The Not-So-Tragic Events of September 10th
We used to be a part of this alternative currency system called LETS (Local Exchange Trading System). The system used “LETS dollars” instead of real dollars. The money, by being locked into the economy, was in a closed loop with some geographical borders. Your spending didn’t end up supporting Al Qaeda (eg. how gasoline revenue eventually goes through Saudi Arabia and find its way into terrorists’ hands). LETS cooked down to 50 people offering reiki and candles and a few people offering something of interest and value. When you show up at a group and you make sense to people, one gets a reputation for having ‘good ideas.’ Before long, that mindset pushes the good idea people into more responsibility. When Cheryl and I joined LETS, we did it because we believed the currency model is faulty. I still maintain that. The period of time was tempestuous. My Mom made me really allergic to hippies and this whole affair was knee deep with shawls, tye-dying and sandalwod. The people offering stuff ran the gambit. Often people wanted stuff and few people offered stuff. We offered stuff and wanted stuff, in that order. My favorite request came during a pot-luck in the last week of the August: “Hi, I’m [name]. I’m looking for an apartment? I, uh, I’m not living anywhere now? So, does anyone have a place I could get for September for LETS dollars?” His pause was not out of some sense of shame or embarrassment. He just misplaced his indoor living. In this crowd, there was sympathy and no spare apartment space.
The wheels turned with LETS. Our frustration crested more than once. By 2001, we were spent. I had built their website but they wanted me to feel building it out. Volunteer development projects can be problematic when you multiply your labour by $0. We found that the whole exercise of LETS was not our cup of tea. For me, I was fearful that they took the faulty global economic system and scaled it down to a local community, but kept all of the problems: debt, credit, inflation, lack of liquidity, immediate gratification, etc.. So: we quit. It was huge load on our shoulders and shuffling off that load was so welcome. I remember coming home after the official ‘quitting’ and falling into bed with this thought in my head: “All is right in the world.” The next morning, my sister woke me up with a phone call at 7AM and told me to turn on the TV: the World Trade Center was hit by two planes.
September 11th was our generation’s Pearl Harbour. Our generation’s Kennedy assassination. The whole day was in set in crystal for repeated study. My friend phone later in the day to say, “The Americans are going to go crazy over this” and I agreed. Given the last 12 years, it’s safe to say that happened. We are okay with torture. Drones kill people. The NSA is monitoring every transmission we make (if they only monitor non-Americans like me, I’m part of the 80% of that non-American world who is getting monitored). The NSA has easy access to pierce encryption. I think this is a great way for them to get black ops money: get a lot of secured access, drop the security, then criminals suck down the cash, and the black op money gets its cut. Consumers and banks end up footing the bill for all manner of atrocities. I don’t like where all of this is going.
September 11th, on a personal level, taught me how fast things can capsize or change state. September 10th, 2013, was one more of the quantum state days. When I switched off Mike DeWolfe and switched on Shawn DeWolfe, I made this domain. I intended to post about heftier topics and I wanted to move away from pettiness. That said, September 10th was remarkable enough that I thought I should post about the day that was.
