Will the dream of self driving cars be replaced by flying cars?

Untitled drawing (6)Have you seen the new commercial where the car drives itself? It’s so exciting to see the future unfold. I remember watching George Jetson fly around in his car thinking “that’s what my future is going to look like”, but as time ticks on, my future seems to look more like the matrix (or some other post apocalyptic movie) than the cartoon of my childhood past.

Untitled drawing (9)While I don’t see myself becoming a car battery in the distant future, I do think that things won’t be the way I always thought they would. Now keep in mind I am presenting you with my wild speculation, but hear me out. Self driving cars have much anticipation and analysts think that within a decade our economy will be hit hard by self driving automation, but I’m not seeing it come from automobiles.

Untitled drawing (10)Already we’re seeing homeowners insurance being reduced because of automation and the LA Times has mentioned that self driving cars could flip the auto insurance industry on its head. But that’s not all automation is doing. It’s also giving us software to help on a global scale. A farmer can deploy a drone that will fly over an area miles wide, run the images through an algorithm, and tell the farmer what course of action he must take. Throw that software into a network of drones like they did in the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show, and the sky is the limit!Untitled drawing (2)

Amazon has already invested in infrastructure for an air delivery system, including airplanes and even a company to develop their drone delivery service. In addition their ambitious projects are helping to develop regulation that will likely evolve and reshape the aviation industry.

Untitled drawing (5)Right now the closest I can get to my dream of flying around the skies like George Jetson is to jump in a helicopter and fly around, but such a dream would be too costly for the average person to achieve. Although they are coming out with automated systems for Helicopters, insurance prices are too high for the technology to make an impact on the aviation industry to favor the consumer. Also, we are a long way off before drones can carry people off into the sunset, but that’s not stopping companies like Ehang from trying.

Untitled drawing (4)Now back to my wild speculation. Automated driving systems will make a big impact on our economy and our future, but they will only last a short time. It will be like that 5 minutes you had a pager, and then the cell phone came out.  When the line between helicopter and drone disappears, and insurance prices fall (which is a major reason for high aviation costs),we will see prices in aviation fall. Finaly we will see insurance liabilities transfer from the driver or pilot to the automated network provider. We will see the flying car become a reality.

Untitled drawing (1)So. Is it a far-fetched childhood dream to have a flying car? No. I may even see it in my lifetime.

-Brandon

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Musical.ly killed the MTV reality star. 

HollywoodI remember the good old days when I used to have to get up and fix the rabbit-ear antennas on my television set. We had to turn the knob to change the channel until one day cable was affordable enough for us all to enjoy. Finally! We had a remote control to flip through a new fantastic library of channels.  The infrastructure required for this to happen was under my radar, as well as many other customers who watched Hollywood unfold into this huge monstrosity.

cable boxCable was a place where you could have a channel dedicated to an entire subject. You had news networks, sports networks, history, and SCI-FI. However cable television was fundamentally changed once audiences got their first taste of reality TV. Soon after Hollywood spun out of control when YouTube hit the scene and everyone could have a channel dedicated to themselves.

Although people will occasionally tune in to a do-it-yourself house remodel or pause mid-scroll to see that delicious meal pop out of the oven, the cable networks are quickly loosing their viewers to streaming services like YouTube. The infrastructure is again changing and unfolding into an even larger monster than the one before it. The infrastructure is simple enough, in fact Amazon even has a package that will enable you to bypass the cable network altogether. Really all one has to do is subscribe to a cable and phone network and they can watch anything they want.  But what do they want to watch?

Us!

watching youtubeWe are watching anyone and everyone. The truth is that most people have access to the technology that was once a fantasy far far away in Hollywood. We can build a channel or even a network online using YouTube or similar services. It is not uncommon for some shows to transition from YouTube to Netflix, or vice versa. The streaming services that Amazon, Netflix and YouTube are offering are seriously jeopardizing the cable networks. In addition, Facebook is going to start making it’s own original content to compete with Snapchat’s shows, and YouTube just announced that they’re going to start streaming ESPN sports which will be the final nail in the coffin of cable television if they don’t do something.

music.lyIt is an amazing time to be alive and witness such power being wielded by the masses.  SpotifyIt gives me gratification to see reality TV ridden channels like MTV sink because people are taking their music videos back through karaoke, in apps like Snapchat and musical.ly. Not to mention Spotify and SoundCloud are enabling any musician to grasp the power of the record industries. Also Amazon is going to roll out a next generation of Alexa with a TV screen on it.

