Chat With an AI: ChatGPT

An edit to my January goals has been to spend time with ChatGPT to see what this learning model can do.

Below are 3300+ words of transcript from my first explorations – a table of contents can help be your guide, including to my takeaways at the end!

// Anywhere with “//” are my notes or abbreviations; everything else is verbatim.

  1. What makes long-term relationships work?
  2. Elaborate on that more.
  3. Any more suggestions?
  4. Which are the universal truths?
  5. Tell me more universal truths.
  6. Tell me 10 more universal truths.
  7. What are the most important goals for a person to have?
  8. Given that, what goals should a [// I describe myself] have?
  9. How should a person decide between goals and priorities?
  10. What other strategies can I use to make decisions?
  11. Can you expand on point 4? Decision-making tools?
  12. // Questions About Tim Ferriss
  13. // Asking ChatGPT to Make Decisions For Me
  14. How do we determine if something is sentient?
  15. Simplify that please.
  16. Is it better to assume sentience? Or better to assume a thing is not sentient?
  17. What are other sentience tests like the Turing Test?
  18. Tell me about other tests in bullet-point format.
  19. What other tests are there for sentience?
  20. // Takeaways

What makes long-term relationships work?

// In reference to the recent post.

There are many factors that can contribute to the success of a long-term relationship. Here are a few key things that can help:

  1. Communication: It’s important to be able to openly and honestly communicate with your partner about your feelings, needs, and concerns.
  2. Trust: Trust is a crucial element of any healthy relationship. It’s important to be faithful to your partner and to be honest with them.
  3. Respect: Showing respect for your partner and their feelings, needs, and boundaries is important for the health of any relationship.
  4. Compromise: No two people are exactly alike, and it’s normal to have different needs and desires. It’s important to be willing to compromise and find a way to meet each other’s needs.
  5. Love and commitment: Ultimately, love and commitment are what keep a relationship strong over the long term. It’s important to keep the love and affection alive, and to be committed to working through challenges and supporting each other.

Elaborate on that more.

Sure! Here are a few more specific things that can help make a long-term relationship work:

  1. Establish a strong foundation: Building a strong foundation in the early stages of a relationship can set the stage for success over the long term. This can include things like developing a shared sense of purpose, establishing trust, and creating healthy communication patterns.
  2. Make time for each other: It’s important to make time for each other and to prioritize the relationship, even when life gets busy.
  3. Practice forgiveness: It’s normal for conflicts to arise in any relationship, and it’s important to be able to forgive each other when mistakes are made.
  4. Seek support when needed: If you’re facing challenges in your relationship, it can be helpful to seek support from a therapist or other trusted resource.
  5. Keep the romance alive: It’s important to keep the love and affection alive in a long-term relationship. This can include things like regular date nights, surprise gestures, and finding new and exciting ways to connect.

Any more suggestions?

Here are a few more suggestions for what can help make a long-term relationship work:

  1. Practice gratitude: Taking the time to express gratitude and appreciation for your partner can help strengthen the bond between you.
  2. Maintain independence: It’s important to maintain your own interests and independence within the context of a committed relationship.
  3. Set goals together: Setting goals and working towards them together can help give you a sense of purpose and direction as a couple.
  4. Practice good self-care: Taking care of yourself emotionally, physically, and mentally can help you be a better partner and support the overall health of the relationship.
  5. Stay connected: Staying connected with your partner, both emotionally and physically, can help keep the relationship strong over the long term. This can include things like regular communication, physical touch, and shared activities.

Which are the universal truths?

// I have taken a gander at this myself.

// Response here after trying to find out what Truth is and what the truest things in the universe are.

There are many things that are considered to be universal truths, which are generally defined as truths that are true for all people at all times and in all places. Some examples of universal truths might include:

  1. The existence of gravity and the fact that objects will fall towards the Earth if they are not supported.
  2. The laws of thermodynamics, which describe how energy is transformed and exchanged in the universe.
  3. The fundamental principles of mathematics, such as the commutative and associative properties of addition and multiplication.
  4. The fundamental principles of logic, such as the law of non-contradiction, which states that a statement cannot be both true and false at the same time.

It is important to note, however, that even these universal truths are subject to revision and reinterpretation as new evidence becomes available and our understanding of the world evolves.

Tell me more universal truths.

Some other examples of things that are often considered to be universal truths include:

  1. The existence of cause and effect, which is the idea that events and actions have consequences that can be traced back to their origins.
  2. The fundamental principle of equality, which holds that all people are deserving of equal rights and opportunities.
  3. The fact that change is an inherent part of the universe, and that all things are constantly evolving and in a state of flux.
  4. The idea that honesty and integrity are important values that should be upheld by all people.

Again, it is important to note that these are just a few examples of universal truths, and that there may be many other things that are considered to be true for all people at all times and in all places. The concept of universal truth is a complex and multifaceted one, and different people may have different understandings of what constitutes a universal truth.

Tell me 10 more universal truths.

Here are 10 more examples of things that are often considered to be universal truths:

  1. The fundamental principle of cause and effect, which states that every action or event has a cause that can be traced back to its origin.
  2. The fact that the universe is governed by natural laws, such as the laws of physics, which describe how matter and energy interact.
  3. The idea that honesty and integrity are important virtues that should be upheld by all people.
  4. The fundamental principle of equality, which holds that all people are deserving of equal rights and opportunities.
  5. The fact that change is an inherent part of the universe, and that all things are constantly evolving and in a state of flux.
  6. The idea that honesty and trust are important foundations for healthy relationships.
  7. The idea that respect and tolerance for others are important values that should be upheld by all people.
  8. The concept of personal responsibility, which holds that individuals are responsible for their own actions and decisions.
  9. The idea that hard work and dedication are necessary for achieving goals and success.
  10. The concept of fairness, which holds that people should be treated equally and with justice.

What are the most important goals for a person to have?

There are many different goals that are important to different people, and the most important goals will depend on an individual’s values, priorities, and circumstances. However, here are a few goals that are generally considered important for personal growth and well-being:

  1. Achieving financial stability and security: Having a stable financial foundation can provide a sense of security and freedom to pursue other goals and interests.
  2. Maintaining physical and mental health: Good physical and mental health are crucial for overall well-being and the ability to lead a fulfilling life.
  3. Building and maintaining strong relationships: Strong relationships with family, friends, and loved ones can provide a sense of connection, support, and purpose.
  4. Pursuing personal interests and passions: Engaging in activities that are personally meaningful and enjoyable can bring a sense of fulfillment and happiness.
  5. Contributing to the well-being of others: Helping others and making a positive impact on the world can bring a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
  6. Achieving personal growth and self-improvement: Setting goals and working towards personal growth can lead to a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem.

