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    (old found draft post)Pro-Entrepreneurial Public Policy Suggestions

    Dec 24, 2008 @ 16:29

    I should come back to gathering these.

    Dump Sox

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081222/1647513199.shtml

    Tort Refrom

    IP reform

    Radical transparency
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20081113/0321092822.shtml

    OpenAuction
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080820/0110372037.shtml

    (old found draft post) biz ideas X 2

    From Sep 26, 2008 @ 14:29


    What was I thinking?

    asisted Living Robotics
    http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2008/09/a_billion_elders_by_2050in_chi.html

    bio-discovery driven engineering
    http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2008/09/another_county_heard_from_on_a.html

    “The city’s Department of Public Works has been asked to patrol the lot to keep out illegal parkers, said Cecilia Gilbert, a spokeswoman for the city agency.” (Fixing Milwaukee Series)

    Some special event visitors had a negative experience with downtown Milwaukee parking:

    Jim Kirk was searching for a place to park around 7 p.m. Sunday near the Bradley Center when three men braving the evening wind and rain ushered him into a gravel lot at 324 W. Juneau Ave.

    One man collected the cash – $10 – and the others used yellow wands to direct parkers into neat rows, Kirk said.

    About an hour and a half later, as Kirk and his wife enjoyed the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert, a city parking checker ticketed dozens of vehicles parked in the lot. The city wrote at least $4,000 worth of tickets at the lot through the day.

    Kirk and other concert-goers returned to their cars two hours later and found tickets ranging from $30 to $40 but no parking attendants.

    The fake parking attendants didn’t have authority to rent out the lot – even though they tried hard to dress the part, donning vests and money aprons often worn by other parking attendants in town.[Link: JSONLINE]

    Well that sucks for them.  Wait though, why is this problem? Why not let people park there legally?

    The land is owned by Milwaukee County and not designated for public use. The city’s Department of Public Works has been asked to patrol the lot to keep out illegal parkers, said Cecilia Gilbert, a spokeswoman for the city agency.

    Let me propose some ideas that Milwaukee’s Socialist-legacy bureaucrats didn’t consider for this unused land:

    – Lease out the lot for special event parking for a fixed price

    – Lease out the lot for special event parking for for a % of the take

    – Hire some P/T workers to run the lots for the City/County for an hourly wage + % of the take.

    – Let charity groups run the lot for fundraising (chosen by random lottery) on a per event basis for a % of the take.

    Advantages:

    – Improved downtown parking experience for visitors (i.e. the consumers coming to spend money in Milwaukee)

    – Increased non-taxpayer revenue for the City/County

    – Some additional income for a few City/County residents

    Disadvantages:

    None. Zip. Nada.

    These “industries” are need of entrepreneurs with radical innovations

    Just a few stray thoughts…

    Housing – 30% of income for Housing? Jeez.

    Personal Transportation – Where is my $5k car?

    K12 Education – Too much money, too little results, little customization, wasted human and material capital. There has to be better ways.

    Post-K12 Education – Cost are out of control, benefits are overstated. There has to be better approaches.

    Government – It shouldn’t be as intrusive, nor should it cost as much.

    Entrepreneurship Stuff: Mitt Romney on “making America more competitive”…

    …here at CNN:

    First, America must substantially improve our education system. We’ve fallen behind, particularly in areas of math and science.

    Second, we’re going to have to remedy our disproportionate health care cost disadvantage. America spends far more than any other nation as a percent of GDP on health care. This effectively is an enormous tax on the economy and on our businesses.

    Third, our national debt is excessive and our entitlement obligations pass a massive burden onto the next generation.

    Fourth, tax and regulatory policies weigh down our ability to compete. Specifically, our products carry an embedded tax which makes American goods less competitive abroad and at home.

    Fifth, America’s apparent retrenchment from the concept of open, free and fair trade could put us further behind other nations that are aggressively seeking trade relations around the world.

    Sixth, our lack of an effective energy policy drains our economy by approximately half a trillion dollars a year.

    And, finally, the blow that Wall Street has taken may make us less competitive in financing entrepreneurship.

    This is really a list of problems, not solutions. It is a start though.

    Robot News (and Entrepreneurial Opportunities): “Packs of Robots Will Hunt Down Uncooperative Humans “

    You might think this is something about a fictional robot uprising, but no it is from Slash Dot:

    They are looking for contractors to ‘develop a software/hardware suite that would enable a multi-robot team, together with a human operator, to search for and detect a non-cooperative human subject. The main research task will involve determining the movements of the robot team through the environment to maximize the opportunity to find the subject … Typical robots for this type of activity are expected to weigh less than 100 Kg and the team would have three to five robots.

