Monthly Archives: July 2014

How Corporations are Getting Away with Not Paying Taxes

Isn’t our tax and corporation system great? The courts say that companies are people and that they now have rights to deny it’s workers their personal rights so they don’t have to pay for things they don’t want. Now companies can pay less taxes in a new scheme they found that allows them to move overseas but still operate in America.

As Unpatriotic as it Gets
The scheme is called Corporate (tax) Inversion and it allows a company to buy a foreign company and then say that that company they just bought is now their headquarters for running their business. Nothing really changes except just legal paperwork, all the original executives and operations still work in America they just moved their “address” overseas that way they are able to clam a lower tax rate thus avoiding the American tax system.

The world wind this issue has kicked up is one that has shown how conceited American companies have become. Ask any business person or CEO of a public company and the only thing they think about is working for the benefit of their shareholders. The idea of a shareholder has really corrupted the whole idea of business now. They are so focused on making money that they don’t care if they hurt people, communities, schools, and even governments if it means a higher profit in the next quarter. And that is literally what they are doing in this whole scheme of moving their headquarters overseas to avoid paying taxes. They are still using American employees, schools, universities, government contracts, and even government funding but they don’t want to support any of the structures that they rely on to keep them going by paying their fair share of taxes.

Close the Loophole
Right now Senators Dick Durbin, Carl Levin, Representatives Rosa DeLauro, Sander Levin and Lloyd Doggett of Texas are all backing a bill that would essentially close the loophole. It is called the No Federal Contracts for Corporate Deserters Act and would deny federal contracts to american companies that incorporated overseas with at least 50% original shareholders and did not have it’s main operations overseas. The whole idea is to not give anything back to companies if they think it is a good idea to desert the very country that helped them achieve their start.

More needs to be done to stop giving companies so much power. When you allow companies to perform a corporate inversion you are essentially allowing them to take money out of a system and put it into another one. This makes is harder for the original system to function if it does not meet it’s fiscal needs. The money that would have been spent on taxes is kept for the company to grow more but it doesn’t mean that it has to keep hiring more people where it originally started, the whole point of a company is to maximize profits and it can do that if it doesn’t have to keep paying large amounts of money to the American government.

So who loses out if that happens? Everyone.

Taxes are Important
This concept is not american at all and it is very much so by the political ads that you see on TV. American’s have been told for the longest time that taxes are bad and because of that wrong information they have been hearing for so long they start to believe it. Here are what taxes are used for and why people need to pay their fair share.

– Public Education
– Highways and roads
– City Utility Structures
– National Parks
– Welfare Programs
– Public Libraries
– Universities
– Healthcare
– Transportation
– Government Agencies
– National Museums and Arts
– Social Security
– Military
– Research
– and tons more

Other countries have higher tax rates than we do and better systems in place for care. There are many countries where you can walk in and get anything you need done at a hospital and never see a bill because their high tax rates cover this. Every time tax breaks, credits, discounts are offered, one of those areas loses money. Anyone want to take a guess which one is the first to receive cuts? Education, the very thing a country needs to stay ahead is the first program that gets cut.

Another Recession Coming
If you haven’t already seen the film “Inside Job” then you really have no idea what companies did to our government. They basically took control of the whole system, made them deregulate the markets, and made the government bail them out for their greedy mistakes. Now that more companies are interested in inverting you will have less money circulating in a system that desperately needs more money to support public programs. When you take away money that supports the very things that people need you will end up with a not pleasant ending.

The amount of deregulation that companies got away with is the reason the economy tanked, they didn’t want government agencies snooping around at what they were doing. Most other developed markets have very sophisticated systems in place to keep something like that from happening (i.e., E.U.). Companies need to go back and have more regulation put back in place and be made to pay their fair share of taxes. Did you ever wonder why they only like to hire from the Ivy league levels? Because they want to make sure that the students there know that it is all about saving money for the company and to hell with everyone else.

As you watch the Inside Job you will see that it really is only a matter of time before we experience another recession when you allow so many people to keep taking so many tax breaks and cuts you basically are mortgaging the lives of individuals that are the very thing needed to support these greedy corporations. It will be a long day before republicans wake up to the destruction they are causing and a longer day before democrats understand what they are doing. They can never seem to understand that they need to work for the good of the people but their judgement is clouded by the millions of dollars donated by the very companies that don’t want to pay their taxes.

Ask Kids and Teens What to do and you will find a Solution
Walk into any 3rd or even 7th grade class and ask the kids how they should fix such a problem and you will be surprised at some of the solutions you might get. Remember, every time a company gets a tax break, less money goes to teaching those kids more stuff and less money means more potholes on the roads because there is not enough money to hire more employees to work on the roads.

The best thing about living in America is that you have honest people and two such persons told corporations the truth about what it is they are trying to do to America. I included the episode links below because of how important it is to understand what corporations are trying to get away with and like a parent to a child they should be disciplined for their bad behavior.
Watch what Jon Stewart had to say about Companies that Try to Invert

Jon Stewart Takes on Corporate Inversion Article

Watch the Colbert Report talk about Corporate Inversions

They both made a great point that we have given too much power over to corporations and because of that they now control most of the government especially since most of the people who run the government were hired from major corporations.

