Credit Card Processing Fees – Why 2.9%?

What is the reasoning behind the 2.9% market floor for credit card processing fees?

Last year we spent enough on credit card processing fees to have purchased a car with cash. This seems like a good deal for the invoicing companies, but not the best deal for everyone else. I’d rather utilize that money myself.

We have services to send money to people for free. Venmo, Zelle and all the online payment companies in different countries work perfectly well. It’s not impossible to receive money without paying the intermediary…

Dear credit card companies,

What is the reasoning behind this? Is it to offset the cost of fraud protection and server expenses for the credit card companies? Is this just a systematized way for technologists to get rich?

I’d love to know.

Software Ideas – Computer Programs I Wish Existed

These are ideas I came up with for software projects. I would love to see these programs exist.

If you build a business off any of these ideas. I’d love to know so I can provide support in any way possible. These ideas are free to steal and pass off as your own.

If you do build one of these tools, let me know and I will be happy to mark it as solved and link to your project. Thank you in advance for solving my problems.

Updated May 28th 2018

Software Ideas for WordPress Plugins

Patreon like Plugin for Popular Blogs

A WordPress plugin which accepts donations from users. It displays on the sidebar with a message that read, “This site lives on user donations, it currently has the funds to stay alive for . Thank you to for their donation on . Your support keeps this site alive for others. Because of supporters like you, this site can continue to be developed by the team.

Podcast RSS Feed Generator Tool

A WordPress plugin which actually makes hosting and building a podcast RSS feed easy. Blubrry and Libsyn and others do a good job, but I believe it could be made much cleaner. If you’re interested in working on this project, I may start working on it shortly. Please get in contact with me. I believe this options has a good business behind it as it has built in hosting costs which many current clients are happily paying.

Software Ideas for Mobile

Cultural Learning Augmented Reality Game

A augmented reality game where you get points by passing quizzes, solving riddles and sketching art from the locations one visits around the world. Similar to Ingress, but instead of glyph hacking or just hacking portals, you do more learning intensive projects chosen based on their capacity to teach about history, architecture, art, poetry and other cultural aspects of the places where the individual lives.

Software Ideas for the Web

Facebook Infinite scroll share number finder

A friend of mine builds big Facebook pages and monetizes them. He is often seeking the most shared post on another page so that he can mimic the attributes of that image or video. When doing this, he is constantly scrolling down the page, waiting for infinite scroll and using his memory to find the most shared post. A better tool would be an application which downloaded the data and displayed the posts on his page based on which received the most reach, engagement or likes.

Let’s Take Action on This – LTAoT

A web app that generates a webpage that follows a cadence which is generated by a user for them to send to a friend/family/business associate. The friend opens a link sent by the user which links to a message the user wrote, then it plays a video/podcast, then it provides a final message.

Example Process:

  • The user wants to send a podcast to their spouse about investing habits. They want to provide a message before they listen and then a message after.
  • User writes in the following message
  • “Hey Spouse, I listened to this finance podcast and I think we should take action on this lady’s philosophy when thinking about investing. Here is what she had to say which I thought was compelling.
  • Audio/Video plays (Probably something motivational or something describing an important lesson they want to share for this example, a finance podcast about the value of low cost index funds).
  • Upon completion another message pops up generated by user
  • “You know how he was talking about having a long term savings account of VTI index funds, I’d like us to set a goal around that and stick to it. What do you think?”

Sales Page Plugin for WordPress Sales Page Jacking Switchout

My friend likes to identify sales pages that are working and change those pages to work exactly the same way for him, but with his own white labeled product.

His process:

1. Find a page that is working
2. Copy the source code and paste it into the WordPress plugin
3. Automatically clean the code of tracking information from old page
4. Allow friend to identify links and media that he wants to change and then provide a user friendly way of changing out old images with white label specific content.
5. Publish the page to WordPress with it’s own stand alone content on a simple to share URL

Boom. Then you could use WordPress to jack successful sales pages.

This idea is worth a lot to my friend. He could be the only customer and we could charge a lot for it.

Clickfunnels + Shopify

Automate the collection of emails and handle the orders via shopify fulfillment

collect emails through ClickFunnels but then Shopify handles fulfillment

HandyHouseSits.com

A place for house-sitters who are good at fixing places up.

