The strong in nature feed off the weak

In the wild, lions and other predators get strong by feeding off the weak. They don’t get strong by trying to make a meal of the alpha buffalo, that is difficult to do. Instead, they attack the young and immature, the old, the injured and sick.

Not all animals are predators of course. A lot of animals collaborate and work together. You see this with the oxpecker that sits on top of the ox and eats the ticks that are biting the ox. It is win/win. So when people say we are different to animals, of course we are, but in many ways we are very similar.

In business there are predator companies that make money by targeting people who are not very smart or are young and immature. They use marketing to make their target audience part with hard earned money for something they don’t really need. This is predatory. Is it bad or good. I don’t know. I guess it’s like asking whether it is bad or good that a lion eats a baby gazelle.

Go through your favourite companies and ask yourself, are they predatory? You will be surprised. There are a lot of wolves out there in sheep’s clothing.

Maybe it is not a “bad or good” question. Maybe that is just how it is.

Why the far Left and far Right can never lead a country

The only functional political solution is central.

Why?

In the main the far Left rely on people who need the state. That is to say that without the assistance of the state they would not survive. These are people who don’t have the skills to survive in a modern economy. How it came about that they don’t have the skills is a separate issue but the result is the same, they are not able to obtain enough resources themselves to survive and need welfare of some kind. There are of course successful people on the left too but on average the person who votes left tends to be unable to stand on their own two feet without assistance.

Contrast this with the far Right who on average require very few resources from the state. They are, on average, highly successful at surviving in a modern economy without government assistance. Again, how they achieved this is a separate matter.

Now, whether people are left leaning or right leaning is not static. You can be in a situation where you need no assistance and you vote for the Right but then you suffer an accident and can no longer work so you vote for the Left. Or, you can’t find work (so you vote Left) but then discover a hidden talent, get a great job or get lucky (so you vote Right). Again, this is on average and there are always exceptions.

As such, the far Right means suffering for people who cannot survive without welfare of some kind. The far Left means suffering for just about everyone (barring the Left elite) as the successful people can no longer be successful in a communist state and leave or become unproductive meaning there is no money for the people who need state assistance.

Neither extremes make for a successful country. You need the Centre.

Why, everything in Blockbuster Hollywood films is the opposite of reality

If you study successful films over the last 20 years you will note that they most are fantasy based. Humans love fantasy. We love it because it is the opposite of reality. Reality is driven by survival of the fittest and market forces and if you are on the wrong side of this there is little you can do. As such we embrace fantasy. It explains why Harry Potter did so well. The reality is many people have horrid families, little or no valuable skills and frankly no future. Imagine if there was a fantasy world where we had magical powers and a cool family story! This is what J K Rowling figured out. She gave people the fantasy.

Marvel Comics are the same.

Let’s take the recent success of The Joker. Here we have a film about someone with a mental health challenge who starts a revolution and becomes a hero. Wouldn’t it be nice if that was how the world worked? In reality, on average, this doesn’t happen. In reality, people like The Joker don’t start anything and society stomps all over them if they are not institutionalised. We wish it were not so and so when a film about an alternative reality comes out we go mad for it.

All these films/books are successful because they portray the opposite of reality. In fact, they provide a brilliant way to know what reality is. It is the opposite of everything you see. The hero is really the villain. The person has magical powers because in reality they are weak. The person who is strong and beating people up is really weak and needs protection. By doing this exercise you will learn all you need to know about reality.

it’s ok to love fantasy, but don’t confuse it with the real world, it’s the polar opposite.

What your TV habits tell the world about your self belief

What we do with our time depends on our perception of what we can achieve with it. The less you think you can achieve, the more likely you are to spend time watching TV or playing video games.

Watching TV (streaming or otherwise) or playing video games has an opportunity cost, there is no way around this (it means you can’t spend that time reading/creating/building/exploring). By choosing to spend your time watching TV/playing video games you are effectively telling the world that your time is not worth very much.

This is not to say that some TV in moderation is bad. The problem is when it becomes a dominant draw on your time or you “just have to watch this series, it is so good!!” TV and video games are a form of drug designed to be addictive and must be consumed with caution (if at all). While I don’t have the data I would guess that highly successful people (on average) watch very few TV series and play very few video games. Conversely, I would predict that (on average) the less successful you are the more TV you probably watch and the more impressive your video game ability and Netflix catalogue.

