Transrio – It is what it is

Transrio – It is what it is

Originally, this blog was to be a place where I could define Transrio. Now that I’ve been working along for quite a few years, I see clearer what Transrio wishes it could be, and what it’s able to be. My personal conception of the thing has evolved. I had hoped it would gallop forward, becoming a business. I’d still really love to invent a thing that made money. Money is not the only test of whether something is worth doing of course, but it is perhaps the only test that can’t be faked. Making money while doing Transrio would make me happy. But by now it’s pretty clear; I’m not putting enough hours in, to get that to happen.

So for now, Transrio is… just Transrio. None of the likely descriptions fit – work, hobby, trabajo, job, strong personal interest, (more…)

Farm Progress tour

Farm Progress tour; Drawing of a corn stalk

I just returned from a really good trip, one that I’ve been dreaming about for the last two years. I flew into Chicago, and there joined a group of 108 Argentine agriculturalists; they were mostly farmers, plus some agribusiness and research people. The group loaded itself into two buses, and for the next nine days we visited a cross-section of US producers, factories, research projects and Ag schools across the heart of the Corn Belt. The focus was mostly on corn and soybeans, covering lots of the current advances from GPS-guided planting to biofuels. This is the 22nd year they have run the tour, which is timed to coincide with the giant Farm Progress Show held every August in Boone, Iowa.

The trip is an expensive commitment for all of the attendees, and most of them pay from their own pocket. So it was a hard-working bunch, serious about learning – for me, the schedule was intense. I really liked being the only US attendee (more…)

Picking a Logo, with help from my friends

A little help from my friends

I’m trying to make a logo for Transrio, and unfortunately the project has taken on that dreaded look of a long-term hobby. Time to wrap it up. Here are a dozen that I’m liking now:

#1Logo 1#2Logo 2#3Logo 3#4Logo 4

#5Logo 5#6Logo 6#7Logo 7#8Logo 8

#9Logo 910Logo 1011Logo 1112Logo 12

The first two are hand-lettered, and all the rest are identical except for color. If you click on a thumbnail it takes you to a dummy page I made, placing that particular logo in the context of some content. (more…)

A constant feeling of crisis

"a constant feeling of crisis"

This month’s Inc. magazine printed a harsh but well-written feature story about Argentina. The author is Max Chafkin, a writer I like. Lately he’s been specializing in going to countries with extreme business climates, interviewing people, then writing a good article full of direct quotes from locals. In February he did Norway, a country which measures surprisingly healthy for business in spite of being highly socialized. Argentina is at the other end of the spectrum, historically and currently a rough environment for business. I found it really interesting to read stories about how people adapt. It’s a good article which I highly recommend to anyone interested in the subject — the Norway article is especially good, too.

I’m hoping Mr. Chafkin keeps going with this idea. I vote he goes next to India, Egypt, or Peru.

Squiggle

PS — If you found these articles interesting, here are more links you might like:

Today’s Read-Aloud: The Art of What Works

Today's Read-Aloud: The Art of What Works

I don’t usually do book recommendations. I don’t even read books that much, maybe five a year. I have to fall in love with a book, or I’ll never finish it. I did love this book. So much so in fact, that I finished it.

It’s a business book, but that’s not the reason I loved it. I loved it because this is the first time I’ve ever seen somebody put down so clearly a simple principle which seems to me to apply to all of life — not just to business, but to success in general, along with creativity, productivity, innovation. The book is about expert intuition and how it really works. Expert intuition is that seemingly magical ability that some people have, where they can see the right course of action amidst all the clutter and, confidently, just go for it.

In our culture it’s hardly questioned that the way to make big things happen is to have a really good goal, a vision, then make it happen through planning, motivation, and hard work. That central idea is at the heart of business strategy, success coaching, everything really right down to parenting or planning your day. Decide your goal. Make it happen.

Duggan needs an entire book to really drive home the point (the truth in my opinion) that this is not the way the world works. He gives case-study after case-study, with quotes and stories from many of the business people I’ve always most admired, showing how expert intuition works exactly backwards from the generally-unquestioned goalsetting model we’re all familiar with. Stated simply, the people we most admire for their creativity and effectiveness 1) suddenly recognize something cool they can do, and a way that they can make it happen, and only then 2) state that thing as a goal.

I’ll read now from the book, and show you what I mean: (more…)

A Pleasant Surprise from Inc. Magazine

A Pleasant Surprise from Inc. Magazine

Imagine my astonishment and delight at receiving this out-of-the-blue little e-mail:

Hi Pete,

Mike Hofman from Inc. here. I remember you well from when Michael Hopkins first wrote about you… You may be interested to know that Michael’s article on Great Harvest was ranked No. 4 on our list of the top 30 Inc. articles of all time in conjunction with our recent 30th anniversary…

I’m also writing to see if you have any interest in blogging for us about developing a franchise. I know it’s a subject near and dear to your heart, and it’s one that we’re interested in exploring in depth on Inc.com.

Best, Mike Hofman, Deputy Editor, Inc. Magazine + Inc.com

Pleasant Surprise-02

Although flattered, I of course declined Mike’s offer to write about franchising. I wouldn’t feel good about playing expert unless I was actively making hard decisions. (more…)

Business and the IDC

Over the past few days I got distracted from my primary goal of getting the website up, and I collected some of my thoughts, links, and other materials related to development economics. If you share my interest in the subject, please take a peek: Pete’s Development Corner. Anyone familiar with my thinking will know just what to expect — a pro-business take on poverty issues, and a quick tour of the International Development Community (IDC) from the business side of things.

I’m trying to figure out why this seemed to be a necessary sidetrip. It’s unrelated to Transrio, but then again, not completely. My original ideas for Transrio sprouted up out of a mishmash of post-Great Harvest explorations, including living in Bolivia and attending a big IDC convention. It feels personally necessary now to gather this stuff up, put it in one place, and basically forget about it so I can roll full-bore towards opening shop.

I continue, of course, to have a personal side-interest in development economics. But nothing I posted in the “Development Corner” will merit translation to the Spanish website. Having made this little collection, I’m quite pleased with it, and happy to be done with it. If you do take the time to go there, I hope you like it.