Feeling old & nerdy… Some entertainment tips for you right here!*

Like oh so many other people, most of my youth was defined by the brands I associated myself with. In my case it was mainly punk rock, football and politics.

There is a lot to be said for not being too obsessed with the brands of your choice, even if they do indeed mean literally the world to you, like football, or gives you the strength to hate fight another day like punk rock. Still I remember feeling so envious that I was not born earlier so that I could have seen certain bands live or been at certain matches. Even in politics I was a late-comer, and hence never met Rothbard.

On the other hand, as I grow older and continuously and loyally partook in the shared development of my brands, not many can claim as many FCK live matches as I, I all of a sudden was one of the people that, while I might have been too young in the eighties, certainly did see a lot of the nineties and early millennium. Ever so slightly I took a role, much like many older people that I know, as carrying eyes around that had seen “it”. These last couple of weeks I’ve been confronted by three examples of this, and rather than focus on the obvious downside that this is proof that I am getting older, I instead chose to focus on that while I certainly made a lot of mistakes in my life, most of it have been rightly spend and all of it certainly was fun.

Music

I was lucky enough to be around for the height of skate punk in the nineties. While I quickly turned to Oi! and hardcore, some of these bands stayed with me, such as No Use For A Name. One of the bands that to many showcase the sound and attitude is NOFX. I’ve seen them many times now, and when I was in my early teens I loved them, then I hated them for a while (which I now realize was pretty stupid and is one of the mistakes that I am not proud of and which ultimately cost me more joy than it gave). Today I have nothing but respect for them! They are still in their old lineup, and have managed to live off their passion for music since their first show in 1983. While I do not agree with their outspoken simplistic politics, I do acknowledge that the band more than any is an innovator and not afraid to hail the individualism that is punk rock.  This August they came out with an untitled record of covers of old hardcores classics, and while Youth Defense League is missing for obvious reasons, they have included a lot of great tunes. As an added bonus they have made three different pressing so there is something fun to collect. What a feed of respect for the roots, educating the young, and in an odd way, a great testimony to an amazing career of innovation. Buy it here and listen below (play it loud).

Football

It might not be the nicest trade to take joy in the misery of others, but it is entertaining. Our old rival, Brøndby, is falling apart on and off the pitch to
an extend where I almost feel pity for their fans (but then again, I kinda did already). Lately they didn’t get to Europe and manage to throw away a 4-0 lead to an opponent that had given up. Wow! However, it is not the first time, as this poll clearly will illustrate, and I was around to laugh at most of these defeats. Funny stuff.

Politics

As mentioned above, I never met Rothbard. I have fortunately had the great privilege to meet a significant number of economics scholars that I admire and who’s wisdom and research have shaped me and moved me forward, from Prahalad to Kirzner, and the personal favorite, Klein (PS: I still haven’t met Williamson, although it has been close a couple of time, but next time I will accept that lunch invite). When you do nerd economics and the politics of freedom as I do, you will pick up on inside references. Below the amazing Thomas Woods is showcasing a couple of great ones. Remember to pick up some of Wood’s books – he is a very insightful source on US history and a great communicator on paper and in person.

Wow. That was fun. I can’t wait for the next 10 years as I haven’t given up any of the above passions yet. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Btw: NOFX plays for free in Malmø on the 22 of august. Cool stuff!

*) I noticed that I get more readers when I share tips, so here you go.

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When do you die?

Scary header, ain’t it? This post is utterly unscientific. In fact, I don’t even really know why I write it to be honest. Maybe just a little thought that I needed to share.

Remember my post on immortality? Well, I was recently at a social event sitting across from an elderly person. The person is alive and well – very much so indeed. However while the niceties that this person was normally taking part in, was developing around us, I suddenly looked across and saw a look of despair. It might have lasted only 15 seconds and then the person snapped out of it and resumed the natural place in the social activities, but damn did that get me thinking:

What if what I saw was death? Not personified, just the process. Imaging that maybe you do not slowly age and wear out and die, but the process instead happens in short intense spouts when you are not grapping on to life?

Would it change the way you behaved? Let’s assume that death was more likely to happen when you were bored and not really “into” life;  be it doing tedious management presentations, forced family outings, or house cleaning. If you avoided all these things, and others that might cause you especially to slip into a short death process, you might live, if not eternally, than statistically significantly longer. However it would come at a price of cause; you might not be able to hold down a job, your family would shun you and your house would be a mess. So think about that, how much is your pure life worth to you and how much of why you value it comes from enduring the death process from forcing you to partake in less-pleasure filled activities?

