opinions

 

As we move onward towards graduation, it is a natural reflex to look back on the journey we have taken to reach this moment in our lives. The fear that haunts me most often is whether or not my younger self would be proud of where I am, of who she became. Before etiquette, and responsibility, and creative limitations molded our growth, as children we were probably the most genuinely ourselves as we ever will be again. This being said, I occasionally worry that little Taylor Covington would be pleased with my decision to enter into business, because growing up, that was the furthest thing from what I thought I wanted to do. While I don’t see myself running a Fortune 500 company even as I’ve grown older, my initial rejection of the business mindset is probably perplexing given that the majority of my family acts within the industry. My father was in sales. My mom is a Director at Emerson Process Management. And my uncle, my grizzly-bear-like, conservative, Broncos-loving uncle, runs both a jewelry supply store and a school for making jewelry out of Boulder, Colorado. That is pretty much my only connection to entrepreneurship and that’s where the focus of this post is headed.

For years, that same loud, chatty, Taylor Covington would wander around her uncle’s supply store, touching rocks and gold chains, daring my brother to poke one of the sculpting blades. Back then, I knew he had graduated from the University of Texas with an Arts degree, specializing in metalworking. My house is STILL littered with shapes of jade curved into bizarre shapes and smoothed to a shine. He moved out to Colorado when he was still young and from there began making his own unique brand of jewelry. My mom often forced him to go out and sell his items at trade shows— and yes, he did extremely well.

From there, he founded The Naga Tools & Supplies in 1976 about twenty minutes from his house. It was a small shop, providing high-quality material. It eventually expanded backward, creating more space for storage and display cases. It now has a functioning website where you can place orders, track your order, and find what you’re looking for by brand or by function. Currently, it has become the largest resource of tools and supplies in all of Colorado.

About 10 years ago, he and his second wife officially opened the Denver School of Metal Arts, just next door to The Naga. Darlene, my aunt, runs the school mostly while my uncle prefers the work of the shop. There are over twenty instructors, teaching metalsmithing, workshopping around specific technics, and intensive casting procedures.

He still lives in the same house he has for the past twenty years. He still drives the same car, barring any repairs, and still shops and eats at the same stores.

These descriptions are not meant to brag or bore; it is simply worth noting that entrepreneurship comes in many different packages. I doubt my uncle knows the first thing about “the toll-gate strategy” or how to be the “fustest with mostest”, but it’s impossible to ignore his success and growth from just a shop-owner to an educator. So while I’m certainly not discounting Drucker’s formulas for success, I think the majority of what he is suggesting can be boiled down to a simple statement: “see a need, fill a need.” My uncle began by doing what he loved. He had— and still has— no desire to become a supply store mogul. But by listening to the customers, by going to conventions and meeting people one-at-at-a-time, my uncle undoubtedly made a lasting positive impression on the community. So if I one day follow my uncle’s footsteps and end up impacting my community in an authentic way, I’m pretty sure Little TC would be just fine.

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If you have access to a television, a computer, or occasionally scavenge Twitter in hopes that Zayn Malik will notice that you’ve retweeted his new video over five hundred times, then you’re probably heard that artist B.o.B believes, and continues in the face of all reason, logic, and scientific proof, that world is in fact flat. In a matter of hours this story has gone “viral”— a term that has taken on a new, electronic opposed to organic meaning— and everyone, even Neil DeGrasse Tyson, has attempted to convince the rapper otherwise. Teachers everywhere have resorted to heavy drinking, sniffing paint, and straight up popping acid to combat the guilt for the failings of our education system in this country. However, had this been the 90s and every personal, idiotic thought could be kept to the minds of those who think them, we would have all lived our lives assuming B.o.B wasn’t a special kind of moron. This aggressive portrayal of ignorance never would have been possible without the advent of two things: 1) the internet and 2) a globalized community.

When you make chowder, you have to be careful about how much milk you add, or else the mix would become too thick. Too little, and you’ve just got soup. Too much, and the whole thing is a disaster. That is the effects of having our leaders— our managers— having access to this globalized community with a megaphone as big as the internet, and being horrifically stupid. As it stands now, should one economy fail, all of us are screwed, and it’s up to managers to be aware and accountable for these actions.  “Few [have] yet [to] accept [management] as a social function,” claims Peter Drucker, renowned management consultant. “But it is precisely because management has become so pervasive as a social function that it faces its most serious challenge. To whom is management accountable? And for what? On what does management base its power? What gives it legitimacy?”

Peter Drucker worked for over sixty years in various positions and from his experience, wrote several books, taught several classes, and founded many academic institutional programs centered around the elusive concept of management. Well-deserved, he is known as the founder of modern management, and despite all of his teachings, many still miss the point. In our world today, it seems anyone can be an executive if you talk loud enough, and if you make the company stacks and stacks of cold cash, well, damn, you’re hired for sure! But both of those personas negate Drucker’s own concept of management: “Management is about human beings. Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.”

What I find most interesting about this new “network of connection” is that humanity choses to remain as erratic individuals, instead of one, integrated culture. Shouldn’t we understand by now that there is a large chance that if you found Nyah Cat hilarious in 2007, your Muslim neighbor would as well? Cats are cats, and cats are funny, and the Pepe meme is not a Western conglomeration of our humor, but the very depiction of every dark, weird, nonsensical, chaos-worshipping chip that makes up our collective human soul?

Maybe that’s not what Drucker intended, but at least he was well aware of the real-life effects of managers being effective or ineffective, and how being an idiot and a leader— even a well-known public figure— can have very serious detrimental effects to our society.

“The result of a hospital is a healed patient. The result of a school is a student who has learned something and puts it to work ten years later. Inside an enterprise, there are only costs.”

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Like most good things, there is a dark side to food. And I don’t mean the brown lumpy bits on over-ripe bananas. No, children, it’s worse. It is the seedy underbelly that destroys families and happiness and color. It is the reason Twix Bars don’t count as protein bars and cheesecake makes you sick after the fifth slice. Yes, there is a cruelty to the foods we eat and I’m here to warn you about the nasiest of them all.  Continue reading 12 Reasons Why BitchBagel is the Jim Belushi of Foods

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example of dating/loving in the 21st century

They say growing up is never easy. They say the world is changing and there isn’t much we can do about it. New problems arise for every generation, and it is the job of the following generation to fix them. But what if we’ve reached a point where the problems are more internal than external? What if we as a generation are quickly learning to forget the most basic human functions? What if we are forgetting how to love decently?   Continue reading To Love Decently

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