Originally written for LessWrong.com. Related to: Humans are not automatically strategic, Rationalists should win
Fashion isn't prioritized in many hyper-analytical circles. Many in these communities write it off as frill and unnecessary. They say they "just dress comfortably" and leave it at that.
To me, that seems like a huge blind spot. It misses a fundamental point -
A piece of clothing is fundamentally a tool.
Definitions are important so everyone is on the same page. I feel like Wikipedia's first sentence on "tool" accurately describes it -
I could use some advice. I have a full-time job as a web developer and I do some consulting on the side. I would like to transition to doing consulting full-time, but I'm having trouble finding more clients. The one (and only) client I have now was a referral from a friend.
I read on your blog that you have done some consulting. How did you find clients?
Four points -
1. Solicit people contacting you 2. Work for free 3. Ask for referrals 4. Keep future desired clients in the loop of your successes
In the past, I've advocated against the word "fair" - I thought it was subjective, emotional-driven, largely arbitrary, and led to muddy unclear thinking.
I've changed my position on it. I now think the word "fair" is okay for external evaluation and communication usage.
See, "fairness" still can screw up your life, if you let it. Lots of people do petty things or self-destruct because of fairness. Or they don't ask for a promotion where they'd do well in that capacity, or they turn a deal that's great for them where they get slightly less than "fair" but still massively more than they would otherwise.
Evaluate your own life and actions based on what's best for you, not fairness. Sometimes that does mean turning things down out of principle, heuristics, or for reputation reasons. But "fairness" shouldn't be a big component of your evaluation for your best action.
It can, however, be a big part of your external evaluation and communication.
I read your latest post about not having time to properly answer e-mails, so I'll keep this short.
What's your take on using an idea that you've seen on an internet forum or social networking site, and basing your next business project on it? For example, a member posts an idea that they have on a public forum, and everyone responds with, "Wow, that's a great idea - you should start a business and make some cash!" The member says that they just do it as a hobby and aren't really interested in making money.
If someone comes along and sees that, they indeed may want to take on the project and start making profit off of it, essentially stealing the idea and reaping the benefits.
Is that wrong? Since it was posted online for all to see on a public forum, hasn't that member forfeited any rights he had to the idea originally?
Thought of the day:
When you're stacking up failures and lots of things you're trying aren't working, you're far closer to success than you think.
When you're daydreaming ideas that are going to work perfectly but aren't failing yet, you're much further away than you could possibly imagine.
Fail more. Succeed more. Dream, but then act with haste on those dreams.
There's been a lot of really amazing tributes to Steve Jobs the past few days. This one by Eric Schmidt had a nice point -
What I remember thinking at the time is that you shouldn’t take a job unless you know how to win. I had no clue how to do what he did. When somebody tells you they’re going to do something and you say, “I don’t understand how you’re going to do that,” and they succeed? That is the ultimate humbling experience. My interactions with Steve were always like that. He was always ahead of me. When he started working on tablets, I said nobody really likes tablets. The tablets that existed were just not very good. Steve said: “No, we can build one.” One of the things about Steve is, he was always in the realm of possibility. There was a set of assumptions that Steve would make that were never crazy. They were just ahead of me.
We think of Steve Jobs now as the visionary he was. In 300 years, when people study this era, they'll all recognize his genius right away.
Most of them - our great-great-grandchilden, they won't realize how Jobs's vision was misunderstood, questions, derided, mocked for so long before he broke through. They'll remember the genius, they won't remember the struggle.
I knelt before the statue of the white wizard, the relic Magical Zero Stone glinting in front of it, radiating pure oblivion. In the cracks and recesses of the stone was a cold and beautiful emptiness, and yet a wholeness, a completeness. An end of all things past, and beginning all things anew.
My sorrow and agony lifted from my shoulders. Inspiration began to melt the hardness of my heart, and I knew what I had to do.
"Okay, Commander Marshall," I reassured myself, "Time to gird up your loins, take your holy shield of email template, and fill your quiver with Google Keyboard Shortcuts. There will be rampant destruction, and then were will be peace."
In my life, I've written a lot of people who do interesting things. You'd be amazed at how often they reply - I've had conversations with top businessmen, economists, investors and financiers, researchers, and all sorts of other interesting and fascinating people.
I was working with a client today who has a different mix of activities happening in his business - we crunched the numbers, and found that that he was frequently doing tasks that were worth 20 times less than his top value/revenue generating.
I created an audio at the coffeehouse in Beijing explainining the situation - it's a huge set of lost opportunities if you're capable of generating $500 in revenues per hour but wind up getting stuck doing $25/hour tasks.
You can click on this link to listen in most modern browsers, or right click and 'save as' to download:
After making this audio, I spoke to him later in the day and we calculated all the ongoing activities that he doesn't like doing in his business and found they'll only cost $1,200 per month to hire outsourcers to do. We contracted the first person today on Odesk.com to answer support emails.
Ah, the joys of being mildly unreasonable.
I found a neat little shop with some great shirts, suit jackets, and gloves that all had a nice design and fit me perfectly. I wasn't going in to get a lot of stuff, but their pieces were really cut just perfectly right for me. I picked a lot of stuff out to buy.
When I was checking out shirts and jackets, I wanted to see how one would look with a tie. I picked up a nice skinny black tie off a display mannequin and put it on. Verdict: The shirt looks good with a tie. But hey, this tie is pretty nice too. But there's no price on it. Hmm...
I go to check out, and the girl explains to me that the tie is only for sale with a particular shirt - it comes with that shirt. That shirt, however, is ugly and expensive. They don't sell the tie standalone.
She keeps trying to take it from me and put it back on the mannequin. I say, "No. Look, I want the tie. How much for it?"
After the ten millionth recommendation from another one of my highly intelligent and productive friends, I caved and got a Mac Air.
It's going to take me a while to replace some of my Windows-only applications (MyLifeOrganized isn't on Mac, so I'll need to find something else for tracking). And after 3 Toshiba laptops across seven years, I was fast with Toshiba's keyboard exact keyboard layout.
Those will take a bit of acclimation time, but I'm already impressed with some of the nice touches on the Mac. I won't gush and sing praises - you can get that in many places online - but it really does seem to work together cohesively more than Windows.
Anyways. The more interesting point for you is that I'm going to test the two computer setup - I'll keep my Toshiba for a while, and do any/all internet surfing, media, and things of that nature on the Toshiba. I'll use the Mac only for work and work-related things. I suspect it's going to be a huge productivity boost and procrastination-killer... or at least, the type of procrastination will improve some. I'll update you as time goes by.
Also, feel free to recommend any favorite Mac software in the comments.