It’s important to remember that these are just a few examples, and the most important goals will vary from person to person.

Given that, what goals should a [// I describe myself] have?

It’s difficult for me to say exactly what goals a person in this situation should have, as everyone’s goals and priorities are unique to them. However, here are a few goals that this person might consider setting for themselves:

  1. Finding meaningful work or a career that aligns with their values and interests: Being financially secure is important, but finding work that is personally fulfilling and engaging can bring a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
  2. Maintaining and improving physical and mental health: This can involve setting goals related to exercise, nutrition, stress management, and other factors that contribute to overall well-being.
  3. Building and maintaining strong relationships: This can involve spending time with friends and family, cultivating new relationships, and finding ways to strengthen existing ones.
  4. Pursuing personal interests and passions: This might involve taking up new hobbies, learning new skills, or finding ways to engage in activities that bring joy and fulfillment.
  5. Making a positive impact on the world: This could involve volunteering, charitable work, or finding ways to contribute to causes that are important to the person.

Again, these are just a few examples, and the most important goals will depend on the individual’s values, priorities, and circumstances.

How should a person decide between goals and priorities?

Deciding on goals and priorities can be a challenging but important process, as it allows a person to focus their time and energy on the things that matter most to them. Here are a few steps that can help a person decide on their goals and priorities:

  1. Reflect on your values: Take some time to think about the things that are most important to you. These might include things like family, relationships, personal growth, financial security, health, career, and more.
  2. Identify your long-term and short-term goals: Think about the things you want to accomplish in the short term (e.g., within the next year) and in the long term (e.g., within the next five years or longer).
  3. Prioritize your goals: Consider which goals are most important to you and which ones you would like to focus on first. This can help you prioritize your time and energy and make progress towards the things that matter most to you.
  4. Review and adjust your goals as needed: As you make progress on your goals and priorities, you may find that some of them are no longer as important to you or that you need to adjust your approach. It’s important to be flexible and open to adjusting your goals as needed.

Remember that it’s okay to have multiple goals and priorities, and it’s normal for these to change over time. The most important thing is to focus on what matters most to you and to take steps to make progress towards your goals.

What other strategies can I use to make decisions?

// If this is not enough, check out my decision guide.

Here are a few strategies that can help you make decisions:

  1. Consider the pros and cons: Making a list of the potential benefits and drawbacks of each option can help you weigh the potential outcomes and make a more informed decision.
  2. Seek advice from trusted friends, family, or professionals: Sometimes it can be helpful to get input from others who have different perspectives or expertise.
  3. Reflect on your values and priorities: Consider how each decision aligns with your values and what is most important to you.
  4. Use decision-making tools: There are many tools and techniques that can help you make decisions, such as decision trees, cost-benefit analyses, and the “six thinking hats” method.
  5. Take your time: Don’t feel rushed to make a decision. It’s okay to take the time you need to gather information and think things through.
  6. Trust your instincts: Sometimes, despite all the analysis and deliberation, you may need to rely on your gut feelings to make a decision.

Ultimately, the best approach will depend on the situation and your personal decision-making style. It’s okay to try out different strategies and find what works best for you.

Can you expand on point 4? Decision-making tools?

Certainly! Here are a few examples of decision-making tools that can help you structure your decision-making process:

  1. Decision trees: A decision tree is a graphical representation of possible decision paths and the outcomes associated with each path. It can be helpful for understanding the potential consequences of different choices.
  2. Cost-benefit analysis: A cost-benefit analysis involves comparing the costs and benefits of each option to determine which one is the most favorable.
  3. Six thinking hats: The six thinking hats method is a decision-making tool that involves considering a problem from six different perspectives: white (objective facts), red (emotions), black (cautious evaluation), yellow (optimistic evaluation), green (creative evaluation), and blue (planning and organization).
  4. SWOT analysis: SWOT analysis involves examining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each option in order to make a decision.
  5. Multi-criteria decision analysis: This is a structured approach to decision-making that involves evaluating multiple options based on a set of criteria.

Again, these are just a few examples, and there are many other tools and techniques that can help with decision-making. It’s important to find the approach that works best for you and the specific situation you are facing.

// Questions About Tim Ferriss

What are 10 ways Tim Ferriss makes decisions?
How would Tim Ferriss make decisions?
What has Tim Ferriss written about dealing with decision making?

// along the lines of:

I’m sorry, but I do not have access to information about what specific individuals have written or spoken about. However, I can provide general information about decision-making and strategies that may be helpful to you. If you have any specific questions about decision-making, I would be happy to try and assist.

// Asking ChatGPT to Make Decisions For Me

Should I have peanut butter crackers or spinach ravioli?
Can you simplify that response?

Certainly! When deciding between peanut butter crackers and spinach ravioli, consider the nutritional content of each option, how easy they are to prepare and eat, and your personal preferences. If you are trying to make a healthy choice, make sure to consider your overall dietary needs and aim for a balanced diet. Choose the option that sounds the most appealing and meets your nutritional needs.

How do we determine if something is sentient?

There is no strict definition of sentience that is universally accepted, so it can be difficult to determine if something is sentient. Some people consider sentience to be the ability to experience consciousness, while others define it as the ability to experience subjective states, such as emotions or pain. There are also some who believe that sentience is closely linked to the ability to think, reason, and make decisions.

There are several approaches that scientists and philosophers have proposed for determining if something is sentient. One approach is to look for signs of self-awareness, such as the ability to recognize oneself in a mirror or to understand that one’s thoughts and actions have consequences. Another approach is to look for evidence of subjective experience, such as the ability to feel pleasure or pain. However, it can be difficult to determine if something is truly experiencing these states, as it is not always possible to know what another being is thinking or feeling.

In general, it is important to approach the question of sentience with caution and to be open to the possibility that our understanding of sentience may change as we learn more about the nature of consciousness and the universe.

Simplify that please.

