A swift kick

I was born in the ’80s.

That means if I can overcome all the odds, I can make it to the 2080s. Not likely, of course. If I just live to be an average age, I’ll pass away in the 2060s.

Maybe 40 years left. That’s all. And that is assuming nothing happens beforehand. So, what now?

What are you to do?

We shouldn’t live in the shadow of fear. Death is part of life. It is what makes this life worth living precisely because it doesn’t last.

Every day should count for something.

Today’s headlines

Reading today’s headlines doesn’t make us informed. They are designed to entertain us. To convince us to click on the button. The articles are mainly engineered with the understanding that people don’t actually read the article. They scroll it then move on.

We have to recognize that this isn’t research. This isn’t even staying informed. It is a way for each of us to reinforce our worldviews rather than change them.

I can’t become a doctor by reading headlines. How are we supposed to understand the geopolitical landscapes or how climate change works or politics by reading today’s news?

Less than perfect conditions

If you take a day off the internet, the next day you will find another emergency.

If you take a week off, the same thing.

A year? Again, you will find lots of emergency.

The internet is a great place to connect and to make art and to share ideas. It’s also a place for people to hide. A place for people to check and make sure everything is “fine”.

There is always an emergency to take care of. The next thing to ask is what are you to create or contribute despite less than perfect conditions?

The last piece of land discovered

Exploring the world was a difficult endeavor for thousands of years. And then, in the 15th century, you have an explosion of explorers with Magellan, Cabot, Cortez, Columbus, Drake, and Vespucci.

It’s up to debate but eventually, we discovered all the known land on earth.

So, now what?

It was difficult to explore, then it became much easier. Now it’s hard to explore again. Copernicus, if you recall, discovered that the Earth was not the center of the universe. Finding life outside of Earth is our Copernicus moment.

What possibilities are out there? When we take the conversation away from ourselves and face them outward, I truly believe a lot of healing can occur.

Obvious, right?

Here is a shot of the Microsoft: Windows 7 logo.

The great Paula Scher was tasked to redesign the new Microsoft: Windows 8 logo and the first thing she asked was, “Your name is Windows. Why are you a flag?”

It seems so obvious but sometimes we need someone to point and say the Emporer has no clothes. We all have blind spots and they can be difficult to see unless we are open to criticism.

A blank sheet of paper

No one would willingly choose the financial system we are in. It’s so complicated that we sort of all just buy into it. We trust that the parts are working as they are supposed to.

That’s because systems become more complicated with time. We tweak and perfect. We add features and solve problems. Until the system has so many loopholes, you can’t even recognize the original code.

The natural reaction is to start over. What now will you build?

It is one thing to take something that is recognizable and make it better. It is another to create something completely new. Both require imagination but one requires real innovation.

If you don’t begin, how will you ever know?

How do you know that your blog won’t be the most popular in the world if you never start it?

(It probably won’t but it surely will never have a chance to be if you don’t begin.)

(You should write your blog, not for the fans but for you.)

30 years from now, will your job even exist?

Big O Tires has a problem. In 30-50 years, electric cars will be ubiquitous. What then? What happens when the only techs that can work on a Tesla are Tesla techs?

We can look back and see the same thing happened to the record companies. They had the perfect model in place. Here is a song on the radio, if you want to play it when you want, you will need to pay $15 for a CD. And if you lost it, you would have to do it again. Then Napster came along and broke the model. Netflix did the same thing to Blockbuster.

The internet and technology and systems and network effects break giant markets into smaller ones. Again and again, pulling them apart.

The person that can break the monopoly on working on high tech cars, that a multi-million dollar idea. So, what does Big O Tires do? You can start breaking the model now preparing for the transition. That requires vision and seeing the world as it is. (Berkshire Hathaway, the 8th largest company in the world, started in textile.) You can also bleed the market dry and sell pennies on the dollar when the industry ends. You can also abandon ship now and do something else.

What we can’t do is wish for things to be different. The point isn’t to live forever but to live with yourself forever. Do work you are proud of. When a chapter closes, you can look back and smile.

Who is up?

All the cards are seamlessly the same (all of them even say Vice President). So, what are we exchanging here? Because it isn’t information. We are exchanging status. Establishing a pecking order of who is up and who is down.

“You have a reservation at Dorsia on a Thursday. I have one on Friday.” Just that very subtle reflection is enough to trigger Bale in the scene. “Let’s see Paul Allen’s card.”

Even in a room full of execs with a title, money, fancy clothes, a reservation at the hottest restaurant in town–it’s still not enough. Because despite all of the status, there was someone else missing–someone has more.

A powerful lesson that more is rarely the answer to our problems. There will always be someone with more status. And if you let it, it will consume you.

What we do brings status. What we measure brings peace.

Brilliant scene.

Came across this piece from Learning A Day that is worth sharing:

“I was thinking about an anecdote from a book by late Vanguard founder John Bogle. This was an exchange Bogle witnessed at a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island in New York.

The late novelist Kurt Vonnegut informed his pal, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22 over its whole history.

Heller responded – “Yes, but I have something he will never have…enough.”