    There will be commercial uses as well:

    They note that the robots would “have potential commercialization within search and rescue, fire fighting, reconnaissance, and  automated biological, chemical and radiation sensing with mobile platforms”.

    I am thinking there are uses in crowd control (permanent and special events), school security, mall security, truant control, critical infrastructure security. How about trash removal, street maintenance (crack filling, pothle filling). How about electrical wiring and cabling management inside walls of buildings?

    There are business opportunities here. Not just in making the robots, but in created business to provide managed services – call them Robot Service Providers (RSP).

    Entrepreneurs will (and are) noting this. Robot Service Providers will be a common business in the future. I would like to be part of it.

    On “The Bailout”, Part 10: The Sunny Side of the Street

    From here:

    We will get out this current financial mess – not by government fiat, but because entrepreneurs and smart corporate executives and hard-working everyday people will innovate us out of it. They will come up with the new financial instruments that restructure this debt, the new technologies that will generate the wealth to make up for this loss (as they did after 9/11) and ultimately create more jobs than are right now being lost.

    And if Washington really wanted to help Americans (and there is no indication right now that it does) it would, the instant it passes the bail-out bill, get to work not adding more regulations in response to this crisis, but stripping away the destructive ones we created after the last big one. And a good place to start would be Sarbanes-Oxley, which brilliantly keeps wealth out of the hands of regular workers (by keeping start-up companies from going public), all while costing, by my reckoning, $200 billion over the last six years.

    If the last two weeks have taught us anything, it is that Washington is not going to get fixed, no matter who is elected. The world is moving on. Seven hundred thousand people are joining, via the Web, the Global Economy each day. If the prognosticators are right, we are now only 1000 days or so from crucial turning points in the world economy (the next billion consumers, universal wireless broadband, nanotech, thinking machines, etc.)

    A new era – with new rules, new winners and new losers — is coming up on us fast, and we need to get ready for it right now. Our national leaders just had their chance to prove they were prepared for this new era – and they have failed miserably. We now have to look elsewhere for leadership… and quickly.

    Amen. Read it all.

    Wisconsin has Problems with Entrepreneurs and Businesses

    JSONLINE Community Columnist Al Smith nails it:

    He joins an administration filled with hard-core ideologues and militant bureaucrats who view businessmen as the new kulaks, virtual enemies of the people whose wealth is to be expropriated in order to fund the endless expansion of the state.

    The disdain is exemplified by John Wiley, the outgoing chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After having his budget increased lavishly every year, out of the pockets of many of those he apparently despises, his farewell oration was a virulent leftist screed against the very manufacturers who paid his salary all of these years.

    The roots of collectivism run deep in the Doyle regime, and our governor seems to be taking a page directly from Vladimir Lenin. In the 1920s, the Soviet Union was stagnating economically. In a temporary move designed to get things back on track, the Bolsheviks introduced their New Economic Policy.

    This was a temporary relaxation of the mindless confiscations and persecution of business, and, sure enough, unshackled for a bit, the surviving entrepreneurial class sparked an economic boom.

    The policies of the current leadership in the People’s Republic of Madison have produced a mass exodus of business from our state. The looters in Madison have overseen the loss of 12,000 Wisconsin jobs over the past year whilst simultaneously expanding state spending, increasing fees and introducing a host of hidden taxes.

    Faced with failure of such colossal magnitude, Doyle now intends to make life even tougher for those surviving companies by introducing a carbon trading system that will raise the costs of doing business in this tax and regulatory hell by several orders of magnitude.

    The parting shot:

    The real problem is that Wisconsin has come to resemble a vast Potemkin village, in which our beautiful scenery conceals incompetent and venal government.

    Yikes.

    What did the late Sen. Tsongas say when running  for President? You can’t be for workers but be against business? It doesn’t matter I guess. He’s dead and he never became president.

    Wisconsin has a big problem. It is anti-business and anti-entrepreneur. This will at the margin keep financial capital away, and drive away human capital (homegrown, or external). The leftists mentality of our failed leaders is going to fuck things up. You know what their proscriptions will be then? More socialism, more Marxism, more State control. So, more decline is Wisconsin’s future unless it can escape this trap.

    The Coming Robots

    Robots are coming, we just won’t pay them much attention. Slashdot reports on two robot stories:

    The first (I’ll set aside my skepticism on the Global Warming nonsense)….

