Saturday Musings - What Does it Mean to do Good?

Saturday Musings - What Does it Mean to do Good?

So many of us in the western world believe that if we do “good” then things will be all right now and hopefully in the afterlife. I’ve been contemplating this concept of doing good and to be quite honest with you I’m a little confused.

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The problem I’m having is that “good” is a subjective term and something that is good for one person may not be for another. Each one of us views the world from our own perspective and cultural background and this taints our perception of what is good.

An extreme example of this is ISIS. They believe they are doing good by blowing up archaeological sites, beheading infidels and bringing their own unique brand of Sharia law to the masses. It’s clear that many people agree with their position and are even willing to put their lives on the line….but does this make ISIS good?

Maybe if you reach a critical mass of individuals that believe as you do, then could you regard what you’re doing as good? If that was the case, then Stalin, Hitler and Mao Zedong would be regarded as saints as they had millions of people following them while they slaughtered millions themselves. I’ve concluded that doing “good” isn’t at all about populist opinion but something else entirely.

Over the last few months I’ve been watching the presidential election unfold in a most astounding manner. Each candidate firmly believes they are the one that will do the most “good” for their country…..this is despite the fact they seem to be trying to prove the other candidate is evil. So maybe a person can be defined as being good by doing less evil? Now we have the conundrum of defining what is evil…..so essentially the flip side of the coin for “what is good”.

Then we have terms such as; “you’re a goody two-shoes” and you’re just “holier than thou” as vain attempts by one individual to try and redefine a person’s personal view of what is good through ridicule. There is essentially a clash of values that has denigrated the conversation to low levels of disrespect….just like in the presidential debates.

There is a liberal way of thinking that has encroached into society that says, “I don’t care what you do as long as it doesn’t impact me.”

It’s an isolationist view of society that builds gated communities, high walls around houses and neighbours who are strangers. At its heart, people who subscribe to this world view have relinquished their right to define what is good and bad until it directly impacts them. Society can be in complete anarchy as long as their walls are high enough and if they are encroached these people will typically define good at the end of a gun.

The problem I see with people defining their own view of “goodness” is that it will vary from one individual to another. Some people will believe its fine to prop up the stats of a domain name with purchased traffic prior to selling it while others believe it’s fraud. Who’s right and who’s wrong in this situation? This forced me to look to the law for some sort of definition of proper behaviour and hopefully “goodness”.

Sadly, the law spends a lot of time defining bad behaviour but not good….in fact, it is largely silent on what’s good. If a person robs a bank, then that is regarded as bad but if you help an elderly person across the road you don’t get some sort of reward from the government.

There is some hope in the law. The mere fact that the law is defining what is bad would suggest that it has some basis in what is good….even if it is silent. Where did the law get its views of right and wrong? This is where I’m forced to acknowledge the fact that the western law (and many laws around the world) largely have their roots in a faith or faiths. In the case of the west, it’s the Judaeo Christian world view.

Whether you are a person of faith or not, one of the fundamental structures of our society has its roots in faith……the reason for this is because it was through faith that our forefathers defined “good”. This means that each day we are all acknowledging there is an external authority that defines good and has defined goodness for each an everyone of us…..WOW, now my heads spinning!

I’m also faced with the fact that most of us seem to be able ascertain what is good through our conscience. Forgetting the outliers in the statistical distribution (eg. ISIS etc.) we seem to know what is good when we see it. But how did this happen and where did our conscience come from? Did it, like our laws, come from a divine authority? I will leave that for you to dig into in your own times of contemplation.

What the basis in the law and our conscience have in common is a bedrock of perceived “goodness” that is not defined by individuals who have differing world views. Goodness is locked down by a spiritual perspective on a common definition of good. This is a great comfort as it means when I’m doing some business with a person there is a clear way we should conduct ourselves. In fact, in business there is a term, “bad faith”. This is when a person is not behaving in a “good” manner to increase their own personal advantage.

