Who decides what gets sold in the bookstore? — from paidcontent.org by Seth Godin

Excerpt:

I just found out that Apple is rejecting my new manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams and won’t carry it in their store because inside the manifesto are links to buy the books [at Amazon.com] I mention in the bibliography.

 

From DSC:
By the way, some nice quotes from the Stop Stealing Dreams page:

  • The economy has changed, probably forever.  School hasn’t.
    .
  • Our kids are too important to sacrifice to the status quo.

10 staggering facts behind Apple’s Foxconn Factory — from Mashable.com by Samantha Murphy

From DSC:
I’m half-way through reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, and this report doesn’t surprise me in the least.  According to what I’m getting from the book, Steve Jobs was a task-master who drove people incredibly hard.  He was also an individual who didn’t value relationships and people — unless they served his purposes.  So this report is not surprising.  I just hope Tim Cook can be more honest and forthcoming about things involving their supply chain — as well as all other areas involving the way Apple does business — than Jobs ever was. 

As disclosure, I own an iPhone, an iPad and our family has purchased 3 Macs. I just wish all businesses could make better attempts at serving Main Street while they are striving to serve Wall Street.

 

Stopping the ‘brain drain’ of the U.S. economy — from NPR

Excerpts:

“The problem is that when you’ve got 20 to 30 percent of some of the top talent in this country going into a sector that is not necessarily contributing to economic and social productivity,” he says. “That’s a problem for the country at large and it’s something that we should all be concerned about.”

Economist Paul Kedrosky with the Kauffman Foundation says elite schools sending a bigger share of their graduates into finance and consulting is not new; they’ve been doing it for at least two decades.  Kedrosky tells NPR’s Raz that what’s different now is that those students have essentially used their talents to grow the financial sector in ways that are unhealthy for the overall economy.

From DSC:
Some relevant scripture comes to my mind — which I, myself, also have to reckon with (these are hard teachings, especially in this day in age…but on second thought, in any age for us humans)

Matthew 6:21: (NIV)

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Psalm 33:4-5 (NIV)

“For the word of the LORD is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love.”

.

From DSC:
One last, relevant reflection here…

I’ve been wondering about the place of the heart when it comes to capitalism. I was listening to Gary Hamel earlier today — Gary is author of the new book, What Matters Now (thanks to Daniel Pink’s Office Hours) and one of the items Gary mentioned was the need for a moral renaissance in business today.  The comments were that:

  • Capitalism requires that the most powerful players act as guardians, stewards, and are accountable, equitable, and charitable; they can and do deny their self;  leaders must see themselves as stewards instead of just maximizing short-term gains
  •  Without those morals, there is egregious behavior
Bottom line:
Values and principles are key to our economy and our nation.
Relevant graphic:

 

 

Addendum on 3/1/12 pointing to the relationship and relevancy of our hearts as they relate to capitalism:

Facebook’s ad business is a $3 billion mystery — from Peter Kafka

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

So the numbers are out, and we know that Facebook’s ad business really is huge.  And it really is growing like a weed.  Just like we thought.

But how exactly does Facebook’s ad business workWe still don’t know a lot about that part.

The S-1 mentions “advertising” 123 times, and “advertisers” another 117 times.  But when it comes to describing how the company actually sells advertising, it is vague.

And that’s why a good chunk of the S-1 talks about the overall market for advertising — not just Web advertising, but all advertising. The message: There is a lot of money being spent on ads, and as we get even bigger, and smarter, we’ll figure out how to capture more of it.

And at some point they may share some of that knowledge with the rest of us.

From DSC:
If this figure were $3,000, no big deal, right? But $3 billion?!  How is it that it’s a mystery when they’re making that kind of $$$$?  I wonder if that has anything to do with Mark Zuckerberg’s and Facebook’s perspectives on privacy…

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Apple’s greatness, and its shame — from Harvard Business Review by Andrew Winston

Excerpts:

Is there such a thing as too much profit? A disciple of Milton Friedman would say “never.” The idea that companies should only maximize shareholder value has had a stranglehold on the business world for decades. It’s time to rethink this assumption.

