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Archive for June, 2015

THE JACKSON/TUBMAN DEBATE

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 29, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Which face belongs on the twenty dollar bill?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Last Spring, an on-line poll was created soliciting suggestions for a woman to replace President Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill. Over 600,000 people voted and on May 13th, the results were announced whereby abolitionist Harriet Tubman won, passing former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks.

The selection of Tubman certainly will please women’s activists as well as African-Americans. Tubman’s biography is a remarkable story of survival and determination to free slaves in the South. Frankly, our youth should read about her as it is very inspirational. In addition to being an abolitionist, she was a humanitarian and during the Civil War, a Union spy. When Tubman passed, she was buried in Auburn, NY with semi-military honors. A plaque was hung at the Auburn courthouse noting her achievements. The great Booker T. Washington delivered the keynote address. Many other honors followed, leading to having her portrait replace Jackson’s on the twenty dollar bill.

Although I think the recognition is deserved, I question why her proponents have targeted Jackson. I, for one, do not believe in change for the sake of change, and as someone who has studied Jackson, I do not believe they remember what he meant to the country.

If they studied the Wikipedia description of “Old Hickory,” as well as other sources, they would find an impressive list of achievements:

As soldier:

– Served in the Revolutionary War at age 13, informally helped the local militia as a courier.
– Captured by the British and held as prisoner; nearly starved to death in captivity.

Legal:

– Served as a country lawyer on the frontier.
– Elected as a delegate to the Tennessee constitutional convention in 1796.
– When Tennessee achieved statehood that year, Jackson was elected its U.S. Representative.
– The following year, he was elected U.S. Senator.
– Appointed a judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court in 1798, serving until 1804.

Military career:

– Appointed commander of the Tennessee militia in 1801, with the rank of colonel. He was later elected major general of the Tennessee militia in 1802.
– Defeated the Red Sticks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814.

As General:

– Victory over the main British invasion army at the Battle of New Orleans, 1815, thereby becoming a national hero.
– Sent to Florida where he deposed a small Spanish garrison, leading directly to the treaty which formally transferred Florida from Spain to the United States.
– Became military governor of Florida while it was being integrated as a U.S. territory.

As 7th president of the United States:

– Believed the president’s authority was derived from the people and the presidential office was above party politics.
– Strongly believed in the Union, but was also a supporter of states’ rights.
– In an effort to purge the government from corruption of previous administrations, Jackson launched presidential investigations into all executive Cabinet offices and departments.
– Put down a threat of secession from South Carolina.
– Disposed of the Second Bank of the United States.
– Balanced the budget and got the country out of debt. (As an aside, this was of particular interest to me, as Jackson was one of only a handful of presidents to balance the budget, and perhaps the only one in the 19th century to do so.)
– Settled spoils of war claims with France, Denmark, Portugal, and Spain.
– Made trade agreements with Russia, Spain, Turkey, Great Britain, and Siam (the first in Asia).
– First to recognize the independent Republic of Texas (which was later annexed).
– The “Jackson Era” greatly influenced politics in America for several years after his term of office.
– Jackson was elected twice to office, the last to do so until Abraham Lincoln.

Miscellaneous:

– Became the leader of the new Democratic Party.
– Master Mason, becoming the Grand Master of Tennessee.

Jackson was certainly not without his faults. He was censured by the Senate in 1834 as a political move by Henry Clay. He owned slaves on his plantation in Tennessee, and relocated Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi, to quell attacks and stabilize the country, a very controversial move, both then and now.

Even with his faults, Jackson was a giant among U.S. Presidents. He brought peace and prosperity to the country, and made the United States a world power to be reckoned with.

I am not trying to make a comparison between the greatness of Harriet Tubman versus Andrew Jackson, only to remark our 7th president has certainly earned a right to have his portrait on the twenty, and his removal would cause young people to forget his contributions in American history. It may also be an affront to Democrats who may resent slighting their former leader.

How about a compromise? Such as creating a $25 bill with Tubman’s face on it? I always thought a $25 note made more sense than the twenty, e.g.; four bills to make $100 as opposed to five. It would be a clever way to honor two great Americans, and not offend proponents of either of them.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE MUCKRAKING HAS BEGUN – The political mud slinging has already begun.

LAST TIME:  JUST PLAIN WEIRD  – Some obscure observations on the mysteries of life.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in History, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

JUST PLAIN WEIRD

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 26, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Some obscure observations on the mysteries of life.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have always found the little nuances of life to be bewildering. You know, things we tend to overlook or take for granted. Yet, when you examine them closely, you wonder why there are the way they are. For example, have you ever noticed the “cups” marked on a coffee pot? Mine shows twelve, but I can barely get six cups of coffee out of them. Maybe the manufacturer doesn’t have the same interpretation of “cup” that I have or the pots are designed for Munchkins. Then again, most of these pots are made in China.

