Facing the Problem

Once you Find the problem, you have to Understand the problem. A lot of people just phone this in, or try to handwave it with some bullshit about making it up elsewhere. Most businesses do this terribly fucked-up thing that kind of works like this.

There's a problem somewhere in the system. And all the way at the end, where the money comes in, there's not as much money as you want. So you look at what makes the money come in, and you do more of something so there's enough money. There! Problem solved!

Except here's what's really happening: there's a hole in your business where the money is leaking out before it reaches your pocket. So you pour more money in, which gets more into your pocket, but the money is still leaking out somewhere. You haven't fixed the problem. You've just dicked around until you didn't care about the problem anymore.

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The NICER Marketer

I had a bunch of bullshit scheduled this week about some other stuff but it sucked so I deleted it last night when I was drunk which is like this thing that I do sometimes because I am an alcoholic.

So I was talking on Colin Theriot's Facebook page about this thing Blair Warren said back in the day in something called One Sentence Persuasion, and it was basically "27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding" and here they are:

People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures,
allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their

Well, the thing I do is take stuff like this and turn it from 27 words into one: NICER.

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A System Builder’s Responsibility

Yesterday, I mentioned the possibility that you might be able to do your speech training before purchasing the house. I actually used to do it this way, because thanks to my play style, I always had the 13k to cover speech training.

Which is another element of designing a working system: what if the person using it isn't you? Some people won't do it exactly the way you've done it. You almost certainly haven't explained everything. If someone only does what you've laid out in the system, where are they, and can they definitely move on to the next step?

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Examining The System

So let's look at how this system is constructed. 

The starting point - race selection - identifies the criteria for selection and specifically disqualifies each option until a choice is clearly made for a definite reason. An explanation for why this reason is important follows. This pattern continues: the dominant strategy is to do this, because it allows you to do that. There is a drawback in the lack of combat skill, which we will address using this strategy because of these reasons, and here is what we need to do that.

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More System Building

Now, at this point, we've got the land and the ingredients we need to set up our homestead, so it's time to gather minerals.

You'll need two glass and six straw, which you can get at just about any general store. If you can spare another 1,000 gold or so, make a trip to Whiterun to buy 50 iron ingots and four corundum ingots; if not, head north of Whiterun to Halted Stream camp, where you'll be able to pick up fifty samples of iron ore and three of corundum. Moonstone and gold will be necessary, as well; slightly west of Halted Stream camp, you can find Silent Moons camp, which has two moonstone veins lurking in the rocks to the northwest. In the area around Whiterun, there's a gold vein somewhat north of the stone brick exit from the underforge.

You can mine another nine corundum ore from veins slightly north of the Guardian Stones you passed on the way to Riverwood. Take all this to Whiterun and smelt them outside of Adrian Avenicci's shop, then return to your land and empty the chest of building materials. Use the anvil to smith fifteen iron fittings, nineteen batches of 10 nails, five pairs of hinges, and five locks.

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System Building Continued

Now, yesterday, we covered my system for a character's first seven or eight levels in Skyrim. This is basically enough to get started, and you could be done with it now and just go play.

But to establish an ongoing reliable cashflow, you need a renewable supply of alchemy ingredients, which means you're looking to buy land and build a homestead with a garden and greenhouse.

So you need 5,000 gold for the land, another 1,400 for lumber, fifty-odd iron ingots, four corundum ingots, and a few other sundry items - some glass; some straw; some leather straps; an ingot each of gold, moonstone, and quicksilver. A grand soul gem when you can get one.

Between that garden and greenhouse, you're also going to plant eight creep clusters, thirteen mora tapinella, and eight scaly pholiota. This will be enough ingredients to construct thirty-nine potions of Fortify Carry Weight (among other effects) every couple game days. You can find mora tapinella all over the general area of Riverwood; collect what you can find easily, and you'll pick up the rest on the road.

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System Building

I talk a lot about building systems, but I don't give many specific examples. Lately I've been playing a lot of Skyrim. So I thought I'd lay out my system for it, which involved about a month of repeatedly restarting the whole game, over and over again. I assume you have all the DLC and/or bought the recently-released "legendary" edition.

This is an extremely long discussion which will cover the whole week. The purpose is to show you what a system looks like and how detailed it is. I'll point out the pieces at the end of the week - Thursday and Friday.

It takes about half an hour to get anywhere, because of the intro cutscenes and the initial dungeon crawl. Typical Elder Scrolls intro - what was it, Daggerfall that didn't start out with you in a dungeon? I know Arena did... and so did Morrowind and Oblivion, so yeah, it was Daggerfall the one time you don't start out an Elder Scrolls game as a prisoner. But that has nothing to do with the way I play Skyrim, so let's get back on topic.

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