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We like to think we are glass half-full kind of people. We are all for due diligence and preparation, but we also remain optimistic that over time, the best possible things can happen. So how do we keep that spirit? The trick is knowing what you’re up against.
We have to be realistic about the problems we face. Sometimes when a problem seems insurmountable, it’s because it is. Volatility in the markets? You might as well fight gravity. It’s part of the deal.
It can’t be a problem because it can’t be solved.
Making sure you have the resources you need to meet your goals? That might be something that we can address—specifically, with some planning, strategy, and arithmetic. And honestly, some hope. If you don’t think your goals are possible, you’re probably right. There’s a world of difference between “Could I…?” and “How could I…?” We just have to stay open to possibility.
The alternative, we think, is pretty unbearable. We’ve watched too many friends waste away fighting things that were out of their control. What if their energy had been given instead to activities they could control? It’s the difference between years of soul-sucking labor and years of life-giving pursuit.
We want you to benefit from the best of our perspective. You might remember we’ve talked about this sort of thing before, as when we cautioned “Don’t Let Your Anchor Drown You.” We’re not promising a rosy path of puppies and rainbows, but we are interested in any outlook that serves us for the long haul.
The obstacles, the possibilities—we’re ready to face all of the above. Thanks for joining us.
Clients, if you’d like to talk more about what this means for you, call or write.
A business can serve one of two basic functions: solve problems for customers, or exploit their vulnerabilities.
Haven’t we all had experience with both kinds of enterprises? Some bad apples will do anything to take advantage of you. One of our wise clients told us she runs when she hears a fear-based sales pitch, the hallmark of exploiters.
On the brighter side, we also find enterprises that deliver more value to us than they cost, and make it a pleasure to do business. Some act as if they know what you and we know: what goes around, comes around.
We believe the way the 21st century is unfolding will help the good ones and hurt the bad ones. There are three reasons we think this:
• We can get up to speed on any subject more quickly than ever before, with all the knowledge in the world at our fingertips. No longer does anyone have a monopoly on information: prices, specifications and other factors can be checked out.
• Reputations, good and bad, can spread like wildfire through social media and other new forms of communication. It is harder for poor business practices to survive, and easier to find the solid professionals.
• Successful businesses can provide information and perspective to clients and prospective customers at very little cost. This makes it easier for you to figure out whether they focus more on your welfare or their profit, before you get in business with them.
We are always working to get better, continually learning, striving to stay at the leading edge. We make mistakes, as all humans do—but we’re excited about the opportunities unfolding in the decades ahead.
Clients, if you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email us or call.
In the spring of 1902, Brooklyn printers by the name of Sackett & Wilhelms had a problem. It is doubtful whether anyone realized the vast ramifications the solution would bring.
When the humidity changed, the printers found that the paper expanded and contracted, causing their four color printing process to come out misaligned. Wasted days, wasted paper–it was a pretty big problem. Fortunately, a young engineer at the Buffalo Forge had an idea.
The engineer drew plans for a device to control the humidity of the print shop, and the crew from Buffalo Forge installed it. It was the first of its kind. By the end of the summer, the device had been a success.
It took four years for someone else to come up with the name “air conditioning.” Systems spread to other commercial enterprises, and eventually to other businesses, homes, and even to automobiles. As we approach the summer months here in the 21st century, it is hard to imagine life without air conditioning!
The engineer, who was just a year out of college when he drew the plans, later founded and ran his own company. You might have heard of Willis Carrier’s air conditioning company.
Every day, somewhere people are working on solutions to problems the cost us money, time, health, or some other resource. Others are working on things that may improve our lives, or entertain us, or provide some other advantage. Our everyday lives contain scores of things that did not even exist twenty or forty years ago.
For most of history, this is not how things worked. Life was nasty, brutish, and short. Generations came and went, but little changed. Then modernity unleashed human creativity and potential like never before.
This may be the key factor behind the seemingly perpetual upward tendency of the equity markets, all the way back to their origins.
We have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: stock markets are volatile. They go up and down. There are no guarantees. But they may represent a way to invest in human potential. Clients, please call or write if you would like to talk about this.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.