Today I developed a crypto currency hedge fund strategy. I’m using Coinbase to execute all trades.
Why Bet on the Game
Essentially, this is a tiny portion of my overall investment account. Indeed, I don’t actually call this part of my investment plan. This is just a fun way to stay up to date with crypto-currencies and do a bit of gambling.
Crypto-currencies have the potential to dramatically shake up the global financial system. While studying economics at the University of Nevada, I learned a lot about monetary relations.
I have a perceptions that the financial industry plays an important role in the security and mobility of capital for individuals and companies around the world. Though I believe the institutions are important, I also believe that organizations like these are using their importance to behave sub-optimally.
As I don’t pretend to have any idea on what is going to happen with any specific currency, I’ll just bet evenly across all of those coins avaliable on Coinbase.
I’ll use a risk assessment which is entirely emotional on my part to make decisions on the ratio of cash to coins. I’m sure it would be better to create an algorithm to balance dollar weight average or find some sort of relationship between ‘bitcoin’ tweet frequency and the coin price… but that would take a lot of time and I’m primarily focused on other things.
Assessing Risk to Balance Portfolio
Since I’m gambling, I get to make up the way I hedge the fund. I came up with the following idea.
I’ll make fund balancing decisions based on how I feel about the currency market:
- Low (0% Cash) – When I feel that the currencies are at their historical lowest, I’ll take from the cash and invest in currencies.
- Medium (12% Cash) – When I feel that the currencies could go either way, I’ll take from the cash and invest in currencies.
- High (25% Cash) – When I feel that the currencies are at their highest and are likely to fall, I’ll take from the cash and invest in currencies.
When I feel that the currencies are overvalued, I’ll hold more cash. When I feel they are selling for less, I’ll hold less cash. Overall, I’ll hold at least 75% of the account at all times.
I plan to trade, at the very most, in 30 day increments. This is a long game. I expect to be holding crypto-currencies late into life so I’m in no rush here.
Here is an example of my most recent balancing spreadsheet:
In Coinbase I was able to execute two sell orders denominated in USD. Then a buy order for Litecoin. From logging into the platform, to deciding on a strategy to executing the orders, this took me about 1 hour.
Some people bet on horses, I like betting on crypto currencies.
My dominating theory here is that I have no idea what these currencies will do. I don’t know if one has a chance for implosion, or if one has a chance to be the next bitcoin.
If Litecoin or Ethereum grows from $25 per coin to $1000 per coin like Bitcoin did in 2013, I want to hold a few of them.
That is why I’m only betting emotionally. That is why I’ll restrict my buy/sell decision to impacting, at the very most, 25% of the portfolio.
The rest I’ll leave to chance and time.
I really like Udemy.
They have an excellent platform and it’s getting better all the time. If you are making your first online course, Udemy is the best.
Software, hosting, credit card processing, internet traffic and a million other little things are no longer on the teacher’s ‘to-do’ list. Udemy is a great partner and if you have the opportunity to work with them, take it. It’s a great offer.
Alas, our podcast production business is growing into a larger organization. It’s important that our teaching reflects that growth too.
For that reason, I’m exploring removing our podcast production course from Udemy’s Promotional Pricing for a short time. I’ll test the results and share those results here.
TLDR? Important Stuff First
Professional Podcast Production Stats:
- Course published April 2015
- Course has been on Udemy for 21 months
- $6,009 is Freedom Podcasting’s profit for that period
- $273.15 is the average profit per month over that 21 month period
- We’ve agreed to the Udemy Deals Program for this entire period
- We opted out of the Udemy Deals Program on January 8th, 2017
What is Udemy Promotional Pricing?
There are two parts of the Udemy Promotional Pricing:
- Percentage Promotions – Udemy’s sales team offers the teachers course at a discount of up to 75% depending on the time of year and the promotion
- Fixed-Price Promotions – Udemy’s sales team offers the teachers course at a specified price. This is the clause that, as far as I understand it, makes it so that many instructors often see their courses listed at $10.
Why We’re Testing Opting Out
Price is a signal of quality – I’m confident that the course is worth more and it’s important that incoming students know that they are signing up for something that is really going to teach them. A low price signals that the course doesn’t need to be taken quite as seriously.
We’re really confident with the course. We have more than twenty students who have gone through the course and created their own podcasts which live on the iTunes store.
