrats been attempting to solve the Greek Economic Crisis?
Too Long.  The same applies to the EuroCrisis.

By now we should be able to invoke Slim Fairview’s Empirical Method of Analysis.

Have we tried austerity?
Yes.
Have things gotten better?
No.
Have things gotten worse?
Yes.
Conclusion?
Don’t do that.

The first rule of holes: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Reform is the smallest part of the solution to the Greek Economic Crisis.  We need, as I’ve said repeatedly, Capital Investment + Economic Development + Growth.

ONE PROPOSAL:

What is one thing Greece has been known for?  Shipping. Did anyone say Onassis?
If the EuroCrats don’t embrace this idea, the Chinese will.  Case in point.  When I heard that Air Travel will double in the next 20 years, I posed the question, does that mean we will need to double the number of airports, or double the number of planes?  What happened?  Boeing increased the size of the planes.

China is building a Canal in Nicaragua. Why? To accommodate the Super Ships. Why? To ship from Western Africa, through the Nicaragua canal to China and the rest of Asia.

Remember what I said in my article “Energy Independence? (Then What?)”  I said, when we no longer need oil from Saudi Arabia, then Saudi Arabia will need to find a new customer. (China) If China is the new customer, China is also the new friend.  And oil can move on supertankers through the Nicaragua canal to China and the rest of Asia.

It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of shipping and, by extension, the importance of ships.  Ship building in Greece, with Chinese Capital Investment, can meet that demand.  This is not strategic planning.  This is marketing.

Marketing: Find a need and fill it.

The EuroUnion has a narrow window of opportunity.  The EuroCrats must embrace Capital Investment and Economic Development as crucial to solving the Greek economic crisis.  In addition, the rest of the world must work with China to complete the building of the Nicaragua Canal.  This is to benefit the Global Economy.

Warmest regards,


Greek/Roman






Thursday, October 30, 2014

G 20 Summit! E 20 Invited?



Long Story Short: 


The G 20 is holding a summit in Brisbane, Australia.  I also discovered the existence of a B 20 group: Business leaders who advise the G 20.  What have not heard is that the G 20 is inviting the E 20 to the Economic Summit. You cannot help people without their input, and you won’t help them if you exclude them.

This is why I’ve been writing my articles about Emerging Nations forming an Economic Union. 


Emerging NationsEconomic Union—an article that proposes the forming of an Economic Union for Emerging Nations and those Unions forming a Union of Emerging Economic Unions. 

Solving theEmerging Crisis—This is the proposal that would help leverage the power of Emerging Nations. 

Forming anE-20—This proposes leveling the playing field by establishing what the Emerging Nations of the World need to gain parity in Global Economic Affairs.  For example: if there is to be a G 20 Summit, the E 20 should be included. 

The Futureof the G20 in Good Times and Bad—This is a look into the future if we do not recognise the fact that 


1.  The military option is no longer viable.

2.  The Economic Zero Sum Game doesn’t’ work anymore.



Warmest regards, 

Slim.



Copyright © 2014  Bob Asken writing as Slim Fairview


All rights reserved.


Monday, June 2, 2014

The Visible Hand

THE VISIBLE HAND




Limiting demand is the visible hand of economics.  Why?  Because “The invisible hand” loses potency with rising affluence.


“Rich people are insulated from price increases, but not from supply shortages.”  ~ Slim Fairview.



The Invisible Hand


The theory of the invisible hand says, “If there are more carpenters than needed, the wages of the carpenters will fall (supply exceeds demand) and many carpenters will be unemployed except for the fact that surfeit of carpenters means a dearth of plumbers.  The demand for plumbers and the higher wages arising from demand exceeding supply means people will become plumbers instead of carpenters and “the invisible hand” of the market will handle this…more or less.

The Visible Hand is entirely different.  By limiting the demand, you stabilize the economics of your entire enterprise.



Profits v. Growth

In this paradigm, maximising profits is not the overriding concern—stability is the overriding concern.  This is because stability is necessary for growth.

This is analogous to an investment portfolio.  You have growth stocks, you have income stocks.  At the outset, you want growth stocks.  When you get older, you want income stocks.

Think of the Sharpe-Markowitz Efficiency Curve.  Risk v. Return.

The visible hand is the growth stock portfolio.

In the early days of B-School (my early days) growth was described as having an inherent risk factor.

