Category: business

Motivational Messages

We hope you find these thought provoking. Submit your favorite quotes here to be featured.

7/30/19
Its no longer a career ladder, its a jungle gym.

7/3/19
He took a reasonable care of his body’s health, not as one who was greatly attached to life, nor out of regard to personal appearance, nor yet in a careless way, but so that, through his own attention, he very seldom stood in need of the physician’s art or of medicine or external applications.
– Marcus Aurelius in Meditations

6/15/19
“The curse of mortality. You spend the first portion of your life learning, growing stronger, more capable. And then, through no fault of your own, your body begins to fail. You regress. Strong limbs become feeble, keen senses grow dull, hardy constitutions deteriorate. Beauty withers. Organs quit. You remember yourself in your prime, and wonder where that person went. As your wisdom and experience are peaking, your traitorous body becomes a prison.”
― Brandon Mull, Fablehaven

5/23/19
“In other parts of the world, kids–even in urban areas–play barefoot soccer from the time they can walk. In America, there are travel teams and team mothers and tournaments. It’s an organization, and until we see it as a street game, we’re [USA Soccer] never going to to get where we need to be.”
– Tim Howard, USA and Everton Goalie, Golden Glove – 2009 Confederation Cup Tournament ESPN Magazine, June 2009

5/16/19
“Before the development of tourism, travel was conceived to be like study, and its fruits were considered to be the adornment of the mind and the formation of the judgement”.
– Paul Fussel

5/9/19
“Going to the mountains is going home.”
– John Muir

5/2/19
“If you’re not working on yourself, you’re not working.”

4/25/19
“The earth snapped and popped and rippled. It was, Goldfinger thought, like driving through rocky terrain in a vehicle with no shocks, if both the vehicle and the (ground) terrain were also on a raft in high seas.”
– Kathryn Schulz, from The Really Big One, describing the earthquake to hit the Pacific Northwest.

4/18/19
“I’ve never made a record I liked”
– Buddy Guy, the New Yorker magazine

4/11/19
“My favorite part of my work is following my curiosity around the bend, over the next ridge, into the souk, hunting facts and asking questions, going where the story seems like it might be rich.”
– William Finnegan in Barbarian Days

4/4/19
“Only a dead fish goes with the flow.”

3/28/19
“You gotta grind. that’s where a lot of comics fuck up. they do it like once a week and they take a few weeks off, and then they come back and do it again. and they’re like how do you do it all the time? I’m like, cause I know how to grind, I’m a grinder”
– Joe Rogan

Accounting for Pollution: Garbage lasts Forever

You won’t hear an accountant mention pollution & accounting in the same sentence, but we are going to do so here, since we aren’t accountants. Garbage is what’s known as an economic bad, as opposed to most physical items, which are considered economic goods. Since garbage costs time and energy to remove, the possession of more garbage decreases the value of the one who possesses it. The phrase “throw it away” is misleading, comparable to fake news. Forget about diamonds – garbage quite literally is forever. We have nowhere to put it, so we resort to housing garbage in designated areas of our home planet Earth. As we continue generating this economic bad, garbage accumulation must result in a decrease in the value of planet Earth.

If you take a class in environmental science or search online, you’ll learn of the two rough categories of pollution:

Point and non-point source pollution —

Point-Sources

Point-source originates from a definite, identifiable source. Think of it as original pollution. Examples of point-sources:

– factories
– sewage treatment plants
– electric power generation
– oil & gas extraction
– oil & gas refineries
– coal mining
– coal fired power generation
– air pollution
– mobile sources & transportation (planes, trains, automobiles)

This San Antonio de los buenos pipe dumps over 20 million gallons of sewage into the Pacific Ocean every single day. Although the origin has been identified, there is nothing that has been done. A solution may cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Humans, mammals, and creatures of every taxonomic rank experience pain. Illness affect us all, and each illness has the potential to reach a point of no return, at which point it becomes terminal for the organism. As of this moment, humans are inflicting a seemingly small amount of damage – analogous to an illness – on our earth via pollution. In an anthropomorphic sense, we are giving Earth a weakened immune system. It has the sniffles. As of now its not too late to get healthy. We can reduce the ill effects of pollution on our environment and atmosphere. And in doing so discover practices that promote a healthier Earth. Although not easy, we have to believe that it is possible. This is of utmost importance because if we aren’t careful, the small damages we are doing to earth may turn into something more serious. Its far easier to prevent lung cancer by refraining from smoking than it is to cure lung cancer after you get it. Likewise, it requires significantly more energy to clean up pollution than to prevent it. Prevention is better than clean up.

