Discipline of Giving Free Ebook


The older I get the more convinced I am that I should give away a lot of what God has entrusted to me.

In that spirit for the month of November I am making available as free download one of my books which demonstrates the power of giving. I pray that this book will be a blessing to you and yours.

In this book I present a concise and definitive view of biblical giving from both practical and theological perspectives. This book deals with controversies about giving in an irenic way rather than in a polemical way. It presents an apologetic for biblical tithing as well.

You will need an E Pub book reader for you to be able to read this book.

 

Download the book from this link:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/dr-t-a-makoni/the-discipline-of-giving-ebook/ebook/product-23378087.html

 

God bless.

 

 

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Types of Entreprenuers


NurturingChampions's Blog

Many times we talk about entrepreneurs as if all entrepreneurs are the same. No they are not. As far as I can tell there are at least three kinds of entrepreneurs. I want to discuss these in today’s blog. I hope the distinctions will be useful to you on your journey.

Technical entrepreneurs are skilled people within their professions who are concerned with personal satisfaction based on their excellent professional skills. They think- “If I am great at my profession then I should be great at running it as a business.” These view their business as a source of income. They focus on maximising their income even at the expense of the underlying asset – the business. The intent is not growing the business but growing one’s income. In effect they replace the former corporate employer with another employer called SELF. They work for themselves. The technician builds a business…

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Challenges in the Acceptance of Originality


 

I have observed a paradox in life. Many people want you think outside the box but they do so from the box of accepted norm. Many people encourage originality and yet when they are presented with novel solutions to life problems their default position is: “Where has this been done before?” This really frustrates the originals. If it has been done before then it’s not original! Its inside the box. Incredible!

Rob Minkoff correctly observed, “Originality is what everybody wants, but there is a sweet spot. If it’s not original enough, its boring or trite. If it’s too original, it may be hard for the audience to understand. The goal is to push the envelop, not tear the envelop.”

Adam Grant proposes that while radical originality is often necessary to put a stake in the ground, one needs a wider audience to make an impact. He proposes that to reach that wider audience one needs a tempered approach rather than radicalism in order to have others buy-in to your radical concept. He thus advances the following two approaches to creating alliances for your original idea:

  1. Instead of assuming that others share your values and principles of originality or instead of trying to convince them to adopt your values: you may need to consider presenting your original values and principles as a means to pursue their own values and goals. Demonstrate how your original ideas accentuate their dreams and pursuits. He argues that it is much easier to link your agenda to familiar values and principles that they already hold.
  2. Instead of being fully transparent with your full concept and ideas, it may be wise to disguise them through reframing your original concepts in order for them to appeal to the audience. This is because as Minkoff notes. “With absolute originality, you can lose people.” They are too comfortable with the status quo even when it does not serve their purposes. Most people cover their back by staying in their comfort zone professionally. It is therefore critical to take your audience stage by stage from the known to the unknown. This has to be done gradually or you shock their system with a radical innovation that they then reject as either a scam or fake.

Originals’ values depart from traditions and common practice. Their ideas go against the grain so they may have to become tempered radicals. They need to learn how to tone down their radical original ideas by presenting them in ways that are less shocking and more appealing to the mainstream audience. In some cases they may need to make their implausible ideas plausible by deliberately obscuring the more extreme features of their ideas in the first instance.

Many originals fail because they refuse to moderate their radical ideas. They often forget that while they have worked hard to understand their concept the audience is getting the initial exposure. So a better way is to use a “foot in the door” technique whereby you introduce a smaller aspect of your original idea to secure initial commitment before revealing the more incredible aspects. Take one step at a time.

Do not be too excited about your novel concept because that can kill it. Some colleagues and I discovered an innovative solution to some problems in Africa and naively started presenting them to decision makers. We expected our audiences to wholeheartedly espouse our solutions. Since the concept was too novel the audience could not believe the solution. It seemed too good to be true and so we failed to secure any commitments. We have since learned to tone down our proposals to gain initial commitment. We are now committed to pushing the envelop and not tear it. It takes lots of restraint from the innovator because you see the end game which your audience cannot see yet.

