As many of you know, I took the summer off from writing on this blog. Actually it was a bit more than the summer, but close enough. Anyways, the reason I took the break is that I needed time to recharge myself. And this of course led me to this post.
Nobody can work forever at a grueling pace, it’s just not possible. Everybody needs to take a break or holiday here and there, some more than others. And today we’re going to cover the top 10 reasons why you and everyone else needs to take breaks from time to time.
1. Your body needs to relax
As simple as it may sound, everybody needs to slow down once in a while. As much as some of us want to believe we can work through anything, we are human and our bodies and minds do need to rest. You can only keep going on fumes for so long. It’s even harder if you quit caffeine!
The other thing to remember is that it takes a bit of time to unwind. Weekends aren’t really enough to catch your breath. Even a one week holiday barely gives you enough time to unwind. Most people find that they finally really start to relax after a few to several days of rest, which means by the end of a week you’re finally starting to truly relax. It’s generally not until the second week of holidays that you really relax and benefit from your holidays. Unfortunately for a lot of us, it’s very difficult to take more than a week at a time of holidays.
And just taking a day off here and there is definitely not enough, sometimes you truly need to take some time to slow down your pace. It’s amazing the difference it can make. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that one day off is enough to fully recharge, it’s not. It’s a good start, but that’s all it really is. I view it as more of someone drowning and being able to get a grasp of air. It’s not enough to save you, but it sure does feel great!
2. Get new perspectives
If you never take a step back, you’re always going to be looking at it from the same angle. Taking a break or a holiday gives you the opportunity to take a step back and look at what your doing from a different perspective.
It’s amazing what a little difference in perspective can make. The theory of relativity is really just looking at the world from a different viewpoint. Instead of everything being absolute, Einstein basically realized that everything is relative. In other words we move relative to others, not from an absolute point in space. A simple little difference in perspective lead to a massive improvement in physics. That simple change in perspective completely changed how we view the world and lead to incredible discoveries.
While you probably won’t make the same level of groundbreaking discoveries as Einstein did, it may be enough to give you a significant boost in whatever it is you’re doing. I know being an entrepreneur sometimes I have to look at how I run my business from the outside, otherwise I would just keep doing more and more of the same. Looking from the outside allows me the opportunity to grow when and how I least expect.
3. Appreciate what you have
Like anything, if you do it too much, you start to lose your appreciation for it. For example, imagine if everyday someone did your laundry, cooked all your meals, and so on. After a while you would start to lose your appreciation for everything that’s done for you, it would almost become an expectation. Many hilarious Hollywood movies are based on this single idea.
It’s not until you stop getting the benefits that you really appreciate what you had and lost. For me blogging had become somewhat of a chore and I was no longer appreciating the benefits. And after writing for many years on a regular basis, I kinda got use to it. Once I stopped, about a few weeks into it, I started to want to write again. And the more I wanted it, the more I appreciated that I had the opportunity. And so instead of blogging being a chore as it had eventually become, it’s now something I really look forward to!
4. Improve the quality of your work
Generally if you do something a lot, you start to get lazy with it. A good example is a business manager or entrepreneur that’s had a nice growth and success history. After a few years of getting lots of good results, they may start to slack off a bit on their work because everything is going well. They have the midas touch. That or they’re getting so busy they start to take shortcuts. And unfortunately they may be able to get away with it for some time, riding on their previous successes. The bad news is that eventually it will catch up, and that’s when bad things happen. We’ve all heard stories of people who had it but then road the wave until they crashed.
For whatever reason, I find that when I take a good break, I have a tendency to ramp back up my quality of work. When you come back, you want everything to be done as best as you can. Things that you’d let slide you now address. Of course we always have to be careful about doing busy work just to be busy (like making sure your email inbox is completely clean). It’s just that in many cases you feel refreshed enough to address some of those bigger issues head on rather than deferring them where before you would defer them as much as you can. You’re up to dealing with the hard issues.
5. Disconnect to relearn how to focus
It’s amazing how good it can be to disconnect. Turn off your cell phone. Step away from your emails. Instead of always being on, multitasking like a mad person, it’s great to be able to relearn to focus.
We’re so used to constant distractions in our day and age that we forget how intrusive they can really be. After you’re disconnected for a while, you start to realize how many of those distractions are really just disruptions. You don’t need to receive all your emails right away. You don’t need to address every issue right now. You don’t need to respond to every email this minute. The world doesn’t come to a grinding halt! It’s good to remember that once in a while.
6. Discover and learn new things
How often can we just take the time to learn new things which will in turn make us that much more productive? To be quite frank, most people just keep doing things the same way because of two reasons.
The first is because they’ve always done it that way and they always will. It’s easy and they’re comfortable with the way they are doing things.
