disappointed child with his face covered

How to Deal With Negative Feedback?

Got some negative feedback at work and now you want to cleanse the Earth with their blood? I can help you deal with negative feedback in 4 easy steps.

1- Accept that it will happen

You think you are a hardworking professional. Your efforts garner you accolades, praises and peasants build shrines to your glorious visage. You walk through streets waving at your people for you are a paragon of accomplishment. But wait…

This time around, the client tells you that your work is subpar. That pedophile (probably) is entitled to their opinion, but how could that be? You did everything right? How can they dislike your hard work? Are examples of questions asked by people wallowing in denial.

SO, what do you say to this holocaust denying pedophile (probably)? You say nothing. Like a hardworking pornstar hoping to get paid, you take it on the chin. It’s not a derision of your skills if one holocaust denying 9/11 pedophile (probably) has made their impractical fantasies your problem.

TELL HIM IT DIDN’T HAPPEN YOU SICK FUCK!
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

So, if you come across a Ted Bundy admiring holocaust denying 9/11 pedophile (alleged) client, then keep in mind…

2- They might actually have a point

You’re not an immaculate font of godlike talent. To err is human, moreso is to straight up not give a fuck from time to time and just peddle whatever dogshit you concocted between weekend naps. However, if someone catches you peddling said dogshit and expresses disappointment over it, your job is not to wallow in self-pity. It is to accept the failure and come clean.

If they were unpleasant in sharing their disappointment with you, expect that this situation is unlikely to improve and no amount of debating is going to make them say “oh, I see what you mean, I’m wrong, here, let me help you have a threesome with two Kate Uptons” (in this fantasy land, everything is possible). That ship sailed and sank (alongwith pictures of a naked Kate Winslet) and all you can do is accept that it can and has happened.

What you can’t do is try and take some moral high ground, as if you’re in the right. There isn’t a large enough market for dogshit and people objecting to having received it might have a point.

You can, however, write a scathing article about them that upwards of 4 people will read, but you have to accept that you might be the problem.

3- Sometimes it just doesn’t work out

You could be coasting, or you could have poured your heart and soul into a project and still come up short. Sometimes things don’t work out. This is because fate is a gigantic bully that was abused as a child, and now has the a tattoo saying “fuck you” on his forehead, hasn’t eaten all day you just bumped into him.

Sometimes, your best can be both great and insufficient. Perhaps you need to level up, perhaps the client doesn’t know what they’re looking for and will know it when they see it. Could be anything. I’m not even going to make a joke here, it’s frustrating and annoying. You really wish you could get yourself out of this situation because uncertainty breeds confusion, self-doubt and hate. All this leads to the Dark Side and you end up having twins who grow up to kiss each other and evaporate into a Mickey Mouse shaped aether.

4- Start Over

The world is full of people who are full of themselves. You could be one of them and presume to be above it all and act like everyone else is wrong, absolving yourself of all responsibility. Or, you could learn a lesson, make whatever amends are possible and try again. You can’t let one failure define you.

The do-over is the solitary greatest advantage of being human. You learn a painful lesson that you vow to learn from and move on, hoping never to run into another Warmongering-Ted Bundy admiring-holocaust denying-9/11- Trump Supporting pedophile (your words, not mine).

Want to be a Professional? Here’s what it takes

What is “a professional”, really? You ask, drawing air quotes… like a prick. A professional is someone who puts in the work and delivers results. Anytime you see a job well done, you think “this was done by a professional”. You can be a professional too. 

“A professional what?” you may ask, persisting on your completely unwarranted dickery. A professional anything. Developer who makes good software, designer who makes things look damn good, writer who doesn’t call his readers dicks, et al.

It is an abstract term that describes someone who, regardless of passion, will do a job well and exactly as per specification, on time and in full.

Some disambiguation (shoutout to Wikipedia) needs to be established between the range of people you will run into in life who might seem professional, but don’t fully qualify for that title.

