Category: Business

What Equity Should a Child of God Focus On?

Someone I know shared this text message conversation about a business decision really got me thinking:

Person A: What do you have to give up to get their $ ?

Person B: I don’t care what I have to give up as long as I get a small piece of a much larger pie.  I’ve learned success is largely about the team.

Person A: If all you need is capital, don’t sell your equity – huge mistake…

In the past I would have agreed completely with Person A, however, as I started thinking, this sentence kept rolling around in my head which I couldn’t ignore:

“What is equity?”

Immediately after sentence began circulating I decided to look up the etymology of the word ‘equity‘ because, from my time in the Bible the only usage that I could remember was in terms of ‘justice’ or ‘fairness’ such as in the following quick example:

But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. (Isaiah 11:4)

So how did such a great and righteous word like equity become synonymous with owning a piece of a corporate pie?

I did further searching online and could not come up with an excellent answer that satisfied.  There were many posts, links and sites pointing to the term equity in terms of law, but nothing that I could find related to this common practice of calling ownership in a company ‘equity’.

I have heard people recently use the term ‘brand equity’ which further proves that the term is shifting or has shifted from it’s original meaning of ‘fairness’ to this current meaning of ‘asset’ or ‘ownership’.

Almost every day we hear a sentence like this ‘He is building equity.’

Unfortunately, I must, due to a severe lack of time, throw in the towel of finding the answer to my question in the root or history of the word itself.  I will appease myself by making up this historical assumption that “The word equity must have come from the fair, or unfair division of business or real estate assets amongst people and it’s relation to the courts use of the word ‘equity'”.  In short, there were probably many unequitable deeds done in business by predatory and greed sociopaths so that the term ‘assets’ and ‘equity’ became synonymous.  There. Good enough.

But… it got me thinking spiritually as well.  At the same time I wondered what the word itself meant and where it was rooted, I also remember very clearly that Jesus taught about assets and ownership of things in this world.  Here are some bullet points:

  • But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Mat 6:33)
  • Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Mat 6:19-21)
  • Go to now, [ye] rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon [you]. 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. 3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. 6 Ye have condemned [and] killed the just; [and] he doth not resist you. (Jas 5:1-6)

And there are more.

The crux of the matter is this:

  • Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (Jas 4:14)

But wait, there is a bigger crux:

  • The earth [is] the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psa 24:1)

And the summary is this:

  1. The earth is the Lord’s.  We didn’t make it.  We can’t take it with us.  We can’t own it.  It’s not ours.  We are tenants here for a short time.
  2. You can’t own anything.  You think you own a house or a business but ask yourself this very simple yet clearly forgotten question: Can you own _____ forever?  The answer is an obvious and child-like ‘No’.

So then, what’s wrong with selling 99% of your equity of your 1% can provide for the needs of your family, build a bigger, better, and more ethical company, and spread life and abundance to the world instead of death and destruction?

Isn’t it just a matter of who is on your team, not the size of your pizza slice that dictates all this?

Maybe I’m naive and maybe I’ll get hurt again because of it but life is a vapour regardless so I’m going to keep on the narrow path while I’m here.

 

 

 

Tags : , , , ,

One of the Best Summary Articles About Privacy

I have a great group of people around me.  Thoughtful people.  Thought-provoking people.  People who rub me the wrong way and who challenge me to grow and think critically.  These fine people send me articles that they read and most of them are good.

But once in a while, one of these articles stops me in my tracks and when I’m done all I can say is

“Wow….  I’m going to re-blog that now.”

This article entitled “Peak Indifference” is truly a winner.

Why am I so excited?  Because it says everything I want to say to people and now I don’t have to write it.

Do yourself a favour.  When you read this, don’t just sit there like  a toad and say “Yeah I should do something.”  Just start.  If you don’t know what to do next, reply to this post and I’ll be motivated to start helping you down the journey.