Sure, here is a simpler explanation:

Sentience is the ability to experience consciousness and subjective states such as emotions and pain. It is not always easy to determine if something is sentient because there is no strict definition that is universally accepted. Scientists and philosophers have suggested looking for signs of self-awareness or evidence of subjective experience as ways to determine if something is sentient. However, it can be difficult to know for certain if another being is truly experiencing these states. It is important to approach the question of sentience with caution and to be open to the possibility that our understanding of sentience may change as we learn more about consciousness and the universe.

Is it better to assume sentience? Or better to assume a thing is not sentient?

It is generally better to assume that other beings are sentient until there is evidence to the contrary. This is because it is often difficult to know for certain if something is sentient, and it is important to err on the side of caution when it comes to the treatment of other beings.

Assuming that other beings are sentient means treating them with respect and consideration, and not causing them unnecessary harm or suffering. This approach is based on the principle of “moral considerability,” which holds that certain beings deserve moral consideration and respect simply because they are capable of experiencing consciousness and subjective states.

On the other hand, assuming that something is not sentient means that it may not be accorded the same moral consideration and protection as sentient beings. This could potentially lead to the mistreatment or exploitation of beings that may be sentient but are not recognized as such.

In general, it is important to approach the question of sentience with an open mind and to be willing to revise our assumptions if new evidence arises.

What are other sentience tests like the Turing Test?

// after a definition of the Turing Test:

There are several other tests that have been developed to determine if something is sentient, including:

  1. The “Mirror Test”: This test is used to determine if an animal is self-aware. In the test, a mark is placed on an animal’s body, and the animal is then presented with a mirror. If the animal recognizes the mark as being on its own body and not on the reflection in the mirror, it is considered to be self-aware.
  2. The “Pains Test”: This test is used to determine if an animal is capable of experiencing pain. In the test, an animal is subjected to a painful stimulus, such as a pinprick, and its behavior is observed to see if it reacts to the stimulus in a way that is consistent with pain.
  3. The “Sentience Test”: This test is used to determine if an animal is capable of experiencing subjective states such as pleasure or pain. In the test, an animal is presented with a choice between two options, one of which is associated with a positive experience (such as food) and the other with a negative experience (such as a mild electric shock). If the animal consistently chooses the option associated with the positive experience, it is considered to be capable of experiencing subjective states.

// more caution on approaching sentience

Tell me about other tests in bullet-point format.

// not what was intended, but still cool:

  • The “Mirror Test”:
    • Used to determine if an animal is self-aware
    • A mark is placed on the animal’s body and it is presented with a mirror
    • If the animal recognizes the mark as being on its own body and not on the reflection in the mirror, it is considered to be self-aware
  • The “Pains Test”:
    • Used to determine if an animal is capable of experiencing pain
    • The animal is subjected to a painful stimulus and its behavior is observed
    • If the animal reacts to the stimulus in a way that is consistent with pain, it is considered to be capable of experiencing pain
  • The “Sentience Test”:
    • Used to determine if an animal is capable of experiencing subjective states such as pleasure or pain
    • The animal is presented with a choice between two options, one of which is associated with a positive experience and the other with a negative experience
    • If the animal consistently chooses the option associated with the positive experience, it is considered to be capable of experiencing subjective states.

What other tests are there for sentience?

There are many other tests that have been proposed for determining if something is sentient. Some of these tests include:

  1. The “Consciousness Test”: This test is based on the idea that consciousness is a fundamental aspect of the universe and that all beings that are capable of experiencing consciousness are sentient. In this test, scientists look for signs of consciousness, such as the ability to process information, make decisions, and exhibit flexible behavior.
  2. The “Experience Test”: This test is based on the idea that sentience is closely tied to the ability to experience subjective states such as pleasure and pain. In this test, scientists look for evidence of subjective experience, such as the ability to feel pleasure or pain, or the ability to express emotions.
  3. The “Intelligence Test”: This test is based on the idea that sentience is closely tied to the ability to think, reason, and solve problems. In this test, scientists look for evidence of intelligence, such as the ability to learn, adapt, and understand complex concepts.

// warnings

// Takeaways

Wow. That is… a lot.

ChatGPT is undeniably an =intense= tool. Not listed in the transcript above: Code writing, code correction, log-line making, voice acting demo script writing, personal advice, and rewrites of poetry. It can break down complex ideas, expound on digests, summon levels of creativity, provide examples, and so (too?) much more.

Yet in my experience, it is just that: a tool. At this point, it does not replace a human eye to construct appropriate questions, verify the output, explore results, and finally apply everything provided.

Will this tool get better? Of course. Will machine models like this remove redundancy in the so-far-exclusive job market? Also yes – I cannot foresee a future where services like ChatGPT are left by the wayside.

The full ramifications of ChatGPT are yet to be seen, though companies such as Microsoft are already investing billions into the platform while Google has refactored its org to improve natural-language interpretation (what ChatGPT does).

My speculation is moot – I have not the technical knowledge, proximity to the work, nor the philosophical credentials to comment. All I will say is that ChatGPT is useful, will be used by folks such as I, and the tool and its ilk will only be used more and more.

I encourage you to check out unaffiliated ChatGPT – let me know what you have found or have had it do! Until then, cheers to your chatting ~

All I Know About Business

All I knew about business was nil before the business study and review of 2022.

Now – after dozens of articles read and hours of education from books and virtual mentors – all I know about business comes down to a few key points. I share these with you to save your time and brainpower. Sound good?

Before going on: What doesn’t sound good is considering me or any of this as legal or financial advice. As this post mentions, go seek out the licensed and recognized professionals. Treat the below as the starting blocks on the tracks – up to you to run (and win) the race~

Before You Begin: Vision & Values

Note: Many folks would suggest getting ideas for business as the first thing before starting said business. That is junk. Ideas are cheaper than dirt and often less useful. Ideas and intentions are nothing – actions and executions are everything.

Before anything ought be done, the means of deciding direction for the business, the foundation of deciding how to decide, need to be reflected on. Getting this right filters ideas and efforts into what will “move the needle” and define what that needle even is.

Some less-tangible principles ought include:

  • Do not sell suffering.
  • Do not sell suffering! (So important, it lists twice!)
  • Competition is for chumps; fight unfair. (What are you willing to do or leverage?)

More solid tenants of putting together a business include:

  • Never choose the lowest offer nor the safest / more conservative route.
  • Find the missing services and underserved populations for open markets.
  • Listen to symptoms for they are valid. Curing causes is your service and product.

