Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | November 29, 2015


Marcus Aurelius, considers how befriending this eternal interplay of life and death, the inevitable and indiscriminate nature of this inhale-exhale cycle that is life — can inform and ennoble our existence.

Simple meditation upon these eternal truths, can enoble us while also strengthening through the understanding of the utter simplicity of our impermanence…

He admonishes and councels us over the ages, softly-softly to only take care of doing one thing:

“Just that you do the right thing.
The rest doesn’t matter.

Cold or warm.
Tired or well-rested.
Despised or honored.
Dying … or busy with other assignments.

Because dying, too, is one of our assignments in life.
There as well: Do what needs doing…

Some things are rushing into existence, others out of it. Some of what now exists is already gone. Change and flux constantly remake the world, just as the incessant progression of time remakes eternity.

We find ourselves in a river. Which of the things around us should we value when none of them can offer a firm foothold?

Like an attachment to a sparrow: we glimpse it and it’s gone.

And life itself: like the decoction of blood, the drawing in of air. We expel the power of breathing we drew in at birth, just yesterday or the day before, breathing it out, like the air we exhale at each moment.

Alexander the Great and his mule driver both died and the same thing happened to both.
They were absorbed alike into the life force of the world, or dissolved alike into atoms.”

But rather than being dispirited by this awareness, we can find in it an enlivening force of moral solidity in the face of our ephemeral existence:

“Keep this constantly in mind: that all sorts of people have died — all professions, all nationalities. Follow the thought all the way down to Philistion, Phoebus, and Origanion.

Now extend it to other species.
We have to go there too, where all of them have already gone:

… the eloquent and the wise — Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Socrates …
… the heroes of old, the soldiers and kings who followed them …
… the smart, the generous, the hardworking, the cunning, the selfish …
… and even those who laughed at the whole brief, fragile business.

All underground for a long time now.

And what harm does it do them? Or the others either — the ones whose names we don’t even know?

The only thing that isn’t worthless: to live this life out truthfully and rightly. And be patient with those who don’t.”

Dr Kroko

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Refuge

Thanksgiving is a time of refuge for all of us.

Finding Refuge in Thanksgiving is nothing new.

It is in Thanksgiving that we find Refuge from the daily grind.

And maybe we find refuge from the particular individuation of the American nuclear family, as we join in extended family gatherings.

And maybe we also find refuge from the human animosities emanating within extended families that fail to communicate properly, like the miscommunication that leads to internecine war and strife within the Great Abrahamic family of faith that encompasses the three major religions of today. One can only hope…

Still we all hope that in Thanksgiving we’ll find a day’s refuge from discord and hate. A respite from hateful speech — much like it happens in our extended family of differing Peoples, Citizenry and Leaders, all living in this Great Land, together — from sea to shinning sea.

And maybe we find refuge from long held faulty beliefs, religious dogma, and theories about our past, present, and most importantly about our common future…

And we just might find much needed refuge of belief, because as we’re about to celebrate a holiday that honors a time when Native people of an ancient and bountiful land extended a helping hand to hopeless refugees who found themselves stranded on these shores without provisions and food — these differing beliefs were tested and cast aside — even if for a moment — in order to bridge the human need.

After all, it was these “strange” Native Americans who helped these newcomers survive the harsh New England winters by giving them vital aid in the form of friendship, food, and solace.

And it was our own forefathers, those struggling refugees, who received sheltering help from the natives, that we’ve come to remember as Thanksgiving Day Feast. It was this timely Help, that allowed our forebears to survive and thrive in this great country.

So it is a timely reminder these days of a beautiful and radiantly crisp Autumn, as we see the dead leaves and the rustic colors — we are called to remember and celebrate the giving exchange of food, aid, and shelter, that has created the Thanksgiving Feast.

It is this honorable conduct that we are called to remember when we are faced with the terrible decision of how we are going to deal with the new refugees arriving on our shores.

And as we gather with other natives, friends, and family, in order to celebrate, the feast of Thanksgiving – it may be worth taking a moment to see how that tradition is being honored today away from stuffed turkeys and gravy boats, and how we can also invite a refugee in our house for this feast of Thanksgiving…

Let’s start from there and let’s hope that Divine Wisdom will guide us to the right decisions.

Inviting a refugee family or a single person to share in our Thanksgiving is obviously a small step towards understanding the future of our Communities — but it also one of the biggest things we can do to shape public policy around the Refugee Issue currently being discussed in this Great Nation.

Namely whether to offer true Thanksgiving, and accept refugees fleeing prosecution, death, and violence, from war ravaged Syria — or to turn them away at the doors of Forgiveness and Forgetfulness, and let them perish along with our own Consciousness.

And we can be better than that even…

We can be better than those violently stopping the stream of “human refuge” as some have called the “exodus” which emanates from Syria over the last two years, and that is now finally reaching Europe’s Brandenburg Gate, and Paris’ Arrondissments.

Yes, it has been a steady flow of refugees coming from Syria and Turkey into Greece and Europe — for many months now. And it’s been years that the flow has been a trickle. Bow now that it is a veritable river of human refuge — it is being drastically re-evaluated as it arrives in the “more” European capitals, and in the core of Europe, coming in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris…

Now fear reigns supreme… all over Europe.

Fear of the lesser, browner, and weaker people in Paris, Brussels, and Berlin, is nothing new.

But fear of those wandering folks in Washington — is.

Dr Kroko

PS: We have convened a Conference in Seattle about this subject and want to invite you to participate by RSVP here at the Churchill Society:

Because we ought to discuss with Courage where we are heading, since…

America, the perennial Republic of Immigrants, always welcoming and always uplifting all of it’s children — has now apparently come of age and feels that demurring from it’s principles is acceptable…

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What we happen to forget though is that when America demurres from it’s principles — it also demurres from it’s greatness.

Because today more than two dozen states, and nearly all of them with Republican governors, have stated clear opposition to accepting, protecting, or even housing Syrian refugees within their borders.

Contrast that with several other states with Democratic governors, who have stated they would act upon the law and intake such refugees as they are vetted and welcomed by the proper channels of the United States Immigration authorities.

The U.S. Congress predominantly conservative, is already moving to slow down the tide of refugees reaching these shores, and of course, there is already the substantial vetting process for admitting refugees, and truly “combat age” men only constitute a very small minority of such refugees, whereas families with small children are the vast majority. Nonetheless, refugee opponents rightly note that no immigrant and refugee vetting process is 100% perfect, and thus they argue that we should either delay or even abandon the idea of further re-settlement of refugees here in the United States of America.

The general point is that attitudes toward Syrian refugees are pretty much exactly the same as they have been toward any group seeking refuge within the U.S.

One particular sore point for opponents of admitting refugees is that these arguments tend to look horrible in hindsight. Strong majorities of Americans opposed accepting Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the late 1930s. The federal government was following public opinion when it turned away boats full of refugees; many subsequently returned to Europe and died in the Holocaust. Similarly, Western state governors who stood against the admission of Japanese Americans when those citizens were removed from their West Coast homes during World War II, look small-minded and racist with the passage of time.

Today’s opponents of taking in Syrian refugees generally reject such historical comparisons, however. (Although see the mayor of Roanoke, Virginia.) Yes, it was wrong to reject previous rounds of immigrants, because it turns out those groups were peaceful and just sought to live out their lives and make a living in the United States. But this current round of refugees, the thinking goes, is somehow too different. They follow a religion that is more prone to violence, they’ll never properly assimilate, they reject our values, they have an instinctive hatred for the U.S., etc.

The thing is, basically every ethnic or racial group that has sought to come to the U.S. has been, at some point, singled out for being too different. Nineteenth-century journalists like Thomas Nast warned of the evils of Catholicism and the degeneracy of the Irish. Indeed, the Irish were widely caricatured as sub-humans who were incapable of understanding or participating in democracy and preferred the dictatorship of the Papacy.

The Chinese immigrants of the late 1800s were generally seen to be of such a different race as to be unable to assimilate in American culture. In the early 1900s, Jews fleeing the pogroms of Eastern Europe to America were widely rumored to have alien traditions, to harbor anarchic or communist tendencies, and to be a sort of fifth column undermining the U.S.

Even those later fleeing Nazi Germany were believed to have Nazi agents among their ranks. More recently, some have claimed that Mexican Americans seem unable or unwilling to assimilate into the dominant culture and are responsible for a disproportionate share of crime.

The fears confronting a number of groups seeking passage to the U.S. over its history have never been more starkly contrasted to the advancement of our Moral sentiment, and our ingrained Responsibility, that we feel today in light of the Refugee Crisis, at this time of Thanksgiving…

Maybe the illusion shattering timeliness of this feast Holiday is worth this humble and pedestrian discussion, emanating from the Sanctuary State of Washington where I have taken refuge these days as well.

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Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | November 14, 2015



Please share this hashtag, #PortesOuvertes in support of Paris, France, and our World today.

