15% of the daily google searches have never been seen before.

According to Google, 15% of their daily search volume is queries they have never seen before. That seems high.

Think how many billions of searches happen daily, and 15% of that Google still hasn’t seen before. As a result of being such a large number, 15% is probably the rate of unique thoughts compared to all thoughts generated. Maybe not exactly, but certainly there is a correlation.

That’s a reminder that when you are out of unique ideas, simply generate more. Eventually, something unique will pop up. The percentage isn’t as small as you think, even if you’re 3X worse than average at thinking up unique ideas, it’s likely with 20 new ideas, one will be unique.

Aligning the axes

Measuring your impact by dollars. That seems to be the way that billionaires do it. They don’t see “impact” as a separate axis. They align it with money.

My take is this isn’t correct. Sure, to make a billion dollars there is a correlation with impact. You can’t have no impact on the world and make a billion dollars. They aren’t direct and linearly proportional though.

Martin Luther King Jr. made a bigger positive impact than most billionaires, but he wasn’t as rich as them. Gandhi made an impact bigger than most millionaires, but he supposedly had a net worth of $1,000.

Choose the axes to judge your life by carefully, and understand, most categories are separate, though a few may be weakly linked.

Computers are an ecosystem.

Why do I have to pay to upgrade my software?

You don’t.

However, eventually you’ll want to search for something on the web and won’t be able to load web pages. There will be a problem though, in an attempt to look better than the competition, every webpage is making ever more detailed fonts. More images and unique graphics in their design. Music. Video. To handle the increased data of it all not being simple text, higher bandwidth technology is needed.

Except your computer isn’t compatible with that. It doesn’t have ports that can handle the data transfer rate, or even just the physical connector itself. If there is an adapter made, it’s still doesn’t fix that your computer is 10 years old and can’t process that amount of data in a reasonable amount of time, which wastes more time of yours than it’s worth. So, you won’t be able to do your research, marketing, social media, networking, emails, etc. Obviously, all of that is important, and can’t be skipped.

Upgrading your hardware to get access to all of that it is then!

But you don’t want to pay us for development to keep our software compatible with that new hardware. So now, faced with a new computer, where every component on it didn’t exist 5 years ago when our software was made, it no longer runs correctly. If we didn’t keep our software maintained for that newer hardware you upgraded to, you wouldn’t be able to run our software on your new system. Without your payment, software can’t support development.

Computers are all an ecosystem that are tied together. It has to be maintained in balance, and it takes money to do that. It’s not a scam. It’s a community you’re a part of, and just like your country, you’re free to leave and find somewhere better, a place where there is no computers, no internet, no hardware, no software, might be for you, though it’s likely being part of the computer ecosystem and paying the fees is your best option, just like staying put and paying the taxes.

P.S. if you like this, check out more at noneofthisisright.com.

Why the past had more need for paid advertising.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Yet, in the early days of photography, carrying around an endless supply of photos wasn’t a possibility. Until only a couple decades ago, most people were probably only carrying around a picture of their children, and that was it.

People didn’t carry around photo albums. Nor did they have videos on them to show people at any moment.

Word-of-mouth was exactly that. People talking about something they experienced. Now it’s not just word-of-mouth, it’s also experience-of-video, or clarity-of-image. People can share much more of what they’ve seen and experienced with others. If you’re doing amazing work, it’s much more likely that someone can clearly communicate how amazing you are to someone else than they could two decades ago.

Do something worth sharing, and let people do the work for you. Perhaps, even encourage them to do so a little bit.

Helping someone else “fake it ’til they make it.”

Plenty of leaders are in over their head. That’s why the world is filled with consultants. People who help leaders stay afloat.

It’s not “fake it ’til you make it.” It’s “help others fake it, ’til they make it.” That’s how you become valued.

P.S. Even if you’re the leader faking it, your business or services are helping someone else fake it too. We’re all imposters. If you accept that early on, it’s easier to do the work or art you want to do.

