The Original Skinman

April 15, 2008

No this is not skinman taking up more space in the blogosphere – it’s his brother with the uncool and unpronounceable email moniker of gkinman.

My brother thinks he’s the original skinman based on the story of how he became skinman. A former employer in the 90’s got tired of the cutesy email names and demanded that everyone stop using those and act professional and from now on, employees would use the pattern of "first initial followed by last name" without exception. When he first saw the skinman email name, he went ballistic and said “I thought I said no more cutesy email names” to which my brother replied, "that is my first initial and last name."

Sorry to burst his bubble, but the other night, my wife showed me some old documents about my family lineage from my grandmother’s Bible. We wondered if someone had posted our family tree online as so many folks do. Through the wonder of Google, sure enough they had. I won’t bore you with the line of how we link back to this guy but we do, and he really IS the original Skinman.

So, here’s a couple of links about the original Skinman.

I think old Seth, the original Skinman, would have made a good SL’er, mostly because of he was an outsourcing entrepreneur. A New York times story from 1885 says that he contracted to supply government troops and sawmill hands with elk meat. He provided 240 elk over 11 months at 25 cents per pound. This handy guide indicates that a typical elk yields about 250 pounds of meat – but read it only if you have a strong stomach or are an avid hunter.

So 240 elk x 250 pounds of meat per elk at 25 cents per pound equals $15,000. In the mid 1800’s this was quite a chunk of change. Do your own calc, but mine shows that this is just north of $6 million in today’s dollars. So ol’ Skinman was quite the successful outsourcing entrepreneur! And he even had a soft layer. Whereas ours today is our software that sits on top of the hardware to virtualize the data center and make your life easier, Seth’s soft layer was the buckskin clothes he always wore.

Fast forward 150 years and you’ll see the Skinman of this era blogging about outsourcing. In my next post, I’ll show you some numbers that show his thinking is right on the money.

-Gary

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