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Blog Posts for July 2009

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Consumer-Driven Taxation

 

One of the benefits of buying a car with better mileage is paying less in taxes at the pump. As the government tries to push better miles per gallon, government would of course need to replace the revenue confiscatory taxation it collects at the gas pump. How to do that? Why, tax by the mile, of course!

The idea of shifting to a by-the-mile tax has been discussed for years, but it now appears to be getting more serious attention. A federal commission, after a two-year study, concluded earlier this year that the road tax was the "best path forward" to keep revenues flowing to highway and transportation projects, and could be an important new tool to help manage traffic and relieve congestion.

You [would] get a monthly tax bill based on each mile you drove - tracked by a Global Positioning System device in your car and uploaded to a billing center.

How excited might you be to let the government not only track where you drive and where you are, but then tax you directly for your miles?

Taxes tend to cause less stir when they are bundled with other costs. For example, your income is taxed before you receive it, and not afterward. Gas taxes are collected when you pay for your gas, not afterward. Sales tax is collected as part of the sale, not afterward.

If Americans really understood how much they pay in taxes - all totalled - and had to pay separately, why there might even be a rebellion. But because the taxes are collected from so many diversified sources and are generally bundled with income or expense, we don't htink much of it.

It's all hidden. Out of sight, out of mind.

Which is why by-the-mile taxation will be a tough sell. Or should be. But Obama's telling us what lightbulbs we can have now, so maybe people will mindlessly put up with this new paradigm.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/1/2009 12:22:51 PM
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Saw It Coming

 

I tried to warn people.

The impact of Obama's "Land of Make-Believe" policies continue...

Private-sector jobs in the U.S. fell 473,000 in June.
Which then leaves it to Obama to then spend "stimulus" money (your tax dollars) to provide jobs.

Which is exactly what I cartooned last fall.

I look forward to MC'ing the July 4th Des Moines Tea Party this Saturday.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/1/2009 2:03:52 PM
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Making Your Life More Expensive

 

Jerks.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/3/2009 11:44:51 AM
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Des Moines Tea Party

 

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/4/2009 5:34:56 PM
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Palin

 

After hearing of Palin stepping away from her governorship, I have to wonder if she'll be devoting her energy to creating a new political party. The GOP party elites have never done anything to support her, and the GOP isn't really committed to conservative values. Perhaps Sarah will use her own momentum among the base to give the disloyal GOP the finger and start her own movement.

If so, they had it coming. After all, they've been kinder to Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, who voted with the Democrats on TARP.

ETC: Option Two: She, Rush Limbuagh, and Mark Levin start a new news network.

MORE ETC: Whatever she does, it will be centered on this:

I am now looking ahead and how we can advance this country together with our values of less government intervention, greater energy independence, stronger national security, and much-needed fiscal restraint.
Her radar is firmly locked onto the conservative base. I wish her great success, whatever she does.

EVEN MORE ETC: Nola, one of the speakers at the Des Moines Tea Party, reminds me that it is futile for me, a guy, to try and fathom the mind of a woman.

True, so true... I should know better.

 

2 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 7/5/2009 8:12:16 AM
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247 Update

 

There are currently three "live" iterations of the 247 technology.

1) Patriot247 is humming along well. Over 140 people have created profiles at the site in the last three weeks. Four organizations are now using the site. I have commitments from four other organizations, and interest from about a dozen others. Sometime this week, I should complete the first draft of the calendar of events. Once that piece is done, I expect that interest will grow exponentially. My personal goal of having 300 people loaded into the site by the end of summer shouldn't be a problem, and my goal of 3,000 by the end of the year looks pretty realistic as well. 30,000 by the end of 2010?

2) forward247 is the non-political community volunteerism portal. I meet with a very large corporation here in Des Moines next week to discuss the use of forward247 to better manage corporate volunteerism. If corporations use the technology to manage the engagement of their employees, I think the technology will grow legs quickly.

3) IowaGROW is a demo portal for corporate recruitment. Today, I have four hours of meetings about this. Without revealing too many details, I've been in four previous meetings to help gauge interest, and those four have propelled me to these next meetings today. I believe that something will come of this - just don't know what that is yet.

Finally, I met with two people last week about the use of the technology inside large corporations as a means to better retain employees. As I've been writing this, a contact in Altanta, Georgia, is looking at this as a tool for HR. She just submitted her information into IowaGROW and based on her feedback, I'll have another meeting soon.

