Chase your dreams and make them come true

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain

 

(part 1)

We all have dreams, to a lesser or greater degree. The difference between people who have dreams only of those who makes them reality is the ability to plan and execute. We all have fears, but few know how to live with the fear, know how to manage the risks. This is a fundamental step for anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur. There will be times when you have to leave the safe haven behind and venture into often turbulent waters, with storms lurking, or simply moments of calmness when nothing, absolutely nothing happens, customers do not knock your door, sales do not happen and bills never stop arriving. It’s the moment of truth, the moment you take realise reality is tough. The entrepreneur will need cold blood to act very calmly, not despair and start making wrong decisions.

 

caravel
Making it happen
My tip for anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur, but do not know where to start is to risk as little as possible at first, gather as much information as possible about the market in which you want to invest. If possible, get a job at a company in that business area in order to learn as much as you can. Choose something you really like to do, there’s nothing worse than working on something that one does not have affinity. When working on something you like that work becomes pleasure. Start small and move quickly, larger and longer established competitors in the market often are accommodated and take too long to make a decision. This is the time that you should act.

Be innovative
Always seek to innovate, regardless of the market on which you are working, you can always innovate and amaze your customers, offer new payment methods, new forms to deliver your product, new sales strategies, new promotions, try what has not been tried , do what has not been done. Choose your path and leave footprints rather than follow in the footsteps of others. It’s a mistake to think that everything has already been created, has been tried, there are still many things to improve, many new ideas to put into practice. Do what everyone does is easy but if you have a differential from the other, you’ll put yourself in a pretty good position, customers will find you and the competition will have to copy you.

Why so many languages?

The world possesses a myriad of languages and you might actually wonder where they all came from. It is believed that the Tower of Babel is responsible for all this and this is because decades ago, some bright individuals thought they could build a tower that could reach the heavens. This tower was to show that they also possess some skills and power which will enable them not be scattered all over the world, but rather be congregated in one place. Since the good Lord saw their foolishness and did not want to punish them again, he confused their tongues in a way that they would no longer understand each other. This of course stopped the building process and they ended up scattered all over the earth and this left the unfinished tower which ended up being called the Tower of Babel.
Well, this has greatly affected the communication aspect in this modern world and this is because of the different dialects evident in this world. We all love travelling or taking vacations and this sometimes proves to be a problem because of the country we are travelling into. There always has to be some form of communication with the locals there and in the event that you do not find yourself with a traveler’s guide book, then you definitely are going to run into language issues. An example of this is when you have visited a foreign country and the only language you know of is your own and English. The locals in the country you are at neither speak English nor your own language, so you are reduced to making signs or talking loudly hoping they would understand. The thing is they might identify with some of the words or signs, which have a different meaning in their local language. Woe unto you if it is an abusive word because you will start seeing a crowd gathering and within no time, you would be running for your dear life! You might also be at a restaurant and are trying to explain how you like your eggs or meals but if at all you do not get to understand each other, you will have to eat or not eat whatever is brought.
A story is told of a man who went to a foreign country where they did not even speak a hint of English. In trying to communicate with them to no avail, he discovered that in all his signs and loud talking, the people of that village assumed he wanted to brawl with the champion of that village and when the champion was brought out, he suddenly realized what had happened. Of course he lost the fight because the champion was huge, mean and very strong which made him refrain from talking to anybody else, lest he communicated the wrong thing again. The story has a happy ending and this is because he was taken to a missionary hospital where he found people conversing in English and this eventually gave him an idea of hiring a translator for the entire time he was in that foreign country. He even ended up knowing some basic words about the local dialect before leaving for his own country.
Before travelling to a foreign country, you should at least know some basics in terms of communication such as;
• Greetings
• Asking for directions
• Where to get taxis or buses
• Your destination
• Hospital
• Police station among others.
Most countries usually give a traveler’s guide book to tourists or people visiting their country and this contains English words or sentences translated in the local dialect of the country they are visiting. This eases the communication barrier somewhat and this makes it easy for them to maneuver throughout the foreign country without much difficulty. This is the beauty of travelling and this is because you get to learn another language apart from your own which will enable you brag to your friends about it. Some educationalists study languages and many of them are well versed with a number of languages that exist in this world. Such do not find it hard when they visit a country whose local dialect is known to them fluently. They even end up speaking like pros which leave the local residents amazed at that. It is not possible for one person to learn all the languages in this world and this is because they are many and are all in different tongues. This is the analogy that the Tower of Babel brings because people believe all this languages emanated from there.