The second reason is that they just don’t have the time to learn anything new. That, or in my opinion, they don’t take the time. That is to say they don’t really understand the value of learning.
For example in software development I believe it’s crucial that you investigate your possible solutions before jumping on what you know. Sometimes the difference can be an order of magnitude increase in productivity. Not always, but often the difference in productivity is staggering. This of course doesn’t mean research everything to death, but do take the time to look at alternative options. You might be surprised more often than you think.
This is also partially where you can get the sunk cost effect. Basically the sunk cost effect is where you keep going the same path because that’s what you’ve always done and have invested large amounts of effort and/or money to get it working. In technology, this may be where you create a framework and stick to it regardless of where the programming world is going, or even how badly it’s working out. At some point alternatives and much better solutions come around, but forcing your people to stay to a specific solution because it’s worked in the past and because you have a large system built on it isn’t always the best solution.
As a quick tip, this is why I strongly believe all companies have limited lifespans. Eventually companies get stuck in some way or other due to the sunk cost effect, and they either collapse under their own weight or another new company eclipses them by leveraging a better and more productive way of doing things. As the cliche goes, out with the old in with the new.
7. Create a strategy for the future
When we’re in the thick of it we rarely take the time to create strategies for what we’re doing. We’re mostly just acting and reacting. Rarely do we plan and strategize. It’s generally only when we take a break that we can really do this.
My favorite example for this is video gaming. Before you start a video game, especially multiplayer games, you prepare your strategy. Then you try to execute it. Rarely do you adjust your strategy in the middle of a game. You’ll sometimes make tweaks to it between games, but often they won’t be very significant. It’s not really until the time between when you end your gaming session and you restart your next gaming session that you really take the time to plan what you’re going to do. That’s when you think about what you’ve done, and what you can do to improve your gameplay.
The same is true for almost everything in life. When you’re in the thick of it you’re too busy dealing with the situation. It’s generally only after the fires have been squelched that you figure out what happened, and look at how you can prevent it for the future.
8. Spend more time with family and friends
As though it wasn’t obvious enough, we’re probably all guilty of working too much. As much as I try to balance work and play, I’m sure I work too much. So taking a break is a good time to improve that balance.
And if you think you aren’t working too much, let me ask you this: On your death bed, will you ever tell yourself you should’ve worked more? Never have I heard of an instance of someone regretting not working enough. All you hear are stories of people regretting they worked too much and didn’t spend enough time with their families. Ask yourself right now, if you only had one week left to live, what would you do? I doubt your answer would be to work 24/7 for that week. Most likely you would completely skip working. That says it all right there!
9. Catch up on much needed sleep
A really weird thing I found is that when I take a holiday, I always get a lot more sleep. Suddenly instead of sleeping 4-6 hours a day, I start sleeping 8-10 hours a day, sometimes more. Why is that? I would assume because my body naturally needs more sleep than I allow it to take. I make no mistake about it, I am in no way hiding the fact that I’m fooling myself into thinking I can do this and get away with it. No one can. Eventually something has to give.
10. Improve your health
And last but not least, it’s a good chance to improve your health. Go outside and get some sun. Exercise. Ride a bike. Take a walk. Swim. Go for a hike. Whatever activity you prefer, it’s a good time to do it. We’re almost all guilty of not exercising enough. And although exercising during a holiday is not enough, it’s better than nothing. Plus, if you’re lucky you’ll continue doing it for a long time after you come back from your holiday.
For the first time since I started this blog 5 years ago, I’m going to take a summer off. You may have already noticed that I’ve started my holidays, it’s been almost a month since I last posted. I initially thought I would just quietly take a few weeks off, but now that it’s already been a month, I think I’m going to take the whole summer off. After five years, it’s been a nice break that I needed to refresh my creativity.
While I’m gone, please feel free to write comments on post to let me know what you’d like me to cover when I come back. I know what I want to write to about, but if there’s anything you guys want to me to write more about than I do now, please let me know.
And on that note, see you back here in about another month. Have a good summer!!
There are many many many many many books that teach you how to make money, but almost none that show you how to avoid losing your money. I personally had never really thought about this, at least not until I read the book What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars (an amazing book that I strongly recommend). Like everyone else, I was more concerned about making money rather than about how not to lose it. But as Jim explains it, there are many ways to successful make money but few to lose it all. You can invest in opposite strategies and still make money! The key to long term wealth is to understand the psychological forces that induce us to lose our money, even through our best efforts.
