Not a recession!

What we’re currently experiencing is not a recession (or a depression).

Steve Ballmer (Microsoft CEO) recently (Stanford UniversityMay 2009) said “...what we have been suffering through is no normal recession, but rather a reset to a lower level, a kind of severe rejiggering of the economy that has happened just four times in the past 200 years.

Well said.

There are also claims that not even economists could predict the events we have all seen as their models of prediction simply were outdated and not updated with information about new financial ‘products’ such as Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO). In a way, I think many many people were blinded by the greed/growth being experienced – in this case it really does fit the cliche that ‘what goes up must come down’.

What’s the moral of the story? I hope more people become educated about money, where it comes from and how it’s used more than they do today. In a way it’s easy to blame the households that took out too-large mortgages underpinning the CDO’s but that would be glossing over the systemic problems brought about at many levels of the finance/banking industry that really showed how internally frail the whole system was. House built of sticks?

Better road users

When I made the decision to get my motorcycle licence, one of my decision points was to become a better car driver. I strongly believed it at the time, and in the 6 years since I got my motorcycle licence, I wholeheartedly believe I am a better car driver for it.

So, putting this thought into practice, here is my basic framework for building a nation of better road users:

Every person seeking a driving licence needs to gain a licence in every form of transport

  1. Start with a motorcycle licence – become one of the most vulnerable road users and understand how difficult it is to ride safely and be seen by other road users.
  2. Then, get your truck driver’s licence. After being one of the most vulnerable road users, become one of the most despised and misunderstood section of road users. You will soon understand how difficult it is to pull up a fully laden truck in such a small space after other road users take up your valuable braking space
  3. If you’re still around and haven’t been scared out of your wits, you can progress to a car drivers licence. It’s envisaged that after being at both ends of the spectrum as a road user, you will then appreciate, understand and respect the vulnerable and the misunderstood

This is a simplistic view, but outlines the basics of expanding your skills whilst understanding more about how other people use the road.

Some other ideas: Graduated education programs for all road users (similar to the rider education program in existence in NSW), an understanding that driving a motor vehicle is a privilege not a right, and ensuring people have the right mindset when they get behind the wheel.

What are your thoughts on this?

Some ways to help make Australia a great nation – Jobs

Here are some of my thoughts on how to make Australia a great nation, starting with some job roles. Show how much we really appreciate some of society’s more important professions:

  1. Nurses. Nurses cop it every which way and are the front-line for an ailing health system. They’re over-worked, under-appreciated (in every way) and are often left  to support sick & grieving patients and relatives. A lot of what they do is not in their job description. It’s about time we recognise just how much ‘extra’ nurses provide. Here’s an example of  Nurses on the brink. It’s not just the pay – fix the working conditions, make the career attractive, support the nurses by ensuring they’re not the dumping point for everything that’s wrong with the health system, hire more of them, stop nurses leaving the profession (or, find out why they are leaving and what can be done to help stop or reverse the trend).
  2. Teachers. Teachers are another profession where they’re in the front line and often don’t get the respect they deserve as the educators of our future generations (case in point, recent article on school teachers being bullied). Sure, there are some bad teachers who should be weeded out, but the majority are there to make a difference and provide a fertile learning environment for the future generations. Unfortunately many are doing it tough with antiquated materials, resources or curriculum. I applaud the Rudd Government’s proposal to modernise Primary schools as a step in the right direction, but we need more.
  3. Politicians. I urge you to have a long, hard look at your situation – Check out your salaries + all your perks and prove your worth to the people of Australia. Do you really need an extra $5000 a year to print useless guff on pieces of paper that will mostly end up as junk mail? And if you don’t happen to spend it all, it can become part of your income. Wow, what a back-door way to give yourselves a pay rise! The rest of the world is getting by with the mantra “getting more for less”, and so should you. How about we take back $5000 each and say ‘do more with less’. If you want more money, I’ll ask 2 questions of you:
    1. What would you sacrifice to fund the change (Health? Education? The Arts? There is an opportunity cost associated with you getting more money – what will that cost be?
    2. What extra value (to the people of Australia) will this provide?

This is just a simple view on how we should be tackling some of the important things in our society and not just giving handouts…

Whose content are you selling?

One of my biggest gripes is waiting for content to load on a website. To make matters worse, a lot of the time the status message in my browser says “waiting for xxx.yyy.com”, the links to ads/stats sites are slowing down your own content!

I realise that online ads are one way to get a revenue stream to your website,but I believe you fail should your content be ‘waiting’ for the ad server/applets/pics/whatever. Your content should take pride of place and be the first element to show up. If this is not happening on your website, then it’s time you looked at things seriously and ask what it is you want people to know, experience, walk away with after interacting with your website.

