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Overcoming artificially imposed constraints

Years ago, when I was managing information technology in an organization which specialized in the procurement of and distribution of computer equipment, I was confronted with a logistical and ethical issue concerning a contract my company had been considering.

Despite the fact that I neither owned or was legally responsible for this company, I was brought into the discussion, as ultimately it would require my complicity.

The issue was this: A company representing Iran had ordered thousands of pieces of equipment, and with former President Bush Junior having named Iran in the Axis of Evil, Iran was placed firmly on the terrorist nation supporter list and the country was effectively embargoed.

Which technically, made any business interactions with the country illegal.

So while the owner of the company who employed me should not have been considering the deal, they were, and I was their goto resource for doing both the research and eventual implementation of any system changes in order to accommodate this – the first of potentially many – transactions.

Now a couple years before, I’d started traveling the world, regularly, and because of this I was decidedly not a fan of the kinds of labels Bush had applied to Iran in calling the country evil – labels, I felt – that should not be used at the highest levels of governance, let alone by a Chief of State.

And having watched shows on the travel channel and read books on traveling discussing people who’d obtained special permission to visit Iran – I myself didn’t like labels preventing commerce between my country and Iran, considering commerce, in my opinion, helps bridge gaps of misunderstanding between cultures.

So – needless to say – This placed me in a tough situation.

Throughout my life I’ve broken laws. Sometimes out of ignorance, other times out of weighing the risks and in most cases working to diminish the risk for the perceived reward – or stated more simply – because I wanted to.

For instance – I’ve broken many speeding laws, because I enjoy speed – whether it’s faster transportation between locations or it’s the thrill. Almost every time I have sped, it’s with a cautious eye paying extremely careful attention to my surroundings and traffic, and (especially) looking for and often slowing in hiding spots cops might use.

So you could say that a great majority of the time I’ve broken laws, it’s a calculated risk I am making.

Similarly, for cocaine. I chose to use a highly illegal substance not just for personal enjoyment. not just because of the whole CIA involvement with it throughout the 70s and 80s in financing the Iran Contra wars, but because many of my friends and the President himself had admitted to trying it, which had me curious – what were they experiencing with it and why was it so popular?

Cross applying these legal indiscretions to the situation with my employer…

Clearly, this could help the business by increasing it’s revenue stream. Boosting the bottom line.

But for me. When asked if it could be done without being detected by customs or any other agency which might have oversight.

I wasn’t asked if I wanted to do it.

Which was the start of my falling out with these two men.

I did, however, put a new hat on I had never truly worn before, despite having owned numerous businesses before then, as I asked myself the question.

“What if I was the business owner here. If I was confronted with this choice, would I choose to sell the equipment?”

Here’s the questions I began asking when making business decisions like this:

  1. Will I be able to look at myself in the mirror should I agree to this and still feel good about myself?
    • If not, then I simply won’t do it.
  2. Is there something about the relationship and/or entities I am dealing with that make my INDIVIDUAL and PERSONAL life better or enhance my life’s potential?
    • Making egocentric decisions as a business owner or as an obligated party in the business is absolutely critical.
  3. Looking past the financial benefit of the transaction, is there something else between us and/or in the partner that makes this deal worthwhile?
    • Moving past egocentricity and attempting to objectively consider the business’s perspective, does this benefit the business more than the mitigated risks?

So putting this framework into context – given my current situation.

For the First, given that I didn’t view Iran as a threat and instead regarded them as a location I might enjoy visiting one of these days, Also, the equipment they were procuring was for all intents and purposes obsolete. It benefited no one, so why not let it benefit a country which could truly use it?

So to answer my own questions, yes, I would feel good about, provided I knew everything there was to know about the situation. Which I assume I always do.

For the Second, was there something to be gained personally with doing this? Definitely: With this, I would get real world experience of understanding supply chain logistics without having to depend on a text book explanation of how things worked, I would also get to understand non standard distribution chains, and finally – I’d get to work with other countries. A huge win for me, personally, and the risks – they were negligible. The business owners were the ones liable for this decision, I could portray myself as being an ignorant worker just doing what I was told to do. At most I’d get a slap on the hand and I knew it. So there were no real personal risks to this decision, as my risks had been mitigated already by being an employee.