The book What I Learned Losing A Million Dollars starts off with Jim’s personal story of how he quickly climbed up the success ladder and then in a matter of a few months lost his entire wealth. What’s most interesting about the book is that what happened to him could happen to anyone. But the scariest part is how fast it can happen. It’s not that he did stupid things or spent wildly, it’s that he got caught up in a psychological trap. One that we all fall prey to from time to time, just on smaller scales.
Once it was all over for Jim, he went on a quest to find what the best investors did. What he found is that there was no consistency, they were all over the place. Many of them contradicted themselves and still succeeded. This lead him to question how this was possible, after all in most cases when two people use the opposite strategy one person has to come out ahead at the expense of the other. That’s how the markets work.
What he found out was that this wasn’t necessarily true. What happens is that successful investors know when to stop, when to drop an investment. Investors using opposite strategies aren’t always in the market, they’re in the markets at different times. They know when to wait on the sidelines until the markets favor their strategy. They don’t fall prey to as many psychological traps as ordinary people do. That is the only common thread he was able to find for highly successful investors!
And today we’re going to discuss one of those very common traps. It’s the effect of looking at your previous costs in determining whether or not to go forward today, otherwise known as the Sunk Cost Effect.
To give you a common example unrelated to investing, just to show how prevalent and strong this effect is, let’s take the example of car ownership. Let’s assume you own a car that’s a few years old (still pretty new) and you’ve just spent $2000 in repairs on it a couple of months ago. Suddenly this week it starts misbehaving, you bring it to the garage, and find out you need to spend another $1000, $2000, or even say $4000 on it. What do you do?
The best answer is to look at the value of the car TODAY and determine if it’s worth it TODAY. However, and this is where we almost all fall prey to the sunk cost effect, is that we also look at the fact that we just spent $2000 a couple of months ago. We’ve already spent that much money on it, so we might as well go forward with the new repairs. We don’t want to lose that $2000 in repairs from a couple of months ago. We may even rationalize that what we fixed a couple of months ago won’t break down again for some time so the car is better for it. And that’s a big problem!
What happens now if in another month we get another bill for another $2000? Well you have to get the repairs, after all you just spent $3000-$5000 in the last few months. And then what happens in another couple of months if it repeats. Oh my god!! We just spent $5000-$9000, there’s no way we want to lose all that money and/or effort. And so the vicious cycle has started and we start to lose more and more money just because we didn’t want to lose that initial $2000!! Trying to avoid losing that initial $2000 repair bill has now cost us around $10,000, and it’s only going to get worse! If the car is a lemon, how long will it take for us to give up? If you think it was hard at $2000, imagine now at $10,000! The more you lose, the harder it gets to pull out!
And it’s not just with cars, it can happen with just about anything. It can happen with your job. You may have already committed 3, 5, 10, 20 years to this job. You may hate it, it may be paid below market rates, and so on. But since you’ve already committed so much to it, you’re probably less and less likely to quit with time. This is why people get caught up in jobs they don’t like for years and years.
With investing, in real estate it could be you’ve already spent so much money renovating a property that you now have to wait to sell it until the market recoups, losing money each month for years and years, possibly losing everything through bankruptcy to avoid losing that $10,000 you initial spent on renovations. In the stock market, it’s a stock you bought at too high a price that you’ll now hold onto until it goes back to at least it’s original price. The list goes on and on.
The reality is that we should always look at whether something is worth it as of today. Period. It doesn’t matter how much time or money we spent on it in the past, we need to look at how much it’s worth today. If you can do that, you will save yourself a lot of trouble and money!
And that’s what smart investors do. They evaluate an investment in terms of what it’s worth today, they don’t look at how much they’ve already invested. In other words, you should always ask yourself: If I wasn’t already committed would I invest into this today?If the answer is no, then you need to seriously consider getting out of your investment before you fall prey to this trap, otherwise it will be that much harder as your position gets worse!
For some time now I’ve been considering having a weekly post where all I’d do is list interesting blog posts, articles, news, etc. that I found online over the week. In late April I decided to go for it, and so was born the Lazy Friday Reading Assignments. These posts consisted each of a list of links with information around each link explaining why that link was interesting.
In terms of results, I mostly expected that these posts would have much higher clickthroughs than normal (because it’s a list of links to check out). I also thought that the overall traffic, and the subscriptions (Google Feedburner count), to the blog would continue it’s normal growth. And if I was lucky, other sites would learn about this blog and hopefully send additional new traffic.
The results were not what I expected! And this is why it’s important to measure everything.
In the graph above, the blue line represents “Reach”, or as Google defines it, the number of people who have taken action on your content. I had 4 Lazy Friday Reading Assignments on the graph, and all 4 resulted in higher clickthrough days. There are actually about 8 posts in the timeframe of the graph, with the last post being on May 21st (I’ve been too busy over the last while to post). In any case, the end of the graph is the baseline with no posts (about 2+ weeks since my last post), the lower levels of the blue line on the left side are the baseline for normal posts, and the higher numbers are the Lazy Friday Reading Assignment post days. Exactly as I would expect them to be!
