Thoughts and idea nuggets

Parallel Thinking

Whichever side of the political spectrum we sit, most of us discriminate. We discriminate against information. And in many cases, we’re unable to discriminate between accurate and inaccurate information.

We believe our construct of reality is truer than others. And it distorts our decision-making.

Opinions are important to strengthen our resolve. Yet we let opinions mutate into emotion; and we generally find it difficult to think past our emotion.

Personal decision-making could learn from business-thinking models. And a parallel approach to thinking would improve how we interact with the world.

Opinions and emotions are fundamental to effective thinking. But they’re only one input to consider.

Success performs a balancing act. A balance between emotion, fact, positive thinking, negative thinking, creativity and learning to learn. The art of MatsudaMulvilleThinking.


The real pathfinders and trailblazers?

Who are the beer industry’s real pathfinders and trailblazers?

At a time when universal popularity and cronyism are more desirable than skill, talent or legwork, who are our innovative, ground-breaking peers refusing to travel a well-trodden path?

Who are the hidden backroom artisans foregoing life as a socialite to be acknowledged for their craft?

As lines of communication get ever-shorter, the most visible receive most praise. And that’s unfair to those spilling blood, sweat and tears to offer consumers the best.

Homogenous beer is the best analogy — if you’re in any doubt. Big beer necessarily receives praise because it is universal, while artisanal beer — generally overlooked by sycophantic masses — struggles to be even recognised in some markets.

Be a shepherd, not a sheep. Don’t follow the crowd. Be less binary. Don’t choose what’s visible simply because you fail to see what’s invisible. Expand horizons. Search for what is pushed aside by omnipresence; choose those craft beers hidden in plain view alongside the more popular brands. Be experimental.

Adopt a 2020 vision that sees a new path.


Merry Christmas

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come’s message may be 175-years old, but its meaning is a salient one today. Ebenezer Scrooge was given the opportunity to sponge away his name from the gravestone, yet that is fiction. Today’s inclination to be self-interested, distrustful, and hateful with a naïve indifference about our legacy is fact.

Actions and behaviour have consequences. Life rarely provides an undo button. Scrooge’s apparition offered him a chance to reverse the inevitable; we don’t have that!

We revere past glories as preferable to the present with no consideration for the future.

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.” (Ebenezer Scrooge)

MERRY CHRISTMAS! And try to follow scrooge’s example in 2020 by heeding the warnings from the past, present and future. Let’s make the world a better place; let’s leave a legacy of which we truly can be proud.


Single, independent and not-for-profit producer and consumer organisations

Homogeny, market oversaturation, sustainable growth, longevity, industry rights, consumer protection, responsible behaviour and, most importantly, successfully challenging unscrupulous monopolisation.

All common concerns raised within the beer and cider industry. And often heard loudest in markets lacking governance and independent self-regulation that supports and protects producers and ensures consumer quality.

‘Independent and not-for-profit’ is critical, as many organisations taking on these roles eventually place profits and turnover ahead of ethos. A social and cultural responsibility is also crucial; taking proactive, continual improvement steps is a must.

I rarely see organisations that successfully function as a single voice for determined change and progress. In many cases several distinct organisations work independently of each other, despite having similar goals. In some cases, there is nothing whatsoever representing producer protection and consumer rights.

A common failure is two (or more) incongruent groups, one representing producers and another representing consumers. There is logical in combining to act as a single conduit that answers the needs of all parties. Most shocking is when disparities in cashflow, fees, charges, costs and revenue prevail and consequently deny potential to producers and consumers.

Whatever the approach, elitism, entitlement and exclusion have no place. Profit-making producer or consumer organisations with high-costs and unreasonable charges tend to be unrepresentative and devoid of independence. Filling one’s coffers ahead of national interest is no substitute for action.

Both the Brewers Association and CAMRA go some way to representing the ideal model. Yet producers and consumers in many markets flounder from any form of central coordination or voice. The same concerns are true in every market, yet few regions recognise wisdom in the so-called ‘joined-up thinking’ or ‘parallel thinking’.

Breweries need protecting and superior product needs officially recognising and / or labelling as such. Consumers need choice and must have rights. Social representation and improvement should underpin everything.

However, the path to achieving this is dependent upon an independent single body overseeing the aims of its member, both producers and consumers.

Does your country have a single, independent and not-for-profit organisations representing the national interest of both producers AND consumers? If not, why not? Why aren’t producers and consumers raising their voices to have a unified voice that makes a national difference?


Impartial decision-making wisdom

Achieving success in any industry is the easy step. Handling the resultant asymmetry and fragility is the real challenge.

Success brings the continuous threat of failure; and the pain of failure greatly exceeds the joy of additional success.

Success creates entrapment that dictates fragile-to-failure decision-making. Playing-it-safe can be the cause of total wipe-out in the event of unexpected randomness.

Impartial decision-making wisdom is thus critical to immunity from external circumstances.


