Monday, April 30, 2007

The Price of Time

It's a common strategy for companies to offer gifts in kind, probably the most common form of a corporate thankyou (or maybe well known) is the frequent flyer program. Airlines often have excess capacity on flights, the variable cost of having a customer sitting in that seat is let's say $40. Even though a flight to Hawaii might cost you $1100 if you would only take that seat on that flight because you can pay for it with frequent flyer points you get an otherwise empty seat so you get a flight you value at $1100 and it only costs the company $40. This works so long as the system is set up so a paying customer never gets bumped for a ff awardee.
I've been reading on win-win strategies under game theory and I was thinking about the old pay rise negotiations.
Firstly negotiation under game theory (and in practice) is daunting enough, but the thing about pay rises is that they are more or less the opposite of the above situation.
You see thanks to Income tax (and HECS) is that an employer values a pay rise much more than you do. An extra $4000 might represent depanding on your tax bracket as little as $2200 a year or $42 a week to you but it means $76 a week your employer has to pay. That's of course a worse case scenario and generally the more you earn the more you claim back on tax. But to someone like me who has no deductable expenses (apart from donations to recognised charities) combined with short term cashflow problems having half a pay rise locked away for a year (or 50 if using tax effective super contributions) just isn't something I get all fussed about.
So it costs a company up to twice as many dollars to get the same impact out of me, the taxation system not only taxes better performance but it reduces the incentive for a company to say thankyou in cold hard cash.
Now when I was a casual employee you don't talk salaries but in hours, like $9.80 an hour to be seniour management at HJ's and $21 to talk shit on a phone. And it made it clear cut what time was worth, infact pay was related directly to time. Performance measures generally held steady and you had that 1:1 relationship between time spent and revenue raised. ie. for every 1 hour worked you sold 23 burgers. but most jobs and indeed work don't follow this cycle. take retail, for two months of the year (november & december) the value of an hour goes up alot during the christmas retail period, I think it's something like 80% of the years business happens in December. Hence you see the casual staff numbers balloon up at this time and then be cut back massively come February.
And most full time jobs are the same but it gets obscured by the fact that time isn't the only factor that can increase or decrease your value, it can just be sheer capacity, your strategic fit, customer demand, timing, seasonality, business cycles, government investment, overseas interest rates, deregulation, regulation and so on and so fourth, but the fact is that not every hour you put in is worth as much as every other hour you put in.
Your energy and concentration are not as good at the end of a day as at the beginning of the day, or the shipping deadline is 2pm and customers tend to only use your services up until this time.
Furthermore, if people were really honest with themselves they would admit that they only put in at maximum around 3 hours of productive effort a day, yet most of us are at work for 8. Some people do pile on the effort and work a phenomenal amount of hours productively and these people are why Unemployment is high, they should actually be highering graduates to do their book keeping and other things for them that they are currently micromanaging like Donald Rumsfield. Yes they may have to sacrifice their pay but this again comes back to the same question?
What is the value of time?
8 hours work, 8 hours rest and 8 hours recreation is the basis of the 8 hour day. Outside melbourne trades hall we fitted a monument to this notion, it is what many, but not I would consider a 'balanced' day. But If I have to work as many hours a day as I'm sleeping I'm not doing one or the other efficiently.
If say you shift the balance to 10 hours work (pretty common) and cut back to 7 hours recreation and 7 hours rest already we see that the situation is unbalanced. Now you would also notice that this breakdown adds up to 24 hours, lot's of assumptions have been made here, or ommitted for want of simplicity. For example what is commute time? is it working day or recreation day, in the mornings it's more likely to come out of rest time. Say you are the average Melburnite and your commute is 1 hour each way through rush hour traffic - 10 hours became 12. Or even in the balanced perspective 8 hours becomes 10. You may even enjoy driving and good old breakfast radio or like me enjoy a 15 k ride to work whilst listening to music. It doesn't really matter if you enjoy it or not it's part and parcel of your decision to work. And I don't really begrude work for not being sub 1 minute travel time for my place of residence. I'm a realist but really the decision to sell your time to an employer really leaves two things to negotiate at a table and most often we only negotiate one side of the deal and worse give away the other.
How often does work give you money because it may as well or to make a favorable impression? once a year if that, and believe me a company would rather give money to customers to say thank you than employees.
Yet we give away time that is our recuperation time, valuable time to a company and in reality the company probably doesn't value it anywhere near what you or I do.
Infact if anything by the time you sign your first contract you've probably overprovisioned your time for what the company demands in value.
You could probably get out 75% of the output in 50% of the time you work now, and I feel that estimate is conservative. as such 50% of your hours should be negotiable.
So there is time that you value more than your employer does, and then there is pay which an employer values more than you do.
So I would have thought if anything hours would reduce as you moved up in a company but the reverse tends to happen.
That's what I call a lose-lose anyway I'll see how I go at the negotiating table.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Open Stride

