Saturday, 18 October 2008
On reflection everyone from the bankers, regulators, politicians hedge fund managers, etc. have been blamed, but returning to the opening paragraph, you will notice that I put juxtaposed two word, namely market mechanism.
It is crucial that we understand the fact that in the turmoil surrounding us, reporters, the media and even experts start confusing the technical language of economics with the layman’s utilization of words and phrases.
But the point that is beginning to come across is that for a market to function properly, it has to have willing and able participants. However, the one of the key ingredients for the market mechanism to function properly is responsibility.
You might argue that responsibility is the main duty of the regulator to enforce, however, I would argue that as a libertarian one of the fundamental principles of the philosophy is ‘personal responsibility’.
Now the problem with this is that personal responsibility is also an excuse for some form of moral crusade being waged, as it is very easy on reflection to espouse the idea and say we should all be taking ‘personal responsibility’ for our actions, yet we do not have the practical mechanisms in place to bring the concept of ‘personal responsibility’ to fruition.
As social beings, our learning is conducted in many forms, but most of us learn by observation and participation. And participation is one of the key drivers of the market mechanism.
So the argument is really to be willing, able and informed participants in the market. Yet another driver or key tenet of a functioning market is information asymmetry, this being defined as: “the study of decisions in transactions where one party has more or better information than the other. This creates an imbalance of power in transactions which can sometimes cause the transactions to go awry.” [Wikipedia]
And there we go, I trust that this has again been a simple construction of logic, albeit an incomplete chain of logic…
I have not answered or fully addressed the title of this article, namely Market Responsibility, but in the future I shall attempt to define and build the argument for what I believe the concept should possibly address.
But maybe we shall start with education and other forms of learning in the follow up to this opening gambit.
Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac were officially nationalized on Monday 8 September 2008 after the announcements were made over the weekend (Sunday 7th September 2008), Lehman Brothers failed well before the weekend of 13 & 14 September 2008, yet the announcement again arrived early on the morning of Monday 15 September 2008 (at least early morning in Europe, again pointing to news leaking out on Sunday in American). Going back to March 2008, the Bear Sterns announcement, again was made on Sunday 16th March 2008?
With heads being scratched and fingers being pointed in all directions, conversations featuring themes such as excessive greed by bankers, an aggressive bonus culture, misunderstanding of financial products being bought and sold and a light regulatory touch, all abound.
Well here is the simple solution and it falls squarely within the remit of the regulators to enforce and execute:
Ban all WEEKENDS!
Yes, stop this ridiculous notion of coming out with bad financial news on a Sunday. Ensure that trading financial instruments can occur 7 days a week 24 hours a day. Most of the tools (computerized trading platforms, algorithms, etc.) do not require ‘downtime’ and switch off time, like us mere simple mortals do.
My conclusion is that with one simple regulatory intervention, most of the "Weekend Crisis" we experienced during this last year, would have been avoided.
© theMarketSoul 2008
Sunday, 27 July 2008
In crowds of desperate magnitude?
In a corner of the room
Or plunging headlong in everyone else’s gloom?
Reflection is but a potential key
To unlock our frantic flee
Is that our or should it be me?
Speeding, speeding speeding
What am I to ping?
Clicker, Flikr or Zing?
Where is my home for networking?
Questions of late
How do we continue to create?
Is it a distracted seeking?
Or hiding behind the bling, bling?
Where do I take theMarketSoul?
Is it a process or a goal?
Is the gaol
Merely a symbol of my fail?
..(ure) to drive me on to moor
or fall victim to the lure
of the empty seeking
for the map
or is it space
I seek to hold up my poker Ace?
Where are we off to in this age?
Running to or from our rage?
And that is where I stop
Or tempt the lure to flop
Sunday, 20 July 2008
So to condense some of the bigger picture conceptual issues raised in the previous paragraph to ‘plain English’ then:
In recent months I have begun to grow more disillusioned with the general ‘confrontational’ or adversarial contractual relationships that generally exist and persist in commercially driven activities. And this bugs me. I believe that I have a strongly developed sense of intuition, my sixth sense, that picks up on these ‘underlying’ issues and then a ‘natural urge’ kicks in to try and tease out the underlying adversarial issues, in order to move to a more engaged or cooperative state of interaction between contracting parties.
And the driver for this feeling and view has been my experience living and working for seven years in the Middle East, where in general I would say a commercial contract merely acts to extend an underlying relationship of trust and mutual respect which already exists between contracting parties, rather than to other way as generally experience in Western Society.
So with these writings and research, over the coming months I will endeavor to explore and tease out the theoretical basis for these ideas, thereby developing a thoroughly researched view of “Counter Intuitive Actions and ways of living (or being)”.