10 Telltale signs of a Professional

  1. They show up on time
  2. They deliver
  3. They deliver work exactly to specification
  4. They deliver consistently
  5. They don’t have an attitude about their job
  6. They don’t complain much
  7. When it’s time to work, they’ll be found working (I don’t know why that is, they just don’t dilly dally, those emotionless robots)
  8. They’re not simpletons
  9. They know the business and the industry inside out and nothing else. They won’t know their own children’s names, but the business, they’re right on top of.
  10. They are quite rare before the age of 30.

10 Telltale signs of an unprofessional.

  1. They bitch and moan to no-end
  2. Time is but a construct, it cannot be allowed to hold power over you.
  3. Deadlines… only a complete bitch pussy would let another person tell them when and how to live life, sodomize that noise.
  4. Every delivery is an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to create. Who wants to do the same thing over and over again? 
  5. They know everything about everything. No subject matter is off limits. Microbiology? Oh yeah, they’ve read the headlines to an article on it. Economics? They could have studied it at university. Technology, they know a guy who knows a guy. Politics? They know everything. Just not how to finish the damn job they started, but right fucking everything else.
  6.  
  7.  
  8. Counting’s for nerds
  9. They don’t finish what they st…

Some clarification:

1- Don’t settle for being an enthusiast

We all have a friend who won’t stop parading around that amazingly composed photograph they took, or a seamless paint job, or a really great cup of coffee that they loudly slurp while going “aaaaah” after each deliberate sip… the utter bastards.

Enthusiasts, or amateurs, are people who have become fantastic at a certain subset of a vocation. These are individuals who, when praised, will comment, “Not there yet, but I’m learning”.

Photo by PxHere.com is licensed under CC BY 4.0

OMG! Just take the fucking compliment. Turd!

The only thing separating a professional and an enthusiast/amateur is that a professional gets paid to deliver that standard of quality consistently and repeatedly.

2- The Gifted

Gifted – People born with a natural talent and ability towards something others spend ages acquiring. A significant percentage of naturally talented people will recognize, pursue and hone their skills, setting new standards for their industries. However, for every individual who accepts who they are, there will be many who bury it deep down until it cannot be spotted. 

It falls upon society to facilitate and nurture while individuals understand just what their gift is and how to capitalize on it. Assuming they’re in the same line of work, a seasoned professional is quite handy in these times.

Genie-Us… just FedEx my pulitzer, please.

They recognize stages of development, as they’ve struggled through them all. They recognize the approach required to go from one stage to another and they fully appreciate the journey. Guidance like this will set you up for life.

However, there is the tragic aspect. Sometimes, dreams are not pursued. The gifts are relegated to stave away boredom. I’ve known a friend who could do very complex maths off the top of his head. Now he just works in construction in a foreign country. I’m sure he’s being fiscally responsible, but the academic system failed this man and we lost what could have been a maths progeny. 

Man, that was depressing to think about, let’s take a break from reality and look at an animal

That’s all of you, right now. Angry, confused, orange with black stripes and endangered

We all have a special affinity towards something. Find your thing (that’s what she said) make it grow (that’s what she said), capitalize on it (that is also what she said, in an unrelated discussion). Don’t be a selfish cunt and share it with the world. Contribute to the project.

Be a Professional, not a Dreamer

“Chase your happiness, chase your dreams” is something commonly heard from crazy people and motivational speakers. I once dreamt of being Superman, try and chase that shit.

I am lunatic, hear me loudly hit the pavement

Motivational speakers get paid to speak with energy. If they got paid only when people succeeded, their advice would change immediately and drastically. Passion is a worthy pursuit reserved for a handful. Professionalism is equally accessible for anyone, anywhere. You don’t need a dream or any of that shit, just a set of standards to maintain and deliver. As grim as that might sound, it might be the most beautiful thing in the world. 

Of course, when tasked with pursuing something your heart isn’t in can be as taxing to the body mentally and physically as doing a crossword while pushing a heavy boulder uphill. Incidentally, this is also how Batman Trains. However, this isn’t always constant. Sometimes, it is as easy as brushing your teeth.