Your content is why people/customers are visiting your website – don’t turn them away by not giving them what they want as quickly as possible!

Emerged; but am I a butterfly?

I have emerged from more than a week’s illness, a little on the raw side, with a number of thoughts I was unable to capture during the week. I knew this was not going to be an ordinary illness (that I can usually fight with cold & flu tablets and generally lasts 2 days) as I suffered from a recurring, persistent headache ‘ring’ around my head for most of the time, on top of the infection/bug/flu I had.

The headache is the bit that got me this week especially since nothing I took seemed to make much difference! I couldn’t concentrate on things for more than 10 mins at a time; I was disoriented; I couldn’t think creatively or logically, often having to sit and stare so my thoughts could catch up with themselves or for me to at least continue looking dumb. I had so many ways to pass the time; writing my blog, keeping up with my twits, watching movies, reading books, catching up on sleep (which you can never do….”you do what you do and that’s what you get” Airport Hell, Henry Rollins).

Instead, I did very little of anything at all – and at times that was taxing! For someone who is usually on the go (at least in between my ears) it was a difficult time to have to rest every few mins and let the headache subside as best it could….despite what many think about men always being ‘sicker than they are’, I knew this was not an ordinary illness like I’ve had in the past, and at least I’m willing to go to the doctor when I am feeling sick and not just when I have a little throat niggle or a broken nail 🙂

I also had the pleasure of looking after my 2 boys for the past 4 days (whilst Eva was in Hobart singing her heart out to win their Regional Sweet Adelines competition). They have been very good to me, with my eldest even knowing now when I needed a tissue or a drink. Sure there were times when they were on each others’ nerves (as all siblings are at various times), but overall they were caring, empathetic little souls, and I loved it.

One thing I need to look into is to get out more – it’s possible that my lack of exposure to various groups/people (during working from home) has lowered my immunity…this time around I think I picked up a bug and with my lowered immunity, it’s hit me harder than usual. I’ll need to build up my good bacteria after these rounds of antibiotics….

I will bounce back 🙂

Guys

Something that perplexes me. There are many examples where the collective ‘guys’ is used to represent a bunch of people, comprising both males and females. I’ve read up a little on the web about the term actor/actress, I guess (my brain isn’t working well at the moment, and I can’t concentrate on much for any period of time – therefore I have not read up on Waiter/Waitress and Air Hostess…)

What’s with the collective term ‘guys’? Does any female out there detest being grouped under the term ‘guys’? Let me hear your thoughts!

Changes whilst donating blood…

I donated blood today and noticed a number of changes (it’s been 70 days since my last donation…)

  1. The donor consent/medical history form has changed (it now asks if you have ever been out of the country)
  2. There’s a sign asking you to contact the Blood Bank should you feel unwell, nausea, have diarrhoea, etc. within 7 days after donating blood (in the past everything focused on events prior to that donation)
  3. They now use a different bandage and different tape (thinner and weaker). When I asked the nurses why they changed, they muttered that it’s ‘likely’ to save money – ironic when it was explained that they now needed to use more {of both} than with the older products.

One of the nurses asked me how come I noticed so many changes, and upon a quick think (because I had not consciously thought of this in the past) I put it down to being more observant of things being different. We discussed the fact that change is required to keep things moving/progressing, but change for changes sake, or change for such a one-dimensional aspect (saving money without factoring in the increased usage) is just ludicrous. The staff won’t thank management for it, if anything, it will drive a wedge between them and management.

I wonder how many ‘upper management’ decisions truly encompass the views and inputs of the people using the items on a daily basis? Will the Blood Bank truly save money with decisions like this? How many other false prophecies are being played out every day in companies, large and small?

I’m all for change but like to know that consultation and communication are included as part of any decision to make changes (for whatever result).

Hello world!

I have a number (over 30) of items in my ‘things to blog about’ file, but you think I can muster up the mental strength to choose one of them to start things off with?

I hope this becomes an outlet for some of my wackier ideas – my wife entertains my whims and tirades but secretly (between you and I), she is over them, and seeing as my wacky thoughts are not going away, I have to share them with someone!

Here’s a taste of what will be forthcoming – stupid people, simplifying the world, creativity, innovation, Making the most of what you have, learning and coming to terms with who you are, wacky ideas, music that moves me (and why), what I still have to achieve, where I’m at, who’s around me & what I’ve learned from crashing my bike.

-> Adrew Blanda 🙂