It’s been so long since we walked on Moonlight Beach. Either of us. Today I convinced her to go to Encinitas and look at a couple of dream houses that we could afford if I sell a zillion books. Maybe a couple zillion. I do want to get back there. It’s where I’m from originally. My native land, so to speak. Spoiled? Maybe. But we can’t help where we’re from. I just happen to be from a beach community in beautiful Southern California. Now we live 1/2 an hour inland.
In a way I guess I feel like I have a right to live there. I know I felt really good walking with my wife along the ocean there. And sitting on a bench at the top of the hill just in front of Moonlight. We got some sun during our walk and our sitting. Not too much. I can feel the impact on my body as I used to feel when I was just a kid.
Back then we didn’t worry about sunburn too much. I don’t think we knew that it could lead to skin cancer. Just leathery skin. And we had a cute neighbor who was really, really tan. I saw her years later and I don’t think she had had cancer. She did have the leathery skin. She was still cute. We lived on a little street back then. L-shaped. Patty Lane in Leucadia, which is a community of Encinitas.
We looked at a couple houses just across Pacific Coast Highway right above the beach today. Upwards of $2 Million for a 2000 square foot house with not much yard. If you want a place across the street that’s truly right next to the ocean that will cost you $3 Million. And what a beautiful view of the ocean out your backdoor you’ll have.
I know lots of people think this kind of real estate is preposterous. Keep in mind that there is plenty of wealth in the world. I’m not talking about anything airy-fairy or new agey here. If you divide the amount of wealth that exists in the world by the number of people in the world you will find that there is a really big number available to each person. More than a billion dollars per person. I’d just like a few million.
What so many people have lost sight of is this: If you provide value, people will pay you for it.
Especially here in the United States I have seen it. People think in terms of a job or even a career and they don’t always think of what value they bring to the table. It’s not enough to be nice and helpful. How helpful are you? If you help 10 people that’s wonderful, but if you help 10,000 then it’s likely you’ll get paid more on average.
Steve Jobs said that you have to provide something that people want. I’m pretty sure I got that right and if I didn’t I’m sure it was just that you can add in something that people need. But Steve certainly did create something that people want. So many people want those products enough to pay good money for lots of them. I daresay that he also provided people with an experience. Some people call it a cult and if it is I think it’s a pretty harmless one.
Apple customers like quality. They also like that there are many other people who share their ideas about quality and the experience of using the quality products in their lives on a regular basis. They like that there is a community of sorts.
When I say quality I don’t mean what some people sometimes commoditize and then forget about. Lots and lots of people in the world don’t really seem to mind if they get lower quality stuff or just ok stuff. But those who do like a better experience using the product are willing to pay more and Steve Jobs figured that out early on.
He also noticed that people like innovation. That’s part of the experience. You get to have some capabilities earlier than other people or the functionality of the products is so much higher that it’s a more enjoyable experience to use it.
I’m amazed that some people just don’t get this.
If people enjoy something more, many of them will pay more for it. Seems pretty simple.
We got a weedeater the other day and I don’t enjoy the manual which has all these warnings. I can’t even store the battery in a metal shed because that could cause it to get too hot. I understand that we can only do so much with certain technologies, but that seems pretty basic. When you get a metal shed they should warn you that some of the stuff that you want to store in there is not safe to store in there. But why were you getting the metal shed in the first place? You simply wanted to store your rakes, brooms, shovels and the like?
People who think this stuff through create better products.
Sometime in the last year or so I bought a pair of toenail clipper at one of the chain pharmacies. Not too long after I bought it it started to rust. Really? The manufacturer didn’t think that I would like something in the bathroom drawer that remained rust-free? When I was growing up I don’t recall ever buying a replacement pair of clippers like that. I’m not saying that my parents never did that, but I never remember seeing rust on one? I doubt that they were replacing the clippers regularly and I never noticed.
My dad was not a big spender on most things, but he was generally wise about what he bought. It was going to be sturdy and it was generally going to last. Sure, in my family my mom did most of the household spending, but my dad’s philosophy certainly had a huge influence. My family lived on a budget and there’s no way my mom would have bought clippers that could rust so quickly. It’s just that back then I don’t think it would have been easy to find toenail clippers that would start to deteriorate so rapidly. They simply made things better.
Notwithstanding breakthroughs in technology, manufacturers did a better job of putting out a quality product in most cases. I’m sure I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that my mom had a foot-powered sewing machine in the early 1970’s. That was probably from the 1940’s or earlier and it lasted. It was well built.
When I buy a product that starts to fall apart so quickly I want to tell the place that I did business that I would rather not do business with them anymore and that I’ll encourage others to do the same. It astonishes me how many places of business don’t actually care. Even in this economy.
And then they wonder why they’re closing their doors. Amazing.
Today I was distracted by the Williams.edu website.
