Tag Archives: business

The question of liberty, control and censorship

Using choice expresses liberty rather than censorship.

Amber my garden fox enjoyed the liberty of choice to come and go from my garden, but there are conditions, such as not eating the cat.

Amber my garden fox enjoyed the liberty of choice to come and go from my garden, but there are conditions, such as not eating the cat.

Because Facebook is happy to host content involving the torture of animals I closed my Facebook account, a subject I wrote about on Liberated Way here and here.  Paul Handover of Learning from Dogs indicated he was closing his Facebook account over the content on animal torture on Facebook, and said why in his own article, suggesting readers might consider doing the same thing. Patrice Ayme in his WordPress article condemned me and Paul Handover as supporting censorship by closing our accounts with Facebook, which brings me to my views on censorship, liberty and control.

Censorship is an action associated with the filtering or blocking of information of any form.  Censorship is a tool, it is neither good or bad, but people use censorship for beneficial or harmful purposes.

As an individual I am making no attempt at control of Facebook, neither telling it how to behave or what to moderate.  I am invoking the liberty of personal choice to disassociate myself as a consumer or user of Facebook because its policy on showing content of animal torture are against my personal values.  I and my corporate business has policies that reject association with those that mistreat or promote animal mistreatment.  Paul Handover and others like him have their own reasons for closing their accounts with Facebook, but they are all invoking liberty of personal choice.

The individual has two key powers of change in this world, one is by setting an example, the second is by making active choices of what we will support.  Those people or groups with no support die, the power I and others invoked by choosing to close our accounts with Facebook weakens it, and if lots of users abandoned Facebook then it will panic and consider a change of direction.  Taking responsibility and making positive choices as to what the individual will support is liberty instead of censorship.

My business has intervention policies which means it does not intervene in forcing control on individuals, groups, communities, corporates or nation states, but it will invoke choice never to associate with them if they for instance mistreat animals or indigenous people such as the Sami.  The policies form a business contract with my suppliers, investors and customers so that they are clear in their minds that in order to do business with me there are values I expect from them.  In the same manner Facebook could change its terms and conditions to ban content of the torture of animals; rather than a form of censorship, the users agree a business contract before posting to Facebook so they understand in order to use a business service that such content is unacceptable. Potential customers of my business retain the liberty of personal choice, if they mistreat animals they will have to go elsewhere to do business, I do not control anyone, they agree a set of values in a business contract or don’t do business with me.

Be independent, start a business

Everyone has a skill or idea that they could turn into a business opportunity.

Be liberated, start a business.

Be liberated, start a business.

Liberty, creativity and wisdom are three values I promote often in this blog, which I feel contribute significantly to the prosperity of the individual, society and the environment.  One of the best ways to let these three values run wild and free in the life of the individual is to be self-employed, starting your own business.

I notice that the costs of the study of a MBA (Master of Business Administration) can range from $30K (£20K) to $120K (£90K)  depending upon the institution, this including tuition fees and accommodation for a 12+ month course.  If such people are willing to sacrifice so much money and time to study what is only theory (knowledge) for business, would they be better off avoiding the study and starting a business with that money and time? In running a business one gets the wisdom through the experiential doing, which theory or books can never match.  Getting your hands dirty through the dong is the best way to proceed in business, the MBA is a waste of resources in my opinion.

Everyone has a talent or idea, often all they lack is the investment, which is a great shame since nations are built on the back of such people.  I know a craftsman who is talented at creating bespoke jewellery, rather than put money in someone else’s pocket he is self-employed so that his talent puts money in his own pocket. People can even run a business on a small-scale against regular employment, just to learn the ropes until they are confident to go it alone.

As well as direct wisdom through the doing, there is great liberty to making your own decisions with no master but customers directing your activities.  There are no upper limits to what can be earned, unlike regular employment which sets a limit via salary.  The money earned after expenses and tax is yours to do with what you like.  With money you have influence to create greater ripples of change into the world through your activities.

Running a business is a creative process.  Believe me when I say that every day new challenges and opportunities hit me as I run my business, requiring me to apply creative techniques to seize or overcome them.

Everyone can even in small part initiate additional income streams by using their skills and ideas to make money, even if it is only to open a trading account on eBay to sell excess junk they have in the home.  The more self-reliant and independent you are the greater is your personal prosperity.  Give it a go.

Vision and Mission Statements

Defining who you are and what your purpose is in life helps focus your resources and choices.

