The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

why other people should buy Facebook

February6

I’m no fan of Google, most of the time.

but, I know they’ll get better, some how.

perhaps I’ll take that position because I’m an optimist, albeit a Prudent one, mind you. and, a gentleman.

as a contrarian though I can see alternative ways to help Facebook do good, despite their intentions. just read further. do it!

to be fair, John Haydon evidently thinks quite highly of certain tools found on Facebook, if you’re using it as a business page, some how. we’ll follow Mr. Haydon awhile, and sort him out.

however,  that said, I’m steadfast against Facebook. ironically, Google’s Chrome (that’s a browser) has a tool that helps you track how much time you waste on Facebook. I love that. none of my people (in my companies) care about Facebook, and a lot of people hire us to help them make even better decisions. there’s symmetry of purpose, in that.

but, I don’t like it that two of the goodly men I coach in business are in the midst of divorces and Facebook was arguably the ignition-point for each. one fellow rediscovered his ex-college sweetheart, and the other’s wife found a new man on a Triathlon Facebook page for her club. is that tit-for-tat?

just in case you go rooting around on the internet, (Yahoo is still often better than Google, but Bing is kind of awesome) you’ll note that I have a Facebook page. but, just so we are clear, my staff set it up and then we decided to never accept friends on it. I’m a rather unusually disciplined person, but Joanne simply asked that we not allow for any temptations. that’s good enough for me. but, it’s also the tip-of-the-iceburg for a lot of other people.

in any event, one of my brokers (yes, I use them) called today laughing about Facebook. he’ll certainly be able to get shares for us but won’t be recommending them to his people.

“they are for them other folks that are needed to for cannon fodder”, says he.

so… If Facebook says its worth $100 Billion dollars that means it will have to have sales of 27 x sales (currently $1B) and 100 x earnings. for perspective you need to know that Apple is currently at 3.3 x sales and 10 x earnings, and they actually do some good in the world. and, shares in the company will likely help families put kids through college (indeed, they’re helping me put other people’s kids through college) also… I’m willing to bet, and I am as a loyal shareholder and consumer, in fact doing just that, people will want and own iPhones than waste time on Facebook.

so… let other people buy Facebook. the same type that buy into Facebook, I’ll wager. I’ll short you later and put more kids through college.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

the big BOX theory

November23

So… Today’s words might be “box” and “paradigm”.

Most of you know what a box is. And, others think they understand the concept of paradigm. However, just to nudge things along here is a definition:

par·a·digm  (pr-dm, -dm)

n. 

1. One that serves as a pattern or model.

2. A set or list of all the inflectional forms of a word or of one of its grammatical categories: the paradigm of an irregular verb.

3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.

…what’s that? who’s insufferable?

In any event, I was involved in a multi-voiced electronic conversation (Cisco has some real bad-ass communication technology) late yesterday morning – to accommodate the West Coast, when, while commenting on my photo on my business website,  AG said: “Cork appears to be crouching in a box”. And, in response, SJ quickly retorted: “No box could possibly hold Brian Cork”.

I reasonably certain more was said, especially with those two. But, I lost track of it all as that box comment sent my thinking down an entirely different path.

I’ve never subscribed to the idea of: “thinking outside the box”. Being the contrarian and Heterodox that I am, I would often say things like: “box?”, “what box”. But, looking back, I feel that was all rather sophomoric, now.

But, circling back to what you know, and what you think you know, I believe I do know that most information, money and power are in the hands of a minority. And, I don’t believe “they” think  or see outside of any box. Instead, what if we took the position that being in a box, and possibly an VERY LARGE CLEAR box gave a select few a 360 degree view of everything and everyone?

Stand back, you. Say’s, I.

I’m calling this the Big Box Theory.

The less inspired amongst you might be thinking: “yeah… but, that means everyone can see you and there is a loss of advantage”. However, the masses can’t read my heart. They’ll only realize my actions. Much of it what I choose, and want them to see.

The media is very much like this.

My box is bigger every day. And, its clear – as in transparent. But, as it spins both fast and slow, as I decide, I can view, gaze upon, consider and ponder everything around me and choose my own course and path. The collective outside is left to gaze in and wonder as that shiny object catches their attention.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

are computers portals to chaos or confusion?