Read more at noneofthisisright.com

An idea to minimize the clock

The clock is one of the most anxiety-inducing instruments the world has ever invented. It stresses out workers. It makes us painfully aware of how slow or fast they day is passing. It’s necessary for coordinating with others, but often not useful for people that have solo tasks that need completion.

An interesting experiment would be a company that builds a room that has no clocks, no phones allowed, no clocks on computers, etc. Instead of punching a time clock, an employee enters with an agreed task list, and punches out when done regardless of whether it’s been an hour or ten. No one is tracked when they came and when they left, only what was needed and what was completed.

This could be the future of work. It actually is what a lot of people get when they hire consultants. One of the reasons this will become more prevalent is because tasks based on effort over time are being replaced by automation and machinery. Tasks like assembling things, replacing images in a video (like a face in a deep fake), and even truck driving are examples. They all take a certain amount of time to perform and need to be repeated a significant number of times to get the desired number of products, desired result, or get to the desired destination.

As automation continues, things like ideas for marketing, writing books, making movies, are all the types of things that are left. Take the book writing example, that could take a month, a year or a decade. It’s not clear which will yield better results based on time, it’s more likely based on the skill of the writer. What value is there in assigning a time based system for paying for that service? A deadline makes sense depending on your project, but the actual hours spent don’t matter as long as the product is good.

Take some time to consider other ways you can minimize the clock because if you can’t in your work, that work may not exist in the future.

P.S. If you like this post check out more at noneofthisisright.com

Safari’s password recommendation is a network effect.

Safari recommends an automatically generated, alpha-numeric password that is too long for most people to remember. However, syncing it with another device it remembers across the platform. This creates more reason for you to buy other Apple devices because it your Microsoft devices won’t know it. The password generation is driving a network effect.

This should be called a “vertical network effect” because it makes you want more of the same companies products. Where a “horizontal network effect” would be getting friends, family, and other acquaintances to buy a product you have.

Even your strength compounds.

Start going to the gym and you’ll see gains in your strength. Consider if you go from lifting 30 to 45lb dumbbells, you’ve gained more strength than you ever had in total as a toddler who couldn’t even lift 30lbs. Yet, as a toddler, you were gaining strength too.

We start small to develop our strength. We can’t even lift our own heads. As we grow, we grow our strength to match the increased body weight and size.

The universe is filled with things that compound over time. And there may be plenty of cases where you reach your limits, and that compounding gain starts looking like an “S-curve”. If you reach that stage, perhaps it’s time to find another thing to compound. Businesspeople do this by accumulating large wealth, which gets harder to grow due to finding opportunities on that scale, so they start accumulating goodwill through philanthropy.

You too can find something else to grow when something in your life has reached the diminishing returns stage of compounding. However, it takes knowing yourself well to do that.

The case against automating jobs.

I’m a technologist. I believe that technology can empower companies to do better work, make better products, but people and companies do shoot themselves in the foot more often than they should, so everyone should consider the full costs to their companies and to society when making their decisions.

When making a case for any change or marketing in business, especially at public companies, one tool, and a powerful one at that, is a return-on-investment (ROI) calculation. If you’re not familiar, it’s creating all the categories of costs for before and after purchase scenarios. If you save money fast enough after purchase, and it pays itself back in a reasonable period, usually 3 years or less, it’s worth it.

It’s debatable how accurate ROI analyses actually are. They are developed by humans, so they aren’t infallible.

As an example, a company may choose to implement automation systems that replace human labor. It seems like a simple calculation. The cost of the human labor today vs. the cost of the machinery, the operating costs, the maintenance costs of tomorrow, which is cheaper?

Here’s two more items that can be put in the list to make the comparison more fair:

Humans are adaptable creatures. If the marketplace shifts, we need a new reorganization, they can do it at costs probably limited to training time. Automation equipment can be redesigned, reprogrammed, rebuilt, but there is a lot of effort and cost to that. Evaluate costs carefully.

