Friday, January 15, 2021

How Smart Are You?

 When you consider an applicant or a promotion, you really want to ask, 

"How smart are you?"

The answer is closer than you think.

I'm working in a lab. A class of 5th graders is touring the facility

My boss, who is smart(?) gives a technical explanation to
a technical instrument to bewildered students

They come by me.

Have you ever heard of gravimetric testing?

I put 3 quarters on the counter
Suppose your friend wants to know how much her dog weighs, but it won't get on the scale
You say, "Pick up your dog & get on the scale."
You see they weigh 75 lbs

Then you say, "Put your dog down and get back on the scale."
You see she weighs 50 lbs
I move two quarters

How much does the dog weigh?
They all say, 25 lbs

A more complete test would be for me to put
3 dimes on the counter & ask them to explain
it to me

Smart is not how well people learn
Smart is how well people teach

I had a really great boss.
I had a really great coworker
I asked each a questioned.

They both skipped the 2nd grade.

How did I know?

Both were brilliant teachers.



Robert Asken
Box 33
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

The Quotations of Slim Fairview
© 2021 Robert Asken
All rights reserved

Thursday, November 12, 2020

The Toxic Workplace: Why?

 "Did you ever notice how some people, when confronted with a problem, will coagulate like white corpuscles to defend the body against the medication intended to heal the illness?" Slim Fairview

The Quotations of Slim Fairview © 2020 Robert Asken The toxic workplace exists for many reasons: 1. Management truly does have a vested interest in protecting the company's Public Image. 2. The Consumer doesn't care. 3. The toxic individual is extremely good at his job & or works for less than others will, & management will put up with that. 4. It is very difficult to criticise those who tells you to your face what a great person & valuable employee you are in front of everyone 5. Toxic people are good liars 6. Toxic people have allies among those who are afraid of the toxic person. Especially if they are only marginal performers 7. Toxic people have allies among their bosses who are also toxic & want to protect their own hegemony from retribution 8. Toxic people using Machiavellian principles bring in people who are loyal to them 9. Toxic people are publicly ingratiating & will put on grand displays to curry favour with many who are not in their department. Quotations of Slim Fairview © 2020 Robert Asken Regards, Slim.

Robert Asken
Box 33
Pen Argyl, PA

Copyright © 2020 Robert Asken
All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Believing in Our Expectations

When you see what you expect to see, you can be easily mislead by your own expectations. 

A simple card trick I saw as a youngster proves it.

The Children's Show host, Claude Kirchner, performed a card trick. Then explained it.

Here is the explanation:

Mr. Kirchner started with a large playing card; but instead of hearts or diamonds, he had spots.

On one side, there were 2 of the 3 spots you would have on a three. On the other side, there were 5 of the 6 spots you would see on a six. One of the spots on the side was missing.

He held up the card, fingers over the top spot of the "3" card  and said, One. 

Then, turned the card over, fingers over the spot on the side of the "6" card and said, four. 

Turned the card over, fingers over the blank space and said three. Turned the card over, fingers over the blank space and said six.

One, four, three, six.

With each turn of the card, Mr. Kirchner relied on our expectation.

We believed he was telling us what was in reality only what  we expected to see.

We see this in many aspects of life.

In Medieval Times, people believed that a Solar Eclipse was in reality a dragon eating the Sun.  They would run to the town square to beat on pots and pans and drums to frighten the dragon away.  When the Solar Eclipse ended, they believed that they chased the dragon away.  However, they also validated their theory that as Solar Eclipse was really a dragon eating the Sun.  For those who watch The Big Bang Theory will know this as Post hoc ergo propter hoc.  A fallacy in logic.

Caveat. Beware!

Sincerest regards,


Copyright © 2020 Robert Asken 
All rights reserved.

Robert Asken
Box 33
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

Data? Think about this

Data! Think about this.

It's Saturday. 

You and your wife are having her two sisters over for lunch.
You try to decide whether to eat inside or outside on the picnic table.

Your wife says, let's wait til they get here as ask them how they feel.

Jane arrives. You ask her about eating outside or inside.

She replies, "It's such a beautiful day I had to go back to put on shorts and a short sleeve blouse. Let's eat outside."