Please share because… #PortesOuvertes – means #opendoors, and symbolizes the open doors the usually jaded Parisians instinctively threw open in their abundant humanity, to offer safety and succor to strangers.

#PortesOuvertes lets people traumatized, wounded, or escaping, running away from explosions, scrambling, to find safety in the city’s homes, as the number of attacks on public venues increased, and the confusion multiplied.

#PortesOuvertes means not only open doors, but it also means an open country that allows and accepts people as they are.

We need Open Doors today more than ever because last night’s attacks in Paris’ heart are directed at the heart of our Open Doors policy. They show the same uncanny sense of symbolism as the January massacres, and many others before them. They simply want to change our way of Life…

They want to make us all fearful and hateful. That is why the hate mongers and the terror spreading attackers targeted Parisian neighborhoods where people are far more tolerant, open, liberal and progressive.

And they targeted the greatest monument to France’s multi-ethnic, egalitarian, and pluralistic success: the football grounds of the Stade de France. This soccer field is the Parisian Green Heart because here is where the local team won the World Cup back in the 90s.

The attackers, whomever they may be, and whatever their motives, went after the heart of progressive Open Paris.

They did not attack the more touristy Champs-Elysées or Notre Dame, or the more bourgeois and conservative left bank, where most of the government ministries are located. Instead they attacked the most progressive part of the City where the youth, the progressive, the open liberal culture resides.

The attacked our Open Doors policy and their message is reinforced by the site of the main attack, on the biggest public venue — the Stade de France. This particular city stadium is one of the few places where the promise of a more integrated France is realized.

This is where the famed all inclusive French soccer team, known as “Les Bleus,” is the paragon of the ‘black-blanc-beur’ ideal (black, white, arab). The national team of France is a true French meritocracy in action, and it works.

The Stade de France is where a French team led by the Algerian-Frenchman Zinedine Zidane won the greatest trophy in sports, the FIFA World Cup, in 1998. The best moment of Unity shown to the world. ( #black-blanc-beur = black, white, arab…)

#PortesOuvertes and #black-blanc-beur is what France and especially Paris has always been for me… and most of my people.
Now let’s hope that France’s leadership doesn’t overreact and close the borders of this great country to the world.
We need today #PortesOuvertes more than ever. We need #black-blanc-beur because if we turn an open democratic country into a closed borders country intolerant of the “others” — this surely will be the “Win” the radical islamists are looking for.
Let’s stay open, stay inclusive, stay Democratic in the face of danger, hurt, and fear. Let’s stay united and strong today — more than ever before, because that’s how we WIN on our principles.
Le Stade de France Le Bataclan, Le Carillon, La Belle Equipe, Le Petit Cambodge — all places of unity in diversity…
We need to stay strong and be even more inclusive today — because that’s our best defense.
Unity amongst us. Strength in diversity.
So please share this too: #black-blanc-beur right up there with #PortesOuvertes
Let’s keep an Open Door and a more inclusive Policy going forward in Europe…
and the whole World will be safer for that.
We are the beacon of Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood for all.
Let’s act like it, and share it:  #black-blanc-beur
Must never forget that… because it is UNITY that we need more than anything else today.
Out of this horrible carnage let’s allow Liberty to rise in Victory — once again.
That’s the spirit of France…
That’s how we win.
Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | November 11, 2015

Syrian Refugees are pawns in Germany’s Hunger Games

The very next day after Germany announced that they would welcome eight hundred thousand people if they could somehow make it into Germany’s borders — they closed down their borders…

Then Germany said that they were to open their borders again under conditions…

Meanwhile a human tide has been unleashed from all the refugee camps in the Syrian Turkey border and all kinds of displaced people are walking to Smyrna and Bodrun and then braving the sea journey and the wine dark sea to the island of Lesvos in Greece.

Then follows the treacherous land walk across several countries and many border crossings to eventually reach German after many privations..

The following week however Germany revised their policy to fit within the European Union’s Shengen agreements and made their borders impermeable again.

So the mass of humanity snaking it’s way across Europe as winter comes — remains in limbo hoping against hope that they will some day reach a place of Refuge…

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Germany’s playing games with people’s lives…

This is the face of Europe today.

Is this a place we are supposed to be proud of?

The “Momofuku Day” was first established on January 2007 at a small hospital in Dallas, Texas.

A group of healthcare workers first celebrated Momo’s day on January 19, 2007.

Each participating employee brought several packages of favorite instant ramen noodles to a banquet table from which employees could share and sample the various flavors.

The second year, on January 2008, participating employees developed unique dishes using instant ramen noodles as the prime ingredient…

Then Momo Day also kicked off “It Starts With Me” campaign promoting charitable giving and customer service.

The Dallas hospital closed in June 2008, but in January 2009, several of the newly transferred employees continued observing the Momofuku Day, by sharing it with their new coworkers at another hospital in Dallas. Understanding that instant noodle ramen has been a staple food for victims of disaster and the poverty-stricken, as well as for college students, office workers, and for all those wanting a quick meal — Mr Momofuku Day became an endeavor to help feed those in need.

Feeding the poor was Mr Momofuku’s original idea and thus today his name day is commemorated by giving food to the ones in need, or by fundraising for charitable organizations, or simply by calling attention to poverty and hunger through instant noodle ramen and other food donations to local food banks and free meal kitchens.

The day has since been celebrated the second Friday of January to allow Mr Momofuku due recognition, but people ought to give food all days of the year to those in need — as Mr Momofuku wryly observed often during his lifetime.

In 2015, Google placed a doodle on their main web page commemorating Mr Momofuku’s birthday on March 5.

The name of the mysterious Mr Momofuku sends chills down the spine of refugee helpers, Japanese entrepreneurs, and people feeding the poor — in equal measure.

But who is this mysterious Mr Momofuku?

Mr Momofuku was born in 1910 into a Taiwanese family in Japanese-era Taiwan, and raised by his grandparents within the city walls of Tainan, following the deaths of his parents. His grandparents owned a small textiles store, which inspired him, at the age of 22, to start his own textiles company in Taipei.

In 1933, Momofuku traveled to Osaka where he established a clothing company while studying economics at Ritsumeikan University.

After World War II, Momofuku became a Japanese citizen and moved to Japan, where he entered Ritsumeikan University and at the same time founded a small merchandising firm in Osaka with the inheritance from his family. “Momofuku” is the Japanese reading of his Chinese given name (百福), while Andō (安藤) is a common Japanese surname that connects him to the region firmly and hides his immigrant origins…

Mr Momofuku was highly entrepreneurial and giving. When he offered scholarships to young students to go to the University — he was convicted of tax evasion by the occupation government, and in 1948 had to serve more than two years in jail. Indeed Momofuku had provided scholarships for students, which unfortunately for him — at the time was considered a form of tax evasion. With Momofuku in jail — his company fell into a chain reaction bankruptcy.

After escaping from jail, Mr Momofuku founded a small startup business selling tiny packets of prepackazed salt.

Soon was thinking of becoming a food merchant to feed his people…

But let’s start things at the beginning…

With Japan suffering from a shortage of food in the post-war era, the Ministry of Health tried to encourage people to eat bread made from wheat flour that was supplied by the United States. Momofuku wondered why bread was recommended instead of noodles, which were the traditional Japanese food and certainly more familiar as a well liked staple food for the Japanese people and for their dietary system…

The Health Minister’s response was that noodle companies were too small and unstable to be able to produce enough nationwide, to satisfy the supply needs of the Japanese people. It was then that Mr Momofuku, decided to develop the production of noodles by himself.

The experience convinced him that “Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat.”

On August 25, 1958, at the age of 48, and after months of trial and error experimentation to perfect his flash-frying method, Ando marketed the first package of precooked instant noodles.The original chicken flavor is called “Chikin Ramen” It was originally considered a luxury item with a price of ¥35, around six times that of traditional udon and soba noodles at the time. BUT Momofuku, took care of this when he began mass manufacturing and selling cheaply his most famous product, Instant Cup Noodle, on September 18, 1971 with the masterstroke of providing a waterproof polystyrene container, where the hot water goes to cook the noodles inside the cup.

Instant Noodles were an instant success.

Of course like all such overnight successes — this too was twenty years in the making.
People like the story of the seeming instant success and there you have it…

Production was mechanized and automated and with volume pricing, the Chikin Ramen Cup of noodle prices dropped dramatically and instant ramen became a booming business, and a staple of instant food.

Chikin Ramen and other Cup of Noodles from Mr Momofuku’s Nissin Co (1971 ~)

Soon his small Startup company that was selling packets of salt — soon became the Instant Ramen Noodle company that was destined to become the giant company named “Nissin” of Japan. A colossus of a company that is worth today more than 700 Billion US Dollars.

To put it in perspective that figure is more than Apple’s total market capitalization that is $674.95 billion US dollars  averaging the12 months ending Sep 30, 2015.

