Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for May 21st, 2019

Why You Should Try to Be a Little More Scarce

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Cindy Lamothe writes in the NY Times:

Back in college, I was always the first to raise my hand in class (a behavior that didn’t win me many friends, let me tell you). Now as a freelance writer, I’m no stranger to that same overeagerness when it comes to work — translated in prompt replies and more than the occasional emoji. Emails, tweets, Slack messages — you name it — being affable and amenable is kind of my thing.

And while conventional wisdom tells us we should eagerly embrace every opportunity that comes our way, playing a little hard to get has its advantages.

Study after study has shown that opportunities are seen to be more valuable as they become less available, meaning that people want more of what they can’t have, according to Robert Cialdini, a leading expert on influence and the author of “Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.”

“What the scarcity principle says is that people are more attracted to those options or opportunities that are rare, unique or dwindling in availability,” Dr. Cialdini said. The reason behind this idea has to do with the psychology of “reactance”: Essentially, when we think something is limited to us, we tend to want it more.

Luckily for us, according to experts, it’s possible to harness this concept and increase our appeal in things like negotiations and career advancement. So if you find yourself becoming overzealous over every little opportunity that comes your way, here are a few ways to keep things in balance:

Appearing readily available can work against you, according to Jeremy Nicholson, a social psychologist who focuses on decision-making, social influence and relationship dynamics. This comes down to economics — if you’re in low supply and high demand, you’re worth more.

Think about it this way: If you’re overly excited about a work opportunity, that might communicate that you are in low demand. All the more reason to play it cool. Making something harder to get, Dr. Nicholson said, “tends to increase at least the perception of the value, if not its actual value.”

Part of making this work means keeping your enthusiasm in check.

“Overeagerness can be a sign of naïveté or sound like plain desperation,” said John Lees, a Britain-based career strategist and the author of “How to Get a Job You Love.”

When it comes to things like compensation negotiations, be clear that you are really interested in finding out more about the opportunity, Mr. Lees suggests, but give a sense that you are aware of your skills and your market value.

If you find yourself approached by hiring managers or potential clients, Dr. Nicholson recommends responding in a way that respects their interest without coming across as too eager. In other words, “You’re selective with who you work with, but you would consider working with or for them.”

Be confident and assertive, Dr. Nicholson advises, with responses like: “Well, I do have a couple of other projects that I’m working on. However, I could prioritize this for you if you want.” By being selectively interested, you’re not being so hard to get that you insult the person who is seeking a relationship with you, he said, but rather letting them know that you have options. “Plus, you’re prioritizing them because they’re valuable to you as well.”

And if you are still nervous about appearing overzealous, give yourself time to recalibrate before answering an email or hopping on the phone.

Better yet: Get physical. Taking a moment to go on a walk has been shown to lower stress and boost your well-being. This allows your brain to quiet a little, said Liz Ryan, founder of Human Workplace and the author of “Reinvention Roadmap: Break the Rules to Get the Job You Want and Career You Deserve. The point here is to decrease your anxiety so you can focus on the negotiation at hand.

It’s easy to become excited when an unexpected opportunity presents itself, Ms. Ryan said, but remember that your power in any negotiation is related to your ability to walk away.

Once you have interest, channel that into due diligence, Mr. Lees said. “Research the organization as if you were going to invest half your life savings in it,” he said.

It’s also important to continually check in with your gut, Ms. Ryan added, and remember: Don’t accept an offer before fully considering the terms. Playing hard to get can feel scary because you may really need the money, “but no one will value you more highly than you value yourself,” she said. Sometimes it’s a matter of giving yourself the space to calm down and evaluate.

Ms. Ryan recommends asking a lot of questions, reading up on the organization from third-party perspectives, and checking out job-search websites like to see what employees and ex-employees say about it. Keep in mind: The goal is to approach any negotiation cautiously and with a clear head.

Not only should we do our homework in the moment, Dr. Cialdini said, we should also be continually assessing our market worth, “so that if an unexpected opportunity comes up, you don’t have to rush and do a slack job on this crucial factor.”

Keep an updated spreadsheet on hand with a list of your skills and achievements so you can quickly review it when you have an offer. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

21 May 2019 at 4:10 pm

How a city was ruined by money: San Francisco

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Karen Heller reports in the Washington Post:

 A Tuesday afternoon in the Mission District of America’s tech wonderland.

Michael Feno stands outside Lucca Ravioli, his beloved pasta emporium on Valencia, a vestige of old San Francisco, puffing on a cigar while posing for pictures, his customers in tears.

Living in this city’s radically shifting landscape, veterinarian Gina Henriksen found comfort by telling herself, “Thank God, Lucca is still here. If Lucca goes, I’m going to have to leave San Francisco. What do we have left?”

Lucca is no longer here.

After 94 years, doors shuttered on the last day of April. The parking lot sold for $3.5 million. A three-building parcel, including the store, listed for $8.3 million and was purchased by — need you inquire? — a developer.

A few blocks away, in this neighborhood of shops hawking $2,600 electric bikes and $8 lemonade, Borderlands Cafe — a throwback with plants cascading from the ceiling — closed the same day after a decade in business.

Owner Alan Beatts couldn’t retain staff, even with a $15 minimum hourly wage. Who can live on $15 an hour in this city transformed by innovation?

How can Alba Guerra, co-owner of nearby Sun Rise restaurant, continue to charge $10.95 for the housemade vegan chorizo platter after her rent spiked 62 percent last year to $7,800 a month?

For decades, this coruscating city of hills, bordered by water on three sides, was a beloved haven for reinvention, a refuge for immigrants, bohemians, artists and outcasts. It was the great American romantic city, the Paris of the West.

