by Jason Hanson
On Aug 16, 2018
The debate rages on over the viability and legality of 3D printed guns. Here’s former CIA officer Jason Hanson’s hot take.
by Barbara Hauck
On Feb 28, 2018
As the gun debate in our country heats up, take a look at one of the most popular articles ever published in Black Bag Confidential. In it, former CIA officer and firearms expert Jason Hanson addresses the question of whether or not convicted felons should be stripped of their Second Amendment rights.
by Chris Campbell
On Nov 10, 2015
Chris Campbell goes over the ways that the small business is being destroyed to better the life of the politician. Read on…
by Chris Campbell
On May 28, 2015
Chris Campbell investigates the free market solutions to the PATRIOT Act. And how to legally build a “ghost gun.” Read on…
by Chris Campbell
On Mar 20, 2015
It was Archimedes who once said, “Give me a lever long enough, and I’ll move the world.” Well, if Archimedes were alive today, he’d take one look at the Exponential Organization… and he’d move the world. Read on…
It’s time for our Grand Finale, dear LFT reader…
We have our last list of 25 State-busting ideas for you today.
We’ll share them in a moment.
First, though, we promised yesterday we’d share with you nine of the most important moneymaking “tenets” of the next century.
It’s important you understand these principles.
Why? Because they make up the creed to the burgeoning exponential economic structure we’ve been discussing this week.
I bet not one in one million people on this Earth understand these nine rules.
Understanding them, and learning how to utilize them effectively, will give you a sprinting head start into the new digital playground. Especially if you’re an entrepreneur or a creative.
That’s the beauty… both sides of the brain win in this new economic landscape.
But even if you’re not the “business” or the “artist” type, the following guidelines have the potential to make your life richer, more exciting, and more fulfilling than you ever thought possible.
Let’s jump in.
RULE NO. 1:Information Accelerates Everything: This rule simply states that whenever something goes digital, it switches into hyperspeed.
“In industry after industry,” Salim Ismail writes in Exponential Organizations, “the development cycle for products and services grows ever shorter. And like the shift from film photography, once you change the substrate from a material, mechanical basis to a digital and informational one, the match is lit for an inevitable explosion.”
Takeaway: Make your business digital. Utilize technology.
RULE NO. 2:Drive to Demonetization: Not only does the digital era speed things up, it also makes things cheaper. So cheap, in fact, that it’s making some things essentially free.
“One of the most important — and least celebrated — achievements of the Internet during the last decade,” Ismail explains, “was that it cut the marginal cost of marketing and sales to nearly zero.
“By this we mean that with the web, it is possible to promote an online product worldwide for a tiny fraction of what it cost just twenty-five years ago. And, in concert with a viral referral loop, customer acquisition costs can also be cut to what was once deemed impossible: zero.”
Takeaway: Utilize online tools to cut the marginal costs of your business. To zero, if possible.
RULE NO. 3:Disruption is the New Norm: Author Clayton Christensen, in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma, observed that disruptive innovation rarely, if ever, comes from the status quo. Established players, by their nature, are slow moving and spend more time and resources trying to protect what they have than innovating.
Takeaway: You are at a bigger advantage than the behemoths. Act like it.
RULE NO. 4:Beware the “Expert”: History shows that the best inventions or solutions rarely come from the “expert.” The curse of knowledge has a way of blinding people of nooks full of opportunities. But when an outsider comes in with a fresh perspective, he notices things the overeducated mind wasn’t able to perceive.
Takeaway: Just because you’re not trained in a profession, doesn’t mean you don’t have anything valuable to contribute. In fact, it could be that you have the most value to contribute.
RULE NO. 5:Death to the Five-Year Plan: The five-year plan is a ridiculous concept in the age of the Exponential Organization. But many large corporations have entire divisions dedicated to drawing up the multi-year vision of the company.
“But the reality is,” says Ismail, “that the future is changing so quickly that any forward look is likely to produce false scenarios, so much so that today’s five-year plans have a high probability of offering the wrong advice.”
Takeaway: Don’t make long-term plans. Just begin.
RULE NO. 6:Smaller Beats Bigger: Any individual can manage his own business by automating the majority of it. And he can scale it quickly enough to disrupt even the whales. This, of course, wasn’t always the case.
“Ronald Coase won the 1991 Nobel Prize in Economics for his theory that larger companies do better because they aggregate assets under one roof, and as a result, enjoy lower transaction costs. Two decades later, the reach delivered by the information revolution has negated the need to aggregate assets in the first place.
