Created by bdirenfeld on May 11, 2008
Last updated: 03/11/10 at 02:55 PM
Every argument has its “go to” comparison. Talk to anyone about what is going to happen with the future of TV, and inevitably there will be a reference to “look what happened to the newspapers” or “Look what happened to the music industry” Can we just set aside those arguments for all things media going forward and say that such arugments are INCREDIBLY STUPID ? Yes, they are INCREDIBLY STUPID. In a digital era, it makes absolutely no sense to compare industries that were trying to protect and serve products that were and are PHYSICALLY DISTRIBUTED and by far the biggest source of their revenues vs industries that distribute their products completely digitally or for whom physical products are in the minority. The music industry made the mistake of trying to destroy digital distribution in order to protect the physical distribution of CDs. Not only did they not have an answer to digitally distribute music in the Napster era, but they STILL DO NOT !. Fortunately for them, they have finally recognized that for the most part the CD is dead, but where revenue is being generated by their music, they deserve their cut. Imagine if they had established a digital distribution portal for audio and video, ala Hulu, that could at least attempt to compete with ITunes and Youtube. They would be in far better shape. Instead they are reinventing their business model. The CD was doomed to die, no matter what happened. Trying to protect it was a mistake. The newspaper industry tried to protect the physical distribution of their papers. That was a mistake. Their problem was not only that they lost their ability to differentiate from content on the net, but they also lost their
I love the fail blog. moar funny pictures
This is just ridiculous. Why is P Diddy spinning around while he's filming this? Does P Diddy really talk like this in a business setting? But seriously though, "Alaska?...Alaska? I don't even know if there are any black people in Alaska. John, like ugh...c'mon!" (see 1:00min mark)Watch out because, "John McCain is buggin' the fuck out." This is the personification of "pathetically awesome."I found this video through this site which is also ridiculously awesome.
In "the dip" Godin explains when it's best to stick and quit. The book is really short at 80 pages and a lot of the principles seem either painfully obvious or blatantly intuitive. "Quit the wrong stuff. Sick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other." And this is probably why the book has a 4 star rating at amazon instead of a 5 star - see the first review. But usually "when we call something intuitive, we often mean familiar." Our society emphasizes hard work and sticktuitiveness. We use phrases like "short-term pain for long term gain" or "keep your nose to the grindstone." I think the familiarity of these themes makes it difficult to see the real value in Godin's book.Sometimes we need to be reminded of the obvious because its easy to lose sight of the forest when you're staring at trees. It's very easy to sit back and say "well yeah that's obvious" when you don't have to make the decisions Godin is referring to in the book. I think Godin's "the dip" gives the people facing these situations enough perspective to make better long-term decisions. To me that's the real value of the book and why I thought it was really good.Other:1) Here are some things I had to look up when reading the book: Zipf laws, Esther Dyson, and The Magic of Thinking Big2) Here's an article that reminded me of the book - i.e. getting through the dip and not giving up.3) Here's a link to Seth Godin's blog (which is very good).
A CNN anchorman just listed Facebook, Myspace and Twitter as his news sources for Hurricane Gustav. Can't anyone do that? Didn't I just do that - i.e. take 15min to look at the internet and talk about news I thought was important? WTF.And it looks like a lot of US oil refineries are about to get wiped out (check out map below). I'm guessing this is going to raise the price of oil.This is what it looks like when you take the oil refinery map above and lay it over top the hurricane map below. Thank you Microsoft paint.
I just checked twitscoop to see what twitterers were twittering. "Jindal" - as in Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal - and "evacuate" were the clear winners.I read two articles posted on boingboing here and here about the incoming hurricane. And I just watched Governor Jindal's press conference.Judging from the satellite images and the tone in Jindal's voice, this might be worse than Katrina.Ray Nagin, Mayor of New Orleans has even said, "We really don't have the resources to rescue you after this." This is not going to end well.You can track Hurricane Gustav in real time here.
I was very nervous the first time I got a file. I didn't even know what a file was or what I was supposed to do with it. I looked at it for a while and got really nervous until I finally worked up the courage to ask someone for help. "Oh just look at last year's file and do what they did." That's what I was told.This is an awful experience. You sit around feeling like an looking at a bunch of papers that make little to no sense. It's like trying to write an essay from another person's rough notes; written a year ago. It's close to impossible when you don't understand what you are looking at.This makes having a "go-to" person key. Someone who's been around the office for a few years, knows the ropes and doesn't mind walking you through a file. Having people like that to depend on has saved me hours of frustration. More importantly, it's saved me from looking like a complete in front of a partner, which is much more valuable.