    “According to UK and U.S. researchers, it should be possible to fight the global warming effects associated with an increase of dioxide levels by using autonomous cloud-seeding ships to spray salt water into the air. This project would require the deployment of a worldwide fleet of 1,500 unmanned ships to cool the Earth even if the level of carbon dioxide doubled. These 300-tonne ships ‘would be powered by the wind, but would not use conventional sails[…]

    …and this

    […] the open-source centric Willow Garage project (last mentioned on Slashdot early last year), which is making progress in creating helpful humanoid robots for household use.

    Personally, I want an affordable set (to swarm) of robots to clean my floors, rugs, windows, and walls non stop. I would like them to fetch things for me when I am sick, tired, or just lazy. I wouldn’t mind an aesthetic robot either (as long as it has a remote control with a mute button). Roomba is getting there. I want more, though, and I want to pay less. It would be nice if Milwaukee was trying to get in on this….entrepreneurship-wise.

    These robots won’t look like Gort either. That would be creepy.

    In the Future: “Would you like a cold beverage, Mr. Purpleslog?”
    “Why yes Gort, I would. Now, please stop staring at me.”

    Update: Here is a better picture of Gort.

    US News: “Generation We’s Apollo Project”, Me: “What a dumb idea”

    I saw this in the online version of US News:

    …he’s urging both presidential campaigns to focus on one mega-idea the kids endorsed: an Apollo-style approach to the energy crisis. His plan is to create a department of new energy and give it $30 billion to $40 billion a year to invent the next best energy source. And put a 15-year cap on the department’s life. “They need votes, and 70 percent of gen we-ers want this,” says Greenberg, an Obama backer eager for either campaign to adopt his plan.

    To which I responded (first!):

    What a dumb idea. Governments are no good at “inventing” anything. The Apollo project and the Manhattan project are the exceptions (and they had clearly defined goals).

    The same thing could be accomplished by:

    1) Increase basic science research grants through the Dept of Energy and NSF.

    2) Sponsor prizes to be awarded when certain energy producing threshold are met.

    3) Get government regulations out of the way of the entrepreneurs who will make this happen.

    This is simple. It does not require dozens of “deputy assistant under secretaries” and the like.

    Also, little public money (e.g. current taxes or debt obligations) is spent without success being incurred.

    Entrepreneurship Opportunity? “Farming in the Sky”

    From Popular Science:

    The choice is clear—rethink how we grow food, or starve. Environmental scientist Dickson Despommier of Columbia University and other scientists propose a radical solution: Transplant farms into city skyscrapers. These towers would use soil-free hydroponic farming to slash demand for energy (they’ll be powered by a process that converts sewage into electricity) while producing more food. Farming skyward would also free up farmland for trees, which would help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Even better, vertical farms would grow food near where it would be eaten, thus cutting not only the cost but the emissions of transportation. If you include emissions from the oil burned to cultivate and ship crops and livestock in addition to, yes, methane from farm-animal flatulence, agriculture churns out nearly 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions.

    The US Policy should be…nothing.

    Get out of the way, let Entrepreneurs go at it and discover if this can be done and how to make it happen. If they can profit from it, great…because the rest of “profit” from advance and innovation too. Onward to the future! Hey…it would be fun setting up the network system for a vertical farm…call me…I’m available.

    More here at: http://www.verticalfarm.com/

    Concept photos: here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

    I would buy a Micro-Chill – more then one most likely

    I would buy this – but it should be called MyChill instead:

    The first one, it seems, should be pretty straight-forward. The obvious name for it would be the ‘micro-chill’. Reverend Dave and I have been talking about it for years, yet it’s never been invented yet. Basically, we’re looking for the opposite of a microwave oven. I want an appliance that you can put a bottle of room-temperature beer in, press a button, and thirty seconds later it comes out frosty cold. Seriously–it would be a gold mine. Not only would it be good for beverages, but for blanching vegetables, cooling leftovers, and making ice or ice cream. Who wouldn’t want that? It would be in every kitchen in America, just like a toaster or a blender. [Link Hurricane Mikey]

    They mention SDB saying:

    Basically, he said it was impossible because there is no such thing as hot and cold. There is only heat and less heat. You cannot radiate ‘less heat’ from one object to another.

    Thoughts: How is Ice Cream made? Wouldn’t this just be a fast super efficient (and small)  refrigerator?

