Stuff Needs Fixing

4 May 2005

Deep in study recently, several varied topics have captured my attention. They are varied, disconnected and—at first glance—unrelated. Upon closer examination, it seems there’s a thread of connectivity among them all. Enjoy!

Watch batteries are $3.04 at Walmart after a 9.25% local and state sales tax. The kiosk in the mall wants $14.95 plus tax. The jewelry store wants $24.95 and two days. Which supplier is more competitive?

At the Berkshire Hathaway Annual meeting Charles Munger said, “We are living at (or very near) the apex of a great civilization.” Are we continuing to get better or about to decline?

Social Security ideas are everywhere. Give us options or give us $2000 at birth and each year until we’re 18 years old; or, do away with the 12.4% tax and leave financial security to personal responsibility!

Tom Friedman has written another book. Talking about outsourcing recently, he suggested a national science and math initiative aimed at energy independence. Comparable to our moon shot, he believes it reenergizes the interest of youth in science and math. Taken with a recent comment by Bill Gates in which he said, “America’s high schools are obsolete,” Friedman might be onto something. That is, unless you are among those who believe that if anyone ever had a bad idea, every idea they have from that point forward is bad.

It’s past time that we privatize the Post Office by auctioning its primary regional distribution operations to FedEx, UPS, DHL and others. We’ll improve the government and the companies in the process.

General Motors has approximately $1600 of cost in every vehicle it produces due to healthcare costs. Another Tom Friedman prediction is that China or Japan will wind up owning all of the General Motors manufacturing operations. Remember when General Motors could have written a check for Toyota?

Six Sigma education in this country is fragmented among many suppliers. Smarter Solutions in Austin, TX is as good as they come. Forrest W. Breyfogle, III is the name behind the business. I recently read another of his books titled Lean Six Sigma in Sickness and in Health. As I read it occurred to me that if every unemployed I.T. worker pursued a Green Belt, Black Belt or Master Black Belt from a proper six sigma training authority, this country could insure its global competitiveness for decades to come. Now, how to capitalize on the idea?

Golfers, there’s a new Dan Jenkins book. It’s as profane as ever, but genuinely accurate in its portrayal of the most avid golfers I’ve known. Forrest Breyfogle has also addressed the golfer’s desire to get better.

Did you ever feel as if you had found the great unifying theory of how to improve anything? Dr. Deming did.

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