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The main purpose of a political party is to get its members elected to office and then push specific objectives that follow a sustained line-of-thinking.

Although our current president (I used small caps, purposefully) Barack Obama, is clearly more interested in staying in office for the sake of just being in office. He is apparently in mortal fear, now, of being ousted after a single term – an ultimate form of humiliation suffered by tense denizens of the Oval Office (see the hapless Jimmy Carter). This is the only reason he petulantly gave up his efforts to over-tax the wealthy (under his own earthly father’s vision). But, let’s all of us, collectively, firm up our satisfaction in knowing the fellow and his government whore group have been routed (as in seriously ass-kicked).

Meanwhile… Parties are, otherwise,  made up of people who have the same general idea and goals about governing. Once in power, the purpose of the Party is to accomplish its goals for the city, state, or nation. While not in power, the Party acts as the “loyal opposition” until it can elect a majority of its members to power.

Look for Obama to devolve into a form of petulant terrorist if he finds himself wobbling towards lame-duck status under eight years. I’m currently of the belief that he thinks wealthy people, not of his design, don’t deserve their status, and need their assets reallocated to fuel his ideals. More on this later. However, we need to be ready. That’s both the Heterodox and Jeffersonian in me – as well as the Prudent and Optimistic Gentleman.

To be clear… The Founding Fathers disliked political parties, calling them “factions” motivated by self interest.

Historical footnote: Then President, George Washington, was so disturbed over the quarreling between Hamilton (Federalists) and Jefferson (anti-Federalists) that he famously devoted much of his Farewell Address to the evils of parties. You need to understand that the people who supported Hamilton and Adams were called Federalists (ironically supporters of the Constitution) but they were not, in fact, an organized political party.

The first recognized party in America was made up of the followers of Jefferson, who, starting in the 1790s, called themselves Republicans (or, I love this, Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans). Hamilton and those who opposed Jefferson, kept the name Federalist and appeared to be content with a form of rabble-rousing.

Let’s be clear, Jefferson’s Republican Party has no ties to the current Republican Party. In fact, the current Democratic Party considers Jefferson and Andrew Jackson as the founders of their party. But, somehow, after Bill Clinton, the Democratic party forgot that they are public servants, and appear more intent on creating an environment that serves their own miserable means.

More later. Read between the lines. Talk amongst yourselves. Care.

There might be the gnashing of teeth. Possibly the shaking of fists. Certainly voices will be raised.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

It’s been a rather long, tumultuous, and educational experiential journey refamiliarizing myself with the PC (as opposed to Apples), Windows – by way of the Android Operating System – and technology in the form of upheaval; the kind that requires and creates change. “Experiential” is an interesting word for the purposes of this post. The word derives it’s meaning from a learning process at the feet of old philosophers, yet it’s also apropos to a dedicated process of learning something new by, essentially, immersion. And, here we are…

Along the way, I find myself constantly reminded that we’ve become terribly reliant upon the internet for information with it being the uncertain arbiter of truth.

So… It’s become my view that the Internet, or any technology can not, will not, and should not act as a proxy to achieve the dreams and social goals we lack the courage to propose, debate, and legislate.

Thusly, I stand firm the Jeffersonian and Heterodox.

And, not often enough, we’ve discussed what being Jeffersonian means, on this Blog. However, today I’ll add some thought around what it does not mean. There will most certainly be the shaking of fists – and, furiously, that. Possibly the gnashing of teeth. Heated words, to be sure. The portent of change, inevitable.

NOTE: Don’t be overly concerned if you are reading this and come to a bound conclusion that you’ve waded, possibly unsuspecting, into my thinking mid-stream. We must all begin somewhere, and it’s how we finish, and that likely, counts for the most.

