I'm writing this largely as a reminder to myself.
Sometimes I do something that I think is really cool. Then I go share it with the world. And sometimes, I get feedback that seems off-base to me.
Y'know, I'm wrong a lot of the time. I'm wrong more often than most people, simply because I try to huge volumes of stuff. When I'm 55% sure, I'll usually write up my initial thoughts and just note that I'm not sure if it's correct, but it's what I'm thinking about.
So, I'm wrong a lot. A lot of times, someone points out a glaring error I made. For instance, Jason Shen was kind enough to point out that the vast majority of people think to some extent that business/commerce/wealth is zero sum, so maybe it keeps making sense to talk about "adding value" - oh, right, selction bias on my part since most of my peer group either directly create things that didn't exist before (artists, engineers, programmers, experimental scientists, etc) or facilitate trade and exchange and wealth building (entrepreneurs, managers, investors, financiers, etc).
But most people that aren't directly involved in the creation or trade. The world is complex, most people in the West work in big corporations and don't see how their role directly contributes to new wealth being created. So anyways, mea culpa there, and I'll amend my position. Thanks Jason.
So, sometimes it's pointed out that I'm mistaken. And that's great! Then I get to evolve my thinking.
But other times, I do something that I think is pretty cool and useful, and I get some feedback that seems to indicate a complete lack of getting-it on the part of the other person. Y'know, like, really really quit ignorant shit sometimes. The worst is when I'm writing something and I get ignorant nitpicky shit that incorrectly summarizes the point I made - even though I wrote the exact opposite point a little bit later in a piece, for instance.
My first reaction - "Blah. What an idiot. They don't get it."
No, it's on you, if you're creating, to make sure people get it. And that doesn't just mean being logical if you're writing or having great features if you're marketing a product you made or having the right qualifications if you're trying to land a job or a contract.
Nope. Being right isn't enough. You also have to do everything else.
If you're writing a piece, you have to make sure the title, introduction, images, and formatting all fit the expectations and heuristics of the people who you care about if they "get it" or not.
If you're marketing a product, you've got to cover all the relevant specs, and ALSO cover all the (sometimes irrational) buying criteria people have.
If you're trying to land a job or contract, you've got be well-qualified, but you've also got to convey professionalism, empathy, and the warm fuzzy feeling.
A lot of this seems like, and partially is, bullshit.
If you're writing, people will skim your work. You need to take that into account, and make good transitions, sub-headlines, intelligently use bolding and links, and otherwise make sure the people of your target audience get the message. If they don't get it, that means YOU didn't get it.
If you're marketing, people aren't going to buy your product solely on logic. Actually, a slim fraction of people will, but probably not enough to keep you in business. You need to keep learning marketing and buyer's psychology, even if you don't want to. Or hire someone to do that. Because if you're getting your ass kicked by a competitor that's got a worse product than you, it's not your customers that don't get it - YOU don't get it.
If you're trying to a land a job, people are going to size you up based on somewhat arbitrary criteria. If you get passed over for a less qualified candidate, it's not that the company didn't get it. YOU didn't get it. Cufflinks matter and the quality of the paper your proposal is on matters and if your shoes are shined matters and all of that matters, *if you care about that particular job*.
Of course, sometimes you don't care. Some people aren't your target market, and you can shrug it off. I think it would be a fantastic idea to conquer North Korea, for a whole lot of reasons. Yet, I likely won't be able to persuade Kim Jong-il of that, and that's okay. He's not my target market and won't be convinced.
But if you do care, then never ever ever ever say, "They don't get it" if you care about the person who just made that decision. No, you don't get it. You did it wrong. Learn. Figure out where the decision/reaction came from, and do it better next time.
This was largely a reminder to myself. Thanks for reading.
August 11th, 2011. Chiba, Japan.
A mix of confusion and awe as I step off the platform.
I must have made a mistake. But maybe a good mistake.
Birds caw and cicadas click gently, filling the warm afternoon air with sounds of nature. The train platform is open to the air and on the other side of the tracks is a high fence. Beyond it, a bicycle and walking path leading to a park.
Children are running around and playing in the park, but surprisingly quietly. Very Japanese.
I used to get anxious about being unemployed. Much of this came from reading about discouraged workers and how much harder it is to get back on track once you're employed for several months. Skill depreciation and negative signaling kicks discouraged workers in a doom spiral. I stopped when I realized that although many companies of all sizes promote a grueling working culture, with 'work-life balance' being nothing but an empty promise of a buzzword, that doesn't mean one is forced into abiding by such a culture.
Of course I would be happier if I did get an offer out of those interviews I aced, but so what? I don't need the money, and I certainly have better things to do with my time than wait on an incompetent HR department.
When I'm not job hunting, I am experiencing the part of life that's worth living. Reconnecting with friends & family, meeting new people, and learning new skills. I accumulated enough wealth to be able to afford the time to do this worry-free, so I am. No employer is going to care about how much I've grown as a rock climber, boxer, boyfriend, or programmer in the last 3 months, heck they aren't even going to know. It's not important that they care, the purpose of skill accumulation is not to impress the next employer.
When I say I have the wealth to do this, savings are a big part of it. But I also mean my credit and spending is under control. I am confident in my skills and my ability to signal those skills (my resume). I have a plan, and I have the means for execution.
You can always keep adding by making more money, working harder and longer hours. Your boss will love you for it. Just remember that but in practice that just begets more material wealth since you are spending time to buy money, and experiential wealth requires more time than money. I think it's much easier to get peace of mind by subtracting. Having gone from condo to castle to all sorts of apartments with and without room mates, cars, buses, and subways, I can honestly say that none of the fancy stuff measurably improved my life. Not that I don't covet anything, I just only want the stuff that matters, which is generally exclusive to anything that needs a marketing campaign.