The traffic, as measured by unique visitors, did increase over this time, but not much more than my normal growth levels (it’s not displayed on the above graph, I measure unique visitors through other sources). This is more or less what I expected.
But, and this is a big but, the subscription count as measured by Google Feedburner (the green line), was not at all what I expected! Looking again at the graph above, you’ll see that while I was publishing the Lazy Friday Reading Assignments, the green line has dips and overall didn’t really increase. Although the dips don’t exactly correlate to the Lazy Friday Reading Assignment days, I can assure you it’s the first time I’ve ever seen this behavior (there’s also some delays with when Google Feedburner sends out the newsletter by email for those that subscribed by email). Normally when I write a post I’ll see an increase in subscription count on those days (the reverse). I would’ve included an example, but I wasn’t able to find a way to generate a graph from Feedburner for a specific date other than the last 30 days (the full length is too massive).
Although those dips may not look too big, they do represent a decrease of several hundred subscribers. This is significant enough! And more importantly, it’s consistent. During the experiment the subscription rate had absolutely no growth. There’s been more subscription growth with me doing nothing for 2 weeks after the experiment than during the whole month of the experiment!
In other words the experiment was a failure. Therefore the Lazy Friday Reading Assignment is no longer. Although I thought it was a good idea, this didn’t turn out to be the case. Which is why it’s a good idea to measure what you’re doing. Had I not had these metrics, I may have continued for a long time before realizing my error.
Which is why it’s important to measure, measure, and measure again.
PS: Looking at the graph also reminds me I should be posting more consistently.
There’s a lot of discussion going on about how patent’s don’t really make sense in the IT world like they do in other industries (such as medicine). The post Microsoft Patent Trolls Salesforce from the guys at 37Signals really does show the absurdity of the world of patents in the IT world.
In the post No Plan Survives First Contact With Customers, Steve Blank explains why a business plan isn’t the end all be all. He explains why it’s important to initiate the contact with your customers early on, even before you start building your product if you can. It’s even more important than creating your business plan, which I agree.
The world of VC is very froth with peril, and often the founders are taken for granted. Steve Blank tells an interesting story of how he was treated poorly because, as he puts it, You’re Just the Founder. As you can tell I’m not a big fan of VC, and this is just another reason why.
Anthony Feint has written How to Suck at Branding, and this is exactly how you can suck. Very simple and very straightforward. My favorite his is last item: Outsource it. I especially liked the last lines, “Did I mention you’re busy. Let some PR company handle your branding. They’ll get a nice generic logo designed for you, and they’ll take some nice profile shots of your uber cool founder. Then they’ll launch a “social viral interactive marketing experience” (youtube video), to help spread the word. You don’t have to do anything. In fact, why not retire to an island and be a recluse.”
Sometimes when you sign up for a new credit card or a new bank account you’re offered a signup bonus, which can be in the form of a cash, an item of value, and so on. The problem is that you need to be careful because signup bonus from banks are usually taxable whereas those from credit cards aren’t. Not only that, but the taxes are calculated on the retail value and not the actual market price, which means that in some cases the bonus signup item may cost you as much, if not more, than if you bought it yourself!
And the last reading assignment for this week comes from The Oatmeal, 8 Websites You Need to Stop Building. My personal favorite is #6, The Next Facebook: “All I need is someone who can design, code, host, launch, manage, and market it”. “Okay what’s your budget?” “Well I don’t actually have any money right now. But I’ll pay you in equity, which according to my projections will be worth eight hundred million dollars within 6 months.”
If Nick Vujicic from the video above can do it, to be quite honest, then you better have a really good excuse why you can’t. If you’re not interested and it’s not for you, then that’s different. But if you’re using any of the excuses listed below, then I’m sorry but we’ve all heard them before. We know them all too well. These are 13 excuses, NOT REASONS, most people use for why they can’t start a business. The reality is you can, you just don’t want to enough. Because if you did, you’d find a way. None of them are reasons, they’re all excuses. And today I’m going to dispel each and every one of them.
1. I have no time.
Seriously? I call BS on that one. Almost everyone, and I mean almost everyone, has some free time or time that’s wasted.
Do you watch any tv shows? Do you go to any movies? Do you watch any sporting events? Do you go the pub/bar? Do you go out for dinners? Do you hang out on the patio or have barbecues with your friends on the weekends? I understand everyone needs time off to relax and so on, but no one said it was going to be easy either. If you do the math, and really look at how you spend your days, I have no doubt you can find at least 10 hours a week. And everyone can find at least a few hours each week!
