Monday, September 19, 2011
Learning From Failure
Those of you who have followed this blog, there’s an awareness that I’ve recently left my comfort zone, in order to expand my business. This, under the tawdry gaze of our Leftist masters.
See, I think that the next downturn, which will happen before the end of the 2nd quarter of next year, will provide me with an opportunity to purchase assets held by one of the companies that I compete against, now. I have competed against him for some few years now, and while he has more employees, I have a bigger client base and provide a better service. What he has is assets that I don’t need. (But, if I’m going to bring some people into my business, either to retire or to hand on my business to someone who would like to take over the business, being a solo act won’t afford my heirs or successors enough wiggle room to allow me to travel the “scene” in Eastern Europe.) So, if I’m going to grow, it’s cheaper to purchase what he has, than to purchase the opportunities that he represents. Some of his assets have real value. It isn’t just the assets, it’s the clients. If I can pick up his client base and replace the values that he has advocated for with the values I advocate for, I can pick up a significant sector of market share, without having to dilute what I do for my current clients. This is why I’ve decided to expand my business. If I can grow my current revenue to the point where the acquisition is not going to create stress on my cash-flow, it makes sense to plan for the acquisition, donnit?
Unnerstan, I’ve lost it all before.
Business, unlike poker, has more variables. When you’ve been dealt a hand, you have several options. Unlike poker, when you’re building a business, there are no rules. You can draw up to 15 cards and still be in play. Failure is not an impediment to success. It is the road to success.
The Road to Success is littered with the Road of Failure.
I’m not a real old guy, but my sons have reminded me that in fifteen years, I’m going to be in my seventies. “Shock.” Coming from a live fast, die young and have pretty looking corpse, I’m comfortable with the inevitable effects of living past ones idea of what ones life would be. I’ve become more cautious. I don’t drink and drive. I think about dating, but I am genuinely concerned that dating, at my age, will lead to a ruin. Better to run off to Eastern Europe, than engage in anything that requires dealing with establishing a relationship that involves flirting around the edges with emotion. Emotions are tough enough when you’re young. Attempting to disregard everything about emotions that you’ve found you’ve failed at, is too risky for me. If I lose at business, that’s me. If I lose at love, that’s me and someone else. My sons are grown. My losses won’t affect anything more than their opinion of me. The words “idiot” and “moron” come to mind. I don’t mind being either of those things, if I can keep from hurting someone. My cash? My risk.
Examining my bona fides is understood. I’d do it, too.
My biggest account has over five-hundred employees. I’m not a major player in terms of large-scale companies, but those of you who know me, know that I live in a basically rural market, yet, the largest companies in this market rely upon me for their market consultancy. Braggadocio? Well, yeah. If I wasn’t good, I’d be working harder and blogging less. But the key with this post isn’t that I’m a madman doing well, it’s that I’m not a madman, yet, thinking again about putting “it all” at risk, again. We’ll check in again at the end of 2nd Quarter, 2012. I’m sure I’m all about the alibi. But, at my age, being a failure isn’t an unknown. It’s a known, and making sure that I’m able to outlast a competitor, and survive my own failure is more likely for me, an old guy, than was likely for me, when a young guy.
I watch CNBC prolly 25 to 30 hours a week. I bring this up to explain my take on the “market” and the Market. The “market” is, in my thinking, what takes place on Wall Street. The Market is what takes place in the macro-economic world of markets, each seeking to find their own places of equilibrium. The Market, in terms of U.S. production, is represented by the expression “C + I + G + X – M = GDP. And the comedy of U.S. domestic fiscal and monetary policy is sublime. We’re not defending the dollar, we’re not defending certainty, and we’re not defending investments. While Greece and Europe tick-tock in the background, and we’re saying “it can’t happen here” while debt to GDP ratios are spinning out of control. But I spend 25 to 30 hours a week with CNBC, while the vast majority of Americans are watching nothing close to information that would allow them to understand the path that we’re currently following.
I bring this up, only to allow myself to gain the sainted absolution of Laocoön.