Privacy is a long journey.  I’m not there yet but I’m way further than I was 5 years ago.  Except for a few foolish bread crumbs I’ve left around the internet, I’m starting to lose online importance which is just plain awesome.

Here’s the article again in case you didn’t click and read it yet.

Tags : , , , , ,

Pressure Sensitive Conveyor Labeler Troubleshooting: Backing Paper Snaps

There are many reasons why the paper backing of the labels might break I have discovered.  Here is my list (and I may edit this from time to time as I discover more ways label paper can break!):

Rips at the peeler plate in a nearly perfect line

  1. Plate angle is too harsh: try reducing the angle and making it more straight in line with the path right before it.  So it could be angled too far towards the conveyor so reduce that angle away from conveyor direction which should straighten the path and reduce the intensity right there at the edge of plate at moment of peelage
  2. Peeler plate is too sharp: the actual metal of the plate may not be filed smooth enough
  3. Tension issue has driven the label path up or down and the top or bottom of paper is catching on corner of peeler plate and ripping instantly after cut begins

Snaps at Rewind Drive or Before

  1. The label backing was die-cut too deeply by printers and areas of weakness in backing paper have appeared and the general tension of machine is ripping it.  There really isn’t much to be done, that I know of yet, other than try to reduce tension if you can without screwing up your label application
  2. The unwind assembly isn’t functioning properly, or the dancer arm is jamming somehow so the the rewind drive engine is pulling but the unwind assembly isn’t releasing the new labels so it snaps near the drive.
  3. The clutch/brake is too tight or seized: replace clutch or loosen tension (I guess).  This one seems to really affect everything so try to avoid this one unless you’ve tried everything else.

Other Snap Location?

I haven’t seen it snap anywhere else yet, but I’m sure anything is possible.  If you have some snap action somewhere else along the feed path be sure to let me know and we can share solutions here as notes for ourselves and others.

 

Tags : , , , ,

Is Gmail Safe to use ‘Just for Business’?

No.  Google is *not* safe to use ‘just for business’, I confirmed clearly today.

About seven or eight years ago when I moved my whole life over from proprietary operating systems to Ubuntu, I was still using services like Gmail, Google search engine, Twitter, and a few other ‘services’ like these every day within the Ubuntu environment.  Thankfully, I had the opportunity to hear first hand the following most unfortunate story from a German employee of the company that I owned at the time:

“My good friend was just about to get hired for the German police force. She passed all the physical exams and did all the other training courses.  There was no reason whatsoever that she should not have been hired.  This was her dream job.  Then, one day, she was sat down by the decision maker and in one sentence her dreams were crushed .  This is what they said:

“We are sorry but we cannot hire you.  You are connected via Facebook, to a known criminal.”

She explained that she didn’t even know this person beyond a hello in a bar and that he was in fact the friend of a friend, not her own friend.

Too bad.  So sad.  The end.  A dream crushed.

All because of Facebook’s most excellent free ‘social service’.

I immediately shut down my Facebook account and started warning everyone I know to do the same.

But Google and gmail remained.  Why?

Four main reasons: ignorance, habit, free (as in $, but not freedom), and monopoly of android OS

Slowly over time, I was able to able to get rid of the usage of Gmail and Google search in my daily life, but even now there are traces of these accounts because of my android mobile device(s).  Thankfully I’m now aware and nearly moved over to the much better Ubuntu mobile, but it takes time and even now for business I’m back and forth between systems while the kinks are worked out.  For an article about some bigger-picture reasons why you should start ditching Google, here is an article I wrote a while back.  The main reason was I could literally feel their peeping eyes when custom ads and subtle very suggestive marketing started showing up all around me in browsers, the inbox, and even in obviously targeted emails that I started receiving.  Everything was *very* tailored to my thoughts. Someone was *definitely* watching me.  And I I did not like the feeling.