Non-point sources:

Non-point does not originate from a definite, identifiable source. It is a result of the diffusion of point-source pollution.

Run Off: Let’s look at an example. Think about the contribution of a cars in a city to non-point source pollution that accumulates on roads (let’s simplify by excluding air pollution from the equation).  in your city distribute substances (oil, gasoline, exaust, sludge, rubber, litter, debris, etc.) that accumulate on road surfaces. Individually, each car is a point-source. The aggregation of these chemicals being deposited by all 494,000 cars registered in San Francisco contributes to the category known as non-point source pollution.

Another example is runoff. The harmful chemicals that collect on any surface of earth, whether a road, parking lot, farm, originate at point-sources including cars, equipment, debris, agricultural materials, etc.

“When rain or melted snow moves over and through the ground, the water absorbs and assimilates any pollutants it comes into contact with.” (USEPA, 2004b)

Let us consider agricultural non-point sources, which are a result of the diffuse runoff that comes from the use of fertilizers, pesticides, or animal waste while growing crops and livestock.

Simple logic: to reduce the non-point source pollution that as a result of agriculture sources, we must stop it at the point of origin.

In this case, identifying each point source is too cumbersome and thus impractical… but we can paint a picture of what the point source associated with each non-point source generally looks like.

The pollution in the runoff example is the result of multiple locations over a period of days or weeks before rainfall, so you can’t pinpoint the exact source. Runoff is difficult to measure, identify, and control because it is the result of combined pollution sources that are received by the environment when water absorbs those chemicals which occurs over the entire surface of earth.

– land runoff
– precititation (acid rain)
– atmospheric deposition
– drainage
– leakage
– seepage (from underground storage tanks)
– hydrological modification (via rainfall and snowmelt)
– storm water runoff
– atmospheric deposition of contaminants, and
– storm water runoff from
– golf courses
– agricultural establishments
– forestry or construction sites

Acid Rain: Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) enter the atmostphere when fossil fuels are burned at factories or by internal combustion engines. These chemicals can cause acid rain. Acid rain occurs when sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) reacting in the atmosphere with water; it then returns to earth as polluted rain, fog, or snow. Acid rain is considered non-point source. The originating source of acid rain are the multitude of point-sources sending smog into the atmosphere that combines with clouds.

After examining how we define point and non-point sources, logic will allow us to realize that by reducing all the point-sources, we will eliminate non-point sources of pollution from appearing. This of course does not include pollution that has already entered the atmosphere. What’s there is there unless we can do something to remove it. Reducing point sources of pollution will thus stop non-point sources of pollution from accumulating, but we will still have cleanup to do. However, for now, to make the largest impact, humans should focus efforts toward reducing point-sources.

Seems simple enough. But what happens when we try to track pollution to discover where it is coming from?

Can we track pollution?

It turns out that tracking pollution to a single source is difficult.

How can we determine the source of microplastics pollution, the material washing up on the far-stretching beaches of Zlatni Rat, Croatia? By first examining the materials themselves, maybe we discover that a large percentage of it is made up of specific types of materials – for instance, polystyrene (aka styrofoam).

Going with this example, after disposal, a piece of styrofoam will break up into 999,999 pieces pretty quickly. These tiny polystyrene particles may have come from a piece of packaging, part of a cooler, a styrofoam cup, you name it. We can consider existing ocean currents  in the Mediterranean and near Croatia to consider what may have sent it there. Because the Mediterranean is a semi-closed body of water, attaching to the Atlantic only through the strait of Gibraltar on the west and to the Red Sea via the Suez Canal on the southeastern side, we can hypothesize that microplastic particles existing there also originated there. The Mediterranean is more or less a closed system.

It is much more likely that the point-source origin is located somewhere along the coast of the Mediterranean sea. By narrowing it down, we can then try to estimate travel time to determine how long it may have taken to get from one place to another. We can think about ocean currents that may have sent it there. We can try multiple things to try to get a sense for where exactly all of the rubbish is coming from.

But ultimately, it is absolutely impossible to know where exactly plastics on the beaches of Croatia originated.