“Both now and in the coming years, adaptability and agility will increasingly eclipse size and scale.”
Takeaway: Start small and stay small and flexible. It’s all you need.
RULE NO. 7:Rent, Don’t Own: Today, with the emergence of “fablabs,” biospaces, makerspaces, tool libraries, and the like, there’s little need to actually own a factory… a lab… or even any tools.
“Instead,” Ismail points out, “why not rent those assets, reducing upfront investment and leaving the ownership and maintenance of state-of-the-art facilities to someone else? Further, given that the control mechanisms offered by software and the Internet allow the management of these capabilities at a distance, why build your own?”
Takeaway: If you spend more than $100 to start a shoestring business, you’re doing it wrong.
RULE NO. 8:Trust Beats Control and Open Beats Closed: This rule illustrates perfectly why government is doomed in this new age.
The top-down hierarchical structure, it turns out, is slow, dumb, and demoralizing.
“The control frameworks used by traditional organizations,” Ismail explains, “were devised because the longer (and slower) feedback loops between management and teams often required considerable oversight and intervention. Over the last few years, however, a new wave of collaborative tools has emerged to allow an organization to monitor each of its teams with little oversight and maximum autonomy.”
Takeaway: Automate everything you can. Don’t overregulate. Then sit back and collect checks.
RULE NO. 9:Everything is Measurable and Anything is Knowable:
“Welcome to the sensor revolution,” Ismail writes, “one of the most important and least celebrated technological revolutions taking place today. A BMW automobile today has more than two thousand sensors tracking everything from tire pressure and fuel levels to transmission performance and sudden stops. An aircraft engine has as many as three thousand sensors measuring billions of data points per voyage.”
You can take advantage of this revolution in one of two ways: create a business based on existing data, or add new data to old, tired paradigms.
“We are moving toward a world in which everything will be measured and anything can be knowable, both in the world around us and within our bodies. Only enterprises that plan for this new reality will have a chance at long-term success.”
Takeaway: Use data to your advantage. Test new ideas quickly. Always learn from your mistakes and successes.
OK. Those are the rules…
Do what you will with them.
Hopefully, you’ll understand the immense power within each of them and use them to forge a new path. Create a new life.
And bring your wildest dreams to fruition.
With that, let’s jump to our final methods of geysering the goliath.
OK. Now let’s jump to our final methods of Tangling the Titan.
Here are 25 more ways to bungle the behemoth…
ONE. Attend Voice & Exit. This festival of the future is poised to give TED a run for its money. The idea — the human algorithm — is about abandoning systems that are no longer working and starting new systems (in the spirit of this article). “Exiters” flock to the event each year to celebrate human flourishing, and there will soon be events in multiple cities. The founders are proud of their post-partisan ethos and welcome people from all backgrounds. But the focus is on celebrating voluntary solutions to improving oneself, one’s community, and the world. (Disclosure: Max Borders is a Voice & Exit cofounder.)
TWO. Drink butter coffee. How could something so simple and wonderful elude us for so long? The trend to mix butter and coffee underscores how brilliance and innovation need not involve complex technology. It only requires insight. When you embrace butter coffee, you are leaving that state-perpetuated myth that fats found in butter are unhealthy. It took a peer-to-peer network of ancestral health practitioners to bring down the anti-fat propagandists and scientific “experts” a peg or two.
THREE. Be a fully informed juror. It’s the traditional right of juries to judge not only the defendant’s guilt or innocence but also the law under which he or she is charged. But jurors are rarely told that. Sometimes, however, their conscience guides them in the right way, as with many recent marijuana cases. There are hundreds of documented cases in which juries have simply refused to convict regardless of evidence. Prosecutors have become discouraged at even finding jurors, so they shelve the cases. The FIJA is doing heavy educational lifting here.
FOUR. Hire a virtual assistant. Minimum wage laws and other regulations mean it’s too expensive to hire assistants the way people once did. That’s tragic. But technology finds a way. You can hire an assistant online without having to fork over the big bucks for benefits, health insurance, and unemployment insurance. They work through email, Google hangouts, Skype, and other conferencing systems. And you can find them at sites like Brickwork.
FIVE. Eat grass-fed beef. Government apparently wants all edible animals stuffed with corn — because the corn lobby remains one of the most powerful in Washington. But not all consumers are going for it. They are finding ways to import grass-fed beef and even to do ranching their own way. Food innovations such as these can’t be stopped, no matter how many agents the feds send out to arrest the supposed bad guys. Rogue farming and ranching are on the rise.
