Category Archives: Business

Anything related to business.

Caring for living things

People forget that their activities impact living things.

This cat had an unhappy start to her life from uncaring people until she was rescued.  I captured a photo of Pebbles this week sleeping in happy contentment near me, a cat that is now cared for.

This cat had an unhappy start to her life from uncaring people until she was rescued. I captured a photo of Pebbles this week sleeping in happy contentment near me, a cat that is now cared for.

It seems to me every aspect of human society has forgotten something important – caring.  I felt enraged at the aftermath of the Malaysian plane crash in the Ukraine when everyone was too busy with propaganda, the victims and their families forgotten.  In another media report an US-based internet company Comcast treated a customer badly who wanted to leave them, the “retention specialist” treated the customer to a 20-minute harassing interrogation.  Then there was Southwest Airlines that ordered a customer off their aircraft unless they deleted a tweet about poor customer service.

All actions we take impacts a living thing.  If I discard a broken bottle to the pavement, the little boy I saw a few weeks ago happily running along barefoot would be injured.  If I littered the grass of Colchester Castle Park with glass, little children rolling down the grassy hill would be injured.  If I cast a plastic bag into the river a swan would choke to death on it.  No individual is an island, every action impacts another living entity, thus caring for living things is vital in our everyday activity.

When I care for a living thing such as my oak saplings I give full focus to their needs, so those oak saplings prosper.  Even though Pebbles is not my cat, I give her lots of attention so that the naïve little cat follows me around, she trusts I wont step on her, so that in caring for her I have to practice mindfulness of her presence.

If we all incorporate caring into our activities, we will develop responsibility for our actions, that all we do impacts something, even if we are unable to see it.  This week I have changed my company mission statement to one that involves “caring,” moving the focus from company to stakeholders such as the customer.  When I build information processes I know that one end of the process is a living entity such as a human being.

My office in nature

Mixing business with pleasure.

My office plants.

My office plants.

I am managing director of a corporate, my office at the center of this pillar of capitalism is a table in the garden.  The stereotypical office most people think of happens not to my thing, in front of me is Kevin, a spider, sitting patiently for dinner in the middle of a beautiful web.  The corporate director usually has the benefit of a secretary to keep blood sucking parasites at bay, I have Kevin, this spider is great against mosquitoes.

Instead of the sounds of fax machines, photocopiers and cellphones, I have Pebbles meowing for a treat.  Where there should be a drink vending machine is a bottle of water I share with this cat in her water bowl.

Every office has its romance, two pigeons in my office are doing it again in noisy fashion on top of the roof.  I do not think there has been anywhere these pigeons have not indulged in x-rated liaisons in the garden, it is most distracting as I file accounts ready for the tax people.

In any office at the center of corporate capitalism you get visitors all day long.  Amber the fox walks in, sniffs and then disappears into the bushes looking for a mouse.

Relating business to planet earth

Placing planet earth at the heart of a business.

My experiences in nature directly impacts how I run my business.  My relationship and treatment to planet earth is no different to that I have with my oak sapling.

My experiences in nature directly impacts how I run my business. My relationship and treatment of planet earth is no different to that I have with my oak saplings.

Summer, I camp a lot. I often evict wildlife from my tent, this morning it was a grasshopper. Sharing life intimately with wild creatures gives you a different outlook on life compared to most people.

In the garden I note my oak saplings are growing fast, needing larger pots.  I have cared for these oak saplings from acorns, of the original thirteen acorns, eight survived to grow into oak saplings. Caring for wild things changes your viewpoint.

I watched a video over the weekend about the relationship of the neolithic builders of Stonehenge and the River Avon, how they held the river as sacred, a source of all the animals which they hunted that came to the river to drink.  The reverence for water, the landscape, the animals of the Stonehenge builders is the same as that of the cave painters of Chauvet twenty-thousand years earlier who painted a stampede of animals coming out of a vulva-like water source in their cave.