Jan 8th, 2017
Even though I removed the podcast production course from Udemy Promotional Pricing, that doesn’t mean the course will be removed from current promotions. We’re currently in a promotion phase that will conclude on January 11th, 2017.
For now, we wait.
Jan 12th, 2017
All the promotions have run out and I no longer see my podcast production course for sale under the listed price. So it’s clear that the instructor can opt-in and opt-out of the Udemy Deals Program.
I’m planning on running this test for at least a month to see the results.
Feb 14th, 2017
Well. I think this test is complete.
It turns out opting out of the Udemy Deals program is a good way to make your revenue go down. During the month of February I only received 1 sale for the Podcast Production Course. Today, that student asked for a refund.
Generally, the course would of made between $100 and $300 by this time of the month. But right now, it’s at zero.
Bottom line, I’m going to turn it back on and see what happens. I hope I haven’t angered the Udemy gods and killed my long term sales.
Feb 17th, 2017
Well, thats pretty conclusive. After turning Udemy Deals Program back on, I’ve already received 3 new students. I didn’t change a single thing in my marketing behavior and my website analytics didn’t boom elsewhere. Udemy just started promoting my course again.
So that’s it. Maybe I’ll update this post in the future, but for now, I have a conclusion.
Udemy Deals Program is a valuable offering that Udemy makes to their instructors.
If you have any experience with this, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
Both of these companies are on my radar because I like the founder’s stories and the stuff they make. I’ve never actually found a job using these guys, but if I were looking for a job, these would be the first two places I would go to.
Toptal seems to make a point of being the best place to find really good programmers. The only scary thing about Toptal would be overcoming the fear of rejection that they might not let you into their marketplace. They vet everyone who comes to their marketplace because they want to ensure they only market programmers who are really good.
They seem to be an agency + marketplace. I think a programmer could land cool gigs with their help.
Being a freelancer can suck. Freelancers do their own government compliance, they act as their own marketing department and there is a crazy cycle of looking for projects, executing projects, billing for projects and looking for more projects. This is a lot of stuff to deal with on your own. It’s hard work.
I believe Toptal helps with this sort of stuff. They vet everyone so they will have a good idea for what you need. They have existing relationships with companies so they market for you. I believe the companies pay Toptal and they pay you which makes your billing/tax challenges much less complex.
If you just want to focus on writing beautiful code, Toptal might be great.
There are always interesting looking programming jobs on this site. The companies pay to make their listings so the positions are listed by motivated companies looking to hire remote workers.
Here it appears that one is more likely to find a job here, as opposed to a freelancer type commitment.
Another cool thing about RemoteOK.io is that Peter Levels is the guy behind the site. He does a lot of interesting work in the remote money making sphere.
We went to a billabong near Brisbane with some international friends. There we found a rope swing that we monkeyed around on.
Then we flew to Chiang Mai, Thailand. That’s a great way to start any year, right?
In Chiang Mai we met a lot of new friends. Ben showed us a secret local waterfall spot.
Justin showed us around the Night Bazaar.
We drove some big motorcycles to the highest point in Thailand.
In Ko Lanta we did a lot of CrossFit with Robert at Fit On Lanta.
We toured the Tiger Cave with Norwegian Ninjas.
Drove around the island and went to more caves with Daniella.
Then we learned how to cook Thai food.
We met Chris and Sam for the first time. We became fast friends and knew we’d see them again soon.
I don’t remember how we got to China, but we did it for a visa run. You’ve got to leave Thailand every once in a while if you want to live there for more than 1-2 months.
Macau was really crazy. It’s the Las Vegas of China.
We drove a scooter from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai along the way visiting the Sticky Waterfalls. We got stuck in the biggest rainstorm of the year. We made it, but it was uncomfortable.
We toured around Chiang Rai with V’s father for 2 days and then drove the scooter back to Chiang Mai. Wow. That was a huge drive on a scooter.
We spent the rest of the month working and getting strong at Chiang Mai CrossFit. After 3 months in Thailand we flew to San Francisco, California.
Our good friends Kimi and Declan had an amazing wedding in wine country, Napa Valley. Seriously, they have a cool group of family and friends and it was a magical celebration.
We then enjoyed horseriding and croquet with family and friends in Reno, Nevada. Also wakeboarding at Pyramid Lake.
I don’t know how everything worked out exactly, but next we flew to St. Maarten in the Caribbean, because my friend Dane was marrying Miriam. It was great to see old friends and explore the beauty of the island.