It is therefore important to make your innovation palatable by slowly exposing various aspects of the original idea rather than fully exposing it all at once. One has to demonstrate how this concept will not force people to change their values or deeply held beliefs about this concept. Show rather how it actually builds on their current belief. Your original concept has to be accepted for it to be useful to the community and profitable to you.

Source: These thoughts were inspired by Adam Grant’s “Originals”

De Javu vs Vu Jade


I have just discovered a new vocabulary which I am finding fascinating. Please join me on this journey. Humour me a little.

Vuja dé pronounced as “voo zha-day” is the opposite of de javu . Just a reminder that de javu  means the phenomenon where an event happens and you feel that it has happened before or that you dreamed/predicted/instinctually felt it would happen. Put simply you see something for the first time and yet get this strong sense that you have seen this before or you visit a pace for the first time and you get the strong sense that you have been there before. 

French : déjà, already + vu, seen

Something that very few people know the true meaning of. Even though deja vu is French for “already seen”, it actually is used to describe the strange feeling you get when you’re in a situation, and feel like you’ve been in the exact same situation before, but really haven’t. It is the experience of thinking that a new situation had occurred before.  It is an illusion of having already experienced something which in actual fact it is being experienced for the first time. 

An impression of having seen or experienced something before when in fact you have not. 

Deja vu is the strange feeling you get you when something happens that you feel like has happened before, when it hasn’t. It is the illusion of having already experienced something actually being experienced for the first time. Apparently it’s due to a blip in your brain process which gives you the illusion that you’ve been somewhere/done something before, and technically, you have – a fraction of a second ago. 

Vuja de is that funny feeling that something that you have known all along has never happened to you before. Its like nothing you have ever seen or felt before. The distinct feeling that you have never been in a particular place or circumstance in the past and yet you have been. 

So Vuja de, is the propensity for discovering something new in something you’ve already seen a million times before. It’s when something or somewhere that should be familiar is suddenly very different.

 The term Vuja dé (also called preamnesia) describes the experience of feeling that one has not witnessed or experienced a situation previously. The term was coined by Kurt Kemp in 2007 in his book (The Weird Ideas I Get). 

The experience of Vuja dé is usually accompanied by a compelling sense of unfamiliarity, and also a sense of shock, awe, or suddenly feeling lost. It is noticing something for the first time that has been there all along; the realization that you’ve been unaware of something you should have noticed a long time ago.

Vuja de is important for innovation. It requires that we should always look at the familiar with new eyes, and from a fresh perspectives. It makes us observe things about the familiar that we had never seen before. It requires looking at the familiar in an unfamiliar way. This enables us to create new options from familiar situations. Its possible we are looking too far for creativity. Try looking Vu Jade – at the usual jobs and opportunities in front of you. You will be amazed at how much we do not see because we are too familiar. Looking at an old problem with a Vuja De attitude can open up incredible entrepreneurial opportunities or you can see new solutions to old problems. Its a matter of perspectives. Its amazing how much we do not notice because of familiarity.

Here is a simple biblical example: Many of us have read the story of Jesus birth numerous times and believe that the wise men (the magi) came and met Jesus as a baby in swaddling clothes in a manger. In fact that narrative is wrong. The Wise men did not see Jesus as a baby in a manger but as a child (?probably close to 2 years old) and in a house.

Check this out: Matthew 2:11, 16

11″And when they had come into the house (Ed: not manger), they saw the young Child (ed: not baby) with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. ——
16Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.”  (edit: Herod established the age of children to kill from the time the star was seen, so it is logical to consider that Jesus was about 2 years old by then.)

