I flew back from Europe on Wednesday, and the airline misplaced my luggage. To get it back, they've imposed a ton of steps on ME. "Here's your reference number. Call our customer support in 24 hours. Follow-up every day until you get it" is what I was told (and what I'll have to do).
It seems unfair that an act that was 0% my fault results in at least several hours of tasks for me. I have to follow-up. I have to wait on hold. I have to spend time thinking and wondering if my luggage will ever show up.
How do we avoid this? Getting angry doesn't work (trust me, they've been yelled at). Ignoring it doesn't work - no luggage will show up. So I guess the only real solution would be to have a personal assistant or otherwise hire someone to deal with situation like this for me? That seems out of reach for most people.
All sorts of things are like that -- if someone sues you, they've imposed literally dozens of hours of work and thousands of dollars of expenses on you entirely without your say. You can delegate as much as you want to a lawyer, but you'll still need to gather documents, think about strategies, and of course pay your lawyer.
So how does one really truly say "no" to things & delegate undesirable tasks unless one has enough money to afford such delegation? I'm not sure I have a good answer to this one yet.
For annoyances, or things imposed on you, as described above, various Zen practices come to mind. Life is full of suffering, and obligation, and the most at peace simply acknowledge and fulfill them. The koan of the novice experiencing anger after the master disrupted a practice with a seemingly trivial action- with the master pointing out that he left it behind, it was the novice who carried it around, etc. Practice not thinking/worrying about whether you will get your luggage back. Make the calls, wait on hold, but don't worry. It will either happen or it won't. Objects are so commodified now, if you truly need a lost object, you can just buy another. The psychic angst is not worth it.
It seems Buffet, Jobs, Gates and anyone who got lucky early can say whatever they want, but they are also trapped in their own success, just like Google. Nothing else they do seems like "success" compared to their one big hit (Berkshire Hathaway, Macbook + iPhone, Windows, and of course the search-ad engine).
Sure, having a strategy is great, but usually for most people that should be try a few things, see what sticks, fail early, fail often, get into groups where network effects will carry your project/startup.
Meanwhile, I went to college to better my life and ended up a slave
I'm not quite there yet though.
I obviously don't know your situation nor how you handle your finances. If you have the time to spare though, The Millionaire Next Door is a interesting read on exactly this topic (how some people with high incomes don't seem to be able to save a lot of money, while some others actually manage the inverse). Not saying that it'll fix your situation, but it might provide an interesting perspective. Best of luck to you in any case, I'm sure you'll get through it.
Self checkout lines. Dealing with interactive voice menus. Waiting on hold. Whatever.
It's like any time support doesn't fall neatly into one of several predefined buckets the burden of dealing with any ambiguity falls onto the consumer.
Maybe it increases their profits. Maybe it decreases our quantifiable costs. But it's exhausting.
It's not directly analogous but software folks often talk about the merit in using external libraries for anything that's not a core business concern. But I'm curious what grocery stores or airlines would consider their primary business. Are they in the service industry or are they trying to just be food or airplane logistics players who lament their current requirement for a customer-facing physical presence.
This shouldn't be the only option; "self-service or no service" is not my goal, but I appreciate the fact that 8 self-service lanes can allow a lot of customers to check out without waiting and in an affordable fashion. (Customers are paying for all the labor in any enduring company.)
The checkout-free store (like Amazon Go) is of course even better than a self-checkout in terms of customer experience.
Of course, those businesses that are reasonable or customer-centric are less likely to make these kinds of choices.
Worst of all, more and more systems are built by a small segment of like-minded middle-class workers. They are blind to the peculiarities and the struggles of other cultures.
With those firmly established factors, I expect this to get much worse.
Learning the consequences of your “yes” for various things and what you’re willing to accept is how you can manage this in the future.
And in fact this happens a lot with a lot of situations - people forget (including me!) that very little “happens to us” without our input. (Obviously some things are totally out of our control, but I’d argue less than we might think.)