Use all of this to make a business plan that outlines the ‘thing’ to be sold.

The ways to make a business plan are plentiful, but I am a fan of the 5-page Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (“G.I. Bill”) that has served many millions who have served in the United States military forces over more than half a century. If your entire business model can’t be read in 15 minutes or less, rethink it.

Remove, Butcher, Reduce!

Simple concept here: FOCUS.

Doing too much – whether starting or maintaining a business – leads to disaster. A business or business owner doing too much does the work of dividing and conquering itself, work that ought to be left up to the competition.

Concentrating forces is an ageless tenant of armed conflict which applies directly to making and keeping gains in a hostile marketplace. This is valuable for both physical effort and psychological branding.

Think: The word “Coke” brings to mind soft drinks – its focus – though the business owns and operates much more. “Google” has become synonymous for online searching and got to that point well before Alphabet ever branched to other markets. Amazon was the best at selling books (then other media) online for years before branching outside literature to additional products and departments.

Niche down so the first and second place providers make up at least ~10% of the chosen market. Prove at least on paper the business is to be the #1 or #2 choice in the market.

Again with “competition is for chumps:” if you cannot be the best, best not bother!

Same applies to the owner – sometimes wearing a lot of hats is necessitated in an emergency. I might not go to a dentist for kidney surgery, but I would rely on their training in a pinch given a medical emergency!

So for anyone in the business, wearing too many hats is a division of attention and effort, the context switching a burden to the business. Therefore, owners (and businesses) must find what they are great at, do and only do that, and hire out or drop everything else.

Getting to the ‘Great At’

Glad to see my conclusions written on before apply here too.

What can the business be great at? Figure it with a few (or all) of these:

  • Use 80/20 (really, 90/10) lists of strengths.
  • Simplify – what makes all else unnecessary?
  • What gets the people in the business excited to work on indefinitely?
  • Name the thing that can be exponentially scalable and repeatable regardless of person (e.g. templates, automation, one-and-done products, standard operating procedures, etc.).

And perhaps the most important tidbit if the thing is truly great: not-to-do lists.

What is lame? Unexciting? What is the business and people in it actively bad at? If it does not jeopardize some mundane necessity of the business, delegate it to the outside or drop it entirely.

The bad and lame stuff is easy to avoid doing. What about the merely good? The trivially fun parts or areas that “should” be tackled? Warren Buffet has a famous exercise on making not-to-do lists:

Make a list of 25 goals / strengths / et. al, then circle the top / most important / greatest leverage 5 goals. Those 5 need a plan of action started on immediately. The other 20? DO NOT DO AT ANY COST. Avoid like the plague! At least until some of the primary things are accomplished and proven steady.

Right Butts, Right Seats

Finished Good to Great by Jim Collins before ’22’s end. Jim, others, and I agree: getting the right people into the business and onto the right tasks is required for successful business operation.

Hiring the right folks feeds into doing less: efficient people working on business-efficient tasks contributes to a virtuous circle of improvement.* Fewer people are required when only the business-best are kept in house while the sometimes-needed work is done elsewhere.

*Note: Every ‘thing’ done is done in support of the business’s operations (never just because of the business). Whether the thing is given for free to help build target audience trust, adds to a backlog of deployable things, eases the future making of things, or is sold immediately, it must contribute to progressing operations.

Though not exhaustive by any means, some folks here are those who ought be specialists doing only what they do best:

  • Technology / Programmers
  • Creatives / Artists / Writers
  • Financiers / Accountants / Sales
  • Attorneys / Policy Enforcers
  • Business Leaders / Public Faces

Depending on business needs, these specialists may only be needed occasionally so their seats should be hired out.

Out of all of the above, ‘Business Leaders,’ i.e. management, should be kept at the barest of minimums. Efficient people need less oversight: they find work, they do work, they deliver work, and they discipline themselves to keep being efficient every day. Traditional management is made redundant by having the right butts in the right seats.

Marketing Is King

Virtually no-one and no resource failed to mention the importance of marketing.

The short story is: Market. The long story: MARKET MARKET MARKET.

But how? An answer should be a different post since I loathe doing my own marketing (really, a massive weakness). Yet other folks offer their tidbits:

  • Out of sight, out of mind, and a business never wants to be out of mind.
  • Know the business target and their pains / aspirations; offer solutions frequently, some for free.
  • Have press kits (a repeatable, one-and-done process).
  • Network like a fiend; be everywhere.
  • Again, give at least 51% of value for free, but never fail to “ask for the order.”

Building a target audience means building loyalty. Giving resources (tools, a challenge to self-select) to the audience proves the business’s loyalty to them. If 1,000 true fans can be made excited for the business offer, the business will be just fine.

But always remember these two points: First impressions count, and, trust between two parties is like a string – once broken, it can be retied, but shall always have the knot in between them (parable paraphrase).

Cash Is King

Marketing still takes the bigger crown, yet it must pay tribute to cash.

Cash is payroll. Cash is product. Cash is service. Cash is survivability. Cash is the very lifeblood of the business. Cash is king.

If a business cannot survive, it is nothing. Thereby, a business must keep its cash and get more cash.

Keeping cash involves cutting costs. Between there only being only so much one can cut and needing to spend well enough to ensure the best people do not leave their seats, cutting costs is a poor business’s desperation that is too easily taken too far.

To get more cash, a few things help that we’ve covered before here (seeing that virtuous circle in action!):

  • Ask for everything (especially the order!).
  • Do not offer to pay before the price is set (heck, it might come free).
  • Spend another’s money – loans, pre-orders, subscriptions, and externalized-cost resources are primary tools in the cash belt.
  • Recurring revenue models trump single-purchase things every time – go get that subscription! Or, “give away razors to sell razor blades.”
  • Invest in good bookkeeping – paying less in taxes is not a goal, but can be a perk.


Make a plan. Act on it. Just do it. Today, immediately after reading this post. Go go go!

Pontificating about business is like an idea: Virtually worthless. A seed in the ground that bears neither shade nor fruit.

Really, ends make the means in business. And a business only gets to the end by starting now. Get the principles and plan together, complete the legal stuff of business creation, and get to it.

Running a business is a job. The owner an employee. This person is the bottom-rung employee. They will do the most great work, and the most trivial, unfun junk so that the right people can keep doing their business-add work.

