InfoWars

So Alex Jones and InfoWars got themselves deplatformed by Facebook, YouTube, Apple, and Spotify. Probably if I didn’t know it, I’d never notice. Like everybody else, I’ve been there a couple of times and decided it was a waste of time, and brain cells. In other words, he ain’t on my playlist. But it does matter.

And that is why it matters. Infowars may be (and likely is) irrelevant.

But Elizabeth Heng is not. She is the daughter of Cambodians who managed to escape the Cambodian genocide. She is a smart, attractive, conservative candidate (endorsed by Victor Davis Hanson, no less) for the California 16th Congressional district, where last I read she was even with her opponent. Her first campaign ad was suppressed by Facebook, presumably for showing scenes of that genocide. It’s her personal story about why she loves America. Which the left has pretty much consigned to the memory hole.

There are plenty of others.

YouTube said this about Alex Jones:

 YouTube explained that, “When users violate … policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.” Facebook’s removals came after they decided that Jones’s material was violent: “Upon review, we have taken it down for glorifying violence … and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies.”

Which leads me to conclude. Who died and left these leftist wienies in charge? Where’s the protection for say Candace Owens, who got physically and verbally abusively run out of a Philadelphia diner the other day by Antifa, who never has a problem with YouTube censorship?

Now mind, this is not a First Amendment issue. These are all private companies, and as such, are not subject to it, unlike say a small bakery who does not wish to bake a cake for a gay wedding, because of their religion.

But the thing that needs to be decided is this.

  • Are these companies common carriers, like the phone company? Then they should (must, actually) be allowed (required) to carry all messages without regard to their content. That’s mostly what the tech oligarchy has argued over the years. I’m good with that as well. Actually, I think it the best possible model.
  • Or are they publishers? In that case, they bear the responsibility, and the authority to screen what they publish. They also bear a legal (and financial) obligation to stay within the guidelines. In addition, they are subject to anti-trust laws.

The choice is binary, one can not choose one on every day except every other Tuesday after the sailboat races. One or the other.

Then there is the whole ‘hate speech’ thing. There is NO definition of what ‘hate speech’ is, it all a murky quagmire of what this person or that person is offended by, even if it’s not about him. Mind you, we’re doing a bit better than the UK here, where you can go to jail for such mindless drivel, here you can’t, yet. But you can lose your social media, which many have spent a lot of time and money building into a profit center. Gone because some leftist tech puke has offenditis.

Wow, Just Wow: Read This!

First an explanation of why this is so late. I found it last night at BlogsensebyBarb who re blogged it from McNorman’s Weblog. Read everybody’s posts and comments, we all have different emphases.

This came out yesterday morning as Tickerman’s State of the Union. In it he’s tells you a lot of truths that we all know are true but don’t taste very good. BUT HE’S RIGHT. Here’s an excerpt:

The left says that the rich must pay their “fair share.”  But what is their “fair share”?  Nobody on their side of the aisle will tell you.  The fact is that the “rich” pay nearly all of the income taxes now and yet the federal government spends all of that money and then more than a third more — which it doesn’t have.  The lesson is simple — no matter how much money we shovel into Washington it will spend every penny and then continue to spend more, even though Congress doesn’t have it.  There can be no fiscal discipline nor a resolution to this problem until the Congress stops spending money that it has not been able to first tax from someone.

Government tax receipts are, in the main, entirely dependent on the employment participation rate.  That rate is back to where it was in the 1970s and has not budged despite the alleged “recovery” since early 2009.  The fact of the matter is that behind this problem is the offshoring of labor; we temporarily made possible the appearance of prosperity through excessive borrowing at all levels of the economy — federal, state, local and personal.

But those days have now come to an end and we must deal with what our fiscal and employment situation is on-balance, not what we would like it to be.

Either our wage and environmental laws are just or they are not.  If they are not then they must be repealed.  If they are then they must be enforced.  Since we cannot police every nation in the world on either a practical or moral basis the only means of policing those laws beyond our borders are through the imposition of tariffs on all goods and services sold in the United States. This is both a lawful and Constitutional means of enforcing our labor and environmental standards.  Companies can either construct their goods and provide their services with labor and materials from the United States, employing Americans, or they can cover the social spending necessitated by exploiting our markets with slave labor and environmental destruction abroad through tariffs imposed on their activity.  The choice is theirs, but this mandate must be ours, without fear or favor.