Conclusion

For some reason, I kept losing that passage about the enthusiast and I’d have to circle back to rewrite it. I must have written that passage thrice, at least. However, I didn’t want my own blog make me pussy, so, I sucked it up and wrote it again, each time. WordPress’ new writing interface is fucking me over quite vigorously.

As if that wasn’t enough, this mother fucker was mocking me by its incompletion and insufficiency. It is bitter and wants me to be just like it. Well, fuck you article, I will fist fuck the words into you and make you my bitch.

That, ladies and gents, is how professionals behave. 

I am Adi Abdurab, and my mom thinks I’m cool.

dilapidated building

Lahore Development Authority – Wasted opportunity

You want some land?

Lahore Development Authority (LDA) handles Real-Estate transactions in Lahore. Real-Estate is interesting business. You look at a piece of Earth and say “I’ll take it”, while people look at you weird. However, if there is a transactional authority that decides who owns how much land, then those words seem less out of place (equally pretentious though). People like land, because they build stuff on it, it accrues value and sells for a profit, or you can just live in it.

Who decides who owns how much?

In order to keep things fair and prevent the “if it fits, I sits” rule from people losing their homes. These transactions are conducted under the supervision of a governing body. That is the role of Lahore Development Authority (LDA), as well as numerous other governing bodies with similar roles across the country. LDA used to exist in subdivisions, but in order to cull the security risks with remote operations, like illegal takeovers and just bribing someone to make a deal under the table. In order to ensure an aseptic transaction, said development authorities have a standardized criteria for all transacting parties.

What’s an LDA?

Sounds like a strong hallucinogenic, right? Narcotics both waste your time and prevent you from accomplishing anything and give you visions of things that might never come true. In that, they’re quite similar.

The problem we are discussing today is Lahore Development Authority’s inability to keep up with the times or even efficiently execute their own criteria. Think of it as WWE. There are rules, but the entire concept is that one person is constantly breaking the rules (the average customer) while the other is trying to stay within them (the employees), until someone with authority (literally anyone above Assistant Director) will pretty much do whatever they please, with the outward appearance of a real business while actually being a total sham.

Pictured: An average real-estate transaction in Lahore

In the time I spent pacing the LDA building to officiate the sale of a house (to a seller who is the director of a development authority in a different city), I had several discussions on various issues with regulars of LDA; people doomed to handling their real-estate affairs perpetually. They had the same advice for new faces “Inn se Allah bachaye”. This article is advised by my personal experience reinforced by the experience of people I met during my time there.

My father owned a house in Allama Iqbal Town, Lahore for nearly 4 decades. In June 2014, he suffered from a stroke and another one in December 2014. At the time, we decided to liquidate that property (a decision I will regret for multiple reasons, more of which we’ll cover in the future).

Despite finding a buyer as quickly as one would sand in the Sahara, the entire process still took nearly 6 months to complete, which I am told is near-impossible turnover at the LDA. In these 6 months, I saw a lot of the same faces running through the same hoops as I. The first of us to get free of LDA’s curse treated other regulars to tea in their cafeteria. Not nearly enough tea was consumed.

What does the Lahore Development Authority look like?

The LDA compound located in Johar Town, Lahore is a gorgeous facade, with a typical Pakistani government interior. One wonders if they hire a designer to pull that off or is the culture so ubiquitous that you can recognize it anywhere within the country. Inside the compound are numerous sections and buildings dealing with various operations as well as two banks and an ATM.

There is also a small hall where public affairs are conducted and two separate wings covering works, WASA, planning, et al. Operations open at 9 am, while people are kicked out by 1:30 pm. The building is a ghost town by 3:00 pm. Apparently government offices think 4 hours 30 minutes of work is ample.

dilapidated building
Apparently LDA doesn’t have an copyright free image for the public to use, so here’s a stock image of a random rundown building. It’s about the same experience. Just add some government employees

The employees are predominantly lugubrious, frequently late (sometimes upwards of two hours) or absent altogether. The place was a sea of humanity (applicants/buyers/sellers/etc.), all waiting for various things from signatures, forms, to just needing some answers. The hall had maybe 3 regular sized Air Conditioners cooling hundreds of people in a small space in a Lahore summer. You become envious of chicken farms at that point.