Our system of competition yields amazing results — incredible technological innovation provided in massive quantities very quickly. But these marvels often rely on very real human costs. The whole system has some deep flaws that we must fix.

Apple prides itself on changing the game. So just imagine a world where the company applied its staggering innovation and design skills to create the iSupplyChain or iWorkingConditions. Everyone, including this fan of Apple products, would be a lot iHappier.

 

From DSC:
Readers of this blog already know that I’m a big fan of Apple’s products and Apple’s ability to reinvent itself, think big, and change the world.

But when Steve Jobs quickly answered Barack Obama (when the President asked what would it take for Americans to produce the iPhones, etc.) that “those jobs aren’t coming back“, his answer caused me to reflect on several questions:

  • What is the ultimate purpose of a business?
  • Does it exist solely to serve Wall Street and investors or does it exist to serve Main Street?
  • Can there be a bit of both?
  • How do local economies thrive when globalization continues to roll out?

 

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A devotion for Wall Street — from www.redletterchristians.org (a blog by Tony Campolo & friends) by Shane Claiborne; with a special thanks going out to Mr. David Goodrich for posting a URL to this item via LinkedIn

Excerpt:

A reporter recently asked me, “As a Christian leader, does your faith have anything to say about Wall Street?”  I said, “How much time do you have?”

The Christian message has a lot to say to Wall Street.

Theologian Karl Barth said, “We have to read the Bible in one hand, and the newspaper in the other.”  For too long we Christians have used our faith as a ticket out of this world rather than fuel to engage it.

In his parables, Jesus wasn’t offering pie-in-the-sky theology… he was talking about the real stuff of earth.  He talks about wages, debt, widows and orphans, unjust business owners and bad politicians. In fact Woody Guthrie breaks it all down in his song “Jesus Christ”.  The song ends with Woody singing, “This song was written in New York City… If Jesus were to preach what he preached in Galilee, they would lay him in his grave again.”

From the Start here page at RLC.org:

The goal of Red Letter Christians is simple: To take Jesus seriously by endeavoring to live out His radical, counter-cultural teachings as set forth in Scripture, and especially embracing the lifestyle prescribed in the Sermon on the Mount.

Ironically, it was a secular Jewish country-and-western disc jockey in Nashville, Tennessee who first suggested that title. During a radio interview with my friend Jim Wallis, that deejay declared, “You’re one of those Red-Letter Christians – you know, the ones who are really into all those New Testament verses that are in red letters!” When Jim said, “That’s right!” he answered for all of us. By calling ourselves Red Letter Christians, we refer to the fact that in many Bibles the words of Jesus are printed in red. What we are asserting, therefore, is that we have committed ourselves first and foremost to doing what Jesus said.

SingularitySummit.com — conference website

Excerpt:

The Singularity Summit is the premier dialog on the Singularity. The first Singularity Summit was held at Stanford in 2006 to further understanding and discussion about the Singularity concept and the future of human technological progress. It was founded as a venue for leading thinkers to explore the subject, whether scientist, enthusiast, or skeptic. The goal of the Summit is to improve people’s thinking about the future and increasing public awareness of radical technologies under development today and of the transformative implications of such technologies understood as part of a larger process.

Singularity Summit 2011 — from the nextbigfuture.com

Singularity Summit 2011 videos — from the nextbigfuture.com

What you missed at Singularity Summit 2011 — from technoverseblog.com

Excerpt:

  • David Brin (scientist and sci-fi novelist)
  • Ray Kurzweil (inventor, restless genius, and author of The Singularity is Near)
  • Stephen Wolfram (physicist, developer of Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha, genius)
  • Dimitry Itskov (founder of Russia 2045)
  • Michael Shermer (contrarian and founder of Skeptic magazine)
  • Riley “Red Balloons” Crane (post doctoral fellow at MIT Media Lab and winner of DARPA’s balloon challenge)
  • Sharon Bertsch McGrayne (writer, author of “The Theory That Wound not Die”)
  • Tyler Cowen (economist, George Mason University)
  • Jaan Tallinn (founder of Skype)
  • Ken Jennings (Jeopardy champion and loser to Watson)
  • Dan Cerutti (IBM executive charged with marketing Watson)

