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    This is TMAP — integrity

    The TMAP mission

    On a recent trip to Argentina I was reading through Inc. Magazine. It's a pretty amazing source of information for the entrepreneur. I was genuinely surprised by the breadth and applicability. I had been sure it would be a moderately useful Business-Bro publication. In fact I read it cover to cover. That could mean I'm a business-bro, but I doubt it.

    While my brain was on fire with ideas, I did some work on narrowing down what drives the TMAP brand. Asimov was an inspiration.

    We seek to carry products that satisfy these rules. The first two are inflexible requirements except in the complexity of their evaluation. The rest are merely goals to seek.



    1. Ethical
    Although we understand the question of ethics is hazy, we stand against injustice. We sell products that do not unduly strain the world or the minds in it. This is the most important measure of work, and we need to hold each other accountable to this.

    2. Effective

    Products, like professionals, should do the jobs they set out to do. This is the second most important measure of work.



    3. Lasting

    A product that lasts your lifetime often increases in value as time passes, and its cost per use falls. Longevity is a very attractive feature for a useful product, and should be a priority, so long as it does not interfere with a product's effectiveness.

    4. Maintainable

    A product that can be maintained over its lifetime serves its owner in many ways. Every time that product is repaired it is improved, like the callus that improves your hand. A scar on a good product reveals the story of that product, educates you, and establishes a relationship with it.

    5. Repeatable

    To sell a one-off, like an antique, undermines the idea of being a retailer.

    6. Beautiful

    The lowest priority, except when one of the problems being solved by the product is an aesthetic one.


    In old probably-fabricated memories from my childhood I can hear this advice from my dad: son, you ought to avoid taking jobs that require a uniform.

    This advice has stirred in my mind for the last two decades and is on the cusp of becoming a manifesto about identity. It informs my clothing choices at the very least, and it has certainly has an effect on the shape of TMAP.

    It's easy to pick a look and wear it every day. There are many people with similar beliefs and personalities to yours. The internet will show you thousands of options, and they can each bend slightly further in your direction. If you're lucky, you'll effectively be wearing your own clothes. Besides, you'll save the people you meet a lot of time when they can quickly drape you in shared cultural associations. But after three days, the outfit wears you, so you'd better choose wisely.

    Being a professional is not about wearing a pinstripe suit any more than it is about wearing a heavy cotton duck work coat, or ordering people around, or having an MBA. Being a professional is about taking what you do seriously, and being confident in the knowledge that when you do it, it's worth money.

    We wear outfits to suit our environment. At a wedding you wear a suit because that's what's done. Under a truck you wear black everything to hide the grease stains. At a cocktail party you get a little weird.

    Knowing where you are and what the context demands of your behavior; knowing what's expected of you and how to do it: these are the marks of professionalism. It's how you know you're the one wearing the suit and not the other way around.