For the Third, was there something in this transaction that benefited the business besides money? While I know it was ultimately not my decision to make, I have a tendency to like thinking of myself as being the owner for any company or organization I represent and including this perspective in with my final decision. The company, in this instance, was a small company which was interested in growing, and I knew Bush wouldn’t be in office forever. So the business relationship that this company established with Iran now will quite likely change with a new administration, I knew this, which placed the company in a potentially very good position in the future should a future administration drop the labels.

The risks were clear, the business could be fined. There’s a remote chance the owners could be imprisoned, but they could easily defend their ignorance with their Russian heritage and there was a great chance there’d be leniency and this wouldn’t be a consideration. So the risk of discovery, which I helped diminish dramatically, in contrast to the reward obtained, a business partner which could potentially reap some major financial benefits in the future.

But like I said notwithstanding the financial benefits…..

And in this instance, we had a largely rural community which could receive the benefits of these machines…

For me, the last one was an easy decision to make. It’s not that Iran deserved the equipment. It’s that I felt the US leadership was doing Iran an injustice with these blanket labels which ultimately did more to harm the world I know and love than do it good.

The moral to the story is:

In personal and business decisions, everyone is confronted with questionable laws. I’m not saying break them. But what I am saying is – try to understand why they’re there, weighing every perspective possible, and then acting accordingly.

No, I don’t think everyone should be driving fast.

Yes, I do believe I deserve to drive faster than everyone else.

Why? I know I’m a great driver, because I have spent a GREAT deal of time observing my driving and comparing it to others objectively to come to this conclusion.

Delusional? From your perspective, quite possibly. From mine, they’re fact.

Who is right?

I am. Of course.

Artificial constraints, whether they’re laws or rules governing what I can and can’t do – are absolutely there for a reason.

And when your mind knows you’re operating with authenticity to your character, invariably you’ll find a way to overcome them.

Ultimately, I found a distributor in Mexico who we worked with who would work on a fulfillment basis, which I got to learn all about fulfillment models of distribution, which almost completely removed risk from all of us and the company itself.

Quorum With Q – Episode 140 – More Q Voice Memos

I now have a Paypal account, if you would like to donate to me and my efforts here, I can receive money at FLYERBRI@HOTMAIL.COM or through the link paypal.me/TimelordQ.

I WONT mention you on the Podcasts, nor any donations I get, I am not in the business of stroking egos here – and while your charity is GREATLY appreciated, my goal with this is to create a sustainable income to continue my endeavors and travel the world. I want you to know whoever you are – FEEL FREE to get in contact with me by this email before/after to say hi or whatever you want to say – and if you do help out – I want you to know in advance that your assistance is GREATLY appreciated.

So. Paypal can be reached here: paypal.me/TimelordQ

ALSO, if you’d like to help me out on Steam – my handle is TimelordQ and my email is universalbri@gmail.com, where if you want to legitimize my gaming – I will put any donations you put on there towards the procurement of Watch Dogs 2 Gold Edition!

Thank you in advance!

And if you choose to be anonymous, then I absolutely respect that and appreciate your support!

Quorum With Q – Episode 139 – The Splitting of a Personality

I now have a Paypal account, if you would like to donate to me and my efforts here, I can receive money at FLYERBRI@HOTMAIL.COM or through the link paypal.me/TimelordQ.

I WONT mention you on the Podcasts, nor any donations I get, I am not in the business of stroking egos here – and while your charity is GREATLY appreciated, my goal with this is to create a sustainable income to continue my endeavors and travel the world. I want you to know whoever you are – FEEL FREE to get in contact with me by this email before/after to say hi or whatever you want to say – and if you do help out – I want you to know in advance that your assistance is GREATLY appreciated.

So. Paypal can be reached here: paypal.me/TimelordQ

ALSO, if you’d like to help me out on Steam – my handle is TimelordQ and my email is universalbri@gmail.com, where if you want to legitimize my gaming – I will put any donations you put on there towards the procurement of Watch Dogs 2 Gold Edition!

Thank you in advance!

