How I Use Linked-In to Enhance My Professional Life

This is a work in progress. I have been a Linked-In member for several years, but have only recently paid any attention to the possibilities. As with most of these posts, I write them as I stumble down the learning curve because it helps me figure something out. Occasionally, someone is nice enough to write and tell me where I have erred.

I am not much of a fan of social networks, but I do recognize that they have become a big thing. I have been forced to become a student of these tools and a user. I don’t have a Facebook page yet, but that day may not be far away.

Right now, the only network I use is Linked-In. It seems to have reached critical mass. I don’t know if there is something else that would meet my needs better, but like any tool, there is a fair amount of work involved in learning to use Linked-In, and there is a fair amount of work in making it work for you. And for me, if it’s work, I can’t help but look at it like a process, and every process needs to be written down and every process has to start with a purpose.

Purpose: To define a professional profile that accurately and attractively presents the detailed professional image that you are trying to achieve.

Your Linked-In profile is a lot like a resume. In fact, I can see a day when your Linked-In profile will be the first thing that employers look at. Resumes may already be obsolete.

Even if you are not looking for work, you are always looking for work or help with work on Linked-In. You should put those things into your profile that you would be comfortable sharing with a new employer or your present employer, and little else. If you like your current job, make sure your Linked-In profile reflects well on your current employer. In general, your linked-In profile should reflect well on everyone and everything you mention. Linked-in is not an arena for fighting battles.

I hope I never have to look for a job again, but that will only continue as long as my current and future enterprises bring in sufficient income. If I use my Linked-In profile properly with my other tools, I may avoid that fate. (Don’t get me wrong. I have loved most of my jobs, but I hate looking for work and I hate commuting. I really love my current job, and it involves no commuting.)

I maintain a Linked-In membership because I want to make more money doing exactly the things that I want to do. I’m not using Linked-In to promote my social consciousness or to keep up with my social network. I might use another networking site for those (with a great deal of caution), but Linked-In is all about what I want to do for work. I need to carefully and constantly define that, and Linked-In is a good place to keep that definition. I don’t want to do that in a way that closes any doors, but I strongly believe that you do need to project a vision.

Moreover, you need to project a vision with substance. If you want to get a certain type of work, you need to convince people that you are likely to be good at it. This is usually a lot easier if you have been living at least part of your vision, and have colleagues, employers, partners, and experience that attests to that skill. This should not be too hard if you are good at what you do and want to continue in that work and there are people that need that work. The more radically you want to change what you are doing, the more difficult it will be to provide substance for your vision.

Above all, keep your Linked-In profile accurate and credible. Remember, people can check out a lot about armed with nothing more than Google, especially if you have ever really done anything. You leave trails everywhere you go in the electronic world we live in.

Company Profile

I did not even know that Linked-In had a company profile capability until a very short time ago, but if you are a manager of a company and want to tell people what you company does, the Linked-In profile is a simple and free way to do that. If you work for a company, you should make sure your company’s profile is online and updated.


One of the things I like about Linked-In is that no one abuses their connections, or if they do, I have been lucky enough to avoid that. I get no unrequested solicitations. I don’t get that many of the kind of solicitations I am eagerly looking for, but I get some. That’s pretty good, and I actually think it is going to last because the unspoken part of Linked-Ins connection capability is the ease of disconnecting. People will be very unlikely to abuse their connections even on a small level because the risk is far greater than the reward.

I am pretty broad-minded about who I connect to. I can afford to do that because people only tend to come to me for stuff they will pay me for doing. Warren Buffett probably has to be more careful because he faces a real danger of getting excessively pestered. However, even for me I want to avoid connections that do not have a significant purpose.

I want to keep up with what friends and colleagues are up to, and Linked-In provides a quick way to do that if they keep up their profiles. If they don’t, I am no more ignorant for making the connection. The connection also gives me an persistent email link to the person. I would say past colleagues are your best connections because they already know your work. Hopefully, they appreciated and would like to have you on their side in a future endeavor.

I can’t think of any negatives letting these same people know what I am up to, but I control that by what I put into my profile. I wouldn’t want thousand of connections like some people have because I would suffer from information overload. I have enough connections already so that it would be a mess if they all used the broadcast power of Linked-In, but they don’t. With rare exceptions, most of the Linked-In updates have to do with new connections to my connections.

