2011-0806 Saturday

2011-0806 Saturday

I went to sleep earlier than otherwise would have, though I did start reading Daniel Pink’s “Drive” for a bit last night in bed (yay Kindle!) On my mind was the curious feeling of non-productivity I had all day Friday, coupled with a lack of motivation to actually do something about it. The day ended up being semi-productive…a lot of puttering and some goofing around, but nothing meaty really accomplished. I guess I like MEATY ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

I got up at 8AM, without an alarm clock, and went through the new-normal prep routine: shower, feed cats, make breakfast, ignore computer, and then get out of the house for Starbucks and a tall coffee. I grabbed a sunny table and hauled out my notebook. I stared at the blank page, and just started outlining the thoughts on my mind as they came out, structuring them on-the-fly. I got a giant ink splot on my finger before 10AM as a bonus.

Saturday Notes Yesterday, I noted the irony of being bored and yet not wanting to work on any number of self-improvement projects. I might describe my state of mind as pleasure seeking, wanting something that felt immediately gratifying. For me, gratification comes from making things that didn’t exist before; this is not the sort of thing that can be instantly fulfilled. The next best thing is to find something that is just as good. This can be finding a good book, seeing some good design, or reading a story about someone else who’s kicking ass or doing the kind of things I’d like to be doing too.

The state of mind I was in might be some kind of low dopamine state. A quick google brought up this article on livestrong.com regarding causes of low dopamine levels, which lists a number of interesting correlated symptoms:

  • Parkinson’s Disease – breakdown of dopamine-releasing neurons, resulting in tremors, slow movement, and difficulty initiating movement (eep!)
  • Restless Legs Syndrome
  • ADHD
  • Creativity – highly-creative people have a low density of dopamine receptors in the brain, resulting in tendency to make highly unusual associations, but also difficulty filtering out information.

None of these sound like causes to me, but it’s interesting to see a convergence of symptoms I associate with myself with this mysterious dopamine thing. If my brain is structured with fewer D2 receptors, then I just have to invent a way to work with that. Funny that something like chemistry can affect one’s drive.

Anyway, I came up with a few areas that needed definition…a more refined map of my strategic goals, and blockages to working on them. I’m going to work on a diagram for the next couple of hours. It’s currently 10:53AM.

It’s now 11:30AM, and I have a simple text thing laid out in Illustrator that I can expand later. But I want to get some lunch, and also take care of some home chores. So I drove to the Vietnamese market, hoping to get some Banh Mi sandwiches, but they had sold out. I bought some curry bricks for later, and a 15-pound bag of rice, then went home and cooked lunch.

From around 1300 to 1500, I inspected and collated the “Gun Safety Poster” materials, and calculated the cost of fulfillment on Amazon FBA versus Shipwire versus Home Fulfillment. Then I calculated the per-unit cost if I produced larger quantities. I determined that I can’t sell anything on Amazon for less than 9 dollars if I want to make a consistent profit. Optionally, I could list products and then fulfill myself…that’s an entirely different operation, but it’s one that can significantly cut my packaging costs and still make a profit.

I also looked at WP-eCommerce, a plugin to allow me to integrate PayPal into my WordPress site. This technically could allow me to get rid of e-Junkie, which I don’t really like, and costs me $5/month. The one question I have, though, is whether I need to upgrade my SSL certificate for $59 for two years by sending in some personal identification. I think that the check-out capability, as it goes through PayPal, would be secure, so I don’t need to secure my own website. In fact, it might be better if I don’t have that kind of stuff on my site anyway.

Around 1500 (3PM), I feel asleep for a couple of hours. My couch never fails to lull me to sleep. At 5PM I cooked the rest of the marinated pork I had prepared for lunch, and proceeded to play Star Trek Online for a few hours. Mindlessly floating in space! It’s now around 11PM, and I just changed the cat litter and have set up the laptop downstairs at the new standing work desk.


What I find odd today is that I have been puttery-productive, but I am not very happy about it. I think part of this is because the kind of work I ended up doing today was the slow, unsure kind of work where you don’t know whether you’re going to like the answer. Figuring out how e-commerce works isn’t exactly my idea of a good time.

Also, as I get closer to launching this new product, some doubts start to eat at me. “Am I charging too much? I am charging too little? Is the product good enough? What will the real experts say?” It’s eating away at my confidence. Intellectually I know that the way to really find out is to put the thing out there and see what happens: nothing ventured, nothing gained. Plus, it’s good old-fashioned experimentation. I’m doing a small, affordable run. I’m learning how to put these pieces together. I would feel good about it, if I didn’t have so much riding on this notion of being a seller of my own products and designs. It’s kind of lonely work. Again, though, I have to remind myself that this is about making a good business, not about self-affirmation. Affirmation of the type that matters–the ability to finance my own destiny through selling my own products–is the only kind that matters.

With that thought, I’m going to call it a night. I’ve vacuumed the downstairs a bit and tidied the office. I measured the circumference of the IKEA table legs I had, to see if there was a Kee-Klamp part that would fit it (apparently not; the closest is a 1.66″ O.D. part, and the IKEA leg is 1.77 O.D., if I understand what “O.D.” means (outside diameter).

Tomorrow I have a bit of writing to do:

  • Groundhog Day Resolutions Review for 8/8!
  • Make a Strategy Achievement Map, sort of like a character sheet that you can “level up”, for different endeavors.
  • Make a product listing on Amazon for the Gun Poster and see how that goes.

Installing Seller Desktop, the Amazon Tool for managing product listings, before I go to sleep.