A goodweekend is not as easy as intuitively it promises to be.
I find usually I just spend too much time recovering and not enough time doing productive stuff.
but I managed to catch up with a fair few people and stuff. Furthermore I stimulated my brain finding myself drawn into a whole bunch of design stuff.
I was going to say, at some point, something and that something was that if ever you get an invitation into someone else's world, take it.
I mean to say if people want you to take an interest in something do so.
Why I say this is that I was watching Crude Impact on SBS, where they were saying that if China consumed resources the way US citizens did we would need 6 more planet earths.
Daunting enough but I am confident that market forces will painfully reinforce that this simply cannot happen, no matter what WA premiers promise they can dig out of the ground.
Anyhoo, that is to say I thought, each and every person lives in a world of their own. Because perceptions are unique to one person, and if perceptions have an impact on the qualities of any object, person or thing in the universe.
For example, houses and cars are of relatively little value to me, but they are god given rights in the same way lungs are for others (again not a god given right)
Speaking of lungs mine are back to their screaming best.
I was drifting off to sleep last night in my running gear when I said: No! go fucken run tohm you always let yourself down on a weekend.
So then I got up and ran from my house round the zoo and then around princes park and then back home, which is about 9.5k but the real revelation was that it actually got easier, as I ran my legs felt looser and I just sped up and sped up. I was overtaking people for the first time in a long time around the park.
I then headed home and heading along the bike path that hugs the railway line the bells started ringing and the boom gates fell.
I realised if I sped up I could avoid having to jog on the spot waiting for traffic to pass.
So I did and I hit something that I hadn't for maybe 3-4 years. My open stride.
For ages (2 months) even though my heart has been strong, my lungs good I still haven't felt like I was going fast. Last night I hit my stride and it felt fast and it felt good.
Running is good.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A waste of breath...

If you didn't catch southpark last monday (in Australia) possibly last January in the US they played Part 1 of Go God Go! Southpark like John Safran are good at handling issues I find because they never let any one audiance get too comfortable. Plus Mrs Garrison is hilarious in almost every appearance on that show.

Anyway that's how I would prefer the endless debates aboot religion should be conducted, commically and with feces being thrown.
Instead extremists tend to set out to maximise human suffering and moderates simply to consume most of the resources of intellectual capacity humanity has to offer.
I was reading a blog entry that was looking at the 'controversy' of the da vinci code as to whether Jesus could have fathered a child or not and whether in the early days of Christianity they were even organised enough to actually follow and protect this bloodline.
Now immediately my mind clicks into gear to come out with rational arguements for or against this case and my DAV experiences deeply ingrained make me want to pursue it with fervor.
But I read on and then found that the author proposed that this was meerly an extension of a 'deeper' question, a debate that had raged on for years:
Was Jesus Devine?
Interesting? Yes. Was the authors arguements good? Yes. They seemed well thought out, the dialogue was engaging and it was drawing on volumes of research.
I read about two paragraphs and was up to the bit where St Paul was trying to claim he had visions from Jesus and this gave him title to being the 12th apostle, maybe something about the definition of 'Messiah' I don't know. If it had been a conversation I would have been compelled to speak out with my opinion. But instead having really only broken the surface on the arguement presented a question popped into my head:

Do I care?

No I don't care if Jesus was devine or not. It's of relatively little importance to me. I don't have much personally invested either way. I don't care whether Gabriel or Buddha were devine or not. I just don't care.
The obvious retort is the old 'Why do you talk about it so much then?' which plays on a favorite past time of mine which is to ask someone who's clearly fine 'Why are you upset?' or 'What's wrong Tim?' and refuse to take 'Nothing' for an answer.
I remember reading in a Comic following Lex Luthor's run at presidency the first chapter was called 'The Reason' where without any dialogue or text you followed Lex through his day constantly being confronted by the image of Superman until he cracks and decides to run for president.
This is essentially what being an athiest is like, you live in a world with people who begin with the assumption their personal god exists, or moderates who begin with the assumption that a personal god exists. And work from there.
It's like being put on a committee to solve the 'Reduction of Water in our Bucket Project' beginning with the assumption that the bucket is perfect and there can't be a leak.
I must admit ignorance to a lot of non-Judaic religions but here is a selection of controversial debates that thanks to the beggining assumptions result in a total waste of time (these have actually been debated by professionals):

When does a soul enter an embrio/fertilised egg
Where do children go who die of natural causes before being baptised (resulting in the Catholic Limbo clause)
Anything regarding the Holy Trinity
If two teachings from the Prophet contradict eachother should we default to the earlier or the latter teaching?