I’m always amazed by the numerous amounts of “spam” e-mails I receive on a daily basis. No matter how many “junk” filters I add, I still receive four times more garbage than regular mail, but I guess this is essentially no different when we were receiving regular mail through the post office. I find it particularly annoying when I receive an e-mail from a stranger stating, “I’m doing great and miss seeing you! Let’s get together and get updated!” You then rack your brain wondering if it is legitimate and, of course, it isn’t.

Do squirrels poop? I’ve never seen it. I’ve seen just about every other animal defecate, be it birds, dogs, cats, even fish, but never squirrels. Maybe they store it away with their nuts.

I hate it when belts no longer work. Young men may like to show their underwear. I, for one, do not. As we get older, our body changes. In my case, I have lost weight and find it embarrassing when the pants begin to fall off my waist, particularly in the company of others. Constantly pulling up your pants may be indicative you have a bladder or bowel problem. I don’t, just a hard time keeping the pants up. Maybe it’s time for suspenders.

I have always thought golf should be played by speed, kind of like croquet or polo on steroids. You win by a combination of strokes and time. At least it would make the game more interesting than it currently is.

As I grow older, I have more difficulty understanding what young people say. For example, I am at a loss as to when they text such words as “On fleek,” “YOLD,” “Bae,” “Turnt up,” and “Dat Ass Doe.” I suspect I really do not want to know. Maybe English is morphing into another language altogether.

Have I ever mentioned how much I detest MS Windoze? It interrupted me twice this morning installing updates and re-configuring my register; all rather slowly I might add. Plus, I am sick of having to use the “three finger salute” (Ctrl+Alt+Del) on a daily basis. If this is “State of the Art,” we’re in big trouble.

Whenever you find yourself liking something, science suddenly steps in and condemns it. Of course, years later, they retract their condemnation and say it was all a mistake, but never apologize for it. I’m still waiting for scientists to renege on tobacco.

What demented souls write crossword puzzles? Instead of a single word to match a clue, they now use multiple words in an answer, usually to form a vague quotation. The puzzlers like to reference geography, but I still do not know where the Cardiff River is located. How about something in the United States? And I really do not care to know the country where “Quechua” is the official language. They also like to reference obscure authors, poets, movie directors, and singers, as if we would really know the identity of these people. I generally do well with clues involving Roman numerals, but I pity those who were never taught this in grade school.

Crossword puzzles seem to get progressively harder as the week goes on. This means we have to waste more time solving them. The only benefit I see from working on these puzzles, it forces you to learn how to use a dictionary and thesaurus. Thank God for Internet crossword solvers, such as Wordplays.com. I believe the reason why most crossword puzzles do not bear the puzzler’s name, is because people would hunt them down and kill them like the dogs they are.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE JACKSON/TUBMAN DEBATE – Which face belongs on the twenty dollar bill?

LAST TIME:  TECHNOLOGY’S EFFECT ON SOCIETY  – Technology is an effective tool for civil unrest and war.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in humor, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

TECHNOLOGY’S EFFECT ON SOCIETY

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 24, 2015

BRYCE ON TECHNOLOGY

– Technology is an effective tool for civil unrest and war.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

In the past, I have discussed the adverse effects of technology, focusing on its addictive powers on a personal level, (see Bed Bugs & Our Changing World”), but what about society in general? As I concluded in my “Bed Bugs” paper, personal technology plays a detrimental role in the public’s moral values, and the rise of a “socially liberal” agenda. It is also a catalyst for social activism. For example, personal technology (smart phones, the Internet, and social media, etc.) was actively used in the riots and protests of Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, and other places, not to mention the Arab Spring of 2012. It was also a key factor in the Occupy Wall Street movement a few years ago. Abuse of such technology has demonstratively led to civil unrest, civil war, mayhem and violence.

People using such technology no longer subscribe to the rule of law, preferring to use it for agitation purposes instead. To illustrate, in the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, the people did not embrace the simple concept, “A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.” Instead, the people charged with the deaths were tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion. Regardless of the legal outcome, the protestors and rioters rejected the verdict and caused helter-skelter. The news media shares some of the responsibility for their “sensational” reporting, thereby fanning the flames of outrage.

In the Middle East, Muslim extremists have long understood the power of personal technology and use it to devastating effect. Groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, et al, use it for communication purposes in waging war, recruiting, public relations (such as when they butcher innocents), and intelligence gathering. Without technology, these groups would be disorganized and rudderless; so much so, the world would likely not know who these groups are, and their power would be dissipated.

