Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Tag Archives: Opinion

The Simple Solution For The Credit Problem

So the government thinks the solution is to bail out the companies that got us into this mess.  The government approved a 700 billion dollar package to bail out these companies.  I can solve the problem with less than 1 billion.

The biggest investment people make is the purchase of their house.  It’s safe to say that most people don’t have 300K just laying around and use it to buy the house outright.  The problem at hand is that people are defaulting on their loans; the ridiculous loans they were given by the companies the government wants to use 700 billion to bail out.  With people defaulting on the loans, those banks like AIG, Wachovia, etc. inherit, if you will those houses.  They are saddled with properties instead of cash.  And, banks are in the business of cash, not land.

There are 305,405,919 people in the United States according to the census.  Of those 305,405,919 there are 198,227,009 over the age of 25.  There are 127,901,934 housing units in the United States.  Right now 68.9% of those houses are occupied which translates into 88,124,432 houses that people are living in and would most likely be carrying a mortgage.

The average home price in the United States is $217,000.  For arguments sake and simple math, let’s say people put down 5%.  That means people by a house tomorrow for $217,000 will owe $206,150.  Following so far?  Good.

Rather than give the companies the money, I propose we give the homeowners the money by clearing the books on peoples’ mortgages instead of throwing money at the companies that screwed this whole thing up in the first place.  My proposal would put the money into the hands of those most affected by the situation.  Essentially, this is a redo.  The companies who are responsible get some initial capital, take a bit of a loss, and lose out on the long term interest.  However, they stay afloat and people keep their homes.

Sure, it’s simple math, but the spirit of the idea has a lot of merit.

Twitter Grader and Making Twitter Better

Hubspot, the maker of Web Site Grader, has introduced a new product caller Twitter Grader.  Twitter Grader seeks to quantify a person’s Twitter profile.  Specifically, Twitter Grader, indicates they use the following information to arrive at a score:

  • The number of followers you have
  • The power of this network of followers
  • The pace of your updates
  • The completeness of your profile
  • …a few others 

I think this is a GREAT first step in figuring out how to indicate a person’s value to the Twitter community.  Admittedly, Twitter Grader is limited by the information that is readily available.  Essentially, that can’t leverage an input for their algorithm that does NOT exist.

The one thing missing from Twitter Grader’s methodology is content quality.  Unfortunately, there really isn’t a simple metric they can pull from because Twitter doesn’t offer one.  I’ve asked Twitter to add in functionality that allows people to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” a Tweet based on the value the reader believes they are/are not getting.  I think this feature is a critical add on for a variety of reasons.

  1. It’ll keep people honest.  Tweeters will actually have to consider what type of content they publish.
  2. It takes volume of Tweets out of the equation or at a minimum reduces its value.  The current Twitter Grader model looks at frequency of posts.  Well hell, that’s not a real determining factor of value.  If I had no life I could just tweet non stop for 24 hours and overtake the current Tweet leader.
  3. You’ll generate more Twitter members.  The singe biggest gripe I hear about regarding Twitter is the signal to noise ratio.  Many people complain to me that Twitter is filled with a lot of garbage and it’s too challenging to find the diamonds in the rough.  I couldn’t agree more.  Even if you follow, so-called industry leaders, you end up with a lot of shameless self-promotion.
The need for a quality scoring system in Twitter is no different than when we needed a better way to calculate search engine result relevancy.  For those of you who can remember the web circa-1996, people could defeat the search engines by using a keyword terms over and over in the meta tag data or by repeating the word over and over on a page.  The search engines looked at that page and said, “wow, these guys must know a lot about keyword term X since that keyword term comes up a lot.”  Of course, we needed to evolve.  We needed better quality and better relevancy for end users.  The search engines got smarter and fixed the equation.
We need Twitter to fix the equation.  If they don’t, they won’t attract new users, and the Twitter Sphere will simply be riddled with lots of Tweets by people about what they just ate.

3 Types of Bosses

I’ve had every type of boss and/or manager out there.  In 12 years I’ve had over 15 managers.  They range from great to absolutely awful.  Some of my managers really stand out as fantastic mentors.  Others, were as useless as a bicycle to a person in a wheelchair.  Having talked with many colleagues about their experiences with managers, I think every boss/manager can be put into 1 of 3 buckets.

  1. Discipline Expert: This person knows everything about everything when it comes to the area they are managing.  If they are managing a group of developers, he/she knows all the code languages in and out, there isn’t a question they can’t answer, and they are generally viewed as the guru.  Bill Parcels and Colin Powell are great examples of this type of boss.  These guys know everything there is to know about their respective sports.  There’s a reason they’ve been around as long as they have been and continually in leadership roles.
  2. People Person: This type of manager excels at managing people in general.  They may not know everything there is to know about accounting, but dammit if they aren’t able to effectively manage a department well.  Work gets done on time, on budget, and the team is generally content.  Keep in mind content doesn’t mean happy or ecstatic.  It just means content.  The People Person does a great job of managing egos and personalities very well.  They have calming influence.  When I think of this type of manager I think of Phil Jackson or Joe Torre.
  3. The Fossil: I’ve always been split on the fossil.  The fossil is the person who has been around long enough to warrant the role.  They aren’t a discipline expert and they man not even be good with people.  However, they’ve “paid their dues” and as such are deserving of the role.  Often times, the fossil knows how to work the system.  After all they’ve been around long enough to have probably helped invent the system 🙂  I generally believe that fossils are the worst type of boss.  They rarely inspire their teams and aren’t considered deserving of their role/title.
I’m sure there are other types of bosses out there.  One that comes to mind is “The Buddy.”  You know who the buddy is.  They are the person who was hired and/or placed into a role because they are buddies with someone.  These people generally are the worst of the worst and can really screw up an organization because everyone knows they weren’t hired for their skill, management savvy, or their history.  These folks also cast a negative shadow on the bosses/people who hired them.  It shows that they care more about their friends than they do the company.
If you’ve got thoughts, feel free to share them.