The Economics of Software

I’m a software engineer, and actively think about the nature of my profession and passion.

It’s interesting to ask the question: what are the distinguishing economic aspects of software?

  1. Extremely low marginal cost of production
    1. – copy paste

2. Don’t need permission

No guilds, no professional accreditation
– very low cost of input: start from a document!
– substrate (computation) is ubiquitous
– build your own tools: both the product and the tools are code!
– open source

Focus On What You Can Control

The important things in life.

Some things in life you can control, some things you cannot.

Don’t try to change what you cannot control, since by definition it won’t affect your life in any positive way, and will only detract from your resources spent on what you CAN control.

You can control:

You cannot control:
– your genetics (unless you’re reading this in the mid-late 2020s)
– the conditions of your birth, e.g. parents, location, socio-economic station, etc.

What you should do with $100MM

$100,000,000.00

What you should do with $100,000,000.00 (100 Million US Dollars).

1. Focus on Life Fundamentals

This first part is inspired by my Four+ Life Pillars, described elsewhere on this blog.

Health
Join a top-tier gym, and get a personal trainer. Benefits:

  • you’ll mingle with the rich and successful
  • you’ll get professional help assessing, improving and maintaining your physical health, which is your most important asset along with your mental health

You could even consider (occasionally) hiring a personal chef, though even at $100MM that seems like it might be a stretch.

Mental health: even without being wealthy, you could get far by simply analyzing what is causing you chronic stress, and reducing those sources in your life. Increased wealth helps here by:

  • allowing you to delegate tasks you find stressful, and that don’t require your personal attention.
  • freeing up your time, and giving you mental space to reflect on your inner world.

Education

Barring a catastrophe, your mind is:

  • the one thing you’ll always have, even if your body is damaged,
  • the tool with which you can guide your efforts, inform your actions, and increase your value in most ways relevant in life — at least insofar as your actually capable of.

Developing your mind is perhaps the single most powerful thing you can do. This is a topic for an entire separate category of posts, but here’s a single random idea:

  • book a week-long around the world trip, or as Ross Beaty describes it here, book the “ai” trip (“eye” trip?) — Dubai, Mumbai, Shanghai — link: https://youtu.be/7509Rry2ptQ?t=521
  • or, if you have the time, book a long-term around the world, visit many cities, meet as many people as you can.

Relationships

2. Leverage your time

Hire a small and effective staff of accountants, lawyers,

Why? One of the biggest advantages of wealth, is that it gives you more control over parts of reality. That includes paying people to work for you.

Get a travel agent

Get a back office

2. Increase your wealth

Now that you’re wealthy, it’s time to become _more_ wealthy!

3. Reflect

It took me a while to distill this part, and fully crystallize what I mean.

You’ve likely heard the stories about people who are given a large amount of wealth, e.g. by winning the lottery, and fritter it all away through various kinds of imprudence or lack of discipline.

Perhaps the essence is this: creating, maintaining and growing wealth, requires a particular mindset, a set of psychological traits and attitudes.
Given the premise of this post, you’ll need that mindset to avoid frittering away all of it, and/or being psychologically corrupted by losing your sense of discipline and prudence.

If you’re new to wealth, you’ve likely put only limited, if any, thought into what you actually want out of life. Even if you have, acquiring wealth might change your mindset.

Morality:

It can be viewed as a test of character: will you sink into lethargy, or rise to discover and fulfill your potential?