Constructing a 3D Storyboard – Contours of Stories

A Contour Map

By: Heero Yuy

In my previous post I presented the idea that Vonnegut’s Shapes of Stories needed an update. Video below will get you up to speed on the concept of Shapes of Stories.

I watched Casey Neistat’s videos because I found [VR 360] to be fascinating and that that particular space is the future of ALL popular video as more VR headsets get distributed to the general public.

This particular video from Casey is his guide to Film Making which I thought was fascinating:

What drives everything as Casey says is this:

storytelling-casey-neistat
Story is the center of Film Making, period.

So stories should flow and engage the audience!

In the attempt to rent out my house, and having no real bidders for the past few months, I’ve resolved to DIY. Last night, I went and purchased a Samsung Gear 360 from Best Buy after they price matched the linked Amazon.com price of $273.00! (Was going to get taxed either way so I went to Best Buy to pick it up instead of waiting)

A buddy of mine, Clay, was fascinated about the new dimensions that VR brings to the table in the history of cinematography. This is shooting color when everyone else shot black and white. This is shooting with sound when everyone else produced silent films. This is it! My challenge to Clay and others is to do a daily VRLog (Virtual Reality Video Blog) of 2-5mins to enhance storytelling and give the audience something cool to think about while being visually inspired. Most of my friends find [VR 360] to be comical at best and don’t really get it. When this becomes the standard, others will look back at on this post will think it was obvious where they are currently oblivious.

Why am I bringing up the Shapes of Stories and [VR 360] at the same time? Well… to tell a multidimensional story, one needs to utilize a multidimensional storytelling equipment such as the Samsung Gear 360! It only feels appropriate the give the audience that added layer of infinite degrees of freedom and option to rewind and re-watch the story to get infinite different angles and perspectives as the narrator moves through each scene. Watching a 2D movie would give you only one universal angle and infinite interpretations where as a [VR 360] film provides infinite angles and interpretations.

Before I start to manually analyze this idea of 3D Shapes of Stories, or Contours of Stories (sounds better), I need to formalize the system by which we talk about Contours of Stories.

There are Three Dimensions to any Story (which makes up our Axis for x-y-z planes):

  1. Time
  2. Fortune
  3. Practicality

We can assign ranges to describe each so that we know the beginning and end as well as the degree of Fortune (Misfortune) and Practicality (Theoretical).

  1. Time (A-Z; 26 Letters with A the beginning and Z the end)
  2. Fortune (0-10; 0 being total devastation and 10 being absolutely blessed and 5 being neutral)
  3. Practicality (1-5; 1 being Theoretical [Impractical] and 5 being Very Pragmatic [Practical] and 3 being neutral)

Some storytelling can jump back and forth chronologically so letters can be repeated. The sequence of referring to all three dimensions is

(Practicality:Time:Fortune)

i.e. (3A5) which stands for neutral practical, start of story, and neutral fortune.

The first number will always refer to Practicality and the last will always refer to Fortune. The last number of Fortune can have up to two digits and the first letter will only be single digit. Memory cue is you can always be MORE Fortunate than being simply being Practical (Fortune can have extra digit).

I will put this idea to practice as I execute my storyboard and advertise my home for rent. Let’s see how this project turns out! 🙂 Hopefully I can get some buy-in from Casey on these ideas and more so that my first ever [VR 360] project can be a success. Wish me luck!

rent-my-house-lumberton-tx
How to Rent out a Home – [VR 360] Vonnegut Contour of Stories Style!

3D Shapes of Stories – Spicing up a Classic Idea from Vonnegut

By: Heero Yuy

Kurt Vonnegut’s Shapes of Stories (Harvard Business Review) deals with the Axis of Time and Fortune. This is the audience or the reader’s perceived feeling as the story unfolds. In the story itself the actual character deals with internal and external conflicts where he or she has to apply theoretical or applied solutions in resolving each conflict to move onto the next milestone.

Imagine the following as the 3-Dimensional Shapes of Stories.