SIX. Read or publish an eBook. Time was when only the rich could afford home libraries. They were treasures, more valuable than houses and the land they sat on. It was only in the 20th century that home libraries became common. In the 21st century, anyone with a cheap e-reader can download hundreds of thousands of books at no cost. It’s a breathtaking development, and yet how many of us take all this knowledge for granted? Every dystopian novel features a world of censorship. That world is impossible today.
SEVEN. Participate in Liberty.me. The ideas of liberty have always needed an action plan, something besides begging the people in power to recognize human rights and liberties. Now there is a global liberty community that provides discussions, libraries, friendship, and turnkey publishing, effectively crowdsourcing the building of liberty. It’s a community for doers, not just dreamers, and it’s made possible entirely through digital media. (Disclosure: Jeffrey Tucker is the founder.)
EIGHT. Benefit from drones. Two years ago, the word “drone” was synonymous with US imperialism and murders abroad. Then the private sector got involved, and drones are now used for humane purposes such as delivering groceries and other products. Amazon Prime Air is the pioneer here, but it is not difficult to imagine these glorious machines flying all over the airspace in a way that serves people, getting them what they need or want in a way they want it. That even includes beer, except that the FDA shut this service down. For now.
NINE. Use multisig. Bitcoin can brag of its peer-to-peer structure, but what if you want more than one party around to execute a transaction? For example, business partners need to all be involved in decision making. Another example is a bequest: the beneficiary needs access. Twelve months ago, multisig seemed like a dream. Now, it’s a reality. All the main exchanges offer multisignature interfaces. You can have many people involved in making a transaction now, potentially hundreds. This is the ultimate in customizable payment and money systems.
TEN. Stream your music. Some readers might remember meandering through record stores looking for “long-playing” records. Then came eight-tracks. Then came cassettes. Then came CDs, and they were amazing. But they didn’t last long. The world became fully digitized with the iPod and MP3s. But that didn’t last long, either. Just within the last 12 months, we’ve seen miracles happen. Infinite libraries of thousands of years of music are now available for low fees, via tiny devices, at sites like Spotify, Pandora, Google Play, and hundreds of others. You can listen to anything, anytime, anywhere. It’s mind-boggling, and it makes a mockery of regulatory attempts to control technology and the arts.
ELEVEN. View nanoscale lithography. Copyright is pretty weird, forbidding reproduction of an “owned” image or text without specifying the medium or scale. What if you take a giant picture and reduce it to microscopic size and embed it in another piece of art? Is that infringement? One artist decided to test the notion. How absurd can copyright enforcement be? The result is “When Art Exceeds Perception,” an exhibition of art at Cornell University. The reproductions can’t be seen by the naked eye, but the copyright holder is still objecting, which is, as it turns out, part of the art itself.
TWELVE. Be your own quant. Ten years ago, there was an emerging hysteria about how “quants” — super-smart number crunchers with private knowledge — were ruling the financial space, edging out individual investors and even medium-sized institutions. They were rigging the game and grabbing all available profits for themselves. Today, the same and better knowledge is being democratized with such services as Kensho, which is bringing quant-style power to every investor and institution, essentially running a Google-style search feature for investments. So much for the monopoly. The market’s tendency is to distribute valuable information.
THIRTEEN. Skip the student loans. A key problem with government loans is that they are not creative. Students rack up debt and find their careers hobbled for years. What if there were a different way? Lumni suggests this: they will pay for your education and, in return, you give a percentage of your income back after you get your paying job. It’s not a loan; it’s an investment — or a form of seed funding. It’s flexible, and the company benefits from your later performance. Now that’s creative.
FOURTEEN. Write a judge at a sentencing hearing. No one wants a case to go to trial anymore, not defenders and not prosecutors. It makes sense: courts are broken beyond repair. Sadly, this means that many innocent people plead guilty just to break free of the system. But there’s still the sentencing, and the judge has massive discretion. Your letters on behalf of the defendant can and do make a huge difference. They should be personal and authentic. Your plea for leniency can keep one good person out of a cage.
FIFTEEN. Learn anything. Online learning used to be a novelty. Then it started becoming mainstream and comprehensive. Today, it is exploding beyond belief. Here is a site that offers 100 other sites that teach just about anything you could ever want to know. And the crazy-great Khan Academy isn’t even listed. It boggles the mind to consider that there was a time when government imagined that it could control what we learn.
