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Last Edited: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 07:12 PM -0500Last Updated: Tuesday, November 08, 2011 07:32 PM -0600

Dialogues

Andr�-Yves Portnoff

Andr�-Yves Portnoff has a doctorate in metallurgic sciences and is the director of the Observatoire de la R�volution de l’Intelligence (Observatory of the Intelligence Revolution) at Futuribles International. He is the co-author of La R�volution de l’Intelligence (1983-1985), the first report that introduced the concept of the intangible/immaterial society to France. Journalist and consultant in foresight ('prospective' in French, is different from forecasting  and futurology), he currently collaborates with large businesses and with SMEs interested in integrating the consequences of human and technological evolution into their strategy and management. He developed with Futuribles a method (called 'VIP') for evaluating the overall capital of firms. Andr�-Yves is also researching the role of cultural and political factors on creativity and development; and he is likewise keen on identifying common elements in all cultures: Asiatic, European and African. He participates, from this perspective, in the deliberations of the Asia 21 think-tank. I, in fact, got to know him just before our round-table discussion of 11th January 2005.

Published both in English and French by Futuribles (December 2003)

Andr�-Yves is the co-author, with Xavier Dalloz and Olivier G�radon de Vera, of this report published in French by Gencod, November 2000.

Fred Gratzon

Fred Gratzon, founder of Fairfield's (Iowa) Great Midwestern Ice Cream and Telegroup, is an entrepreneur raconteur provocateur. In 1968 Fred graduated sine laude whatsoever from Rutgers University as a Fine Art major. He never held a job for more than two months and is one of only five people in the entire history of the United States Government to have been fired from a civil service job. In 1979 with no money, no experience, and no knowledge of how to make ice cream, he founded The Great Midwestern Ice Cream Company. In 1984 his ice cream was judged by People magazine to be the best ice cream in America. Playboy made the same declaration in 1986. In 1989, again with no money and no knowledge or experience of telecommunications Fred founded Telegroup in a spare room in his house. Telegroup became an international long distance carrier and grew to 1100 employees with $400 million in annual sales. Fred's companies have appeared on Inc magazine's list of the 500 fastest growing companies in America four times. In 1995 Telegroup was the second fastest. Fred, ever the entrepreneurial pyromaniac, is currently lighting new fires and using The Lazy Way to Success as his invincible formula. At Fred's insistence, this observation has been added from Sunthar's post to the Abhinava forum, announcing this interview: "Fred Gratzon is a natural-born American Taoist, adept of 'non-doing' (wu-wei = no way!), who deserves to be crowned honorary 'do-nothing' mayor of Benares, the holy city of the Hindus. The 'Lord of the Universe' (Vishvan�tha), addicted to 'idle intoxication' (bahri alang), would have surely approved..."

[Ken Winston Cane writes:] LAZY MILLIONAIRE’S SECRET: Tao-ist, entrepreneur, multi-millionaire Fred Gratzon, self-described “laziest man in the world” says he “hates hard work. In fact I refuse to do it.” Yet he’s had two companies on Inc. Magazine’s list of the 500 fastest growing companies in America — one of them there three different years, and in the Number 2 spot one of those years. In a fascinating interview I found on the svAbhinava.org website, author and business coach Paul Wilson asked him, “What advice would you give to an MBA class of eager entrepreneurs?” “TM-AM-PM,” Gratzon said. (TM is the acronym for Transcendental Meditation.) “And, if your focus is money, I wouldn’t bet 2 cents on you. If you’re driven by passion, however, that’s the kind of person who I want on my team.” Lots of fun, pointed coaching wisdom in this interview. [Fred replies:] I am quite impressed at the power, reach and influence of your e-zine. It was brought to my attention, that we were getting a bunch of book orders that originated from this site. It seems your readers clicked through to the interview you recommended and from there clicked through to my book’s web site and from there actually bought the book. You obviously have a lively group of highly alert readers. Thank you. Keep up the good play! [04/21]

[Joel wrote:] Most of us here have an entrepreneurial bent, so I figured others might find this interview with Fred Gratzon entertaining. Fred founded of number of large businesses. He's described as follows... [Fred replies:] While I was reposing blissfully in my hammock, it was brought to my attention that we were getting a flurry of on-line book orders that attributed this site as their inspiration for buying my book. Needless to say, I had to see what was going down. So thank you Joel. You're a peach. And thank you to all you alert blog denizens for buying it. You made a whole bunch of people who helped create the book very happy. I think you will find it profound and funny and life transforming. It is also an honor to be mentioned on a site that serves entrepreneurs. The definition of an entrepreneur that fits me best is someone who will do absolutely anything to avoid getting a job. What is particularly cool about you guys is you all come from a bone-lazy industry. In other words, you guys are always finding ways to accomplish more by doing less. When I went to college, computer geeks walked around with shoe boxes filled with punch cards. (Heaven help them if they ever dropped one of those boxes.) Now my 16-year old son fights massive armies as he defends our solar system using only a tiny handheld thingee. So, keep up the good play, everyone. And, of course, long live the hammock! [March 09, 2005]