The people are the problem or the solution

People like to euphemistically refer to certain places as dangerous or safe as if there is something about the streets or the buildings that make a place dangerous or safe. Top tip: streets or buildings never hurt anyone. People do.

The truth is that when people say that a place is dangerous they mean that the people that are there are dangerous. Same when people say a place is safe. They mean that the people that are there are unlikely to attack you.

By blaming or crediting places for evil or good instead of people results in lack of accountability and for that reason things tend to perpetuate. It is extremely uncomfortable though for us to be honest when the facts reveal that the problem is ourselves.

Where did Apple go wrong?

Apple started messing up on basics.

This is kind of like what happened to the Titanic when it broke the first law of shipping: don’t sink. Apple made the same mistake.

How did this happen?

Let’s start with the MacBook Pro’s. By focussing on size (thinness) and speed the my forgot the most basic of all – it must just work.

By basics, we mean of course, the keyboard.

Let’s get one thing out in the open. This is not an Apple hit piece. I want Apple to do well. I have been long time Apple users since 2008. Sure, they cost more but that was ok because they “just worked”. They also had amazing longevity – they just worked, for a long time. I have had only 2 MacBooks since 2008. 2 laptops in 11 years? Wow. Bravo Apple.

Sadly, over the past few years, something seems to have changed. Let’s talk about the main issue mentioned above, the keyboard.

The keyboard is like your heart. If it stops working you are done. It is like the wheels on a car. Essential and (should be) easy to get right except…. Apple has got it wrong, repeatedly, inexplicably.

While getting something as fundamental and basic as the keyboard wrong is serious, the reason why, is even more serious.

There can be only 3 reasons to get something like this wrong: 1. They simply forgot to test it or 2. They did test it but did such a poor job they missed the issues or 3. They tested it, were aware of the issues and just didn’t care. The first is unlikely which means the second or third are the probable reasons. If this is true it is deeply worrying as it means a fatal management/culture flaw and we all know what happens when a company gets the wrong people in management or a culture of mediocrity takes hold.

Some good news though : Apple ‘seems’ to have fixed the keyboard issue in the new 16 inch MacBook Pro. While this is great if you need a large and expensive laptop (and are in the market for one right now), it’s not so great is that if you (like us) are looking for a new MacBook Air 13 inch with a rock solid keyboard (like you get with even a $300 chrome book) or have recently bought any MacBook in the last few years and are now sitting with a dud keyboard.

But what about Apple’s undertaking to fix any broken keyboards for the next 4 years? Well, this offers cold comfort to those that work in remote locations and also, what happens after 4 years? So at the moment, other than the 16 inch option, there is no reliable MacBook on the market and for a company as excellent as Apple, that is ridiculous.

But Apple has so much cash it does not need to cut corners! We know! Which makes this even more baffling. If a small cash strapped company fails to deliver an excellent product due to lack of funds you kind of get that, there is just no more cash! This is not an excuse available to Apple.

So to conclude: something has been wrong at Apple for a number of years and so far there is no rational explanation for it. And that’s worrying. Remember, no company lasts forever just like no country lasts forever. Rome was all powerful but toppled eventually. The cause? It rotted from within. If you want to know who destroyed Rome, I will save you some time, it was no external force, it was the Romans themselves.

Why Trump won and why America may need him to win again

The natural political balance is the centre. Not too far right and not too far left. As long as politics doesn’t stray from the centre too much, there is no need for the far Left or the far Right.

Things change if politics lurches significantly one way or the other and, because those in the centre never do anything, the only way balance can be restored is by the far Right or far Left rising. That is, rather than resent the far Left or the far Right one should embrace them as they are essential.

Some say the mainstream media and the education system is controlled by the Left. There are also suggestions of deplatforming by the major tech companies in favour of the Left and complaints of widespread shutting down of free speech under the guise of “hate speech”. This is dangerous ground for the future of America.

If the Left want to neutralise Trump, the solution is simple, move back to the centre. Given where they are at the moment this may mean a significant move to the Right. If the Left doesn’t realise this, and think instead that the rise of the Right is due to racism, Trump will win again and, for the safety of Americans, he may need to.

Leaving public service

Is it possible to work in government and then move to the private sector?

I know a lot of people do manage to make the jump but common sense suggests it should be very difficult. Why?

The reason is you cannot trump your environment. Or, put another way, if you are in a bad environment and stay there for a long period of time you have no choice but to become like those around you.

