ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Sunday, September 29, 2013

19 firefighters killed because of faulty radio equipment

When do we stop doing the cheapest we can possibly contract for - and recognize that quality and maintenance matter?

How many more people have to be killed?  (P.G.& E. Bay Bridge etc.) The latest was the unnecessary deaths of the 19 firefighters in the Arizona wildfire.

When I consult to government agencies, I am often at odds with the management in contracts and procurement who go for "low bid."   the standards used to determine who gets the contract are often relatively unrelated to the quality and reputation of the organizations bidding.  Instead, their status as minority or woman owned (and yes, as a woman owned business, I've taken advantage of that perq) business adds points to the analysis.  So, low bid, plus points having nothing to do with competence or quality - raises the numbers significantly.

When are we going to learn that quality matters?  When are we going to learn the importance of maintenance of equipment, infrastructure, etc.?  When - how many people have to die before we stop cutting corners?

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

From the haves to the have nots?

When we meet someone needing help, our hearts go out to that person and most of us willingly offer to help.  When I think about the slaves or serfs - working with no hope for freedom or advancement, under the yolk of Kings and despots, I know I would have been one of those rebels rising against the unfairness of it all.

Yet, when I think about private property, I know for certain that no person has the right to hold a gun up to another person demanding that they give some of what belongs to them to others.  The government has a gun.

So, where's the balance - where's the point at which we help those needing it - but not at the expense of those earning it.  I struggle to find the magic line in the sand.

What I do know is that private charity is the best answer.  To persuade those inclined to be benevolent is the most desirable means I know.  Voluntary charity was the foundation of this country.  We've lost so much of it because we've allowed the government to take over more and more of the responsibility of taking care of the needy - and the rest of us have gotten lazy believing that the government will do it.

One of my clients, running for office is concerned about people needing affordable housing - but shall he demand that developers create this housing at their own expense?   Should they create it at the expense of the others who will be living in the development?  In other words amortizing the costs to everyone else.  I don't think that's right.

Yet, I know there are many deserving people desperate to live in Silicon Valley 'cause that's where they work - who can't afford our insanely high prices.

What's the answer?   I'd love your input.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

It's the sand that creates the pearl in the oyster

To go along to get along seems to be the common practice today.  Yet, it is the irritant - the person who has another point of view - the one who challenges the status quo - that makes most needed changes in life.

It is the sand - the grain of sand that gets into the oyster that createsd the pearl.  (I don't understand how either - but it's true.)

Andy Grove talked about "Constructive Criticism" and instituted that process at Intel.  The value of it was that people could disagree with the norm.  Look at the creativity of Intel through the years.

Old, staid, stable companies are losing market share.

Old, staid, stable organizations - associations - are not only losing members, but younger more vibrant members of the community don't wish to join these organizations.

The smaller Rotary clubs need to change their ways in order to survive.  They don't have the advantages the big clubs do - of the best speakers - the most prominent members of the community, etc.  So, what do they have as a quid pro quo for being a part of them.

As I visit the smaller clubs, I encourage them to find time to discuss new and creative ways to survive.  Yet, so many of their members say "this is the way we will do it because this is the way we've always done it and this is the way Rotary International wants us to do it."

too bad

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