We have been conditioned by the familiar and so do not see the obvious. We need a Vu Jade perspective to relook what we have considered familiar if we are to be creative. Even in research,researchers often revisit previous studies to see whether they can observe new patterns in old data and provide new perspectives and explanations to things which seemed familiar.

I hope you enjoyed the new vocabulary and the journey. And more importantly I hope you will choose to relook at the familiar with an unfamiliar perspective. You may just discover your diamond in the rough.

Stay blessed and in charge!

The Myth of First Mover Advantage


In entrepreneurship there is a myth that if you are first to market you always win. Its called the firsts mover advantage. Prof Adam Grant in his book, Originals, reports on a classic study by Peter Golder and Gerard Tellis which compared the success of first mover (pioneers) and settlers. Settlers are companies which were slower to launch their product and who waited for pioneers to create the market. Their first finding was that pioneers had a  47% failure rate while settlers had only an 8% failure rate. This leads to the conclusion that : being original doesn’t require being first. It just means being different and better. Since the market is generally more focused and easily defined when settlers enter, they can focus on providing superior quality instead of defining the product or service. They bust this myth by identifying the following disadvantages of first movers:

  1. When originals rush to pioneer they are prone to overstep. For example one study showed that 75% of pioneers in a study of 3000 startups failed because of premature scaling of their business when the market was yet ready to support it.
  2. Settlers tend to be ore risk- averse while pioneers act out of intuition and take radical risks. So settlers tend to balance their portfolios of risk and reduce the risk of failure. They also wait for the right opportunity. They do not spend lots of money developing the market unlike the pioneers. In other words settlers are not recklessly ambitious but they enter the market cautiously.
  3. Settlers get the opportunity to improve the pioneers’ technology or service delivery model to make better products. The pioneers have to make all the mistakes themselves and at their own expense while settlers learn from the mistakes of pioneers.
  4. While pioneers often get stuck in their first offering settlers can observe the market changes and shifting consumer tastes and so adjust their offering accordingly. Obviously settlers can afford the luxury of waiting for the market to be ready.

This however should not be a wholesale discouragement of first mover advantages. Its just placing balance to the picture. Obviously if we all wait to be settlers then there will be no pioneers and nothing original would be created. First mover advantage seems to work best when patented technology is involved or when there are strong network effects (e.g the product becomes more valuable when there are a greater number of users like on social media). However the odds of failure if you are a pioneer are higher.

When the market is uncertain, unknown or underdeveloped, then its better to enter as  settler rather than a pioneer.

Wishing you the best. God bless as you push your entrepreneurial dream.

What is Money II


 

Money in the modern economy is just a special form of IOU, or in the language of economic accounts, a financial asset. Because financial assets are claims on someone else in the economy, they are also financial liabilities one person’s financial asset is always someone else’s debt. If a I take out a mortgage, I acquire the obligation to pay my bank a sum of money over time — a liability — and the bank acquires the right to receive those payments — an asset of the same size. So the mortgage is a liability to me but an asset to the bank. Remember Robert Kiyosaki taught us that an asset puts money in your pocket while a liability takes money out of your pocket.

A debt is as good as the trustworthiness of the person who owes you. There is need for trust in financial transactions. Money in the modern economy is an IOU that everyone trusts. Because everyone trusts in money, they are happy to accept it in exchange for goods and services — it can become universally acceptable as the medium of exchange. Obviously no all IOUs are created equal.

It is useful to consider some of the different types of money that circulate in a modern economy — each type representing IOUs between different groups of people. For explanatory purposes the economy is split into three main groups: the central bank; the commercial banks; and consumers.