The right to brew without obligation

Commerce at its simplest is having the right to do something without an obligation. It’s more powerful (i.e. lucrative) than having the obligation to do something without the right. It is antifragility. It is a model formed of extreme opposites.

A brewery has the right to brew whatever it wants without obligation. A buyer has the obligation to drink without the right.

Once this model is compromised, a brewery loses its antifragility and robustness. It is fragile (to failure). It is a very, very simple model to follow. It is proven; it is a successful commerce model.

Once a brewery passes the right to drinkers who demand what breweries produce, and the brewery obliges, it has lost both its antifragility and its, somewhat less desirable, robustness. (Remember that robustness is the ability to withstand a shock, which differs vastly from growth and the benefit of volatility.)

Breweries must avoid forfeiting the right to do something without obligation. Success is having options.

Choosing whether or not to attend a party if there is nothing better to do is preferable to the obligation of attending when there is nothing better to do.

It is a practical model that can be transposed onto life and any other business sector.


Representing the national interest of producers and consumers

Homogeny, market oversaturation, sustainable growth, longevity, industry rights, consumer protection, responsible behaviour and, most importantly, successfully challenging unscrupulous monopolisation.

All common concerns raised within the beer and cider industry. And often heard loudest in markets lacking Governance, independent self-regulation that supports and protects producers and ensures consumer quality.

‘Independent and not-for-profit’ is critical, as many organisations taking on a Governance role eventually place turnover ahead of ethos.

I rarely see these types of organisation that function successfully. There is often either several organisations working independently of each other, despite having the same goals, or nothing whatsoever that represents producer protection and consumer rights.

The most common failure is having two (or more) separate organisations representing the needs of producers and consumers. Multiple organisations failing to see sense and logical in combining to act as a single conduit answering to the two parties. Most shocking is where turnover disparities overrule sense and logic.

Whatever the approach, elitism, entitlement and exclusion have no place. Producer and consumer organisations seeking higher turnover (or worse — profit) deter members and are consequently devoid of independence and unrepresentative. Filling one’s own coffers ahead of national interest is no substitute for action.

Both the Brewers Association and CAMRA go some way to representing the ideal model. Yet producers and consumers in many markets flounder from any form of central coordination or voice. The concerns are the same in every market, yet few regions recognise the wisdom in what business-speak calls ‘joined-up thinking’ or ‘parallel thinking’.

I therefore agree with the oft-mooted idea of recognising a brewery’s attainment and professional status, although the path to achieving this is dependent upon an independent single body overseeing the aims of its member.

Does your country have a single, independent and not-for-profit organisations representing the national interest of both producers AND consumers? If not, why not? Why aren’t producers and consumers raising their voices to have a unified voice that makes a national difference?


Choose wisdom and decision-making

People in business schools learning how to be successful are oblivious to an economy that needs failure to learn, get stronger and improve.  Theoretical knowledge is a race to the bottom.  There is no substitute for first-hand, practical skills, experience and insight.

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television.  Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage.

But don’t choose to ignore and dismiss what makes you stronger.  Don’t choose spurious paperwork, pointless certificates and irrelevant diplomas over in-the-field experience.

Choose ideas that will forge the future instead of worn-out principles continuously recycled by recent generations that unsurprisingly experienced an endless boom-then-bust economy.  Don’t be fooled by so-called standards of acceptability that have failed to provide stability.

Choose wisdom and decision-making acumen ahead of what looks good on paper.


Beer industry’s Untappd fragility

Excellent. The beer industry is fragile beyond belief.

I recognised my own failings as an Untappd user years ago. Following the pattern mentioned here, constantly chasing new beers lacked personal satisfaction.

As an advocate of the industry and its processes, the Untappd generation’s inevitable damage is obvious. I abandoned Untappd and ceased the quest to continuously find something new. Trying new breweries (and their beers) is a joy; but once I recognise an interesting brand, I stick with it.

As an industry writer I felt compelled several years ago to try and highlight the destructive/self-destructive path. I wrote an article similar to this and the responses ranged from “is this a joke?” to “I hope you die!”

It is easy for ‘beer lovers’ without skin-in-the-game to mock the ideals of an industry hoping for success.

Success is path-dependent. Survival precedes success. Risking total wipe-out makes any early success irrelevant. Awarding Untappd badges of honour for fragilizing the beer industry fails to recognise breweries’ survival need.

So, I congratulate Ronald Mengerink for echoing industry concerns. I hear these comments over and over again, yet few publicly opine them for fear of alienating the drinker who may ultimately instigate the demise of an artisanal beer industry.

Industry growth is most solid when it is modest. History tells us that. However, today’s business behaves like a reckless teenager who’s just received a Driving Licence. Speed is irrelevant when the increased risk of incident means the destination will never be reached and / or a loss of everything/life. And in the case of the beer industry, it’s today’s ‘beer lovers’ who sit behind the wheel with a foot firmly on the accelerator.

The death of the beer industry is not a Black Swan — it is unlikely to be a rare event. It is looking statistically more likely.