You get paid to do what other are unable to do

As an investor or for that matter in any situation generally you always get paid more to do what others won’t do. For instance, Michael Jordan got paid because he could play basketball in a way others were not.

Why might they not be doing what you are doing and getting paid more for? It could be because of lack of ability (intelligence, skill). It could be lack of resources (money, time). It could be an institutional constraint (scalability, career risk). It could be an agency problem. It could be for emotional or psychological reasons. It could be because they just don’t want to.

The trick in any situation is to find that area where you are able to take advantage of you ability to do something others can’t do and where you know your going to get paid more for it. Its even better if you suspect that they will never be able to do what you do and therefore the competition will always be limited.

Product over technology

There is this absolutely excellent video of Steve Job dealing with the technology equivalent of a heckler:

Jobs makes this incredibly insightful comment:

“The hardest thing is — how does that fit in to a cohesive larger vision, that’s going to allow you to sell — um — 8 billion dollars, 10 billion dollars of product a year.

And one of the things I’ve always found is that — you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it. And I’ve made this mistake probably more than anybody else in this room. And I’ve got the scar tissue to prove it. And I know that it’s the case.

And as we have tried to come up with a strategy, and a vision for Apple, um, it started with … what incredible benefits can we give to the customer? Where can we take the customer? Not starting with — let’s sit down with the engineers and figure out what awesome technology we have, and then how are we going to market that. Um … and I think that’s the right path to take.”

Its really quite amazing how often companies are often run in the manner of engineering solutions searching from problems instead of the other way around. Engineers often have the mindset: superior technology should always win. And Engineers also often end up thinking that whoever is the most technologically knowledgeable should essentially make decisions. Incidentally this strategy can work!!….just take a look at Google.

Of course it can also fail…just take a look at Samsung. Now Samsung does have many successes but Samsung should have achieved more. Its failures are largely due to the fact that they have an Engineers mindset. Thus they propose curved screens for cellphones and televisions. Who the fuck asked for curved screens?  No ones.

Samsung phones are filled with stupid features no one asked for. Like the phone detecting where your eyes are and scrolling based on your eyes.

The Engineering mindset has cost Google as well. Google basically invented a lot of cloud technologies, Big Data databases etc. Yet Amazon’s is crushing Google as a Cloud service provider. Why?

Islamism makes no sense

Its doesn’t take a large amount of critical thinking to understand that there are huge problems with Islamism.

Most Islamists believe in two incompatible ideas:

1) that all Muslims should live under Shariah law

2) That Mohammed’s life was perfect and that all Muslims should aspire to live as much like Mohammed as possible. This is why occasionally you will see some Muslim with an orange beard…because its believed Mohammed dyed is hair orange and that dying it black is forbidden.

The reason 1) and 2) are incompatible is simple…there was no Shariah in the time of Mohammed. So you cannot believe 2) while believing 1) since by following Shariah you are doing something that Mohammed was not doing.

To see this perform a thought experiment. Imagine that the closest person in your life believed you were incredible. So they wrote down every single thing you said. Then a religion was formed based on your life. Over hundreds of years numerous scholars debated you words, your ideas. They formed schools of thought, with principles, ideas, concepts and interpreted your life extensively through this theoretical structure. Then they spent hundreds of years codifying this into a set of laws. Finally at the end of this people started following these laws to the letter.

The question I would ask is at the end of this long complicated process, would the people living their lives according to these rules and laws be living a life that in anyway resembled yours?

The answer is of course no. The life of your future adherents would be much more rigid than yours and much less flexible. This is because rules in general tend to be rigid and inflexible. This has nothing to do with the nature of your life and everything to do with the nature of rules. Thus your adherents lives would be dominated by rules which is a different thing than living a life in a similar way to the one you lead or to the ideas you believed in.

Any rule based system has a certain type of structure and certain tendencies. For instance, rule based systems tend to resist exceptions. Exceptions in rule based systems always look ugly. They also resist inconsistencies. You can’t for instance have a rule saying you must not worship idols and another that says you must worship Mary. But a persons life is not like that. One day a person might do one thing and say one thing and the next day something else. If you try to examine this life and extract principles there is no reason that the principles have to be consistent. Thus a rule based structure encourages a logic, consistency and simplicity that simply does not exist in the chaos of the real world. It proposes a system of organization that does not match life.

Modern Muslims have more in common with other very ruled centered religions than they do with the religion Mohammed was preaching. In fact implicit in the very idea of Shariah is that Muslims can be more perfect than Mohammed himself. If I ask the rhetorical question: Why didn’t Mohammed follow Shariah law. The answer would have to be that he didn’t have the benefit of it but that Muslims have now progressed and been able to create a consistent set of rules. Are Islamists, not really saying, through Shariah we can be even more Islamic than Mohammed himself and is this not ridiculous.

A better medium for representing the practice of Islam might be art instead of rules. Stories, parables, fables, aphorisms, sayings, songs etc. Indeed this his how religion used to be transmitted. This is the content of most of the Bible and I believe most of the Koran.

Rules take on a life of their own and this is what has happened in Islam. Islamists are more interested in rules than they are in Islam. Both Islamists and Orthodox Jews should combine their religions together and call themselves rulists since their true God is Rules.