Lately I've been reading books on money in order to increase my financial education (and hopefully provide better for my family). The ones I've read so far all say that making money starts with a state of mind. You have to be in the right mind set to take advantage of opportunities presented to you, etc. Here's something I noticed: Pm is already in that state of mind.
If you look at PmCoreValues?, Core Value #1 is that we live in a world of abundance. According to what I've read so far, people who are successful not only believe that we live in a world of abundance, but ensure that we live in a world of abundance. Core Value #3 is that what we experience is formed from what we project. Successful (rich one way or another) people recognize that tomorrow is formed from an endless succession of todays and that to live a rich life tomorrow, you have to start living a rich life today.
A while back Pm and I had a discussion where we talked about Moore's Law vs. Brooks' Law. I meant to jot this down the following day but kept forgetting and it just came back to me again ...
It's not really Brooks' Law, but that communication ability is proportional to the square of the number of nodes that we were referring to. The piece that was missing in our discussion is that Brooks' Law is given in terms of nodes and Moore's Law is given in terms of time. We needed to relate nodes per time to really see who wins the battle and make any meaningful statements.
If time is a commodity, what are its cofactors? Happiness, family, money, products, and more are all cofactors. What do we commoditize such that we have more time, happiness, etc.?
- Can you get me the source for "time is a commodity"? I'm not sure I agree with the premise. --<#>?
- Go read http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=0005087B-070B-1D4F-90FB809EC5880000&catID=2 (pay particular attention to the fourth paragraph). This isn't a reference as such, just an independant opinion of this time/commodity equation. Besides the phrase "time is money" commoditizes time to me.
- BTW, much of the "time" issue of Scientific American can be read online.
Hmm. I just realized that my last question was written under the tyranny of the OR. Must we commoditize (sacrifice?) one thing for the others be "free"? Are there cases where "tyranny of the OR" is a law of nature that can't be circumvented?
I noticed that pmichaud.com has a tagline now, but it wasn't until just now that I actually read it. "Discovering unexpected surprises"? Isn't that a little oxymoronic? I mean if they were expected they wouldn't be surprises nor would they be discoveries.
- Actually, the tagline "Discovering unexpected surprises" isn't permanent--I'm actually "still looking for a good tagline". Until I come up with a tagline I really want to keep, I've decided that the tagline area will be used for whatever one-liner I wish to display at the time. Eventually it may even be randomized, or keyed to individual pages. The "Discovering unexpected surprises" is intended as a secret response to someone very important. --<#>?
How about just "revealing the unknown"? Or better than discovering surprises, generating them. If you want to wax poetic a little, you could go with "peaking behind the fabric of the universe" or "lifting the veil of ignorance". Hmm. I like the word "surprise" for some reason: "surprised and liking it", "surprise!", "surprises at every turn", "surprise, surprise, surprise" (nod to Gomer Pile ;-), "surprisingly serene", "one good surprise deserves another", etc.
There are some famous quotes that would make good taglines IMHO. Like "chance favors the prepared mind" for instance (which I just learned is attributed to Louis Pasteur). Here's one I just read on http://www.famous-quotations.com/
- Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought. Albert Szent-Gyorgi, 1937 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine
random thoughts on long-term thinking.
So what differentiates long-term thinking from short-term thinking? And is long-term thinking one of the things that separates us from the apes? Long-term thinking requires a good bit of imagination, but that's obviously not enough. There needs to be some intelligence behind it. But what is the essence of "correct" long-term thinking? Why do some people's long-term thinking "work" while other people's long-term thinking not?
Short-term thinking is about satisfying immeditate needs. Long-term thinking is about satisfying future needs. Usually people think of this under the tyranny of the OR such that long-term thinking satisfies future needs at the expense of current needs (and vice versa).
Hmm. This fired off some "Art of War" neurons in my head. The main character in "Ender's Game?" (Ender, a child of 6 years) has a fight with a bully in school. Ender first culls the bully from his "gang", then knocks him down. While the bully is still on the ground he kicks him and kicks him again all the while telling the onlookers that this is what he does to people that try to hurt him. When asked why he was so brutal, Ender said that he wanted to win not just the immediate battle, but all future battles as well. This theme comes up a few times within the book. Ender embraced the genius of the AND using short-term strategy and tactics to accomplish long-term goals. Obviously Orson Scott Card read Sun Tzu's "Art of War".
