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* BFU Weekly Journal *
documenting creation of a
Visionaries Learning Center

Bastiat Free University offers internationally accessible and actionable student-directed learning to visionaries and entrepreneurs.
Your BFU resources are now available without cost.

Start Today
Rediscover the pleasures found in self directed learning.

BFUniv, BFU college, self-directed e-learning, Bastiat Free University


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Weighing Evidence

It is very difficult to weigh evidence in many arguments unless you are a specialist. Unfortunately specialists and scientists are human, and each follows his heart before he considers facts. Therefore specialists and scientists are on both sides of most arguments, and arguments are tainted with belief systems. Why else would someone call themselves an Environmental Journalist, a Christian Educator, or an Evolutionary Biologist - for good or ill, their decisions have been made.

When you see documentaries like Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, or the BBC documentary on the other side of the issue The Great Global Warming Swindle, there are plenty of arguments and accusations made by both sides. In fact the only safe statement that can be made is scientists that view these documentaries have probably already made up their minds. Few will watch the opposing video except to search for a fault that will make a good sound bite. You also will perhaps watch one you are predisposed to believe, but avoid the other - reinforcement of current opinion is human nature.

I am more inclined to draw information from sources not involved in a debate. A journal entry from an archaeologist dig (link now dead) mentioned the higher temperatures that once reigned in Europe, inadvertently showing that temperature does indeed fluctuate, and that we are not now near an extreme. This type of data point has more value than the sum of many arguments provided by proponents of a particular view. Depending on opinion already formed, you, and those specialists and scientists, will tend to weigh the value of this data based on your beliefs.

In fact our knowledge runs in fads, some small, some long lasting. Some fads are created for political or commercial reasons, others happen spontaneously. For those captivated a fad controls their reactions, leads their responses, and permits little deviation.
While sometimes fads reflect real value, frequently they endure only until a more captivating idea emerges.

Just as fads of knowledge, news, science, and politics run in waves of varying dimensions, some would say history as fractals, so does our approach to and understanding of the universe vary. Several hundred years ago science was seemingly directed at understanding man's place in the universe. Today science is consumed with the math and detail of matter and why is seldom considered a valid scientific question.

Philosophy gave way to math, perhaps due to requirements and attitudes spawned by the industrial age. Governments and their schools now emphasize the value of math and science education - disciplines intractably united in most modern minds. As new technologies liberate thought, the powerful bureaucratic control of science and knowledge will have to face an uncomfortable and enduring reality.


This too shall pass.


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Liars Seldom Believe The Truth

Hypocrites are the first to call others a hypocrite, the power hungry assume everyone is after the same control they seek, the greedy thinks everyone wants to steal what they posses.

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?" Matthew 7: 1-3

This is very good news for those that would be wise. All that is needed is to determine what bothers you most in others and you have likely found a major fault to heal within yourself.

You may decide that you like the fault and wish to keep and nourish it. That is your choice, but it is no choice to deny any of the factors that define you. If you determine to rid yourself of perceived faults instead, do not expect it to be an easy or quick journey.

You can will to recreate yourself, but those that have gathered around you due to your nature will not willingly suffer its change. They have joined with you precisely because they share your faults. Your changes will point out to them their own uncomfortable short comings, and what you thought were friends may be the first to condemn you.

You will find new and more true friends as you develop in your commitment, and you will be less often fooled by other's self-serving accusations. As you enhance your own perceived personal worth so will your personal satisfaction increase, even if there is no end to the opportunities for self improvement.

We are all on a journey with an indefinite end, some ride and hide, others will discover opportunities and enlarge their lives. Along with discovering your passions do not neglect discovering your shortcomings. Pay attention to both, it is your life - live it to its fullest.


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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Entrepreneur's College

Perhaps the twined concepts of starting your own business and picking up knowledge as needed from BFU and other sources is a bit too informal for you.

I would ask you to consider where you acquired your appreciation of formal education. Those years you spent feeding at the required public trough were offered with a purpose.

You have been intellectually fattened to remove any potential for strenuous individual mental activity. It will never be considered valuable to any bureaucracy, such as the schools you were forced to endure, to allow consideration that you might exist just fine without its coercive ministrations.

If what government approved institutions offer is truly valuable to any but themselves, would they make laws forcing it upon us and have to steal from our paychecks to support it? Would they so bend society as to create flaccid axioms intoning the value they offer, all tied to "success." Would they provide student loans and other inducements to trade in your freedoms for promises of an ersatz life of herd like conspicuous consumption?

Ah, but I have made you uncomfortable. Ignore the previous and rejoin the corpulent herd; your hungry shepherds, the wolves, miss your compliance within their rituals.

I would suggest for those of you interested in a more formal entrepreneurial course of study that you investigate the Institute for Entrepreneurship. What I have read about IE indicates a willingness to try new learning strategies and support those that apply them.

