Sainthood comes to those who order ice cream first

The power brick was bigger than the device itself

I’ve been thinking about the intersections and overlaps of the youngest accidentally named after and youngest purposefully named after people. That is, it is possible to name your child after a famous person on purpose, but it’s also possible to name your child after no one in particular only to later have someone with that same name become famous, and make it look like your child retroactively was named after them.

For example, LeBron James is a famous NBA player. If you were born in the year 1800 and named “LeBron James”, you were (putting aside time travel or other chronological slips) obviously not named after that LeBron James, because he also wasn’t born yet. On the other hand, if you were born in 2020 and named LeBron James, then it’s relatively more likely that you are. Your parents presumably have James as a last name, and are either big fans of the famous LeBron James, or if not big fans, at least aware of the famous LeBron James and willing to tolerate the comparison even if they claim you were not “named after” that LeBron James.

There is a mid-point that is somewhere around whenever the famous LeBron James became famous where you have someone just old enough that their parents can plausibly claim that they did not name their child after him and have it be utterly believable — but then you also have someone who is just young enough that their parents can claim that they did name their child after him and have that be believable. For this specific example — LeBron was sort of famous before this as a high school player — but his NBA draft date was in June of 2003, so you’ve probably got some April and May babies from that year who have a claim to not being named after LeBron James even though there’s another kid who is just a couple months younger than them who maybe is named after LeBron James.

I’d like to get these people born in this grey area together at some big conference and hear what they have to think about things. You could have some general interest topics about names, but then you’d also have break-out sessions where each namesake would go into a room with their same-named namesakes and just look at each other for a bit. If you have the budget to go big on this you could probably have some of the most-named-after celebrities show up and like, talk about whatever they were doing when they became famous right in front of the people who were being born around then.

An alternate version of this could be an event for people who were not named after anyone at all, but then someone did something and became infamous by some sort of crime or evil act, and now you’ve got all these people who were just blissfully living their lives and they find themselves to share a name with the guy who did the bad thing that time; and they could all talk about how that’s going.

Counting to seven Mississippis

Frequently within organizations you’ll have a hierarchy of managers who are theoretically in charge of the output of the group of people “below” them on the org chart. Even in relatively flat organizations you usually wind up with at least a few management layers. Sometimes, you’ll use language like “Oh, Sally reports to Bill, go see her about that” or “Yeah, Jeff and Linda are in Jane’s group, they both report to her” or whatever.

If I had to guess there’s probably some sort of military history to this naming convention, but that doesn’t really matter now. What does matter is that there are literally millions of people out there who are nominally someone’s manager and have a team who “report to” them … but who are utterly failing to ask their team for REPORTS!

If you are a manager, please ask your team for reports. Every conversation should end with “I’d like that report on my desk by the end of the day” or whatever, until you get a damn report. It doesn’t really matter what the report is about, but if you are being told by your organization that someone “reports to” you, you have an obligation to extract some friggin reports from these people, so please start doing it.