Subject: Re: $1,250
From: David Kaufman <david@gigawatt.com>
Date: Sat, 01 Mar 2003 01:39:45 -0500

Tom Lord <lord@emf.net> wrote...

> I _agree_ that whining sucks.  I don't like having to do it.

then why do you persist in doing so, and doing it so publicly?

> ...Part of the reason I try to give such
> generous readings to the people who flame me is because, hell, in some
> important ways, I basically agree with them.  It all indicates that
> _something_ has gone wrong -- perhaps with me, or perhaps external to
> me -- most probably somewhere in between, really.

somewhere IN BETWEEN "you" and "external to you"?  where exactly would that
be?  having realized that something is wrong is a step in the right
direction, but it'd suggest that it must certainly be an either-or
proposition as to whether the cause of the problem is "with you" or
"external to you".

clearly in the past you've made it clear that you then perceived the problem
to be something wrong out there in the world, external to you, and therefore
not your fault.  but isn't the problem that you're a coupla hundred bucks
from being homeless?  if the current crisis is a lack of means to pay Tom
Lord's rent, the how can that problem be external to Tom Lord?  others "out
here" (external to Tom Lord) have tried to suggest that if one can't make
one's rent payment one has two choices, acquiesce and become homeless, or
find some means to pay their rent.

> ...I don't like the circumstance at all On the other hand,
> whining has _partially worked_:  that is the point I was
> trying to make to make to bfox.   I've raised money.

congratulations, you're not homeless, this month.  you whined, or more
properly, you begged, and you received $1,250 for your efforts.  is that
more than one rent payment where you live?  how many weeks worth of
groceries will that buy?  how many phone, electric or internet access bills
will it pay?

out here, external you, with each post you make, it is more and more evident
that you're holding quite tightly to the hope that somehow money will find
it's way to you if you just hold out long enough, but i must say the irony
is
that from out here we can all see that your high quality skills and
abilities are *held*back* by your denial that you are where you are as a
direct result of your own choices, and refusal to admit even the possibility
that some of those choices may have deserve some serious reconsideration.

i mean listen to that brilliant, classic sentence of denial, Tom: the
problem is not "with you", or "external to you", but *might* be somewhere in
the middle?  that's like being "kinda" pregnant isn't it?  you either are,
or are not the problem, here.  either *your* business has failed to pay
*your* rent, or the world really *does* owe you a living, and it's
apparently *not* paying on time, and is thus in default, in which case
you should refer documentation of that debt to a competent collection
attorney for settlement or possible litigation.

> whining has partially worked, [...] I've raised money [...]
> I've attracted volunteers to the project.   I've attracted advocates
> to the project.  I've progressed towards getting project wins.

oh, i didn't realize that the mission of the project was simply to pay your
rent, once a month, when you complain loudly enough.  i assumed it was a
software project, not a fund-raising drive for you personally.  why doesn't
everyone contribute to that project regularly?  something is definitely
wrong with a world that doesn't pony up the pennies to the Pay Tom's Rent
Foundation.

> I've survived, against all odds -- and that is an FSB accomplishment
> worth noting.

the art of effective begging is not even on-topic to this FSB list, much
less "an FSB accomplishment worth noting", except perhaps as a warning sign
that an overzealous belief in one's ideals can drive a struggling FSB
entrepreneur into a state that's not unlike a deer in headlights, unable to
look away from the impending danger that is about to befall him, and yet
unable to see any of the reasonable alternatives before him, such as the
safety of the trees only a few feet away, where he could easily leap at any
moment, and live to jaywalk another day.  perhaps a fsb-denial-support list
is in order...

