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The Beauty of Starting Over Again

by on Mar.22, 2013, under Frothy Concepts, People, Sustainability, The Quantified Self

diamond-extended-workspaceMy life is a series of cycles. One of them in particular has the lyrics “Business; learning; business; learning; business; learning…” I spend a few years building a company or a product, I become successful at it (most of the times), I then leave and cycle back into something I want to “learn.” And that learning period becomes formative in determining what I can productively do in the next business cycle.

Steve Jobs knew about these cycles, and said during his famous Stanford University commencement address of 2005 [7:22 into the video, which you can find on NPR]

“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again.”

These cycles have nothing to do with whether you get rich or become a bum. They have to do with how you decide to use your precious years. He put the exclamation point on it [12:40 into the same video] by adding

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

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Boomers gotta answer their own questions

by on Jul.12, 2010, under Frothy Concepts, Organizations and Sociology, Sustainability

{File under Boomer tales}

Robert Reich, who is, like me, surfing the advancing wave of Baby Boomers, suggests that we can (and maybe are the only ones who can) solve our own problem. [April 9, 2010]

More specifically he recommends allowing more immigration and the increased payroll taxes that immigration would bring with it. (Don’t confuse immigration with illegal immigration.) (continue reading…)

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To… eliminate people as a cost to the economic engine

by on Feb.03, 2010, under Frothy Concepts, Sustainability

I just read a blog post by Douglass Carmichael (who I’ve known through MediaX and NextNow events for a short while, and will spend some time with this weekend) entitled Governance and economy.

The thread of his post struck me smack in the face:

Economy has become so powerful because, in the absence of the political ideas to reform government to deal with the real issues of the world, economy emerges as a way to cope with 6 billion people…

Economy has become a form of governance…

The result is a way of life based on dollars and what dollars can buy, which is not so much meaningful goods but stuff…

The result is that we do not really have a governance of society. We have a governance of the society via economy and a governance of economics through the narrow interests of its major participants…

The well being of the people has been replaced by the well being of the economy, which, to make the rich yet richer, has chosen to eliminate people as a cost to the economic engine.

—Douglass Carmichael [excerpted by Sky from Governance and economy]

For 10 years now I have wondered how we expect to both 1) reduce jobs in the US and 2) maintain a functioning economy. I so much want to see people everywhere in the world achieve a good standard of living, and I know that we in the US need to reduce the way we squander our resources, but I don’t see how we can keep eliminating people from the economic engine and expect to have a sustainable economy, let alone a sustainable world. The gears of economy need to function differently—and I firmly believe that the turmoil we see in economic systems right now signals that we will never return to “normal” but instead will have to wrestle with these kinds of questions, and solve these kinds of problems, in order to stabilize our economic and social systems.


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The Solar Outhouse

by on Apr.08, 2009, under Sustainability

A solar outhouseSolar cells on an outhouse? Yup. In the coastal headlands of Marin County.

We see these in the Sierras (the mountains) as well, in some high-traffic publicly-accessible areas of the wilderness. Usually the solar cells in the mountains are powering fans that circulate air into a composting toilet (one that composts the deposits rather than requiring removal to another location). And they’re generally so far from civilization that running a power line would be ludicrous.

But it always seems funny to me.

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