Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Possibilities



There was a time, when I would mention what kind of influence one can have on the society as an entrepreneur or an early employee of a value-creating startup - and then, people would say all I really wanted is money...

... and it's both right and wrong. It's hard to argue with these people, but simply getting rich was never my dream. My dream, is this:


I dream of enjoying sushi in a sushi bar when I'm 230 years old.

And I'd be talking with the chef about everything that happened in the past. I'd have 200 years to learn Japanese by then. That, or Babel Fish would've happened.

"Little startup companies were all the rage here 200 years ago, you see the Bay over there? That used to be where they made {X}... and it's the reason why we have {Y} and {Z} today."

"Oh yeah? I founded two of those startups there back then, but they all went belly up. I was so dumb."

"Heh. I was making electric cars there back then..."

"And they thought going 0 to 60mph in 3 seconds was cool? Booo!"

(a few sushi later)

"When I was 30 years old, I thought the industrial revolution was amazing..."

"Yeah, and then it happened again, twice."

"And all it did was putting up sushi bars in space."

"All those techniques for raising and cutting fish in space weren't invented in one day, you know."


... and the fish, tastes as good as, you know, the good old days.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Greed


About a year and a few months ago, I had plenty of arguments with two people on this word. It resulted in massive value destruction by people who're convinced they're right. To this day, I still find it shocking that people with sound minds can somehow conclude that destroying a company devoted to producing value, devoted to exploring a different path of survival for our own generation, can somehow be morally correct. It is wrong, even if your family has to suffer for it to continue, let alone small excuses.

But because of what? One of its cofounders likes playing Gordon Gekko and argues that "(a certain kind of) Greed is Good"? That it's better to be frighteningly aggressive than to be safe? That the primary objective of meeting with investors should be to bring that feeling of fright to their minds; that there are more things between Heaven and Hell, than are dreamt of in their philosophies?

What would I, a genuinely poor person who used to live next to leaking sewage in a beaten down district in Hong Kong, have become if I were to play safe?



It all happened, because greed, is a hated word. Dante's Inferno says, the 4th layer of Hell is there for greedy men. Just pick your popular religion - any one of them - and greed is condemned in its scriptures.

But what would have happened to the world, if people weren't greedy for more stable sources of food?

What would have happened to the world, if people weren't greedy for a more favorable form of government?

What would have happened to the world, if people weren't greedy for sounds that were pleasing to their ears, for visions that were pleasing to their eyes, for tastes that were pleasing to their tongues and their stomach?

That world, would be a sad, sad, world. A world without fried potation skins, without cheesecakes, or medium rare steak. A world without balsamic vinegar, or lemonade, or cheese, or ham. A world without colors, a world without Les Miserables. A world without the operatic singing methods and story writers that enables the feeble voice of a single human to penetrate the minds of thousands of audience. A world without the knowledge of how big the Universe is; of how many different species of animals and plants can live together in a coral reef; and why every living existence, no matter how feeble and dumb, are important to us.



Perhaps because of modern society - a lot of people have forgotten, that we humans, in a lot of ways, are losers the day we're born. Our eyesights are nothing compared to eagles, our sense of smell is thousands of times worse than dogs. We're slow, and we're weak. The only thing that nature has left us with, is the ability to imagine and want for more.

We used that to beat the fuck out of reality and make the impossibles somehow become possible - and that ability does you no good if a lion were to hunt you down. If there's one more thing besides our intellect that places us above the lion, it's perhaps our persistence - some people simply don't know when to give up their greed. And that's good - because theses people know, no matter how ugly or condemned that attribute is, it is part of them, and part of everyone.

If someone were to argue that human nature leads us to Hell, then it's Hell that's is wrong, not human nature.