In any event, I’ll offer this abstract to maneuver you along:

It is often claimed that Internet technology will revolutionize society by privileging the small and benefiting the individual. We term the utopian tendency to hail a new communication technology as an inherently positive, decentralizing, and democratic force. In a manner of speaking this might be referred to as an example of the: “the Jeffersonian syndrome (named in honor of my hero so often appropriated to identify the decentralized, democratic outcome – the predicted triumph of the many over the few).”

It’s not just me, mind you. Others started it…

“Life in cyberspace seems to be shaping up exactly like Thomas Jefferson would have wanted: founded on the primacy of individual liberty and a commitment to pluralism, diversity, and community” (Kapor, 1993).

And,

“…the social liberalism of New Left and the economic liberalism of New Right have converged into an ambiguous dream of a hi-tech ‘Jeffersonian democracy’. Interpreted generously, this retro-futurism could be a vision of a cybernetic frontier where hi-tech artisans discover their individual self-fulfillment in either the electronic agora or the electronic marketplace” (Barbrook & Cameron, 1998).

Huh? “agora”?

Social critics dislike paucity. For example, society (that collective you), they (the social critics) complain, suffers when there are too few firms in a market, too few political choices, or too little communication. Small numbers of firms coordinate actions to stifle entry and innovation, largely at the expense of consumers. Concentration at the most extreme results in rapacious monopolies that produce inferior products at high prices. Likewise, a small number of political parties limit voter choice, stifle policy change, and produce voter apathy and special interest politics. Society would clearly be better served, so the critics argue, by greater political choice and the accompanying increased voter participation. Too little communication is also bad for society, as limited communication precludes understanding, diversity, and community.

Weep not for the minority, although, it is that collective “they” that hold most of the power, and the wealth, under many definitions, that is part of it.

Social critics often place their hopes in technology to erode the dominance of the few and foster diversity. Many view the internet as a liberating technology. Indeed, they embrace the internet as subversive, a technology that will pry power away from the few – tyrants, censors, robber barons and phone monopolies (let’s not forget Obama, Obamacrats, and that insidious media) and return it to the people. The internet, so the critics claim, will usher in a new era of perfect market competition, more direct democracy, and greater community-building (cf. Dyson, 1997). Ultimately, it will undermine the dominant few in many segments of society, and usher in a more democratic and heterogeneous political and economic system.  A system that will produce infinite consumer choice in the marketplace, deliver true democracy in the political realm, and provide unlimited and enhanced communication in the cultural realm.

This view leads to fallacious expectations about the impact of technology. And, these misguided expectations are cyclic and predictable. Corollary to this might be  a brief historical discussion of earlier communication technologies. Jeffersonian claims about the Internet are rebutted by the three propositions:

1.  New technologies do not operate in isolation from existing organizations and systems;

2.  Valuable information is never cheap; and,

3.  The economics of information markets imply concentrated structures.

And, so… The Internets non-Jeffersonian impact on economic, political, and community structures is discussed using three cases:

1.  The online market for books;

2.  The claims made about direct democracy; and,

3.  And, political parties, and the hopes for computer- mediated communities.

It’s not that I wish to promote an opposite, dystopian perspective, nor do I consider the Internet impotent in terms of societal change.

Instead, I wish to call attention to the Jeffersonian-esque view of technology as a very predictable mis-perception that is a waste of our energies.

First, as a society we must, in reasoned deliberation, conclude that we are in need of one or more of the goals we have discussed here; be it less concentrated markets, greater economic efficiency, more direct democracy, a more decentralized political system, or more participatory and emancipatory communities.

Second, after a rational analysis of our goal and the changes needed in the social, political, and economic domains to approach it (addressing also the question of if and how “the” internet has the potential to aid us in these ends).

Third, and perhaps finally, we need to advance that goal through policy.

The hype surrounding technology is also predictably old: the introduction of the PC ushered in the “PC revolution” quite simply because many analysts expected the technology to usher in just that – a revolution (a revolution of what and how the revolution was to happen was never quite specified). The hype and bluster of the internet and in particular electronic markets is thus just yet another round of new technologies and anticipated revolutions.

