Month: December 2011

Thoughts on 2011 and Forward

Over the last year many things have come to pass. Some of you have had a fantastic year with marvelous opportunities, others may have hit walls that seemed thicker than most fortresses. Some experienced additions to their families, others have lost some. Regardless of where you find yourself one must always remember it’s called life. People, places, money, opportunities, careers, and more come and go like the tide washes in upon the shores. Nothing is written in stone, nothing is guaranteed. No matter what lies behind us or before us, the only thing we ourselves have complete control of is our own minds. It will be how each of us deals with whatever life throws at us good or ill. No one but ourselves is responsible for how one deals with life. It’s your decision to make every stride in the coming days to be your best, and it is also your decision to leave it up to the winds that blow if you decide not to make any decisions at all, but then again that is a decision is it not?

Life is for us the living to live. There is no way around this. The only ones whom no longer have a care in the world are the people in grave yards. It is not irrational to think that people we know, or people we look up to for what ever the reasons may it be scholars, wealth, business, statesman, and more would give all of it away or start from ground zero as a poor unknown to switch places with anyone living. All the accolades, all the riches, all the books, eulogies, and statues are meaningless compared to 30 seconds of life. Never confuse the two. Never take for granted that as your reading this or thinking in your private moments that the billions upon billions of people who have been here before you would gladly go without the personal possessions, money, or stature so many chase after just to switch places and be alive for 30 seconds let alone anything longer.

We live in an age that was unimaginable just a decade ago. Everything is in a flux, but it’s within these times of turmoil and upheaval where one can really change the world. Maybe you might think I’m sounding a little far-fetched or you’re thinking ” but you don’t know my circumstances.” and yes that’s true. However I will leave you with this to contemplate as you think of the new year ahead, and what path or part you may choose. This year in 2011 we lost Steve Jobs. He was a man, father, and brilliant entrepreneur. He brought us technology that is a testament to his genius and prowess as a business person. Although I never met Mr. Jobs, I would dare to say he would relinquish all of his past accomplishments to switch places with you and start again from that very spot you now occupy. Only in life do you have the power to construct your tomorrows, but you can only reach them by doing your work today. It’s your decision, don’t take it for granted.

Make 2012 the greatest year of your life. But start today!

Happy New Year to All!

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr   All Rights Reserved

Some Points to Ponder (Part 3)

As we continue in holiday mode, I’ve been listing a few points that I thought were worthy to reflect upon hence this running titled segment.

Back in 2009 I wrote what some called a scathing piece titled “Be Afraid, be very, Very, VERY Afraid” on a few things I found troublesome. One of the points I was arguing that seemed to fall on deaf ears was the potential for a massive recognition of troubles that I saw forthcoming in the college loan area and how that might be detrimental to not only students but companies, and the country as a whole. Here’s an excerpt:“How about that fancy college tuition you’re paying for?…Where’s your child going to find the job their studying for?…Oh that’s right!…If you accept or apply for any college loans, they can ONLY be made through the Government. That’s a new law that takes effect next year. So if the same rational applies for the Government in using it for their decision-making process. If they need people to run these companies because it’s in the good of the Tax Payer, and is needed in the eyes of the Government, what’s to say that in order for YOUR child to finish their degree, or receive one, they’ll have to do some Government Service working at one of the companies, hospitals, you fill in the blank”  I had many people try to convince me that I was stating a lot to do about nothing. So I found it self satisfying to read this head line on one of the most read and cited financial blogs Zero Hedge.
“Risk and the Indentured Servitude of Student Loans” written by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds. The article starts off with this startling sentence. “Students stuck with gargantuan loans for life are bound in a bank-dominated “improvement” of indentured servitude.” (You can view the original article here)

The article is worth reading for it makes a very detailed and outlined case of the perils and pitfalls so many are not seeing even today let alone when I expressed it a few years back.

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr   All Rights Reserved

Why the Arguments on Regulations are Convoluted

I want to break a myth I see portrayed everyday in the media. The myth of “These people know what they are talking about.” Trust me, they do no not. But unlike most when I make such an accusation I am not being flippant. Let me give you a real life first hand example on why things are the way they seem, and why these so-called “evil people” are not putting money to work in the economy.

It’s very hard for most to truly understand just how far-reaching some innocuous regulation is or can become because it makes for such a great sound bite. i.e.: “If you’re not for it, then you must want polluted water that kills women and children.” So let’s cut through this crap perpetrated by the requisite debate teams and I’ll put just one tiny little face on a monster of an issue.

Back a few years ago I along with another business associate were looking for a site to build a small retail center (some might call it a strip mall) where both him and myself would be the anchor tenants. Sounds simple enough, but as I go on you’ll see why it still only lives as an idea on paper.