A few minutes later Sue arrives. You tell her about the plans to eat outside.

She replies, "It's too cold to eat outside. I had to go back to put on slacks and a sweater."

You check the thermometer, The Data reads 72 Degrees (f)

To Jane, it's warm.
To Sue, it's too cold.
The Data says 72.

Data has its limits. That is where thinking begins.



"There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labour of thinking." Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Copyright © 2020 Robert Asken

All rights reserved.

Robert Asken

Box 33 

Pen Argyl PA



Sunday, February 2, 2020

Global Transformation

Armed only with an analytical mind and the ability to speak in metaphors,  I've relied on my education and experience to write about global political and economic events. To focus on Emerging Economies, and to formulate a realistic approach to problem solving.

My main concentration has been closing the wealth and the income gaps in emerging nations and shedding light on China's influence on the global economy,

My blog has been an unfunded, unsupported, non-profit web log.

In addition I posted several PowerPoint presentations on various topics:  Emerging Nations, The Environment, and Globalization.

Now I am attempting into expanding into more effective efforts: videos and podcasting.

I would like to upgrade my technology
Create a more effective presentation
and cover expenses  that have been neglected.

Relying on the Bauhaus philosophy, form follows function, I created a minimal budget.

I set up a GoFundMe account but it is not functioning at the moment.  But only for the second time in the past 2 months.

Here is my GoFundMe Link:  GoFundMe


Robert Asken
Box 33
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

Thank you.


I often hear about 30 under 30.  I am looking to empower 60 over 60.  Those with the experience and education to go beyond raising awareness to the level of focusing on substantive gains.

Thank you for any support you my give to my efforts.



Robert Asken
Box 33 
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Virtual Teams: A Vital Shift in Business

As the discussions swirl around us, they only touch on the periphery of the transformations of how we will be doing business.

It is virtually impossible to do business the old-fashioned way. Remember? Assemble qualified people in an office on an upper floor of an office building in the city.

High button shoes, pince-nez, and pocket-watches.

Now, talent is spread around the country and around the world.  Today, assembling talent is done in a virtual environment.  And team building has new challenges.

I wrote an article "Teamwork if for Teams"  But to be fair, I still have pocket watch.  Now, you need  to know what I can scarcely imagine.  Hence:

Myths V. Fact
The Virtual Truth

A Free Webinar by Virtual Team Builders



Thursday, November 7, 2019

Good Consultant or Bad Consultant?

Through the magic of metaphor, Dorothy lands in The Land of Oz.  There, a shiny bubble appears, then dissolves to reveal Glinda.

Glinda asks Dorothy, "Are you a good consultant or a bad consultant?"

Dorothy replies, "I'm not a consultant at all. Consultants are mean and ugly."

The Munchkins laugh.

"What's that? Dorothy asks.

Glinda replies, "The Munchkins.  They are laughing because, I am a consultant."

"I beg your pardon," Dorothy says as she curtsies.

"You see," Glinda says, "only bad consultants are mean and ugly.  Good consultants are sweet and beautiful. Like me."

We see this played out as Dorothy heads to the Emerald City.

The Wicked Consultant of the West, does everything she can to impede Dorothy and her friends on their journey to the Emerald City.

While Glinda, the Good Consultant of the South, does everything she can to help Dorothy and her friends get to the Emerald City and to help Dorothy return to Kansas.  And Toto too.

Now, when you are looking to hire a consultant, do your homework.  And, in the event you make the wrong choice, keep a bucket of water handy.



If you find anything here to be helpful, send me a post-card, drop me a line.

Bob Asken
Box 33
Pen Argyl, PA 

Copyright © 2019
Bob Asken
All Rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Economic Survival--Long-Term

When I wrote that China elevated (at various points)

300 Million

500 Million

700 Million

people from poverty to the middle class, I pointed out China created a

Middle Class

Consumer Class

Investor Class

I also pointed out that China created cohesion among the Chinese people.  China created a buy-in.  A vested interest in the success of the Chinese economy.

This brings us to Henry Ford.

Ford doubled his employees' salaries and cut the work week to 40 hours.  He, essentially, created the Middle Class.