I just read PmCoreValues? and I find that I agree 100%. However, though I believe Core Value #1, I don't know how to "move beyond my own limitations to realize my dreams". That seems to me like a ready-made Core Purpose: To help people realize their dreams. (Or, "to help people rise above their own limitations".)
- Wow! Actually, helping people rise above their limitations was one of the things I wanted to put into PmCoreValues?, but it didn't quite fit. It really does fit as a Core Purpose. --Pm
Until now I've been taking the lazy-man's approach by letting Pm do all the work of discovering his core and then I determine compatibility rather than searching deeply within myself for my own core. This is all well and good because we all follow our own paths. Also, Pm's and my destinies aren't necessarily intertwined (though some people think otherwise). But I definitely need to come up with some core purpose of my very own ("what I want to do with my life") rather than piggy-backing on Pm's.
I need to find some quiet time to think.
- I think it's entirely possible for someone to be fulfilled by piggy backing on someone else's vision, but that's something that should be arrived at deliberately and not through laziness. At any rate, I highly recommend self-reflection. --Pm
Indeed. I used to be very introspective. With time that part of me has become like stone. Well ... not quite stone. Maybe more like a sponge that has absorbed all the water it can and is in serious need of wringing out.
Pm says that "software as product" is worth very little. And the more I think about it the more I agree that this may be the case.
This disturbed me slightly, when I extended "software" to mean "intellectual products" because that means that our intellectual achievements are worth very little. But this is as it should be I think. These things are worth very little monetarily, but are invaluable sociologically and culturally. If we take human language for example, communication was "expensive" in the days when there was no language. Yet today, communication is so easy and common that no one thinks of it as a "cost" (except perhaps where we cross from one language to another).
- I'm not so sure I agree with the extension of "software" to "intellectual achievements" -- I'll have to think about that one quite a bit. It's interesting to think about the word "software" in its broader perspective; i.e., consider that things such as movies, audio compact discs, and cassette tapes are also considered "software" in their industries, and they clearly have some value (well, maybe not--look at Napster and its ilk!) --Pm
Think of all of the things that the simple act of communication has enabled humanity to accomplish. So, if software has become as fundamental as language, what does it enable us to do? Or, where is the enabling? I don't think we're there yet. We're still in the process of building the software "language".
- Ultimately software (in the computing sense) is a language and always has been--it's a language for communicating about solving problems in a particular way. --Pm
The problem is that "software as a language" has no concrete nouns, verbs, etc. It's all created and recreated depending on which programming language you happen to speak. I have a feeling that there is or will be some larger organizing principle that will transcend programming languages and allow us to treat software as a firm foundation upon which to build. I'm talking about software as a whole. Right now individual bits of software give you firm footing, but you can't necesarily leverage knowledge from one set of software to accomplish your goals with another set of software.
Maybe I'm really thinking of "software as culture" instead.
To continue with the software/language analogy, if we just restrict "software" to mean Perl, then what does that make CPAN? CPAN isn't a dictionary. The closest thing to a dictionary would be perl (the executable). CPAN is like an encyclopedia I guess. How does this apply to the larger context of software in general?
- CPAN as encyclopedia is interesting, but how about CPAN as folklore or a repository of commonly held stories? From an "CPAN outsider's" perspective I'd guess that CPAN is the store of cultural knowledge for Perl, or at least a cultural icon.
- I have trouble thinking of "perl executable as dictionary"--I tend to want to just think of it as an interpreter and leave it at that. Perhaps the perl language definition is the dictionary (and grammar), and CPAN is Perl literature. --Pm
What is a dictionary but an interpreter of words? The big difference is that a "traditional" dictionary is a static interpretation, while perl is a dynamic interpretation.
- For some reason "dictionary as interpreter of words" doesn't set correctly for me. I've never thought of a dictionary that way (but perhaps it is). I think a dictionary is more of a history of words--keeping in mind that languages evolve, a dictionary shows its history. --Pm
And, yes, CPAN is certainly Perl literature. It's a compendium of poetry, prose, and prattle. Duh, it's a library! It just doesn't yet have anything as slick as a Dewey Decimal system or a subject index. But that just sounds like a microcosm of the "Internet" as most people know it.
