Category Archives: Ron

What are we buying?

All this wealth we’re building up….what are we buying with it?  I think the surprising answer is….ever greater connectedness.  I know that sounds trite, but it’s actually at the center of what we’ve been doing for a long time.  The telegraph, the automobile…these were tools to destroy the isolation of distance.  The telephone and television do the same destruction of isolation for the senses of hearing and sight.  (jokey aside:  Ever watch a cooking show talks up how they wish you could smell what they smell….”Smell-o-vision”.  My feeling is that if they ever get that technology to work online the internet will fill up with fart jokes)  And the creation of all our products?  I think the products themselves matter….but the where and how are of less interest to us, because they don’t make us feel connected, connected on our terms.  The manufacturing life, with its demands that transcend our interests….we came to see it as a chore, as something to avoid,….as “work.”  Oh, we appreciate the money!  Absolutely!  But, despite a large amount of cultural training in that area, it was and is something we don’t want to go to anymore.

Perhaps what we are starting to spend on is the deepening of how we earn our “living” (good choice of a word, really!) and we spend our days.  To really make that work we need an “Internet Plus”, the knowledge exchange functions we see on the Internet as well as other more formal connections to work, to supplies, to resources…we’ve just started this part, it’s like the highway system, circa 1920 would be for cars.  How do we keep fleshing it out?


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Are We Meme Yet?

In the comments in the previous post, Melinda (thank you very much, Melinda!)  puts a link to an Atlantic article “The Freelance Surge Is the Industrial Revolution of Our Time” which is right in the core of what we are talking about here at EOW, enough so that I felt it should be in its own post.  (Are we “EOWers”?  Can we have T-shirts?  Dental?)  It looks like the piece is the beginning of a series that the Atlantic intends to do on how work is changing, again, something that dovetails with what we are doing here.  Even just reading it gave me ideas on whole new things that will develop in the economy.  I don’t doubt that many “freelancers” (an oddly romantic military term!) want many of the things that people had in a more institutional, industrial era, but we will want them in ways that fit how we work now, rather than forcing people to hew to the older standards.   Just as an enormous untapped set of markets alone…..this has tremendous possibilities!


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Work is a shotgun wedding between two people that don’t even like each other.

They don’t want you there; they dream of the robot or clever piece of software that could take your place.  But, hey, you don’t want to be there!  Boring, mechanical, soul-crushing, they take your good ideas and find some magical way to render them inert, and make you do a bunch of silly nonsense because the management-consultant-de-jour said it would “improve morale,” but hey, why ask you about that?

You both know the reason you’re there:  the baby.  Er, sorry, “the paycheck.”  And you both took it seriously, because of the baby, er, sorry again, “work.”  But it’s wearing thin and you both want out.  You want to take care of what is important AND enjoy what you do; it’s not ‘New Agey’ to want this, and even more importantly, doing something that you genuinely want to do in a way you want to do it will relate to your economic success as well.   Perhaps over time we will see ‘work’ as a culturally lesser thing, something that robots do, and what we do will be, what, a calling?  I like to use the idea of a ‘task’, as ‘calling’ has sort of religious overtones that are not necessary   This notion of a task is something I’ll be devoting some writing to.  Thoughts?


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Go Far East Young Man!

Something Americans are not all that good at is languages, especially Asian languages.  But I suspect there are vast untapped riches in many Asian countries which could use a lot of products made in the US, products that take advantage of the technologies we have developed, and languages and cultures are major hurdles that need to be overcome.  I realize that many US companies have Asian branches that are there for manufacturing, but what have we done to develop the internal markets of these countries?  Perhaps we need a different approach that would allow us to more aggressively market there.   Or am I missing something that precludes this?
Do we need a different kind of company to address this ‘international marketing’ problem, one that places a premium on people developing skills that have before languished in universities, and not been connected strongly enough to the business world?


Filed under Job Hunting, Ron

Two Relationships

Let’s say you are in one of two relationships.  You can say for yourself what kind these are: romantic, familial, or what have you.  But let’s also assume that, for other reasons, you can’t easily disentangle the bonding, so that leaving it would have  a steep personal cost to you.  OK, here we go.

In the first relationship, something feel very strongly is that the other person is committed to you.  They show you this in a hundred ways.  They cheer you up when your down, they’ll do something that you both know needs doing….without prompting.  They “get” you;  they know when you need a kick in the butt or a pat on the back, even when you don’t!  They see you at your worst and smile benignly.  “I love you” need not be spoken; that’s in their glance or their hands. It’s not like they don’t have their own interests different from yours;  they get energy from more than you.  But their first and second impulses are to want to share what they love with you because they want you to love it like they do!  And how happy they become because your happy!  You sort of become 3 people; “you”,”them” and “you and them”, it’s own entity.