One-Window Operation *snicker sarcastically*

One-Window implies that your entire process can be handled at a single counter. However, they have yet to resolve their conflict with the dictionary on what that is supposed to mean, because clearly they have other applications for that phrase. They make you fill out some forms and then you cease to exist for that individual, they will not be part of this process anymore. If you are lucky enough to know where to go, then you’ve got yourself covered, otherwise, you will be spending a lot of time asking strangers about what to do next. If you manage to get a hold of someone, know that it is their job description to be uncooperative and will operate with the sole purpose of getting rid of you.

How does it work?

The first step behind selling any property is that you need to have your papers in order. This involves a process that is necessitated by the LDA, but, does not take place in LDA’s offices. You have to fill out a few forms and pay a fee at the State Bank (at the other end of the city) just to put your house on the market. Once you have a buyer, they need to pay a hefty fee before transacting. With all the documents (original blueprints, papers, fees, bills, signed affidavits all approved by a government official), you have what is called a transfer set. LDA isn’t involved in this transaction yet, this is just you on your own.

When this is ready, the transfer is taken to the LDA. In theory, they’re supposed to verify it, but they let you take care of that. You take it between departments, confirm with their records and get an officer to verify and sign off on authenticity. I made it sound too simple, let me elaborate. 

You take it to a department that you can’t find, sift through records that stop existing past a certain date (and if you fall in that hole, you’re spending an additional 3 months just finding out where to get the records verified then), wait until you stumble across an officer and then wait until he has enough time to do his job.

Real-Estate agents have a network and backdoor channels they use to expedite these processes – not always within the confines of law – so anytime you think you’re making progress, your slot will suddenly appear in someone else’s papers.

LDA takes anywhere between 1 week and 1 month to verify that the payments have actually been made (apparently a bank’s official receipt is not evidence enough).

Once you are over that hurdle, you are going to have to get your latest map verified; there’s another fee there which you can pay at LDA’s NBP branch. It is so close to public affairs, that if they had windows, you could reach into it without leaving the building. BUT, they still need to verify that payment, so that is another week to month gone. Even real-estate agents with all their connections have to wait at least 2 days, sometimes even more.

The transfer process

Once that is cleared, you have to create what they refer to as a “transfer set”, which is the folder you get where all your documents attested, approved and verified in triplicate reside (they remind you of Vogons from HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). This transfer set, along with buyer and seller meet with an identifying officer (IO) who will sign off on the process. They will have their photographs taken, money will change hands and everyone can be on their merry way. In theory.

Punctuality, or even attendance is not their calling. So the officer will 100% not be available on the day you visit, without a replacement or even notification on when he’ll be back. You go there every day until you find him, at which time you are likely to find him serving people using the aforementioned backdoor channels.

Pictured: A completely legitimate transaction

If you want to get an earlier date, you can make an additional payment (about twice what you will have already paid by now). They will take their sweet time verifying that payment too. However, your wait time does get significantly shortened. You get called within a few days. Upon getting a date, an IO will ask both parties if they actually want to go through with process and ensures the transaction isn’t happening under any duress.

F*** this shit

In case you’re wondering, that was “FUCK THIS SHIT’, but censored. That way people pretend to cuss without actually being called a cusser.

In my transaction, when the date for verification finally came, an exceptionally rude IO met with us (we later found that it was his last day on the job). Now I must interject, my father’s ailment was not kept secret from anyone at any stage. Still, without any modification to his approach, the IO asked my father, suffering from speech aphasia if he wanted to sell the house. He did, he knew what was happening, but he couldn’t understand questions unless posed very specifically. 

