Small Businesses are a zero sum game

I am a huge small business advocate, but lately I have been disillusioned with small businesses. The problem with small businesses is it is a zero sum game situation between the owner and the employees.

Either the owner makes money or the employees cheat the owner to bankruptcy. Let me explain. A small business is basically where the owner is the complete master of the trade. The owner should know his business in and out. He should know everything about the business. Thats an essential pre-requisite to being a small business owner. But small business owners in this rapid technological developments might see them becoming increasing dependent more and more on other specialised skills.

In a small business scenario, the owner is making enough money that he can live a rich persons life but this means he has to always keep on finding employees who he can exploit. The margins and the volumes of business is such that, there can be only one master. (The man)

Employees Cheat

Some employees, see this zero sum game situation. So they develop strategies to hack the game. They try to make sure, that the owner will lose and they will win. Here comes corruption and loss of integrity. The employee doesn’t wan to a the losing end of this game.

He starts finding ways to cheat, wherever there is cash sales, he might rob the owner. If the owner is not well or on vacation, the employee will steal stuff from the office or business. The employee will try to find likeminded people in the staff and make a Kabal and sustain this systematic looting of the small business owner.

You would say Big corporations employees are also corrupted.

Yes, but the leverage the big business owner has against corrupted employees is huge. A big business has something called HR. The big corporate CEO or management are ten of thousands of times powerful than some employees stealing.

But for small business owner it is a daily trauma and fear, if he is no longer handson he ceases to be the winning part of the zero sum game.

What is a zero sum game

In case you wondering what is zero sum game? It is where in a given transaction or trade or agreement there is one winner and the other person is loser as against a win-win game. A win-win game is where both parties benefit and there is no exploitation.

Rules for Reducing screen time

I am worried about my sleep. My sleep patterns are very disturbed. I wake up every 2/4 hours wide awake. This has been going on for last 4/5 years. I feel like instead of spending good 8/10 hours in bed, not having slept. My mind is clouded and I cannot think straight. On somedays I have to take power naps just to refresh my mind.

I thought maybe this is part of adult life. Stress and work pressures keep me working till 11 pm. Also since my job is about social media and web. I spend most of my time in front of my 3 screens. The Mac, Ipad and the iPhone. No wonder all these devices now come with dark mode built in them. Maybe I am not alone who has these sleep issues because of screen times.

Dark Mode

Even if you work in the dark late in the night. You cannot completely avoid the white light. This means your circadian rhythm is getting confused. It is not able to make out day from night. This means your brain doesn’t send signals to your gut to reduce the cortisol levels and increase the melatonin levels which is needed for sound sleep.

You can of course buy melatonin pills and get addicted to sleeping pills. I prefer to correct my habits.

Some of the rules I am putting in place to reduce my screen time after 8.30 pm

* Note I am writing this post on a dark screen at 11 pm *

Don’t WhatsApp only call after 8pm

Whatsppp chats go on and on. You feel you are just yapping away without actually making any real connections. It is just a dopamine reserve which you feel like tapping into. I don’t reply after 8.30 am and if necessary will call up the person to end the call and make some real talk.

Keep the devices faraway from the bed

This is tough. I have all my todo list and notes app which I need the moment I get a new idea. I am using a pen and paper to take notes and list down task. But sometimes I need the phone.

Twitter

Twitter is strictly off limits after 8:30 pm. Here are some handy hacks if you are prolific twitter consumer.

1. Twitter lists

One of the strategy to reduce my FOMO issue. I have distributed and categorised my twitter followers into twitter lists. This makes me efficient at gathering any information I may be mussing out.

2. Keep only people who talk less on follow others go to list categorised.

There are some people who talk a lot. They are just white noise which you don’t want to be part off. Please mute them or unfollow them.

3. Status updates drafts

If I feel the urge to put out a tweet, I write them on my paper notepad to post it the next day. Impuslive twitter use is curtailed and the idea is recorded.