The other side of the Argument
In this short section I will include a few things about what republicans think of this whole issue if you didn’t want the videos above, which I highly recommend you do. The ones in favor of companies working to increase their profit margins are, no surprise there, republicans who are defending this practice as a legal way of ensure higher profit returns for their shareholders. Their view is that this will enable companies to hire more people (doesn’t mean it has to be in America) and that it hurts investments in other areas. Their biggest argument to all this is that the tax system needs to be reformed and lowered if companies are encouraged to stay.

I don’t know about you but I can tell you you don’t need a college education to think like they do. Like time I checked I can just turn on a fan in the middle of the dessert if I want to listen to a lot of hot air blowing in the wind.

If you want to learn more about what Corporate Inversion is all about then I have provided links below. If you want to keep this from happening elect people that will do the right thing by requiring more regulation on companies and ensuring that fair share of taxes are paid. Think something like that will ever happen? No, but it’s nice to dream isn’t it? I don’t know about you but I’m not looking forward to the next recession when it happens. And it’s not too far around the corner either considering what the Asset-Management Industry is doing to the economy.

News Articles

HBR: The Conversation We Should be Having about Corporate Taxes
One way to fix the corporate tax: repeal it
Democrats propose blacklisting
Democrats urge no U.S. contracts
Democrats want ban on government contracts
Tax Avoidance De Jour
Why Corporation Inversions are all the Rage
Wiki – Corporate Inversions
Let’s Call Corporate Inversions What they actually are
Durbin Bill to Target Corporate Inversions

Thinking of Majoring in Entrepreneurship? Here are the top Business Schools

It’s funny to think you need to get a major in something that didn’t exist ten years ago. This is just another way universities are trying to bring in more money while matching demand. If you want a real education study psychology, philosophy, business and throw in some engineering to balance it out. If you just want to make things for people go out and do it yourself, that will teach you more than sitting in a classroom for 5 or 6 years. You won’t get anything out of going to school for 4 years and no company will hire you if you have no work experience to offer so don’t fool yourself that companies will be begging for you to work for them after only 4 years.

So whether you are still deciding if it is smart to even go to business school, take a look at the list of places that made the cut. If you want my advice, use the money for the following

1. Read the following books
How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis
My Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman
The Portable MBA for Entrepreneurship by William J. Bygrave
Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky
The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
What the Best MBAs know by Peter Navarro
Hacking Your Education by Dale J. Stephens (Study Very Carefully)

2. Start your first business for $100 dollars (that’s the first challenge)
3. Travel and find out how business is done in other places
4. Meet and Talk with lots of people offering to take them out for coffee or lunch or dinner. You can send random emails to people in different cities and see what comes from the experience. This lady did that and it lead her to travel all over the world meeting new people on her blog entitled 52 cups of coffee. (2nd Challenge)
If you have trouble talking to random people read The FIne Art of Small Talk by Debra Fine
5. Travel to a city that is known for being the best for Starting a Business
Best Places to Start a Business

You will learn more in that experience than what state legislative requirements make you take in school. You will probably even save some money considering now that more than 50 universities cost more than $60k a year to attend.

This is the list of schools that offer the best environments for startsup and entrepreneurs. They have incubators, think tanks, and special courses and even majors to help one learn how business works.

1. Standford University
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3. University of California, Berkeley
4. Cornell University
Look at what Cornell is doing for Entrepreneurs
5. University of California, Los Angeles
6. California Institute of Technology
7. Brown University
8. Princeton University
9. Pepperdine University
10. Dartmouth College
11. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
12. Yale University
13. Clark University
14. Syracuse University
15. Southern Methodist University
16. New York University
17. Howard University
18. San Diego State University
19. University of Colorado, Boulder
20. University of California, Santa Barbara
21. University of San Francisco
22. University of Southern California
23. The University of Texas at Austin
24. Carnegie Mellon University
25. University of Miami
26. Northwestern University
27. University of Denver
28. Boston University
29. American University
30. Brigham Young University
31. Miami University-Oxford
32. Brandeis University
33. Florida Institute of Technology
34. Harvard University
35. University of Maryland-College Park
36. Hofstra University
37. Southern Illinois University Carbondale
38. University of Tulsa
39. Tufts University
40. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
41. University of Notre Dame
42. University of Pennsylvania
43. University of Washington-Seattle
44. Clarkson University
45. Lehigh University
46. Pennsylvania State University
47. University of San Diego
48. Boston College
49. Colorado State University
50. Rice University

If you get rejected by any one of these schools you can always take yourself down to your local library and get a card. If there is any book you want you can always request for them to purchase it. You will learn more from this method than spending money to sit in a classroom the only thing is that you have got to want it bad enough to make yourself go to the library and sit down and not let yourself get distracted or make any excuse to get out of studying.

News Articles

Startup Schools

These men took matters into their own hands and it paid off

Many people wonder what it takes for great things to happen to them. They think that someday something will change and they can start doing the things they want to do. Then there are the people who don’t make excuses in life and just go out and do it. These are usually the people you end up calling boss or CEO because it wasn’t easy for them to get there but they worked hard at it and did something with their time.

