navigation, also identity

How often do you dare turn the lens of your design methodology on your own life?

As a member of the so-called "creative class," I am paid to make a class of decisions. Most of the time they're small decisions about how to organize and name these mostly abstract concepts that make games work. Sometimes they're slightly bigger decisions about game mechanics or interface direction. At the beginning of a new project I get to make structural and architectural decisions.

I have a decision making process; I steep myself in the language of the problem, and then I propose a solution, and then I iterate on that until the result is beautiful enough for me. Then I execute.

I feel like as I get older I'm more successful in applying a similar approach to the major decisions in my life, but the process is sometimes deeply frightening. Perhaps admitting that there is a choice to be made, is the scary part.

I tried last week to put money into the Intrade system so that I could buy shares of the Obama Pres contract. At the time the price was about 60, and I felt, and still feel, that the probability is about 95%. So, it's a great bet to me, and I wanted to put $1000 on it. I didn't, mostly because I couldn't figure out how to transfer money in from Bank of America.

They had instructions on the Intrade site for calling your bank and wiring money, but the idea of calling my bank puts this feeling of dread in me. It makes me feel like a broke teenager.

Let me be clear: I hate my bank. They take my money, they hit me with fees, and I really have no recourse, because I have no-one to blame, but over the years I've probably given them more than $1000 in overdraft fees, which drives me totally batty when I think about it. So how messed up is it that I am psychologically dominated by an institution that routinely and impersonally abuses me? Don't tell me it's a normal psychological reaction to abuse; I don't want to hear it.

I'm pretty sure I'd rather be a guy who makes $600 by betting on the election, than a guy that saw the opportunity but is afraid to call his bank. BUT, I'm also lazy. $600 of lazy? Maybe so, it's happened before. In any case, the Obama price has gone up, so it's less of a good deal now. :-/

So that's my emo story of the week.

But overall, my life is going great, and I'm really happy about it. I'll get over this financial malaise, maybe even soon.


  1. The bank thing is pretty annoying, because if you have a sizable buffer of money, such that you're not living paycheck-to-paycheck, there's really no way to overdraft. That means that the only people who get hit with overdraft fees are the people who can least absorb them.

    If you're sufficiently upset at Bank of America, I've been pretty happy with Wells Fargo as my retail bank of choice. I've never paid them any fees. Kirsten transferred her accounts from BoA to Wells Fargo because BoA's web interface sucked and Wells Fargo's is very good.

    Or of course you could beat the curve and put all your money in cash under your mattress before the runs on the banks start.

  2. They kick you when you're down and they blame you for falling.