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Editorial 04-08 - Time Flies Like An Arrow

Firstly I apologize for the long duration since my last comments. I have been struggling, no doubt as have you, with the economy and the time has escaped. There is little of substance in the way of industry news. Even industry publications (Information Week, et al) are quite thin.


It is a blessing that we are endowed with short memories for pain. I credit that observation for families of more than one child. I can recall several recessions, but am still stung anew by this one. It hurts, and it seems that it didnít hurt this bad before. (Itís like the snowstorms I remember from my youth, they seem bigger and deeper than those since, but it is probably nostalgia).


Increasing sales revenue has become less urgent than decreasing overhead and expenses. It is impossible to understand how easily other business people can lay off tens and hundreds of employees. Even the largest layoffs make headlines but then disappear from our consciousness. Plants close, jobs go, careers crash, and families stagger. Like many people in the technology business, I am daily presented with the challenges of ever falling prices and changing standards. As long as we can remain fast on our feet and keep our eyes on our business, we hold on to elusive hope for the balance of our security and future. Are we delusional? I know of one colleague who left the computer business to make chocolates. But no, I hold out, expecting, wishing, and praying, for better times.


As the market reels from the mortgage credit meltdown, I take pause to reflect on the whole idea of risk versus reward. In these times I must pause to consider the notion of risk. Not the day-to-day risks of all humans as we pursue our routines, but the risks involved with being in business, signing a lease, taking an inventory, putting up a sign that says "look here, pick me".


Far many years I have re-invested my hard-earned profits into my business. I carefully considered each purchase or investment to weigh its potential return as an investment. I did the boy-scout-like thing and didnít over leverage myself, so it is dire mainly in the agony of assets evaporation. After a life's career and efforts, I hope to reap the benefits of those earlier sacrifices. Itís like playing poker with your whole life savings, every day. If I take my chips off the table, there is no game, at least for me. My ego was murdered long ago by the continuous stream of injuries and insults by callous prospects and terse rejections. These are the battle wounds of those that take chances and put themselves and their assets on the line everyday. For these scars we expect a return in the form of security, retirement, cash, and material. Thank goodness for hope, as it blinds us to the potential that it may all be for naught before we have a chance to reap.


Each day we expect the better days to be just around the next bend, and then the next and the next. Soon we grow weary, but still we hold on to hope and blind expectation. We never know when we have scraped bottom until we are already past it. I surely hope those better days are to come soon. (It is now that, if I were independently wealthy and so-inclined, I would invest in construction sector and the technology sector, as surely the business cycle will eventually right itself). There is no time like the present to make IT equipment purchases. I happen to have a warehouse full of great gear; Let me know how I can help with your equipment needs.


What to do:
1) Admit that you donít really know what to do
2) Pay attention to the little costs, they add up
3) Your integrity and good will are assets, keep them safe
4) Remember those that have done you a good turn, and return the favor
5) You canít take it with you, so relish what you have now.
6) No matter how much it hurts, you wonít remember the pain soon.
7) Stay busy, ruminating doesnít help, and you canít think your way out of a recession
8) Have a plan B
9) Donít confuse need with want
10) Fruit flies like a banana