Inspired by Zeitgeist III (watch it if you haven’t), here is my first attempt to find a path from HERE to THERE. Comments encouraged!

Prerequisite: Recognize the current system was designed for social conditions that no longer exist BUT was a necessary stepping-stone to lay the ground work for where we can go from here. Don’t hate or resent the system, thank it and forgive it. If you are reading this, to some extent, the system must have worked for you. We can’t (yet) replace the system but we can modify it based on what we’ve learned.

Step 1: STOP BUYING SHIT and TURN OFF THE F*CKING TV. As you know, it’s ONLY there to sell you more shit you don’t need.

Step 2: Organize GLOBAL PEACEFUL protests, coordinated through the internet, to show that we demand . You WILL be heard as we’ve seen this month.

Step 3: THANK Global corporations for the global distribution and telecommunications infrastructure they’ve created and FORGIVE them their past sins.

Step 4: THANK Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett for creating The Giving Pledge but collect the money NOW to create a global fund. Open the pledge to non-billionaires as well.

Step 5: TAKE the wealth of the remaining 1% who CHOOSE not to sign up for the Giving Pledge. Fuck ‘em… they’ve had their chance.

Step 6: Use the POWER of the fund to create a TRUE globally owned public company who’s two mandates are a) FEED the world using /existing/ sustainable technologies b) HEAL the _needlessly_ sick with FREE /existing/ medicines, condoms and vaccinations. Sustainable housing and energy will be next. Use the MONEY of the fund to BUY the supplies from existing businesses (thus stimulating the economy).  Need manpower? How about turning incarcerated non-violent offenders into work-trade/freedom volunteers?

Step 7: Build a FaceBook App that PUBLICLY lists donations to the fund from the non-billionaires (99% of the people) who are driving this . Use this to turn our social focus from “how much we earn” to “how much we share”

Step 8: Build a FaceBook App that lists public and private companies that DONATE time and resources to the fund.

Step 9: Cap personal income WORLD WIDE to US$2Million/year and make donations to the Global Fund 200% tax deductible. All personal income above $2M goes to non-profits of your choice. 99% of the HUMAN RACE will not notice a to their income!! Also, scrap Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights – they are antiquated systems that stifle innovation.

Step 10: Use the Open Graph protocol and Open-Source software model to encourage input and feedback from anyone on the planet, in real-time so that “spare time” becomes a usable commodity.

Step 11: Recognize that our world is already run by corporations – this is not a conspiracy, this is a natural outcome of our system, and this is NOT and bad thing IF we have trust in our corporations which we do not. Start by trusting in the public fund and let trust move outwards from there.

Step 12: Trust in yourself. External validation is a philosophical waste of time and the driver of the current system. Have faith in strangers and they will have faith in you. Trust creates confidence, confidence creates innovation, innovation creates solutions, solutions create hope. Hope creates trust.

In my mind, the existing system, like those before it, were, by necessity, built on Ego. For the first time in Human history we have the knowledge and technologies for every person on this planet to have access to free food and medicine, clean water, shelter, and, most importantly, the ability to teach anything to any other person worldwide, i.e. empowerment. What we lack is confidence… and our current system is NOT designed to encourage confidence.

Confidence starts with you.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
— Nelson Mandela

Last night a few of us watched Zeitgeist III – Moving Forward.

If you haven’t yet watched it, you should… now. It’s free, it’s inspiring, and it’s free.

The first part is mostly commonsense – there is no Nature vs. Nurture. Life is Nature AND Nurture. Duh.

The second part explains (better than ever) what is wrong with the system today. This is not a conspiracy, this is simply a natural outcome of the system in place. Avoidable, yes, but the right people weren’t thinking far enough ahead.

The third part suggests a plan of starting over in a hypothetical new world. All great great stuff.

To my mind however, three key points were missing:

1) The movie shows in detail how we got here but not why we got here.

History has shown that people are driven by self-interest. That’s not ideal, but that is what got us here. When food/water/shelter aren’t freely and readily available to everyone on the planet, to some extent, you have to look out for yourself.