But all of the above spew is just preamble to my main point which is to answer this question:

“Is it ok to use Google (specifically Gmail) if I only use it for business. “

To be honest, I’ve been a hypocrite.  I knew from my previous research and hours of time spent reading articles that Google is to be avoided at all costs because of the most glaring attacks on personal privacy in literally everything they do.  However, because I started a new company and the other founder was most comfortable with Gmail, I figured it wouldn’t affect us too badly if we just used it as a quick launching pad since we were in a mad rush to set up and he had configured this in the past for our former company.  I figured if I used it just in my Thunderbird email client and didn’t touch the webmail client that I would somehow be more safe from the peeping-tom eyes of Alphabet Corporation and it would not negatively affect me *personally* (i.e. at my personal residence) nor compromise my *personal* position and decision to live a life of privacy and quiet personal enjoyment.

I am sad to say, and not surprised to report that I was wrong and my error compromised my personal privacy and the privacy of my family and set me back many steps from the years of work I had invested in un-googling (or de-googling, whichever verb you choose).  And the way I figured it out happened in the most glaring way this morning – thankfully – or it might have taken me longer to figure it out (I wasn’t the fastest kid in school).

I was reading my Bible (very personal) and went to the normal site where I listen to an audio Bible.  Since I had un-Googled, the ads that appear in the main advertising pane of this site have always been very general.  They were relevant to the ‘general audience’ of a Bible reader. Example ads would be ‘Tour to Israel’ (Christians love those), Audio Bible on CD (not sure who would buy those but they are probably old), and the like.

But today was different – Very different.

Today the advertisement was for a hotel.  But not only is it odd that an advertisement for a hotel should show up, but it was not just any hotel.   It was a *local* hotel.  Huh? And not only was it a local hotel, but it was a very, very small boutique local hotel that nearly no one in the city even knows exists.  Huh???  But the part that really made me squirm was the fact that it was a hotel that I had *just* reached out to for a sales call for my new company – by email.   Ok.  Now I’m concerned.

And why am I bothered by this?  If you are asking this question you are likely thinking one or all of the following:

  • he probably sent them an email or sent an email about them from his Gmail (webmail)
  • he probably searched them first via Google search in a browser or used Google maps and Google tracked it
  • who cares?  I have these custom ads showing up around me all the time and I don’t mind. I have nothing to hide!

The last point was thrown in for fun and if you believe that you should close my blog post and go back to your fully compromised life – but don’t don’t say I didn’t warn you.  However, if you legitimately do want to live a more private life and be spied on less, and were assuming the first two bullet points above, to my surprise and to yours, you are wrong.

I have not *ever* opened my business email with Gmail web mail.  I have not done it once and definitely not from my home.

I have not *ever* searched this hotel with Google search engine, not even for a map (I use www.duckduckgo.com for my search engine which doesn’t track you)

The only place that I ever communicated about the hotel was by email, to the contact point at the hotel, using Thunderbird email client, from my home office.  The wild part is that I’m not exactly sure how they did it. I can only guess that the IP address of my computer (I sadly don’t use a VPN service yet because I’ve been too busy to figure it out) was attached to the email that I sent.  The email then went through the Google servers using the typical email server settings that are plugged into the Thunderbird email client, and then the body of the text (I sadly have not yet set up PGP encryption for the business email either – yes bad me) was analysed by Google.  Once the IP address was connected to the scanned text of the email body, it was sent off to it’s Google ad-words department where the appropriate advertisement was then pushed to my Bible web page as an advertisement when they saw me show up online from the same IP address of my home office this morning.

And the part that *really* chaps my hindquarters is the fact that we are *paying* Google for this email ‘spying service (corporate gmail)’ every month knowing full well that I’m not only participating in this spying, but also endorsing it.

I’m guilty of not putting more energy and effort into protecting myself and my family, but the global effort needs to start soon so that there is a critical demand for a better privacy.  Why is it that I feel that I am one of the odd ones out because I am making some effort?  Is it not possible for the average person to take what they see before their eyes and take small action steps about it?