    Sparse Elegance: Charles Koch’s “The Science of Success”

    This is not a self-help book. It is an excellent slim introduction to free market economics and economic thinking masquerading as a business book.

    While I picked up the “Science of Success” to see how he applied economic thinking to running a business, I was blown away the authors clarity and elegance in describing economic thinking.

    I also found his business system – MBM (Market Based Management) The Science of Human Action Applied to Organizations – to be interesting. It was not a how-to guide though.

    The Science of Success

    A Private SysAdmin Example

    From the Entrepreneurial Mind:

    Startup New Orleans is, instead, looking to free enterprise to rebuild the city one entrepreneur at a time.

    To attract more of these types of individuals, Start Up New Orleans has been established by four of the city’s young business leaders. A resource for entrepreneurs seeking information and connections to other entrepreneurs, Start Up New Orleans is designed to leverage the city’s unique qualities (rich culture, low costs, economic incentives), which distinguish it from anywhere else in the United States.
    […]
    This project is yet another example of how social enterprise can create real social change through the free market.

    Make money and improve the world – that is “Win-Win”.

    Genetics and Entrepreneurial Insticts

    From the the NY Times:

    The report, compiled by Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at the Cass Business School in London, found that more than a third of the entrepreneurs she had surveyed — 35 percent — identified themselves as dyslexic. The study also concluded that dyslexics were more likely than nondyslexics to delegate authority, to excel in oral communication and problem solving and were twice as likely to own two or more businesses.

    “We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills,” Professor Logan said in an interview. “If you tell your friends and acquaintances that you plan to start a business, you’ll hear over and over, ‘It won’t work. It can’t be done.’ But dyslexics are extraordinarily creative about maneuvering their way around problems.”

    Dyslexia is genetically based, correct? Looking for genetic/behavioral correlation with entrepreneurial activity might be interesting.

    The article suggest that dyslexics develop compensatory skills which are beneficial to entrepreneurs. Future entrepreneurs might what to gather those skills themselves.

    “Huge penis engines are the answer”

    How to generate cheap energy is the question.

    Scott Adams writes:

    As you can see from the story, big companies are building Stirling engine farms to capture the sun’s energy more effectively than photovoltaic panels. This could work, but it’s not the economic model that will set us completely free. Let me tell you what is: Giant penis engine co-op investments.
    […]
    Let’s say the next president of the United States fast-tracks the following concept: Any company can buy a bunch of land in the desert, and start building Stirling engine farms that connect to the country’s electrical grid. The genius part of my idea is that individual investors can own one specific penis engine and the profits from it. The organizer of the venture just rents the space and provides maintenance, insurance, administration, and installation for the devices

    I like the idea. Would work? Maybe, maybe not. That’s entrepreneurial capitalism: give it a shot, let the market decide, get rewarded for success, get weeded out for failure.

    More on Sterling Engines here.

    Thank You Capitalism (entrepreneurship and productivity et al)

    Instapundit (yeah I reading it right now) notes:

    BIG NEWS: For the first time in 10,000 years, farming isn’t the dominant industry worldwide.

    Say thanks to capitalism, entrepreneurship, creative destruction, the division of labor and the productivity growth of humans that we don’t need to have 99% of the population to grow food and instead we can have people who only do “non-productive” things like write novels, create music and art along with the other trappings of the modern world for the benefit of those who can’t do those things.

    Spacepot Concept Photo link

    Check out the photo and link at Instapundit. This is a private venture too!

    Book Notes: The Entrepreneurial Imperative by Carl J. Schramm

    The book The Entrepreneurial Imperative by Carl J. Schramm is subtitled “How America’s Economic Miracle Will Reshape the World and Change Your Life”.

    This is not a book on entrepreneurship, but rather a book on why entrepreneurship (practice of, promotion of, as foreign policy) is important to the a public policy for future USA.

    Right from page one the thesis is presented directly:

    For the United States to survive and continue its economic and political leadership in the world, we must see entrepreneurship as our central comparative advantage. Nothing else can give us the necessary leverage to remain an economic superpower. Nothing else will allow us to continue to enjoy our standard of living. We either support and nature increasingly entrepreneurial activities in all aspect of our society and around the globe or run the very real risk that we will become progressively irrelevant on the world stage and suffer economically at home.

    In short, entrepreneurship in business and universities; in our approach to both government and forign policy; and in our personal lives is the only answer if we hope to continue to thrive.

    Aren’t there other solutions?

    No.