Google reader recently announced a new feature called "Power Readers." At the power readers homepage you can follow what different political journalists are reading. It's a pretty cool I've been trying to do something similar at my blog with my "what I'm reading/watching" gadget and my del.icio.us feed in the "My Favourites" section.The power readers site is powered by the "shared items" component in Google Reader, which is great for personal use, but not so much for sharing. Here's what a typical power reader page looks like. The problem with Google Shared Items is that you can't tag anything, so there's no meta data to link topics or concepts together. And since Google is trying to get people to "share and discuss news" withholding a tagging function seems counterproductive.Without meta data you lower the probability of someone looking past your initial page when they don't find something personally interesting. And even if they do find something interesting there's no way for someone to easily find posts on the same topic.So is there a website that allows you to save things from the internet and tag them in an a way that promotes sharing and discussion? Yes, it's called delicious. And yes delicious already has a networking feature that allows you to add other users so you can see what they read. To compete with Google it seems all delicious has to do is make some of its more high profile users known to the community. That doesn't seem too hard.
Bas Rutten is pissed off because Daryn Jones (an MTV Canada host) thoroughly made fun of him here, here, here and here. He's so pissed that he even made his own youtube response.Now what's the best part of Bas Rutten's response? Is it his scareface impression? Or maybe his explanation of what will happen when, "he introduces [Daryn's face] with Mr. Wall." Could it even be the dramatic leap that Rutten takes from a table ultimately stomping on an imaginary Daryn Jones? Why don't you decide.But in all seriousness, would you want to piss off a guy who kicks twice as hard as a car crash. No seriously, twice-as-hard-as-a-car-crash. Skip to the 2:28 mark.
I'm starting to appreciate why understanding what you're doing is more important than being right.Compilations are easy to get right by accident when the client has a good bookkeeper. If that's the case all you really have to do is input the trial balance and wait for the software to spit out financial statements. Then you fill out the GIFI and record the tax provision. That's it.But what's the value in that? You won't be able to explain the file to a manager or the client.That's why it's important to understand what you're doing. So you can effectively communicate what you've done and why you've done it that way. I think that's valuable because few people fully understand what accountants do.It seems like the UFE is trying to hit this home. Most indicators I've seen require you to "discuss" an issue to be considered competent. I've never seen something like "candidate chooses loan B" as a criteria for scoring competent.
It's not a glitch. He's just that good. Awesome.
The hardest part of UFE studying isn't forcing yourself to study. It isn't the stress. It's writing a case, getting your ass handed to you and thinking about it for the rest of the day. It's getting completely dominated and forcing yourself to have the perspective that this is just part of the process.There is only one thing I've experienced that comes cloes to that. Boxing. I can say from experience that getting punched in the face sucks. Getting punched in the face by someone who is 4 inches shorter and weighs 50 pounds less than you in front of many people sucks more. You know what doesn't suck? Training for a month, getting better and punching that guy in the face after he falls for a fake jab.
Tools vs. StrategyWeb 2.0 and social networking are tools, they are not strategies. I think a lot of people are confusing the former for the latter. Since there are so many books on web 2.0 - The Pirates Dillema, Here Comes Everybody, Wikinomics, The Starfish and the Spider etc. - I've found that many people are making the assumption that applying these concepts to any situation constitutes strategic thinking. Even worse, that creating a social network will immediately foster collaboration and innovation, which in turn will lead to higher profits. That's a giant leap in logic.Networking applications work best when they allow people to make sincere connections with one another. You can't fake this sincerity and expect your network to foster collaboration. People just don't work that way.Moreover, networks need to adhere to social norms that are already in place. So taking an existing corporate culture and shimmying it into any old social network won't work. At most it will waste a lot of money and frustrate a lot of people.Here are some examples of what I'm talking about. And I want to be clear, I'm not even the first person to talk about this. I've just been hearing about this problem lately, so when I see a clear example of it I stop and take note.Blue Collar Comedy - Funny or DieFunny or Die was created by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy. Their site allows people to upload all sorts of funny clips. What's really cool is that a lot of celebrities and comedians post videos to the site as well. Afterward people vote on the videos - essentially the videos are either funny or die.The execs at funny or die thought that their format was their strategy. They then tried to use a similar platform to promote blue collar comedy. I guess the thinking was funney or die + blue collar comedy = money. But it's not that simple, considering the site was taken down. The demographic that blue collar comedy targets, is not the same group of internet savy 20 somethings who make funny or die successful. So the site was destined to fail.The people at funny or die did not understand the social norms of the blue collar comedy audience. These aren't the people who are going to go online to watch funny videos and comment on clips.Deloitte's D StreetI know a bunch of people who work for Deloitte. From the conversations I've had, working at Deloitte can often resemble a love hate relationship. The opportunities are great, but the amount of hours you have to work can be daunting. Below is a byproduct of this meme.deloitte 1441 up, 142 down The last form of slavery in the US. This is where many young people begin careers and work 115 hours a week until they either quit or die from