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2020 February - Corporate America Is Filling a Role for a Salary



In February, my Bouzouki arrived. It is a funny Greek instrument giving what many call a "drunk" sound. With a producer mindset, I didn't bother trying to learn how to play it. I started sampling, mixing it, and creating "amazing" pop hits. A disaster - but still fun! On 7th of February, I bought the "Irrational Game" from Dan Ariel. But more on that later. I also became a trillionaire. In Zimbabwe dollars. I love pointing out all the cases of hyperinflation. Super-intelligent people around me can't stomach the idea, but arbitrary numbers on notes are what drives them. Intellectually, they know that the number is BS, and they're open to the discussion. It's the implications they can't stomach. The fact that the value it represents can be anything from trash to gold. Money and value are disconnected. Did you know that there're 2,825 billionaires in the world right now? And 47 million millionaires? Up 10% every year. But the valuable physical assets around the globe remain about the same. What does this mean about the money numbers? Do they represent more value or less year by year?


Talking about money, I had a year end evaluation at work in February. I got by far the largest pay-rise in my life. Still, it was much less than what I had serious reasons to expect. I think I asked, "why"?


Now I've confirmed this many times in the past. Both asking "why" and want to do something about it is pointless. The responsibility for your pay-rises is lost between individuals and systems in a way that makes everyone powerless. The only thing you can do is to come with an offer from another company. Either your company will match it, or you will leave. You will get more money either way. The company presumes one of two things. Either you have debt, you need the money, and you are lazy, and you're ok. Or that you are routinely interviewing and you are happy with the money and the job you have. None is my case. I want to learn, grow, make a difference, and make tons of money too. Then use this money to grow more, and make more difference. Speed is of the essence in that loop. And what I get most of the time is super slow and dissatisfying.


In any case, management isn't business. It can't tailor a deal for you. And it would be a waste of its time. A company wants to be making deals with customers - not employees. At a high-level, you are filling a role for a salary. It's that simple. Do you do a good job? Good for you - I guess - your colleagues will resent you - your manager might feel threatened - but I guess you know why you're doing it. Good for you! Do you do a bad job? Good for you - for a fact. No wonder you see so much mediocracy in Corporate America. Find the minimum requirements of your role and do just that. That's how you get your top rate. By hacking the denominator - how much energy you spend. And, in the process, of course, you waste your life one purposeless day at a time. Some colleague told me that quite directly about three years ago - "It could be done faster, but - you know - I have a mortgage to pay."


Now you might ask - so what - didn't you know that? You have to understand that I've been to many different places and seen many different cultures. It's my third year in the US, and many of the stories we hear in Europe about the US, and we either like or hate, they all kind of turn true. The catch is that the meaning of the words of those stories is different. The more you live in the US, the more the same stories mean something completely different. So be patient with me. Yes - it takes years for me to become more cynical.


At the end of February, we started contemplating moving to Austin, Texas. A virus was rapidly spreading, and we were developing contingency plans. More on that later. That was February, I'm a Bouzouki Trillionaire and Corporate America Is Filling a Role for a Salary


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