“But I have nothing to hide!” 

Please take a moment to read these two articles from reputable sources:

http://www.wired.com/2013/06/why-i-have-nothing-to-hide-is-the-wrong-way-to-think-about-surveillance/

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/it-security/why-nothing-to-hide-misrepresents-online-privacy/

Nothing to hide is pure bunk.  You simply don’t yet value one of the most fundamental *rights* available in our countries.  And if you do not begin to value it soon and help, you will lose this right and deeply regret it (think North Korea).

So, now I’ve confirmed my worst fear about using Google for business, even the paid corporate Gmail.  I’ve confirmed that Google is taking my business emails, analysing the content somewhere, taking my IP address (which in my case was my personal residence) and then using it against me for their further gain.  Even though we pay them and even pay them *more* than what our local email service provider would charges for the same storage and service, they do this to us.

I rest my case, Your Honour.

But wait! There’s more!

By participating in Google’s game, I am also compromising our *client’s* information and, *without their consent*.  If the content of this email was scanned and it involved a prospective customer, that means that *all* company emails are being scanned and used for purposes of which I was not fully aware at the time.  What other things are they doing to us and our customers?  See this article I wrote before about REALTORS and what I view as a breach of fiduciary duty to their clients.

I now believe that it is not right for us to, in good faith, publish that we are protecting our client’s privacy.  By using Gmail in business one is knowingly (now that you read my post at least) putting not only your own company’s information at risk but also the information of your clients.

Do you have a privacy statement that looks something like this:

“COMPANY NAME demands directors, employees, officers, etc to safeguard client data during and after their employement, etc, etc.”

I now question whether a company is compliant with such statements and whether or not a client could, if they could prove you were using a service like Gmail, sue your company for being in such obvious breach of their data.  Your clients, when they send you an email, are not expecting your company to be working cooperatively with a vendor who is analyzing their data.  And if they are, they will likely not be suing you.  But there might be a client like me who doesn’t want you broadcasting their data without their consent.  I would be very unpleased if I was the customer of a company using Gmail knowing what I know now.

It is also very unfair to impose Gmail on an employee, especially if they will be working from home.  I suppose if they only work from within the office, that would be fine but if they take a phone or laptop home and do company emailing, they are putting the privacy and security of their personal lives on the line for their work – which is totally unfair if not disrespectful.  Yes, they could quit and move elsewhere but wouldn’t it be better to brag to them about how much you respect their privacy and their family’s and even help them set up their home more securely?

I’m deeply concerned that our company is not alone in this very risky situation.  I am aware that this stuff is difficult to find time to learn about and to subsequently change. Out of habit we operate.  Out of saving a few bucks (or thinking that you are) we operate.

It is typically the case that a big company change will only occur after the nasty event has already happened (ie. a data breach, privacy breach lawsuit, etc).  But if we start diligently today dedicating a little time to making positive change, I’m fully convinced that in one calendar year the world would be a much safer place to use the internet.

Something to chew on at your next board meeting…

Tags : , , , , , , , ,

Phone with Etiquette or No Phone At All?

Yesterday a friend of mine sent a list of phone etiquette to make sure that we are being as respectful and professional as possible in the way we represent our company and ourselves as individuals.  I am thankful for the list and I made a mental note of all the suggestions and implemented the changes that I could.

However, before presenting the list, I thought it was interesting timing that it was sent to me on the very same day that I published this articlePerhaps, since the telephone itself seems to be a dying form of communication, more efforts should be spent on putting the last nails in its coffin rather than focusing energies on doing it better.  This was a point presented to me.

A conversation started about my article was about voice mail, for example.  Here is a copy and paste from our email dialogue:


me: There is one person who calls me all the time. I mean all the time. Then, what’s more funny is they always leave a voice mail and the message is always the same “call me back when you have some time.”