From this, we can conclude the use of personal technology has had an adverse effect on the world socially. It therefore seems rather obvious thwarting the use of it in times of crisis would be an effective deterrent to the break up of communications and mob rule. This could easily be done by creating jamming devices for smart phones, blocking social media, or simply suspending the Internet. Without such communications, leadership and coordinated activities break down, making it easier for law enforcement to disperse mobs.

Critics would argue such blockage is an affront to the freedom of speech. Not necessarily. Freedom of speech is not applicable in creating crisis, such as when a person falsely yells “fire” in a theater. The same can be claimed when violent confrontations occur between police and rioters and looters. Freedom of speech is one thing, a danger to society is another. Nonetheless, some 1st Amendment lawsuits are likely in the offing.

Whether it is the police trying to control civil unrest, or the military fighting our enemies, the key to subjugating opponents is through personal technology. If you take it out of their arsenal, you have greatly improved the odds for dominating your opponent.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  JUST PLAIN WEIRD – Some obscure observations on the mysteries of life.

LAST TIME:  STRUCTURED BRAINSTORMING  – Better than the shotgun approach to solving problems and creating ideas.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Social Issues, Technology | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

STRUCTURED BRAINSTORMING

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 22, 2015

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

– Better than the shotgun approach to solving problems and creating ideas.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Brainstorming is back in the news for management. The idea of creating new ideas is certainly not old, but most people tend to take a shotgun approach, meaning they schedule a meeting and bounce ideas off of each other. I have never seen this approach work in a corporate setting. Instead, I have always found a methodical approach works better.

When we were building our “Information Factory” product, I assumed the role of lead Systems Analyst. During the Feasibility Study we defined the project scope, analyzed the current system, and considered the information requirements for the product. In other words, we did our homework. This knowledge was invaluable for producing a systems design. In our “Expert Facility” we came up with designs for tools to automatically design systems based on inference, and a tool to calculate corporate priorities. Many people told us it was impossible to devise such tools. We ignored them and persevered. There was never any thought that it couldn’t be done. Instead, we talked through the problem carefully, wrote out the logic for the tools and implemented accordingly. This obviously didn’t happen overnight. Instead, we used a phased approach to break the problem down. Come to think of it, we never encountered a technical problem that couldn’t be conquered with a little imagination, some concentrated effort, and a lot of good old-fashioned management. Here, the structured methodology defined the thinking process. As an aside, I tend to believe in the old adage, “A problem well stated is half solved.”

An illustrator friend of mine also takes a methodical approach to coming up with ideas. Not too long ago he was lecturing at a university campus where he was explaining his approach to producing an illustration of General Douglas MacArthur during World War II for National Geographic. In particular, they wanted him to depict the silk pajamas MacArthur was known to wear during his stay in the Philippines, something my friend knew nothing about. He started by doing extensive research on the General by going to the main branch of the Cincinnati library. There he poured through several books on MacArthur and read about the pajamas and reviewed hundreds of photos until he found pictures of the legendary pajamas. He then made some sketches of the general in different poses. Next, he reviewed his ideas with NatGeo who selected one of his interpretations. Only then did he begin to work on the drawing. Interestingly, after his lecture he asked if there were any questions. One young student simply asked, “Who is Douglas MacArthur?”

All systems projects should begin with a well defined Feasibility Study which includes such things as a definition of the Project Scope, an analysis of the Current System, well defined requirements, and a suggested System Solution, not to mention a Cost/Benefit Analysis. This simplifies the system design which, in turn, leads to better specifications for software. Basically, it takes the guesswork out of programming.

As we proceeded with our “Information Factory” project, I would schedule a 30 minute review meeting each morning with the programmers to review their progress and determine if they were facing any technical problems. Most were corrected there in the meeting. The stubborn problems required us to perform some research and determine a suitable solution. By facing the problems square on, we were able to overcome all of them, not because they were difficult (many were), but because we took a methodical approach to brainstorming, going from the general to the specific.

Throughout the process, it is important to allow everyone to input their ideas, both veterans and rookies alike. No question or idea was considered insignificant, thereby creating an esprit de corps among the team, and causing the older programmers to mentor the younger ones.

Over time I have learned the naysayers of the world take pleasure in chiding you as to what cannot be done. Prove them wrong and return the favor.

“Remember, it is Ready, Aim, Fire. Any other sequence is counterproductive.” – Bryce’s Law

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  TECHNOLOGY’S EFFECT ON SOCIETY – Technology is an effective tool for civil unrest and war.

