October 6, 2004

Scott is a motivational speaker who decided to wear a nametag everywhere he goes, to see how people would react and to see if it would make people friendlier. It worked.

(I love the URL, too.)

I’m finding that starting a small business is one of the most difficult personal challenges I have ever faced.

Sure, it’s expensive. It’s unpredictable, thus frightening. It’s also confusing, as I deal with interpersonal communication among colleagues who misunderstand an idea or a suggestion.

But the most difficult aspect of starting a business is the surprising amount of discipline it requires. If I don’t call Jane, then Mary will have nothing to do when she comes over to work…woah, three days from now! So much of the work schedules me rather than my scheduling it.

This is in stark contrast to my regular job, in which I ensure that a large number of documents are updated by a certain date. I can arrange that work in whatever order I see fit. Not so Otherspace Productions, where a lot of the work won’t get done unless I talk to thus-and-so today.

I’ve also been asking myself some philosophical business questions lately. What kind of company do I want to work in? It’s not really my company in any exclusive sense; the animators are working as hard as I am and are just as important to the success of the animations. Do I really want the responsibility of being Head Cheese? Is a hierarchy the best structure for an animation studio? Could we get away with the kind of functional pseudo-anarchy of The Gore Group? Can I trust these people enough to give them some control over the company? Can I trust myself enough to give these people some control over the company?

So I wrote up a set of value statements that describe the kind of company I’d like to work for. I sent it to some of the animators for them to peruse and comment on. I’d value your opinions.

In the meantime, here’s more VR story:

He stepped forward with the grim purpose of a rescue worker wading into a river to retrieve a struggling victim. And it was like wading into a river, the room was so thick with people, but it was easy for him. One thing people learned quickly in this game was how to read people, and a man striding purposefully through a crowd of debutantes is not a man to interrupt lightly.She had turned back to her dance partner and was tittering about God knows what when he came up behind her and, keeping his voice as flat as possible, said, “Miss Bright?”

She turned, a fake welcoming smile on her lips, until she recognized him. “Mr. Wainwright!” she exclaimed, clapping her hands together. “How marvelous to see you again! I do believe it’s been months since I last saw you. Have you been touring on the Continent?”

“We need to talk,” he said, his eyes boring into hers.

She was perfectly still. Her banal dance partner looked shocked, and Thomas mentally scowled at him. Thomas had no time for decorum.

“I am afraid,” she said, her tone icy, “that Mr. Hausen here has my next dance. If you’ll only—”

Thomas stepped forward, gritting his teeth. “I’ll be leaving shortly,” he said, “and I may be unable to return.” She didn’t move. “I beg of you, just a moment of your time.”

She turned to her partner and murmured, “Please do excuse me, it seems that Mr. Wainwright has a rather urgent matter to discuss.” The man nodded dumbly, his eyes wide. A small part of Thomas wondered how this guy had ever managed to get as far as a dance with Miss Bright if such simple events left him speechless.

The musicians began another waltz as Thomas and the woman retreated through a small door into a green waiting room lined with bookcases and furnished with a few chairs and end tables. Floor-to-ceiling French doors opened on a balcony and a slight breeze of fresh night air that caused the heavy curtains to sway slightly like drunkards. He closed the door and she sighed in relief.

“Thank you for that little act,” she said. “That Harry’s a monster.”

Props if you recognize the horrid little pun in the above snippet.

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