Complex reasons for this kind of disaster can be elaborated at length by experts on banking and high finance who cannot see the forest for the trees, But it was just as if someone had come to work on building a house and, on the morning of the Depression, the boss had said, “Sorry, baby, but we can’t build today. No inches.” “Whaddya mean, no inches? We got wood, We got metal. We even got tape measures.’ “Yeah, but you don’t understand business. We been using too many inches and there’s just no more to go around.”

 — Alan Watts: Money Versus Wealth

Money is a means to an end, not an end to itself.

If you want to accomplish a goal, you need resources and labor. Money can be a means for acquiring the resources and labor, but the existence of money doesn’t guarantee the availability of the actual resources. Sometimes the money ends up being unnecessary due to volunteering or donations.

“Money Rules Man” by BenHeine is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0

During the financial crisis of the last decade our government was showering money on investors with the expectations that the money would be used by those companies to help homeowners.

Instead, the investors with the least ethics made the largest profit, with people like Steve Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross actively taking large government payouts for taking homes from families.

If you consider money as a unit of measurement like Alan Watts does, it paints a ridiculous picture.

We have communities with work that needs to be done and people who know how to do the work, but the work remains undone because we’ve allowed greedy people to hoard all of the inches.

There are entire industries that only exist for the purpose of getting more inches. Hedge funds use advanced analytics to maximize their return on inches, using energy and expensive hardware to absolutely no meaningful purpose.

What they do accomplish is taking power.

If you hoard all of the inches, you can be sure that the work that *you* want to be accomplished can be done, for your benefit. You can control how it works. You can control who can participate.

You can also prevent other people from accomplishing necessary work.

You can prevent infrastructure from being repaired.

You can prevent deployment of needed services.

You can decide to use the inches somewhere else.

How absurd that a lack of money could stop work that could be accomplished by keeping a ledger. Unless someone is far more personally valuable than someone else, the results over time could be a wash across a community.

If a community stopped thinking about money, they could get together and take care of all of the work that needed to be done. People would be more willing to share the burden rather than working harder for the extra bonus inches.

These days I find it more meaningful to measure things in terms of my time. I value my time quite a bit, and I’ve found that I get to keep far more of it for myself if I lower my expenses.

My fixed cash on hand represents the amount of time I have left until I need to have income coming from my business, or I need to find a job from someone who will likely expect full time hours.

An interesting thing appeared as I became more aware of how much I spend. I began to find ways to accomplish more per dollar. Use my inches more efficiently.

A couch may cost $600 new, but Savers had reasonable ones for $15 instead. If it breaks, you can buy forty of them before the new couch would have been a better financial option.

If you want to start a software company, what do you need?

Often I hear funding, which leads down the rat hole of detailed business plans, attorneys and executives.

What you need is one or more people working on building it.

If you’re building it yourself, you already have you.

“If you want to set off and go develop some grand new thing, you don’t need millions of dollars of capitalization. You need enough pizza and Diet Coke to stick in your refrigerator, a cheap PC to work on and the dedication to go through with it.”

— John Carmack

If you’re hiring developers to build it for you, then your job as a leader is to ensure they have the resources they need in order to be successful.

Yes, that will often mean money. Other times amazing things come out of paid and unpaid collaboration, like we often see in the Open Source community.

Sometimes your developers may need additional skills. As a leader you can provide training materials, or you can bring in outside help. Either of these may or may not cost money. A good leader will find ways to get what their team needs.

Developers need resources like computing time. This can be solved with money, or it could potentially be solved with existing hardware.

Your developers will need vision and direction.

This better be coming from you.

If you’re not driving vision and direction, then what are you providing?


Money can pay someone’s expenses, but it’s not going to give them passion for accomplishing your goals.

If the vision comes from the team itself, why would they want to build it for you? Why wouldn’t they just work together?