People liked instant noodles well enough so that taste for instant ramen spread far outside Japan too, and so did sales and production plants… The saltiness is evidence of his attachment to the origins of the business in the salt packets and as Mr Momofuku said: “No need to pour the whole salt packet into the noodle cup…”

In due course, worldwide demand for instant noodles, surpassed 100 billion servings in 2013. As of today, “Chikin Ramen” is still sold everywhere in Japan and now retails for around ¥60, or approximately one third the price of the cheapest bowl of noodles in the cheapest hole in the wall Japanese restaurant, or street cart vendor…

Yet it s sold all over the world too for a smaller comparable price since the rest of the world is still an emerging market for the Japanese instant ramen noodle company that Mr Momofuku created.

But that is long term thinking because back in 1964, when He was seeking a way to promote the instant noodle industry, Mr Momofuku founded the Instant Food Industry Association, which set guidelines for product quality, fair competition, price controls to serve the poor, and introducing several industry standards such as the inclusion of production dates on packaging and the “fill to” line directions, etc.

Instant Ramen noodles have arrived to their own Hall of Fame. And the indisputable Instant Noodle King is Mr Momofuku. He soon became the chairman of the International Ramen Manufacturers’ Association, and the Momofuku Instant Ramen Museum was created and named after him.

He made a little bit of money along the way too…

According to The Financial Times, Momofuku’s invention of Cup Noodles in 1971, at the age of 61, helped spark the popularity of instant noodles in Japan and overseas. In1933, at the ripe old age of 22, Momofuku, the Taiwanese-born young entrepreneur had already built a successful clothing business importing socks from Japan. Six years later, when he moved to Japan — his company was booming. During World War 2, he expanded his business empire to include selling slide projectors to the Japanese government for all the training they were doing during the war. And he kept expanding into other products — like charcoal mining and air-raid shelters.
The war was good to him, financially, for a time. Eventually, he found an accounting problem with one of his companies. The government was giving him raw material to manufacture engine parts, but inventory was missing — probably being sold by rogue employees on the black market. He went to the Japanese military police to get help in investigating the matter of theft of the inventory… But instead of hearing him out — they arrested him, and put him in a military prison where he was starved and tortured. Released 45 days later, the torture and starvation had taken its toll. When he finally recuperated, Japan had lost the war. The economy was in shambles. His factories and businesses were destroyed. He had little left.
But he started again. This time buying real estate people were now selling off at huge discounts. In just a few years, he was sitting on a million dollar real estate empire. His experience with starvation and inadequate food in prison inspired him to start a food business. He began paying young kids to collect sea water, which he’d evaporate, then sell the remaining salt.
But then, the occupying American force arrested him for tax evasion on the $50 a month he was paying the young kids — an amount he claimed was meant for their college scholarship (a non-taxable expense). He countersued, but the lawsuit dragged out, leaving him stuck in prison again, this time for years.
He was eventually released with a clean record, all charges dropped. But the government had already confiscated and sold off everything he owned — all the real estate, the salt company, the charcoal mine, his home. He was flat broke.
So he started again. He helped start a new bank, which got off to a good start. Except the company executed a number of bad loans. And the bank was forced to file bankruptcy. Depositors went after what little he had begun to accumulate.
So he started again. He still had a strong urge to create a food company. He turned his tool shed into a makeshift laboratory, and worked for a year trying to invent a new food product. Experiment after experiment failed.
But in 1958, at the age of 48, this Momofuku of an entrepreneur finally hit a home-run. He focused on an idea that eventually became a company worth 700 billion dollars on the Tokyo stock exchange.

The lowly noodle soup. Hot water, some flavoring in a salt packet and some dry resilient noodles… Resilient noodles?

Momofuku Ando had invented instant ramen noodles. Momofuko’s story is an inspiring tale of perseverance. And yet, I know most people discount the tale, because they think that Momofuko possessed a willpower most of us will never have. We might be a little inspired by him, but we can’t possibly imitate his perseverance.

It is worth noting that Mr Momofuku’s basic innovation was that he filled an obvious need of the market — that the market itself didn’t know it’s need existed…

He didn’t go looking for a problem, nor he found a solution ahead of the need — but he actually solved a simple market product wrinkle.  He was thoughtful and observed how American soldiers ate their Japanese noodles. He noticed carefully that GIs ate their ramen only after breaking the noodles in half, putting them into a cup, and pouring hot water over the noodles. They also ate them with a fork instead of chopsticks.

Momofuku was inspired, to innovate further, and felt that a Styrofoam cup with a narrower bottom than the top, would be the ideal vessel for holding noodles and keeping them warm.

Eating the noodles would then be as easy as opening the lid, adding hot water and waiting.

This simplicity, efficiency, and the low price of his “Cup of Noodles” was a powerful innovation that went on to transform the way we eat.

As a matter of fact, it created the instant food category, and helped feed many poor people too.

Momofuku’s invention of instant noodles not only revolutionized how we eat one of the world’s oldest foods, but it also revolutionized how we feed people in the refugee camps, migrants on the move, and people in need of a quick hot meal…

When I donate loads of food to feed the Syrian Refugees streaming out of Turkey into Greece and on to Europe — Instnat Ramen Noodles is 50% of that. Easy to prepare, easy to transport and a filling invigorating nourishment of hot noodles will revive anyone who has been in the cold waters of the Eastern Aegean Sea.

My charity is always directed to give every single refugee emerging onto the shores at least a dozen instant ramen packages of cups of noodles, to speed them on their journey onwards to a New Life.

And for that I have Mr Momofuku to Thank…

Destitute, wet, and hungry masses of people washing ashore in the middle of the rough sea passage between Greece and Turkey on the Northern Aegean island of Lesvos, need immediate warmth and sustainance. And the instant noodle soup provides just that. It is a good tool to stop hunger and thirst at the same time, and the salt packets are rather useful as they elevate the blood pressure and help people hydrate and also fight against the cold…

Let’s remember that these refugees once out of the sea, on the North of Lesvos, they still have to walk another 40 miles with children on their backs, just to reach the hastily erected official refugee camp, on the south side of the island. THey have to go that route because this is where they get processed to get a place on a boat towards mainland Greece and freedom…

Yet their journey is far from over.

Because they have to walk another thousand miles and in some case far more and across several countries’ borders, just to get to the other European countries, that might offer them hope for work, and a better life, because Greece is a desperately poor country today.

Yet it is a far more welcoming country full of warm and giving people — more than any other…

It is the poor people of Greece that offer the new Ulysses coming from the sea, haphazardly washed ashore — the springboard for their journey to Europe’s industrial cities.

And it is the good fortune of these Ulysses people, who have displayed a remarkable collective resilience, that they land on the shores of Greece. It is an accident and a choice that the survivors of a harrowing journey out of Syria’s war zones, that they wade ashore at the welcoming shore of the northern reaches of the Greek island of Lesvos. This is the place of great tragedy but also a place of great resilience, where you can see today entire families with many children, amid droves of other refugees, coming ashore each and every day from dinghies overflowing with people. And it is heartening when you see them feeding on Mr Momofuku’s  instant noodles supplied by our volunteers providing the water and the hot cup of soupy noodles to each and every person washing ashore.

It’s really a small and simple thing to do. But we are simple people too, and thus we understand how to simply fill a humble human need. Feed the people. No monuments here. Nothing much to see — no big name plans — just people offering a humble service. Water and a hot noodle soup.

God Bless Mr Momofuku for his innovation, because this noodle soup is a godsend, at times like this. Like mana from heaven. Food from up high…

And it is this little food that’s become the “staple” that can also be carried in the perilous onwards journey of the stoic refugee families, as they traverse Greece’s islands, during the harsh Aegean winter. These people are ferried on to the mainland of Greece, and then they set on the long march to Europe.

They have to cross borders and fight their way through to the countries whose very weapons destroyed their own… Karma is a beautiful woman when she looks You in the eye. No?

Yet on our side, we do the little things. We offer some hot soup and water and maybe some chocolate for the little ones.  And maybe we manage to stuff their backpacks with cheap instant noodles so that when they meet the harsh border guards of the Neo Nazi Hungary, or Austria, and Germany — and they have to live in the cold muddy fields of central Europe for weeks on end — they can have a little nourishment, and remember that there are good people on this God’s Earth too.

I’ve seen this simple food saving lives in other refugee camps in other places of this earth… but the flow of people across the sea and land in Greece and on to the rest of Europe — is like a constant sea of humanity. A whole giant refugee camp on the move, walking constantly Northwards, and often fueled only by the soup noodles as they cross inhospitable terrain and enemy borders — albeit always helped along by many very hospitable and kind people.

A moving tide of humans migrating away from death towards Life & Hope.

Who are we to think that we can stand on their way?

Let’s instead usher them forward. Let’s give them what they need to propel them forth. Let’s at least offer them a cup of soup and give them directions to transport.