exhaustion. Former Deloitte employees often have scarred backs from the whip marks. "Dave has no social life because he works at Deloitte." This is the first definition of Deloitte at urbandictionary.com. Running parallel to this problem is the fact that most employees use Green Dot Life as a way to connect with each other, which operates outside of the corporation. In order to kill two birds with one stone Deloitte decided to create D'Street and internalize these two issues. This is an excerpt from an article I found talking about D'Street. This is a example of confusing tools with strategy."by enabling connections among employees, the company could more easily offer flexible work arrangements, establish virtual teams, bring new employees up to speed, improve collaboration and increase retention among people who hadn't felt a strong sense of belonging."That comment sounds like a typical answer on an H/R exam - fluff mixed with buzz words.It's still too early to tell if this network will be successful. But its success will depend on how well the network appeals to the culture already in place and whether it can create meaningful relationships between employees. I'm really curious to see how this plays outA Counting School - Hardcore Chartered AccountancyThis last example is my favorite, because it is the personification of "you can't fake sincerity."This blog offers practical advice for aspiring chartered accountants on everything from interview skills to how to request time off. The author has been doing this for a number of years. I have even emailed him asking for advice on multiple occasions and topics. He's a fantastic resource to have and I'm glad he took the time to actually respond to my e-mails. So when I read the title of his last post -I got banned by PwC, for offering UFE case writing tips - I was somewhat shocked.After commenting on an article, whose primary focus was "to submit on how to improve PwC Connect" he received the following comment."thank you for all of your comments, but unfortunately I will not be posting them as we don't feel as though they are relevant or appropriateto the subject matter.Thanks for being a loyal reader however, and take care! "This was his comment, which was later removed."Yes, PwC Connect will do as a title - it's good and all, but "awesome"? How exactly does it maintain "creativity and professionalism"? I don't want to shoot down the fine concept, only to challenge your writing: there's only so much that a name can accomplish. Your argument or compliment will be much stronger if you offer logical support for your position instead of just making naked statements. Keep this advice in mind and it'll help you greatly as you prepare for the UFE down the road."How can you invite critisim and then censor it? That does not make sense.This is what I mean when I say "you can't fake sincerity."Hopefully these examples will become fewer in the future.
I often find myself falling into the same pattern. I start upping my cardio, I realize that running is hard to get back into and I end up doing the elliptical instead. This is how I feel about running.
I rationalize this decision by telling myself that its low impact, easier on my joints and back and still provides the same quality of cardio. But at the end of the day the elliptical does not come close to running.
There's a lot of people who argue both sides of this. I'm not sure who's right but I can personally say that I find running much harder than the eliptical. And if I'm training for a race, I think it's more beneficial to train on the treadmill since I won't be ellipticalling to the finish line.
Here's a cool discussion I found on the topic and another one here.
In case you hadn't heard, there was a huge propane explosion in Toronto. Go to the 49sec mark.Check out this google maps mashup for more info.
I have a book of essays by Karl Popper. As I was sitting in last week I kept thinking about one of them, actually just a certain quote."...contrary to first impressions, we can learn more about production behaviour by studying the products themselves than we can learn about the products by studying production behaviour"I couldn't understand why I kept thinking about it until I changed some words around. Like so;"...contrary to first impressions, we can learn more about passing the ufe by studying the UFE itself than we can learn about the UFE by studying how to pass the UFE"This is Popper's third thesis in the essay. The guy is wickedsmart. Worth a quick read if you like philosophy. The essay is called "Knowledge: Subjective Versus Objective." I realize how lame it sounds, but its worth the time to check him out. His essay "The Defense of Rationalism" is probably my favorite.
Got my first comp back, 4RC's and 4NCs. Not bad for a first try I guess. I'm really starting to understand that it's not about answering everything. It's about providing enough depth in the issues that matter the most.
I want to mention some things I've learned over the past few days while attending the Densmore UFE Prep course.First, a proper outline is a crucial component when it comes to writing competent answers. I used an "outline" during the SOA. This outline was garbage. Luckily I was able to eek out a pass. I'm learning that this will not work for the UFE.Comps are tough, but not too tough. Comps are intimidating because they are 5 hours long. Fortunately, there is no time constraint when writing one, so succeeding on the comp becomes a matter of knowing where to begin. If you can successfully the primary indicators, understand how they link together and finally apply your conclusion to the needs of the user, you will score well.It is not possible to address every issue in the other simulations, in the time you are given. If you try to address every single issue, you will fail. These simulations test your ability to rank issues. It is not about being right. It is about showing the marker you understand the process that will lead to a right answer.Discussing an issue is important. Explaining the principes of revenue recognition, or the cirteria for capitalizing research costs can sometimes make the difference between a reaching competent and competent.It costs approx $1,600 to attend the Densmore course. There are approx 300 students. Therefore, Densmore makes (before other expenses, relax accounting people) $480,000 per 8 day course. He makes $60,000/day, $7,500/hour, 125/min and $2.08/second. This means that a 5min tangent about his trip to BC costs $625.