The Nomad Cruise picked us up from the capital and southern part of the island, Phillipsburg. We spent the next 10 days cruising from St. Maarten to Lisbon, Portugal. On that ship we met a LOT of really, really cool people.
David, Lily, V and I had a really massive power tour around Lisbon. Miles and Melanie joined us for some of it too. That was an epic day. I haven’t even made that movie yet.
We took a massive journey from Lisbon, Portugal back to Reno, Nevada because we thought we were needed at a party that had been cancelled unbeknownst to us. That was hilarious. V didn’t think so.
Next we moved to the Bay Area to house and dog sit. I met Seth Godin in San Francisco during Udemy Live. We explored the city and flew David’s drone alot. That was really neat.
We spent quality time with family after my grandfather passed away.
Then we moved to San Francisco and our good friends Jel and Sam visited us from Australia. I also studied really really hard to get into App Academy in San Francisco. Software Engineering is not easy.
I was accepted into Hack Reactor and App Academy in San Francisco. All that work studying software engineering paid off. It was a tough choice, but I went with App Academy. Getting accepted into that program was a really proud moment.
The program wouldn’t start till November so we took a road trip down South to Los Angeles and Huntington Beach after David invited us to the Magic Castle. We had a really great time. David took V on a private plane and I went surfing with John. We did a lot of cool stuff. Thanks for being the host with the most David. You Rock!
After we got back from So Cal V’s twin sister Vanessa and her husband Mark came to visit us in Reno. We celebrated the twins birthday and had a really fun week.
V went riding with her sister, I went riding with my sister.
We wakeboarded at Pyramid lake and did high speed aquatic push up competitions.
Then we went rock climbing with friends, Roxy, Jake, Brian, John, Vanessa and Mark.
We decided to take another road trip to Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon and Sedona to see Miles and Melanie. We met them on the Nomad Cruise, so the next logical thing to do would be hang out in the desert in Arizona right?…. right….
I got back into video editing in October and finally caught up on making the movies for the year.
On the way back from Sedona we stopped at Zion National Park, Utah before chilling out at the hot springs in Austin, NV. That was a fun drive.
We began V’s citizenship process.
Things got weird in November, but I wrote about what I’m grateful for that election cycle. But a lot of cool stuff happened too. We spent alot of time with family and friends. We also went on a boat ride around the Foster City canals with the family for Thanksgiving.
Despite studying as hard as I could, I failed out of App Academy. That was a big bummer, but life goes on.
V and I got caught in a snow storm but managed to make it back to Reno just in time for the holiday festivities. That was the first Christmas we had with my family in a really long time. Three years to be exact. We spent Christmas Day skiing with the family. It was a blast.
We’re back in San Francisco Bay Area for the time being.
That’s how the year went. Wow.
Happy New Year everyone!
Fake news is something I want everyone around me to know about. I’m in the media industry so I know this stuff to be true because we are part of the attention economy. Here are some quick, entertaining pieces of media which describe what’s going on.
I don’t believe in massive conspiracies. To me, the market economy for attention is the primary cause of the Fake News.
For example, I know it’s easy to make a website that earns consistent monthly cashflow from web traffic via Google Adsense. So in order to make a good amount of money on the side, one only needs to generate web-traffic. To get web-traffic, one powerful option is to write controversial things with no real basis in reality.
That’s why the media today works the way it does. It’s not a shadowy thing, it’s clear and obvious. Here’s how it works:
How Fake News Works
Trust Me I’m Lying came out years ago, but Ryan’s thesis has only been supported by reality in the last few years.
If you’re unfamiliar with Ryan Holiday, he is a young, astute marketer who grew up in the modern media. His list of successful clients speaks for it’s self. From my experience, the media landscape that Ryan talks about is exactly how I see it.
Fake News is Difficult to Differentiate
Whenever we read anything on the internet, we must be conscious of the nature of why that media is there. NPR did a great job telling the story of The Fake News King:
Do you have any resources to share regarding the digital media in 2017?
Please feel free to share links and thoughts in the comment section below.
Election 2016 – Things I’m grateful for:
Here’s a TLDR list. The longer version can be found below.
