May 2008

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Why are you so surprised? When the dollar was first backed with silver and gold people were willing to exchange things of value (food nd clothing) for slips of paper backed by stuff dug up out of the ground that did nothing and was not useful for anything in its current shape. Now that the dollar is only backed up by the promise of the US Government we are exchanging our labor for slips of paper, sometimes not even that, that are nothing but promises.

Kevin Kunreuther

[My point is that I hope the monkeys that already know how to use sticks for tools don’t start using leaves for money. If that happens, we’re screwed.]

Monkey sex! Yes!

(Going off on tangent time!)

Actually if they start using leaves for money that would be extra-ordinary to the point of being fantastic. What is more likely is barter first, using tools or food as values (the first money), then inventing placeholders for value (leaves never work; rocks, beads, ornaments.) By the way, the ancient Babylonians may have written the first check (a clay cuneiform tablet) eight to ten thousand years ago. The value would have been in amounts of grains (bushels, baskets, silos, etc.) and gone towards goods and services the ancient Babylonian wanted when stranded in Babylonian equivalent of hicksville. Undoubtedly, the check issuer would have been famous or known (powerful merchant, king or criminal extortionist), the check/clay tablet would be cashed for its value where the goods were kept. Some "checks" were exchanged from one trader to another trader before they were ultimately cashed in because the check issuer's good name was good enough. Hence, the idea of money or currency, a type where you redeem the place holder for its stated value (specie, goods, services, etc)

It's going to be interesting and scary when people simultaneously agree the money being spent ain't worth the promise that's printed on it and anarchy begins - Bill Gates will have just a big house in the forest and no clue how to
keep it warm or cool or well stocked or secure because forty billion dollars will be worthless,
and invisible, since he doesn't keep that much cash lying around.
My gosh, most money is invisible!
There's a conversation starter!

tim shepard

I hope our CEO Robert Fitzgerald is reading this.


AJ, learn to spell. It was painful reading your post. Half the words were spelled wrong, and some of them I never did decipher.

Other than that I thought the story was funny, if a little depressing.


The beauty of harnessing the power of stupid is that its a perpetually renewable resource.

I think another part of this wraps to something you've touched on in a previous post. The big successes are often unapproached but brilliant ideas, and most people can't tell the difference between brilliant ideas and incredibly stupid ones. So many people in their pursuit of their brilliance find themselves closing the business feeling very stupid.

There are only a small number of really good ideas and alot of stupid variations. So statistically it makes sense.


Actually, those 90% failed businesses aren't a total loss. You make it sound like a business that will *ultimately* fail contributes nothing to the economy, but that's hardly the case.

A hair stylist's shop that is slightly under the minimum competitiveness needed to stay afloat still gives thousands of haircuts before going out of business. The employees' salaries haven't gone to "waste," since they've been providing valuable services. The only one whose resources have been "wasted" is the proprietor (plus any other backers). And many business-owners are "serial" entrepreneurs--they will use their experience from the first business to start another, probably more successful business.


Oddly enough, I have a story very similar to the one that you just posted. There are copies of my employer's quality policy posted all around my workplace. They're also roughly 8" x 12" framed documents containing a blurb that extols the company's quality vision and its commitment to meet or exceed its customers' expectations and the usual rhetoric.

One of these apparently fell to the ground one day, and the high-quality plastic frame housing it broke from the impact. It appears that somebody picked it up, hung it back on the wall, and tried to fix the frame with a piece of transparent tape.

So there it hangs, the company's quality policy, in a broken plastic frame, held together by a bit of transparent tape. And nobody except for me seems to see the ironic humor in this!


With regards to another posted comment:


You basically described a book called "End of Work" by Rifkin, were machines do all the work and we (humans) live in a leisure society. I had to read that in university for a class us engineers had to take. It's a socialogical perspective, I guess they figured they needed to feed us more than just theory...

Mark Thorson

What's the failure rate on
pizza places? That sounds
like an easy business. Is
there anything special that
makes one pizza place more
likely to succeed than
another? Location, of
course, but what about the
pizza? Would a simple pizza
at a low price be more
successful than the goat
cheese and prosciutto pizza
at a high price?


A favorite quote

"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers."


From Snappy Bob- "Great blog today. This one is so good that I will print it out and post it on the bulletin board in my office. As soon as the IT poeple fix the printer. It could be awhile."