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It took me a long time, but I finally finished Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. After fully digesting it, I can say that it is tied for my favorite fiction novel along side John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces. Tolstoy writes beautifully. His choice of words and expressions are extremely deliberate. Imagine if Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa by dotting the canvas with a fine tipped brush. Every dot, ever colour purposeful. And finally stepping back to reveal a compelling portrait. That's what reading Anna Karenina is like. This is the first thing I noticed while reading this book. The second was a little more subtle.When reading fiction I find authors introduce new characters by explaining what they're like. They will give you a breakdown, a list of likes, dislikes, their background and maybe a few personality traits. Tolstoy doesn't do this. He literally constructs characters. He builds characters through their actions, mannerisms, choice of words, aspirations, taste in aesthetics, hobbies etc. This indirect approach subtly builds the essence of each character, which Tolstoy uses to construct context in the novel. These contexts give shape to the themes and interactions that take place between each character. And from these interactions the reader can see how each character evolves and inevitably forwards the plot. I'll allow Tolstoy to explain. This was his response to editor and educator S.A. Rachinsky after he accused Tolstoy of lacking connection and cohesion in his novel."Your Judgment of Anna Karenina seems wrong to me. On the contrary, I am proud of my architecture. But my values have been assembled in such a way that the keystone cannot be seen. Most of my effort has gone into that. The cohesion of the structure does not lie in the plot or in the relations (the meetings) of the characters, it is an internal cohesion...look well and you will find it"I really want to emphasize the phrase "my values have been assembled in such a way that the keystone cannot be seen." This is what I thought to be the true genius of Anna Karenina and why I would highly recommend reading it.I read this copy. It won a translation prize so I'd say its a good copy to read.
Most people know of nike plus.But have you ever heard of Garmin Connect? It's like nikeplus on crack. If you're heavy into endurance sports, this is an amazing way to track your progress. Check out the reports it can generate. You can track heart rate, cadence, elevation, distance, speed...it's awesome. And since it's powered by GPS your distance is far more accurate than nikeplus, which doesn't use a true accelerometer.
Every year corporations have to pay corporate tax. What's often overlooked by most owner-managed companies is how the CRA tracks these payments. This is somewhat ridiculous.CRA and the Ministry of Finance create a new account every fiscal year a corporation pays taxes. Either I am missing something huge or this is one of the most backwards administrative moves in history. This creates one very large problem. Amounts constantly get posted to the wrong account/year. For instance, if your late paying your corporate taxes there is the possibility your payment may be applied to the following fiscal year. Instead of using logic or reasoning the CRA will begin to charge interest on the amount you "owe." That's the most common example I've seen. The whole makes no sense. There have been numerous times where I've had to call CRA and suffer through the following conversation.Me: I got our client's last notice of assessment I...Agent: Yes they have some interest and penalties outstandingMe: Yeah, thats because you applied their 2007 tax payment to the 2008 yearAgent: Ok...Me: So can you apply it to the correct fiscal year, which would cancel all these interest and penalties that have been charged?Agent: Are you sure you want to do that?Me: (pissed off at this point/coworkers laughing at me because I'm so pissed off) Yes please.Agent: Ok, all doneMe: *click*There is a very simple solution to this problem. Use one account. That's it. You know who uses this system? Banks. Could you imagine how ridiculous it would be if they didn't? Everytime you were charged your monthly service charge the bank creates a new bank account for you. To track your service charge payments "easier."Worst of all, if this time actually gets billed it costs the client about $50.
Jake and Amir work for College Humor. They also have their own website where they upload hilarious 2min sketches. The sketches take place at the College Humor office in NYC and center on the "unique" relationship between Jake and Amir. One of their running gags is a tv show that Amir came up with called Ace and Jocelyn Astronaut Accountants. It's awesome. Ace and Jocelyn - Episode 2 from Amir on Vimeo.
A lot of small owner-managed businesses have problems with GST. They don't understand how it's calculated. They don't know when its due. And they don't know how often they have to remit.Like any kind of tax, you should NEVER go by your friend's advice - listen to your accountant! Just because "so-and-so" files annually doensn't mean you do too.If you get into trouble with GST call the CRA. Their number is 1-800-959-5525. When you get through hit * this will take you to an operator. After you get an operator ask for a senior tax agent. It's always best to speak to a senior tax agent. From my personal experience, most operator's don't have great tax knowledge. They just know where different guides are located on the CRA website. When I do speak to an operator, I usually have to do more digging afterwards to find an answer; making my initial call to CRA superfluous. I find it saves a lot of time by asking one person - a senior tax agent - who can give me a full answer.One last thing. Make sure the GST return is for the correct period. I've noticed that if you fill in the wrong period, CRA won't notify you. They will cancel the return and will eventually charge you a penalty for not filing on time. I've seen a lot of people get really angry over this and it's a situation thats easily avoided.
I just paid this guy to draw me a ninja pirate accountant drinking jack daniels. Why? Because he will draw anything for $2. Awesome.Here is preview of his work. Someone wanted him to draw Jesus Thor and Hercules at God Tryouts. Meh, why not?