At the end of the day it is the good & smart people that are helped when they help others because that’s how they get to manifest their own humanity. It makes us truly human every time we help someone else. It blends the bonds of humanity with the innate intelligence of the species as a whole. Really truly intelligent people know this. That’s why we help…

You don’t need a high lama or the pope to tell you that. Just follow the better angels of your own heart. Or follow your own all too human instincts. Help each other. Don’t fall for the hateful depravities of others and of the politicians. Do what You know is RIGHT. And that is what the Good Europeans are doing. Helping along this tide of humanity to reach succour and relief.

It is a huge human migration, but not all people have left Syria. These people who are making their way to Europe are in some ways the best of the lot. They are the risk takers. The entrepreneurial lot who chose to up stakes for a better life elsewhere. THey could have somehow survived in Syria as the majority have from those who have stayed back. But they choose to leave because the reckoned that the perilous journey forward presents a better chance for survival than staying home and waiting for Mr Assad’s barrel bombs to fall on their head. Or for any other number of combatants to bomb them or strife them.

So they journeyed away much like prosecuted people always have done and will continue to do as long as there is war, violence, prosecution and famine. Religious folk might remember the refugee family of Joseph and Mary, fleeing prosecution, and giving birth in the middle of their journey to a child — while sleeping rough in a small barn, amongst animals, and depositing their child in a manger covered with hay for warmth…

Moving on. Escaping the fates of war and violence. Or simply journeying on to follow the flow of life. People will always be there to help you. After all this is what helped Mr Momofuku survive and succeed, because while Momofuku was in military prison camp, a fellow prisoner, who Momofuku befriended — was released. Mr Momofuku asked him to contact another friend — a lieutenant in the Japanese Army — who eventually arranged for Momofuku’s release. The fellow prisoner many years later recalled that He did this because Mr Momofuku was especially kind to him, during his time in prison. Often sharing his food and provisions with the “messenger”

If it wasn’t for those two friends — Mr Momofuku would have likely died in prison. But he didn’t thanks to the kindness of another fellow human being, A fellow prisoner. A stranger…

Yet once released from prison, Mr Momofuku, completely broke and recently bankrupted — started his new venture. A real-estate empire to be… But that wasn’t even his best idea. Another friend, Fusanosuke Kuhara, an entrepreneur who helped create what would become the company Hitachi, mentored Momo. His advice when Japan’s economy was ruined after the war? “Buy all the cheap real-estate.”

And when all of that fell apart, because of capital controls that suppressed artificially the real estate market for many years, Momofuku found himself again completely broke… But he was still able to start a bank this time, because he found enough people who gave him deposits to begin that bank.

And he always relied on people and their goodwill to help usher him along. With instant ramen, he is indebted to the understanding and the help of his wife, who let him continue to work in his invention, and thus allowed him to chase his dream. After all, it was her idea to create a laboratory out of their tool shed. And it was after observing, studying, and eating her cooking, that actually he actually got the idea of how to create instant ramen.

All the rest was experimentation and iteration once the product market fit was fused. Momo’s persistence didn’t come from stoically suffering all by himself. It came from the support of the various people he happened upon or he managed to surround himself with. Either way he trusted the unknown and stepped away from comfort to live free…

He trusted that there is Good people always helping others.

And today there are good people from all over Europe, and especially amongst the Greek volunteers armed with Mr Momofuku’s instant soup, waiting at the beaches, to transport the New Europeans to the next hub — the refugee camp. They are a Godsend for these New Europeans acting as Angels helping whom they can amid the waves of Refugees washing ashore. And the ramen soup goes a long way, especially for the children who happen to love this food. And we should always help these people who are far more resilient than You and I, or even Mr Momofuku, as they are constantly on the move, hoping to arrive to safety, to put their kids to school, to put down roots, and to start gaining their daily bread honestly — through the toil of their bodies, and the sweat of their brow.

Having left behind their whole “life” as they are running away from the bloody sectarian violence we engendered, and the cesspool of ideology, amid the killing fields that their country has now become — these are the New Europeans… and we should treat them as such.

We should remember that well, because most of this hassle is our own doing. So we better help the refugees as they move along to a better place, because the memory of our treatment goes through their DNA to their kids, and soon enough we’ll feel the karma of our actions — Good or Bad.

So let’s at least feed them and speed them through on their way — and not present them with sealed borders, concentration camps, rail cattle cars from the Nazi era, or insurmountable walls, refugee jails, and nimby hate…

Let’s give them some love and help them through, even if it’s in the form of a lowly cup of soup, and a humble piece of bread, given by a helping hand. And, if that’s all we can do — let’s do just that, and we’ll all be better for it.

The experience of having seen this first hand and having been involved in the vast human effort to usher this new type of tide overwhelming Greece — has helped me understand the Historic significance of human migrations, and has even given me a small measure of value for my little charitable mission, and a vast measure of respect for the people who help me carry this through. Thank You.

But first — Let’s feed the people.

It all starts from there…

Everything else follows.

You can’t solve the world’s big problems if you don’t attend to the small persistent ones. Eradicating disease might seem fine on paper, but nourishing and feeding people first, when they wash ashore on their last breath — is what Hippocrates or any other Good Doctor, would suggest.

Ultimately this is the way that I’ve come to think of things…

Feed the people and worry about all the rest later.

Nourish the human Spirit through Love and Kindness and don’t worry about anything else.

Repayment is anyways imminent.

After all — once people are fed, they become strong, and can then take care of themselves…

Mr Momofuku’s fortune and legacy … might be just that.

He fed the people.

Let’s do a bit of that too.



And if you still want to “know” the complete story of Mr Momofuku You can run to the Wikipedia, or just feed some people in your neck of the woods.

Resilience is the main trait of those stoic people traversing across whole continents on foot and rubber boats, and those who survive are the real Heroes.

Yet they are also innovators because they have to find unique ways to survive and stay on the move. Not an easy thing since they often have no money and no belongings hanging out there like a sheet to the wind, entirely dependent on the whims of nature and the mercy of god.

Yet once fed and somewhat settled these are the future Innovators of Europe. The European Steve Jobs, will surely come from this lot, same as the American Steve Jobs, a son of a Syrian immigrant, came to be the leading Innovator of the United States.

And his company Apple became the leading innovation company around the globe. That is why we should show some respect for these newly arrived immigrants and stop calling them refugees; and instead start helping them get settled, because they truly represent the new blood that Europe desperately needs, in order to innovate itself out of it’s moribund existence.

We all call them Refugees, and the Media brands them as such, but that’s not a good name because it connotes to people being like refuge (garbage).

So I just call them with their own names and give them name tags to put on, so that we can all remember their Humanity by using their proper first names. Most of these individuals have Abrahamic names and like You and me these are good folks too…

And so it comes that Alyan, Yasmin, Ali, Rahu, Siri, Habib, Noni, Gihan, Sora, Nabi, Momo, Hamza, Alan, Mahu, Hamed, and so many others are the true innovators coming in as new immigrants to reinvigorate old Europe — and it is our common Hope that they will remake the old continent into a better place for us all.

They not only represent an injection of fresh energy but they also represent the new blood for innovation and growth. Because these immigrants are all Innovators. They are resilient innovators who lost all their comfort and from then on they simply had to survive through their own wits. They had to hack their way through…

They literally had to hack their own Life first and then hack their way through innumerable odds, having to face and solve serious problems, just in order to get to Europe. And then they had to cross the sea from Turkey to Greece in an inflatable toy boat. Not a small feat. Yet once in Greece, they still had to hack their way across borders and to overcome the mean spirited border guards in Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, and Germany, just to reach work magnets, in places like Munich, and Berlin, Muenster and Wolfsgburg, or Hamburg and Franfurt. And the refugees go there not because the living is easy — but because it’s hard and because that’s where the industrial jobs and their wages are…

Once there — they will surely provide the lifeblood of EUrope. Mark my words. These are the truly “resilient noodles” out there.

And it seems to me that decent human beings like Mr Momofuku and other startup leaders that distinguish themselves clearly are winners, but they are also “resilient noodles” and are very different than the general middle group in the bell curve as depicted through the long term game of Startup innovation.

Innovators like us are a somewhat like these refugees too.

We hack our own lives first before we attempt to hack products and services that innovate other people’s lives too.

Innovators truly hack the world around them.

They survive by moving along. But they are all rather stoic about it all. Persistent and resilient, always innovating away from the comfort of what has been the norm…

Momofuku was an immigrant same as Steve Jobs was an immigrant’s kid. And in the final analysis… We all are immigrants.

We all are immigrants o this Earth and if you’ve done the Geographic genome projects swab and sent it in — You’ll know what am talking about.

So do you think You have what it takes to be a resilient innovator?

Do you have what it takes to travel like that?

Cross borders without a passport?

Travel for hundreds of miles without anything but the clothes you wear and what you carry on your back?

Can you travel without any money?

Without a smart phone? Or any communication devise? And without any hope of ever turning back?

Can You?

Noodle this one for a moment…

Just Try.

Do this for a week, and then come work with me…

Straight up. Simple straight forward deal…

And if you want to help the Syrian Migration and Refugee effort in Greece and across Europe directly — talk to me.

