2013 Q4 – Report

“There actually are two risks in investing: One is to lose money and the other is to miss opportunity. You can eliminate either one, but you can’t eliminate both at the same time.” – Howard Marks

money(Photo: 401K)


How to Land Your Dream Job in 5 Simple Steps

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucious


(Photo: Marsmett Tallahassee)

During the summer vacation my junior year in high school I decide that I needed to get my first job. I applied for one at the local plant nursery. Being awkward, anti social and shy I figured that I was better suited to be around plants and shrubbery than people. I got the job, although in hindsight, it was most likely due to being the only applicant and not due to any amazing interview skills.

The first day on the job the boss asked me to bring the groceries into his house after shopping, which I was happy to do. That happiness quickly faded when I was attacked and bitten multiple times by his undersized, annoying and hyper dog. I am not sure what was worse; the pain from the bites or the fact that the boss thought it was the funniest thing he had ever seen. I was one hour into the first day job of my life and it already sucked worse than I could have imagined.

Over the next week things did not get much better. Besides being yelled at and belittled for every minor infraction by a bitter alcoholic ogre of a boss, I was also being paid $3.60 an hour, way under minimum wage at the time.

A few weeks into the job my boss, (let’s call him “Drunky”) decided to send me to the local hardware store on my bicycle to pick up some paint. At that point I was happy to do anything which did not involve interacting with Drunky. I saw a sign at the hardware store that said that they were hiring and found out the pay was $4 an hour. That was over a 10% increase from the crap job I was in.

As I was riding back with the bag full of paint cans dangerously hanging from my handlebars, I decided that I either needed to get a raise or get a new job. So after delivering the paint cans, I told Drunky that the hardware store was hiring and they were offering $4.00 an hour which was a lot more than the $3.60 he was paying me. For some reason this caught Drunky off guard, I am not sure if this was actually due to my statement or to some sort of alcohol withdrawal symptom that he all of sudden experienced. But after asking me to repeat what I said and thinking about it for a few seconds he said…”Ok kid, I will raise your pay to $3.80”.

That was the last day I saw Drunky as I started my new career at the hardware store making $4.00 an hour. The job involved a lot of stocking shelves, doing inventory, scrubbing floors and loading lime and fertilizer bags into the trunks of stranger’s cars. The job also sucked but just not as much. I made enough money that summer to buy a new BMX bike and some Rush albums.

I have often said that it is very difficult to become rich working for someone else but I have known a bunch of rich self made business owners who are miserable. The big question is what is it all for? Why do you want to be wealthy? For me, it was never about having fancy things, but more because I wanted freedom. I wanted the freedom to do what I desired each day and not have to put up with Drunky or loading fertilizer bags in people’s cars.

I decided that working for a risky startup or starting my own business, even if it failed, was better than a steady paycheck doing something I hated. My outlook could have been completely different if I actually enjoyed the first few jobs I had or felt appreciated and challenged.

Starting your own business is not for everyone, and the path to happiness does not necessarily mean passing through Millionaire’s Row. If you wake up each morning happy to go to a job you love then you already have it better than 99% of the people on the planet. More money is not going to bring you any more joy. Working for someone else may never make you a multimillionaire but you have already won in the game of life so who cares.

What do you do if you don’t have a desire to start your own business but merely want to work for a great company with great people and a great culture? Here is how to land your dream job in easy 5 steps. (This is exactly how I would do it if I had to do it all over again and had no desire to start my own business.)


Taming the Black Dog: How to Hack Depression

I’ll never forget how the depression and loneliness felt good and bad at the same time. Still does.” ― Henry Rollins


(Photo: Nesster)

The Grey Dog

When depression comes it should come bearing a fruit basket, so while you are contemplating the insignificance of your existence you can at least enjoy an apricot or two. But depression comes bearing neither produce nor an instruction manual to help us make sense of the suffering or even a way out.

I was depressed most of my childhood and through my early 20s. As I built a better life for myself, the depression slowly lifted but has not disappeared completely. It still shows up in my life every once in a while but over the years I learned to deal with it. It’s much like an annoying uncle who comes to visit uninvited and whose presence you disdain but yet have learned to tolerate.

I want to share some of ways I have learned to deal with depression and the things that have really helped me. Over the years I have found numerous tricks and shortcuts to minimize and even prosper from depression. Most of these ideas are from trial and error, self experimentation and paying attention – trying to observe my own depression as an outsider.


The Ultra Rich Dumb Money Bubble

“Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent.” – Marlon Brando

balloon dog(Photo: Charles Nouÿrit )

Over the last 5 years while most of Americans have struggled, the wealth and lives of the ultra rich have gotten better and better. For example the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (which should really be renamed “Dumb Stuff the Ultra Rich spend their Money on Index”) is up over 40%. If we dive deeper into the numbers we will find that over the last 5 years expensive watches are up 33%, Chinese Ceramics are up 43%, Collective stamps are up 83%, Art is up 12% and classic cars are up 115%. The problem with all of the items is that their price is not determined by any intrinsic value but rather by what someone else is willing to pay for it. If someone wants to spend millions of dollars for a small ceramic bowl they have all the right to do as they wish, but what is interesting to me is at what point does this ego fueled party come to an end?


