Monday, July 30, 2012

Steve Aoki - Avant/Garde Diaries [Interview]...

Steve Aoki - Spirit Shaped by Music (Source)

Bruce Lee on doubters and doers...

“The doubters said,
"Man can not fly,"
The doers said,
"Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared
In the morning glow
While non-believers
Watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The essential qualities of a General...

"The commander [in battle] must trust his judgment and stand like a rock on which the waves break in vain. It is not an easy thing to do." -Clausewitz, On War

An excerpt from Clausewitz, On War...

...If the mind is to emerge unscathed from this relentless struggle with the unforeseen, two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth: and second, the courage to follow this first light wherever it may lead. The first of these qualities is described by the French term coup d'oeil, the second is determination.... 

...The essential qualities for a general will always be as follows: First, A high moral courage, capable of great resolutions. Secondly, A physical courage which takes no account of danger. His scientific or military acquirements are secondary to the above-mentioned characteristics, though if great they will be valuable auxiliaries. It is not necessary that he should be a man of vast erudition. His knowledge may be limited, but should be thorough, and he should be perfectly grounded in the principles in the base of the art of war. Next in importance come the qualities of his personal character. A man who is gallant, just, firm, upright, capable of esteeming merit in others instead of being jealous of it, and skillful in making this merit conduce to his own glory, will always be a good general, and may even pass for a great man. Unfortunately, the disposition to do justice to merit in others is not the most common quality.... 

...Only those general principles and attitudes that result from clear and deep understanding can provide a comprehensive guide to action. It is to these that opinions on specific problems should be anchored. The difficulty is to hold fast to these results in the torrent of events and new opinions. Often there is a gap between principles and actual events that cannot always be bridged by a succession of logical deductions. Then a measure of self-confidence is needed, and a degree of skepticism is also salutary. Frequently nothing short of an imperative principle will suffice, which is not part of the immediate thought-process, but dominates it: that principle is in all doubtful cases to stick to one's first opinion and to refuse to change unless forced to do so by a clear conviction. A strong faith in the overriding truth of tested principles is needed; the vividness of transient impressions must not make us forget that such truth as they contain is of a lesser stamp. By giving precedence, in case of doubt, to our earlier convictions, by holding to them stubbornly, our actions acquire that quality of steadiness and consistency which is termed strength of character ...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Vision and the norm...

“Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world!” - Joel Barker

Understanding the reality that life is just in illusion, is the parable that most seek to refrain from.  As society tends to avert from such ideologies, it takes a very tough soul to walk alone and against the crowd.  For those that have walked the self-reliant path, have done it out of the mere aversion to step outside of the norm.   For the norm compels our minds to live within a constricted box and those who want to achieve the unthinkable must understand this mind set, therefore creating new creeds to test those systems.    

Furthermore if you put yourself in a position where you have to step outside of the norm and outside of the so called comfort zone, then you will be forced, by nature, to expand your consciousness, therefore creating new norms and new creeds. So test the limits and live your life….. and that is how you play the game.. Vereour Nasquam

Rza on the Tao of Wu...

An excerpt from on RZA and the Tao of  Wu... (Source)

First of all, the tao means the way. And there are many ways to get to a place as long as you stay on the path. So if you want to travel the way of Jesus, the way of the Prophet Muhammad, if you want to travel the way of Buddha or Bodhi Dharma, if you want to travel the way of a great chess master like Kasparov or Fisher — any way you can reach self-enlightenment or self-worth works. Many great men have left paths for us. In the end, we are all searching for the same thing. We're just taking different routes to the same location.

A dream is your creative vision...

"A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown." Dennis Waitley


Friday, July 20, 2012

The key question...

"The key question isn't 'What fosters creativity?' But it is why in God's name isn't everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be not why do people create, but why do people not create." - Abraham Maslow

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying...

An excerpt from Bronnie Wares book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A life transformed by the dearly departing... (Source) 

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way.

From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard – This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship.

Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings – Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends – Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier
This is a surprisingly common one.

Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.

They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.
When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Once the storm is over...

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ― Haruki Murakami

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Failures say "YES"...While those whom succeed say "NO"..

Discipline is a metric that can be obtained by the simple pronunciation of one of the most powerful two letter words in the English language.... "NO".   As most young lads today have a hard problem distinguishing the difference between "No", and "Yes", it is sad to say, but the youth of today are destroying themselves from within.   The simple principles of not delaying gratification, along with destructive impulse behaviors have compounded the dynamics of an undisciplined youth.  On the contrary, it makes it easier for those whom decide to make decision early on in their lives to put in the work and sweat equity.  As street smarts, along with book smarts, and a little bit of sweat equity pay dividends in the long run.  Have you ever asked yourself why others succeed while others fail? ....  The observation is quite simple..... The Failures say "YES"...While those whom succeed say "NO" ....

