Tag Archives: business

Disingenuous Diversity

I originally posted this 10 years ago and am re-running it in light of the recent Google Goolag tantrums over a completely logical and factual analysis that actually supported what Goolag claimed to want.  But that wasn’t enough for the Orwellian types who can’t tolerate any discussion of their bigoted beliefs.

Corporate Diversity organizations are a joke.  Even a Leftist photographer I know had to concede how completely and ironically uniform they are (she was doing a photo shoot of them for a magazine).  Just as in HP, they were all middle-aged black females.  The exception at HP was a black middle-aged male, but he was gay, so in a sense they were still the same.  I felt sorry for them, knowing that at some point they’d realize the company had no use for them in anything that actually contributed to the success of the company.

Check out Gab if you want a site that doesn’t censor conservative viewpoints like Goolag, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. do.


diversity.jpgDiversity programs at businesses and schools tend to be disingenuous (lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity) and hopelessly mired in PC-land.  It is a shame, too, because if companies used them properly they could be fabulous recruiting and retention tools.

I believe in true diversity.  The groups I have managed have always been diverse, and my current group resembles the United Nations (except that we actually get things done).

I don’t aim at politically correct diversity.  I try to hire smart, hard-working, talented, team-oriented people.  Prima donnas need not apply.  By doing that in a color-blind way, I tend to end up with a broad representation of sexes, ages, religions, races, etc.

I am quite familiar with diversity programs and the politics behind them.  I represented the Christian employee network group at Compaq / HP and experienced some interesting things.  Corporations cave to threats of boycotts by the gay groups and do little to police them.  One “Pride” group at HP had a team building event to go to a drag queen contest.  Indeed.  It was published on the company’s intranet.

Of course, free sensitivity training was offered to anyone who might not think that a company funded employee organization based on sexual preferences was a swell idea.

We had a Christian employee network group with official “diversity group” recognition when we were still just Compaq.  The Diversity Manager complimented us regularly and considered us the model network group.

After the merger with HP, they approved all the other groups immediately but scrutinized the Christian group for a full year.  We met the criteria they had published better than any other group, so they finally approved us.  But someone complained and then our charter was revoked without discussion.  The explanation we got was tortured in its logic.  They obviously didn’t want to tell us the real reason behind it. They refused to meet with us to discuss the matter, even after I wrote Carly Fiorina.

A good friend of mine ran the Asian-Indian network group, which, as you can imagine, was primarily Hindu.  The company paid every year for them to have a Diwali celebration (the Hindu Festival of Lights, a religious event) on company property on company time.  When we asked why that group could have a religious festival when all we wanted was the ability to network and communicate, the Diversity VP acknowledged that she didn’t even realize it was a religious festival.

It all worked out fine, though.  To HP’s credit they let us use the email system for prayer requests and informal communications.  Many wonderful things were accomplished with that.  We could use conference rooms for lunch time Bible studies.  In some ways it was better to be an unofficial group than an official one, because that way we didn’t look too “corporate.”

It also gave us a great witness opportunity.  I found out later that the leaders were amazed that we didn’t protest and complain like other groups did.  We didn’t agree with their decisions, but we always responded graciously and didn’t disrupt the workplace.

The “Day of Silence” and “Diversity Week” programs at businesses and schools are a joke.  They aren’t about diversity at all.  They are aggressively promoting a particular worldview – and doing so with the power of the State in the case of the schools.  If they want to champion real diversity, how about inviting people with opposing views, such as those who view homosexual behavior as immoral yet think the homosexuals themselves should be treated with kindness and dignity and protected from abuse?  Now that would be real diversity.

I really encourage you to watch these videos and check out this site.  This is going on in public schools – elementary schools – today!

Advertisements

Quicken is back to their tricks, part 2

Another update: I was forced to buy a updowngrade to Quicken 2016 to continue to use the transaction download feature.  That was bad enough.  But the incompetent software writers at Intuit somehow managed to make the product even worse.  The simplest things no longer work, such as Ctrl key shortcuts.  Example: Before you could hit Ctrl-B to backup, but now none of the shortcuts work.

And the default transaction categories no longer function.

And multiple credit cards no longer download, even though Quicken’s site insists that the problems are solved (e.g., Target Red Card).

