Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) first coined creative destruction in his work, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. It refers to the process in which technology and innovation create new ways of doing things and, in the process, leave the old ways behind. Technological innovation might destroy entire businesses, industries, or streams of employment while allowing new enterprises to grow in their wake. Schumpeter believed the process of creative destruction, “which essentially revolutionizes the economic structure from within” was the hallmark of capitalism. Marx originally hinted at this idea in Das Capital when he stated that, “the violent destruction of capital was not by relations external to it, but rather as a condition of self preservation.” In a nutshell, Marx believed that the “destruction of capital” was necessary for a blossoming capitalist system.
Schumpeter also believed that entrepreneurs set this process of creative destruction in motion. Entrepreneurs were the disruptive economic force that maintained and fed economic growth. As these entrepreneurs create more advanced technology or more sophisticated organizational structures, they increase the efficiency of production. This rising productivity reduces per unit costs and increases profits for the individual entrepreneurs but also increases output, and promotes growth for the economy as whole. For Schumpeter, destroying the old ways of doing things was a necessary pre-condition for growth and continued profitability.
So what does this have to do with me – and GraniteGrok? Before I answer that question, let me lay this down (and yes, this is not a short post):
Actually, before I go to that link and grab some text from it, let me put up an email that I just finished (some light editing here and some emphasis):
Good morning Jeri and Brad!
Jeri, please find attached my last time sheet for the Pathway to Work program. While I realize that the last day of the report period is not over yet, my official reporting is (I took most of yesterday and the remainder of today off as a micro-vacation). If I have seriously compromised the rules, let me know and I will resubmit.
This being my last official week in the NHES Pathway to Work program, I wanted to take a moment, yet again, to thank you both for this opportunity to start my own business. While a lot of work has gone into this, it is looking like it is now starting to generate results. I’ve signed one good contract last week (and picked up the check this week!) and will be signing another one of similar size next week for the consulting side of the business as well as signing on with one of the former consulting houses that was my customer while at <redacted> as an “on demand” resource. While it may look like “everything is starting at the end”, you both know it really is “the end of the beginning“.
I am a “limited government” kind of guy and believe that government really does take on too many activities in too many areas. This program, however, I believe is more in line with my philosophy of “a hand up instead of a hand out” – giving someone a bit of “space” to be able to become more self-sufficient and self-reliable instead of rely on government for support. I only wish that more programs, like I write about all the time, were like this: “make something of this opportunity so we don’t have to see you again” (in the best meaning of the phrase!). While many on the Right say “the best social program is a job”, I think this is far better – “the best social program is to be able to build a company which will then employ others“.
You folks have made it possible for me to do just that. And yes, I will say thank you to former Gov. Lynch the next time I see him as this was put into being on his watch. I’ve now met a few other graduates of this program – they look back on their time with appreciation that this was available to them as well and their companies are growing.
With that, I realize I’ve gone on more than “a moment” – I’ll conclude with “I’m grateful” that both of you thought there was potential for success. I won’t say that I am right now but it is looking positive right now.
I wish you both continued enjoyment and success in your positions of being really able to help those that really have the motivation, the know-how, and the spirit to want to help themselves.
M2 Holdings LLC
NOW, let me go back to that link from above that explains a bit better some of the content of my email:
Pathway to Work
In January 2010, Governor John Lynch announced a program to assist employers and employees in New Hampshire, called New Hampshire Working. In July 2013, Pathway to Work was added to the New Hampshire Working initiative to assist claimants interested in self-employment assistance.
What Is the Pathway To Work Initiative?
The Pathway To Work Initiative is a voluntary program to assist unemployed claimants start their own businesses. Allows eligible unemployed claimants to continue to receive their unemployment benefits while working full time to start businesses in New Hampshire. Provides financial support while they access the resources, information, and training they need to get their businesses off the ground.
Who Is Eligible?
- All New Hampshire residents who are:
- unemployed and
- collecting NH unemployment compensation benefits and
- identified as likely to exhaust regular unemployment benefits before finding new work and
- have at least 18 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits available and
- willing to work full time to start businesses in New Hampshire
How Do I Collect My Benefits?
- have filed an application for unemployment benefits and have been found payable for benefits
- have filed an Application for the Pathway To Work Program and received a determination allowing benefits while participating in the program
- have filed a timely weekly claim for benefits, providing all the required information on the form
- be working with an Employment Service Representative
- be working full time at starting a business, including training and activities, such as business counseling, and technical assistance, which are identified in your Pathway To Work Plan
- are not required to meet the State’s requirements for search for work
- are not required to meet the state’s requirements for refusal to accept work
- are not required to meet the state’s requirements for disqualifying income with respect to income earned from self-employment
- are allowed to work part time as long as does not interfere with the requirement to work full time at starting a business. Must report all gross earnings.