Here is another:

America was founded on the rule of law.  Yet while it is illegal for you or I to defraud someone and we will be arrested, tried and imprisoned if we do, over a half-million citizens in Jefferson County Alabama were ripped off and had their water and sewer bills quadrupled through a series of fraudulent schemes.  Several county officials and others involved in the scams were tried and imprisoned.  But the banksters and companies who ultimately funded those bribes, and who benefited financially from these schemes and scams, were neither indicted or forced to give back their ill-gotten gains, and the bills have remained at the quadrupled level, effectively stealing from the citizens each and every month.  Other big firms who have made illicit profits through money laundering for Mexican drug gangs or the off-label promotion of prescription drugs have been fined some portion of their “excess profit“, which simply turns the breaking of the law into a business risk.  Again, if our laws are just then they must be enforced evenly against every entity, irrespective of their size or alleged “importance” to the nation.  The CEO and other corporate officers and board members must be held to account through personal liability when they either are aware of such violations of the law or willfully avert their eyes.  Sarbanes-Oxley allegedly addressed this failing in the white-collar world yet not one financial executive has been charged under this law.

READ THIS LINK for the whole article. Did you read it? Good. This is the unvarnished truth that our Founding Fathers would recognize.

If your candidate’s aren’t telling you this, you need new candidates. If we don’t fix these problems honestly, the repairs are no good either. You don’t use a Band-Aid to fix a sucking chest wound, and that is what our economy is. We’ve reached the cliff, we might have enough time to stop, leaving the front end hanging over. It is a time for honesty, nothing less will serve.

Now what are you going to do?

Planning for Future Innovation

Steve Jobs Tribute Haiku

Image by aforgrave via Flickr

I read Michael O. Church’s blog fairly often and like a lot of us this week, he shared his thoughts on Steve Jobs loss.

Unlike me and a lot of others his are very deep. He asked questions about how do we encourage the type of thinking and actions that propelled Steve Jobs.

He really got under my skin (in the good way) and I’ve been thinking about this in my spare moments all day.

Steve Jobs was one of our generation’s best innovators, if not the best. What he represented was singular and rare: a person in charge of a major company who actually had a strong and socially positive vision. Corporate executives are expected to have some quantity of vision and foresight, but so very few, across the Fortune 1000, ever actually have it that there is a certain surprise associated with learning of one who does. Most corporate executives are mediocrities if not negative in their contribution, meddling with those who are actually getting work done with constant churn and (in the negative sense) disruption. Steve Jobs, on the other hand, was integral to the success of Apple. As Apple’s posthumous tribute to him said, only he could have built that company. Unlike the typical businessman, Jobs was not especially charismatic. He was an effective salesman only because the quality of what he sold was so high; he could sell because he believed in his products. What he was is creative, courageous, disciplined, and effective. He had a sharp aesthetic sense, but also the clarity of vision to ship a real, working product.

Why do people like him appear only a few times in a generation? It’s not that there is a lack of talent. Not to denigrate Steve Jobs, because his talents are in any case uncommon, but I’d bet heavily (on statistical grounds) that there are at least a few hundred or thousand people like him out there, hacking away at long-shot startups, cloistered in academia, or possibly toiling in corporate obscurity. The issue is that people with his level of talent almost never succeed in human organizations such as large corporations. A keen aesthetic sense is a severe liability in most corporate jobs, as the corporate style of “professionalism” requires tolerance of ugliness rather than the pursuit of aesthetic integrity at all costs. Creative talent also becomes a negative in environments that expect years of unfulfilling dues-paying before one gets creative control of anything. People like Jobs can’t stand to waste time and so, in corporate America, they rarely make it. When they are set to boring work, the part of their brains not being used scream at them and that makes it impossible for them to climb the ladder.

Read it all and think about it.

This is a very important concept and I don’t have the answers. This is hard to accomplish in a small group, let alone a large one. But it is critical to our business and political future.

I know many of you work in small groups as well as some large ones.

So let’s get out thinking hats on and discuss this both here and at Michael O. Church

Engineering Elegance

Saint-Exupéry on a 50 franc note

Image via Wikipedia

I’m still thinking some about Steve Jobs since comments are still flowing through the things I read on the internet this morning.

One of the things that has driven Apple is the sheer engineering elegance of their products. The best definition of engineering elegance that I have seen is by French author and aircraft designer Antoine de Saint- Exupéry:

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Now look at an iPhone compared to almost any other smart phone. See what I mean.

