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About This Blog

Really, about us?  We’re a bunch of geeks with opinions.  More detail, you say? 

The contributor reasons for investing in a page like this are varied. What we have in common are many combined years in high tech attempting to help companies get ready for the next great opportunity, while not tripping over the corporate shoelaces to get there. We also share a strange combination of cynicism (thanks Dileep!) and optimism. Although we have all lived through some disappointing project and corporate failures, we can’t help but try to make things better where we are right now, today. This means we almost always have a constant head wind from those who simply just can’t see beyond the fires they have to fight today. We’ve gotten sick of fighting the same fires; we’re trying to prevent them, or at least put them out before they’ve set a 50,000 acre wildfire.

The postings on this site are our own opinions, and do not represent the positions of the companies that employ us, or that contract with us.  Where we speak on strategies, we’re doing it as individuals, and we do not necessarily reflect the strategies of our companies.

By the way, many people wonder at the Structuring Chaos pointer and the Finding Ponies title.  First off, we didn’t figure out the blog interface until afterwards, so the title doesn’t accurately reflect our initial intentions.  We call that “life.”  Structuring Chaos is an operation we’ve started across the Internet to gather opinions of some of our smart, strategic friends in one place.  This blog is the start, but we also offer our services to real people to solve real problems in addition to our day jobs.  We’re all about fighting the fires before they start, and you’ll see that in our opinions.

But really, in the end, it’s all about optimism.  If you point us at any pile of manure, we’re going to do everything to find the ponies that had a hand in it.

Enjoy the contributions, and feel free to add your opinion to the pile.  Who knows, we might invite you in.

– Lynn and Jim (chief instigators)

21 Comments leave one →
  1. w.c. smith permalink
    April 17, 2010 12:07 pm

    Hi Lynn,

    I read your comments more carefully, specifically about you should and you will. Think back on the genesis of entitlement programs, and I think that you will find that most recipients, including old retired white guys like me would revolt if you took it away. In turbulent economic times personal savings and investments do not provide adequate retirement. The answer is to cut waste and fraud in these programs particlulary Medicare, which the medical community is loathe to do. It isn’t the insurance companies that are entirely at fault, it’s the docs and hospitals. And why do the hospitals pile on the charges? Just go the St. Charles emergency room and see all of the uninsured waiting for care. Those expenses are ultimately paid by you and I in the form of taxes and higher hospital fees. Wouldn’t it be better to provide insurance for these poor folks and concurrently work on waste and fraud reduction? This should be Obama’s job one – he says he will do it but I haven’t seen any action yet. Just so you know I’m not a bleeding heart liberal.

    I didn’t hear you comment on the costs of two very expensive wars. Reduction of defense spending and cuts in small business taxes are two of my favorite causes.

    As for the Tea Party, are you open minded on candidates regardless of party or are you Rebublicans in Tea Party clothing and will only vote Republican because of taxes. I have that fear. I see that the latest poll show that only 18% of voters support the Tea Party and that 68% of your membership is middle class white males. I think that changing demographics, i.e. growth in minority populations will render your cause insignificant unless there is a better balance of your views.

    Finally, I thnk that many of my local independent friends would be more inclined to listen to your message if you would send Sarah Palin back to Alaska.

    w.c. smith

    • Lynn Comp permalink
      April 17, 2010 1:36 pm

      I can’t remember which post it was – very early in our blog – where I gave my views on Iraq/Afghanistan. My feeling of “wow, that was illogical” to enter Iraq was followed with a sense of “we’re now in the middle of it – we can’t go over it, can’t go around it, we can only go through it.” On Afghanistan, I’m torn. I am incredibly angry at the way the Taliban bullied the tribes and their leaders there – but the elected government isn’t much better…I think there is a bit of cultural bias in the secular modern west where we believe that we can export a form of government and way of life to every culture on the planet. It’s as if we assume secular modernity must be appealing to EVERYONE because it’s so great for us – and much of that secular modernity forms the basis for democratic forms of government. If you look at where democracy has taken hold – it’s predominantly where the Age of Enlightenment took hold.
      That said: the anti-war types also fall prey to believing secular modernity myths – that “if we leave them alone, they’ll leave us alone.” There are some battles that we really can’t get away from fighting, and there are some worldviews that firmly believe our civilizations’ existance is an affront. You can extend a hand to them all you want and be less of a cowboy on the world stage and it won’t make them hate us less. Spain is really pretty mellow and they still got bombed. Think Harry Potter/Voldemort – Harry didn’t seek out the battle but Voldemort determined only ONE of them could ultimately continue existing. At some point we can’t run from that – whoever is in charge.

