Sunday, April 28, 2013

What the Tech Industry Has Learned from Linus Torvalds

The Grouch is a big Linux fan and runs various flavors of Linux on all his computers.

Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin's advice:

1. Don't Dream Big

Zemlin quotes poet David Frost in his first point about not dreaming big: "Don't aim for success if that's what you want. Do what you love and believe in and it will follow."

2. Give It All Away

Zemlin also makes an important point about how companies make money from software that is given away. By giving Linux away, Linus Torvalds and the entire Linux community have created more value than anyone could have imagined. Linux today is estimated to be worth more than $10B.

3. Don't Have a Plan

He goes on to explain that the plan for Linux is there is no plan and shares with the TEDx audience how self-forming communities result in faster, better collaboration. Seven changes are made to Linux every hour, 24 hours a day, because people are self-motivated and care about what they're working on.

4. Don't Be Nice

Zemlin talks here about the value of flame wars, defending ideas and ridiculing code. The result? Better software. He cites a UC Berkeley study that found groups that are encouraged to debate rigorously and defend their ideas, opposed to traditional brainstorming where every idea is a good idea, come up with better ideas.

A 2013 Creed

I choose to be equal.

It is my right to be equal—if I want.

I seek security—not opportunity.

I wish to be a kept citizen,

humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.

I don't want to take the calculated risk,

to dream and to build,   

to fail and to succeed.

I refuse to barter my government handout for the risk of great rewards;

I prefer the guaranteed existence to the challenges of life;

the stale calm of Utopia to thrill of fulfillment.

I will trade my freedom for beneficence

and my dignity for a handout in a heartbeat.

I will cower before the government, my master,

begging for more in exchange for my vote.

I've abandoned my heritage to stand stooped, ashamed, and afraid;

unable to think and act for myself;

or create anything but what I'm told;

or to face the world boldly

and say "This, with God's help, I have done."

Because everyone knows nothing happens

without government paving the way first.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A 1950's Creed

I do not choose to be a common person.

It is my right to be uncommon—if I can.

I seek opportunity—not security.

I do not wish to be a kept citizen,

humbled and dulled by having the state look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk,

to dream and to build,   

to fail and to succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole;

I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence;

the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of Utopia.

I will not trade my freedom for beneficence

nor my dignity for a handout.

I will never cower before any master

nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid;

to think and act for myself;

to enjoy the benefit of my creations;

and to face the world boldly

and say "This, with God's help, I have done."

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Straight talk for women about the wage gap

The War on Prosperity Continues

The #1 obstacle to wealth accumulation in the US is the government and its greedy pursuit of tax revenue to fund its foolish spending programs. The goal of government seems to be to grow its power and control over the economy by making as many people as possible dependent upon it for their livelihoods and well-being as possible--- whether through food stamps, social security, Medicare, Obamacare or crony capitalism. The latest in the long list of bad ideas emanating from Washington comes from the most recent Obama budget proposal. Under his plan, a taxpayer’s tax-preferred retirement account, like an IRA, could not finance more than $205,000 per year of retirement – or right around $3 million this year. What is not clear is whether this plan will apply to 401ks also. But these types of proposals reveal the mindset of the ruling class. In country that saves too little in general and for retirement in particular, let's punish those who would sacrifice today in order to take care of themselves tomorrow with penalties on excessive savings. What types of incentives do these proposals put in place? Has the American Dream now changed from individuals and couples achieving financial to favored groups and constituents achieving complete government dependence. These are the types of measures governments resort to that have no controls or discipline over their spending. Artificially low interest rates are already punishing savers and rewarding debtors like the US Government. Now the government is trying to tell us how much we can save for retirement because they need their money now to sustain current levels of spending. Think Cypress can't happen here? Think again.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

How Potato Chips are Made

Unbelievable how technology has advanced in the past 50 years, even with the low-tech potato chip.

Technological advances have reduced the price of food for the average consumer by 13% in constant dollars from 1982 to today.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Freedom in the 50 States

My own state of Maryland is working hard to break into the bottom 5 (thank you Governor Owe'Malley), and it shows in the flight of productive people and businesses to neighboring states.