The grind as the lowest totem on the pole will last, and it will last a while. General advice to new business owners: Do not give in until at least a year is past putting in those long days and weeks.

Review, Reflect, Inspect, Pivot

While launching this new thing of business, course correct along the way. Test prices and offers. Collect data point and metric possible on both the target audience and internal operations. Pause, review, and reflect on these findings.

Sometimes close inspection of the business and the market might require a pivot. This might be a new approach to the ‘thing’ of the business, or it might require a complete change of horse.

Examples: Big-box Walmart is putting an end to the dime store, the business’s core service? Best to ditch the dime stores in favor of the changing environment. Netflix is sending rented DVDs straight to the mailbox? Either Blockbuster needs to make a better offer for sending DVDs, change how or what it rents, or close shop.

Ultimately, a business must also consider what a fundamental end looks like – when to give up, when to sell, or when and if to grow after a year’s or decade’s diligence. General advice is to start now, but when to hang up the towel or venture forth from a well-established niche is up to the context and temperament of the business.

Last Bit of Business

In all this study, I came up with my own thoughts of things or picked up interesting notions along the way:

  • Envision success, failure, and an exit to anything, i.e. plan.
  • Remove those who would criticize a venture without a critique of how to make it work.
  • Obligations: Sleep is #1, work is #2, study and review #3, and leisure or other obligations #4 in the first year (#3 and #4 could be interchanged). If this cannot be afforded, re-evaluate if a business is the right choice for you at this time.
  • A business takes a long time to build, but no time to destroy.
  • For any business operator, forgive yourself for the lost opportunities spent on making the business come to fruition.

That is all I know about business, folks.

Like any field of study, we could go so, so much deeper into the topic of business. If interested, there are great folks out there who have much better expertise than I in these things.

Wrote this post as a reference to my future self that – should I take the opportunity to get into business again – can save a bit of time. Any other points you would add that seem to be universals?

In the meantime, I hope these work as principles for you in your professional, personal, and social ventures! Cheers to your successes ~

It Has Worked for Others: Relationship Success

Known as “the frontpage of the internet,” Reddit has millions of users, many being purely readers of the articles, news, and editorials written.

I count myself as one of the lurkers, gleaning the insights and inspiration I can from choice forums.

One that caught my eye is from user (u/) u/Mela_Min: Married Men, what are the unspoken rules for successful marriage? [sic]

Turns out I had only the merest idea of how to make long-lasting relationships, well, long-lasting.

Out of 4.3K comments at the time of writing, I present to you both some of the highest rated comments and those mentions that really… spoke to me? Anyway, some tools for your own toolbox (bolded, paraphrased, and commented on).

Note: This article will use “relationship” in the form of a bond between two persons. Reminder I nor the folks paraphrased here are licensed or otherwise credentialed to give any mental, relationship, finance, legal, or other actionable advice.

Keeping and Growing Long-Lasting Relationships

Share values. Starting out on the right foot in a relationship is step number 0 upon which all else will be decided. Questions of domestic roles, how money enters and exits the partnership, lifestyle choices, children, family, political and religious commitments, sex, conflict resolution techniques, stress tolerances, and more all =deeply= matter to a relationship before it even begins.

Show your partner they matter. This speaks to a quote close to my own heart: “There’s no such thing as love; only proof [acts] of love.” – Jean Cocteau

Expect more of yourself than your partner. Extreme responsibility and high standards start with you. I cannot find the attribution: Relationships are always at least 60%/40% give-and-receive; the best relationships are when the partners both aim to be the harder worker, it being 100%/100% effort.

Do for yourself when you can. If you can / should do it, do it. Your partner is there for encouragement and to catch you when you fall, not carry your work.

Do it now – later is never. Following from the above, do not delay. Chores, questions, addressing conflict, giving affection – relationships are one resentful thought or a skipped stoplight away from no going back. “Tomorrow is the busiest day of the week.” – Proverb

Set roles of responsibility and hierarchies of value. Which career is more important? Who both likes doing a thing X more and is better at X? How will binary decisions in and out of the home get resolved? Decisions and tasks involving two in a relationship are not all equal, nor are the consequences. That said, revisit these hierarchies on occassion – priorities will and do change (more on that later).

Be explicit. No guessing, no games, no assumptions. Never be passive (especially passive aggressive!). What you say matters – what is bothering you, what you need, the wants you hold. Your Word is bond to the other’s expectations and to your actions. To say is to do, to do is to love.

Practice extreme Trust. A follow-up on being explicit, keep Trust. Believe what the other says until proven otherwise. Say what you mean and mean what you say. This point might ought be first, given “Trust is like a string. You cut it once and you join it later, but the knot – it remains forever.” – Anuradha Kamath

Get sleep and separate recharge time. Sleep is the foundation to physical, mental, and relationship health. So is rest and recuperation, but doing so separately (at least part of the time) keeps a person aware that they are still an individual that happens to be in a partnership.

Up your game. Your partner already likes you for your strengths, yet you are linked together now. As always with “the weakest link,” your faults now stand to jeopardize your bonds. Improve yourself, don’t be lousy at things. Learn, improve, and demonstrate competence to your partner – if you are bad, ‘git gud.’

If you are not moving, you are dead. Maintaining a relationship is death to the relationship. Become interesting, engage in new things with and without your partner. Bring something unique to the table, making every day the first date, every week a honeymoon. Yet realize the need for change carries with it the chance the relationship dynamics will change – no relationship starts without the possibility of ending too, but it certainly will change what is first was.

The bad will outweigh the good. We can’t help it – humans overvalue loss and negatives over gains and positives (at least two-times as much). So overcorrect when ‘bad’ issues arise and aim to forgive those trespasses you feel have been done (i.e. never mention these events again).

Public praise, private discussion. Always have your partner’s back in public. =Never= do ill to them among others. Keep the dirty laundry for discussion between your god, private journal, therapist, and partner. That said, be as personal as possible in private – hold hands, cuddle, look in each other’s eyes, speak clearly, these things help bring oxytocin and comradery when important things need handling. (Of course, if your partner is letting out enough to do you, themselves, or others harm, do what you must to save things!)

Counseling comes before the honeymoon, not during the separation. Seek professional guidance together while the times are good. Waiting to get help when the bad-ball is already rolling is a disadvantaged battle.