“Call me back when you have some time??” I just spent 2 minutes checking my voice mail to find that??

friend: This is exactly the use case for having someone else answer your calls. That person obviously:

  • Wants to talk to someone,
  • Does not value your time,
  • Doesn’t get the basic etiquette of leaving detailed messages,
  • Frustrates you.

While we consider whether the phone is an interruptive technology that breaks focus and sucks our productive time, or whether it’s legitimate, relevant and useful we will continue to debate.  In the meantime, here is the phone etiquette list that he sent me, with his comments [and my comments in these nice square brackets], that I think is good to adhere while we await the cultural and social shift to complete:


 

Phone off the table. 
It’s usually a no-no. Shows lack of respect as you’re not giving the person 100% of your attention.
Ringtone.
Get a normal ringtone. Something professional sounding like a regular phone ringing or something not large and different. Your current ringtone is jarring when it goes off and it doesn’t sound professional.  It should not be jarring. it should not be obnoxious.  [I thought my hip-hop bass loop was dope…?]
Voicemails.
Keep them short.
[I would add to not leave one at all if it doesn’t contain specific information that will justify the 1.5 minutes they will have to spend to retrieve said message]
Meetings.
Don’t answer your phone in a meeting with a client or vendor unless you absolutely have to. By keeping your phone out of sight it makes it a lot easier to keep to this rule.
[I would add that by turning it off completely would assure focus.  Perhaps if someone around you was gravely ill or giving birth you might be justified but clearly explain this to the person you are with in advance]
Announce your name / company name when answering. 
[this works well and is recommended unless you, like me, have multiple businesses running through the same phone number….  another good case for VOIP technology over the phone]
Speakerphone.
Let people know if they are on speaker phone.
[unless you are recording them for future incriminating evidence for court]
[lol?]
The above list is good for business, but I would say that this list should also be applied to any social gathering.  It’s quite sad to watch a couple checking their emails with wine and and candlelight in an expensive restaurant.  It speaks to our sad state of disconnectedness and we should be ashamed…

 

Tags : , ,

Has the Traditional ‘Telephone Call’ Seen Its Day?

Which do you prefer? The sound of an incoming text message, or a telephone call?  Which sound makes you lose your focus more?  Which sound evokes more stress?  Which sound compels you to take action?

It seems as though the people around my age and younger would say ‘anything is better than the phone call’.   And you will notice that they don’t call people much, either.  They practice what they preach in that way.

And for people my age or slightly older (I hover around 40 now) the phone call is an ‘interruptive technology’.  You are just about to get started on that business plan., or you are right in the middle or writing that blog post, or you have just found a few quiet minutes to read your Bible and then ‘ring-a-ling-ding-my-dingy-ling-long-wang-chung-have-fun-tonight’ happens.  Or perhaps some other ringtone.  But it doesn’t stop.  Then, if you want to know what this person wanted you have to go to your voice mail, only to find out that no one leaves a voice mail any more because who the heck doesn’t have some kind of caller ID?

It would appear the traditional ‘phone call’ for social purposes is dying indeed…

Even my mom who is 76 years old said ‘text message because it doesn’t keep ringing while I’m on the toilet!”  Good point, mommers!

I believe that phone still has one place and that is for business calls during business hours, or as one friend put it “I don’t take calls that are not scheduled.”  So here is how I see phone still having a place until everyone has some form of VOIP connection:

  • a message (ie. text, Telegram, email) is sent scheduling the call.

example:  eg. “J-dog. Able to chat at 9:30 for 10 minutes?” or

Dear Mr. Robertson, do you have an hour at any point tomorrow for a phone call?

  • the call is made or rejected or rescheduled

For a business, however, it makes sense to have the phone lines open for sales and customer service.  Anyone in sales or customer service would be justified to be with phone and on call.  They are paid to be interrupted.

Did I miss anything?

Do you disagree?

 

Tags : , , ,

Lucky Cat Gits No Respect!