I would welcome all and any contributions by either leaving comments, by clicking on the link, or by sending me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org, should you want to remain anonymous in your contributions.
theMarketSoul ©– July 2008
Thursday, 17 July 2008
So what do I mean by this?
1. Professionally qualified
2. An international citizen, chasing opportunity wherever opportunity may take me
3. Not necessarily welcome where I come from, and not necessarily welcome where I am now and furthermore, probably not welcome where I am going to…
Sorry I just had to put down the last point, because it might not be apparent (yet, if you haven’t read past this blog entry), that I am mostly angry and potentially very cynical.
So, what is a professional gypsy class like myself to do?
Some global citizens do not operate on a level playing field. Now that’s fine by me, because it suits me. Lets face it, if the proverbial flak starts coming in, I NEED that ‘unlevel’ playing field to duck behind something solid to save the other proverbial behind bit.
Yet, I find it increasingly frustrating that as a skilled and experienced professional, I on the odd occasion find myself bashing my head against bureaucratic immigration nonsensical idealism or plain and simple ‘catch all’ process driven structures and legislation.
Anyway, enough of the negative stuff.
As a professional gypsy, my ethos is to keep on the move, constantly seeking opportunity, contributing ‘value adding’ activity to local economies and businesses, living by the principle that I will not grow roots and permanently displace to the local populous from moving in, when the temporary ‘resource scarcity’ / allocation problems have been resolved. This is a principle and as long as people understand that, I think they can accept and internalise the concept, which in turn makes me more acceptable to them.
So, my question is thus:
Do you think it will be an accepted answer, by the next process driven immigration control officer, if in the occupation box I put – Professional Gypsy?
© theMarketSoul 2008
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
The question was:
Some people have 'it' and some people are charistmatically challenged.
Is this something that can be learnt, and what would we need to do to become more charistmatic?
Which leads to this little poem:
Someday I met this character
Who had great charm and humour
With great poise and aptitude
He framed the argument with rigour
Knowing himself with solid identity
Good grace, and full of self-belief
He had a style and manner
Rounded off by an excellent attitude
© theMarketSoul 2008
Sunday, 1 June 2008
“I used to read a lot, but I found it easier just to make it up, as I go along…”
The sentiment is just perfect.
Combine this with one of my other wisdoms:
Never quote round number statistics, such as 80% of people or 60% of this, but rather state,
78% of people or 62% of this…
It sounds and looks so much more accurate and researched, don’t you think?
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Story telling is the new creative process in business effectiveness…
I am the chief storyteller and creative force at 3resource and 4source.net
We are International Programme (Change) Managers and Humane Venture Capitalists…fed up with the negative image and connotations ‘Vulture Capitalists’ are giving to the Venture Capitalist industry.
We are investigating the “Open source of Ideas” and working towards mending the tyranny of the status quo and the flaws inherently caused and perpetrated by “Information Asymmetry”.
We firmly believe in the creative and relatively regulation free ‘Private Equity’ industry as an engine of growth and promoter of Civil Society values and morals as part of creating opportunity for extraordinary people to create and experience independent and coercive free societies and lifestyles for themselves.
The story goes something like this…
Once upon a time the world was a good and uncomplicated place. It was a small place, with neighbours and friends, tradesmen and merchants living closely together in clusters of innovation. People knew each other, and cared for each other and their communities. It wasn’t a perfect place, because people had lords and masters to serve. Masters who expected a rent for the land utilised and fealty in the form of services from the people to defend the region in case of attack.
However, people’s lives were mostly unregulated and public scrutiny and persecution was rare, provided you conformed to generally accepted social and hierarchical norms.
Then came free market entrepreneurs, the new ‘lords’ of wealth creation outside of the mainstream system of landed gentry and peasantry. These captains of industry helped reshape the landscape, some for the good and others to our detriment. It is these rogue individuals that helped us slip into the challenging and precarious position we find ourselves in today.
In the meantime, people had also started appointing new lords or masters in the form of elected representatives to a common body of representation. These elected and representative members where appointed on social contracts and terms (mandates) to represent their local constituents fairly and equitably in the common sanctums of the representative chambers.
However, this elected body had to appoint agents as their implementers of policy and action. Thus government of the people passed to an unelected body acting as agents for their principals in the corridors of increasing power and alienation.
Thus started the DISCONNECT and erosion of Civil Society and the emergence of a new Ruling Elite and their Agents of ‘Erosion and Deception’, with the subsequent the rise of Political Society.
We as those landless peasants, yet increasingly educated and even more frustrated and disillusioned people, have sat back and allowed this injustice to envelop us, squeezing the life blood out of our existence and encroaching even more and more on our daily existences.