Killing your own market. Henry Ford famously paid high wages for workers. It created demand for his products. Henry Ford is quoted often by executives, but they often ignore his quote, “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.” Henry Ford understood well-paid employees had money to make purchases like automobiles and that puts money into the economy, and money in the economy floats to people like Henry Ford naturally when that happens. Large corporations are the end-points of consumer dollars. If you make a local, regional or national product and you are a major employer in that locale, region, or nation, if you automate jobs, you may collect more money the first year, but after that, the chain of job loss in your locale, region, or nation can kill demand for your product, all of a sudden those numbers in the ROI calculation are no longer holding true, how do you build this in your model?

Beginning the process of automation can make hiring more difficult. Once people see that the end goal is an automated operation, they don’t see a long-term option. They see uncertainty. Most people try to avoid that. How are you accounting for increased recruiting costs?

Perhaps in the future, executives will consider these points and also consider what would happen if every time they calculated an ROI, they took 50% of the return and asked how they can distribute that to their employees? That 50% will come back. We’re in a system. Increased spending leads to more increased spending, decreased spending leads to more decreased spending. It’s time to recognize this, and be a part of the system for companies own benefit. You can be greedy and be generous at the same time.

P.S. I should turn this into a letter and send it to Fortune 500 executives.

The necessities of life.

  1. Air/Oxygen
  2. Water
  3. Food
  4. Shelter
  5. Clothes
  6. Protection
  7. Energy
  8. Transportation
  9. Digital Devices

I wrote the list above in the order that I assume will kill you quickest if you don’t have it. Without air you’re dead in minutes or even seconds. Water in days. Food in weeks. Shelter depends on what kind of natural disasters happen. Clothes protect you from sunburn, and insect bites, and temperature fluctuations. Transportation allows you to be a bigger part of society and digital devices extend transportation.

For the last items 8 and 9, consider the ramifications of not having them on getting a job. Finding places to even apply would be extremely limited without them, let alone the applications themselves.

If looking at it objectively, society has been growing to fulfill the necessities listed above. Humans formed communities to distribute the work of finding water, gathering, hunting and preparing food, building shelters, making clothes, living in close vicinity for protection. Later, with technological advancements, creating energy for heating, washing, cooling, lighting, etc., became part of everyday life. When adding the last two, transportation and digital devices the need for energy grew further.

Tying these necessities to the economy, each necessities grows the economy. Therefore, adding necessities is a way of growing the overall economy significantly.

The mechanics of destroying a job.

Disclaimer: This post is me thinking out ways to improve society and is only one step of a series of thoughts. It may not be accurate, or represent my true beliefs at the moment, I’m trying to develop them on a more complex subject.

  1. Take a job that needs doing and has a lot of people employed doing it, and figure out each and every step in the process of doing so.
  2. Write those steps down.
  3. Temporarily hire, or contract another company to work on the technology required to do the work of building programs, hardware, or systems that replace the jobs.
  4. Once complete, keep on a small amount of staff, or retain on contract the company that made the system to perform maintenance on it, at a significantly smaller cost than the jobs that were replaced.

The goal of this is to shift money from the labor at the bottom into higher profits at the top. I don’t believe that is inherently evil because by everyone looking out for their own good, we had a strong society for a while. However, technological shifts have created a market that will soon cease to function without something unforeseen popping up. The timeline is debatable, but it still needs to be addressed.

When someone is deciding how to invest their money, they look at cost/benefit analysis and return on investment (ROI). In this case, the ROI is the biggest on finding the most jobs that can be replaced, at least generally speaking. And the technology is getting so advanced there are a lot less jobs that aren’t replaceable than there used to be. This is a recipe for the largest displacement of workers society has ever seen.