I recently installed firefox 3.0, which caused all my addons to stop working. This was really frustrating since I use stumbleupon, digg, piclens, alexa and a bunch of other addons. I scoured the internet looking for answers. Most of them were very technical so I had trouble applying what was being said.I found a much easier solution. Uninstall firefox and when a dialogue box asks you if you want to delete everything - bookmarks, history, passwords etc. - select yes. Now reinstall firefox. This will allow you to start everything from scratch. Now download all your favorite addons. The one draw back is that you will lose all your bookmarks - which is just another reason why you should be already using del.icio.us.My favorite addon right now is piclens. I use it for youtube a lot. But its also really useful if you're a crazy facebook stalker.
A while back I wrote about where the internet is going. Here is a video of Kevin Kelly taking about the same thing - he does a much better job than me. Check the "kool tools" section of his blog its awesome.Kevin is right on point. But doesn't offer much insight into how to benefit from the advantages of a fully connected web.I think that if everything is connected we should be able to search for solutions instead of keywords. I'll explain in the next post.
Finding an accounting job in Toronto is tough. In January I went to a recruiting firm to get some help. In retrospect I wouldn't recommend doing this until you at least pass the UFE. Most employers aren't willing to pay a recuiting firm to find them an employee with hardly any experience. And most recruiting firms won't tell you this because you represent potential cash in their pocket.I showed up 15min early in order to make a good first impression. Everything went down hill from there. The recruiter forgot she had a meeting with me. She then spent a half an hour on the phone with another client. This is a great way to make your clients feel unimportant.After we had that meeting it took her 3 months to get back to me. Her response wasn't even personalized. It was a cookie cutter email that not only assured me their company was working "hard" for me, but informed me that their firm offers $500 "referral bonuses." Are you fucking kidding me? You're going to give me sub bar service and I get to help you make more money? On top of all this the recuiter added me to linkedIn.I still get emails from this firm and I understand why - because they think its costing them nothing. They don't understand that the negative word of mouth they're generating costs their business in a very real way. It's a good example of how companies are using the internet without understanding it. Email and social networks are effective if they help strengthen the relationships between you and your clients. You can't fake sincerity just by using flavour-of-the-month web 2.0 concepts.This is exactly how not to do business.Seth Godin gives good examples on how to use email effectively
I'm trying to take a page out of the Tucker Max playbook. I'm trying to build a network around myself.Tucker built a message board, which allows his fans to connect with one another and discuss whatever subjects they want. Moreover, it brings Tuckers fans to him so he can communicate with them on a one to one basis. He is the center of his own universe.That is what I want - but for accounting. I want to be the epicenter of relevant and reliable accounting information. This project is very much in its infant stages , but thanks to google reader I've gotten a good start. Here are some promising websites I've found so far.re: The Auditors - I'm just getting used to her site, but it seems like she is a current or former big 4 firm employee who offers tons of valuable insights and answers lots of email questions.A Counting School - Hardcore Chartered Accountancy - Besides an awesome blogging name this site has great tid bits of advice and offers a very honest account of the CA process.Accounting Coach - Harold Averkamp is an MBA and CPA. His site is dedicated to explaining accounting concepts and practices. This site could be very valuable for small owner managed companies.
In every industry you have to pay your dues. Knowing that you have to do it, does not make it more bearable however. So when your boss asks you to do something you know is wrong, calls you into their office to point out a mistake you've made or embarrasses you in front of a client, just put it into perspective. You will not be working here forever, you are learning how NOT to treat people and you will be better for it in the future.
As I've mentioned before I enjoy exercising. But, I often push myself too and hurt myself in the process. This attitude led to sciatica.Sciatica is awful because of the type of pain it causes - nerve pain. It's that same feeling you get when you hit your funny bone. Now imagine that, times ten, starting from your lower back and shooting down through your legs.That's what sciatica feels like. And since it effects your lower back, it affects almost every exercise in the gym. But it has the largest impact on squats.This is pure pain. When it's already difficult to stand, the last thing you should be doing is putting weight on your shoulders and lowering yourself to a sitting position. Why do I do this? Because I read articles like this one and think to myself, "well if a 71 year old man can out last NHL players, former professional bikers and tennis stars, then I can do fucking squats with sciatica - suck it up buttercup."