SIXTEEN. Transfer money ridiculously cheaply. Life was proceeding normally, then suddenly an $80,000,000 transaction floated across the Blockchain. As always, the money moved, completely and wholly and fully verified, within minutes, unlike a bank transfer or a credit card transaction. But here’s the kicker: the transaction only cost $0.04! That’s a savings of $2 million from what any other form of moving that sum would take. To anyone but the government, that’s serious money. Can Bitcoin break the network effect of nationalized money? Absolutely.
SEVENTEEN. Remit money cheaper. Banks and wiring companies are charging too much money for people to send money home — mainly to poor countries. But remittances are about to get a lot cheaper. Companies like TransferWise, Moni Technologies, and WorldRemit are competing, paradoxically, to keep more money in the hands of people in the developing world.
EIGHTEEN. Start a podcast. Podcasts are old school, but in this world of nonstop surprises, that doesn’t make them outmoded. They are more popular than ever before, and ever easier to start. This makes sense, given the growing length of commutes and people’s desire to gather interesting information — and to know what’s true. At the height of State power in the 20th century, the State controlled all information flows. Now, anyone can start a fireside chat with the world. The monopoly of information is ruined.
NINETEEN. Make a movie. Five years ago, people were still buying camcorders. They were expensive and not that effective. They were a vast improvement over the on-shoulder models from 20 years earlier. But today? Everyone with a smartphone carries a movie maker in his or her pocket. Anything and everything can be streamed, and the competition has caused movie quality to soar. Plus, there are no more secrets in public spaces, and this has to be a good thing for human freedom, given that the State has lived on hiding its deeds from public notice for, well, thousands of years.
TWENTY. Get a Fiverr. Maybe you want to send a customized Christmas song. Maybe you need a new logo for a blog. How about a custom shirt design or a new stamp for your business? All of this can be done for five bucks. That’s right, a full website that is offering P2P services that used to cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. It’s all voluntary and everyone wins. How can you not come away with a smile? Note that the prices of state services are forever rising while the private sector is forever driving them down.
TWENTY-ONE. Pay with dogecoin. This “alt-coin” — a spin-off cryptocurrency — started as a ridiculous joke. It was an Internet meme of a Shiba dog looking oddly smart and sweet. Nothing more. The image was slapped on a cybercurrency on its own blockchain, just to show that it could be done. And then it took off like a rocket. Everyone laughed until it became real. Today, dogecoin is the number three most-capitalized cryptomoney, after litecoin and bitcoin. It’s also fun to mine and ridiculously plentiful. Sure, it could crash, like so many others. But while it lasts, it teaches us a lesson: there is value in Internet fashions. It’s all subjective.
TWENTY-TWO. Partake in the Creative Commons. Not every government imposition on market institutions allows for a way out. But in the case of copyright — a regulatory intervention that has become a major source of mischief in the digital age — Creative Commons is the answer that freedom-lovers can embrace. FEE founder Leonard Read pioneered this approach in the late 1940s, long before people even questioned copyright. FEE in 2014 has gone all the way by putting all its content in the commons with no restrictions. Goodbye censors. (Note that CC offers many varieties of licenses, and some are even more restrictive than government copyright.)
TWENTY-THREE. Tsu me. There are hundreds of social networks today, and one really big one. How long can that last? A site called Tsu.co opened in October and, within only a few weeks, it rocketed to the top of all site rankings. The move has been so fast that plugins haven’t caught up to it yet. Yes, the new social network learns (steals) from Facebook in lots of ways. But that’s the way the market works: the experience of one company becomes a collective good that everyone can try out — and then improve on. No one stays on top forever. Just ask MySpace.
TWENTY-FOUR. GetGems. Instant messaging is still the thing, but what if it lived on a distributed network with no central control that also allowed instant currency exchanges at near-zero cost? That’s what going on at GetGems. It’s some pretty edgy stuff, but remember: these are the early days of such innovations. No one can prevent us from talking to each other — or exchanging with each other — in whatever way we choose. (See also other forms of crypto-texting.)
TWENTY-FIVE. Buy your own kingdom. An art teacher in Portugal had a snappy idea: buy an island off the coast of Madeira. Then he had an even better idea: turn it into his own kingdom. That’s what he did, and he calls it the Principality of Pontinha. Earlier last year, there was talk of selling the Belle Isle section of Detroit. Wonderful. Even better: just sell all unowned and state-owned things and privatize the world.
[All 25 originally appeared at FEE.org right here.]
That’s all we have for you today…
Next week, we’ll be featuring a series of interviews with people who have embraced this new technology to radically change their lives.
You won’t believe the lives that these people are living today. And hopefully, it will cement in what’s truly possible in this new age.
More on that Monday.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
And make it count,