Think in terms of what the catapult meant to war nine hundred years ago.

These technologies have had, and may yet have, a broad range of important and far-reaching implications. The question on the table is whether these technologies will deliver on the promised Jeffersonian expectations of decentralization and democratization, or whether this revolution will yet again fail to materialize. As I’ll struggle, here, in my own inarticulate manner, to have made clear, the weight of history leads us to doubt, the present conditions in electronic commerce lead us to doubt, the claims made about direct democracy lead us to doubt, and the idolatry of the computer-mediated community lead us to doubt.

This makes me perhaps not fearful, but certainly watchful of the idyllic, sophomoric generation that sees computers and the internet as the “easy button”.

While this post has approached these domains largely using an economic perspective, I’ll grimly suspect that judicious analysis from other perspectives would also cast the Jeffersonian expectation in an unflattering light. But, stay focused on me. But, as my own Mother expounded: Question everything, and accept nothing until the truth of the day is best known.

Where the drive of the heterodox crosses paths with the passion and intellectual nuance of the Jeffersonian, you’ll find that truth in the light of the seeking heart.

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

follow me boys. it’s glory or death, then.

dramatic words, to be sure.

however, we’re realizing another period in our nations history where drama and action are relevant and required. Aubrey Nelson said it first (as far as I know), but Neal Boortz repeated it – and, with great emphasis. We may well be facing the single greatest challenge to our country since the Civil War. mind you, war has a unique way of catapulting a society to another level. that can be a higher level, or a lower level.

I don’t know if shots will be fired, other than from debating floor. but, I’m convinced that change needs to be the result.

our national deficit, which means debt, may be creeping towards unprecedented levels. back when England, France and Spain were much younger as nations they also owed a lot of money so they set out to discover new territories. we may not have that option, other than Mexico. more on that later, but annexing Mexico makes a lot of economic and strategic sense.

England has committed to reducing government spending by twenty-five percent (25%) until their deficit is “manageable”. trust me, they mean it. and, few people can knuckle down better than the English. I’m married to one of them. the French on the other hand are rioting in the streets. I don’t know if it’s because they have embraced a Muslim culture, or if it’s because they can’t survive, as a people, without direct government distribution of broader fiscal management.

historically, our own (more) direct ancestors faced some tough decisions and then challenges in terms of whom they might follow – the English and/ or the French.

by the way… the French are not as self-entitled as our media would have you think. it’s mostly that they have become dependent on a government that tells it’s people what to do as opposed to leading by example.

as it turned out, from the historical rear-view mirror, we learned vital lessons from both and followed our own destiny. now Barack Obama and his total lack of both business acumen and disregard for anything other than his personal desire to stay in power, threaten everything that a Capitalist-oriented nation with appropriate oversight and checks and balances should stand for.

broad statements, I know. and, the debate, with salient details, will take better form elsewhere.

but, the question, here, is whom shall we follow? England or France?

lessons both learned and taught from my own experience with standing armies, and in business, is if you don’t like what is happening you change the rules, or you change the circumstances. so, perhaps I run the risk of being called a dissident or a heretic – depending on your historical perspective – and, think like the English or the French. but, we must needs realize change.

so… getting back to that drama… it really might be about glory or death. I am a patriot. I am also an influencer. and, I think first, and foremost like a Jeffersonian and the heterodox. let’s go ahead and toss in some Ayn Rand for good measure. Barack Obama would fear, and also hate, both of them – just like Golem despised the light (Lord of the Rings). fight the evil. let’s not be like the French and allow an insidious and ill-conceived agenda inspire rot in our culture that will disallow our children to realize what this nation was founded upon, and can be yet, in terms of a global beacon of truth and light.

