Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

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The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Saturday, 31 December 2005


Traditional thinkers, the pointy-headed, the bean-counters, the short-term quarterly-results 'thinkers' insist on what they call a business plan before they will move even the tiniest investment muscle. No one should mock planning, for as King Solomon rightly said, 'Victory is the result of long planning.' But there is planning and planning. The traditional business plans, with their optimistic statements or outright lies, their futile attempts to forecast an uncertain future, their notion that everything will be AOK if it has all been set down in black and white in approved textbook style fit to be perused by approved textbook bankers, venture-capitalists or vulture-capitalists, is a notion way out of kilter with reality. Even the textbook method admits that the 'business plan' has to be continually updated. If that is so, why spend six months translating your common-sense, doable, detailed plan of action into Bean-Counter-speak? Only to have to redo it every five minutes?

It is that kind of thinking, that emphasis on BC-speak to the exclusion of all else, which has got us into this global mess. What we need now, first and foremost--what we have always needed--is a planet plan. Is the proposed business good for the planet, and how do you intend making it a better place? The rest is just getting the message out to the people and simple arithmetic. Making a big mystery out of it, and insisting on a certain style of presentation, is nothing but a pathetic substitute for thinking, analysis and the ability to judge ideas and people on their merits.

The Romans had a wise saying about people: 'Two men may do the same thing and it is not the same thing.' So look first at the idea. Is it good? No? Stop there. Yes? Good, now look at the person. Is he the right stuff for the idea? Yes? Go with him.

Most of the world will have heard of Peter Jackson, the New Zealand film-maker whose latest creation, the remake of King Kong, is now roaring across the world. The CGI (computer-generated graphics) for his films were done by a New Zealand company called Weta (named after a native New Zealand insect of largish and fearsome aspect).

Back in the early days the founder of Weta needed $5 million to make his dream a reality. He went to the bank. The bank manager wanted a business plan. The Weta man, who as it happened had gone to school with him, said 'You know I hate business plans.' So the bank manager, instead of flinging him out the door on his non-business-plan head, said, 'OK, let's go for a walk.' As they walked and talked he saw that the Weta man knew what he wanted and how to get there. He had the brain, the skill, the passion, the drive. So the wise young banker said, 'You have your $5 million.' The superlative results you can now see on screens all over the world.

No 'business plan.' But he knew what to do. Too many business plans disguise a lack of ability, imagination, drive, passion, enthusiasm, skill. His real plan was where it counted: in his head and his heart. What was on paper would not have meant anything to a bean-counter. Please, please, look to the man, not the paper.

And look, in particular, at how the man looks at the planet you live on. If you are wise, you will not hand a cent to someone whose enterprise will wreck the ground under your feet or foul the air you have to breathe seventeen times a minute.