I am embarrassed for these people and how badly they do their jobs.  If you are starting from scratch, try something besides Quicken.

—–

Update: Quicken did the same thing this year, only they made it worse by putting out a horrible upgrade in Quicken 2013.  Go to Amazon and check out some of the reviews.  So now you get to pay for a downgrade if you want to keep some of the features of the old product.  I’m amazed that they stay in business.  If you do have to upgrade, do it from Amazon and not the Quicken site.  You’ll save $$.

——

The 2011 Netflix marketing plan will be referred to for a long time as a sure way to destroy shareholder value and irritate your customers.  Sticking it to your loyal customers is not a winning strategy.

Apparently Intuit, the maker of Quicken, hasn’t learned this lesson.  In order to “encourage” (read: “You can have your dog back once you send us some more money”) people to upgrade they are de-featuring their product.  Specifically, they will deliberately end the ability to download transactions from your credit card and banking institutions. But that isn’t a support feature, that is a core part of the product.

It is common for software companies to drop support for older versions.  I understand and accept that.  It is also common for software companies to significantly improve their products to entice you to upgrade.  Again, no problem there.

But this is a joke.  Once again Quicken throws in a few useless tools (A new cash flow graph is one of the four main reasons you should upgrade.  Woo-hoo!) and “only” requires you to pay the original purchase price again to get these great new features.  They aren’t even offering a discounted upgrade price.

Imagine if Microsoft said that if you don’t pay for an expensive Excel upgrade that you could still add, subtract and divide, but you couldn’t multiply.  Or if HP said you must pay for an upgrade or your sound system would stop working. That’s what Quicken is doing.

And it isn’t just the cost of the upgrade, it is the wasted hours installing and learning a new program to do the same things I was doing already.

I highly encourage people to use another software package.  Or if it is more cost-effective for you to give into the extortion then at least buy it on Amazon for less than Quicken charges you directly.

Please share this with others!

Side note to liberals: I think most will agree that this is a clear case of corporate greed leading to bad decisions and negative consequences for customers.  But do we need the government involved to solve our problems?  Not at all.  That would be an expensive disaster.  We just need competition and a free exchange of ideas.  Please keep that in mind.

Decision, decisions

My favorite apologist linked to this so I thought I’d re-run it.  Still the most practical biblical lesson I know of for daily living.  As Greg Koukl says, we are constantly either making decisions or living with their consequences.  I use this method and share it regularly.  I just used it with the high school kids at church to talk about careers, dating, marriage, college, etc.  

Click here to download a set of PowerPoint slides to read or to teach others.

And here is a new video of this lesson!

—–

Decision Making and the Will of God is one of my all-time favorite lessons to teach.  This is such a crucial topic, because we make big and small decisions all the time and are constantly living with the consequences of past decisions.

Does God speak to you about specific decisions when you are reading the Bible, such as whether you should pay off your mortgage, whom you should marry, what job you should take, etc.?  I think this is about how you apply the Bible to decision making and not about whether God sends individual messages through his word.

For example, if you want to know whether paying off your mortgage is the right thing to do, you have a couple options:

1. Ask God for a supernatural sign for the answer, whether it is a yes or a no (a la Gideon).  My guess is that He won’t decide for you that way, but it is always his option.  One thing we know about God is that if He wants to tell you something directly He isn’t very subtle.  There are zero examples of him trying to tell someone something in the Bible and not getting through.

2. Use the wisdom model of decision making.  You don’t have access to God’s sovereign knowledge (Will I lose my job?  Will interest rates go up or down?  Etc.).  You do have unrestricted access to his moral will via the Bible. Example: Is it immoral to pay off your mortgage early?  No, unless that means you won’t have enough money to feed your kids.  After moral considerations, look to the wisdom angle.  Ask God for wisdom, as He promises to deliver.  But as with Solomon, He doesn’t promise to decide everything for you.  Read Proverbs (and more).  Seek the counsel of others.  Consider the pros and cons.  That’s how to make wise decisions.  Finally, provided the options are moral and wise, consider your personal preferences.  We have tremendous freedom in Christ to do many things with our time and money.  Will paying off your mortgage make you happy?  If so, then do it.

