Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Color Green and P.T. Barnum

I love the old homily that tells us about the guy driving around Manhattan in his Rolls Royce while getting financial advice from someone on Wall Street- and they got to work using public transportation.

It’s the classic “what’s wrong with this picture?” tale. The business world is full of these paradoxical truths.

How many business books are written every year by Academics who’ve never run a business in their lives?
It’s as insane as two guys blind from birth having a heated argument over what the color green looks like. They don’t know! Just like the Academic can’t explain to you what it feels like when you might not meet payroll this week.

People can tell you all day long about something- any subject, really- but its value is almost always worthless. Even if the world’s leading authority on something. Your hearing about other people’s experiences seen and felt through their own eyes. File it under: Good to know-thanks.

Can you teach a young child what honey tastes like? Or an adult what it feels like when you see the incredible green of the Irish countryside for the first time? (don’t get the aforementioned guys involved). Real learning comes from experiencing things for yourself. Everything else is just the gathering of information.

Often a person is dead for years until the masses realize how right they were. Get a consensus opinion on something and then go the other way. That’s what a bookie does for a living. This is not a blanket statement- there are countless exceptions. But the “safety in numbers” ideology is so frequently an illusion.

Unsolicited advice. If you’re around these types- run like the wind. If you’re lucky enough to know a few people who are truly happy, a few people who are at peace with the world exactly as it is- you will NEVER get unsolicited advice from them.

Even people who lived and died as recently as the early 1990’s couldn’t fathom our world today. 50% of the adult population and 85% of teenagers aren’t technically even alive. They just stare and tap at their iPhones, day and night, faintly aware of the world going on around them. They are a bit actor in someone else’s reality. On those rare occasions where they look up- usually to look at a different type of LCD screen- they are told what they need to be happy and successful by experts. P.T. Barnum lived in the wrong century.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Social Media is a Time Vampire

I use some Social Media but often hate myself in the morning.

I flat-out quit Facebook a year ago and wish I did it three years ago.

I use LinkedIn because it's the worlds greatest free contact management system. If you can get beyond all the lies people broadcast about their success on their profiles, remember they at least keep their b.s. current.

I'm told every day how important Social Media is to business. My guess is the person telling me is engaged in roughly six activities at once and knows lots and lots about business. So much so that their employer doesn't even pay them to work- but they really know how modern corporations can't survive unless they understand Social Media. (I mean, like, ya know, companies need to, like, realize that their younger customers, ya know, like use social media to communicate and, like, these companies will lose all their business to, like, social media savvy customers).

The same has been said about every new technology- I get it. Just remember that the next time you see someone texting at 75 MPH or adding to their Facebook News Feed while the waiter attempts to take their order. People didn't watch television while driving on the highway- but they do know with Hulu on their iPhone.

Social Media may one day be a really good thing. Right now it is a colossal time suck that reduces everything to a possible photo, video or other vapid version of "Look at me!!!...Look at me!!"..Look at how much FUN I am!!"