If you're looking for a traditional run-down of what I've done, check the About Me section.
Recently, I've come to quite a scary realization.
Much of who I am and what I stand for is transient, either in value or in display.
By value, I mean that my own understanding of the world may change over time.
By display, I mean that if I keep my own beliefs private, then for all intents and purposes they're passive -- something reflected only in rare moments.
These rare moments don't happen often enough.
In an attempt to remedy this, I've decided to list some of the things I stand for, or at the very least believe to be true in my current state of mind.
These are dynamic and likely to change over time as I make new realizations and discoveries.
At the very least, they make me consider myself in the context of the world around me.
For too long I've left myself on auto-pilot and this shall be one step in reaching the off switch.
Topics of Importance
Self and Sentience
- Past, Present and Future Smerity - You are fragmented chronologically into differing but similar selves, none of which are continuously you, but all of which contribute to each other to form a whole. Be kind to yourself, both past, present and future, as I'm sure you have your best interests in mind.
- Comfort is the Enemy - The longer you're left comfortable, the less of the world you will explore. There needs to be a drive to discover and a drive to pursue. Comfort robs you of that. Honestly, I doubt I'll ever leave much of my comfort behind -- I've fallen into a certain groove and melody of life -- but I think it's important to realise the limitations comfort places on you.
- Reach Out - Every person has a value and a perception of life that can enrich you, even if it's just realising there are entire areas of life you've no desire to experience. Each person is a complex, autonomous agent -- if a million monkeys can produce something of interest then I'm sure a million people are just as valuable!
- Work should make you Happy - If you have the choice, never work somewhere you don't enjoy. Circumstances may unfortunately force the situation upon you, but I've been lucky enough to avoid this so far. If I ever do work on my own interests, on my own start-up, the same rules will apply. You do your best when you're happy with what you're doing.
- 200 people at $20 per person per month - That's all you need to hit $48,000 per year. Do you think that's enough to get started? To free you? To work on the projects of your choice? That's only 200 people. You have the Internet -- even the smallest niche has 200 paying customers!
- Passive Projects Sustain - Extending from the above point, passive projects should sustain you and free you to do what you want to do. Never let money dictate what you do or where you need to work.
- Luck Surface Area - This term has popped up in many places and in many forms, but the quote Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity seems to cover it. If you keep waiting for luck to happen to you, you're no longer in control. Start plotting out what needs to happen and work on it; don't rely on something out of your control.
- Live Fast and Die Young - Don't painstakingly labour over a project for an eternity -- even the best thought out idea has no guarantee of success. Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) free you from the death grip of projects destined to die. Early feedback may even show you an unseen tangent you'd never have considered.
- Direct and Immediate Impact on Revenue - Convincing a business to trust your start-up is difficult enough, even without them paying you. They're looking for a direct and immediate impact on revenue from your start-up. If you can provide that, you and dynamite have a lot in common.
- Outsource, Automate or Extinguish - Look at what you're doing and where your hours go. Unless you bring valuable expertise to that skill or project, then it should outsourced, automated or extinguished. Your time is worth more elsewhere.
- Servers are Vending Machines - If I was to make a model of the Internet, I'd dress servers up as vending machines. Servers should be vending machines, designed to serve a customer a pre-built solution to their immediate problem, with little to no human attention required. As long as each vending machine makes a profit, you're going to come out ahead and you can always spin up new vending machines. The only thing holding you back is the management overhead and the number of customers waiting for whatever you're selling.
- The Money Curve - If your aim is to make $40,000 per year, that means you'll need to make just over $4.50 per hour for every hour of the year. With around 8700 hours in a year, that means you either need 8700 individual customers paying $4.50 or 725 customers who pay once per month. If you increase the prices by 10 times, however, you only need to sell to 870 individual customers or 72 monthly customers at $45. Increase again by 10, you only need to sell 87 individual customers or 7 monthly customers at $450. What's easier? A small number of high revenue customers or a large number of low revenue customers? Increasing the price by 10 times will still result in the same income if only 10% of that original market decide to take you up.
Objects & Ownership
- Less is More - Having previously lived out of just a bag or two and moved the vast majority of my possessions from one place to another, I've realized two things. First is that you need next to nothing to survive and only a little bit more to live comfortably. Second is that junk accumulates -- books doubly so. It has made me far more decisive on what I do and don't purchase. Each object you buy adds weight to your life, even when you're not carrying it. See "Up in the Air" for an extreme example of this.
- Less Purchase, More Lease - It's not uncommon for people to drool over object X and then purchase it straight off. Object X is likely to go largely unused however, either due to a lack of sustained interest, complications or a myriad of other possible issues. Resale values aren't great, and now you're left with more instead of less.
Religion & Morality
- Do unto others as you would have them do to you - Keep it that simple. Really, how complicated does a moral imperative need to be?
- Let Religion Be - Leave people to their beliefs. This applies equally to those with beliefs and those without.
- Agnosticism and Balancing on the Spiked Fence - I'm agnostic; I really am. I'm happy to discuss religion or its absence in an open manner, but if you want me to actually believe in anything, you'd better have proof.
- Base Morality - I believe that a base morality is possible even without religion or a doctrine to maintain. Religion can be immensely helpful in this, just for the fact that holy documents are commonly didactic in nature, but I don't believe they're necessary. If you believe you need an external source or entity to maintain your morality, I'd hope you reconsider your own moral compass.
Hi, I'm Smerity!
Hi, I'm Stephen Merity, better known as Smerity.
I spend my time doing what I enjoy, which is primarily some mix of coding and teaching.
I've not yet had to live through a job I didn't enjoy.
BIT (University Medal + First Class Honours)
MS in CSE (starting August 2013)
Interested in saying hi?
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