Transaction-based approach vs Relationship-based approach

In business school we were taught that there were two approaches to conducting business; one that focused primarily on making the most of the transaction each time, and one that focused on building a relationship geared towards increasing number of transactions.

We were told that, broadly speaking, the relationship-based model was favoured in the ‘Orient’ (an example being the Asian corner-shop who will often allow a payment shortfall in the knowledge that the customer will clear it the next time around), whereas the transaction-based approach was synonymous with a ‘Western’ approach to business, (imagine Tesco doing that!).

In reality, of course, mixtures of both should be and are used. But is the situation read correctly each time?

The smart negotiator is one who makes sure the other party has a reason to come back to the table the next time. This would encourage a relationship-based approach. Unless there is a certainty that the other party will/can not come back to the table again. In that case, negotiate for the best deal possible at the time.

Recognising this, is it in the best interests of both parties to pretend to be in for the relationship while hoping to conduct a single transaction?

Between ‘Advanced Speciation’ and ‘Multi-disciplinary Generalisation’

More and more professions in the world are getting highly specialised. This is very true in the case of research and practical sciences; and therefore it seems that apart from any gains to be made from one particular field, progress is more likely to come from combining and borrowing works from several, probably disparate fields. These works can be for example technical advances such as measuring / detection methods, engineering advances such as materials / procedures as well as strategies and theoretical frameworks.

In such a climate it would seem that only ‘multi-disciplinists’ or ‘generalists’ will possibly be able to spot opportunities for ground-breaking collaboration between various fields by connecting the nodes at the ends of different branches.

If there is any advancement to be achieved in this manner, two things are required:

1. Each specialised field to contribute to a shared body of work that explains key concepts of their disciplines in a manner accessible to the layman and a updated register of key contacts within each sphere.

2. A mechanism to select and enable potential collaborative ventures and to allocate funding from a joint revenue.

Both of these will require the services of what I call “Sci-fis” (Science Facilitators) to bring about.

Seeing as it’s my idea, can I be one?

J.B.S. Haldane – An anecdote

Evolution sceptic: Professor Haldane, even given the billions of years that you say were available for evolution, I simply cannot believe it is possible to go from a single cell to a complicated human body, with its trillions of cells organised into bones and muscles and nerves, a heart that pumps without ceasing for decades, miles and miles of blood vessels and kidney tubules, and a brain capable of thinking and talking and feeling.

JBS: But madam, you did it yourself. And it only took you nine months.

-Taken from Richard Dawkins, “The Greatest Show On Earth: The evidence for evolution”

Memoirs of a master forger – William Heaney

“..I looked at the hardness of my own heart and I looked at this great capital city, where we have no leaders and no one to admire. Our government ministers are fraudsters, liars and deceivers without conviction, whose only ideology is to cling to power; our captains of commerce are wolves dining out on blood and bone; our religious prey on small children and feed us stories of nightmare; our media poison us with consumerism, a hideous bloated worm eating its own tail; our football heroes beat their wives and rape young girls; our movies stars and our models are junkies and drunks; our poets are incomprehensible.

I rage! I do! I rage when I see the lives of ordinary people squandered. The lives of young men and women, weak like me, going under the tidal sludge of drugs spilling across the sink-estates of the nation; the homeless drifting like wraiths; people eating themselves into oblivion and doping themselves with bad television; brave boy soldiers sacrificed in deserts for the ambitions of the insanely rich. I do rage! I weep! To see life held so cheap! And all I have as antidote as I stand lost in the middle of these leaders who are not leaders, these demons hidden in the souls of men and women, are my humanity and my rage.”

I could not help typing these words out.

I recommend this… so what?

There was a time not so long ago when it was of value to a company when a friend of yours recommended that company’s product(s). It may still be..

But in this age of hyper-customisation (of many products, not all), a friend’s recommendation doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to.


1. Recommending has become easier, and it’s not always done for the reason you care about i.e. that the product is good. And that your friend has you interests in mind.

2. Products can often be tailored on an even more granular level than your commonality/match with your friend, what they like no longer falls within the same crude group as what you like.

