31 July 2013

July Hiatus: Chris Nelder's Tribute to Randy Udall

While I'm on my July blogging hiatus, I'd thought I'd share with you a few posts from friends whose thought leadership I admire. Earlier this month, my pal Chris Nelder wrote about Randy Udall for SmartPlanet. Udall passed away at the age of 61 while on a solo backpacking trip in Wyoming's Wind River Range. 

I recall Udall's cogent, smart, and somewhat snarky comments on pricing energy in conversation with Jim Rogers of Duke Energy at the Aspen Environment Forum back in 2009, where we were both speaking.  

Here is Chris's tribute, in part. You can go here to read the full version:

Randy Udall: An energy hero’s journey by Chris Nelder

Randy Udall by Dan Bihn

Randy Udall had a unique talent for expressing complex realities and befuddling data in a simple, tangible way that anyone could understand; for being able to step back from the immediate issues of the day and put them in a larger, clarifying perspective.

So when I learned last week that he had died on a solo backpacking trip in the Wyoming wilderness, it was a crushing loss. Randy was one of my heroes: a wonderful man who was a hugely important and helpful friend, mentor, sounding board, and teacher to me over the past several years. He was a gifted writer and a compelling speaker. It’s hard to believe we’ll have no more of his words.
He certainly contributed much to mine. It was Randy who, preferring to be credited anonymously as “a perspicacious friend,” said this in my article on “energy independence“ in February 2012: “The masses (and the cheerleaders) love this story because it is one of Abundance and Manifest Destiny in this Exceptional Country of ours.” That phrase expressed beautifully what the shale mania is really all about. A student of human nature, Randy had an unerring ability to detect the emotional underpinnings of our rhetoric about energy and our destiny, and bring it back to earth.

He never doubted that the engines of human activity were redlining, and that we had entered a period of extreme, even existential challenges where “the politics of energy has to surrender to the physics of energy.” He had no doubt that peak oil was a real and a serious issue we would have to confront in the very near future, as the decline of a handful of mature giant oil fields eventually overwhelmed new additions from the thousands of new wells being drilled every year. And he put his shoulder to the wheel in response, co-founding the U.S. chapter of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO), and co-hosting its first conferences.
Over the past several years, I was lucky to exchange emails every few days with Randy and some other fellow energy geeks. (Some of them wrote this touching tribute.) In a kind of ongoing workshop, we passed around data and charts and observations, working through arcane details, trying to detect the reality of our energy situation amidst a growing crescendo of industry propaganda.

Read the complete tribute here.

More about Chris Nelder.

30 July 2013

July Hiatus: Gregor MacDonald's TerraJoule

While I'm on my July blogging hiatus, I'd thought I'd share with you a few posts from friends whose thought leadership I admire. My pal Gregor MacDonald recently launched a new subscription publication called TerraJoule.us, a monthly newsletter covering macro trends in global energy. Gregor is one of the smartest thinkers and writers I know on macro trends in energy. Here's a description of his latest issue and how to purchase it:

Each issue of TerraJoule.us contains: a Main Essay, a Model Portfolio, a Data Brief, and a link to a Downloadable Podcast. Gregor Macdonald, Editor. For a more detailed description of each issue’s contents, please see the Subscribe section.
This month’s publication, King Grid, examines the emerging relationship between global growth and the power sector. As the global economy struggles through energy transition at lower levels of GDP, the powergrid is advancing.
Can the global powergrid grow at a faster rate than the global economy? Ecological economics generally suggests a steady correlation exists between growth in energy demand, and, growth in economic output. If so, we should expect the economy to be unable to grow faster than energy demand. However, during our present energy transition, when so many users have been kicked off liquid BTU, it may be possible that some of this stranded demand will step forward, and push growth of the powergrid to above trend levels. Surprisingly, this may be possible during a time of sustained, economic weakness in OECD economies.
The July issue also includes the next round of changes to the Model Portfolio:
The stock market correction and bond rout should provide a continuous window in the Summer months to accumulate other ETFs targeted. IXC is starting to look particularly attractive as major components like BP and Shell are off their highs. Meanwhile, given the devastation in utility ETFs, owing to the back up in rates, the global utility ETF, JXI, also looks attractive.
To purchase, please follow the link below: Gregor.us

26 July 2013

July Hiatus: Howard Lindzon on The Best Trade of His Life

While I'm on my July blogging hiatus, I'd thought I'd share with you a few posts from friends whose thought leadership I admire. Here's Howard Lindzon on The Best Trade of His Life. Love the line: "Not all trades are for money. Sometimes you just need to really change things up, even when they are going well."