August27

I’m thinking it was either early  2001 or 2002 when David Gardner, the co-founder of The Motley Fool, and I were hanging out here in Atlanta in a local hotel bar pondering optimistic investment options, when it dawned on me how technology is, and will remain, a two-edged sword.

Between the two of us we had six gadgets scattered across a small table that included bulky cellular telephones, Personal Digital Assistants (PDA’s), and one pager (his, not mine), and a camera (again, his not mine). Since, statistically, the odds are good you are reading this blog, and you are at least thirty four years of age, you are probably thinking back with the vision of a similar array of your own.

I was telling David how one of my investors (think Palm Pilot and then PalmOne) that I was coaching and a company I was recruiting for called Handspring had collaborated around the Handspring Vizor devices (that, as you might know, then evolved into the Treo line of products) working with a cellular company to form (what is now) a “smart phone”. The Handspring was a PDA that you could now also use as a phone using a Sprint snap-on module (and, yes, I was an early adopter)! So, you had the least amount of “stuff” you needed to do a lot of business on the fly. By the way… The Handspring  and Palm collaboration realized one of the first efforts to utilize USB connectivity for synchronization, and worked brilliantly with the Macintosh operating system out-of-the-box.

I was pondering my gadgets when I looked at him and asked:

“Do you think all this technology simplifies your life and business, or creates more stress and confusion?”

That was another of my “Forrest Gump” moments as we subsequently witnessed that Motley Fool take a lead in driving a great deal of attention around convergence and mobile technology platforms.

With the advent of Apple’s iPad (and, obviously the iPhone) maybe the answer to my question today is: “as complicated as you prefer”.

I think Nicholas Johnson would appreciate that because he likes to fidget and tweak stuff, in the spirit of all things Windows and Google. He is also apparently offended by things “that just work (a la Apple).

And, this will bring me around to what is currently a continued bastion of confusion – the PC (to be sure all computers are, essentially “PC’s” – some are just more PC, or useful, or work, for that matter, than others) – all of them aspiring to be compared to an Apples.

I have an iPhone and I’ve owned hundreds of computers (mostly Apples).

Here is another question in this time of economic uncertainty, continued efforts around convergence, mobility and the unending quest for what the real “truth” is, any where:

“are computers portals to chaos or confusion?”

Today, if you are under forty years of age, and asked a question, you will almost always go to Google.com for the answer. And, this might be where we realize the true cost of chaos. There is an old rule that allows: “if it’s in writing, it must be true”. Print is a powerful tool or weapon – and, misinformation can be the result.

Picture the twenty five year old “techie”, all-sophomoric, to be sure, at a cocktail party when they get challenged with a great question. The first thing they’ll do is whip out their Treo (well… maybe not) or Android device, fire up Firefox and google the question. Whether the information they find is accurate or not, it will often be touted as gospel and spread like wild-fire.

Think about it… If you Google a topic, most of what you read as a result is from blogs (sic), websites designed to influence thinking, white papers based on uncertain facts, “chat” responses posted on written articles of uncertain origin, etc. Other sources of information those which you find on MSN that can include media-hyped head-lines about the stock market and other economic reporting that is rarely based in fact. And, this is what forms our thinking and opinions daily. Wikipedia might have some credibility due to its community-based self-regulation that suggests some integrity from the intellectual community. But, how do you know if you don’t balance the information against information possibly found in a library or research facility.

I studied Social History (not a widely promulgated course-of-study, and some what “unofficial”) – or why things happened at Radford University and through other programs most of you won’t have access too. And, that has helped form my super powers perspective and position as a heterodox and contrarian. For example, if I read about a certain stock on a blog or through an oped, I know how to verify the information – and, first via skepticism. I focus on what most people don’t realize what they don’t know.

I also ask a lot of questions and always cross-reference. And, that is where I’ll end this piece and hope you pass this on as both a historical perspective of reference, and a warning around how to absorb knowledge, form your own super powers for good use, and be part of the solution, and not the problem.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

dads and Daughters: example

January29

The following is a note from Drew Tilghman.  He puts together a Blog titled The Sojournaler.

This was in response to my Blog Post The Dark Monkey.

