Archives for July 2003

Margins: Gross vs. Net

Point of interest: Gross margins refer to your sales (revenue) minus the cost of goods sold (COGS). So if a store buys beer at $4 a sixpack and sells it at $6 a sixpack, the gross margin is $2, or in this case 33%. Net margins are what’s left after paying for everything else: salaries, […]

Tough competition

Well, I see the conversation over at Wealth Bondage didn’t stop while I took the weekend off. Some very good discussion in the comments to this post. Mike Edwards has some especially good points. Great new weblog to track. To capture my own thinking in one place, I’m going to post comment(s) to other blogs […]

Begin with the end in mind

Michael J. is trying to hustle us out the door but the most amazing psycho-musical event just occurred and I had to report. Chill out dude, what’s the rush? Grateful Dead, Fox Theater, Atlanta GA, May 19, 1977, second set: An eleven minute Terrapin followed by an eleven minute Playin’. They’re drifting around the cosmos, […]

Music backup strategy

One last post before vacation. Cringely has an interesting new business model for a music distribution business. He envisions a publicly held company where the shareholders mutually own a library of 100,000 music CDs, and they are allowed to download backup copies of these songs at the bandwidth cost of $0.05 per song or $0.50 […]


Notio is having a Team-Building Company Retreat this weekend. Myself, Dr. van der Meer, Michael J., and the other Senior Executives of Notio Experience are headed to a small island on a small lake, sans electricity, telephone or running water. We expect to have bonding experiences and perhaps some imbibing indulgences, and return home Sunday […]

Hybrid LLC/Co-op Structure

Thanks to Walden Swanson, we have an outline on forming a hybrid LLC/Co-op business. Following is an edited amalgamation of an email thread we’ve had the last couple of days. Minnesota has a new co-op law that has elements of an LLC. August 1 is the day the law goes into effect. This is the […]

National Center for Employee Ownership Great resource! Quote: “The National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) is a private, nonprofit membership and research organization that serves as the leading source of accurate, unbiased information on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), broadly granted employee stock options and related programs, and ownership culture. We are the main publisher and research source in […]

SBIR Grants

Attended a session today on Federal SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) grants held by the VT Technology Council, et al. Key links: Web Resources These are research and development grants, not loans. 10 federal agencies are required to set aside 2.5% of their research budgets for SBIR use. That’s a lot of money […]

Mobile Psychoacoustics Lab

So, the Mr. Charliemobile had to go into the shop today. At the end of the day I got a ride from the shop’s driver, Sam. Sam’s job is to drive around all day, carrying people from the shop to their work and then from their work back to the shop. He uses a cell […]

For-Benefit Organizations

There’s a real resonance between many of my latent thoughts on humane business organization and the Tutor’s quest to foster “a life well-lived.” Witness the output generated in 12 hours of full-time blogging yesterday. Today, he points to the Fourth Sector Network, grouping organizations into “for-benefit” class of business. Quote: “For-Benefits are a new class […]

Why Corporate Structure Matters

An extended reply to a comment posted earlier today, regarding the importance of legal and financial structures in setting up humane organizations: When LLC’s first became available, most advisors (lawyers and accountants) didn’t recommend them because they were untested in the courts as regards liability and whatnot. At that time, the operating agreements were expensive […]

Business Names, Lesson 1

I love business guys

Equity vs. Profit-Sharing

One of the most difficult business structure issues to be resolved in cooperative, mutual or producer groups creating “legacy” assets is that of transient employee/owners. Say for example you want to have a worker-owned co-op that produces a software product. In the “normal” producer co-op structure, such as a farm products group, the amount of […]

Mutual Banks & Insurance

The Tutor points out in a comment post that a mutual insurance company is another opportunity for customer-owned enterprise. (Scroll down to the post at 5:56 PM.) Quote: “Another interesting co-op hybrid might be the old mutual insurance company concept. The company is owned by the policy holders and divisible surplus is paid back as […]

Psychological Skeleton Key

While Michael J. ate some lunch and Mr. Charlie mumbled about music and elastic time, I rooted around for a book I wanted to mention. “In Over Our Heads; The Mental Demands of Modern Life” by Robert Kegan (Harvard) is an important scholarly psychology book. It is a model of adult development that posits an […]

Comes A Time

From day to day just letting it ride you get so far away from how it feels inside You can’t let go cause you’re afraid to fall till the day may come when you can’t feel at all Comes a time when the blind man takes your hand says: don’t you see? got to make […]

Chaordic Commons

Another business structure worth investigating is the Chaordic Commons. This system was invented by Dee Hock, who founded VISA International. You may have heard of their credit card. It’s described in his bio: “In 1968, he developed the concept of a global system for the electronic exchange of value and a unique, new form of […]

Policy Governance

It is worth noting that most non-profits, at least at the local level, suffer from disfunctional boards of directors. One reason is that boards are volunteers, and don’t spend all that much time in the role, so they don’t know what boards should do. They end up focusing on operational aspects of the business, rather […]


Funny that Michael J. should invite me today to join in the Notio Experience. I’ve been thinking recently about personification and its value in psychological health. Intentional personification stands in stark contrast to the harsh black and white world of the fundamentalists. While our loved ones may know that we have “moods” or “phases” most […]

Dick’s Picks 29

Dude, 1977 was a good year for the Grateful Dead, and they’ve just released two complete concerts on six CDs — Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA (May 19, 1977) and Lakeland Civic Center Arena, Lakeland, FL (May 21, 1977). Check it out. Some fantastic music. I received my discs last week and I’m still digesting them, […]