making $$$: the product is irrelevant

spotted yesterday at the beach.  however excellent of an animal representative of the sheeple world.

the other day chris wrote about his biggest business failures.

not the most exciting tale of all time, perhaps.  people have failed more spectacularly, at stranger things.  worth noting though, is the key difference in tone between guys like chris who succeed in life on these particular terms, and the guys who are designed for failure.  read the commenter’s on the post, to illustrate the point of that latter crowd.

from excuses on why they failed, to whining that their product had been copied, it’s all fairly standard stuff of the drone-dude mindset.  from the same mind springs the sort of audience you find on thaivisa forum, also the dudes who hate on your ideas, or copy your stuff, or sue you for disability.  if we were to speculate, one might go with too much maternal influence early in life, and not enough father figure bits.

so tragic, the little bitches lives.

there’s definitely some sort of brain wiring difference between a sheeple drone and somebody who is capable of living without babysitting and endless encouragement and direction.  maybe that’s not even meant as good or bad.  it just seems factual.  for the dude not made to function on his own, it’s probably best to realize that early on and just stick with default world jobs.  there’s plenty of them, enough that allow for some freedom and latitude.  somebody might be better off as offshore oil rig worker with a 28/28 schedule, than to be screwing around writing smartphone apps.  takes a village, something something.

the lure of riches and being free, though.  how is one to resist that siren song?  how might one know if they’re destined to be on that track, or if it’ll be suicide-by-freight-train?

here is what i’d suggest to newbies, on what it takes to make a business succeed:

1.  the business isn’t going to succeed

of the dozens of dudes i know well, who made it on their own, i can’t think of a single one who hit gold on their first try.  the first try is just the bootcamp part of the education process.  the second one, extended bootcamp.  the seventh one, maybe that one breaks even.  or maybe the first one, seven years later, after it’s mutated into something that actually can function.

guys who look at a business, any business as some subconscious replacement for their mommy, or their middle management boss, are going to fail.  and whine.

and hate on dudes who pull it off.

2.  if the business succeeds, it’s just a temporary victory

how’s myspace doing these days?  netscape?  pc builders, shoe makers, small hardware stores in the u.s.a.?  how’s detroit?

every business has a life cycle.  if it’s IBM, maybe that lifecycle plays out on a scale of decades.  if it’s flappy birds or angry birds or whatever birds, it might be months or weeks or days.  no matter what, after your first seven businesses you realize a whole lot of things.  among them, that it’s all going to be born, grow up, and eventually be eaten.  or die of other causes.

the sheeple drone-ling doesn’t see that.  you write an ebook, it’ll get plagiarized.  you create an paradigm changing app, google will just copy it, make it better, and your thing will be over.  four people out of 40 million get bought out.  everybody else just gets to pack up and go home after they’re sunk by the big guys.

the point is to realize that the moment you launch anything, you set the countdown clock.  it’s just a question of when, and how.

3.  on a short term scale getting into your own business makes little sense

for a western guy, with western education and access, starting a business isn’t empirically a logical decision in the short and intermediate term.  you can make six figures on the offshore drill rig, and have every other month off.  you can be the vp of design at a commercial refrigeration company and make six figures after a few years in the field.  you can study to be a pharmacist and make six figures on your first ever job.

on the other hand, nobody is making six figures on their first own business.  sure, somebody is.  like somebody is hussein bolt.  not me, probably not you.  i didn’t make six figures in the first ten years of doing my own thing.  in contrast, i made six figures at a 9-5, doing jack all anything, with a fake resume, pretending to be a project manager at a tiny third rate computer peripherals peddler.  that’s day one real money vs. not even close ten years later on my own.

granted, i’m lazy.  but even putting in 10x the effort of doing almost nothing at the project management gig wasn’t nearly enough to make even a fraction of the money on the outside.

there’s a theoretical upside to your own business, in that you could possibly and eventually be more free, and make more money than you could at a day job.  those are big maybe’s, a long way down the road.  the time and commitment required to get there are questionable in terms of payoff over the life of your career or empreneurdom.

sheeple robots don’t have the foresight for this.  and once they figure out just how long the road is, and how ill equipped they are for this road, they quit.  and probably they should, sooner rather than later.  less misery and bitterness for all.

4.  business isn’t about business

guys who succeed, on whatever scale that matters to them, are driven by a different base paradigm than botheads.  look at chris.  his two big failures were 1) some ebay app and 2) a donut shop.  not so closely related, yea?

some guys are wired to do their own thing.  it’s not about the product at all.  it’s the difference between being the equivalent of a bottle of water, or a well.  the apple tree or a bunch of apples.

you have to be the source of the overall inspiration, rather than a widget creator.  the only way to outlive the lifecycle problem and the failure problem and the short term valuation problem, is to be the source of inspiration, rather than just having created a product and pinning ill-fated hopes on it.

is chris going to quit after the donut shop?  he doesn’t even look at the idea of quitting, because there isn’t anything to quit.  he creates things.  some of which go further than others.

this is true for all success.  jeff bezos, amazon.  it was an online bookstore.  yes it still bears the same name today, but within all that, dude man jeff reinvented and iterated and stayed ahead of the demise of any particular format of his business, over and over and over.  netflix did it moving from dvd rentals to streaming, blockbuster didn’t.  the guys who are able to sustain and drive, all share the well-of-things principle.  a chicken will keep laying eggs, whether the last one hatched a chick or not.

bottom line, it has to be about the adventure and who you are, rather than some race to the money.