I should pay some attention to who my connections are connected to, but that’s a lot of work and kind of invasive. In all cases, I really want to speak to my direct connections because that’s where I think I have the most credibility. I’d have to go and look at every profile unless I recognized the names.

Linked-In tells me that I am connected to millions of people, but I think they only list thirty that have a live direct connection. There is an implied power in the secondary and tertiary connections, but that is hard to exploit. The only way you can really exploit anything beyond your immediate network is to do something so interesting that your connections have to tell their connections, and their connections have to tell their connections. I don’t know if you would need Linked-In if you came up with something that interesting, but I think sometimes the right message can work its way down a connection chain until it gets to the person who needs to hear it.

To their credit, I think Linked-In is working to help you achieve getting your message out virally if you can, while maintaining a culture of consideration and respect. It’s a tough road to walk, but so far, so good.

My belief is that the best way to exploit those connections is to be very clear about what you or your business can do for people. You want to talk to people who are interested in what you have to offer, and those people can only find you if you tell them what you can deliver.


If you don’t get enough email every day, join a couple of Linked-In groups. I join groups because I am joining with other people who share my agenda, or at least are my competition. The best things about groups is that they have job postings and discussions. The job postings are interesting even if you are not looking for a job because they tell you a lot about what people in that group are spending their money on.

Linked-In Discussions

Although my impression so far is that Linked-In Discussions would be more accurately called soliloquies, they are interesting and useful. For best results, start or participate in discussions on areas where you are doing work currently. We have gained valuable insights from private comments to our discussions even though we have yet to attract a single public comment. As with every other aspect of Linked-In, proceed with discretion. Anything you put out there becomes part of the value matrix that you are creating for potential customers and employers. Make sure that each contribution to a discussion enhances that picture of value.

Linked-In Answers

I still haven’t used this feature, but I have been thinking about it. My initial impression is that the best way to use it is very similar to discussion. That is, ask or answer questions only if your interest and knowledge is valid and current.

Blogs Linked to Your Linked-In Profile

Again, use discretion. Even if no one is reading your blog right now, someone will when you are trying to get a job or make a sale. Make sure that anything you write in your linked blog in mindful of this fact. Therefore, you shouldn’t link your golf blog unless you are in the golf business, and even then, the blog needs to exclusively support your business purposes. Avoid religion and politics because they won’t get you any new business, but could well cost you some. If you write a blog with significant religious or political content, people may find it anyway, but don’t push it in their face by making it part of your on-line profile.


I’d love to hear from people who are having success promoting their business with Linked-In.


How To Foster the Starting of New Businesses

The only government program that I have seen that really ever seemed to do any good as far as creating new businesses and new jobs was the plan that allowed people to take their unemployment compensation and use it to start a new business. I am sure that most of those businesses failed because most new businesses fail, but some surely succeeded and employed people. Everything else I see coming out of the government really is not much help to the really small business person.

First, the government needs to stop doing things that get in the way. In particular, the government needs to stop getting in the way of new businesses trying to raise capital. For example, the changing of a “qualified investor” was made five times as stringent during the last year of the Bush administration. Maybe it was time to do this if you believe that the old law made sense because inflation has surely changed the notion of what is a comfortable nest egg, but the old law limits the right of ordinary Americans to be capitalists as much as any law on the books.

Making this law more stringent is a huge case of Nanny-state. You can’t foster new businesses, i.e. encourage people to take risks, by saying that they are unqualified to take them. The government does far more to prevent people from investing in legitimate new businesses that should have a beneficial effect for the whole society than it does to put people like Bernie Madoff out of business. Whether or not you believe that protecting people from themselves is a legitimate role of government, you have to conclude that the current rules and processes do not do everything they can to promote new business. Let’s take a look at what else they could do.

Create a Special Tax Break for Providers of Start-Up Capital

Should the guy who makes a hundred grand betting on Joe’s Widgets pay the same tax as the guy who made a hundred grand on Bank of America? Not if you want people to be eager to participate in new ventures. Is this fair to Bank of America, Microsoft, and IBM, to name a few? Not really, but they don’t need start-up capital. The cost to them is small and likely is a less than appropriate tax on their hugeness. Do you want create more small businesses or cater to the status quo? If you want a vibrant economy, you better not be catering to the status quo.