Vision and mission statements help define who you are and where you are going.

Vision and mission statements define who you are and where you are going.

Trying to get to sleep my mind had other priorities, I was invited to an unwanted creativity brainstorming event as my mind wanted to know what my vision and mission statements were for my business.

A vision statement is where you want to be in the future.  Amazon has a vision statement as follows:

“Our [Amazon’s] vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

A mission statement is a declaration of why you exist, what your purpose is.  Ben and Jerrys has the following mission statement for its products:

“Product Mission: To make, distribute and sell the finest quality all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment.”

Once my mind was allowed to review my vision statement, my mission statements, motto and values; plus turned my business into a large bird with the head and two wings representing three divisions of my business I was allowed to get to sleep.

Lesson here is that every individual can create a vision statement, mission statement(s), motto, values and a logo to represent your own self and life, to show to the world who you are.  Many animals have evolved colour and shape to display to the world who or what they are, so every human can do the same.

Another lesson is when creativity comes let it have its way and flow through you, by doing so you benefit as I now will from the uninvited brainstorming before sleep last night.

The importance of good communications

Bad communications break relationships and cause misunderstandings.

Good communications means strong relationships.

Good communications means strong relationships.

It is rare I make a second blog post in any one day but an issue that annoys me motivated me to talk about communications.  One of the major causes of relationship breakdown and conflict in human interaction is due to poor communication.

As a business owner I make it a priority to have good communications with my stakeholders, this includes my customers (investors and clients) and those who make up my team (employees, contractors and suppliers).  With regards to my team I need good internet and phone communications, people who I can with no problem liaise with in order to keep my customers happy.  If I have a situation as I did this morning with a supplier who never bothered to reply to my e-mails or twitter messages they are eliminated from the process.  With regards to customers if there is a poor line of communication I would rather not do business with them.

On my side of the fence I will maintain good communications with all stakeholders making sure they have all the information to satisfy their needs.  I keep the impact upon the lives of customers in communications to a minimum, but in situations which require feedback I need an active line of communication in order to satisfy their needs.

In business and private life I encounter communications that are poor or non-existent.  It drives me nuts.  People who are hard to contact, or fail to reply, or make promises to communicate then don’t, lines of communication vital either for me to run an effective process or deliver an effective result.  People are lazy, they fail to prioritise, they are complacent; this causes me problems and ends in me terminating my relationship to them. Good communications mean strong relationships.

The difference between consumer and stakeholder

Would you rather have a stake in the environment or merely consume it?

Be a consumer or a stakeholder? Your choice. .

Be a consumer or a stakeholder? Your choice.

If a bank loaned me money the relationship would be that of a consumer.  The bank has no interest in my business, only on making a fast profit at my expense. The bank will require that I pay back its loan plus interest.  The bank would see me as a cow to be milked for every penny it can through bank charges and selling me expensive unnecessary financial products.  The bank has a parasitic viewpoint to its customers in making profit without regard to encouraging happiness, health or abundance in its customers.  If an individual invested money in a business they are in effect a stakeholder, their focus is on producing a healthy profitable business so they gain a return on their money, the downside is they take a loss if the business fails.  It is in the interests of the investor to do everything in their power to assist the business to succeed.

The consumer

In the old economic global order you and I are classed as consumers.  Our interest is limited to the consumption of products and services sold to us by the providers of those products and services. We have no say in the processes or the provision of the products or services: for instance the process that employs children in factories to provide Apple products; or the processes of Monsanto that kills bees.


The contract between consumer and provider is limited to a short-term exchange of product and service for money, often with a notion that what is consumed will in a short time be thrown away for a better one, or as a result of the design that gives it a short-term life cycle to encourage further consumption.

Consumers are placed in a state of constant need

The consumerist system is designed to see you and me as nothing more than a hungry locust, we the consumer are always placed in a state of need in a system that often favours an outcome of parasitism where one side loses and one wins.   The idea is we satisfy this need by spending on products we often do not need, regularly and continuously; wiping out our savings, the legacy for future generations, and enslaving ourselves in perpetual debt to money merchants (banks) to keep this unsustainable system going.  Consumption is the golden ideal in this system, where the health of a nation is measured by the amount of consumption via the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and recession is considered bad indicating consumption has slowed or reversed. Spending is good and saving is bad in such a system.

