Saturday, July 31, 2010


Shared thinking is only as good as the people doing the sharing.

Who are you hanging around with?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Ten Cannots

I ran across these 10 statements while doing some reading about our Founding Fathers and the struggles they endured putting together the U.S. Constitution. The actual listing of cannots was published much later in a pamphlet in 1916 by a minister, William J. Boetcker. He was obviously an outspoken advocate for liberty and had done much thinking about the American people’s way of life.

The statements, to me, apply much more to my personal and business life than to my beliefs about political matters.

Here they are:

1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
3. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.
4. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
5. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s incentive and independence.
6. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.
7. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.
9. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.
10. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.

I am also reminded, by reading this, of one of my favorite quotes attributed to Abraham Lincoln,

“The best thing we can do for the poor is not become one of them.”

Abe, I’m trying.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Very Un-Accountant-Like Thought

I believe that an imprecise measurement of the right thing is infinitely more valuable than a precise measurement of the wrong thing.

There…I said it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Outside the Lines

It is pretty interesting how we attempt to raise and educate our children. We want them to be obedient, polite, studious, and above all…to color inside the lines. By and large, we want them to be like every other “good” kid.

Without challenging the conventional wisdom of the above, I would like to point out a few things. Some of these things I have observed by a cursory study of history and some from personal experience. First, the great leaders of our society have not colored inside the lines. Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan all were almost totally oblivious to the “lines” they needed to stay within. They led by their own sense of right and adventure. They were not encumbered by the thoughts of “fitting in”. They did not feel the need to “just go along” and be like the stereotypical good guy. I am sure you could name other leaders with the same internal compass.

The most successful business leaders that I have had the privilege to work with or have read about are much the same. In most cases, lines are ignored, or they are there only for people like me (those that have attempted to stay within the lines) to worry about on their behalf. Their thought, though they may not verbalize it, is… “I have the ideas, fortitude, and am willing to take the entrepreneurial risk…I pay you to keep me out of trouble”. And, by the way, trouble usually does not bother them. We, color within the line guys, will walk a mile out of our way to avoid it. The risk takers, the achievers, the real leaders don’t mind rubbing shoulders with trouble (maybe I should define trouble here as adversity or risk)…in fact, I think they get a thrill out of it. The closer to the edge the better! Apple’s Steve Jobs is a great example of someone to which lines mean very little. He has succeeded in creating products that the market didn’t even know it wanted. I wonder how he behaved in the classroom? I bet I can guess.

Now, back to our kids. In the movie “The Sandlot” (one of my all time favorites) one of the moms tells her, “color inside the lines” kid to “get dirty, go out and get into trouble”. She was simply trying to gently push him toward a more rich life, full of worthwhile experiences. I know this thought is very counter-intuitive, but isn’t that what we want for our children, a rich life full of worthwhile experiences?

I truly believe that the people who color outside of the lines are the ones that make the world a more interesting and better place. They also probably talk a little too loud, drive a little too fast, and certainly make us within the lines folks a little uncomfortable.

God bless them!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Just for Grins: Things Yogi Said

1. A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
2. Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.
3. If you come to a fork in the road, take it.
4. If you don’t know where you are going, you may end up some place else.
5. It gets late early out there.
6. Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.
7. We made too many wrong mistakes.
8. You can observe a lot just by watching.
9. I really didn’t say everything I said.

Just how cool is this?

Happy 4th of July everyone. It is great to live in the USA.