Category Archives: Consider This!

Why Our Presidential Candidates Will Never Create The Jobs They Are Promising For America



“Donald Trump vows to create 25 million jobs over the next decade.” (NY Times 9/16/16).

“… under Hillary’s plans the economy would create 10.4 million jobs in her first term alone …” (Mark Zandi, former economic advisor to John McCain).

Of course, we all know that politicians are generally out of touch with reality and they regularly say things that have little substance in the real world… promotional “sound bites” if you will.

We know too, that the greatest reason for moving U.S. jobs to foreign shores is economic—goods can be produced more cheaply in foreign countries.

But, outsourcing jobs for economic reasons is the subject of a debate we don’t want to enter into here, because it is a debate that will never end.

At the same time, the issue of “jobs” in the U.S. is high on everyone’s mind and both candidates are making job creation one of the most important issues of their campaigns.

Unfortunately, the candidate’s promises for new jobs by bringing us back to the 1970’s and 1980’s are way off base.

We will never return to that era of job availability for the average person, and here are just a hint of a few reasons why:  Continue reading Why Our Presidential Candidates Will Never Create The Jobs They Are Promising For America

When Feeling Creative–Find Some Noise

Silence, or a relatively quiet place, may be good for reading a book, but if you are writing that book it seems you need to find someplace “noisy.”

So says a recent study conducted by Ravi Mehta and his colleagues at the University of Illinois-Urbana, that tested the relationship between noise and creativity.

The study found that a moderate amount of ambient noise actually improved creativity. This seems to give credence to writers, like Ernest Hemingway, who went to cafes and bars to do their writing.

The purpose of working around background noise seems to be to break through your normal way of thinking in order to enhance abstract, or creative, thinking. In other words, get out of your comfort zone and into a state of moderate mental disruption.

Apparently, if you could chart creativity vs. noise on a bell-shaped curve, the apex of the curve would be at around 70 decibels. Lower than that is less effective, and higher is too distracting.

Today, a very popular spot for creativity is the local coffee house. There seems to be just enough ambient noise there for the proper creative stimulus. Of course, the caffeine probably doesn’t hurt either.

The study does have one caveat: The concept of moderate noise increasing creativity may only work well on people who are naturally creative anyway. Hmmmm.

Where do you do your most creative work, and what is the ambient noise level while you are being creative?

You can read the entire study at the Journal of Consumer Research.

Are You Digitally Fatigued?

You may be digitally fatigued and not even know it. As smart phones and electronic tablets become more prolific and sophisticated, we seem to naturally gravitate toward these new digital opportunities.

But…is this a good thing? Do we now spend so much time in the digital world that we can no longer think creatively—or socialize face to face?

Here’s some interesting information I ran across the other day:

  • Apple has now sold over 100 million iPhones in 113 countries.
  • There are 413,749 “apps” available for the iPhone (with more coming daily).
  • Every day, iPhone owners spend more than 1 million hours playing “Angry Birds.” Yup, every day…over 1 million hours…Angry Birds!
  • Around 23% of all time spent on the Internet is spent social networking. According to research from Nielsen, social networking is now the most popular online activity.
  • The average visitor to the Internet spent 66 percent more time on social media last year, than in 2009. (Much of it spent on their employer’s time.)
  • Sites like Klout and PeerIndex are actively ranking social media users to determine how “influential” they are. Apparently, if you don’t use social media more and more, you won’t be regarded as “influential.” (Influential among whom is not clear.)
  • According to the Kaiser Foundation, teenagers today spend 7 hours, 38 minutes per day with “entertainment” media—EXCLUDING time spent “talking” or “texting” on their cell phones.