You put your house up for a house sit in which someone comes and stays in your home, but you add an inexpensive house solution (something like fixing a door or maintaining a pool). The house sitter comes and fixes a thing while maintaining the animals etc, but the house sitters can expect to come back to a home that is better condition than when they left.

Solves the trusted house-sitter issue with having too many house-sitters and not enough housesits.

APP for ScallyCats type event

Augmented Reality that makes programming a ScallyCat type competition easy.

The person setting up the ScallyCat/Pub Crawl can set instructions based on
GPS location and then the instance is created so others can attempt to
complete the tasks/experiences.

Future Features Include:
– Leader Boards for those Partaking in the Competition
– Warning alerts when you’re getting passed
– Collecting random points at various spots along the way

Marketplace for People to Get Likes and Views on YouTube

Get points for watching YouTube videos. Use your points to get views and likes on your video.

Allow users of the service to join a marketplace for attention.

Users can earn credit for likes and watching other users’s videos. Those credits can be spent on driving likes and views to specific videos they are interested in promoting.

* Creating a bot that can sit and watch movies is a weird potential
* People setting up playlists and allowing them to run through
is another activity to contemplate.
* Chrome plugin that people activate to keep their points growing
* This is a marketplace type software.

How I’m Running my Crypto Currency Hedge Fund

Initially published May 5th, 2017
Updated May 10th, 2018

Today I developed a cryptocurrency hedge fund strategy. I’m using Coinbase to execute all trades.

Hedge Fund Spreadsheet Viewable to Public Here

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.

Hedge Strategy

As I don’t pretend to have any idea of what is going to happen with any specific currency, I’ll just bet evenly across all of those coins available 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

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.

Trading Frequency

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:

My Crypto Currency Hedge Fund

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 cryptocurrencies.

Dominating Theory

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.

Updated September 9th, 2017

Well, this thing is looking more like a bubble every day.

I haven’t been keeping track at all since May 2017. It was totally out of sight and out of mind. Today I look at the numbers and my cryptocurrency account total looks like this:

updated crypto currency hedge fund strategy

September 2017 Crypto Currency

So I’ll be selling off BTC and ETH to buy LTC, GNT, TNT, and OMG.

All my BTC, ETH and LTC coins are stored at Coinbase. All my other stuff is on a market called Liqui. To buy GNT, TNT and OMG I’ll need to transfer $380.85 worth of BTC to Luqui. Then I’ll cash out $85.46 from BTC, and $365.65 from ETH. The next move will be to transfer $125.42 worth of ETH to LTC.

Coinbase account after balancing cryptocurrency hedge fund
Coinbase Account – September 9th, 2017

Finally, as you have to buy coins with BTC/ETH on Liqui, I’ll use the transferred BTC to buy TNT and OMG.

Buying TNT and OMG

The price in BTC of TNT is 0.00002980 at the time of writing this.

I’ll buy 0.03587 BTC worth.

Buying TNT - Crypto Currency Hedge Fund

 

The price in BTC of OMG is0.00287464 at the time of writing this.

I’ll buy 0.03587 BTC worth.

buying OMG coin - Crypto Currency Hedge Fund

 

When I first tried, the prices kept going up. Therefore I would put out buy orders and no one would sell as the prices were higher than my orders.

open buy orders on liqui - cryptocurrency hedge fund

So I just bought higher than the market a little in order to secure the coins to the account.

Finally, I need to up my GNT levels by $70.10 worth of BTC (0.01625 at the time of writing this).

Phew. I guess this is why some people call trading a job. I’ve balanced my portfolio. Now time to go outside and forget about this for a few months.

Liqui account balance - Crypto Currency Hedge Fund
Liqui Account Balances – September 9th, 2017

Taking Money Out

The most important thing in bubble surfing is to take money out.

My guess at this point is that I’ll take 10% of the account out each balancing. I’ll put that 10% into index funds or something boring like that.

Today, I can’t pull my ‘USD Wallet’ out. It takes a few days to verify the bank account I want to use to send the money.

Cryptocurrency Codes

Surfing on Bubbles

Please don’t mistake this for a commendation for cryptocurrencies as a way to make money. I believe these prices are ludicrous. I expect this to be a bubble which will certainly pop.

