Question Everything

Will There Ever Be a Cure for AIDS?

In Disease, Technology on March 8, 2011 at 6:44 pm

If you ask me, this is a ridiculous questions. The questions should be, “When will we have a cure for AIDS?” This is a classic case of linear vs. exponential thinking. With today’s technology and today’s knowledge, we would never find the cure.

Technology’s Explosive Growth

But technology, both computing power and information technology are increasing at an increasing rate (exponential increase). This means that in 25 years we could have up to 33,000,000 time more computing power than we have now. This means we could have 3300 times the computing power of the iPhone at 1/10,000th of the size (the size of a blood cell).

Seriously.

Think it’s possible that this kind of power could accomplish things that seem inconceivable today? Just a few months ago, a man in Germany was cured of AIDS. Wheather this was a one time deal or if it could be extended to others is a question to be answered. The fact is that this guy used to be HIV positive and now he is not.

This is why those of us who are pre-geriatric have no nead to fear age related cancers. They will be cured by the time we get to them.  What DO we need to fear? Who knows…we probably can’t even conceive of it today.  For now, we need to be looking to cure the diseases we currently have with the mindset that it’s only a matter of time.

What Time Management Questions Are You Asking?

In Uncategorized on March 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm

In most settings, the idea of time management is getting more done for the sake of doing more. This is where you pack every minute full of things so that there is less idle time, a tactic that can be valid and useful at times, but generally serves to wear you out without producing exceptional results. Time management is about what you can cut out, not what you can cram in.

Efficiency vs. Effectiveness

Look to most corporate time management policies or seminars and you will hear about efficiency. Getting more things done in less time, whether those things are worth doing or not. The first “real” job I ever had was as a sales assistant for four Big Dog sales people at an internet marketing company. My job was to set up initial sales calls for the real sales people. My boss only cared about how many phone calls I was making, regardless of the fact that I had high number of appointments set of anyway, and I hit my quote by the 20th of every month, he would still call me to his office to “chat” about my low call volume.

He was worried about efficiency, while I was busy being effective.

Effectiveness is doing the things that move you toward your goal, whatever that goal may be. Chances are it is not “to make 100 calls a day.” Metrics are not goals. Metrics are metrics. Take a few minutes to think about, talk about, or jot down those things you do in a day that move you effectively toward your goal. (You should have a goal, but that’s another topic.) Once you’ve made that list, make another list of the things to do that do not move you toward your goal. This is called the 80/20 rule or Pareto Principle.

The 80/20 Rule

You have heard of the 80/20 rule, you’ve read about it, and you’ve probably given a talk to some up and comer about it, but I bet you don’t put it into practice. Like I said before, time management is about what you can cut out. Pareto’s principle is talked about all the time because those that put it into practice see a huge increase in effectiveness. Let’s cut as much of that 80 out as we can.

Is More Income Always Better?

In Economics, Income, Work on March 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm

All things being equal, YES, more income is always better. The problem is that all things are definitely not equal. Most people, in fact, most jobs and job postings list only the raw number of dollars offered. You would think that a job making $250,000 per year would be intrinsically better than a job making $50,000 per year, but there are other questions to ask other than How Much?

Absolute Income

Absolute income is the raw dollar amount, the number of dollars, and nothing else. This is a poor way of judging an opportunity as the total dollar amount is only one of many factors that play into lifestyle. This is why we have a shortage of doctors. There are plenty of ways to make $200,000 per year without 4 years of extra school and 4 years of post doctoral training at 80-90 hours/week.

Relative Income

If you have two options, to make $200,000 per year or to make $50,000 per year, what would you pick? I would pick neither, I would ask a few more questions. How many hours are required. Okay, $200,000 per year at 100 hours/week or $50,000 per year at 20 hours/week. If you picked the $200,000, you will be making $40/hour, but if you picked the $50,000, you’ll be making $50/hour. The relative income of the second option is 25% better! And then you have an extra 80 hours/week to do with as you please. You could spend it working on a new project or skateboarding…I don’t care.

Income’s Implicit Costs

This here is question people routinely forget to ask when making decisions about how much to work, what projects to take on, and which opportunities to decline. You must give something up in order to get income. There are no two ways about it. As Brendan Behan said, “The difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less.” Think about the value of your time as it relates to the money you are willing to give it up for. Would you work for $200/hour?

Hell yes, right?

Ok, would you work for $200/hour 24 hours/day for a full year? Absolutely not. And why not, other than it’s physical impossibility? Because there come a point when you have enough “two hundred dollarses” and you want to eat, take a shower, play xBox, or spend time with your family. The implicit costs of producing an income increase with each unit. We need to be making decisions about our work and opportunities with the right questions being asked.