This reminds me of a kid I met years ago. He always seemed to be in some bad situation or another - a personal injury lawsuit, a fight with a client, a fight with a boss, etc. He always framed it as bad luck - lots of bad things just happened to him and he was pretty melancholy about his lot in life.
It wasn’t until I spent a week with him on a group trip that I got some more perspective - he made a lot of bad decisions. If someone called him a name, he wouldn’t walk away - he went in and started yelling (made the personal injury lawsuit make more sense). If one of his clients had a request, he didn’t just adjust - he fought back and argued.
The whole thing was eye opening for me. It wasn’t that bad things happened to him - it was that he regularly made choices that put him on a path to bad things happening. He just never quite realized that and, of course, never reported those parts of the story.
Wondering if this and things like it will help you address the automated assistant issue one problem at a time.
Hold really is awful. And it's gotten so much worse during covid. Re how do we avoid this: for starters, there should be laws against companies putting people on hold without providing a callback option. As far as I can tell there's no reason not to offer a callback option except to screw over your customers who aren't willing to wait on the phone and listen to their awful hold music for an hour straight to save some money on customer support and prevent your unwilling customers from cancelling. (BTW while we're at it, there should also be laws allowing anyone to cancel a subscription service online. California partially does this by requiring an online cancellation option when the subscription was started online.)
Even then, I find myself semi-paralysed by the anticipation. It's hard to focus on something else, in case I don't notice the pick up and then they hang up. A callback would be much better.
- bill for your time at a reasonable (previously established), rate. This is if you want to get your stuff back.
- send an invoice for the missing luggage (itemized even). This is for the case where you don’t care about the stuff and just want to be compensated.
If I screwed over a company, they wouldn’t hesitate to bill me. I wish we as consumers would do the same instead of freely spending our time.
Collect evidence for the exact amount of time you spent on this issue, then have a lawyer write a lawyer letter. If they don't pay, sue them.
Companies don't care about their minons getting yelled at. They care about getting sued.
You know, like the flight crew you see walking in the airport.
"are you available for coffee?"
"no, i need to call the airline about my luggage"
And now to have an extra hour or two in your day
- avoid flying
- avoid checking bags
- avoid putting items in checked bags that you care about
These are all subtle ways of saying “no”.
Clothing is so cheap now that if you’re taking a 2-week trip you’d be better off buying clothing at your destination and throwing it out at the end instead of paying for checked luggage on your flights.
Buying a wardrobe of clothes at my destination would take much more time than dealing with lost luggage (which only rarely happens)
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Airman's Odyssey
Looks like you attach ground effect lights, pen holders and some form of computation. Wireless, always on, potentially waterproof with rite in the rain paper  (great notebooks btw)
If it serves a purpose, it is to be symbol of his wealth and power. Like a juggler, that juggles a sixth ball. To wow and impress.
There is a point where all possessions become a liability.
This is why I think rich people are sometimes caricatured as Scrooge McDucks. Every new possessions is a problem. So some overreact, and would rather just hold onto money to an extreme.
A local billionaire patches his rusty international bridge with wood beams.
Extremely rich people fascinate me, because their psychological faults, and inherent human pathology has the fuel to really flower.
> it is to be symbol of his wealth
If this week’s papers are any guide, the symbolism has become more complex.
I say yes to as much as I can, and my life has been extremely fun and interesting as a result. If I could do it again, I'd say yes more and I'd say yes faster.
I see way too many people limiting their own growth because they see themselves as focusing. I personally think playing around is critical — and that we have way more time than we think.
Related: why is it that we think we don't have time to work out, but almost always, whenever we do exercise, the efficiency of work skyrockets?
It seems that all evidence toward any purported positive effects of meditation is extremely speculative, other than "willpower gains" as preached by Kelly McGonigal. The thing is, those can come from focusing on something useful or cardio too.
Even though we know in the abstract that exercise will make our time more effective, we let ourselves be persuaded that we don’t have time because we enjoy working out mentally more than working out physically.
With that being said, would it help people to view exercise as play time? If you go play basketball with a group of guys, are you exercising or playing? For me it doesn't matter, I'm going to be out there either way but for others would the mental shift make a difference?