Today however, we now know better. Now we can provide food, clean water, shelter and medicine to the entire planet (if you don’t believe me pick up a recent copy of Popular Science and see what’s going on) and self-interest can evolve away to global-interest and dialogue.

Like it or not, we have the current system to thank for that.

Is the current system perfect? God no, but the “wealth creation” made possible from Capitalism has successfully provided the incentives to create a) a Global shipping and distribution system b) the groundwork for a truly global economy c) real-time news feeds from around the world in any language and d) a global, open and (so far) “free” global communications network (The ‘Net) which in turn allows any human being the potential to teach any other human being anything. Now that’s empowering!

The current system’s imperfections lie simply in the intentions of the upper 1% whose wealth allows them to suppose control of the system a few of them helped to create. The existing system was a necesassary steping stone to the next system. The Industrial Revolution could not have happened without the earlier Iron Age. The last 100 years had to happen to take human abilities to where they are today. Globally speaking, we as a species are considerably better off than we were 100 years ago. Job well done. Now stop blaming people and lets move on!

Personally, I’d like to tell my grandchildren that in 2011 we turned off the propaganda machine before it was too late and began turning things around.

2) Their new world looks sexy, but frankly, while I enjoy Star Trek, I’m not sure I’m ready to live in what looks like an earth-based space station.

Where are all the hikers and Skiers? Where do I go to get away? Hey, and some of us LIKE living in a small town!

While an efficient, cleanly automated system is great for the sustainability of our species (the planet by the way is FINE), it isn’t great for Human Nature. The new system must provide choice. If you don’t want to wear mechanically created free clothing, find a designer and barter for funky pants. Don’t like the system created free-food? Fine, trade with a farmer or make your own. An efficient system MUST provide the basic needs for everyone on the planet (food, clean water, shelter, medicine) but for those of us inspired to stand out there must be a system in place to allow for individuality.

3) How do we realistically get from HERE to THERE?

I have an idea… check my next post…

I was feeling rather dirty the other night and as I turned on the shower I thought to myself “Huh, I’ve never showered in the dark before!”

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A Haunting Christmas

On October 10, 1966 Simon & Garfunkel released the album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme which included what I think is the most haunting Christmas song I’ve ever heard.

Together they sang Silent Night. Slowly a new broadcast from August 3, 1966 fades in.

Chilling. How sad that today’s news would be no different.

Silent Night, 7 O’Clock News


Shift Happens.

An inspiring video from February 2007. This has been mimicked and updated but seeing the data from only 3 years ago puts the growth in perspective I think.

Shame on you Alcan.

I found this ad inside Readers Digest.

Do you really think we’re that lazy that we can’t rip our own foil? We’re not, are we?

We Feel Fine

A friend once described me a “steadfast optimist” – the  fate of the world is fun to joke about but I have absolute faith that human innovation and love will soon take care of the handful of wackos running things right now.

When the radio was invented many people presumed the death of books, the lightbulb the death of candles, dildos the death of men, but while can never truly kill off anything it ‘replaces’, it certainly can alter the playing field. The Internet is a fine example.

While no can save the world, what I think makes the Internet the most remarkable technological advance in human history [my Roger, what strong words] is that, for the first time we have the ability for the average person (by industrialized standards that is) to communicate with any other [average] person in the world.

Currently almost 2 BILLION people can get online. That’s almost one third. Any one person in a room can affect 2 other people, so as the online community grows, so does the ability to directly connect with everyone on the planet.

Most people are interested only in facebook and cat photos, but a few pioneers are creating new views into the general attitudes of people all over the [online] world based on what they post, email, tweet, chat or text on a day to day basis. It’s spooky what we can find out about you online. Negative: Some corporations and governments will abuse this. Positive: Incredible observations can be made by you when this information is presented openly.

I came across this (3 year old) TED Talks video today I wanted to share. It’s an insight to how some artists are working, but also provides some amazing tools to see how the “world” is feeling right now.

The We Feel Fine project really caught my eye.

Blessed.

Great.

Free.

Well.

Better.

These are most represented feelings in 2010. I was surprised.

