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The Food Waste Problem

40% of all food in the United States is wasted.

What a statistic. Imagine if 40% of all your effort, of all your work, was wasted. Farmers work hard to produce the food we eat and half of that effort never ends up being used for its intended purpose.

How does this happen? It happens in many ways.

It’s hard for farmers to gauge what the market will bear, so they have to over produce with the hope that their crops will bring a great yield. If not, food is left in the field to rot and be disked up. Organizations like Society of St. Andrew work to glean these crops from the field that are not marketable due to size, shape, or demand, but perfectly edible. These gleanings end up as donations to food donation centers in order to reach the public in need.

Americans are biased in their food purchases. We only want the “prettiest piece” of fruit and vegetables. Although many companies have popped up these past few years that cater to “ugly” produce (Misfits), we still have a ways to go on this front.

Other reasons for food waste: we buy too many groceries and end up throwing some out, plate sizes are too big at restaurants, “best by” dates are suggestions for freshness, not expirations.

The best way to reduce food waste is through knowledge. See the attached infographic and share this post with ONE person. If we can make a 1% dent in food waste, it will:

  • Help feed the hungry
  • Reduce waste
  • Promote sustainability
  • Help the environment through reduced emissions

Thanks for reading and pass along what you know.



Complicated is Expensive

Fixing a car is complicated AND expensive.
Navigating the legal system is complicated AND expensive.
Navigating the tax system is complicated AND expensive.
Navigating the healthcare system is complicated AND expensive.
Navigating the higher education system is complicated AND expensive.
Buying a house is complicated AND expensive.

You ever ask yourself why certain things are so complicated?

Chances are someone wants it that way for very selfish reasons.

If you can figure out ways to make things less complicate AND less expensive, you’ve got a real winner on your hands.


Vaccines and Risk Analysis

When someone makes a decision to either take or not take a vaccine, they are making a risk analysis-based decision. In business, we look at managing risk and an entrepreneur is simply someone that is willing to take risks.

Making life decisions is no different.

In the vaccine discussion, you have to evaluate the risk of taking or not taking a vaccine in relation to potential outcomes. It’s kind of like evaluating a move in chess; if I move here, what will happen next and then how will I respond.

For some people, the risk of not taking a vaccine outweighs the risk of taking it. For others, the contrary.

I know in your mind when you process your risk assessment, you get a value that is relative to you and you alone. It can be hard to understand why someone else might not get the same value. “I am a reasonable, logical, methodical, thoughtful, and intelligent person. How can there be any other answer beyond what I think is correct?”

Regardless of your decision on this issue, risk is still present. You are just choosing to address that risk in your own way, which points back to that little document that talks about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Remember, we are all entrepreneurs of our lives.

Testing… Testing… 1 2 3

I have for a long time not been a fan of standardized tests (or testing in general). I get why testing is needed, which is to assess or measure something at a point in time. However, when we test something, does that tell us the whole story?

As an example, the SAT test determines a students’ aptitude in roughly two areas: math and English skills. You could have a savant who is the best musician in the world take this test and score poorly, leaving them to think they are somehow unworthy or incapable of achievement.

Many other tests in school simply measure a students capacity to remember something for the short-term, not whether or not they have achieved mastery of a subject.

And then you factor in things like: test anxiety and other physical/mental consideration, test validity and reliability, and the teacher/institution offering the instruction and testing.

Education in the United States emphasizes quantity, rather quality. “How many students can we get through this system?” Instead of, “How can we maximize the quality of student we produce through the system?”

This is not to speak poorly of educators (as I myself am one). Most of the teachers and educators I meet are just trying to get it all done and keep their heads above water.

It’s no secret that it’s past time to rethink the education system in the United States. What the system of the future will look like, I couldn’t tell you. But, maybe we can find the answer together. That is the real test.

Easy and Excellence are Mutually Exclusive

In teaching and studying business for some time now, I have determined a few certainties. One of them is more than a theory. It has become a law in my mind. And that law can be expressed in three words.

Business isn’t easy.

When you decide to open a business (and I believe most people should), you are making a commitment to excellence. You have decided that you want to be the best at something. You either want to have the fastest, the cheapest, or the highest quality product or service on or in your market.

No one opens a business and says, “I want to be the least efficient, the most expensive, and the lowest quality on the market.” They would not be in business long if they did.