 

And check this out!  I told you! I told you!  Now Lucky Cat gets reduced. 

 

lucky-cat-reduced

 

LUCKY CAT GITS NO RESPECT!

Tags : , ,

Our Online Future Encapsulated

A friend of mine sent me this speech (transcribed) today and I was absolutely unable to stop reading it right to the end.  I found out that my browser has ‘reader mode’ which was cool, by the way.

Read this article.  You’ll learn about how you are victimized but it ends with some awesome inspiration.

It encapsulates:

  1. Our current situation of privacy invasion
  2. Some super tangible and practical solutions we can start implementing
  3. The bigger picture of the sharing of wealth (yes, he managed to get this in as well)

Beautiful!!

Tags : , ,

BC, AB and SK Container Recycling Deposit Handling Fees

Here are some interesting facts before I give you the links you want:

  1. Only the three western provinces of Canada have a deposit / recycling fee system on their containers (BC, AB, SK)
  2. There is no unified, one-stop website for someone to stay current on these ever-changing fees
  3. Each province seems to have different fees, but even if they weren’t different they seem to change every year

So, here is what you’ve all been waiting for.  A blog post that pulls all these three provincial pages together in one convenient place you can bookmark in your browser (insert cheering crowd sounds):

BRITISH COLUMBIA (BC) DEPOSIT RECYCLING FEES (ENCORP)

ALBERTA (AB) DEPOSIT RECYCLING FEES (ABCRC)

SASKATCHEWAN (SK) DEPOSIT RECYCLING FEES (SARCAN)

How to Rotate Permanently All Pages in PDF Using Ubuntu

If you are too busy to read all my blog articles (say it ain’t so, mama) then you may have missed this nugget of helpfulness.  How often does the realtor or lawyer or such fabulous professional need to slap a confidential stamp on a doc?

However, today I was sent a confidential document that was lying on its side when I opened it.  After about 10 minutes and a screwed up neck I decided that I would not put my potential client through such pain and suffering and would find a way right this wrong.

And I did, praise God.

All you need to do is get setup with the same software PDF Chain (special shout out of thanks to the crew who made it, again) mentioned in the article above.  This time however, the steps are a little different.  Follow along.  It’s pretty easy and works real nice.  Also, if you plan on also stamping a confidential stamp on there, you will have to perform this step *first* anyways or it makes stamping it brutally hard with the wrong orientation.

 

  1. click ‘burst’
  2. click ‘source file’ and go and find your multi-page document that needs adjust ment

how-to-rotate-01

 

how-to-rotate-2

 

3. Click ‘save as’ and find a place where you wish to save all these individual pages.  I suggest you create a folder for this moment since if you have a lot of pages they are going to end up getting split into individual files as the following shows:

how-to-rotate-03

4. Go back to PDF chain and now we are going to reassemble them as one file and rotate them at the same time by clicking ‘concatenate’.  Don’t worry.  Until I found PDF Chain I also had no idea what that word meant.  Looks like a Spanish festival or something..  but I digress.  What you need to do now is add all those files you just created with the + plus sign button as the following shows:

how-to-rotate-04

5. Now you will note the ‘rotation’ column.  If you click it will give you 90, 180, or 270 degrees.  go through and change each one to whatever you want.  Honestly, I think there might be a bug here because the one I expected to work didn’t and the only one that didn’t make sense made it work… but I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed so maybe it will make sense to you.  Just be prepared to try a different orientation if it doesn’t work right the first time in the output file.

how-to-rotate-6

6. Choose ‘save as’, choose your location where you want the single file to be saved, give it a name and then choose ‘save’.

That’s it.  Now you should have your original file in the orientation you like.

Now, if you would like to go and add ‘confidential’ or other stamps or watermarks to it, go ahead and dive into my original post on the topic and that should work like a dream.  It does for me.

Thanks for showing up.  Here’s a yellow sunshine sticker for you.

ubuntu-pdfchain

Tags : , , , ,