Then there are those that put in the time and effort and it paid off big time for them. I decided to write this article because over the summer I have been approached by a number of people asking me to help them build their business. We go over what they would like to do, what they want to sell, and how great their idea is. All the people tell me the same thing – that their business idea is one-of-a-kind and there is nothing else like it out there. Well, the thing is there probably already is it’s just a matter of putting in the time and effort and because there are people out there everyday who are the creators and hard workers at starting their own company they are just really good at making their idea happen. Then there are those that work hard searching online everyday looking to take someone’s idea and beat them to the finish line.

In all the people who have approached me, none have taken that first step of actually doing anything. One of my policies I have with everyone is that I don’t do anything for anyone until I see that they have completed something physical to show for their efforts otherwise I am just working for a paycheck on an idea that won’t really go anywhere. It is very rare that I meet someone who actually wants to start a business and has already put in the time and effort. That should tell you what makes starting a business hard in the first place, that first step of doing actual work.

The two stories I found recently caught my attention because I hear so many more people say they are looking for work. The advice that I am slow to give to others is that they should focus on teaching them skills that employers expect from them instead of spending all their time looking for work. The common response to that is, “Well, I don’t have time to sit and read all day I need to be looking for a job,” or “I don’t have the money to go back to school.” You don’t need to spend money to teach yourself anything anymore, you just need a library card and last time I checked those were free. Plus, why apply for jobs if you don’t even have what employers are asking for?

Meet a College Student who Saved a Woman’s Life
Blake Pryor was driving in his car on the highway either heading home or going out for something when he drove up onto a flyover and noticed something that caught his attention. He says that it was a gut feeling that made him pull over and assess the situation. There was a woman who had parked her car on the fly over and from where she was standing was a 100 foot drop down onto busy traffic. The lady was standing there looking over the edge and it was that instinct of knowing that something didn’t look right that made him stop in the first place. This lady was trying to commit suicide.

Blake said that he approached the woman and looked over the edge with her just to make sure that she knew he was there and even though she made several motions to jump, the fact of Blake stopping, showing appreciation for her and giving her his attention was enough for her not to take her own life. He gave her a hug and told her it wasn’t worth it. After officers arrived they commended him for his efforts to keep a woman from taking her life.

This whole event took place at night in the city of Round Rock on one of their flyover highways and when the police department posted it on their facebook page the article received thousands of comments and likes. People like hearing about stories like this because I guess it makes them feel all warm inside or they are glad to know there are nice people out there like him. For Blake his gut reaction to stop, check out what was happening, and offering his time was enough to catch the attention of many other police departments because he has been offered multiple job offers now. It gets better, so not only does he have many job offers already extended to him but his studies in school match what he wants to become, a police officer. He is studying criminal justice at Tarleton State University.

Everyday there are many people looking for work by getting on a computer and posting resumes and paying for classes that teach them how to write amazing cover letters and resumes not realizing that one of the best methods for finding a job is talking to people. Blake had no intention of landing job offers from his efforts nor was that his intention. He did what was required of him at the time and that was all that was on his mind. I can’t tell you how many times I have been offered jobs or asked to check out a program just because I started talking to someone and asking more about what they do. People want to be appreciated and people will talk to you if you know how to approach and talk with them. Books like

The Art of Mingling: Proven Techniques for Mastering any Room by Jeanne Martinet
The Fine Art of Small Talk by Debra Fine

will show you how to do that and more. Infact, these books are so important to read that it surprises me that schools don’t teach that, but many universities have had to add them to their outside programs because they get complaints from employers that their graduates don’t know how to talk to people properly. Such an important skill and yet efforts are spent more on standardized testing. What Blake did was amazing and his efforts were rewarded by what he was able to do. He doesn’t have to worry about job interviews or sending in his resume because it was his efforts of doing something that mattered more.

You can read more about Blake and the full story here
Texas Student Saves Woman from jumping
College student saves suicidal woman
Young Man stops woman from jumping
Facebook Post

Meet a Guy who freed himself from Jail by studying Law for 12 Hours a Day
If I was to tell you that the best way to learn anything is to find some time alone, sit down and read, you would probably find every excuse in the book for getting out of it even though you know you need to do it. Ask any college student when they will clean up their dorm or do their laundry and they will tell you “when I have some time,” but the second it’s time to study for exams you will find majority of students cleaning their places instead of doing what they need to be doing.

The reason for it is because people will give excuses over to things that they know need to be done but don’t prioritize until it gets them out of doing something more important. For Rondell Sanders he didn’t have any excuses because he was in prison and there was nothing for him to do all day. He asked his family to raise some money so they could buy him some law books for him to study. After they raised the money and sent him the books he told his family to stop visiting him so he could focus on studying.

The push to study so hard came after the fact that he lost his initial trial and his lawyers were doing nothing to help him. He knew he had to figure out how the legal system worked and he did that by studying law and that is what he did for 10-12 hours a day seven days a week. There was nothing else for him to do so he made a valid use of his time. His efforts paid off because he was freed  (Jul 23, 2014) after he won his third acquittal trail having spent 20 years in prison (1994) for a murder that he said he was innocent from. He is now adjusting to his new life in society and trying to get used to having those freedoms again.

Sanders said that he loves law now and would love to work in a law firm to help people in his situation. He says he understands what it means to not have anyone listen to him because he was there and met others that felt the justice system ignored them. His real push to learn law came from knowing that his family didn’t have a father there to listen to his kids and he didn’t want that. I’m sure the job offers have come to him in some form or another for his efforts to free himself.

