When not in real life, I spend my time here.
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Hello All. Not sure if you've noticed, but I've been on hiatus for a bit.
Been dealing with morons of such colossal proportions recently that I can look at things like the events of the weekend and say to myself, "Yeah, that makes sense." It's an interesting (for lack of a better word) feeling to be simultaneously overwhelmed with hope and despair; such is the life of anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur, I suppose. Been in such overdrive mode that I haven't really conceived of the fact that in 5 months I will be a small, helpless person's legal guardian (what people who aren't in denial call a "father").
Have 4 trips to go on in the next two weeks (3 for business and one to watch the eclipse with my dad), which sounds like a lot until you talk to my business partners, who just call that a normal two week span, so no complaints about it from me (except for this thinly veiled one).
I'm normally the sort who can see "many sides" to most events. Part of it comes naturally to me, and part of it is cultivated from reading many thousands of pages on history. (For example, I had a Twitter conversation with a conservative today in which I got him to admit that open carry can sometimes appear threatening--a little empathy goes a long way.) However, I find myself now in an adversarial relationship with a group of men who are simply intransigent. Not sure how to deal with that, since it's devoid of logic. They simply don't like me, don't like my boss, and they've taken the position to tell me to go fuck myself, even to their own detriment. Difficult to deal with, because even bad or perverse logic can be decoded and responded to. When the debate is being framed by people who would rather burn down the building than sell it to you, your options become fewer. Thinking of maneuvering to a scorched Earth policy, but there's no uncrossing that bridge.
I believe there is room for more innovation in groceries, but I don't think it's around automating cashiers and checkout. For one, people generally, and those who shop at Whole Foods specifically, like interacting with staff. Amazon isn't dumb enough to not know this. I assume they're also not dumb enough to not realize that happy, helpful staff aren't created via treating your workforce like robots.
I think that the biggest room for innovation in groceries is in just-in-time supply chain management. Obviously, the tremendous waste associated with having to stock a bunch of perishable shit at high quantities is a factor in keeping prices high. If Amazon can successfully use their supply chain magic to reduce inventories while maintaining adequate SKUs, then they should be able to keep wages decent, keep customers satisfied, and reduce prices.
I don't know enough about the secret sauce of supply chains to know if this strategy is viable in the grocery space, but if anyone can figure out predictive grocery shopping behavior it is them and their unfathomable computing power.
My favorite tweet I've seen on this: "When is it ok to point out that a guy who once described himself as 'David Duke without all the baggage' was saved by two black cops?"
Again, not proud of the schadenfreude, but it's lurking in the shadows.
Fuck, just saw this:
Exactly what I'm talking about. Money is a conduit, not a product. "Stock picking" isn't supposed to be quaint; it's supposed to be looking closely at a company and its products, deciding where it sits in the market, then buying if you think that its growth potential is unrealized. It's supposed to be fucking hard. Let's shoot all the quants.
The NFL is particularly nauseating given that their TV deal is so lucrative that every team makes money before a single ticket is ever sold. Tickets and concessions are just gravy for every NFL owner. The lowest values franchise in the league according to Forbes is the Bills, at $1.4 billion, and pretty much every team has annual revenues in excess of $300 million. So a $500-700 million stadium can't be mortgaged against your multi-billion dollar franchise? Gimme a break. I only wish the Lions would have threatened to leave Detroit. Good riddance you hacks.
If society is its own organism, then I think we have a fight between our collective amygdala and prefrontal cortex. For whatever reason, the amygdala is cleaning calling the shots right now. It's not a Republican or Democrat thing; just because GOP is demonstrably stupider (collectively), doesn't mean that we all aren't too emotional.
In the past when I've had times that I knew my reptilian brain was calling the shots too forcefully, I've had to make a concerted effort to double down on rational thought. It's not an easy thing to do, but it can be done with extreme discipline; requires something like a mantra and a constant reminder that your head knows better than your gut what consequences are. I wonder if there's a societal equivalent. My suspicion is that there must be, but I don't know what that is.
We've dug ourselves into a very untenable situation, but it's still not the only possible result. There's an energy well out of which we need to climb, but eventually we'll get the jolt we need. One would have thought that the jolt was the financial crisis, but it's been almost a decade and things are still degrading. Perhaps the next crisis? I've done very well financially since the last recession, but I still feel like the country is worse off than before. Is that true? Is it just the media? I don't know. I'm well read enough that I think I have a decent grasp on what has been happening recently in the economy (in a descriptive sense, not a causal one), and my sense is that I'm an exception, that people really feel left out, left behind, and hopeless.
There's too much money and too much talent in this country for people to be suffering. I hope we have the balls next time there's a crisis to have a reset. It feels like America's only product right now is money. Patient investing is a thing of the past, and with it so is innovation. That's our real trouble. Not China. Not Robots. Greed. Same story as 1920s. Tell me, really, what the difference is between modern day corporate stock buybacks and railroads issuing bonds to pay dividends to investors? Same disease. It isn't the robots who decide that share price management is worth firing 10,000 people.
It's maybe a long leap from tax policy to some deranged dudes shooting lawmakers, but I think there's a causation there. To restore sanity to our politics we need to restore dignity to our people. Everyone just wants to feed their family.
This is definitely a piece of bi-partisan legislation I can get behind. Trump will veto, because what next? No public funds for Kushner to build luxury condos?
Here in Detroit, we now have three stadiums downtown, on the best real estate in the entire state, that were partially or totally funded by taxpayers. And now the Pistons want to move into the new Red Wings arena (from their current home in the burbs), but their owner (a multi-billionaire) is demanding $34 million for the move that he initiated. And the city (a couple years removed from bankruptcy) is probably going to pay. Fuck these guys so hard.
It's also schadenfreude-inducing, which itself is also concerning.
I find it endearing. I watched him on PBS on election night, and I really thought he was going to cry. He has no self-awareness that he has been helping to create Frankenstein for a long time, and now he feels bad that his Creation is destroying the world.