Feb, 2019

Water Storage by Art Ludwig

The Big Idea: For small volumes of water storage, use ferrocement if you can and plastic if you cannot. For large volumes of water storage, use ponds if you can and ferrocement if you cannot.

Design Principles

1. Lease as much of the water work as possible to nature.
2. Divert water just after evaporation or soil has naturally purified it.
3. Divert water higher than the point of storage and points of use.
4. Conserve pressure in the plumbing.
5. Use adequately, but not excessively, sized pipe.
6. Design to extract benefit from other attributes of your water.
7. Rigorously confine materials that are incompatible with natural cycles. 
8. Intervene as little as possible.
9. Use appropriate technology.
10. Practice moderate and efficient resource use. Context is everything.

Book Notes

  • Going from 99% water availability to 99.5% doubles the financial and environmental cost.
  • People in industrialized society with running water use about 100 gallons a day. People who have to carry water use about 10 gallons a day.
  • Well-designed water storage can actually increase water quality over time. 
  • Poorly designed water storage can have many problems: algae growth, bacteria, leaks, sediment buildup, leached carcinogens.
  • Try to avoid chlorine to disinfect drinking water as there are carcinogenic byproducts.
  • UV light is an ideal disinfectant.
  • Nothing beats commercial water quality tests, but you can do dome DIY testing for turbidity, flow, dissolved solids, elevation, general bacteria, and fecal coliform bacteria. 
  • 5 ways to store water: none (direct from natural water source), store in soil, store in aquifers, store in ponds, store in tanks. 
  • Store in soil: divert water to be soaked up by the soil, where it can be absorbed by plant roots.
  • How to increase the amount of water in your aquifer: take out less water, slow down rainwater runoff, detain water in infiltration basins, infiltrate water through creek beds and riverbeds.
  • Aquifers recharge naturally through rainwater, but over drafting groundwater can lead to drafting fossil groundwater that has been stored for millions of years. 
  • Chemicals and toxins seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater. 
  • Storing water in ponds is cheap but open to contamination and exposed to evaporation.
  • Three types of man-made ponds: storage ponds, living ponds, runoff harvesting ponds.
  • Water tanks are the most common way to store water. 
  • To increase water pressure, put the tank on a hill, make a water tower, use a small pressure tank, put a tank on your roof.
  • With your tank at roof height, your appliances will barely work. With your tank 10 stories high, your washing machine, water purifier, and water heater will start to work.
  • You can install a booster pump just for fire safety. 
  • Tubs and kitchen need flow, not high water pressure. 
  • Burying water storage tanks can have some advantages but also many disadvantages. 
  • If harvesting rainwater, carefully calculate usage (output) and rainfall (input) to size your water tank.
  • The classic tank shape (cylindrical, height = diameter) is usually the way to go.
  • Ferrocement tanks are a great option for tank construction for a permanent tank.
  • HDPE is the preferred plastic for water tank.
  • EPDM is the best artificial pond liner.
  • Galvanized steel with plastic membrane is a newer but promising technology.
  • Food-grade IBC totes can also be used for small water tanks.
  • A plastic tank, then encased in masonry for shade and protection is a high-performance, lifetime tank.
  • The earth under the tank should be compacted and free of rocks. Drainage should be away from the tank. 
  • For small volumes, DIY ferrocement and plastic tanks are the most cost-effective. For large volumes, ponds are the most cost-effective. 
  • A pressure tank provides water pressure but requires continuous power. Larger pressure tanks can provide more reserves.
  • Be sure to critter-proof the tank from mosquitoes, rodents, and other critters. 
  • Keep out the sun to prevent algae. Metal and masonry completely block out light. 
  • Paint your tank white to reflect sunlight and keep the tank cooler. 
  • Take measures (insulation, south-facing, partial-burying) to keep the tank from freezing in the winter.
  • To protect your agricultural land against fires, use fire-safe landscaping, occasional managed fires, robust water systems, fire-proof building materials like metal and concrete

Why Sell Tacos in Africa by Paul Oberschneider

The Big Idea: start businesses in emerging markets where there is much less competition.

