Thursday, January 30, 2014

Welcome To The New Admixture Economy

Do you work in the new Admixture Economy?

If you don't, but feel you're missing out on something, don't worry; you'll be laid off or fired or downsized or rightsized or smartsized or bought out or furloughed or spun off or phased out or involuntarily attritted fairly soon. You'll be Bangalored, good and hard, and end up out here with the rest of us trying to cut and paste a living out of the remains of the day. The day after the severance runs out, I mean. 

I don't think anyone's inventing anything much lately. Not in any meaningful way. I see everyone fumbling around with the most misnamed thing in the history of the universe, the smartphone, and they're busy as beavers with a loose tooth, apping this and texting that, and they're looking at me with my flip phone thinking I'm L7, man. They think I'm L7, man, just for using the term L7, I imagine, or the term, "man" too, so their opinion of me is going way downhill, and fast. But I had a Palm Pilot fifteen years ago. I've seen it all before, kids. You're not doing anything I wasn't, except paying by the minute instead of all at once at the beginning.

In my heart I knew my Palm Pilot couldn't do anything a geezer's battered daytimer and a pencil couldn't do -- except run out of batteries. A variation on a theme isn't an invention. But variation is all that matters now. Google's just the Yellow Pages, with those nasty ads from the back page of the indie newspaper thrown in. Craigslist is just the classifieds.  Facebook is just a dry-erase clipboard on some college girl's dorm room door, writ large, and with about as many emoticons. Come on, if you don't remember hearts over the "i"s and little kitties in the margins on the " I've gone to the mixer" message on her door, you haven't lived.

Look at that video. Some nameless guys with pocket protectors and slide rules made everything in that video possible. And not the geeks pictured on TV in The IT Crowd, either. No, it was IBM types in the seventies, and NASA dorks from the sixties. People that look like Milton on Office Space, not cool kids like Peter Gibbons. Of course they had to understand real world engineering with profit and loss thrown in along with the slide rule stuff. They had frumpy wives and 2.3 kids and a dog to kick at home, too. They didn't have time to dress their dog like Boba Fett. They had to shovel the walk before they went out on Rt. 128 and made it to the office park early anyway. They made all this stuff so that avaricious punks in hoodies could pick it up off the desk and Rubik it into a fortune.

Some people come along, and they see these disparate things, and think they can cobble them into a working whole. So your phone has maps in it, because there's this satellite made by who knows who, circling the earth, doing not much, and they can glom onto it and mash things up and make some money for doing nothing but seeing possibilities in joining things Then they crank up the cognitive dissonance and use their phone to get online and slag Henry Ford in some off-topic Guardian comment section because he didn't invent the assembly line, you know. And Bill Gates? Don't get me started.

Everyone hates the circus all of a sudden, so people start skateboarding and biking and just plain running and tumbling, and a little digital camera makes YouTube into the circus. It's still the circus, even if the only animals you tease are hominids with tatts. And a tiny digital camera, slung on a remote control drone, and mashed up with music and posted on the Internet to cadge advertising without paying in order to sell the whole mess, is an Admixture Deluxe, my friends.

I make furniture. People think my occupation is making furniture, but it isn't. I'm not sure what I'm doing, exactly, but making furniture isn't a quarter of it. The most interesting part of what I'm doing might be packaging, or selling what I have without ever advertising, or something else I'm doing that doesn't even register with me right now. I mashed all sorts of possibilities together, and I'm trying to make a go of it in the new Admixture Economy. A wise man said he could see so far because he stood on the shoulders of giants. I'm looking into the navel of prosperity right now, because I stand on the shoulders of midgets, but maybe I'll be able to add the admixture of  human growth hormone into my midget's affairs and fix that someday soon. You never know.  But I do know that there's very few places to hide from the Admixture Economy anymore anyway. I'm glad I'm in on the bottom floor, even if it is flooded and moldy a bit, and the light over the stairs went out five minutes after I went down there.

I hope I do half as well as whoever thought to put that turquoise bathing suit on that very tanned woman at the beginning of the video, because that is some admixture, I'll tell you what.


Leon said...

accounting and billing and filing. man i hate me some billing. it's not sending out the bill i hate it's all the simple questions the software asks me that i don't know the answer to. but i know sure as taxes it matters. i do my best and fill in the blanks and then the software squawks at some of the answers and i send out the bill and hope the mess i'm making for my self down the road won't be too big.

that was the stomach acid i wasn't prepared for when i got into being my own boss.

Leslie said...

I appreciate the men of the 60's and 70's who made that video possible. It was lovely to look at. I think a drone videoed shot of you building and packaging, with a Unorganized Hancock soundtrack, could work for you.

Larry Geiger said...

"I'm looking into the navel of prosperity right now, because I stand on the shoulders of midgets,"

Lose the comma, add a period and you may have the social comment of the year right there! :-)

Casey Klahn said...

Funny how the last post I commented on here made me think about standing on shoulders. The illustration I use when I teach is: "are we standing on their shoulders, or on their faces?"

I mean by that: do we realize we are held up by fore-bearers whose work was bigger, harder, and far more generative than our own? I'm not talking @ the "you didn't build that" idea, either. My grandfather did more with what he had than 10 senators and a president have with their whole lives' work. Daily.

Keep going.

BJM said...

Kinda ironic that Vimeo is under a DDoS attack, doncha think?

Everyman said...

If anyone can get the better of the Admixture economy, the Sippican Man can.

Billy Oblivion said...

"I don't think anyone's inventing anything much lately."

They are. You don't see it because there's a crap load of layers between you and it, Justin F*tard gets more copy than what some scientist in a lab or what some engineer in a basement is doing.

Some dude in New Mexico is is building a hydrongen-boron fusion system on a (relative) shoestring. It's hit all it's metrics on the money so far, but the next hump is 200M, which even today is a chunk of change.

There's other folks trying building stuff in their basements and in labs all over the country trying to figure out how to fund the next prototype, or to get over the next obstacle. Some of them will do it, some won't.

The easier it is for them to build a small to medium sized business, the more they can focus on the *business* the more innovation you'll see. The more paperwork they have to generate, the more you'll sit and curse the darkness.