I usually make it to the gym 3 times a week, which allows me to workout my entire body. And on the off days I try to do cardio. It's a pretty decent system and its served me well for the better part of 4 years.If you go to the gym often you will understand me when I say that each gym has certain "characters." These are the people you see and instantly think "I thought people like you only existed in make believe." For instance, I didn't think I would ever see an 8 month pregnant woman doing shoulder press. I also never expected to see a guy wearing a one piece American flag giving me advice on how to conduct a proper "drive-by." I certainly never expected to share a steam room with a 65 year old man doing squats. Naked. 5 feet away from my face. But who really cares? They're usually good for a laugh. That is until you have to talk to them.Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine a 40 something year old white male. He comes to the gym with a full gym-bag. And I mean he brings his gym-bag into the free weight area. After circling the gym, while oggling the female patrons like a drunk college student making his rounds before last call, he plops himself down on a flat bench. Then he gets down to business.From his gym bag he proceeds to unload tensor bandages, a back brace, 3 wooden 6inch by 6inch boards and 2 elastic bands. After everything has been removed he begins his workout. Ridiculousness then ensues.This whole routine has provided me with lots of personal enjoyment; that is until one day I asked him for a spot.And for those who aren't accustomed to gym etiquette let me explain. When you are lifting weights and you are performing repetitions until you fail, its safer to have someone spot you. This person will help you put down the weights on your last repetition in order to avoid injury. It is very common to ask a stranger in the gym for a "spot." Just a simple, "hey could you give me a spot?" normally does the trick. This guy had to make things difficult.Me: Hey could I grab a spot?Douche: You shouldn't be lifting that.Me: What?Douche: If you need a spot then you shouldn't be lifting so much weightMe: Oh no, I'm not trying to do it once. I'm just going to do as many reps as possible until I fail, so I just need help on the last rep.Douche: You shouldn't be doing thatMe: So you're not going to give me a spot are you?Douche: NoLuckily another guy had overheard our conversation and was just as dumbfounded as I was. I turned to him and asked for a spot instead. He gladly gave me one.Me: What the fuck is with that guy?Spotter: Yeah, what a fucking tool.Me: hahahahaI guess its best to leave gym characters alone and laugh at them from afar.
The school of accountancy is very long and stressful.
I was painfully naive when I started my first job. I didn't understand office politics and I thought everyone was out to help each other. Unfortunately, this left me very unprepared and ultimately led to me getting fired. Getting fired was awful but it taught me a lot in a very short period of time.When I entered my second job, 2 months later, I made a conscious effort to apply what I had learned. And I'm glad to say that I still have my job after the three month probationary period. What I still find difficult is tolerating the bs from upper management and their blatant apathy towards our clients.There is such a strong contrast between how you think things should be run versus how they actually are. This made me a little jaded and I was curious if anyone else felt the same way. After talking to a bunch of friends in similar fields I realized that this is apparently the norm. And maybe I'm still really naive, but is this how business is really supposed to work?I find the whole of relying on antiquated business models, because I'm an entry level employee, and have no power to change them very frustrating. It sucks. At the very least I thought it would be helpful, to give the next generation of employees a heads up, so they're not so caught off guard.Here's my I thought a book containing funny anecdotes, outlining how ridiculous "the process" is while providing a moral/life lesson to university grads would be really helpful.And it's important to differentiate between "the process" and "the product." For instance, you may go to the hospital for an x-ray. However, you may not understand how a hospital functions and the ridiculous things new nurses have to put up with to give you that x-ray. That's what I want my book to focus on; the process of creating the final product or service that people in society consume. Normally no one thinks about these processes or understands how they work. And more often than not it's hilarious.
I always carry my laptop around with me. And it gets annoying after a while. So I began to think about this. Why not have wireless monitors? You could put them in different parts of your house. That way you wouldn't have to carry your laptop around. It would probably make laptops obsolete. At that point all you would need is a tower, which are notoriously cheaper than laptops anyways. And in the same vein, why not wireless hard drives? Apparently these are in the works. I think the technology uses a wireless router to deliver info from device to device. Check out these links...http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/wireless/wid101-makes-monitors-wireless-210503.phphttp://www.everythingusb.com/seagate.html...interesting stuff
Isn't it ironic/funny that the porn industry is getting hurt by online porn? Didn't anyone see this coming? Well I guess it goes Music, Movies, Books and finally porn."DVD sales, once Vivid’s financial bedrock, were down almost 50 percent since 2004..."
Cab drivers are amazing. Here is a rehash of what our cab driver said last night...Cabi: You can prepare Donkey dick in three different ways. It just depends on your mood I guess.Cabi: I don't eat the pussy because my religion would require me to wash myself three times afterwards. And that would be awkward for the girl.And on the topic of amazing/awesome things. Coolio has a fucking cooking show!!!!
Like most people I was unaware how real-life worked. You really know nothing when you leave university. University only gives you a piece of paper confirming that you are "smart." That's it. And that's why finding a mentor is invaluable.This doesn't have to be a formal mentor/mentee relationship. Simply having someone who is wise, patient and willing to listen, will do just fine.By some dumb luck, I was assigned a desk right beside such a person. He is in his 50's but has the youth of a 20 year old. He's funny but can be serious. And he patiently listens to all my questions, but makes me work for the answers. It's great.A cautionary note though. Mentors aren't responsible for teaching you the "how". They help you determine the "what". So never ask a mentor how to do something. Instead, present him/her with the options you have come up with. Then ask them which one they would choose. You can even ask them what they think of them. The point is to do the leg work yourself and use their experience to shape your final decision. I've found this to be the best approach.
