I had an economics professor in college, professor Rexford Ahene; A delightful man that was full of energy trying to teach football players like me the more significant reasoning behind macro and microeconomics. I used to enjoy it when it rained, as professor Ahene would not think as fast as usual and blame it on the rain hitting his balding head. "I am sorry, it is raining, my brain isn't as sharp as normal."
My confession is that I really didn't understand why we had all these required courses before you could pick the ones you wanted. Macro and Microeconomics were two such courses. I figured if you were going to be an economist or someone in policy at a country, it made sense. As an entrepreneurial mindset, the idea of sitting in a room and analyzing data and thinks like "where are we on the Laffer curve" and the relationship of taxable income elasticity, was a beautiful concept, the only problem is no one ever knew where we actually were.
But I am thankful for the lessons with professor Ahene. Yesterday I was in a coffee shop in NYC that didn't take cash for a cup of coffee. I walked out of it. Why? I guess I have been around the planet, and my Starbucks rewards card has had me lose more rewards, not be available based on what licensing deal was struck with distribution and or different countries. There is nothing wrong with rewarding loyalty, but it seems the pricing in the united states is just complete bs with hidden fees, add on accessories, and supply and demand pricing.
I looked at the nice lady behind the counter, who had absolutely no say in the design of the cookie-cutter "scalable" store space and how it was run. She was an employee dealing with the fallout of decisions made by a few people in the boardroom whose version of business school forgot to teach about P/E ratios and instead is following the D/IPO ratio. I just made up that last ratio as the idea of debt to IPO price will give the return for the parachute of the founders.
Perhaps that is where an entrepreneur thinks a bit differently than someone in corporate America. You have to ask, "where is the passion for the actual product or service vs. crunching numbers and simply calling it a business?"
The day(s) Professor Ahene made sense was in traveling and working around the world, having to work in environments with inadequate regulations, no regulations, cronyism, nepotism, laws, and corruption. A long list of the realities of life they don't teach you in business school. Many roads lead to Rome; the irony is everyone thinks their one way is the only way. If It is the absolute best, I have no problem with that. However, there is no perfect anything when you get humans involved.
As I walked out to the coffee shop, I wondered, "what would America do if the power went out?" it is an honest question, as the country hasn't had to endure life with random black or brownouts affecting all or parts of a city regularly. In Africa, with the orphans, the biggest issue we had was lack of refrigeration for medicines and food spoilage. In South America, I remember crying walking down some city streets as the smog and pollution was so bad.
I look at people in America today and figure, "drop the power and guess what – mass panic!" A lot of people will be punching their screens and not knowing what to do with having to add or subtract at a store on a piece of paper to do business. We are dealing with a lot of ideas for off the grid reality, and the chips and digital monitoring systems are fantastic, as long as you have power. The redundancy levels are always, "what can a human do to keep the system alive and working if you do have a power issue?"
I wonder how long it would take for people to stop looking like a mule staring at a new barn gate if there was an extended power outage? I actually pray it never happens, but I watch in mild amusement when the power goes off, and systems get knocked down. I read the comments in "is it up or down (dot) com" when social media loses a site and have to wonder if we have created new first world problems? I remember in the early 90's playing with cameras and Cornell's cusseeme three guys in the middle of nowhere, Africa, in a shack, had cobbled together a computer with limited or no resources, just brains, and ability and were talking away with us. It provided a high contrast to the reality of the signals from the ISS, and at mc Murdo who were running a sat line to I think Seattle at a heavy cost per hour.
Sorry, my coffee isn't working well today, I got more. So, what I understood from professor Ahene in economics was really doing tours in the middle east, s. America, and some of the Asiatic regions. The most vivid was brownouts in Columbia, and one time we packed out a show in pitch black darkness as the section of the city the arena was in went black. Mind you at the same time, we couldn't export the show pyro, so we had to detonate it in the middle of the night. So, there were with mickey mouse flashlights, louder and larger than standard pyro charges being detonated that sounded more like bombs than booms. And a dark city.
It was that moment when I looked up to the beautiful stars in the sky and looked up to god as to say, "so this is what professor Ahene was talking about when he was teaching about reliable energy and power supplies with economics!"
As for my bald head, rain doesn't affect it one way or another, my issue is when i don't have enough coffee. The brain tends to ramble on in these slightly caffeinated missives.
The good news is the morning brainstorm was great.