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I read this effort at the suggestion of Chip Brackley, on my iPad, using iBook.

Last Man Standing by Duff McDonald is not at all bad, really. The book, from cover-to-cover is reasonably well written, and highly useful.

Highlights: If you want to understand the banking business beyond what the media offers, and the people that make it work, this is the book to read. And it’s not a vanity piece for a banker on top of his game. This book has specific relevance to anyone who pays taxes in this country or has a bank account.

McDonald apparently had unprecedented access to Dimon and he just have nailed it if you want to understand Mr. Dimon.

Careful reading, combined with reference to Dimon’s “Management Letters” – which he’s renowned for, make this a valuable endeavor.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

I was reminded of these facts by Craig Larson…

Apparently Thomas Stanley and William Danko wrote a book entitled: The Millionaire Next Door … The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy. You should read it in order to understand a special breed of business person you are likely not. Do it!

In researching the book and then unleashing it upon the public’s senses, they (the authors, not to be confused, necessarily with that, otherwise, insidious and collective “they”) produced a portrait of who America’s millionaires are, and show that, by and large, these are quiet, understated, self-reliant Americans who are committed to hard work, education, and family.

The portrait shows that eighty percent (80%) of our millionaires are first generation affluent. To be clear, this means that less than half received no inheritance, and only nineteen percent (19%) get any income from a trust fund or estate.

Most Americans … In this case, defined at eighty percent (80%), are not self-employed. And, of those that are, two thirds are our nations millionaires. Think “Daddy Warbucks” (to whom I can often relate – but, you don’t know as much about as you thought you did until now – which also part of my point with this blog post).

Meanwhile, Seventy five percent (75%) of these self-employed millionaires are “entrepreneurs”, and the remaining quarter are self-employed professionals like doctors and accounts.

To be sure, we have high profile billionaires in America… However most of our millionaires are the nation’s bread and butter entrepreneurs and small business owners with annual incomes averaging two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) annually.

These are overwhelmingly self-made individuals, by-and-large founders and proprietors of prosaic businesses that might include: welding contractors, auctioneers, rice farmers, owners of mobile-home parks, pest controllers, coin and stamp dealers, paving contractors, etc.

For additional points of reference consider an other post of mine: Entrepreneurs, Intrapreneurs, and them Corporate Fellas.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

So… I don’t know how many of you use LinkedIN. As it turns out, I do. And, we average two new clients a month that we can directly attribute to the business network. So, I’ll take the position it’s worth the fifty dollars we pay for the extra inMail capability.

Recently I was looking for a Subject Matter Expert (“SME”), and I found a good one on LinkedIN. But, my inMail went unanswered for several weeks until his wife, who was rummaging around on his laptop, and just happened to stumble upon the link herself, advised me that her husband was deceased. That all struck me as a bit creepy. So… It’s rather unsettling to realize that, over the course of time, more and more profiles will be a lingering memory of people that are deceased. So… You can really see dead people on LinkedIN.

In the cases of the lonely or unattached, who would know to remove the profile? Who will police that?

By the way… I was meeting with a gen-something (who really cares?) upon the request of a friend (it was his son). The young lad was twenty three and a recent graduate of Georgia. He confidently advised me that he was a social media expert (seriously). When I inquired about business context, he actually waved me off and told me that did not matter in business these days. I almost gagged on the irony (and, didn’t even need a spoon).

…oh… And, he told me LinkedIN is dead.

…he’s also unemployed, with few prospects.

…which reminds me… It’s amaz­ing how the only day most people use LinkedIN is the day they lose a job.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

so… if Barak Obama had even an inkling of how to understand business, conduct business, run a business, or what business means, I suspect he’d find himself on the Microsoft Board of Directors. Obama and Gates could then give each other insight as to how best to point fingers at, well, everyone else for their short-falls. remember, Gates stole his original idea from Steve Jobs, and Obama just short-“changed” everyone else.

I’ve always been a bit surprised that the Obama’s didn’t name their dog “Thomas Jefferson”, because Obama always seems determined to kick that legacy to hell, and daily.