LAST TIME:  1ST LESSONS IN JOINING THE WORK FORCE  – Some of life’s hard lessons a young reader should expect upon entering the adult world.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Business, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

1ST LESSONS IN JOINING THE WORK FORCE

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 19, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Some of life’s hard lessons a young reader should expect upon entering the adult world.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

We recently released our popular “MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD – A Handbook for Entering the Work Force” as an eBook. The book represents a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life. It includes chapters to describe how a young person should organize themselves, how to adapt to the corporate culture, develop their career, and improve themselves professionally and socially. Basically, its 208 pages of good sound advice to jump start the young person into the work force.

In the Introduction, I prefaced the book by describing some of life’s hard lessons a young reader should expect upon entering the adult world. There is nothing magical here, yet you won’t find these lessons in the business schools, only in the school of hard knocks, to wit…

There are several lessons to be learned in order to make the transition from school into the work force, but none more important than these first basic truths you should always be mindful of:

* You are entitled to nothing. If you want something, you are going to have to go out and earn it.

* Nothing is free. Forget what the promotion says, people do not offer something without wanting something in return.

* Life is not fair. In fact it can be downright cruel and dehumanizing. Keep in mind, with rare exception, companies are not democracies; they are dictatorships. As such, they operate at the whims of the person in charge.

* Becoming an adult means assuming responsibility, be it on the personal or professional sides of our lives. Knowing this, put your best face on and act like a professional, someone you want others to respect.

* Becoming an adult also means making decisions. In theory, if you make 51% of your decisions correctly, you will be successful. Also, do not procrastinate; if you do not make a decision, the decision will be made for you (and probably not to your liking).

* If anything in life is constant, it is change. Some you will like, others you will have trouble swallowing. Nonetheless learn to accommodate change. Learn and adapt.

* People act on their perceptions, regardless if they are valid or not. As an old systems man, I can tell you authoritatively, if the input is wrong, everything that follows will also be wrong. Don’t jump to conclusions; always seek the truth.

* The only good business relationship is when both parties benefit (aka “Win-Win” relationship). Avoid situations where one party benefits at the expense of the other (aka “Win-Lose” relationship).

* Everything begins with a sale. All of our efforts, regardless of how mundane they may seem, should be geared towards producing income for the company. Without sales, everything else will eventually come to a halt.

* There is only one problem with common sense, it is not very common. The obvious is not obvious to a lot of people. You will undoubtedly discover that decisions are based more on emotion as opposed to logic.

* Your personal and professional lives are one and the same. Some people like to separate the two, but the fact remains, there is only one you.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a thought from a good friend of mine who survived over thirty years of corporate politics:

“You cannot move to the top of the ladder by breaking rungs and breaking rules….we all must move through the learnings, the little successes, the disappointments, to develop and grow.”

– Michael B. Snyder

I have had several parents tell me they appreciate this section out of the book as they have experienced this themselves and found it to be valid rules to live by.

For more information on the book, both the eBook and paper versions, see MBA Press at:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/mba/mbapress.htm

Originally Published: April 28, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  STRUCTURED BRAINSTORMING – Better than the shotgun approach to solving problems and creating ideas.

LAST TIME:  REFLECTIONS OF JAMESTOWN, NY  – Nestled in the western tip of the state of New York.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Business, Life, Management | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

REFLECTIONS OF JAMESTOWN, NY

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 17, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Nestled in the western tip of the state of New York.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

It is always a pleasure visiting places where the citizens take pride in their community and are civic minded. Such is the City of Jamestown, New York where I recently conducted a presentation. The city is located in Chautauqua County, the western tip of New York state, just a hop-skip from its big brother, Buffalo. The population is approximately 32,000, making it much smaller than its neighbor to the northeast, but has a respectable downtown area which is delightful to walk around.

I took the opportunity to take a morning tour of the downtown district and was regularly greeted by the natives who made me feel warmly welcomed. While waiting at a cross-walk, a local approached me by saying, “You’re not from around here, are you?”

“How can you tell?” I asked.

“Your shorts,” he replied, “It’s too early for shorts here.”

When I confided I was from Florida, he thanked me for bringing the Florida sunshine with me to Jamestown.

I happened to visit Jamestown in early May and, as a Floridian, immediately noted the change in climate which was brisk in the morning. However, by noon it was a comfortable eighty degrees. The first thing attracting my attention were the trees which were just beginning to bud. As someone who has lived in the South for the last thirty years, I had forgotten about the changes in seasons. What caught my eye though were the beautiful Flowering Dogwoods lining the downtown streets.