This has been the mark of engineering excellence since engineering began. This provides the light airy design of Gothic cathedrals, as well as the elegance of a railroad yard.

Complexity for complexity sake is the mark of poor engineering in all fields. This has been one of the knocks on Microsoft products since-well-forever. In software it’s called bloated code and, one of its downfalls is that it is nearly impossible to maintain.

In engineering one need to put everything one needs in, and then stop. No extras to make it pretty or because you might have gotten your sums wrong.

What it really is, is competence written in hardware and it is rare. It celebrated in engineering but not much seen in consumer marketing. This is one of the things that Jobs did so well: Elegant design. It was a world-changing winner for him and Apple.

The other lesson Jobs leaves us is this: Be productive. He changed a lot of our lives with his products; but how many livings did his products provide: for app programmers, iStore workers, Apple shareholders, and yes, even those Chinese factory workers.

That’s capitalism at work, and few made it work as well as Steve Jobs did. Not because he cared particularly whether I succeeded or failed, because he cared whether he did. Whether I do is my problem, whether Apple did is Steve Jobs’ problem.

Here is a sampling of what I’ve read about this today. First from Michelle Malkin:

From “I, Pencil” to iPhone: The Spontaneous Order of Capitalism
There is perhaps no greater image of irony tonight than that of anti-capitalist, anti-corporate, anti-materialist extremists of the Occupy Wall Street movement payingtributetoSteve Jobs — the co-founder, chairman and former chief executive of Apple Inc., who passed away this evening.

While the Kamp Alinsky Kids ditch school to moan about their massive student debt, parade around in zombie costumes, and whine about evil corporations while Tweeting, Facebook-ing, blogging, and Skype-ing their “revolution,” it’s the doers and producers and wealth creators like Jobs who change the world. They are the gifted 1 percent whom the #OWS “99 percent-ers” mob seeks to demonize, marginalize, and tax out of existence.

Inherent in the American success story of the iPhone/iMac/iPad is a powerful lesson about the fundamentals of capitalism. The Kamp Alinsky Kids scream “People over profit.” They call for “caring” over “corporations.”

But the pursuit of profits empowers people beyond the bounds of imagination.

Read the rest here.

And Simon Black has similar thoughts here:

You’ve undoubtedly heard by now that Steve Jobs passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer; it’s been all over the news with wall-to-wall coverage, and iCandle vigils have sprung up all over the world. Jobs is being remembered as a pioneer, a technological revolutionary, a visionary.  Rightfully so.

But it’s important to give credit where credit is due, and the world owes a tremendous debt to Steve Jobs for something else. He was perhaps the greatest living example of ‘philanthropy’ in action.

While people like Warren Buffet are pleading with the government to raise their taxes and give away their wealth to sycophantic bureaucrats, Jobs showed time and time again that the best way to improve people’s lives is to create value and be productive.

Read the rest here. He also has some excellent quotes from Steve Jobs.

So the lesson of Steve Jobs is: Be productive, work hard, do it right. You just might change the world. And trust Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand.

Requiescat in Pace

Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worl...

Image via Wikipedia

America and American Business has lost a giant today.

Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple and one of the largest factors in the entire PC revolution died this afternoon.

Job was a co-founder of Apple and had left the company and came back when Apple acquired NeXT and led the turnaround, from near bankruptcy, that placed Apple in the 56th slot in the Fortune 500 and made it the world’s most admired company.

This is an achievement on the order of Carnegie’s rise from telegrapher on the Pennsylvania Railroad to the largest steelmaker in the world.

When Mr. Jobs retired, I wrote this.:

Steve Jobs announced yesterday that he is retiring as president of Apple but, would continue as Chairman of the Board. By all reports his health is not good and I wish him all the best.

Mr. Jobs is one of the current legends of American business, as he should be. The saga of Apple from one of the two (or maybe three) co-founders of the PC industry: IBM, Microsoft, and Apple.

Some times we forget get that IBM was a very big fish in mainframe and mini computers since the fifties. For a large, staid company (remember when the dress code at IBM required white shirt and tie) to turn loose an insurgent division and continue to support it as it nearly kills the main company is a very remarkable story.

Of course, IBM’s partner was none other than Microsoft. Bill Gates, personally, in his parents garage, modified the old CPM operating system, turning it into MS-DOS. A legend was born. Windows, of course, came later, mostly in response to the Macintosh.