No automatic alt text available.

The Labels of the X, Y, and Z Axis:

  • X-Axis: Time
  • Y-Axis: Theoretical for Y>0, Applied for Y<0
  • Z-Axis: Fortune Z>0, Misfortune Z<0 (Perceived)

Most telling of stories deals with the mental aspect on how characters overcome obstacles using a combination of the Y-Axis to yield the items on the Z-Axis while the X-Axis constantly moves from 0 (beginning) to 100 (end). Datamining various stories (MIT Technology Review), lines plotted in 3D, based on the above axis would yield contours of stories not simply plots to give story telling of humans true shapes.

I am sure there are infinite Axis that can be added onto the general X-Axis of time such as:

  • Character’s emotional response to Z-Axis
  • Accumulation, or not, of knowledge or wisdom
  • Change, or not, of each character
  • Etc

Generally speaking, the audience is most in tune with the How and Why the character managed to shift or remain stagnant on the Z-Axis. Why makes the story interesting to read and the How is explained by the Y-Axis.

This is the 3-Dimensional update to Kurt Vonnegut’s 2-Dimensional Shapes of Stories.

Levels in the Game of Life – Getting to Higher Levels

By: Heero Yuy

A buddy of mine challenged me to think more about:

  • the Game of Life
  • Rules of the Game
  • Ranking and Points System
  • How to get to the next Level in this Game or the next one

1) The Game:

Life is a river, flowing one way, and a careful selection of routes can lead to greater bodies of water or dead-ends/standing water pooling into swamps or lakes. Moving water is better than standing water because moving water has a chance of getting to greater bodies of water or higher levels in life.

The Stages of the Game are as follows:

A. In the beginning of the game:

Life until end of highschool or college/gradschool is rather structured. Goals are very clear and many have been through this assembly line. The administrators of this game, teachers, parents, and coaches all know this game pretty well because it is predictable and the results directly and readily measurable. Watching candidates shuffle through the assembly line of school has become a scientific discipline where the measure of one’s aptitude can be easily summarized by a few metrics being the almighty Prestige of Institution and the individual’s Numbers such as GPA (Grade-Point Average) and Test Scores (SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, etc).

B. Mid game:

Get the paper(s), good metrics, be branded by prestigious institutions and you can be on your way to middle-class paradise (white picket fence, 4-5BR House in the Suburbs, a couple of cars, boats, jetskis, etc). You ran the race well in the lower tier divisions, finished College at some top 10 whatever ranking order (US News, Financial Times, etc) for your respective discipline, got a few years of work experience at big name Fortune 500 (FANG [NASDAQ], ExxonMobil, J&J, Coca-Cola, HomeDepot, SAP, etc) company, went back for a Harvard Business School (HBS) or equivalent M7 MBA, and reshuffled back into the system as a higher leveled player leap frogging your peers stuck on the assembly line by a couple of years worth of leveling (grinding).

At this point, you are tied down to a pretty hefty mortgage payment, owe a ton of student loans, got a spouse, probably have a few rugrats (kids) running around. Current risk tolerance is much lower than the beginning phases of the game, debt load substantial higher from the leveling required that helped you get ahead, and set to live and retire in your current home or maybe one level above it should you make Vice President, Director, Managing Director, or the coveted Executive-tier rank at a Major or Minor institution.

Some break down at this point and have a mid/quarter/third life crisis and ponder the meaning of life. Too bad, you are a little in over your head to change course and speed, because the cash-flow schemes don’t make sense with other options on the table and the bills coming in have to be paid. Those chains of debt keep reminding you of why you are where you are at right now and the only sources of comfort is the smiling face of your spouse, your children, and a wag of the tail from your pet. If you didn’t manage to start a family by now you might have already been Tango-ing with Xanax and Chacha-ing with various devilishly tempting flavors of Alcohol as you struggle to walk life in a straight line swiping left and right at the various mating prospects that you shopped and took home from the App store Meat Market. It’s not too late, or is it? Wake up, it’s time to get back to the grind, the system awaits your production!