And what has all this activity really accomplished—other than lining the pockets of Venture Capital firms and a few overpaid corporate executives? Let’s think about this for a minute…

What do the following things all have in common:

  • Intercontinental railroad system
  • Jet engines
  • Automobiles
  • Penicillin
  • Airplanes
  • Atomic Bomb
  • Empire State Building
  • Space program
  • Manhattan
  • Interstate highway system
  • Cure for Polio
  • A million other things from electricity to paper clips…

ANSWER: All of these great achievements were created and constructed before the advent of the digital age—no computers, no cell phones, no satellites, no social media, no video games, no…

MOREOVER: How many great inventions and accomplishments have been made since the dawn of the digital age—or perhaps more importantly over the last 4 or 5 years?

Certainly, all the above things (and many more) have been improved upon and enhanced since their creation, but what truly new creativity from the minds of mankind has produced something of the magnitude of the above list?

And these are only the bare statistics—what about the workings of the human mind? I wonder what would happen if, for instance, the 1 million hours per day spent playing Angry Birds were spent just “thinking”…thinking about new ideas, new possibilities, new creations, new businesses, new solutions to problems, and on and on?

With more creative thinking, could we have invented new products, started more new companies, hired more people, trained more engineers and scientists? I don’t know…maybe…probably.

Then of course, there is the issue of interpersonal relationship skills (or lack thereof). Personally, I would rather sit across the table from someone in a restaurant talking about all the great ideas I had during the day, than sitting there alone texting or tweeting about the food I was eating.

All my life I have been an early adopter of new technology (my first PC was made by Zenith, and my first cell phone cost $2,500—with no one else to talk to), but now I am beginning to wonder. When I compare the relationship between the minds of mankind vs. the reliance on gadgetry and mind-numbing social media that is consuming our lives…I wonder if, in the big picture, mankind has not taken a giant step backwards.

So, do you think you have digital fatigue, or are addicted to your digital devices? How would your life change if suddenly the Internet and all wireless service went down and there was no more social media, no more email, no more text messaging, no more cell phones, no more Kindle, and on and on?

Could you survive? Could you be productive? Could you be creative?


Older Than Dirt

With a couple of new major projects going on, and another move of my entire office, I will continue to be absent from my blog until at least mid-December. So, I thought I would post and leave up some comments and a little quiz about a time when life was simpler…for readers to see just how old you all are—at least in mind and memory.

The following comments and quiz were sent to me by a reader, and they do bring back a few memories:


Someone asked the other day, “What was your favorite fast food when you were growing up?”

“We didn’t have fast food when I was growing up,” I informed him. “All the food was slow.”

“C’mon, seriously. Where did you eat?”

“It was a place called at home,” I explained. “Mom cooked every day and when Dad got home from work, we sat down together at the dining room table, and if I didn’t like what she put on my plate I was allowed to sit there until I did like it.”

By this time, the kid was laughing so hard I was afraid he was going to suffer serious internal damage, so I didn’t tell him the part about how I had to have permission to leave the table.

But here are some other things I would have told him about my childhood…if I figured his system could have handled it:

Some parents NEVER owned their own house, never wore Levis, never set foot on a golf course, never traveled out of the country or had a credit card. In their later years they had something called a revolving charge card. The card was good only at Sears Roebuck. Or maybe it was Sears & Roebuck…either way, there is no Roebuck anymore. Maybe he died.

My parents never drove me to soccer practice. This was mostly because we never had heard of soccer. I had a bicycle that weighed probably 50 pounds and only had one speed (slow). We didn’t have a television in our house until I was 19. It was, of course, black and white and the station went off the air at midnight after playing the national anthem and a poem about God. It came back on the air at about 6 a.m. and there was usually a locally produced news and farm show on featuring local people.

I was 21 before I tasted my first pizza—it was called pizza pie. When I bit into it, I burned the roof of my mouth and the cheese slid off, swung down, plastered itself against my chin and burned that, too. It’s still the best pizza I ever had.

I never had a telephone in my room. The only phone in the house was in the living room and it was on a party line. Before you could dial, you had to listen and make sure some people you didn’t know weren’t already using the line. Pizzas were not delivered to our home. But milk was.