And if you choose to be anonymous, then I absolutely respect that and appreciate your support!

Quorum With Q – Episode 138 – Duty Officer Job Responsibilities

I now have a Paypal account, if you would like to donate to me and my efforts here, I can receive money at FLYERBRI@HOTMAIL.COM or through the link paypal.me/TimelordQ.

I WONT mention you on the Podcasts, nor any donations I get, I am not in the business of stroking egos here – and while your charity is GREATLY appreciated, my goal with this is to create a sustainable income to continue my endeavors and travel the world. I want you to know whoever you are – FEEL FREE to get in contact with me by this email before/after to say hi or whatever you want to say – and if you do help out – I want you to know in advance that your assistance is GREATLY appreciated.

So. Paypal can be reached here: paypal.me/TimelordQ

ALSO, if you’d like to help me out on Steam – my handle is TimelordQ and my email is universalbri@gmail.com, where if you want to legitimize my gaming – I will put any donations you put on there towards the procurement of Watch Dogs 2 Gold Edition!

Thank you in advance!

And if you choose to be anonymous, then I absolutely respect that and appreciate your support!

Quorum With Q – Episode 137 – General Log Entry

I now have a Paypal account, if you would like to donate to me and my efforts here, I can receive money at FLYERBRI@HOTMAIL.COM or through the link paypal.me/TimelordQ.

I WONT mention you on the Podcasts, nor any donations I get, I am not in the business of stroking egos here – and while your charity is GREATLY appreciated, my goal with this is to create a sustainable income to continue my endeavors and travel the world. I want you to know whoever you are – FEEL FREE to get in contact with me by this email before/after to say hi or whatever you want to say – and if you do help out – I want you to know in advance that your assistance is GREATLY appreciated.

So. Paypal can be reached here: paypal.me/TimelordQ

ALSO, if you’d like to help me out on Steam – my handle is TimelordQ and my email is universalbri@gmail.com, where if you want to legitimize my gaming – I will put any donations you put on there towards the procurement of Watch Dogs 2 Gold Edition!

Thank you in advance!

And if you choose to be anonymous, then I absolutely respect that and appreciate your support!

Quorum With Q – Episode 136 – Algorithms and Assignments

I now have a Paypal account, if you would like to donate to me and my efforts here, I can receive money at FLYERBRI@HOTMAIL.COM or through the link paypal.me/TimelordQ.

I WONT mention you on the Podcasts, nor any donations I get, I am not in the business of stroking egos here – and while your charity is GREATLY appreciated, my goal with this is to create a sustainable income to continue my endeavors and travel the world. I want you to know whoever you are – FEEL FREE to get in contact with me by this email before/after to say hi or whatever you want to say – and if you do help out – I want you to know in advance that your assistance is GREATLY appreciated.

So. Paypal can be reached here: paypal.me/TimelordQ

ALSO, if you’d like to help me out on Steam – my handle is TimelordQ and my email is universalbri@gmail.com, where if you want to legitimize my gaming – I will put any donations you put on there towards the procurement of Watch Dogs 2 Gold Edition!

Thank you in advance!

And if you choose to be anonymous, then I absolutely respect that and appreciate your support!

Quorum With Q – Episode 135 – Uncharted and Backfill

I now have a Paypal account, if you would like to donate to me and my efforts here, I can receive money at FLYERBRI@HOTMAIL.COM or through the link paypal.me/TimelordQ.

I WONT mention you on the Podcasts, nor any donations I get, I am not in the business of stroking egos here – and while your charity is GREATLY appreciated, my goal with this is to create a sustainable income to continue my endeavors and travel the world. I want you to know whoever you are – FEEL FREE to get in contact with me by this email before/after to say hi or whatever you want to say – and if you do help out – I want you to know in advance that your assistance is GREATLY appreciated.

So. Paypal can be reached here: paypal.me/TimelordQ

ALSO, if you’d like to help me out on Steam – my handle is TimelordQ and my email is universalbri@gmail.com, where if you want to legitimize my gaming – I will put any donations you put on there towards the procurement of Watch Dogs 2 Gold Edition!

Thank you in advance!

And if you choose to be anonymous, then I absolutely respect that and appreciate your support!