C. End Game:

It’s over! You either know or made it at this point or you are simply doing the ‘road’ program waiting to collect various sources of social or company sponsored retirement packages at 59.5, 60, 62, 65, or whatever arbitrary set date as determined by mathematical models to keep the current system’s payout to influx of new cash sustainable.

Regardless whether you made it or not, you reflect on all the ups and downs of the past decades, the hours robbed away from the now trivial but then seemingly so damn important projects/promotions/merits/achievements/awards, and you wonder what to do now with this new experience of retirement; the unstructured, undemanding, and unrewarding afterlife as a cast-away divorced from exciting and engaging Corporate ladder climbing life. Free time seems like an infinitely long rope to climb to a peaceful life spent in indulgence of hobbies or a tight noose to hang oneself in absolute boredom. Isn’t life swell? Don’t worry, it’ll all be over soon. Average age expectancy is around 85 and the rest is determined by how your body, mind, and genetics withstood the damage done to you by being a working Bee. Still remember where you kept your stash of Xanax and 9mm rounds? Finish your last Will and Testament and make sure you took out a life insurance policy. Enjoy your time or what time you have left on this Earth, you’ve done well and it will be all over soon.

2) Rules:

In any competition, the rules are pretty obvious if one asks the right questions to determine how the game can be played. It basically comes down to this:

  • Advance OR
  • Get run over or worse left behind

At least this is how the game is played in a Capitalistic free-market society. You’ve seen examples of this in school where “Elite” students are heralded as Heroes and rest of the class a moving population of cannon fodder Losers for the successful. The Losers are told everyday and made aware of who the Heroes are and how the Heroes are infinitely better than whatever non-sense that the Losers can produce with their trivial lives. (But wait, didn’t some of these Heroes come from the lower-ranks once upon a time or deemed as losers by the media once upon a time before they made it? Shhh now, rest up, plug back into the Matrix, you didn’t just think this thought, erase it from your memory.)

Everyday, you either Advance or you get left behind. Produce or DIE. Simple as that. A group of individuals make up a company, a group of companies belong to a holding/umbrella/parent company, groups of big companies’ debt traded on exchanges, a group of the companies are aggregated together as an index to measure the overall health of the economies from various sectors, and the indices aggregated to tell the tale of the economic status of a particular Country. Everyday, economies get ahead or get left behind on a macro scale as determined by how the game is played on the micro scales between individuals up to the aggregated multi-national behemoth conglomerates.

Ask then the following questions to determine the rules of the game:

  • How do I get ahead?
  • What does it take to get ahead?
  • Who around my level do I need to leverage (or screw over) to get ahead?
  • How can I apply my talents to best exploit an edge?
  • Which mini-game(s) should I dedicate my time to in this big game of life?
  • Which Elite players (mentors/coaches/teachers) can help me level up quicker?

3) Ranking and Points System:

Capitalism made the ranking and points system pretty obvious:

Bill Gates, the Ultimate Elite IT Startup Hero

Take a peak here for the HighScore list aka Forbes 100 http://www.forbes.com/billionaires/list/

You are either on that list or you are not. If not, try and try again.

Academia is now played through the battlefields of:

  • TED Talk
  • NY Times Best Seller
  • Ad Space on Harvard Business Review Articles or Publications on or below this caliber (Business Insider is the purgatory but still better than being straight up in Middle-Class Hell).

Academia is all about Impact Factor. Either your work makes a difference or it doesn’t and gets filed away into oblivion where no soul knows of your work in this life or the next. If you actually want to be well known during your life, you have to resort to shameless plugs in the methods listed above to crowd source your academic/mental aptitude insecurities and validate your life’s meaning. Think on Hero, think on, the Nobel Prize/Fields Medal/etc is only a couple of publications away. Keep dreaming!