I’ve heard about Universal Basic Income (UBI). While I think it’s a good possible solution, I’m not sure it’s the most valuable solution. As with any problem, there is opportunity, but to understand that opportunity, understanding the problem thoroughly is a pre-requisite. Trying to clearly understand how a job is destroyed is straight-forward, written in only 4 steps above. How a job is created is a different animal.Research on job creation leads to talk about company creation, while ignoring competition. Information about taxes. Discussion about interest rates. In reality, these lead to how jobs are “distributed”, rather than created.

The mechanics of job creation, that’s something I’m going to keep thinking about, as we all should. After we’ve thought deeply about it, and can agree on at least a few points, then we can start to address the opportunity for bettering society with the technology we have at our disposal today.

I don’t know what to search for a watch I want…

except perhaps a brand name, which isn’t important to me. I care about the style. This problem arises from how we describe watches.

“Luxury watch” for example. Isn’t that how we describe any watch these days? We all have the time on our phone after all, so a watch isn’t really necessary.

“Cheap watch” doesn’t seem unique.

What other words can I use:

  • “Silly”
  • “Strange”
  • “Wacky”

The list can go on for quite a bit. Except the problem is none of these describes a specific watch all that well. It might lead you to a site like Amazon, or other shopping site, but it doesn’t lead to a specific watch. Even when I type in something like “brown leather band, with brass and unique movement” I don’t get the watch I’m envisioning, or something close.

It’s likely for certain things, those with an artistry about them, we’ll always have to shop. That is a problem and an opportunity.

It means people will always be looking, and we aren’t constrained by Google, but it means it’s hard for us to be clear and find those who are seeking us, however, by finding a group, or community who want the watches you make, your word can spread.

Hire for emotional intelligence…

train for skills.

I’ve heard this from people like Gary Vaynerchuk. And while I agree it’s much easier to train for technical skills, isn’t this leaving people behind? 50% of people are less emotionally intelligent than average. That means that following this logic, the top 50%, or less, get their choice of jobs, while the lower 50% are screwed. Add in the fact they already aren’t good at handling emotions, are being hurt in their pursuit of a great life as a result, and at the same time being handed a microphone through the internet. It’s clear why the internet is filled with angry rhetoric and people who feel their situation is hopeless.

Emotional intelligence can be stunted early on by being born in a bad situation, without people willing to work on this with their workers, nothing improves for people. Like I said, by definition 50% of population is worse than average! That’s 3.5 Billion people left behind!

What’s the solution? I don’t have any bulletproof ideas at the moment, but I do have a couple thoughts.

Mr. Rogers was trying to address this. He was trying to get kids, even in bad situations, to learn how to handle their anger, sadness, shyness, and be strong inside. A lot of kids with neglectful parents still had a TV. I think he made good progress. However, it’s on everyone to teach, which isn’t easy, if it was, the saying would be, “Hire for technical skills, train for emotional intelligence.”

The common good of society is built when people care about workers of all abilities and temperament. Minimum wage jobs may exist because some skills are less marketable, but in any healthy society, anyone working should be getting developed in some way, even if it’s their employer seeing them as a person, and showing them how to be the best person they can be.

Who made the wrong choice?

Without an outside authority, it’s unlikely two parties of differing opinions will ever come to an agreement on who made a wrong choice if something doesn’t go as planned.

This is the central reason why humans, and even animals, have always needed leaders. Someone to make the call, settle the dispute.

Everyone has an internal narrative that tells them what they believe, filtering their view of the world. At times, telling someone, “We’ll trust your narrative, regardless of what our says,” eliminates some problems and discontent. It allows for better coordination, and teamwork.

Having a team of one is easy, there’s only one narrative. Two is harder, unless there is a clear power dynamic, employer/employee type relationship. More than that, and a leader is necessary to create the narrative.

However, that leader doesn’t have to let it go to his head, he’s not necessarily right either, it’s simply by agreeing to follow his story, everyone can get on with it.

P.S. Now you understand why this blog is called, “none of this is Right”.

Let’s not confuse making better things with improving economic conditions.