…How Do I Get Started?
- Have a business idea
- Contact the Local NH Works Office nearest you to schedule and attend a mandatory orientation.
- Attend a one-on-one meeting with an Employment Services Representative to determine the steps required to successfully start a business in New Hampshire
- Complete an Application
The “end of the beginning” – today is my last official day in the program as my unemployment benefits have run out – as they should. I am living proof that Create Destruction not only can hurt but also uplift. It takes away a comfortable status quo – but can provide for an “interesting” journey. I’ve already been through that as in the middle 70s to mid 80s was the nadir of the mini-computer market. In a VERY short timeframe, the whole thing got taken out and down – a recession didn’t help but the technology that allowed the minis to take market share from the Big Iron (think IBM 360s, 370s, Honeywell Multics, and the like) was then eaten out from the inside as “workstation” startups (anyone remember Apollo workstations?) and then PCs took out what was left. In each quick cycle, the mantra was “well, it can’t perform as well as…but does it at a much cheaper price”. Minis couldn’t match the performance of the Big Iron of IBM and “the seven sisters” but did it very cheaply in comparison. Then technology caught up again and while workstations couldn’t do the multi-tasking that the minis could, they were a fraction of the cost of what, for instance, DEC could offer but COULD give almost the equivalent horsepower to a single user. And then the PC undercut the pricing of those by order of magnitude even if it wasn’t close in performance – but they were “good enough” for a normal non-technical person to use.
Yeah, I was there when the bottom dropped out – but then again, when I got “destroyed”, and also got “created” again.
TMEW and I owned our own business back in the early ‘naughts – a run down Daycare center that had been neglected, stripped of its cash, poor morale, and parents wanting better. TMEW was first the “baby teacher” and then later on, the Director (her degree is in both Elementary Education and Early Childhood). One day, a lady who knew us, stopped us in the grocery store (she was in line ahead of us at the cashier), abruptly turned around and exclaimed “WHY don’t you two buy it and run it?”.
This was a very foreign idea, at the time, for TMEW but my eyes lit up. Long story short, we did buy it with the financial help from a close friend and over the next four and a half years, we rebuilt it into a center that had the best reputation in the area – and we had the waiting list to prove it. She was the “front of the house” taking care of the day to day activities and I took care of all of the “back end” stuff like purchasing, financials, HR policies, dealing with the State even as I held down a full time job. We had finally reached the state where I could finally get to pay her (to that point, our only “renumeration” was the use of the center’s Suburban.
Sidenote: do you know how much room six kid seats take up? And putting a snow plow on the front of a van didn’t make any sense. And it pulled the lawn tractor trailer just fine. And I still have the image in my head when both the Eldest and Youngest were quite young sitting in the second row and we had almost buried them with supplies from Sam’s Club – only their heads were showing! Too, was the look on the teachers’ faces shortly after the day we took ownership and it was jammed packed full of toys and supplies from the local “Kids R’us” store – it held a LOT and I still miss that “working land yacht”, but I digress.
Unfortunately, she got real sick real quick and we had to shut it down. I still look back with some pride that we did a good job in serving our families and giving employment to others.
And now, I get to do it again. Not really under the circumstances I would have wanted – my job, as some of you know, was offshored back last October. The company did give me a generous severance / transition package – enough to pay for more than a year’s expenses, so I took the rest of the year off. Then, come the end of January, signed up for unemployment. After all, my actual compensation had been reduced over the 19 years I was there by the taxes that my employer had to put in for unemployment services.
So I went through the process, went to all the meetings, and took all the tests that they wanted me to, all the while sharpening up the old resume(s) and doing all the things I was supposed to be doing. The person doing most of my intake was Brad (from the email above) and he and I started to talk. He listened as I told him that we did have Little Rascals at one point and that I had some ideas for a new business but I was looking for a new position. He listened well.
He encouraged me to apply for the Pathway to Work program; Jeri accepted my application and then she approved my entry into it. No more looking for work – but the unemployment checks still came. That said, I ended up working harder and putting in a lot more time than I expected in creating the foundation for a new company. As my UNH Small Business Development Center advisor said “you’re working ON your business and not IN your business”. Translation: you’re running around like a madman getting all of the registrations and trademarks and business plans and financial projections and taking the training classes and….well, the list went on and on. All of the activity for legally setting things up and laying in the foundation – but NOT actually “doing” what the businesses were about.
“The end of the beginning”. Today really is that day. And now let me answer the question from above: “So what does this have to do with me – and GraniteGrok?“. The first piece, if you missed it, was this:
M2 Holdings LLC
M2 Holdings LLC is now a registered entity with the NH Secretary of State and will be a holding company for four lines of business – doing some consulting business with former and new customers in the document management system realm, two politically oriented software product lines (under design / development now), and of course, GraniteGrok – the foundation for it all. It came to life in the middle of April and all I have been doing has been the above putting in 70, 80, 90 hours a week. Back to being an entrepreneur – the hours don’t seem to be work because I’m doing the things I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. And GraniteGrok will be changing over time as the major part of it.
