Thursday, January 14, 2010

Advice of the Day: Anger Management

I'm the last guy in the world who needs anger management advice, but this little tidbit was too good not to pass along:

"The next time you enter a conflict and your body cues start warning you of a potential melt down (Are your fists clenching? Etc), think this sentence to yourself, “Lights! Camera! Action!”

Then, act. Literally.

Will doing this feel a little awkward and weird? Sure will. But it’s better than putting your fist through the wall, isn’t it?

Now a lot of people are reading this and saying, “She’s asking me to pretend to be an actor in a movie! Keyword: acting! That’s not being true to myself!”

To which I reply: You’re absolutely right. You are acting and you are not being true to yourself. But ‘yourself’ is a fucking asshole, remember? Why would you want to be true to that, particular, ‘self?’ You, in your natural state, possess a distinct tendency to act like a raging dickhead tornado leaving nothing but pain in misery in your wake. And you want to keep that up (despite the pain you cause others) all in the name of personal honesty? Come on! Get your fucking priorities straight!"

In general, when I hear the words, "I need to be true to myself," I hear "I am a raging narcissist." The people who are really always true to themselves never have the need to advertise that fact.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Categories vs. Experiences

We all simplify the world around us. We have to--given the amount of information each of us is exposed to daily, the alternative to dumbing down is overload-induced catatonia.

One of the main ways we simplify is by categorizing things. By attaching a simple name to a rough set of associated characteristics, we can reduce our mental overhead. Words like house and car convey a simplified but generally sufficient concept of a far more complex object.

But every once in a while, throw out your categories, and focus on experiencing the world in the moment.

Today, Nathan brought some Tartine Bakery cinnamon rolls into the office.

Now when I think of cinnamon rolls, I generally think of this:

But what Nathan brought in was this:

Normally, I don't eat cinnamon rolls. I'm getting older, which means that cinnamon rolls make me fat. So in my mind's list of Chris' rules, I have one that says, "Don't eat cinnamon rolls. They're just not worth it."

But clearly, while this rule applies in spades to Pillsbury's refrigerator-case bricks, it doesn't necessarily apply to Tartine's rolls.

They were so tempting, that at lunchtime, I cut off a small piece and popped it in my mouth.


Flakey, crunchy, sweet, rich, buttery, with a fine citrus finish.


I ate half a massive roll before I could stop myself.

The experience of eating the Tartine roll was completely and utterly like that of any cinnamon roll I had eaten before. It utterly exploded my concept of what could fit into the category of cinnamon rolls.

The point (besides the fact that you should patronize Tartine if you ever get the chance) is that while categories are a useful streamlining tool, speed and minimizing effort aren't the only things that matter.

Take the time to really experience the world around you. Those experiences may not fit into neat categories, but your life will be richer for them.

P.S. Nathan notes that what I ate was not a cinnamon roll. More strictly speaking, it was a Citrus Morning Bun. Whatever. I'm heading back to the kitchen after this for another serving.

Monday, January 11, 2010

High-Tech VC Should Outpace Any Other Asset Class

With all the fear and loathing in the VC industry, sometimes it's good to get back to basics. Here's a great reminder:

In any economy, Technology Venture should outpace any other sector or asset class for Limited Partners with a ten year horizon, simply because of the following reasons:
  1. Technology is a low cost production business (not a derivative) that capitalizes on the unwavering intellectual brainpower of global entrepreneurs to tap into existing macro-economic needs.
  2. Technology taps into a massive greenfield consisting of 5/6th of the world population, and is only at the beginning of its exploration.
  3. The internet provides a zero cost distribution channel that feeds relevant new technology directly and instantly to massive market pull.
  4. The fluidity of technology implementations allows disruptive technology to quickly respond and become resistant to economic aberrations.
  5. Technology relies on nothing but itself to create and maintain instantaneous value, the only volatility in venture is venture itself.
Who wouldn't want to invest in a sector where there's only 15% global penetration, which has a zero-cost distribution channel, and which caters to disruptive innovation? I know I'm in.