We found what we deemed probably the best location in the city, and we were currently active businesses in this same town. It was a small lot which had an antiquated building that had been vacant for years. It was commercially zoned and was at the corner of a beautiful newly revamped intersection. It made so much sense to us when we saw it we both said “Let’s do it!” and started the ball rolling. We were to build a new structure from scratch and it would more or less make that intersection shine. As we began our due diligence everything came to a halt when one of the engineers we both were friendly with asked “Do you know or are you familiar with regulation #XX?” We said no and asked him to explain. (This is why you always need and pay for expertise) I’ll paraphrase from here:

“In this state there is a regulation that for any reason anyone can call the State and say they believe there could be some form of contamination on the site. They don’t need to have proof and they can call anonymously. If this is done by anyone for any reason (disgruntled neighbor, competitor et al) a Series X field test will be ordered and initiated. All construction no matter where in the process will be halted and you will not be able to resume until the findings are processed. You could be in the middle of paving and finishing the last square foot of your parking lot where you could be ordered to not only dig up a potion but all of the newly paved lot if it’s deemed necessary so the test can be conducted. This also can be applied at any stage of the construction process at any time. You also could find yourself during this process on the hook for not only lost time, wages, materials but a host of other expenses that could send your costs spiraling out of control. You could find yourself bankrupt before even opening your doors.” Now re-read and really think about the implications of that statement. Once I picked my jaw from the floor I asked “Can we order a test before we purchase with that contingency?” The answer was just as startling as the previous example. He continued by saying “Yes, and no.”

“Yes you can ask for the test to be done as a contingency but you won’t be allowed by the seller in most cases. Because if for some reason there is something there and it’s found, you can refuse to go forward but once any results are recorded, and all tests must be recorded and approved by the State, the seller or owner will be ordered to clean it up immediately regardless of the size and regardless of the cost. A lot that’s been in someones family for generations that is worth a few thousand could become a multimillion dollar liability overnight not to mention near unusable or salable for decades regardless if they themselves had anything to do with any contamination. Hence you can’t get the test done to protect yourself and they can’t let it happen as to protect themselves also.”

As of this writing almost 10 years have passed. That same corner lot has gone undeveloped and is more of an eyesore to the community than ever. I myself moved from the town closing my downtown location, and my associate sold his downtown location and moved both his business and his home to another.

In today’s world I could be portrayed as some evil person willing to live in a polluted world. Just depends on the debate team you’re in front of I guess.

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr All Rights Reserved

Leading the Pack by Walking Away

As many of you know I declared there were to be many changes here at MSC and I would like to introduce the first of many. I also believe this will more than likely be one of the most controversial and head shaking changes someone in my position and field may make. However as I’ve said many times before “Leaders lead.” I’ve done my research, weighed the evidence, surveyed the landscape, and the decision is made. So with that said beginning January 1, 2012 my website along with any of its ancillary affiliates will no longer pursue or support a dedicated “Social Media” outlet. i.e.: Facebook Page, Google +, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other you can think of. Trust me I can hear the gasps and groans from here, so I’ll give you some of my rational.

It has become glaringly obvious to me that the whole social media phenom has just about run its course for anything more than telling the world what color socks I’ve decided to wear if any at all. Another problem that is troubling is that I need or should allow a space for someone to just rant and rave about some meaningless dribble that might not even have any relevance on what I might be writing or discussing. Combine that with the hopeless “boiler room” posters whom get paid for leaving comments on other sites and blogs so they can get something monetarily by some “pay per post” racket. (which is why I have never allowed comments to be posted.) All this and I’m not even addressing the down right vulgar types that spit venom then move on for no apparent reason. I remember when I first started with Twitter. They all started following, then if I didn’t follow them they left faster than a drag racer at the lights. I can’t remember the last time I even looked at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google. V.V. handles it, and she knows not to ask because I don’t care. As far as doing anything for me in an enterprise way, it’s been nothing more than a time waster. The only people who care how many followers or likes or any other jargon is what I like to call “The Hit Men.” (also one of my titled chapters in the new book.) I loved how Seth Godin called it “polishing.” Not in a useful way, but in a time-wasting fashion. I have to agree with him.

My Blog will still sport the relevant social buttons. I have no problem if you yourselves want to share my material with your friends and others through those mediums. You can also reprint any of my posts that appear on my blog and share them in print form with colleagues or associates. You can find the rules for reprints right here. They are also found on the right column of the site’s home page.

You might be saying “But everyone is saying social is the way to go!” And you would be correct, but I would argue that most of the people telling others they need to be in social media are the ones who make their living convincing people they need to be in social media. I just find it funny that many of these same people were touting how the iPad was going to be a big flop. That apps were some sort of novelty that would never take hold. As many of you remember I was one of very few voices back then touting that I felt the iPad would be revolutionary and I was one of the first to have his own personal dedicated Apple App along with very few others such as Seth Godin, and Guy Kawasaki. Don’t take my word for it, just look at the creation date on iTunes and that’s enough to prove I’m not playing loose with the truth. And you do have my app don’t you? It’s great, its basic, and it’s FREE! (C’mon it was so corny I just had to say it!)