And how do you deal with each other when things get rough?  ‘Shared sacrifice’ is just the start of it, right?  You give up things, you work harder, you put yourself in hazardous positions (financially or emotionally, amongst others) because….it’s about that other person first, second, third.  If it’s truly hazardous for them (an illness say) and there’s nothing you can do….you suffer far, far more than if it were just yourself.  The important thing is that, come fair weather or foul….you will both prevail, and prevail together!  Everything in life becomes better….because there is another person to share the joy of life with.

Now let’s move on to the second relationship.  You’re constantly “negotiating” things, time, money, friends.  That other person learns you like in the first relationship, but here they do what they need to get you to do what they want!  A lie that gets them what they want is better than a truth that does not.  Bullying, sweet talking, “rational argument” (where what they want is “rational” and what you want is….) all of this is the norm for their behavior.   There’s a lot of ‘zero sum’ thinking in this couple, and even if they get along, they’re never really happy.  And when things get tough here?  The first, second and third things they are looking for are the exit signs.  If you ever get your mind clear, how much are you going to commit to them?  In bad cases, how many escape fantasies — and worse! — do you get in your head?


Extend this dichotomy out into other major relationships in your life.  Your employer, your industry, your government…. Look how often people hate ‘work’, as if that were the natural state of it, and maybe it is!  People hate showing up and then their bosses wonder why their productivity is down!  And even dealing with this question is viewed negatively; it’s ‘touchy feely’ or ‘New Agey’ to actually respect what people do to make something succeed!

I wouldn’t mind letting my government borrow trillions more if I felt that they really will try to cut costs.  But I feel that they want to spend now….and spend later!  It’s no wonder they’ve lost the trust of a lot of people.


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If you are looking for work…

…the posts of Susannah Breslin’s over at Forbee’s have been, I think, informative and unconventional in their wisdom.  Here’s todays about applying for a job.


Filed under Job Hunting, Ron

I know what we will have to do is difficult.

Make no mistake, I am very aware that for some time to come things will be difficult for many of us.  The economy and the culture will be changing, changing in ways we are unsure of, where we may be fearful for what will come.  Perhaps I am foolish enough to be American enough to feel and think that we not merely endure but succeed, succeed in ways we don’t yet comprehend.  And again, foolish enough to believe in this success for myself and others going through this long period of change.

The other day I was fumbling for a Nietzsche quote in my head, and after throwing out a few bad New Yorker articles, Adam Sandler movies, and more posts, tweets and emails that I can’t believe I wrote, I found it, buried in my heart almost 40 years ago.  Nietzsche is talking about God, but substitute “work” for the Lord:


The background of our cheerfulness.  The greatest recent event — that “God is dead,” that the belief in the Christian God has ceased to be believable — is even now beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe.For the few at least, whose eyes, whose suspicion in their eyes is strong and sensitive enough for that spectacle, some sun seems to have set just now…. In the main, however, this may be said:  the event itself is much too great, too distant, too far from the comprehension of the many even for the tidings of it to be thought of as having arrived yet, not to speak of the notion that many people might know what has really happened here, and what must collapse now that this belief has been undermined — all that was built upon it, leaned on it, grew into it; for example, our whole European morality…

Even we born guessers of riddles who are, as it were, waiting on the mountains, put there between today and tomorrow, and stretched in the contradiction between today and tomorrow, we firstlings and premature births of the coming century,  to whom the shadows that must soon envelop Europe really should have appeared by now — why is it that even we look forward to it without any real compassion for this darkening, and above all without any worry and fear for ourselves?  Is it perhaps that we are still too deeply impressed by the first consequences of this event — and these first consequences, the consequences for us, are perhaps the reverse of what one might expect: not at all sad and dark, but rather like a new, scarcely describable kind of light, happiness, relief, exhilaration, encouragement, dawn?  Indeed, we philosophers and “free spirits” feel as if a new dawn were shining on us when we receive the tidings that “the old god is dead”; our heart overflows with gratitude, amazement, anticipation, expectation.  At last the horizon appears free again to us, even granted that it is not bright;  at last our ships may venture out again, venture out to face any danger; all the daring of the lover of knowledge is permitted again; the sea, our sea, lies open again; perhaps there has never been such an “open sea.”

— The Gay Science, Book V, aphorism 343



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