Rain is a huge deterrent. It's like a tranquilizer for my soul. It literally sucks the life out of me, especially when it's cold. All I want to do when it rains in the Winter is lay in bed and watch re-runs of Jerry Springer and eat massive amounts of delicious chili, then sit on the toilet for hours playing games on my phone.
But fuck me (get the play on words?) if the world doesn't stop just because of a little rain. We've "evolved" to the point where almost all weather is just an annoyance, not a show stopper. Which, in a way, is sort of sad. I imagine in the good old days, the days when we wore loin cloths and bathed in the river and lived in caves, we just huddled in our caves by the fire and worried about starving and other things that might wander into our cave to avoid the cold rain and wind up eating us. Why can't modern life be more like that? So I don't have to feel guilty if I don't get anything done on days like today? Unfortunately, The Progress Machine doesn't give a fuck about a little rain.
Thank God I'm Not Dumb Enough To Hire A $10/hr Personal "Trainer"
Despite the cold and the rain and the gloominess and the feelings of "fuck it," I got my ass up and headed to the gym. The mornings are the best, because there's only old people and a handful of extremely dedicated fitness enthusiasts to navigate. I completed my workout with ease.
I did notice this old lady who had paid extra (I assume) for one of the gym's personal trainers. Where this YouFit gym stands apart in cheapness, cleanliness, etc, it doesn't stray too far from the big box gym formula, which is to constantly recruit new members and get them to sign up for long term deals and push in-house personal training.
Now I don't have a problem with personal trainers. I think I could use one myself, just to keep me accountable. But the guys and girls you find in the big box gyms, the ones making $10/hr, are absolutely worthless (most of them, not all, some are actually pretty good, but they're few and far between (hint to all you wanna be personal trainers: it's not hard to stand out from the crowd)). They seem disinterested. They run everyone through the same boring, ridiculous workouts, which includes lunge walking around the perimeter of the gym and doing some variation of ultra light dumbbell curls that are about as effective as curling the remote control to change the channel. Ugh.
I suppose those who have no clue what they're doing benefit from it, so good on them for taking action. But I can't help but laugh when I see some overweight new mom doing infinite leg presses with 10 pounds on the sled. C'mon, man!
Honing The Value Prop
I've been reading a lot of inner web articles on creating value propositions. Probably too many. It seems there's varying opinions about what exactly a value propisition is. To some, it seems it's more of a marketing thing, describing the benefits to the customer. In other words, it's just writing copy that sells. Others, like this one, break down in more business-y terms, where it's almost a very shallow business plan. It's all making me insane because I'm trying to figure out who is right; which method should I follow?
Here's my value prop so far for the elite programming academy, code named, Engine Zero:
Engine Zero will vault your development prowess to elite levels. With stiff competition in the software development world and plenty of ordinary developers willing to work for nothing, setting yourself apart from the pack is paramount. Engine Zero has crafted a plethora of focused, deliberate practice exercises to stretch and strengthen your skills as a developer, which will help take your career to new levels.
I think it's decent as a marketing message. Like, if I already knew that the market existed for an elite programming thing, then this would be good copy to put on the landing page of the web site.
But I don't have a validated market. All I have is a hypothesis. So I think I need to break it down to a more basic level, a level that inspires conversation instead of pressure to buy. So the value prop in this context, I think, looks more like this:
- What is the problem I'm trying to solve?
- Who has this problem?
- Why does it need solving?
- What are the main benefits to solving it?
- How am I going to solve it?
I think this is a better conversation starter, because I come at whoever has the problem I'm trying to solve asking questions instead of dictating, "you have this problem and I have the solution." It's more like I'm asking them, "hey, I think you have this problem, you want to talk about how to solve it?"
The last question I think is optional, because I only need to come up with the How? after I've verified that, indeed, my hypothesis is correct. But still, it may be a useful exercise just in case how the problem is solved is just as important, or more important than, as the problem itself. For example, if the city of Dallas all of the sudden has a situation where wolves start eating people's faces off in downtown, and my solution is to blow up all the buildings, i.e. eliminate downtown, then that may be a deal breaker to solving the problem.