Blockchain technology is no joke. It’s a legit scientific development. It’s a new element that humans have created. I believe a lot of value will come due to the technological leap that is bitcoin. That said, markets grow, bubble and pop because of humans being irrational. High coin prices, I guess, will fall just like the value of Dutch tulips in 1622.

tulip mania - crypto currency hedge fund

January 2018 Order Planning

Since I last wrote this, I made a few moves… but I’m not going to detail that madness now. Let’s focus on the big stuff.

2018 Crypto Currency Hedge Fund 2018 update

The AUM of the fund was $3,107.51 in September 2017.

The AUM of the fund is $9,605.29 in January 2018.

(p0 – p1) / p1 = Growth Rate

(9605.29 – 3107.51) /  3107.51 = 2.09099

So the fund has grown 209% in about four months. Radical!

The core of my strategy is to buy lots of inexpensive coins with the chances that they will become the next BitCoin. The following section is me doing surface research on a few coins and deciding if I will add them to the list:

January 2018 Cryptocurrency Research

AdEx

Maybe the Google AdSense killer. Seems like they have a technology team with actual GitHub profiles. The advertising problem they are addressing could actually benefit from the consensus and mining attributes of the blockchain. Whitepaper seems like it’s legitimate – AdEx-Whitepaper-v.7 (copied from their site Jan 12th, 2018). I like this idea – adding it to the list.

SRN

They want to make an OS, a phone and make it all part of a new blockchain. Dramatically ambitious. The head guy’s website could have been coded in a day and is full of buzz words. They even have Jason Silva saying buzz words on their website. Seems like a respectable marketing effort to me. Pass.

SONM

It appears that these guys are trying to do a very similar thing to Ethereum. The way I understand it is that they want to use blockchain mining to power a distributed computation service platform. Like the silicone valley, pied piper program. Sounds interesting. They raised over $42 million thus far. They seem to have some sort of relationship to Hewlett Packard. I’ll add this to the list.

GUP

Interesting… their app wasn’t working for the first part of the day. Registration without Facebook didn’t work either… That said, they have a very good looking website and their development team looks good. They say they are launching the ‘product’, a matchmaking service of many different types on Jan 18th, 2018. I’ll standby for now and hope to revisit this team later. Reminds me of Earn. Good luck GUP team, but for now, Pass.

AST

This a coin that offers the ability to create marketplaces for tokens? I don’t get it. Seems like a non-blockchain thing.  I don’t get it. Pass.

SNT

This is a mobile application that uses Ethereum to build other application on top of it. To my understanding, why wouldn’t someone just build an Ethereum app? I probably don’t get it… but Pass.

EOS

Essentially the team at EOS is saying that they will build a platform that is like Ethereum but it will operate even faster. SNT wants to do it on mobile. At the end of the day, I’m going to add this one to the fund because I like the way Daniel Larimer talks about latency. Adding this to the list.

January 2018 – Allocating Cryptocurrency Capital

First off, I’ve developed the following plan for coins to purchase/sell and how to do it. Here’s the spreadsheet which will inform my allocation goals:

Selling ETH on CoinBase

11:34 a.m PST – Initiated ETH Sell of .1874 ETH

I should see the USD in the Coinbase wallet next day with Ethereum (so it’s not actually instant as Coinbase suggests). The transfer did reflect on the balances within an hour of placing the order. It appears that CoinBase is executing as a reliable marketplace.

*Does not show up in transactions automatically. I’ll have to check in tomorrow to ensure orders went through.

Selling LTC on CoinBase

11:38 a.m PST – Initiated LTC Sell of 3.27 ETH

I should see the USD in the Coinbase wallet next day with LiteCoin (so it’s not actually instant as Coinbase suggests). The transfer did reflect on the balances within an hour of placing the order. It appears that CoinBase is executing as a reliable marketplace.

*Does not show up in transactions automatically. I’ll have to check in tomorrow to ensure orders went through.

Selling BCH on CoinBase

11:44 a.m PST – Initiated BCH Sell of 0.1722 BCH

When the order initially went through the information said the USD in the Coinbase wallet would appear next day with LiteCoin (so it’s not actually instant as Coinbase suggests). The transfer did reflect on the balances within an hour of placing the order. It appears that CoinBase is executing as a reliable marketplace.