Since my father had problems speaking and wasn’t steady enough to write, the identifying officer said “I don’t think he’s in his senses” and marked the document with that professional analysis and closed the situation on us. We tried to convince him that other approaches be tried (like identifying through a photograph), but he did not entertain us for more than 10 minutes. We went all over the building trying to convince someone higher up to give him some time to answer. The higher ups we met (along with the buyer who was also trying to help with us) asked the officer to reconsider the options and ask again, however, the process relies entirely on the IO and he only asked one more time and made his finding official and then left. His rationale was, if it turns out that Papa was indeed unaware of what was going on, he needed to protect himself against any potential litigation.

We offered to sign bonds saying that no one else is legally entitled to make a claim and that we forego our right on this piece of land. He was determined not to let this happen so rationale was wasted on that ignorant fuck face. Saari mehnat zaya kar di. The biggest disappointment was that my elderly parents were part of this entire ordeal in a Lahore July. 

All this time and energy wasted. Given how critical this step was, everyone felt that this should have been the first query they conducted, not the last. We could have changed approaches.

Start over

Man I miss this show. Back to the bitching…

Now, I had to get power of attorney to sell the property on my father’s behalf and ALL that yo-yo’ing had to be done again, under my name this time. I found a compassionate higher up at LDA who showed us a legal loophole that saved us from spending all that money over again, (call it an amendment to the original set), but it would have been the same thing all over again for the general public.

The power of attorney is a process that takes between 2–5 weeks, that the LDA themselves verify. Completely agitated by these antics, I went the underhanded route. I bribed people to speed up the process. Find us an IO who is not a braindead psychopath and to ensure that this process finally goes through.

Identifying problem areas

Despite my major gripe being that someone needs to go through so much distress just to sell what they themselves own. The department and its underlying processes are outdated and extremely flawed. It’s as if they have both feet firmly planted in an incompetent version of the 70’s.

For starters, they should carry out verification before anything else is processed, this would help save everyone’s time and money. Additionally, perhaps create and deploy a better system for payment verification, one that does not haemorrhage time. The office hours are ridiculously obsolete, they should observe the 9–5 work week and ensure that everyone actually shows up.

One-Window Operation, LDA could not be further away from its actual description if it was in orbit. The operations are neither one-window, nor is a word as exalted as “operation” applicable here. Perhaps “multi-window, multi-tiered slapstick routine” is a more accurate description of the goings on of that place.

I have seen first-hand how demonstrably easy it is to bypass this system. There is little to no accountability, there is no standard operating procedure and no system of sequence or procedure, just chaos.

People with connections however, have the easiest time. They find someone high to take care of the whole thing in a matter of days! Even bribing only reduced the turnover, it didn’t change much. In these accelerated scenarios, numerous steps developed to prevent tampering are skipped and the next honest person gets to go through even longer routines. Yet, this happens.

To boot, this process is so reliant on paper, that you wonder why they even have computers in their building to begin with, they seem to serve no purpose whatsoever. This is all limited to two honest people trying to conduct a legitimate transaction. There were people who had paid fortunes for plots in some new schemes but were still awaiting LDA’s allotment.

LDA was put in charge of making your transactions secure and efficient. Realistically, you are promised neither security nor speed. In fact, numerous facets of this system hinges on individuals’ judgements. How do you trust someone to take care of your real-estate, when you can’t even trust them to show up on time and finish an honest day’s work?

I hope future governments improve this process in a way that actually helps people and doesn’t just have the outward appearances of a functioning organization.

I am Adi Abdurab and I flip the LDA Building the middle-finger every time I drive past it.

Tips on how to have money

WARNING: This article isn’t designed to help make you rich. I would recommend these wonderful links for that goal. This article intends to help you have money. A finite amount of money for a finite amount of time.

Do you wish to have money?

We all know at least one person whom you can always count on to have some cash on hand. This person may or may not be filthy rich but tends to have the important things in life covered. That’s one of the major constituents of adulthood.

Trivia: Adulthood used to be defined by sexual maturity. Today, it is directly tied to your financial stability. I’ll give you a moment to blame society.

The term Money here denotes the abstract concept of wealth, financial stability, liquidity, cash and everything else within. Having sifted through countless “get rich now” articles, most of which can be whittled down to “save and invest, wisely”, like telling someone with depression to start feeling better. Some people are simple more adept at money matters than others. However, everyone has a right to a little stability in what is otherwise a buffet of chaos.