      • w.c. smith permalink
        April 18, 2010 1:55 pm

        Hi Lynn,

        I’m afraid I have to back away from a conversation on the wars. I served two tours in Viet Nam from 1967 to 1969 as a front line officer. My experiences reinforce the concern I have for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Governments make wars, soldiers die in them. There is no “good war”.


        • Lynn Comp permalink
          April 18, 2010 5:34 pm

          Ah, but I didn’t say there were GOOD wars. Just implied there are unavoidable wars – if we refuse to fight, there are individuals and other nations that believe in their worldview that it is their right to enslave us. There is no ‘neutral’ with certain worldviews. Just ask the Netherlands or France – or Russia in the 1800’s w.r.t. Napoleon. They didn’t ask for Napoleon to march on Moscow – but they fought him when he did.

          • w.c. smith permalink
            April 19, 2010 8:05 am

            I thnk that the only unavoidable wars were when there was a national consesus against a world threat, i.e. WWI and WWII, certainly not Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanstan. There is no horror like war, believe me. Bring the troops home.


            • April 20, 2010 10:48 am

              I’m not sure WWI, at least on the US’s part, qualifies as a national consensus against a world threat. The European war was devastating to that continent’s generation, but wasn’t widely spreading outside Europe other than a couple colonies. The US was deeply divided on getting in, though it rallied once it happened.

              While I’m not a fan of Iraq’s reasons for entry (though, like we’ve said, once you go in, you stay to win), I do believe that there’s a global threat of terrorism and that that war is still in full force. However, we’re still fighting that one to lose in all but one or two places.

              But if you classify a world threat as an attack on the US on its property, terrorism has a much better case than Vietnam or WWI.

              • Anonymous permalink
                April 24, 2010 4:48 pm

                I just can’t buy that. It is a war best fought with good on the ground intelligence and potent clandestine forces, not casts of thousands.

                w.c. smith

        • DileepB permalink
          April 18, 2010 7:21 pm

          Wars are atough issue. Sometimes our political leaders decide to go to war for reasons that we don’t know or do not fully understand. However, that has nothing to do with suppporting our troops. We need to do everything we can to support them even if we are against the war.

          I don’t understand why the US went to war in Viet Nam; I did not live here but I saw all the campus protests in the 70s.

          The invasion of Iraq was misguided becuase there was no clear exit strategy. removing Sadam was a noble goal, but requiring our troops to stay there for a long time is a problem. Nation building, while noble, does not always work. I would not be surprised if the Iraqis turn against us soon after we leave.

          We believe in democracy, but look at what the Palestian people elected! Democracy only means a government of the people!

    • Lynn Comp permalink
      April 17, 2010 1:51 pm

      One other answer – I would vote libertarian if I could find one….I used to never vote republican.

    • April 17, 2010 8:55 pm

      I’m not Republican either. If you look at my voting history you’d find that I vote one for R, one for D, two for (none of the above), but trending more R lately. Also, don’t think that the Tea Party is a Republican movement. They might support R more often because of the philosophy of lower taxes and less spending, but the sentiment I got this week was: “Re-elect NOBODY in 2010.”

      The movement is mad, not focused. If they got focused, that would be interesting.

      And please feel free to bring the debate to any posts. Lynn and I formed this as a place to discuss, and we want the reasoned dialog in the comments as much as we do in the postings.

  2. w.c. smith permalink
    April 17, 2010 8:09 am

    Thanks for the comments. I certainly agree with some of them, some I don’t. I am also an independent, just to clear the air. As for cutting taxes, which I support, we should be aware that 47% of Americans pay no federal taxes at all and 97% of Americans had lower taxes in 2008. I am keenly interested in your specifics about program cuts. My sense is that cutting the major entitlement progreams, i.c. Medicare and Social Security will bring howls of discontent form serniors of whom many support the Tea Party. As for Kenyansian economics, it works. I wrote my dissertation on the subject and the vast majority of economists support the theory. However, there is a time and place for such programs and currently, that time may be ending. By the way, the Bush tax cuts for the rich did not significantly increase economic growth it merely added to the personal wealth of high income individuals and grew the deficit.

    Finally, I am really gratified by your thoughtful comments. Perhahps if more members of your party could calm down and be specific you would win more support from independents like me. A lot of my independent friends are aghast at the aggressive nature of some of your party’s rallys, but not in Bend just to be clear.

    w.c. smith

    • DileepB permalink
      April 17, 2010 8:36 am

      There are sevral government agencies like the Department of Energy and Dept of Education that could be severely cutback without impacting anything. There are probably others that I am not aware of. All it would take is a honest and concerted effort to cut waste. Eliminate earmarks. Develop domestic energy sources including nuclear energy.

