Ponzi Schemes

Ponzi schemes fall apart for two reasons. First, new investors disappear due to tight economic conditions and secondly, current investors want to withdraw their money  due to turmoil in the market. When this happens, the bottom falls out on these scams and there is no more money to pass on to the earlier investors. This leads to the crook grabbing whatever money was left before going on the lam.

Unprofessional PI

A San Francisco Private Investigator working for a defense attorney crossed the line by leaving messages on a witness’s phone telling him that if he went to court that he would be arrested.  This inept PI compounded his outrageous behavior by leaving the recorded messages for posterity.

At least the police and prosecutors who do this type of thing, do it more professionally and don’t leave behind recordings.

Google Search Options

Google’s “Search Options” was launched last May and it provides several filters to narrow down your search results. On the results page the “Show Options” link appears at the top of the search results. Click on that and you get a sidebar that looks  like the one on Google News search.

The best option in all this is that you can now SORT RESULTS BY DATE instead of relevance.  Other options that offer interesting results are the filters for formats such as video, forums, Blogs, and reviews. The reviews filter is quite strange — but I have found the best way to make it useful — use it when you are searching a person’s name and it will turn-up results from a wide variety of publications and blogs. Searching for reviews about things seems quite useless, but using this when searching names, then sorting by date, makes this very useful.

Greed or Self-Interest

This wonderful video clip features the late Milton Friedman. It is important for Investigators and Researchers to understand how things work, and why. This short clip shows how the most critical functions of society work and why they either produce a better life for us, or produce misery. No amount of fuzzy thinking or propaganda will change how things really work.

Directory of Social Networks

I came across this interesting directory of social networks: http://www.social.com/Social-Networking/. This seems to have in excess of 500 listings for social network sites in something like 100 categories.

Many of the listed sites aren’t social sites like Facebook or MySpace. I wasn’t quite sure how I might use this, so I Googled it, and found an interesting use for it in ResearchBuzz.

According to ResearchBuzz, “Google Sets allows you to specify a couple of different things and get lists of additional similar things”, and I have been using it to help me build searches and find stuff for awhile. Sometimes I wonder how some things get into the set list, but it is good to play around with the new toys from Google.

Surveillance Delusions

The tin-foil hat brigade

On Wednesday, October 14, a global alliance of those covertly targeted by covert mind and body manipulation technologies believed to be emanating from intelligence agency sources, are holding a worldwide protest against the use of these devices on nonconsenting individuals. The technologies used are capable of remotely accessing and adversely affecting the human brain and body functions so therefore raise serious privacy issues for all who value freedoms in modern society.

Most Private Investigators have encountered people who believe they are being “watched”. Most need the kind of help only provided by certain types of doctors.

Organized Stalking

Organized stalking sounds plausible, that is why it feeds the delusions of susceptible people. (You will sometimes encounter this along with the tin-foil hat stuff mentioned above.) Do a Google search for organized stalking (American spelling) or gang stalking, or group stalking, and examine some of the sites in the search results. It is easy to see how all this stuff can seem plausible to a susceptible individual.

Intelligence Analysts in Industry

If you have ever wondered why private industry doesn’t improve its use of the intelligence function, then I suggest you read Part 4 — Even Better News!! (How To Get A Job In Intelligence)  over at Sources and Methods, a blog by Kristan J. Wheaton, an assistant professor of intelligence studies at Mercyhurst College.  Mr. Wheaton’s experience mirrors mine, but he has managed to express it better than I could.

Intelligence Positions in Industry

Even if you can get past the spook factor, though, there is still a perception by many businesses that they do not need intelligence. My technique in these cases is to ask the managers and executives I deal with, “Who in your company has it as a fundamental part of their job — as part of their job description — to systematically examine all the factors relevant to your company’s success but outside your company’s control, integrate those factors as necessary and provide estimates of how those factors will change over time in order to support your planning processes?”

The answers vary, of course. Some companies have market analysts but they are not tasked to look at the competition. Others have competitive intelligence and market analysts but clearly have other intelligence needs that aren’t being met (like the company with a global presence that needs to understand if its employees are likely to get kidnapped or the company who transports critical raw materials in ships that travel off the coast of Somalia…).

Even if all the various needs are covered, no one is integrating the reports, coordinating the activities or providing meaningful estimates about how conditions are likely to change. Some places have even told me that performing this function is “everyone’s job” but I just laugh (I can do that because I am a professor and not a consultant).

No matter what the answer, the discussion leads to the follow-on question: “Don’t you think it would be useful to have someone who does all this for you?” The answer is always, “Yes” but it still translates only slowly, if at all, into intelligence jobs.

Research & Goals

There are two types of research.

Strategic Research

This is to determine the best course of action. For example, in which direction to drive.

Tactical Research

This is how to achieve the best course of action. This is deciding which road to take. This is also about the essential details to reaching your strategic goal.

This might seem obvious, but I’m forever being reminded that it isn’t.