 

Picture of the Babel Tower by Pieter Bruegel the Elder - The Tower of Babel (Vienna)
Babel Tower

 

 

Don’t waste it living someone else’s life…

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
– Steve Jobs

 

 

The case of the dead turtle

I worked several years with companies in flexographic industry, companies in the converting industry and flexo trade shops as well, for those unaware, these companies are responsible for printing plastic packaging products that pack of our daily lives. Crackers, chips, toilet paper, toothpaste tube, everything that we buy in supermarkets. If you have any plastic pack at home, it was certainly flexographic printing method. There are other methods (such as rotogravure), but in this case I will adhere to flexography, or just flexo.

Flexo some time ago was the “ugly duckling” of the printing processes, was just a little more sophisticated than rubber stamps. Although today, most of the industry has modernized, printing machines were modernized, technology plates modernized, plate processing techniques, software, prepress equipment, and so on.

For years I sold systems that greatly improved the quality of clichés, which are the matrices, where the images are recorded to be printed. However, this method creates enormous challenges in printing quality and stability of the final printed material because such matrices are made from a flexible material (hence the name flexography) a polymer. The problem is that many things can affect such flexo plates. High temperatures, the oxygen exposure, washing, the UV lamp power, the pressure given in the flexo press, double sided tape holding the cliche, etc., in short, a myriad of variables that – in practice – affect the final print.

 

Plastic packaging image

 

As I’m no expert in the field, leaving the more technical discussions heated to the specialists, my colleagues. I otherwise followed the discussion and as quasi-layman I was so impressed to see that for me the print outs were excellent alongside other better ones, a non specialist could barely noticed the difference.

I always thought, what about the consumer? Yes, a housewife? A retired old man? The driver? Ordinary people in general? Never saw anyone with magnifying glass in hand looking for imperfections in packages in supermarkets, looking for the highest screen ruling, for the greater color saturation. Never heard anyone say – Oh! I will not buy this great toilet paper with the lowest price because the dots in the package are all “maxed out”. By the other hand, I’ve seen a lot of people looking forward a good promotion, the lowest price and the quality of the product ill all that matters!

I don’t want to hurt the feelings of dedicated professionals in the flexo packaging business, but I really always thought that “quality” discussion a big waste of time for a product that will end up invariably in the trash. Or does anyone think people will keep the packing as a remembrance? Decorating a child’s bedroom wall with potato chips packaging?

As I wanted a change of scenery, I left the company I was in and I moved to the calm place nearby the beach in Brazil, where the quality of life as unmatched. I walked on the beach every day and to my surprise I started to find the same plastic packs that I helped improve the quality, only this time polluting the beach. I’m not talking about any urban beach, I mean beaches the are are 25 miles away from the nearest large city. Found margarine tubs, several bags of all types of products. I noticed that especially after the heaviest rains, plastic packs began to appear on the beach.

My conclusion was the packaging that so well preserved foods, not let through the light, insects, and much more, are major polluters of the planet. Are derived from petroleum, fossil fuel, undergo a highly polluting manufacturing.

If nothing else, it was not uncommon to find dead turtles on the sand probably due to ingestion of plastic. So what good is the product printed with the best impression of the world with the best technology, involving the best equipment, software and professional, if the result of all this is a dead turtle? Why not apply the quality in the whole process? Specially the proper collection and recycling.

Who is responsible for the dead turtle? The industry that printed the packaging? The manufacturer that bought and packed the product? The citizen who threw the package out of the trash? The government that did not collect the trash properly?

Tricky question is not it? And I think the answer is also complicated, because everyone has their share of blame in this case. Note that I do not mean that the quality is not important. Just want to say that we have to think about the “Quality” as a whole. While any process fails, we will continue to see dead turtles and other marine animals, these are the only innocent in this whole story.

This 5 minutes presentation shows how bad plastic is to the environment.

Image of the TED presentation about plastic in the environment

 

 

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