This story goes to show that you don’t need to enroll in a major university or night school program to get an education. You just need to stop with all the excuses grab the books that will teach you what you want to learn and sit yourself down and study. There is nothing else to it but for those that are not serious about that they will continue to find every excuse of getting out of it. If this man was serious enough to put in that much time then you can find at least half of that in your day. And if you are sitting there thinking that you don’t have any time, you do, no one needs to watch that much Netflix in a day.

Read more about how he did it
Inmate studies Law in Prison
Man Freed after acquitted in trial
Imprisoned man studies law

The First Step to Starting a Business
The first thing you need to do is stop making up excuses to keep you from taking the first step. Sit down and write out what your business is all about. This process is called, “Writing a Business Plan.” Second don’t think for one second you need to go to business school to get a degree in this stuff or that you need an MBA so you don’t miss out on something important to know. Here are two books to read that will teach you what you need to know to help you get started so you can then hire those that did go to business school to run your company once it’s up and running.

The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship by William D. Bygrave
The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman

After you have read those two books and written your business plan then you will know what the next step is and by then you will have put in enough effort and momentum to get you going that you won’t think of stopping.

Get out there and start appreciating people more and you will be surprised how much the world opens up to you. Then make it a point to read and learn something. Yes the laundry needs to be done but it doesn’t take a full day to do it. Learning apps have made it easy now to learn anything on the go. If a man, who didn’t go to law school, can teach himself law then anyone else can you just have to want to do it, and that is the hardest step.

As for the people still asking me to help them with their businesses, well I’m still waiting for them to make the first move in the mean time, there are a lot of ideas out there floating around but it doesn’t take a genius to make the first move.

Creating a Business doesn’t have to be hard, just requires Hard Work

Creating a business doesn’t have to be complicated. If you are worried about all the legal stuff that lawyers like to come up with to scare you and tax issues you have to deal with, why not leave it to the people who get paid to do that? Successful business ideas don’t start with all the legal stuff in the beginning, they all start with an idea. You then take that idea and see if anyone will buy what you are selling. If you find that people are willing to buy from you then you have a viable business on your hands.

Simple Steps to Starting a Business Today
Step 1. 
Come up with an idea that you think people need or will solve a problem.

Josh Malone found a problem with water balloons. He saw that it took a long time to fill up water balloons and then tie them and then throw them. So he came up with a system that allowed you to fill up 37 water balloons in just a few seconds. Not only did they fill up but they also tied themselves so kids could start throwing them at each other right away. His kickstarter campaign showed that even though this is not a pressing issue, the time of the year to launch his product (summer in America) was the perfect timing for raising money. His initial goal was $10k but as of this writing, he has already reached $315,889 dollars. You can watch just what his program is all about in the video below.

Step 2. Build a Prototype or example to show people the purpose of your business

This is the hard part for most people. They have an idea but putting in the hard work to make it all happen is where you go from the dreamers to doers. Ask how many people around you have ideas for their business and you will get a lot of well-wishers who say, “someday I want to start my own business.” There are many people who have taken the first step in showing their hard work and it has paid off for them. People need to see that you are serious about your idea and if you show the first step then they will meet you part or half way.

Kleo’s Doughnuts is a good example of that

Xiki Commands created many videos to show their work in progress

Step 3. When asking for Money have a laid out plan to show what you plan to do with it.

A lot of people have trouble with this part because they have never had to manage money before in a way that goes towards building a business. This is why investors of any kind expect entrepreneurs to write a business plan so they know more about their business and what they will do with the money once it is given to them. The more detailed a business plan the more helpful it is to understand what you plan to do once you get funded. These are a few examples that demonstrate their effort.

Moment smartwatch is a wrist watch that allows you to type on the band and send information just like the screen on a smartphone. Their kickstarter campaign details what the product is about, their fund raising goals, and where they plan to go with it. All that detailed explanation paid off because they were able to go past their goal of $100k and hit $447,900.

Another campaign that passed its goal was to distribute money in random places to random people. The idea is connected to a series program that teaches about Art and Action and it’s relation to a variety of studies. His story and explanation for how he planned to use the money told investors the why and what and how they needed to know. He went past his goal of $1k hitting $1150 instead.

This guy came up with an idea for doing something he loves and sharing it with everyone else. If someone can raise money for a suit for an interview or bake a cake for their girlfriend then he figured he could mail people pancakes that he made. Not a silly idea since he was able to go past his fund raising goal.

Step 4. After you have received funds then you must show action
The prototype and examples you gave with your presentation are just the beginning parts of starting a business. Now the hard part begins with organizing everything, ordering supplies, and meeting deadlines. This is where idea becomes reality. It is one thing to create something for yourself but when other people depend on you to give them what they want that is when you have more responsibilities to deal with.

Justin Herd experienced his moment when he had trouble as a college student trying to eat his meals with out creating a lot of dishes in the process. He wanted something that he could use one time to do many things in. He created a bowl that you can cook in, strain, eat, and store food in. He idea took a long time to perfect and along the way he has been racking in the cash but his bigger moment came when he went passed his goal on kickstarter.

