post

On Global Warming, War, And The Future of Entrepreneurship

I’m currently reading two books: Screw Business As Usual by my unofficial mentor Richard Branson, and War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World by Max Boot. Both of these books are highly applicable for all entrepreneurs, and on my “must read” list. Here’s why.

Screw Business As Usual is a book about creating a profitable business by doing good, specifically helping to solve major world issues such as poverty and global warming. Now I’m not a climate scientist and can’t look at data to say if global warming is for sure. However I believe it is. During the 7 years my family and I lived in Florida it got hotter and hotter each year. In addition, this year in Thailand the storms have been worse, and they began earlier than years past. This past Winter Minnesota experienced 60-degree days. When I was growing up and visited my Grandmother for Christmas it never get above freezing, for months.

These are not isolated incidents. Globally the weather is getting more extreme. You don’t need to be a climate scientist to see that. It’s right outside your window.

War Made New is a book about 4 “revolutions” in military affairs and how they led to the rise and fall of empires. Now you might be wondering what a book about military history has to do with entrepreneurship and marketing. Let me tell you.

The first lesson in the book is this: the militaries that utilized and then innovated the latest technologies won, literally decimating their opponents. Remember when websites weren’t seen as necessary, or when social media was just for techies. Big data is a big thing now, and the use of social media is growing…

The book also provides story after story of armies with better strategy and training besting larger foes. In the world of startups execution is everything; but being first doesn’t guarantee success. You have to continue to innovate, which can be a problem for some big companies. There are many stories of people quitting their jobs at large corporations to build a startup only to be later purchased (for large sums) by the very companies they left! Oh the irony.

So what does this have to do with entrepreneurship and the future? Let’s begin with a question:

What happens when the oil runs out?

Growing countries need energy to fuel their growth. Currently a bulk of that energy is in the form of coal, oil, and to an extent nuclear power. However there are alternatives.

Solar, wind and water are three sources of energy we have yet to put to their full potential. The technology is young and additional funding and research is necessary. So called “clean tech” and “green tech” are two areas ripe for entrepreneurial solutions and investment.

In looking at history and how modern countries came to be thanks to adoption of military technology, I wonder if a country’s adoption of renewable energy will determine its ultimate success or failure. Oil won’t last forever, and it’s use doesn’t seem to keep the world from heating up. We need solutions, and I’m confident that entrepreneurs will deliver those solutions.

Throughout history we’ve seen companies overtaken by more agile rivals unafraid of using bleeding edge technology or, in the case of social media, social change, to their advantage. The expectations of today’s consumer have permanently shifted. In increasing numbers people are watching TV with tablet in hand, a wealth of information about a company and the means to (sometimes only try to) contact them, at their finger tips. We expect a response, and become frustrated when we get none.

We don’t like being ignored.

Will the success of companies in the future rest not on their ability to outspend competitors in media, but to be both responsive to and in anticipation of customer needs, based on their capability to listen? It’s looking that way.

It’s said that history tends to repeat itself. Thousands of years of human history shows that those who adopt and then innovate on new technology win. They maintain power until a more innovative competitor comes along and renders their methods outdated and weak.

Continuous adoption and innovation is necessary.

As we move into the future we’ll see who heeds this history and thrives, and who – at a country and business level – is left behind. I’ll choose the former, and hope you will too.