Like Buffalo, Jamestown is known for its rugged winters and relatively short summers. As anyone can tell you who has lived in the North, the cold can cause considerable damage to the streets and highways. I was reminded of this shortly after I started driving on I-86 where I had to dodge a seemingly unending line of pot holes. The weather also influences life around the county. Fishing season had just opened and I saw boaters going out to massive Lake Chautauqua where the fish were jumping. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my fly rod and reel.

In the summer, there are cottages and small hotels of vintage design surrounding the lake to attract the tourists. However, I got the feeling Jamestown is one of the best kept secrets in New York as few people know about it outside of a 200 mile radius. It also has several golf courses in the area. The local restaurants dotting around the lake are small but offer wonderful local cuisine, beers and wine.

Older towns have a rich sense of history about them, and Jamestown is no exception. Ulysses S. Grant visited Jamestown often in its formative stages. While there, I had the good fortune to tour two significant historical sections; first was the Chautauqua Institution. Founded in 1874, the Institution is a picturesque community on the shores of Lake Chautauqua and close to Jamestown. During the summer, “more than 100,000 visitors will stay at Chautauqua and participate in programs, classes and community events for all ages—all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village.” Presidents, from Grant to Clinton, have visited to develop and deliver speeches. For example, FDR delivered his historic “I Hate War” speech from the Chautauqua Amphitheater in 1936.

Next, there is the Robert H. Jackson Center. Jackson was an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court from 1941-1954. He was also the US Solicitor General (1938-1940), and US Attorney General (1940–1941), making him the only person in United States history to have held all three offices. However, his notoriety grew when President Truman appointed him to serve as US chief of counsel at the Nuremburg Trials shortly after World War II. Although born in Pennsylvania, Jackson adopted Jamestown as his home. The Jackson Center advances his legacy by offering lectures, symposiums and publications. The center also serves as a museum, not just for Jackson, but for all of the presidents and supreme court justices who have visited there, which are numerous. If you visit, be sure to see the “Grant Room,” where President Ulysses S. Grant held a major meeting. The center is opened to the public and youth are particularly welcomed.

Without a doubt, Jamestown’s most noteworthy citizen is comedienne Lucille Ball who was born there. The Lucy & Desi Center for Comedy is a major draw for comedy talent and her picture can be found throughout the area.

Locals are particularly proud of the Jamestown Gateway Train Station which is located downtown. The station was recently refurbished and it is now a showpiece of Americana in trains. It is a particularly favorite stop during “National Train Day.”

The citizens of Jamestown genuinely love their city and the beautiful countryside surrounding it. This attitude is something you do not see too often anymore. It is something I found refreshing when I visited there. Most were quick to point out the highlights and were keenly aware of the historical significance of the area.

The city and county are not without their problems though. Citizens complain of the heavy tax burden imposed by New York, which they claim is causing both young people and jobs to move out of state. Consequently, Jamestown is one of those older northern cities, desperately trying to reinvent itself before it is too late. In talking with the people during my presentation there, I felt their sense of frustration. On more than one occasion, I was asked, “What can we do?”

As opposed to being reactive, I could only advise them to take a more proactive approach in local and state government affairs. Get involved. If everyone performed just one task in community and government affairs, regardless how large or small it may be, think of the progress that could be achieved. The city’s two biggest assets are simply the good people who live there and the charm of the area, both feed upon each other.

With this said, I definitely recommend a visit to Jamestown, particularly during summer. It’s a comfortable city nestled in Western New York, offering peace and tranquility, and some very nice and thoughtful people. Unlike me though, do not forget to take your fishing pole.

By the way, they have some rather fine Chinese food there.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  1ST LESSONS IN JOINING THE WORK FORCE – Some of life’s hard lessons a young reader should expect upon entering the adult world.

LAST TIME:  THE “SYSTEMS” INDUSTRY  – “Tim, just what, the heck, are you talking about?”

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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THE “SYSTEMS” INDUSTRY

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 15, 2015

BRYCE ON SYSTEMS

– “Tim, just what, the heck, are you talking about?”

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Whenever I mention I am in the “Systems” business, people generally look at me befuddled, smile, and shake their heads. I can tell they haven’t got a clue what I am talking about. Many assume it has something to do with computers, and those in the technology sector assume I am referring to software. Frankly, no. What most people do not comprehend is that we are surrounded by systems. Life, as we know it, would be unfathomable without them.