If you grow to fast (faster than your market) you tie up capital  and reduce your ROI. (Return on Investment.)

If you grow too slowly (if your market grows faster than you do) you lose customers, cut revenue, and lose market share.


Let’s review Mr. Putin’s Visible Hand.


MERGERS

Forming a Eurasian Economic Union.



ACQUISITIONS

Crimea



Mr. Putin is taking advantage of a competitor’s weakness (The EuroUnion) to expand Market Share and to Increase Revenue.


SALES/REVENUE


Mr. Putting stabilises revenue by limiting demand with a deal to sell natural gas to China.


SUPPLY CHAIN STABILISATION


Mr. Putin establishes a stable supply of oil with an oil deal with Iran.



MARKET PENETRATION AND DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS



The acquisition of the Crimea includes a warm water part and accesses markets.


Mr. Putin’s Economic Theatre of Operation is a Textbook Lesson on Strategic Planning.


  • Market Analysis
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Competitor Evaluation
  • Supply Chain Stabilisation
  • Distribution Channels
  • Market Penetration
  • Sales and Marketing
  • The SWOT Test.





Mr. Putin’s SWOT Test


Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats



STRENGTHS


  • Shared History and Culture with Eastern Europe
  • Natural Gas Supply
  • Natural Gas Deal with Germany
  • Leveraged Capital Investment Opportunities in Russia
  • Stable Government




WEAKNESSES


  • Late arrival into the Global Free Market Paradigm
  • Climate
  • Lack of Warm Water Port(s)
  • Activist Minority Stakeholder Dissent




OPPORTUNITIES


  • Weak EuroUnion Economy
  • Eastern Bloc’s Need for an Economic Union
  • Iran Oil Sanctions
  • China’s Growing Energy Needs
  • The Crimea
  • Slow U.S. and European Economies
  • Emerging Nations




THREATS


  • Trade competition from China
  • Competition from Cheap-Labour Markets
  • Sanctions by Western Nations
  • Weak Global Economy




All of these describe THE VISIBLE HAND.  Not as practiced by a company within an industry or an economy, but rather by nations among nations in a global economy.  And right now, Mr. Putin is establishing a template for emerging nations to follow.


Warmest Regards,

Slim

The blogger known as Slim Fairview.


ADDITIONAL READING





Copyright © 2014 Robert Asken writing as Slim Fairview
All rights reserved.



Thursday, April 3, 2014

Five Apples


Through the magic of metaphor, Sir Isaac Newton, Opie Taylor, Martha Steward, Johnny Appleseed and "Lord" de Gouberville, are walking through a small orchard.


  • Newton sees an apply fall from a tree.  He discovers gravity.
  • Opie sees an apple fall from a tree. He picks it up, wipes it on his shirt, and eats it.
  • Martha Stewart sees an apple fall from a tree. She picks it up, takes it home, peels it, cores it, and bakes it with brown sugar and cinnamon and a pat of butter. 350 degrees f. 20-25 minutes. More or less.
  • Johnny Appleseed sees an apple fall from a tree. He picks it up, removes the sees, and plants apple trees.
  • "Lord" de Gouberville sees an apple fall from a tree. He picks it up, takes it home, and invents Calvados.



By A Falling Apple:


  • Newton's imagination is inflamed and science advances.
  • Opie gratifies an immediate and temporal through necessary need.
  • Martha Stewart delays gratification to elevate a necessary, albeit temporal need, for desert.
  • "Lord" de Gouberville simply demonstrates a little common sense.



5 People.  5 Apples.  5 Concepts. 5 Results. Each different. Each essential.



What about Slim?

Slim is sitting apart from from the proceedings and observing while snacking on some Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds and sipping an Extra-Dry Beefeater Martini on the rocks--hat-trick with the olives. 

As a non-participant, he is in the position to be an objective observer.

Slim's only problem is how to deliver the message.  Well, Slim has but two skills: an analytical mind and the ability to speak in metaphors.  He quietly analyses what he sees.  Now all he must do is to come up with a metaphor to explain it.

Warmest regards,

Slim

Slimfairview@yahoo.com 


Any references to products or services are at my discretion and no offer of remuneration or compensations was solicited, offered, or accepted.  Also, they are for information purposes and do not constitute an endorsement.  You’ve been informed. You are on your own.