Comments

  1. Like that you are going deep, Robert.

  2. Hi all,
    Firstly I want to say that I like Dempsey Marketing and Rob too but I am going to disagree with almost everything that he has stated in this article!
    I am also a businessman and I run a very successful online business that feeds myself and my family.
    So let me start my rant!
    Is Global warming happening? No it is not as it has been Scientifically proven that the earth has been actually cooling since 1998.
    You have no doubt been and still are being blasted with the message that carbon dioxide/CO2 is detrimental to the earth and that we all need to cut down our carbon footprint in order to save the planet, increase sustainability and reduce global warming/climate change. I am sure that you should all know by now and have at least learnt that when the governments of the world particularly of the west tell us to take part in some sort of earth saving action, that we should recognise it for the scam that it is and do exactly the opposite. So reading the statements that have been made by governments in relation to CO2 we should conclude that CO2 is a harmless gas that is essential for life and that we should really be increasing our carbon footprints in order to save the planet and increase oxygen in our atmosphere.
    The sun rays are a part of the carbon production process. This carbon is then absorbed by the trees and plants and in turn the plants and trees put out Oxygen( via photosynthesis) which we then breathe in, breathe out carbon/CO2 which returns back to the trees and plants and the whole cycle starts all over again. I’ll just repeat that earlier part of the sentence again. The trees and plants ABSORB the carbon dioxide and through photosynthesis put out OXYGEN which WE BREATHE IN. This is clearly illustrated in the second picture which actually shows carbon being taken in by the tree and the tree putting out oxygen in its place.
    This again mainly goes out to the youth out there in the public school systems being continually subjected to the lie that carbon dioxide is bad for the earth and for the adults who have jumped on the global warming/climate change bandwagon without actually thinking this “CO2 is bad” claim through properly. We need carbon, let me just repeat that again, WE NEED CARBON. A question? Exactly where will the plants and trees get the carbon they need to convert into oxygen for us to breathe if we cut down CO2, hmm? Here is a simple equation to remember:
    NO CARBON = NO OXYGEN = DEATH(YOU)
    Remember also that plants and trees also use carbon to produce their fruits and vegetables, which we in turn consume. So in light of this fact also, here is another simple equation:
    NO CARBON = NO FOOD(FRUITS AND VEGETABLES) = FAMINE = DEATH(YOU)
    This whole carbon dioxide/CO2 conspiracy is a straight scam, it is just another way that governments can tax more out of their people and just another excuse to justify population reduction. There have never been any problems with carbon and its interaction with the planet, yet again straight up lies from governments who only know lies and how to tell them best. So next time somebody approaches you trying to tell you that you need to “reduce your carbon footprint, explain to them in simple terms that: NO CARBON = NO OXYGEN = NO FOOD = FAMINE = DEATH. The carbon “excuse” is just another avenue that opens you up for more taxation and the destruction of industries.
    And this from Lord Monckton who was Scientific Advisor To Margaret Thatcher:
    “But there’s a CONSENSUS!” shrieked the bossy environmentalist with the messy blonde hair.
    “That, Madame, is intellectual baby-talk,” I replied.
    I was about to give a talk questioning “global warming” hysteria at Union College, Schenectady. College climate extremists, led by my interlocutor, had set up a table at the door of the lecture theatre to deter students from hearing the sceptical side of the case.
    The Greek philosopher Aristotle, 2300 years ago, listed the dozen commonest logical fallacies in human discourse in his book Sophistical Refutations. Not the least of these invalid arguments is what the mediaeval schoolmen would later call the argumentum ad populum – the consensus or headcount fallacy.
    A fallacy is a deceptive argument that appears to be logically valid but is in fact invalid. Its conclusion will be unreliable at best, downright false at worst.
    One should not make the mistake of thinking that Aristotle’s fallacies are irrelevant archaisms. They are as crucial today as when he first wrote them down. Arguments founded upon any of his fallacies are unsound and unreliable, and that is that.
    Startlingly, nearly all of the usual arguments for alarm about the climate are instances of Aristotle’s dozen fallacies of relevance or of presumption, not the least of which is the consensus fallacy.
    Just because we are told that many people say they believe a thing to be so, that is no evidence that many people say it, still less that they believe it, still less that it is so. The mere fact of a consensus – even if there were one – tells us nothing whatsoever about whether the proposition to which the consensus supposedly assents is true or false.
    Two surveys have purported to show that 97% of climate scientists supported the “consensus”. However, one survey was based on the views of just 77 scientists, far too small a sample to be scientific, and the proposition to which 75 of the 77 assented was merely to the effect that there has been warming since 1950.
    The other paper did not state explicitly what question the scientists were asked and did not explain how they had been selected to remove bias. Evidentially, it was valueless. Yet that has not prevented the usual suspects from saying – falsely – that the “consensus” of 97% of all climate scientists is that manmade global warming is potentially catastrophic.
    Some climate extremists say there is a “consensus of evidence”. However, evidence cannot hold or express an opinion. There has been no global warming for a decade and a half; sea level has been rising for eight years at a rate equivalent to just 3 cm per century; hurricane activity is at its lowest in the 30-year satellite record; global sea-ice extent has hardly changed in that time; Himalayan glaciers have not lost ice overall; ocean heat content is rising four and a half times more slowly than predicted; and the 50 million “climate refugees” that the UN had said would be displaced by 2010 simply do not exist. To date, the “consensus of evidence” does not support catastrophism.
    “Ah,” say the believers, “but there is a consensus of scientists and learned societies.” That is the argumentum ad verecundiam, the reputation or appeal-to-authority fallacy. Merely because a group has a reputation, it may not deserve it; even if it deserves it, it may not be acting in accordance with it; and, even if it is, it may be wrong.
    “But it’s only if we include a strong warming effect from Man’s CO2 emissions that we can reproduce the observed warming of the past 60 years. We cannot think of any other reason for the warming.” That argument from the UN’s climate panel, the IPCC, is the argumentum ad ignorantiam, the fallacy of arguing from ignorance. We do not know why the warming has occurred. Arbitrarily to blame Man is impermissible.
    “The rate of global warming is accelerating. Therefore it is caused by us.” That is the fallacy of ignoratio elenchi, the red-herring fallacy. Even if global warming were accelerating, that would tell us nothing about whether we were to blame. The IPCC twice uses this fallacious argument in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report. Even if its argument were not illogical, the warming rate is not increasing. The notion that it is accelerating was based on a statistical abuse that the IPCC has refused to correct.
    Superficially, the red-herring fallacy may seem similar to the fallacy of argument from ignorance. However, it is subtly different. The argument from ignorance refers to fundamental ignorance of the matter of the argument (hence an arbitrary conclusion is reached): the red-herring fallacy refers to fundamental ignorance of the manner of conducting an argument (hence an irrelevant consideration is introduced).
    “What about the cuddly polar bears?” That is the argumentum ad misericordiam, the fallacy of inappropriate pity. There are five times as many polar bears as there were in the 1940s – hardly the population profile of a species at imminent threat of extinction. There is no need to pity the bears (and they are not cuddly).
    “For 60 years we have added CO2 to the atmosphere. That causes warming. Therefore the warming is our fault.” That is the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, the argument from false cause. Merely because one event precedes another it does not necessarily cause it.
    “We tell the computer models that there will be strong warming if we add CO2 to the air. The models show there will be a strong warming. Therefore the warming is our fault.” This is the argumentum ad petitionem principii, the circular-argument fallacy, where a premise is also the conclusion.
    “Global warming caused Hurricane Katrina.” This is the inappropriate argument from the general to the particular that is the fallacy a dicto simpliciter ad dictum
    secundum quid, the fallacy of accident. Even the IPCC admits individual extreme-weather events cannot be ascribed to global warming. Hurricane Katrina was only Category 3 at landfall. The true reason for the damage was failure to maintain the sea walls.
    “Arctic sea ice is melting: therefore manmade global warming is a problem.” This is the inappropriate argument from the particular to the general that is the fallacy a dicto secundum quid ad dictum simpliciter, the fallacy of converse accident. The Arctic ice may be melting, but the Antarctic has been cooling for 30 years and the sea ice there is growing, so the decline in Arctic sea ice does not indicate a global problem.
    “Monckton says he’s a member of the House of Lords, but the Clerk of the Parliaments says he isn’t, so everything he says is nonsense.” That is the argumentum ad hominem, the attack on the man rather than on his argument.
    “We don’t care what the truth is. We want more taxation and regulation. We will use global warming as an excuse. If you disagree, we will haul you before the International Climate Court.” That is the nastiest of all the logical fallacies: the argumentum ad baculum, the argument of force.
    In any previous generation, the fatuous cascade of fallacious arguments deployed by climate extremists in government, academe and the media in support of the now-collapsed climate scare would have been laughed down.
    When the future British prime minister Harold Macmillan arrived at Oxford to study the classics, his tutor said: “Four years’ study will qualify you for nothing at all – except to recognize rot when you hear it.” The climate storyline is rot. To prevent further costly scams rooted in artful nonsense, perhaps we should restore universal classical education. As it is, what little logic our bossy environmentalists learn appears to come solely from Mr. Spock in Star Trek.

