What Is Your Mind Worth?

Hassendean-farm-615x346

That photo above used to be one of the most valuable commodities in the world.

Land.

Most people used to work in agriculture; growing and harvesting crops.  This type of physical labor was the main source of employment less than a hundred years ago.

Soon after World War II, things began to change.  Quite suddenly we moved to a “Knowledge Society”.  Then all of a sudden people were being paid to sit down to use their mind instead of their physical strength.

It is odd to think, that nowadays your knowledge is considered far more rare and valuable than acres and acres of land.

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Keep Writing

Over time I’ve found that writing thoughts down really allows you to flesh things out and follow things through to their logical conclusion.

I suppose this blog itself is a form of catharsis and mental experimentation.  It can sometimes be upsetting looking back at blog posts and realising that certain topics have been touched upon already.  But, I’ve found that sometimes it requires several blog posts to examine a single opinion from several view points and really gain that deep understanding of topics.

Sometimes I feel like an interesting idea is like sitting in a room with several windows.  You can look inside through each window at the same idea.  And even though the idea is the same, the perspective and meaning can be totally different from each viewpoint.

My WordPress account recently auto renewed.  This means that I’ve been blogging now for around two years.  It’s funny looking at my WordPress feed – it seems that most people stop blogging after only a few posts.

I wonder why this is?

It seems to me that most people can’t think for themselves.  They can’t create new ideas and perspectives.  I find this very sad.  How can these people expect to create original work if they have nothing original to say?

What’s more worrying and saddening is my idea that if you have nothing left to say, then it’s likely that you don’t stand for anything.  If you don’t stand for anything then what is the reason for your existence?

To me blogging and sharing ideas isn’t just about getting more followers or likes.  It’s about ideas and existence: the very things which give our lives meaning and purpose.

Be Patient!! (??)

“Do you think I’m patient?”, I asked my girlfriend.  She looked at me, smirked and looked away.  I could tell that she was trying to hold back a laugh.

For most of my childhood and adolescence I was under the impression that I was impatient.  I suppose I had most of the characteristics of being impatient; I would always fidget, mess about in school, stop paying attention easily and I would bore easily.

Teachers hated me.  I was judged to be a trouble maker at school and deemed a failure in comparison to the usual suspects.  These were the types who always handed in their homework on time.  The types who had no rough edges and as a result no real substance or character.

Then at some point in my life I started to accomplish things both academically and in my personal life…

But how can this be?

If I am so impatient, how did I spend all those sleepless nights diligently studying away?  If I am so impatient, then how have I accomplished any of the meaningful things I have done in my life?

I do still get impatient much more than the average person in certain circumstances; slow service in restaurants, I get impatient when dealing with people who don’t get ideas or how to complete a task after explaining the same thing to them a few times and so on.  However, when it comes to long-term goals or tasks that take a lot of persistence with no short-term goals, I have noticed that I am probably one of the most patient people I know.

Perhaps, we need to make a distinction between long-term patience and short-term patience.

Is short-term patience really such a good thing?  I was reprimanded many times for being “impatient” when I was young.  But perhaps it just showed that I’ve always just wanted to get things done.  It seems that short term patience gets confused with long-term patience.  But what’s the point in having long term ambitions and patience when you’re not taking any action in the present?

It strikes me that the English language does not have words to differentiate between short-term and long-term patience.  Perhaps long term patience is actually what a lot of people call “driven”?`

Your Code Is Not Your Business

When I first started my company as a non-technical founder I would often hear the phrase “your code is not your business”.

At first I used to nod along.  It seemed obvious to me that customers don’t pay just for your app, they pay for customer support, for expertise in the field, to solve a problem, to increase revenue / decrease inefficiencies etc.

What I didn’t anticipate however, was just how little the actual software itself matters in the context of building a business for the market.

I believe that this is the reason why a lot of software engineers fail at creating a successful business and it’s also the reason why a lot of non-technical people don’t attempt to start a company which involves software as a product.

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Business Models!

The image above should be closely studied by anyone thinking of starting a business.  It is a “business model canvas” which was popularised by Alexander Osterwalder.

What’s really cool about this canvas is how it makes you dissect your business and think about different components in a logical way.  Founders often drive themselves crazy with an ongoing monologue in their mind.  What they often fail to realise is how these questions are all important aspects of their business, but totally different components.

For example they may ask themselves “what’s the cost structure going to be?”, closely followed by “how will I systematically find these paying customers?”, followed by “what happens if I get 100 hundred customers….how will I source my raw materials?”.  And on and on it goes.

The fact is that these are all inter-related and different aspects of the business model.

This business model canvas goes a long way to explain why “your code is not your business” is so true, even though it may seem counter-intuitive at first.  It’s clear that what your app actually does, is only about 10-20% of the canvas and that if you don’t have the other pieces in place then your business will fail.