I discover my values and personal insights from how I react to what I see and experience in the world around me. I reacted in anger at the greed and vanity of money investors in business ideas in the US reality television series Shark Tank on YouTube.  I reacted in dismay at the wasteful stupidity portrayed in a video on consumerism: people queuing for a week to get hold of the latest iPhone, whose only enhancement from the last was its colour; IKEA marketing telling consumers to throw out perfectly good possessions; Apple designing a new type of screw on its smartphones in order to prevent people repairing damaged phones, thus encouraging waste; the extensive scams brands go to called obsolescence to make objects the consumer buys break quickly increasing waste and needless replacement.  The contempt the modern economic paradigm has to this planet is at odds with our human ancestors, and at odds with my worldview.

I am part of a new business paradigm, where I can compete against rivals on equal terms with innovation and clever strategies, but where I care for the planet earth in the same manner as I cared for the grasshopper this morning and my oak saplings.  In thinking on these matters in the garden this morning, my garden fox Amber appeared, yawned, then went to sleep in the sun.

Invest rather than speculate

Investments based on blind faith are likely to ruin you.

Growing your own food is probably a sensible strategy rather than continuing to have blind faith in the buying power of paper currency that has nothing to support it but debt.

Growing your own food is probably a sensible strategy rather than continuing to have blind faith in the buying power of paper currency that has nothing to support it but debt.

I met activists from Green Peace recruiting members at an event today in Colchester.  I said to these activists I would have nothing to do with them because of the disaster where one of their staff speculated in casino types of speculation on money markets losing their members millions of pounds.  The activists were dishonest to me denying the staff member was gambling membership money, but then I checked the news sources again and found it was gambling that lost the charity its money.

It would seem that if we could send all the bankers on a one-way ticket to Mars  this world would reverse many of its challenges traced to the door of bankers and their greed, gambling and debt.

The world lives in a trap of dishonesty and fantasy, only valid whilst we all believe and participate in it.  The paper, base metal and numbers on a computer database we call money has no assets backing it, but pots of debt that the bankers move around the planet to maintain this vast illusion of nothingness.  If people stopped believing in paper currency the billionaires would see their piles of money rendered worthless overnight.

If you can see beyond the illusion, a jar of honey is worth more than a $1 million in paper currency.  A jar of honey is tangible, you can feed your body with it, but paper currency can only feed your body as a medium of exchange for a jar of honey if you have faith and opinion the paper is worth something, but in reality nothing but debt supports it.

Those with wisdom might foresee that the game of moving pots of money around the globe is coming to an end with serious consequences for everyone, which means anything valued on paper such as shares, currency or options will become worthless.  It is to tangible things that won’t vanish in value due to blind faith such as land, food, solar energy production, water and buildings that will ensure security if the economic situation changes for the worse.  You cannot eat paper money, but you can eat the potatoes you grow in the garden.

Do new things

Doing new things results in wisdom, creativity and innovation.

I did something new and purchased a bike rather than run everywhere, which makes for a more effective and less exhausting life.

I did something new and purchased a bike rather than run everywhere, which makes for a more effective and less exhausting life.

In moments of limited stress and in good health I think I am immortal, until my body reminds me otherwise.  I do not drive, I run everywhere, or I use public transport.  I prefer to run to a business project five miles away than take the bus.  On those moments when I face a business project far away, on a national holiday when the buses stop working, and when it is uneconomic to hire a car driver, I will run 20 miles, then do the project, then run back home another 20 miles, all on the same day.  I look back at those moments and I think I am mad doing this, and I avoid thinking what others must think of my craziness.

All this running everywhere rather than using alternatives reached a peak in recent weeks leaving me constantly exhausted.  I fell ill, the immortal fell to earth with a crash, and the reality check hurt.  My body went on strike forcing me to take a day off work, but then  after one day, still ill, I was back working, still trying to convince myself I was immortal.

After this illness things had to change, I had to try new things or face something far more serious than a rampaging cold.  I considered purchasing a bike.  On Monday after a few days of research, I was riding around Colchester Castle on my maiden voyage of remembering how to ride a bike again, and managed to avoid crashing into people, squirrels and a nearby skip.