Recently, I had a routine medical checkup, and as I was driving back to my office I started thinking about all of the systems around us and how oblivious most people are to them. I started by thinking about transportation systems, particularly to regulate traffic. We use a plethora of signals, signs and street markings directing people to turn, stop, slow down, etc. There are also law enforcement personnel who issue tickets for infractions of the rules and to assist motorists in the event of accidents. All of this has to operate routinely and predictably in order to provide a fair and balanced means to expedite traffic.

Transportation systems also include the airlines, trains, buses, and ships, all of which have regular schedules and routes to follow, not to mention ticketing of passengers, the storage of cargo, and preparations for the trip, such as fuel, food and water. Many also offer Wi-Fi service, television, lavatories, and many other creature comforts.

Public utilities maintain extensive systems for such things as water, gas, electric, telephone and cable. These systems are typically run underground or by wire overhead. All operate regularly and routinely. If broken, repairmen are summoned to take corrective action, thereby representing different, yet vital, parts of the system.

There are also medical systems, not just in hospitals or doctors offices, but emergency medical care as well, all of which operate routinely and predictably. Fire departments and police likewise have systems in order to safeguard our communities. Education systems are no different as they operate at both the school level and support school boards. And you cannot escape insurance systems, be they for medical, automobile, health, or life. Companies also follow systems to manufacture products, offer service, manage inventory, and bill the customer. Perhaps the biggest systems can be found in government which are used to regulate about everything, at least so it seems. The fact is, we cannot live without systems.

So, what are the basic elements of a system; that’s easy:

1. They serve a purpose; be it to move motorists in a concerted manner, provide utility services to consumers, produce a product, handle accounting and other economical considerations, producing reports to the government, etc.

2. They consist of two or more components which work cooperatively but separately.

3. They operate routinely and predictably.

Other examples include satellite systems, irrigation systems, communication systems, assembly lines, and information systems (which is my forte). Here, the purpose is to support the information needs of a business so they can perform specific actions and make decisions in a timely and cost effective manner. Over the years, I have seen information systems used to run banks, insurance companies, manufacturing facilities, government agencies, and much more. These systems represent a collection of sub-systems or “business processes,” each charged with performing a specific task, be it to collect data, or act on the information produced. Such processes can be implemented manually or through computer automation (software programming). Despite the emphasis on computers over the last fifty years, there are still a surprisingly high number of manual tasks performed in just about every institution which explains why there are so many people working in a major corporation. Come to think of it, the business world ran for many years using manually implemented information systems.

As we have said, “The first on-line, real-time, interactive, data base system was double-entry bookkeeping which was developed by the merchants of Venice in 1200 A.D.”Bryce’s Laws. How a system is implemented is of little importance if it solves the problem effectively.

The day a company goes into business is the day when its information systems are born. They may start out small, but they will inevitably grow and evolve. All systems do.

So, next time I mention I am in the systems business, I hope you will know what I mean.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  REFLECTIONS OF JAMESTOWN, NY – Nestled in the western tip of the state of New York.

LAST TIME:  OUR LEGACY  – Will we be remembered for tangible objects or the people we come in contact with?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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OUR LEGACY

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 12, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Will we be remembered for tangible objects or the people we come in contact with?

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Something just about all of us consider at some point in our lives is our legacy, be it on a small scale such as a job or project, or our life’s work. Nagging questions linger, “How will I be remembered?”, “Did I do a good job?” or “Was my life well spent?” Some people believe we are judged by physical objects such as a building we constructed, the development of some object, or perhaps an invention. Others consider our impact on productivity and prosperity through such things as leadership, organization, and systems. The fallacy here is that buildings and products inevitably deteriorate, processes and inventions evolve and are replaced, so notoriety for such things is fleeting. To compound the problem, we have no real sense of history and quickly forget who did what years ago.

I contend we are not measured by inanimate objects, but by animate ones instead. It is how we influence others that is perhaps most important, be it our relatives, our coworkers, our customers or whatever. If we can set an example or motivate someone to excel beyond their capabilities, to grow and evolve, then we have accomplished something rather monumental. This is probably what motivates teachers. For example, Helen Keller’s work positively impacted people with disabilities around the world, yet had it not been for her teacher, Anne Sullivan, it would never have happened. Thomas Edison is well remembered not only for the inventions he created, but the companies he founded, including General Electric which does business around the world. All of this may never have happened without the influence of his mother, Nancy, who encouraged and home schooled him. Let us also not forget Aristotle’s influence on Alexander the Great who significantly influenced the cultures of Europe, Asia and Africa.

We are ultimately defined by the decisions we make and actions we take, both good and bad. It is the consistency by which we apply these actions and decisions that defines our character. Greatness is measured by a person’s ability to move the masses towards a major goal. There are several fine examples strewn throughout history, such as the ancient Greeks (e.g., Plato, Socrates, etc.); political leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, King Henry VIII, Joan of Arc, Winston Churchill, and Emperor Meiji of Japan, and; religious figures such as Jesus, Confucius, and Mohammed. Interestingly, all were effective communicators.