- Peaceful, professional transition of power
- The voting process was easy and the ballots were balanced
- Excellent open data provided quickly by a portfolio of media sources:
Fox News | CNN | Google | New York Times
- Referendum to decriminalize Marijuana in my home state passed! Less people in prison, less government involvement in an individuals choices (which don’t effect others) and the state government is likely to see a tax revenue injection that will surprise us all
- Lessons Learned
Peaceful, Professional Transition of Power
I’ve been in foreign countries and seen ugly elections. One time specifically, I was advised to stay home and not leave the house for the day. It was a violent day where people were hurt, bombs were thrown and arrests were made.
President Obama invited President-elect Trump to the White House. They will work together on details and soon enough, President Obama will have his life back. He can continue to lead afterwards in harmony with the new national leadership.
I would have preferred to see Hillary Clinton win. At the same time, I recognize that the majority of US citizens feel passionately that what she represents, is not the best for the country. That’s how we play the game. The representational democracy picked him and I believe in that process more than anything else.
‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’
– Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947
Easy Voting Process with Quality Ballots
Voting was easy. Registering took a few minutes online. At the University of Nevada, there wasn’t even a line to stand in when I voted early.
The Nevada Sample Ballot
The sample ballot that arrived was a quick 15 minute read and told the story of the addendum opportunities and the candidates. It did so from both perspectives and had research based arguments. If it was longer, it would have been burdensome to read. If it were shorter, I feel it would have been to incomplete to give a full picture of the questions.
Excellent Open Data and Election Coverage
I watched the election on Fox News, CNN, Google, Twitter and more. Though some were better than others, they all told a very similar story.
Hat tip to CNN. They had the best design and technology on their side.
The New York Times was the first to give Mr. Trump a 95% + likelihood of winning from what I saw.
Overall, there was a lot of excellence happening all over the media. We in the United States enjoy excellent election coverage.
Decriminalizing Marijuana in Nevada
So proud of the referendum outcome for question #2 in Nevada. I prefer beer, but knowing that the pot smokers will soon be free of the fear of imprisonment is PHENOMENAL!
What happened to Colorado may happen to Nevada! What does this mean for the state?
- More taxes (Colorado brought in $66 million Feb 2015-Feb 2016)
- Less driving fatalities (image #1)
- Less prison population (image #2)
I didn’t think Trump had any chance of winning and I didn’t want him to. This goes to show that I didn’t have any idea what was going on. My perception last night was that we were sitting down to watch her take the election, but I got it 100% wrong.
Some very smart people had it right.
This election taught me that I need to listen better and try to find the lower level clues as to what is actually going on in the world.
I’d love to hear what you’re grateful for this election. Please let me know in the comment section below.
The banks are out to get us. I’m seeking ways to fight back. International money transfers are one of the banks little secrets. TransferWise says they can save us. So I tried them. Here is a TransferWise review.
Planet Money did a great piece on the invisible financial pipes that move money. This was part of their “t-shirt project.” In it, they talk about the Automated Clearing House (ACH) and what it took to move money from their Kickstarter (e.g. Amazon) to their Chase Bank account. Note: Listen to that podcast. It’s excellent.
In Australia, the banks just offer free money transfers. That’s right. It’s free in Australia with bank apps on your phone. Apps like Cash and Venmo are making it easier in America. Transferwise is the only place doing it internationally right now that I know of.
We’re moving money to Australia this month. We’re going to be testing TransferWise.com to see if we can save ourselves some fees.
A Transferwise Review
A long time ago in a….
TransferWise came across my desk a long time ago in a paid advertisement on Facebook. I clicked through, but didn’t need to move money at the time. After bookmarking the page, I was excited for the opportunity when I would need to move a good amount of money internationally.
November 20th, 2015
Today was that day I found a need to move money from the USA to Australia.
The Transferwise steps were easy to follow. They have a pretty good UI on the surface, but it wasn’t perfect…
I noticed some strange glitches in their software. At one point, it seemed as if I saw someone else’s screen before it flashed back to my screen. Very strange and disconcerting when you’re moving large amounts of money. This happened a few times. It’s a glitchy user experience.
My International Money Transfer Situation
By the way, I’m moving about $4,300 USD from a CapitalOne account to a Commonwealth Bank account. To clarify, thats a United States savings account to an Australian checking account.
I was able to generate a code on the CapitalOne online banking login and use that code to authorize the transfer with the TransferWise.
To my dismay, I learned that the transfer will take 1-5 business days from CapitalOne to TransferWise. Also, my Australian bank will also require 2-3 business days for the money to clear in that account. So 3-8 days in total to move some digits across a line.
Ahhh the wonders of the modern financial system.
Anyways, I clicked transfer and the deal is in action.
