The Rules of Free Commerce Haven’t Changed

I feel buffeted at the moment, rising and falling at the whim of ambition, understanding, a sense of meaning, a sense of meaningless, vanity, ego, a desire to create, a desire to be recognized, a sense of bigness, a sense of smallness…

I have my “industry.” I’m a blogger. I have blogger friends and read blogger books and study blogger businesses and want to build a successful blogger business.

I know, pretty cool, right?

All this blogger business thinking has been spinning up an engine in me that’s ready to power something. I’m thinking big and thinking I’m special and thinking about how to become more special and thinking and thinking…

I have this one friend who had some success with an eBook. He’s a family guy. He thinks blogger thoughts too, but they’re tempered a bit more than mine. He’s one of these classic nerd bloggers, the best kind. The kind that had an audience long before there was a business plan. Love those guys.

He tried not to be too ambitious. I think his reality is such that he can’t; you can only get so far away from home. I resonate with that.

Side Note: this friend doesn’t understand someone having the goal of travelling around with a laptop and running a business teaching people how to travel around with a laptop. “Congratulations, you’re a narcissist,” he says. I kind of want to tattoo that on the back of my hand.

I have this other friend who wrote some books and got super famous in a Christian subculture. They were good books. I have all of them. One of them is signed. Deal with it.

This other friend thinks real big. He’s the kind of guy that get’s asked to lead the intro to the Democratic National Convention. He says I should pay attention to people like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson instead of people like Tim Ferriss and Seth Godin.

He’s ambitious and thinks big, but there’s a humanness to it. It’s a weird balance and I’m not quite sure what the deal is with it, but I sense there’s a good path down that way.

This guy wrote a simple post recently. He nailed it. And at the end of the post he lists off, in very simple terms, the rules of business. He says they haven’t changed. I think he’s right.

I think there’s something about these two guys, something in the way they’re looking at their thing, some sort of signpost for me. A way through this ambition/meaning/bigness/smallness. Their stories seem to ask me, “why are you thinking about that?”

Anyways, here’s those rules.


The rules of commerce:

  1. Identify something people need or want.
  2. Create that thing and create it well.
  3. Sell that thing at a competitive price.
  4. Clearly communicate what that thing is.
  5. Give half the money you make to the government.
  6. Give a percentage of your money to causes that need your money.
  7. Love your spouse and your children, because in the end little else will matter. They don’t care about your money.