Last night on Twitter we were discussing how mind blowingly knowledgeable HaleyB is on Disney. I thought to myself, even after reading her presentation from FT4RL that I still just didn’t ‘get it’ and researching and booking would take many hours.
Let’s say I was to go for 2 days (I have no idea if that is enough, need to research… !) and it took:
- 6hrs to figure out all the crazy rules about having an awesome Disney, what a FastPass is, how to ensure my little Prince gets to hang out with Mickey, and how to smuggle in booze in my clothing…
- 2hrs to research and book travel.
- 48hrs at disney.
Thats a 8:48 ratio, which is a 6x return on invested time. However, if you argue that there would be 6-8hrs of sleeping, and 1-2 more of naps.. maybe we are looking at more like 28hrs of quality, or a 3.5X return.
Is it worth it?
What about instead paying Haley (as if I could afford someone of that level of skill, but let’s pretend) for a mix of a consultation, and a booking. IE she talks to us so we ‘get it’ and then recommends some ideas, and goes on to book. Chances are we would have a better level of understanding than by spending even 6hrs studying this crap, and she could listen to our needs, and lock in the best options. More time saved.
I would totally pay for that, as would everyone… the question is, would the price we would pay meet the market rate of the knowledge? The challenge is, can we get over that emotional roadblock and pay?
The notion of specialization is when you elect to stick with your core skills, and ‘specialize’ in these, while outsourcing things outside of your wheelhouse. In business I see this with successful people. For example, I recently contacted a lawyer for a project, and while it was related to real estate (his focus) it was outside of his specialization, so he passed on the gig. By doing so he kept all his work and ability to work locked into where he is a true expert (AKA sending out boilerplate and not engaging his brain…).
In other words – at some point you learn to accept what is smart, and offload the rest. Personally, I like to use the ‘ratio’ I played with in this post as my barometer. For example, I may, tomorrow, start welding pipes…. It is not in my wheelhouse, but doing so teaches me a ROI beyond the transaction, it also gets me stuck under my house crawlspace and gaining ‘knowledge’ of how things look under there. This allows me to have a good grasp of the state of my home.
- Deal: weld a loose pipe as return = transaction (it stops leaking) plus knowledge of the house
- No deal: weld something away from the house, like a handrail, that had no knowledge attached.
It’s linked to the concepts I spoke of at TravelCon where there is value in an investment that both returns an immediate benefit, and also future returns. One day, I’ll stop this also, but that’s where I am today.
If we go back to the Disney example, the reason I really want to pay is that I can’t see me going back (at least to the same park) so all that knowledge that I filled my pea like brain with is dead. There’s no recurring ROI.
Are you a candidate for specialization?
If you live in Manhattan, I would argue that you should focus your energy on learning award charts, and buying points at 3% or less. The reason is that you have a lot of airlines as options, so lots of low hanging fruit, and earning is harder. Using your time wisely creates a better ROI. Sure, I know you can make it work in Manhattan, but you are swimming upstream, and meanwhile, the chances are if you reside there your income is higher, so paying a bit more cash for your points is viable. For those employed in Chipotle who want to tell me they can’t afford to buy points for their First Class Etihad flights and are Hyatt Diamonds.. please feel free to leave a comment.
If you live in bumbleback America, where they let you MS $100K a day, but you have only one airline – it might be better to MS the heck out of it, and then pay an award booker to make some magic happen. They might be able to show you ways to use miles in a better way, such as taking positioning flights.
If you are retired, or financially independant it might be better for you to do what you enjoy. Some people do actually enjoy MS as it gets them out and about. Others might enjoy puzzling out awards. You could even do both here… but you could specialize if you want. The key for this group is to really think how much ‘fun’ is it?
Another route to consider is to take out the silly tasks, and focus just on earning and burning… for example, I need to get an eye exam done, so instead of wasting an hour trying to figure out who takes my insurance for a free eye exam, I just send a note to the team at Fancy Hands. They set someone on the case, and I think will book an appointment for me based on my Gmail calendar!
I already asked them if they would write these posts for me, and they told me to bugger off.