Create & Connect, Supply & Demand

I just finished writing up my notes from ‘The $100 Startup’ by Chris Guillebeau. One of the points he stresses is the sequence of creating something of value, followed by connecting with people to share it.

The thing of value is something in which you are skilled, or is fully engaging, or elicits your passion, or is a combination of the three (ideally, no?). The connecting is sharing, or teaching, or somehow helping others, specifically helping others feel better (or less worse, he actually goes into this a little bit). And yes, this thing you’re sharing should also be what some others would want – go find your target market (…he later goes into it not mattering how many people don’t get it, but how many people do…).

This reframing of ‘Supply & Demand’ I find more… welcoming. Can you feel the humanity? You are no longer in a flea market.

Party A: Cool-looking old books, here! Man, do these suckers smell great, and they look damn vintage, too. You don’t even have to flipping read them – impress your friends when they check out your mantle!

Party B: Why, hello there, good sir! I was just passing through and recalled that my bookshelves do seem a little peckish. I will have five. And here, take some Shillings. There. Good day to you.

To ‘Create & Connect’ connotes effort and is more personal. Somebody created this thing. Somebody put time and energy and focus into making this thing, and now that somebody – me – I’ve manifested something that once wasn’t, and I want to make a connection with you. That’s right – I’m looking you in the eye – hey there – shake my hand. (Let’s bond over the possible commonality that is this thing I’ve created and you’re buying. Have you seen my mantle?)

Yes, ‘Supply & Demand’ allows for much easier plotting of curves on 2-D graphs, but ‘Create & Connect’ adds a human factor to the concept of exchanging value. You might make a friend. Hell, maybe a fan.

Profitability of Profit

Again, from ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferriss, I found this gem:

Profit is only profitable to the extent that you can use it. For that you need time.

Much later in the book, we have:

Stuff lingering on the brain from work ruin free time with preoccupation; time without attention is worthless, so value attention over time.

This last quote stresses the necessity of being in the now. You are not really free if your body is on the beach and your head is at the office. So to get the most out of your ‘Out of the Office’ experience, you’ve got to reattach your head to wherever you’ve decided to put your body. You’ve escaped for a week – you might as well enjoy yourself! This leads me to a couple of rather mathematical scenarios… bear with me. If we had a finite amount of attention and a variable amount of time, we have:

  • Scenario 1 – You take a lot of time off, but your attention is rarely there. (Low density of enjoyment per time)
  • Scenario 2 – You take a little time off, and your attention is completely there. (High density of enjoyment per time)

It would seem way more efficient to figure out a way to fully ‘be in your body’ to be fully free during your time off, whether it is an extra long weekend… or 5 minutes. Thus, if you’ve got time to play, and you’re a-gonna play, y’might as well play hard: profit from your… profit.

Ha – who would have thought that, “Work hard. Play hard,” can take on a very Taoist “be in the now” meaning.

Legacy

Lately, my focus has been on setting the Product Owner piece of my own ScrumOfOne, and one fun way to think about my vision is as if it were my legacy.

Merrill B. Lamont III
1982 – 2084
Here lies awesomeness manifest. Did you know he discovered Lamontanium? Oh yeah. That was this guy. You’re so reading his tombstone right now, you lucky person, you. (Go ahead. It’s OK. Touch it.)

This of course appeals to the bio part of my biomedical engineering background; children are genetic legacy, no? It makes a little more sense when thought about memeticly.

Great artists are remembered for their art. Great scientists are remembered for their discoveries & inventions. Great sharks are remembered for their catchy John Williams themes. Great businessfolks are remembered for their comb overs, or because their name is on something/everything.

All this requires taking something to a state of mastery, moving beyond good to great. Geez, so how does that happen? In a way, we re-derive spending more and more time on fewer and fewer things. Fine, so how do I decide which things? Evidently there are a number of ways, but however that vision pans out, it could well be my legacy.

Have fun with this: What’s your legacy?

Happiness

In ‘Tribes’ by Seth Godin, he essentially states:

happiness = initiative

The book is about leadership and creating movements where he encourages you to become a heretic – create something people will criticize because you so passionately and fanatically believe in challenging some status quo… and you’re most likely not the only one. Congrats – this makes you a leader, you suddenly charismatic sonuvagun, you. You feel that fire burning in your chest, driving you forward? That initiative? Seth calls that happiness.

In ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Timothy Ferriss, he essentially states:

happiness = excitement

The book steps through his method for nixing the deferred-life plan of typical retirement and designing a luxury lifestyle that values freedom in time and freedom in mobility. Once you set yourself up with more time and a greater ability to travel… now what? He argues that answering “What do you want?” and “What are your goals?” are insufficient for filling this new void and nailing the essence of what we are all after. Drawing on the analogy of indifference being the opposite of love, not hate, he submits the opposite of happiness being boredom. Playing the ‘opposite game’ again, we get the opposite of boredom being excitement. (This is confusing on first read, but if you sit with it a while, it should make sense.) Tim calls that happiness.

When I now hear the phrase, “Follow your passion/bliss,” I can see how this thing called happiness, that oh so sought after goal/state, would entail an element of “Yee-haw!” excitement, and “Get out of my way or join me: I’m on a mission!” initiative.

Show Then Tell

Over the past few months/sprints, I’ve been developing a system to more easily adopt Agile Living. Stories have been mainly gathering and molding stories into a proprietary format I have been developing for a while. With bookmarks to Google Docs (‘cloud’-enough for now) on my smart phone pointing to a product backlog, sprint backlog, Scrum script, Daily script, and a few other things, the motions for my own ScrumOfOne have become significantly more fluid.

Progress has gotten me to the point where I am back to dedicating time to this blog, with posts planned for twice a week: once on Sundays after my mini-retrospective and once on Wednesdays as a temperature check on mid-week execution of sprints.

Part of this reboot has been after an acknowledgement of how different facets of personal growth, as well as the numerous projects I want to implement, all feel like they should be their own product backlog. Some products represent continual improvement (physical, cultural, residential) and some represent discrete states of accomplishment (this blog, learning to sail, own music studio), so the organization and prioritization of the numerous stories from the numerous backlogs has required some work, thus why I am only getting back to blogging now.

Happy Thanksgiving!