I have a torch, in hand. and, I’m lighting it here. follow me boys. it’s glory, or death.

more later.

meanwhile, lets listen to “its the end of the world, as we know it” by REM (this tune never had a dedicated music video of it’s own. but, this offering is relatively apropos.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

Apparently “the” Democrats believe “change” will carry them through elections. I guess it’s all about the (new) slogan and logo. New, in this case, is just sort of different. Maybe it’s just not so bad as the worst case. So, let’s talk about some “change that matters”, and this according to a relentless revision of Obamacrat, I mean Democrat marketing, I mean doctrine.

This might not be exactly how Rush Limbaugh might phrase things… However, here are some examples of the changes that the Obama administration and the Democrats have inspired to certain lexicon:

1.   The War on Terror became an: “Overseas Contingency Operation.”

2.   Welfare checks became: “tax cuts.”

3.   Illegal immigrants became: “undocumented workers.”

4.   Economic stimulus became: “investments.”

5.   Global warming became: “climate change.”

6.   Watch this one very carefully. The Bush tax cuts became: “the Obama tax cuts for the middle class.”

7.   Freedom of speech became: “hate speech.” Especially if it’s considered a slight against the Obamacrats.

8.   Protecting our borders became: “racist.”

9.   The financial sector became: “greedy Wall Street fat cats.”

10.  Unions became: “struggling middle class Americans.”

I don’t have an issue with the theory behind the Democratic party. Thomas Jefferson, himself, had the balance-of-power and checks-and-balance system in mind when he helped create the Constitution, aftar all. However, they can change how words work in certain combinations (I hint at this in another post that is apropos, here entitled: situational awareness) all they (or, is it “they’d”?) like, but the fact is that the too many solutions promised by (more so Obamacrats, and less so Democrats) haven’t created reasonable change. Thought Leaders are right when they argue there is an enthusiasm gap between Democrats and their voters (and, yes, I discussed that in my post: it’s Civil War, then), but a new website and logo isn’t the solution they were likely looking for.

Let’s be part of the solution. Pick up the phone (I’ll be using my EVO 4G on the Sprint network, thank you), dial your representative, and call for policies that encourage the private sector to grow and maintain jobs, for example. I understand the double-dip recession fears are abating. But, that’s due to the fact that corporate debt default is now below four percent (4%) and middle-sized companies are selling products to larger companies (more on that later). But, perhaps they should have spent a little more time designing that particular roadmap and a little less time designing a website. Especially when the looming tax code revisions cool-off small and middle-sized company growth, spending and hiring (a lot more on that sooner).

When coaching my Shockers I try to inspire them with messages like: “If you are going to a thing, why not always give it your best? This includes using your super powers for good”. It’s not unfair asking our government leadership to take up the same thinking. And, then they also get to lead by example, and inspire the next generation of leaders – just like Thomas Jefferson envisioned.

Look… We’ll discuss my running for Governor later than sooner. Just be ready.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

I starting offering my views and opinons around a certain pistol packin pastor just yesterday.

I can’t condone the burning of any book (or, “Word Windows” as we’ve often referred to them since Haley Anne was four years old).

In any event, this story just gets worse.

In Pakistan, about 200 lawyers and civil society members marched and burned a U.S. flag in the central Pakistani city of Multan, demanding that Washington halt the burning of the Muslim holy book.

So… They burned a, if not the, symbol of our country to some how make a point that we should not burn their holy book.

It’s bad enough that this celebrity-seeking-pentacostal-point-pounding-pistol-packin-preacher /1 is willfully stirring the pot and maliciously putting people in harms way. He has scienter, no less. But, now we have the FBI visiting his Gainesville-based church. Although we don’t know what’s being said, there, we can suspect the picadell0-postulating-preacher is being warned. So, this means our own government is getting “heavy” and possibly impeding an element of our own Constitution that’s related to Free Speech.

What? There’s more?

To be sure. Just read on. Do it now!

Gainesville police will already be dealing with some ninety thousand (90,000) football fans Saturday, as the book (that shall not be named, but is often misspelled as Koran) and even more tailgaters for the Florida-South Florida game.

