10 days

10 days ago, I left my job.

I had been working in the “real world” for 5+ years, and with the announcement that my group would be disassembled and moved to other parts of the company, I felt it would be a good time to transition. It’s been bittersweet, to say goodbye to a company that has taught me so much and fed me so well over the years, but all good things must come to an end.

I am working on a startup and some other business ideas that have been brewing in the back of my mind, but the biggest thing I am afraid of is the vast amounts of time that quitting a 9-5 job provides you with. The last 10 days have been ok; I get to work and write whenever I want, and work out during the middle of the day. I still have this fear, nonetheless, that having all this extra time is a burden in the sense that I feel the need to fill each minute of each day with the most productive activities possible. I read part of Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class, and he mentions that as white-collar workers advance in their careers, they feel more pressed for time and always feel like they don’t have enough of it. The reason they feel they don’t have enough time, is due to the need to fill the time you have with meaningful activities, whether it’s work or leisure-related.  It’s easy to read this statement and go along with the empirical facts of the study, but to really understand this phenomenon, I examined my last 10 days.

I’m an avid user of  Google Calendar, and the first thing I did was try to fill up my calendar with tasks I felt like I needed to get done. Read this article, work on this project, meet with X and Y to discuss Z. Before I knew it, my calendar became full of these make believe sessions of what seemed like work-related tasks interspersed with “personal time” like working out or meeting up with friends. I replaced weekly status meetings and 1:1s from the corporate world with my own need to validate my decision to leave the corporate world. Heck, I even scheduled time to write this very blog post.

I am, of course, missing the point. For some, being a calendar nazi works, but the last 10 days have shown me that there is a difference between intent and execution. I find it similar to bringing a ball down the court and seeing where your teammates are, and what the defense is doing. Yup…this is the basketball reference. Being on my own as an entrepreneur, I realize I need to be more creative with my time. If I see my big man has a mismatch on a smaller defender, I’m going to throw it down low every single time. Right now, if I see a big task that is itching to be accomplished, I’m going to throw my effort and resources at that one project instead of allotting intent or time for it. Playmaking, as they say in basketball, is an unteachable skill for guards, and I’m going to apply it to the everyday tasks of the entrepreneur.

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Meaningful stats to determine a basketball player’s value

Have you ever been told you’re a good “hustle” player? No leagues, however, keep track of how good a player “hustles.” How do you keep track of how many steals were a result of someone sprinting at full speed down the court to get in the passing lane? How do  you track good defense that disrupts an offensive play? Unfortunately, these type of stats are not tracked and, in my opinion, measure the true value a player brings to a game outside of the normal stats: hustle, heart, and creativity.

I’ve played in many games where I knew one or two guys that changed the game based on how many times they helped on weak-side defense, pushed the ball up the court with good outlet passes, or simply just hustled to get at loose balls. These stats are never tracked among the typical ppg, reb, and stl.  When the game’s over and I check out the stats for the game, I am baffled by how little these players apparently contributed to the game in terms of the stats we normally track.

I think basketball is a sport where the “subjective” stats are measured the least relative to other sports. After reading Moneyball, I realized that there are many stats in baseball that deliver more meaning that just hits and runs. OBP and slugging % are just two stats that use numbers from the game but when calculated for many players, brings new insights into the game. Where are these type of stats in basketball?