All newspapers were delivered by boys, and all boys delivered newspapers. My brother delivered a newspaper six days a week. It cost 7 cents a paper, of which he got to keep 2 cents. He had to get up at 6AM every morning. On Saturday, he had to collect the 42 cents from his customers. His favorite customers were the ones who gave him 50 cents and told him to keep the change. His least favorite customers were the ones who seemed to never be home on collection day.

Movie stars kissed with their mouths shut. At least they did in the movies. There were no movie ratings because all movies were responsibly produced for everyone to enjoy viewing, without profanity or violence or most anything offensive.

If you grew up in a generation before there was fast food, you may want to share some of these memories with your children or grandchildren. Just don’t blame me if they bust a gut laughing.

Here are some MEMORIES from a friend :

My Dad is cleaning out my grandmother’s house (she died recently) and he brought me an old Royal Crown Cola bottle. In the bottle top was a stopper with a bunch of holes in it. I knew immediately what it was, but my daughter had no idea. She thought they had tried to make it a salt shaker or something. I knew it as the bottle that sat on the end of the ironing board to ‘sprinkle’ clothes with because we didn’t have steam irons. Man, I am old.

How many do you remember?

  • Headlights dimmer switches on the floor.
  • Ignition switches on the dashboard.
  • Heaters mounted on the inside of the firewall.
  • Real ice boxes.
  • Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards.
  • Soldering irons you heat on a gasoline blowtorch.
  • Using hand signals for cars without turn signals.

Older Than Dirt Quiz :

Count all the ones that you remember, not the ones you were told about. (Ratings at the bottom.)

1.    Blackjack chewing gum

2.    Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water

3.    Candy cigarettes

4.    Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles

5.    Coffee shops or diners with tableside juke boxes

6.    Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers

7.    Party lines on the telephone

8.    Newsreels before the movie

9.    P.F. Flyers

10. Butch wax

11. TV test patterns that came on at night after the last show and were there until TV shows started again in the morning (there were only 3 channels…if you were fortunate)

12. Peashooters

13. Howdy Doody

14. 45 RPM records (or even 78’s)

15. S&H greenstamps

16. Hi-fi’s

17. Metal ice trays with lever

18. Mimeograph paper

19. Blue flashbulbs

20. Packards

21. Roller skate keys

22. Cork popguns

23. Drive-ins

24. Studebakers

25. Wash tub wringers

If you remembered   0-5 = You’re still young
If you remembered  6-10 = You are getting older
If you remembered 11-15 = Don’t tell your age,
If you remembered 16-25 = You’ re older than dirt!
I might be older than dirt but those memories are some of the best parts of my life.

*  *  *  *

Well, there you have your quiz to determine if you’re “older than dirt.” To the younger generations these things probably sound pretty funny and meaningless, but they represent a time when life was simpler and kids had to use their minds and their imaginations instead of some electronic gadget to do their thinking for them.

Take a look at the quiz and let me know how old you think you are in relation to these items. I’ll be checking in from time-to-time, and will be back in full force before the end of the year.

Land of Vast Potential

When thinking about a land of vast potential, one would not likely think about Detroit, Michigan. This was struck home tonight on the evening news that did a segment on the plight of Detroit.

The city is rapidly becoming a ghost town, with the population dropping from around 2 million people at its peak, to around ¾ of a million today.

However, earlier in the day I received an email with this movie trailer of a documentary film on the people of Detroit. That got me thinking about all the possibilities for new businesses—maybe even starting a whole new industry. Take a look at the trailer and tell me what you think.

(email subscribers can view on my blog)

When the full documentary film is released, I’ll let you know where you can view it, or obtain your own copy.

In the meantime, let your imagination run with the possibilities of remaking an entire city—and then let me know what you came up with.

American Business

Consider This!

Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, and Twitter have yet to turn an actual profit…while 21 million individual small businesses—with no employees—contributes $1 Trillion annually to America’s Gross Domestic Product.

No special point here…just an interesting observation.