Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The 80/20 house

"You might even want to use the Pareto principal, also known as the 80-20 rule, to help guide your decisions. This simple rule says that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. So instead of building 100% of a house to fulfill 100% of the functionality, build 20% of the house and get 80% of the functionality. This is a pretty smart approach because we usually only use a small portion of a large home’s functionality but it will always costs at least 100% or our time, money, and energy. So some functions might need to be left out of the design because their value doesn’t offset their cost." -Michael Janzen June 2009 Small Living Journal

Friday, June 12, 2009

Micro Economy

I was introduced to someone this week that wanted to know more about microfinance and how to use it. That got me thinking.

Microfinance is an odd misnomer. Microfinance is typically implemented by the ultrarich to work in communities lower down the economic scale. But take a look at the books, charts, and details. Microfinance does not work best in the lowest of the low, the true micro, but in the $1 to $5 a day / person economies, which again looking at the entire world charts and figures are the median majority, nothing really micro about them, they are average and the implementers are in the ultraoversized.

Another aspect is in the average economies is the communities are very interdependent. India has a regular system of clearing out slums and moving the ones housed there to better living conditions. Each time the response is 'you moved me away from my neighbors and my whole world is torn apart.' This is significant, in the average economy a single family does not make a single self sufficient financial unit. The neighbors are part of the financial stability of the family and the individual. These communities take time to rebuild because they are more than just give and take value transaction. They are built on solidarity, trust, love, and all the other emotions of the heart.

So while microfinance is neat an all what is really needed is focus on the matters of the heart, and looking at microfinance that truly works, the money transaction is coupled with education of social issues for change and improvement. The social aspect is more important than the financial aspect. But the average want the opportunity to be above average, the big difference they see is the money. The money is the draw to entice the real change that is needed. Sadly money isolates, and the result is the financially rich become the socially poor. There is a big gap between the average that need to coexist and the financial needs to be independent. That gap is larger than microfinance can handle alone.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ten Thousand Nos

When I am working again I will be happy.

Until then... my new job is a a pain.

My new job is looking for a job. I hate this job but it is the one I have to do.

When I am "off the clock" my mood lifts, listening to Owl City is fun. I could make art, I could change the world.

On the clock it is a sad sad world.

There are people out there having fun, getting paid to do it. How can I be one of them? Can I turn this job search fun? Why is it they who get to say no? Why can't I be the one giving ten thousand nos?

Ten Thousand Nos

And One Yes.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Who to be like

One of my heroes in the Bible is Solomon. This very smart man had God's favor and his God given wisdom brought him so much. Since I was little I prayed that I would have wisdom, maybe not as much as Solomon but more than my fair share without God's help. The truth is I have it, I know more about how things work, I have a pretty good idea what people will do. I have a glimpse into what is really important and what is meaningless.

Wisdom is meaningless. It is for this world, great for now, but for eternity it will be a wash. I chose the wrong hero in the Bible to want to be like. I should have chose Isaiah and walked around naked for three years. Ezra and laid in bed for a year plus. No not really. What I want is to be righteous. That would be so much better. It should be what I long for, it is not enough to be wise, it is better to be able to do the right thing in God's eyes.