Subject: Re: $1,250
From: Tom Lord <lord@emf.net>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 11:55:08 -0800 (PST)




	People are not machines under your control.  The world, in
	fact, is not a machine under your control.  This surprises you
	every couple of months when you don't have money for food or
	housing.

That's really very far from an accurate characterization of my world
view.   I _can_ see how you might think so, but really, you missed.

Hey, I have some actual business advice for other sole proprietors,
but let me set it up by responding to one more thing you said:


        Many people on this list have the "fixit" gene -- but almost
        all of the people on this list have a healthy dose of respect
        for the forces that are out of their control, and have found
        ways to co-exist with them.

There's judgement calls to make about what things can possibly change
(and how) and what things can't and what kinds of changes are worth
working for.  You and I make that call a little bit differently and,
as much to my surprise as anyone else's, the game isn't over yet: so
far, everytime I've nearly run into one of the brick walls you
referred to, little bits of progress have occured and at least averted
the disaster.  Some of that progress has resulted from this list.

So, you know, I'm sorry to have pushed, for example, Karsten's buttons
-- that's certainly not the goal.  It's bad for the list and I hope
you've noticed that outside of little bursts like this one, I've cut
my volume of posting _way_ back since he's not alone in being someone
I seem to piss off pretty easily.

I'm not going to claim I'm doing things right -- obviously not (by the
effect).  But I also am not doing things _completely_ wrong because
(a) Amazingly, I'm still here; (b) The arch user community has grown a
bit, but what I've really liked is that the oldest members are getting
distinctly more sophisticated in their thinking and contributions.
They've also gotten better at helping newbies to the list.  (c) Some
of the users are working on getting "project wins" for arch in other
free software projects that they're part of.  So, you know, in spite
of tough economic times; in spite of not being able to engage the
vendors; in spite of my apparently clumsy and polarizing approach to
public relations -- the project continues to inch along what is
traditionally a successful path for free software projects (just a
little too slowly, financially speaking).   So, hey, forgive me for
trying these things if it bugs you so much -- but it hasn't been a
completely irrational thing to do.

So here's my advice for sole proprietors:

I have been reminded (the hard way) of one particular lesson that I
think applies to running a business (and lots of other aspects of
life): don't undersestimate your options for survival and let that
effect longer term planning.  For example, last year I concluded at
one point that either complete disaster would strike within a few
weeks, or complete success -- but that those were the only two
plausible outcomes.  I let that effect my long term planning in the
form of deciding _not_ to spend some time writing an SBIR proposal
because the longer timescale of that process, combined with my too
pessimistic projection, made the idea seem pointless.  Well that was
dumb because those weren't the only two plausible outcomes and the one
I overlooked, to still be stumbling along, months later -- a long
enough time that the grant seeking process would have made sense -- is
what actually occurred.


-t