business philosophy

universal basic mug

Money helps people.

Due to many factors – decreased violence, technological advancements, increased education, charitable aid, foreign investment – the amount of poverty in the developing world has decreased drastically over the past few decades. In 1990, over 36% of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. By 2015, that figure was under 10%.

Regardless of how the folks got the money, having it is clearly positive.

business philosophy

Lording it

I was sitting in this fellow’s office, and he was absolutely lording it over me, and I wasn’t even sure why.

I’d gotten to know the owner of a small media company in Little Rock, and he’d wanted me to meet his director of production. I went over to the studio, got introduced, and then sat down in the fellow’s office to get to know him.

Here I was, the naive 24-year-old freelancer, confused as heck.

I was just a camera guy. I made websites on the side. I was broke, had a lot of acne, weighed 145 pounds, and just wanted to hang out around some other media nerds. I was no threat.

Yet somehow that didn’t matter – I was fresh meat and this guy was out for the kill.

business philosophy

the landscaping guy vs the product manager

A few days ago I wrote a post over on the Discosloth blog about Shakeup 2.0, and what it’s going to mean to agencies.

I like to prophesy, and like all contemporary prophecies everyone else should take them with a fat grain of salt.

In this case, my musings were about the state of digital marketing agencies. I created a list of 5 things that would be the make/break factors of survival in an economic downturn. For an agency, the winning factors are:

business philosophy

crippling models

I have spent a good deal of time in the past week speaking with artists about an upcoming book project. After finding a dozen or so artists and designers I liked, I sent inquiries along with specifications. The responses were things like:

  • “I only sell rights for 1-2 years, and after that you must renew in order to keep using the image.”
  • “You must know that I am only a digital artist, I do not design art for covers.”
  • “You must read my terms, and then if you sign my terms agreement, we can move forward to discussing how many revisions and deadlines you will need.”

These are actually portions of responses that I received.

If these methods actually work, it is all well and good. But I suspect things aren’t working quite so well for these artists.

business philosophy

A loser’s game

We’ve all heard about moving the goalposts. If something isn’t working out the way someone wants, it’s easy to change the goals.

business philosophy

Living to work or working to live

I was in the aisle and met an old friend.

“We’re trying to just work to live, not live to work,” she said.

It’s a nice sentiment. But behind those words were years of strain, debt, and unemployment. You can’t fix that overnight.

When a lack of money negatively affects health, family, and time, more income will undoubtedly improve your quality of life.

It is a luxury to be able to choose your work.

It is a luxury to be able to work, even. Many in the world are unable – mentally, physically, or economically.

We should be careful to not waste our chance to work.



Diogenes, the famous Greek philosopher, was once asked where he was from. He replied “I am a citizen of the world”. The Greek word for this is kosmopolitês.

Later on, the Stoic crowd further developed Diogenes’ thought into an entire framework called cosmopolitanism. Essentially, the circle model of identity puts yourself in the middle of expanding concentric circles of importance: immediate family, extended family, friends, neighbors, humanity. This was underscored by an emphasis of the importance of a shared affinity for humanity.

I like cosmopolitanism. It seems like a healthy way to view the world.

Hierocles outlined how humans can extend their oikeiôsis towards other human beings in widening circles, such as our ethnos and eventually the entire human race. The distance from the center acts as a standard by which we may measure the strength of our ties and therefore our duties towards other people. Hierocles argued that there was an ethical need for a “contraction of circles”, to reduce the distance between the circles as much as possible and therefore increase our familiarization with all of mankind (while still retaining the strongest affinity within our immediate circle).

– Oikeiôsis, from Wikipedia

It’s hard to be original.

I don’t mean that humans aren’t creative (we are) but only to an extent. A very limited extent. Our creativity and ability to think outside the box is constrained by our environment and nurture rather than nature.

What is citizenship? As a citizen of a country, as you doubtless are, it’s easy to assume that you have to be and that everyone is and that everyone wants to be. And maybe that’s generally true. Yet where or when in history did the construct of citizenship develop? Is there some form of natural law, like physics or mathematics, that determines what is and is not?

Some will say it’s just how it works. It’s the social contract.

But I don’t remember signing the social contract.

I don’t think any of my predecessors signed the social contract either. And because it’s hard for humans to be creative, or to see outside the orthodoxy we build around ourselves, rarely do you look at citizenship with a critical or even curious view.

Why should one share an affinity with 300 million other who happen to have been born under the same legal territory? You do not have very many similarities with any of them: as a matter of fact, you probably have more similarities to an assortment of people scattered all across the world who are actually much more like you in behavior & beliefs, the largest difference just that they hold another citizenship.

It is not very important which country’s name is stamped upon your birth certificate, much like it’s not very important which bank’s name is at the top of your checkbook. Countries fail just like banks. New countries are born just like new banks are founded. Border lines change and things collapse. In fifty years, everything will be different.

That is why I do not hold any particular affinity for something as vacuous as a legal territory, which I do not particularly want or need. That is why I like to travel: because in reality, when you take away the arbitrary invisible lines that crisscross the globe, I don’t see that much difference between Rwanda and Uganda, or Belgium and the Netherlands, or Alabama and Mississippi.

Let’s start putting more emphasis on things other than arbitrary constructs that limit our behavior.



If you’re like me, sometimes you wonder about people.

Everybody does. Sometimes it’s buried deep within, but nary a soul on the planet hasn’t looked at someone and wondered what on earth?



Have you heard of cooping?


Crazy eyes

You know people with crazy eyes? You know what I’m talking about. They can be a completely trim and presentable person, but the instant you look into their eyes you know that they’re completely 100% off their rocker. It’s the way they don’t blink, or the way they protrude like they’ve got some sort of thyroid disorder. Except it’s not thyroids.