Hmm. So on what evolutionary iteration does self-organization beat the concious organizing force of individual humans? I mean, we haven't even gotten the internet organized enough such that it's "easy" to find what you are looking for. Google is probably the closest thing. Of course, there's no guarantee that evolutionary self-organization will beat google.
Perhaps this is one of those things that needs LongNow? thinking. There's not enough evolutionary pressure to cause the Internet to organize much beyond search engines like lycos, google, altavista, etc. ... Just like the oceanographers whose dead-tree publications are their data. There's an analogy here somewhere, so I'm just going to muddle through. Oceanographers are engaged in time-telling. TCOON built a clock. The internet is also engaged in rampant time-telling. I think the internet needs a clock. The speed at which things happen on the Internet encourages short-range thinking. We're not able to affect a global change (like some sort of indexing scheme that everybody can use) because we're too busy fighting battles rather than winning wars.
- This is a very interesting line of thinking. --Pm
Or, perhaps the task of which I write is so far abstract from the day-to-day internet that it's not interesting (read: profitable) enough to engage any group or organization for the length of time it would take to accomplish it. But then, I don't know what people are doing in this area right now, since this is all off-the-cuff.
- I'm not too worried about immediate profitability--we can find other things to keep us occupied (employed) until then. It's more important to come up with the vision/ideology and BHAGS. --Pm
I guess I need to read "The Clock of the Long Now". My brain has been working with concepts injected from Pm, but maybe it needs to do it's own distilling.
So I was looking through http://www.joelonsoftware.com/ for the article Joel Spolsky did that talked about "commoditizing your cofactors" when I ran across Converting Capital Into Software That Works. I've read this article before, but upon scanning it again, something jumped out at me. Okay, well, it peeked at me from behind a curtain anyway ...
- The next problem with build-a-better-mousetrap is that we've reached a state with Internet software where there is too much money around chasing the same lame ideas.
This resonated with Pm's "economy of abundance" in my head and my own personal experience on the web. More later when the thoughts gel, but the quick list is: "internet software" == short term money maker, long term dead end. There's an abundance of everything except ideas. Thought economy.
- Actually, Pm thinks there's even probably an abundance of ideas, but that a good idea alone is not sufficient. And I wonder if perhaps it's the case that all software (not just internet) is a short-term money maker and long-term dead end. Perhaps what the Internet did (as the Internet typically does) is to make the market so efficient as to enable everyone to see what "software as product" is really worth: very little. This certainly has some relation to the open source movement (especially the Free Software Foundation), where the focus is on profiting from things surrounding the software as opposed to profiting from the software itself. --Pm
I've read up to but not including chapter 6 in "Built to Last" and I'm starting to get the feeling that I'm being indoctrinated into a school of thought that I mostly already believe but that Pm wants to make sure I believe. :-)
- Actually, Pm is wanting to articulate exactly what Pm believes, and then to build from there. I already know the broad outlines of my own school of thought, but now I want to understand the subtle details as well. For that it helps to talk to people who already have beliefs largely similar to my own (but perhaps with radically different experiences). Thus, I think that any indoctrinations taking place at this point are really "self-indoctrinations"; i.e., figuring out what we think is important and then building from that. --Pm
Chapter six is entitled "Cult-Like Cultures" and I wonder if this is part of the cult. :-)
I'm also wondering when Pm will articulate a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.
- What, you think "One million by forty" is no longer big/ hairy/ audacious enough? ;-) (Yes, I know, that's not really the goal ... ) --Pm
If it were the goal, it would be a soulless goal. Goals without soul go nowhere; soulful goals travel around gaining momentum and rallying people to themselves. We're in need of a soulful goal. (Of course, we'll also need to embrace the genius of the "and" so that we can put food on the table while we're looking :-) --Scott
- Oh, absolutely, which is why I've always said that "One million by forty" is more of a measurement than a goal itself. Personally, I've had enough of soulless goals, and dealing with people whose methods of attaining goals are so at odds with my own.
- I'm certain that at some point in the not-too-distant future I'll be articulating a BHAG, but a few weeks ago I realized that a BHAG alone is barren too. A BHAG has to be tied into a person's/organization's core values and ideology; thus I've been focusing on that instead. Shortly afterwards I started reading Built to Last, and it has been crystalizing much of what I had determined intuitively (but not explicitly) earlier in the month. --Pm