Lots of momentum. Let's see where it gets traction and really moves ahead.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/7/2009 10:31:48 AM
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The Enemy of My Enemy

 

One of the first things I said at the July 4th Tea Party when I opened the event is that all of us conservatives have the same goal, despite our differences. At the end of the day, we want the government out of our lives so that we can succeed - or fail - on our own.

Personally, I'm not a social conservative. I am a fiscal conservative. But I recognize that while I consider banning gay marriage to be a social injustice, it's not a grave threat to our society. Unfair? Sure. The end of America? Not even close.

What will kill America is the escalation of national debt. Most social conservatives agree with me on that front and won't vote for Obama or his allies. Gays, on the other hand, will vote for Obama - and to their eventual financial ruin. So I eagerly and gladly join with the social conservatives in this fight. I don't agree with them about everything, but they are my allies in arresting the jerk of government toward centralized control.

Despite our disagreements, there is a larger battle here. We can take up exactly what "freedom of religion" means later, once we ensure the continuity of our nation. First things first, ya know?

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/7/2009 10:55:52 AM
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Dropping

 

Gosh... how'd this happen?

Could it be his abject trust of dictators?

Could it be his disrespect for our democracy-loving allies?

Could it be that he lied about pretty much every promise he made in the campaign?

Could it be that his economic policies are hurting the economy?

Could it be that his instinct for government control and not for the protection of our individual liberty is violating our basic sense of self?

Could it be that his wife was right - she's never been proud of her country and she married a man who despises America too?

Could it be that be that talk is cheap? That America hired a novice chump whose chief talent is talking out both sides of his mouth and both ends of his body at the same time? A guy whose ivory tower experiences led him to live in his grandiose theories but that in practice they fail every time they're tried?

Yep. That happened, in part, because the media slobbers all over the guy and didn't do its job vetting the guy and informing the voters of the facts of who he was and is.

Are you done trusting the media?

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/9/2009 12:11:30 PM
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Education

 

When I make my mint, I have two items high on my to-do list:

  1. Create a private school that heavily promotes capitalist and objectivist principles.
  2. Create a media outlet that heavily promotes capitalist and objectivist principles.
Neither will be shy about the bias, which is grounded in what makes for success in business and life. Teaching children to grow to be self-reliant and entrepreneurial adults, and reporting the news from the viewpoint of the self-reliant and entrepreneurial is part of how we re-culture the country toward a sustainable future.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/13/2009 10:34:26 AM
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In Canada, A Two-to-Three Year Wait...

 

...for even getting a family doctor.

Bella, this Bud's for you.

 

17 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 7/13/2009 6:45:48 PM
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One Foot in Front of the Other...

 

Persistence. If I had to pick a single admirable characteristic about me, it is that I am the most persistent person I know.

Worked on the Add Event process in 247 tonight, which merges my development of the Everywhere Calendar technology I built a few years ago. I had to combine the interface of four screens to get this into what I hope will translate into a easy-to-use, comprehensive whole:

If you have more details to add, you can expand:

Coupled with the 247 search engine, the calendar and the volunteer connection piece make it pretty unique, I think. Therein lies part of my market differentiation. I've learned that the calendar will probably get a lot of use.

In about 9 hours, I'll be joined by two associates to give a presentation of the forward247 engine to a large company here in Des Moines. I won't be demo'ing the calendar piece. Not ready for that yet. Perhaps I'll finish it tomorrow night. While the Add Event interface is done, and mostly coded, there are some fragments that remain to be written, plus the Edit Event, which I haven't started yet. But once that's done, some minor cleanup and then lots of testing. Whew!

Glad to get this part of it done. Downhill from here :)

ETC: The meeting was fabuloso!

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/14/2009 2:25:35 AM
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Who Would Do That?

 

Imagine that your grandmother is ill, recently diagnosed with cancer. The treatment will be expensive, which she can't afford.

The obvious answer to liberals is simple: leverage the future income of her grandchildren. Take out a loan against the earnings of those schoolchildren. Burden them with all that debt. That's what nationalized health care is.

Now if the grandmother knew that her grandchildren would suffer that burden, she wouldn't allow it. But when it's money laundered through tax collection and politicians so that it's not a direct loan, well, then she's shielded from the personal responsibility of it. It's not her children, but the government.