  • I decided to visit the small Eastern European country of Estonia.
  • People who build successful businesses — are driven by circumstances and then led by opportunity. As an entrepreneur , you must be first and foremost an optimist. Being a successful entrepreneur requires three things: vision, leadership, and a team.
  • In the beginning, I had no vision. I was taking steps along a path, like wandering around a map. But once I had the vision of what I really wanted to do, everything became easy.
  • Faith is contagious.
  • Leaders commit and make decisions.
  • Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Now is the best time to start.  Don’t procrastinate.
  • Your venture doesn’t need to be perfect at the start.
  • Try things quickly to see what works and what doesn’t. In the beginning, it’s easy to make mistakes. Early mistakes don’t cost much. Writing and storytelling are powerful tools and key skills for anyone who wants to build a company.
  • A plane spends 95 percent of its flight off its charted course.
  • Like that pilot, you need to course correct . When you write something down over and over, it gets clarified. Effectively sharing your dream with other people is critical to building the right team.
  • Ask for help. It’s the single most important thing you can learn to do in life.
  • Not knowing something means you have to start at the beginning. That’s a good thing. Not knowing forces you to ask questions.
  • Do ask for advice. Your job is knowing what questions to ask and finding people who know the answers.
  • To succeed at anything, you need a team behind you, carrying out your visions and plans and executing.
  • Find the right people to support you.
  • Reward your team and build camaraderie through work and play.
  • Managers implement systems. Good managers get the most out of people and processes. 
  • Make a habit of brainstorming.
  • One day you will grab the right idea that fits the place you’re at . Ultimately, the key is not the million-dollar idea but the million-dollar execution.
  • The execution is the single most important aspect of success in any business. Since execution is the single most important ingredient for success, you better make sure you have the staff to make it happen. 
  • Hire people who want to work hard, and reward them. Create a vertical ladder of opportunities for your employees, and train them relentlessly. Pay them well and earn their loyalty.
  • Debt by its very nature is cheaper than equity .
  • Equity is the dearest thing, and it’s expensive. Don’t give it away. There’s no substitute for tracking your income and expenses personally.
  • People will be drawn to you because of your brand.
  • Identify the aspect of your business that uniquely identifies you and distinguishes you from the rest of the market.
  • To most investors and entrepreneurs outside the continent, Africa is still a virgin market and a dangerous place.
  • What is really lacking in Africa is a knowledge base of business skills. As I continue to read more about Africa and meet with people, I see huge similarities between the former Soviet Union countries and the continent of Africa.
  • When you are thinking about a business or sector to launch in, look for a market or opportunity where competition is lacking.
  • Blue sky means a market or opportunity where you are free to create and explore before everyone else catches up. Hot markets are tempting. They look promising and always seem easy to enter.
  • A hot market is both crowded and competitive.
  • You will have far more success opening a cool fast food taco stand in Ghana than in London or New York .

Strategy Concepts of Bill Belichick

The Big Idea: Bill Belichick built a dynasty around on a culture of accountability, continuous improvement, strategic flexibility, and detailed preparation.

Part 1: Culture

  • “Do your job” is the New England Patriots mission statement.
  • The goal is to improve on a daily basis, work hard, pay attention to the little details, and put the team first.
  • Belichick makes sure that the goals set out are achievable.
  • Work as hard at it as we can and improve on a daily basis.
  • Emphasis on individual performance in a team setting creates a feedback loop that raises the performance of the entire team.
  • Without having to worry about the next person, each individual player is able to put their complete focus, dedication, and effort into their own task, which raises the performance of the entire team.
  • No one will be willing to follow someone who isn’t competent at their own job.
  • There are many types of leadership styles.
  • It’s impossible to deal with everyone on an individual basis on a daily basis so Belichick relies upon managers and department heads to keep him informed.
  • Having the right people as captains was critical.
  • Belichick strives to make sure that the right people are in the right positions.
  • Players on the team vote for the team captains ,
  • Players buy into the Patriots’ culture due to Belichick addressing any problems quickly.
  • Hold people accountable for their actions.
  • Belichick views self-evaluation and holding each player accountable as a key part of his coaching strategy.
  • The only way for us as a team to get a championship level is to continue to evaluate ourselves, and we have to look at what we’ve done and critically analyze ourselves.
  • We can’t hire a consultant to come in and fix our problems.
  • The only way for us to get better is to do our own R & D.
  • Everyone in the organization must study, learn, and strive to get better.
  • Everyone must have an open mindset and be willing to learn and be evaluated.
  • Willingness to accept feedback comes with “a certain amount of humility.”
  • Understand that mistakes are not fatal. Only by addressing the problem can things improve.