Ford workers could now, and subsequently buy

A Ford

A Washing Machine

A Refrigerator (Ice Box)

A Radio & Eventually

A Sears Roebuck House  (Some assembly required.)

By creating a Middle Class, he created a Consumer Class and an Investor Class.  He gave the American worker a vested interest in the success of he American Economy.

Don't get me wrong; the labour movement was ugly, violent, fraught with private armies, sabotage, strikes, lockouts, scabs, strike-breakers, and the like.  Nonetheless, the strong Middle Class meant a Strong Economy.  A strong Economy meant a Strong America.

The Middle Class is the Economy.

Now, The American Widget Company is not going to hire one additional widget maker, until there is an order for one widget more than the company can make when operating a maximum capacity and optimal efficiency.

They also know:

If you grow faster than your market, you tie up capital.
If your market grows faster than you do, you lose market share.  Therefore, company growth is predicated on a rising demand curve.  And when more people buy stuff, they make more widgets, increase their revenue, invest their returns, and also benefit from revenue enhancement.

China: Rising middle class, rising economy.

India:  Rising middle class, rising economy.

Russia: Stagnant middle class, stagnant economy.

America:  Declining middle class, follow the path of the trajectory.

One reason I wrote, 

Tax policy to increase wages $5 an hour. Now! was to show the benefit to increasing wages with a tax policy that incentivises, business increasing wages with serious tax benefits for doing so, and subsequent economic benefits as the programme proceeds. 

If you want to close the gap, you redistribute the money.

Henry Ford did not redistribute the wealth.  He redistributed the money.

Wealth is what you have.

Money is what you make.

If you own a $100 Million Factory, but can't run a business, you make earn $50.000 a year.

If you own a $500 laptop and pay $100 for an internet connexion, (A service, not an asset) might earn $1Million a year.

The first example, you have wealth but little money.

In the second example, you have little wealth but make a lot of money.

If you are responsible, you save half your income, and in 20 years you have $10 Million.

If you spend it on loud noises, bright colours, and shiny things, you end up with nothing.

In the first example, you may end up liquefying assets and come out with, say, $50 Million.  Wealth is what you have. Money is what you make.  If we want to close the gap, we redistribute--Read: Reinvest--the money, create a Solid Middle Class, and let the economy help people create wealth.

Further reading:

Tax Policy to Increase Wages $5 an hour. Now!

If You Really Want to Close the Gap

Powell's Testimony House Financial Services Committee

If you're really interested and energetic & ambitious:

Hillary Redux

Sincerest regards,


If you find anything here to be helpful, please don't hesitate to send me a really tricked-out Mac Book and to tuck a few dollars into the envelope along with the thank you car.

Robert Asken
Box 33 
Pen Argyl, PA 18072

Copyright © 2019  Robert Asken
All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Tropical Products: From Africa to the World.

In economic development, people focus on the Big Picture.  Unfortunately, this leaves out a crucial factor:

Local People

Just as House Speaker Tip O'Neill said, "All politics is local." so to "All Economics is Local."

With the internet, local means bringing people around the world together to do business.

In the course of writing about global political and economic events, I came across something interesting on a local level to write about.  

Someone restated a phrase I used in designing a portal website years ago.  "Local People Helping Local People."

The message conveyed is simple.

You send a message that the world must work together.

People helping people helps all people.  

Mr. Thomas AHOLOUHOUEDE introduces himself to the global community this way:

Hello to all,
We are a company in Africa,
We grow and sell tropical products:

Located in Cotonou, Benin, Thomas AHOLOUHOUEDE sells

Tropical products: 
Shelled and unshelled nuts
Cotton and cotton seeds
Shea butter seeds
100% pure African Benin.

We can deliver up to 5,000 tons.
We also represent companies that want to sell their products in Africa.

At this time Thomas AHOLOUHOUEDE is looking to expand to the global market.  He is seeking investors familiar with agriculture to expand into 

United States.

Thomas AHOLOUHOUEDE provides his contact information.


This is an opportunity to demonstrate the power of the global economic community operating on the internet.

Slim Fairview.