2. I don’t know how.
Here’s a big secret, no one else really does either. There is no manual to being an entrepreneur. We just figure it out as we go along. The more experience you have, the better you get at it. Just like anything else.
If you want to look at it another way, it’s like riding a bike. No one knows how to ride a bike on their first try. But if you don’t start trying you won’t learn. The same is true with swimming, dancing, learning a new sport, learning a new language, programming. Even using a cell phone. It wasn’t that long ago that most people would say they couldn’t use a cellphone, and now almost everyone has one.
And unlike in the past, there’s a lot more information out there today. You’re not limited to just your local library, you can order virtually any book from Amazon. And if you don’t have the money, you can always research everything you need online on the internet. There’s no end of entrepreneurial information out there. The fact alone that you’re reading this article means you’re already learning from the internet!
3. I don’t have the money.
And? Only a really small subset of companies actually require a significant amount of money to get going. There are many many many businesses that require very little money initially to get started. Sure IT based companies like software companies probably do require less cash (and instead require a lot more time) that a lot of other businesses, but don’t think that’s it. There’s lots of different businesses out there.
In all honesty, the problem is because most people think too big for their first company. If you really want to succeed, start on a smaller scale. Just like when you start driving a car. Is it smart to learn how to drive a car in a Ferrari or is it better to learn in a basic sedan? Do you learn to fly a plane by flying a 777 Jumbo Jet your first time in the air or do you start with a basic 2 seater plane? Therefore start a smaller business, something you can build up from, and go from there. Use the money you earn from your first business to build your second.
PS: Do you have an LCD tv? Have you taken a trip in the last while? What kind of car do you own? Do you go out to restaurants? Do you go to the movies? If you really want to, I’m sure you can find some money.
4. I don’t know where to start.
There is no perfect place to start. But like the saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles starts with one small footstep. You need to start and the rest will just happen. The biggest hurdle is generally just taking that first step. And don’t stop once you’ve started, keep going. That’s another major hurdle most people fall prey to. They get excited, take a few steps, and then basically just stop taking any steps. Don’t let that happen to you.
5. I’m too young/old.
Really? What’s too young or too old? If you’re reading this, then you’re neither too young or too old. Age is a perception thing, it’s really all in your mind. It’s not a valid reason.
6. No one will give me any money.
Fine, then start something else. This is back to #3, maybe you should start something smaller. Don’t try to fly a Jumbo 777 jet your first time flying. Just because no one will give you money for THAT SPECIFIC business, it doesn’t mean you have to stop everything. There’s more than one business in the world.
At the very least, you can look at starting a smaller idea. It’s the same as when you start your career. No one will hire you as the president or CEO of their company when you first start. You have to build up your career, establish yourself. Start with a smaller business and create a history of success.
What if you fail? What’s the worse that can happen?As Tim Ferris put it in his book The 4-Hour Work Week, what’s the absolute worse that can happen if you fail?If you really think about it, it’s probably not nearly as bad as you think. For sure you won’t die.
And failure is not a bad thing. Of course you’d prefer to avoid it, but so what if it happens. Imagine if you had the same avoidance of failure with everything you did. How would you ever have learned to drive? And by the way you can die learning to drive! How would you have learned to ride a bike? How would you ever visit a foreign country? Learn a new language? Learn to fly a plane? Learn to dance?
9. I don’t have the skills or experience
Were you a professional driver when you first got your driver’s license? Where you a professional basketball player the first time you tried to play basketball. What about doctors? They have to start somewhere. Everyone has to start somewhere, including entrepreneurs.
Don’t worry too much about this. Early on you’ll make more rookie mistakes, but that’s part of learning. As time goes on, you’ll find it gets easier and easier. For example, how difficult was it when you first started driving? Did you make silly mistakes (while still surviving)? Did it take almost all of your concentration? Did you drive at full speed? Now how do you drive? Is it much easier? Now you’re probably not thinking about the details, you’re thinking more of your route (strategy) rather than how much to push on the accelerator and if you’re too close to the car in front of you (daily busy work). Those things become intuitive after a while.
10. There’s too much competition.
There’s no such thing as too much competition. A large number of competitors means the market is too segregated which means there’s no dominating player. That’s really good!
If there’s only a few big competitors, you’re in even better luck! The big guys are just as scared of you as you are of them. Once a company has become big, bureaucracy sets in and doing anything, especially anything innovative, becomes very hard. Which also means don’t try to compete with them head on where resources are the key to success, focus on where they can’t compete! Innovation, customer service, quickness of execution, and so on.
By the way, competition is a good thing. It’s much harder to be the first because not only do you have to sell your product or service, you also have to educate people about it.Personally I prefer only having to deal with one hurdle at a time.