Beyond seeking excellence, one of the reasons why business isn’t easy is because the environment is constantly changing. You have to anticipate what your customer wants today, next week, and next year. What works today might not work tomorrow. As technology changes, you have to adapt or die. You have to show up. You have to do the work.

You can have easy. Or, you can have excellence. You can’t have both.

Unpopular Bitcoin

My last post talked about unpopular opinions.

Bitcoin has had an interesting life of being unpopular. I first heard about bitcoin around 2013 and more when the Mt. Gox hack happened and was heavily reported in 2014.

I remember specifically thinking that bitcoin was garbage back then as the price was taking a nosedive.

Then I largely forgot about bitcoin as I focused on other things in life, namely my family and career.

It wasn’t until years later that I started looking into the topic of bitcoin again. I read a few articles, and then a few books, then podcasts and videos. I started consuming a lot of information on the subject and I realized the value proposition bitcoin brings to the table. I think this sentence states it concisely:

Bitcoin is a fungible, immutable, decentralized, non-sovereign, scarce, global, digital store of value and medium of exchange.

It took me a while to understand what all that meant and why it is important. I had to change my way of thinking. I had to be willing to be wrong about my initial assessment. I had to be open to new thoughts and ideas about bitcoin.

You may choose to never understand what all that means, and that is okay. Bitcoin will never be popular with everyone. It’s not my job to convince you one way or the other on bitcoin.

This article is not actually about bitcoin. It’s about being open to ideas and being willing to change.

But, I do think it’s days of being unpopular are shortly numbered. At least that’s my opinion.


Unpopular Opinion

The speaker or writer will lead with, “This may be an unpopular opinion, but,” as if to apologize for a thought that may be contrarian to the popular or prominent thoughts of the time. 

All progress comes from unpopular opinions. 

“Why would I want an automobile? I have a perfectly healthy horse.”

This simple example can be applied to a multitude of things, not just technology. Societies and people change from unpopular opinions. It was unpopular for Copernicus to say that the earth was not the center of the universe. It was unpopular for the colonies to declare their independence from England. It was unpopular for Martin Luther King, Jr. to have a dream. 

And today, we attack unpopular opinions with the same vigor and viciousness as in days past. Instead of burning people at the stake, we crucify and cancel on social media. We expose them to the world for all to see, and point, and judge, and fear. 

We fear what we don’t know. We fear the unknown. Rather than learning more, we close the door and say, “That will never work,” or, “I can’t believe they had that kind of idea.” We don’t have to always agree. But, can we not disagree with grace and peace (or, dare I say, even better ideas)?

We should all know that change is the only constant in life, but we are sometimes unable to reconcile that knowledge with our fear of change.  

They say that knowledge is power. I believe one way knowledge gives us power is because it makes us less fearful. If we understand something (like algebra), we no longer need to fear it. 

Knowledge is a beacon of light and hope.

Believe it or not, that was once an unpopular opinion (and still may be by some). 

Question from a Student: “Should I Keep Going and Get My Bachelors Degree?”

I teach at a community college and often students seek out the advice of instructors on what to do with regards to educational and career planning. One of my students asked me this question recently and this was my response:

This is a complex question. It depends on several factors:

1. Your personal goals/desires
2. The major you are pursuing
3. Career pathway
4. Student loan factors
5. Other considerations

I am advising my children to go to a community college and get a degree in a vocational / trade / or medical field (electrician, plumbing, networking, I.T., dental hygiene, radiography, nursing, etc.) and that way they can get an “in-demand” degree where they can go straight to work with little to no student loans and earn a good income. THEN, if they want to pursue a bachelors degree, we can talk options.

As an example, nurses graduate and enter the job market making $50-$80 thousand per year right out of the gate. I know an electrician with no degree that makes $75-$100 thousand a year.

Money does not buy happiness, but it helps. 

If I were you and wanted a bachelors degree, I would consider trying to get a job at a private college or university, which often allow employees (and family members) to pursue a degree with them for FREE as an employee.

However, depending on the degree, you’d probably be better off financially if you considered coming back to the community college into one of the fields I mentioned above and earn a second associate degree. 

Student loans are very subjective in how people view them. Some view them as a continual weight around your neck, others view them as a cost of doing business and necessary process of getting higher education. Loans can be manageable with income-based payments, but I advise students and my children to AVOID student loans if at all possible.