Please do.

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | November 5, 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership — Here is the TPP Deal…

— the TPP that is.

Here is the whole of the TPP trade deal as released from the White House right now:

The White House, Washington

When we have a level playing field, Americans out-compete anyone in the world. That’s a fundamental truth about our country.

But right now, the rules of global trade put our workers, our businesses, and our values at a disadvantage.

If you’re an autoworker in Michigan, the cars you build face taxes as high as 70 percent in Vietnam. If you’re a worker in Oregon, you’re forced to compete against workers in other countries that set lower standards and pay lower wages just to cut their costs. If you’re a small business owner in Ohio, you might face customs rules that are confusing, costly, and an unnecessary barrier to selling abroad.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership will change that — and you can read the complete text of it right here.

The TPP is the highest standard trade agreement in history. It eliminates 18,000 taxes that various countries put on American goods. That will boost Made-in-America exports abroad while supporting higher-paying jobs right here at home. And that’s going to help our economy grow.

I know that past trade agreements haven’t always lived up to the hype. So I want to tell you a little bit about what makes this trade agreement so different, and so important.

The TPP includes the strongest labor standards in history, from requiring a minimum wage and worker safety regulations to prohibiting child labor and forced labor. It also includes the strongest environmental commitments in history, requiring countries in one of the most biologically diverse areas on Earth to crack down on illegal wildlife trafficking, illegal logging, and illegal fishing. These standards are at the core of the agreement and are fully enforceable – which means we can bring trade sanctions against countries that don’t step up their game.

And for the first time ever, we’ll have a multilateral trade agreement that reflects the reality of the digital economy by promoting a free and open Internet and by preventing unfair laws that restrict the free flow of data and information.

In other words, the TPP means that America will write the rules of the road in the 21st century. When it comes to Asia, one of the world’s fastest-growing regions, the rulebook is up for grabs. And if we don’t pass this agreement – if America doesn’t write those rules – then countries like China will. And that would only threaten American jobs and workers and undermine American leadership around the world.

That’s why I am posting the text of this agreement here for you to read and explore.

There’s a lot in here, so we’ve put together summaries of each chapter to help you navigate what’s in the agreement and what these new standards will mean for you.

Read it all in full right here.

I know that if you take a look at what’s actually in the TPP, you will see that this is, in fact, a new type of trade deal that puts American workers first.

Take a look. Then make up your mind.

— President Barack Obama

You’ve been n Love?


You’ve fallen out of Love?


Now imagine that it was all You and in your head.

You loved — You didn’t love.

Still the same

The first step to love is to take this task seriously.

Try to become aware that love is an art.

An art form, just as living is an art;

if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way as if we want to learn any other art.

Love comes slowly but when it arrives, cherish it, and remember that whatever it is that you accept — that is exactly what you will get.

Understand that love is a great mirror—it will show us who we are. That is only, if we allow it to, because it is ourselves that can make us happy. It is not the other person’s responsibility to attend to our happiness.

Don’t say words with the intent to hurt, but when you fight try to cede ground, accept change in status, and forgive easily.

However never be afraid to disagree. Disagreement is healthy. And try to never be too busy for each other. Do not punish, and don’t accept punishment either. That’s not why You are in a relationship. Accept honest criticism, because its good for us. Admit when you are wrong, and correct things quickly. Support each other when the going gets tough.

Live in the moment—be present. Leave the past where it belongs. Leave drama out of it. Don’t try to control. Allow a small amount of jealousy. Don’t use comparisons. Celebrate differences. Communicate openly and honestly. Listen very carefully.

Don’t judge. Don’t manipulate to get results. Learn and grow. Don’t try to change each other. Don’t condemn each other’s family and friends. Lines, flaws and imperfections are beautiful.

Sometimes, we mistake lust for love. We mistake an amazing sexual connection as love. We mistake “escape” with love. And we definitely mistake attachment to the other person as love. That’s not true love, because true love is one where there is no distrust, no fear and no hiding who you really are.

It’s one where the other person doesn’t place rules and conditions on you. They give you room to be yourself at all times even if it differs from them and they give you space when you need it, even when it doesn’t include them.

Trust your instincts, but don’t be paranoid. Don’t compromise your morals and values and don’t expect them to either. Instead of power, aim for balance. Space is needed to breathe and to grow. Accept that you are both unique—never compare.

Have fun, laugh and play. Play a lot, but also try to include the other and be each other’s best friend. Don’t play mind games — play sports. Do not carelessly throw away love. Don’t waste energy with negative thoughts.

Compliment often. Discover each other. Be attentive and understand what’s not said. Do at least one romantic and thoughtful thing every day. Take picnics and sleep under the stars.

Don’t just speak about it, show love. Walk together, cook together, bathe together, read together. Do not be afraid, love requires surrender. Be loyal and faithful. Trust.

Be grateful. Love is a tenacious adventure. Fluidity is good, accept change. Real Love is one that triumphs over time. Don’t sleepwalk into a fight. Don’t cling to it, know when to let go. Discover what turns you both on and explore it. Make love, but also fvck regularly and vigorously.

Give and receive without measure. Never gamble with Love and other people’s feelings, because that’s what you can’t afford to lose…

Love conquers all.

It even conquers time, space, people, and the World.

Always be considerate.

That’s all


Dr Kroko


And remember that some artists are better than others, but this didn’t stop anyone from attempting to paint spring lilies…

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | October 29, 2015

Transformational Politics…

Transformational Politics…

As a transformational leader, I’ve had this practice of involving all of my people through sharing an inspirational and inspiring vision of the common future and the goals we have to accomplish or the heights we have to reach.

And it works, because this transformational practice has helped me motivate my people to help built Great Companies, good NGOs, and Environmental Parliaments, all across the world.

Transformational leadership has helped me also “buy-in”  the vision, dreams, and ideas of my people, and all others who assist me to deliver our vision to all of our works and enterprises. These are the same people who always have helped me, by managing the delivery of my vision through building an ever-stronger, trust-based relationship with me, and all of my other “Leaders.”

And this works well in Corporate leadership, and non state actors, but what of Political leadership?

Why not get some transformational leadership in our Politics that might lead us to certain Transformational Politics we sorely need.

Our government is sorely lacking in this type of leadership at any meaningful level interacting with people, besides the President of the country and few leading legislators.

And thus when we come today to admit that we need to improve the competitiveness of our country, our states, and our cities — it seems that we are left short changed. Still our democratically elected government as a meaningful evolution in the history of humanity offers us the means of resolving differences and intertribal conflicts without bloodshed (mostly) but it fails to do much more than that.  Our government today fails to offer true leadership, although we see that it can be an amazing instrument of crowdsourced wisdom when this Leadership is exercised Democratically and Transformationally.

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Yet our political scene doesn’t inspire anyone, and instead it offers a terrible mediocrity playing as respect, that exhausts itself through the error of presenting marginal ideas masquerading as monsters — always seeking to bring about fear instead of growth. These are the things we need to debate coolly, because if we don’t know what are the Thousand Cuts causing our boat to leak — we best not worry too much about the looming “icebergs” since we we will surely not make it that far.

We ought to debate and decide what are the important things to address. But to do this we need vision. Still in my mind, the basic conflict amongst political ideas is a rather good thing to lead us on beyond the choices we commonly make. But the tension between various positions has to be resolved as the necessary pre-condition for our evolution, since we appear to always need conflict to create new ways of being and cooperating that might include and expand both positions, and people from varied starting points.

Great leaders are aspirational and transformational. All others are mere managers, and paper bosses that perform transactions, and keep the wheels running by rubber stamping the herd mentality paper processed towards our certain extinction through the sheer boredom & banality of the evils of mediocrity.

In contrast to everyday politics, transformational political leadership is the very style of leadership that seeks to change things to a better place. It is the shift to a new place. An effort of Moses proportions, in order to take us to a place where the leader collaborates with the citizens and all the constituencies to identify the needed change, and then enacts the movement to achieve that, by creating a vision to guide the desired change through the process of powerful Inspiration and Guidance. This type of transformational political leader always starts executing the change in tandem with committed members of the group of Citizens eager for reform and growth…

And it all starts by expressing the People’s ideas freely, and engaging in unfettered debate.

Transformational leaders are not echo chambers, running tape recorders, or sounding boards for their lobbyists and moneyed funders — but they are the true lions, leading the pride, as they are heading to the promised lands…

All the Great leaders from all the Ages, teach us that they embody the Art of Transformational Leadership through the process where both leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of aspiration, growth, and evolution, by motivating each other to win all victories great and small.

Leaders beget leaders…

Abraham and Moses, Socrates & Pericles, Aristotle and Alexander, Theodore Roosevelt and FDR, Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Churchill and JFK, Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama — all these transformational leaders were inspired from their elders. They all stepped on the shoulders of Giants… in order to reach the sky.