4.A) How to get to the next Level in Games (Selection of Quests Available):

Corporations at any level want to prevent an Icarus situation. Icarus in Greek Mythology tried to take flight with a pair of wings made from feathers and wax, flew too close to the Sun, his wings melted and he fell to his death. Fly carefully if you want to fly high, avoid hot things that will melt your wings, and pack a parachute just in case. Corporations prefer you to remain as predictable as possible just like you were when you left the Educational Institutions so that you can be shuffled predictably from one assembly line to another, from one factory/warehouse to another until you leave the assembly lines and ship off to be sold/repurposed/recycled(buried in the ground aka Game Over).

The Lament For Icarus by Herbert James Draper

A. Entrepreneur route (high-risk, high reward): If you somehow try to challenge the system (with your startup or idea), you will be converted into being one of them and join the elusive and exclusive club of the ultra elite (Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, etc). This is a complete IPO or buyout. If they don’t feel like buying you out entirely you will be allowed to survive so long as they want you to survive.

To complete this Quest you need to have (in no particular order):

  • Great innate talent(s)
  • Purposeful development of this/these talent(s)
  • Persistence
  • Dedication
  • Passion
  • Drive
  • Preparation
  • Great Mentors/Coachs/Teachers/Peers to support all of the above
  • A bit of luck here and there

You want to make money? Learn sales and how to market products, services, and yourself. HintThe closer you get to integrating the entire sales pipeline for your commission, the more money you stand to make. Be the person (company) that takes 95% of the revenue and flips the Salesman 5% for commission for a job well done. Be the person collecting the checks on your Yacht anchored out of your own Private Island in the Latin Americas and not the person still grinding when you get to your 30/40/50/60s depending on how you’ve played the Game.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus by Peter Bruegel (bonus points if you actually find Icarus)

B. Senior Level Employee route (mid* risk, predictable higher pay [120-400k USD/yr]): Slave away endlessly working for those who made it in the Entrepreneur quest. When effort, timing, and luck aligns you will be favored for promotion(s) assuming you didn’t leverage the nepotism card to get ahead in the game. An ideal end game is C-level position, else Senior Vice President or Senior Director, else Vice President or Director, else Senior Management or Senior Program Manager. The amount of your sacrifice has to be commensurate with attaining these ranks or you find the nearest bridge and promptly jump off of it because you failed to live up to your “ultra high” expectations that you’ve placed on yourself.

* = You will get to fire others before they fire you

C. Mid Level Employee route (high* risk, predictable okay pay [85-150K USD/yr]): Slave away to be the apple in the Senior Level Employee’s and Founder’s (Entrepreneur) eye. Promotions are far and few between because there is an ever larger and growing pool of entry level populating the Mid Level Pool (did I just hear a school bus backing up? Yep, there goes another innocent employee used to grease the tires on the bus that helped to advance someone else). You are fairly certain at this point that you aren’t going anywhere but your collection of DVDs/Blurays, 100″ Projector screen and Home Theater System, Semi-Luxury cars (BMW/Audi/VW/etc – by the way all made in the Bible Belt in good ole USA) keep you happy and off the ledge of the cliff. Having a spouse, children, and pets help as well. Hey, look at you, at least you might have a chance to maybe finish Senior level, right?

* = There are just too many of you and all the same, undifferentiated, and very replaceable if the Senior powers to be decides to cleanse the workforce to appease the shareholders on the next quarterly earnings report.

D. Entry Level Employee route (low* risk, unpredictable low pay [50-75K USD/yr]): You are the lowest person on the totem pole. You just got out of one game in the Educational Institution and you are trying to figure this one out. There are a ton of you around and you are ever so grateful but complain about the fact that your job sucks, hours are long, and you have a career that seems like it is going no where. There are too many people in the Entry level pool waiting to climb to Mid level waiting to climb to Senior. All your cool ideas are poached by the Corporation and you get flat fixed-fee pay off at least for your efforts or a pat on the back and “Thank You!” email from one of the Senior level(s) or Founder(s). You are too greenhorn to have an opinion, too naive to understand what’s going on, too young and still think you have your whole ‘life’ in front of you. Little do you realize that that’s exactly what the pool of Middle and Senior level all thought back in the day and they are still here today! Welcome to the [rat] race, here is your wheel to run on, get running.

