Tag Archives: business

Résumé Updating

TakingNoteIt’s been a while since I took any time to update the old résumé, though I must admit not a lot has changed, it’s just time to polish things up a bit. I have a LinkedIn account and I do make minor changes there every so often, but I haven’t done much with the hardcopy. *shudder… hardcopy*

While going through my LI profile something in the “Interests” caught my eye…

“movies, music, writing, flying, aircraft (design/construction/restoration), amateur radio, history, anthropology, archaeology, genealogy, archive, preservation (document/book/photograph), blacksmithing, silversmithing, metal fabrication, woodworking, sustainable living (building, power, farming, food), alternative building technologies, primitive technology, self reliance, resiliency (personal, local, community, regional, national)”

I’m pretty sure I have gone down this road before at some point, but it bares repeating. It’s the resiliency line personal, community, local, regional, national, (and by extension international). With all of the hullabaloo about Brexit people are thinking about how it will affect them. Really, it shouldn’t.

Before anyone starts screaming “Exclusionist!” or “Nationalist!” like somehow nationalism is automatically a bad thing like the bought-and-paid-for media would have you think, participating in worldwide commerce is not bad, far from it. Depending on a centralized global economy is bad, very bad. Even centralized national economies are bad. We keep having example after example of what happens when centralized economies have sector hiccoughs. The whole thing is affected.

When the US economy crashed in 2008, due to our own internal centralized economy and the managers of that system doing bad things, it was felt around the world. When the Greek economy tanked it was directly due to the EU centralized economy, and it affected all of the EU and beyond. The Brexit issue has been felt all over the globe as well. These effects are all because of the idea that the world is somehow better off when we all have our eggs in the same basket. It is absurd.

Why Jon, when you say it that way it sounds so obviously bad, but surly global economics aren’t that simplistic. Actually, yes. Yes they are. At least from the notion that centralization is a good thing. So in this case it really is that simple.

Centralization, in any system, creates more sub-systems and moving parts that are all interdependent. The level of complexity is exponentially increased, and much of the energy that goes into the system goes towards minimizing losses and damage the system itself creates, and of course the administration of the system. Not to mention that the resulting product is generally of lower quality by the time it gets to the consumer/user. Worst of all, with all of the interdependence even a small hiccough produces problematic ripples throughout the system and may even halt it all together.

A simple example is the spinach crisis a few years ago in the US. Much of spinach supplied to restaurants and some grocery stores was recalled because a pig got loose on one farm. There was an outbreak of e.coli, not an epidemic, but large enough and wide enough spread to panic a lot of people, cost farmers millions, destroy a large portion of the nations spinach crop, and waste millions in resources throughout the centralized food system. Absolutely none of it was necessary. To top it all off, it further set in motion more restrictive regulations shutting out some small farms due to the onerous regulations and cost.

So what does all of this have to do with resiliency? Any engineer will tell you eliminate single-point-failures, and provide redundancy if you want a resilient system. You cannot design a resilient system from the top down, it just wont work it, more to the point it can’t work. It must be designed and built from the bottom up. That’s why the order I use is so important personal, community, local, regional, national, (and by extension international).

To avoid collapse of any of the centralized systems we currently have, start with yourself and your family. Have plans and preparations in place so you are more resilient. Help family and neighbors to be more resilient. All of you can start working on getting your community more resilient.

Slowly but surely people are waking up to the simple facts. As the understanding of how theses system interrelate and how wasteful they are, how the systems only care about the system and not the end user, how the user is cheated out of high quality goods and is forced pay a premium for the privilege, people are beginning to put all of the pieces together.

No amount of railing on and on about how simple this all is will convince those who choose to stay the course. They must see the light in their own time. This is something that I am coming to terms with myself. It seems so clear, and I want the people I care about to be resilient and not suffer when those hiccoughs occur. All I can do is walk the walk and demonstrate by example.

All of the Brexit panic, anger, frustration, division, and the eventual blow back all come from not understanding what great-granny always said “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” Smart old broad that.

~FlyBoyJon

A&P School: Almost Done

It’s been three and a half semesters since A&P school started on August 10th, 2011. Here I am getting ready for my last mid-term in the program. It feels really good to be so far along but there is still a ton to get done in a short time. There is a mid term, several quizzes and tests, and a final. After that there are still the FAA tests, the written, and the oral/practical that need to be passed to add the Powerplant rating to my mechanic certificate.