This bike is a lifesaver, since now I can get to business projects faster, and I am less exhausted.  The bike I nicknamed “Branwen” is currently chained to an apple tree, and frustratingly I cannot get to it because the fox Amber is sleeping close by it.

The bike is a reminder that we should always try new things every day, and in our existing activities, so that we gain the opportunity to make new creative connections, gain wisdom, and benefit from new innovations.  I got too stuck in old ways of thinking, and one consequence of that was I became ill.

Sustainability and climate change

Consumers are sustainable if offered incentives and benefits.

Offering people a benefit or incentive to become sustainable works.

Offering people a benefit or incentive to become sustainable is the only way to achieve positive outcomes on climate change.

Early morning, and chaos.  Builders are putting up scaffolding around my house, it is chaos.  The cat is sick over my laptop bag.  I escape and wait for the local library to open.  A passerby comments that I had not done my homework last night, I blink a few times, do I look that young? In the library, panic as someone cannot find their bag they left a few minutes before; the library staff had taken the bag thinking it is a bomb.  My cellphone rings, a customer wants me to deal with a last-minute project.  Welcome to my chaos.

Amongst all this chaos the media, politician and activist bombard the consumers with messages of fear and doom of global warming.  Everybody is by now jaded, one more item of fear and manipulation in a tsunami of fear and marketing that daily seeks entrance to overstimulated minds.  Important perhaps to academics in their ivory towers, and rulers who see a good thing in marketing fear, the common person on the street has to live their lives, and their attention is upon mundane activities like paying the rent and getting their kids off to school.  Climate change is at the bottom of the list of concerns of everyday people, along with the rest of the fear-monsters of everyday life.

The scaffolding around my home is part of an interesting social experiment in sustainability.  Solar panels will appear upon the roof of my house, part of a scheme that though underwritten by a loan, will start to make money.  The solar panels offer free electricity during the day, my home only pays for the electricity at night.  My home sells the excess electricity it makes to the electricity companies who run the national power grid.  It is a win-win situation, a reduction in electricity bills, a scheme that will pay for itself, and the government-electricity companies paying the consumer for the electricity their solar panels sell to the electricity grid.

It is no point hoping for change in consumer habits by top-down control and fear marketing.  Offer the consumer a benefit, something that satisfies a need, such as the scheme my house is now involved in, the sustainable activities will drive a change in behavior, thus achieve positive outcomes the advocates of climate change desire.

More worker bees, less queens

Decision-making from the point of view of nature.

What is good for a bee is good for a decision-making structure in human society.

What is good for a bee is good for a decision-making structure in human society.

Nature has a teleological approach to its information processing and decision-making structures, clearly allocating functions to a hierarchy of units whether it is a group of cells in the body, a bee-hive or a wolf pack.  In the same way the effective running of a business requires there be only a few leaders, but a larger number of customer-facing workers to manage and meet the expectations of customers.

My town of Colchester is going through a review of the number of elected councillors that would best serve its needs.  Colchester council has a decision-making structure called a cabinet numbering only 8 of the 60 councillors, who make most of the important decisions, the rest of the councillors have little say in what goes on in the council.  From a business and natural point of view I think the cabinet-style of decision-making is good, as too many managers can wreck an effective organisation.  The Colchester cabinet is like the queen bee, and the rest of the councillors are like worker bees.

Like the worker bee the 52 councillors outside of the Colchester eight-strong cabinet have little say in the overall hive, but a hive cannot work unless there are a lot of worker bees to serve it.  The 52 councillors are important as the customer-facing lines of communication between a fast growing Colchester population and its central body the council; they are the eyes, ears, face and contact point between resident and council.  There are proposals to cut the overall number of councillors from 60 to 51, in an area that will jump from 176,000 to 207,000 population in a few years.  Some argue for leaving the number at  60, I went against everyone and entered an argument to the official review commission opposing any decrease in councillors, and increasing it to 69.

I come to conclusions based on what I see in nature.