Copyright (c) 2014 Slim Fairview Robert Asken
All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Unspoken Understanding

"Diplomacy:  If you have to explain it, it isn't diplomacy."  The Quotations of Slim Fairview.

In some cultures and professions there exists on of the cornerstones of civility and civilisation--The Unspoken Understanding. The operative word--unspoken.

Recently, during the past half century, a fad has emerged. Talk.  Now, talk is not a bad think in and of itself.  The problem is: people don't want to listen.  Why not? Because they did.

"More people, more words. More words, more bad." ~ Slim Fairview

The reason why people "want to talk about it" is to bully other people into doing things they don't want to do.

This brings us to the old canard of days gone by:  "If you don't agree with me, I didn't explain it properly."  A satirical remark I remember from the sixties and seventies to describe...People Who Want to Talk About It.

This helps to illuminate the downside that arises when people listen:  They:

  • Convey the sentiment that they are or will be receptive to what the speaker has to say.
  • They are validating the speaker which leads to expectations.
  • Open themselves up to more problems if the speaker's position is not embraced.

 If the speaker's position is not embraced, it leads to feelings of:

  • Betrayal
  • Guilt
  • Resentment
  • Inadequacy

When the speaker's expectations are not fulfilled, the speaker is denied validation.  (Validation is a resource: withhold it at your own peril.)

When this happens, the response routinely includes but is not limited to:

Accusations

Recriminations

False and Malicious Allegations

and or soft techniques of appeals, manipulations, and, of course, guilt.  And, of course, If you don't want to talk about it, it is because you are:


  • Stubborn
  • Opinionated
  • Narrow Minded
  • Ignorant
  • Old--Fashioned
  • Manipulated
  • Et. Alia.

Case in Point:

You've no doubt heard: "Your way isn't the only way of doing it, you know.  We should try it my way."

Have you ever heard: "My way isn't the only way of doing it, you know.  We should try it your way"?


Then there is the belligerent, "Who's to say what's right or wrong?"  Well, circumstances if not consequences will answer that question.  Too often, when it is too late to benefit from the answer.

This brings us back to The Unspoken Understanding.

  • Questions one never asks 
  • Replies never needed
  • Rebuffs never elicited 

The above are part of what I discussed in my article  Emerging Nations Economic Union about the manipulations techniques used by industrialised people to exploit the people in Emerging Nations.  There are positive virtues to not talking about it.  These are illuminated in
And President Obama Said...

The concept appears to have fallen into disfavour or neglect or to have been abandoned altogether.  Not so.

The Unspoken Understanding is still o9perating in full vigor.  Why this is not obvious is very simple to explain: People don't talk about it.

...oops!

Warmest regards, 

Slim

slimfairview@yahoo.com

Copyright (c) 2014 Slim Fairview / Robert Asken
All rights reserved.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bachelor of Sports Football Major



How long will it be before Texas A&M or the University of Texas offers a Bachelor of Sports or a Bachelor of Athletics with a major in Football?

There is a valid reason to do so. In fact, many.

Football is a business.  Football is not a game. Football is not a sport. Football is a business. In fact, Football is an Industry—a Multi-billion dollar industry that provides many jobs and supports many other industries, which—by extension, supports many more jobs.

In most businesses, sales are goals.  In football, goals are sales.  Fans are revenue generators. Advertising pays the bills. And television speaks for itself.

A Football team bay benefit from Brand Loyalty, however, there is no boutique football. There is no Mass-Market Discount Football.  Football is not L.L. Bean.  Football is not Wal-Mart.  Football is Kohl’s.  Football is Macy’s.  And just as Macy’s becomes The Miracle on 34th Street every Thanksgiving—complete with a parade—football becomes the miracle on the 50 yard line—complete with bowl games.

Originally, this article was only to underscore the difference between teams and committees.  However, it turned out to be more.

You’ve heard of surgical teams. Have you ever heard of a surgical committee?  You’ve heard of football teams.  Have you ever heard of a football committee?

Proms have decorating committees. Proms are not in competition. Proms are not revenue generators.  Playing football in high school is just as valid as taking Phys. Ed. or Health Class.  However, College Football is a whole new ballgame.

  • College Football is very competitive.
  • College Football is big business.
  • College Football is an industry.
  • College Football is a major revenue generator.


