• Marriage Poem Compromise

    She gives good marriage

    “Would you look at the monogamy on that one”, we’d yelp as she walked down the street, or into the restaurant, or on some sort of public...

  • Finding Your Perfect Job

    Finding your happy job

    Tina sat in her chair fuming. She hated everything about her life. Her ugly cubicle, the ridiculous new account she was on, her idiotic boss – most...

  • burningbridges

    The Heat from Burning Bridges

    About ten years back I knew a super talented designer. They had more than just pure skill, their dedication and hard work ethic opened doors for them....

  • singlefounderwithtrainingwheels

    Single Founder with Training Wheels

    I was having a chat with two other gentlemen at the eMarketing Association conference (eM13) this evening when I noticed something: we were all single founders with...

Grasshopper_Sparrow

Death isn’t a hard concept to get. Things stop; all of them. But what shivers the neurons is the idea that all of our adventures end so bluntly.

One day our experiences are so neatly returned. A lifetime of emotions, each as breathless as to make the written world feel shame, are destroyed. Our frames , and those we love, are reduced to fragments and forced dance around each other through infinity. There is no way to believe that all of this was for nothing. We can’t believe a life could be worth so little. There are no sufficient goodbyes.

This is the story of two Pokemon, doubt, and a dying bird.

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Did you know smokers save the United States government money?

According to USA Today’s referenced study, the average savings would be around $91k per person. If all 315 million U.S. citizens started smoking immediately the national debt (currently at an impossibly high $16.7 trillion dollars) would be erased. And we’d gain an eventual $12 trillion dollar surplus. If we factor in smoke breaks and extra sick leave for all of the unsightly lung issues, we can pretty safely assume a $6 trillion dollar profit.

So why did the government slowly put the squeeze on smoking?

One fact is clear: it wasn’t altruism.

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burningbridges

About ten years back I knew a super talented designer. They had more than just pure skill, their dedication and hard work ethic opened doors for them. In the middle of the great first great depression of the 2000′s they were offered a new position across the country, where they could craft their title, plus moving expenses. Wow!

Time passed.

Super designer was bored.

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Cubicle Ninjas, the super creative design studio I watch assemble before me, ranks second on Google now for cubicle.

Look ma I'm on TV!

Look ma I’m on TV!

Because I can’t ever be happy, here comes the concern: we don’t have any cubicles, sell cubicles, or know a thing about cubicles. As elated as I am by the whimsy of this, I feel like I need to raise my hand to alert an adult.

I love Silent Hill.

As a franchise it wavers in quality, but when it hits its stride it provides an experience that cannot be fully matched in any other form of media. The psychological narrative of even the worst entry is attempting more than entire genres of gaming.

Here is Climax Studios discussing how Silent Hill: Shattered Memories learns the psychological preferences of a player, and then subverts them.

When working on my upcoming interactive comic (Pixelton: The Helmet of Infinite Win) I realized that I’d created an interactive experience that had very little interactivity. The ability for a piece of art to react to your fears, hopes, and desires is why I started writing this book. So, a great deal of time has been spent finding ways to give a more immersive and personal experience to the reader.

The goal here, as seen in Silent Hill above, is that the reader is clueless to the customization taking place. It is seamless. But once the trick is revealed to them it has an even more awe inspiring result. There was a trick – and it was under your nose the whole time.

The bank called again the other day. They keep trying to give us more credit.

When I went to the LAUNCH conference, the land of start-ups, all I heard was people angling for investment. Exhibitors would ask other exhibitors if they’d had any meetings, or wonder with frustration where all of the VC-money was. We were stopped by multiple investors about funding…and we let them know we weren’t interested in outside capital.

We live in a world that is eager to borrow, but slow to produce value. All I hear is how hard it is to get a business loan, but I haven’t experienced that. Instead of chasing piggy banks I was building stuff that people wanted. That creates value. So even in the credit collapse we were awash in offers.

The secret is to never have to spend other people’s money. Bootstrap until you have a nestegg. Then turn a nestegg into a war chest. Plan like the world is ending, because it may just end for you if you don’t.

Put even simpler:
Make a profit. Spend efficiently. Repeat.

If you do this you won’t need a loan or VC. You will always make a profit. And you will always be in control of your decisions.

singlefounderwithtrainingwheels

I was having a chat with two other gentlemen at the eMarketing Association conference (eM13) this evening when I noticed something: we were all single founders with training wheels.

What’s that? Read on.

The data shows that single founders fail the hardest when launching a new business. Paul Graham, the respected serial entrepreneur, even goes as far as labeling it the #1 reason start-ups fail. According to him:

What’s wrong with having one founder? To start with, it’s a vote of no confidence. It probably means the founder couldn’t talk any of his friends into starting the company with him. That’s pretty alarming, because his friends are the ones who know him best. But even if the founder’s friends were all wrong and the company is a good bet, he’s still at a disadvantage. Starting a startup is too hard for one person. Even if you could do all the work yourself, you need colleagues to brainstorm with, to talk you out of stupid decisions, and to cheer you up when things go wrong.

I obviously disagree with the line of thinking here, but we can agree that single founder traits are rare and tough, and I would probably have the same investment guidelines. Paul is kind of saying he wants two people for the price of one. Makes sense.

But back to this evening.

All of us started with two founders. All of us became frustrated with this founder after they proved unreliable. All of us broke free of the partnership, felt freed from the prison of the two founder world, and used this opportunity to never look back.

Starting off as a team helped us, but jettisoning the training wheels once we learned how to ride on our own was our breakthrough.