Here’s a picture of what is looks like:

Decision making and the will of God

Really short version: Aside from direct and clear personal revelation from God, you don’t have access to his sovereign will when making decisions.  Therefore you must look at other factors.  If it isn’t moral, don’t do it.  If it is moral but not wise, don’t do it.  If it is moral and wise, then use your personal preferences.

Using this model you can end up with a wise and biblical decision, but you have avoided the traps of the “God told me to ____” routine.  People who run around saying that God told them this and that convey a super-spirituality that can leave less mature believers wondering if they really have a relationship with God (i.e., “God doesn’t tell me every little thing to do, so maybe I don’t really know him.”).

The “God told me ___” routine can also be outright blasphemy, as when “Christians” claim that God is moving in a new direction counter to what He revealed in the Bible.  The United Church of Christ “God is still speaking;” theme is a good example of that.  They didn’t believe what He said the first time around, so why trust them on allegedly new revelations?

Saturating yourself in the word is a key success factor in making good decisions. If we focus on worldly wisdom things go badly:

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

But if we repent and do everything we can to see things from God’s point of view we will make better decisions.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This model will help you make good decisions in all areas of life — dating, marriage, college, careers, purchases, giving, ministry and more.  You can also use it to help friends, children, etc. make good decisions.  I even use it at work as a “faith flag” at times.  If people ask career advice, for example, I pull out this diagram and share it with them (i.e., “At the risk of getting all religious on you, here’s the method I use to make decisions like that.”)

Click here to download a set of PowerPoint slides to read or to use yourself to teach others.

P.S. A kid came into my wife’s elementary school library yesterday and asked if she had any books on how to make good choices.  She thought of the diagram above and laughed.  Let’s just say I refer to this model now and then.  She thinks I should write a children’s book on decision making.  I think she is kidding.

Hat tip to Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason for much of this, including the diagram.

Decision, decisions

Uber-apologist Wintery Knight linked to this last week so I thought I’d re-run it.

And here is a new video of this lesson!

—–

Decision Making and the Will of God is one of my all-time favorite lessons to teach.  This is such a crucial topic, because we make big and small decisions all the time and are constantly living with the consequences of past decisions.

Does God speak to you about specific decisions when you are reading the Bible, such as whether you should pay off your mortgage, whom you should marry, what job you should take, etc.?  I think this is about how you apply the Bible to decision making and not about whether God sends individual messages through his word.

For example, if you want to know whether paying off your mortgage is the right thing to do, you have a couple options:

1. Ask God for a supernatural sign for the answer, whether it is a yes or a no (a la Gideon).  My guess is that He won’t decide for you that way, but it is always his option.  One thing we know about God is that if He wants to tell you something directly He isn’t very subtle.  There are zero examples of him trying to tell someone something in the Bible and not getting through.

2. Use the wisdom model of decision making.  You don’t have access to God’s sovereign knowledge (Will I lose my job?  Will interest rates go up or down?  Etc.).  You do have unrestricted access to his moral will via the Bible. Example: Is it immoral to pay off your mortgage early?  No, unless that means you won’t have enough money to feed your kids.  After moral considerations, look to the wisdom angle.  Ask God for wisdom, as He promises to deliver.  But as with Solomon, He doesn’t promise to decide everything for you.  Read the Proverbs (and more).  Seek the counsel of others.  Consider the pros and cons.  That’s how to make wise decisions.  Finally, provided the options are moral and wise, consider your personal preferences.  We have tremendous freedom in Christ to do many things with our time and money.  Will paying off your mortgage make you happy?  If so, then do it.

Here’s a picture of what is looks like:

Decision making and the will of God

Really short version: Aside from direct and clear personal revelation from God, you don’t have access to his sovereign will when making decisions.  Therefore you must look at other factors.  If it isn’t moral, don’t do it.  If it is moral but not wise, don’t do it.  If it is moral and wise, then use your personal preferences.

Using this model you can end up with a wise and biblical decision, but you have avoided the traps of the “God told me to ____” routine.  People who run around saying that God told them this and that convey a super-spirituality that can leave less mature believers wondering if they really have a relationship with God (i.e., “God doesn’t tell me every little thing to do, so maybe I don’t really know him.”).