As an IT person, I can tell you that this morning I was pulled out of meeting to go "fix" a monitor in the accounting department. I had to push the "on" button.


My Manager of my last job was such a moron I almost ordered a custom poster to put in his cube. Picture a serene Bavarian village on a hill side in the mountains of Germany. The slogan: It takes a village to raise an idiot.

Diana W

My favorite Quality screw up was when our company won the prestigious Malcomb Baldrige Quality Award. Huge 6' x 4' posters were ordered to flaunt our win and they were placed in every building where customers could see them. Only problem was that Baldrige was misspelled - they'd added an extra 'd'.


To put things in perspective...
The sun will eventually burn out, the Earth and the Moon will someday collide, and at some point Oprah will reach critical mass and explode. Until then, parasites will attach themselves and live a good life.


Launch the same product 3 times, because you had to recall the previous 2 due to crap design, poor ergonomics and failure to understand what the customer requested. 3x the charm, NOT, the customers kept requesting the old product because they could actually use it. To top off the embarrassment the new product was called evolution (Irony maybe, more like unf**k 'n believable) and guess what? the company still made a profit. Goes to show you that in this world you can be incompetent mediocre and a total screw up and still survive. Just look at George B (Shrub)!!!! We are all doomed and or maybe if we are lucky as Scott suggests, we are part of a large computer program with a couple of glitches which means it is not real and neither is this posting.

Real Live Girl

The system works as long as the balance between morons and successes doesn't tip to the lowest common denominator. If there's a moron surge, next thing you know the crops are being watered with Gatorade (as foretold by Mike Judge). After that, the leaf picking monkeys wait us out.


Where can I get some of these garlic flavored mittens you speak of?


I just saw I monkey counting leaves. The end is near.


Careful. If you start insulting (or at least give the impression of insulting) capitalists it's bound to get your fellow americans annoyed. They'll be calling you 'liberal' before you know it. The shame.

Billy B

I've sure worked for some stupid monkeys that failed in their business's. But they wouldn't listen to me.

I spent my last ten working years working for myself, that works well for me. I also had a few small business's over the years that treated me okay.

I've always said that if I'm going to work for an idiot that it should be me.
Billy B


This is the dark secret of modern life.... As technology improves, a smaller and smaller percentage of people are needed to work to actually produce things we need. The rest is just noise. 5000 years ago, everyone had their own farm to feed and cloth themselves... 4000 years ago economies and money starting making people rich so they only bought and sold things at market that other people made... 100 years ago, most people still worked at factories building things... now that's probably about 10%. I personally don't know anybody that builds anything tangible.

What I wonder, is what do we do when we get to the point that machines are producing 100% of everything we need... will everyone wake up and suddenly say "I don't need to work anymore!" ??? That's my dream... the machines will be producing everything, and the only "work" people will need to do is entertainment and recreational. Of course, distributing the money and resources becomes the real problem when nobody produces anything tangible anymore :)


Holy Scott!!! I've found enlightenment!

Now let's turn this one unassailable truth into a religion!



Garlic flavored mittens!!!??? Ah HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Thanks :)


every company will inevetably fail no company will last forever it just cant happen due to the nature of things.

here is an idea bill gate the richest man in the world has left the majprity of his fortune the the charitable foundation that he runs right giving only aobut 10 mill to each of his kids(my heart bleads how will they ever cope i amgin a reality show about them after bill pegs it) n im not sure how much to his wife.
but and here is the point

about 95% of his net worht is in microsoft shares
the moent he dies or is on his deathbed all thsoe shares are going to be worht less that half the amount they are now also his wife cant liquidise the moent in the shares for the foundation due to death tax capital gains etc i know you can get around this with charities but if 40% of the shares in MS are sudenyly being sold 1 there wil lprob be an audit into it and 2 all the rest of the share price goes to crap right with it

it goes from being enougth to ptu every steet sleeping kid through colege and cover africa in grass to givening all the street sleepers a coupon for starbucks and a few guys in kenya a packit of seeds long live capitolism yah


Creepy Coincidence. I just spent the morning corresponding with the stupidest human alive.
"The info is in the attached excel file"
RE: "can you send me that info?"
RE:RE: "it's in the excel file I attached to the original email"
*Phone rings*
"can you send me that info"
"it's in the frackin excel file you mouthbreathing sheepf*cker"
"oh! there it is!"

That about sums up the last couple blogs, no?

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