Scientists have categorized this as “non-point source” pollution because its origin is unknown. In a disorganized universe that follows the second law of thermodynamics, microplastics get lost in the clutter of the environment and atmosphere. Nobody can identify the source.

But these microplastics came from somewhere. So by convention, these pieces of microscopic polystyrene are considered non-point and separate from point-sources of pollution.

Non-point source pollution results from the disorganization and diffusion of all the point-sources of pollution combined through the environment. Non-point source pollution is “redundant source pollution”. Current technology is too incompetent to identify the point-source tied to every non-point source.

Accounting for pollution

In 1769, when James Watt patented the first steam engine. Voila, air pollution was amplified. With the growth of transportation technology as well as the human population since that date, pollution has progressively gotten worse as we’ve continued polluting the earth for at least 250 years.

Imagine for a second that we want to calculate how much pollution has ever occurred in the history of the world between now and forever-ago. To measure and account for quantity of those harmful substances in our environment, it would be helpful to differentiate between point and non-point because to avoid redundancy. Although an impossible feat in practice, to do so in theory, we would simply need to account for pollution arising from every single point-source in human history. By summing up pollution from each and every the point source ever, we would get an exact amount of total historical pollution (THP). We don’t need to factor in non-point source, because it would be counted twice.

(Point Source) + (Non Point source) > THP

THP is equal to the sum of all point sources of pollution from time = year 1700, to time = year 2018.

THP = ∑ (all point-sources of pollution) = Total Point-Source Pollution

Conclusion

Two broad types of pollution have been discussed briefly. When we consider which efforts will most greatly impact the future of humanity and help us create a clean, healthy environment, it can be hard to say which efforts are most effective.

The intention is not to say one category of pollution is worse or more benign than the other. The purpose is to identify the difference between pollution that has already entered the ecosystem, and pollution that is currently entering the ecosystem.

Before taking efforts to eliminate it, let’s realize there are different strategic purposes to reduction of each.

  1. The value in eliminating non-point source pollution: stop pollution from diffusing and spreading to new areas, and remove old, existing pollution from our environment. Pollution that is already there.
  2. Value in eliminating point-source pollution: prevent future pollution from entering out atmosphere and environment in the first place! Pollution that is entering the environment right now and into the future.

It is far easier to prevent a problem than it is to fix a problem.

In order to minimize human contribution to the pollution problem, humans must stop putting it into the ecosystem in the first place.

When calculating amounts of pollution, non-point source pollution has already been accounted for via the summation of all point sources. Point source pollution that has diffused throughout the environment can no longer be traced, so we duplicate it if we add them together. In theory, non-point source pollution is redundant and already accounted for, so we can essentially ignore it when accounting for how much pollution we create.

With enough thought and research, a point source can be broken down into its component point-sources. If you think you have a non-point source, ask yourself: What do I need to do to identify the original source?

Who has the power? The decision makers in the agriculture industry control what pesticides and fertilizers are used, as well as what happens to animal waste. In addition, every automobile manufacturer . on the business side of a a farm or agricultural facility. But as comsumers, we have the power to choose where our dollars go. Each dollar spent is like casting a vote for which business practices we will incentivize. If we purchase products that contribute to jit, we are playing our small but incremental role in the continuation of

For the future of our species, we must be focus on identifying point-sources in order to reduce the amount of pollution at its origin, rather than after-the-fact removal. If you are interested in discussing this further, please contact us.

The Simplest App Ever

We’re overwhelmed by information. How do we track all of this information?

In our Jobs, at School, in the News, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, when talking to friends. More and more I find myself receiving cool tidbits of info that I want to save & remember, or save and lookup later.

Which is the best app for keeping notes?

Its called Simplenote!

But seriously – have you ever used the Notepad on your phone? The yellow icon, kind of boring, doesn’t seem to do much at first.

iPhone notepad looks something like this:

Related image

It starts with list making, and quickly expands to ideas, thoughts, quotes, lists, to-do items, goals, plans, etc. You keep track of artists you’d like to hear, and one full of your favorite quotes. Before you know it you have to scroll two or three times to reach the bottom of each note in your app – and that’s a lot of data… data that is personal to you, and that you wouldn’t be thrilled to lose.

Need a great alternative to that but aren’t quite ready for Evernote? My recommendation is to download Simplenote, which can be found on the app store or online at https://app.simplenote.com/signin.

