Venezuela, Rice Farmers and Doctors in Dallas Redux

In light of Fidel Castro’s death and the news that Venezuela is issuing new, higher-higher denominations of currency due to the triple-digit inflation that reduced the value of the country’s largest note to two U.S. cents, I’ve decided to republish an updated version of the following, popular blog post.


Models. No, not the skinny kind in a magazine. But conceptual frameworks. Like global warming “models” or even Obamacare.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, U.S. rice farmers are raking it in on exports to Venezuela. Hugo Chavez’s legacy of socialism, in which large farms were nationalized, broken up and “redistributed,” together with food price controls resulted in the destruction of its farming industry. Similar top down management continued by his successor, Nicolas Maduro, ruined the beef, coffee, steel and sugar industries.

Humans are complex. Our interactions are complex. Outside of basic urges, like the drive to survive, we can’t, especially on a large scale, be modeled by policy wonks and other useless idiots.

Those who were surprised that employers turning to part time workers and temps to escape Obamacare were clueless.

Those who think that ACOs and hospital-centric healthcare have a long term survival rate are equally blind.

The key for doctors in Dallas and Des Moines and Detroit, and across the country, is to develop strategy that increases your chances of professional and economic survival in both the likely short lived hospital-centric world and in the physician-patient-centric one to follow.

Those in favor of Obamacare claim they did it to help the uninsured. Chavez and the Chavistas, like Castro, claimed that they took the steps they did to help the disenfranchised. But the disenfranchised have become even more so and everyone is suffering.

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss

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Harnessing Human Drives In Negotiation

If you’re in the selling position (which might be an actual sale of an asset or might be the sale of your efforts and knowledge), take the time and effort to strategize about how you can create an auction, or an auction-like environment, for what you have to sell. In essence you’ll be using human nature to boost your result.

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Manage Your Practice

It’s Human Nature: Incentivizing Performance

In 1919, New York hotelier Raymond Orteig announced the Orteig Prize: $25,000 to the first aviation team to fly nonstop between New York and Paris.

In 1996, the X Prize, later named the Ansari X Prize for its major benefactors, offered $10 million to the first private, reusable manned spacecraft to fly into space twice within a two week time period.

Of benefit to physician groups is the fact that both the Lindbergh team that won the Orteig Prize, and the Team One team that won the Ansari X prize, budgeted and spent far more than the amount of the prize to win.

So, it wasn’t actually a profit motive — the dollars what would be won — that motivated the contestants to attempt to win.

Yet the mere announcement of the prizes — of the challenge, of the money and of the recognition that would accompany winning — spurred tremendous competition and resulted in the breaking of barriers.

Importantly, consider that before the prizes were announced, there existed similar economic rewards for the group that could accomplish the feat. For example, the technology that would enable private, reusable manned space flight was just as valuable to its owners whether or not there was a prize attached to the initial success of their venture.

That same human drive to win can be harnessed within your medical group and within a hospital.

Find a way to hitch your group’s success to human nature.

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss

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