* = You’ve got no epic gear to lose, no epic spouse or house to write home (parent’s home, not yours, you don’t make enough to have one remember?) about, and no epic experiences to be had. If you lose everything now, you can build back tomorrow, no harm, no foul!

4.B) Wait, what? That’s it? So how the hell do you get ahead???

Good question, how do you get ahead? The more you act and behave like the folks who are most successful in this game the more successful you become.

  • Want to run a company? Go start one!
  • Failed at startup? Good, try again!
  • Can’t lead worth shit? Good, join the military and learn some real leadership!
  • Don’t have any money? Good, go work a job on WallStreet or Military and save that money, try again!
  • Not going anywhere in life with your current group of friends? Good, dump them, get new ones!
  • Your peer group whining about the same things? Good, dump them, start talking to coaches, mentors, and teachers who are at least 10-20 years older than you preferably retirees 60+ who have more time available to share their life story and wisdom with brash and aggressive young lads such as yourself.
  • But old people suck, I don’t want to talk to them! Good, stay a loser and let others win for once and leave your whining ass behind.
  • Okay fine, but where do I find these old people to talk to? Good, finally came to your senses. Ever heard of grandparents or retirement homes? Volunteer your time and learn to give before you receive or take. Learn the power of opening up yourself to strangers and let them ripe your life to shreds so your life can be built back up together with a supportive team of experienced individuals.

You kind of get the gist of how to Win in this game by now.

Bottomline: Dump what doesn’t work such as useless activities, habits, and/or people in your life and fill it back up with useful activities, habits, and/or people. You will be on the right track to success by doing the above.

Life doesn’t get any simpler than that. Any deviation from the above truth is nonsensical waste of time. Have fun and go live. When you’ve figured out this life and can start to live it fully you can then start to ponder how to play the next game as you level up and what the next life is about.

Descarte once remarked “I think, therefore I am.”

Modern day social media clout hoarders often dubbed this as “I tweet/update/upload, therefore I am.”

Bruce Lee once said that life is about subtraction not addition. Take out the bullshit!

Smile, have fun, enjoy life, and live life by: “I am!”

Automation – Divine Economic Salvation or Ultimate Demise? WALL-E or Terminator?

By: Heero Yuy

Repost from WallStreetOasis.com! Enjoy!

Automation is a very controversial topic. So controversial in fact that one of my friends got pissed off when I got under his skin about it.

Martin Ford explained Automation to me in his book Lights in the Tunnel back when I was a grad student and his recent New York Times Best Seller Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future dives deeper into this very topic.

I’m all for automation. It makes our lives easier, more productive, and enjoyable at the cost of jobs. While we want to believe this is frictional unemployment and leave it at that I truly believe it is structural unemployment that has no easy solution. Why?

Two things must happen to a displaced worker in order to get ahead of the Automation curve:

  1. Out learn and pivot into the next best field
  2. Hope that field doesn’t get automated before they’ve extracted enough Capital from selling their services through employment or business venture

1 deals with a rates issue and time available to dedicate oneself to training in a new discipline. When good ole Peabody, the Coal mining company, went belly up last year a lot of the miners were interviewed as to what they would do next. Turns out they are going to grind it out intellectually and pivot to become programmers. Very awesome and this shows the true American spirit for those who’ve made that transition while others were left behind. Bills, your spouse, and kids don’t stop though when the individual is put out of the job so time available for this retraining process is a premium the further down the road of life you’ve traveled. Different story if you can ramen noodle sleep on couches as a single person.

2 Deals with picking the right field that has lower likelihood of being Automated out. No one really knows how to do this because the speed and acceleration of the growth of Automation is quite alarming. Go be a Dentist or a Doctor or something, who knows!

