The story that changed my life
I’m going to cheat this week and re-use a story from a previous email. I think it’s legit though, because this story changed my life when I first read it, and it was one of the most popular issues of this newsletter. Enough talk – here it is.
The Parable of the Mexican Fisherman
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”
The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish?
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs.
The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.”
The American scoffed. “I have an MBA from Harvard, and can help you,” he said. “You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middle-man, you could sell directly to the processor, eventually opening up your own cannery. You could control the product, processing, and distribution,” he said. “Of course, you would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles, and eventually to New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”
The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “Oh, 15 to 20 years or so.”
“But what then?” asked the Mexican.
The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time was right, you would announce an IPO, and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions!”
“Millions – then what?”
The American said, “Then you could retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos.”
(Source: Probably Heinrich Böll’s short story Anekdote zur Senkung der Arbeitsmoral)
This week’s podcast
Not Overthinking | 019 – Startups, Coding and Making Money Online – An Interview with Taimur | Episode 19
In this episode, Ali interviews Taimur about his life. We discuss how he learned to code, how he made money online by selling psychic readings, and how he uses Twitter to explore fame and fortune.
Stuff I enjoyed this week
1 – Podcast – I enjoyed this episode of the Northstar Podcast where Dave Perrell interviews Jason Fried. It’s a great listen if you’re into software / apps / entrepreneurship but I think there are a lot of worthwhile life lessons as well regarding work-life balance etc.
2 – Book – I’m reading The E-Myth Revisited – Why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it. Sure, it’s a pretty dry-sounding title but the stories and the mindsets are fantastic. Again, if you’re into the whole business / startup thing then you’ll enjoy it, but if you’re not you probably won’t – sorry :/
Kindle Highlight of the Week
What is something you believe that other people think is crazy? “That you should never publicly criticize anyone or anything unless it is a matter of morals or ethics. Anything negative you say could at the very least ruin someone’s day, or worse, break someone’s heart, or simply change someone from being a future ally of yours to someone who will never forget that you were unkind or unfairly critical. It’s so common today to complain or criticize others’ work on social media, or dogpile on someone for a perceived offense. I won’t do it. It’s not my job to be the world’s critic, and I’d rather not rule out any future allies.