I’d like to see the first hundred percent return on such investments be tax free. That is, if you put up a million dollars to get Joe’s widgets started, you would not pay any tax on the first two million you took back out after Joe hits it big. That is, you don’t get taxed on getting your money back, and you don’t get taxed on the first matching win. I’d go even further and tax only fifty percent of the next hundred percent, and only seventy-five percent of the next hundred percent.

I don’t think that this is overly generous since most new businesses fail without ever making a profit for the investors, but it is a heck of a lot better than the deal angel investors get today. (They call them angels because they require so much faith.) The only way to get more money into these operations is to change the risk/reward profile. Most investors are not math-impaired.

Should investors pay a higher tax rate if they made their money from an organization that got bailed out by the government? They should, and actually they already are because the government is taking a big cut.

Problem/Opportunity Funding

Our country faces many problems and many opportunities. There is even occasionally some degree of consensus on what is a problem and what is an opportunity. I think the government and/or private agencies need to be able to support new businesses that can demonstrate that they are solving a problem for the community or opening an opportunity that will increase the prosperity of the community. The problem with such programs are that they disrupt the status quo, but a healthy capitalist economy is one that fosters change. Change is always going to come, and it will run you over if you are not ready for it on every level.

Foster Competition

It was a sad day when Packard went out of business, but it wasn’t devastating. Packard was just one of many auto companies, and they failed all the time. I’m not sure how much GM and Chrysler ended up with, but we could have started hundreds of new car companies at one hundred million dollars a shot. Wouldn’t that be a better use of our money than giving it to people who have proven they can’t manage a company? Wouldn’t that provide more jobs for auto workers? Wouldn’t that ensure that we would offer the world a broader choice in automobiles? Wouldn’t that mean that all cars would get better. The answer to all of these questions has to be yes if you believe in capitalism.

The auto bailout is exactly the wrong thing to do if you want to solve the problem. If it works, we end up with companies that should have failed and which are almost certain to face the same kind of problem in the future. If it doesn’t work, we are out billions and still have the same economic problems we were trying to prevent. A future with fifty car companies is a future far less prone to economic stresses than a future with three.

Redefine Small Business

A Company with $250 M in revenues is not a small business that needs help from the government. By the time a company is generating $10M a year in revenue, it should be able to stand on its own and raise capital on its own. A company needs the most help when it is just a business plan, or a business that is attracting attention and needs a little help to get to the next level. These are the companies that will increase employment, but they are also the companies that have the hardest time getting money from the banking industry. We need a government-guaranteed loan program that focuses on really small businesses that need to get to the point where they can inspire faith.

The most explosive growth of business in the micro-capitalism sphere, and there is a huge gap between that level and the level where the government will even recognize you. We either need to come up with a private solution to this, or the government ought to jump in.


I believe that we can make American business young again with just a few simple changes in our tax law. If we let everyone use their own judgment about these bets, it will help even more.

The government shouldn’t need to participate beyond that, but if it does stick its nose in, the focus needs to be on solving the problem, not in protecting the status quo – the path of least resistance that government always follow.

Nobody Saw It Coming

It doesn’t matter what you are talking about – the dot com crash, the subprime crash, or the tulip bubble. The years after such a crisis are marked by protestations that nobody saw the crash coming. In fact, those protestations are almost always false. True, almost everyone did drink the Kool-Aid, but there were always those that said: “No thanks!”

One of the good things about CNBC is that it creates a record of these events. They know who drank the Kool-Aid and who did not, and they have it on tape. When Peter Schiff was running around telling people that the subprime bubble was the biggest bubble of all time, both CNBC correspondents and their guests howled with derisive laughter. The Daily Show was kind enough to put together a collage of these interviews, and you can see that he was telling the straight story and was being treated like he was a total clown by people who were being total clowns themselves at the time.

Peter may not be the most charming person you ever saw on TV, but even if he had been wrong, he would have deserved significantly better treatment. Given the fact that he was right and his detractors were nothing less than fools, you would think there would have been quite a few public apologies, but I guess Wall Street doesn’t work that way. While lots of people on Wall Street are wrong most of the time, admitting in public that you were wrong is rather exceptional behavior.