Yet our answer is to continue to sit back and soak it all up, handing the reins to the power and control of our own lives to an unjust, undemocratic and unfair system!
This erosion of our basic freedoms has only occurred over the last 200 years, yet human existence brought us through at least 10,000 years of recorded history, relatively unscathed, yet stronger and more secure individuals, for the process.
Anyone who argues that we cannot exist in a less controlled and less authoritarian environment has been so duped and dazzled by the bright lights of coercive power, that I despair and implore you to start thinking and realising the gift of life and free existence we have lost; unless we start standing up for ourselves and fighting the injustice of the modern political system.
Anyone brave enough to make a stand against this injustice and the erosion of our basic and god-given freedoms?
Myths and tall tales are the instruments through which fear and mistrust is being spread amongst the general populous. A new frame has been created within which we imprison ourselves, yet very few of us realise that we can and must look outside of this new frame. Very few of us have recognised this powerful technique of storytelling being deployed ‘against us’. But, we have the power and ability to fight back and fight them at their own game, by telling fables and stories of HOPE, JOY and POSSIBILITIES.
I trust that you will equally recognise the opportunity we have to stand up and fight back in order to recapture the lost ground of the last two centuries.
Let’s engage in the intellectual battle of storytelling and hope generation, together, aligned and stronger…
Vive la STORY…
© 2008 - theMarketSoul
Sunday, 11 May 2008
Identifying your jurisdiction
Could be a precarious prediction
Depending on the argument
Leads to our predicament
And loop hole designers are we
Depending on the size of your fee
Will keep us discreet
And you on your feet
Cranking the adding machine
Might keep us slightly keen
But like everything
We live on a prayer and a wing
And you shiny bling
Keeps us from a dishonest fling
So where should we go
And mind you not too slow
Our vehicle of Trust
Is the main thrust
So watch out for the blast ,
it might not be the last
So off he runs,
With all your ones
And a penny to spare, if you and I dare!
[work in progress]
© theMarketSoul 2008
Friday, 25 April 2008
© 2008 - theMarketSoul
Saturday, 19 April 2008
Since Eve deceived Adam
But take it from me,
Execution's the key”
A stanza from a poem entitled “How to get Rich” by Felix Dennis
I would suppose an approach to answering your question, would be to state:
“It depends on how you slice and dice it?”
What is meant by this statement, is that it depends on "where you are now?" and "where are you coming from?"
Are there any urgent needs or unfulfilled desires?
Is there a “tyranny of the status quo?”
Is there a need to re-invigorate profits?
Is it innovation you are after or merely idea generation?
If we learn to open our eyes and engage and interact in the world around us, on a slightly different basis, veering slightly off the normal path or direction, keeping an open mind and asking “why” type questions all the time, we might continuously stumble across opportunities to recognize business ideas.
I am investigating the “open source of ideas” via social networking at the moment and your questions fits neatly into this type of category and investigation.
Ideas can also set off a chain reaction and following on from the themes in the poem by Felix Dennis in summary chain would probably look like this:
Funding [which attracts]
People [who engage in the]
Execution [adding to]
Overheads [which reduces]
Profit [margins shrinking and leads to a]
Focus [and a need to]
Question the initial proposition [which again leads to]
Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Can I ask you a question?
You know how organisations today, crave for the new killer ideas, that will add value tomorrow and drive the enterprise forward, because the existing product portfolio has grown or will soon grow stale?
Organisations are actively looking for Maverick thinkers.
But, the problem is that most mavericks are just that: MAVERICK in the total delivery of their behaviour, their package.
Mavericks tend to refuse to conform to the accepted thinking on a subject, yet you ‘buy in’ a potential problem child!
Now this is where I come in.
I am a centred Maverick, essentially a person grounded in a very principled, professional frame. All that happens is that I just change the lenses I, and the other people use to look at the world.
The paradox phrase or euphemism would be a conformist maverick, however I call it a maverdox.
I learned a very valuable lesson from my children recently.
No, not the lesson all parents learn, namely that they never listen to you, unless you threaten them with physical harm or bribe them into any form of action.
I had caught my 3 year old son doing something he was told not to do. When confronted by his actions, the conversation went something like this:
Me: “What are you doing? What ARE you doing?”
Him; “Talking to you”.
This straightforward answer, proving how much they only live in the moment, so clinical and almost unnervingly direct, showed me yet again how we have learned to hide behind words and sometimes read too much into what is said or not.
So here I go again.
I trust that the major theme from most of my postings has emerged as this:
My torpor. Yes, too much sand around me, too little time to count it, yet all the time in the world to keep myself amused by tapping away at a keyboard.