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Sadly most elected politicians today, are lousy boring people, far more interested in keeping their asses in office than in being inspired or inspiring or even doing anything worthwhile. They are simply interested in the power that comes from facilitating transactions and from the flow of favors. These transactional mentality makes them simple transactional leaders and that in all truth — makes them followers, rather than leaders. They follow the whims of their party whips, the dogma of their hierarchical parties, and the vested special interests and small dedicated constituencies of profit.

These types of transactional politicians historically have been perfectly suited, completely inauthentic, and fully disconnected from the People and from the purpose of being in office. Yet we must admit that these Transactional politicians are the trailing result of our own cultural evolution. Clearly we get the candidates we deserve. Especially, if our feelings towards our politicians are shadow projections, a way of dealing with the parts of us inside that we fail to accept. And we tend to elect politicians that are not just like us… but rather like the worst of us, since the median shadow projection is quite base.

Yet now it seems there is a positive shift where people are asking the questions of Reason at the highest levels of government, and this is a result of the shift in culture, because purposeful and transformational government is collaborative, always asking the inclusive and integral question: “How can we do politics in a way that we can all win?”

And if as students we had learned the truth by studying proper history, then we would know that people change history — not politicians. Transformational people and aspirational Leaders make History and change the lives of all of us… or put in another way: “This change didn’t happen because politicians just decided it would be a good idea… It’s this dynamic of people pushing from below. They’re willing to let people think about mild reforms and little changes, and incremental changes, but they don’t want people to think that we could actually transform this country.” —Howard Zinn

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Hopefully in the future politicians will be willing to become at least facilitators of the discussion about aspirations and about achieving the Human potential, by transforming our body politic and then the government will become a cooperation, and a union with the people. A group of people serving all others. And that alone will make for a more perfect Union in these United Sates too.

We all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day — but how many of us remember that it did actually collapsed in a day. The day the Barbarians were discovered inside the walls of the city running the show at will. And those barbarians were the inbred corruption and cronyism that destroyed the Republic like a rapidly metastasizing Cancer — the rot of corruption — that killed the Greatness that Rome had once upon a time, been.This would be a good lesson to remember… if and only if — we truly want to stem the tide and stop the rot from taking hold of the insides of our Republic today.

Yet to do that it takes truly transformational leadership. You could see the process taking place in South Africa’s transition to Democracy post apartheid. Nelson Mandela managed this impossible leap to “One person – one vote” peacefully and without bloodshed. An impossible dream. And yet he did it largely because He was a true transformational and aspirational leader, and was able to show people another way of being. He projected a New Vision for a better union of all people living in South Africa equitably, and the country itself living peacefully amongst the Society of Nations as an equal member. Mandela was a Lion of a Man, full of consciousness, strength, and humility. He had transformed himself fully before he transformed the whole Society of South Africa. His take on this is simple: “For all people who have found themselves in the position of being in jail and trying to transform society, forgiveness is natural because you have no time to be retaliative.” –Nelson Mandela

But we need to always remember that Consciousness is the key here to get you to an evolved world view. Because transformational leadership is a prerequisite to evolving one’s consciousness, actions, and life, towards an evolved and integrated worldview. Only when we manage to transcend our inability to see the “Other” we might become smart enough to accept that it does not always have to be “us versus them.” And that’s only the beginning, because then, You really begin to “see”…

Eventually we will get transformed towards a new equilibrium where there is no message of hate towards others but rather a World of Cooperation. This Human Progress, will allows us to experience and eventually put down our anger, in order to move into generative transformational leadership and inclusive creativity. That would be a cultural revolution worthy of the name…

It takes a very small percentage of people to enact a cultural revolution. A small number of Transformation driven Leaders acting as politicians, can change the purpose and structure of government. The transformational leader will further Society’s goals as a model of integrity and fairness, who sets clear goals and has high expectations of us too. The transformational leader encourages others by providing support and recognition. He isn’t afraid of stirring the emotions of people, and He gets his people to look beyond their self-interest, by inspiring them to reach for the improbable, if not for the impossible Goal.

That’s the kind of stuff dreams are made of…

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Still to transform people we can only do that when we embrace and honor them where they are. By meeting them where they are, we stand the opportunity to move them forward, and win this game of chess, by transforming our Politics and shaping our Future.

And only through the exploration of integral theory and conscious evolution we will learn to live and lead out of “want” and not out of “obligation.”

That is Transformational Leadership. To inspire and motivate. To change the minds of people. To cause them to act. That is to lead…

And to get there, we need to be inspired by the embodied spirit and to be motivated through the consciousness of people representing this evolutionary worldview, and then we need to lead them to an understanding of how to act, but also how to Lead & Bring others along the path.

Then and only then, the possibility of evolution, arises.


Dr Kroko


As an example of Transformational Politics, the 2008 election marked a shift in the base political appetite, by demanding Authenticity, and Change, as demonstrated in the election of Barack Obama.

People choose authenticity over capability and trusted hands, as seen in Obama vs. McCain in 2008, and again Obama vs. Romney in 2012.

Today, that clarion call of Authenticity and Change is heard again, in the elevation of unapologetic unfiltered candidates like Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump.

No matter what your feelings about the two men are — the fact remains that they both are, and can be, truly Transformational Leaders.

Whether they will materialize as such, remains up to You…

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As for our part to inspire and transform we’ve created the Churchill Society to foster dialogue and debate that will certainly lead us onwards towards the sun.

Feel free to join us at :

Churchill Society

Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko | October 26, 2015

All Saints

All Saints …  and Second Chancers.

Adversity flows through the essence of the human experience.

Adversity within and adversity all around us.

Yet we deny it’s existence and trudge forward to our predestined end.

Am here to say that it doesn’t have to be this way…

And although society as a whole, and our educational and entertainment systems have been cultivated to convince people that our “True Reason” for being here is the collection of money, breads & circuses, procreation, and a regular paycheck — am here to tell You that it doesn’t have to be that way.

This structured way of Life it’s merely an illusion. You don’t have to believe that it’s the only path, or that it can’t be beaten. This monoculture is nonsense. And yet the few who see that, and try to help others “see” are beaten back as Socrates’ cave paradox describes all too well.

And then we extort the ones who somehow really manage to “escape” this cultural destiny. From factory schools to factory jobs, to factory families, to factory deaths. There has to be a better way…

But what does it take to change that and rejoice in our humanity?

A second chance at Life. That’s what. And it does happen sometimes. Maybe more frequently now than ever before, because…

Sometimes people do get a second chance at Life….


We all do.

But very few of us take the cue to change our ways.

Paul of Tarsus was one of the few who saw the signs by going blind. He was off on a wrong path and he was dumbfounded  or thunderstruck and got to be blind. Once blind he could see the writing on the wall. He had to become blind, in order to see…

Maybe old Paul lost his sight and got vision instead. He truly “saw” after that. He reached for his higher self, as a member of humanity by listening to the better angels of his heart. He whispered good things to his shadow self — setting in motion the wheels of “vision” and stressing the intellectual component of redeeming our values upon this earth and through this mortal coil we all occupy. 

We are all imperfect human beings but why not strive for better than average?

Today I see friends of mine who similarly get blinded, or sideswiped, or become dead and then are “saved” often through the miracle of modern medicine, and then — they come back from the dead, to resurrect and live “Lives of True Value.”

Death changes all of us. Especially when it strikes near. The closer death gets — the more serious the imperative for change…

Listening to your inner voice is akin to remembering the purpose you are put on this Earth for. maybe you get to remember the reason, and the “why”, or the “what” you are here to accomplish. As a guide you can always remember the story of Amazing Grace shining upon a slaver Captain whose life was changed upon the black rocks of oblivion.

And if you hear the story of all the so called Saints, and of the Righteous people upon this earth — you know that they were all, what I call “Second Chancers”




You know who You are…

And perhaps more importantly — You know where you are.

Now Be Courageous and do the things You’ve been put upon this Earth to accomplish.

Because not everyone is given a second chance….

Whether Columbus was a Good guy or a Bad guy it doesn’t matter today.

Lots of water under that particular bridge.

And whether your degree of political correctness allows you to see that he pushed the wheel of progress forward or not — that is clearly your particular problem to solve…

Am neither a judgmental type, nor a person given to pc fascism, and certainly not an appointed judge of History.

Aboriginal Peoples all over the world had to make way for the Explorers, and often the process involved bloody warfare, enslavement, and not too many nice things… But that’s how History is written. War is the father of us all and best we not forget that, unless we run for a beauty pageant and want peace for all and math for nobody…

Thus, I reserve judgement because the real outcomes of the Great Actions of Civilization trump all of our collective and emotional judgments… There is a reason why our bleeding hearts strive for philanthropy but yet we do not share the joy of individual achievement…

Yet history somehow speaks for itself.

The Columbian Exchange, didn’t happen by itself. This Grand Exchange was the widespread transfer of animals, plants, culture, human populations, technology and ideas between the American and Eurasian hemispheres in the 15th and 16th centuries, related to European colonization and trade after Christopher Columbus’ 1492 voyage of exploration, discovery, and trade.