Let me also clarify that if you actually know/knew me, you’d have injured your eyebrow muscles from all the judgemental frowning you’d have to do. I am horrible with money, always have been. I have a spending problem and an impulse control problem. However, life has a simple 2-step, “bombardment with calamity” plan that nobody can escape from. I took that opportunity to learn at least a thing or two. Which I share now. If I learn how to make it rich, I’ll be sure to share it with you all as well.

1. Where do we start?

As with any endeavor, before we can decipher where we want to go, we need to recognize where we are. To appreciate our financial standing, we need to take the following into account.

1.1. Money on Hand

Look in your wallet, your bank account, any cheques you haven’t cashed, things you’re trying to sell. The combined value of these items represent your entire cash situation. Whatever amount this constitutes to represents your life right up to this point. This is liquid cash. The agenda is to ensure that this amount grows. For some it might be enough to see through the year, while others will be lucky to see through the end of the day.

1.2. Money tied up

Some people have financials stuck in investments like real-estate, mutual funds. Others have given loans that they cannot seem to get back. Some regularly scheduled payments (bills, rent, fees, foods, etc.) that you should calculate and consider tied up as soon as your next payment comes in. This defines money that you earn, or have earned, but, cannot use elsewhere. This money you cannot have. This amount does not go into your wallet, it does not go into funding any habits or wants.

1.3. Patience

Despite its popular usage when talking about money matters, Patience is an inaccurate term for the relationship one should have with money. It carries a stench of expectation of the extraordinary. The notion that, if you wait long enough, something big will eventually happen. This thought is quite misleading. Life can worsen almost instantly, but it takes time for things to improve. Just waiting is insufficient and irresponsible. What you need is to exercise all the synonyms associated with patience. i.e. forbearance, tolerance, restraint/self-restraint, resignation, stoicism, fortitude, sufferance, endurance, et al. while you’re actively working on improving your financial situation. It’s probably better to watch an egg boil in water, than by just staring at it and hoping.

1.4. External Factors

These factors are time, opportunity, life in general and all things in between that are never truly within a human being’s control. Though one can save time, manufacture an opportunity or two, live a healthy life to increase one’s chances at a favorable outcome, nothing is guaranteed.  With the acceptance of that helplessness, a realistic self-audit is an important first step.

2. How do we fix this?

2.1. Learn about yourself

A wise man once said:

the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.

Any time you forgo the act of writing your expenditures down, you are missing out on an opportunity to learn about yourself. There are numerous apps for this purpose, all of which can simplify the process, or if you prefer, go with the tried and tested pen and notebook methodology. Whatever the tool, you need the results. Write it down in as much detail as possible. Keep in mind that this is even less than a prophylactic measure, it is not designed to modify your financial situation. However, having data puts you in a more amicable situation.

2.2. Save, don’t penny pinch

There exists, a fine line between not spending extra on certain things and becoming a miser. The appreciation of this line helps people live reasonable lives. A miserly living makes sense for short periods of time in dire situations, but shouldn’t be a benchmark. One shouldn’t eat at a fancy restaurant every night, but one should not resort to skipping meals either. The act of saving is being able to afford to live. Don’t starve, don’t give up showering, don’t throw away your sim card. Nothing drastic. Check out this amazing reddit built around getting you to live a regular life without spending too much. The advice within is phenomenal and a precursor to this very article.

https://www.reddit.com/r/Frugal/

2.3. All extra money goes into a bank/investment

If you have extra money coming in through some professional or personal endeavours, then understand that this money wasn’t part of your original plan and is not going to change your life (even if it is a significant amount). So this amount must go immediately into either savings or, if you have figured out some investment scheme, there.

3. Understanding Money

3.1 Finances

This means to understand the world of finance a little better. You don’t need to become a Chartered Financial Analyst, however, you do need to better understand simple terms that can help you see where the market is going.