Be death to getting ‘one-up.’ Never aim to ‘beat’ your partner in disagreements or, virtually, anything. At most, it is you both against the problem in the world, a synergy where 1 + 1 = 3. Admit wrongness. Pick the hills to defend – these hills that matter will be few. In a partnership, there are no winners when scores are kept – only ever two losers.

HALT. Hungry, angry, lonely, tired – be none of these when needing to engage on serious / relationship matters with the partner. You can ask to delay a conversation, but not too much later (reminder that true “later” is “never”) – less than 24 hours in the future should you have ‘got your s*** together’ to then personally re-initiate the conversation.

They come first. Your partner, the relationship. Before career and family and children, choose your partner to maintain the relationship. So much flows from improving long-term relationships, virtually all else will benefit by taking a back seat to working things out between one another. Yet, this isn’t “choose to spend and do all things with the partner” – sometimes the choice of relationship-first is to be graceful when time and attention need to be pulled away for awhile (e.g. emergencies, one-time call-up, sickness, passion projects). If needing to decide, the long-term option will outweigh short-term inconveniences.

ABC Big Picture Themes

Again and again, people report similar principles in relationships success. Those are:

  • Act. Doing – taking action quickly and frequently – is a stellar principle to make sure folks appreciate their relationships vs. resting on laurels. 100%/100% contributions.
  • Be Better. Yes, you coming as ‘you’ got you into the relationship. What is happening to grow it? Your weaknesses and stagnancy are the weakest links.
  • Choose Them. Come back to your partner and the relationship again and again. Praise publicly and work privately (and personally!) to improve everything about your roles.

Not all of the above will apply to you and that is OK. Check yourself, use what you can, and recognize that the more of this that does not appeal to you is like to be where your improvement ought start.

I know I have areas to better – how about you? What has worked in your relationships that ought be on the list? (Seriously, what to add?)

I can only wish you the best for all your partnerships – cheers to healthy and successful relationships!

December January Goal Review

After taking a break in November, December sought to move the needle a bit further. How did it go?

December Goal Review

  1. EOY Letter
  2. ‘Decline’ -cember
    • Won! Giving myself permission, I have been much more conscious of saying “no” to obligation or anything I am not a “hell yes” about. I like this about me, so I aim to keep it going as habit!
  3. Mörk Borg Art
    • Won! I made the thing – post coming soon. As for the bonus art material, no dice 🤷‍♂️
  4. 10 Blog Posts
    • Won! By the skin of my teeth (typing fingers?). Good for a few months yet, which will be important as I set my sights on other writing tasks.
  5. D&D +1
    • Won! Group #1 has committed war crimes, but is still going strong. Group #2 is ready to start – characters, expectations, etc., but we have decided to hit it full bore in January. Counting this as a win as my DM resources have grown considerably in preparation~
  6. Holidays
    • Won! Hung out with great folks. What more to say? Hope you had / are having a lovely time 🙂

January Goal Proposal

  1. Outline LitRTS Short Story
    • It has been an itch for a few weeks to write short stories again. Given some excellent LitRPG series I have been enjoying, why not a story based off of a real-time strategy game? Time I outline this sucker, get the ball rolling on my writing again 🙂
  2. 4 Black Library Plots
    • The Black Library publishing group is opening up submissions again early 2023 sometime. Goal here is to create 4 robust 100-word summary, 500-word sample submissions for the universe of Warhammer 40K. Going to start with 10 outlines, then 6 drafts, then 4 finals. Been awhile since this happened, so I am glad to throw my hat back in the ring!
  3. Mörk Borg Art Online
  4. Gunslinger in The West Layout
    • I have a full game to go along with the quick plays, so time I put the game into a print-ready format (or hire someone to do it). Placeholder art for now, yet:
    • Bonus: List needed art for GiTW and hire out!
  5. Voice Sample
    • Not a week goes by where a stranger does not comment on my voice and way of speaking. Having studied what it takes to do voice acting, might as well 1) script, read, and edit a narration sample, and 2) put it up somewhere for hire (ACX, perhaps?).
    • Bonus: Script, record, edit, and produce a commercial voiceover sample.
  6. Code
    • So my technical skills do not rust too much, spend a week doing code challenges every day under time.
    • Bonus: Read a C++ book to better polish my understanding.
    • Bonus: Figure out how to study and then study Angular (~10 hours).
    • Bonus: Spend 10 hours studying Machine Learning courses.

100% in December – not bad, not bad. The intent though is to push the envelope to have some chance (~15%) of failure.

Is January setting the bar high enough? I hope so. Lots of creativity, lots of production, and a little keeping up with my best day-job skills.

Regardless, cheers to 2023! I hope to witness all the accomplishments you are about to bring to bear 🖖

Hail to the 2023

Happy 200th post on this site! 🎉~woot~🎉

As the year closes on 2022, the world is in economic distress, a war goes on in Europe, COVID lingers in the population, and as is always the case, the future is like a thick fog of uncertain obscurity.

Yet for me, there are friends and family, projects and prospects, travel and time to decide. So I hail 2023 for these lights in the fog:

Work Life

My life, my work.

I have been of a great headspace lately, so I am going to ride this as hard and far as possible. First destination: Treating my ‘projects’ as my ‘products’, my process moved over into a mindset of ‘this is a job now’.

Maybe that will get me across the 90%-to-the-finish line 🤞 Anyway, have four areas I will be working in:

  1. Writing – I want to write again. I know I can and that I enjoy it. So I shall.
  2. Games – Making these is very fun. I can also churn them out quick in design, playtest, and (hope to prove) publication. Expect more here!
  3. Voice – Again and again and again, my voice and acting are lauded. Time I make something of that, formally honing and offering my talent.
  4. Code – Not to let my software ability wane too harshly, the plan is to study and entertain offers as they come. Seeing as the tech industry has lost over 100K roles in 2022 with dozens of major companies instituting hiring freezes, competition is fierce, and competition is for chumps.


The months I spent on the Adriatic were treasures of my life.

Will other places allow the same feelings? Will I be back in the Balkans or elsewhere? Who will I visit or go with? Can I revisit “Death Walk” places to further clarify who I am?

These are questions left to be addressed, yet how poor a year it would be to negate travel again ❤

Yes and No

Say “yes” to spending more quality time with others, on my projects, relaxation and leisure, new experiences, and opportunities to demonstrate my best.

Say “no” to more frivolous requests, anything but the best (top 10%, letting not Good come at the cost of the Great), and barriers internal and external, be they obligations, labors, fears, hesitations, or other ills.