Sreaming content Ultimately it warms my heart to realize that each individual has access to what was once unobtainable Hollywood magic. In my opinion people have little reason NOT to start something up themselves. If there can be a channel for everything, then people can have a channel for doing anything.  So go build a studio with your smart phone, and see if you have what it takes to be a star. Who knows? I may just tune in.

-Brandon

Modern day Trading and Bartering

The term trading and bartering seems ancient. One might think of cavemen trading shells or Indians trading beaded jewelry but what some people don’t realize is that it’s very common today even with the biggest corporations.  Take Facebook and Google for exFAcebook Dataample. They offer what seems to be a free service, but actually they are just trading that service for information.

The idea is to create value for somebody else through a service or product. Then that value is traded for other value from another party. Through this basic concept of exchanges in the market, economies will thrive. In fact I have traded a service in this very blog post. In exchange for coverage of my blog I have promised another I would mention him in one of my blogs. I can’t think of a better blog post to mention him in then the one I could use him as an example.  (Thanks Tim it’s nice to work with like-minded people)Bartering

I met Tim through a bartering service called Simbi. Simbi is a place where you can trade a product or service for another product or service. They also have their own credit system they use Called Simbi’s. The information on my website to the particular services I offer are here.  I have had somebody come and clean my house, come and trim my dogs nails, and cut down some metal shelves for me and more, through services on Simbi. In exchange I have done things from critiquing resumes to helping people move. unnamed

Trading and bartering seems to be becoming more and more common as more people struggle trying to fill the holes in their finances. I have had family members who had their automobile professionally painted through an exchange of another service. Also people are starting to sell more and more items online through services like Craigslist or the Facebook market in addition to services like eBay. Bartering (1)

I want to talk a little about the purchaser and vender relationship. Services like Simbi and The Facebook market bring an aspect to buying and selling things that is missing from our society today. Because we use money for an exchange of goods and services the transaction is impersonal. This is because it’s quick and there is rarely a long-term relationship developed between purchasers and vendors.

W. Edwards Deming (who I have talked about in the past) says this about purchasing:

“economists teach the world that competition in the marketplace gives everyone the best deal. This may have been so in the days gone by, when the baker had his customers, the Taylor his, the cheese-maker his, and so forth. In those days, it was fairly easy to make an intelligent purchase.

It is different today. The price tag is still easy to read, but an understanding of quality requires education.

The purchasing department must change its focus from lowest initial cost of material purchased to lowest total cost. This means education in purchasing. It is also necessary to learn that specifications of incoming materials do not tell the whole story about performance. What problems does the material and counter in production?”

  If you plan on managing ANYTHING Out of the Crisis by Deming is a must read. Bartering (3)

He also explains why it is so important to have a strong relationship between supplier buyer. He says it is important with continuing delivery of material. Although your vendor might have a higher price than their competitor,  over time you will pay less.  This is true even if you were to buy at the lowest cost from another vendor.

Ultimately, the greatest value of any transaction is the relationship between the two parties.  The cooperation of the two will create long-term quality both will benefit from and become prosperous.

-Brandon

Rule your organization by defining your systems

There are many types of systems to dictate the way life is run. There are the judicial system, immune system, ecosystems, computer systems and many more. nervous-system-pv

While operating your business or start up it is important to start out by defining your business. What is your purpose, and why do you exist? The simplest way to go is to make a mission statement. No I know that sounds corny, but it is the simplest way to start measuring your business.

OpenSystemRepresentationAgain, it is important to define what it is you’re doing, and if you can’t define what you’re doing then you don’t know what you’re doing. Defining your Organization is the most important part of the business. It allows you to measure what you’re doing, and metrics allows you to control your business.

In addition to a project charter, you can use SIPOC diagrams, Process Flow diagrams, and Project Charters.