Gainesville Mayor Craig Lowe has publicly condemned the church’s plans and asked residents to watch for “suspicious behavior” (apprently other than pastors packin heat and FBI agents crawlin’ about asking questions of “persons of interest”). At least one counter-protest was planned by a University of Florida student group.

So… Now you’ll have people in, or from trailers, getting involved.

City officials were increasing security, but wouldn’t go into detail about how many extra officers will be used, saying only that they were coordinating with other cities and “tallying expenses”.

“We are sending a bill for services to the Dove World Outreach Center. We’re tracking our costs,” said city spokesman Bob Woods. “I’m sure the cost will be substantial.”

isn’t that, well…. like a threat?

I mean, despite the fact that the Florida football game might be affected, does anyone see an ugly pattern here?

I’ll offer a hint: The terrorists are winning again because we are being as ugly as they are.

Allow me to be clear… I’d feel justified if we sent in a Special Ops team to take-out those protestors that burned our flag. But, otherwise, this pastor is an example of distorted material values, our own constitutionally-formed government feels so powerless that we need to use intimidation instead of mediation, a real important football game is pulled from the lime-light, and city officials are threatening punitive measures if a lone citizen refuses to bow to an uncertain civil rule or opinion.

Thomas Jefferson must be spinning so fast in his grave the earth may well depart from it’s axis.

Isn’t that what the Talibahn does while, ironically, pointing to the the Qu’ran for interpretation and  justification?

It blows my mind that we end up making this lunatic preacher who should be standing on a New York cross-street look like he could be right, after all.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

1/ Understanding what being Pentacostal means might help explain naught a few things.

Nicholas Johnson is often found in-and-amongst the companies I’m working with to change the world. I’m not clear what it is he is doing most days. But, some times he’ll haull-off and come up with a pearl worth sharing. For example, in a recent meeting with an uncertain conclusion, he announced the existence of an on-line service called www. billfloat.com. Apparently if you need to pay a utility bill, for example (and entrepreneurs, just like most people, do that) you can convince this shadowy organization to pay your bill up to thirty days in advance for a transaction fee of a mere five dollars. All you need is a viable bank account and the best hopes of the funds being in it by a later, albeit pre-determined, date.

This is different.

Voila!

I feel billfloat is an example of: “being part of the solution, and not the problem”. Five dollars is a reasonable fee for a greater peace of mind. Obviously living paycheck-to-paycheck is living on the veritable edge. But, that is the reality for a growing segment of our national population. Here, someone clearly came up with a solution that is not, in my hardly humble opinion, userous like many of those strip-mall situated paycheck loan (shark) services.

Or, the current banking system, for that matter.

I’m often asked something along the lines of, “If you weren’t running your current business (this is assuming they understand what it is I do), what would you work on, or be doing?”

There’s not a single answer to this question; it can change day-to-day. As I’ve stated on this blog, and through a great deal of public speaking, I could never have planned or anticipated my own career-path. But, in light of our global economic situation, and Johnson’s research, I think if you asked me today, I’d say I would like to start a bank.

There are very few people who really love their bank. I use a private bank and this means I don’t have to suffer the same inconveniences realized by most folk. For example, many are dealing with overage fees that stack up, misleading fine print, and a general malaise born of an apathetic sense of fatalism. However, there’s a unique opportunity in that mainstream contempt for financial institutions. And, concurrent with this is an incredible amount of government backing that essentially makes it a no-risk environment. People are simply hungry for anything different, something contrarian.

A David to the Goliath banking industry. If you will, something heterodoxal. This is where I often realize my best potential and opportunity.