The stakeholder

When you get involved in the conversation on sustainability you and me are often referred to as stakeholders.  As stakeholders we take on a radically different world view to that of the consumer.  As a stakeholder you have an interest in the community, economy and the environment you are involved in.  No longer are you merely consuming resources, you have authority, and responsibility for those resources.  You become like the investor in the business, investing in the health of energy systems thus reaping the benefits of the prosperity in terms of happiness, health and abundance that the energy system will bring.  Instead of being a bystander you are centre stage in the conversation and processes of anything that you have an interest in.  You become a change master, in that now you have the power and voice; you are the change maker, in that you not ruler, priest or merchant makes the changes.

The choice

The attitudes, ideas and processes that worked at the expense of the environment for the last 50 years around spending, consumption and relentless growth are no longer sustainable.  The energy systems are no longer coping, are breaking down into disorder.  The consumer is heading towards extinction, the rise of the stakeholder is the beginning of a new order.  The choice remains if you wish to continue to be a consumer or take on a new role as a stakeholder.

Global weather turns hostile

2013 likely will be worse than 2012 for extremes of weather.

Two glowing eyes in the clouds promises a harsh global experience in 2013.

Two glowing eyes in the clouds promises a harsh global weather experience in 2013.

A few days ago I was bouncing around Colchester happy as a bee as the mild spring brought pleasant weather after the floods of rain during December.  The winter in Britain depresses me for its cold and darkness, so I have been liking the mild temperatures this winter, with few frosts, tons of rain and one day of snow.

The blossoms are on the trees; foraging bees were out gathering food; the birds singing their hearts out, creating their territories and finding a mate; the first flowers of spring, including snowdrops were blooming.  At the back of my mind I warned myself to be wary of my optimism, for the British weather is a temperamental animal, which can turn nasty in an instant.  Today temperatures dropped more than ten degrees Celsius on the previous day, something that has an impact of a sledgehammer on the human body, which dislikes sudden temperature changes.  The savage frosts were back and a warning of snow was being made all over the internet.  Damn!

The observant can over time spot trends, which includes weather.  The news of the first ten days of 2013 is grim.  The Middle East has been hammered by the worst storms in ten years, heavy rains and snow; a sense of disbelief that Jerusalem is at a standstill due to heavy snowfall.  In the northern provinces of China winter fell like a hungry beast trapping more than a thousand ships in sea ice, and plunging temperatures deep below freezing point.  In the USA, suffering the continuing drought, winter storms dumped tons of snow on suffering Americans.  New Zealand is in drought, their rivers at the lowest point in years.  Record killer heat waves in Australia and Tasmania resulted in vast wild fires that destroyed homes, took lives and wiped out large swathes of forest and innumerable numbers of wildlife.  Distressed whales that usually visit in summer appeared in winter in Canada, and are a cause of concern being trapped under ice with a diminishing gap in the ice providing them with air.

My prediction is that the weather in 2013 is going to give humanity a worse kicking than it did in 2012.


Sustainability Action 10: I signed up to a sustainability seminar in Colchester.

Knowledge is power, for knowledge provides the keys to open doors to success.  My progress to be a sustainable individual is hampered by the limits on my knowledge; it is through education that I can increase my knowledge, thus to be a better sustainable individual.  I today signed up to a one day seminar on sustainability at Essex University in Colchester for next week.

I shall learn about how to involve other people in a cooperative atmosphere to design and follow a sustainable process that benefits society, business and the environment.  Currently the world follows unsustainable processes that will lead to human extinction; those processes need to be changed, and it requires all individuals to make those changes together if humanity is to survive.

Blogging is a conversation

I always reply to comments on my blog.

blogging_swanBlogging in my opinion is a conversation between the writer and the reader.  As part of the conversation readers will sometimes be motivated to comment to the blog post.  To keep this conversation going I consider that all comments should be replied to.

My policy is to avoid following those blogs that have commenting turned off, I feel they are failing to participate in the spirit of blogging.  I get demotivated about commenting on those blogs that fail to reply to my comments, let alone follow them; usually only the quality of their content keeps my interest in them.


Sustainability Action 7 : invested in solar power charger.

I visited a store called Maplins in Colchester today that sold solar-powered chargers.  At a reasonable price I purchased a solar-powered charger for my mobile phone (cell phone).  Solar energy is free, so the more I use solar energy the less energy I take out of the environment.  The solar-powered charger can power other devices and has a built in torch.

Since I run a business, I decided to offset this solar investment as an expense against my future tax liability.