I literally have nothing on the calendar for 2023 – a first as far as I can remember! While freedom is as a blank page – a Schrodinger’s canvas of possibility -, the void yawns in vastness and … halts even my typing for the immensity.

#YOLO, right? No time to hesitate – aggression is called for, even if the choice is calmness. Aggressively calm. Deliberate calm, or action, or anything.

Anyway. These best-laid-plans are a little different than my 2022 expectation-setting, but the direction excites me 😃 Wish me well in keeping the energy up 😁

What excites you in the times to come? Celebrate with me – though life might at times be quite the chore, life is Good. Cheers to the wonders you have and seek ~

’22 in the Rear View

Is writing a “year in review” in December too early? 🤔

My blog, my rules 🤷‍♂️

Let you and I look in the rear view, see what came to pass:

The Best of Plans

A year ago I took a look ahead and laid it all out. What came to pass (and what drifted on by) was a bit far afield:

Becoming Cyborg – Noted back in January that it did not happen, but nor did it happen through the year following. Been taking care of myself, though, so here is to your and my health moving ahead 🤞

Europe & Abroad – Made it! London for a month, and the gem of my heart Montenegro for two. I have written on going abroad, but other than some locales around the US, I stayed home the rest of the year.

Publish Games – I created multiple short-pages games (Gunslinger in The West, As Above, So Below, et. al) along with a module for ending the world (version for modern times), but nothing with formal art nor up for purchase 😦 Crossing that “release it” finish line is often tough when I work on my own projects – there is room for improvement on this part of my character >_>

FI – The party of 2021 could not last 🙃 With market downturns and layoffs, my nest egg is down (but much less than the market!). However, I just calculated I could take 5-10 years off in sabbatical. A relief, I might begin getting super-duper serious about publications or take a very long trip, but will always remain open to new work.

Stops Along the Way

Ends, Not Losses – Getting what could be perceived as ‘negative’ out of the way: Some folks are dealing with their own needs. Times with them were great – as things though go, people part and life goes on.

New Digs – Living with best friends in Vegas. =Great= company, plus living / visiting with many other friends and family in the US and abroad was such a breath of fresh air after 2020!

Game Running – Putting all of my study to practice, I am now the DM of two (0 to 2!) D&D groups. It is work, but it is a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see where the other players take things ❤

Overlanding – What peace it is to disappear into the wilderness, taking trails that don’t exist for 99.9% of the population. On such a trip I am reminded what little is needed to enjoy life, the boons of being self sufficient, the importance of quality companionship, and how empowering it is digging your own holes as the sun rise 😊

Fitness – The body is made in the kitchen. No longer supposed to be training to be a top performance athlete (re: the cyborg procedure), I still look =great= despite only going for walks, doing yoga, and sneaking in the occasional pushup. (Let me know if I should be sharing the deets 💪)

With that glimpse back, we bring eyes forward and a foot down to speed ahead. Check back next week for some plans / hopes / dreams(?) for 2023.

How has your year been? I want to hear – cheers to what comes ahead for you ~

Top 10 of 2022

Spotify isn’t the only place for December wrap-ups.

Dozens of blog posts this year, but let me save you the time – here are the top most ‘impressionable’ posts of the site for 2022:

10. Work for Pay, Not Free

A from-the-trenches guide on getting what you are owed, even (or especially?) when your labor is robbed from you.

9. Bringing d100 to 2d6

IDK how this and its sibling dealing with d20s got so popular this year.

The post goes over how to convert d100 rolls into 2d6 rolls, allowing for the qualitative probabilities brought up in games like D&D.

Give it a read – the aim is to make the math simple!

8. Truths About Relationships

One of the most impactful posts in 2021 makes a return.

Reading it again, these Truths hold up and will hold up your relationships, too.

7. The Orc and the Pie Pt. 1 – A Breakdown of RPGs

Another post I cannot explain for coming up in the topmost of 2022.

Originally published in 2019, evidence of how The Orc and the Pie is a pinnacle example of game design is laid out in principles you can apply to your own roleplaying games.

6. Rewriting: Halo 4

Using the proven 6-Point Story Structure of Halo, I add my own flair into how Halo 4 could have been better received as a narrative device.

Read it and tell me: How could the story that was delivered have done better?

5. BITS of D&D

Taking the concepts of D&D, boiling them down, and repackaging into the BITS system.

Lucky me, I am getting to playtest some of this with two D&D groups I moderate for!

4. Rewriting: Halo 5

Oof… Halo 5 was not a well received game – the narrative just plain fails. This post goes into the nitty-gritty of how Halo 5 betrayed the 6-Point structure of Halo story and how to redeem its story sins.

Spoiler: Fixing Halo 5 means rewriting *waves hands at everything.*

3. How to Price Your RPG

Having a mind to start a business earlier this year, I get into the details of how to set up RPGs for sale.

The post shows my data along with the conclusion of how to price a table-top roleplaying game PDF for online distribution.

2. Bringing d20 Poly-Dice to 2d6

Simply put, this is a list of tables converting 20-sided dice probabilities and qualitative probabilities into two 6-sided dice use.

Pretty popular – it will help you in your games too when you might not have a huge set of polyhedral dice just laying around.

1. BITS of Mörk Borg

With the recent arrival of CY_BORG, this post has boomed.

Mörk Borg is a “spiked flail to the face” of a roleplaying game, one of my favorites for its weird embrace of entropy. With a die-20 and a hearty welcome of the apocalypse, I go-over MB‘s features to fit my own BITS system for streamlining of play.

Honorable Mention

Go checkout the awarded set of cataclysms for the Mörk Borg game, too. Lots of internet traffic on the rules, this site and others!

Check out the archives – I post every week on something I am working on. Save some time by checkout out last year’s top 10 and 2020’s best.

Give me your own favorite posts, mine or from another. I am =here= to learn! Cheers to your own gains ~

November December Goal Review

November’s goals were lite (read: non-existent 🙃), though certainly the month was not a wash.

December looks to make up as we race to the finish of the year! Check it out:

November Hiatus Review

No formal goals this rest month. Here is what I did instead:

EOY Draft: I’ve gone through my journals and posts, finding major parts of the year and perhaps an idea of ‘theme’ and a very long list of lessons.

