Contemplating A Brave New World
|One of a Kind Prototype of the Emperor Penguin designed by Weston & Brenda Andersen|
The reality of the world radically changing through an act of nature is difficult to comprehend even as we are living through it. We are adapted to our norms but they are shifting under our feet. How do we move forward when our norms are no longer our anchors?
Political actors call for Governor’s to reopen the economy or resign, as if, reopening will bring about a return to a former normal.
Reopening the economy will not cast a spell and bring back normal. In Boothbay Maine, where I live, the primary industry is hospitality, one of the hardest hit industries. Most do not want to risk their lives and those of their loved ones by exposing themselves to a virus which is still mutating and we still know little about.
|Wooden Mermaid Sculpture outside of house at Ocean Point, Maine|
The demand for re-opening eludes the calling for the reinvention of our economy and our culture and the big question: Are we entering the post globalist age? The potentialites are too enormous to wrap one’s mind around and so conventional political calls to action take their place. Only gradually will this change as people realize we are now living in the real brave new world calling for its own tailor-made industrial and economic development.
A Fast Response in the Tech Sector
My latest story published on Medium’s Data Driven Investor examines how corona virus and the subsequent and immediate response from the top tech companies strikes at the heart of the corporate welfare system, and how the corporate welfare system has been influencing the total economic landscape.
As a society, we are long over due for reconsidering the underpinnings of our economy. Coronavirus has unexpectedly unlocked the door that kept us inside the old system. Now we have access to a new and unfamiliar world which has been there, waiting to happen, all along,
Before coronavirus tech companies resisted remote working, citing the advantageously spontaneous conversation that occurs when working in a common space, and the ability to work closely in training of new workers. Those are indeed advantages of working in a communal space, but there are advantages and disadvantages to both choices.
Spurred on by coronavirus, the tech sector didn’t take long to go from moving to remote workers on a temporary basis to making it into a permanent plan. Tech companies are now seeking to establish a balance between remote workers and on site employees, identifying the advantages and disadvantages of both and asking how to arrive at optimally functional blend.
The Public Personas of Corporations Play a Leading Role
In the contemporary world corporations, large and small are public personas which can choose take positions on large social issues, or not. Twitter posted a fact check suggestion on a president’s tweet. Mark Zuckerberg is openly weighing in on the remote workers issues and on the racial protests, posting his memo to his workers as a Facebook post.
I have been expressing the public persona of Andersen Design on my blog for many years. Moving to the Medium platform encouraged speaking out on larger social issues. Through Medium I am able to connect with a community of people of all ages and backgrounds. I am able to gain a perspective on what it is like to be starting out one’s life in a world so very different than the one I knew at the same age.
Involvement in social issues has been part of the Andersen Design brand since it was founded with a purpose to create a hand crafted product affordable to the middle classes, in the 1950’s.
My Dad was the deep thinker possessing artistic design sensibility and high talent for conceptualizing systems management. My mother was a much more secretive artistic personality, despite also being more flamboyant, but she revealed to me that I come from a long line of craft makers on her side on the family.
|The classic Andersen Design Gentle Sandpiper is a candidate for outsourcing to other slipcasting studios. It is an item for which we have produced many large sized wholesale orders over the years. It’s appeal continues to endure. And it is a enchanting piece to make interacting with the individualist hand of the artisan. Photo by Mackenzie Andersen|
Andersen Design’s corporate culture vision
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In the past when we had a larger facility in Portland, we employed at about twenty five people, I was not around at the time but the general consensus seems to be that the production works better at a smaller size.
The line has grown too large to be handled by one small studio. Andersen Design’s market established line of classic ceramic designs is a great asset to other small studios get started and for creating a uniting network in which independent studios might even choose to work together on some projects.
Our version of a company balance between on site and remote workers is visualized as occurring mainly in a geographic area that can be accessed by car. It is not so different from what Zuckerberg is envisioning as he has stated that remote workers would be located in a four hour radius of the headquarters.
The geographic location is not written in stone. Today there are only a few scattered slip-casting operations offering out-sourcing in the USA but the craft is actively practiced as a hobby industry. We can work with that small handful of slip casting that already exist. They offer consulting services which can be a valuable resource.
Without going into to great detail, I will say that the essential feature of our culture that I love is its ability to offer people an opportunity to realize their potential that they may never have identified themselves. That ability is intrinsic to training people on the job as is our traditional practice. This small business is a very complex business and so it requires skills of diversified talents. The focus is on the work and that makes the company culture a meritocracy. Andersen Design has a classic, market established product line and a brand, and that is what occupies the heart of any start up. We are a Re-Startup, but there is no category for that in contemporary jargon. Start ups do not have a history, We have a long and unique history! Andersen Design is like the unused well in the 48th Hexagram of the IChing:
Nine in the fifth place means:
In the well there is a clear, cold spring from which one can drink.
A well that is fed by a spring of living water is a good well. A man who has virtues like a well of this sort is born to be a leader and savior of men, for he has the water of life. Nevertheless, the character for “good fortune” is left out here. The all-important thing about a well is that its water be drawn. The best water is only a potentiality for refreshment as long as it is not brought up. So too with leaders of mankind: it is all-important that one should drink from the spring of their words and translate them into life. Carl Jung translation of Hexagram 48, line five of the IChing
An Immediate Opportunity Calls to Action!
There is a local property we would like to acquire which is perfectly situated for a new Andersen Design production studio and general headquarters, it feels like it has our name on it. As I am writing we received news that the owner is putting it on the market. Our fund raising goal is $400,000, which is enough to purchase the property and set it up
The headquarters is where on-site employees work and general face to face contact occurs. Andersen Design can produce and market products remotely but for the real community spark to thrive we need that face to face environment. Teams, staff and remote workers can move in and out of the remote space sporadically, occasionally, regularly, or consistently to interact with the community.
There are many functions that can be conducted at the site we are interested in acquiring, including, production, shipping, photography and video, Office Space Vintage Gallery and Contemporary Gallery. Working with onsite employees depends on how the ways and means of dealing with corona virus are developed, of course.
Today it is just a pie in the sky, a pipe dream, not within our means. We need to either pull off a successful Kickstarter project for which we need a foundational group of core committed supporters before a launch, or we need to make significant vintage sales, or find backers.
Follow our progress HERE.
This is an opportune moment in history to act. A new world order is forming as we live and breath. Lets make it a better world! A world with more diverse employment opportunities! We are calling a Meeting of the Minds to Order! Let us begin to find out where we are going.
|photo by Mackenzie Andersen|