Imagine you go out for burgers once per week. The restaurant is near your house, and you were perfectly content with the hamburgers you get there. Then a new burger place opens up, that employs 30 people. Their burgers are obviously superior to your old place, the prices are good, and it’s cleaner, newer, and the people are friendlier. This business makes you happier than the old place, and everyone in the neighborhood feels the same. Eventually, the old place loses business and closes. The new hamburger place shifted the jobs, and made the burgers in town better, but it didn’t move the town forward economically.

That cycle happens everyday. While it’s a positive ratchet for society, achieving better outcomes and products for consumers, it’s not actually pushing the economy forward.

Why are Harmon Brother’s commercials remarkable?

The Harmon Brother’s make commercials that move products off the shelf, or out of the warehouse. More than anything though, the commercials themselves are remarkable.

Reflecting on what makes them remarkable isn’t an easy task, but here’s a few thoughts:

  • Their length is non-standard, much longer than a typical ad, so it seems more valuable. They aren’t trying to do the ten second ads, the ones you skip, because they can’t provide value in that time, so they have to do something to hold your attention for the time they need. Squatty Potty and Purple mattress commercials are roughly 3 and 4 minutes respectively.
  • They have a unique style. The animations. The writing. The set designs. The sound effects. It’s a mix of modern and old-times that is unique enough to be recognizable.
  • They mix humor and education. The humor serves to make it entertaining (and less gross in the case of the Squatty Potty), the education teaches you how to evaluate your need of the product being showcased, and against other similar products. Both provide a reason to watch to the end.
  • They clearly explain the product and process. After watching the commercials, you understand what problem you have, how the product will solve it, and what to expect. Compared to many ads that are made to only provide brand awareness, these are more likely highly produced theatrical sales pitches.

As I wrote those out, my thoughts became clearer to me, the way that the Harmon Brother’s stand out is by being a sales team in a marketing industry. Most marketers are looking for “awareness” something that is a bit ethereal, while the Harmon Brother’s seem to be looking for sales.

Of course, their production quality doesn’t hurt either.

Increasing life expectancy and shifting career expectations.

Work and save until you’re 65, then retire.

That used to be the goal of most people, and when the life expectancy is 72-74, it was viable. Inflation wouldn’t be a big problem over the years you were retired if the economy stayed “normal.”

However, life expectancy has been increasing. I did the math during some retirement planning a year or two back, and if the increases hold steady, and I live to the average life expectancy during that time, I’ll kick the bucket at a ripe old 113 years!

Look at the mathematical side of this. Using 22, the age after a 4 year degree, as a baseline of working age, by 65 most people have worked around 43 years. Then they retire for on average 7-10 years. That means retirement is less than 25% of the career length, fairly easy to save and budget for that when you have worked four years for every one retired. Even saving 10-15%, with a little growth in investments, and a little cost-cutting in retirement, it can be made to work nicely for those who don’t encounter too many obstacles along the way.

Contrast that with retirement in my scenario, if I retire at 65, I’ll have 48 years of retirement to fund. That’s saving over a year of retirement costs for every year working. Add in future inflation, and without other shifts in the world, retirement at 65 isn’t possible.

That means that a different outlook is needed. Let’s discuss that:

  1. To have a similar retirement to current retirees, a 4:1 ratio of working years to retirement for an expected life span of 113 would require me to work until 95. This assumes I work a typical job, and the calculation doesn’t include the compounding of investments growing to a point where they make more than working for a salary, which could happen earlier as 50 years of investment growth is a long time.
  2. Looking through an alternate option, it might be that the new model of retirement means spending decades working and saving until opening some sort of business that can run and generate income in perpetuity. Then and only then, can someone retire.

For many, retirement decisions influence their career choices. These two thoughts are just something to think about.

The “I hate Elvis” badge

There is a story about Elvis’ manager selling badges that say , “I hate Elvis” as a way to make money from people who didn’t like Elvis.