You’ve seen me mention that I want to take GraniteGrok to the next level – some in passing here on the ‘Grok and some of you in various conversations. Some of that involves:
- We’ve brought in some new writers – we are still looking for more.
- I’m revamping our technology base both for technology for covering events. Some of you have seen those strange new short range cameras I can control with my smartphone (“Mevos”) and alllow for either standalone recording, livestreaming themselves, or being tied into our new Studio software that makes the new laptop a far better “TV Studio in a box” than before which can accept both wired cameras (like our new JVC), the Mevos, smartphones, and iPads.
- The JVC big camera that GraniteGrok now has also has the ability to livestream on its own and has recording capability for DAYS. Thus, between the Mevos and this, we don’t have to haul as much gear around – which means more events that can be covered!
- Some of you have seen the new rig that Mike now has for doing events better with his iPad; Steve will be the next recipient and I have a rollout plan for other Groksters as well. The intent is not just for GraniteGrok to cover more events at the time time (I was the bottleneck and could only get to so many in a short time without getting divorced – heh!) but also to move into more video blogging to change things up for you readers with some more innovation. GrokTALK! will be coming back in the near future as this new technical foundation will allow us to do it from remote locations and “creatively destruct” the old means of production that forced us all to be in the same physical location at the same time.
And the new website that many of you donated to is still in process by Carolyn McKinney of Perception studios. Here’s a quick look at it:
Don’t worry, our logo will still be there but I wanted to give you patient folks a quick peek at what’s cooking. This isn’t “colorized” as of yet – the color scheme of the current Grok 2.0 will be used. A few things to point out here and some stuff you can’t see in this image:
- Quicker navigation to things “Grok” at the top – our videos (do you know that GraniteGrok has created over 2900 videos?) and the GrokTALK! podcasts.
- We also will be opening up a GrokSwag shop – but only selling to States without a sales tax at first. I have no intention of being the tax collector of the other 10,995 taxing authorities in the US – I just don’t need the headache and I certainly can’t afford the software that can handle it (it exists – my former employer resold such packages to its customers – it ain’t cheap).
- Most of us read a lot more in the blogosphere than we can write about. In fact, I have over 100 tabs of posts that I’d love to write about but know (and no) that I’ll only get to a very few. So that top Nav part will be a place for us to post up a quicky line so as to let you know what we’re reading. For a better take, go over to Hot Air and look at their “Headlines” at the top.
- Near the bottom, we’ll have an area where you can access our most recent videos faster. I expect, with the changing tech that’s ongoing, we’ll have a lot more – and I’m trying to bring in some folks that may only do video blogging instead of writing so more content!
There will be some other changes and additional capability. A calendar, for one, letting y’all know where we’ll be for events as well as setting up our own. First meetup will be in Concord this month – venue to be set soon. We are also going to be hosting our own candidate / political debates – we’ll be starting with the down ticket races that the MSM (and Party Elites) don’t really care much for. In fact, we have three in progress right now that we’d like to do – another post a bit later on will talk about them.
And let’s not forget about forums – we’ll be doing that as well either on our own or with our friends with other groups in the State.
And yes, Ads. After all, this will be part of the business and I want to be able to send some coin to our writers. To date, nobody has ever made a dime off GraniteGrok, not even me, as my former employment was sufficient to allow me to cover the hosting expenses and all the equipment and travel out of my own pocket. I don’t have that luxury any more. If the software lines and consulting take off and can cross-pollinate the ‘Grok, I’ll revisit that in the future. But I need to be upfront and honest – banner ads, sidebar ads, some sponsored posts, and sometimes, embedded ads.
The nice thing about having the ad space is this: if you are a NH based and Right of Center non-profit, send me an ad and we’ll host it for free for a while depending on how the rotation is going. You work hard at making Freedom and Liberty pay off for New Hampshire – the least GraniteGrok can do is to give you folks the kind of hand up that only we are able to do with the base of readers we have. Please know that I will NOT be allowing those horribly irritating autoplay videos that pop up or follow you on some sites – if I hate them there, I’d hate them here.
Also, GraniteGrok is accepting Sponsorships (no, no naming rights). In fact, we have our first Sponsor who will be revealed shortly – am just waiting for some creative artwork to be finished to do so. It is his sponsorship that is helping us to shift to a faster gear and I am grateful to him for doing so. If you believe in our mission to serve the Conservative base here in NH better than any other media outlet can (or even wants to), I’d be happy to come and talk with you.
So, time to wrap it up. The end of the beginning. The beginning of the new; what I hope to be a very long middle.
Let me know your thoughts!