Friday, December 19, 2008

Terry Jack, Bowmore Darkest, and IM

Following my buddy Amie's lead, it is sometimes amusing to look back on IM strings. Stream of consciousness rules.

This one between Mike Rollings and I; we keep each other entertained on long calls.

flyfishermanmrr (10:23:36 AM): I guess we are appropriately utilized this morning. Pat yourself on the back for proper use of resources.
chowardAtBurton (10:23:48 AM): call me Balance Man
chowardAtBurton (10:23:56 AM): i'm just a big fawking F5
flyfishermanmrr (10:24:09 AM): hurricane?
chowardAtBurton (10:24:14 AM): BigIP
flyfishermanmrr (10:24:51 AM): ?
chowardAtBurton (10:24:57 AM): sorry, i'm being too obtuse
flyfishermanmrr (10:25:04 AM): I'm laughing because I really don't understand
chowardAtBurton (10:25:10 AM): F5 is a load balancing product
flyfishermanmrr (10:25:28 AM): oh. that's where you went
chowardAtBurton (10:25:39 AM): yeah...i strayed down that path. bewildered
flyfishermanmrr (10:25:55 AM): the search returned a null set
chowardAtBurton (10:26:06 AM):
flyfishermanmrr (10:26:12 AM): but that happens more as I get older
chowardAtBurton (10:26:19 AM): you and me both
flyfishermanmrr (10:26:25 AM): who am I IMing with ?
flyfishermanmrr (10:26:36 AM): oh yeah, the name is on the line
chowardAtBurton (10:26:45 AM): scary
flyfishermanmrr (10:27:32 AM): I need to go work out and learn something today. maybe this afternoon
flyfishermanmrr (10:27:48 AM): you know we are heading into the season of killing brain cells
chowardAtBurton (10:27:51 AM): that's my plan.
flyfishermanmrr (10:28:06 AM): to work out? Kill brain cells?
chowardAtBurton (10:28:21 AM): both, in that order. work out hard, drink scotch
chowardAtBurton (10:28:29 AM): bowmore darkest is on the menu for this eve
flyfishermanmrr (10:28:45 AM): have you had that yet?
chowardAtBurton (10:28:53 AM): oh yeah
chowardAtBurton (10:29:50 AM): i don't know what it is about IM'ing with you, but it brings back strange memories
chowardAtBurton (10:29:56 AM): ready for a non-sequitur?
flyfishermanmrr (10:30:00 AM): go
chowardAtBurton (10:30:34 AM): i once convinced my friends (around 4thgrade?) that Terry Jack was my uncle and wrote "Seasons in the Sun" as a suicide note. Had them crying like babies in my basement
flyfishermanmrr (10:30:53 AM): lol
chowardAtBurton (10:31:02 AM): apparently he's alive and well
chowardAtBurton (10:31:19 AM): i guess it was your "season" comment above that conjured this
flyfishermanmrr (10:31:45 AM): I am now thinking that I am associated with suicide, crying, or basements
chowardAtBurton (10:31:59 AM): or flooded basements?
chowardAtBurton (10:32:11 AM): crying people with curly red hair?
flyfishermanmrr (10:32:52 AM): crying people with flooded basements
flyfishermanmrr (10:33:07 AM): or drinking stories
chowardAtBurton (10:33:37 AM):'s the baby thing. you never age
flyfishermanmrr (10:34:29 AM): when all the birds are singing in the sky... pretty girls are everywhere...
chowardAtBurton (10:34:40 AM): stop it
flyfishermanmrr (10:35:00 AM): black sheep of the family... too much wine and too much song
flyfishermanmrr (10:35:03 AM): that's the link
chowardAtBurton (10:35:12 AM): that's it. you solved it
flyfishermanmrr (10:35:27 AM): I'm singing now
flyfishermanmrr (10:35:50 AM): not at the same octave
chowardAtBurton (10:35:54 AM): we had joy, we had fun
flyfishermanmrr (10:36:02 AM): seasons in the sun
chowardAtBurton (10:36:11 AM): jeez. i'm getting all choked up

Monday, December 01, 2008

It's Official: The US is in Recession

Moments ago, the NBER announced that the US has been in a recession since December 2007. No surprise, eh? I know that there are academic reasons to avoid sticking the R-label on the economy before it is time. But, there's value in labels.

Naming something, giving it a label, presents the opportunity for better control. This is well-known in cognitive psychology vis a vis behavioral issues. It is just as true when we collectively face obstacles. Naming the obstacle allows us to converge our efforts in overcoming it. The avoidance of a label only prolongs our ability to surmount difficulties, causing us to debate the merits of our positions and definitions. External affirmation of the recession should focus us on its resolution.

With the endless spin of news and opinion, coupled with the incessant shopping mantra of the holiday season, I needed to get regrounded. I pulled Thomas Sowell's "Basic Economics" off the shelf and reread the opening pages. It's worth reminding ourselves that the economy exists as a framework for the effective use of finite (scarce) resources. If resources were infinite, there would be no need for an economy. Sowell writes:

"It apparently seemed strange somehow that there should be such a thing as scarcity and that this should imply a need for ... personal responsibility in spending. Yet nothing has been more pervasive in the history of the human race than scarcity and all the requirements for economizing that go with scarcity."

This recession — and its related detritus of collapsed companies — is part of a necessary harmonic motion, as painful as it has been and will be for months to come. Our collective denial of scarcity led us to overextension, and the economic engine is reeling us back in.

The recession is now named, we have been in it (along with our global partners) for a year, and it will eventually end. When it is proclaimed "over", our companies, relationships, resources, and opportunities will not look the same as they did prior to its beginning. They cannot. We need to be in the process of reimagining ourselves and our business models in preparation for a post-recession reality.