business

ESG & carbon credits: the indulgences of a zero-sum world

At some point in the past couple decades, the corporate world drew inspiration from the Middle Ages, and decided it was time to bring back indulgences.  Indulgences, if you’ve forgotten your Roman Catholic theology, are a way to reduce the amount of temporal punishment you undergo for your sins. In other words, you could pay money and spend less time in limbo. At first this penance was paid in forms of prayer or charity or good works, but if you’ve forgotten your Roman Catholic history, this began to mean financial donations. By the time of the Reformation, you could basically just pay off your vices through consistent donations to the overflowing and corpulent Papal treasury.  Simply put: pay enough, and you’re… 

Scurvy (and, the power of doing over understanding)

If you’ve ever watched an old pirate movie, and I hope you have, you’ll remember scenes in which pirates, stuck in the doldrums, are afflicted by scurvy. They lay around on the deck, first weak and helpless, then depressed and listless, then their hair and teeth start falling out, and then unless they catch sight of land (and therefore, fresh fruit and vegetables) they eventually die. Scurvy, of course, is a disease caused by lack of vitamin C. Humans are one of very few creatures (along with monkeys, bats, capybaras, and guinea pigs) who cannot create their own vitamin C within our bodies. It must be consumed.  Sailors of old ate a diet of salted meat and hardtack (fruit and vegetables… 

Silver

If you’re like me, when you’re researching things online, you’ll often realize that you’ve just ingested extremely biased information. Unfortunately, there is no instant antidote for incorrect information, usually since you don’t know if it’s poison or not. I’ve read articles about life insurance, about how I can ensure my family’s safety in the event of my death & dismemberment for only $18 a month, only to reach the end and realize it was written by one of those Northwestern Mutual fellows who send me LinkedIn messages about whole term life nonsense. That’s like drinking a bottle of something and then seeing the skull-and-bones on the warning label. How much of what I just read was true, and how much was false?… 

The precedence of comfort

In the absence of critical analysis, comfort takes precedence over anything else. Without a long-term approach, without delaying gratification in the now for better results in the future, humanity always defaults towards comfort. Comfort can mean different things, but the tangible basics are the same. At some level, it involves basic human needs, but it doesn’t stop there. It starts with the necessities of survival like food and shelter, and it spans a massive spectrum of needs and wants until it ends with things like feeling important or being special. There isn’t anything intrinsically wrong with comfort. I’d argue that a huge part of a productive, practical life is forging towards new levels of comfort for you and your family.… 

Good attempts

If a fellow in a ‘97 Civic challenges a dude in a ‘20 Porsche to a race, we’re not going to blame him for the loss. Getting to sixty miles an hour in a 1997 Honda Civic takes about 9.6 seconds. The 2020 Porsche GT3 RS takes around 2.9 seconds.

In this case, we don’t critique the loss. We critique the attempt. A terrible Civic driver who dumps the clutch and gives up with a pout before even finishing the run? Not worth our accolades.

Loud, brash, and bold

Loud, brash, bold – it’s the sort of thing that can dazzle you. Whether it’s a client, a boss, a colleague, or a competitor, the pure speed and amount of activity is intimidating. Fast-talking conversations, two phones ringing at all times, sending hundreds of emails per day, until you feel like you’re in a live-action retelling of Uncut Gems.

Stop sending me Calendly links

If you do not know someone — if you haven’t established a working relationship with them — you should never send them a Calendly link.

For those of you who don’t know what Calendly is, let’s break down how it works. It’s basically a link to someone’s schedule, and they’ll have a list of open slots where you can reserve a half-hour or so of their time for a meeting.

Nothing smells rotten in the state of Denmark

It’s August.

Reports say New York City has lost or is going to lose nearly one-third of its small businesses.

The $3,000 to $4,000 per month that over 33 million people are claiming from unemployment has just ended…for now.

1 million new unemployment claims are being filed each week.

Logistics companies lost 33% of their revenue in the past quarter. Entire industries like travel and hospitality have essentially flatlined.

By all accounts, something very bad is happening or is on the cusp of happening.

Failure disguised as caution

I knew a girl in college who was paralyzed by fear. She’d see a fire truck drive by and start worrying that her dorm was on fire. She’d hear about a robbery and ask people to walk her to her car. She’d study for weeks for mid-terms and literally shake in fear as she was leaving them, thinking she’d missed some crucial question. She would use hand sanitizer every few minutes.

Abby was a very bright girl. She got a good job and ended up with a great life. But despite a healthy intellect and marketable skills, she was fighting an uphill battle of risk avoidance. She was afraid of something — anything — going wrong. It’s hard to blame her. A lot of things go wrong.