The name of my bank would be something supremely boring, like SmartBank or bank on brian (In my businesses, I typically use small caps for my name because it’s not about me, it’s about what I do). The idea behind it is that bad behaviour in the banking – which is in truth, aligned with Wall Street – world has been largely inevitable because their compensation structures incented people to do overly risky things. the Bank of brian would maintain a reserve level 2-3x higher than Federal requirements, and any other bank. I’ll aspire to World Bank status as well and align myself with European protocols (have you bothered to wonder why the US doesn’t have any World Banks?). Bank of brian would have no bonuses unless goals such as preserving mortgages were met or exceeded and loans made to emerging culture companies based on best practices, carefully monitored milestones and accountability proliferated. I suspect critics would say this would make it impossible to attract top-shelf talent. But, every time the bank gets attacked we’d turn it into an advertising opportunity to emphasize why we’re different.

To wit:

“We can’t attract top-shelf talent? Go on…We take your money and put it in a vault. We don’t need the million-dollar bonus geniuses on Wall Street to do that. SmartBank. Bank, smart.”, would say I.

Bank on brian.

In fact, the first few years of SmartBank would be largely focused on acquisition through every trick in the book. At the very beginning pull a Gmail/WordPress.com strategy ,and make it invitation-only. I’m confident this will create a buzz and also allow you to give amazing white-glove service to the initial customers that want to catch that glassy-fronted wave, who will in turn tell their friends and create a tsunami. That’s called “viral” marketing and that always works when people like what they see and experience. Ironically that would represent a novel experience with banking today where the objective appears to be lining the pockets of bankers while stripping down customers. You can also target certain profitable segments and ultra-safe depositors at first, like Gmail users in San Francisco (using Firefox with an ad-blocker) who make six figures a year. There would be only one style of checks and debit cards and they’d have a distinctive design so if you saw one you’d say, “What’s that?” a-la the American Express Black or Plum card (I have both and everyone’s follow them through every transaction) products which would then start the whole conversation again about how SmartBank is different.

For the first two years you could also do things like not allow accounts larger than the FDIC-insured limit. No one has ever heard of a bank turning away money (unless you, ironically, have poor credit). But, you’d say that although everything SmartBank does is risk-free, it’s still a startup, and if people have more than the insured limit (today it’s 250k for single and 500k for couples) in an account, they should put the extra somewhere else. Again, statistically (and, those types of numbers in the right hands [like my own] never lie) this will impact a very low percentage of customers… And, everyone; everyone, I say, will think it’s naught less than remarkable. This tactical growth can be phased out after a few years; in fact, it would be yet another PR opportunity:

“We’ve been in business now long enough that we feel comfortable with larger accounts.” Boom, free coverage.

I’m not defined as a “tech guy”, but I am more often identified with successful technology, and the associated leadership. So, of course a lot of focus would be on the Bank of brian website. Imagine, if you will, something along the lines of an old-time vintage design aesthetic combined with a Google-like (web 2.0?) simplicity and attention to speed. All logins would be two-factor, with the default being SMS’d  to you with a one-time code to log in when you gave your email address (Just so we’re clear, I’ve given this a lot of thought, for good reason, done my home work, and already using consultants). A significant part of the website would be the blog. It would have a strong Ben Franklin-like common sense voice, with a Thomas Jefferson oriented pragmatic tone with a few cool savings or home management tips each week. And, in-line with my own cultural architectural views, it would cover at least one financial industry story a day that was relevant to historical examples alined with current events for perspective.

For example:

“Bank of America spent forty million dollars on airplanes last year. We spent forty thousand to develop an iPhone application so you can check your balance from anywhere.”  (the average useful iPhone app costs $2.99.). NOTE: Not Android, at first. I say this because quality control is crucial here – and Apple defines that, while Android is working on it.

“Here’s how to block advertising when you browse the web with Firefox; it makes the web faster and less annoying.”

“So-and-so Bank’s website requires you to use Internet Explorer. We insist that you don’t because there are way cooler and faster browsers like Firefox, Opera and Safari. Here are links to those open source browsers you can switch to today.”

“Goldman Sachs just paid out sixteen billion dollars in bonuses to their employees. If we had an extra sixteen billion dollars lying around, we’d put it in the bank for a rainy day. By the way… If Goldman Sachs had never paid out bonuses they never would have needed government intervention.”