My friend’s counter-argument against Automation:

  1. The human “potential” is infinite, we will always outpace automation as we’ve done in the past
  2. People have been dealing with automation for centuries and we’ve thrived
  3. People can learn to adapt even when displaced from jobs

1 Potential doesn’t get you jobs when you put that on the headline of your resume.

2 Automation has actually crushed a lot of people in the form of outsourcing. Some have drawn ties to middle-aged White American Men suicide rates to the Increased Trade with China.

3 Open-ended statement. Can but don’t is also useless. It’s about learning rates and deadlines. Given infinite time, most of us can figure everything out. We don’t live forever.

My friend doesn’t understand the difference between velocity (speed) and acceleration. This is crucial for not only understanding Physics but also Market dynamics and other things like the Peak Oil Hypothesis (can’t drink fast enough of black gold on to keep up with consumption). He overcompensates by being emotional and repeating his statements many times until I sent him packing by telling him that he is a lazy student.

What threw my friend and others like him over the edge

Ask him to employ those people who’ve been displaced and who he would choose if he had the option of selecting an overly qualified candidate and one that is pivoting with the aptitude but not the experience for a job ceteris paribus (i.e. same pay, benefits, etc). No rational person would pick an unknown over those with heavier paper and real life credentials.

When challenged with a real life problem, these arm chair theory guys go running right back to their books, journals, and obscure publications for rebuttals.

Automation. Our best ally or most feared invention to date? WALL-E or Terminator? You decide.

References:
Harvard Business Review: Beyond Automation
I Don’t Think we can Stop the Future of Automation and Job Losses – Martin Ford
Trade Liberalization and Mortality: Evidence from U.S. Counties – Federal Reserve
Lights in the Tunnel – Martin Ford
Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future – Martin Ford

Is Stability an Illusion? Three (3) Ways to tell You have a Skewed Perception!

By: Heero Yuy

Is the above structure stable? This question can be answered in terms of equilibrium and not stability because it is in a state of unstable equilibrium as pictured below:

There are three (3) ways that someone can have a skewed perception on a subject matter:

  1. Ignorance of the problem at hand and how to correctly state it
  2. Making incorrect assumptions
  3. Utilizing incorrect perconceived notions and stereotypes

Skewness #1 was stated above when the problem wasn’t about stability or instability but the different classifications of equilibrium. The stack of rocks in the first picture is in a state of unstable equilibrium. The man sitting on the ice is in a state of stable equilibrium on a unstable surface (ice breaks, man falls in, man dies of hypothermia).

Skewness #2 Would be to make the assessment that all rock structures that resemble the diagram above and the first picture of the rocks to be in a state of unstable equilibrium. This is oversimplification because some of these rock structures might be glued together or bound by wire to resemble this state of unstable equilibrium. Without further assessment, one cannot draw the conclusion that any repeat of the above likeness is automatically unstable.

Skewness #3 For someone who hasn’t ever seen an unstable equilibrium, the above rock stack would be infeasible or appear as some form of magic trick. Those individuals who’ve never seen something new would utilize their own past experiences of stacking rocks themselves or seeing others, perhaps trying to create this unstable structure, failing at this and learned this endeavor to be fruitless. By their own admission, they know this to be ‘impossible’ so therefore anyone else who attempts them or they themselves attempting in the future will be met with failure. Perception of a successful attempt is outside their scope of understanding.

How this Applies to the Job Market

People incorrectly perceive stability in the job place with equilibrium. An efficient capital market takes no prisoners and leaves people behind who aren’t as competitive or hungry as their competitors. Therefore, the job market and the people in it are in a constant state of unstable equilibrium.

Companies comprise of people who work for the company who sell products or services. People are expendable and new people can be brought in to replenish the depleted workforce. The moment the product or service is useless to the market place and the company fails to prepare or pivot would spell doom for the company and all the people in it. Company and the workers in it are both expendable because other companies and workers can take their place.