Step 5. Give the People what they want when they want it.
Now that you have laid out your plan, shown people what you can do and when they can get it, the next hard part is making sure they can get it anytime they want it. If barriers are up that make it difficult for them to get your product then it just encourages them to find competitors that sell similar products or services.

You never want to add more hassle to the shopping experience then there already is. You have to learn how to streamline your whole operation so that when orders come in they are met right away with action so they are sent out right away. Zappos company prides themselves on giving their customers little surprises when they order something from them. This could be in the form of replacing shoes without any problems or free next day delivery without them knowing about it.

You can also build on an idea and just improve it so that people already understand how to take advantage of it when they need it faster.

The free book lending library has become very popular with crowdfunding programs because it builds on an existing idea and just improves it a little bit.

Little Free Library in Brooks School Park
Little Free Library in Albany, NY
Little Free Library in Woolich, London

The great thing about the Little Free Library program is that they all met their goals.

After you have established yourself as a business that has customers and you have repeat business then you can move onto the legal stuff and tax stuff. You can hire out lawyers and accountants who can then manage your finances for your growing business. This way you can focus on the day-to-day operations and hiring new employees. This whole process has been shorten because of the ability to raise money faster online making it easier to start your business faster.

The most important thing to be aware of when starting any business is to know your strengths and weaknesses. If you have a hard time meeting deadlines then hire someone that can finish projects once you start them. After you have drawn out every part of your business so you can visually see how your business operates then you can start learning how to improve every part. It takes time but don’t expect to be up and running right away.

As for the dreamers of the business world the only expression you will hear from them when looking at successful crowdfunding campaigns is “that’s such a simple idea I could have come up with that.” Yea but you didn’t.

This 13 year old just made his own Google Glass

Kids and Teens today, thanks to the internet, are able to find all kinds of things online about how to build this or fix that or improve this and because of their insatiable appetite to learn they can find some pretty amazing ideas. One such company really hones in on the whole DIY (Do It Yourself) phenomenon with their MAKE magazine and website. I think this is probably one of the better magazines to invest in for your child if you know they like building things but also learning how things get built in the first place. The magazine and website shows you how to build your own robots or gadgets using things around the house.

Inspiration Inspired
Kids, by nature, want to learn and they want to go out and explore and parents who encourage them to explore usually wind up with a kid who has learned a lot on their own about how the world and things work. You can not rely on schools today to teach your child everything, or for that matter, inspire them to find what they enjoy doing so you must look for things that drive them. If you find that your child enjoys play-doh and you see they are really good about creating very realistic art work then to hell with all the mess they make in the process. Put your feelings aside and focus on the fact that your child is creating something amazing, and making a little mess in the process. What artists do you know who ever kept a clean place while working on something great? None, that’s just my point. If your son or daughter loves a sport and it’s because they want to do it (and not some over bearing parent making them like so many who do) then you should find programs that encourage them to get better.

As your child gets older and hits the teen years they are going to want to explore even more and that means spending more time going out and buying stuff or visiting places that have people who share the same interests. Getting home after work shouldn’t be about staying home and relaxing, what it means to the kid is that they should be able to rely on the parent to take them where they need to go. The kid I’m about to introduce showed a pattern in his upbringing that needs to be brought to light and what that meant for a kid like him growing up.

It all Started with a book on How Things Work
I can relate to this kid because I used to have so many books growing up that explained how the world worked. One of my favorite books to read was this 1000 answers to science questions book I had. It was huge and had pictures for every answer it provided. I would sit and read and re-read that book. I think I still have it somewhere but it was books like that that my grandma would buy me that taught me alot about science, nature, weather, the human body, and so much more. You can see a trend here of the impact grandparents can have.

Clay Haight said that his grandpa bought him a book that explained how things worked and how to repair everyday appliances; very helpful skills for saving money. Using all the knowledge he learned about how to put things together and take them apart he built on that to create his own things at home. The advancement in being able to print things at home allow kids like Clay to be able to create something on the computer and then print it out at home. This simple power has allowed so many people around the world to share their own 3-D projects. In an article I written previously about a teen who helped their friend by printing out a hand for him since he didn’t have any fingers goes to show the power of what 3-D printing has done for the world. You can also learn about all the advancements in 3D printing from

Once Clay got a firm grasp on how things work and put together and taken apart he could then apply that to electronics and robotics which he did. He taught himself programming with the help of the popular Arduino boards, which his first one happened to be a Uno. Then he moved up to Mega, Esplora, Mini, Ardweeny, Mintduino, and then even his own home-built Arduino board. He expanded his knowledge and understanding of programming by learning what these little boards were capable of doing and because he was just a kid he had all the time he needed to spend countless hours seeing how they all fit together on a breadboard.

Inspiration Meets Action
Being inspired is one thing but knowing how to take it to the next level is another. If you look at what Clay was teaching himself, probably with books by Michael McRoberts Beginning Arduino and Brian Evan’s Beginning Arduino Programming, you start to get an idea of how easy it can be to learn how to make your own gadgets. Another simple way he could have learned was just by using YouTube, where there are thousands of tutorial videos on just about everything, including how to program an arduino board and Getting Acquainted with Arduino. These two videos just by themselves can help anyone get familiar with Arduino and how to use one all for free.