Many people do not realize that when we talk of money not all money is equal or equally available to all economic players. The types of money available in the economy are:

  1. Currency (banknotes and coin) — these are IOUs from the central bank, mostly to consumers in the economy. That is why the Zimbabwean Dollar notes would clearly state, “I promise to pay the bearer the sum of —, on demand.” Bank notes in reality are simply a promise by the Central bank to make a payment when needed. The USD notes will state that this note is legal tender to settle all debts both public and private.
  2. Bank deposits (these are your bank account balances)— They are IOUs from commercial banks to consumers. Many people mistakenly think that the money they deposit in their account actually stays there in a safe. They don’t realize that they actually surrender the money to the bank to use at it sees fit and in return are given a promise to pay them on demand. That is why when banks fail depositors lose money. The bank would not be in position to honour its debt obligation and extinguish its IOU. With this understanding the commonly spoken of issue that bankers used depositors money is exposed as interesting if not misleading.
  3. Central bank reserves– these are bank deposits for banks that are placed with Central bank. So they are IOUs from the Central bank to banks in the economy. We the consumers have no access to these.

From this description of the different kinds of money we could actually surmise that money as a concept is nothing more than a debt -an IOU from one player in the economy to another. Money is a financial asset to one player and a financial liability to another.

From these distinctions economists define two money concepts namely:

Broad money – is the amount of money circulating in the economy and available to consumers for transactions. This comprises of currency (bank notes and coins) and bank deposits).

Base money or ‘central bank money’, comprises IOUs from the central Bank and includes currency- bank notes and coins in circulation (an IOU to consumers) but also central bank reserves – bank deposits for banks held by the Central bank, (which are IOUs from the central bank to commercial banks.)

Put simply money can be conceptualised as a debt or IOU. Money is nothing more than a financial asset to one economic player and financial liability to another economic player.

Origins of Money


The Origins of Money

In our pursuit of wealth creation we often forget that one of the key elements of wealth is money. Money is a critical element of the world economy. We need therefore to understand its history, its definition and how it is created. In the next postings I will walk through this study of money. It is amazing that we spent a large part of our lives in pursuing a thing we rarely understand. We start today we tracing the origins of money. 

IN THE BEGINNING: BARTER

Barter is the exchange of resources or services for mutual advantage, and the practice dates back tens of thousands of years, perhaps even to the dawn of modern humans. Today individuals, organizations, and governments still use, and often prefer, barter as a form of exchange of goods and services. Even during the hyperinflationary period in Zimbabwe barter trade was very common. Companies could exchange services and products instead of cash which at that point was valueless.

9000 – 6000 B.C.: Livestock

Livestock, which throughout history and across the globe includes cattle, sheep, camels, and other livestock, are the first and oldest form of money. Within our African context cattle is still a source and store of value and wealth. With the advent of agriculture also came the use of grain and other vegetable or plant products as a standard form of barter in many cultures.

1200 B.C.: COWRIE SHELLS

The first use of cowries, the shells of a mollusc that was widely available in the shallow waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, was in China. Historically, many societies have used cowries as money, and even as recently as the middle of this century, cowries have been used in some parts of Africa. The cowrie is the most widely and longest used currency in history.

1000 B.C.: FIRST METAL MONEY AND COINS

Bronze and Copper cowrie imitations were manufactured by China at the end of the Stone Age and could be considered some of the earliest forms of metal coins. Metal tool money, such as knife and spade monies, was also first used in China. These early metal monies developed into primitive versions of round coins. Chinese coins were made out of base metals, often containing holes so they could be put together like a chain.

500 B.C.: MODERN COINAGE

Outside of China, the first coins developed out of lumps of silver. They soon took the familiar round form, and were stamped with various gods and emperors to mark their authenticity. These early coins first appeared in present-day Turkey, but the techniques were quickly copied and further refined by the Greek, Persian, Macedonian, and later the Roman empires. Unlike Chinese coins which depended on base metals, these new coins were made from precious metals such as silver, bronze, and gold, which had more inherent value.

118 B.C.: LEATHER MONEY

Leather money was used in China in the form of one-foot-square pieces of white deerskin with colorful borders. This could be considered the first documented type of banknote.

