Andre Durand

Discovering life, one mistake at a time.
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Archive for April, 2009

Past, Present & Future in 1 gulp

April 27, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

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We’re Professional Consumers

We’ve become really good at consumption. In fact, we’re professionals. We’ve become so good in fact, that we can consume our present, past and future, all at the same time!

Consuming Millions of Year of Solar Energy in 200 Years

We’re well on our way to consuming millions of years of our past in just a few hundred years. Oil is, after all, nothing but super concentrated solar energy packaged into liquefied bio-mass. Likewise, we’ve become really good at deriving, packaging and selling off our future. All so that we can feed our need to consume today. Junk bonds, short-term negative-interest mortgages and the likes are all about maximizing today’s consumption, with little regard to the full price of that consumption in the same period it is consumed.

It’s rather ingenious in a way. We’re masters at pushing off payment of today’s consumption into the future. The problem is, in many cases, we’ve been able to condense and consume the future in such high quantities and at such an accelerated pace that reconciliation cannot always be pushed off indefinitely. It typically comes back to bite us.

Just Another Form of Ponzi Scheme

In some senses, many of the crisis (bubbles bursting) of the past few decades have been a grand sort of Ponzi scheme, in which everyone has participated. As long as good money enters the front of the funnel fast enough to hide the fact that we’re accumulating an enormous hidden cost to pay down the road, everything is ok. But sooner or later, we always have to reconcile the imbalances.

My overarching concern is that time and time again, new forms of Ponzi schemes are being created. Each time, very smart people are able to create and package up derivatives of our future that do not account for the full future cost of that consumption in the present.

Without a shift in what society values, regulations can do only so much…

Regulation, by the very nature of how it is created (in reaction to something bad happening), will always be one step behind the new Ponzi scheme.

Generally speaking, the thing I object to is not all of the creativity that goes into how we can create and consume more, but what appears to be an imbalance in accounting for the true cost of that consumption. I believe that we need to return to longer time horizon when it comes to our sense of responsibility. Consuming our past is one thing. Consuming our future without a plan to pay for it in our lifetime is as people say, generational robbery. In many of the bonus reform conversations, it’s become recognized that the structure of many annual bonuses provide management a means of concentrating gains in the current period, while pushing off the cost of those gains into future periods. By extending the view of what should be as bonus for exceptional performance to a longer time-horizon (a horizon that extends continually beyond simply the current year), we can encourage a different behavior, a behavior which will have people balancing current consumption with the potential for future consumption.

Matching Consumption Increases with True Productivity Gains

In GAAP accounting, there is a notion that revenue and expense needs to be recognized in the same time-frame. The importance of this is to ensure that companies do not report all of their revenue in one time period, and all of the expense at some future time period (or vice-versa). If we really care about the stability and sustainability of our growth curve, (as versus the roller coaster ride we seem to be on as we condense and consume chunks of our future in a short amount of time) we need to return to our sense of reasonableness with regards the true costs of our consumption in any period of time.

PingFederate 6 Released

April 21, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

Today we released the most significant version of PingFederate in our history. The product, now truly worthy of the title, “an Internet Identity Security Platform” incorporates years of work we’ve done around federated web services, and is just one more step closer to completing on the vision to build a single platform capable of portraying one’s identity, in all myriad of use-cases, over the Internet. The product in all it’s glory is available now for immediate download, and will be offered on-demand through PingConnect.

Web 2.0 Fortune Teller

April 20, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

My friend Chuck Mortimore came across this authentication Captcha today. Like asking a Magic 8 Ball, it’s missing the most important piece of information. When?

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Things Change. Not.

April 20, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

Phil Becker dug up this cartoon which was published in 1934. Yes Phil, history does repeat itself.

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Metallica & My First Camaro

April 14, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

When I was 14, I bought a 1969 Camaro from a guy on my paper route for $500 and proceeded to rebuild it from the ground up.

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Somehow the music, sights and sounds of those high school years stay with you most of your life. While I enjoy and listen to all kinds of music, I still prefer some of the classic metal I played in my Camaro at 15.

I got an email today from Hennessey Performance about their 2010 line-up of modified Camaro’s. I’ve owned some fast cars over the years, so I know better than to dump my money attempting to relive my youth, but I have to admit, this Camaro is tempting.

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I love my (new) iPhone

April 07, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

About every 3 to 6 months, the battery on my iPhone starts to go South, so I take the phone to my local Apple store and replace it (for free with my extended care plan). Without a way to change the battery, it’s pretty much the only option. I’m on my 5th phone in 1.5 years. In fact, since I get a new phone every 6 months, I’ve given up putting screen protectors on it, after all, why bother? Scratched, no problem, get a new one.

So, I’ve been thinking that I can’t be the only one doing this, and while I love Apple, the company and their products, this revolving door of equipment has got to have a massive impact somewhere in their financials. It occurred to me that DELL used to have a similar customer service experience, but as their market and business matured, they inevitably looked to the customer service experience to cut costs.

In short, don’t expect to receive this level of product / customer service forever with Apple. When the innovation and hype slows, and the company turns inward with regards its focus to squeeze profits and cut costs, these programs will be the first to go.

Either that, or they can just build a phone that allows us to change batteries ourselves. 🙂