I hope your trade off is balanced to your needs and thank you for bearing with me today, as I rant about life and death.


Rainy summer reading tip

This is a delayed July post… 🙂

It is raining in Copenhagen. In fact it has been for a while this summer and many people are struggling to keep their positive attitude when in the middle of a July day it is raining and 13 degrees Celsius. I can understand this: If you pay your taxes, at least you should be able to count on a bit of sunshine in the summer, right? Well, I’ll leave that to the politicians and instead give my fellow Danes something to do while the rain is pouring down. If you are stuck in your rainy flat or a summerhouse (be it in Skagen, Tisvilde, Nykøbing S, or wherever) why not pick up a good book?

My recommendation today is The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (get it free for Kindle here)

Recommending a good book is a hard matter. There are so many good ones, and each can serve a different purpose, be it entertainment or learning. Furthermore, are you recommending to brand yourself, the author or for the receiver of the tip’s genuine pleasure?

As for the first, this recommendation is on my blog forever (scary), so it will serve to brand me I guess. As for the second reason; Franklin can hardly benefit from a recommendation from poor me, but if anyone is unaware of this champion of liberty, truth and knowledge, you should pick up this book quickly. As for the last reason; this is truly a recommendation for the readers benefit. Not only will you learn something, but it is a truly riveting tale from an honest world where great revolutions were occurring. Much like today really; Frontier America propelled hard work to riches fuelled by an enormous growth potential. Today we see something similar in China and within IT.

One of the key take aways I got from the book was how Frankling continuously kept working with himself and thereby developed a winning attitude towards life where, as he put it, it wasn’t important  who made the bullets or even who fired the gun, as long as the bullets hit the intended target. Today everybody is hooked on grapping the glory, but is that really so important?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


PFSD – An applied Austrian afterthought

This is build on my post about Post financial stress disorder.

The brilliant economist Roger Garrison of Auburn U once told an anecdote to me (it might not have been his creation, my notes delude me on this subject). When asked how Hayek and Friedman differed in their respective approach to dealing with the Great Depression the following story serves as an illustration: Imaging a great big green monster showed up in Louisiana and started a rampage of destruction. Both economists are send to investigate. Friedman starts by examining how much is destroyed, how fast is it destroyed, when is it destroyed, was it eaten by the monster or trembled by it’s great feet? Etc… Hayek on the other hand, tries to solve why the big green monster appeared in the first place and if we can learn from this so not to have it reappear again.  

This short story tells of one of the main lessons of the Austrian Business Cycle Theory; that the period of unsustainable growth fuelled by overspending and loans is actually just as big a part of the business cycle as the resulting downturn. So what does that tell us about avoiding PFSD in the future for your origination?

Honestly I am not sure yet. We still have a lot to learn, but what I believe to be important is to set clear goals and not care about much else. When selling you time as an employee the least you can ask for is knowing what you are expected to deliver and do.

That sometimes takes a backseat in times of growth and prosperity. Instead you just hire and hire. Then when the financial stress sets in you are stuck with no real knowledge of what the right performance are and who is contributing to it, so you just fire and fire (in many cases based on seniority, so essentially trying to get back to the pre-spend days). That leaves all employees and subsequently the organization as a whole, with a traumatic feeling of loss.  So use you time now to set up systems that tells and reward the right behavior.


The last mortal generation

I was driving across Denmark a couple of weeks ago listening to talk radio, and for once I was mind blown by what I heard. It turns out the Professor and MD Moustapha Kassem of Odense Universitets Hospital has discovered the – miRNA 138 molcule that determines cell growth for bones. The potential application and implication of this research is mindboggling. Truly mindboggling!

What does the research means: Well, it means that 1) you would be able to grow exact replicates of bone and organs for transplantation 2) It means that potentially aging can be stopped… That is immortality people! From what I’ve seen and read about technology development it might even down the road mean regenerative powers! Just like superheroes.

While these applications might not be tomorrow it can very well be within our current living memory that we will de facto see real life immortality, and potentially even as a default for all humans. As a result space travel might be possible… I mean who cares that it takes 300 years to go to some other galaxy when you are not ageing… I sure wouldn’t mind going if I had enough books with me.

It also means that every material good can become available to everybody. Sure the millionaire might be able to buy a Ferrari today, and the beggar might have to save for 150 years, but again, it does not matter if we are all gonna live forever. Wow!