Then there was Apple, from the beginning it was (in some people’s opinion) a better platform. But where the IBM/Microsoft platform was an open design that anybody and everybody could (and did) produce both hardware and software for, Apple was proprietary. This is the key decision that fueled the PC to dominance of the market. It also, in terms of market, made Apple an also ran. Apple trudged along making innovations (such as the mouse) that everybody copied and defining a high end market that endured high prices, proprietary software and other things, and received a better, more stable platform, especially in graphic applications.

But Apple’s niche market was not enough to support the company and they fought to stay alive through the 90′s.

In 1997 in an attempt to restore profitability Apple purchased NeXT, which brought Steve Jobs back to the company. Also in 1997 Jobs became the interim CEO and started turning the company around.

In 2001 came the Ipod and the rest you probably know.

Anyway, what we have here is a great American business story. The entrepreneur who loses control of his company and get it back and succeeds. To the point that Apple is now the largest company in the world. That’s the main story here.

But let’s drill down a bit. Apple is almost Steve Jobs personal vision, and it’s quite a vision. But how will Apple do without the day-to-day supervision of Steve Jobs. When they tried in the 1990′s the company nearly went under.

So the question becomes: Has Apple developed other people with the vision of the future market that Jobs has? Obviously only time will tell, but Jobs has not been in good health for years, so one would assume that he has made it a priority to do this. We will see.

We in business always say that no one is indispensable, and we are right. But when one is a leader of the caliber of Steve Jobs, if one does not develop his successors, they will not appear by magic, when needed. Obviously, Apple has many talented people but do they have Jobs’ sense of the market’s future and ability to shape it? We’ll see. I hope so.

The upside is that with Jobs remaining as Chairman, he can continue to have an influence (health permitting) on the company for the foreseeable future.

This will serve as my professional eulogy. Personally, I never met him, although I would have been honored to. I extend my condolences to his family and to his business family at Apple, Inc.

Steve Jobs and Indispensability

Steve Jobs shows off iPhone 4 at the 2010 Worl...

Image via Wikipedia

Steve Jobs announced yesterday that he is retiring as president of Apple but, would continue as Chairman of the Board. By all reports his health is not good and I wish him all the best.

Mr. Jobs is one of the current legends of American business, as he should be. The saga of Apple from one of the two (or maybe three) co-founders of the PC industry: IBM, Microsoft, and Apple.

Some times we forget get that IBM was a very big fish in mainframe and mini computers since the fifties. For a large, staid company (remember when the dress code at IBM required white shirt and tie) to turn loose an insurgent division and continue to support it as it nearly kills the main company is a very remarkable story.

Of course, IBM’s partner was none other than Microsoft. Bill Gates, personally, in his parents garage, modified the old CPM operating system, turning it into MS-DOS. A legend was born. Windows, of course, came later, mostly in response to the Macintosh.

Then there was Apple, from the beginning it was (in some people’s opinion) a better platform. But where the IBM/Microsoft platform was an open design that anybody and everybody could (and did) produce both hardware and software, Apple was proprietary. This is the key decision that fueled the PC to dominance of the market. It also in terms of market made Apple an also ran. Apple trudged along making innovations (such as the mouse) that everybody copied and defining a high end market that endured high prices, proprietary software and other things, and received a better, more stable platform, especially in graphic applications.

But Apple’s niche market was not enough to support the company and they fought to stay alive through the 90’s.

In 1997 in an attempt to restore profitability Apple purchased NeXT, which brought Steve Jobs back to the company. Also in 1997 Jobs became the interim CEO and started turning the company around.

In 2001 came the Ipod and the rest you probably know.

Anyway, what we have here is a great American business story. The entrepreneur who loses control of his company and get it back and succeeds. To the point that Apple is now the largest company in the world. That’s the main story here.

But let’s drill down a bit. Apple is almost Steve Jobs personal vision, and it’s quite a vision. But how will Apple do without the day-to-day supervision of Steve Jobs. When they tried in the 1990’s the company nearly went under.

So the question becomes: Has Apple developed other people with the vision of the future market that Jobs has? Obviously only time will tell, but Jobs has not been in good health for years, so one would assume that he has made it a priority to do this. We will see.

We in business always say that no one is indispensable, and we are right. But when one is a leader of the caliber of Steve Jobs, if one does not develop his successors, they will not appear by magic, when needed. Obviously, Apple has many talented people but do they have Jobs’ sense of the market’s future and ability to shape it? We’ll see. I hope so.

The upside is that with Jobs remaining as Chairman, he can continue to have an influence (health permitting) on the company for the foreseeable future.

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