-Perhaps those whom succeed say "No" to going out on a Friday night, while those whom say "YES" go to the neighborhood pub and spend most of the weekend recovering.

-Perhaps those whom succeed say "No" to eating a quarter pounder with cheese and xl fries, while those whom say "YES" order the XXL meal along with an XXL Shake and an apple pie.

-Perhaps those whom succeed say "No" to waking up late,  while those whom say "Yes" spend most of the morning sleeping .

As you paint the vivid picture, one must never forget how powerful the word "NO" can be.  Author Denis Waitley exclaims the following on discipline;

"Doing within while you do without means being able to focus mentally on your goal while you do without certain things to reach that goal.  You may have to go without sleep, rest, that relaxing television show you want to watch, or the ice cream sundae you're just dying to devour... But in another sense, as you keep doing something mentally within, you will eventually be able to do it without - that is, on the outside.  You will be able to realize your goal physically, materially and visibly."

Furthermore, mastering yourself and your inner demons is one of the toughest and most important self attributes that you will ever need to conquer.  As one must understand that we must first develop the control of ourselves, before we can ever decide to take the initiative to lead others. In layman's need to "CHECK" yourself....before your "WRECK" yourself.    Vereour Nasquam  

Friday, July 13, 2012

My personal thoughts on stagflation...

Were currently in a trying economic environment of high inflation, high unemployment and, slow economic growth.  As economists and politicians continue to debate on which monetary and fiscal policies to initiate, much cognition can be directed towards the refuting ideal of Stagflation.  As stagflation via the simple economic definition is defined as an economic period of high unemployment, high inflation, and slow economic growth. For it exacerbates recessions, and increases the likelihood of its stay in the short and intermediate term. Now the question is, "Are we currently in a period of stagflation?" 
The intriguing concept is the fact that stagflation is unlikely ever spoken, as the term has been kept hidden from most of the media and government news channel, sources and discussions.   Jeffrey Sica, chief investment officer of Morristown, N.J. based investment firm SICA Wealth Management stated in an interview with, "I think it's probably the biggest unspoken concern of those of us that consider ourselves cautious or bearish as stagflation is a real possibility that is not disused much".

From a bearish perspective, the slowing economy along with a weaker dollar and higher commodity costs support the stagflation argument.  As inflation along with the support of a stagnate economy induce slow economic growth.  If we take a look at the GDP growth rate, which is a broadcast indicator of the growth of our economy, the current GDP is declining and most economic analysts have been lowering their growth forecasts with a belief that the economy will not reach levels above 2% at the end of the year. 
The recently broadcasted figures for the 4th quarter of 2011 and 2012 put the estimate at 5.3% which was much lower than analysts and the market expected.  The market expected quarterly figures to reflect the maturing decline, but 5.3% was way lower than the market expected. The low Q-4 data  declined GDP growth for the entire '11-'12  to 6.5%, which is about 200 bps lower than March 2011 figure of 8.4%.   

Given the downward sloping trajectory of the following GDP figures, we can conclude that one of the first parameters of stagflation has been achieved.  As GDP growth computed on a year on year analysis (9.2%, 8%, 6.7%, 6.1% and 5.3%)  has been declining every consecutive quarter. This simple directional movement seems to support  the argument that the economy is growing slowly.      ( .   

In addition, it is now time to speak about the greenbacks worst enemy, inflation.  If we take a look at the fact that prices are increasing all over the country, we can conclude that prices on all goods and services are increasing.   The following two Consumer Price Index charts below show estimates and figures for inflation as of June 14th, 2012.  They were comprised by using the same inflation metric  techniques and calculations used in 1990.  The Consumer Price Index on the Alternative Data Series reflects the CPI as if it were calculated using the same inflation techniques used in 1980.  

In simple terms, techniques used by the government to calculate and report CPI,  have depressed inflation reporting, changing the methodologies and concepts of the CPI away from being a metric of the cost of living needed to carry on  a constant standard of living (

The following two charts were retrieved from the Shadow Government Statistics website on June 14th 2012. (

As you can tell, both Consumer Inflation charts show different variances, as the Shadow Government Statistics index takes into account the Real adjusted figures for inflation and help support the indicator that inflation is currently still in a long term uptrend.  It is well comprehended that the CPI grossly under calculates the real increase in the cost of living.  If you were to abolish all the biases and manipulation that the government uses in its inflation calculation we can further see that the inflation rate is about 7%  ( .

In addition, if we take a look at the recent April 2012 Figures for the Wholesale Price Index and the Consumer Price Index. We can also support the argument that inflation is rising. Hence, supporting the second condition of stagflation. As the Wholesale Price Index (on a year by year basis) came in at 7.23%, after having declined to 6.89% in March 2012.  On the other hand the CPI index, which measures price increases on a rural and urban consumer consumption basis, reported a 10.36% increase, compared to 9.38% in March 2012 ( ) .         