When most people do less, they accomplish less. When most people do nothing, they accomplish nothing. So from this experience, most people have concluded that to accomplish more they have to do more. Obviously, this is how workaholics think. Lazy-aholics, on the other hand, see the world differently. They wisely know there is always an easier way where doing less accomplishes more. Lazy-aholics know the power (and glory) of Quantum Laziness. From the point of view of Quantum Laziness, success is INVERSELY PROPORTIONAL to work. That means the less work you do, the greater success you will have. If you want your success to trend toward infinity, then your effort must trend toward zero. The catch is - you have to know how to do less properly. You have to know Quantum Laziness." Fred is a strange dude - a happy-go-lucky practitioner of transcendental meditation (a means of experiencing "pure awareness" by sitting comfortably, with eyes closed, for 15-20 minutes twice a day while one mentally repeats a sound or sacred word - "mantra".) Having just come out of a period in my career where I routinely worked 70-90 hours a week, I find this sort of refreshing. Let's just say that my pursuit of the success to be had through Quantum Laziness is ongoing. [Daily Dose of Optimism: Fresh Thinking for Investors]

Jeff Conklin

Jeff Conklin is a facilitator, consultant, and teacher. Over the past 15 years he has developed a dialogue mapping facilitation approach (previously called Visual Issue Mapping System, or VIMS) that is based on Horst Rittel's Issue Based Information System (IBIS). The technique uses graphical hypertext software (Compendium) to interactively map the meeting dialog of project teams working on "wicked" technical problems. In addition to using Dialog Mapping as a consultant with various clients, he teaches the technique in a 2-day workshop (see http://cognexus.org). He is passionate about getting the knowledge of IBIS and Dialog Mapping out to a wider audience, and has just published his first book on the subject, Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems. Jeff wrote an early survey paper on hypertext that was published in IEEE Computer (1987), developed the gIBIS software at MCC in Austin, Texas, and launched a software company, Corporate Memory Systems, that created the predecessor to the Compendium software, QuestMap. That experience, and the company's financial demise, taught him a lot about the practical side of collaborative technology. He is also very interested in knowledge management and organizational memory, and is collaborating with the Compendium Institute on other collaborative technology extensions of Compendium. Jeff and I sort of sizzled on the same wavelength, without however getting to meet, in the discussion following Jack Park's presentation at Knowledge Technologies 2001 in March 2001.

Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is an MBA candidate at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. His undergraduate studies included physics and mathematics at Maharishi International University (MIU), a private liberal arts college in Iowa, with an innovative curriculum that includes the study of consciousness as a meta-foundation for all other disciplines. He began practice of the experiential component of this study of consciousness at age thirteen by learning the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. During his years at MIU, he added an advanced practice of the TM technique, the TM-Sidhi program, to his daily routine. In the mid-1980s, he was fortunate to take a series of courses in various Vedic disciplines that were offered at MIU, led by some of India's top Vedic scholars. His focus was Ayur-Veda, the holistic health teachings of the Vedic tradition. Scholars and vaidyas (therapeutic practitioners) offering this knowledge included Drs. H.S. Kasture, C.P. Shukla, V.M. Dwivedi, Balraj Maharshi, Raj Vaidya B.D. Triguna, and the now-famous Deepak Chopra. In addition, Paul studied Jyotish (Vedic astrology), Gandharva Veda (music), Sthapatya Veda (architecture), and Vedic mathematics. In the early 1990s, Paul co-founded an Ayur-Vedic panchakarma treatment facility in Indianapolis and received training in the panchakarma rejuvenative therapies. During these same years, he had new opportunities to continue his studies in Ayur-Veda and Jyotish under scholars who stayed for up to a year at his clinic. Paul has worked in other fields during the years in-between, including computerized litigation support and in computer book publishing, where he specialized in quality. Paul has chaired an alternative political party in Indiana since 1992 and stood for Governor of Indiana in 2000, developing a broad and inclusive platform of holistically-oriented ground-up solutions for the state. More recently, he has led a multi-party coalition seeking fundamental democratic reforms in Indiana, including ballot access.

Raphael Joseph

Raphael (fondly known as Viji) is the Malaysian husband of my niece Anu, younger sister of Sumi Sivaratnam. When he learnt in 2001 of my intention to launch this svAbhinava web-site, Raphael generously offered to host and maintain the site. If you have enjoyed uninterrupted access to our work, this is largely because Raphael and his associates have been very responsive to any reports of technical problems at their end, and also been ready share their know-how. Located in the American mid-West, Accelerated Enterprise Solutions (formerly Co-Pilot) was also the technical host for a web-site (as of February 2003) dedicated to alternative sources of (especially world) news with critical commentary. Please check them out, if you are in need of web-related services: hosting, design, e-commerce, etc.

Sunthar Visuvalingam