Thursday, April 17, 2014

Random Travel Update 102

Last Locations:
Tucson, AZ: March 27th – April 1st, 2014
Miami, FL: April 11th – April 16th, 2014

Present Location: New York, NY Y

Next Location: Undetermined

So much happens in ten weeks. I went from listening to angsty music, to happy poppy music, to R&B—A process that I think aptly summarizes romance’s circle of life.

I also landed my dream job managing business development for a two-person financial technology (#fintech) company. Our product, ClearFactr helps entrepreneurs and financial professionals create and share easy-to-interpret time-based financial plans.

Why is this awesome? My principal life goal is to end factory farming.* I want to do this by creating a lobby against farm subsidies—for which I have complementary utilitarian- and libertarian-inspired distastes. This will cost money. Not a small amount of money. You can get an idea by looking at how much BigAg spent last year. 

There are only a few ways to get your hands on that type of cash in the course of a single lifetime. Most of them require growing a scalable business venture.

My original plan was highly risk-adverse. I’d practice law for three years, enough to pay off my debt, transition into finance and work there for ten years or until I had saved $2 million. I would invest that money at a conservative rate and live off the interest while I started my first company.

That plan changed quickly when I moved to New York. I realized #1 that I don’t need $2 million in the bank to start my own company. And #2 that law and finance are time-sucking endeavors that pay well but offer little entrepreneurial experience. 

I used a hypothesis-testing technique to figure out that I am good at, and love, business development (#bizdev)—an umbrella term startups use to describe the part of the business responsible for selling the product. This includes market-research, product iteration, community building, networking (lots of it), sales, and partnerships. In my case, it means pretty much everything except building the product and fixing bugs—which is the domain of our exceptionally talented tech founder.

Bizdev offers a ton of relevant entrepreneurial experience. It is also fun and gives me an excuse to connect with awesome, smart, likeminded people doing the types of things I want to be doing. Which means that I am both one step closer to fulfilling my principal life purpose with no sacrifice in terms of present happiness. A perfectly pareto move! Hard to get more awesome than that. 



*The real goal is a utilitarian desire to maximize pleasure and minimize suffering. Ending factory farming is the most efficient way to go about doing this. The calculus looks like: #s harmed * gravity of suffering * probability of success, where probability of success = the degree to which I am empowered to fix the problem. The asterisks function as multiplication signs. If you are a utilitarian, try plugging in your favorite causes to the equation above to see how they compare!

For factory farming, the inputs look like:

#s harmed: 3 billion/year (land animals in the US)
gravity of suffering: several months of non-stop captivity, mutilation, and torture per individual
probability of success: high. minimal barriers because near universal agreement that these practices are wrong, main need is to neutralize effect of bigag’s active deception efforts. not a grey-area issue, no moral case exists in support of factory farming. i am empowered to resolve the issue because it takes place in my community and is subject to a system that allows people like me to change it.