A job can be of divided into the following four categories:

high work, high pay low work, high pay
high work, low pay low work, low pay

High work = Lots of work, Low the opposite
High pay = $$$$$, Low the opposite

Everyone wants the “low work, high pay” so that job is over subscribed (Lazy and entitled). Not many want to work a lot so “high work, high pay” is not as attractive and certainly no one wants to work a lot and get paid very little in “high work, low pay.” Finally, most people wouldn’t mind low pay for low responsibilities at work (Lazy and satisfied) which makes this category the second most coveted and over subscribed.

Low and High work jobs are equally at risk for automation irrespective of the resulting pay. “Low work, low pay” type jobs are a drag on HR resources and benefit packages. Since they are the most plentiful, they would be the first ones to go as the “high work, low pay” yields a better marginal gain for hour paid. Obviously, “high work, high pay” type jobs are typically too crucial to completely cut out, such as sales type roles, and the company would suffer financially if they replaced these jobs without much consideration. The next obvious category to dissect is “low work, high pay” as these are not as abundant but the largest saddle sore of the organization.

From the company’s standpoint, the most “stable” jobs are the most sought after and the ones that will be cut first! Are these then stable or unstable equilibriums for people to coast in what they perceive to be a stable job?

In any free capital market, those who bring the highest marginal yield are the most valuable members. Typically, these are classified as “high work” employees irrespective of their pay structure.

Since this is the case then your best bet is to work your butt off to escape the guillotine of automation while providing the company the highest yield per hour for your time at their office.

An incorrect understanding of the job market, free capital markets, and the utility of its workers can have serious consequences. Markets don’t function based on how people want them to work but how they actually work. Backtesting present job market opportunities based on previous market conditions for job seeking without actually seeing if there has been any changes in all of the aforementioned markets is catastrophic. The game is always changing, it has to in order to survive, and any misstep can cause irreversible consequences. Without proper education on how this game works and staying current with all markets, any investment strategies applied for yielding alpha (good job) would be met with failure.

Stable jobs do exist. They are called expendable overhead. Either way, working for a company or yourself requires a ton of work to stay ahead of the competition.

Welcome to Capitalism!

Valuing Yourself – You vs. the World [Part 1]

By: Heero Yuy

bateman-relaxing

In this Four Part post I will explore how valuation is done on the individual and the difference between extrinsic, intrinsic, and universal perception of our worth in this world.

A Scene from American Psycho:

Evelyn Williams: Thousands of roses and lots of chocolate truffles. Godiva, and oysters in the half-shell.
Patrick Bateman: [Bateman narrating] I’m trying to listen to the new Robert Palmer tape, but Evelyn, my supposed fiancée, keeps buzzing in my ear.
Evelyn Williams: Annie Leibovitz. We’ll get Annie Leibovitz. And we’ll have to get someone to videotape. Patrick, we should do it.
Patrick Bateman: Do what?
Evelyn Williams: Get married. Have a wedding.
Patrick Bateman: No, I can’t take the time off work.
Evelyn Williams: Your father practically owns the company. You can do anything you like, silly.
Patrick Bateman: I don’t want to talk about it.
Evelyn Williams: You hate that job anyway. I don’t see why you just don’t quit.
Patrick Bateman: Because I want to fit in.”

Unfortunately, we will not discuss the movie American Psycho in full today as it is a topic for another day. However, we will explore the subject of conformity in today’s society and how we or society assigns us a value. For some, the valuation done by society is taken at face value equates to the value assigned by the individual to themselves. A few individuals disagrees with the way in which society values them and their talents and calculates their values differently. Both topics will be covered and differences expounded upon.

Part 1 – How Society and the World Values Us:

This video from The School of Life YouTube Channel best explains how society and our families (esp. Asian households) values most of us (9min video):

When asked about wealth the first thing that comes to mind is money for most people. They want to believe that the 1’s and 0’s stored in the database of various accounts accurately present your networth to this world. The universe cares not what your bank account statement says or most man-made metrics. What’s the worth of one small planet in a universe this vast? How much power can one man have on a one little rock if the entire rock is not even a speck of sand in the river of time?