The IE staff is comprised of experienced entrepreneurs, the classes are structured to help you start your business with maximum support and understanding.

If you feel the need to absorb knowledge before you make that commitment, take the time to explore the offerings of this school first. Involvement in establishing your learning path will enhance the results of the journey.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Entrepreneur's Mind

Success will come when you focus on one great entrepreneurial business solution, that others want or need, and are willing to pay for.

How does the thought process of an entrepreneur differ from that of an MBA starting a new business?

An entrepreneur takes a business idea and runs with it. Rather than spending time and money immersed in analysis and projections, the entrepreneur starts selling. A business idea can be a good or a service, but it is the customers that will decide if it is right for them at the right time and price. If the target customer shows a preference or bias, the entrepreneur can quickly change the idea to fit the market.

A business school graduate will still be involved in competitive analysis and marketing tests. Having started with a business idea, process now dominates. There are steps to be taken, in order, as the business structure is raised. The target is fixed, the purpose is to hit it as exactly as possible using all necessary adjustments before a shot is fired.

Without having taken a single entrepreneurial college course, a prospective business owner can take their prototype on the road and ask prospective customers their opinions.

One viewer of the first Star Wars movie was impressed with the light saber as a toy. As I remember the story on the way home he stopped at a sporting goods store and picked up a flashlight and a golf club tube for a golf bag. Unscrewing the top of the light he found he could insert the tube and screw back on the top - instant "light sword."

Rather than involve himself in analysis and a business plan to impress venture capitalists, he took his toy to a few buyers at department stores and got their orders. With orders in hand he went to a bank and acquired financing to start production.

When he showed those light swords to a buyer what do you think his reaction would have been to changing the color of the flashlight or the tube? Yes we will! Private branding? No problem!

The difference in the entrepreneurial mind is one of approach. There are many entrepreneurs that lack a college degree, there are far more MBAs that do not understand entrepreneurship.

Get started, keep moving, change direction as frequently as needed.

But you have to get your business started.


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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Emancipated Consumers & Empowered Consumers = The New Consumer

In a recent Forbes article the CEO of Akamai was discussing the increasing speed available for Internet users.

Paul Sagan mentioned what is happening as disintermediation impacts those that thought they had a captive media distribution channel. The words he used for those that will find material where it is best served was "emancipated consumers."

Combine Sagan's
emancipated consumer with the technologically empowered individual we have discussed as a driving force pulling us out of the "one size fits all" industrial age and you have a picture of the new consumer.

The one major hurdle ahead is bureaucracy, using archaic laws and any arguments from individual rights to public interest; those in control of your life will seek to maintain their position. The argument will vary with audience, but the goal is maintaining control by government intervention.

With time this too shall pass. For now don't get caught in the middle by the waring factions - instead do what is best for you without harming others.

Already the Internet provides a medium for consumers to bypass middlemen and secure researched quality at better prices.

more to follow ...

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The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The wait is almost over.

Nassim Taleb helped create one of your Bastiat Free University master's courses.

His book Fooled By Randomness was a best seller and is included in some of your BFU courses, as are some of his shorter works. This book is a great read if you want to explore fallacies that underlie "undisputed facts" we encounter each day.

A Nassim Taleb quote:
"My major hobby is teasing people who take themselves & the quality of their knowledge too seriously & those who don’t have the guts to sometimes say: I don’t know...." (You may not be able to change the world but can at least get some entertainment & make a living out of the epistemic arrogance of the human race).


Nassim Taleb has a new book due out next week, The Black Swan. For much of recorded history no one would have believed a black swan possible. Far too often what we believe determines what we "know."

You can pre-order Taleb's The Black Swan right now and not have to remember to pick it up later. One of the secrets of success is to be too early - here is a chance to practice that concept.

Order The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.


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Saturday, April 07, 2007

There Are Great Teachers

There are teachers that are passionate about their subjects. Many of these teachers have spent their lives discovering subject matter intricacies and relationships. They find joy sharing this knowledge, and their discipline, with their students.

Even students that do not share the teachers passions can get caught up in the instructor's excitement of discovery and draw deeply from their well of knowledge.

It is your job to seek out those great teachers most appropriate to your search for understanding. Here is a powerful book on growing your intelligence - the author has a video on YouTube - see if you can find it.

From inner city public schools to weekend seminars sold on TV, there are teachers that can help reignite your love of learning.

This is an important part of your education - not in finding the "right school," but in finding and sitting in front of the right teachers.

As we say in the Bastiat Free University master's courses overview " ...
we should seek out people who are themselves independently successful if our goal is to be personally successful. Take them out to dinner, attend their seminars, read their books, attend their graduate level courses at Bastiat Free University."

You will find illustrious teachers in many locations. For your own edification do be sure to find them and enjoy learning with them. These great teachers can accelerate your learning while inspiring you to continue your growth.


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