When "customer Value" is weird framing, if not dangerous

Don’t get hung up on “customer value” and “business value”

I feel like this metaphor of “customer value” (and “business value”) has gone too far. It’s become something that people think is real, not just metaphor.

Instead of “value” what we’re talking about is something like “is useful at a price the customer will pay.” Jobs to Be Done theory feels a lot closer to real.

The other issue: there are not ROI spreadsheets for a lot of things in our personal lives. What’s the ROI of eating dinner? What’s the ROI of watching a good TV show, enjoying the cup holders in your car, paying a lot extra to get a private pool at your AirBnB?

The pervasiveness of thinking about “value” and seeking ROI makes it hard to say things like “sure, those trash bags are one euro more a box, but they just work better than the cheaper ones.” Or, “I don’t know, we should just keep paying for Netflix because I like watching things on it.”

There is no spreadsheet that will show the ROI of getting surgery: avoiding death has intuitive value. You can get ripped off: you could have gotten the same for a cheaper price. I think of lot of ROI analyses should be reduced to that: did we get the best price, and are we happy with the outcome? Never mind “the return on investment.” Thinking that keeping your computers running is an “investment” is like thinking of getting needed surgery as an “investment.”

I don’t know, as a customer I don’t want “value,” I want to be satisfied with what I got, I want it to do the job I needed/wanted, and I want to pay a fair price. And then, usually, I don’t want to have to manage it or think about it.

You can call that all “value,” but the danger is that you’ll lose track of the original, literal thing. And then you need this kind of advice to pull you back.


  • Those who are satisfied do not speak. Here.

  • New hunch: PE firms mess with the evolve or die tenant of capitalism, “creative destruction.” They’re like cheat-codes that extend your video game characters life.

  • All is chaos. Thus, you can’t solve chaos by introducing more chaos. All you can do is accept the chaos and move on with your life. The enlightened use chaos to create more chaos. All evil is the denial of chaos and the sad attempt to beg Apollo to bring order.

  • To say that you cannot trust your perceptions and your model of reality - the basis of all those who believe that all is nothing - prima facie disproves itself. For, if you believe that, how can your trust your conclusions thus?

  • “data isn’t oil; data is sand.” Tim O’Reilly.

  • “we are very short-term oriented, so we hardly stop to consider that this very mundane moment we are in now, a moment that seems so plentiful because it happens as part of our daily life, will become a precious piece of history one day.” Here.

  • “the general raucousness of the occasion” Here.

Roll 20 for Distraction

Since last time, I’ve added a whole new layer of obsession to my renewed D&D hobby1…I guess you’d call it. I’ve managed to play several times with my kids. Once on a long bike ride, no dice needed, but you can use the color of the next car coming over the bridge if you need something random, I mean, they’re all basically black, white, grey, or “other” when it comes to color.

What I’ve done, though, is started using ChatGPT to both be a ChatDM and also a player. And also a co-writer for world building, adventures, and the like. So much so, that I started a blog to dump it all into: You can see my working theory for how to do D&D stuff with ChatGPT in the about page. I’m thinking of a way to livestream this “ChatDM” stuff. I think if I read the responses out loud it’d be something - and just general how to commentary. I have to tell you, D&D videos get a lot more views than digital transformation videos!

Midjourney is also pretty good, though a completely mystery to use precisely.

A pixie delighting in confusing you (Midjourney).

The ChatDM is great at little tasks like coming up with nonsense things a pixie would say to stupefy people. I’ve used to do some world-building, and it’s been a fun co-author for hyper-focused NPC studies.

Anyhow, I’ll maybe mention some more stuff I figure out here, but check out the blog if you’re into this kind of thing for the ongoing updates.

Relative to your interests


Big props to the guy in this sleepy, Amsterdam suburb walking home from the grocery store and taking ten minutes to get the perfect selfie, pencil thin blunt hanging out his mouth, backlit by the golden hour sunlight. It’s good knowing he’s out there, taking her easy for all us sinners.

It's good knowin' he's out there. The Dude. Takin' 'er easy for all us  sinners. : r/gratefuldead

I think I’ve discovered that “distraction” is just what the 9 to 5 mind calls a “hobby.” Turns out, I haven’t really had a hobby for, uh, a long, long time.,, @cote,,