It’s a reminder that there are two ways to make money on any side, the only side that you can’t make money on is indifference.

This thought is a blessing and a curse. It’s why the internet has become such a divisive place. Take the lesson, but wield the idea responsibly.

Comedy vs. Drama

According to Ricky Gervais, comedy is someone doing a task they are ill-equipped for, I have to agree with him because although I don’t watch them often, I find videos of drunk people trying to do anything (not self-harming, violent, or driving) produces the most full-bellied laughs possible from me provided that I know they are okay today.

The issue is, “The Hero’s Journey” is how most dramatic movies or any story at all is written. Which is a character has some large problem to overcome, meets a guide, who gives them a plan, and calls them to action. When you look at the hero, they are ill-equipped in the beginning, so how is every story not comedy?

The difference then between comedy and drama is a guide, a plan and a call to action. A comedy has none of those due to over-confidence. Over-confidence is comedic, under-confidence is dramatic. Not planning is comedic, thorough planning is dramatic. Not having a guide is comedic, having one is dramatic.

Michael Scott from the Office is a funny character because he is over-confident, doesn’t have thought out plans for achieving what he wants, and has no one guiding him, even when he occasionally calls David Wallace, he’s rushed off the phone.

I didn’t write this to be a student of theater. I wrote it to clarify what can be achieved with customers. Sometimes it’s good to use humor to get everyone in good spirits, then use drama to create tension, however in sales things are always going to skew towards dramatic because you should be the guide, you should give them a plan, and you should call the customer to action, that is all the outline of a drama, the comedy is only for fake-outs.

Access to the right network.

Used to be limited. If you didn’t know the right people, you wouldn’t know how to reach them.

Then came public records. Things like company filings that list the officers of a company.

Then came the internet. You could look up who you needed to reach in order to gain access to the right network.

The limitations of our circumstances are shrinking as time moves forward, even if it doesn’t feel that way.

Before the structure exists.

When most people design websites, they think about everything they’ll need in the future and try to make it perfect. This is why there are so many empty blog links on small business websites.

If I did a deep design before I started writing I wouldn’t have known what I needed. I knew I would add additional items, but the only goal I had for this site when I started was to serve as a blog to put my thoughts out there and clarify my thinking.

There are times to treat projects like architecture, making plans and constructing to specifications. Then there are times to just get started before the structure exists, it all hinges on:

Are you following a known path?

Are you clear about what you want out of it?

Do you know how much it will cost? Does it matter?

Commitment is when you stop counting the time.

A marriage is certainly a commitment. And you don’t get married to count down the days.

I’ve met plenty of people who say they are committed to something. Yet, they are looking for the months, weeks, days, until they get their “payday.”

I’ve been one of those people too.

Want to know if you’re committed to something? When you’re no longer tracking the time, you’re committed to it.

How to determine all the factors of taste in a cupcake.

It’s hard for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to know what makes a cupcake taste good without advanced labeling, yet an experienced cupcake maker can know intuitively.

With that in mind, if it is the experienced cupcake maker labeling different recipes and their associated taste on a scale of 1-10, the AI is then building a mathematical model of the bakers tastes.

In this case, we can see that it’s not likely that the AI will be able to make better original cupcakes than the baker, more likely that given a recipe, it can tell you whether the baker would like it or not.

In reality, as we start to look at the mathematics of things, it’s entirely possible that without enough data, it will still do that incorrectly. For example, the baker may taste two similar recipes one made with chocolate frosting and another made with orange frosting. Both rated as 9’s.

It then combines them thinking it will boost the score, only to find out that the baker rates the new recipe a 4. She doesn’t like the combination of orange and chocolate.

In the same vein, if a person sat with a cupcake tester and got feedback on 1,000 different cupcakes, I would think that even without a particular model, they would be able to predict new flavors that person would like.

People seem to think AI will take over the world and do everything. While there is certain applications it’s strong at, creativity is still the realm of humans.