Finding solutions in nature

Nature is a source of great ideas and solutions to problems.

A robin can see the magnetic field through its right eye.

A robin can see the magnetic field through its right eye.

A little known fact according to scientific research is that dogs when off the leash and in a stable magnetic field prefer to poop aligned to north-south of the magnetic poles.  As funny as this fact is, a more interesting insight emerges that dogs are one of a growing group of species which have a sense of magnetic fields.

Recent research involving pythons, a large snake, dumps them 20 miles from their original location finds that the python has an innate compass and map which allows them to navigate back to their starting point.  The growing research in animal navigation using the earths magnetic field excites me, as I am keen on the idea of a navigation system that can operate without need of a third-party service such as a GPS satellite.

It amazes me how ignorant many in humanity are who treat nature as an inconvenience unworthy of consideration in any aspect of their lives, something  controlled or kept at a distance.  Nature to me is a rich information source, a huge information system which I am constantly pulling ideas from which directly impacts my business branding, products and processes.

My business deals with information delivery, so how my DNA codes information to how a python navigates using magnetic fields are all of great interest to me.  I ask crazy questions like how can a food crop tell my computers it is under attack by a pest in the same way as they can communicate to a predator of the pest to attack the pest.  The cause-effect type of learning of crows that match the intelligence level of a seven-year-old-child, and the scaffold learning ability of bees to deal with ever-complex patterns of learning, all have useful applications in artificial intelligence.

For every problem people seem to head to Google for the answer, but few ever considered that undervalued nature might provide a solution for every challenge humanity faces.

Using nature as your friend

You can turn nature to your advantage.

Bees have hidden advantages of providing a natural biological barrier to large animals such as elephants.

Bees have hidden advantages of providing a natural biological barrier to large animals such as elephants.

I now define sustainability as “action in harmony with nature.”  This definition of sustainability I use in forming policy and procedure in running my business.  I attempt to integrate sustainability into the core of my business, and to a certain extent into my life.

I consider that for every challenge a solution is found in nature.  All action can incorporate nature in the solution.  I offer an example of a challenge that farmers face with wild elephants who destroy home, crop and life.  The usual solution against an elephant that is destroying life, employment and home is to shoot it dead.

The sustainable solution is find an answer in nature that allows an elephant its life but protects the farmer from a rampaging elephant.  An article here provides an amazing solution – bees.  A series of fences with bee hives attached protects the farmer from elephants, who not only dislike going near bees but warn their fellows to keep away too.  In addition the hives increase insect-pollinated crops by 30% yield and provide honey for the farmers to sell.  The sustainable solution fits the definition “action in harmony with nature”; it is a win-win solution for everyone.

Creativity and money

You can earn more through creativity.

Flowers offer me inspiration as they are expressions of creativity with a purpose of attracting insects to trade with them aka nectar for pollination.

Flowers offer me inspiration as they are expressions of creativity with a purpose of attracting insects to trade with them aka nectar for pollination.

A common question that I get when I talk about creativity to people is that they say it is nice, but does it make money?  The harsh reality is that money is the centre of the universe, if you have none, you starve.

Most of the creatives I work with in Colchester make their money by using their creative energies in the industries of entertainment or marketing.  I however feel that creativity debased to entertaining or manipulating people is a debased form of creativity, but I am realistic that creatives have to make their money where they can.

I currently define creativity as “ability to see, build and action patterns.”  The definition is born of scientific research that has largely demystified creativity showing that it is the byproduct of the brain forming new connections based upon new experiences in life.  The reverse of creativity is stagnation, and it has a direct correlation to happiness and meaningful purpose for the individual human being.

Pursuit of money without creativity is my version of hell.  Despite the current modern mentality to dismiss creativity as useful to money-making, or debasing it to the level of a prostitute for the purposes of entertainment and manipulation, I place creativity at the heart of my business.  Creating and running a business from nothing is a form of creativity, my business is my canvas, my business expresses my creativity, which gives me meaning and happiness.  I shall explore some of the ways I express creativity in money-making in future blog posts.