Where have you gone Steve Jobs ? Senate Pushes Shameless Tax Bill 2017

Probably the closest hero I have had to Joe DiMaggio as the song goes, was Steve Jobs and his counter cultural approach to technology. After the Tax Bill was passed I started to look for America again. How could a majority in Congress, supported by a minority in America push through a bill that will not only hurt the economy, but widen the gap between those who have America’s wealth from those that simply want a fair share of it.

The Tax Bill will more than help the major technology companies, but it will ultimately hurt them too. Most of these companies are successful because their software and hardware is consumed by the 99%. But what if the salaries are not increased or possibly go away? What if the technology companies see a shrinking trained resource pool and immigration continues to go down? You begin to see the hole this Tax Bill will dig.

If Steve Jobs were here, he would know that when Congress was cooking the new tax plan they were overlooking an enormous trend that will change the workplace, beyond anything done before. Because the Tax Bill was done hurriedly and without any input from technologists, economists, corporations and the average worker, they were clueless to the logical end of digital transformation – enterprise robots or virtual workers (or whatever you want to call them).

The majority of our economy is now driven by services. Another way to look at this is the  human worker is in the middle of gathering, processing, decision-making and dissemination of information.  The technology companies are all ready there – they understand that physical workers will give way to virtual robots that provide the golden grail of any business – very cheap, unlimited capacity that can be modulated to volume. Essentially, the cost of labor is reduced and becomes a non-factor in the margin.

The estimates are starting to come in that range from 30-50% of the white-collar workforce will be impacted. The timeframe – ten years, just about when those middle class tax credits disappear, if they have not all ready from the increased health care premiums (same tax bill).

And thus, who will buy the devices, software and subscriptions when the middle class is hit so hard. Karma?

That Steve Jobs, and other technology leaders would have done is begun an ad campaign to shame Congress  to look beyond Washington and recognize the technology and work trends reshaping our society. They would echo what the majority is thinking – that instead of providing additional credits to the rich and to the corporations, pour the money into our national education systems (K-Post Doctoral) now, not in ten years. skill or retrain those workers effected and prepare new workers to apply the same disciplines (strategy, ideation, innovation, product development, analysis) utilizing the new technologies of AI, process automation and deep learning. And lest we forget, put a resilient and hardened communication infrastructure in place in parallel with new institutions for advanced technology training.

But the heroes are now gone, including Joe D. We must put away the philosophies of Ayan Rand (who could have written this Tax Bill) and bring back the true democratic and American belief – through hard work you can succeed in this free country. If you work hard, and save and pay your fair share, than the contract with the government is that they will provide you with the services to keep your family educated, safe, housed and healthy. That it will never limit your potential to achieve success. What a concept!

View From the Retirement Bridge – How to Avoid Becoming an Angry Old Man

I have been much in the past. I was a student,an activist, a soldier, a programmer, a manager of technology and finally a managing partner of a 2400 person consulting business. That last role was the height of my career – leading a $1B business for a number of years. When I left that role I started down a journey that sometimes felt like a free fall into a series of jobs that eroded my confidence and my pride. It was a dark time wherein I had to remain silence while my integrity was challenged by people I worked for. Eventually, I stopped and became an independent consultant.

During that time I  noticed that my view of life was shifting towards the negative. I became what I always detested, an old angry man constantly challenging the richness of my life, my family and my friends. During this journey I was learning lessons that ultimately changed my view of my current life and made peace with my younger, more glorious past life.

Lesson 1-Relearn Humility and Kindness

Sad to say, but I did not know anymore what it was to appreciate what I have, become humble and share that joy with others. By learning that I was one, like many I returned to my roots of humility while helping others. For many years prior to my success, I was humbled by the life I had been given. A life long partner and lover, children, simple but adequate house, car and work. As I grew into  my success, my life more and more became my work and the other aspects became secondary. I became more self-important and less kind to those that had less.

It took walking away from that life, and struggling again, dealing with deaths and unseen disappointments to bring me back to my humble origins. Yet that humility was a happy moment because it also highlighted what was really important life and pushed me to give back and help others. It made me whole again.

Lesson 2- Do not stop learning and strive towards wisdom

Like most people to begin to climb down the mountain of success you begin to feel invisible and less relevant. One day you were in critical meetings, or in the press, the next day people were not inclined to return calls or just did not see you. You would go for interviews and see that the interviewer was simply doing his/her job ticking off questions, but not hearing you and seeing past you. You felt that your own children did not see you as they were,rightfully, trying to move ahead in their own careers and relationships.

You felt your edge get dull. You were slower, your ideas not so enthralling, your concepts fairly average and not so inspiring. Then one day you realized that you still no attained wisdom. That is that with all of your knowledge, facts, figures you still could not attain a level of understanding that you could impart to others, to help them as they struggled.

So you decided to first, catch up, refine your skill of idea creation and above all, your innovation. Problem solving became a challenge once again, finding more than one answer to common problems was another sign of wisdom and above all the joy of learning was back.

This process led you back to a sense of relevance. You were what you thought ! How great was that!

You applied another skill  you thought you lost – listening. Soon your writings improved, age became a non-issue as useful new ideas never get old.

Lesson 3- Ask for forgiveness

To totally rid yourself of the anger you need to forgive those that made you angry in the first place. Tale away the responsibility from them and put it on yourself and forgive.

You then need to forgive yourself. It’s not that hard when you realize that all that you did and said in the past was your choice. And now you have the choice to forgive

Lesson 4 – Reinforce Your Integrity

Along the way you may have questioned your decisions relative to your personal integrity. You know that just questioning was a hit on how you lived your life before you were successful. You promised to always hold personal integrity across all aspects of work. Afterall, that was your criteria for receiving the rewards of your labor.

It is just as important at this stage in life to hold onto what makes you, you. To see the boundaries and to not listen to the noise that surrounds you from others. Stay the course in all that you do now. A basis of love for your wife, children your entire family has to be one that is first honest with yourself. Compassion and kindness and giving must also be based on personal integrity. The use of the question why am I doing this needs to be asked regularly. Before you know it you will feel like you felt on he first day of a new job.

That’s it. Not complex, but painful to remember. What the saying – if it is not easy than it must be worthwhile.