There’s always a Peter Schiff, the guy who has it right. He’s always going to be the one who says the bubble will burst, and the guys who have it wrong will be saying, “that will never happen.” The guys who have it wrong are almost always hoping that it will never happen, but most of them don’t believe in never any more than you or I do. They mean “That just can’t happen while I am making all of this money.”

You should pay close attention whenever you hear that phrase or anything like it on CNBC, The more times you hear it said about any possibility, the more likely it is to happen. Wall Street should keep a “That will never happen” Index so that we could all track these events. They wouldn’t be talking about it if it wasn’t a possibility, and the more they talk about it, the more likely a possibility it has become.

Does that mean that any particular disaster will happen in a predictable time frame? Not necessarily, there are a lot of People that always say things like Peter Schiff, and most of them are wrong far more often than they are right. However, if the doomsayers are talking about your favorite investment or something that directly affects your favorite investment, you do need to sort through the doomsayers with an open mind. You don’t just want to say “That will never happen” or you soon may be saying “Nobody could have seen this coming.”

Do It Once

My career has followed a pattern where I learn something, often with great difficulty. Then I start writing about it, primarily because writing is a key part of my learning process. After I have written about it for a while, I usually am asked to teach on the subject. I usually take advantage of these opportunities because teaching is also a critical part of my learning process. Finally, I am tired of teaching about that subject and end up teaching someone to teach the course. Once I have finished the cycle, I don’t go back unless the subject changes or I change my mind about critical aspects.

One of my many problems is that I never really want to do the same thing twice. I would much rather go out and figure out something else. I like the challenge of figuring something out, but then I want to give it to my assistant, my partner, my friend, or my computer. When possible, my computer takes over the chore because then I am freed from the boredom of doing a repetitive job, but I remain in control of how that job is done. For better and for worse, people don’t follow my directions nearly as faithfully as computers do. Better yet, I might still be able to collect money for the work if my computer does it.

This is a very handy mindset to have when most of your income comes from automating processes and developing software. As any programmer will tell you, a program is a set of simple instructions assembled into exceptionally large structures. Much of the assembly is simple and repetitive. This is painfully true when it comes to databases, and every project has a database. In fact, the database is most of the project for most projects, and the code is painfully boring to write.

Fortunately, there are an increasing number of solutions to this problem. Most involve some form of code generation, and some code generators will generate complete applications. All are welcome, but I have gravitated to CodeSmith because it lets me do everything my own way. I know every line of code generated by CodeSmith does what I want, and I know each line reads exactly the way I want it to read. I also know that when there are errors in my code, they are almost never in code that was generated, they are in code that I wrote by hand.

When I change my mind about the way this code should look or perform, I work on the code generation template until the template generates code that matches the new evolved standard. Sometimes this is easy, but if I happen to have some kind of conceptual breakthrough, the change can be massive. If I let myself learn too much at any one time, the templates could implode. Fortunately, I learn slower and slower all of the time, but sometimes I read a dangerous book.

The last such book I read was Robert Martin’s Clean Code. After reading it, I became convinced that the people using my business objects should have to know database information like primary keys. Related collections ought to be directly accessible. This seems simple enough, but it is pretty revolutionary to someone who has built and managed dozens of database systems basing all of that on the use of keys.

Here is the difference. In the real world, a customer has accounts, and the accounts have deposits and withdrawals. In the database world, the customer record has a primary key. Multiple account records may share the same customer primary key, and each deposit and withdrawal would contain the primary key of a single account. There is nothing tricky or fancy in the database code to record a new deposit, but on the database level, all of this is done using the primary keys.

It’s been my practice and the practice of many others to export that level of detail to users of those business objects. Often, the person doing the database programming was also programming the application that called the database so it wasn’t like anyone had to learn something new about keys. However, it is clearly detail that ought to be restricted to the data access layer. Any time a web page or a Windows form needs to know about primary keys, details that should be encapsulated in the data access layer have leaked to the presentation layer.

This might all sound very easy once you really define the goal, but the goals always change during a project because the project is a learning experience. The templates become the place where I put what I have learned to work. The templates never stop.

By the way, my old CodeSmith templates for C# and SQL-Server are posted on at DbObjectLight. The new templates will be posted there as soon as I get time to document them. Anyone is free to download them and use them. Let me know if you have any problems.

Adding an RSS Feed to Outlook

This blog uses RSS (Really Simple Syndication) to deliver new posts and comments to subscribers. Unfortunately, many people don’t seem to know how to take advantage of RSS.