Sixty eight Million Reasons Your Bank Sucks. That’s the amount Bank of America collected last quarter in needless ATM fees.” …well, needless to customers, any way.

That’s all made up, for now. The headlines would almost write themselves, and every time a financial institution is in the news it’d be an opportunity to contrast why SmartBank is different, and what the underlying philosophy is behind why it’s different.

I’m a Social Historian. I study and consider why things happen. And, then I do something about it.

As trumpeted above, all of the marketing would be on the web and viral the verbal, or word-of-mouth part would follow (like eBay and Amazon) – because it’d be an online-only bank like ING Direct. No storefronts (brick-and-mortar) where people have to wait in line, or risk a bad interaction with a disinterested teller, or get robbed and need insurance.

To be clear…Basically, a lot of the historical risk of running a bank could be eliminated. When you sign up it would have a: “tell your friends about SmartBank” address book (like LinkedIN) feature that would connect you to them if they signed up for an account, give you both money (I should make the point that Bank of America actually does have something like this, so I have to keep thinking about it because of the karma thing), and also make it easy to send them money, PayPal-style, if they have an account.

I’ll pause here and offer that you might see a trend in my thinking… I’m picking, showcasing and reflecting products and services that appear to be working, and adopting them as my own for your benefit. This can be referred to as “best practices”. And, we need o be all-in on that.

I suspect SmartBank would make money and reward shareholders and customers alike, which just might separate it from the likes of Bank of America, for example. So… How would the Bank of brian make money and also provide terrific customer service, you ask?

I think it wouldn’t touch anything risky on the financial side. However, it would be a data company. As it turns out, data is a hot industry as evidenced by hiring and investment trends (and, I’m a subject matter expert in both areas). The first three years the focus would be entirely on customer acquisition, marketing, PR, and establishing a world-class tech team building a rock-solid infrastructure. SmartBank would likely make less money than non-customer-centric banks currently do, but it would be more than enough to build an amazing product in a sustainable way, like Craigslist did with newspaper classifieds. After a certain milestone, say one-hundred billion in deposits, I would buy or clone Mint. SmartBank would have more (and accurate) data about its customers than almost any other company in the world other than credit card companies, so the online interface would have Mint-like lead generation offers that are based on accurate information. For example, if you spend one hundred and forty dollars a month on electricity, but if you switch to this new solar provider you’d save two hundred dollars a year. Think of it like Gmail (By the way… I’ll admit to referencing Gmail, consistently in this post, to honor Nicholas Johnson and his possibly being a catalyst for much of this) contextual advertising but based on where you spend your money rather than the words in an email. There also might be aggregate data opportunities for economic research or targeting, but I’m not sure if I like, or have a firm understanding of, the privacy implications there.

SmartBank probably couldn’t, and I wouldn’t want to raise Venture Capital, or anything like it, because having any sort of exit expectations, and the predatory influence that would reflect Wall Street, would completely kill the “safety story”. Like most of my businesses today, I would want to bootstrap, and after a few years would be hugely profitable. I understand the irony in this vision coming from a felon. But, there is yet another example of my being Jeffersonian, a heterodox, and the contrarian, eh.

By the way… The existence of bank of brian would also put significant pressure on existing, more traditional, banks and the Federal Reserve,  because depositors would be leaving in droves, putting pressure on their reserve requirements. Existing banks couldn’t compete in a traditional way because they have such a sordid history of customer apathy and bad PR. SmartBank wouldn’t be trying to capture their profits, so-to-speak. However, we would reflexively be unhinging them while driving much more revenue, but in smaller amounts, but a larger end-result.I think this would end up looking something like a credit union, but for the masses.

Thanks Nicholas. And, the rest you readers can thank us both, at some point.

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

Current Quote

"Perhaps victory can be realized best when the heart changes."

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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.