Election 2014

Don’t over read the results.  Quite simply we, the voters, said:  “do what we want you to do.”

Obviously this is not what the Obama administration has been doing and says it wants to do and just as obviously it is not what the Republican Party wants to do.  Ignore us and we’ll throw you Republicans to the curb in 2016.

The electorate right now is trending “economic populism” but don’t read too much in to that either.

My opinion of what “we” are looking for:

1) policy, laws (or otherwise) that increase jobs and incomes, that rebuild a middle class.  We may or may not support any specific piece of legislation, but go ahead and do it if you think it will work.  And if it does you will get re-elected.

2) policy, foreign adventurism (or otherwise) that increases security here at home

3) and literally, we prefer incineration of mullahs over pandering and inviting Iran to enter Iraq to battle ISIS.  “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” concept of foreign policy is bullshit.  My enemy is my enemy.  My friend is my friend.  And those who refuse to declare are suspect.  This is closer to the mark.  Think about the Middle East on a 50+ year time horizon, develop you policy ideas, and then come talk to us.  Reacting to the nightly news cycle is a tiresome failure.

We know you are not omniscient and do not expect you to be.  But we do expect you to be pragmatic.  Explain to us why you think something will work, get our feedback, and then act.  We’ll forgive earnest failure, but as seen this week, will repudiate ideological failure.

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It could have been a hard year.  My job was eliminated in May and I hadn’t had to look for work in 34 years.  In fact the last time I had really looked for a job was when I was graduating from college.

Yes it could have been a hard year and I could have joined the legions of long-term unemployed.  But it wasn’t.

Rather, I was blessed.

Blessed to have a friend who daily touched and touches me with love and encouragement.

Blessed to have a friend who critically scoured and ruthlessly destroyed the first drafts of my resume’ and helped me craft a solid representation of my professional accomplishments and capability.

Blessed to have a job search coach who showed me that I already had a new job, one in project management.  The project?  Find a new permanent, full-time, job.

Wind at my back I posted my resume’ to linkedin and applied to a few jobs.  Within two days I had three phone interviews.  One led to my new job.

I was unemployed for a scant nine weeks.

Sure my wife and I were uprooted.  We moved from Chandler, Arizona to Clifton Park, New York.  And that could have been messy.  But it wasn’t.

Again, I was blessed.

Our home in Arizona sold and closed in less than four weeks.  We were able to select a new home during a week-long house hunting trip (we are building a new house).  And I was able to find a suitable rental home the weekend I arrived in New York.

So what could have been a hard year, in retrospect, has been a year of blessing.  It is as if changing jobs was His plan and all I needed to do was trust.

It could have been a hard year.  Instead I have a job I thoroughly enjoy, we are living in a beautiful part of the country, and will soon have a new house just the way we want it.  We have our health.  And I still have the daily love and encouragement of my best friend.

For this I give thanks…to an awesome God who sees that my path is set forth, and has given friends that I never tread that path alone.

It could have been a hard year.  But it wasn’t.  It was perhaps my best year ever.



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Health Care Reform – redux

I wrote a earlier blog entry on this topic prior to the passage of the ACA.  Now, that we start to see the myriad problems of adding layers of government complexity and requirements onto an already complex system, it seems appropriate to share my thoughts once again.

The fundamental problem with the ACA and non-ACA concept of healthcare insurance is that it is not insurance, rather it is a prepaid health maintenance plan.  Insurance should be designed to protect us against extraordinary or catastrophic circumstances.

What I believe would work is government provided Catastrophic Medical insurance that kicks in after a reasonable per person deductible, say $3-5k per individual indexed for inflation.  The deductible needs to thread the path between being high enough to make us think before spending and being low enough such as to not bankrupt people for non-catastrophic medical needs.  And with this allow everyone to have a before tax Health Savings Account. 

Set this up for everyone under a retirement age of say 72, wherein Medicare kicks in.

Then utilize Medicaid to make means tested (determined by each state) deposits into the Health Savings Accounts of qualifying low income and differently abled peoples.  Businesses could choose to make HSA deposits for employees as part of their benefits programs.

The catastrophic care insurance, provided by the government, would be funded by a tax increase.  Preferably in my mind by changing the payroll tax; lowering the rate and extending it to include 100% of AGI, all income both wages and investment.

The benefit is by having each of us paying directly out of pocket for our routine needs we force market incentives into the system, and with the government’s catastrophic coverage we ensure no one goes without appropriate medical care.  (There will be one ugly part to the catastrophic coverage, someone somewhere will have to decide whether a treatment or procedure is necessary or elective.  No getting around this.) 

