I don’t like the question we ask kids, “what are you going to be when you grow up?”. It would be fine if the underlying question wasn’t “how are you going to earn money?”. They are fundamentally different questions. One is existential and the other is a financing problem. Not all ideas are good business ideas. Not all good business ideas are good ideas. Money is made by solving quantifiable problems in containers. Who we “are” shouldn’t be confined by such pragmatic Solving problems relies on flexible skills. Being able to clearly articulate problems. To collect and be able to present solutions. To read and write... both words and numbers. These skills are required whatever the problem is. They do not define you. The price of solving problems changes with supply and is not connected to your value and identity. Price is not value. Salary is not worth. You are not your job. Financing the things that really matter requires capital, skills & knowledge, and containers. But it is what matters to us, that make us who we are.
Friday, May 07, 2021
Building wealth is not purely about skills and knowledge. There is not a pure play meritocracy with a completely level playing field. The reality is we all eat, and that requires a degree of protection to be able to incentivize investing in skills and knowledge. With 7.7 people on the planet, a pure meritocracy with no barriers would mean almost all of us would have to point out that someone is better than us at what we do. That means building wealth does require some friction. Some boundaries. Something to allow you to build an engine and vehicle completely detached from you. That can support you, and your community, without judgement of their merit. To still the waves of financial anxiety, you cannot constantly be weighing and measuring everyone. There be some independent commitment. That requires a level of self-awareness, seeing what your strengths and weaknesses are, what your community is, who your clients are, and understanding the market you are in. Developing skills that do not define are transferable between different problems.
Tuesday, May 04, 2021
It is horrible not getting the job you want. It is worth remembering you are likely not the only one who did not get it. With so few great jobs, there are normally plenty of candidates for those roles. It not pay well if we create work-for-work-sake. Just because we want people to have those jobs. There are limits and there are constraints to what is required. Beyond a specific role’s requirements, understanding some generic business skills is important. These are the kind of skills that that are going to be with you throughout your life whatever your “source of wealth” is. you build your wealth, you need financial literacy. Capital helps you make money. Through financing and risk management. Supporting your skills and knowledge. Developing an understanding of the containers in which all that happens is equally important. The accounting/law/product that creates the shape and form for what you are doing. Detaching a little to understand the things that are not specifically about you and what you do. You need some awareness around that to have a plan for how you are going to build your freedom, your autonomy, and your ability to make decisions. So that one fragile job/opportunity does not become your defining container.
Monday, May 03, 2021
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
Democratic South Africa turned 27 today.
We experience life as a controlled hallucination. We interpret our experiences and the information we gather through the stories we have soaked in. It takes about 25 years to settle into our own adult perspective.
I think you get a few more years, maybe a decade, where you have some grace to work through all the baggage that entails. Sins of the father leaking into the next generation. Stories stories that are not our own. If you do the work. If you unpack all the obstacles that obscured your way of seeing. If you want to release burdens to look with fresh eyes. Relooking. Relearning. Reworking. Reinvesting.
A 27-year-old is verging on being able to claim their story. Claim their community. Claim what it is that matters to them. But Freedom is not the ability to impose yourself on others. It is not the ability to do whatever you want. Freedom includes the messy work of caring what others respecting that freedom. No adult is unconstrained by the past if they want a future that matters. A future linked to the freedom of others.
Happy 27th Birthday Democratic South Africa. The messy work of building Freedom continues.
Friday, April 23, 2021
There are formal skills that are easy to quantify/articulate and are specific to the jobs that require technical knowledge. For those, you just need to know what they are and do the work. There are other less obvious barriers to entry. It is not just about skills and knowledge (“Merit”). It is also about supply and demand. How many people have that ability? Why choose you? If there is an oversupply of people in the area that you are interested in, it is going to be difficult to get those jobs. Not because of you. Because of your choice. Qualitative and subjective filtering processes give lots of wiggle room to those selecting who gets the job. In a world where demand for jobs outweighs the number of jobs on offer, employers become guardians of opportunity. The German word for employer is – work giver. The employer will be faced with similar supply and demand questions one level up. What is the problem they are solving, and how many other employers are solving it? Do they have the Capital needed to solve the problems? Can they solve the problem in a container with barriers to entry? It is not just about you. It is not just about merit. When building wealth, capital and containers matter.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
Monday, April 19, 2021
Part of the story I tell myself about money comes from the micro-world I grew up in. The bubble within a bubble where my parents were the decision makers. One of the ways I was taught saving was that my parents used to match what I saved. How do you instill the concept of compound interest, and delaying getting something now, so that it can build for later? Saving and Investing are worth thinking of as different things. You save *for* something. Investing puts money to work (reinvesting rather than consumption). You can then spend some of what the investment earns, and reinvest some. But it is hard enough learning delayed gratification by saving, so... baby steps. Compound interest also takes time to kick in. 5% real return would double your money in roughly “rule of 70” 14 years (70 divided by return equals roughly the doubling time). No kid is still a kid if they have to wait that long. The big thing I wanted was a music system. I saved half by starting a sweet business, and my Mom matched what I saved. Where she got the magic “compound interest”, I don’t know. But she managed. She was a bit of a hero.