All entries for Monday 22 December 2008

December 22, 2008

About Leaders

About leaders. Thinking about some people I know that are really great leaders. Just real people I deal with, colleagues, friends, bosses. Trying not to confound managers with leader, people I liked with leaders. Using as a criteria people that somehow seemed to inspire other people. If being very strict when using the criteria, can`t find many. But all that I thought have one common characteristic. They all seem to have a brave way of taking their ideas forward. They all have personality, they are not afraid of thinking differently and assuming it. They have independent thinking.

All people that came to my mind are people that are not afraid of expressing different opinios from the majority when that is relevant. They are not stubborn or want to be different just for the sake of it, they are able to listen and to change their minds if convinced that they might be wrong, but they don`t do so just for the sake of doing or for being afraid of not belonging to the majority and being accepted.  They also don`t stick by their ideas out or proudness, but because they have put some thought on it and they have a set of values in place, therefore their ideas are usually backed up by a lot of effort and reflective thinking. I think that is the best criteria I`ve found so far to qualify someone as a leader.

If you want to be a leader, you first have to be able to lead yourself, to think independently and that (as pretty much everything else in life) does not come for free, it comes with effort, hard work. 

More thoughts on economy

Thinking a lot about economy lately. Interesting, I was a good economy student and did quite well In my Finance MBA. But I choose not to follow that  specific path in my career and I`m glad with the path I choose (that actually fell in my lap and I grabbed it!). However perhaps due to this credit crunch thing I`ve been thinking quite a lot about finance and macro economy. I guess that is because I`m seeing several things that for an economy student were legendary, were economical history kind of stuff unfolding right in front of my eyes. Funny. Who would guess people would turn back to Keynes. And Friedman has just died, he must be rolling inside his coffin with all this government spending , all this Keynesian policies on the work.

And gold! People are still buying gold to protect themselves! Why? Why for God`s sake? Gold has so little industrial-practical use nowadays that I see no sense in having it as value keepers in stressing times. The only real market they have know is for jewelry therefore the value of it is relying basically on human vanity! (ok, I now some sound systems rely on gold for quality of sound and probably there are other uses I`m not aware of, but not enough to justify all this relevance). I don`t see much difference in stoking gold and stoking any relatively reliable currency (dollar, euros, pounds…) and gold comes with the additional question of size, weight, transportation. Why do people still rely on gold?

I was thinking about that and trying to remember all the theories (economy as a science  was built on top of that discussion. Later we realised that putting value to things was just an easier way to compare things and therefore make choices. That`s why I like to define economy as a science of making choices assuming everything is scarce) around the value of things from uni years. There are quite a few, relating it to the amount of work, to the relative utility of the thing, considering offer and demand (on the short term) etc etc. Nothing fits into gold. It`s hard to get. Sure it is, but so are several other minerals. It`s relatively scarce, but several things a re relatively scarce. Offer and demand are surely controlled, like in any other market and that certainly contributes, but again it comes to use. Oil is controlled, but has a lot of use to it. The same with iron, soya, cotton, and all other commodities. But not gold. People have been fascinated and crazy about gold for centuries. And they still are. I can`t help thinking about those movies that show the earth after some catastrophic event and were water is rare (Mad Max being the biggest example) and people are crazy for it. In that situation would gold mind? In the future (I hope not) we might be protecting tankers filled with water, but will we be paying for it in gold? Don`t think (and actually I don`t think, unless something really catastrophic happens) that you should be stoking water in your houses. Surely the value of potable clean water will rise but if, let`s say, water is as valuable  as oil there will be Shell`s, Exxon`s, and so forth interested in cleaning water or making sea water potable for relatively affordable prices. So for an individual is just as useful stocking water as it is stocking gasoline now (sure enough one can go by without gasoline but not without water, but I think I made my point economically-wise).

Thoughts on a train

Long time no writing. Shame on me. Currently on train from Leamington to London. Missing the sun, going for it. I don`t know if the fact that I was born in a hot, sea-side, touristic sunny city has anything to do with it, but I miss the sun more than anything else. I have lived in 5 different cities of 3 different countries in my life. I always thought that the thing I`d really miss was the sea (my home town is a peninsula, therefore it is almost impossible not to be close to the sea), but the thing I really miss is the sun. When I lived in New Zealand we had a quite hard winter (well a Norwegian would perhaps say that it was quite mild, but I`m no Norwegian am I?) but I can not remember missing the sun that much. Perhaps we had more sun, perhaps I was sunnier, perhaps the fantastic family I lived with (and that I`m very glad to say I love as much as my own – biological -  family and I was able to show that this year. Miss them a lot, would not be here without them!) gave me that extra sun light I needed. Ironically enough today, as I`m leaving England for a few days in the sun, the sun is shining beautifully. And when it shines it is a beautiful view. I like the English landscape, the little hills, the green fields…I must say that I think the houses could be a bit more creative (and I think the British are very creative people), not being so similar. But I still like the landscape (especially when is sunny!).

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