I get a lot of flack from my friends because I watch anime ninja cartoons. In this post I will explain why they are awesome and why I think they have become so popular.HistoryFirst lets start with a brief history of cartoons. And by history I mean late 80s to 90s. We will be leaving the out (ie anything bugs bunny or mickey mouse related).The 1980s were a great time for cartoons. We had Heman, Shera, Thundercats, Bravestar - I could go on forever. However, most cartoons in this era followed a similar formula.Good guys + bad guys + some cool factor element (Heman and his sword, Thundercats and their ability to come together to make a huge robot) = coolness to the power of awesome.Enter the 1990s. Things remained largely the same. There was a general shift towards more comic based cartoons. You had your xmen, spiderman, batman, the hulk; you get the point. And if you did not like comics you had other options . Power rangers, the obvious logical conclusion to the genre of robots coming together to form larger cooler robots (just look at transformers, gobots and thundercats) was one of these.Balancing this line up of testosterone packed ass-kickery were other shows like Animaniacs, Doug, Rockos Modern Life, Pinky and the Brain and Tiny Toons. These shows followed formats that gave them the semblance of sitcoms or merrie melodies for kids. But again no real changes.Enter AnimeAnime cartoons have a far different format because they are usually based on graphic novels. This is a milestone in cartoon awesomeness. In the past we had one off, self contained episodes. With anime we now had story lines. And before everyone jumps down my throat, I realize that some of the cartoons I mentioned above are based on comics, which are similar to graphic novels. Even though they were based on comics however, most shows were self-contained. And thre were exceptions, like the ever-so-popular phoenix saga in xmen (which was pretty badass). It's important to note though that this was an exception and not the norm.Most anime cartoons - at least the ones I like - follow a story line that spans the entire lifetime of the show. This allows deeper character development as well as more intricate plot lines. It's a similar concept that has been adapted to more "grown up" shows; ie: The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Lost, and Heroes.The reason I believe these shows are successful is because they have to rely on interesting characters and engaging plot lines. They stay away from gimmicky flash in the pan antics. This means less cameos from A-list celebrities/rappers, cheap gags and formulaic templates that allow viewers to predict outcomes based on show duration.And I'm not the only fan out there. Just look at the google trend graph for the key word "Naruto Shippuden" to see what I mean.And for those who don't see the implications here let me spell them out. In 10 years there will be far less of, Everybody loves Raymond, King of Queens and especially shows like CSI and House. And networks like HBO and TV Tokyo will dominate.
A move like this could drastically shape the Internet/strategy arena - Microsoft to buy Yahoos search business and Facebook.Umair Haique explains the importance of interconnectivity and openness which leads to lower information costs. His article belies the idea that closed economies and centralized information creates value. The article is on point. Here's an excerpt."That’s why it’s a (massive) fallacy to argue that any value has been “created”. Value might be created when connected consumers can share and trade preference information or applications across social nets. But value is actually foregone if Microsoft acquires a closed Facebook, because opportunities for consumers, developers, and advertisers alike to meaningfully interact are destroyed. That’s what evil really means: coercing others into accepting value destruction."
It's a little known fact that the internet originated at CERN and not the military. Simply put, CERN is the Mecca of physics . For instance, they recently built the largest particle accelerator in the world (the large hadron collider). They are trying to simulate and hopefully understand the universe right after the big bang. It is as ridiculous as it sounds.The problem with the internet in its infancy was its lack of a common language. No one was using the same protocol. It was like tower of babel meets revenge of the nerds. Eventually one language one the linguistic tongue-of-war - TCP/IP.The military then created Arpanet and developed "packet switching." Instead of sending data from one computer to another - as had been done previously - data was broken down into "packets" and then "switched" from computer to computer. This led to the internet of today.Originally the internet was a glorified message board. People could create web pages, post them and that was it. This laid the foundation for "web 2.0".Web 2.0 is a buzz word used to describe the implications/effects of massive interconnectivity facilitated by web pages and tags. Facebook, MySpace, Technorati, Digg, Del.icio.us, etc. are websites that connect content on the internet that is useful. What all these websites have in common is there ability to "tag" content. A tag is akin to a sign post/marker/signal that classifies internet content (ie: photos/videos/text). As more and more items are tagged, these websites become more powerful. They become more powerful by grouping similar content, which enhances users' web experience through providing as much useful information as possible. Naturally this process doesn't always work smoothly, but thats the gist of it.This where we're at now. The Internet is a see of information whose data ebbs and flows along the shores of our PCs. And in order to swim through the pollution its necessary to create ways to deliver information that is useful and meaningful. I am optimistic that this is where the internet is heading. I just have no clue what it's going to look like. What are we going to do once all the information is tagged and we've created ways to deliver the most relevant/useful data to the people who need it?A potential glimpse of this reality is Amazon's recommendation feature. As more and more people buy on Amazon and write reviews Amazon is able to make better recommendations to future customers. This is perfect. We have a website (Amazon), that has tagged lots of data (books/music/etc through ratings and reviews), which can be used to create a better customer experience. It's right on the money.I wonder how other companies can use this concept to their advantage.
