Jun 282012

Morning. Sit down with my mug of steaming tea. Open mail. 4 new messages. And one is from them

Two days before I sent out a couple of E-mails to people I know that might help me business-wise. I decided that part of my focus will be on building (risk) models, as this theoretically should be done from whichever location (Lima?).

One of the mails was to a consulting firm I know. They replied very quickly that they weren’t looking for modelers in Lima, but they suggested another company that was more dedicated to building models and less to consulting. And the guy was happy to contact one of the partners at the modeling firm for me. Cool!

Back to this morning (and my cup of tea). I’ve got a mail from the modeling firm.

And I’m just dead afraid of opening it.

I would have so much fun if I had a stamp like that!

They might reject me.

Which is stupid in so many ways! They can’t reject me as they haven’t ever met me. It doesn’t matter if they don’t want to do business with me, as before yesterday I didn’t even know they existed. The worst is that I might end up with exactly what I have now: Nothing.

Yet still I’m scared to open the E-mail…

And I realize that it’s actually not true that I have nothing to loose. Because I have something very valuable that this E-mail might take away from me.

I have a potential yes.

Which might get transformed into a definite no.

As long as I don’t actually open that E-mail the answer can be yes or no. They both exist at the same time (in my head. The personal version of Schrödinger’s cat (if you’re a nerd you will know what this means. If not, it’s the prime example of why physicists are weird)).

So what is the value of a yes? Well, quite good, I’d be really happy: +10

What’s the value of a no? Not that bad actually. I’m shooting with hail here and this is one of my very first tries. If it doesn’t work out it’s not a big deal: -2.

As long as both options still exist I have a total value of:
0.5 x 10 – 0.5 x 2
= 5 – 1
= 4
(assuming both are equally likely (yes I’m a mathematician, yes I like to put things into numbers. Live with it!))

So I actually have something right now that is almost half the value of actually getting the yes! And opening that mail gives a very real chance (50%) of losing that (going from +4 to -2, so a loss of 6).

It’s not fear of rejection (only -2), it’s fear of loss (-6)! And us humans are a very loss-averse bunch.

Does this help in any way in opening the E-mail? Actually, it does a little bit. Because being rejected is something permanent (I won’t get un-rejected). But the losing is only a momentary thing (the moment of understanding the E-mail). The -2 might be (semi-)permanent, but the -6 is only for a short while.

I opened the E-mail.

But it wasn’t easy.

And if you’re nice I might tell you what was in it. 😉

Jun 252012

1 o’clock at night. The alarm will sound in about five and a half hours (not my idea, but the friend I’m staying at has to go to work tomorrow. Silly idea, but I couldn’t get her to change her mind…). Five and a half more hours of potential sleep. And I’m wide awake…

“Still have to contact the bank…”
“Should I start up a new website? It would be interesting to write something about Peru from an outsider’s perspective. Maybe that’s been done already…”
“Would it be possible to do something like my old work, to build quantitative models, but from a distance? Who would hire me? Do I have the guts to go ask…?”
“Shouldn’t forget my dentist appointment tomorrow…”
“I am
so not falling asleep…”

It doesn’t work. And I always loose my count at about 5 (I’m a mathematician, I work with formulas, not numbers)

Too many plans, too many ideas, too many thoughts. And I want to work on them all at the same time. Want to get everything done at the same time. Which gives me a lot of energy. Though energy is not what you need in the middle of the night. Peace and relaxation are required. If only I knew where to buy those (and shops stayed open until reasonable times in this silly country)…

But alas, it’s just me and my insomnia. At least I can write a blog post. And look up some things online. It seems there isn’t a well-known site describing what the Peruvians are like. So, one more plan can go from the “perhaps” to the “quite possibly” pile…

Now only to stop myself from writing the first 5 articles in my head before dawn…

Sweet dreams. I’m gonna need it!

Jun 232012

“Get to work already!”
“Be productive!”
“What do you have to show for the day?”

Do the above sound like familiar self-recriminations? Well, I’ve been hearing them in my head for the last hour or so.

Because first I had to sleep late (the whiskey yesterday night hit a bit harder than expected and it got to be a bit later than planned). Then I felt like reading a book for a bit (read: a few hours). Shower. Time to check E-mail, web comics, etc. I tried to write a blog post, but that wasn’t really working out (last bits of alcohol interfering with the creative process?). Time for an afternoon nap. And some more reading. Maybe get some shopping done so I have breakfast tomorrow. And then it was close to 8 already…

I had the entire day off. And I decided to work on setting up my own company. Think of a name, describe what it was going to do, set up a website. You know, the things you do when you set up a company (what, you never did this either?!?).

And then I didn’t.

And I was feeling guilty about it.

Until I recognized the feeling.