Why do we use RSS?

The previous solution to maintain a subscriber list was to have people provide me with their emails, I would keep a list, and every time I wrote a new article, I would send a copy to everyone on the list. This was a lot of work for me, and ultimately it dragged down the whole writing process. There were more people who wanted to read what I had to say than there were people who wanted to give me their email address, and it was a pain every time someone changed their mind. It was far better than having to print everything out and mail it, but it still was a system with drawbacks for everyone. RSS eliminates the need for you to give your email address to anyone, and it removes the whole process of maintaining a subscriber list.

For a publisher using a tool like, the process is really simple. They ask me if I want to add an RSS feed, and I say Yes. I’m not sure what is going on behind the scenes, and I don’t really care as long as it solves the problem.

Once that is done, anyone can subscribe to my RSS feed using any RSS reader. If you want to be a subscriber, RSS is really simple but not quite intuitive. Let’s go through the process in Microsoft Outlook.

An RSS feed is treated by Outlook much like an email account. Select View Accounts from the Tools menu, and go to the RSS tab. Click on New, and enter the feed URL. Note that the URL for this blog is, but the RSS feed URL is .

Shortly after you do this, you should see a new folder in Outlook’s Personal Folders\RSS Feeds\ called Rust Never Sleeps.  If you open it, it will contain the entries from this blog, and new entries will appear shortly after they are published.

If you get tired of my drivel, all you have to do to stop this is to delete the RSS feed entry that you created above.  The entries will stop coming immediately.

Note the structural difference.  With RSS, you have a tool that goes out and gets what you want to read.  With an email list, you get whatever the sender (or anyone else that gets the list) decides to send you.  RSS puts you in control.

Breaking Up Healthcare

There are lots of problems with the current healthcare discussion, not the least of which is that it doesn’t seem to be a discussion, but my problem is the scope.

Healthcare, like many other problems,  is such a big topic that it really needs to be broken down to be discussed and understood.  The profession itself breaks it down several different ways, but I don’t think that fits our purposes either.  The healthcare debate today is about money

Different kinds of healthcare would seem to require different kinds of financing because each kind has its own economic structure.  Here is one way to do that breakdown that attempts to consider the possible financial structures.  It is by no means the only way, but this is one possibility.

Basic Common Problems

Each of the following could easily be taken out of the current health care debate.  We have excellent systems in place for both trauma and contagious disease, and the free market system seems to deliver the health care people are looking for.  Note that these are all problems with relatively small cost or at least costs which are spread over time

Preventive Care looks like the best place for the government to change things for the better.  Right now, you can’t deduct a gym membership and schools no longer offer Physical Education.  What about tax credits for getting fit and staying fit?  It’s not a cure-all, but even Republicans will like any health care reform that comes packaged as a tax break.

Medical Record Keeping is one place where the government is certainly going to have a part. Good-bye forever any real notion of medical privacy, but have we really had that since on-line medical databases became the norm?  A uniform medical database system will simplify lots of medical chores, but it also likely that it will be used for law enforcement chores at some point.  I don’t know if I like any of this, but there is no doubt that the possible cost savings from a uniform approach all but make it certain that this will happen.

It’s a nightmare to arrange an annual physical exam without applying for life insurance.  These need to be easy and cheap to get, and you might consider a tax credit for getting one.

Contagious Disease:is a common threat that we all face.  The government already deals with this to a large extent, and that seems appropriate even to most conservatives.  These days contagious disease and biological warfare generate many of the same concerns.  The costs of contagious disease are already born by the society as a whole.

Trauma is currently dealt with on a case by case basis.  If you break your leg or get in a car accident, our current medical system will fix you up and figure out how to pay for it later.  Some are covered by insurance, some pay for it themselves, and we all collectively pay for the rest of the repairs..  Note that the Defense Department already has to be very good at dealing with trauma.  It might be simpler to put them in charge of that as well.

Dental Care is a concern we all have, and it is very expensive.  However, my bad teeth don’t affect you in any way except aesthetically.  The government could solve it cheaply by removing everyone’s teeth and giving them dentures, but I don’t think anyone thinks that is a good idea.  It seems like there is an unexploited market for lost-cost dental care, but there will always be a market for those who want nothing but the best.  Dental care is not exactly optional medical care, but it is a portion of medical care with a lot of different choices and a lot of different costs.