Society values people and their net economic output and appropriately compensates them for their worth so that they can extract value from us in order to commoditize, market, distribute, and sell it to others for a profit.

The value assigned to you by your friends and families can also vary depending on how you were nurtured and which company of friends you keep. It can be either extremely motivating or powerfully destructive and this ultimately determines our outcome as a human being. We shall explore these ideas in depth in the following posts [Click for Part 2!].

Direction – The Lighthouse in a dark and foggy night

By: Heero Yuy

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I thought it appropriate to start the first blog post with direction because without it we may be lost forever navigating in the vast oceans of life. Emphasis should be placed on direction and not solution(s) because life is ever evolving for the players, environment, or game itself. In mainstream media articles can be found written by gurus purporting “# Steps used by Successful People” or “XYZ Effective Ways of dealing with ABC.”

The issue with the general consumption of these articles is that the reader is lead to believe that all will be well after they’ve successfully implemented the prescribed plan of action and life will be peachy living it happily ever after. For many of us we know this is not true because the article is written in such a way to have renewed subscription for readership, mainly to generate ad revenue and/or sell products and services of the respective gurus, so as to lead the audience to chase endlessly for the carrot or the next carrot that will solve all their problems. It never will.

What if life was never meant to be “fixed” and we live constantly in a continuous battle daily with wars waged internally in our minds between positive and negative thoughts and externally through physical exertion or conflicts with outside forces? If this were true, then any solution we throw at the problem of life is simply a band-aid solution to an everlasting problem that is essentially unsolvable. For any one or groups of guru to prescribe a possible solution to an unsolvable problem would make them a genius or a pauper with no fan base. Life is hard and people have been trying to figure it out for thousands of years with limited success. How do I know this? Because men such as Voltaire and Leibniz came upon an idea of the “best of all possible worlds.” We aren’t in it because our society is still imperfect after all these iterations so therefore we really haven’t figured it out.

Direction is fundamentally different than solution(s) but has also possess similar qualities. Google Maps can provide you a list of directions with steps telling you when to turn and where to go in an orderly fashion. Google Maps can also re-direct you if you go off-course to go back onto the path of least time expended to get to your final destination. In this case, Google does the solution or thinking for you to get you back on course with a new set of directions. Solutions would be like using print-out directions from MapQuest (for those of us who still know what that is). A guru like MapQuest would tell you how to get from point A to point B with a set of instructions and wish you the best of luck. If for some reason you go off course in the days before Google Maps, TomTom, Garmin, or any other GPS tracking system you better hope you have a printed map of your current area. Claiming to be a solution without the appropriate thought process or heuristics to dynamically adjust course is driving blind. You will quickly get lost and eventually ask the locals for direction.

The poem “Invictus” by Henley below best describes the purpose of this site and the view on direction for life. This excerpt from Invictus best describes gaining that direction for life:

“I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”

Source: Invictus by William Ernest Henley (Poem)

I don’t have all the answers and my life is just as messed up as anyone else’s if not worse. Haha! Yes, I just laughed at that statement because laughter is a great medicine for a lot of ailments of the heart, mind, and soul. So, life isn’t perfect and there isn’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow if the rainbow exists in the first place. We won’t ever get that carrot at the end of the stick but are still told to run the race because that’s all we know. Anyone competent can wax philosophies about how messed up our world is and at the end still come away empty handed as if to shake ones fist and scream at the cloud filled night and stormy seas for not revealing the shining celestial salvation when your ship is rocked about in rough waters.

So what? With a strong sense that you are still the master of your own fate and captain of your own soul, as long as the ship weathers the storm you live to fight and navigate another day. That’s the beauty of having a sense of direction (vision, purpose, goals).

I’m here to share knowledge, stories, and wisdom so that others may also find their own sense of direction and sail to their respective peaceful shores. We collectively are lighthouses for each others lives in the journey of life. Through sharing experiences by storytelling we can act as guides to each other in the darkest of nights.

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”