11. I have to wait until everything is lined up just right
This will never happen. All entrepreneurs will tell you this is a pipe dream. You’ll never have everything perfectly lined up.
Now that doesn’t mean don’t plan and try to prepare beforehand, it just means don’t ever expect to have everything perfectly lined up to start because it won’t happen. And in all honesty, no business ever goes 100% smoothly. You just have to roll with punches and adjust as you go.
My favorite analogy, which I’ve taken from the software world, is the classic example of driving a car. When you drive, do you lock your steering wheel and move forward, or do you continually make small adjustments, turn when needed, and so on. If you locked your steering wheel, you probably wouldn’t even make it past your street. The same is true with business. Nothing ever lines up perfectly, you just have adjust as you go.
12. It’s just too risky.
Is it really? How risky is your job? With a business you have multiple clients whereas with your job you have just ONE SINGLE CLIENT. All your eggs are in one single basket. So if your one single client decides they no longer need you, or they can no longer afford you, you’re revenues (paycheck) goes to $0. With a business, if one client drops you because they themselves run out of money, it’s not the end of the world because you generally have many other clients.
By the way, if you run your own company, you know what’s going on. As an employee, you can easily be blindsided and laid off at any moment. And we’re seeing a lot of that today. You’re at the mercy of management, which means you may not know until the last minute. Not only that, but it’s possible you could lose your job just to improve a balance sheet for investors and nothing more. You really have no control of what may happen, nor are you always going to have knowledge of what’s coming.
13. I’m still working on my business plan
This is my favorite which I saved for last! I’ve seen too many would-be entrepreneurs working on their business plans forever, never to actually execute on it. It’s much much much easier to write a business plan than to start a business. Plus you don’t have to push through all the hard walls and issues you’re going to encounter when starting.
Common variations of this are people who move from business plan to business plan. People who endlessly try to perfect their business plan. People who work on the minute details of their business plan forever.
You’ll also find that as you become more and more entrepreneurial, you’re less and less likely to write up a business plan. After you’ve run a few companies, you don’t need to go through all the detailed planning because you already have a good idea of what’s coming ahead. Plus, your business plan rarely survives it’s first encounter with real customers.But if you’ve never started a business, it’s a good place to start. Just don’t focus too much on getting it perfect, or ironing out all the details. The business plan’s goal is to help you develop your idea, not write it in stone. You don’t have to follow your business plan perfectly, no successful entrepreneur ever does!
The iPad is not a larger iPhone, it’s much more than that. It’s a computer for the non-technically inclined. Chuck Hollis brought one home, and wrote What iPads Did to My Family. This is exactly what I anticipate will happen all over the world. It’s not a computer as much for geeks and techies like myself, it’s for the rest of the world.
The opposite of that, for the geeks and technically inclined, Will Urbina created his own storage appliance capable of holding 16TB of data! He calls his device the Black Dwarf, and in this post he explains how to build it.
Like Chess, computer programming is easy to learn but hard to master. This is especially true when it comes to building systems that will be used and maintained over time. Anyone can slap together something that will work, but very few people can build systems that can thrive over many versions. Because of this, Donnie Garvich wrote 10 Ways to Suck at Programming to help you learn how not to suck at programming.
Recently Greece has been having some financial problems, to put it mildly. The following piece Greek Debt Crisis Offers Preview of What Awaits US is really eye opening. Although the US isn’t as yet as financially troubled as Greece, it’s still not a giant leap.
Ever wonder what your best profile picture is? Instead of trying to guess, you may want to check out MyBestFace. For more details on the how it works and the story behind it, check out the post by Christian called What is Your Best Profile Picture.
If you think the housing market is starting to get better, you may want to check out this post from Dr. Housing Bubble. His argument is that we’re just entering the second wave of problems, and based on his data, I tend to agree. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve published any testimonials about LandlordMax, so today I’m going to take the chance and highlight a couple of new ones.
As I am a very small business, your software is most likely on the upper end of what I need, but it is what my accountant wants me to use and it has served my needs very successfully since the inception of the business.
- Horace White
I am new to Real Estate investing. Your application was recommended to me by a seasoned investor. I’ve been using it for about 4 months, and am extremely pleased with it. It gives a really clear picture of where you are with your investment. I find it very easy to use from the get go. Thanks for your efforts in that regard.
Some of the more interesting exerts (by the way, some of his concerns have already been addressed in the latest version – such as having bar charts, pie charts, etc. in the reports – this is a review of version 3.11 done a month before version 6.05 was released, therefore this feature wasn’t available at the time):
During our LandlordMax review, the first test that we put it through is compare it with our checklist of must-have features. The huge range of features that comes with Landlord Max far exceeded our expectations. It is quite safe to say the features of this software will be enough to satisfy the most picky of landlords.