806: PAPER CURRENCY

The first known paper banknotes appeared in China. In all, China experienced over 500 years of early paper money, spanning from the ninth through the fifteenth century. Over this period, paper notes grew in production to the point that their value rapidly depreciated and inflation soared. Then beginning in 1455, the use of paper money in China disappeared for several hundred years. This was still many years before paper currency would reappear in Europe, and three centuries before it was considered common.

1816: THE GOLD STANDARD

Gold was officially made the standard of value in England in 1816. At this time, guidelines were made to allow for a non-inflationary production of standard banknotes which represented a certain amount of gold. Banknotes had been used in England and Europe for several hundred years before this time, but their worth had never been tied directly to gold. In the United States, the Gold Standard Act was officially enacted in 1900, which helped lead to the establishment of a central bank.

1930: END OF THE GOLD STANDARD

The massive Depression of the 1930s, felt worldwide, marked the beginning of the end of the gold standard. In the United States, the gold standard was revised and the price of gold was devalued. This was the first step in ending the relationship altogether. The British and international gold standards soon ended as well, and the complexities of international monetary regulation began.

THE PRESENT:

Today, currency continues to change and develop. Tomorrow I will discuss the concept of money in modern economy. Money is really nothing more than a concept and an idea.

THE FUTURE: ELECTRONIC MONEY

In our digital age, economic transactions regularly take place electronically, without the exchange of any physical currency. Digital cash in the form of bits and bytes will most likely continue to be the currency of the future.

In this diagram taken from a Bank of England article we can see the rationale and evolution of the concept of money. We will build on this in tomorrow’s posting.

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 7.38.32 AM

Source: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/history-money.html

Wealth Transfer


There has been much talk about a coming wealth transfer. I am fully expecting to participate in it. Those of faith realize that the Book talks of the transfer of wealth to the righteous. I have come to the conviction that this has to happen through a trade system. Any transfer of wealth or financial resources from one person to another that is unsupported by a transaction or trade is tantamount to a scam or robbery. Praying and believing for God to rob unrighteous John in order to reward righteous Paul seems inconsistent with biblical teaching and the economic system.

I am now convinced that what people of faith should target is accessing wealth creation and wealth transfer systems that become a basis of a trade. For example to be paid a salary I trade my time for money- its called receiving a salary. Accessing a salary without giving my time and effort in exchange is robbery. By the way trading time for money is a poor trade because time is finite while money can be created. You are trading something that you cannot create for something that can be created. It is a poor trade.

Those who are paid better trade value/contribution for money. They provide value which people are willing to pay well for. Those who are paid for time have a limited income e.g. $100/hr while those who are paid on value added have their income dependent on the value they provide. For example a corporate CEO who generates an annual revenue of $1 billion can easily take home an annual salary of $15 million without the shareholders complaining. The salary is a minute percentage of the value generated. He has traded value for money. What is sad these days is that there are some people who are paid obscene salaries for poor performance and zero value addition simply because they are CEOs. This is daylight robbery. They are paid for the position and not for their contribution. It is an unfair trade.

If my assertion above is correct it means in terms of wealth creation, I need to meet a challenging need for many people in such a way that they are willing to pay me significantly for the value addition or contribution. The more unique problems I solve the more wealth I can create through wealth transfer. People will gladly part with their wealth to acquire the solution that I am providing. It stands to reason that since God created me as unique and as a solution to certain problem, once I identify the problem which I was created to solve then I can legitimately expect wealth transfer. People will gladly transfer part of their wealth to access the solution that I provide.

My question is: What problem have you solved to expect a wealth transfer? Be solution conscious! The more challenging the problem you resolve the more you are paid. Life is a trade. Before you think of wealth transfer ask yourself on what basis? What am I trading in return? What do you want to be paid for? Time, Effort, Position or Contribution.

Lord help me solve insurmountable problems. Help me make a difference. As I do I fully expect to participate in the greatest wealth transfer ever seen.

Creating, nurturing and celebrating champions