Saturday, June 16, 2007

Duncan's Manifesto.

I'm an outsider. I have no inside knowledge, except what I pick up here and there at the store, and most of that is unconfirmed, so I can't use it. I'm a loner, really, as well. I don't have networks of friends who tell me the inside scoop. What happens is I talk about some subject so much, that occasionally some insider will let something slip.

Background information. I won't pretend I have lots of that, either. Most of what I know, I learned in the newspaper or online. Most people on the bubble blogs have way more knowledge and experience in the legal, financial, technical details.

I'm an observer. I watch, and analyze. I like to believe that I can cut through all the surrounding chaff and get the essence of a situation. (For those who know what I'm talking about, I'm a 5 and an INTJ). I like trying to get at the truth, or the core of things.

What I do know, is my own business and how events around me affect my business. I've gotten pretty good at looking at local retail, and making pretty accurate guesses as to their nature.

I'm no business genius, though I've survived a long time as a small business in Bend , Oregon. I like to say, 27 years in Bend is like 150 years anywhere else. I've survived 75% drops in the number of comic stores, 50% drops in game stores, 90% drops in card shops, and I'm still thriving, if not getting rich. The title of my blog is only a year or two out of date, and not by much. (the minimum wage part, I'm still middle aged.) Linda and I have opened a used bookstore that is thriving at a time when bookstores are struggling.

But it has never been my goal to do more than run a store and have fun at it. To be my own boss, and by those standards, I feel I've succeeded.

I see the world in 'sometimes,' 'often', 'maybes' and so forth. Not in absolutes. I think most people think they are doing the right thing, and rationalize when they don't.

I'm NOT an advocate, except to try to point out when the emperor has no clothes. I actually think one can influence local events, if one wants to get involved. I don't really want to get involved. Mostly, because I don't think I would be effective. I would lose my perspective. Nor am I practiced at such a condensely social interaction.

I'm a fatalist. I think the political system in America has spun out of control. The impassioned political blogs, who try to pretend they are oh so cynical and ironic actually reveal themselves to be idealist by their very passion. I actually have taken a step back and simply observe.

No one is more surprised than me at the relatively reasonable tone of my posts; people who know me at the store say I'm much more a loose cannon there.

I tend to look at events and try to adapt them them, rather than change them. If my words have effect, if I can help influence opinion, fine. But I usually don't take the tack of trying to change things, except where they directly affect my business.

My opinion has zero effect on the housing bubble. I'm not for or against it. It just is. But it is important to see it clearly. I'd like to believe that I'm thinking independently of the common wisdom, trying to look at things from an angle.

I'm looking to dodge the train wrecks, because I don't believe I can stop them. I actually think being forthright and upfront is probably foolish; but because I'm an outsider and a loner, I'm not beholden to anyone, and because I own my own business, I can't really be impacted. I like to believe that if it is my honest opinion, people won't hold it against me. At least, I hope so. But I've been doing it at the store in and my life for a long time now, and it is too hard to try to change now.

8 comments:

Pietro said...

Duncan you say your an intelligent man, and you have access to books.
You should do a 'google' or 'amazon' on "carrol quigley', he was a georgetown prof of political science.

He was Bill Clintons personal mentor.

He wrote the book on State-Department for US Foreign-Service.

He felt that the truth of US political history was too important, and thus he documented it. In a 1/2 a dozen books he show how the US evolves from cavemen, do the greatest military force in history.

I suggest you get his stuff, and read it, then we have the debate.

Pietro said...

There are three books, don't read about quigley, read quigley. He's a great prof, just died a few years ago. GeorgeTown is where every intellectual for the CIA is trained, and thus he felt it essential that his student understood how USA power, had come to power. This is your assignment.

Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time by Carroll Quigley (1975) $40.00 $38.00
Anglo-American Establishment by Carroll Quigley (1981) $15.95
The Evolution of Civilizations by Carroll Quigley (1979) $18.00 $17.10

Pietro said...

What I do know, is my own business and how events around me affect my business. I've gotten pretty good at looking at local retail, and making pretty accurate guesses as to their nature.

Your own business is the greatest Bell Weather there is, long before the great bubble of Bend collapses you will feel it, and likewise long before the majority know its over, you'll know it.

Pietro said...

Let's look at the significant points of interest to date in our bend-bubble.

Aug2005 - Gastronomy Magazine announces Bend next 'culinary Aspen' ... This is where the bend-bubble peaked

Sep2006 - The-Shire ( Bree like Hobbit fiasco ) is marketed worldwide, entire WORLD shakes head at Bend. This is where the Bend-Bubble blew its load.

June 2007 - Bend RE & MTG executives tell public that the party is over. This is where the masses were told they were screwed.

July2007 - Bend Real-Estate & Mortgage lay off 90% of staff. This is where the masses will be punished for 'their' excess.

Sep2007 - Only Mexican owned and chain-operated Restaurants in Bend survive. Major's national chains on I-97 survive. Mill District becomes super-walmart. This is when folks will re-adjust to a new lifestyle of spending.

Dec2007 - Bulletin lays off 90% of staff as advertising revenue plummets. This is when 'blogging' will be your ONLY new's source for a long-long time.


***

Anyone want to place bets or alter the past & future from the above?

Pietro said...

Summary for the day, yes Duncan is right, we don't relish the fact that our beloved Bend has been destroyed.

We don't like to see our neighbor lose his/her home.

Like any problem { alcholism, ... } the FIRST-STEP is admitting there is a problem, and then moving to solve the problem. Too many folks of Bend are still in Denial.

Now that this week, the Bend media have finally gotten off their ass and announced "Houston we have a problem", Ergo "People of Bend we Have a Problem". Now let's all be very careful that THE solution to the problem, doesn't create MORE problems, the favorite solution of the week is to take away the social-security that mexicans have invested in to date, of course that will not solve 'our bend problem', but this is the kind of BULL-SHIT you need to watch for.

Secondly, people of Bend have to be careful not to do stupid shit, there will be many MTG & RE folk that will try to make money on the way down as they made money on the way up, one of the things the bloggers will do is document these tricks, and hopefully the few that made it through un-scathed, can make it through to the recovery.

The status quo always like to reduce things to left-vs-right, and top-vs-bottom. This is NOT the problem, the problem is just a complete lack of over-sight, even now the Oregon Legislature is working hard to make sure this "NEVER AGAIN HAPPENS", Just like the "Jews" say "NEVER AGAIN", we the people of Bend, must say NEVER-AGAIN.

Duncan McGeary said...

Intelligent about some things, dumb about many things.

Sometimes....maybe.....often.....

Duncan McGeary said...

Bellweather?

I think I'm more of a contra-indicator. If I'm doing really well, watch out!

My business has more to do with comics and cards and games than it does to the local or national economy.

And those are looking good.....

Duncan McGeary said...

Dude, I really can't comment without jinxing myself.

I'll use the words I've used recently. We're 'doing fine' and the stores are 'thriving.'

Maybe you have to know me. Anyone who has spent time in my store knows I'm not shy about bemoaning my financial position. In fact, most have probably assumed that I always say that, no matter what.

I'm not bemoaning, right now....I'm happy that downtown is busy right now, but it's only busy enough to cover the extra rent. It's the base business which is doing fine; mostly unconnected to economy.

If we suffer a economic depression, yes, but I'll have alot of company.