What’s more important is that the features and details offered by LandlordMax are helpful and practical
This makes it stand out from some programs which look like a bunch of code strung together by programmers who know nothing about property management.
Despite all the functions that comes with LandlordMax, it remains surprisingly easy to use. This is possible due to the clever design of the software which puts the basic features upfront and leaves the advanced ones in the background.
What really makes LandlordMax shine is its unmatched report generator. With the click of a button, you can churn out over 100 different reports. While the creation of reports is a standard feature of most property management programs, no other software comes close to the might of LandlordMax.
Later on Teo does a comparison of different property management software solutions and here are the highlights:
If you have a slightly larger budget, then LandlordMax will be an excellent choice for you. In exchange for paying a bit more, you will be getting a big bundle of highly helpful features such as detailed reports, late fee calculators and a full blown database. These valuable functions are rarely found in low cost property management software under $300.
Despite being armed with powerful features, LandlordMax still remains highly easy to use. We really love the thoughtful design of this software that displays the basic and most common functions upfront while leaving the advanced ones in the 2nd tier. Even if you are a first time user, you will be able to use their basic features with no problems at all.
To quote Brad Feld: “The great companies that I’ve been an investor in share a common trait – the founder/CEO is obsessed with the product. Not interested, not aware of, not familiar with, but obsessed. Every discussion trends back toward the product. All of the conversations about customer are really about how the customer uses the product and the value the product brings the customer. The majority of the early teams are focused entirely on the product, including the non-engineering people. Product, product, product.”.
I’ve always wondered if creating a separate virtual machine for each development environment would be worthwhile, especially for consultants working in a lot of different environments. Fortunately for me Alex tried it out and wrote his findings at: Using a Virtual Machine For Software Development
I remember studying speech recognition in university a long time ago. It was ok, but it really wasn’t ready anywhere near primetime ready yet. Since then I’ve seen some improvements, but I haven’t really seen a commercial offering. This article helps to explain why speech recognition hasn’t really been moving forward much.
I just learned this week about the Memristor. If this YouTube video presentation is right, this could really revolutionize computers. I would compare this jump in computing power to the discovery of transistors. Here’s to hoping it’s real and will come to fruition sooner than later. 1 Petabyte in the size of a sugar cube! Whole databases in fast ram. The way we program would drastically change.
I’m a big fan of history, not dates and places, but understanding how things were, which in turn explains how and why we are where we are today. Jeremy Keith wrote A Brief History of Markup which does a good job explaining the history of markup (more or less html).
And if you don’t understand why there’s so much discussion about mobile computing these days (iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.), then you should check out this information graph about how teens are using their cell phones. Mobile computing is huge.
What’s the furthest you believe you will go in life? Do you believe you will own your own company? Do you believe you will be the boss at your job? Do you believe you will climb Everest? Do you believe you will make $1,000,000? Do you believe you will marry the most amazing person?
Firstly, notice I said believe and not think you can. With that in mind, which of the above questions do you truly believe you will achieve?
Now here’s the kicker, I can pretty much guarantee you that if you don’t believe you will achieve it, then you won’t. It’s not very complicated, it’s really that simple!
In the movie Fired Up!, an Animal House style movie, there’s a scene where the team believes they suck and because of that they do! That’s when the hero chimes in with a pretty colorful and somewhat offbeat speech about the importance of believing that you’re good. Below is the exert with some edits (to keep it cleaner for this blog):
- Sorry, guys, I just suck.
- It’s not just you. We all kind of suck.
- We’re not good at all.
- Hey, stop. Stop talking like that.
- But it’s true.
- We’re just not that good.
- Enough of that. You can go as far as you want.
- What do the Panthers have that you don’t have?
- Kickass cheers.
- Laser hair removal.
- Big-a** t******. I’m just saying.
- Confidence. They’re cocky a*******.
- Like Nick, the cockiest a******* on the football field. That’s why he’s good.
- He’s right. I’m awesome.
- Because he believes in himself.
- Also because I’m awesome.
- He knows he’s gonna be good, so he’s good. And he takes chances.
- Not hard due to the fact that I’m awesome.
- Nick. Trying to make a speech here.
- I’m sorry.
- Either bet big or go home.
- If you don’t wanna take any chances, then you shouldn’t even be here.
- I know you wanna be here, because you finish last every single year… but you keep coming back… even if it means taking endless shit… from total dong-knockers like the Panthers.
- All right. Come on, guys. Let’s be cocky a*******s.
- Yeah, you know what, he’s right.