 

Approvals

Process Flow Diagram

SIPOC diagramSIPOC Diagram

In a side note, I would like to thank you all for reading. I have been absent for the last month for vacation, illness and I have also been working on a big project I plan to roll out within the next 6 months or so. I wish I could tell you more but be patient because it’s going to be huge!  Please keep sharing with your friends we we can continue this momentum and grow into a community that will make dedicated hard workers wealthy.
-Brandon

Putting tools in your cloud and getting ready for the Augmented Age

Jarvis_shield_interfaceIt took people a while to understand what “the cloud” actually is. Some might still be trying to figure it out. I am, not because I’m unsure what it is, but because I’m trying to understand what it will become. We watch movies like Iron Man and we see Tony Sark work with holograms and talk to artificial intelligence. For now we see this as fantasy, but this concept is closer to reality then you might think.

Siri As the Augmented Age hits, there are tools you will need to have in place if you want to use augmented reality efficiently. The cloud is where you focus all these tools and build your foundation. But what cloud do you use?  Apple, Gooogle, Amazon, and Microsoft already have cloud tools and services you can start building on. I personally am building a foundation with Google services, while my wife finds Amazon better suits her needs.

What are some of the tools you will use in the augmented age you might ask? Well think of Tony Stark and the things that he has. Probably the most efficient tool that he has is Jarvis. This tool is already available to us today! Apple has Siri, Google has the Google Home, and Amazon has the Echo. These devices are amazing but they are still in a primitive stage.  All they can do is simple calculation, turn the lights on and off, read texts and stuff like that.

amazondash-jpgAmazon has an interesting tool called Dash-Buttons. They are a physical button you push to replenish supplies, however this is the type of tool that will transform once AR glasses hit the market. You will be able to stick them wherever you want like you can an emoji on Snapchat.

google glass AR glasses are the piece of the puzzle that are missing but they are almost here. Meta has been one of the front runners in developing this technology. The companies founder Merton Gribetz has even done a TED talk on the subject. The glasses are going to let you work like Tony Stark. You will finally be able to reduce the distractions of the internet and turn things around to let them enhance your life.

For the time being your smart phone is only a small window into the Augmented Age. For now all that is available are devices to put your mobile device over your face so you can see through the eyes of your phone. Keep a look out for the tools you need like the Microsoft Kinect, 360 cameras, or the Google Glasses and see how you can build them into your foundation. If you have your cloud ready by the time Augmented Reality gets here, you will have an advantage over everyone else trying to catch up.

-Brandon

Eliminating risk while Investing

Wall street and the 401k are things people usually think of when they think about investing. Boring. While there may be some things worth investing in like dividends or even index funds, there are a variety of things one can invest in to find success.

Warren buffettWarren Buffett is one of the richest men in the world, But even he understands that investing is more than just money. Increasing the value of your own human capital is the best way to start investing. Instead of binge watching the new Netflix series like so many of us are guilty of (yes, me too) you can delay that satisfaction and invest in learning skill that will pay off tenfold in the future.

Couch potatoYou can spend money and time to get an education that few people have, or you can take a job with a lower wage that will give you a highly sought after skill. A wise person once said “There is a great place to go when you are broke….To Work!” It is important however to not spend more money than you make, and invest the money you have left in something you know about and understand.

bug out bagIf you’re like me and have other people who depend on you, it might be wise to invest in a little preparation. If you work far from home consider getting a get home bag if you’re in the city, or a go bag if you’re on the outskirts. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get some life insurance to eliminate the burden your family might have if something happened to you.  Hopefully these are things you’ll never need, but when you need them, you NEED them.

home securityThe same thing applies with your property. Research the insurance policies on all property you own. Acquire any necessary capital, security, or arms to protect your investment. Also know when you’re going to get out before you ever get in on ANY investment. This will help you eliminate as much risk as possible.

If you own or are starting a business, know how to invest your time. ROIImprove and  control everything you do and pay attention to your return on investment. Calculate your Net Present Value your Internal Rate of Return and use a Payback Method to look at your cost benefit. Ultimately it may pay off more to invest in your own organization then to venture elsewhere.

 CPIThe Consumer Price Index reveals that inflation hit 0.6% in the month of January. Inflation is a hidden tax on your dollars so it is important not to invest everything you have there. Whether you invest in money, stocks, gold, property or even your children, keep in mind that there is nothing more important to invest in than your most precious resource. Your time.