    The author offers these definitions:

    • Entrepreneurship is the process in which one or more people undertake economic risk to create a new organization that will exploit a new technology or innovative process the generates value to others.
    • The Entrepreneur is one who undertakes personal economic risk to create a new organization that will exploit a new technology or innovative process the generates value to others.

    Those definitions work for me well enough for me.

    I’d like to see what candidates for President in 2008 are going to talk this up – if any.

    For foreign policy, this means promoting in entrepreneurial capitalism over democracy promoting (or even business/globalization in general) .

    For domestic policy, this means creating environments were entrepreneurship is rewarded, and risks are reduced (less risk = more entrepreneurial activity). What might this mean: National systems of employer independent pension and health insurance systems (not gov run), and new financing and legal mechanisms.

    For schools and universities, this means entrepreneurship should be taught and practiced.

    This seems like an important book to me. At under 200 pages it is a quick read. Hey, used copies are a buck on Amazon.com too!

    Update: I corrected many grammar/spelling mistakes.

    Nobel Prize Winner Phelps on “Dynamic Capitalism”

    Edmund Phelps writes in the opinion Journal on “Dynamic Capitalism:

    There are two economic systems in
    the West. Several nations–including the U.S., Canada and the
    U.K.–have a private-ownership system marked by great openness to the
    implementation of new commercial ideas coming from entrepreneurs, and
    by a pluralism of views among the financiers who select the ideas to
    nurture by providing the capital and incentives necessary for their
    development.

    The other system–in Western
    Continental Europe–though also based on private ownership, has been
    modified by the introduction of institutions aimed at protecting the
    interests of “stakeholders” and “social partners.”

    Let me use the word “dynamism” to
    mean the fertility of the economy in coming up with innovative ideas
    believed to be technologically feasible and profitable–in short, the
    economy’s talent at commercially successful innovating. In this
    terminology, the free enterprise system is structured in such a way
    that it facilitates and stimulates dynamism while the Continental
    system impedes and discourages it.

    When building the massive
    structures of corporatism in interwar Italy, theoreticians explained
    that their new system would be more dynamic than capitalism–maybe not
    more fertile in little ideas, such as might come to petit-bourgeois
    entrepreneurs, but certainly in big ideas.

    Friedrich Hayek, in the late 1930s and early ’40s, began the modern theory of how a capitalist
    system, if pure enough, would possess the greatest dynamism–not
    socialism and not corporatism. First, virtually everyone right down to
    the humblest employees has “know-how,” some of what Michael Polanyi
    called “personal knowledge” and some merely private knowledge, and out
    of that an idea may come that few others would have. In its openness to
    the ideas of all or most participants, the capitalist economy tends to
    generate a plethora of new ideas.

    Second, the pluralism of
    experience that the financiers bring to bear in their decisions gives a
    wide range of entrepreneurial ideas a chance of insightful evaluation.
    And, importantly, the financier and the entrepreneur do not need the
    approval of the state or of social partners. Nor are they accountable
    later on to such social bodies if the project goes badly, not even to
    the financier’s investors. So projects can be undertaken that would be
    too opaque and uncertain for the state or social partners to endorse.
    Lastly, the pluralism of knowledge and experience that managers and
    consumers bring to bear in deciding which innovations to try, and which
    to adopt, is crucial in giving a good chance to the most promising
    innovations launched. Where the Continental system convenes experts to
    set a product standard before any version is launched, capitalism gives
    market access to all versions.

    Globalization has diminished the importance of scale as well as distance.

    Instituting a high level of
    dynamism, so that the economy is fired by the new ideas of
    entrepreneurs, serves to transform the workplace–in the firms
    developing an innovation and also in the firms dealing with the
    innovations. The challenges that arise in developing a new idea and in
    gaining its acceptance in the marketplace provide the workforce with
    high levels of mental stimulation, problem-solving, employee-engagement
    and, thus, personal growth.

    Dynamism does have its downside.
    The same capitalist dynamism that adds to the desirability of jobs also
    adds to their precariousness. The strong possibility of a general slump
    can cause anxiety.