The “God told me ___” routine can also be outright blasphemy, as when “Christians” claim that God is moving in a new direction counter to what He revealed in the Bible.  The United Church of Christ “God is still speaking;” theme is a good example of that.  They didn’t believe what He said the first time around, so why trust them on allegedly new revelations?

Saturating yourself in the word is a key success factor in making good decisions. If we focus on worldly wisdom things go badly:

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

But if we repent and do everything we can to see things from God’s point of view we will make better decisions.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

This model will help you make good decisions in all areas of life.  You can also use it to help friends, children, etc. make good decisions.  I even use it at work as a “faith flag” at times.  If people ask career advice, for example, I pull out this diagram and share it with them (i.e., “At the risk of getting all religious on you, here’s the method I use to make decisions like that.”)

Click here to download a set of PowerPoint slides to read or to use yourself to teach others.

P.S. A kid came into my wife’s elementary school library yesterday and asked if she had any books on how to make good choices.  She thought of the diagram above and laughed.  Let’s just say I refer to this model now and then.  She thinks I should write a children’s book on decision making.  I think she is kidding.

Hat tip to Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason for much of this, including the diagram.

No, this is not a commercial: How to save on home & auto insurance

I really don’t like shopping for insurance, but after my current vendor raised my homeowner’s insurance by $1,200 I figured it was time.  The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Motto: “As boring as it sounds!”) has various affinity programs so I checked them out and found Liberty Mutual.  I’m really glad I did.

I saved $540 from what I was paying for home & auto and $1,660 from what I was about to be paying, with lower deductibles.  I also got much simpler billing and “first accident free forgiveness” as well.

If you are in the market, call Rizwan Jaffer at Liberty at 877-750-3033.  He was very helpful.  They have other discounts besides the AICPA one that I used.  Note: It won’t benefit me in any way.  I just like to see people save money and I like to reward good businesses and employees.

One friend said he has been very happy with Liberty, especially when he had a claim after hurricane Ike.  And another friend just switched to Liberty and saved a lot.

Should Food Stamp Purchases Be Limited to Healthy Food?

Fooducate (a great app to use in the grocery store to see
how healthy your food really is) asked the title question on their
blog
. My response: The choices should be limited to
healthy foods. They listed these potential objections, to
which I would ask people to simply consider a parallel of neighbors
helping each other.

  • Limiting the food choices
    is paternalistic nanny state oversight.
Limiting choices on drink
sizes is ridiculous. That is true nanny-statism. But
this is vastly different: You have a choice to accept or reject the
free food offered by fellow citizens.
Would you accuse your neighbor of such things if they only
offered you free healthy food?
  • Eliminating food
    choice would create a stigma and shame SNAP
    beneficiaries.
What stigma? You are getting free food.
You should be grateful.
  • The diets of SNAP
    participants are generally comparable to the diets of Americans of
    similar economic means, so why single poor people out?
Because taxpayers are paying for their food.
  • The cost of reprogramming computers and retraining
    grocery store staff for the hundreds of thousands of food items in
    stores is prohibitive.
It would be worth it to help those people.
And it would save on the medical
costs.
  • Where will the line be drawn between healthy /
    non-healthy foods? Is a cereal with 12 grams of sugar nutritious? 8
    grams? 4 grams? What if it has added fiber?
The details could be worked
out. I would make things really simple and focus on things like
oatmeal, milk, bread, cheese, fruits, etc. And I wouldn’t let
them have cards that they could sell for cash and use it for drugs,
cigarettes, bad food, etc. Part of our problem is that by
trying to save money with technology (normally a good thing!) we’ve
made it too easy to abuse the program. That kills the cost
savings.

Soft drinks

I think that the New York City soda ban is beyond absurd.  It is disappointing to see how many people can’t see the downsides of having the government try to control things like that.

But I do think that sodas should only be used as treats — even the diet kinds.  Brown water and chemicals are just not a smart thing to put in your body on a regular basis.  Drink coffee if you want the caffeine.

I realize it would take a little discipline, but if people tried drinking water instead for a few weeks they’d be amazed at the impact on their health and their wallets (drinks are probably the highest margin things on restaurant menus).

I think these are effective ways to get people to reconsider what is in their soft drinks (more here):