Frequent readers will probably know that I volunteer with a group called Reality Changers. We help students become the first generation in their family to go to college. My student – the one I tutor – is nearing his senior year. I recommended that he take a look at Williams.edu to see if there’s a fit for him. He’s a strong student in Japanese and that’s one of the majors that Williams College offers. It’s old and academically prestigious.
While at Reality Changers on Monday I asked him if he thought he could work harder than he works now in college. He works really, really hard now and usually goes to sleep about 4 am at least twice a week. He said that he definitely intended on working harder in college. I didn’t work as hard as he does in high school and definitely not as hard as he intends when I was in college. He’ll probably end up with a 4.1 or higher GPA and that’s probably enough to get admitted to Williams assuming all the other things fall into place. He’s a soccer player, too, and participates in extracurricular activities.
In my opinion, it’s just a shame when a student who has potential and has shown the willingness to work hard misses an opportunity simply because he or she didn’t know it existed. So I make sure to tell academically inclined students about Williams. If you know a great student who intends on working hard at their education after high school, I recommend that you at least tell them about Williams.
When I was in high school I didn’t have much knowledge about all the educational opportunities out there and my dad said that I was going to community college. I found that somewhat discouraging, but didn’t have enough freedom to say how I felt about it. I didn’t realize that I had more choices than simply accepting it. I recognize that community college can be a great place to start, but if you have the drive and you have the ability, why not explore the options. It’s hard for me to believe that I didn’t know more about how to stand up for myself in that situation, but that was a long time ago and in many, many ways I feel like a different person now.
My wife just came in to relax beside me and I don’t think she realized how much I was treasuring this time to be alone with the opportunity to write. I do like my alone time and I’m not sure that she has quite the same need for solitude. I can hear her breathing at times and shuffling the pages of whatever she’s reading.
Our room is cooler than the rest of the house and I find that absolutely wonderful. That’s especially true when it starts to get hotter as it is today. Our walls are a dark pastel-ly purple and the ceiling is bright white. Definitely have something approaching bohemian tendencies with the color in our room. There’s not really anything on the walls and we like it that way. They feel like a blank canvas to me or maybe an easy place to rest my eyes as I’m lost in thought.
We have horizontal blinds and that let’s me keep the light down. She had to turn on a lamp when she came into the room. I don’t mind it being a little dark. In fact, she probably considers it pretty dark and I see it as similar to just after dawn. Now she has turned off the light and turned on her side. I think she wants to take a nap, but I’m determined to finish this before I leave the room or more probably, join her.
Earlier we got the chance to go to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas and to my surprise she was content to sit with me on a bench overlooking the beach. We watched some birds in the ocean air. I couldn’t remember the last time that I followed a bird or a group of birds with my eyes for several minutes until they landed. It can be very relaxing. We both agreed that we would like to live there and I said that I was probably several books away from affording that. I think it probably costs around $2 Million to live there in a 2000 square foot house with probably the same amount of land we have here in San Marcos, which isn’t much.
We enjoyed the breeze and I was thinking that I don’t think there’s any way to replicate it.
I was remembering Edward G. Robinson in Soylent Green as he commits suicide with the help of the state. He’s watching a movie that shows beautiful views of nature that don’t exist anymore in the world of that film. They give him something to drink that takes him out of this world after it puts him to sleep and Charlton Heston’s character is heartbroken when he finds out and it’s too late to do anything about it.
But it would take better technology than a movie to capture the feel and smell of the breeze and the sun beating down not too hot. That doesn’t even take into account the gorgeous view of the ocean itself. Maybe there will be a market for it. Actually, I think there is a market for it if you get far enough away from the ocean. It’s just that we don’t have holodeck technology like they have on Star Trek The Next Generation and later shows.
This reminds me that I don’t think we will advance technology in many areas as fast as people expect. I wouldn’t mind being pleasantly surprised. Back in the 1950’s they thought we would have hover cars by now. I don’t mean a couple which my son pointed out that we do actually have. I mean widespread use of hovercars – so widespread that they are the primary mode of transportation like plain old automobiles are today. At least in the U.S. and several countries.
THAT reminds me that I don’t even know how many cars there are in the world and how widespread their use is in different countries. My guess is that there are plenty of countries who use cars appoximately at the same level as we do, but there are many countries that use more rapid transit, more communal transportation than we do.
Still, will we really be using Google glasses that much in 10 or 20 years? Is it possible that they will be a fad? Do you really want to wear glasses all the time that connect you to the internet so you can let people know where you are at all times? Do you really want to have information popping up in your field of view semi-constantly? I’m sure I could use it for a while, but won’t good old everyday life without the interactivity of the glasses be calling us? Also, I’m concerned that it will rapidly become a way for more advertisements to be shoved in front of us. I want less advertising personally, not more. I like pieces of land with nothing on it but nature.
How many people agree or disagree with me, I wonder.