As I go back to the site to check the status of the transfer, they have this cryptic page that doesn’t tell me information about fees. I’m unsure of the fee schedule. I can ascertain the conversion rate because they tell me the amount I’m transferring in USD and what we will receive in AUD:
- $4,300 USD/$5,923 AUD = Which equals a rate of .725 AUD/USD
- .72 AUD/USD is the mid-market rate as reported by Google
So it looks great.
I’m in it now. I’ll wait 1-5 business days for CapitalOne to release the money to TransferWise. Then I’ll wait for however long it takes for the money to move through TransferWise to CommonWealth bank. Finally, I’ll wait 2-3 business days for CommonWealth to clear the funds on their end.
November 24th, 2015
Four days have passed.
The transfer has come through. It all cleared. Here is a screen shot of what I’m seeing via the dashboard of the Transferwise website:
Transferwise (as per the screenshot above) tells me that the transfer was completed for $5,923.79 AUD.
The amount shown in Commonwealth bank is $5,923.79 AUD.
The deal went through. They transferred what they said they would! Huzzah!
Deconstructing the International Money Transfer via TransferWise
This is the actual rate we experienced transferring from CapitalOne in the United States to the Commonwealth Bank in Australia:
$4,300 USD / $5,923.79 AUD = $.72588 USD/AUD
The mid-market exchange rate from Yahoo Finance saw a low of $0.7187 AUD/USD and a high of $0.7216 AUD/USD the day of the transfer. Here is a screenshot:
So depending on the time of transfer, that $4,300 USD would have exchanged at a low of $5,983.03 AUD to a high of $5,958.98 AUD.
Here is a table describing the actual mid-market rate vs. realized exchange rate from the transfer:
|The Day’s Price Point||Mid-market rate at $4.3k USD||Realized from Transfer||Amount Unaccounted for in Transfer|
|When Market was Low||$5,983.03 AUD||$6,023.25 AUD||$40.22 AUD|
|When Market was High||$5,958.98 AUD||$6,023.25 AUD||$63.27 AUD|
So the real cost of the money transfer was between $40-64 AUD (or $28-46 USD).
Free. Nope. Better than the banks? Good question.
November 24th, 2015 (Later that Night)
I received a receipt clearing some stuff up. This was my mistake. I get way too much Email and this was buried in the fray.
Here is a screenshot of it:
My guess is that the banks would offer a less attractive rate and also tag on a boatload of fees.
Transferwise did work. The ordering process was easier than going into the bank and talking to a teller. I will use it again next time I transfer money internationally.
Finally, they gave me a coupon code. If you want to use it, you could wire your first 3,000 GBP (roughly $4,500 USD) for free. If I had this code when I made the transfer, I would have actually realized the mid-market rate.
Here is the coupon code. Sure, this is an affiliate deal. You get your first transfer free if you use this link. Also, I get some money… I think. Or maybe just some free transfers. Either way, if you use this link, we both win. I did not write this article just to send you to TransferWise. I would have written ill of them if they sucked. Then I wouldn’t have put any links to send people to their service.
I wrote this article because I think international business needs to be cheaper, faster and more modern. Have a great time traveling dingo lover.
Updated November 20th, 2015 – Gold Coast, Australia
Tim Ferriss and Pat Flynn had a great talk about the podcasting industry on Pat’s podcast. Inspiration:
“If you do a handful of things right, even if your slow and plodding and letharic about it; you will beat almost everyone. It’s amazing…
For those who can get into dense stuff, pick up the annual letters of Warren Buffett to Berkshire Hathaway share holders. That is going to be worth more to you than any MBA program on the planet… I think.” – Tim Ferriss on Smart Passive Income podcast
Skip to 50:56 to hear Tim’s quote
- 1993 Letter – BHLC: 1993 Notes and Review
- 1994 Letter- BHLC: 1994 Notes and Review
- 2006 Letter- BHLC: 2006 Notes and Review
- 2007 Letter- BHLC: 2007 Notes and Review
- 2008 Letter- BHLC: 2008 Notes and Review
- 2009 Letter- BHLC: 2009 Notes and Review
- 2010 Letter- BHLC: 2010 Notes and Review
- 2011 Letter- BHLC: 2011 Notes and Review
- 2012 Letter- Coming Soon…
- 2013 Letter- Coming Soon…
- 2014 Letter- Coming Soon…
- 2015 Letter- Coming Soon…