Furthermore, were on to the final and third component of the stagflation argument known as high unemployment.  At the time of this report, the current unemployment rate  is about 8.1%.  But a more accurate level of unemployment is reported by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) section U:6 of the BLS reports that the rate of unemployment  is approximately 14.5%.  In any exact month, both the size of the labor force and the number of people considered unemployed might change, because the figure takes into account both variables. Hence it is much easier to manipulate the figures and move people out of the labor force to make the figures appear smaller  ( .  

The following chart below reflects the current seasonally adjusted SGS unemployment reporting rate,  calculated  with an adjustment for SGS estimated long term discouraged workers, who were represented out of official existence in 1994. The calculation is combined to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short term discouraged workers.  The U- 3 Unemployment rate is the monthly headline number while the U-6 unemployment rate is the BLS broadest unemployment measure, including short term discouraged and other marginally attached works as well as those forced to work part time because they cannot find full time employment (
The following chart was retrieved from the Shadow Government Statistics website on June 14th 2012 and supports the argument behind the high unemployment up trend.  (

In addition, Wealth manager, financial advisor, and consultant to Fox Business News currently reported  that the labor force is at a 30year low, while only 63.7% of the population is working.  If you put this in simple terms, 36% of all people in the United States are not working.  The last time the labor force was reporting such low numbers of this stature were during the last period of intense stagflation that occurred in the 1970's   (

In conclusion, stagflation can be seen as the worst of both worlds.  On the contrary, the current economic period has added a 21st century twist.  With the Fed consistently trying to stimulate growth via the pushing of short term rates down to near zero, affecting money market rates. As long as the current economy remains stagnate, the Fed will continue to keep rates at all time lows. This interesting concept leads to the parable that if stagflation does come into sight, it could be very damaging to money markets in the long term.  Furthermore, it is still very early to be concluded, but the stagnate economy supported by high gas prices at the pump and rising inflation could definitely put a nail on the stagflation coffin.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How to get your swagger back...

An excerpt from How I Got My Swagger Back (Source)

Confidence is everything in a start-up. People invest in confident leaders--whether they are VCs, business partners, employees, or customers. But it's a vicious cycle that we live in. Confidence leads to success, but success also leads to confidence. So when things are rocky, so is your confidence, and from there, it's a downward spiral.

You must stop the spiral and get back on track. I've found several ways to get my swagger back after the biggest blows to my confidence, and none of them involve standing in front of a mirror repeating self-affirmations. Here are a few:

Get Out of the Office

This technique works for me every time. There is an inertia that comes with staring at the numbers daily, working on the same problems and bugs over and over, and revisiting arguments and conversations with your co-workers (who are staring at the numbers and working on the same bugs). But it's not easy to leave the office, because it feels frivolous and uncertain.
Get over those feelings. It needs to be done, especially when you are the front person to an organization. I find the longer I'm away, the stronger I feel. It's not a vacation, either. I get in front of peers and potential stakeholders and show them what I'm working on and get their feedback and ideas. There are all sorts of fringe benefits to getting away from the day to day.

Focus on What Works and Stop Tinkering With What Doesn't

Think back to when you last felt your mojo rise and try to pinpoint what did it. For me, it has always been about presenting Buyosphere to audiences and groups of people. Even the negative feedback was full of positivity and hope. When I'm staring at a screen, I can't get reactions. At some point, I agreed to cut back on presenting so I could focus more time in the office. That was a big mistake. I'm working on rectifying this now, and I'm definitely getting my mojo back.

Eliminate the Naysayers and Devil's Advocates

When I first heard this advice, it was in IDEO founder Tom Kelly's amazing book, The 10 Faces of Innovation. It seemed so counterintuitive to someone who sought so much input on her ideas, but the advice was and is solid. You already have plenty of fear and self-doubt to throw you into a loop already. Surrounding yourself with people who constantly question your decisions is a sure way to lose all your confidence and conviction. And no, you shouldn't have legions of sycophants following you around, either. In my experience, people who say, "Yes, and..." leads to way more innovation than "That'll never work." Negativity can lead only to the spiral.

When I compare those start-ups that have money, users, and exits with those that struggle with all three, the major difference I see is confidence in the leadership. Confidence in the idea, the vision, and the ability to execute. You probably had confidence when you started out; otherwise, you wouldn't have made the leap. It's keeping it that is the trick. Remember what made you take the leap, and keep soldiering on.

Be true to the game...

Most people can't phantom the intense work ethic that it takes to take it to the next level.  It's a parable that most do not want to understand.   As Jordan states it best....

“Be true to the game, because the game will be true to you. If you try to shortcut the game, then the game will shortcut you. If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you.”- Michael Jordan