Weeknote for 7/18/2021

Blog

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I got the new email subscription set up. The signup form is in the sidebar, ready for your address.

Finances

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Last week I reduced my monthly expenses by about $80. I cancelled some subscriptions, went back to doing my own grocery shopping, and did some research on lowering my auto insurance premiums. Friday I called my insurer and was able to apply some discounts. It’s the kind of conversation I don’t like having, so I was proud of myself for pushing through it and getting it done.

This week I’ll start some research on medium-term investing and estate planning. That way I’ll have the rest of the month to process what I learn. I’ll also work on my Quicken budget, since I can never do things the easy way and Quicken doesn’t quite accommodate my complicated budget algorithm.

Business

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Principles of Marketing reinforced the notion of marketing as the company’s general customer-facing role. Whereas before I thought it was almost a synonym of advertising, I now see it as all the activities that shape and communicate the value the business offers. This includes product development, so when software developers determine a minimum viable product to create, they’re performing a marketing function. The book also gave me a sense of the many means marketers have at their disposal to get you to buy their stuff. Just imagine being pulled under by a giant, tentacular squid, and that’s basically any marketing department.

Faith Driven Entrepreneur applies general principles of Christian living to a business context. It pays particular attention to issues entrepreneurs commonly face, such as stress and loneliness. The book is basically a sermon, fairly short and not very detailed, but it reminds you of the broad ideas you already know, maybe correcting some of your misconceptions (such as the idea that religious professions are more spiritual than secular ones), so you can think and live a little more Christianly. The book had a few examples to illustrate its ideas, and it reminded me that examples to study are what I really want from discussions like this. So if you ever write a sermonesque book, just pack it with a ton of examples and I’ll give it an extra star.

Health

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Wednesday I crossed the CDC’s threshold into full vaccination. But I’m not quite out of the COVIDy woods yet. The medication I’m on for ulcerative colitis is an immunosuppressant, so there’s a chance my vaccine was less effective than normal, and I’m not sure yet how to tell. Luckily I have a doctor visit scheduled for this Thursday, so I can ask what he thinks and then decide on my COVID policy. Meanwhile, I’m cautiously reentering society with my mask on. On Saturday I got a haircut and did some grocery shopping, and this week I’m going back to the office.

Space

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Sunday morning I watched the age of space tourism begin. Richard Branson reached space on his company’s spaceplane, and this week Jeff Bezos will have his turn. I used to think space tourism was a frivolous idea, but now I think it’ll help people think of space as a normal place to visit, so the idea of living and working there will be less of a leap.

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