After finishing my mechanic ratings there is still the matter of finishing my AS in Aviation Maintenance Technology. The good news on this front is it looks like I will be able to finish my AS over the summer with three classes, one of which is a single unit in kinesiology (P.E. for those over 30.)  Then I can transfer to San Jose State to finish my undergrad work with a BS in Aviation Maintenance Management.

Ever since I embarked on this journey making plans has required factoring in lots flexibility and not making any plans too dependent on outside influences. In short, not making plans so much as having general ideas and making sure I can easily divert from one to an alternate without too much upheaval in the universe. Building all of this flexibility into the planning process has made it very difficult to do any advance work down one path or another. In one sense this has been beneficial because it has kept me on a fairly narrow focus towards completion and has been an education in and of itself. I have been keeping projects at arms length because I know I don’t have enough time to complete them and along the way I have also learned the importance of the word “no” and how to use it.

Another important skill set I have been honing is applying value to my time going beyond coming up with an hourly rate by encompassing the value of learning from projects. Deciding if a project is worth taking on or is the time better served by farming it out. Sometimes when I know I can do something, it’s not the can I that is the important part, it is the should I part that needs the thinking. This is where the time and resource Black Hole can rear its ugly head and make a fun project suck, or a profitable project turn into a money pit.

With all of this learning and self realization going on you might think I would awaken from this aviation dream and realize that it is a bitch to make any money in this industry. Nope, no such luck. I’m hooked. I do think I have learned a few “secrets” to aviation/business success though. Keep it simple, keep the scope narrow, get and stay known in your niche, and never compromise on the quality of your work. An aviation business can always fail, but these are the key things that seem to cause a business to fail, aviation or otherwise.

What is the take-away from all of this? Work with what you have. Take on only the work you can do now. Grow slowly with well planned steps. Never stop learning. Keep an eye to the sky, an ear to the ground, and your nose to the grind stone, then you just might make it.

Blue skies and tail winds,
~FlyBoyJon

The New National Economy

bag-O-moneyThe failure of several large financial institutions demonstrates that bad management can bring down a business of any size. As a small business it is unlikely that the government will bail you out when you make those mistakes, so it is up to you to be the best business person you can be. Take responsibility with your customers and your suppliers. Any attempt to BS them will not go well, and no one can afford to lose ether in this economic environment.

Small business must become the backbone of the new economy. When a large conglomerate goes under, it damages the national economy. A single large company failing can cost the economy thousands of jobs, the loss of stockholder savings, millions of dollars in disposable income, and additional millions in unemployment and social services. It effects not only the employees of the failed company but most likely thousands of jobs spread across suppliers/vendors and their suppliers/vendors. A large company can literally effect five or six layers deep and bring the actual number of jobs lost to ten times original estimate.

The cascading failures of 2008 caused by failing financial institutions are still not fully realized. Jobs are being lost every day even as you read this article. Though there are many contributing factors and failings in government and the financial institutions that precipitated the situation, they are not the underlying cause. The virtual elimination of the “middle” class is the primary cause of the economic situation we are in now.

Over the last several decades businesses have succumb to the “buyout” or being put out of business by the unbeatable buying power of a big-chain-store, large companies grow larger and the number of small businesses continues to decline. So how is this the big problem? It is actually a simple situation. When a big company fails it effects an equally large group of people and beyond. When a small business fails it rarely effects more than those directly employed and there family. It really is that simple. There are contributing factors as well, one of the biggest is the decision to outsource, manufacturing and services, to overseas companies; something unlikely to be done by a small business, and even if it where it would have a much smaller effect.

How do we fix this mess? The path to national recovery has many facets, the most important of which is equally as difficult. The business world has a whole needs to take a more nationalist view of its responsibilities; even when it means giving up a few points of the profit margin to keep jobs and manufacturing here in the United States. A company that claims they could not survive if it employed or manufactured locally is showing it’s short sightedness and a lack of sound management. The practice of building a company specifically to be bought out needs to stop. The practice of big companies buying up small companies and then closing them just to eliminate competition needs to stop.