*Does not show up in transactions automatically. I’ll have to check in tomorrow to ensure orders went through.

Sending BTC from CoinBase to Liqui

The following transaction log took place on January 16th 2018 and details a Bitcoin Transaction between my CoinBase wallet and my Liqui wallet.

11:28 a.m PST – Initiated Coin Transfer of .027 BTC

Transferring CoinBase BTC to Liqui BTC

11:40 a.m PST – Liqui still shows a 0 balance for Bitcoin so transaction has NOT executed. It is still ‘pending’ on Coinbase.

11:49 a.m PST – No development – Still waiting. 21 minute transaction time and counting…

11:56 a.m PST – Transfer complete. Now I have BTC in the Liqui account which should empower me to distribute to low list price coins.

Transfer time = 28 minutes | Cost = 0.00103 BTC

 

Liqui Trading

12:01 p.m PST – I started this note while trying to sell 240 GNT coins on Liqui. It’s now 12:27 and the order still hasn’t processed. The platform was glitching out. It appears that GNT doesn’t actually work.

The Next Day – According to my trade history, the GNT sales went through at 20:59 which only makes sense if Liqui timestamps everything with London’s time. If that is the case, the trades were executed within 20 minutes of placing the order.

All the other trades were ordered and executed. Perhaps there is a specific challenge with GNT + Liqui. I’m not sure. Here are some screenshots of the buy/sell orders:

At the end of the day, I could place all the orders I wanted because I simply grew tired of working on placing orders.

Final Thoughts on January 2018’s Balancing

The main goal is to have a small position in a few coins in their infancy. I grow more confident every day that this is a speculative bubble. That is why I’m pulling out a strategic amount each balancing period.

I probably don’t plan to revisit this fund until March 2018 at the very earliest. If you’re in the crypto game, please leave a comment below and let me know what you are thinking.

May 2018 Order Planning

The more I think about the fundamentals of cryptocurrency gambling, the more I believe that we will see a day where the value of a Bitcoin will drop to nothing, or near nothing.

Therefore, my new strategy is to just leave a token amount of capital in so I have the opportunity to pull money out in the future. But I plan to pull money out as aggressively as I can when it fits. How do I know when it fits?

I’m assigning cryptocurrencies a 5% position in my overall asset allocation. When it gets above that, I pull $ out. If it falls below that point, I do nothing. Normal allocation would suggest that I buy at that point, but I’m not going to do that. If that section of my overall portfolio dies, I don’t care.

I lose nothing because I’ve been pulling capital out the whole time. There is no way I can lose this game now.

Here are some graphs to show where I’ve been and what I’ve done today.

1 Year Coinbase Portfolio Value
One year’s worth of USD value of the sum of cryptocurrencies in my Coinbase account
May Cryptocurrency Allocation
After selling half of everything, this is what’s left over.
cryptocurrency hedge fund holdings May 2018
A collection of my random, uneducated bets on smaller value coins. The value of BitCoin has increased so the overall small coin portfolio has grown 100% of value since it’s creation. None-the-less, this is funny money on funny money.

Essentially, I’m of the opinion that the whole market is speculation with a small, real value proposition.

The value of cryptocurrencies is in their ability to provide transaction services to people who don’t know each other. This transaction service is an inherently valuable element which makes these assets more value than other bubble assets like tulips or beanie babies.

That doesn’t mean that cryptocurrency assets generate income like a real businesses. A coin-operated laundry business actually generates cash. These are the kinds of assets I want to be a part of going forward.

To be sure, transaction processing is a large business. I have no idea how big that is. This is a hole in my logic. If BitCoin can have a significant technological advantage over Visa, Western Union and micro finance solutions (like Kenyan people using their phone credits and currency) then it’s possible that there is a blockchain business which will put a dent in the universe.

But BitCoin might not even be a transaction processing business that could survive. In order to verify transactions, Bitcoin needs mining. Mining requires a lot of energy to verify transactions. Really, they need huge buildings with hyper-speed computers that are air-conditioned. These are real costs. At what point does the cost of mining outpace the needs for the transaction volume? My guess is that the answer to this question is not infinity.

