08/13/20

The Cloud of Darkness Versus Joie De Vivre

On the morning of my wedding in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on 1 December 1979, I heard a knock on my door at the Hilton Hotel in downtown.

Rising with the nervous energy one would expect on such a day, verifying it was just after six in the morning, I opened the door to find a courtly Southern gentleman (bride’s side of the family) standing there with a sweating six pack of beer. I wish I could recall the brand.

We shared a beer — meaning we each drank one. I believe he departed with the remaining four, but I cannot recall. I can only inform you that I did not drink them.

The man was wise and felt the need to arm me with his excess wisdom before I married his gorgeous niece.

Amongst the pearls he left behind was this:

“One cannot make oneself happy, but one can prevent oneself from being unhappy.”

The oddity 0f the circumstances under which it was delivered left a lasting impression more permanent than a tattoo.

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08/9/20

Tactics, Political Tactics

Outcomes in life are determined by the tactics you employ with which to grapple with it.

If you were spit out by a military school, as was I, you will learn basic infantry tactics like attacking a hill with a platoon of 50 men employing something called “fire and maneuver.”

Part of the platoon fires whilst the balance maneuvers, you reverse rolls until you are within hand grenade range whereat you fling a few grenades before closing with and killing the enemy.

It is delightfully simple when confronting the idea with pen and ink, but more troubling when done for real.

You will quickly learn that attacking a hill with a bunch of cadets who will have their turn soon enough is vastly different than doing the same thing when someone is shooting at you and your ranks are peopled with men who are having second thoughts about their career choice.

What you quickly learn is that tactics, successful tactics, require action. You will also want to know that the other guy has likely had a bit of instruction on defending a hill.

This will quickly devolve into a classic clash of wills as does much of life.

The one with the better tactics will win the encounter. Winning in the military racket is highly prized and there is actually no substitute for success.

So, now we turn to the issue of the COVID Relief Package and a lesson on tactics.

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08/7/20

#DefundStupid

In all the to-ing and fro-ing in the world, there are folks who want to abolish the police, defund the police, and to reorganize how law enforcement works.

Many of these folks feel a loving, patriarchal fondness for the Black community and speak for them whenever given a chance.

Turns out Black communities can speak for themselves.

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08/7/20

The Pricing of IPOs

Comes now the triumphant case of Austin, Texas based BigCommerce who IPOed at $24/share on Tuesday. It was cause for local pride and a bit of celebration.

But, was it really?

Absorb these facts:

 1. Company comes public at $24/share and nets $216,000,000.

Well played. Bravo! Years of hard work come together. The American Dream is alive in Austin By God Texas.

 2. Stock price closed that day at $72.27/share, a nifty 201% above the IPO price in less than one full day of trading. [Helen, I think we go with the big Lexus.]

 3. On Wednesday, stock opens at $68, rewarding the folks who got a slice of the IPO and the investment bankers who bought the 15% over-allotment, the Green Shoe, for which they paid $24/share.

 4. Stock closed at $91.80/share on that same Thursday. At this price, the company’s market cap is in the $7B range. A lot of value was created for the founders and the venture capitalists who threw in over $200MM to build this baby.

I love the smell of capitalism in the morning.

For those doing the math, confirm that the $24/share to $91.80/share run is a 283% gain. Not a bad performance for two days.

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08/2/20

The Waning Ability To Hold Two Competing Thoughts At The Same Time

In my now post-COVID bliss, with my newly cleared mind, with my returning brain cells, I make bold to say that we are really getting stupid at a time that we need to be smart.

What pops to mind is our inability to hold competing thoughts inside our single brain.

We once debated the merits of Miller Lite thusly:

“Less filling.”

“Tastes great.”

The critical thinker of the time would whisper to his beloved, “Maybe it’s both?”

The beloved would respond, “Of course it is, you moron.”

Then, we would say to ourselves, “Well of course. It can be two ideas at the same time, those ideas are not really in conflict, they are not mutually exclusive, and my brain is large enough to hold both of them without exploding.”

Were we smarter in those simpler days?

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08/1/20

COVID19 Divorce

It is 2 August 2020 and I report to you that I am getting a divorce. Do not beg me to reconsider.  My mind is set.

COVID19 (actually COVID16 because it was a mild case) came into my life in early July with a seductive appeal that left me hot and bothered, unable to sleep whilst thinking of her, that funny butterfly feeling a new love puts in your gut, my body ached for her, she wracked my body with chills when I was with her, and a head ache.

She was beguiling and I fell into her spell. She is a unwavering temptress without equal who will come upon you without warning.

I had every symptom, except for the loss of taste. I never had any taste to begin with.

I threw in with her. I promised to pay attention. At first, she was a passionate partner, but then things began to deteriorate. COVID began to keep company with others. I stayed home and she went out. Every night.

Which brings to me to the real news. We are getting a divorce. I’ve had a few clear headed days while she has been tramping around to think about it and I have decided it just won’t work.

I don’t get that same feverish feeling when I think about her. My bowels are steady, my stomach is settled, I no longer ache for her. I am not having any problem sleeping.

It’s time to face the music. It was a good run, but we’re just not suited for each other. I have to admit it was all a physical relationship. I never respected her and I think the slut just used me for her own purposes.

It may sound like it’s me kicking her to the curb, but it’s a mutual thing. I could be a gentleman and wish her well, but to be honest, I hope she dies a lonely, quiet, desperate death, and is eradicated from the earth itself. I would threaten to piss on her grave, but I hate lines.

The divorce is final as of 2 August 2020 and I am very grateful that I have finally realized that she is no good for me.

Be well, my friends. Don’t make the mistake I made and keep company with this tramp. As the sage Linda Ronstadt said, “She’s no good, she’s no good, she’s no good, she’s no good for you.” Trust me on this one.

07/31/20

Managing Primadonnas in the Real World

I struggled for the right title for this blog post. Primadonnas is not quite the right word, but maybe it is.

What I am talking about is how do you manage groups of sales people, software engineers, or research engineers who are working in a difficult to define environment. This may not be your company, but it is many companies.

What I am addressing is a pool of persons who have a similar talent or assignment, who have differing levels of experience which gives way to different outcomes.

You will recognize this if you make and sell a product; or, if you run a SaaS company which continues to develop its core product while developing a new product; or, if you are a equipment company that has an R & D or product development effort.

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