No longer. In a time of scarce consensus, everyone agrees that something has rotted in San Francisco.

Conservatives have long loathed it as the axis of liberal politics and political correctness, but now progressives are carping, too. They mourn it for what has been lost, a city that long welcomed everyone and has been altered by an earthquake of wealth. It is a place that people disparage constantly, especially residents.

Real estate is the nation’s costliest. Listings read like typos, a median $1.6 million for a single-family home and $3,700 monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment.

“This is unregulated capitalism, unbridled capitalism, capitalism run amok. There are no guardrails,” says Salesforce founder and chairman Marc Benioff, a fourth-generation San Franciscan who in a TV interview branded his city “a train wreck.”

You no longer leave your heart in San Francisco. The city breaks it.

The city is filthy rich in what other regions crave: growth, start-ups, high-paying jobs, educated young people, soaring property values, commercial and residential construction, a vibrant street life, and so much disposable revenue. But San Francisco, a city of 883,305 residents, 100,000 more than two decades ago, is the Patient Zero of issues affecting urban areas. The sole constant is its staggering beauty.

Downtown is a theme park of seismic start-ups — Uber, Airbnb, Slack and Lyft, with Twitter in the nearby Tenderloin, every app a skyscraper. The 58-story Millennium Tower is a sinking, tilting luxury condo folly that will take $100 million to right — writer Rebecca Solnit dubbed it “the leaning tower of hubris.”

In the shadow of such wealth, San Francisco grapples with a very visible homeless crisis of 7,500 residents, some shooting up in the parks and defecating on the sidewalks, which a 2018 United Nations report deemed “a violation of multiple human rights.” Last year, new Mayor London Breed assigned a five-person crew, dubbed the “poop patrol,” to clean streets and alleys of human feces.

The small downtown’s streets are choked with Google and Apple employee buses, and 45,000 daily Uber and Lyft drivers, some commuting from hours away and unfamiliar with the city. By comparison, there are 25,000 ride-sharing drivers in Philadelphia, a much larger and more populous city.

There’s an ongoing battle between the NIMBYs and YIMBYs over development in one of the nation’s densest cities. Tech companies here are the beneficiaries of gilded carrots, tax breaks. Longtime residents worry that tech workers are drawn here for the jobs, not the city, and may never become stakeholders in San Francisco’s future.

“Our rich are richer. Our homeless are more desperate. Our hipsters are more pretentious,” says Solnit, who once wrote that “San Francisco is now a cruel place and a divided one.”

The Bay Area is home to more billionaires per capita than anywhere on Earth, one out of every 11,600 residents, according to Vox. The entire region, as far as two hours away, has been affected by spiraling real estate prices. Venture capitalist John Doerr has claimed that the area’s economic growth is “the greatest legal accumulation of wealth in history.”

And it’s only likely to keep growing. Several San Francisco tech companies, such as Slack and Postmates, are scheduled to go public this year — Uber did on May 10. This IPO fever could mint thousands more messenger bag-toting millionaires and, denizens fear, more absurd prices.

“The city is losing the very things that people moved to the city for,” Beatts says. “People think that the best thing to happen is to get a lot of people to move here. But what happens when you get everything you want?”

Tech isn’t what everyone talks about in San Francisco. It’s money.

Real estate, income inequality, $20 salads, the homeless, adult children unable to move out, non-tech workers unable to move in.

San Francisco has experienced plenty of change through its rich history: the Gold Rush, corruption, earthquakes, fire, reconstruction, strikes, multiple waves of immigration, the rise of gay culture, the Summer of Love, the dot-com bubble and the dot-com bust.

What residents resent now is the shift to one industry, a monoculture.

“What I wanted was this flow of humanity and culture,” says editor and former nonprofit executive Julie Levak-Madding, who manages the VanishingSF page on Facebook, documenting the “hyper-gentrifiction” of her city. “It’s so devastating to a huge amount of the population.”

To many inhabitants, San Francisco has become unrecognizable in a decade, as though it had gone on a cosmetic surgery bender.

“I can’t tell you the number of friends who tell me how much they hate San Francisco,” says former city supervisor Jane Kim. Which is something given that she ran for mayor in the 2018 special election. (Kim came in third.) “They say it’s too homogenous.”

Too homogenous. Too expensive. Too tech. Too millennial. Too white. Too elite. Too bro.

To take a midday tour downtown is to be enveloped by a jeaned and athleisured army of young workers, mostly white and Asian, and predominantly male. The presence of a boomer or toddler is akin to spotting an endangered species.

San Francisco has less of what makes a city dynamic. It has  . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more, and it’s grim. The city has been destroyed, in effect. It’s become simply an office building, broken into parts and scattered around.

Written by Leisureguy

21 May 2019 at 2:15 pm

Theme meal, in theme of “C”

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Tonight’s dinner ingredients:

coconut oil

Sounds good, eh?

Written by Leisureguy

21 May 2019 at 12:02 pm

Lavender morning

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My Simpson Emperor 2 and Barrister & Mann’s Reserve Lavender did not quite pull it off this morning. The lather usable but not really anything to blog about. Nonetheless, it did the lather job, and the RazoRock Mamba (the original stainless Mamba) really performed like a champ: awesome smoothness without effort and without a problem. A splash of D.R. Harris Old English Lavender Water finished the job on a high note.

Update: I used another B&M Reserve soap with a synthetic brush in this shave, and the improvement in the lather was astounding. A comment at the link notes that B&M specifically recommends using a synthetic brush with this soap, but I’m going to try again with the above brush just to see whether I can coax a good lather. But if you use a synthetic brush, no problem.

Written by Leisureguy

21 May 2019 at 7:39 am

Posted in Shaving

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