There might be a point where I change my stance on this issue but for now what I said earlier stands. Subscribing by email is still one of the best ways to stay up to date on anything related to me or anything else I may be affiliated with. Also like it says on the site, we will not sell, rent or share your information with anyone. Period!

We have many things in store coming in the new year. I look at 2012 as being another ground breaking year. I will say this to all of you from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you, now let’s go make something happen!

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr   All Rights Reserved

Talent Not Factored

Last night I watched an episode of the X Factor. If there is something wrong in the culture it was on full display across America’s television screens.

I rarely watch any of these shows however I will say that I have the highest regard for Simon Cowell. In the world of entertainment he has proved his genius. It’s the contestants I find most disturbing.

Last night a very young girl was voted off. What happened next was jaw dropping for me. When it was announced she was voted off she immediately broke into tears, then fell to the ground whaling! At this point people from both the show and her mother hit the stage like they were assaulting the beaches at Normandy. The cameras kept rolling to capture the most telling moment of this outrageous display. The young contestant looked at her mother and yelled “You promised!…YOU PROMISED!” I guess this poor child is emblematic of the everyone gets a trophy crowd. What a pathetic display of spoiled is all I could think to myself. Then it turned even more foolish. One of the judges had broken down into tears and appeared so distraught that she seemingly couldn’t control her emotions. I kept thinking “You have got to be kidding me!”  It was all just absolutely pathetic in my opinion. No wonder some think the country’s in trouble. A talent show contestant doesn’t win the finals or get to move on and it turns into the equivalent of the Hindenburg crashing? All that was needed to finish this fiasco was to hear “Oh the humanity!”

It’s not often I guess that you can see a talent show morph into a game show and end by turning into a tragic comedy but for me one thing it’s not is entertainment.

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr   All Rights Reserved

A Juxtaposition You Just Can’t Make Up

Yesterday the headlines were a blaze with two stories that should give anyone either a headache or reason to run for the Prozac®.

Donald Trump a self-made billionaire is being regarded with scorn for proposing that he would like to host a presidential debate. Say what you want about your feelings on Mr. Trump but somethings are incontrovertible. He’s self-made, did it in the USA, been to the brink and recovered to go on to even greater accomplishments. He also has run and in most circles is regarded as a serious candidate for President. Although I may or may not want to watch such a debate, I see there is no reason for it to be looked upon as “a joke.” Is it really any different that the actual President doing the “Late Night” circuit?

At the same time we have the actual President of the United States of America giving a speech in which the over whelming theme is how you can no longer make it in America. That somehow all the dreams of yesterday are gone and the best we can do is get by. This is coming from the first Afro-American who broke through a stereotype that most in the world conceded to the rubric that it wasn’t plausible for at least another decade if not ever. A man who came from a broken family, self-described as coming from humble beginnings, then worked his way through the blood sport of all blood sports to capture what many of us would deem the greatest of brass rings. All this to give a speech to declare that more or less the best days are behind us. All I can say is…

This will make one interesting chapter in the history books!

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr   All Rights Reserved

Under a Different Type of Mistletoe

Most days start out uneventful. We get up, go through our morning rituals and then get about getting on with the rest of the day. Sometimes when the holidays come about we take notice of little things that we may or may not pay attention to in our hustle and bustle. The other morning had all the trappings of that statement for me.

As my wife was getting ready to leave I gave her a kiss goodbye. Then for some reason she looked up where she noticed a spider descending from the garage ceiling that was about a foot and a half above my head. It was a decent sized spider displaying the usual legs sprawled wide as she was descending on her silk. For us spiders are not something to be feared and when we can we don’t automatically hit them with a shoe. Personally if I have the opportunity I’ll just scoop one up on a card or something else and toss it off the back deck. I’ve always felt there’s no reason to kill it just because I can and so I went about on my version of catch and release when something caught my eye.

I noticed as I was trying to coach her onto a platter that her silk wouldn’t stretch and break like most others. Then as she was dangling and spinning I noticed what I thought to be something red. That’s when my alarm bells went off. Now with taking a little bit more caution I captured her and my assumptions were correct. She’s a Black Widow and here’s a picture of “Her Highness” on my desk.

A different type of Mistletoe.

In some respects I wish I could have thrown her off the back deck like I so often do but that’s just not an option. I gave her to the proper people so they can verify and deal with her according to their protocols. There’s only been one other instance at my residence where one has been found over the years, so that made me feel better in that it’s more of a one-off than anything else. She could have come from anywhere. She could have been in a package I’ve received, in my neighbors packages, fallen out of the delivery truck as something was being delivered, or a myriad of others. Either way, I’m sure she didn’t want to be in my garage as much as I didn’t like finding her there either. But the one thing that is for sure…

“Under the mistletoe” has a different connotation in my house these days.

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr. All Rights Reserved