2013 Q3 – Report

 The best way to outperform is to avoid the disasters” – Jim Chanos 


(Photo: 401K)


101 Tips on Becoming Great

“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.” – Muhammad Ali  

if you want to become great

(Photo: *Eddie)

Ever since I got out of high school I have been keeping track of anything I come across which I think could benefit me. Whether it is a saying, an insight, or a different way of viewing the world, I was looking for anything which might help me to become better. Over the years, I have accumulated notebooks and spreadsheets full of things categorized by different topics. I want to share as much as I can with you.

Many of these tips are things I figured out on my own, a lot are quotes and ideas I came across over years of reading, listening and thinking. I tried to give credit where credit is due, but many ideas are without attribution only because I did not write them down at the time and came back to them after some reflection.

I hope one or two ideas might change the way you view the world and your life and I hope that there is something in my writings which will help you become the best you.


When Will a Toyota Corolla be Faster than a Porsche? The Moore’s Law of Automobile Performance

“Speed, it seems to me, provides the one genuinely modern pleasure.” – Aldous Huxley


(Photo: CarSpotter)

I recently wrote an article mentioning about how my old Acura Integra was faster than the fastest car from the 1920′s and 1930′s. The point was not that my Acura was necessarily fast (it was not) but that over the years the automotive technology has improved so much that even an average old jalopy, made over the last 20 years, is on average faster than the fastest cars made even 60 years ago. I decided to see just how fast that evolution was taking place and just how long it would take for your average car to be as fast as a sports car made today. For comparison I took the Porsche Boxter.

Depending what model we look at, the Boxter 0 to 60 times are between 4.2 and 5.5 seconds. I decided to use a good round number of 5 seconds as the time to reach for. I also picked a few car models which are not known for their speed and whose performance data went back at least two decades. I used 0 to 60 website to gather the information and used the fastest time for each year on each model. So how do the numbers look?


You Are Already a Multimillionaire


“There is a gigantic difference between earning a great deal of money and being rich” – Marlene Dietrich

hood emblem

(Photo: Loco Steve)

I woke up in a cheap Motel 6 hotel room somewhere off the interstate in East Florida. I had been on the road now for over a month, traveling in an old Acura that I bought off my roommate for $1500 bucks. I had been out of work for months now with very little money in my pocket so I resorted to sleeping in my car or in cheap hotel rooms seeing how little I could live on each day. I spent my days sightseeing, hiking, seeing the country and trying to find myself. For the first time in my life I was completely free, accountable to nobody, and I was as happy as I had ever been.

The reason for me being in Florida was because it was now the middle of winter and Florida was one of the few places where it was warm enough that I could sleep in my car most nights without freezing to death. I’d been reading a book I picked up at a used book shop for a dollar called Victorian Florida and became fascinated by the life of Henry Flagler. Flagler built the railroad line into Florida along with a number of luxurious hotels over a century ago where millionaires would come from up north each winter to vacation. If you were rich and you were anybody you were in Florida staying in one of the grand hotels built by Flagler. Many of the hotels still stood and I was determined to visit them all. I took a tour the Casa Monica Hotel in St Augustine, explored the Old Ponce De Leon, now part of Flagler College, had a drink at Breakers in Palm Beach and toured the Flagler Museum. I tried to imagine what it must have been like all those years ago being a multimillionaire and arriving in your own private railcar at one of the majestic hotels.

One day while talking to one of the tour guides I learned what it was really like to be one of those multimillionaires staying at one of the Flagler grand hotels a century ago. The tour guide explained that many hotels just barely had hot running water and it was unreliable. The water in the room smelled like rotten eggs because of sulfur and air conditioning and refrigeration has not been invented yet. I realized something amazing that day, even as I was living like a vagabond staying in a cheap motel room. The quality of my life was better than that of multimillionaires 100 years ago. I had reliable hot running water in my room, I had a fridge, the water did not smell and I had a working air conditioner. All the luxuries that the rich did not have all those years ago I had for less than $30 bucks. I realized that being in that motel room; I had it better than the richest of the rich a century ago.

I then decided to look at other parts of my life to see how it compared. What would I do if I was a multimillionaire living all those years ago?


Interview: Turn to Experts



(Photo: Smiling_Da_Vinci)


Daniel from Turn to Experts interviews me. Oct 2013.

8:15 – Why nobody in society talks about being great with women without needing money.

10:25 – Advice for guys just starting out. What advice I would give myself if I could go back in time.

14:25 – Practical things guys can do to become great with women.

18:45 – Why affirmations work.

24:00 – How the fear of heaving nothing keeps you from having everything.

34:20 – Mindset of successful people.

40:12 – Formula to be great with women and money.

50:32 – On getting great and losing friends.

53:45 – Money and happiness. Mistake most people who become rich make.

57:50 – My advice for starting a new business.


The Escape Velocity of Money

“You only need to get rich once” – Warren Buffett


(Photo: Steve Jurvetson)

Sometimes a simple quote can change your whole life. For me it happened over a decade ago when I was reading the book The Warren Buffett CEO, by Robert P. Miles. In the book, Warren’s quote “You only need to get rich once” hit me hard and altered how I viewed wealth forever. The quote was in response to one of his CEOs who wanted to short Internet stocks during the height of the dot-com mania, to which Warren advised against doing using that witty line.

To some that quote meant that there is no reason to risk something when you are already wealthy, but to me it was something much larger. To me, it was an understanding that becoming rich is a destination that you only need to arrive at once in your life. Even though what I am about to explain may seem obvious it will change how you view wealth and becoming rich forever.

So what do I mean by Escape Velocity and how does it relate to money?