Therefore, by extension, College Football should also be a College Major.  In fact, there should be an entire degreed field of study.

Soon there will be, and there should be, a Bachelor of Sports (BS) and a Bachelor of Athletics (BA).

Those graduating with a Bachelor of Sports can go on to become Coaches, Trainers, Recruiters, or enter the fields of sports Advertising, Marketing, or Sales.

They can even go on to play Professional Football.

A Football Major watching a training film is just as valid as a Film Major watching Citizen Kane, or a Theatre Major watching a play.

A Football Major going to a football game is just as valid as a music major going to listen to a symphony, an Art Major going to a gallery opening, or a History Major visiting a Museum.

All are valid activities. Only Football is derided despite the fact that Football is a Multi billion Dollar Industry.

Is there any real difference between a Finance Major studying Economics and Statistics to develop investment portfolio strategies and a Football Major studying Football stats to develop recruitment and training strategies?
There will, of course, be a core curriculum.

  • Offensive Analysis I, II, III, IV.
  • Defense Analysis I, II, III, IV.
  • Pregame Previews
  • Post Game Analysis
  • Sports Writing
  • Broadcasting
  • Recruiting
  • Training
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Sales.


How long before the University of Texas or Texas A&M or USC or Notre Dame or Penn State offers a Valid Degree in sports with a Football Major?

If you find anything here to be helpful, please do not hesitate to send me a really tricked out MacPro and to tuck a bit of WAM into the envelope along with the Thank You not.

Warmest regards,
Slim.

Copyright © 2014 Slim Fairview
All rights reserved.







Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Musical Chairs and Cognitive Development

Not too long ago, it was fashionable to dis the childhood game of musical chairs. This dis even appeared in the comic "Family Circus." (From the Latin word circulus, from whence we get circle. No coincidence that the single frame cartoon appears in a circle.) Dolly, the daughter, is in tears because she didn't get a chair. Okay, now back to our posting. (For this we must rely on some familiar names.)
The teacher has the class playing musical chairs. Each child wants to win. Alas, Whoopi is the first to be left without a chair. Only, this is first grade so no one has yet taught her about feeling marginalized and low self-esteem. But Whoopi is encouraged to root for her good friend, Joy. So, Whoopi roots for her friend Joy.

In the next round, Barbara is eliminated. She, too, has not yet been taught to feel marginalized and low self-esteem. So, Barbara roots for her friend Sheri. Barbara and Whoopi learn a valuable lesson: they can disagree without being disagreeable.

But wait! In the next round, Joy is eliminated. Now, does Joy root for Elisabeth? Or, does Joy join Barbara in rooting for Sheri?

Ultimately, someone wins. The class learns a valuable lesson. They can root for people other than themselves. They learn that they can celebrate someone else's victory.

The following day, the class plays the same game all over again, and everyone gets a brand new chance.

What are some of the lessons we've learned?

1. We don't always win. We learn how to be a good sport. WE LEARN NOT TO BE SELFISH.

2. It isn't always about us. We can root for a classmate and don't need to feel marginalized and low self-esteem. We learn to focus on the feelings of others. WE LEARN EMPATHY FOR OTHERS.

3. We can disagree without being disagreeable. We can root for one classmate while a friend roots for another. WE LEARN RESPECT FOR THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS.

4. Ultimately, one of our classmates will win. We learn to cheer for one of our group even when we are not the one hogging the spotlight. WE LEARN TO ADMIRE THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF OTHERS.

5. Tomorrow, we play the game all over again. And everyone gets another chance. WE LEARN TO PERSEVERE, THAT WE GET A SECOND CHANCE, THAT WE CAN PUT A FAILURE BEHIND US AND TRY AGAIN.

Imagine, all those great lessons we can learn as little children. Those great lessons we learned as little children. But many of those lessons are not being taught. The game was vilified, trashed, and disrespected with a barrage of cliches, slogans, and platitudes. Then, when children grow up without those valuable lessons having been taught to them, the same people who caused the problem in the first place are out preaching the need to be sensitive, empathetic, and persevering. Isn't that special. The people who caused the problems with cliches, slogans, and platitudes, are trying to solve the problem with the same cliches, slogans, and platitudes. Don't tell me no!


Warmest regards,



Slim

slimfairview@yahoo.com
 



Copyright (c) 2009 Slim Fairview 
 All Rights Reserved

Monday, September 30, 2013

Consultants: Credentials or Qualifications?