I know for certain that I will be thinking a lot more on the topic of “What does it mean to do good?” I hope you also feel challenged in reading this article on your own personal views.

Have a great weekend!

Greenberg and Lieberman

 

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Saturday Musings - When Someone Spoils Your Week...

Saturday Musings - When Someone Spoils Your Week...

This past week has been incredible…..so much happening and so quickly that it makes my head spin. I just love it when it’s like this. Development is going full steam ahead, had some great client meetings and the team is working on a couple of ground breaking ideas. Amongst all of this excitement there is always someone or something that rains on your parade….in my case it was Pepper.

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For those of you that don’t know, Pepper is my cat. She’s been a part of the family for over fifteen years and we all absolutely love her.

Whenever I go away she comes and sits in my study and stares out the window waiting for me to come back from my travels. When Roselyn and I sit on the couch to watch television she inevitably climbs up between us and demands a scratch under the chin. Well, this was her behaviour until last week….

About a week ago Roselyn decided that it was time for Pepper to have some worming medicine and after a bit of a fight (which involved a few scratches) she gave up. As far as our cat was concerned we’d crossed the line. No more sitting next to me as I worked or snuggling up on the couch together. She almost stopped eating, banished herself outside and meows pitifully if we come near.

Like I said, there’s always someone that spoils your week. Sometimes it’s because in your wild enthusiasm you just trod on a few toes or forgot to do something you committed yourself to. In these cases, maybe it’s time for some apologies to get things back on track.

I’ve always been amazed at people that won’t apologise. The person that is strong in themselves doesn’t view saying sorry as a weakness but rather as a strength. So who is stronger, the one that apologises or the one that digs their heels in?

So I’m apologising to Pepper. This has involved debasing myself to moving the food to where she is resting rather than in the normal spot. Ensuring that she has premium irresistible quality, full of flavour and goodness rather than cheap dry stuff. I’ve even coaxed her inside with a few scratches behind the ears…..and slowly but surely she is responding.

So if you’ve ever had someone spoil your awesome week then take them out for a really good dinner followed by a massage….you’ll win every time.

Have a great weekend!

Michael

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Saturday Musings - Why Domains Are Like the “One Ring”

Saturday Musings - Why Domains Are Like the “One Ring”

Author, JRR Tolkien, suggested in “The Lord of the Rings”, that the one ring allowed wearers to rule but each time they put it on they tended to spiral down into deprivation and psychosis. The character of Frodo did his best to resist the rings temptations but sometimes he just couldn’t help it. I sometimes wonder whether domains are a lot like this.

Gollum - have you bought the .comRemember when you bought your first domain name? The nervousness of the purchase followed by the terror of what the heck are nameservers and EPP codes. But you were hooked. The desire to buy or sell just one more domain each day becomes an irresistible allure that you just can’t seem to deny. If you don’t believe me then consider the following….

What’ the first thing you do each day? Is it check your domain stats to see whether they are up or down? How about jump onto Afternic or Sedo to check out any domain offers?

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed? My wife used to ask me whether I’d tucked my computer in as yet….which is a euphemism for have I checked my domain stats?

When you really consider it the last thing we needed was the monetisation providers, registrars and marketplaces to develop apps and responsive websites. This then meant we could feed our addiction to domains during the day while we were catching a train, in a staff meeting or having a coffee with our loved ones.

Of course we could disguise our domain addiction by mumbling something about checking up on an important client email, but between you and me, we know the truth. You’re a domain addict.

I bought a domainSo what is it that is so mesmerising about something you can’t touch, talk to and is full of technical mumbo jumbo? I think I have the answer to that question. Domains are all about power. We may be embarrassed to admit it, but any domain addict worth their salt loves the fact that they own and control something that can impact the world, is unique and, well, hmmmm…..precious.

So deep down inside we are all “Lord of the Rings” Gollum’s coveting our preciouses. Let’s look at the similarities. The one ring impacted the world, so do domains. Tick! There was only one “One ring” and there is only one of each domain. Another tick! The one ring was precious and so are domains. Let’s face it, most of our domains have little stories about how we acquired them and we recount other addicts all about them over drinks at conference bars.