Image result for simplenote iphone

Created by Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, Simplenote, in the name itself, is an advertisement of truth. It actually is so simple, making for ease of use and speed when writing or creating.

Possessing a resemblance to like the yellow notepad app that comes standard on the iPhone, additional features of Simplenote include syncing across all of your devices. Stored in the cloud, and you can access your work from any browser on any computer or device.

I commonly check the notes I take on my phone, on my computer. Its great. When I’m on the go, I have a place to write down great information so that I don’t forget it. Once I’m at work or at my computer, I can easily view and edit those notes at my keyboard – whether that means turning them into a blog post, or checking off items on my to do list.

I’m excited to see if the app ever incorporates plug-ins.

Citibank’s Exemplary Customer Service

Towards the end of a flight from Kansas City to New Orleans, an attendant handed me a flyer with information about a credit card program. signing up for this, I would get 50,000 frequent flyer miles? So, I signed up for the AAdvantage American Airlines Citi Card. I just finished college and had started my first job, and as naive as I was with this being my first credit card, I knew enough to know never to miss a credit card payment.

I glanced at the fine-print terms; In addition to 50,000 frequent flyer miles, they gave 1% cash back, and had no annual fee for the first year, etc. The catch was a $95 yearly fee, after the first year. I figured I would cancel my account before the year was up, and by then would have already used my 50,000 free Frequent Flyer miles.

About a year later,

I figured I would go ahead and cancel my card to avoid the yearly fee, during the second year term. I got online, paid the monthly statement as usual, and ended up on the customer service website to cancel the card. There was a feature to chat with somebody, so I clicked to chat and was immediately connected with service rep named Malcolm. As we started the online chat, I started off by saying “I’d like to close my account” – he then kindly asked me why, and I wrote back “yearly fee”.

I’m sure Malcolm was trained to respond with the various other options that Citi had… he told me about them, but I just wanted to make sure I could cancel at this point. I simply repeated my question, “what is the process like to cancel?”

Malcolm gave me instructions to cancel, and then mentioned again that Citi valued me as a customer and had options that might better suit my needs. He told me a bit about the cards that offer cash back, with no fees. I was appreciative of the instructions, and intrigued with the other options that Citi has available.

Malcolm gave me the number to the Citi Credit Card 24/7 line, and I was quickly able to connect with a service rep, Dee-Ann. I told her my situation. She mentioned that if I closed my account, I might lose some of the Frequent Flyer miles that I still had saved up. I preferred to not. But I didn’t want the yearly fee. “That’s fine”, I said. Dee-Ann went on to explain that, if I decided not to cancel, they would be able to offer me a $95 credit to my account, essentially making up for the $95 yearly fee. She then went on the say that, once my account hit the official 1-year mark since being opened, I’d be able to switch over to a Citi Card that did NOT have a yearly fee. I’d also get to keep my Frequent Flyer miles, and maintain the same credit limit.

Exactly what I was looking for, all in one solid offer.

After the polite exchanges with both Dee-Ann as well as Malcolm, I *figured I would continue to be a Citi Bank credit card customer. I also *figure I could use the extra line of credit anyways, in case of emergency.

Recap: How they kept a customer:

1. Understand Customers

Both Malcolm and Dee-Ann took the time to understand my needs. I needed to maintain a line of credit, with no yearly fee, and wanted save my small amount of FF miles remaining. The solution they presented me solved all of these issues.

2. Invest in Customers

Had they not offered me a $95 credit, I would have cancelled out of principle. I mean there are just so many other credit card providers to choose from – why would I pay someone to be their customer? When offering a small $95 credit to make up for the yearly fee I’d be paying them, they got to keep a longer term customer. The value that I’ll likely bring them over the next months and years will make up that small credit in no time.

3. Quick Response Time

I was connected virtually instantly with Malcolm via chat, and only had to input minimal information on the automated phone system prior to being connected with Dee-Ann when I called in. Had I been forced to wait a long time or be placed on HOLD, I likely would have been too frustrated to even consider another offer with Citi bank.

Great customer service might just help your customers figure they want to keep being your customer. Everyone makes many small decisions everyday. Some of those decisions involve choosing who we work with. When choosing something like who to use as a credit card provider, those decisions are often based out of necessity, convenience, and finally, what feels right. Give your customers a true positive experience that meshes with their apparent needs, as well as unspoken desires and they will love you forever.