3.2 Banking

Money in the bank, should not be considered safe. Money will lose value just sitting there, that’s called inflation. Sooner or later, you will want to take that money and put it somewhere were it can start making money for you. If it’s a large enough amount, you can invest in real-estate. If it’s small, you can invest in other instruments and securities (a financial way of saying “opportunities”). This isn’t hands on advice, that is because there isn’t a blanketed solution that will work for everyone equally. However, if you understand finances, you can figure this out yourself better than any internet article can advise you.

3.3 Nobody is perfect

Everyone is always hemorrhaging money. Some manage to bring it down to a leak, while others just open the floodgates and end up without it soon. I’ve seen people gain and spend millions without ever analyzing their lives and I have seen people go from poverty to riches without really making any real change. The point is never to bank on things to change for you. The idea is to understand that mistakes happen and if you do fall, pick yourself up, take a deep breath, dust yourself off and start all over again. If people universally possessed the ability to differentiate between smart and dumb choices when it comes to money, poverty would face obsolescence.

3.3 Always evaluate

Think of every expenditure in long-term. Will it be cheaper to buy a car now or travel by careem/uber for the next 5 years?  Time is already money, the longer it passes, the more you lose. Can you turn it around and gain money with the passage of time?

Any way, this is pretty much where I am so far. I am happy to integrate any feedback and make improvements to both my life and my advice. Hopefully someone will benefit from this. Keep well people.

I am Adi and these were my two cents. They were my last, so I’d like them back

Blogging in 2018 – Like An Idiot

Day 1: A Waste of Words

What Are We Doing Here?

This post is a manifesto for this blog,  I’ll explain that after exactly 106 words.

Print is dying a drawn out, agonizing death, while we all gather to gawk at its last painful moments. Unfortunately, on its way out, it might be taking blogging with it.

The act of reading the written word has severely receded as a global activity, as signaled by the decline of numerous blogs as well as a staple of print.

So, astute reader (notice the singular), you might be wondering what brings you here. Perhaps a Google search undertaken in a drunken stupor, or simply a toddler playing around with a keyboard. Or, possibly because I guilted you here. Welcome to the experiment.

The emergences of digital was print’s extinction event, major publications are succumbing to the toxicity. Some blogs are just oblivious to this and even conflate the lack of breathable air with “startup challenges” and stick to just one single medium for publication.

*Assume an appropriate Gif that might go here*

Nothing in digital media is set in stone. Simply because of how varied our demographics are. The purpose here is to learn by doing. Regularly publishing content in various formats. You’ll be subjected to my visage every now and again as well as my voice. So YouTube and Podcasts are part of the learning experience, with some impetuous livestreams thrown in.

Okay, so what are we doing here?

The experiment has the following aims:

  1. Learning
  2. Applying
  3. Wondering why people aren’t coming
  4. Wondering why that one post gained traction
  5. ????
  6. Selling soul for traffic
  7. ???
  8. Where’d that come from? Who put that there?
  9. ??
  10. Profits

That’s stupid, who even are you?

Advanced warning,  this section is entirely about me and I do love talking about me. If that does not interest you, then I invite you to skip to the next one.

Now, that the a-holes have skipped. Let me tell you nice folks about myself (in excruciating detail) I operate a digital media company called SurgEngin (the appellation of which we will visit another day). Our clients trust us to bring about significant digital change for them. My personal specialty has been the SEO niche, the sub-specialty being content generation. Despite all the hoopla around those three letters, it’s not that a complicated concept. Often, it’s quite paint-by-numbers. However, someone like me is called in when things aren’t working the way they’re supposed to. My vocation is synonymous with optimization. Optimization is the first step to growth, I now strive to understand that concept.

A significant amount of my life has been spent writing for magazines, popular and nameless alike, news sites, popular blogs, tech blogs, some random ones and then there was that Peabody Award Winning show (we’ll get into that in a future post).

All of this writing prepared me to embark upon the journey of how long it takes to go from point A to point B (if point A is total anonymity and point B is global fame). I realize that point B is not a universally accepted goal.