    Why, then, if the “downside” is so
    exaggerated, is capitalism so reviled in Western Continental Europe? It
    may be that elements of capitalism are seen by some in Europe as
    morally wrong in the same way that birth control or nuclear power or
    sweatshops are seen by some as simply wrong in spite of the
    consequences of barring them. And it appears that the recent street
    protesters associate business with established wealth; in their
    minds, giving greater latitude to businesses would increase the
    privileges of old wealth. By an “entrepreneur” they appear to mean a
    rich owner of a bank or factory, while for Schumpeter and Knight it
    meant a newcomer, a parvenu who is an outsider. A tremendous
    confusion is created by associating “capitalism” with entrenched wealth
    and power. The textbook capitalism of Schumpeter and Hayek means
    opening up the economy to new industries, opening industries to
    start-up companies, and opening existing companies to new owners and
    new managers. It is inseparable from an adequate degree of competition.
    Monopolies like Microsoft are a deviation from the model.

    I have been meaning to write an article on this, but I am backed up with stuff. So I am trying to clear my backlog (tossing stuff, or doing short posts for future reference).

    Here are some thoughts:

    • “good” globalization (based on dynamic capitalism) vs “bad” or so-so globalization (based on stake-holder capitalism). What does this mean for PNM theory which relies partially on unfettered support for globalization to shrink the gap?
    • Entrepreneurial Capitalism = Dynamic Capitalism. “Good Globalization” = Entrepreneurial Peace Theory?
    • Reference Postal’s The Dynamist blog and book
    • Bobitt’s successor state forms need more work. His “market-state” is a post-nationalism dynamic-capitalism state. Another competing form could be the stakeholder-state (post-nationalism, stakeholder-capitalism). The other forms are…[heh for long simmering post.]


    Freedom Spreading (aka Gap Shrinking) via the Promotion of Entrepreneurial Capitalism

    Via the PSD Blog, Carl Schramm writes in USA Today, starting with:

    Smith‘s great revelation was that political freedom would most likely emerge and persist under conditions of economic freedom, what we now call capitalism. Our democratic system as defined in our Constitution incorporated respect for this economic system. Like Smith’s invisible hand in the market, the Framers saw an invisible hand in our politics. They believed that, if allowed to work freely,
    these hands together would shape America into the land where invention, creativity and entrepreneurial activity would flourish.

    and then the money quote:

    More than the export of democracy, it is the export of entrepreneurial capitalism that can produce a new birth of peace and freedom around our globe. Entrepreneurial capitalism is based on individual invention, and because wealth comes from one’s own initiative, it advances human dignity.

    And here is the good news. Virtually every country, whatever its
    political system, wants to embrace it. They have seen the success of
    the American economy.

    The benefits of PNM Theory‘s Globalization flows from the above. It is analogous to the Democratic Peace Theory, sort of an Entrepreneurial Peace Theory.

    I have not written much on PNM Theory yet (I have been putting off a series of post on it). One thing that always bothered me was the avoidance of idea promotion especially democratic ideas. I did not see how the gap could shrink if it didn’t introduce new memes to replace long existing bad memes.

    Entrepreneurial Peace Theory (aka PNM Globalization) is sort of a backdoor (think 3GW or 4GW) to the same result as Democratic Peace Theory (think 1GW or 2GW). Entrepreneurial Capitalism promotion might be more subtle/indirect then Democracy Promotion and therefore have a greater chance of success. The best results will come from promoting both as there is much overlap and re-enforcement between the two. Considering the above and PNM Theory, the effort on behalf of Entrepreneurial Capitalism promotion should be at least twice that of directed toward Democracy Promotion.

    Information Security and Spreadsheets

    From Slashdot:

    G Roper writes "Studies show that most spreadsheets have critical errors in one percent of their cells, well beyond a permissible level. Here are some news stories about spreadsheet errors. Spreadsheets won't protect a firm from liability when they are audited and spreadsheet errors found: spreadsheets are not secure, provide no audit trail and won't pass HIPAA or Sarbanes-Oxley auditing. How are Slashdotters coping with the proliferation of spreadsheets in the face of greater legal accountability and auditing?"

    I am very glad I have not yet had to deal with spreadsheet integrity issues. I am starting a new information security position at a Finance company next week so I will not be able to avoid this too much longer.

    The problem with using spreadsheets for critical data analysis and manipulation are:

    • developed usually by programming amateurs
    • lack of validation / verification
    • lack of change control and revision control
    • Often these are "off-the-books" and how they effect the organization is not well know, if known at all

    The idea of going through and checking out all of an organization's spreadsheets (well, critical impact spreadsheets) would be costly and time consuming.

    Now that I think of it, there is most likely a business opportunity here for the entrepreneurs that can:

    • create a quick and effective process for gathering requirements from an organization
    • checking out the spreadsheets using round the clock offshore labor
    • reporting back in a meaningful way with a compliance action plan