  3. The problem with Green Energy is that those who own the business of energy cannot make so much money out of it as they do now with oil and carbon so unless they find a way for it or they are forced by circumstances they won’t do it and go on polluting the world.

    Imagine if they, and governemnts with their taxes, can allow people to recharge an electric car at home paying just the normal price. Nearly impossible. That’s the biggest reason why in many countries Green Energy is not implemented: governments and corporations cannot make enough money out of it; at the end for both most of the times we are just WW, walking wallets.

    No one would really need those fields full of solar plants if each house had one. Bio diesel can be done at home but there is the problem of taxes. Strange as governments in many places are citizens’ worst enemy. Italy is surely one of them as we are planting those useless wind plants but which make a lot of money to go around in many pockets while a small home plant will do the same. But again no money for them. Same for getting energy from water and tides.

    Robert, you really write well. :)

    • I agree that many times it does come down to a matter of profitability with businesses. That’s the way the entire system is currently set up. Stock holders invest in companies and want ever-growing returns, forcing(?) those public companies to focus mainly on the profit motive.

      Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for profits. They are necessary in order for businesses to continue operation as well as invest in growth and the future. However I think businesses can be profitable by doing good at the same time.

      We’ll see where all this goes in the coming years. All technology when it starts out is expensive. As it gets less so and more proven implementation becomes more widespread.

      Thx for the comment and the kudos Andrea.

      • My pleasure. :)

        I agree with your point, profit is more or less at the basis of everything, even relationships. Well, it’s emotional profit but profit nevertheless. Only that it should be coupled with ethic.

        Like, one thing is if technology is expensive because it has to, another one is if it’s kept expensive to push profits whatever the cost, environmental or else.

        As you said we’ll see where we’ll go. :)

  4. If oil runs out the business around the globe will stop. it’s true out climate is hotter and hotter because of global warming that we human the reasons why it happens.

  5. great post, am really concerned about how we selfishly in the west abuse mother nature and this in turn affects other countries less off, i remember the red indians respected the earth, why cant we too? will definately read these books, they sound brill

  6. Elmar K. says:

    I agree. It think the world is getting hotter and hotter each year. I can also observe that in our place. I mean the heat is close to unbearable. What’s the highest temperature you’ve ever felt? Thanks for sharing these books. I should read one someday.

    -Elmar

    • Hi Elmar – so far in Thailand it’s been up to 40.5C (104.9F) which isn’t too unusual for here or the time of year. In Florida though it got to over 38C in the summer and the humidity was oppressive. It didn’t get up that high when we first moved.

Leave a Reply