The point is, we all have a profound effect on others, be it in a positive or negative light. It is when we can get others to aspire and achieve that we have really written our own legacy.

As to my own personal legacy, I believe I have done some good things in terms of information systems theory, and have helped clean up a lot of messes for customers who I have consulted with over the years, as well as the organizations I have participated in. This is all well and good, but beyond this I hope I will be remembered as someone who…

* Challenged people to use their brains, to think, and not to go on autopilot.

* Encouraged people to try new ideas, to think outside of the box.

* Warned people of the dangers of complacency and apathy.

* Admonished others to appreciate their heritage yet grow, evolve, and adapt.

* Preached leading an honorable and worthwhile life.

If I have done this, than I feel my time was well spent.

Our legacy is what we give of ourselves. We can give money, we can volunteer our time, we can invent and design new things, but I believe we really affect people when we shape their perspectives and thinking processes. Thereby our legacy is whatever we want it to be; we write it ourselves, either by doing nothing or helping others find their way.

I’ve told you what I hope my legacy will be; what’s yours?

Originally published: April 26, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE “SYSTEMS” INDUSTRY – “Tim, just what, the heck, are you talking about?”

LAST TIME:  REPUBLICAN PORTRAYALS  – An ignorant public is the key for spreading misinformation.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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REPUBLICAN PORTRAYALS

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 10, 2015

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– An ignorant public is the key for spreading misinformation.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

As we approach the 2016 presidential election, I am hearing a new line of spin from Democrats attempting to poison the portrayal of Republicans. For example, I am starting to hear the term “fascist” when describing conservatives. One person recently wrote me, “I would much rather be a socialist than a fascist.” The intent was obviously to make a derogatory slur. The word itself, “fascist,” is admittedly a bit nebulous for most people who will likely repeat its usage out of ignorance.

Fascism is certainly not liberalism or conservatism, both of which are spurned, but with a focus on conflict between nations and races as opposed to an internal struggle. Instead, it promotes populism and nationalism, to gain widespread support, but places authority in the hands of a dictator, such as Benito Mussloini. The intent is to revolutionize a country’s lagging economy and power, such as Italy’s during the Depression. In fact, the only real example of fascism is Italy in the 20th century, and last time I saw a photo of Mussolini, he was hanging by his heels in a public square. One thing is for certain, it is not an ideology embraced by either the Democrats or the Republicans.

So, before you begin to accuse someone as a “Fascist!”, know what you are talking about as you will likely be called on the carpet for it. If anything, the Democrat/Republican separation is better characterized by socialism versus capitalism.

There are other Democrats who claim Republicans are led by “religious zealots” and today’s Democratic party has become right-wing in nature. I suspect such people snort Kool-Aid as opposed to drinking it. There is no doubt, there are significant differences between Democratic Presidents Kennedy and Obama; Cuba being but one, reducing corporate taxes to encourage the economy another. By today’s comparisons, Kennedy may very well be portrayed as more conservative, but certainly not Obama. At Kennedy’s inauguration, he made the now famous plea, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Today, Mr. Obama would ask Americans to do just the opposite. So, the Democratic Party as right-wing extremists? Please.

The “religious zealots” description is more unsettling. First, it suggests there is something wrong with a person embracing organized religion, that only an uneducated fool would gravitate in this direction. For those who make such claims, it is an open admission they are atheists, and are trying to undermine religious freedom under the First Amendment.

Some time ago, I happened upon a video titled, “Religious Freedom,” by Clayton Christensen, a prominent Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School in Boston. In the video, he described a conversation he had with a visiting student Marxist Economist from China. When Clay asked the student if he learned anything surprising or unexpected during his stay in America, he made the following statement:

“I had no idea how critical religion is to the functioning of Democracy. The reason why Democracy works, is not because the government was designed to oversee what everybody does, but rather Democracy works because most people, most of the time, voluntarily chose to obey the law. And in her past, most Americans attended a church or synagogue every week, and they were taught there by people who they respected. Americans followed these rules, because they had come to believe that they weren’t just accountable to society, they were accountable to God.”

This admission surprised Professor Christensen which led him to ponder, “That as religion loses its influence over the lives of Americans, what will happen to our Democracy? Where are the institutions that are going to teach the next generation of Americans that they too need to voluntarily chose to obey the laws? Because if you take away religion, you can’t hire enough police.”

