Updated the OS, spoke out of the time zone and picked up a library book

I saw where Apple updated their OSX to 10.5.3. Usually I would wait and let others suffer the challenges but there have been some minor irritations for me with loading a series of tabs in Safari. For the past month if there were 20 or so loading the last 10 would fail to load. It wasn’t working properly at work. Then at home it would be ok with everything loading. We checked everything and nothing. With this update everything works fine. The pages load quickly and all the tabs loading.

This morning I had a great discussion with Morriss Partee of Everything CU. We discussed the upcoming BarCampBankDallas and BarCampBankBC which we will both be attending. The great thing is that we can continue these discussions shortly, face to face. He is one interesting person who has a great deal of passion for credit unions.

Was able to snap up “The Mind of the Market” by Michael Shermer. The inside cover states that the author uncovers the hidden psychology and biology that shape the way we think about money. That sounded interesting. Further down the page it said “Drawing on the new field of neuroeconomics…investigates what brain scans reveal about decision-making processes such as bargaining, snap purchases and establishing trust in business”. This looks interesting. I just hope the writer doesn’t wander off into the Land Contrived Assumptions.

And tomorrow is Friday!

Transitions

There seems to be so many different points in one’s life that move you in one direction or another. You reflect on your recent and distant past and wonder how things might have been different had you chosen a different path.

And then there are times of transition. Those seem to be the areas where you know there are changes happening around you with more to come but you aren’t sure of what the ending will be. It’s like you are in the middle of the book but only at the 2nd chapter. You can be in the middle of a few transitions at once or be at a point where nothing seems to be moving at all in your life.

I think the most important thing to realize is that what is happening does have some purpose. We tend to be much more comfortable when we can at least see some land in the distance. Most transitions are not life threatening. They tend to be a defining moment well remembered. And they do lead us to change something, move something forward, leave some baggage behind. It becomes a new start in ways and fashions that we hadn’t expected.

When you think about it there is always something changing and moving in so many circles of your life. Physically, mentally, socially, spiritually, work-wise or whatever. We need to realize that this is life’s journey. I’m thankful that I still have the capacity to see and perceive these changing forms because that is what life is all about. We capture growth in such economic terms and neglect to distinguish the growth in our own human lives. Reflection on life’s transitions — something important, something that keeps me human.

Victoria Day Weekend

This has been somewhat of a strange weekend. On Thursday I was feeling pretty bad so left work early. Friday I was sick but unusually so was Marjun. For the past 3 days we have been at home not going anywhere or seeing anyone. That has never happened before. Very different and not like us. My wife is an extravert beyond comprehension so it is really tough for her.

Besides reading ‘The Wind-up Bird Chronicle’ by Haruki Murakami and delving into the finer points of the Nikon, convalescing is extremely boring. You have limited energy don’t do much of anything. Sitting outside has been nice except when having to listen to the neighbour next door tell the world through his cell phone every business deal he has conceived is brilliant. This megaphone neighbour has this dog who has an extreme dislike of me. I like dogs having had everything from Bulldogs to Daschounds but with this pooch there are no warm and fuzzy feelings. In fact all the neighbours don’t like this dog. It is like a spoiled child that does no wrong even though there is more evidence on everyone’s lawn than we care to clean up. But Mr. Businessman thinks nothing wrong. This is a continuing narrative.

The time of BBQs has begun in earnest. You can hear the clank of empty propane bottles being taken to vehicles. The wire brushes are scraping in earnest. Depending on which way the wind is blowing it is either hamburger, ribs or steaks. I think we are having Maui ribs tonight.

And what will Victoria Day have in store for us? Here’s hoping some movement farther than the front door.

Expectations and realities of BarCamps

Yesterday Tim, William and I had a conference call about the upcoming BCBBC. During the conversation we talked about the Seattle Bar Camp Bank and how we viewed it. It was interesting to hear that we all wanted to repeat Seattle’s success by having something similar.

But are BarCampBanks always similar? The format and the way the event is held is unique and it contributes a lot to its success. No one owns the agenda. You vote with your feet. Sessions can continue until everyone says its over. Discussion, dialogue and conversation are great ways to communicate, debates aren’t. Relationships have already been created through Internet means (blogs and Twitter). Meeting people face to face after you have know them online is a phenonemal experience. Venues can add to the flavour of the event. It is a time of incubating ideas. It is the Olympics of conferences. No talking heads telling you what you already now. Inexpensive. Unbelievable value. The points are numerous and everyone who attends can give numerous examples as to why they will attend again.

But each one that I have attended is unique. And I keep trying to nail down what makes it so. There is a climate of networking and relationships that form at these meetings based on the individuals present. The BarCampBanks are made up of such a wide range of characters that they can’t be the same just by the fact of who attends. Maybe it is because we don’t really have such a strong expectation of what will come from the event. We already know that will happen. The expectation is the excitement of the discussions, the passion shown by everyone, the energy in just being in a room with such remarkable people. We thought we came seeking a holy grail but found that each of us had the capacity to create something unique in our relationships and our being together for this short time. The time you have is limited and you want to make the most of it.

BarCamps cannot really be explained. You could add numerous paragraphs to the above and still just touch on what they are. You have to be there and experience a BarCamp to understand fully what it is. With everyone being different you realize it really is the people that are important here. The focus is us. And that is so different from those expensive, boring, talking head, self-appointed expert sessions we have all fallen asleep at.

P2P lending

It seems this “new method” of lending is beginning to re-appear on the Canadian market. CommunityLend has a web site with information about itself and what it does. There are some very valid points for peer to peer lending but there seems to be things that need to be discussed, outlined and disclosed.

Will this industry be regulated? In other words with a solicitation to the general public, through a business model that derives profit, is it to be viewed as a “bank”? Lending, for those that have not had much experience, is not just a science but also an art. There are a myriad of variables that one has to view and digest before funding a loan. My fear is that people are getting involved to save money i.e. cheaper interest rate for the lender and higher interest rate for the depositor, without assessing all of the risks involved. Lending institutions are obligated to follow some due diligence in lending due to responsibility to shareholders, owners, members, directors and regulators. If all goes well and there are no defaults everyone is happy. But one needs to plan and assess what will take place when things don’t go well.

CommunityLend is doing this for free. Maybe I have overlooked this on their site but could someone tell me if they are taking any fees or basis points for setting up these P2P loans. I see they have raised $2.5 million in capital so there are some costs to cover here.

The management, directors and advisors are a pretty knowledgeable group of individuals. Are they seeing CommunityLend as a good business that they can invest in? Being solely cynical, if they know the business they know what they can make in profit setup as the conduit for this type of industry. As a middleman they assume no risk and just piece the deal together. I would hope they would divulge their interest without the platitudes about social aspects of P2P lending. You are in it for the money, right? Wouldn’t a proper disclosure be in order similar to mortgage brokering?

Don’t get me wrong, I am for P2P as long as the playing field for all participants in a public call for funds is equal. Banks and larger financial institutions seem to think they are too big to finance smaller lending so there is a vacuum here that needs to be filled. Putting a term loan into a revolving credit card with an exorbitant interest rate does no one except the lender any ‘good’. I worry about people loosing money by not knowing what they are getting into.