3. There’s probably some shift in “individuality” vs. “peer grouping” to be mentioned here.

On Comprehension

Ready comprehension is often a knee-jerk response and the most dangerous form of understanding. It blinks an opaque screen over your ability to learn. The judgmental precedents of law function that way, littering your path with dead ends. Be warned. Understand nothing. All comprehension is temporary.

-Mentat Fixe (adacto)

Demystifying the suicide attack

Robert A. Pape is Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and is well-known in the field of international security affairs. This is what he has to say on religion and suicide terrorism:

“The conventional wisdom is mostly wrong. Suicide terrorism is not mainly the product of Islamic fundamentalism or any other evil ideology independent of circumstance. I have studied 462 suicide terrorists; over half are secular. The world leader in suicide terrorism is the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka – they’re a Marxist group, a secular group, a Hindu group. The Tamil Tigers have committed more suicide terrorist attacks than Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Instead, what more than 95 percent of all suicide terrorist attacks since 1980 have in common is not religion, but a specific secular goal: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Chechnya to Kashmir to Sri Lanka to the West Bank, every suicide terrorist campaign since 1980 has had as its main objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw combat forces from territory that the terrorists prize.”

“The taproot of suicide terrorism is nationalism, it is an extreme strategy for national liberation”

“Religion is often a component of nationalism, and that is true not only for Muslims. For instance, there are many American Jews who believe that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. They view themselves as completely secular, and yet they have no problem also believing that Jerusalem should be the capital of Israel. Why? Because in many national histories religion plays a key role, especially religion associated with territory – that is an extremely common feature. It is not that religion and nationalism are at odds with each other, though they can be; it is often the case that religion is a subcomponent of nationalism.”

Further reading:

Rehabilitation via The Witness Protection System

I chanced across a very engaging review of a book called ‘Witsec: Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program’ (Gerald Shur & Pete Earley)

In summing up a lengthy description, the reviewer writes:

In popular culture, the Witness Protection Program has an aura of mystery. In laying out its full history in Inside the Federal Witness Protection Program, Earley and Shur share plenty of stories — about creative assassination attempts, mob parties, and the smuggling of drug cartel leaders across the Mexican border — of the type that have long captured Hollywood’s imagination. But the real surprises are aspects like the program’s low recidivism rate: the Witness Protection Program as an example of what vigorous government-led rehabilitation could look like, the Witness Protection Program as an example of how our past weighs on our present, the Witness Protection Program as an example of both the salience and liminality of identity.

I believe this review and then perhaps this book may be quite thought-provoking for people who are interested in the issues above.

Read the full article by Alex Mayyasi at this link:

An opportunity for nostalgia.

Waiting in the hospital this morning surrounded by shuffling geriatrics, I was reminded of this sentiment from Stephen Fry’s ‘Liar’, which I recently re-read:-

As Adrian hurried past the Senate House he noticed two old men standing outside Bowes and Bowes. He put an extra spring in his step, a thing he often did when walking near the elderly. He imagined old people would look at his athletic bounce with a misty longing for their own youth. Not that he was trying to show off or rub salt into the wounds of the infirm, he really believed he was offering a service, an opportunity for nostalgia, like whistling the theme tune from Happidrome or spinning a Diabolo.

He skipped past them with carefree ease, missed his footing and fell to the ground with a thump. One of the old men helped him up.

“You all right, lad?”

“Yes fine … I must have slipped on the ice.”

Fifa 14 or Call of Duty

Michael Calvin had this to say in the Independent On Sunday:-

“No one batted an eyelid on Friday night when, during the paternalistic burbling that passes as a Fifa presidential address, Sepp Blatter called for a suspension of global armed activity* for the duration of a tournament in which 157,000 soldiers and FBI-trained riot police have been ordered to keep the peace.
They will be supported by Israeli-supplied drones, 48 aircraft, 20 warships and 60 fast-response vessels such as speed boats. Twelve military command centres have been set up across the country and 36 ground-to-air missile batteries, purchased from the German army, have been deployed. Fifa 14 has become a real-time version of Call of Duty

*Sepp Blatter said:- “During 32 days, the world actuality (news) will be with football and I hope during this time all belligerent activities in the different corners of the world shall stop and then I would say King Football shall reign” Reuters link