one jake may have faked credentials for day time jobs, had a warehouse full of women’s shoes, sold stoves for yachts, run a software development shop, tried a hand in commercial software stuff.  maybe such a character at some point babysat spoiled kids on behalf of their mobster parents.  perhaps made hippie shoes for the yoga crowd.  designed porn sites.  there’s a dozen other things in there too, and not one of them would serve well to define it’s creator.

today, my favorite business is showing no signs of slowing down.  still, in my mind, it’s already over.  in competing against myself i figured out all the flaws that map the thing’s eventual demise.

ein jake is already on to the next thing, and ears are always to the ground for other interesting ways to leverage some of my winnings for new stuff.  it’s not about the money.  it’s about building something, like a kid’s car track, and then putting the little wind up cars on it and seeing if they make it through the 360 loop without falling off.

on the flip side …

sure, it’s unfair to call them sheeple pod whiney momma’s boys.

the world needs plastics chemist engineers to work at samsung, and guys to design and maintain the robots that build tesla’s car batteries.  for every one elon musk we need 10,000 guys with engineering degrees and a desire for job security and regular paychecks.  if we were all renegade pirates, we’d still be in the stone age.

useful then, those guys.  they’d be easier to appreciate on a whole, if they weren’t also a lot of the guys making our lives, the creators of new seeds, more difficult.  that whining and complaining, the mindset that drives the creation of overbearing babysitter governments and regulations and agendas.  sheeple bots want everything organized, and for nobody to have the opportunity to be anything other than them.  their fears only assuaged if we’re all clones of their own selves.  that’s what bugs me about them, and their whiny stories of business failure.

stay out of the deep end, sheeple clones.  don’t move to thailand and spend all your retirement money on bar girls, write an ebook that never takes off, and then be forever bitter and peeing in our pool of beautiful people and cultures and ideas.


  1. Wojciech Majda

    September 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Very insightful as usually.

    I agree with you. One needs time and some experience to have their business work and be profitable.

    And totally agree to keep your eyes open on the new opportunities. Just a few days ago I accidentally figure out a way how to get rid of one pest, that makes old European parks look ugly. Rich people will not spare expenses to have a nice looking estate… And the best thing is that I will be the first one that can do it successfully as current methods are costly, time consuming and ineffective.

    I already stared talking with people to conduce trials…

  2. Jack Charge

    September 4, 2014 at 2:54 am

    That thing about the chicken that keeps laying eggs… reminds me of James Altucher’s thing about being an Idea Machine, kind of a brute force way of keeping the eggs going. Not sure whether it’s a thing that can be trained like he says, or if it’s just what people who have that ability will do automatically, and others just don’t.

    • jakes

      September 4, 2014 at 5:33 am

      i’m inclined to see it as something that worked in tribal societies. one innovator, a lot of implementers. all those puzzle pieces of various personalities that worked in those small groups, lost their place in the current mega societies.

  3. Sam

    September 4, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Most humans are domesticated and I’m not leaving myself out. I’m at least aware of it. Some aren’t. Doesn’t make me feel any better. I think the major reason is shame. People think of things to do and then think of the consequences if it fails. Revs up the anxiety so they do nothing.

    • Theophilus

      September 8, 2014 at 8:35 am

      I think that analysis is spot on.

  4. John D

    September 5, 2014 at 5:01 am

    What’s relevant is getting comfortable with the process of business. Discovery, uncertainty, persistance and a willingness to fail are relevant. Favorite recent book on the topic: The Personal MBA by Kaufman.

    • jakes

      September 5, 2014 at 9:44 am

      even the word ‘failure’ annoys me on the business front. people are failures. businesses are just various experiences and life spans and lessons.

  5. kelvin

    September 5, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Damn! this is one of the best posts you have written so far.

    • jakes

      September 5, 2014 at 9:42 am


    • Sam

      September 6, 2014 at 1:15 am

      It is. It’s very very good. Maybe some day people will quote you. Like a Machiavellian De Tocqueville.

  6. yurko

    September 6, 2014 at 6:19 am

    Great writing. Post request: “how to pretend being a project manager”.

  7. John

    September 6, 2014 at 8:29 am

    So many dream balloons popped with this post.
    Reality hurts, makes drugs, dayreaming and distractions while splashing around in the shallow end seem far more appealing.
    But still……

  8. Theophilus

    September 8, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Another blog I read has the owner trying the get a startup off the ground. The basic idea of it makes no sense to me, but he’s very gung-ho. Turns out that startup people are very into “the pivot”, which is when they realize that the first idea didn’t work and they have to think of something else. The idea/product is not important. The new idea can be completely unrelated to the first one, it seems. What matters is to keep “pivoting” until they hit paydirt.
    Well, that’s my understanding of it, anyway.

    • jakes

      September 8, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      i think i might be averse to all types of people just about equally. hearing entrepreneurs talk in that jargon stuff, i get a little huffed. maybe it’s just the lingo, who knows.

  9. Aaron

    September 8, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Brain wiring is definitely different in sheeple.

    They get consistent regular rewards from monthly paychecks, social media and TV programming.

    Entrepreneurship involves inconsistent irregular rewards. Most people just aren’t built to handle that lack of rewards, especially with no certainty of an eventual payoff.

    • Joe

      September 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      yup, those irregular rewards are also what make gambling was so addictive
      (mouse experiments with the pellet-every-lever-press vs. irregular pellet etc)
      I think most guys are natural entrepreneurs and have it beaten out of them by their girlfriends/wives/societal expectations of a steady (ie. perpetually shitty) income
      I know I had 3 biz before getting married w/children. now, zilch and corporate dronesmanship

      • jakes

        September 8, 2014 at 4:38 pm

        yea. if i had kids in the west, i’m sure i’d be singing some different tunes.

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