> ...how many other nascent free software projects with commercial
> ambitions are there that have, in the past month, raised over $1K just
> by virtue of asking?   Are you _really_ sure I'm _that_ wrong?

did you raise a thousand *last* month too, just by asking?  will you again
next month?  how long will folks give you dough before they realize their
not supporting a software project, they are supporting you directly, and you
will stop supporting them the month that their kindness dips below the exact
amount of your needs for the exact duration your landlord can tolerate
without evicting you?

that is not a business.  one cannot conduct a business while one's roof is
in jeopardy.  the kind supporters who paid your rent this month are
supporting you personally, not arch, your business, or free software in
general.  they are doing what they can to help out you, Tom Lord the person,
because they obviously value you personally, and/or your work.  but crisis,
kindness and generosity does not a business model make.  if you'd raised
$1,250 in service contract sales, billable development hours, consulting
fees, or even commissions on banner-ad click-throughs, impressions or signup
referral fees, i'd say yeah, go for it.  tough it out.  it's hard but your
scrappy and you will make it.  but to hear you rail against fate, to
complain that the world owes you and it's time to pay up, and then to hear
that you did get some money, is just sad.  because it means that it will now
be at least one or two more months before reality shines through onto your
consciousness that: until you are *able* to take the steps necessary to
generate income, to support yourself, to *guarantee* that you yourself can
pay your own rent each and every month, then you will remain, by definition,
unable to support yourself.

consider Tom, that against all adds, you've not "survived" your project or
your business, you've simply prolonged your own realization that it's not a
business if you don't get paid.  you've just postponed your eventual return
to staring homelessness in the face, and you've simply avoided for one more
month the fact the fact that a slight change in income-producing tactics has
been long overdue since day the the realization first dawned on you that you
might not be able to pay the rent next month, or the month after.  getting a
retail job at a consumer electronics store or a clerical position for some
small office that has a PC or two, but more dollars than sense, is not a
failure.  it achieves the goal of paying your rent.  it supports you so that
you can do what you like to do.  it's a sane source of income.

not having a secure source of income is the problem.  it is not "external to
you" nor is it "between you and external to you".  it is Up To You.  and
when you find that job, and begin to feel like a Real Person again after a
few weeks or months, who is not constantly on the verge of the fringe of
People Who Live Outside... after you have made some small business the most
efficient and automated Dry Cleaners or Real Estate Agents west of the
largest river (east of you), only then you will realize that being the
computer geek for a Real Business gives one keen insights into what Real
Businesses want, need and pay for on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Real Businesses pay Real Money for those things that are critical to them
conducting their Real Business and collecting that Real Money from *their*
customers.

They pay their bills because they have a thing caled cash flow.  if you want
to be a successful FSB, you'l need to be a successful B first, and you'll be
needing some of that.  consider your job as undercover work.  consider it
industrial espionage while you seek out and identify those critical business
service that every dry cleaners in the free world cannot survive without,
and that only you can provide.  consider it penance, if you like, but
whatever you do: consider it.

I think you are a smart guy, and you will quickly identify a dozen or two
places where you can provide Real Services to those Real Businesses who pay
with Real Money.  And then you're FSB will be mostly just a B that happens
to use FS, but most importantly, supports you.

thanks for listening to the rant.  as you may have guessed by now, i know
whereof i speak not from observation, but from experience.  the hardest two
things i've ever had to do was admit (twice) that my self-employment must
now give way to my gainful W2-employment.

so if i've been extremely judgmental towards you whom i've never met, feel
free to consider those factual judgements i've made of myself and applied to
the similarities i see between us.  and far from feeling bad about it,
judging myself harshly has helped me kick my own ass out of a funk more than
once, and made me wake up, smell coffee, bite bullets, and start taking
responsibility once again for my own success or failure, as a Person Who
Lives Indoors.

it isn't fun and Tom, i do (currently) feel your pain.  i have another
interview next week :-)

that is, if some curmudgeonly old semi-retired execs or economists
hereabouts won't swoop down, discover me and give a great job (or a grant
would be nice, or a book deal...Tim?  are you listening? TIIIM!) so's i can
get back to supporting the family and all that messy reality show stuff i
call my life...

-dave