We’re all questing for the “holy grail” of the right customer or industry segment—where to make more money in less time. Where is the most potential for growth? Where are the best opportunities to invest time and money? Or do I need to succumb to the usual dictates of fear and greed?
Historically, some of the first Europeans found their way to North America in pursuit of wealth, looking for alternate routes to Asian spice markets. The TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine imagines a future with wormholes as shortcuts between distant parts of the galaxy. Via wormhole, a starship could traverse our galaxy nearly instantly from Earth’s Alpha Quadrant to the distant Gamma Quadrant. Almost all wormholes were unstable. But brilliant explorers traversed that narrow ridge between fear and greed in search of a stable wormhole. The explorers were attempting to reach the Gamma Quadrant—but could never know where a wormhole would lead or whether it would remain open for them to return home. Fear kept many from exploring but greed was powerful enough to motivate others, even if the risk cost their lives.
I would argue that since the Great Recession, we have entered an economic wormhole. No one really knows whether it will produce the “usual” post-recession recovery—so in the meantime, greed drives.
Or the economic wormhole may prove unstable and dump us out into a new and unknown place (like the Delta Quadrant on Star Trek Voyager). We all know investors for whom fear has kept unwisely sidelined in cash or flight to U.S. Treasuries only. Possibly, we are in a wormhole that may require new rules about money and time—rules other than the traditional drivers of fear and greed.
While I believe this wormhole we’re in is stable, no one can predict if it is or not. If you read current articles about the state of the economy, about prospects for job growth, you often see assumptions of stability about an improving housing market and a low-interest/low-inflation environment leading to a gradual, albeit slow, job recovery. Even the Feds chimed in this week with their feeble attempt to juice growth with a “cheery” stimulus announcement (June 20).
I’m sure you’ve also read articles clarifying that some characteristics of an unstable wormhole are true: that some jobs won’t ever come back.
My wife and I have raised our family, now young adults, to follow their passions, to follow Beauty. We trust them to be resilient and adaptable. After four years of college, there are no guarantees that any particular jobs or careers will be there on the other side of their wormhole. We are trusting that they are driven not by fear or greed but by the passion to head to their Gamma Quadrant—to find their unique wormhole to get there!
Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics, is one man who’s in his wormhole to his Gamma Quadrant. In the movie Moneyball, Beane says, “I don’t want to set a record. I want to change the game.”
Let me preface this conclusion by saying I am agnostic: I, too, am not immune to the vagaries of fear and greed. I think about and live balancing the potential of either future outcome being true. But I have a Gamma Quadrant I’m heading toward and I believe we all need one!
You might deconstruct your own Gamma Quadrant using the following questions:
- If I were to have an ideal asset portfolio, what factors should I consider?
- If I were to have an ideal time portfolio, what allocations should I consider?
- If I were to have an ideal significance portfolio, what people and principles should I consider?
Tell us: What does your Gamma Quadrant look like?
Originally posted 2012-06-25 09:19:26.