Last year I posted about the 10 things I thought for 2014. Some of them were reflections while others were observations on where we were going as a society. I personally like writing, reflecting, and thinking about past thoughts as a way to learn about the future as it moves to the present and then into the past. 2014 was a wild, joyful year for me on a personal level, but we still see a lot of hatred and “arguing for the sake of arguing” in our country.
So let us reflect:
1. Federal Educational Policy – My thought is that we shouldn’t be looking at education in this country from the top down (or in a centralized, Federal manner). We should instead focus on empowering the State and Local governments to come up with solutions that meet the needs of their constituents. I still very much believe this is the right approach. However, 2014 didn’t bring much debate on education at any level. Bill Nye did debate Ken Ham on creationism vs evolution which was entertaining to watch, but also disturbing that Mr. Ham’s followers consider his performance anything short of a failure on a factual level. You can also watch Bill Nye’s reaction, if you are so inclined.
2. Food – Always an interesting topic. I did a lot of reading about food this year and my habits have certainly evolved. The best book I read on the topic was American Catch by Paul Greenberg - one which I highly recommend if you are interested in eating seafood or the American Seafood industry. I am still firmly in the camp “we need to eat better as a society” and will continue to be for 2015.
3. Alex Rodriguez – Nothing really needs to be said here. The guy is planning on being back for the 2015 season and that is a black spot for the MLB. The NY/NJ media should be fun to watch if today’s article is any indication.
4. The Economy is Improving – Did it ever! The economy is growing faster than we expected that it would at this point. How will it do in 2015? That all depends on where you believe the fall in oil came from: over supply and an industry that wants to move product or falling demand. I am trending toward oversupply. The high price of oil drove a significant amount of investment which is now flooding the markets, OPEC is trying to throw their weight around to starve out US producers and green energy projects. I think our 70%+ consumption economy is going to continue to improve.
5. Public Relations – No change here. There are still too many companies taking the easy way out when it comes to their issues. Lack of Accountability is a huge issue in our society and underpins a number of other issues.
6. Always Being Offended – Social Justice Warriors (“SJWs”) have essentially made up 5,000 new descriptive words over the past year to describe every sort of ailment, condition, and characteristic possible. Everyone is offended by everything these days. One that comes to mind is the Shy Bladder Group which got upset at Rob Lowe’s DirectTV ad. Really? The Shy Bladder Group? I don’t think DirectTV or Rob Lowe were concerned about the 6 members of that group when they made the commercial.
7. The Top 40 Countdown – I think this could be an undiscovered contributor to both ADHD and the collapse of the music industry. How people can listen to these stations, the terrible production quality, or the repetitive nature of the “songs” is beyond my comprehension. I am a big radio guy too, can’t get enough of a good radio station.
8. Under 30s Should Have a RothIRA – I have mine and I love the tax advantages of it. Post-tax money that grows tax free (on the investments). Open one, get a good index fund or a no load, low expense mutual fund and watch your retirement grow if you are concerned about picking individual stocks. Yes you should do this in addition to your 401k plan.
9. Focus – I’ve been going back and forth on this point because of the nature of the world. I like disconnecting and focusing on one project at a time, but everyone else is so scattered it makes it really difficult/annoying. I am going to keep trying, but this may be a losing battle as I can’t control my friends, family, clients, bosses, or colleagues.
10. Keep Reading – I read a significant amount this past year and I am better for it. I am slowly populating my reading list with what I am taking off the shelf and I hope that you check it out.