I could carry the analogy further by saying that we, domain owners, stare at computer screens in the dark…..Gollum stared at silver fishes in the dark. He was addicted to the ring….we are to domains. The list goes on and on….which leads me to one conclusion…..the size of eyes of some NamesCon attendees seems to be getting larger each year……oh dear, they may be on their way to “Gollumhood”.

What’s also interesting about domains is the social structure they have developed. Consider for a second who has a more important social standing. The domain investor that owns download.com or joes-pizza-shop-around-the-corner-is-open-now.com?

The domain is locked precious!So like the “One ring” domains do imbue a kind of power! I’m either a somebody or a nobody because of my domains. So when you look at the flood of investors into the new gTLDs it’s all about their quest for controlling something that is powerful.

What many don’t realise is there’s “one .COM to rule them all and in the darkness bind them”. This is a fancy way of saying that you may own an amazing new gTLD but ultimately you will bend your knee to the .COM. It makes me wonder how long it will be until there is a rebellion……

I don’t know about you but right now I’m feeling an incredible urge to go an register just one more precious....I mean domain…..and then it will be mine! All MINE!

Have a great weekend.

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The Mindwars Book 2 - sneak preview

The Mindwars Book 2 - sneak preview

Since I've been traveling quite a lot lately I've had a chance to write some more of book two in the Mindwars series. For those of you that were unaware, as well as managing domain portfolios for clients I relax by writing science fiction.

This second sneak preview takes place at the Concord's homeworld and start off with a single Starfire pilot. It's not long before the action heats up.

I should warn readers that this is the first draft of the chapter and edits will be made in the final copy. With any luck I will have book two ready before Christmas....fingers crossed!

I hope you enjoy another journey into "The Mindwars". You can buy book one, "Battleframe" through Amazon by clicking here.

Have a great weekend!

 

Chapter 9 – Hammer Fall

Lieutenant Barkley looked above at the massive planet filling the upper cockpit window of his Starfire. Swirling clouds spun at unimaginable velocities within dark and light bands of coloured gas. He watched as one spinning storm devoured a smaller cloud before it to, was swallowed. Barkley returned his gaze forward as he shot across the moon, Septem’s barren surface. He loved being alone in space and would regularly volunteer for scouting missions. The majesty and emptiness exhilarated him like nothing else. It could have had something to do with the fact that he was a born and bred spacer.

Barkley flicked a switch on his control column to the wider comnet and said, “Alturus Central, Starfire six, three reporting Kaladon VIII, Septem.”

“CT Starfire six, three, report.”

“Everything looks all clear out here. No sign of enemy activity.”

“CT.”

A brief flash of light caught his eye above and to the right of his present course. “Alturus Central, are there any other ships out here?”

There was a brief pause before the reply of, “Negative Starfire six, three. There are no other vessels in your vicinity.”

“Alturus, I need to check something out…”

“CT Starfire six, three. Waiting your response.”

Barkley pulled back gently on the control column to angle his Starfire towards where he saw the flash.

The central scanning console lit up with a barrage of information and the ships siren immediately blared urgently. In contrast to the urgency, Dora, the onboard Starfire computer stated in a matter of fact female voice, “Warning, enemy missile locked. Recommend evasive maneuvers.”

Barkley wrenched the controls to the left just in time before a missile passed under his right wing. The gas giant spun wildly until it settled below him and the moon’s surface had taken its place. He would only have a few seconds before the missile re-acquired him. He tapped the maneuvering jets and spun the Starfire end for end while still tracking towards where he saw the missile launch. The cockpit siren continued to wail even as the computer said, “Enemy missile locked-on.”

“Oh frap! That was fast!”

Barkley concentrated on finding the missile tracking behind him. “Computer, heads-up display now!”

“Starfire six, three, report.”

“Alturus, I’m a little busy right now.”

Barkley’s controller paused before responding. “Starfire six, three request report immediately.”