Except that the government is funded completely by what is taken from taxpayers.

Oh, well, there are millions of taxpayers. It's pennies, at most, collected from her grandchildren for her health care.

Except that there are millions of people who would similarly rely on that system. Millions of people who add cost to that system. All totaled, it's not pennies. It's billions and trillions of dollars.

What loving and responsible person would burden children who aren't even out of school yet with that amount of debt?

The answer: not one would.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/15/2009 11:00:00 AM
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Eating My Own Dog Food

 

A guy I used to know, Matt, told me long ago that any good software developer would most benefit his application by "eating his own dog food," i.e. using his own application.

Good advice.

So to that end, I used Patriot247 to solicit folks to help me get the attention of legislators - local, state, and federal - so that we could let them know that we the people don't want all this crap they're shoveling. Some people responded to my request for help and I organized a meeting.

A few nights ago, 7 of us met.

When I first met everyone for the Des Moines Tea Party, there were maybe 10 people. That grew to become somewhere over 3,000 on April 15th. Statehouse legislators and others told us that it's a very rare day that so many people are assembled on Capitol Hill's west lawn. It started with just a handful of people, most of whom didn't know one another.

The goal with this effort is not a Tea Party/Capitol Hill attendance. It's to help gather educational information, find creative ways to get the information to people, and to organize efforts to get up in the grill of the legislators so that they 1) can easily see the numbers involved, and 2) change their mind if re-election matters to them.

So this passionate group met the other night and we're moving ahead. Weekly meetings, bringing more and more people to it. Handing out assignments and coordinating effort and working side-by-side to return our country to liberty.

Obama is an anti-American, dyed-in-the-wool socialist. That's clear. The majority of Americans are not socialists that's also clear. One will rout the other. I aim to help Americans win this battle.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/19/2009 7:16:07 AM
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Because "Free" is Never Free

 

Glad to see that someone out there is doing the math. And it's even being reported by the Gray Lady. My goodness - Obama really is entering his fall to earth.

 

1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 7/19/2009 7:41:15 PM
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Living in the Trough

 

If you look at the above graph, it shows presidential approval ratings. As you can see, with the exceptions of Bill Clinton and Gerald Ford, Barack Obama is the least popular president of the last twelve at this point in his presidency. His programs are not popular. They're not popular because they are invasive and doomed to fail, as socialism historically always has. Americans relish freedom and success, even if the media tries oh so hard to whitewash socialism. All the whitewash in the world can't erase the fact that Obama's intentions have a 100% failure rate across history.

In a recent comment thread, Bella suggested that Obamacare is merely the introduction of "a gov't competitor into the system." The problem is that Bella hasn't read page 16 of the House bill:

"Except as provided in this paragraph, the individual health insurance issuer offering such coverage does not enroll any individual in such coverage if the first effective date of coverage is on or after the first day [of the year the bill becomes law]."
Investor's Business Daily saw this, and said, "So we can all keep our coverage, just as promised - with, of course, exceptions: Those who currently have private individual coverage won't be able to change it. Nor will those who leave a company to work for themselves be free to buy individual plans from private carriers."

A government competitor? Only if you never change jobs.

Yep. That's what you voted for, Obama voters. A guy who nationalizes car companies, banks, and soon - unless we stand strong against it - health care.

Me, I refuse to live in North Cuba. And I refuse to stand by and idly watch my kids' futures get mugged.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/21/2009 1:07:59 PM
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Guarantee

 

Here's my thought for the day. Maybe for the year.

In my day-to-day work, I deal with complicated systems all of the time. Many people do.

The more complicated the system, the longer you should take to consider the optimum workflow to gain the greatest efficiency. Otherwise, you're likely introducing more pain into the system, and you're guaranteed to fail.

Most of the time with complicated systems, you have the benefit of current and historical methods, the asset of competitor systems and their profitability (or lack thereof) to gauge effectiveness, and market demand to steer you.

That takes time. It takes study. It requires experts.

Earlier this week, I watched a Discovery channel special on going to the moon. After John F. Kennedy's proclamation that we were going to do the thing that was hard, NASA implemented a plan. It required several years and several trials and tweaks along the way. It also factored in a plan to abort the mission. Eight years after Kennedy spoke, and after the effort of thousands of experts and trials, we accomplished our goal.

