Do’s and Don’ts

From the Lefsetz Letter


Don’t feel bad that you don’t know what’s going on, today no one knows what is going on.

Do ignore the trolls, what they’re looking for is a reaction, and once you give it to them they’re not only satisfied, they’re encouraged and double-down.

Don’t assume you’ve got all the facts. Chances are your news sources are biased. Or shaded.

Don’t believe all the facts. Despite the internet being built on 0’s and 1’s, it’s easier than ever to employ subterfuge, since there’s no common police, or referee.

Don’t follow leaders and watch the parking meters. This is the era of the individual. Go your own way.

Don’t assume anyone is that big and influential. We live in a decentralized world with little commonality.

Do check Twitter once a day. The app is vastly improved. Click on the tabs at the top, “For You,” “Trending,” “News,” “Sports,” “Fun” and “Entertainment.” It won’t take you long and you’ll get a snapshot of what is going on. The point is you no longer have to follow anybody to get the benefits of Twitter, which is the true town square. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat…they’re one to one, Twitter is now many to one. Sure, it’s built on one to one, but you don’t have to play it that way.

Do think twice about buying an expensive gasoline car. Its value will decline precipitously over time. Better to lease. Or to jump into the electric game.

Don’t think you can become famous without a unique, definable talent.

Do watch English dramas on Netflix. They’re more rewarding than the American dreck.

Do know that cable news is all about talking heads bloviating, they do almost no reporting.

Do know that reporting is done by newspapers, and when it’s national and international the biggest players are “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post.” “The Wall Street Journal” is good for business news, but its national and international news is second-rate. The “Times” and “Post,” set the agenda for the whole country, they’re what both the left and the right react to, whether they agree or not.

Do know a tree can fall in plain sight and no one hears it.

Do know it’s all about software, not hardware these days.

Do know that software can be confusing, but a lot of it can be conquered and understood if you just put in the time. Youngsters know this, oldsters don’t. And if there is a manual, it’s always a good thing to read it, to extract power if nothing else.

Do know that football outside of America does not mean the NFL, and that basketball and soccer are the international sports.

Do know that everybody needs something to live for, and if you can provide it, you can be rich. Sure, people need products, but what I’m talking about here is ideas.

Don’t bother hating Apple or Microsoft…that war is over.

Do know that #1 is oftentimes not really #1. The “Billboard” #1 is based on streaming, sales and radio, in weights that don’t make sense. But more than ever, it’s not about the current or mainstream, it’s hard to quantify the success and mindshare of acts that are not on that chart.

Do know the game is rigged against you, but in many situations you can beat the game.

Do not bother going to the movies to catch up. We live in a Tower of Babel society where there’s almost no commonality. If you want to go to the theatre, cool. But know that everything hits the flat screen soon. What the purveyors don’t understand is that their platforming is working against them, they’re losing the hype factor, the word of mouth, because everybody is beginning at a different starting line.

Do know unless you learn a trade you’ve got to go to college. And in college what you learn outside the classroom is more important than what you learn inside. Although you need a degree to get a job, don’t believe that the courses you take in college are preparation for your future, unless you take computer science or accounting or are on a couple of other tracks. You’ve got no idea what you want to do at eighteen or twenty, and the truth is you’ll get kicked around and wake up and end up doing something different anyway. So you want a foundation for the future. You’re better off taking an art class than a business class. This is contrary to what the anti-elites and the super-elites want you to believe. The antis because they feel left out and must criticize, and the supers because they think their path is the only one. But neither one of them is correct. It’s your life and your life only, better to do what you want to do than be unhappy.

Do know that its harder than ever to make ends meet. But if you’re not willing to sacrifice, you’re not going to achieve success going down the path less traveled. There are no guarantees in art, no matter how many degrees you’ve got, no matter where you went to school.

Don’t bother going on late night TV to spread the word, despite all the press, few people are watching, and their odds of being motivated are very low. Better off being on Howard Stern, he’s got a large audience that is motivated, he can move the needle.

Don’t bother accumulating assets, it’s about experiences. No one wants to hear about your car, unless it’s a Tesla, they want to hear about where you ate, what you saw and where you traveled.

Do read fiction, you’ll learn more about life than reading non-fiction.

Do know your parents were not always right, and by adhering to their precepts as opposed to questioning them the only victim is you. The older you get, the more you respect others’ way of doing things.

Don’t be late.


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