Of course this doesn’t take into account the feelings of people who can’t get a glass of water let alone an internet connection but it does show the feelings of those of us with connections and therefore with the time and money to make a difference. It made me all warm and fuzzy. [Is that a tear?]

Here’s a link to the TED Talk

Here’s a link to the amazing We Feel Fine project

Here’s a link to Jonathan’s Universe Project


Sex Advice #1

As any Social Marketing expert will tell you, a single blog should stick to a single subject. Blogs covering too many subjects simply don’t take hold. Well, to the experts, I say bugger off.  This is my blog and the singular subject is, well, me (and my thoughts). This is the stage from which I can talk about anything… and I like to talk (about?) a lot.

Sex, laughter and philosophy (which go together of course) are three of my favourites.

So it is with great pleasure, for the first time ever on blog, that I discuss… drum roll please… sex.

Hmm. That lost something without hearing the fanfare I was humming.

And actually this isn’t really a discussion… more a piece of advice. The subject sprung up on a recent drive back from Seattle.

The subject: Road Head.

No one likes long drives.  Even with the best music, best friends, best scenery, eventually silence ensues, eye lids droop, minds wander and boredom looks for distraction.

47% of couples end long road trips in argument. I might have made that up, but you’ll never prove it.

When times like these occur, and yes this is entirely sexist and one-sided (unless you are particularly flexible or have tall car seats,) might I suggest fellatio. If you think that’s an Italian ice-cream, please stop reading.

That’s it. No great insight. I hope you weren’t expecting more.

Oh, and I think it might be illegal in some countries – so keep your seatbelt on. Just tip the seat back a bit and loosen the seat belt a shade. Naturally I don’t condone illegal activity, but this is a sex column, not a legal brief.  Speaking of which, Drivers: leave the briefs at home, and wear loose pants. Button-flys are right out.

Now, if you happen to witness Road Head don’t make a huge deal of it.  A simple honk and a thumbs up will suffice – no need to advertise that you aren’t getting any.

These days few cars have the full-width front bench seat our parents grew up with, but while the centre console doesn’t help the process, it shouldn’t be viewed as the enemy either. A carefully laid hoody or an old pair of snowboard pants will do wonders.

Now before I hear from disgruntled ladies about how one-sided this post is, remember this: If he thinks he can drive safely with his thingy in your mouth, there’s no reason he couldn’t service you at the same time with the ol’ reach around… unless of course he only has one arm… then you’ll need to ask someone in the back seat.

Why Road Head? Two reasons. One, it kills time. Two, good karma. I’m a big fan of oral sex – obvious perhaps, but oral sex is, by nature, a completely selfless act to perform and as such always deserves to be repaid. I’ve always felt the world would be a safer place with more oral sex and laughter. When you arrive at your destination, it’s payback time. Unpacking can wait.

I hope someone found this helpful, and I look forward to sharing more of these insights as they come up.

Working in the IT industry, I’ve seen all sorts of , both useful and frivolous, grand and bland, bad and fad, wicked and evil. Occasionally however a is applied in a manner that truly can save your soul… well, soles anyway… feet that is. The godly sent technological wonder that is the Heated Mattress pad.

Here in Nelson it’s bloody cold many many many nights of the year. Sliding into bed, regardless of the number of bodies offering you warmth, can be an adventure in restraint as cold hands are slapped away from hot bodies, feet are kicked back, and noses are bopped at the mere hint of a warming nuzzle.

A few nights ago that all changed.

Never has $90 been spent so successfully in the bedroom… not that would be discussed on this blog at any rate.

We’ve purchased a Biddeford heated mattress pad which fits tall mattresses up to (an intimidating) 19 inches. The heating wires within the cover are barely noticeable although we put our old mattress cover over top to get an extra dose of squishy. Our only complaint would be where the power cord connects -  there’s a small plastic receptacle near your feet (or under your pillow if you’re sleep upside down) which feels like someone left a credit card in the bed… not the worst thing I’ve slept with but a little distracting nonetheless. Most  heated mattress pads come with two temperature controllers, his and hers… or his and his… or hers and hers… allowing for maximum flexibility – temperature that is. Personally I recommend maxing it out for 15 minutes before hitting the sheets so you can turn it off when you’re turning it on… animal-magnetism in bed is one thing, electro-magnetism is something else entirely. I’m sure it’s 100% safe, but the recent obsession with compact florescent lightbulbs means our houses are filled with enough interference as it is.

