As I’m playing around with the CSS coding that I’m learning for fun, I notice that a tremendous amount of effort has to be put in place to make sites display correctly in Internet Explorer version 7. “Surely,” I think to myself as I pull up the server logs for this blog, “no one actually uses technology that old!”.
Alas, more than 10% of the viewership (almost 11% to be precise), utilize Internet Explorer 7 as their browser of choice. And it isn’t just the blog. I checked the server logs at the online retailers, too. Almost identical figures were reported.
Here, ladies and gentlemen, is a lesson in opportunity cost and time management. I am not going to learn those tricks because the time necessary to worry about them, especially when they are a “waisting” problem that will decay with time as people upgrade their computers, isn’t worth the potential payoff.
This means that any design I created would be unreadable to 11% of my audience. That is, to borrow a phrase, too damn bad. It takes only a few minutes to install the most recent version of your preferred browser, all of which are free. It is absurd that human talent, brainpower, and billable hours are waisted trying to appeal to the laggards.
There is, of course, the notable fact that I don’t actually have to code CSS for a living since I’m an investor. I’m just learning it for kicks and to keep my skills from the early startup days up-to-date. It’s the same reason I still practice Bach from time to time and Aaron can prepare Julia Child recipes from memory. Life is about progress and skill sets. “The Sims” isn’t far off with the whole “Cooking Master Level 5” paradigm. Unfortunately, in the real world, there aren’t easy-to-measure progressions of payoff.
The funny thing about this whole endeavor is, I find myself getting just as joyous about learning new CSS techniques as I do about finding a great, undervalued company. I’ve come to the conclusion that I just like building things that are excellent, watching them grow, and seeing them become more powerful. Even when I play video games, I’m one of those guys who obsessively levels-up his characters. I just can’t help myself. Maybe that is how I live my life – I level up my portfolio until it gets bigger and bigger, my businesses, my standard of living, my skill sets, etc.