Clay took all the knowledge he learned from those materials (and when I say “those” I don’t mean them in the literal sense, I don’t know what exact resources, besides MAKE, that he actually used) and then applied them into one project. That project being to create his own version of Google Glass. All the articles online about Clay explain that he even created the frame of his device with his own 3D printerbot simple, something he saved his money up for which the cheapest one runs for only $349.

Clay’s practice with his boards allowed him to understand what parts he needed in order to build his own google glass. He used a Arduino Esplora and Arduino LCD screen, which is similar to this one but not the same model, in order to build the whole unit. The senors on the Esplora allow him to speak to his device which allow him to be able to bring up his calendar, local map, temperature, weather, and even his schedule. Not bad for a little device that costs way less than the $1500 price tag that a regular pair of Google Glass cost. You can watch a video below to see what his final product looks like. For a 13 year old it’s very impressive.

There is no age limit for being an Entrepreneur
The story of Clay and how he took what he learned on his own shows a perfect example that you don’t need to be an adult if you want to build things on your own. Many people think they need to go to school, get all these expensive degrees before you can really jump into business. They believe this because they think that you need to know everything about business, which they believe business will teach you and (if this is the first time hearing it) that is not their job. Their job is to provide with you the basic foundation of how businesses work and how they operate but they do not teach you how to innovate and build the next greatest company. It is also important to understand that you don’t need a business degree to start your own company either, infact there is not even any connection between those who graduate top of their class and success later on. So why go to business school? The best business program you can enroll in is starting your own company on your own and learning step by step.

There are kids all over the world now who have made the news like Clay for creating things on their own and then there are teenagers like this guy who just sold an app to yahoo for $30 million dollars. What makes these kids different from everyone else? They didn’t just sit there saying they wanted to do something and never doing it. They worked hard at it and kept at it even when they made mistakes. They went out and tried it and they kept at it until they got it right.

Infact, the teenager who sold his app for $30 million, which many believe was overpriced and not worth it, only got that because he was persistent in getting his app reviewed by a famous website. It was the influencer effect of that website that caught the eye of Yahoo which led to the $30 million dollar offer. There is always a cause and effect (chained linked effect) of how something small turns into something big. You could be working on the next big thing but if you do not know how to get it into the hands of influencers then your idea will continue to sit there going unappreciated until you do something about it.

Nothing happens without hard work so for all your well-wishers who want to be entrepreneurs and strike it rich nothing happens just sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. Take it from this 13 year old who sat in his room and worked on his projects until he got them right and for that he now has fame to show for all his hard work. I’m sure the offers (and money) will soon start to pour in for him. Just remember though that majority of the kids like Clay and those that run their own businesses they are all self-taught.

To read more about Clay click on the links below and how to get started with learning Arduino or learn how electronics work

News Articles
MAKE DIY Yourself Google Glass

13 Year Old Just Created his own Eyewear

This 13 year old made a DIY version of Google Glass

Build your own Arduinos
You can purchase Arduino boards from Radio Shack, Frys Electronics, and any electronics store. There are many online stories that carry them as well. You can check out the main site for Arduino and learn how to get started from the main source.

Arduino Website


Learn Electronics the Easy Way with LittleBits, the lego version of electronics.

Find out how LIttleBits is encouraging more kids, and adults, to learn how to build electronic components just like they would a Lego house or ship in another article I wrote about.

LittleBits is now Cloud Enabled

Two Situations Create a Problem for Corporations

The Hobby Lobby case has created more of a problem for businesses because it just means more power for businesses in deciding how they should treat the very people who help run their business. The case that the supreme court has heard now gives businesses, especially corporations, the right to decide what parts of the Obamacare they want to use, ignoring the rights of its own workers.

The supreme ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby saying that they have a right in restricting contraceptives in their health benefits because of the company’s religious beliefs. The same old story goes that if someone takes their car to a mechanic, who cares what religion the mechanic has if you are paying them to work on your car, and what is it to the person paying for the service anyway? Women, who tend to be hurt the most in workplaces on company policies, now must find another way to pay for birth control on their own. So if you look at the issue at hand here, if you put in full time hours in order to receive full time health benefits, something that should be managed through a government not a business, then you now have to use your own money to purchase additional health care needs. In most cases that is viewed as a regressive tax on the employee for something they need.

In addition to the case that corporations are now treated more like people rather than an entity created for one purpose the ruling now gives more power to companies for their right to freedom of religious expression. New York times talked about this in an article about the amount of power corporations are creating for themselves and how this is creating more problems instead of solving them. Anyone who can not see what is wrong with that probably also believes in more deregulation for companies. They probably also saw nothing wrong with how Wall Street tanked the economy in 2008 either. So now that companies are allowed more rights as an “individual.” What responsibility does that hold to the people actually running the company? In short, none whatsoever. Why? because there are no laws holding them responsible for their actions, but one senator would like to slowly change that.

Executives have no responsibility to anyone except shareholders
The recent GM scandal has shown that companies executives have no real responsibility to anyone outside the company because it is difficult to hold a group of people responsible for individual actions, but more importantly as the senate hearings are finding out personally, it is almost impossible to find anyone at fault when everyone else is pointing the finger at everyone else. The New York Times talked about how it is very difficult to hold company executives responsible for anything.