What this all breaks down to is that business as a whole needs to be a responsible citizen. The bottom line of the balance sheet is not the bottom line. The consumer must also be a responsible citizen, buy American products when ever possible, seek out, support and encourage small business as much as possible, and be vocal about your support, encourage others to do the same. As a small business owner/manager you too must be a responsible citizen by using local suppliers when ever possible, join local business and professional associations, share your pride with your customers and fellow business owners/managers.

Business as a whole needs to look at the big picture, investors need to look at the big picture, consumers need to look at the big picture. Everyone needs to take responsibility for the national economy.

~FBJ

The Great HD Crash of 08

There has been a lack of posts on the blog since the “Great HD Crash of 08”.

I have been under a great deal of stress, as of late, and a lack of sleep doesn’t help. The club gig has come to an end. Less than the stellar ending I had hoped for, but this is good in the long run, it doesn’t help with the stress right now, but “it will all work out“. I must admit, I didn’t expect it to go longer than a year, so thirteen months is not far off. After the issues surrounding the big awards show, things deteriorated nuke-backgroundwith some interpersonal relationships that where not expected to recover. I stuck it out because I wanted it to end gracefully. With all of the software and hardware problems poking there ugly heads at me regularly, basically telling me its time to hang it up, I gave it the old college try, but in the end, there was little to salvage.

On the positive side; I took the time to review a couple of other projects I had in the wings, so to speak. The Steam Faire project is moving along, slowly but steadily. The website now has 50 members, there was a good turnout for the first organizational meeting, the second meet-up looks like it will be successful, and I have leads on a couple of sponsorships. The over all plan is maturing quickly. There are several scheduling things that need tending this coming week, a few appointments need to be set, venue, sponsors, promo items, and the like. I have a very good feeling about the project and the support received thus far. Response has been positive, and with a little promotional push this began rolling beyond the initial buzz.

Galeatus AerNavis

AirshipPilotThe second big project is on a slower development track. There are several tie-ins with Steam Faire, mainly in the promotional arena. If I can garner some financial interest in the basic project concepts and development track, the public “roll-out” could be as early as January. I am hesitant to push for public support as a “grass roots” movement until getting some feed back from a potential interested party.

A number of successful companies have used a similar structure and tactics by opening up to public contribution and support, providing full scale development funding with only subsistence funding from the investment sector. The advantage of this approach is a lower initial investment, typically from an “angel” type investor, low dollar, high return potential. This kind of venture is seat-of-the-pants boot-strapping, and pure risk capital. With smaller investments, and funding commitments at key developmental benchmarks it spreads out the cash flow, and risk for the investor.

~FBJ

Closing MySpace Accounts

no_myspaceI set up MySpace accounts for several businesses with the intent of promoting them, in part, with social networking. After 3 months of constant porn spamming I killed all of the MySpace accounts. I have accounts on several other social networks, Livejournal, Spaces, Facebook, Blogspot, just to name a few. I have never gotten so much in-your-face porn spam on any other site.

When the net was still an infant, back in the USENET days, there was lots of porn, but you had to go looking for it, It wasn’t hard to find, It was actually rather easy to find. It wasn’t however in-your-face. Okay, when the web was introduced if you went to a porn site you got tons of pop-ups and the like, but you where already looking for it. Then there was the email porn spam, that got real annoying real fast. That was reaching out to everyone, but more often that not it was text only.

What I don’t get is why they spend so much time and money on social network sites. If you are looking for porn its easy to find. If you are not looking for it, and you are doing something in particular, will you stop what you are doing when you get spammed with it? Not me. If I wanted to find it I would go looking for it. If I come across it in a place I conduct business, I look for a new neighborhood to conduct business.

It’s a business, I get that. It’s advertising, I get that too. I even get that a LOT of people use the social networking sits to hook up, in the eyes of the porn industry, that is a prime market space. What I don’t get is the blanket spamming that they do. I haven’t seen it on other social networking sites. Why on MySpace? What is the fascination with doing it there. Are they paying MySpace to not shut them down? There is a report as spam feature. I used it a lot. I have gotten friend invites and the account is closed before I view it. Why MySpace?

I guess the only important thing for me is that I don’t play in that neighborhood any more. There are plenty of other business friendly streets to walk and enjoy the view.

~FBJ