Sunday, January 20, 2013

Possible Alternate Career Directions

After many years of wandering in the wilderness trying to figure out how to make a living using the skills and technologies involved with computer animation, visualization and special effects and not being successful, I have started to entertain new directions for my career. I am advised in this by many immensely stupid news articles and boring TED like speeches that "one must think outside the box", which always makes me think about the famous Peace Corps dialectic about the glass half empty or half full. What glass exactly and which box, what are they talking about?

As I suspect that there are others out there with same existential dilemma, here is an essay listing a few alternate career directions that look like they might have promise.

To set the mood, please review this video by a famous scientist explaining to a potential hire the business plan for his new venture, SPECTRE.  The sequence is from Dr. No (1965).

SPECTRE executive explains business plan to James Bond

As much as I respect Dr. No as a scientist and admire his efforts to take over the world by blowing up missiles and extorting money from governments, I do not agree that all power is based on counterintelligence, terrorism, revenge and extortion as he so colorfully claims. Revenge is rarely, if ever, profitable. It is more of an entertaining hobby that can only be afforded by the wealthy, like yachting, or polo, or controlling the US Senate.    Nor do I understand how counterintelligence can ever be profitable, it is at best a cost of doing certain kinds of business, not a profit center in itself. Terrorism and extortion have always been big money makers though.

Here is a short list of non-traditional areas that look to me like they have opportunity.

1. Design and Build Submarines for South American Drug Cartels

There is apparently a long standing, ever increasing, effort to build submersibles and semi-submersibles to transport contraband from S. America to N. America and Europe. All ranges and types of vehicles have been innovated and the S. Americans have received helpful technical and design advice from the unemployed nationals of many foreign countries. I believe that submarines are very important culturally and have been looking for a way to get involved in this industry. Perhaps in this new market, submarines for smuggling, an opportunity can be found.

2. Run for Elected Office of A Small City and Rob Them Blind

The elected representatives of Bell, California managed to steal about $5M in a few years, and Bell is not even a well-off community. Admittedly, most of the local governments in California are already corrupt, and there is no sense in entering an already crowded field, but it might be worth examining other states and see if this technique can not be adapted to a new environment.

3. Bad User Interface Design

America and the world in general seem to have an insatiable desire for really bad, incredibly stupid, user interface design. And now that the car industry has jumped in with both feet, the floodgates of shit are really going to open. One way to make money at this is to have a consulting design firm to help people misapply technology and ignore fundamental principles in order to torture their users. Another way is to review various consumer electronic / whatever devices and threaten to publish how stupid and incompetent they are unless the manufacturer hires you as a consultant for a six figure consulting fee. 

4. Start a Religion and Write A Book

Its been done many times in the past, sometimes very successfully. Its tax exempt which is a great advantage.

5. Go Into Finance, Fuck up, Get Bailed Out and Award Yourself a Bonus

The state-controlled news media in this country has not reported it, but Goldman Sachs in the UK is awarding its employees a modest 8.3 billion bonus this year. That's not a lot of money, but its pretty good.

This is not an exhaustive list, of course, and there are many other directions that seem to also have merit, such as art fraud and arms smuggling, but I wanted to open the discussion and get these initial ideas out there for your consideration.

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