Part 2: Preparation

  • Bill Belichick’s father was also a football coach and collected an extensive library of football books.
  • Four hundred and thirteen books served as the foundation of Bill Belichick’s football knowledge.
  • Belichick insists “Bill Walsh: Finding the Winning Edge: is the greatest piece of football literature regarding a franchise blueprint ever written.
  • He is constantly adding to his expertise by finding new information and ideas to win football games.
  • He doesn’t care where the ideas come from, or who offers the ideas.
  • During staff meetings with his coaches, he first asks his staff for their ideas and suggestions.
  • He’s not so full of himself that he won’t listen and tap into any source for an edge.
  • Belichick extensive use of analytics is one of his primary competitive strategies.
  • The work ethic of Bill Belichick is legendary.
  • They know there are nights when Belichick sleeps at Gillette.
  • When everyone else is sleeping, or tweeting, or playing Madden, or lounging around, Belichick is studying the game.
  • One method that Belichick teaches his players is through the use of daily quizzes.
  • No one commands a depth of knowledge quite like Belichick.
  • Everyone is expected to study, regardless of their role on the team and how much playing time they are expected to have.
  • These quizzes and intense preparation clearly pays off.
  • For players who are unable to keep up, Belichick will quickly weed them out.
  • When guys get there they either buy in immediately or they are so overwhelmed that they want out.
  • With the ball on the one-yard line, the Seattle Seahawks threw a pass play that was intercepted by the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler. Butler, an undrafted free agent, was coached and prepared by Bill Belichick and told to be ready for that play.

Part 3: Performance

  • How exactly does Belichick ignore the distractions? He places the entire organization’s focus on the next game.
  • Belichick will refuse any interview that has to do with the past because he’s solely focused on the next game.
  • Based on his knowledge and constant learning, Belichick is always innovating.
  • Despite the heavy criticism for what was essentially the right call on 4th and 2, Belichick did not let the negative outcome affect his decision-making process and would make the same call again.
  • If you know the history of the game, you understand that it’s a changing game.
  • He isn’t afraid or held prisoner to a certain way of doing things because he knows that change is constant.
  • Belichick realized that a faster tempo was becoming a competitive advantage.
  • Belichick entire strategy of winning games is based upon exploiting and attacking the weakness of his opponent.
  • The core tenets of Bill Belichick’s football program always will remain the same. Versatility is key. Do your job. Hide your weakness and attack their’s.
  • Even at 63 years old and with four Super Bowl rings on his nightstand, he’s constantly seeking out new information and his plan of attack is evolving.
  • By bringing in smart football players and combining it with his mental training, Belichick is able to create a smart, fast moving team.
  • Belichick cross-trains his coaching assistants. Belichick trains his coaching staff to be able to coach both sides of the ball and to be able to move where needed.
  • Unlike the many coaches who identify with a particular style or tree, Belichick isn’t locked into a singular ideology.
  • Belichick’s greatness has never stemmed from a Big Idea — unless the Big Idea is the relentless application of many Little Ideas.

10 Keys to Success

  1. Clearly define the roles of everyone in the organization.
  2. Hold people accountable for their roles , and help them when they accept responsibility.
  3. The most vocal person isn’t necessary the leader. Be on the lookout for people who are doing their job well in a quiet manner.
  4. Improvement takes place on a daily basis.
  5. You must take the time to learn about the larger trends in your industry.
  6. The goal is to “move the football”, not prove that your way of doing things is the right way.
  7. Use any source that can help you gain an advantage.
  8. Your strategy must be tailored to your current situation. What worked in one situation will not necessary work in another situation.
  9. Focus on the task at hand. Don’t get caught up in any distractions.
  10. Control what you can. You can control your effort and your decision – making process. You cannot control results and outcomes.