Optional Medical Care

I would also remove these topics from the current discussion because they involve choice.  You get to choose when or if you make these decisions, and you should also be ready, willing, and able to take on the financial burden.

Cosmetic surgery and treatments are the best examples of something that is between you, your vanity, and your wallet.  This should never come up in the discussion.

Maternity and Childbirth are expensive, but they can be avoided, and some would argue, should be avoided, by those that cannot afford the costs.  Not being able to afford kids, however, is not a barrier to lots of people.  They just go ahead and have them anyway, and the society is expected to endure the costs of the maternity and childbirth.

This is a common problem because of the expense that is borne by all, but any attempt to include it in the general discussion on healthcare is going to be divisive and unlikely to be productive.  I don’t like solving a problem by pretending it doesn’t exist, but sometimes that has to be done so that you can concentrate on solving those that can.

Joint Replacement is also optional, though people who have had their joints replaced would argue otherwise.  Certainly, people got by without joint replacement until late in the last century, and it is not a problem that we share in common with one another.

The Most Controversial Segments

If all we were worried about was the issues above, this would be a simple and relatively inexpensive problem.  Chronic diseases and catastrophic events are both very expensive, and the medicines to deal with the diseases of aging are not cheap either.

Chronic Disease like diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, or anything else like AIDS that stretches on for decades are very expensive because the expense extends over the rest of the person’s life in most cases.  If you are an insurance company, you can’t picture a time when you are going to come out ahead with most of the victims of these conditions because their current expensive need for medicine is unlikely to lessen.

Catastrophic Disease like cancer, heart disease, or organ failure are also very expensive, and it seems, inevitable if we live long enough.  This also is tough to finance.  Medicare attempts to address this up to a point.

Setting that point is a matter of some contention, and there is no doubt that economics has to be a driving factor.  The real problem is that if you get a catastrophic medical event that you survive, you may be left in such bad economic shape that you will wish you hadn’t.

Action Plan

If you solve the easy problems and then focus on chronic and catastrophic diseases, a solution might be found.  I don’t have one in mind, but I am willing to bet that we have a better chance of finding one by taking this kind of a focus.

Let’s Speculate

I hear that some people want to outlaw speculation.   I guess they don’t understand that speculation is what drives capitalism, or that the precious little difference between speculation and investment lives almost entirely in the eye of the beholder.

If you were going to make speculation illegal, how could you define it so that you would not prohibit investment?  Are you speculating any time you put your money into something without the intention of making use of it yourself?  What makes stocks and bonds any different?  Aren’t the buyers and sellers of those speculators?

We need speculators.  Speculators help entrepreneurs found new businesses.  Heck, entrepreneurs are speculators who speculate they can make something big out of something very small.

Speculators are the lifeblood of our society.  A speculator believes in ope, and puts his money where his mouth is.  Does that mean that there is no problem?  Is there some point or degree when speculation turns from good to bad?

Actuallly, it turns out that there is.  Speculation is great for the system when the supply of speculators is limited.  When everybody wants to be a speculator, things get out of hand.  You get too much money chasing too few goods, and the cost of those goods inflates, sometimes wildly.  This is not good for the consumers of those goods, and it is not good for those holding the bag when the speculators move on to another fashion.

Can we stop this?  If so, do we want to?  I don’t think we can stop speculation, and I don’t see any possible good coming from an effort to try.  I am not even sure that more information helps since information feeds and caters to the speculators until it turns.

And if you hadn’t noticed, we already do the most effective thing you can do to control speculation — we tax it! Capital gains taxes are taxes on speculation.  We even give people a break if they take a longer than six months view when they speculate by differentiating between short-term and long-term capital gains.

We can control some things that happen around speculation.  For example, a thirteen-year old kid was reported to have bought nine houses during the housing boom.  He was speculating, but that wasn’t the crime.  The crime was that he was using fraudulent promises so that he coulde speculate with somebody else’s money — somebody else that did not check very deep.

If you look closely, you can see that the real problem is that the boom made people sloppy with their money.  A boom is when you want to be most careful.  “When life looks like Easy Street, there is danger at your door.”

So let’s not shoot the speculators, but let’s start getting real careful when it looks like everyone is speculating about the same thing.