Games: 35 hours of video games, 25 hours of D&D -related content, and 0 hours of VR. Feels good to rest like this! BTW, play We’re Really Not Strangers with someone important in your life ASAP.

Moving In: More than a work-week’s worth of time installing, cleaning, updating, and entertaining in my new digs. Learning some cool skills, but will aim to lay-off just a bit.

Taking no credit for any of it nor the suggestions posed last month. That is where December comes in:

December Goal Proposal

  1. EOY Letter
    • Every year I do my retro and send it and a few nifty bits out to close family and friends. This is the most important thing on the list me-thinks, so it gets top recognition and dedication to complete.
  2. ‘Decline’ -cember
    • Going to practice setting better boundaries. Every day I have a ‘No’ token that I must spend before the end of the day, declining to do something I normally would. This extends to any video games I play – ‘no’ to side quests and ‘extra’ content that isn’t the main plot. Wish me discipline 🤞
  3. Mörk Borg Art
  4. 10 Blog Posts
    • Done this before, doing again. Getting blogs up into the new year so it is less to worry about!
  5. D&D +1
    • I am already the Game Moderator / Dungeon Master for a D&D group, but have been invited to GM another group of friends. I like the work, so setting aside time in December to provide the best experiences possible. (If you are looking for holiday gifts, get me a big book of fantasy maps, dungeons, and loot tables!)
  6. Holidays
    • The end of the year means end of the year holidays. This year perhaps may be a trip back to Zion, something for New Years, and definitely dog sitting. Regardless, hedging my bets.

As it is written, so may it be done! I am off to get *waves hands at everything* accomplished.

If you have artists with open commissions who work in the style of Mörk Borg or has examples of the Wild and Weird West, please send us each other’s way.

Stay warm out there, folks. Cheers to your holidays and annual reviews~

Today Is the End – RPG Tool for a Present Day Apocalypse

Warning ⚠ Linked, unaffiliated content has mature themes of violence, blood, and everything “Nano-infested doomsday RPG about cybernetic misfits and punks raging against a relentless corporate hell” would imply 💀

Dark-fantasy Mörk Borg is all about the end-times. From the set of Miseries to the seventh and final obliteration, the end is nigh.

The ending is also abrupt – slam book closed, burn your game sheets. To eek out a bit more play, I created an awarded module The Final Hours of the Final Day (read about it in the post).

Problem: That set of fictional cataclysms depend heavily on the lore, setting, and rules of Mörk Borg. Prophesies, grim fantasy, monster rules.

So it struck me: what would a present day apocalypse look like? Thus this new system-agnostic modern module Today Is the End.

Let’s discuss:

Today Is the End

A grimdark, modern-themed list of 36 terrible ends to the world. Rolling D66 (one six-sided die is the first value, a second D6 the second value) selects a tragedy to bring into the game to send a one-shot night of play or a whole campaign off with a bang.

From the rules:

The seventh seal is broken, the final war begins, the bombs drop, the world burns, and the enemy calls upon society and soul. These are your final hours. Every 15 to 30 real-minutes (or 1 hour game time), roll D66 twice on the below. If the same number has been used before, use the next highest that is unused.

The curtain falls for the last and final time when:

  1. all characters the players have or could play as (such as friendly NPCs) are dead and gone,
  2. all six of a section have been enacted (crumple and burn the pages here – existence snuffs out without warning),
  3. actions have miraculously stopped the machinations of the End Times.

Meant to come at the end of what already may be a long gaming session, Today Is the End careens headlong into chaos and cataclysm at a literally-breakneck pace.

To cater to any game system set in the modern world, Today Is the End relies on random trait selection and ‘qualitative’ difficulties (is it easy, moderate, or hard to do?).

Find Today Is the End here on Google Docs:

Calling Artists From the Rubble

Like The Final Hours, I am looking for an artist open for commissions! Whether in a Mörk Borg style or its cyberpunk sibling CY_BORG, I want to talk business 😁

Finally, the legal stuff:

Today Is the End is an independent production by Jimmy Chattin and is not affiliated with Stockholm Kartell. It is published under the CY_BORG Third Party License.

Ready to play? Keep an eye out for a CB-related list of ruin next year along with a space-faring sci-fi rapture too.

In the meanwhile, shoot me your artist recommendations and suggestions on changes / replacements to Today Is the End. Cheers to your much-less-eventful end of year!

Any Dice for Any Game

I have written before on converting D100 and D20 dice systems to 2D6, but never have I ever brought all these dice into one place.

For your and my convenience, a table to convert any dice for any game rolls you may encounter, percentages of that outcome and at (>=) or over (>) the number specified:

QualityD100 >%D20 >=%D10 >=%2D6 >=%
Very Hard9552051010118
D# Conversions

Do the percentages match? No. Is it worth it to be exact? Also no – these are for use in games of fun and non-monetary chance, each no more than ~10% from one another. As I once heard from a lead game designer (in paraphrase): “If a change isn’t 10% or more, it doesn’t matter.”

Note: Some games start the player’s characters strong, or the goals are to instill a dire feel in play. That just means to up the tiers of quality by 1, e.g. easy rolls as if medium, medium becomes hard, etc.

What About Other Dice?

Anything smaller than a single D10 or two D6 is really hard to make work intuitively.

Going back to the ~10% difference, look at a D6 -> a ‘very hard’ roll would be a 6 or more on a D6, a 17% chance of happening with a single die. We violate the ~10%-or-less rule. Could we make it happen? … Yes, if a roll requires a final number greater than the faces of the die (e.g. a 25 on D20), but now we are getting into some severe nitty-grittiness.

Don’t Forget the Stats!

If using a system specifically designed for a ‘DX’ roll but a player brings a ‘DY’ to the party, make sure to convert the stats any fictional character uses from ‘X’ to ‘Y’.

Example: A D10 is used for a D20 system – stats for the D20 system need to be cut in half in how they would add or subtract from the D10 roll.

An example for the example: A +4 Toughness stat would add to a normal D20 roll in the game. However, since using a D10, only +2 (half of +4) would be used when D10 is rolled.

Here is another: A D6 is brought to a D20 system. Stats would thereby be about one-third as applicable (+3 becomes a +1).

Hope this helps if needing to get people playing quickly at your table with any dice for any game. Might put this into something printable for an index card – let me know if I ought get that going sooner than later 👍

Cheers to you rolling what you need to 🎲🎲