Obama is mostly focused on just trying to stay in government. his actions are centric to keeping his job as opposed to doing his job. and, that makes him look like Microsoft which is surrounded by lawsuits for all manner of diabolical and insidious behavior.

we’ve, collectively, taken stock of Obama; we want none of it; and, it’s probably a good thing if you don’t own any of Microsoft’s.

by the way… it’s pretty clear to me he is following the example set by Tony Blair and positioning himself for a United Nations post after his (hopefully short) tour of duty through (as in burning) the Oval Office. he could then go back to his roots and act like he’s king-of-the-world.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

just a quick thought – and, a few observations; followed by opinions, around “networks”, and related words.

why did I use quote (“”) marks around the word: “networks”, you ask? admit, it hundreds of you did ask yourselves, collectively, what I was up to as you paused upon that provocative word. well… it’s due, in part, to the fact that it happens to be an idiomatic utterance with many applications and meanings – a vital element (there’s another one) to the richness of our our English language. and, there begins the approach to my point.

I’m seeing weakness in the broad application of most things associated with some type of network.

to wit:

it can be argued that television programming, as offered by the communication networks, is weak and uninspired. example: Joanne made me watch Grays Anatomy and Private Practice – so, my point is made, there (note: Addison is both a bitch, and pointless).

most of your social and business-oriented networks are also of highly questionable value. daily I hear people say they rely on their networks for job leads, business leads and financing leads. but, they end up feeling like Custer requesting reinforcements at the Little Big Horn.

AT&T’s network has gotten so awful that I abandoned the iPhone  for Sprint and the EVO 4G (interestingly, this did launch me down the path of exploring all things Android, then open-source [so…Linux {Ubuntu} operating systems, and even Windows).

broadly, the word “shallow” comes to mind when I think of “networks”.

maybe some good news is much of these offenses can be resolved by internal “accountability”.

we can easily turn-off the television and speak to one another (no mean feat when I’m competing with Private Practice. but, a worthy effort nonetheless). we can help one another better by being more clear about what we actually need and can do for, and within, our social and business networks. we all really do want to help one another. we just need to understand how. so, being responsible for being less casual, and more focused, is a good direction (this will make us more productive [and less self-entitled] workers, by the way. we can get there by watching less television, to start. then use a cellular service (fewer daily, actually use land-lines any more) that work (this is also a way to hold the service providers accountable) and engage in meaningful exchanges of information, that include dialogue (hint: email and text less, please).

so… ironically, we look to our “networks” to bind (there is an example of a word that is both multi-useful and juxtapositional [look it up]) ourselves together. but, that system has broken down, regardless of the words application. in a period of time when hiring, for example, is now more “mission-specific” than ever – which means we have to be clear, concise and relevant in what we do for a paycheck. the Laws of Natural Selection are going to play a vital role in what happens next. so, we need to communicate, and really (also consider genuinely because it’s so apropos) want to help one another.

me? I’m using the word: “connected”. some how I’ll sort out a way to integrate virtu into that so accountability and responsibility are the baring points. and, all I ask is that you join me in creating that “daisy-chain” that makes life as meaningful as possible.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

I’m keenly aware of the fact that many of you are never certain what you’re going to get when you access my blog. You’re numbers continue to grow, so I am reasonably certain you should be rewarded with some insider-like information that will help you make all manner of informed decisions, today to be sure.

As a preamble I’ll begin with:

The word is already spreading… Altough I remain a hearty and ferocious Apple evangelist, I recently picked-up an HP all-in-one touchscreen PC. Although I’m freely going to admit that Windows 7 is more “mac-like” than ever; but, still sucks in comparison, I’ll be running LINUX on it (Ubuntu, to be precise).  But, a key element, to all of this, is that Google’s unique Operating System, Android, is a very lean LINUX (UNIX actually), open-source architecture. Ironically, that finds it following Apple, again – but also explains, in part, the early and productive alliance between Apple (whom leads the way) and Google that acquires the way. Just to be clear, the Apple OS, found on all their hardware, is UNIX-based. So, something big is on the horizon. I’m aware of it. And, I’m going to be ready.

Meanwhile…

He never quite grasped my intentions, but when I bought Nicholas Johnson a NexusOne (aptly named “the Google Phone”) during his short stint with us it was because we, my own collective “we”, had determined that Google was going after Microsoft. Although I have direct access to decision-makers there, discretion is called for, and, I needed to learn about, and observe, all things Google from an outsiders perspective.

I was looking for less passion and more insightful research from Nicholas. In fact, I recently emailed him the following: “Don’t rush in. Wait to champion something until you have more facts than passion. If I’ve tried to teach you anything, that would be it’s foundation.”