Cheryl went in to get a tubal ligation. It was her decision and she went ahead with it, despite the risk. Last month, she had a breast lump that turned out to be benign. That former health situation reacquainted me to the concept that things could change. At the outset of 2013, I really felt I was living and re-living the same day. No matter what I ate, my weight didn’t change. No matter how hard I worked, I didn’t get more money. No matter what happened, the same face stared at me in the mirror. The same food landed on the plate. The same mail appeared in the mailbox. The cat even kept puking on the same spot. My life was in amber. While we were waiting for test results with the breast lump, I flashed forward to the life sans Cheryl: I buried her. People wept on her behalf and consoled me. People bubble wrapped me. People tried to get me off of my shelf out of concern. My kid went squirrelly from our grand plan derailed. I raged. I lapsed into despondency. I told all my clients to fuck off. That would be different, wouldn’t it? All went well with Cheryl and her breast lump. On September 10th, she was into the hospital to have her tubes tied. It was to be a minor procedure. Across the ward, there was a guy in for knee surgery. I worked at a water supply place where all of the delivery staff had knee surgery or were on their way to getting knee surgery (lift with your knees? Fuck that). One the water delivery guys spoke with a long slur. He went in for knee surgery. He aspirated during surgery. That resulted in oxygen deprivation and brain damage. Fixing up some cartilage resulted in a lifelong disability. Going in, I realized that minor surgery can turn out poorly. The odds were in Cheryl’s favour, so I didn’t say, “Watch out-- nurses and doctors accidentally kill people” despite the fact that nurses and doctors accidentally kill people. As I was waiting for her to come out, other people were being called for their loved ones and I continued to wait. I was in the room by myself with my thoughts. Was I going to take my wife home in an hour; or was I going to have to prep to bury her? That waiting room felt like the inverse of Schrodinger’s box-- was the world outside the box dead or not? It all turned out well.
While I was waiting to discover which quantum state of marriage I was going to be in, I was fired, thrice hired and acquired two companies.
I got word from a long time client that I was fired. Or, they were moving the work “in-house.” That was a such a tremendous relief. I build my work based on recurring revenue from passive sources-- that has been really tepid, but there are plans afoot to flip that (see below). This client didn’t take a lot of my time, but they randomly required 0 to 12 hours out of each of my days until I spent out my cap of time with them. It’s like having to make a pot of stew every day and see who shows up; or barring diners from the front five tables in case the party shows up. Beyond the scheduling annoyances, the client was intent on targeting their toes. They tried to market to their staff instead of their new customers. They sent out newsletters to 4700 recipients that turned into THREE clickthroughs from the newsletters. Their newsletters were such a disaster. I tried to give them advice, but they rebuffed the advice. Eventually, I suggested they should just have the newsletter people randomly phone three leads instead. They lost control of their Google identity and when I urged them to reclaim that identity, they dodged and ignored the topic. They were loathed to use terms like “products” to describe their products and “consulting” to describe their consulting division. If the problems with this dynamic where an iceberg, I just described the snow on the tip. I will likely genericize them and use them as a cautionary tale for people who need to understand what happens when you market things wrong, what wrong looks like, and that you may not know what that looks like from inside your gold fish bowl.
On the same day, three people hired me for more services. I am busy enough now that I have to hire people and contract out work to partners who I work with. I knew this was possible. When the work with the previously-mentioned client got derailed (people in the company would go missing), I earned MORE. When the previous client was active and present, I earned a poor amount. When they went missing, I earned five times that amount. As soon as I looked at my spreadsheets, their days were numbered, but I stayed with them because I am reluctant to fire clients.
Early in the morning, I registered a corporation for our new property management software company, “Interact-4” or “I4” (because that sounds cool). My partner and I are going to work up the branding and corporate speak. We have clients already. We plan to get 95 clients in BC in the next year. At some point we will move to the rest of Canada with the goal of getting 1000 national clients. When that happens, the money will be very good. Very. Good.
In the afternoon, I spoke with a lawyer representing a fairly venerable website. On Tuesday, Cheryl and I are going in to sign paperwork and buy controlling interest in that niche website. When we have control, we will re-invigorate the site and try to make it return to its former heyday-- and beyond.
I have other stuff on the go, but this is what this September 10th looked like. I look at rich people and poor people. I see busy people and people with lots of free time. I think time and money, like atoms and planets, works on a Fibonacci progression. Things can jump from one state to the next quickly; and it’s actually hard to get into that space between the slots. Quantum physics says that sub-atomic particles leap from one state to the next without going to through the intermediate space. Planets are positioned in an even positioning that seems a little too ordered to be ignored. I think finances are the same: I think my next leap will quickly get me to the next higher financial quantum state of income and business.
I think that’s going to be cool.
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