Streamlining the very personal issue of health care for every American into universal coverage that makes the system more efficient while continuing to attract skilled health care providers is not something that Nancy Pelosi's office and small cadre of legislative writers can craft in a mere few months, without trials and a plan to abort the mission. What Obama and Pelosi are attempting to do is to try to go to the moon mere months after John F. Kennedy announced his vision, with no tests, no expert analysis, and no plan to abort.

Had that happened, we would have failed our president's vision and cost lives. John F. Kennedy would not have allowed such a thing. He was smarter than that.

Obama is not. He doesn't care.

This ramrodded fiasco is doomed to fail for the lack of preparation and the lack of analysis and the lack of milestoned trials that prove the concept.

Not no but hell no. Anybody who gets behind this "plan" is a rube.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/22/2009 8:47:47 AM
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"We Rescued the Economy"

 

Oh.my.god.

HAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAA.

Good lord. Our president is utterly deluded. He's a complete idiot.

This is as founded in reality as me saying that I spent this past week on my knees praying that the earth wouldn't implode. It hasn't imploded, therefore you owe me thanks.

People with Obama bumper stickers look more and more ridiculous by the day.

 

2 Comments
by Brett Rogers, 7/22/2009 9:14:31 AM
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Today's Beauty

 

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/24/2009 10:23:23 AM
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Leadership

 

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/25/2009 1:11:23 AM
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What is the Job of a Politician?

 

Somewhere along the way, we citizens got stupid and decided to peg the well-being of our economy on politicians.

I get why that happened. Increasing taxation negatively impacts the economy, as history clearly shows, and decreasing taxation positively impacts the economy, as history clearly shows. Politicians control taxation, so we affixed responsibility for that on them.

But that has transformed into politicians now believing that they have a mandate to "fix" an economy, and in Obama's and Pelosi's case, they believe that they have a mandate to substantially alter the direction of an economy.

This country was never founded on the premise that any politician was responsible for economic health. In a limited government, the people are responsible for the economy. It's up to the citizens to create jobs, not the government. It's up to the citizens to ensure that they eat, not the government. It's up to the citizens to obtain a home, not the government.

Lawyers are not entrepreneurs. They go to school, go deep into debt, and then set up shop to provide an expensive service. It's not hard to be successful as a lawyer if you make it through school. I'm not belittling the work involved in passing the bar - it's damn hard. But that path is far different than the typical entrepreneur.

Most politicians are lawyers. They don't know what's required to start and maintain a business. Since businesses create jobs, most politicians don't know how to create jobs. Since jobs provide the basis for our economy, most politicians don't understand the fundamentals of an economy. So tasking politicians with the health of our economy is sheer lunacy on the part of us citizens.

The more we tie the economy to our politicians, the more they'll want to control it. That's only logical, and it's the unintended consequence of holding them accountable for taxation that burdens our economy.

It is not the job of the politician to make decisions on our behalf. It is not the job of the politician to ensure our well-being.

The only job of the politician is to protect our liberty.

If the only laws they could pass were to protect our liberty, there would be no earmarks.

If the only laws they could pass were to protect our liberty, there would be no nationalization of industries.

If the only laws they could pass were to protect our liberty, there could be no confiscation of our private property.

Stop tying the economy to politicians, and start tying the protection of our liberty to politicians. To paraphrase Bill Clinton's famous theme during his 1992 campaign, "It's about the liberty, stupid."

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/25/2009 11:48:22 AM
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Super Genius

 

That's Tim Geithner's house. It's for sale.

He put it on the market in February. He keeps dropping the price, but it won't sell.

That's poetry.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/28/2009 9:15:24 AM
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Gut Reaction

 

I endeavor to create my own job, and create jobs for others.

To do that, I work hard on what I believe is a market solution, and then I trot it out into the market to see if I can get some traction. No matter how many positive comments I might hear back in response to my crafted solution, there is only one reaction that counts: purchase. Nice comments don't create jobs. Transactions create jobs. The decision to buy is the only opinion that counts, at the end of the day.

An entrepreneur needs that feedback. If the market isn't ready to purchase, for whatever reason, the entrepreneur needs to know that and then respond to it with improvements.

Which is why I find it unfortunate that the gut reaction of some entrepreneurs is to try and get money from the government to fund their work.