Mind you, I have a lot of high expectations for Nicholas, and remain quite hopeful. He is earnest and deserving of a break. I had a few of my own at the hands of better men than myself, to be sure.

Then, as we warm to our primary topic, I’ll offer a quick side note; and, this based upon additional generational perspective:

Google likely seems a, if not, the, company to bet on. But, likely, more so for reasons unfathomable by most people. I’ll point out that many people under forty have a skewed view of Google. They think Google represents “money”, “affluence”, “promise”, “power through influence”, and “innovation” – all a chest thumping demonstration of youth and promise. But, although working at Google is generally believed to be cool, most people that show up there do so at far below tech-industry wage. And, the stock will create little wealth now for employees. So…why slavery is cool I can’t comprehend myself. But, I bought stock Google early. So, they all “work” for me and my own “devices”, anyway. And, that is less so a side note, and an important point, I’ll make as we proceed.

In any event, here comes the good stuff (I’ll suggest you use a highlighter):

Oddly, people aren’t talking enough about the quiet-yet-epic battle being waged between Google and Microsoft. You should know that I believe Apple is creating “white noise” to distract everyone with its unimportant riff with Adobe to discreetly help Google. Consider this… Stop and think about Microsoft’s recent discussions around the acquisition of Adobe as the pieces come together for you, here.

You should expect that the insidious “they” are monitoring this escalating activity because it portends both the downfall of Microsoft, and a terrific short (stock) opportunity for the bold and fearless. As Monday ebbed, shares of Microsoft gained 3 cents to $24.60 on the clearly unspectacular news that it’s Windows 7 Operating System was launching with a series of handsets through AT&T. This is just a reminder that I’ve recently dumped my iPhone because AT&T’s infrastructure is so over loaded that services has become horrific. I’m now thoroughly enjoying my HTC EVO 4G phone through Sprint, thank you. And, the Microsoft handsets look like the Zune for crying-out-loud. So, this piece of news is oh so apropos to this post.

For Microsoft, the new devices represent one step in an uphill struggle. In the most recent quarter, the company’s existing cell phone software accounted for just five percent (5%) of the worldwide (for all you Androids chest-thumping over North American exposure) smart phone market. That compares with forty one percent (41%) for Nokia’s Symbian system, eighteen percent (18%) for Research in Motion’s BlackBerry phones, seventeen percent (17%) for Android, and 14 fourteen percent (14%) for the iPhone.

On another side note… My investors made a fortune buying and owning Microsoft stock through the 90’s. That’s a whole ‘nother story. And, it’s a good one. But, for the purpose of this blog post, suffice it to say, that I hated (I understand that is strong language – especially from an earthly father that teaches his own children to hate nothing) Microsoft for Gates’ stealing Jobs’ (Apple) operating system for Windows. But, I also understood that I could use that effort for my own agenda. So, I did. And, with grim satisfaction because Microsoft is evil. Possibly as evil as Obama. But, that later, and in other posts.

You probably aren’t aware of it but Google has been slowly, but surely, displacing Microsoft as the number PC technology company (Apple, if you care about innovation and shareholder value – and, as an Apple shareholder, I do, is the number one overall technology company). They’ve  done it by clever misdirection. I’ll submit that Google is very similar to Microsoft in that it actually develops very little from scratch. So, “innovation” is not a word I’ll assign to Google. They acquire great technology in the form of applications and tools and then arguably make them better and give them life (Google more so than Microsoft ever did). That is how Microsoft (and numerous HUGE companies that reward shareholders) grew. In fact, that’s exactly what Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, did when he spotted and then acquired what is now the foundation of the Android Operating System back in 2005 (very few of you actually knew that). Larry is president of products at Google and is very good at spotting and acquiring great little companies (his co-founder Sergey Brin is the real technology guy, and something of a magician when it comes to inspiring others around him to integrate, well, a lot of things). Thusly, Andy Rubin, the uber-geek that actually invented Android now works for Google as the head of that project. So… Instead of taking Microsoft head-on in desktops, Google first consolidated their hold on Web search, and only then started moving into Web-based desktop applications (i.e. Google Docs, etc). Then, in 2008, they made their first direct strike at the desktop with the release of their own Web browser: Google Chrome. Along the way they actually emulated Apple and discouraged the Android development community from straying from the Mobile Internet Devices (MID) platform. I’ll pause here and point out that MID is Intel’s name for for mobile devices – that include the Asus netbook. It took some digging. But, we’ve sorted out that Android has two product policies in its code (again, rather Apple-like, eh). Product policies are operating system directions aimed at specific uses. The two policies are for phones and MID’s. The same, but different.

