5 Questions to Answer During My Southeast Asia Sabbatical

“The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.”

– Amelia Earhart

One of the things that we believe at work is the importance of designing one’s experiments properly: if experiments are designed properly then it’s impossible for them to fail. You always learn something and that is, after all, the point of an experiment. So what are some of the hypothesis that I’m looking to test by going through this sabbatical experiment?

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Two YouTube Videos and Passive Income

I’ve been thinking a lot about trying to find alternative forms of passive income. YouTube is an option, but it’s complicated to figure out how much you can make (I’ve heard different websites talk about between $2-5/100 views) because the amount is always changing depending on how many views, subscribers, and likes each video has. It does seem like one of those snowball things though: as you develop a following you’ll start to have people that will (hopefully) like one of your videos enough to watch the others. And of course, because you only have to make the video once the income is passive.

Here are two videos that I did on my last two vacations. Only the first one is currently monetized. Even though I do license the music, YouTube has flagged my video both times. I then have to dispute the copyright infringement claim (guilty until proven innocent) and wait at least 30 days before I can actually have the monetization applied.

I’m certainly not as good of a videographer as I am a photographer (yet), but practice never hurt anybody…except for that hang glider…


Bitcoins and a Human IPO: Interesting Alternative “Investments”

Back on June 20th, 2013 I ordered a 5 GH/s Bitcoin Miner from Butterfly Labs affectionally nick-named the Jalapeño. I also bought a USB cable for it and with shipping, I paid $312.99 for it. I just received it last week making the time between order and delivery eight days shy of six months! Had I gotten it when I paid for it, I probably could’ve made a few thousand dollars…especially if I had held the Bitcoins earned until the recent 10x surge that they went through. Ironically, had I merely bought Bitcoins with my $312.99 and held those, I probably would’ve made more money.


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The Candy Man Earns 500% Profit

There’s a story that I’m fond of telling about my early experiences of being an entrepreneur. It’s filled with unfairness, flying under the radar, gumption, glee, and a sudden end to the golden times. Let’s begin!

My parents believed in a relatively small “salary” for completing chores around the house. So in exchange for doing things such as setting the table, vacuuming, and keeping my room clean, I received $2 per week in spending money. Contrast this to others in my 4th grade class who had parents that gave them $20 per week! I didn’t think this was fair, and so I set out to alter the balance more in my favor.

My mom shopped at three stores each week and purchased different staples at each depending on the coupons du jour (she was an extremely fiscally responsible women for which I admire her greatly). One of those three was our local family fare store and they stocked this wonderful candy known as Zotz Fizzy Candies. We just called them fizz candies. They were sold in individual packages but each package was loosely attached to 4 other pieces. Each individual piece was $0.02. After trying these a few times on my trips to get groceries with my mom, I hatched a plan and solicited my mom’s help: each week I would have her take my $2.00 to the store to purchase 20 “strings” of 100 individual pieces of fizz candy.

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Easy 5 Step Plan for a Successful Retirement

I used to want to be a financial planner. But after studying finance in school and doing a ton of learning on my own, I realized that the only way I could make a living at it would be to sell people things that weren’t in their best interest. I can be an amazing sales person, but I have to believe what I’m selling otherwise I lose all motivation.

When I was in college, I was a member of our Investment Portfolio Organization. Why an organization instead of a club? Simple: IPO is a much better acronym for an investment club than IPC. Anyway, we did a lot of presentations on stocks and had speakers come in and tell us about different professions that we could explore with a finance degree. There was a time when we were looking for a few people to fill open slots of time, and I volunteered to take one of them. I was a bit worried about how it would be perceived because I was the black sheep in that group: I don’t believe in actively investing in individual stocks.

I have a different method which I believe is far superior; in fact, I’ve spent many months reading countless books about this, listening to Dave Ramsey’s 3 hour radio show each day, and watching Susie Orman each week, and spent well over 30 hours preparing a 133 page PowerPoint deck walking people through my thinking and showing them why I believe what I do. It only takes 45 minutes to go through, and usually generates a lot of questions. But there are a lot of people that care less about the why and more about what to do, so I’ve distilled it down into a much shorter blog post. This is what I tell my family and friends to do. Both my brother and sister follow it. In subsequent blog posts I may go into more depth surrounding specific topics (my clever way of incentivising you to come back and read more of the things I write!).

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