While the captured and narrow audience of a few bureaucrats who look for ways to spend money that isn't theirs on a "solution" they won't personally use is certainly a way to get money, it's not at all the same as attracting the money of those who crave the offered "solution" enough to buy it with their own money. By seeking government funding, the burgeoning entrepreneur misses valuable feedback that will show that the "solution" is truly market-ready. Otherwise the "solution" is immature and still needs tweaking, which is why most bureaucrat-funded early-stage businesses never succeed as hoped. Government funding is a false positive, and can only create temporary jobs - not self-sustaining jobs.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/30/2009 8:17:45 AM
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IOU

 

Glenn Reynolds:

"CASH FOR CLUNKERS" RUNNING WITH TRUE GOVERNMENTAL EFFICIENCY:
Dealers reported problems with the government's online system to get the transactions approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is running the program.

Scott Lambert, vice president of the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association, said he was "astounded" to learn at a meeting Tuesday representing about 150 Minnesota dealers that not one has had a deal approved.

"We had dealers representing 1,500 to 2,000 transactions," he said. "We asked how many had a deal approved yet, and not one hand went up."

Lambert said the government has created a program that's "so big and cumbersome that it can't find a way to accept anything. We're sending in good, reliable deals."

It's nerve-racking for the dealers, he said, because they have given the customer $4,500 and now the dealers need to be reimbursed.

Don't worry, though - I'm sure they'll do a better job with your prostate.
Yep. That's how they roll.

I told someone yesterday that the reason government is never efficient is because it has no competition to improve it. Competition is the only mechanism to efficiency and government has no competitor.

Hmm... it just occurred to me. We ought to have two governments: a Democrat-run system, and a Republican-run system. Taxpayers can opt for the system they deem best and live within the rules of that system. Some healthy competition would drive efficiency real fast, I expect.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/30/2009 8:29:18 AM
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Plummet

 

On the Passion Index, Obama swan dives to -12.

I'd say that he's about in the middle of that dive, mostly because people are figuring out that he really doesn't understand the economy. Wait till the foreclosure data begins anew. I'll write a post called "Tank" at that time.

You know what the sad part is? That the people who voted for him didn't realize that capitalism, for all its inequities (which are justified), is what's been making their lives better than it would have been otherwise.

Capitalism: as my life improves, it improves the lives of others.

Liberalism: to improve my life, I have to detract from the lives of others.

I don't think the Obamas will ever understand that truth. They're simply unwilling to see it. It goes against their every belief.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/30/2009 11:16:33 AM
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Listening In

 

While I've been working on the 247Toolset engine, I've also been working on a client's complicated engineering app. As I write this, I'm listening by phone to the several-person, cross-country demo of the work I've done in the last four months for the client. Kinda fun to hear the remarks and the flow of it all. It's the first time that they've all seen the system from end to end.

This has been a great week. The 247Toolset engine is entering a lot of verticals. From alumni groups to business accelerators to non-profits, the 247Toolset platform proves itself adaptable to more and more purposes every week.

I've engaged a former co-worker who will help me manage the development going forward. She and I worked on a very complicated project in the past and we work very well together, with me developing and her testing and coordinating the development.

I've also brought in a professional management company in exchange for a small fraction of equity. They're the reason that I drove across Iowa this past Wednesday to demo the platform, and the reason that it was demo'd in front of an alumni group. It's starting to feel like this will blossom very fast. We have a target for the end of August to put the finishing touches on the core development. And then - sales!

When we met this morning, we postulated that four people might make their living from this work in the first quarter of next year. If so, jobs created. That after a few thousand hours of effort on my part, with no promise of reward, working toward only a possibility. A dream...

Do I have the right to enjoy the fruit of my risk? Some would say no. Some would say that if this does very well and makes a lot of money because it attracts people to it for the problems it solves, people who had nothing to do with my efforts have as much right to my reward as I do. The folks who think that way are usually those who believe in "economic fairness." Is it fair that those who had nothing to do with the unpaid and persistent effort of development should share in the success of it? That's a fairness question they don't like to answer, in my experience.

I know this much: it's a lot easier to invite yourself to the reward of someone else's efforts than it is to work for your own reward.

 

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by Brett Rogers, 7/31/2009 4:48:38 PM
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