But, now, that’s changing – and, fast. In fact, Android is already a desktop operating system.

Android is, after all, a Linux operating system and it’s always been easy to move Linux from one platform to another.

In other words, Google, not just some technically adept users, is likely thinking about using Android as a desktop operating system. And, this could very well unhinge Microsoft. I don’t see Google making its desktop move very quickly though. Although thanks to Android’s already existing hardware partners in the Open Handset Alliance, Android-powered netbooks could arrive as early as spring this year. But, people might prefer a tablet, similar to the iPad. That strikes me as a more likely future. Apple continues to lead the way. And, thusly, Google will continue to prove them right. But, there are always people like me that want a huge screen in their office. So, an Android desktop is a certainty – if only because I want one.

And… It’s sitting in my office now.

There will be challenges, and as you know, I’m a pioneer for those.

Now, here is some boring information for you to ponder as we come to my ultimate point for all of this:

The primary complication (and, part of my keen interest as an investor) is the ecosystem. One important part of the ecosystem would be to have a set of well-functioning applications (an office productivity suite, for example). Google is mostly leaving applications development for Android to third parties (applications which run in the browser like Google Docs being the notable exception). Open Office is something to ponder, now. Oddly, we don’t see enough of these third parties developing applications for Android netbooks in the next twelve months. But, therein lies just one of the opportunities.

From a decided authority:

“While it is true that Android’s applications are written in the JVM (Java Virtual Machine, Dalvik, instead of Linux developers’ eternal favorites, Gnu C or C++, Android already includes a set of C/C++ libraries. So, porting GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) shouldn’t be that difficult. After that’s done, bringing over OpenOffice 3.0 or the like would be trivial.

But, why bother? Google already has a host of Web-based applications that run great on Chrome.

“Compilation” is a process which needed for a machine such as a PC to be able to use an operating system and understand code. G2 developers (out of the United Kingdom) compiled Android for a regular Intel CPU (which is what the Asus netbook runs on). The G1 phone, the first commercial mobile phone that Android ran on, however used a different processor – the ARM CPU.

Taking that work as credible, I’m going to assume that compilation wouldn’t take that much time.

I envisioned Nicholas up to his elbows in this.

In any event…

Android’s Linux core makes experimental compilations possible. For example, compilations require “drivers”. Drivers are programs which are needed to communicate an operating system like Android with various computer hardware. There are already a lot of Linux drivers, and Linux is able to run on a lot of different computer architectures. As I hinted to above, we are close to having my HP Touchscreen running Linux. Otherwise we’d have needed to build our drivers from scratch.

Based on the progress we see in the Android open source project, we believe that getting an Android desktop to market is feasible under three months. And, the manufacturer will likely be Chinese, and out of Shenzen. Of course, the timing depends as much on decisions by the partners in Google’s OHA alliance and other developers contributing to Android, as it does on Google itself. It is these partners, including device makers and carriers, who decide how and when to adopt Android for different devices and markets. But, that adoption is exploding!

Apparently, mass production of the desktop, tablet or netbook would be possible under nine months. Do it! However, as we evaluate the progress of the various OHA projects, we expect conditions for a mass-market to ripen in 2011, rather than in 2010 (especially with what’s looming on the commercial real estate horizon – more about that in two weeks). Right now a variety a of OHA members, both announced and, perhaps more importantly, unannounced (“we” sometimes refer to them affectionately as “they” of a kind), are working on “special projects” to set up a sufficient ecosystem.

If you couldn’t follow all, or enough, of this. Or, just want the life-changing elements – try and grasp this:

I’ll (and, legion will help me) make sure Apple sets the standard as a quality benchmark that Google will continue to value up. As a shareholder focused on wealth building that makes perfect sense. Then, I’ll leverage that to fund and enable my ultimate mission of vengeance against Microsoft. I own all three stocks, and using the first two to unhinge the third is going to be a nice, long, smooth and deeply gratifying process. This is, after all, an epic story based on good vs. evil (the promise being no evil shall be realized, eh). And, its been a blast to be in the midst of all of it, with the promise of so many more adventures to follow.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

I’m thinking it was either early  2001 or 2002 when David Gardner, the co-founder of The Motley Fool, and I were hanging out here in Atlanta in a local hotel bar pondering optimistic investment options, when it dawned on me how technology is, and will remain, a two-edged sword.