I don't think sports can fully substitute for a deliberate workout regimen though. with the possible exception of swimming, I don't think there are any sports that really give a full-body workout.
I know there are many here on HN that will loathe the idea of playing sports.
I don't disagree. whatever form it takes, some exercise is better than no exercise. there is some risk in developing certain muscle groups while neglecting others though. you can injure the weakest link doing something you simply wouldn't attempt if all your muscles were equally weak.
I'm pretty sedentary but playing beat saber for 1 hour is a lot more moving than I'm used to.
What's common between Yes and No is that they're both a deliberate act of choice, of having agency in deciding what happens.
For myself, saying No and sticking to my preferences have yielded great results. For example, I hate phones and insist on emails - it's impractical, I know, but by giving firm No's, people respect my communication preference at work and personal life.
On the other hand, there are some directions that I'd like to say more Yes to, to consciously open up possibilities.
I suppose it comes down to knowing when to say Yes and No, and to act on it.
Money as metric for success leads to destruction.
Someone who helps a stranger is successful.
I wish more people would understand that everything that devides us as humans leads to destruction. Everything that unites us leads to good things, which I call success.
I was constantly doing things I didn't want to do because I didn't know how to say no to friends and family, eventually becoming a little resentful at being dragged to too many events and having no time for myself, even though it was always my fault for saying yes too much.
You are saying "yes" to people, which I applaud.
You are not saying "yes" to non-people stuff.
Practice "yes and."
"The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything."
That's very different. This is a message that is useful to hear for extremely driven ambitious people who are already successful - that it's better to spend all the time you spend working on a few carefully chosen things. It should not be interpreted as advice for people who are not extremely driven to not do things. The baseline assumption is that you already spend a substantial amount of time working on potentially productive things.
The submitted title was "Warren Buffett says the most successful people say no to almost everything", which seems reasonable to me. The word "most" conveys what you're saying—in an abbreviated form, but that's how titles work.
However, I've changed the title to the quote now. We often do that when the article is a quote.
"Whether he meant saying no in the investment sense is not so important; what is important is that his advice, in whatever context, can apply to anyone arriving at the crossroads of daily decision-making."
Adding to your point, an underlying assumption is that you have excellent "deal flow," to so speak. If you are bombardment with great opportunities to invest your time, money or effort into then choosing selectively is optimal. If you are limited by enthusiasm, and/or availability of great opportunities (most of us are) then this is not optimal.
This reminds me of top athlete's advice, often totally wrong for the average person. A top athlete might say that avoiding overtraining, and focusing on recovery is the most important thing. To them, getting really good regular workouts in is a given. To the average person, maintaining discipline, enthusiasm and not quitting are by far more important.
The average person who feels that deals are few and far between doesn't feel like they are in a position to say no.
“I call investing the greatest business in the world,” he says, “because you never have to swing. You stand at the plate, the pitcher throws you General Motors at 47! U.S. Steel at 39! and nobody calls a strike on you. There’s no penalty except opportunity lost. All day you wait for the pitch you like, then when the fielders are asleep, you step up and hit it.”
It's just the writer cherrypicking more or less fitting quotes to the opinion article they would have written anyway.
This seems like a restatement of the explore and exploit cycle in evolution. You start off with very little, so you have nothing to lose by exploring every opportunity. Eventually, one or more of those opportunities pays off, and you become successful. Now the odds favor exploitation, since new opportunities are unlikely to be better than the profitable ones you've already discovered. You're better off leaning into those than you are to go off exploring again. Of course, this also means you could get stuck in a local maximum. But life is finite, and the chances of achieving a higher max are low.
If the distribution of opportunities is fat-tailed enough, then given a long enough baseline I concede that continuing exploration might provide greater expected value. But in practice, most successful founders are in their mid-40s, and most businesses take years to grow to fruition. So I think Buffett's advice is good in the real world.
What matters is saying yes to the right things and no to almost everything else. Perhaps then what it is that makes the most successful people of all is the judgment (or luck) to say yes to the right things and the fortitude (or stubbornness) to say no to everything else.
"Winners never quit, and quitters never win. But people who don't win and don't quit are just stupid."
I landed on my feet. Others won't be so lucky. (Ironically, I was only able to be stubborn for so long because I had so much good fortune elsewhere. If I'd had less support, I'd have quit much earlier, and maybe it would all have turned out better.)
The moral of the story: it's better to be lucky than smart.
There's a good argument that attaining that self-knowledge takes at least a decade under any circumstances -- and if you can do so while getting a masters and PhD on the side, you've wasted less than most. :)
If you have a lot less opportunities and far more time while starting near the bottom, a false negative can be a more significant miss for you.
The same arguably applies to all business deals and doesn't have much to do with your current level of success. If you pursue the right opportunities you will do well. I know people who have struggled for years because they consistently went after the wrong opportunities. The difficult part of course is being able to tell the difference!
Some have the luxury of choice. Some take what they can get.
This seems to be a vice of CEOs who focus on "deals" but are not good at operations.
The rules are different there, although of course Jobs' quote about focus, I think, applies to both situations, to some extent.
In other words, I would say that you should start your career saying yes to everything and end your career saying no to everything with some type of smooth interpolation between the two states.
I feel like he is missing the part where if you're a relatively passive person and you keep saying no to everything, you end up alone, bored, and broke. If you are going to say 'no' to people, it's because they are offering you options that might not be the ones you'd choose or make for yourself. So you should demur and work to create your own options.
The best way to predict the future is to create it.
Buffett (and Bill Gates) have cited focus as the single most important factor in their success.
See also Buffett's 25/5 rule (he did not give it this name).
Basically, Buffett's belief is that by not having extreme focus, you dilute your most important asset, time, to a degree that you are unable to accomplish something meaningful in any one area.
His views on time and focus are pretty well captured by the snowball metaphor (with apologies to those who have never lived in colder climates):
"Life is like a snowball. The important thing is finding wet snow and a really long hill."
In other words, w.r.t. this discussion, it doesn't work to be changing hills with any frequency.
I definitely think there's value in the entire "say no to almost everything" philosophy, it's just that I see it regurgitated without much thought all over the place. I'll meet someone who wants to be the next Bill Gates / Steve Jobs / ... / Elon Musk and who deliberately says no to everything been though they have no other options. They're just waiting for that perfect fit which may very well never come.
Steve Jobs may have had to say no a lot, but that may be because he was presented with a lot of opportunities; opportunities that are less available to less successful people. I also imagine Steve Jobs didn't have a lot of time available.
And I've read his biography. He didn't strike me as a man that said no very much when he was younger.
VCs like to brag about the "deals they missed" just to remind you that they were in the room where it happened, but then left the room.
Internet comment sections hate nuance and critical thinking (yes, even HN, we just put lipstick on that pig by being polite and kicking out snarky comments) so it's not surprising they love rules of thumb (which are nearly the polar opposite of applying critical thinking and considering nuances).
"say no to X"
"say yes to X"
"always do X"
"never do X"
Etc. etc. etc.
I'm not sure when I learned this 'power'. I don't think it should be a power, but I know way too many people who don't have it, and watched a number of them go through a bunch of bad excitement followed by regret.
If it's not someone including you in a spontaneous social activity at the last minute, just say no. They know that if you have time to think about it you'd realize it wasn't that great, which is exactly why they aren't giving you time to think about it. It's an attempt to evoke the same feeling of scarcity you experience when your buddy says, "Hey there are only three beers left. Who wants one?" to a room full of people.
So far I have never regretted saying "no" to something (even though I suspected I might regret it at the time). But I have frequently regretted saying "yes" to something.
By saying no to more things, it allows you to have more time to do a good job at the few things you say "yes" to. Plus there is a power in taking your life by the reins and not letting other people dictate what you do because you blanket accept everything they request of you.
Just because someone says it's a once in a lifetime offer, it's still the exact same offer. The words "once in a lifetime" do not change the offer whatsoever. If the answer is no, it shouldn't become yes just because someone says "once in a lifetime".
Sometimes exploding offers are exploitative. Sometimes they are simply “You are plan A, and we are going with plan B if you say no. Plan B is not an evergreen option for us, so we have to put a time limit on our offer to you.”
Also, the larger the company, and the less specialized the role, the higher is the likelihood that "if you're above their competency threshold, then there's some team somewhere that needs more people even if they hire someone else for this role".
I've felt for a long time that there is no such thing as "networking" as its own activity. You build a network by just having life experiences and interests- hobbies, clubs, other parents from school if you have kids, religion, volunteering, side projects, alumni associations, and of course people you've worked with in the past. These relationships need to have some sort of basis other than you wanting something like a job or opportunities.
I don't think applying Warren Buffet's aphorisms to life is a replicable strategy for success. Like most things making your own path is more important than even being successful in the terms that are important to Buffet or whoever really.
You don't have time in real life to be perfect at everything, and you'd better get a lot of things done.
The most difficult part of dedicating all your efforts to one objective is to accept that you are giving up on all the other things you might achieve.
Worse, you need to accept that most people that did that and pursued one single thing were not successful and they simply sacrificed everything else.
The few that succeeded are the ones we know about. We think they chose the right strategy in life, while the truth is that they took the wrong strategy and were very simply lucky.
Taking advice from those people is lime taking advice from wingsuit flyers: not something that smart people should do.
If you are a people pleaser, probably not.
I'm more in the successful category, but it meant that I gave up having a social life. Most of us have to choose.
If he/she doesn't help you, the best thing is to switch teams (start talking with other people who you helped outside your own team). If that's not possible, start interviewing with other companies without mentioning it to your current colleagues.
I have a friend who was doing the same thing as you, went to another team inside the same company, and actually the same kind of thinking that you have (helping other people) helped him get multiple promotions, and he's a team leader with a nice salary, and his team loves him.
Also one more thing: he was using an old language, that's why he was afraid of switching teams. I suggested him to learn any modern language used inside his company to have leverage to be able to switch company if he wants...he just needed to get a bit outside his comfort zone, after that everything came for him (he's still with the same company, but he's happy now).
If you're Warren Buffet, of course you'll have a thousand offers and propositions a day and you have to say no to most of them and find that one gem.
If you're regular Joe (and, yes, that most likely includes YOU reading this) you can't afford to shut down most opportunities or you'll never get anywhere.
Doing what Warren Buffett does works very well for Warren Buffett. The odds are good that it won't work for you. "Choose the right things" is pretty vacuous advice.
He wasn’t saying “bet it all and jump off a cliff and hope you’ll land”. He just said “feel free to stake your own path”. The quote you link also includes staking your own path as a homemaker.
The central takeaway from his advice was to try to find meaning and happiness in what you do. It worked out extraordinarily well for Watterson but his advice applies to far more pedestrian cases too.
The lottery analogy is quite accurate, yes.
It's perhaps especially true for comedy. You can see it when you watch a comic on TV: they're much less funny than in person, because you're not surrounded by a lot of other laughing people. The same routine by the same person can get little more than snickers when done at somebody's open mic night -- unless somebody recognizes that they're famous. Celebrity reinforces itself.
Burnham is very talented and I'm sure he worked like crazy to market his work. But he will also tell you the names of a hundred others who are equally talented and worked equally hard, but you've never heard of them. The market for celebrity is very fickle, heaping huge rewards on a few, but drop off rapidly for people who aren't in the hump of the long tail.
Warren Buffett isn't profiting from celebrity in the same sense, but there's a similar effect where the biggest winners are lucky as well as smart. Their advice often doesn't take that into account, and it's important to measure that in your appetite for risk.
On the other hand, great work doesn't happen by accident.
Great businesses are a result of good management. Good products are results of good design.
Those don't happen by accident, just like a great program doesn't write itself.
You may not be a warren buffet, due to limited opportunities. But, you could leave someone like that penniless and nameless and i'm sure he could leverage his skills and knowledge to be "successful", even if not a mega-billionaire.
Marketing and sales is an important component which is left out (if you care about making money). That's also something you can deliberately work on and improve.
I have no idea the rate of job quitters to successful cartoonists.
Or the rate of successful cartoonists who kept their job (Adams).
I still like to read this insight, but trying to make some axiom or judgement out of it is only useful for demonstrating that I’m not very smart for saying such a thing.
This happens quite a bit.
Anyone with software development skills gets tons of low quality app ideas from friends and family. And tons of other opportunities from recruiters paying below market.
It's hard walking away from a sort-of-ok opportunity when you don't have anything going on, but I've learned there are always more things coming up.
One thing I do agree is that not everyone can say no. For example, if you're a software engineer in a big company, you might not have much say. That's why it's important to get yourself into a position where you have more control on the things you work on. Not easy but you don't need to be Buffet to achieve that.
For a long time I would wind up seeing Becky Quick interview Buffet a few times a year on CNBC, it got cringeworthy when his dementia got worse and he started to leer at her. (Becky Quick is a "babe") Once upon a time he was a genius investor, but he's not what he used to be and they don't have a successor in the works.
For me, I deleted my LinkedIn account recently because it had brought a remarkable number of time-wasters into my life.
> don't have a successor in the works.
Anecdotal, but my experience has been that “no” is one of the most useful words in my vocabulary.
But even of the ones I want... There are many places offering to sell me lunch today, and there are several places where I'd be interested in eating lunch. I can only eat one lunch today, though.
So I think we have the same thing, just with much smaller offers.
I know many people that should be a lot better off in life given their merits, but they are weighed down by an endless parade of other people asking things (help, money, counsel). Their WhatsApps beep every minute without fail. Yet they are incapable of even muting the damn phone for a while.
Advice that doesn't really help the rest of us, much ...
Which is something any toddler knows but since the first part is absent, the second can't happen in order to make the first one to be even possible to be found.
Establish yourself as someone capable, eager, and motivated.
Don't come in to a new org and be like, "No, I'm going to be successful by telling people no." Oof.
This advice is really for senior people, and it's to prioritize so you get the important things done.
Poor people rarely get any opportunity at all so they're forced to say yes to every opportunity just to survive.
They operate within the environment that dozens of people daily are coming up to them and giving them opportunities to choose among new ventures, investing opportunities, charities to lead, ways to spend their money.
Of course, duh, if that's your life, then go ahead and pick and choose, pass up things that others offer you, making your life only better and more focused.
The problem is they forget when they were hungry, unrecognized, struggling-to-make-their-name, more-time-than-money people. When no one was knocking on their door wanting to talk to them. When they were saddled with thousands in student loan debt maybe. Or maybe they were never any of these things.
The normal person is starved for opportunities to advance, to be recognized, to try out new things. The average Joe doesn't get a lot of things to say "no" to. The average person doesn't have a life mission of what to do with their vast wealth and time remaining on Earth, like a Warren Buffett does. Sure, feel absolutely free to say no to fixing GM cars because your passion is Aston Martins, or how about not waiting tables today because you really want to be a cook? Or, for that matter, saying that you don't want this group of Jira tickets on infrastructure because you really want to do UI? Hm?
For many (maybe most) people, life is a combination of random walks that you say "yes" to many of the paths you come across, and hope that it leads you somewhere good. Having choices is a luxury. Don't forget that.
I will say that yes, you should have perspective and opinion about what you want to do, and not want to do in life, and what paths you want to go down. And you should work every day to build up the ability to have choices. But most people operate within far more constraints than these celebrities and don't have such luxury to be passing up new opportunities.
This is like lottery winners telling people how to succeed in life. Fun, but dangerous for the average listener. You go and try being as obnoxious and choosing to focus as Steve Jobs, and please report back...
6. They say no to giving the steering wheel of life to anyone else. Another Buffett quote affirms this: "You've gotta keep control of your time and you can't unless you say no. You can't let people set your agenda in life."
7. They say no to people-pleasing. Successful people don't neglect their deepest wishes and desires to accommodate and yield to others' wishes and desires.
As a woman, I find that pretty much everyone thinks I should do stuff for them "out of the goodness of my heart" and, no, it doesn't come back to me as career networking or some crap. I was literally homeless for years and people would be all gushy about what a wonderful person I was and how much value I added to both HN and other forums and then be all basically "STFU and stop whining at me, you worthless bitch" if I was all "That's great, but I can't fucking afford to eat. Can I get some help trying to establish an income here if you think I'm so wonderful?"
Nope. Absolutely not.
So one of the ways I have slowly begun making my life work is by walking away from a zillion opportunities to be a chump and be helpful to people who will never, ever, ever, ever do a fucking thing in return for me.
It hasn't made me a millionaire, but I have saved millions on what my medical condition is supposed to cost, so it is clearly worth real money and never mind how dirt poor I remain, in part due to rampant and blatant sexism while everyone acts like I am higher than a kite for pointing that fact out.
I really hate this, and it's so stupidly common.
I constantly hear "How can I get so-and-so to do X?" and my response is almost always "Did you think about paying him money?"
And, when I deal with artists, it's sad how little money it takes to actually get the attention of people who are world-class but not celebrity famous.
I once had a discussion with one about why he was wasting time dealing with me (who will never be world class on my musical instrument) and he confided that I was the only person to actually pay him any money in the last month and a half.
I was completely shocked and appalled.
I have a website, but it's only like two pages so far. I'm still trying to work out where I am going to go with this.
But there are local organizations that supposedly are doing economic development and I'm not actually seeing that happen. And I think it probably will not ever go anywhere.
I'm actually doing economic development, but I can't figure out how to make it pay. I run r/ClothingStartups and people are promoting their indie brands there, but being a moderator of Reddit doesn't pay anything. I run a bunch of blogs with useful info, but a lot of it is aimed at helping homeless people and poor people.
And it's very much needed and it's very much effective, but it still pays me a pittance. I'm not sure how to sort that out.
I'm working on it.
Since I am not going to get that job, I am trying to figure out how to do this on my own and make enough money at it to make it worth my while, knowing that the guy who got the job I applied for is likely to continue stealing anything I publish on the internet that he can use to pretend to do his job.
I have set up a reddit site called r/CoastalWA. This area is making national news as a relative safe haven in the face of things like climate change, but it's all small towns and unincorporated communities. So these are places that don't have a lot of funds to spend and anyone really talented tends to get a better paying job in a bigger city elsewhere. (The town I lived in interviewed a city manager candidate, offered them the job and they went elsewhere for more money.)
I have a background in doing volunteer work and my target market is people without a lot of resources, but I think it is important work. And any business has some stuff they give away for free -- even the multi-billion dollar business Y Combinator, which provides HN for free.
I kind of want to do what Y Combinator has done, only for small town and unincorporated communities and for mostly small businesses and micro businesses. So I can't use a VC model like they are using.
But if no one does this work, then outsiders with money will just come in here, buy up cheap land and piss all over everything.
I don't want to set up a non-profit. I would rather tun this as a sole proprietor and give away a lot for free on my website plus offer paid services and try to get it crowd funded by people willing and able to give a few bucks a month to a Patreon or whatever, but unable to pay the big salaries for a full-time local planner or the big fees for someone doing significant work on a contract basis.
I am still working out the details in my mind.
Thank you for engaging me! It is always good to have something to chew on or reply to. It helps me think!
The only method I've found that works for transitioning class is to make rich people feel like they are missing out on something they can't buy. Being an appropriately confident jerk that is willing to starve rather than give them an endless loop of scope creep. Charge more than even I think I am worth and when they tell me that's too much politely tell them good luck. It cuts down on the noise of non-serious actors and makes people that want to be serious take note.
I barely have an inkling of how hard that would be if I wasn't a white man with an abnormally deep voice. I've seen how women and people color are discounted and expected to be silent when speaking real truth and someone who sounds like what bossman thinks reflects them gets boosted without question.
What a mess. Glad you saw through the "rules" of the game and made it work for you. Cheers.
I was openly attacked, dismissed and criticized. Later, they would implement my suggestions (badly -- they couldn't actually get it right) and take credit and pretend I hadn't been the person who originally suggested it.
I finally quit all my volunteer work because everyone in town knows I am dirt poor and they are stealing my ideas and not helping me establish an earned income of my own while pretending they are doing economic development.
The guy they hired for the job I applied to finally put up a website like a couple of weeks ago after having the job for 2.5 years. I dragged it on one my blogs and within hours of me saying "He should do X on his website" he would make edits in line with that. This happened three days in row. I finally took all the posts down.
So he is cyberstalking me to continue stealing ideas from me.
I'm trying to figure out how to establish my own company. I can't believe this guy still has this job, he's so incompetent. But, I mean, he has the right bits between his legs and I guess that's all that really matters.
I really appreciate your comment.
My suggestion is to not look to them in figuring out your business.
I've heard that in the USA, some of the government services are staffed by retired business owners who are volunteering for something to do. That makes sense that there could be a person in there who could be a helpful mentor. If they had a successful business, and have done well enough to be able to retire, they probably like doing business, and know what it takes. Retiring cuts a bunch of the stress out, and volunteering to work with new business owners lets them keep a hand in what they love to do. If you can find something like that, or find a retired former business owner to mentor you, that would likely put you far ahead of dealing with EcDev.
I live in this town. I would be happy to help people succeed in developing it, but I was treated so badly that I don't even want to help these people anymore.
Anyway, I am doing my own thing and maybe that will finally pan out for me financially. The short version is I had a lengthy health crisis and I am more able to work now. So hopefully that will lead to more money, in spite of the world being a lousy place full of lousy people.
Time to start employing “trap streets”?
I was howling into the void in frustration about my life. It's only aggravating because it is evidence of malice aforethought on his part in how he has treated me for two years and that walking away from my volunteer work won't rid me of the problem. He will continue to be a problem because his bad behavior is willfully malicious and not because he really thought I was dumb because I'm a woman or poor or whatever.
I'm still thinking about how I will handle this for stuff that I want to do that is "serious" and not me just bitching about my life randomly.
Rather than successful people say, "No", successful people are in place to pick and choose what projects to say no to. How can we modify our environment, our skills, our place in the graph of actions and results so that we have things to say no to.
We need to differentiate ourselves, have purpose, be needed and have things to offer that others want. Some compete head on and try to become the best in something, others rush to what is new, but the ultimate destinations are similar. One stands out in some metric.
Sounds like the advice now reads, differentiate yourself and broadcast your capabilities so that you have the opportunity to say, "No". And it isn't ultimately the "No", it is the "Yes" to the right project but they are rare, so we need numbers to find the right opportunities.
Choices are like wealth/money. You need to build it up before you can use them (practically).
Some people are born with / work their way to / create the bank of choices for themselves. Others find themselves down roads where they don't have the money/bank of credibility, experience to make choices freely.
The wealthy often think that everyone has the same choices as they do. As if it were just like the amount of $ they do.
You might have choices, but to use them you need to create the margin for yourself to do so.
How do we create structures and patterns that maximizes the opportunities that people have to differentiate themselves and have those choices?
The difference between the people who don't have many choices and those who do is not money or wealth. It's whether they do what someone wants them to do, or they do what they want to do. It turns out when you do what someone else wants you to do, your choices are rather limited. But once you have a goal and you struggle to achieve it, then you suddenly have lots of distractions, lots of ideas how to achieve it in different ways, lots of ideas about alternative goals, and little time to spend with your inner social circle. So you have to choose very carefully what to do, and what not to do.
PS. I have to admit I'm lucky to like doing something that also pays off well. Not everybody is that lucky.
Really? other people have so many career goals? I’d be hard pressed to come up with more than 3 or maybe 5 tops. 25??
Why does his advice matter?
That is the decision. Do you want to be super successful in one thing or a more balanced life.
Warren: No. <Hangs up>
Author: Oh, crap. I need to pay some rent. <Writes "Warren Buffett says the most successful people say no to almost everything">
Really really successful people have handlers that say no to everything.