And so on and so on...
I mean imagine if your most intelligent friends called meetings with experts around the world to spend their time debating issues such as:

Did Tyrone from TV's good times prefer Sandlewood or Oceanspray?
Can a power ranger coin be used for evil?
Which componant Lion in Voltron is the most intrinsically good?

Imagine if people killed eachother over these issues on a day to day basis, Imagine if some of the worlds most capable (but not brilliant) minds where pouring study day after day into these issues.
Imagine if on Insight and other panel discussion programs moral questions deferred to the president of the Transformers fan club.
Imagine if merchandisers were exempt from tax if they sold anything related to telly tubbies.
Imagine if the highest point in every town had a huge building dedicated to David Hasselhoff.

That's what it's like being an athiest.
Example my former housemate Damo spent a year of his life writing a long thesis on Agency, now he's dedicating some years to writing about modal metaphysics, in doing so he has some pretty interesting theories on what is moral behaviour and he has to read up to find out what progress has actually been made into moral studies and what have been proposed by other academics for the past however many thousands of years.
Infact psychologists and scientists and what not have gotten together and done studies on what does and doesn't constitute moral behaviour.
Now he's probably dealing with an end of the spectrum that is beyond any sort of moral call I'll ever have to make.
I would imagine these sorts of experts are who you should refer to in understanding complex situations in terms of weighing up say the rights of an individual against a majority, the tyranny of majority or where one decision effects multiple parties such as borrowing resources off of future generations.
Complex, the sort of stuff Jimmy Carter used to agonize over.
Compare to say the case of The Bean Farmer's Union vs Pythagoras. What's that I say?
Pythagoras wasn't he the guy that came up with all them rules about the nature of right angled triangles?
Yes, but did you know he was also a bit of a religious leader? It's true. Seldom does anyone question: Was Pythagoras Devine? which is a compelling question I don't care about. I would say probably since he clearly had some sort of devine insight into triangles, timeless and universal. However he forbade his followers eat beans.
Now beans are a low fat source of protein and in terms of the food chain take much less energy to produce. They are vital to mexicans and vegetarians.
Imagine if we paid as much legislative respect to Pythagoras' church as we do to the Judaic one's, we would have 'bean free' on our menu, in certain states you wouldn't be allowed to grow beans.
In africa you can be stoned to death for eating beans.
The list goes on. Furthermore an expert in things Pythagoras did or didn't like would be respected and subsidized in taxation, they would get a seat on discussion panals where poor Damo may never set foot. No cocktails and cupcakes and glamorous models for him, no choirs to lift his spirits in the great hall that he presides over.
No for damian it is just his rustic clothing and study for as long as he lives.

Now most dissapointing of all I logged onto the comments left on this post I was reading and I saw all these specific questions technical aspects of the bible story posted under parky's comment 'this was too long - :)' asking can you trace the lineage of the 12 disciples? more blah blah blah...
Again who cares, these I would have thought may be some important questions:

What is moral behaviour?

That's a good starting point for everyone, the second thing is to resist the temptation to rush to the nearest holy book and find out. Because a much better answer is:

moral behaviour is anything that reduces suffering, immoral behaviour is anything that increases suffering.

Now that's a starting point isn't it, and the real kick in the pants is that religion can deviate from such a simple test, in our society people are wasting their time and energy having all sorts of debates over whether Pythagoras meant beans literally or in a metaphysical sense. One could ask: how did this ever become a moral question?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ANZAC Day greatest day of the year