“…thanks for posting so transparently about your daughter, Haley Anne. I have two daughters, nine and seven years old. Just before your blog was posted, I opened up gmail accounts for both of my daughters. I did so because my older daughter has a friend in her school who has one, and my daughter wanted to be able to write emails back and forth with her. I thought it harmless enough and of course I had to do for my younger daughter what I was doing for my older daughter. I told them both that they could only email when I am with them and that they had to pass all “friends” by me. 

We spent the rest of that day, laying on my bed next to one another, emailing and chatting with one another. For the moment, it was a little bit of heaven. The three of us communicating in written words what we could have merely said to one another’s face. I had this deep unrest, though. I knew that they were not ready for the email accounts. So I told myself, and my girls, that there would be strict constraints here. I knew, deep down, that they were not ready.

Then I read your blog. Again, thanks for your transparency. The reality of this culture is a forceful one. Our daughters’ innocence and modesty are at stake. I have revoked my girls’ accounts, and amazingly they understand. It is good to have other fathers who are open and honest about their love for their children. We love so imperfectly, but we love. I hope and pray that our daughters will see that and trust that love. It is this love, ultimately, that will guide our daughters into a full maturity that we have so desperately prayed they will discover.” – Drew Tilghman

After a brief exchange, he followed up with:

“p.s. thanks for having the balls to say some of the things you say.”

Then, he hauls-off and challenges me to go one step further and talk/reveal/discuss/ example my thoughts and feelings.

…Dude.

Fine.

So…

I have been thinking about Drew’s response – and, the terrific feedback I get from so many others that follow my Blog; and, the things I do with my life.

I may well have the coolest job in the world.  I hang out all day telling men how to make better decisions in their lives.

I have this nagging suspicion that it’s all luck.  All the time.

And, for the record, I wait for something awful to happen.

Ever vigilant.

In any event, those that care about this Blog (approaching 30 visitors a day); listen to me speak; and, call me friend – understand that I am a Contrarian (not just from an investment point-of-view); a Jeffersonian /1; a Heterodox;  and, (possibly) annoyingly tortured and transparent.

I spend a lot of time on my Figgerin’ Spot sorting all of this out and (trying) making sense of my role and place in this world (often running and cycling endless miles). Remember, I am the guy that is distressed by evolving rules of grammar AND the global economy AND 2012 (and, my roll as a soccer coach for my Fusion Shockers!).

NOTE: I feel (okay… I am convinced) like this constant state of evaluation is critical in being an (successful) earthly father.

If you ask my own Haley Anne and Emma Jo what their Daddy does, they will likely say:

“Daddy helps people.”

ANTHER NOTE:  It works; I just tested it on Emma Jo to make sure (there were witnesses).

How cool is that (*how cliche is that*)?

I think the key here is transparency.

Haley Anne and Emma Jo have observed men approach me and thank me for helping; advising; and, being in their lives.

They also understand we live with abundance (and, being permitted to be grateful comes with a cost).

However, I also let them know that I struggle with the blackness in the hearts of men; my own penchant to work and train an enormous amount of hours; and, constant self evaluation.

My primary mission in life is to REFLECT and REPRESENT /2.

It’s never easy for me; I will never be good enough.

I don’t want this to be just about Faith.  Because God knows I struggle with that.

I am not perfect.  I certainly want to be.  I want to be ideally imperfect for them so they can watch me fight the good fight and learn to be true.  To be good citizens – and, objective.  

I try hard every hour of every day. 

They can stumble, and I am right there to right them with love and compassion – and, example.  

They see the trial and triumph etched in my face and my heart.  Some times my tears.

The point I want to make is that I believe my daughters observe my struggle; see the result; and understand that character is tested and forged every day.

God gave me daughters because he trusts me (or, perhaps not).  So, their role (today) is to remind me daily that I must earn their trust and faith.

By the way, God has a great sense of humor… In light of how I lived much of my life prior to being married, it’s a knee slapper he gave me daughters.

Maybe it’s a stretch in terms of relevancy – however, let’s thrown down “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley.

But, certainly “Open My Eyes” by Buckcherry (be open-minded about this song).  Here is the acoustic version. But, go download it on iTunes.

daddys girlAnd, for balance go read Daddy’s Girl /3 by Garrison Keillor to your daughter – no matter her age.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

_________________________

 

 

1/ There are many parallels with Ayn Rand’s Objectivism.

2/ See “Image”.

3/ I swear, this is my 4th favorite book.

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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