-Brandon

The thinning line between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs

Bernie Sanders Everyone knows what an entrepreneur is, but lately there has been much conversation about the innovation of intrepreneurs.  People like Bernie Sanders like to say that intrepreneurs are the backbone of America and while there may be some truth to this, it is both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs working together who drive the economy. However the traditional role of the entrepreneur is changing and even merging with the intrapreneurs with the quickly approaching augmented age.

Intrensic Extrinsic To get a clear understanding of what the difference between entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs is we need to first look at the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic people and their motivations. Extrinsic people (like entrepreneurs) are motivated by money, and the payoff they will receive for completing a task. Intrinsic people (like intrapreneurs) are more concerned with personal growth and being recognized for their efforts. traditionally you would have an intrinsic person manage continuous improvement or research and development projects while an extrinsic person would run an operation.

 Being on the brink of the Augmented age is thinning the line between the entrepreneur and intrapreneur because of the abundance of new technology. Resources like social media marketing and setting up a storefront are easier and cheaper for the intrapreneur therefore eliminating risk traditionally  only entrepreneurs would take on. Also new innovation is in abundance for a massive amount of entrepreneurs to capitalize on. The truth is that (because opposites attract) many couples are now capable of running a business from their home.  All anyone needs to sell their creativity  is create an online presence through social media marketing like Snapchat or Facebook, create an Etsy and BOOM, you have a business that can make money with little to no money invested.

Augmented age Now couples may have an advantage by working as a team, but individuals are in a good position too. In the past many people have relied on a well formatted resume to get them a good job, but it doesn’t work like that anymore.  If you want to land your ideal job, you have to build an online reputation in your field.  I personally do this using WordPress and LinkedIn.  It is necessary to build a network of references and publish articles to demonstrate your skills and abilities. Only then will you stand out among the sea of other candidates.

Snapchat Pocket Snapchat is on the front of the augmented age giving creative intrapreneurs a place to grow and sell to an audience using a new social media format and new technology and slowly steeling customers from Facebook.  Google is replacing Microsoft documents by offering their documents for free.  This is an amazing resource for any entrepreneur who is looking to reduce their risk.

 If you are looking to start up a business or just make yourself look professional there are many people out there who will help, myself included. This age is so fun to interact with that many people are giving value away, and if you look hard enough you might be able to find a passionate intrapreneur who will offer their services for free.

-Brandon

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Defining the Truth

We hear many phrases today like “alternative facts” “bias media” or “false flag” and the more we hear that kind of noise the more it seems the truth is slipping from our grasp.  The truth is tricky to define because it is literally different from person to person. So where do we look to define it? You compare it to a known standard.

founding-fathersHistory reveals that governments do a poor job of defining the truth for us. Laws are a great comfort zone for many people to define what is right and wrong, but just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. Oscar Schindler was somebody who frequently broke the law to do what we all know is right, but his society deemed wrong.  That does not necessarily mean that laws are bad, there is a standard dictated by Natural Law. Natural Law was used by the founding fathers of the United States to shape the constitution. In fact Thomas Jefferson helped define the nonaggression principle.

john-locke The nonaggression principle or NAP was started by John Locke during the Age of Enlightenment. The NAP can essentially be defined as: don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff. Even the United States constitution uses the NAP as a Standard to define the truth in their laws and morals.

isoNow let’s get the most value out of the truth and move from what we should do with it to what we can do with it. While running a business, there are many different universally excepted standards such as ISO or ASME.

lean-manufactory
Lean

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Six Sigma
Probably one of the most valuable tools you can use to analyze data and look at the facts is statistics. With statistics you use tools like Lean and Six Sigma. Six sigma was first used by Edward Deming. Collecting data and using facts to operate business quickly got him notice because it reshaped manufacturing. we moved from the industrial age to the information age.

 

Deming’s 14 points are used today in the most successful organizations around the world. The truth is a powerful tool that cannot be ignored when it is used properly. Whether you use it for politics or for business knowing the truth will separate you from your competitors and make you very successful in your ambitions. No matter what people think the truth is, we all know what the truth is we see it.