On top of that, I am also a teacher. I like taking what life I’ve lived (and this blog will stand as a testament to that adventure) and sharing that in a meaningful way with students.

Despite there being a tinge of hope in my heart that this might be the very thing that somehow revives the entire reading industry, realistically, I am expecting to attract a mere fraction of the audience I might have 10 years ago (if any). However, the agenda now becomes to say what you need to say and have it available to the world with as little friction as possible.

While I am very much interested in getting valuable feedback on this content, I also wish to emphasize that this blog stands as purely an experiment, so the tone will evolve, the content will change, the idea will change. The only thing I know, for certain, is that it will be frequent.

So what’s with the Design?

I don’t quite appreciate your blasé line of questioning, its coming off rather hostile, please.

Logo

The logo, or at least its facsimile, was chosen with the idea that it should look retro (as should the blog itself). I chose this tutorial to guide me on how to use illustrator well enough to pull it off. I have a problem that I need a whole lot of things spelled out for me and most tutorials, especially series, tend to assume a certain level of literacy that renders me useless. That  phase of the experiment did not go quite as well as I had hoped and I ended up with jumbled typography. I immediately scurried into the safe arms of Photoshop and churned out this little number (circa July 2018, in case I change it in the future).

The Logo I came up with in Photoshop Circa 2018

Fonts?

Which one is pretentious and which one is readable? Originally I was writing in Segoe UI, as I found it to more agreeable than Calibri or Arial. Then, I sought a font with serifs, as those are traditionally more readable and if you intend to keep up with the blog, there will be a lot of reading involved. The least I could do is make it less of a chore. I realize I could also make the actual content interesting, but that’s just more work for me. Hence, Book Antiqua. It’s easy to render online, it’s enjoyable and if you have a high resolution display, it makes the session fun too.

Theme

Two factors went into this particular choice.

  • Was it free?
  • Did it look like an old blog?
  • Will the visitors immediately see the latest content or will there be friction?
  • This is clearly more than *goes back to check* the Two factors promised at the origin of this list, what’s up with that?
  • Is there an archive? (there isn’t, I’ll have to revisit that someday)

What’s the process?

The following is how the brainstorming for this blog worked out.

I will sneak in personal anecdotes where I can, but I can’t deviate too far from the topic, lest I incur the wrath of the google bots and be deemed unworthy of ranking. Unlike today, where a topic, or purpose is nary to be found.

I then had to figure out how to make a logo using illustrator. So, why not hire a professional, like I would for a client? Simple, I don’t want to spend much on this. Rest assured (this sentence presumes you were emotionally invested in my finances, this sentence is a presumptuous asshole) that I do plan on spending some money on digital marketing, because it’s next to impossible to get meaningful growth 100% organically. However, any money spent will be logged and the parameters shared candidly, because you’ll recall that I plan on learning as I go just as much as I plan on growing.

I am absolutely certain that there will be thousands of similar experiments in full swing, but that’s part and parcel with the whole blogging gig and I plan on connecting with as many as possible to increase the knowledge acquired. I also want to create the least resistance to content, no matter the platform, it should be accessible.

I will make a follower count on each major channel as well as analytics on how it got there. These might be excessive, or they might be limited. The only way we’ll know is by doing.

To be fair, I am not starting from scratch. I have a pretty good idea about what I am doing here, the only challenge being that I have not yet crossed the 1 Million mark with any of my professional endeavours (clients or personal) and I must understand how to touch that.

When Are You Giving Up?

So, passive aggressive, dang.

I don’t know about that, my aim is to learn. I don’t think I’ll be giving up on that. The goals are small and achievable. Post frequently, spread, learn, apply, repeat.

I am nothing if not easily distracted. I looked up how to make a logo in illustrator, then I learned to make a monogram (taking a quick detour on how to make a good signature) and circling right back to the graphics design, and played some Red Alert 3 in the meantime.

Immediate thoughts: I should have added some images. I probably should have stuck to humor and the structure could possibly use some adjusting, but let’s see how we do. I’ll revisit this in a week and see if I can spruce it up.