Category Archives: Uncategorized

Laws vs. Morals

This morning I was the beneficiary of a random stranger’s kindness.

Hastened by the distant screeching under-serviced metal on metal, I recompose myself and begin my second attempt at removing a subway card from the vending machine. My first attempt almost lost me fourteen dollars- who knew that the machines only dispense $6 change? Fck, a girl in checkered tights just blew by me.

Card in hand, I turn toward towards the gates. On the left, a young black man with a maroon hoodie and a black backpack runs a white card through the reader over and over . On the right, a older white lady with a perm does the same. A young woman and her barbie-themed kindergartener stand to the side, patiently watching the F train rumble into the station. A panicked crowd forms to my flanks. The train slows to a stop.

Fck! I ask the young mother if she is in line. She shakes her head- “this thing isn’t working,” she says, holding up another one of those white cards. Why are their cards different colored than mine? The gas pistons that control the subway doors exhale and a handful of Brooklynites leisurely stream out, oblivious to the crisis taking place on the our side of the gates.

Seconds from spending another twenty minutes underground, I grab the young man on the backpack. “Let’s do this,” I say. “Together. You first.” No hesitation on his part, he posts up on the gate like a runner in the blocks.

Swipe.
Clink.
Swipe.
Clink.
Am I fcking this up?
Clink. Swipe. Clink. Swipe. Clink. Swipe. Swipe. Swipe… We’re screwed.

Someone screams. HELP!!! A small Asian hipster with a violin under her arm turns toward us. She is pained, but obviously helpless. We flap our metro cards wildly. She steps inside the cab. A neatly dressed Brit and his wife peer at us from the inside of the car. “Stand clear of the closing doors.”

We are defeated. The I watch the shoulders of the boy I am currently pressing into the gate sink to the floor. Maybe I should move and ge.

BAM!! The Brit comes blowing out of the car, tumbler and grey hair slamming on emergency exit. HOPE. Rebuffed. “Harder” chants the crowd. The door begrudgingly relents wailing the whole time. Alarm blaring, we sprint through the closing doors of the F train.

Thanks random dude for recognizing that laws do not define, but approximate morality.

Fear of Failure

Tonight I was discussing the irony of how I am writing a paper about entrepreneurial best practices such as iterative development*, and yet I have been working in this little hole of mine for months without getting any of my work to market. Why not? I care about how my work is perceived and thus I haven’t wanted to exhibit work that I felt was not of sufficient caliber. Basically, I let my work and my identify become intertwined. How unentrepreneurial of me. After all, the quintessential entrepreneur is supposedly completely internally driven, indifferent to other people’s opinion of him or her.

In most professional pursuits, the goal is known, criteria for success are clear, and measuring your performance is easy. In these scenarios, it is possible to “get it right” the first time. And thus, you are incentivized to front load your efforts to avoid the detrimental effects of failing- even if you don’t care what other people think, their opinion can impact you (e.g. they wont work with you).

Entrepreneurs face a very different scenario, and thus it’s no surprise the people drawn to entrepreneurial endeavors exhibit very different behavioral patterns than those who choose to follow more “traditional” pursuits. For those trying to create something brand new, goals are often undefined and dynamic. Because the criteria for success are ambiguous, there are no good standards by which to measure your performance (at least in the beginning). Since you are highly unlikely to “get it right” off the bat (whatever “it” is), you are incentivized to stage your investments, taking small steps, and then asking the world to validate your work. There may be detrimental effects from failing (not to your psyche though), but they are vastly outweighed by the losses you would incur from spending your time building up “castles in the sky,” businesses or product for which there is no demand outside you skull. Entrepreneurs are thus incentivized to fail early and fail often.

And there lies the linkage between the behavioral profile of an entrepreneur (internally driven) and an entrepreneurial best practice (iterative development).