Columbus was a Great Man and achieved the seemingly impossible in his day and He certainly changed the world. At a time that we choose to break down all of our “idols” mentors and ultra humans, because we want to bring everybody down to our level of impossible mediocrity — we best try to remember that we need aspirational figures in our lives to help us propel ourselves forward.

We need heroes badly.

And heroes are people like Columbus who opened up vast swaths of this Earth for Progress and Civilization. America wouldn’t exist today the way we see it and live it without Christophoro Colombo setting of on a journey of discovery and exploration. We owe him a debt of gratitude because at the very least he kickstarted our ass into the Modern Era…

But the Truth of the matter is that Columbus didn’t do this alone. He needed men and he needed vast amounts of Capital to even begin contemplating and accomplishing what he had in mind.

And as he set out to accomplish his thing, even after gaining royal charter and support he recognized that he needed even more capital to get through with his venture intact…

So he shopped around for some VC cash to get the boats in the water.

And he was persistent enough to get in front of the Spanish Queen and her venture bankers and get the means necessary to win the trip to the Indies. And it’s a good thing that he lived in the 1500’s because if he tried today for such a bold adventure — he wouldn’t get nothing — certainly not a boatload of finance.

Because if he were to seek VC funds to go on a journey of exploration he wouldn’t get far.

Trust me I know….

Still back in the day he tried and won. Yet the process of venture funding is not different today than what Venturers and Captains of their Destiny had to go through in Columbus day and age. We cover this subject today, because we need to change the process of how to give venture Funding, in order for the Entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and open new roads for all of us…

Columbus’s Idea and How He Supported It is the stuff of legend but Royal Venture Capital was the strength of it.

Columbus at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella

Columbus at the court of Ferdinand and Isabella

There are many theories concerning Christopher Columbus and the origin of the idea that because the world was round, a person could set sail from one side and journey back around to the other.

While Columbus was sure that the idea was sound, so much so that he withstood ridicule from his peers, he was not the first to come up with the theory.

Scholars and historians have found evidence that Columbus had researched the works of the ancient Greek geographers, astronomers, mapmakers, and even of the earlier significant scientists, and explorers; like Ptolemy, Herodotus, Eratosthenes, Hypatia, Marco Polo and many others. Eratosthenes in particular was a Greek geographer, and astronomer, who not only taught that the Earth was indeed round, but he also measured the circumference of the Earth conclusively. His measurements stand today. Eratosthenes, became the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria during his lifetime and had many maps and globes that showed the earth as spherical and well mapped out. He invented the discipline of geography, including the terminology used today and constructed the earliest accurate global maps. Eratosthenes is best known for being the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth, which he did by applying a measuring system using “stadia” a standard unit of measure during that time period. His calculation was remarkably accurate. He was a great mathematician too and was also the first man to calculate the tilt of the Earth’s axis — again with remarkable accuracy. Additionally, he accurately calculated the distance from the Earth to the Sun and invented the leap day. He created the first map of the world incorporating parallels and meridians, based on the available geographical knowledge of the era. These global maps were rather similar to the ones that we use today… whether for our car GPS and our Google maps to get to the restaurant we are eating at, same as for our satellites journeying around the earth to get us that signal…

Christoforo Colombo was operating under the intellectual influence of these titans of learning, and was armed with rare maps that survived the destruction of the Library of Alexandria. He came across all of these working as a map-maker in Lisbon Portugal and thus Columbus was able to plan his journey West…. Under the influence of Eratosthenes and the other Greats before him, and armed with his own naturally stubborn will — Columbus set out to prove that a journey across the Atlantic to China and Japan was indeed possible.

However in order to pay for his voyage, and to gain the right to Explore, Columbus needed to find support from the royal court of a European nation state. In 1483, Columbus approached the royal court of Portugal and presented his idea to King John II. King John rejected Columbus, having conferred with other explorers and mariners who claimed that the idea was unthinkable and unrealistic. Undeterred after years of preparation for his first voyage, Columbus did approach – and was turned down successively, by the kings of Portugal, France, and England for the much needed funding of his journey westward.

Thus dismissed, Columbus sought out the King and Queen of Spain. His first attempt to convince Ferdinand and Isabella of his intended journey left them with many questions. They did not, however, reject his proposal outright like the other European heads of States…

Queen Isabella was quite impressed with Columbus the man and his presentation pitch. The King and Queen of Spain, strongly desired a chance to catch up with the power and influence of their Portuguese neighbors, and of the other European naval empires, and to that end, Columbus’s plan—if successful—offered the chance to outshine everyone else.

They met the man again and again, and finally settled down to haggle over details and soon agreed to finance and support his expedition. After many years at many courts, Christopher Columbus had finally convinced a nation to support his journey across the Atlantic.

In the end, Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella agreed to finance his journey. Queen Isabella was so impressed with Colombo that she may have even suggested selling the Crown jewels at some point to finance the journey, but her advisers assured her there were other ways to finance Columbus’s journey. The best way to get the needed money, they told her, was to make the city of Palos pay back a debt to the crown by providing two of the ships. Another way was to get Italian financial backing for part of the expenses and thus to syndicate the VC deal. Ultimately, Spain’s Crown put up very little money directly from the Spanish treasury towards the expedition with most of the Capital coming from Maritime Finance, Risk Investors, and Investment Banking…

Columbus’s journey did not come cheap, however. He demanded lofty payments for his services. Columbus asked for one-tenth of all the wealth (gold, spices, textiles, slaves, etc.) Spain would receive from the lands which he visited. He asked that he receive this money for all trips made by Spain to the new lands, for all time. He wanted to secure a financial gain not only for himself, but for his heirs as well. On top of this he requested that he be named “Viceroy” of the lands he discovered and “Admiral of the Ocean Seas.” After much negotiation the King and Queen consented. In April 1492 Columbus signed the contract with the King and Queen of Spain guaranteeing him all that he desired, setting in motion the first steps toward the New World.

But to take the story from the head; Columbus Funding campaign took more than seven years total… After several unsuccessful attempts with the Royals of France, Holland, and England, Columbus in 1485, always perfecting his pitch, he presented his plans to King John II of Portugal. He proposed that the king equips three sturdy ships and grant Columbus one year’s time to sail out west into the Atlantic, search for a western route to India, and return. Columbus also requested he be made “Great Admiral of the Ocean Sea” (Atlantic Ocean), appointed governor of any and all lands he discovered, and be given one-tenth of all revenue from those lands. The king submitted the proposal to his experts, who rejected it after several years. It was their considered opinion that Columbus’ estimation of a travel distance of 2,400 miles (3,900 km) was, in fact, far too short.

In 1488 Columbus appealed to the court of Portugal and once, again John II invited him to an audience. It also proved unsuccessful, in part because not long afterwards Bartolomeu Dias returned to Portugal following a successful rounding of the southern tip of Africa. With an eastern sea route now under its control, Portugal was no longer interested in trailblazing a western trade route to Asia crossing unknown seas. Columbus traveled from Portugal to Spain to convince the Catholic Monarchs of Spain to finance the expedition.

Spanish procurement of Venture Capital for the West Indies Journey of Exploration wasn’t easy… King Ferdinand II of Aragon married Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1469, uniting the two largest kingdoms into the Spanish Crown. They were known jointly as the Catholic Monarchs, and ruled their kingdoms independently, but had common internal and foreign policies…Columbus was granted an audience with them; on May 1, 1489, he presented his plans to Queen Isabella, who referred them to a committee. They pronounced the idea impractical, and advised the monarchs not to support the proposed venture. However, to expand the Spanish empire and Christian Catholicism, in the name of the Spanish Kings, and to assure a better market position in trading, the Queen gave Columbus an annual allowance of 12,000 maravedis and part of the newly conquered lands.

 Columbus and Queen Isabella. Detail of the Columbus monument in Madrid (1885).

After continually nagging, begging, and repeatedly asking the monarchs to support his plan at the royal court and enduring two years of negotiations, Columbus finally succeeded in January 1492.

Queen Isabella’s forces had just conquered the Moorish Emirate of Granada, the last Muslim stronghold of Al-Andalus on the Iberian peninsula, for Castile. Isabella and Ferdinand received Columbus in the Alcázar (castle) in Córdoba to support his plans.

The monarchs left it to the royal treasurer to shift funds among various royal accounts on behalf of the enterprise. Columbus was to be made “Admiral of the Seas” and would receive a portion of all profits.

The terms were unusually generous but, as his son later wrote, the monarchs were not confident of his return.According to Columbus’ contract made for the expedition commission by Queen Isabella for Castile, if Columbus claimed any new islands or mainland for the Crown, he would receive many high rewards. In terms of power, he would be given the rank of Admiral of the Ocean Sea and appointed Viceroy and Governor of the newly colonised lands.