-Brandon

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Navigating your business in different political environments

 Companies exist in all countries with many types of government where the political narrative ranges from mostly capitalistic, to communist. No matter what political environment people live in there are ways to make sure you and your company are successful no matter what roadblocks are put in front of you.amazon-capitalism

If you live in a mostly capitalistic society then your worries should be focused on your competition.  Humans will always look after their own self-interest, and this is no acceptation with capitalism. You will always need to find ways to cooperate or compete with everyone under capitalism. Technology will be something you have to be current with because of constant innovation. Just recently Warren Buffett parted with Walmart because he felt they drug their feet while building infrastructure while Amazon has been steeling the lead in the market.

If you are located in an area corrupted by crony capitalism then you might start to deal with government regulation controlled by corporations that are too big to fail.  In this political landscape you have legislation written by major corporations approved by government officials or court rulings in favor of the biggest bankroll. We saw this most recently with strict federal regulations favoring the EpiPen over any other competitor.  This caused an unnatural price increase in the product because the company had an illegitimate monopoly.

The more a government controls the more things will be subsidized. Under socialism there are many subsidies given out.  Roads are almost always government subsidized, along with food, and alcohol and things like green energy.  There is an abundance of cash flow that can move into any organization that position themselves around such subsidies.  While technology will make things efficient for every society it is wise to exercise caution and not to keep all your investments tied up in it.  Last week Bill Gates said that government needs to put extra  tax on innovation to keep people from loosing their jobs to robots.

bitcoin-mining

I’m sure most reading this will agree that communism or even extreme cases of socialism are the most restricting form of government and makes it hard for almost anyone to succeed.  Fortunately progress cannot be stopped no matter how hard people try. Currently in Venezuela there is a thriving industry around mining Bitcoin.  Mining Bitcoin uses a massive amount of electricity that would be too costly for someone to mine under capitalism, but because electricity is subsidized in Venezuela people are able to mine it with little cost.
spacex-satillite Companies and innovation will drive progress in a direction that others will try to hinder, but ultimately those obstacles will be overcome.  Right now Spacex is putting up satellites to give the world access to internet.  Imagine what this will do for the people in countries like North Korea?  The people of the world will have access to education resources online outside of the bubble they live in. The will have access to articles like this explaining to them that they can climb out of the rut they are in and find success where ever they are. If you look hard enough you can find success in any political environment.

-Brandon 

Teaching with automation in mind

  If your old enough you might remember how different life was before the internet. It was practically a different world. Think of how many people were impacted negatively in the  growing pains of that progress. If history teaches us anything it is that it repeats, and if we want to avoid becoming a victim of progress we must focus on increasing the skills of ourselves and the next generation.

Whatever the cause, the quality of our education is declining. This makes it hard for businesses to find workers with the skills that are required to step up to new rolls in developing and maintaining automation. On top of that we are in the brink of the Augmented Age which is throwing a learning curve to students while adapting to Artificial Intelligence.

This announcedmovement toward progress will inevitably hurt people in our economy by replacing some major roles humans play in the workforce today. Take driving for example. Elon Musk owner of Tesla Motors has announced that self driving cars can roll out in as early as two years! Think of how many people in our economy rely on this skill to acquire a living wage. Once this form of automation gains steam, driving could go the way of the horse and buggy. If driving is your best or only skill then you will quickly hit poverty.

In fact up to 80% of the roles humans have today could be replaced by automation. So what do we do? We work on continually building our skills. We move to the next step in everything we do. If you use Microsoft Excel, then you need to learn Visual Basics and write macros. If you operate or set up a machine for manufacturing, then you need to learn how to write the programs and read the G-code for that machine. Even if you have a WordPress account to make a website for you, you need to learn the HTML-code.

 Not only must we do this for ourselves but we must have patience with the adaptation of our children and young coworkers who are stuck between old education and new. Parents and companies must step up and fill the gaps left behind in our education system and evolving technology by implementing training for performance. This will ensure that people with dedication will have access to a living wage. We need to focus on education which is still not jeopardized by the Augmented Age (yet). Focusing on fields that will add value to others like nursing, or teaching will make us masters over machines. I think we can all agree that it is far more desirable to work like the master over the machine.
-Brandon