Can We Really Blame The Economy?

I am sick and tired of endless excuses. Those excuses throw the baby out with the bathwater and make us lose our competitive edge.

Excuses that hinge on the performance of our economy and subsequently on our President’s agenda (dampened by hordes of protectionist politicians) to resolve them. We have become so accepting of blaming everyone else that we lose track of our own responsibilities and, therefore, the realization and pursuit of our own destiny. That lack of responsibility stretches into our daily lives with equal ferocity and devastating ripple effects.

Just blame someone else

Can we really blame other circumstances for our own indecisiveness or laziness:

– Can we really blame the President for the way the country is run when the majority of people in this country don’t even vote? The President’s power is reduced by politicians who represent no more than 30% of our population. And therefore, why are we waiting for the government to solve our most pressing issues? Why are we not doing our part by deploying our integrity, imagination, and knowledge to fix the problems we ourselves created?

– Can we really blame our health on the state of medicine, while the most important factor determining our longevity is the environment we live in (so says Craig Venter)? And our longevity is primarily related to where we chose to live, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the jobs we perform that make us feel fulfilled and happy.

– For parents to quickly diagnose their children with Attention Deficit Disorder when building the structure and sending a first grader to bed at 8 pm would be the first and more prudent step to attempt to exclude such a serious diagnosis. Do we not realize that some choices for children are not theirs to make (at least not yet)?

– Can we really blame the education system for the lack of well-rounded children? How about our responsibility to set an appropriate behavioral framework so our children do not turn into wild dogs and all teachers at school need to do what was asked of them and spend most of their time teaching the curriculum. And that the decision to have children is a commitment to take them outside, see and experience the world (or the local scene, depending on your budget), from which they learn more than any formal schooling can hope to aspire.

– For parents to blame the behavior of their child on the child? Do we not realize that children need rules, boundaries, and limitations to appreciate and understand freedom? That we live in a society in which those boundaries will be enforced, and you as a parent better be the police who enforce them for the well-being of both parties.

– For parents to realize that the amount of time spent with their children does not matter, but the depth of those interactions. That the example you set by your behavior is more important than your words, and that the confidence and self-esteem of your children is a direct corollary to your own.

– For dog owners to accept the wild behavior of their dogs while they, not their dogs, have failed to become the leader of the pack. That extensive licking, growling, barking, and pulling is not cute and a sign of dominance their owners failed to impress. And that all dogs expect and thrive under leadership.

– For a taxi company to miss and be late for two appointments for pick up in a row, openly blaming the drivers who should have been screened for their ability to do a few simple things well?

– For a car dealer that sells $80,000 Audi cars not to call or email back a prospect who has just driven 45 miles to perform a test drive? Can you really get away with openly saying that BMW and Audi manufacturers want to keep distribution low because they do not want to flood the market with those “exclusive” models?

– For an appliance store to take more than a half-hour to check out a TV purchase, having only one cashier for ten salespeople and a store full of customers. Are they really surprised that customers begin to walk over to a competing chain one block away and leave with a purchase in 5 minutes?

– For a company like AT&T to blame the lack of consumer interest in triple plays on its marketing programs. At the same time, they fail to verify whether they met or exceeded the expectations on the single plays they offered first? Should you really expect customers to buy more from you when the private phone number they ordered appears not to be private, when you can’t seem to get the billing right to reflect their offer for the first 6 months, when the line you need to drop is open and exposed in the yard for more than one year, forcing the gardeners to mow the lawn with caution.

– For an attendant at a BP gas station after filling up a car for $50 to not allow you to charge a dollar on your card in exchange for 4 quarters to put air in your car’s tires. Have the company and its employees already forgotten that its reputation needs rebuilding rather than resting on its laurels?

– For an entrepreneur to ask me where to sign up for our startup network when it is one of the main buttons on every page on our site. Those “entrepreneurs” make me cringe.

– For a Limited Partner to whine about Venture performance, ignoring that they themselves have allowed no less than 13 levels of bottom-heavy diversification to dilute the deployment of risk.

– For a Venture Capitalist to say that Venture performance will magically return when the economy recovers, ignoring comfortably that Venture performance benefits from economic aberrations, is not a cyclical business and has managed to underperform the consumer technology adoption rate it rides on?

– For a Venture Capitalist to blame entrepreneurs for underperformance, knowing quite well that great performance in Venture statistically requires a runway of no less than $25M. And that the deficit of the Capital Efficiency lie is no less than $1M (a conservative estimate if you exclude logical security vulnerabilities from that). Thus, an investment of less than 1M dollars into an early-stage company makes no business nor investment sense?

– For a Venture Capitalist to blame “IPO windows” for the lack of exits and returns, instead of how in the pursuit of Social Economic Value, his choices have failed to garner the trust from the public.

– Can we really blame the “technology bubble” for the systemic deployment of subprime Venture risk?

You have got to be kidding me

We should all be performing our best to get out of the rat’s nest we are in. The examples above demonstrate that we are not. That instead we hide behind the nicks and crannies of a flawed economic system that welcomes such behavior with open arms.

It is time we move to a merit-based economy quickly.

The sign of an intelligent nation is its willingness and ability to reinvent itself, upstream. Let’s inspire the world with new rigors of excellence we first and successfully apply to ourselves.

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