A lot happens before ideas become solutions.

At ElixWare we want to bring you more than just great, affordable software. We want to let you know how and why we do what we do.

Our Ruminations blog will bring you insights into how we got here and some of the things we consider when trying to help you run your business. We hope it gives you a better understanding of how we strive to better serve your needs.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Something everyone, or at least most of us, can agree on

Against My Better Judgement
I try to avoid discussing politics. Not because I don't follow politics, nor that I don't have opinions. I do both. It's just that discussing politics ends up going down one of two paths. Either you're trying to change someone's deeply-held beliefs or you're preaching to the choir. For me it just never seems productive. So, of course we're going to touch on politics today.

There are a lot of important issues that need to be addressed in America. And depending on your point of view the priorities can be vastly different. Many of these areas can be very divisive, which is why I suggest that we tackle the country's needs that have overwhelming bipartisan support first. There are two reasons for addressing the low hanging fruit: these issues don't attract attention seekers and they generate momentum. Eliminating political grandstanding and getting things done? Sign me up!

"I'll even go out on a limb here and state that chocolate chip cookies are necessary.

There aren't a lot of politicians making noise about these mundane undertakings because they don't result in TV time or juicy soundbites. But these areas of need can affect just about everyone. And I think as a nation we can do with less political posturing and more governing accomplishments.

Which leads us to momentum. I'm a firm believer in momentum. Once we establish our momentum by working together, we can move on to more difficult endeavors. By using our newly found success as a starting point we can address the much harder issues.

So, what am I advocating? What am I suggesting should be at the top of everyone's list? Chocolate chip cookies ... I mean infrastructure.

Chocolate chip cookies are very popular. Almost everyone likes chocolate chip cookies. And many of the people who don't like chocolate chip cookies still don't disparage them. I'll even go out on a limb here and state that chocolate chip cookies are necessary. Almost as necessary as infrastructure.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Unlike most legislative efforts, infrastructure improvements generally benefit most people equally. Someone who is unemployed, someone making minimum wage, someone in the middle class and someone who is a millionaire all benefit the same from roads without potholes, less traffic congestion, bridges that are safe, agriculture and cargo shipments reaching their destinations, etc. Infrastructure, an educated workforce and a healthy population are good for everyone. Unfortunately, they are taken for granted even though they are the foundation of our economy.

"These days no foray into politics is complete without mentioning Russia."

These days no foray into politics is complete without mentioning Russia. So, without further ado, a few years back I read that Russia was losing a surprising percentage of its crops due to food falling off trucks (and not in a Goodfellas kind of way). The poor road conditions resulted in higher food prices and more hungry people. Russia's transportation infrastructure, including rails, was and is in need of serious attention. Sound familiar?

This phenomenon is not limited to Russia. Worldwide, poor road conditions affect the percentage of harvest that reaches market, increase vehicle operational costs, reduce vehicle lifespans and can really beat up the vehicle's occupants. None of these are good for farmers, consumers or an economy. And it's not just transportation that affects food security. It's estimated that in developing countries up to 50% - 60% of cereal grains are lost during storage.

A study published last year reported that reducing post-harvest losses may be the easiest way to address most of the estimated 70% increase in food production that will be needed by 2050. The capacity and technology already exist. We can only hope the commitment to, and investment in, infrastructure catches up.

The world is a big place. It can be a major challenge to get things where they need to be, when they need to be there. Economies, and even governments, rely on infrastructure as much as people do. And not just in the US and Russia, but in every country and corner of the Earth.

Closer To Home
In America we build things. Large and impressive things. But we don't take care of them. Maintenance is often an afterthought, or an undesirable burden that cannot get funding. Billions to build a new bridge? "Yes!!" Millions per year to maintain it? "We have more important things to spend our money on!"

Roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, sea ports, the electric grid, water mains, communications, and and and .... All of these major investments not only need to be maintained, but they need to be expanded and improved to support more and more of America. A shopkeeper in middle America and a widget manufacturer near one of our busy ports both benefit from reliable infrastructure. As does a trucking company that services them both.

Infrastructure is important. And not just for your business but at your business. The work environment you provide for your employees. The computers and networking you have installed. The organization of your warehouse or stockroom. Your chain of command. When all of these things are in order then your business runs better. Better for your receptionist. Better for your office manager. Better for your receiving clerk. Better for your Customer Service supervisor. And better for you. It's better for everyone and it's worth the effort.

Infrastructure is a long-term investment. It can show short-term results, but you've got to be in it for the long game. The return on investment isn't always easy to measure, but you can see it. And you can feel it. It's evident in your employees' attitude and in their production. It's in how they interact with you and how they interact with one another. And that's a good thing, just like chocolate chip cookies.

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