I believe with this construct we provide universal coverage, achieve market incentive cost containment of the more routine treatments, equitably fund the government provided elements (everyone payment the same % of income in taxes), provide extra support to those most at risk, and free all Americans from the worry of health related financial ruin.

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Oh my, but it has been a crazy few weeks.  I leave for NY next Thursday (on the redeye) and start work on Monday the 23rd.

Since my last update we’ve…

· Had a successful house hunting trip and put earnest money down on a new house (we are building new)

· Have scheduled the movers and the auto transport

· Arranged the 2 month temp living in NY

· Arranged air cargo booking for our cats

· Put our AZ house up for sale

What’s left?

· Find and sign a lease on a rental home (need a place to live until our new house is ready)

· Get our personal travel arrangements set

· Start work

Amidst all of this, every time I turn around there is one more detail to take care of or one more thing on the house decides to break. 

Such it is, every day is packed from about 6am until 8pm.  And though I’ve been so busy I have barely time to think and reflect, it is starting to sink in that I am about to leave behind what has arguably been the largest part of ½ of my life.  So to complement the excitement of all that is new I now often find myself adrift in melancholic loss.  This is a big change for me, and for Nancy, and the reality of it is setting in.

But for me, only one week left to ponder.  After that it is in my face and I’ll choose to get on with it. 

Goodbyes are f—ing hard.

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Job Search Update – August 26th

It is good news.  I accepted an offer with GlobalFoundries in NY, starting 9/23.  The role and offer too good to pass up.

Lessons/Reflections on the job search:

  1. I will maintain, and build my professional network
  2. Large numbers of people are graciously willing to help
  3. Some of the best times during my search is when I was helping other people
  4. A daily “work” routine was extremely helpful in keeping me focused
  5. Having opportunity to interview early on, and blow it, was profoundly beneficial
  6. Sizing up my available job market in semiconductors and in the Phoenix area made it clear I needed to expand my job search into new industries and nationwide
  7. I developed a new technical interest…biofuels/energy, bio-waste treatment
  8. There is a huge world outside of Intel where highly intelligent and interesting people are also doing remarkable science, and more amazing is the honor some will take my call
  9. Job search was a good and useful experience for me

And now…

Yikes, only four weeks!  Not much time to weed through 27 years of household accumulation, pick a new place to live, and get mentally and tactically prepared for the new job.  If Chandler, AZ floats a bond in the next election to raise money for a new landfill, sorry but that is probably our fault!  Seriously though, there is a lot to do between now and my start date.

And much more after.

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The Purpose of Leadership

What is my fundamental purpose as a leader?  In a very narrow sense it is to get results, or create abundance, for my company.  But John 10:10 asserts something bigger:  “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  So if I get it right, not only does my team create abundance at work, I allow them and if proper help them to also create abundance at home and in every endeavor of their lives.


Well, people want a boss they can trust, a leader of unquestioned integrity.  We are given the secret to this in Genesis 1:27:  “So God created human beings in His own image.”  This means when my team looks at me to watch what I do and how I do it, and listens to what I say and how I say it, they should see the strength, the discipline, the love, and morality of Jesus Christ.

And people also want a boss who accepts them as they are.  I don’t judge my motives, so neither should I judge theirs.  And they want honest assessments of their performance so it is incumbent I tell them the truth.  John 13:34 puts it this way:  “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  People deserve and respond to unconditional love.

This is the calling and the truth to exalted lives and outstanding business results.

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Job Search Update – August 10th

What is new in the last 3 weeks…

I had my Intel “retirement” party.  Many thanks to Mel for putting together a great send-off.  And also to the small gang who hung out talking until midnight.  There was little retrospection, we are mostly looking forward to the next thing.

Two weeks ago I had the site interview with XXXX, and expect it will turn into an offer. Then, as Barbara says, I “will have a dilemma”.  Do I take it, or wait to see if my bioenergy or pharmaceutical efforts bear fruit?  I already know, but for this audience I’ll keep it a cliffhanger.

Thursday, I spent the day in Utah with YYYY, a little gratis consulting.  It was a great experience, and something I would enjoy doing once every three months or so.  Even if I got paid…every three months or so. And even if each client were as gracious…

And this past week I listened to bioenergy company earnings reports, investor analysis, etc.  Not a good week for most of these guys.  And, seeming to me, very unlikely they will raise the financing needed to fund their commercial project aspirations.  At least not everyone.  I’ve got 3 companies in this space who have talked to me, but without $$ there are no legs.

Pharma seems to have lost what little momentum it had, and I haven’t had the time to chase any other industries.

Beyond this I keep up my 60 hour routine.

All for now.

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