Josh's Blog

Category Archive : Learning

A Higher Call by Adam Makos

I finished this book over the weekend and I must say I am sad that it ended. A nonfiction recount of two airmen flying warbirds for opposing countries in WW2, who met over the skies of Germany on December 20th, 1943. One pilot, Franz Stigler, a Luftwaffe Ace with the call of family-torn vengeance under his wings, decided at the last minute to turn his fully-armed BF-109 into a protective escort for a badly crippled American B17, flying it safely beyond the German iron curtain and out to sea, thereby saving the lives of its pilot and remaining crew. The book also provides an fascinating glimpse into what it was like to be an aviator from both sides of the war. Look for a in-depth review of this very much recommended novel by Adam Makos shortly.

Applied Pareto for Bands

Back in 2016 I was at the tail end of obtaining a post-baccalaureate certification in accounting. In one of my classes, my instructor taught us about the pareto 80/20 rule (along with Benford’s analysis) as a useful means to chart outcomes.

The 80/20 rule goes something like this; for most measurable outcomes, (be it retail sales, wealth distribution, song hits in an album, world religions, spices in a dish you love, etc.) you will find that about 80 percent of a result is driven by about 20 percent of the causes.

So back to retail sales, if you look at your quarterly sales figures you will likely find that about 80 percent of your sales can be traced back to only 20 percent of your products. So, if you find out what those 20 percent of stock are, you will learn most certainly what to keep on your shelves, and can also consider what to do with the other 80 percent. be it replacing, discounting, or whatever.

It is a fascinating phenomenon with much more depth behind it than my little example. You can find out more about it here,

So back in February of 2016, my new band Copper Root had played a few shows and decided to launch a YouTube and Facebook page to feature footage, music samples, and news, and other what-have-ya’s. Almost immediately we began accumulating several ‘likes’ from an invisible fanbase. This excited some of the other members of the band, but having learned the good ol 80/20 rule, I put a little damper the those fires to bring us a little bit closer to what was really going on.

The ‘how good is my band really doing’ approximation test:
Take all of your fb and YouTube views
Subtract EVERYTHING but the number of “likes”
Example: 1000 views and 50 likes
1000-950 = 50
(it takes 1 second and one brain cell to hit a like button. If they aint hittin the “like” button… your video/music is probably just in the way of something they are actually wanting to see/hear)
Next, if you can, count up all of the “likes” that are friends & family of all the members of the band.
Subtract those too. (graciously of course, friends and family are what make the world go round, but we are seeking the number of impartial that don’t always have your back)
Likes = 50 – 38 friends & family
= 12 impartial fans
You now have an idea as to your unbiased fan base.
Take that number and divide it by the total number of views.
You now have a fan per # of views ratio.
Example: 12/1000 = .012 impartial
For every 1000 views on fb and YT, ~1 percent constitutes an actual fan engagement.
*Note: if your friends and family really like your videos, and play them a lot…the ratio is even lower.
Test this result with the number of new faces at a local venue where only your band is performing. (playing at restaurants don’t count, the audience is already there to eat)
Subtract 80 percent of that number for casual walk ins. If there is a loud cheer at the end, and people are throwing clothing for in-betweens at you …….add back 15 to 20 percent. And tell them to check you out on fb and YT. But DO NOT ask them to like you page. (See if they do it of their own accord)

Original fb post

ACFE Exam Update

Boom! #Made it! Special thanks to Dr. Nugent – my capstone professor – who put the idea of becoming ACFE certified into my brain five years ago. Also my first supervisor with the Federal government, J. Polledo. Both of these Gentlemen said the same thing, “if you study everyday for a month, you will pass the exam”. I took a little longer, but still reached the desired outcome. 

Additionally I must thank Texas Woman’s University and the ACFE itself for a scholarship I received during my tenure in Graduate school. This enabled me to take the exam at no cost. I am grateful.

Now its time to put this thing to good use.  

Examity Blues

Preparing for the ACFE Exam

For the past month I have been preparing for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) exam in hopes of adding a non-academic credential to my name. For example, my sisters no longer have to put MBA (a graduate school title) after their names, as they have sharpened their credentials into Certified Public Accountant status – a far more useful and targeted title for their respective professions. In fact, in order to become a CPA one must earn an MBA, so it encapsulates that also.

You see, at this time, I am amongst the millions upon millions of folks worldwide that have found themselves busted up employment-wise by Covid fucking 19 shit. So while in quarantine, I figure the best use of time is to become more marketable for whenever the market returns. So after completing well over 2000 practice questions and taking two out of four practice exams both passed with a reasonable amount of buffer from the pass/fail threshold, my confidence level is beginning to swell. 

Tomorrow is practice test number three of four, and Tuesday should be the final one. Each test is 100 questions long with a two hour time frame. To pass you must score over 75 percent. There are four parts to the CFE, so that is 8 hours worth of testing if you require the full time allotment.  

I will be updating this post as I get continue through this process. Wish me luck!