- And I can say that… because I am the best cheerleader here, so you can all suck my d***.
- I was just being a cocky a*******.
- Oh, nice. That’s what I told you. Look, did you see what she was doing there?
- That’s exactly what I want from everybody.
- All right, let’s do this.
- And remember, you’re awesome. Let’s risk it to get the biscuit.
- All right, get cocky, b******.
- Let’s do it. Come on, guys. Ready.
- Hit it!
Although a bit colorful, and not exactly what I meant the idea is still really there. If you don’t believe you will succeed you won’t. And because the team thought they were bad, they always finished last.
Let’s look at a more concrete example that you can associate in your life. Let’s say you’re making $50,000/year right now and you believe you can’t make more than $65,000. Will you ever make $75,000? No! Why? Because if you don’t think you can make that much, you’ll never ask for that much. You’ll never try to make that much. You won’t do what it takes to make that much. You may achieve up to $65,000, but you’ll never go above that level because that’s as much as you believe you can make.
The same is true with your dream job, the raise you want, the promotion you want, and so on. If you don’t believe in it, you will never try or get it. The very fact of not trying alone will prevent you from succeeding.
And it’s not just jobs, the same is also true for finding your perfect girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband. How many people are just too shy to approach the person they really like? They just sit there and wait, thinking they don’t deserve that person. They never take the chance. How many movies are about someone in love but never having the courage to take that initial leap?
The reality is that you have to believe you will succeed to succeed. When I started LandlordMax, I knew it was going to be a success. It was a fact a fact in my mind. And it is succeeding!
As Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear so well put it in the Bolivia Special episode (4:48): “If you believe something will happen, it will happen”.
What’s the furthest you think you will go in life? Do you think you will own your own company? Do you think you will be the boss at your job? Do you think you will climb Everest? Do you think you will make $1,000,000? Do you think you will marry the most amazing person?
Whichever questions above you answered no to, I can almost guarantee you won’t ever achieve. If you don’t believe you can do it, you won’t. It’s not very complicated, it’s really that simple!
In the movie Fired Up!, an Animal House style movie, there’s a scene where the team believes they suck and as such they do! But then our hero explains, in a pretty colorful and more entertaining method, the importance of believing that you’re good. The following is the exert:
Looking at a more concrete example. Let’s say you’re making $50,000/year right now and you believe you can’t make more than $65,000. Will you ever make $75,000? No! Why? Because if you don’t think you can make that much, you’ll never ask for that much. You’ll never try to make that much. You won’t do what it takes to make that much. You may achieve up to $65,000, but you’ll never reach above that level.
The same is true with your dream job. If you don’t think you deserve or can do it, you will never try for it. The very fact of not trying alone will prevent you from succeeding.
And it’s not just jobs, the same is also true for finding your perfect spouse. How many people are to shy to approach the person they really like? They just sit there and wait, thinking they don’t deserve that person. They never take the chance. How many movies are there about someone trying to fall in love with their dream person but never having the courage to take that initial leap?
The reality is that you have to believe you will succeed to succeed. When I started LandlordMax, I knew it was going to be a success. As a matter of fact, I also didn’t really have a choice. It had to succeed. As Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear put it in the … episode, if you believe it enough, you can will it to happen!
Sorry, guys, I just suck.
- It’s not just you. We all kind of suck. – We’re not good at all.
- Hey, stop. Stop talking like that. – But it’s true.
We’re just not that good.
Enough of that. You can go as far as you want.
What do the Panthers have that you don’t have?
- Skills. – Athleticism.
- Kickass cheers. – Laser hair removal.
Big-ass titties. I’m just saying.
Confidence. They’re cocky assholes.
Like Nick, the cockiest asshole on the football field. That’s why he’s good.
- He’s right. I’m awesome. – Because he believes in himself.
Also because I’m awesome.
He knows he’s gonna be good, so he’s good. And he takes chances.
Not hard due to the fact that I’m awesome.
- Nick. Trying to make a speech here. – I’m sorry.
Either bet big or go home.
If you don’t wanna take any chances, then you shouldn’t even be here.
I know you wanna be here, because you finish last every single year…
but you keep coming back…
even if it means taking endless shit…
from total dong-knockers like the Panthers.
I wanna cut the blond one.
- What? – What?
- What? – What?
- What? – I’m just saying.
All right. Come on, guys. Let’s be cocky assholes.
Yeah, you know what, he’s right.
And I can say that…
because I am the best cheerleader here, so you can all suck my dick.
I was just being a cocky asshole.
Oh, nice. That’s what I told you. Look, did you see what she was doing there?
That’s exactly what I want from everybody.
All right, let’s do this.
And remember, you’re awesome. Let’s risk it to get the biscuit.
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