Saturday, July 3, 2010

Never listen to experts.

That's not quite right. Listen to experts -- if you know without a doubt they really are an expert in your field. Otherwise, stay away.

Or more to the point, if you can find that "Expert" early in your career, and can take his/her advice to heart, and can adapt that advice to your own situation and quirks, then yeah, listen to the expert.

Good luck with that.

You won't know it's good advice until you've already made the mistakes or had the success that tells you whether it's good advice. Ideally, you find that person and they are willing to help you and guide you. But it's hard to do.

But the biggest problem -- you probably won't listen. Simple as that. You will reject the good advice and do your thing, and maybe discover later on that it was something you should have followed, but oh, well, water under the bridge.

There are a whole lot of phony experts out there. Promotional minded people, who will have you going in the wrong direction, they'll make you feel good, rah, rah, rah. They won't tell you the things you don't want to hear.

There are few if any useful books for Mom and Pops; I don't think the money is there-- the Mom and Pops probably wouldn't buy them, most of them, they are seat of the pants, cards close to the vest, sort of personalities.

The books I have found are usually about accounting, or tax issues (how to set up an S-corp, for instance), or about other -- to me -- peripheral issues.

Or they are useless pep-talks ("You can do it!") or magical thinking. ("If you want it enough, it will happen!")

I was lucky enough to stumble across "Growing a Business" by Paul Hawken, early in my career. But not too early -- I'd made about half the mistakes he talks about, which made me wise enough to take his advice about the other half of mistakes I hadn't made yet.

Interestingly, Smith and Hawken's (gardening supplies) are out of business, and I'm still rolling.

(I'm pretty sure that Hawken made a bundle selling to a corporation, which drove it into the ground.)

4 comments:

Pedro Hemes Valdes Ortega said...

I have a funny story for you dunc. When I started my first company back in the 1960's. I went to the small-business admin, because that's what I was told. I told them what I wanted to so, e.g. start a computer company, and they told me it was a waste of time, that there was not money or future in computing. So I never gave a second thought ever again to go to any USA government 'expert' for biz advice.
In my 40+ years of biz, I have only met one man that I consider a mentor, and he's my CPA, but like he say's if you have one good employee in your lifetime your lucky.
What I noted early on, is that real success in BIZ is ran by ASSHOLES, steve jobs and bill gates come to mind, and larry ellison of oracle. If you happen to know these men, then you would know they're assholes. Personally in my experience getting things done makes you an asshole.
Nice guy's REALLY DO finish last.
Success in BIZ is all timing, being in the right place at the right time. Success is also survival, but is it really essential to stay in something 'forever', might sometime be it a good time to walk away and find a 'life'.
In our mercantile society we call USA, all too often chasing the BUCK, is life. So sad, as Emerson said, your rich in proportion to the things you can afford not to buy.
The best book I ever found on biz was "What ever happened to the wooly mammoth", written by a CPA in the early 1960's. Someday I'll find my copy and run the ISBN, I have tried to find this book on amazon by title but always get a NULL return. The book is best, because its the only book I have ever seen that tells the TRUTH about USA capitalism, and how real wealth is accumulated. So much of what ALL the experts and nit-wits say about the USA is all a MYTH. Making real money requires playing the game with real understanding of how the system really fucking works.

Duncan McGeary said...

Yeah, those computers are a flash in the pan.

I think big success often means taking advantage of other people -- that's what I've seen. I couldn't go there, so just being a small operation was fine with me. You don't have finish last, but you won't finish first either.

Pedro Hemes Valdes Ortega said...

A real winner dunc? It's all about lifestyle. You certainly have your wife, and your kids, and your lifestyle, you obviously love comics, and having your own shop. But most important you can come and go, and close your shop when you feel, and go with linda for a long drive, ... so you got the lifestyle you want. Thus your a success, because you have survived to maintain this lifestyle.

I guess its good that we discuss 'philosophy of life', aka internal happiness once in awhile this continual bashing of Bend is bad for the soul, but given that we do live in a world of shit, and 97% of our citizenry don't even smell the shit, ... somebody has to continually say "I think I smell shit"

Thoreau was fond of saying that most USA men lived a life of 'silent desperation'. All to often men in the USA and women are obsessed with material. For us mexicans when we meet we ask "how many children do you have", ... that is our wealth. In the USA the gringo say "What kind of car do you drive", "What you do for work? ( aka how much do you make? ), its not surprising that the USA is such a miserable fucking 'paradise' and Bend is the epitome of 'silent desperation'.

We're all businessmen, and we share philosophy of making a buck, but I think it needs to be said that we all know our priority's fall those with we love and love us.

Yes, to make BIG MONEY you must fuck people dunc, I concur, but often that is simple as selling them something that not need. For that fact NOBODY 'needs' a comic book.

Pedro Hemes Valdes Ortega said...

Well back in the 'day' early on in computing we used to say.

If you want to win you got to be ..

1.) the first
2.) the best
3.) the fastest

If you were all three you made a fortune, if you were one of the three you had a niche, if you were none of the three you were a loser. 99% of most folks are at least 97% are losers. Being first requires just fucking dumb luck, and obsession, but largely right place at the right time. The best means you have to know your shit, quality comes from many things, I think "zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance" (pirsig) wrote best about quality, the 'fastest' well that works best in software&hardware, but certainly in anything if you return to your customer his desired result quicker than competition it makes you a winner.