 

Addendum on 10/20/11:

From DSC:
How is it that corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars (estimates vary) but the unemployment rate continues to be towards the high end of historical unemployment rates? Where’s the love and compassion for one’s fellow man? (Some of Charles Dickens’ writings in The Christmas Carol come to my mind here…)

One has to ask, what’s the state of our hearts these days? Is business just about serving the almighty shareholder? Is that the ultimate goal of our businesses? Seriously…what percentage of Americans is that perspective currently benefiting? (I don’t have the answer/data, but I bet its not a majority of Americans. The lines at the soup kitchens and shelters are getting longer, not shorter.)  Corporations have — today — the power to change the situation.  But what’s the ultimate vision of our corporations?  Who do our corporations ultimately serve?

 

The State of the Heart

Some relevant articles:

  • Corporate profits at all-time high as recovery stumbles (March, 2011, The HuffingtonPost.com)
    NEW YORK — Despite high unemployment and a largely languishing real estate market, U.S. businesses are more profitable than ever, according to federal figures released on Friday. U.S. corporate profits hit an all-time high at the end of 2010, with financial firms showing some of the biggest gains, data from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis show. Corporations reported an annualized $1.68 trillion in profit in the fourth quarter. The previous record, without being adjusted for inflation, was $1.65 trillion in the third quarter of 2006. Many of the nation’s preeminent companies have posted massive increases in profits this year. General Electric posted worldwide profits of $14.2 billion, while profits at JPMorgan Chase were up 47 percent to $4.8 billion.
  • Remarks by the President to the Chamber of Commerce — President Barack Obama (February 7, 2011 from U.S. Chamber of Commerce Headquarters, Washington, D.C.)
    “So if I’ve got one message, my message is now is the time to invest in America.  Now is the time to invest in America.  (Applause.)  Today, American companies have nearly $2 trillion sitting on their balance sheets.  And I know that many of you have told me that you’re waiting for demand to rise before you get off the sidelines and expand, and that with millions of Americans out of work, demand has risen more slowly than any of us would like.”
  • Hoarding, not hiring – Corporations stockpile mountain of cash (April, 2010, ABCNews.com)
  • U.S. firms build up record cash piles (June 2010, WSJ)
  • Corporate America sitting on $1 trillion in cash ($2 trillion if you count short-term investments) (Dec. 2010 from JoshuaKennon.com)

    What does that mean?  It means that when the fear subsides, and companies are convinced that the world is all sunshine and roses, the turnaround can be rapid.  Putting $1 trillion of cash to work in the economy, whether in the form of new product launches, capital expenditures, or even mergers and acquisitions paying off investors for their shares of companies and forcing them to find another use for their newly freed funds, can go a long way to solving the unemployment figures.

 

Addendum on 10/4/11 to potentially address a part of the other side of the table here:

If it feels right … — opinion piece from the New York Times by David Brooks

Excerpts:

 During the summer of 2008, the eminent Notre Dame sociologist Christian Smith led a research team that conducted in-depth interviews with 230 young adults from across America. The interviews were part of a larger study that Smith, Kari Christoffersen, Hilary Davidson, Patricia Snell Herzog and others have been conducting on the state of America’s youth.

What’s disheartening is how bad they are at thinking and talking about moral issues.

But they just don’t have the categories or vocabulary to do so.

When asked to describe a moral dilemma they had faced, two-thirds of the young people either couldn’t answer the question or described problems that are not moral at all, like whether they could afford to rent a certain apartment or whether they had enough quarters to feed the meter at a parking spot.

“I don’t really deal with right and wrong that often,” is how one interviewee put it.