He had the right to nominate three people, from whom the sovereigns would choose one, for any office in the new lands. He would be entitled to ten per cent of all the revenues from the new lands in perpetuity.Columbus Navigation plans were sound…. because Europe had long enjoyed a safe land passage to China and India—sources of valued goods such as silk, spices, and opiates—under the hegemony of the Mongol Empire that at the moment was enjoying the Pax Mongolica, or Mongol peace.

With the Fall of Constantinople to the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1453, the land route to Asia became more difficult. In response to this the Columbus brothers had, by the 1480s, developed a plan to travel to the Indies, then construed roughly as all of southern and eastern Asia, by sailing directly west across the “Ocean Sea,” the Atlantic Ocean. Many years later, Washington Irving’s 1828 biography of Columbus popularized the idea that Columbus had difficulty obtaining support for his plan because Europeans thought the Earth was flat.  

In fact, even the most primitive maritime navigation of the time relied upon the stars and the curvature of the spherical Earth. The astrolabe and the knowledge that the Earth was spherical was widespread, and the means of calculating its diameter using an astrolabe was known to both scholars and navigators for millennia.

Columbus and his friends in the age of exploration much like all ancient mariners knew stuff that the hierarchy and the religious zealots didn’t know, or didn’t want to know — but they still had to convince the “VC money bags” that their venture idea is worthy of their support, and thus had to show their scientific evidence and navigational expertise…

It makes for a complicated pitch and as usual the charismatic leaders like Columbus, get their share of venture capital, whereas the uncharismatic ones get “bubkas.”Yet even today the venture capital industry is a traditional banking industry and therefore stuck in yesteryear. Always and today…The same people, living the same lives, and having the same experiences, are making largely the same decisions today as they were yesterday, and even in the time of Christopher Columbus.

This sameness may have been a strength, back in the day — but now it is creating serious obstacles, and blinding impediments to progress.Because for every idea we fund, how many great ideas don’t even get a sounding board because we can’t relate to the problem or the entrepreneur?  How much better off would we be if we had a larger lens from which to examine a broader class of entrepreneurs and ideas?

My suspicion is great and powerful…

The bottom line is that the VC community is an increasingly predictable, and it just seems to follow each other around from one trivial idea to another. This has been confirmed by careful analysis.

At the core of this problem are the people stewarding the capital that is supposed to be the arbiter of good ideas. When we back one business over another, we are voting our desire for that idea to exist. To be clear, this also means we are saying that the “change” we fund is more important than the change we don’t.

Success is not zero sum game, but time and focus definitely are. And this is the biggest problem with venture capital right now. We have replaced “venture” capital with “product-market fit” capital. The original practitioners of venture capital were the eccentric, quirky outcasts of traditional society who themselves were entrepreneurs. We’ve replaced this diverse bunch with a conformist but pedigreed group who are largely risk averse and driven more by FOMO than by passion or vision.

The herd mentality is what’s driving all the private petting zoo “Unicorns” out there today. They think in an era of minor volatility in the very liquid capital markets — they will escape Minsky’s hypothesis.

OK we all know that VCs are big idea risk averse today — but what of their counterparts, the Angels funding wild idea startups?

Well — they funded the Columbus brothers all the way until they had access to the Treasury of the Spanish Crown, and then gave them some more money too to tie loose ends…  And they did this solely on the evidence of the whole Earth maps the Columbus brothers had at their disposal, the plan to get the royals in the game, and on the strength of the CEO himself.

It’s worth looking at the claim that Columbus was a brilliant navigator. Maybe he was or maybe he wasn’t… For reasons we don’t know today, he certainly said that he was going West for spices and silks, amongst other typical Indian trade goods as a subterfuge to get the Royals on board. Yet being a liar or a terrible navigator, was the least of his many troubles and we shouldn’t judge him for that.

The main problem was that the day’s VC chiefs of the courts of European Royals and Heads of States much like those of Philip and Isabella of Spain, had several characteristics in common with today’s VCs and other risk averse types: A. They have decided that great ideas are too risky and wanted to leave this work to various maritime Risk Capital folks like Angel investors of the day, and Sovereign Investment bankers; which was not an available option directly to Columbus. B. They would only play when some amount of “traction” existed; which is similarly impossible in Chirstopher Columbus specific business plan. C. They didn’t deeply understand the geographic domain or have a view on the business, but simply want “momentum” and that was really not an option with Columbus either. The boats wouldn’t get launched by themselves…

The problem of Columbus and the problem of today with this approach is that the big ideas of our day aren’t getting the Venture Capital ecosystem support they need, in order for them to have a chance.Big ideas are hard. They take massive effort to understand. They take a long time. They require huge amounts of capital. They have lots of risk. They need deep domain expertise… But they also have massive upside in case of success.

These all, should be great reasons for the VS world to get excited — but we are all shy of risk. So increasingly, these are the very same reasons we say a crisp “NO” or we stop returning phone calls and emails to all the Christoforo Columbus of today…

For shame — but now we have to ask: “How do we fix this?”

Maybe we ought to learn from others…Because instruction comes from strange places. So, when you look at groups who have taken major strides to improve the world over the past several decades, one thing is increasingly common to them all: They are all “multiculti” and proud of it. From the foundations and NGOs that are eradicating poverty and taking care of the world’s worst off, to companies like Facebook, Google and Apple that are inventing the future, while looking after our best off, they have all explicitly decided to become less consensus driven and less homogeneous. They have found this increases both productivity & creativity, and drives business results. In turn, they are doing the ambitious, groundbreaking work that we used to do. And even though they have more work to do, when you compare the complexion of these leaders to the leaders within our VC industry, we all look like total laggards.

As an example you only need to track the economic returns of our VC lot today. The average returns in venture capital are rather sad. Indeed you are largely better off investing in public ETFs, that carry far less risk, with the same rewards, and are totally liquid.

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 3.25.16 PM

Yet what really matters is that we are in the midst of a technological renaissance that will be much farther reaching than any of us can predict if we invest correctly. Our generation has an opportunity, in our lifetime, to put a massive dent in human suffering and make trillions of dollars in return. Among the potential benefits the well funded future can bring are a broadly educated humanity, the eradication of Heart disease and other preventable diseases and even cancer, and the rise of the sustainable environment and healthy ecosystems all across the earth.Diverse capital bases that actually pursue the best ideas, can help us do this and unleash a new age of exploration that will bring food safety, environmental security, and far less violence to the world so that each one of us can achieve our potential more fully…

Therefore us venture capitalists we need a wake up call on the VC easy sleep we’ve been coursing through this far. We need to wake up and recapture our potential by opening the doors, and by inviting more people into the decision making table. We need more young people, more black people, more latinos, plenty more females, more Indians, more Chinese, extra LGBT folks, and many others who aren’t represented and who aren’t necessarily part of the obvious majority consensus.We need to surround ourselves with a more diverse set of experiences, and thus we will prioritize a more diverse set of things to pursue and goals to define and fund. It’s a matter of Strategy and maybe we will find more courage to do the hard things and find new ways to the World. Whether by sea or land or space and air — we will thrive if we manage to fund New Dreams.

The VC world is cloistered and often afraid of change—the type of change that would serve the world better. An industry that wields the power to change lives is failing to do just that. Ultimately, VC fund of Funds investors will wake up to this bleak reality.We must change before this happens.And if we don’t?If we don’t, and we stay on our current path, the amount of human suffering in the world will continue to compound and will eventually spill into our own backyards — same time that our returns will drop bellow ground.You can see the “Unicorns” becoming “Unicorpses” right now, and as the markets turn “bearish” — You’ll soon wake up and “get” the message of where am coming from…

Because when this happens, as it certainly will — we will start talking and wondering who was supposed to have stopped this slide to the mean.The runaway train to gloom & doom disaster has already left the station and in case you are wondering — you are onboard soundly asleep…

All that because you didn’t fund the Columbus of today.


Dr Kroko


We’ve got things to change in order to stop this train.

To do that … we need to do things daily that scare us and push us to the edge.And once there, we will soon realize that we must do things for others far differently, than how we do things for ourselves.

Many people are actively dying in one form or another, but few even realize it. They are sleepwalking through Life. They are the walking dead and are all around us, and you can see them in the meetings wielding powerpoint presentations like the sword of Damocles above our heads.

Let’s reanimate them soonest because we need to wash away our humanity from that…Maybe we should live a little, and remember that the things we do for ourselves are history when we are dead.But the things we do for others while living remain as our long term legacy and thus write our own epitaph.

Your legacy is how your life-force remains behind you long after You gone and helps to alter the trajectory of other Peoples’ lives.And even when You shall have passed away and there will be nothing but dust from your flesh left behind — You shall still have the ability to touch people positively.

That is the quantum action at a distance when the energy you conserve reaches peoples’ minds and captures imaginations.That’s the greatest frontier we have to explore today.

The human brain…

Let’s do that boldly, and we’ll effect another Age of Exploration to begin.

Let’s understand that because then and only then, we can fund today’s Cristobals too…

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