When you work for the government and provide public service you treat your customers poorly. You do because you can. Because no matter how bad you are, it doesn’t matter. If you are late, it doesn’t matter. If the trains are dirty, it doesn’t matter. If there are complaints, it doesn’t matter. If you get fined, it doesn’t matter. There is no competition. Nothing matters.

If you spend long enough in such an environment it changes you irreversibly. I am not sure someone who has had contempt for customers for a long period can ever successfully move to the private sector where the customer is king and everything you do, matters.

Two kinds of immigrants

There are two different reasons you leave your country:

1. You wreck your country yourself and then leave.

2. Your country gets taken over by a different group who wrecks it so you have to leave.

Let’s break down number 1:

If those in power are not persecuting you because you have a different religion or ethnicity then you are not being persecuted in a way that justifies leaving. Sure, you might have a different political ideology and be persecuted for that but that is not an excuse to leave. Throughout history people have had to deal with persecution by those in power who were ethnically and religiously the same as them but who had different political ideologies and the solution to building a great country was not to leave but to overthrow those in power at great human cost. In fact there are very few great countries that have not had to take this route at some point. So if you choose not to go that route and leave instead, you fall into the category of “you wrecked your own country” and left.

Number 2 is a little more difficult.

If you are going along perfectly well and have built a great country and you get invaded and/or taken over by a different ethic or religious group that persecutes you on this basis and then wrecks your country, you get a free pass. History seems to show that when a country is divided along ethnic or religious grounds there is little hope for the group in the minority. Often the solution has been partition and the creation of separate countries. This gives each group the chance to prove that their policies/culture/religion (whatever) is better and history is the judge. If there is no partition then the minority often has had to leave to survive.

While this is a complex issue and this post is too simplistic to cover every nuance, it is simply a fact that great countries are rebuilt after a lot of death and suffering took place to change the regime by the majority.

Great countries cannot be rebuilt when the majority of young people leave. Old people don’t rebuild countries.

Warning, controversial take:

When people arrive in a country because they had a great country but it was wrecked by someone else (invader or whatever) which rendered them a minority, they tend to add a lot of value to their new country. That is, they pick up where they left off. Conversely, when people arrive in a country having left a country where they were part of the majority (religiously/ethnically) and their government wrecked their own country or they never build a great country in the first place then they tend to cause problems in their new country too. That is, they pick up where they left off.

This is similar to CEO’s that come in a wreck a company that was doing well. They soon leave and often bring the same poison pill to the next company they work at. Conversely, if a great CEO is fired due to being politically outmanoeuvred they tend to add huge value to the next company they work at. That is, they pick up where they left off.

Not an absolute rule of course and there are significant exceptions but there is certainly an argument that this is true on average.

Why big cities are so resilient

When London (or any other big city) suffers a terrorist attack there is an initial shock which lasts a few hours or maybe a day but pretty soon you will notice that people go on with their lives and tweet pictures of themselves going out to dinner or drinks and hash tagging it with #Londonisstrong #wewillnotbeintimidated or something to that effect. And with that, London moves on. How it is so easy to move on when something so terrible has happened?

It is possible because London, like many big cities is really a mass of unconnected people with very little community. We know this because if a close family suffers a terrible event like an untimely death, the surviving members of the family don’t go out drinking the next night. This is because they have a close relationship with the person who passed away and are deeply affected. Their reaction is not business as usual but rather, they stop and take time to recover. There is usually also a period of mourning. There is definitely no drinking or partying during this time.

It is the same with a small tight-knit village. Everything stops for a while because this is what happens when people you know well are injured or killed, even when they are not your direct family.

As you get greater populations, the impact on the individual is smaller until, when you get to huge cities, like London, it is like nothing even happened. Because most Londoners have no connection with the victims it is possible to go out and drink the night right after a terrorist attack. Weirdly, while many bemoan the lack of community in big cities, this can be one of its greatest strengths. You can’t attack one part of it and think this will somehow incapacitate it. In truth, it has almost no effect.

While the hashtags of defiance are an indication of strength and resilience they also indicate a lack of community and care.

That is not to say that London or other huge cities cannot come together in a crisis. They can but it takes something much bigger, things like the Blitz or 9/11. In contrast, a small attack on only a few people means almost nothing. You know this because even the night of the attack, the pubs and clubs of London were heaving.