All the senate hearings are finding that even with all the inquiries they have requested of GM, none of the people answering questions are taking any responsibility for the number of people who have died because of their faulty cars and mistakes made; mistakes that were known as far back as 2006 but nothing was done about it. As of the date of this article still no one in the GM company has served any jail time or been accused of murder for the intentional deaths that were caused by faults they knew about in their vehicles but failed to report. If company executives are allowed to get away with poor decisions and plead ignorance in a senate hearing in order to escape fault, then how does anyone know if company executives are acting in the consumers best interest, or for that matter the company’s best interest? The short answer to that is, no one does. In fact if anyone was to try and find that out they would find themselves in a hot mess and be labeled a whistle blower and probably be slapped with a lawsuit of their own.

In the same NYTimes article one senator, Richard Blumenthal, would like to pass a bill that would hold individuals in a company responsible for failing to report any errors or faults in their products that could pose a risk to consumers. He labeled this the Hide No Harm Act and under this act it would label anyone a criminal who failed to report a fault or mishap or even mistake in which case that person could end up serving 5 years, which is nothing in terms of criminal prosecution. That’s a vacation sentence for most rich company executives.

The challenge with such an act is that many high end executives do not deal with everyday operations so they are not always aware of faults or defects right away. The bill of course limits this only to corporate officers and directors so if they fail to be notified right away from their lower level employees then they could end up in trouble. No personal liability would be pressed against any company employee though. The Hide No Harm Act requires any issue to be notified within 24 hours but this short window could also lead to many reports being filed just out of safety reason, requiring which ever government department they are reporting to, in this case for GM the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to be swamped with reports to be reviewed.

Reports will be filed just out of caution in order to avoid criminal prosecution but that now requires double or triple the amount of work for the government agency who has to respond. The action by Senator Blumenthal is commendable but not the right response. More regulation is needed in order to keep companies within their proper boundaries. Rather than passing a bill to slap the back of their hand more rules need to be put into place about how certain companies should operate.

High end lawyers are always brought in order to reduce the amount of time an executive has to sit and answer questions. Watch any senate hearing and you will see professional individuals lying about their own company’s actions without a concern or care that they might be fired or imprisoned, an action that rarely happens. So if company executives are allowed to get away with murder, in this case the number of people who have died because of the faults that were not reported since 2006, then why should any other company executive worry about getting caught?

Two Conflicting Actions
Any company now can sue in order to express their “individual” rights and if company executives are not really held to any level of responsibility than who is to say they won’t abuse the individual rights that a company has in order to achieve any personal gains? If you look at the companies that tanked the economy back in 2008 and have watched the movie “Inside Job” then you understand that by allowing companies more individual freedoms and more deregulation then the economy, and the people who live within them, are at risk for another financial disaster and even more problems in other industries.

You can look at the whole situation as a puppet master controlling the actions of a company and should anything go wrong, one can simply drop the puppet and move on to another job. A court can sue the company and win for damages but no one individual in the company is held responsible. If the person controlling the situation is doing it out of personal gain then who is it to them if something bad should happen to the company? In the case of employees who suffer at the actions of the company they work for the only solution that has been offered to them is to simply find another job. Since there is no long term careers anyone, because it is not worth the company to pay such high end benefits anymore, employees have to understand the risk they take on when working for any type of company. So when they ask you if you have any questions at the end of the interview, it is now important to ask what the religious beliefs are of the company and whether or not you want to deal with their over reaching values.

News Articles
The difficulty of Holding Executives Responsible

What the Hobby Lobby Ruling Means for America

This Book changed this Billionaire’s understanding about Business

There are many business books out there to read and not all of them are great. Some, infact, are just there to get the authors name out there but contribute nothing useful to the field. What makes a great book stand the test of time is not how much information it can pack in between its pages but how relatable the information is regardless of the year. When a book is able to showcase examples of situations that people have to deal with on a day-to-day basis then that information becomes relevant very easily to anyone reading it. An author who is able to capture those moments and write it in a way that highlights why and how those situations work the way they do is able to show people what kind of mindset they should have anytime they run into those situations.

Regardless of where technology and science take us we will forever have to deal with people on a daily basis and what makes a business book great is not how well it can show us how to balance a budget or how to raise money but how to handle complex situations that humans bring upon themselves. All those situations deal with office politics. They will forever plague work environments and any business book that can showcase what to do about them will have a longer shelf life than most other books out there that try and tell you how to be a better leader.

Why Read this book when they are new ones coming out everyday?
How you view business should not be based off of how much money your business can bring in but how well you treat everyone you deal with. The first part is easy for anyone who studied finance in college but the second one is a real challenge when trying to please everyone all the time. Those that understand people know that it simply can not be done. You must understand that in any business there will be people you hire who will cause more trouble to the company than give back. Any employee that wants more money for less work shouldn’t be working for your company but those situations get tricky after you have too many employees who feel the same way.

In a world now where there is a new business book coming out everyday why read a book that is no longer in print? (That is is about to change) Doesn’t that mean the information is outdated and old? Most who believe that you should only read information that is current miss out on the trends of the world. History repeats itself and will forever do that because humans are creatures of habit and habits are everywhere. The same can be said of companies, once a routine is established and people get comfortable with that routine it becomes very difficult to break up that routine after while.