David Cain’s post still has me thinking.

If those that feel weak can blindly assign ideas and emotions to others without fear of reprisal, wouldn’t it only be fair to work in reverse?

Let’s give it a go: lazy people love excuses, especially excuses about why they aren’t lazy.

Below are a half-dozen expert-level lazy tricks shown in his article:

  1. Writing an article telling yourself you’re not lazy, in place of doing the work.
  2. Lack of editing. This article gets 1,000 words in before the premise kicks in!
  3. Redefining common terms with narrow, personal definitions. Laziness is completely redefined to meet his personal view of a TV watching, morning-sleeper.
  4. Finding a book that validates your laziness.
  5. Medical or psychological excuses. Neurosis is used in this case.
  6. Blaming others. Parents and family environment are used here.
  7. Implying that their high standards may be greater than others.
  8. Drafting future plans to resolve the laziness…instead of doing the work.

The list could go on, but I’m not trying to rag on David . I understand where he’s coming from. I feel for him and hope experiment 11 works.

Personally, I think the numbered list above are a disease that should be eradicated. The more we coddle those that regurgitate these ideas, the greater chance we lose any aspect of personal accountability.

These excuses place the weight of one’s decisions on others, or a future (more ideal) version of yourself. We can debate the inequalities of unique situations forever, but the only way to truly change things is to take responsibility. Then act.

David Cain shares on Thought Catalog that procrastination is not laziness:

For a procrastinator of my kind, perfection (or something negligibly close to it) thereby becomes the only result that allows one to be comfortable with himself. A procrastinator becomes disproportionately motivated by the pain of failure. So when you consider taking anything on, the promise of praise or benefit from doing something right are overshadowed by the (disproportionately greater) threat of getting something wrong.

And (bolded emphasis mine)…

A person who does not have this neurosis might wish they didn’t make a mistake, whereas the neurotic procrastinator perceives the error as being a reflection of their character. In other words, most people suffer mainly the practical consequences of mistakes (such as finishing with a lower grade, or having to redo something) with only minor self-esteem implications, while neurotic procrastinators perceive every mistake they make as being a flaw in them.

This goes back to my beef with Bruce Nussbaum. Why is it okay for people who feel themselves weak to assign emotions to their perceived models of strong?

Failing fucking hurts. It hurts in my soul. To brush off my pain as lesser belittles it. It also makes the magic of my rise that much less spectacular.  Just because you stopped trying, doesn’t allow you to degrade those that haven’t.

Via Hacker News

Hundreds of years ago people worked hard because they had no choice.

The seasons presented very harsh obstacles. The life of man was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. Working long or late was required, partly because nature demanded it, and partly because being lazy meant death. Waking up and slaving to add value, in spite of dangerous situations, was a living. The neighborhood support system was small, fragile, and susceptible to delicate local factors. This means that one problem (a flood or a disease) could lead to a lost community.

A shared societal goal began to form over time: mankind aimed to cooperatively rise above these external elements through sheer brute force. Our people crashed against the craggy shores of the wild, doing so often in vain, but knowing that their sacrifice was for a better future.

One generation later…

It is crazy to think that in the span of one generation the seasons were effectively defeated. Cold and hot were factors that man could control. Night was removed. Distance was tamed, both in transportation and for communication. Disease was understood shockingly well, and moreover the greatest proactive killers of man cured. Because of longer lifespans the luxury of higher education for the masses appeared.

Many a person that grew up riding a horse-drawn carriage saw a man land on the moon.

While everything changed around it, society still held that hard work was a noble standard. The desire for improvement went from saving lives, to saving time. Efficiency was the societal goal, and damn if we weren’t going to save the future some time.

It is hard to pinpoint the moment things changed, but I think it was the late 00′s.

Baby boomers, governed by those that had lived through America’s greatest great depression, were taught the values of hard work. But these kids had no immediate, actionable danger to fear*. The parables of the past didn’t ring true. Values started shifting because the dangers were no longer so universally immediate, and so became malleable, influenced by media, and cultural whimsy.

And time passed. It’s really good at that.

The crash of the financial system in 2008 reflected the beginning of a permanent change in societal values. True dangers presented themselves in disturbing succession: housing collapsed, lending collapsed, investments collapsed, and millions of jobs collapsed, all in a matter of months.

The last generation that believed in the value of hard work in and of itself (baby boomers) were impacted the hardest. So they did what they needed to do: they dusted off their coats and tried to work their way out of this. But it didn’t work.

The late 00′s saw 20-somethings become millionaires or billionaires, while those who had worked within the system for 40-years lost their life savings. The vision of an efficient society had made its way to computer software in a fully formed way. The crash provided the restructuring needed to cement this.

The society has become so efficient it no longer needs all of its participants.

The tyranny of the majority.

People no longer fear wolves on the fringes of the forest. They fear the college loans they incorrectly did the math on, the software that might replace them, and the competition of being sub-par in a sea of 8 billion. No amount of physical labor can stop these either, so it provides an impossible enemy to resist. Why would someone work 80 hour weeks to fight a great nothingness?

We’ve defeated efficiency through software. Sure, we’ll spend the next 50 years ironing out the details, but the broad strokes remain.

The point here being: what is our next unified cultural battle-cry?

* The Cold War was primarily fought in the minds of its citizens. If “true” war was underway no amount of muscle could stop the mushroom clouds. So, the societal goals of a generation shifted: freedom from the culture’s efficiency mandate and untouchable global dangers became their first priority. This is why when the very urgent, tangible dangers like the draft appeared they were met with such resistance.