For many this will raise interesting societal questions of allocations, laws, and so fort. That is not why I almost drove off the road when I heard it. I was struck by the thought that I, or my potential children, might very well be the last generation who are going to die. Wow! That sure is responsibility! Because as much as I love progress –and I do an awful lot – I cannot ignore the fact that our pursuit of progress have cost us our foundations for decent behavior. Traditions have in a globalized world been revealed as nothing more than local habits. Morals have become relative to most as the historic or religious foundations for ethical-systems has come under pressure or directly crippled. So if you, dear reader, belong to the last generation of mortals; what kind of moral world will you want to leave the next, and last, generation?

I am reminded of Augustine of Hippo’s City of God book in which he talks about humanities push towards a world where the true pursuit of humanity is dedication to truth and wisdom. And honestly speaking, what would be the reason not to if you had all the time in the world? Most of your daily cares do in fact come from, when you really think about it, the fact that you are going to die one day. In fact it might very well pave the way for Nietzsche’s übermench concept in which the purpose of humanity is to form a basis for the right behavior without a foundation found in otherworldly arguments (i.e. religion) and resisting the temptation of nihilism.

I might very well be in the last mortal generation, but it makes me very pleased to spend my limited time on this planet trying with echo.it to help form that new basis of decent behavior.


Is your organization suffering from Post-Financial Stress Disorder?

Traveling around visiting many companies of many different shapes, sizes and with different purposes, I came up with a term that I want to share with you: Postfinancial Stress Disorder or PFSD.

Many great companies had to do severe actions to mitigate the financial crisis’ effects. Even companies not directly involved, saw themselves life-threatened by customer’s sudden inability to secure funds for their demands. In respond, many companies downsized and rationalized, often with much hardship and pain. Out of the crisis came those that survived typically stronger and potentially ready to grow again… But why is it then that it is not going as fast as we think it should?

Why is it that your employees and co-workers are irritable? That the smallest side step seems to generate unwarranted tension? And that even as things pick up, everybody seems chronically suffering from dysphoria or maybe anger? Instead of reaching out for the chance in this new poscrisis world, anxiety about their job (losing it or keeping it, it seems) seem to be the going rate of motivation?

It might just be that your company is suffering from PFSD. A result of having had to bleed the organization dry to the point of almost exhaustion. Having gone from a world were the sky is the limit, and every opportunity was jumped on with joy, to a bleak hangover reality from a sudden, and maybe undeserved, kick in the head from, what feels like, out of the blue. What is worse is that suffering from PFSD can make you question everything you believed once and subsequently lead you to a new crisis as you try to avoid the last one.

Getting out of PFSD is not something that happens automatically. It takes effort. You have to work with the organization. Tell it the outlook is different now. Feed it the right nutrition and in the right quantities. Today is the right time to ask: What have you done to relieve PFSD today?

If you want to learn and do more:

  1. Think (that is how I came up with this term to describe what I’ve been seeing lately)
  2. Google (there are other great bloggers out there that have simurlar thoughts and might inspire you, like here and here)
  3. Think again (that is always good)
  4. Plan
  5. Act

Commitment to positivity

I had a pretty boring meeting a while back. It was one of those where you just know it is a show dance going in. Lots of talking around the same topic. Nothing new likely to emerge. No direct take aways and you trying to stay awake by remembering that life slips away with every breath you take.

Well, talking in the morning with sweetie Katja she mentioned that my attitude was wrong and not like what I normally preach. Which is true. I despise negative people and those that blame others instead of trying to fix it themselves (even if it is not their fault).

So true. I am normally committed to positivity, so why not this morning? Well… Maybe I just forgot? After all sometimes life is boring. Sometime looking for the roadblocks makes you miss the road all together. Sometimes, by reasons of your own doing or not, it does, as Sick of It All sings, take “So much strength Necessary to deal  With the everlasting shit storm”. However staying positive is important, as it gives you energy to proceed. So how do we still remember to keep positive?

I made this simple tool: Take a slide. Insert the sentence “Commitment to Positivity” and a picture that simply shows what you have to stay positive about, like a goal of some sort. You can also write a short sentence to make it really clear. It can be a strategy workstream that is troublesome, maybe a loved ones with whom your relationship is slacking, or something else that matters to you and where positive energy is needed to propel your engine. To exemplify I have made one with Steve Morrison our great Lion player who did his best to almost propel us to the playoffs. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. But with our commitment to positivity I am sure it will happen one day (at least it looks like Ironworks will be joining us in the Championship, hehe).

Of cause you should not be cheated from a song, so here is Dominated by New York Hardcore legends Sick of It All. I believe this song is what happens to you and the people around you if you forget a basic Commitment to Positivity.

On a last note, the meeting did turn out a lot more useful than I had anticipated, because sometimes even boring meetings are good meetings.