10/3/2011 - Message from the President

Universal Error is my baby. It was born prematurely, cries constantly, and still can’t change it’s own diaper. I kind of want to start a new baby now that I kind of know what I’m in for, but I know that’s not the way babies work, especially if the baby in question also happens to be a business.

Starting a business is very isolating. I was originally motivated by the idea of interacting with people more frequently (I had been predisposed to spending long days in darkened rooms playing simulation games), but being a business-owner mostly involves shushing strangers in coffee shops and rewriting our business plan using different voices and vocabulary to reflect my own ever-changing perception of Universal Error. I hardly ever interact with a human face. I might as well be ugly.

I don’t know why it’s so hard to get 15 bucks out of someone. Customers are such an aggravation. I feel like advertising would have the potential to be really fun if it weren’t so important to appeal to the customer and pay attention to market research. I’ve heard that there’s a fine line between ethical manipulation and the unsavory variety, but I can’t be bothered with trying to figure out which side of the line I’m on. I know that deep down inside, everyone is a genuinely bad person. When presented with the opportunity to discreetly pee on someone else’s sweatpants that are lying on the floor of the bathroom, everyone will go ahead and do it. I’ve seen this happen.

I’m glad I started this message by referencing babies because it sort of suggests this image of me as a father, which may make me seem mature and responsible, I guess depending on what kind of parents you had.

I’m basically running this company all by myself, so it doesn’t help that I have no idea what I’m doing. It also doesn’t help that I have un-diagnosed Attention-Deficit Disorder and motor tics in my face and neck that present themselves when I’m under stress. It probably does help that my father is very rich and believes in everything I do.

I don’t want to sound unappreciative of those who are helping Universal Error by designing and building products, coding and maintaining the web site, managing orders, writing all the copy, bearing most of the financial burden, photographing the products, and maintaining our Quickbooks, but when I put it this way it sounds like I haven’t done very much work myself, so I want to go on record to say that it was my hand that steadily wrote ‘UNIVERSAL ERROR’ in mustard on a hot dog that was photographed and used in various promotional images. Also, I did all the paperwork for our business license and put no one’s name on it but mine. But all that really means is that I’ll be the last person to be paid once we start making a profit, and that no one else can have any credit for their work unless I grant it to them.

There are so many questions! Who is ever going to want to buy this stuff and what on Earth are they going to do with it once they have it? What skills are necessary to operate this business and do I actually, really, honestly need those skills? Can they be substituted? At what point can I rationalize hiring an assistant to do my work for me? What is the diameter of a woman’s nipple? What the fuck is a profit and loss summary?

Most people can’t recognize their own future when presented with a selection of possibilities, which is probably a symptom of perpetual distraction and a shallow understanding of the term goal.

Attaining goals doesn’t really count as a goal because it’s basically the equivalent of a t-shirt that says FASHION, but that is actually something I’m thinking of selling on Universal Error so I guess this is an advertisement for that.

Paul Henri