If anyone has ever required any proof that Einstein’s ‘Theory of Relativity’ does indeed exist, then Saudi Arabia is proof indeed. Now I don’t claim to understand the majority of what the Theory of Relativity is about, except in so far as it talks about the speed of light (a lot) and the effects that your relative position (in the universe) has on the space-time continuum, etc. and that somehow wormholes can exist which warps the space-time continuum and can effectively transport you very rapidly into another dimension.
In my case that dimension is Saudi Arabia and the 80’s, with a few remnants of the 70’s thrown in for good measure.
So this presents me with quite a unique dilemma. Just about everything I have learnt so far on this MBA course, has very little practical value in this environment. The Middle East. Look I don’t work for a multi national, so any form of connection to the real world is also lost. Just about the most practical model I have learnt is Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis (circa 1985). Yes, you could throw in the Value Chain Analysis (1980) thing as well, but then the key word is value, and we could argue for hours as to the meaning of that word, within this geographical context.
And yes, of course I try and make connections and comparisons, as best I can, and no, I am not being patronizing or condescending. Just a brutal realist.
Here are the cold harsh facts of the matter:
I am not here for:
(a) my health (remember no booze and no pork allowed)
(b) the weather (364 guaranteed days of sunshine a year) and
(c) because I am a tax exile;
but because I am being paid a relatively good package, not to be popular or pleasant, but to be right (most of the time). And if that sounds arrogant, then you are right: it is because I am being arrogant.
As a western trained manager, we are here to bridge a chasm. That chasm is the skills gap. If anyone has ever lived and worked in a developing country, then they’ll know exactly what I am talking about. Thus far I have dressed up this wolf, the skills gap, in the sheep’s clothing of culture. I am just making sure now that I call a spade a darned spade.
And as we are at this moment in time at an inflection point in our history, a short period of time during which we are able to re-imagine everything, (Tom Peters, Re-!magine, 2003), we are obliged to question the suppression of creativity within our education system. As we enter a period in business life where value is emerging from individual initiative and creativity, isn’t it sad that our education systems are a ‘thinly disguised conspiracy to quash creativity’ (Gordon MacKenzie, Orbiting the Giant Hairball).
Now, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all negative out here. This place has certainly taught me a good few lessons about:
(b) Time and work-life balance
(c) The value of community
I have seen many western managers wither away and quickly depart around me, because they just couldn’t get behind the culture of this place. All gung-ho and fired up at the beginning, pushing and pulling organisations this way and that, quick fix turn-around strategies, and then they hit the brick wall, that wall being people. It’s all about Kaizen man. Slow, very slow, very tiny, very slow incremental steps towards improvement. If you don’t do it in the Kaizen fashion, you merely endanger yourself of becoming a dust storm in the desert. And these people have seen plenty of those come and go over the centuries. Believe me, this is no laughing matter. So relationships are what really underpins business and social discourse and hence, success.
Time, well there is always Einstein’s theories on this subject, but to add to this, time is relationship’s bedrock. It does take a long time to build up trust and in the meantime, while you wile away the time, enjoy the opportunity to get to know your family and friends a little better.
Which leads very nicely to the value of community lesson. Because we are in a, call it hostile, foreign environment, I find that true community values are probably the most precious by-product, which the artificial compound enclaves foster. Real friends made here are friends for life indeed. Doesn’t matter that you go your separate ways and grow apart, there will always be a bond of experience, a bond that will overcome time’s distorting effects on relationships and friendships.
And of course, it gives me plenty of time for trite posting, too
So, having written almost a thousand words on the subject of nothing, but trying to get across the idea of what my challenges are in relating the MBA knowledge and theory back to my situational context, I find myself practising my maths skills again. I effectively have a 20% deficit in word count, at the moment, to try and convince a marker and moderator that I have picked up the gist of the Henley MBA curriculum. But I haven’t even started to convey my message yet at this stage: It’s all about culture man! And yes, this is a serious rant! Again.
Please try and understand that in order to get anywhere close to matching the curriculum requirement, I am having to be very creative in making stuff up as I go along... even something as simple as market analysis data, for a situational analysis on market share and penetration of a product, presents something of a challenge. Also, don’t get me wrong, we don’t live in the dark ages over here, but some measure of scepticism is required in accepting as fact, data presented to you. (As a marketing manager pointed out to me recently, “We don’t believe the figures either, but at least if you assume they are vaguely correct, it is the trends you must identify, not the aggregate figures themselves”). So, in effect, my whole assignment approach is based on a house of precariously placed ASSUMPTION cards.
But fear not, I shall rise to the challenge and I declare my intent and assumptions very clearly: Read my assignment with a very lumpy grain of salt.
I shall learn to be more succinct, yet to quote my good friend Albert, for once:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge”. (Albert Einstein)
The end. For now.