The Tea Party guys are taking a shellacking from the Left because the Tea Party guys don’t care about the poor, kids, education, science, the Elderly, the Environment, product safety, second-hand smoke, auto safety, bullying, gender-equity, support for the Arts, diversity, reform, fur, safety in the workplace, a Woman’s Right to Choose, exploitation, cell-phone use, music, poetry, literature, language, discrimination, well-being, creativity, technology, equality, pasteurized milk, chemicals, the Patriarch, the Matriarch, Gaia, clinical psychology, social work, caring, empathy, role-playing, despondency, alienation, inequality, negativity, homosexuals, bi- or tri-sexuals, Corporatism, anarchism, whole foods, soda drinks, plastic bags and more, to be decided and enunciated at some point in the future.
Being a Tea Party guy is somewhat less difficult; there is a role for government, but it isn’t all inclusive. We nibble around the edges, but basically, the role of government is to leave us alone. Protect us. Make sure we’re not polluting. That garbage is picked-up and that we have adequate highways. Tea Party guys don’t ask too much.
And, the chance to fail.
Liberty is really cool.
The freedom to win or lose is one of the characteristics of “what it means to be an American.” There is no race card.
There is no under-privileged. There is only, opportunity.
Hang out around teachers. The adults to whom you put your children into their care.
Did you know that teachers are being taught and told, not to tell their students whether or not they are failing?
Had a nice evening tonight. With one of my accounts.
Talked about some people we know.
It’s like Lake Woebegone. Everyone you know, everyone you deal with, is above average. The statistical observation that should be apparent is, half the people you deal with are below average. (Given random distribution.) But we treat everyone as if they were all above average. How likely is it that you’ll meet someone in the 90 to 100 I.Q. range, as compared to meeting someone in the 100 to 110 I.Q. range? Given the first sd, I’d say it’s just as likely, innit? Yet, everyone wants to be treated as if they’re fukin Albert Einstein. Is that reasonably likely? Is it predictable?
The problem that this account and I talked about is, how do you hire anyone? Hiring a young person is now, timelessly, an unfruitful pursuit. It takes a set of skills to hire a young person that we, old guys, typically, didn’t learn. I believe that any employer that hires young people must just have a greater acceptance that the youts have little or no concern for independence and confidence in themselves.
So, I’ll share a bit.
I hired a typical slacker. Gave him a copy of Freud’s “Civilization and Its Discontents.” Then, I gave him Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Then I gave him Gerber’s “The E-Myth.”
We then went through certain micro-economic fundaments; like the organization of a business, what affects supply, what affects demand, what the role of price is, and the differences between the stuff you hear on T.V., and the reality of what a business owner faces when he wakes up in the morning. That is, what is his nut?
I don’t mind dumb people. But smart people do have a certain cache of responsibility, don’t they? If you’re going to tell people what they should have an awareness of, like wolves in the woods, or thin ice, wouldn’t you expect those same people to tell you the truth about over-extension of credit?
I think it’s time we get over worrying about the Tea Party folks. The Tea Party is just about thin ice and wolves in the woods. They’re not saying, don’t go out on the ice, or, don’t go out to the woods. There are Ice People and Woods People who do well in the ice or the woods. Why should we stop them?
If I choose to go out over thin ice, after I’ve been warned, who is responsible?
I do enjoy teaching. I do enjoy spending time pointing out the obvious to the young who have been taught to ignore the obvious. There are those to whom the recommendation to avoid the woods or ice is a heartfelt plea. That is a mark of a certain human characteristic; compassion.
Learning from failure. When you enter the woods, or find yourself on the ice, it’s understandable that you didn’t mean to find yourself there. When you’re misled, you have a tort. When you go out on the ice, knowing the potential consequences, you have an entrepreneur. But, if you’ve been in the woods, or out on the ice, before, it’s a choice. We take risks. Sometimes we fail. But the rewards of success are greater than the costs of failure. We learn about who we are. We gain. Gain is not bad. It is a social good.
Would somebody explain this to our President?