 
Recently, what caught my attention was a discussion about people graduating with MBAs who want to go into consulting. Isn’t consulting a later-in-your-career choice?  Something you do after a few decades of experience?  The way a retired General working for defence contractors after decades of military experience as opposed to a 2nd Lieutenant graduating from West Point choosing to go into consulting as an alternative to going into the Army?

Case in point:  The GSA did not waste money hiring jugglers and clowns.  The GSA wasted money hiring consultants to teach teamwork and leadership skills by having employees build bicycles.

Why?

Well, what are the deliverables?  The target dates?  The measure of value added?  The argument could be made that we are dealing with intangibles. I will refute that later.

 
The Back Story:

A few decades ago, I participated in an exercise for a class on teamwork.  The class was broken up into groups of four or five.

The exercise?  You are stranded on an islands with a list of provisions that you are to rank in order of importance.  Then to explain your decisions.  Then to discuss all the decisions to come up with a list.  In addition:  The weather is damp. It will get colder in the night. And we are told that there are no right or wrong answers.  The purpose is to learn to work as a team.

Briefly: a knife, a rope, a gun, a cigarette lighter with no fluid, a bottle of whisky.

I listened. I waited.  I began my list”

1. Cigarette lighter with no fluid.

2. Bottle of whisky—

AHA!!!!!  Whisky does not make you warmer. It only makes you feel warmer because you are losing body heat because alcohol dilates the blood vessels….!

True. But…

1.  That was not my point.

2.  The interrupter did not wait for me to finish speaking

3. The interrupter interrupted to repudiate my point based on an assumption

4.  The interrupter did not ask me why I made the rankings.


My Choices:

I was a Boy Scout. It is difficult enough to make a fire by rubbing two sticks together or by using flint and steel with tinder under the best of conditions.  It is damp. It will get cold.  The Whisky burns.  No claim of right or wrong.  Only the failed procedure.  Or is it?

You can figure out most of the above yourself.  The “aha” moment for me was when I realised that the instructions said, “There are no right or wrong answers.”  Yes there are.

Remember, “Who’s to say what’s right or wrong?”  I won’t go there. Why not? Simple.

You make the right choices, you live.

You make the wrong choices, you die!

Simple? 

No.

Simple!

 
In Business It Is The Same.

Remember Ron Johnson?  CEO at JCP?

Johnson tried to sell, “Everyday Low Pricing.”

Consumers want to buy, “Coupons and Discounts.”

Johnson tried to convince the customers to buy what he wanted to sell instead of selling what the customers wanted to buy.

Now, Bill Ackman, successful investor, has many credentials.  In fact, he has about a billion credentials.  Still, he appears on Mad Money, with Jim Cramer, in an effort to sell Penney-Stocks. I will not belabour the point.

Credentials.

Diet books, get rich quick books, and self help books, do not work.  If they did, then, as a nation, we would all be skinny, rich, and happy.  Instead, as a nation, we are fat, poor, and polarised.

The authors all have credentials.  They all sell books. They are all successful.  Like Bill Ackma, they are successful at being successful.

How many millionaires and billionaires do you know, who became millionaires and billionaires, by reading books written by millionaires and billionaires?  Get the point?


Deliverables:

 
Case 1

“Hello, Bigelow?  Highpower here. Standwell Industries.  The reason why I am calling is because the consulting firm of Seniors and Elder LLC put you down as a reference….”

“Great Job, Highpower.  In 2011, we had 41 incidents.  In 2012, that dropped to 27. And in the first half of this year, only 8.   And production went up 10% in 2012 and 10% in the first half of 2013.”

 
Case 2

“Hello, Downhill?  Highpower here. Standwell Industries. The reason I’m calling is  because the consulting firm of Young, Turk, and Wiseacre put you down as a reference….”

 
Enough said? 

No.

Enough Said!

 
If you find anything here to be helpful in terms of marketing your consulting firm, or saving money by rethinking your choices….

Please do not hesitate to send me a really tricked out MacPro and to tuck a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank you note.

 
Warmest regards,

Slim

slimfairview@yahoo.com

LinkedIn Profile:   http://www.linkedin.com/in/slimfairview


Copyright © 2013. Slim Fairview

All rights reserved.