Once the cost of mining outpaces the currencies capacity to verify transactions, the value of Bitcoin becomes 0. If you can’t trade Bitcoin in a verifiable way, there is 0 reason to hold it.

Let’s not forget, mining is supposed to stop at a certain number of BitCoins. How on earth are the coins going to do anything but lose all their value after the mining stops? Deflationary currencies have inherent problems which I won’t get into here.

How I’ll Act Going Forward

I’ll try to bleed the crypto-currency game of capital while the bubble is still growing.

With zero exposure to the game, I can spend less time thinking about it and more time thinking about software engineering, adventure and fitness.

I will come back to update this blog, but it probably won’t be for a very long time.

Udemy Promotional Pricing | Testing Opting Out – Bad Idea

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.

When creating an online course, there are a dump truck of little things to get stuck on. Udemy is building a platform to manage those little things for instructors like myself. New instructors get to focus on building their course and serving their students, rather than understanding the JavaScript library and other platform problems like that.

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?

Udemy Promotional Pricing

There are two parts of the Udemy Promotional Pricing:

  1. 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
  2. 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.

What Podcast Production Looks Like Discounted
It is possible that dramatic discounts like this hurt the perceived value of this course.

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.

Status Updates

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.

Thoughts?

If you have any experience with this, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Finding Remote Work as a Computer Programmer

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

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.

Learn a bit more about Breanden Beneschott via his writing for the Huffington Post here.

RemoteOK.io

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.

2016 – A Year in Review

What Happened

January

We started the year in a city called the Gold Coast, Australia. If you want a tour, you can have one for free here.

We took a trip up to Far North Queensland to horse ride, scuba dive, SUP and eat ice cream with some of our favorite people the Rumneys. They also make ice cream and it’s really really delicious.

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?

From Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens outside Chiang Mai

February

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 went to the Nomad Summit. Big thanks to Johnny for inviting us and organizing the event. Also for inspiring this post. Here’s his year-end wrap up post.

We drove some big motorcycles to the highest point in Thailand.

Then we took the sleeper train to Bangkok. It was fun. We made a movie about it.

Bangkok was a lot of fun. Johnny Ward showed us around his favorite spots and to a roof top bar. Thanks JW.

Then we took another train and bus to Krabi. There we rented a motorcycle from Moto Krabi and drove it to Ko Lanta where we found a place to live for a month.

March

In Ko Lanta we did a lot of CrossFit with Robert at Fit On Lanta.

We toured the Tiger Cave with Norwegian Ninjas.

We went SCUBA diving with Johnny at Hin Daeng.

Drove around the island and went to more caves with Daniella.

Drank a lot of coffee while working at KoHub.

Rented dirt bikes and drove all around the island with David, Johnny and Max.

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.

We drove our motorcycle back to Krabi, then we went up the Coast for a 5 day Live-aboard Scuba Diving trip in the Similian Island National Park. We made a movie about that experience too.

Then we took a long tail boat to Tonsai and spent a few days there with crazy looking monkeys, paddling around the islands and jumping off cliffs.

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.

April

We flew back to Chiang Mai to kick it with Sam and Chris during the Songkran Festival. We spray painted our big guns gold

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.

May

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.

June

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.


July

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.

August

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!

September

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….

October

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.

Then we lost a friend. 🙁

November

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.

December

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!

How Fake News Works

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

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

non-peaceful transition of power
While living in Chile, I witnessed violent elections. It’s not preferable.

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.

nevada voter experience

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?

Image #1

Colorado Road Mortality since Marijuana legalization
Data pulled on Road Mortalities in Colorado. I separated it via the red line from when Marijuana was decriminalized in 2012.
Source: https://www.codot.gov/library/traffic/safety-crash-data/fatal-crash-data-city-county/fatalities-by-person-type/view

 

Image #2

incarceration rates and the effect of Marijuana decriminalization
So crime dropped steadily, while incarceration rates PLUMMETED. All this while population grew! 😀
Source: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dcj-ors/ors-crimestats

 

marijuana penalties that will go away

Lessons Learned

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.

Your thoughts?

I’d love to hear what you’re grateful for this election. Please let me know in the comment section below.