If you were to pick up a business book today chances are you will see a lot of micro-stories, lists, how-to’s, and personal stories but what you won’t see are essay style articles that go in-depth as to why certain situations arise. These type of discussions are key to understanding the troubles that companies do not pay attention to. If you fill a company with a lot of yes-men then it is very easy, from an outside perspective, why a company would become a sinking ship but if you were on the inside you would believe that all the talent around you, given their high titled degrees and university names, would alert you if there was ever any danger but what you don’t realize is that the higher you go on the corporate ladder the harder it is for people to say no to you.

Business schools try to teach this by using their old method of using case studies, where students are given profiles of companies with situations that are happening and told to offer a solution. They believe that this method is the best there is but the reality is that only the market can tell you what the best method is for fixing something. Throwing money at a problem never fixes anything except giving people a job worth coming back to. The market in which a company exists will tell you whether or not it is something people or businesses want. If the market does not want it then the company is simply wasting it’s time and money.

That is why the book, Business Adventures by John Brooks, is one of Warren Buffet and Bill Gate’s favorite business book they have ever read. Warren Buffet says that that book is the best he as ever read on investing. Infact, Warren Buffet is the one who introduced Gates to the book after Gates asked him what was his favorite book to read. Mr. Brooks does not give you a formula in which to go by or a step-by-step process in which to follow. He lays out the story and highlights the key parts that show when something started to go wrong or when something started to go right and why that was. They both learned how they needed to look at situations and how they needed to stay focused on the big picture.

Business books today are created in a way that tell stories and then give you the bite size chunks of what it is you need to know so you can get back to what you were doing faster. I have read many business books already and very few read like a novel in which they tell about events that took place within companies. Instead, books today tell you personal stories about what someone had to deal with and how they overcame the problem but nothing like how good investigative writing should be.

Business leaders and entrepreneurs need to be aware of conditions that arise in every business regardless of the field they operate in. This is why so many entrepreneurs who have read business books today say that they want to stay in control of everything, thus, making it harder to let go of control when they have to because they feel they will not be aware anytime something goes wrong. The other reason entrepreneurs do not want to hire more people in the beginning is because they worry bringing in someone new might make decisions on their own that might hurt the company later on. It no longer becomes their pride and joy but a collective experience of what a group of outsiders what to do.

Pick Books that Explain Habits and Situations
If you are looking to read some new business books and would like to avoid reading the bad ones then an easy search online of, “best business books to read” will lead you to a few lists. If you need quality material you might want to consider links from sources that talk about business and keep up with the trends. Here are a few to help you get started.

99 Best Business books by Personal MBA
Best Business books to read in 2014 Stanford Business School
Amazon list of Business Books
10 Best Business Books
20 best Business Books to read for the Summer by Business Insider

Business School Self-Learning
They say that if you want to go to business school you are better off going and starting your own business and using the money you would have for school and applying it to your first company. The experience you will learn doing that is more than what the best business schools can teach you. And this is all true from experiences. If you combine the efforts of reading a new business book once a week on top of trying to launch your company you will have gained more experience than sitting in a classroom waiting to start your own company. At best, you will pitch to so-called “investors” for your senior project to see if it is worth investing in. The whole idea though is that you are selling your idea to get it off the ground. Great businesses are started and kept by their founders. That is hard work enough so if you are just looking to get rich off of your idea then you are wasting your time, effort, and money in general.

What the best business books offer that you will not get from sitting in a classroom is experience in the palm of your hands. A classroom will only give you theory to work on and not only that but there is absolutely no connection between getting straight A’s in business school and business success afterwards. The people who are the most successful in business are the ones who have created tons of companies and learned from their failures. Reading “How to Get Rich” By Felix Dennis will not give you a golden ticket to success but will give you a wake up call to realize how hard it is to become rich. For ever second you spend in class you lose in experience with starting a business.

If you are absolutely dead set on starting a company but too afraid to start, just try starting a blog and managing that everyday. If the task of writing just one article is hard enough then what makes you think you can handle a dozen different things everyday just to start a business and then if you hire people, having to deal with all their issues on top of that? Yea, it’s not easy so getting realistic about the whole process right away is more important than sitting in some class listing to theory concepts that you may never get to use. But if being realistic is your thing then you should at least know that if you plan to work for yourself or someone else in the end that way you are not wasting your time.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s Influence
After Bill Gates released his article on the Wall Street Journal website about the best business book he has ever read I am glad to report that that book has shot to the top of bestseller lists. Infact the company that once printed John Brooks book is now in plans to release a paperback version in the fall. They released an ebook version on Amazon (link at the bottom) which many people have already downloaded, including the free chapter that Gates released on his website (link below). The son of John Brooks, Alex Brooks, said he was very pleased to hear about the sudden interest in his dad’s book and was glad to see that Bill Gates was a fan of his father’s book. It just goes to show that with the right influencer anything can happen to someone, including bring back a good thing.

If you read the reviews now on Amazon you can see the many people who have already read the book, after only a few days ago Gate’s wrote his article, and how they name Gate’s as the reason for reading that book and how great it really is. All the links are listed below if you would like to read the article Bill Gates wrote about the book and the response the book has gotten since it came out.

News Articles and Links

Bill Gates Story on the best business book around

Business Adventures by John Brooks

Bill Gates Creates Instant Book Hit

Download Chapter from Business Adventures