Ah the traditions of Anzac day are long and proud. What a special day of the year.
I had just done my laundry on Monday night where I confronted the reality that I couldn't make it through the week, even with a public holiday without doing a load.
Anyway whenever I have done my washing it's usually so long overdue that I get a certain luxurious feeling like I've just bought a whole heap of new clothes.
As such I had my pick on Anzac day of bball singlets to choose from to go playing in. I'd texted all my players the night before and in the best Anzac tradition I got up early in the morning around 8.30 (tim brown on SYN by the way is a truly representing youth voice of rare wit and intelligence matched with equal ambivolence and superfluity) and played some NBA Live 07 where as the Houston Rockets I shat all over the Dallas Mavericks with T-Mac sinking 69 points 5 rebounds 2 steals and 2 blocks with 8/8 3 point shots made just to get me in the mood.
Then I went in early to town and even though Vincent & Tosh had cancelled and Daud couldn't make it Rio was still down for it and I had my traditional al fresco breakfast. I sure miss Misaki on days like these because I use to go out for breakfast with her in real classy places and get things called 'The Big Breakfast' or Eggs Florentine or Benedict and occasionally pancakes. Infact we probably went out for breakfast more than dinner. I think Breakfast feels like more of an achievement.
Anyway, suffice to say I just can't bring myself to the skivvy wearing loner state of mind where you hand over decent money for a great breakfast to eat by yourself. Instead I went to a swanston walk cafe and handed over too much money to enjoy an indecent breakfast by myself.
Speaking of indecent the complete absence of all other forms of CBD entertainment outside of the parade sure brings the bogans into this neck of the woods adorned in essendon and collingwood colours drinking a lot of beer (at 11am) and swearing loudly, I know carlton is no exception when it comes to its fair share of unruly fans and these guys are more likely to shell out for membership than people with highly disposable incomes having values of 'loyalty' over values of 'value'.
Anyway I ate my breakfast and Rio texted me to say he was running late and so I had an hour to warm up before our game.
I have been working on my jump shot, well technically its just the regular overarm shot, and I'd be hitting around 45%, I wanna get over 50% but my problem is in a game I'm expected to be down on the low post picking up garbage goals not hitting jumpers.
But After 20 minutes warm up (approximately half of regular game time) I decided to switch to hook shots and found I'm hitting about 30% even with my back to the basket, If I could get that up it would be super helpful on the low postin converting an offensive rebound into a score.
After my shoulder was getting tired I switched to my old bad shooting style which could be called the pass shot, It's my awkward long range underarm shot that I used whin I was a teenager playing and got increadibly accurate. It would be useless except for its deceptive nature.
A) it looks like a pass so instead of blocking the shot defenders rush into the key to intercept the pass or stop the man inside.
B) it gives me extra range so people don't expect me to shoot for 3 because I can't hit it with a jumper.
Anyway I still shoot about 80% with this but it's so easy to block it's useless in the paint.
But that more or less concluded my hour long warmup.
I bought a Gatorade and rode up to melbourne uni where I played with Rio against some chinese guys 4 on 4 half court. The first game me, rio and this other dude made up one team and represented all rebounding options so we won 10-4 then we switched the other rebounding king and I went from grabbing 3 boards to 14 thanks to my superior boxing out, admittedly a lot of rebounds where off my own low post shots but I scored about 3 of the 10 to tuck away our second win.
Then we switched to 3 on 3 when Omar came to play some big guys with some illmatic ball handling skills. We did pretty well and I did surprisingly well rebounding considering a 10 kilo disadvantage I had but we lost.
Second game we lost by a more convincing margin but Rio finally got his low post shooting down. Omar claimed to have too much power from all this wisdom teeth surgery.
Anyway then I ate some lunch and hit boarders for a while. By the time I got home it was 5.30, by the time I got back from the supermarket it was 6. By the time gnocchi kicked in It was 8.30 and I managed half an hour reading before I passed out.
What a fine way to uphold the traditions of Anzac day.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Because I almost never use my hotmail account, I almost never expect to recieve any email. I've never ever had problems with spam either. In a time when people where leaping from hotmail to yahoo and gmail like there was no tomorrow even using their crappy ISP provided accounts I stuck by because I had no reason, I'd almost never recieved a single bit of spam.
So today I log in and to my bitter dissapointment people I know have instead sent me promo's and advertising material.
Maybe what they say is true, the internet is the end of human contact if the only reason people can think to contact me is to send me mail flyers.
I mean obscure pornographique at least.
Anyway April's been a let down in blogging, but man not because I haven't wanted to post, if you had seen the ideas stewing in my head you'd be all like, man I want some stew.
Anyway I will endeavor to post.
The great dissappearing pancake.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

John's Wager

If you look at John's second most recent blog post of his personal life you'll see a well reasoned and lightly entertaining post.
But I remember a wager I made with John, one whose end I fulfilled and he sold out, claiming he had 'already had that conversation' infact I don't even think it was that it was more like 'I already know what she'll say'.
That wasn't the deal john.

that wasn't the deal.

And unlike John I'd like to apologize for not keeping my blog up to date.
I've been busy, but not with better stuff to do.