Sunday, December 29, 2019

Figuring Out the 21st Century

There is so much work to be done here. The internet has blown up our brains. We're not able to just have our little subcultures anymore—there is an endless flow of critique brought to us by the web. "Here's 16 things you're doing completely wrong--#14 you need to stop immediately before you get CANCELLED."

Ah yes, this last decade brought us the threat of being Cancelled. Because of the internet everything you've ever done happened last week. No one would fire you for something you did 15 years ago, but if it's on the internet it's never going to feel like something you did 15 years ago. You're a bad person NOW.

I'm not actually wanting to cancel Cancel Culture—there's a lot I like about it. I like that men don't have as much free reign as they used to to say whatever they want without consequences (please know I'm exaggerating to make a point. No one has ever been fully free of consequence--but hopefully you'll allow that what men could say in the 1960s is radically different than what they could say in the 90s, and what they can say now).

But I don't like eternal judgement. We're weak creatures, and we're constantly evolving (sometimes devolving) and hopefully growing. Not all mistakes should be handled equally. If you don't recognize the world of difference between "I'm sorry IF I offended you," and "upon some self-reflection I can see how what I did was offensive, and I am sorry" then you and I are not on the same page. But YES, there is all the room in the world to talk about how there are different expectations and consequences depending on your racial/socio-economic status and I think you are RIGHT and I think that's NOT FAIR. 

I think we have a lot of work to do—and I firmly believe the work will never be done. But in no way does the latter cancel out the former. Let's keep at it.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

The Rumors Are True, You HAVE to Read This Book

I just read this piece of advice on how you should respond to complaints about your business. It's true, and it made me think of this book.

If you internalize this book you'll have a leg up on anyone you consider competition. So why would I share the secret and lessen my advantage? Alex Blumberg once said something like "the reason we're sharing our secret sauce [of creating successful podcasts] is because we know how much work it takes, and most people won't be willing to do it." Exactly. Reading the book is easy; practicing what it preaches is not necessarily so.

the advice: When responding to an offensive comment, never argue with the customer or appear condescending to him or her. This is an extremely counterproductive way to handle the situation.

The book:

The 90-10 Rule

One of the doctors that I work with said one of his professors in med school gave him the following advice. I think he mentioned this offhand about two years ago, and it's never far from my mind:

90% of people are going to love you and love what you do. 10% are not, and there's nothing you can do to ever please them. Don't worry about the 10%.

A thought just occurred to me: I can imagine a few people coming to me and saying, "yeah, well what if my ratio is more like 50/50, or 80/20, the other way?" I would say this—that means that you're probably an asshole. I would consider getting that looked at. But then again, there are some well-known assholes who are VERY productive and the choice is yours.

Being an asshole has never really worked for me. I'm not very good at it.

You Know More Than You Think

The other day I heard someone regarded as a genius say that, in general, they feel like they know almost nothing as they are going about their day to day life.

As in, if you're not doing something on a daily basis, you're not going to be very familiar with it. You may have learned a ton in school, but if you didn't use it this week, you're going to have to recover and dust off that knowledge.

This made me feel better because I feel this way all the time. Up until now I thought that I was just less-than, that my brain didn't work real too good, that I wasn't good at remembering things and applying my knowledge.

Oh, I suspected that life & the brain worked this way, that it wasn't really my fault that I couldn't remember all the things that I have learned—but I'm an insecure little dolt, so I needed a genius to go before me and tell me it was ok.