Christensen makes a valid point; in order for Democracy to succeed, religion and morality must be preserved, thereby safeguarding our appreciation for freedom and liberty. However, is our perception of morality changing? According to Gallup, Yes. In its poll titled, “New Record Highs in Moral Acceptability” (May 2014), the study reports:

“In the 12 years Gallup has asked this overall question, Democrats have become significantly more tolerant on many issues, while independents generally show a smaller shift in the same direction and Republicans’ views have changed little. The percentage of Democrats who say an issue is morally acceptable has increased for 10 issues, including abortion, sex between an unmarried man and woman, extramarital affairs, cloning humans, divorce, cloning animals, suicide, research using stem cells from human embryos, polygamy, and gay and lesbian relations.”

Now, by combining Christensen’s observation with the Gallup study, we can conclude: By undermining our religious institutions, you are undermining morality, and ultimately Democracy. So, would I support a “religious zealot” over someone who is Godless? You betcha.

These new spins on Fascism, the Democratic Party as a right-wing institution, and “religious zealots” is simply testing the waters to see what will stick and what will not. If the masses pick it up, it will become a part of the public’s mind share, which can be dangerous from a political perspective. It is like those people who naively wear Che Guevara t-shirts as an icon for freedom and revolution. Most people are either ignorant or overlook Che’s political background and his record as a gorilla fighter who was feared for his brutality and ruthlessness.

An ignorant public is the key for spreading misinformation, and I suspect we will see much more of this over the next 17 months.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  OUR LEGACY – We will be remembered for tangible objects or the people we come in contact with?

LAST TIME:  HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SANITY  – Try to stay off the roads and unplug your technology.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SANITY

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 8, 2015

BRYCE ON LIFE

– Try to stay off the roads and unplug your technology.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

There is no denying it, these are crazy times we live in. Just turn on the evening news and you know what I mean. It seems our government is in a perpetual state of turmoil, protests and riots are happening (and may even get worse with a hot summer), we hear of terrorists, and people being cruel to their families and animals, etc. At work, there are managers sitting over their employees with a whip and a chair, orders are not processed on time, customer complaints seem to be rising, and cheating and greed is everywhere. And nonprofits turn into petty political fiefdoms. It’s all rather mind-numbing.

Due to the helter-skelter we live in, maybe it’s time to relax and regain our sanity. Unfortunately, many people have forgotten how to do this. They are so imbued with technology, driving on busy streets, and the rat race in general, they have forgotten how to regain their composure.

Here are some simple ideas to break the rut you may be in:

* Read a book.
* Perform some gardening, slowly, not in a hurry. Plant a tree or some flowers.
* Play a game of cards, be it Bridge, Pinocle, Poker, Uno, or whatever.
* Attend a meeting, such as a community town hall get-together and be brought up to date.
* Take a walk or ride a bicycle. Walk the dog, if you have one, and enjoy the scenery.
* Visit the library.
* Enjoy a swim or soak in a hot tub.
* Update your coin or stamp collection.
* Knit or sew if you are so inclined.
* Play catch with your kids or grandchildren.
* Take in a baseball game, be it MLB, the Minors, or Little League. Other sports will also suffice. While there, don’t get over rambunctious, just enjoy the moment. If your team wins, great; if they do not, it’s not the end of the world.
* Go fishing. Nothing better on a shady, lazy afternoon.
* Take a nap, if the kids will let you.
* Lend a hand to someone in need.
* Work a crossword possible and work your brain.
* Clean the garage. Maybe it’s time to clean house and dispose of the old Beta-Max machine you have.
* Play some music. I happen to prefer classical and jazz myself.
* Volunteer your time to some worthy cause.
* Visit a horse track and take in the races.
* Go camping or boating.
* Attend a local festival or car show (if you don’t mind crowds).
* Watch a movie. Sometimes an old classic is just the recipe for causing you to fall asleep.
* Visit a public park or beach. Visit the mountains if you are near to some.
* Visit a museum and expand your mind.
* Tell a joke and laugh.
* Take your kids or grandchildren to the zoo.
* Play a round of golf, tennis, pool or whatever.
* Take the family to lunch or dinner.

Just about anything involving human contact will do, or perhaps you just need to be alone within your own fortress of solitude. Do not press yourself on these activities, just enjoy the moment. Whatever you do, try to stay off the roads and unplug your technology.

Now take a deep breath, and just relax. Life may not get better, but at least you can regain your composure.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:  timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  REPUBLICAN PORTRAYALS – An ignorant public is the key for spreading misinformation.

LAST TIME:  SLOWING DOWN?  – Are we working harder or smarter?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
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