Evolution is failing us

Today, in the middle of the work day, my laptop just bricked. Just a logo on the screen. No login, no signup, nothing. Working with some online support, I eventually figured it out, but now I don’t trust this machine and will probably get a new one soon.

My work (and non-work) life is on that machine. Sure, a lot is in the cloud, but my desktop is a mess and I need to clean that up. (Guess what I’m doing tonight!)

But here’s the big problem: during the crisis itself, my body decided to release adrenaline and get me all jacked for fixing the issue. I was pumped / worried / energized to tackle a bunch of new shit which had just appeared.

Then I fixed it. And the adrenaline went away, and I felt tired and unmotivated. And also relieved.

Our physical reactions for a laptop crash and a bear attack should not be remotely similar. But here we are.

It’s all about options

A long time ago (over a decade ago) a friend of mine told me, “It’s all about options.”

Optionality (real word or buzz word?) has its attractions. It means you can always stop what you are doing and try something else. You always have an exit and nothing is permanent. It’s exciting.

But then you never really commit, do you? Do you ever really become an expert at anything? Can you spend 10,000 hours on anything (I am aware that the Gladwell 10,000 hour rule might be bullshit, but it’s a useful placeholder for the idea of expertise) while maintaining your options? That maintenance is costly in terms of time and resources.

Options are, in the end, things you don’t do.

This is probably just a reminder for myself.


The Matching Principle

Get ready folks. This is the accounting-related post you’ve all been waiting for. If you do something all day long, eventually it relates to everything else.

In accounting, the matching principle says:

Expenses should be recorded during the period in which they are incurred, regardless of when the transfer of cash occurs.

Let’s take a few examples (and stretch them a bit):

  1. You get a legitimate bill in your inbox. According to the matching principle, you need to book that expense in your financials at the moment the service or good you bought was received, not when you finally pay it, perhaps weeks later. That money is spent, even though you are still holding it.
  2. Someone promises you money in writing, unconditionally, in writing. Boom! You show that promise as an asset as of the moment of their promise.
  3. You pay for 12 months worth of services today, in March. Well, you don’t show that entire 12 month bill as an expense in March despite the fact that the cash went out in March. You expense it out evenly over 12 months as a “prepaid expense.”

It’s a nice concept to bring over to other things: your time, your energy, your own resources. If it’s going to happen, then it *did* happen. Book it and move on. If you don’t like it, don’t try to change the fact of it happening. Rather, try to build up the other side of the equation so that it doesn’t matter as much.

You can’t erase it. (In accounting, that would be fraud.) It happened. Make peace, but act to reduce its significance.

Now flip all this on its head. If you know something is coming or is due, and you don’t realize it (book it mentally), you’re lying. It could be to yourself or to your shareholders (family, friends, colleagues), but you are definitely lying.

Match your knowledge with your actions.

Get out

During a normal week, I situate myself in several places in Atlanta to get stuff done. Home, the FEE offices (one day/week), Strongbox West (2 days/week), and at Chrome Yellow at various points.

A lesson I learned too late is that the same setting for too long is bad for creativity and productivity. I, for good or ill, need almost constant refreshment in terms of my surroundings.

Today, I stayed home all day and I can feel the tension resident in that fact. Oh sure, I got things done but I feel pretty sapped from the whole thing.

All of this to make the following points: 1. get out when you can, 2. another reason to be thankful for our 21st century reality. The office is no longer our torturer.

Side note: I did not realize until right now that Chrome Yellow is not only a reference to the old paint factory it was built in, but also to Aldous Huxley’s novel Crome Yellow. I’ve only read Brave New World.


A total snipe hunt


What do you do on those days where you run and hustle and move around and you feel at the end like you’ve done nothing. The ball has not moved. You spent more time cleaning up than building up. What do you tell your self on a day like that? Asking for a friend.

PS – I am deeply skeptical of blog entries that sound like this. Asking questions in the hope for traffic/answers as well as the vaguely “guru” language. So consider this full disclosure, but that is partially what this blog is for, eh?

PPS – Addenda should probably not be as long or longer than the original thought. Now we’re upending paradigms and breaking rules!