Nov 262012

Well, obviously, this is going to fall in the “Shenanigans” portion of “Software and Other Shenanigans”, but with the election over and the country’s attention (presumably) turning back to spurring innovation and economic production, I’d like to offer my humble suggestion. Namely, we need to start hiring, encouraging, drug dealers. I’m not talking about the shady-looking, ill-reputed people on street corners. I’m talking about the people making drug dealing work on a more corporate and organizational level. These guys are innovative, resourceful, and they get things done. In other words, they’re exactly the kind of people we keep saying we want to unleash in our economy. Well, they would be if we weren’t so busy trying to put them in jail.


Reference: HuffPost

We’re regularly going on around here about maintaining and updating our infrastructure. Well, while we’re talking about it, drug cartels are building it. And they’re building high-efficiency stuff and they’re not in the least bit daunted by petty obstacles like borders or fences (electrified or no). Just to review, this tunnel doesn’t just hold a few people. It doesn’t just allow a car to drive through. It doesn’t just allow a truck to drive through. This thing supports freaking trains. You know all the hype about high-speed rail here in the US? Mexican drug cartels are closer to building that in the US than anybody else. These guys are building massive infrastructure just to support their industry and move their goods – just imagine what we could get if they were in charge of moving goods all over the country. We’d have roads, and tunnels, railways, and everything else our economy needs to ship stuff, all the infrastructure we keep telling ourselves we need to jump-start economy.


Reference: Wired

It’s not just land-based transportation where cartels are bringing their A-game, they’re building their own subs.  While there’s not really a lot of demand for civilian submarining (and probably not a lot of use for it), but there’s a larger principle at play. Namely, drug cartels are solving problems (heavy customs enforcement at airports, land border crossings, and sea patrols) in creative and unusual ways. Drug cartels have reversed-engineered a whole new way of transporting cargo that completely avoids earlier points of failure during transport. That’s the kind of out-of-the-box, creative, determined problem-solving we keep saying America needs right there. What other problems could these guys be tackling for us? What other stuff could they be building if we stopped waging a war on drugs and legitimized this sort of work ethic instead? More importantly, how many serious issues facing us as a nation could we have gotten beyond because of this kind of ingenuity and can-do attitude?


Reference: Wired

Communication is the key to any major successful enterprise, and drug cartels are not ignoring that fact. Obviously, their recruitment methods are not exactly endorsable, but despite that, these guys are building a reliable communications network that’s both robust and easily repairable. It’s a good design principle for something that’s critical infrastructure for your organization. Think about if we had these same people maintaining our infrastructure. We want an infrastructure that has that same kind of resiliency and repairability. While they’d probably have to change their “hiring methods”, you still have to appreciate the kind of laser-focus on making sure they can keep in touch with their teams. How many disasters happen where it takes a while before we can tell our loved ones we’re OK because the cell networks are overwhelmed, if not down entirely? These guys understand the importance of always being able to be in touch, and they make sure that happens. We need that same kind of intensity invested in the reliability and durability of our telecommunications.


Reference: Homeland Security News Wire

Drug cartels already understand business organizational models. In fact they’re emulating them now. It’s good not only for running an enterprise, but it’s designed to handle turnover even among the senior staff. that means cartel members already understand corporate structure, which gives them an edge in settling into the “official” workplace. Let’s face it, drugs are at their heart, a business, and these cartels are operating that way. And the fact that they’re functioning on as large of a scale as they are, and doing things like building tunnels with railway systems and submarines, despite law enforcement agencies all over the world trying to hunt them down and jail them all, indicates that cartels are a business that succeeds in spite of adversity and obstacles. If drug carteling was legal, and these guys weren’t so busy trying to avoid getting arrested, or killed because everyone involved in any part of their industry is by definition a criminal, these guys could be revolutionizing a lot of stuff about industries in America, like operational security, managing executive transition, and running an effective business. Or you could also get a lot of highly-motivated, determined people who are capable of solving the toughest problems out there. Either way, America wins.


Reference: Dallas News

Like I mentioned above, drug cartels run a large business, and part of running any business is keeping costs in check. Drug cartels know this, they have a large market and large potential market they want to sell to. They’re working about as hard as to make their goods more affordable as they are at transporting their products. In any other industry, this would be held up as examples of capitalism and the market hard at work, delivering the goods that people want at more affordable prices. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, or the legality of that industry, economics works, and drug cartels know it. Like many other simple consumer goods in our economy, we can now import cheap drugs. In fact, if this trend continues, drugs can join the list of many other things in the US that have gone from a luxury to a commodity. This isn’t something new drug cartels can bring to business, it’s just proof that they understand how economics and that they can take advantage of globalization just as well as other businesses. It may not be made in America, but let’s be honest, that’s hardly the drug industry’s fault.


Reference: CBS News

Have you noticed how it’s gotten to be a major pain in the but to buy basic cold medication? That’s because the feds are cracking down on it. Not because it’s been killing people with allergies, but because drug cartels have figured out how to use it to make meth. Let me say that one again, drug cartels have figured out a way to take moderately cheap, commonly-available ingredients, and use those to make their products. By the way, do you also remember hearing anything about how we need more people to take science, technology, engineering, and mathematics jobs? Apparently, there’s tons of potential recruits in the drug cartel business, judging from their successes with applied science over the past few years. Keep in mind, these guys process their own stuff too, meaning drug cartels are brimming with science, engineering, and manufacturing talent that we could really use right now.

Granted, most of drug carteling’s success stems from the fact that it’s illegal, as a lot of their progress is built around dealing with cops coming after them and their goods. However, there’s no denying the hard work, effort, and determination that goes into the drug trade that makes these guys so successful. This is promising talent we’re trying to lock away. How about putting this talent in a position to star their own business, or be recruited by existing ones? You’d probably see a lot less crime from these people if we threw the doors open to letting them go after legal pursuits. Our lives will probably be a lot better too, given that we would have dramatically reduced the criminal population and increased the legitimate working population. Let’s stop trying to outlaw talented young entrepreneurs, and let’s legitimize them. It’s cheap (you don’t have to spend new money to stop enforcing laws after all), and it gives us an economic stimulus. Isn’t that what we’ve been after for the last 4 years, after all?

 Posted by at 2:21 AM