February 2007 Archives

links for 2007-02-28

Human Capital Potential

I spent time talking with some colleagues regarding the importance people vs. process. It seems that there is questions is a difficult one for management to solve. Conventional wisdom suggests that people are commodities to be used when most appropriate. Actually, I'm not certain that this is the best answer. In fact, I asked this same question of my Linked-In community and the answers were quite thought provoking.

So, do you fit people to the process or fit the process to the people. Arguably, you will not have a successful process if you do not have the correct blend of talented people. I suppose to some extent, you must take great care to provide the best training for your personnel.

Lastly, there is that expectation that leadership is a 'natural selection' process. In that, leaders will gravitate to the head of the pack and provide stability for the process in question. I have never subscribed to the idea of a natural born leader. I happen to believe that leadership can be taught and is a learned behavior.

Sun-City - Renaissance of South Africa

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On the rare occasion that I watch a TV show, I make an earnest effort to view something stimulating. Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates, narrated a trip to Timbuktu. If you're not familiar the rich history of this Sub-Saharan city, I encourage you to do a bit of research. It was the educational center for world scholars, unfortunately, it was sacked during the onslaught of European imperialism. Nonetheless, there is still a very large archive of scholarly texts that survived the fires.

Gates visited many villages and communities on his quest to uncover the mystery behind Timbuktu. The intent of his journey was to dispel several myths relative to early-Africa, and its rich legacy and contributions to modern world progress.

links for 2007-02-21

links for 2007-02-18

links for 2007-02-16

links for 2007-02-12

links for 2007-02-10

May I have a receipt?

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As tax time approaches, I unlike many others actually enjoy the preparation of my tax return. The simple trick is save _every_ receipt and use a reliable budget or expense reconciliation method. Yeah, I know that vendors look at you crazy when they have hastily taken your money and given you the goods which you've just purchased, but actually a receipt should always be part of every transaction. Regardless of what is being sold (snacks, coffee, water, etc). These knick-knack items add up and almost all of them are not fixed costs, so they can be controlled.

If you get into the habit of collecting receipts for everything you purchase, it becomes quite simple to track and plot your monthly expenses. So when tax time rolls around and you must produce accurate records for your accountant or for some simple tax program, you do not have to guess about about itemized deductions. Hell, you don't even have to claim mystery children or other foolishness.

The tracking system need not be very complicated at all. A simple spreadsheet will suffice. Just make sure that you have some sort of accordion, tabbed folder which list all of your monthly expense categories (ie dinner, lunch, home furnishing, gas, groceries, etc). If you're really sophisticated, you can run a program like GNUcash or some other financial software to help track your annual expenses and help you manage your small business expenses. I suppose the beauty of all of this is that you can begin to see trends and even find that _extra_ loot that you thought you have been missing. The extra loot can then be diverted to money market or CD. Perhaps you could then use some of this money to finance your next overseas vacation.

Bottom Line: If you think of your financial health as a Fortune 100 business, you will be more likely to take an aggressive approach to cost savings and waste reduction. Frugality becomes a learned behavior.

Software Libre and Lifelong Scholarship

Although, I have limited classical teaching experience, I am keenly aware that having equal access to problem solving tools can be critical for students at all levels. Unfortunately, the average educator is unaware that there are alternatives to mainstream commercial software.

The term Software Libre can be literally translated to mean Software Freedom, and this definition is more eloquently stated in the Free Software Foundation manifesto, overseen by Richard Stallman .

Scholarship is serious business, and it is clear that providing children with easy access to software is paramount. When you teach children using only proprietary software tools, you are essentially encouraging software piracy. In that, it is unlikely that they will have access to the same software outside of the classroom. If the child wishes to learn more, they will be forced to get access to this exclusive software.

links for 2007-02-04

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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