From an environmental standpoint, our little bundle of toasty-toasty draws (maximum) 80-Watts per side… that’s a little more than the average (incandescent) lightbulb… and studies have shown you can actually save energy as you can comfortably turn back the heat in your bedroom. This, mixed with bodies now accepting to your touch upon entry begs the question “what the hell was I waiting for??”

If you’re tired of a cold reception in your lairs of love or simply want to break a sweat with a little less effort, treat yourself and your bedfellows to a heated mattress pad… the energy saved will quickly be put to good use.

I suspect most of this blog will be fairly useless so I thought I’d start on a high note with something I hope will be useful to some of the small business owners in town.

I’ve spent part of my career in the field of “Process Re-engineering”… in simple terms, it’s about helping businesses run more efficiently to save time and money. More on that later. For now, here’s a freebie… defining Roles.

Does this sound familiar?  Something needs to be done at work, but no one’s quite sure who’s supposed to do it. The result, it either doesn’t get done; it’s done multiple times by multiple people; or more often than not, it ends up in the owners lap.

“It’s not my responsibility!”

“Bugger, I thought she was supposed to do that!?”

Clearly defined roles are about one thing… . Simple, but helpful. If something wasn’t done, who’s fault was it? It’s incredible how often that question can’t be answered… especially in a small business where people are too busy doing their job to clearly define their job. If you don’t know who’s accountable (“to blame”), you won’t know which crack it fell through and you won’t be able to prevent it happening again.

The trouble is, before I’ll agree to be accountable for something, I need to know I’m responsible for it… and before I’ll agree to be responsible for it I need to know I’ll have everything I need to do what it is I’m supposed to do! That’s where Requirements come in.

First, define what needs to get done day to day (). Next, break these into logical groupings or Roles. For example, it makes sense the receptionist is also responsible for checking last night’s phone messages, but not for ordering supplies… a completely different task better suited for the Office Manager (perhaps).

Now in order for the Office Manager to order supplies, he or she needs to know what supplies need ordering… so a Requirement for the Office Manager (Role) is that all other staff must notify them (in writing) when the paper clips (etc) are running low.

So. Daily tasks are broken up into , which are assigned to Roles, which have a list of Requirements needed to accomplish said by said Role.

Simple, right?

Here’s the key to the whole process:

Every requirement I need to do my role must be someone’s (possibly my own) responsibility. If I’m responsible for scheduling shifts I require to know everyone’s availability… put another way, everyone is responsible for making sure I know their availability, or I can’t do my job.

Now if there’s a scheduling conflict, I’m accountable (“in shit”) BUT if my requirements weren’t met (say the conflict happened because I wasn’t told you were on vacation) then there’s no way I can be expected to meet my responsibility. You are now accountable because you failed in your responsibility to tell me your availability. Now we’ve found the ‘crack’ and now it can be filled… (and phew it wasn’t my fault!).

Naturally, the point isn’t to place blame and slap wrists, it’s to find out specifically which requirement wasn’t met to get a job done. When you have clearly defined Roles it’s then a simple matter of tweaking a responsibility to support a requirement to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again. If a corresponding requirement or responsibility can’t be found it might be time for a new role.

This process takes a fair amount of effort, but believe me, it pays off… and after going through a role or two it becomes pretty straightforward.

Click here to download a template you can use. It’s a Word Document zipped up.

Each page should be a single Role. Each Role should be assigned to a single person (who may have multiple Roles). Each Role should have a list of and each responsibility should have any corresponding Requirements that ensure the can be accomplished.

How granular you define your roles is really up to you – the finer you break them up the easier they are to assign, and re-assign as you grow your business and hire more employees.  You can of course break up a role later when it makes sense.

If you want to check you’ve covered your bases, work backwards through your requirements and make sure each one is covered by a responsibility by it or some other role.

Let me know if this was helpful to anyone, and if it even makes sense….