The heads-up display in front of him highlighted the missile tracking path behind him. Barkley pushed the control column rapidly first left and then right. The missile tracked him perfectly all the while closing the distance between them.

“Starfire six, three I said report!”

Thankfully, Dora intervened in the conversation in her pleasant, patient tone, “Alturus Central, Lieutenant Barkley is presently distracted by an enemy missile tracking our position.”

Barkley squeezed and then released the trigger for his quad laser canons to fire a short burst. He watched the screen displayed before him to see if his shot erased the target. The missile was still there. “Oh come on! Give me a frapping break!”

“Alturus Central, Starfire six, three continue.”

“Not you Alturus!” Sweat beaded on Barkley’s forehead as he suddenly pushed the controls hard left and swung the ship downwards towards the gas giant. Again the missile flashed past at the unexpected maneuver. “Oh frap that was close! Dora, keep a lock on it before it can speed up again.”

“Acknowledged.”

Barkley spun the ship around again and this time his view was once again in the direction he was travelling. The heads-up display revealed the missile slowly arcing back around and building up speed. Barkley squeezed the trigger and a second later, he watched an explosion form in the distance as his lasers ripped the missile apart. Unnecessarily, Dora stated, “Missile destroyed.”

Sighing with relief Barkley wiped his brow and then pulled back to pull the fighter out of the grip of the gas giant’s gravity well.

“Starfire six, three to Alturus Central.”

“Alturus Central, it’s good to hear your voice Starfire six, three.”

Barkley looked up in awe as thousands of subspace vortices formed around the point he had been heading towards. The Scourge had arrived.

 “Alturus, we’ve got company.”

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Saturday Musings – Unlocking One of Life's Mysteries

Saturday Musings – Unlocking One of Life's Mysteries

I was talking with one of my daughters the other day and she was sharing about some plans she was forming for her future. As a father, there is no greater privilege when your children feel they can openly share with you about their own life.

In the course of the conversation I shared about what I thought was one of life’s greatest mysteries and that is learning about yourself. It sounds quite introspective but I’ve found that learning about myself, my strengths, weakness and capacities is extremely satisfying.

Along life's journey, I can learn how to augment my strengths, guard against my weaknesses and be very aware that I have a limits.

For example, when I was a child I had a really bad temper. If my brother or sisters said anything I didn’t like then I let them know about it in no uncertain terms…..in short, I would lose control.

Over the years I’ve learned about my tempter weakness, worked on it and I’m somewhat proud to say that it now takes an exceptional situation for me to lose my cool. To come to grips with my problem I first had to recognise I had one and then work away at it (maybe the subject of another blog).

A number of people have asked me why I invited a partner to work with me in ParkLogic. When ParkLogic first started I didn’t need any money and what I recognised was that I had a set of skills in one area but needed help in others.

I made the decision to essentially gave away half the company to help me learn about my own weaknesses and improve myself. A great bonus is the fact that David Gibbs (my business partner of 10 yeas) is a fantastic guy to work with and I’ve now learned an incredible amount from him.

There's one thing I've learned over the years, money will come and go but your character will stay with you for ever. So the fact that I could sway some money to help me improve myself was an awesome investment!

All of us have strengths, weaknesses and limits to what we can do. Being aware of these things is the first steps in the adventure of life. Improving all three of them is the second, third, fourth and onwards steps.

What will happen is life will inevitably bring people or circumstances across your path that will challenge you in infinite numbers of ways. How we approach these challenges will really show how far we’ve learned about ourselves and how much we’ve developed our character.

So as I was chatting with my daughter I said to her, “Remember there is no such thing as a mistake, only opportunities to learn about yourself.”

This immediately removed much of the pressure to make the “right” decision from her shoulders as she fully embraced the adventure of learning about herself. She opened her eyes up to how circumstances and other people were teaching things about herself.

For me, I was rewarded with my daughter’s smiling face as she began her first steps towards understanding one of life’s greatest mysteries.

Have a great weekend!

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