Marcus Aurelius' Meditations is a fantastic read. If you want worldly wisdom or maxims to live your life by, then this book is a must have.Whenever I have trouble getting out of bed in the morning I read this."At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work – as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for – the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm? – But its nicer here…So you were born to feel nice? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands? - But we have to sleep sometime… Agreed. But nature set a limit on that – as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat. Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for dance, the miser for money or the social climber for status? When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up their arts. Is helping others less valuable to you? Not worth your effort?" - Chapter 5 paragraph 1
This is a great description of how I felt on my first day. I had graduated from a reputable university, did relatively well on all my accounting courses, but I felt like I knew nothing.The first month was really difficult. Not only did I not understand my role in the company or how to do my job effectively, I had no clue what the finish product looked like. This made it nearly impossible to ask for help. I didn't even know what questions to ask.This turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy. I'd have work assigned to me, stress out over not knowing what to do, feel defeated and ultimately hand in poor quality work.I think Gill does a great job explaining how to get out of this rut. These two points are worth remembering"Be kind to yourself. Remember that you are entitled to make small mistakes occasionally and forgive yourself. Don’t forget to reward yourself for getting the big things right.""Consider the context. Most people will have experience moments or occasions where they don’t feel 100% confident. There may be times when you feel out of your depth and self-doubt can be a normal reaction. If you catch yourself thinking that you are useless, reframe it: “the fact that I feel useless right now does not mean that I really am.”
I work at an accounting firm. Enough said. I prepare your taxes for a living - among other things that suck equally as hard. However, I am only 24 so I really have no clue what I'm doing on a daily basis. I always find this entertaining. Joe Blow can come in, drop off his records and pay thousands of dollars in the hopes that I've done his work correctly.Pretending I know what I'm doing is the hardest part of my day. Well thats one of them. The other is being quiet. Unlike normal people I have the energy of an adhd crack addict. Typically accountants are quiet. They don't speak unless spoken to. This creates an air of professionalism or a kind of "fake intelligence."And as I have learned in the past 3 months - running your mouth means you get fired at the end of your probation period.
I just finished reading The Starfish and the Spider. And aside from it being a really good book, there was a specific quote that really hit home the difference between tasks and outcomes. It was a description of AA and how even though there is no formal hierarchy, their system still works - they achieve their outcome. "The one thing that does remain constant is the recovery principle - the famous twelve steps. Because there is no one in charge, everyone is responsible for keeping themselves - and everyone else - on track." - The Starfish and the Spider p.37
There are two partners in my office whom I do work for. The first is task oriented and the second is outcome oriented. This had huge ramifications on how I do my work.A task is a directed step by step approach. There are clear milestones that must be met that will ultimately lead to a finished product. This leaves little leeway for me. In this scenario I have no authority to finish a project as I see fit. I have actually been scolded for doing extra work that ultimately benefited our client because it, "wasn't what I was asked to do."An outcome in contrast is a much different process. Bob Gosse describes it pretty well when he explains his roll as a producer, "Well, I see myself as Eisenhower to your Roosevelt. I'm the general running a specific part of the war, but you are still in charge, you run the whole operation, and I answer to you. You make the big decisions and tell me what you need me to do, and then leave me alone to go do that, within the parameters you've set. It's my job to effectuate your vision."From my standpoint, that is the ideal. You tell me what you want and I go away and get it done. Obviously it has to be up to standard. I'm not going to produce a sub par product. But at least give me the ability to use my knowledge and experience to their fullest.But like most things that are difficult you can choose to complain or get better. As frustrating as it is, I think getting better is the best choice.
Partner: [client] is here to pick up his taxesMe: Alright, I'll take him to the board room and let him know you'll be there in a secPartner: Umm, you know what? Why don't you just go through everything with him.So here I am. Sitting across the table from someone who makes $750,000 a year. About to give him tax advice, which I don't understand. Have him sign documents, which I've never seen. And ask him to pay over $40,000 in taxes, which I won't be able to explain. Fuck me.Luckily everything went fine. I showed him how everything was calculated and he seemed ok with that. I just wish everything didn't have to be so stressful.
Tax season is almost over and its not a moment too soon. Between me and the rest of the staff we've completed over 800. That is too much taxes. On the plus side, since everyone is under so much stress everyone is becoming more of a close knit group. Here's an example of this phenomenon in action as evidenced by my partner's story...The partner starts off by telling us how things went back in the 70's...Client: Umm I don't really have any money to pay you with. But I got this [hands partner a bag of weed]Partner: This will doHe then told us that he proceeded to smoke it in his office. In his fucking office!! And what does he do when he another coworker knocks on his door asking about "the weird smoke" and "odd odour." He tells his coworker that he's naked so he can't come to the door. Apparently not only can you act like an asshole when you run the show, you can smoke weed naked in your office.