Wednesday, December 19, 2007

And I thought only kids got it...

On monday I developed a bit of a sore throat, and a lump on one side of my neck.

Yesterday I woke up (if you can call it that) unable to swallow without looking like I was eating fire, and with the side of my neck almost bulging out comically. I slid out of bed at 8am, then back in at 8:30am. I got up and went to the doctor at 11am, leaving with the diagnosis of 'tonsillitis'. Loaded up on anti-biotics, then went back to bed at 12:30, surfaced around 3pm for a few hours, then back in at 7:30 when my kids went to bed.

And I thought only kids got it...

Luckily its only on the right side, cause if this was on both sides, I'd be VERY hungry about now. Came to work today, I'll see how I go. Not sure how the office christmas lunch will go on friday, I might find myself home quite early this year.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Time keeps on slipping...

I’ve been doing some thinking lately on the concept of time. Not time, per se, as a passing of the inevitable, more time as a commodity that is saleable, irreplaceable and somewhat monetary in nature.

Naturally, time has always been associated with money in the investment world. You need only look at ‘short-term, high-risk’ strategies to understand that narrowing the time margin increases the risk margin, and vice versa. Should you attempt to make 5% return on investment (as opposed to 5% p.a.) in 3 months, your money will be subjected to a higher risk than a 5% return in 12 months. As the time extends, risk decreases. Never to a point where there is zero risk, though.

And what are you buying, when you purchase nearly any commodity? It can all be boiled down to time.

Say you buy a shirt. Break it into components.
- Raw materials
- Assembly
- Supply
- Sale

Raw materials:
Plastic buttons? Someone had to garner raw materials = time. Someone had to manufacture = time.
Cotton? Someone had to plant, tend, grow, harvest = time. Someone had to extract and form into thread = time. Someone had to supply to manufacturer = time.

Someone had to stamp buttons = time. Someone had to weave = time. Someone had to pattern, cut, stitch = time.

Someone had to ship it to the store via truck, ship or air = time.

Someone bought the material and manufacturing time in the form of completed buttons to put onto their garments, and woven cotton fabric to cut and sew into shirts = time.

Someone had to stand in the store to be there to attend to you during the sale = time.

So you’re buying more than the sum of its parts. You’re buying the equivalent of (possibly) hundreds of man-hours in production from raw material to sale, all for what you probably think is an outrageously high price. But think about it this way. If you had to go out, mine, farm, manufacture, ship and sell that same shirt, what would your charge out rate be?

For some, their time is cheap. By our standards. For others, they have deemed their time to be so valuable that they command thousands of dollars a day for their skill and knowledge. But lets see a barrister farm cotton to make his shirts, or wool to make his suits. Granted, his business is high risk, but why would the humble farmers business not be risk? His land floods, his crops fail, he has no livelihood. And it’s unlikely that he has a superannuation fund or investment as the barrister may.

Even if you’re reading this on a broadband internet connection, you’re buying someone’s time. ISP’s invest in technology, and what is technology but someone else’s time that they used to develop it? You invest in the speed of the network, removing a certain element of time from your day for other uses, or fitting more into the same amount of time.

There’s a lot of inequality in the world, and time is just another one of those. Sure, we all get 24 hours in a day no matter who or where we are, but for some people they demand they get more money for their utilisation of that time.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

STUFF! (that looks like other stuff*): Part 3

With great delight I present Part 3 of...

(that looks like other stuff)*

No pictures from me or my scribes on this one, but another blog that contains some excellent examples of Stuff:

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*A shamelessly stolen idea, thanks Ben.