Also see:

Moralistic therapeutic deism
The authors find that many young people believed in several moral statutes not exclusive to any of the major world religions. It is this combination of beliefs that they label Moralistic Therapeutic Deism:

  1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
  2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
  3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
  5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

These points of belief were compiled from interviews with approximately 3,000 teenagers.[4]

From DSC:
But don’t worry or lose any sleep or anything…these are the people who will be out on Wall Street or in the big banks (who are too big to fail) — and they’ll be carefully watching over the nest eggs that it took you 30-40 years to build. (Yeah, right…)

Or…these are the folks who you will be trying to do business with…where will the speed of trust be then? I don’t mean to point the finger at the youth…the problem is with us adults. We model or teach — or choose not to model and teach — the youth.

 

Addendum on 9-15-11:


 

Kevin Slavin: How algorithms shape our world [TED]

Description:

Kevin Slavin argues that we’re living in a world designed for — and increasingly controlled by — algorithms. In this riveting talk from TEDGlobal, he shows how these complex computer programs determine: espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture. And he warns that we are writing code we can’t understand, with implications we can’t control.

Relevant to mathematics; shaping our world; ethics; media; culture; society;
computer science; technologies; stock markets/business; architecture.

From DSC:
I’m seeing folks take pot shots at Sony and others re: their recent security breaches. I don’t find this type of thing funny at all, nor do I approach this type of subject in a light-hearted manner. To me, this is not a joke. I’d like to write more on this subject, but I don’t know enough to combat the hackers who might turn their ill-will towards this site/blog.

I support those people, organizations,  and governments who are cracking down on these hackers — as national/economic/personal security rely on these attackers doing a U-turn (or to repent, in Biblical terms). Instead of these attackers using their knowledge, skills, and abilities towards doing what’s harmful to society, they need to do what’s right and helpful to our world! Build up, not tear down.

Addendum on 6/10/11:

Excerpt from Spanish Police Arrest Sony PSN Hacktivists, But It Won’t Stop The Attacks: Expert — from FastCompany.com by Kit Eaton

Sony has had to spend close to $200 million to repair and defend its networks after a spate of attacks…

From DSC:
…and guess who pays for that $200 million? Sony’s current and future customers — as these costs will be rolled into Sony’s future pricing for their products & services. The consumer gets nailed again; thanks to the thievery of some bad apples.



 

 

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icarewecare.org

 

From DSC:
I originally saw this at:

Excerpt:

Of course, the future belongs to the young. You get a decent look at it ahead of time, though, by watching how they build new ways seize it.

Earlier today a 17 year old named Priyanka Jain launched a student run nonprofit called iCAREweCARE, which is dedicated to helping high school and college students identify causes they care about, find local organizations that address those problems, and then write about their experiences,  or connect with their friends over them. There is a Web site, and Facebook connections for rapid and deep information sharing.

The cause-centered orientation is praiseworthy. The implications of this kind of social platform, however, could be what proves really world-changing

Berners-Lee calls for higher purpose of Web — from cnet.com by Martin LaMonica

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the underpinnings of the World Wide Web, isn’t just concerned about getting browsers on more mobile devices. Architects of the Web need to consider how it will affect all humanity as it evolves.

But even as engineers hammer out the next version of HTML, they have a duty to fulfill a weighty social purpose of the Web, he said. As the way that people connect in society, the Web supports justice, government transparency, and human rights to freedom, he said.

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Helping your child develop a growing relationship with Christ — from FamilyLife.com by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
These six spiritual disciplines helped our children on their spiritual journeys.

From DSC:
In the world of K-12 education, it seems that we end up putting a lot of responsibility for “success,” growth, and performance on the teachers and on the school districts themselves. But what about the parents? What about the families (or lack thereof) that do or do not value education? Aren’t they part of the answer/equation?

Along these lines, I appreciate the work of those organizations who are trying to support and build families up around the world; to keep marriages and families from declining even further (esp. true in the U.S.).  One of these organizations is Family Life, where I appreciate the work of Dennis and Barbara Rainey as well as the work of Bob Lepine. Though I don’t always agree with everything they say, I love their intent, what they are trying to do, and the tools that they create and/or provide for families.

I do not post this to point fingers at people or to be “holier-than-thou”. I post it in the hopes that someone out there will benefit from the wisdom that comes from the Word. That families, marriages and childrens’ futures will be built up, not further destroyed. I appreciate the work of these types of organizations.

Also see:

 

 

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