      Keep the discipline to balance the budget. We make tradeoffs in our personal lives. The use of social security funds for other purposes over the last several decades by both parties is inexcusable. The is little accountability for government spenders.

  3. w.c. smith permalink
    April 16, 2010 11:03 am

    I have some questions and comments for you people. First of all, I want to draw your attention to the current issues of liberal leaning Newsweek and very conservative Business Week. Both of these publications cite the expanding success of Obamanomics and the positive outlook for our economics going forward. Expanding busines means more natural tax increases and deficit reduction.

    Second, I would like to know specifics about how you would recduce spending by the relative government programs. I have not heard one Tea Party member explain how this spending could be accomplished. It all sounds like nonspecific rage to protect individual wealth. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for lower taxes and reduced spending but it means nothing to me if you come up with specific recommendation.

    Finally, where were you when Bush cut taxes for the rich and added billions to the deficit.. Also, how about the effect of the deficit on the illegal war in Iraq. Clinton left a surplus and look what Obama inherited. In fairness, I believe that Obama should bring our troops home from Afganistan as that war is becoming less relative by the day.


    • April 16, 2010 12:35 pm

      Hi, W.C.

      I have some responses for you, and I’ll probably put them into a blog post this weekend if I get the chance.

      Quick comments:

      Expanding business means doing it through tax cuts and deficit reduction by cutting spending. Private industry then takes on the duties that the government doesn’t do, does them more efficiently, and grows as a result.

      I have a list of departments we could cut to reduce the deficit.

      The Bush tax cuts increased inflow to the treasury significantly. The fact that he expanded the government is a sticking point. I don’t think you see anyone here pining for the good old domestic policy days of George Bush, other than by comparison.

    • Lynn Comp permalink
      April 16, 2010 5:33 pm

      One comment – I did actually blog about the Business Week article earlier. The post can be found here – many of the data points cited don’t necessarily have a proven root cause in the success of Obamanomics. I for one HOPE for a recovery, and there are many debates over Keynesian theory. It will be interesting to see if we recover because of – or in spite of the policies …
      I would add one more thing to what Jim said (and btw, I’m neither Democrat nor republican, and am/was HIGHLY frustrated and disappointed in the collusion between both parties when it comes to expansion of entitlement instead of expansion of opportunity). The thing in addition to what Jim stated that I have yet to blog about because my thoughts haven’t quite jelled, is that there is a difference between “you will” and “you should.” If you think back to the Enron scandal, there were a lot of great questions being asked around what are we teaching w.r.t. ethics when it comes to business, and have we emphasized the right things. The questions about ‘how did we get here’ went very deep into the fabric of the values that were being taught in B-school. In the case of healthcare – there is a difference between the traditional sources of support for those who can’t afford treatments (private individuals, doctors donating their services, charitable institutions founded by the wealthy, etc) and compelling an entire population to support it. What does it say about the worldview of the governing officials wrt our citizens when there is no trust in the goodness of the individual – only of the institution? It is the same attitude that incited generations of kids to resist/rebel against w.r.t. the church for so many generations – “you will” and you must are managing tops down – they fundamentally do not trust the rest of the citizens or their abilities/competence as individuals. “You should” and, “how can we ” is leading and modeling – allowing citizens and their individual competencies/abilities to solve the conundrums of society.
      I also blogged about the actual tax rates – which are available in many places: see this article –

  4. George Mason permalink
    March 12, 2010 8:17 pm

    march 12, 2010
    Trying to get in touch with a contact person for the Bend “Tea Party Group”. I recently attended a lecture/presentation in Bend that both Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams and your group would support. Trying to bridge a gap – if someone can contact me that would be great.


    • Lynn Comp permalink
      March 12, 2010 10:48 pm

      Hi George – Jim was the guy who attended, so I will make sure he checks in on the comment and gets back to you!

    • March 14, 2010 5:32 am

      Hey, George, I put you in contact with the organizers. Let me know via e-mail if you don’t get a response.

  5. May 26, 2009 3:26 pm

    By the way, we should say thanks to Dileep for telling us not only how to spell cynicism, but as well for showing us how the pros do it!

  6. DileepB permalink
    April 15, 2009 3:45 am

    Sorry to be picky. It is “cynicism”!
    Great blog! Intelites who I can relate to!


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