Between the two of us we had six gadgets scattered across a small table that included bulky cellular telephones, Personal Digital Assistants (PDA’s), and one pager (his, not mine), and a camera (again, his not mine). Since, statistically, the odds are good you are reading this blog, and you are at least thirty four years of age, you are probably thinking back with the vision of a similar array of your own.

I was telling David how one of my investors (think Palm Pilot and then PalmOne) that I was coaching and a company I was recruiting for called Handspring had collaborated around the Handspring Vizor devices (that, as you might know, then evolved into the Treo line of products) working with a cellular company to form (what is now) a “smart phone”. The Handspring was a PDA that you could now also use as a phone using a Sprint snap-on module (and, yes, I was an early adopter)! So, you had the least amount of “stuff” you needed to do a lot of business on the fly. By the way… The Handspring  and Palm collaboration realized one of the first efforts to utilize USB connectivity for synchronization, and worked brilliantly with the Macintosh operating system out-of-the-box.

I was pondering my gadgets when I looked at him and asked:

“Do you think all this technology simplifies your life and business, or creates more stress and confusion?”

That was another of my “Forrest Gump” moments as we subsequently witnessed that Motley Fool take a lead in driving a great deal of attention around convergence and mobile technology platforms.

With the advent of Apple’s iPad (and, obviously the iPhone) maybe the answer to my question today is: “as complicated as you prefer”.

I think Nicholas Johnson would appreciate that because he likes to fidget and tweak stuff, in the spirit of all things Windows and Google. He is also apparently offended by things “that just work (a la Apple).

And, this will bring me around to what is currently a continued bastion of confusion – the PC (to be sure all computers are, essentially “PC’s” – some are just more PC, or useful, or work, for that matter, than others) – all of them aspiring to be compared to an Apples.

I have an iPhone and I’ve owned hundreds of computers (mostly Apples).

Here is another question in this time of economic uncertainty, continued efforts around convergence, mobility and the unending quest for what the real “truth” is, any where:

“are computers portals to chaos or confusion?”

Today, if you are under forty years of age, and asked a question, you will almost always go to Google.com for the answer. And, this might be where we realize the true cost of chaos. There is an old rule that allows: “if it’s in writing, it must be true”. Print is a powerful tool or weapon – and, misinformation can be the result.

Picture the twenty five year old “techie”, all-sophomoric, to be sure, at a cocktail party when they get challenged with a great question. The first thing they’ll do is whip out their Treo (well… maybe not) or Android device, fire up Firefox and google the question. Whether the information they find is accurate or not, it will often be touted as gospel and spread like wild-fire.

Think about it… If you Google a topic, most of what you read as a result is from blogs (sic), websites designed to influence thinking, white papers based on uncertain facts, “chat” responses posted on written articles of uncertain origin, etc. Other sources of information those which you find on MSN that can include media-hyped head-lines about the stock market and other economic reporting that is rarely based in fact. And, this is what forms our thinking and opinions daily. Wikipedia might have some credibility due to its community-based self-regulation that suggests some integrity from the intellectual community. But, how do you know if you don’t balance the information against information possibly found in a library or research facility.

I studied Social History (not a widely promulgated course-of-study, and some what “unofficial”) – or why things happened at Radford University and through other programs most of you won’t have access too. And, that has helped form my super powers perspective and position as a heterodox and contrarian. For example, if I read about a certain stock on a blog or through an oped, I know how to verify the information – and, first via skepticism. I focus on what most people don’t realize what they don’t know.

I also ask a lot of questions and always cross-reference. And, that is where I’ll end this piece and hope you pass this on as both a historical perspective of reference, and a warning around how to absorb knowledge, form your own super powers for good use, and be part of the solution, and not the problem.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

what’s all this about?

I can’t explain what that damn tree means - or, if it might stand for something.

However, here I do discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman.

brian cork by John Campbell

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about this particular Theme:

I'll warn you now that Tarski is theme of this blog created by Benedict Eastaugh and Chris Sternal-Johnson. It is named for the logician Alfred Tarski. I'll recommend his papers ‘The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages’ and ‘On the Concept of Logical Consequence’, both of which can be found in the collection Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics.