Entropy and Inefficiency
Listen. I get it. I like things that are on sale. I buy things that are on sale. But truth be told, I have a great distrust for things that are "on sale". This is because I spent most of my life buying things that are on sale, only to watch these items crash and burn to a fantastic death. Eventually, I realized that there is a cost to almost everything that is “on sale”.
Everybody loves a sale because everybody thinks that a sale is a deal, but everybody is wrong. Read more »
I promise it was an accident. It wasn’t an elaborate plan. It just started with a need. I needed a test-prep book for my students to prepare them for a state math exam. I probably put in 4-5 different searches on Google over the span of 3 months, and I could not find what I wanted. Every time I would type in the specifics of what I wanted, Google would pop up with “No results found.”
Finally, one day it just hit me: why don’t I make what I want? Why don’t I just write this book myself? I had already conducted extensive research into the exam, I had spent 5 years in a classroom teaching remediation classes, and I have an irreversible tendency to do things before realizing how hard they will be. I was sitting in a rocking chair on a Saturday morning, and for five hours, I stared out the window and thought about what this book would look like and whether or not I would make the commitment. Suddenly, I made a decision: I decided to write the book. I arose from the rocking chair, went to my computer, bought the domain name for the business, and then I opened a Microsoft Word document and started writing.
It is important to note that I had never started a business and I had never written a book. I have no business background. I studied environmental science and theology in college, which means that I memorized the periodic table, played in streams, and studied ancient texts. This is not your standard foundation for business. I was just a crazy math teacher.
As it turns out, being “crazy” helped immensely. Starting a business is crazy. I am crazy. It was a good match. Read more »
My roommate in college was named Tom Fisher. He was tall, an "uber nerd" (his words, not mine), and annoying. He also became one of my best friends.
He was annoying because of the following reasons:
1. He cheered for the Denver Broncos.
2. He studied philosophy.
3. He talked about philosophy when all I wanted to do was play Super Mario Brothers 3.
4. He wore Transformers T-Shirts BEFORE they were cool.
5. He used a Mac.
I ridiculed my roommate for all of these characteristics, as any good friend would do. Today, however, I am making an official apology to Tom Fisher for one of those criteria. I publicly apologize to Tom Fisher for ridiculing his use of a Mac. Read more »
Recently, I was given an option: go work out in an open space with plenty of leg room, ventilated air, and easy access to what I needed, or I could go work in a small closet that offered none of these amenities. I picked the closet.
Several factors converged to inspire this decision. Read more »
Photo: Ted Fines
GM went bankrupt because they cared more about themselves than about their customers. Their primary focus was no longer on developing great cars. Their primary focus was on getting paid. So the Executives decided to invest their future in gas-guzzling SUV’s, and the unions demanded higher pay for less work. There was a strong sense of entitlement, they sought profit without production, and they wanted more money for less work. This will bankrupt you every time.
American Education is the next GM, and it is going to go bankrupt (unless something changes) for the exact same reason: because the people working in the company have an unconquerable sense of entitlement. American Education is a “company” filled with people who are seeking profit without production. I already told you what this causes. Read more »
If you want to get things done, you will occasionally need to use some dynamite. But before using dynamite, one must understand the difference between necessary work and important work. Necessary work is work that people tell you to do. In teaching, the necessary work is the following: Read more »
I have a very simple process for finding work that I love.
1. Do a bunch of different jobs.
2. Quit the jobs that are boring and suck life from my bones.
3. Keep doing the work that is left over.
Notice that this method of “finding your calling” is all about elimination. You do a bunch of different things, and you just STOP doing things that you don’t like. What is left over? Things that you DO like. A basic mathematical equation of this phenomenon looks something like this:
(All possible work) – (the work that is boring) = (Work that is NOT boring)
I am a great quitter. I am one of the best quitters in the entire world. If there is ever a Quitters Hall of Fame, I will be a first ballot candidate. I have 23,821 different projects that I have begun that I never intend to finish. You know why I quit doing these things? Because they sucked out life and failed to light me on fire. And being a quitter has made me very happy because I quit everything that is boring and that sucks life out of me, which means that everything that is left over is something that lights me with a roaring blaze of intensity. When is the last time you have done work that makes your fingers tingle? For me, it was approximately 0.13 seconds ago, when I wrote that last sentence.
I remember when I was in college, I spent so much time trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. Well, that was a complete waste of time. It is much easier to figure out what you should NOT be doing in life. Read more »
I often think that if I never learned to say “no”, it would have been the death of me. Read more »
I have a secret: I’ve been employed for 9+ years in various jobs, and I have never turned in a resume to get a job. Ever.
How did I do it? It was very simple: I realized that nobody hires a piece of paper. They hire people. Read more »
Dear Person in Charge:
I’m so sorry I was late for your meeting. I was so busy doing important work that I didn’t have time for “necessary” work. I know this meeting is important to you. I know we are going to change the world with the objectives we talk about (but do not act upon) in this meeting. I know we are now left to desperation and despair because I missed the fist 10 minutes of the meeting. I know these 10 minutes were jam-packed with the casual opening salvo of introductions and the obligatory opening joke.
Please permit me to, just this once, explain why I was late. Read more »