Screens suck you in

These apps are made for only one thing. You maximise your attention. They are gamified to give you dopamine shots so you are hooked. Once you are aware of this important fact, you can work your way out. Instead of being used, you can use these platforms to enhance your real life by making worthwhile connection through information gathering.

Power of Habits

One cannot emphasise the importance of Habits.

A time for everything

One should have a time for everything one has set has priority. There is a right time for everything. Social media or screen time is not before bed.

A time for reading

I mostly read simple books on audio format and if the idea is complex I use my kindle to read. Some books cannot be followed on audio as you tend to multitask when listening. Complex writing needs your complete attention. I have set the time for reading at writing after 8:30 pm. I am using kindle to read. It is still a screen, but I feel the e-ink display is much much better than OLED/LCD display screens.

Do you have screen time issues? If yes, do try to regulate it. I strongly recommend.


Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash, 2019.

I need Access to succeed in my work.

I need acesss. Access to what you may ask? Access to people mainly.

Backstory

I got into media business not really knowing what media business is. I created hyperlocal media news and information sites. Now the problem is to get stories you need access. It is people who give you information from which you write stories.

The Ethical Dilemma on how to get access.

There is a way to get access. Tell the person who gives you information that you will bat for him. You will promote him or her or their interest. You go to thier parties, drink their booze to gain their confidence. You become part of their group. This is something I am not good at. I also find it unethical. How do I remain impartial and unbiased. The energy I derive to do my unpaying work is through my value of ethics. So the moment I compromise my ethics to get stories, i lose interest in running my media business. This is a complex dilemma.

Can you get access without compromising on your ethics and integirty?

Barkha Dutt in the Radia Tapes scam says, she was just cultivating a source and not compromising her journalistic values. But the moment misleading the souce/access you are compromised in my opinion.

New Paradigm to get access

Now what if the source comes to you instead of you going to him. This is much better scenario to gain access. The big question is why would a source come to you?

Now this is how you reverse engineer a source. You don’t go asking for access, but engineer it that the access comes to you.

Some examples of access coming to you

  1. A college principal going to the student and offering her/him the best course in college and waving off fees.
  2. A politician offering help with news and information cause he needs the story published.
  3. People thinking that you can solve their problems like a fake Sadhu/doctor who gives you placebo pills

Is METOO also about a share of bigger pie ?

I have been following closely the #metoo movement on twitter. There were some #metoo cases which were mover like drunk sex or bad sex stories. Some stories like Alok Nath and M J Akbar were very serious. What I observed that even the most authentic feminist was also basking on the RT and likes she was getting.

Elitist Movement

Well, we are all human and there is nothing wrong with it. As you know the movement has been labelled as Elitist. We also know that these so called Elitist woman have the responsibility of earning their own living. In Urban India, most of the couples are double income families. To pay the bills in this age of inflation, both husband wives have to earn.

The women are also under extreme stress to earn a living. If she is single than God help her. She has to pay her rents and gym fees also. It is no surprise that these working women are angry on the bro’s whose cash registers are ringing. These bro’s have money and woman until he is outed in a #metoo story.

Blind Spot

What most women don’t realise and are blinded that this is also a phase when there are more people applying for Jobs. Since there are more people who are in a job. The salary which would be given to one person is now divided in two or three. For people who cannot afford that pitiful salary there is the gig economy, where you don’t know when the next gig is coming.

Demographic Catastrophe

India will soon have more than 50% of the population below the age of 25. Women will be under pressure to get a job. The anger at men who will stop her at doing so is going to increase. To add to this by 2035 or is it 2050 half the population is going to live in cities.

How do we diffuse this situation

It’s a global trend. Why didn’t #metoo happen in the 60’s and the 70’s when one earning member could support the family? No there is not going to be a war between men and women, but we are certainly going to see a lot of single men and single women with broken hearts around.

Keep Personal and Professional Away in wake of metoo

The entire #metoo movement got me thinking. Most of the transgressions had appeared at the workplace because the personal/professional space was not respected.

If only people knew that someone who calls you for a drink and dinner late in the night, might also start thinking to try a few tricks.

As the saying goes.

Temptation comes often but opportunity comes seldom.