This guy has got it down!

Why do I need to do these things right now? Yes, they need to be done at some point. And I feel energized about doing them. But I also had a house to myself (not my own, but I could borrow friends’. Thanks guys!), which created some much-needed mental space for myself (it’s been great seeing friends and family and traveling back and forth. It’s tiring as hell as well!). I could use the relaxation, having time for just myself (and my book of course). And there is no true rush to do anything right this very moment. I am trying to find a bit more rest and contentment, instead of having to be busy all the time. So it’s actually very good to have a truly lazy day.

The work will wait. Sleeping another night (and another, and another) on a name won’t hurt. The bureau of commerce isn’t eagerly expecting me.

Now if only I could get all of that across to my conscience as well…

Jun 222012

Utrecht, Groningen, Coevorden, Barneveld, Amsterdam, Utrecht.

That has been my trip through the Netherlands so far (why can’t my friends and family all live in the same place? (Oh wait, I like to travel…)). And as I do not actually have a place of my own at the moment, I’ve been sleeping over. Then sometimes my friends have to go to work the next day, while I don’t (yay for being unemployed). As in general I’m a trustworthy guy (haven’t set fire to anything. Yet) they would head off while I had the chance to get an hour more of shut eye. So, after finally getting up, I would be alone to rummage through people’s cupboards to find breakfast stuff, make myself a cup of tea, etc.

And whilst going through other people’s belongings to hunt / gather my breakfast, I would notice the pile of dishes sitting in the sink. Because it’s great to spend an evening in good company. Have a drink, talk about work and South America, catch up on 8 months of gossip. Have dinner. But doing the dishes is definitely not so great if there are other more enjoyable pastimes.

Oh, the horror!

Normally I would have ignored it. I’m always inviting people over and I never allow them to help me with any of the cleaning up after dinner or otherwise. And I really dislike doing the dishes (any cleaning really. It’s going to get dirty again anyway…).

But I have a lot more time on my hands than my (working) friends. And it’s a small but nice way of saying “thank you for a wonderful evening and for letting me stay”.

So I do the dishes.

And guess what?

It’s not so bad!

Because before I always had the feeling “there are so many other things that I would rather be doing”. But now I have the time and the space in my head to not be bothered about it. Yes there are a lot of things that I would also like to be doing. But they can wait for twenty minutes. Or an hour. Or a day. Or longer.

Having only vague goals means no rush. And then making someone else a bit happier (by doing the dishes) is actually a very worthwhile way to spend some of my time.

Improving the world. By doing the dishes.

Jun 202012

Big plan. Lots of small details.

I’m going for it. Diving into the deep end. Going to Peru to do who-knows-what-crosses-my-path. So the tough job, deciding what to do, is done. Now it’s time to start taking all those little steps that actually get me moving.

Getting to Peru is easy. Lots of airlines are very happy to take my money and in trade they will drag me (and 23 kilo of my garbage) halfway around the world. Check!

Staying in Peru however is quite a bit more difficult! I’ve got a temporary apartment lined up and a friend of mine approached me that she might know of a more permanent solution as well (yes, a friend here in the Netherlands. It’s a small world! Long live the power of networking!). Not getting my hopes up on the last one, but it might pan out.

The most difficult part however is staying in Peru legally. Oh, and at the same time not giving up all those nice things that are part of being Dutch, such as having a hypotheekrenteaftrek (tax reduction due to owning your own house. Yes it’s silly. Yes they should abolish it. But while it’s there I want to make use of it!).

Look! It’s one of those really tacky meaningless pictures that you see plastered all over corporate brochures because they need to fill space and have nothing to say.

So the solution: Start up my own company!

I will still officially be living in the Netherlands and my company will be situated in the Netherlands as well. Some of what I want to do will be fairly international (book, blogs). And if someone wants me to do anything officially in Peru, they just hire my company (I’m sure there will be hoops to jump through like permits and such, but again we’ll tackle that one when we get there). Some downsides are that I will be paying tax in the Netherlands and not in Peru, but as I won’t be making a lot of money anyway I don’t mind that much (if I do start making gazillions I can always reconsider anyway (and pay a nice accountant to think of what would be the best way to pay as little tax as possible)).

I will be in Peru on a tourist visum, but those I already found out are very easy to get. Maximum duration: 6 months. So forced vacation abroad every 6 months. Sweet!

And, starting up my own company is something I always wanted to do anyway (yay, one more thing off of my bucket list (and it might help me get one more off of my bucket list as well: “make a company go bankrupt” (though that one doesn’t strictly have to be my own to count))).

There is just one truly mayor problem though.

I have to think of a name for my company…

So if anybody has any good ideas please, please, please do let me know (Bastiaan Reinink inc. is not a good name!)!