San Diego/Coronado – The Best Trade of My Life

I talk a lot about stocks, markets and investing, but the best trade of my life was a move.
In the summer of 2009, Ellen and I picked up a rental sign off a lawn on B. Avenue on Coronado and walked into the house and made an offer. The kids were at summer camp. We would have some explaining to do.
We had not rented our home in Phoenix, had not thought through schools,logistics, friends and family, but it just felt right.
That trade set in motion some fantastic things.
We became renters ourselves and a one car family. I walked to work. The kids learned to ride bikes and walked to school.
In 2010, despite the math of renting over owning, we bought a home. The month we bought, turned out to be a low in housing. I had to sell some Buddy Media stock in order to buy the home, because neither my dog Bagel nor I qualified anymore for a loan (that was a bad trade within the trend of the big trade :) ).
Not all trades are for money. Sometimes you just need to really change things up, even when they are going well.
What was your best trade and/or a trade you are looking to make?
Howard Lindzon is co-founder and CEO of StockTwits and he blogs at HowardLindzon.com

25 July 2013

July Hiatus: Andy Swan's "Make Some Noise"

While I'm on my July blogging hiatus, I'd thought I'd share with you a few posts from friends whose thought leadership I admire. Here's Andy Swan on "Make Some Noise":
Make some noise
When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the facts are against you, pound the table.
Some ideas don’t work.  The market isn’t ready for them or doesn’t want them.  You can tell when every “sale" is a grind.  The plow is just too heavy.
Admit it:  You’re already dead.
That’s when you get a little crazy.
  1. Radical shift.  Not to the product (if you think it’s good)…but to the process.  Break the rules. Complete change of target, price or distribution system.
  2. Make some noise.  Get loud.  Every piece of momentum gets a touchdown dance.  See who dances with you.
  3. Lever up.  Put everything into the one thing that works.  Everything. 
There is no excuse for a startup dying quietly.  
That’s pride.  Newsflash— she isn’t gonna dance with the guy slinking off in the corner.
Die loudly.

24 July 2013

July Hiatus: Jack Ricchiuto's "Mindful Leadership"

While I'm on my July blogging hiatus, I'd thought I'd share with you a few posts from friends whose thought leadership I admire. Here's Jack Ricchiuto on "Mindful Leadership":

Mindful Leadership: The Key To High Engagement Organizations

imageIt’s interesting that we have two kinds of leaders today. We have those who actively create cultures of engagement and those who actually engender disengagement.
What makes the difference? Is it their pedigrees or salaries, personality types or track records? Is it the obvious or a more subtle chemistry of factors?
We now have compelling evidence that our quality of attention is the key differentiating factor in how we learn, work and live. It is equally true for how people lead.
High engagement leaders are mindful leaders.
Mindful leaders live in the present. They pay attention to the uniqueness and possibilities of each moment. Clear that now is the only time they ever have, they exude a sense of presence that is contagiously engaging, buoyant and realistic.
The practice of presence gives them an agile sense of timing and an inspiring sense of perspective. They are flexible without being distracted and passionate without being myopic. They treat change as inevitable and vital.
Unmindful leaders live in the past and future. Their sense of timing is regularly off. They come across as somewhere between distracted and obsessed. As much inauthentic lip service they deliver otherwise, they treat change as the enemy to their illusion of power.
They stay untrustworthy with unspoken agendas and unrealistic in expectations because they don’t live in the present. Unmindful leaders squander an unproductive amount of time planning and reporting because these excuse them from accountability in the present.
Mindful leaders get measurably more done because they are continuously engaged in the present. Even their sense of planning and reporting has the character of presence.
The world of an unmindful leader is a world of drama and dogma. The world of a mindful leader is a world of discovery and difference.
Mindful leaders treat conversations as opportunity spaces for action. They are always making agreements, generating and testing options, initiating and completing things. Regardless of agenda, duration or location, their meetings have a palpable feel of accomplishment and engagement. They do not allow people to unmindfully postpone the possible in self-fulfilling excuses about the impossible.
Unmindful leaders see vision as the assumptive delegation of action into the future. They think they’re demonstrating leadership by treating conversations as spaces for endless discussing, defending and dictating. Their meetings result in more meetings. Communication around them remains consistently fractured, fictional and frustrating.
Mindful leaders ask great questions that move people from uncertainty to creativity and talk to action. Unmindful leaders see conversations as opportunities to convert others to the narcissism of assumptions.
Mindful leaders engage people’s strengths, passions and connections. Unmindful leaders are consistently uninterested in these because their priority is fixing people’s weaknesses, deficiencies and differences.
Mindful leaders are regularly seen engaging by walking around. Unmindful leaders don’t have to look up from their screens and meeting tables because they remain intrinsically uninterested in the present.
Mindful people have little tolerance for unmindful leaders because their unmindfulness creates a culture of disengagement.
Unmindful people prefer the disengagement of unmindful leaders because it entitles them to a lack of accountability they prefer. Their refusal to share authentic feedback enables their disengaging leaders to conspire in the illusion that their unmindful leadership is responsible for what people achieve in spite of it.
Fortunately, there is an emerging genre of leaders who doubt the value of the unmindful model. They have an intuition that, even though unmindful leadership is normative and incentivised, it doesn’t create an environment that brings out the best in people. They seek to become more mindful in their approach to leadership.
They have a sense that the engagement of mindful leadership has far more benefits and fewer costs than disengagement from unmindful leadership.
The good news is that becoming a more mindful leader is completely possible because everyone already has all requisite skills.
We now have solid evidence that mindful leaders outperform unmindful leaders on every dimension of performance, development and interaction. The key to high engagement organizations is mindful leadership.
Every organization, school and community needs to demand nothing less.
Jack Ricchiuto is a writer, engagement artisan and author of “Abundant Possibilities: The Power Of Presence In An Intentional Life” released this month. More: JackRicchiuto.com