Strovek Writes

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ideas on How to Find Topics for Earning Online Part 2

In the previous article, I suggested that getting topics from movies, restaurant reviews and online forums. I will continue with other areas in your life where you can get ideas and inspirations for topics to write.


Blocks
© Darren Hester (Macon, Georgia USA) CC:Attribution-NonCommercial



Bedtime Stories or Parenting

Do you make your own bedtime stories or make up things to entertain your children. Share what you do, new parents would love to have ideas on how to bring up their own children. For example when my daughter was younger she had difficulty recognizing abc. Initially I was frustrated but at the end I devised a method to help her remember. I found out later that this was a common difficulty for young children. She has grown out of this phase but I hope that I am able to help other children with similar difficulty.

Travel or Holidays

Did you go to a new place or country for a holiday. Why not write about your experience? Did you see something unusual, walking fish, beautiful sceneries or unusual events? Make sure to take pictures, those pictures will help support your story.

I know many friends who like to travel but do not want to go to the common tourist destination, they prefer to visit the not so popular spots that are unique and wonderful. Articles on those kind of discovery would help them greatly. I recently wrote a review of on Excape Park in ExpertsPages and posted the pictures in Triond (since I could not place any images on ExpertsPages.

Personal Tricks

Do you have tricks to keep yourself motivated or to accomplish tasks? Why not write about those tricks. I wrote an article on how to keep myself motivated and do my exercise and in another article, I wrote about how I kept my jogging routine interesting.

Praise Someone or Something

Did somebody do something nice for you or did you receive some service that you want to tell everybody about? Write about it and recommend the establishment to others. This will be a reward to the service rendered.

Good Cause

Is there a cause that you believe in? Write about the cause and recommend it to others, ask for support. Charities need a lot of support and sometimes due to lack of awareness, they do not get the support they need, your articles could get them the exposure.

I have proposed many ideas in these two articles but none of these suggestions will help unless you start writing. Start writing and the ideas will flow!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tips on How to Promote Your Website or Articles Online

Search Engines

Many websites are created daily so it is not possible for search engines know of them. When you start your website, it is your job as the owner to let the search engines know the site.  The easiest way is to submit your sitemap to the search engines. Most search engines accept the RSS feed for your site as the sitemap. SEO or search engine optimization is useless if your website is not even in the search engine. You can submit your sitemap to Google using the Google Webmaster and to Bing and Yahoo using Bing WebMaster. Having your website indexed by the search engine will not generate traffic to your site automatically but will help. The next stage is to announce your articles to potential readers and fans using social networking sites like Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, Facebook and GooglePlus.



young and diverse volunteer group with clothing donation
Release  information:
Signed model release filed with Shutterstock, Inc.
Copyright: mangostock


Social Network Sites

One important thing to remember about social networking sites is the effectiveness depends on the size of your network. If you on the site and do not have anyone connected to you, then your post will not reach anyone. In certain sites like Digg and StumbleUpon, your post or sharing may still reach those not connected directly to you if it is in the right category but that is similar to hoping that your site may be found by random searches; the chances of that happening is very low. It is therefore very important to build up the size of your network. With a large enough network, you have the law of averages - chances of finding others interested in what you write.


You need to remember some rules when it comes to social network sites. Many sites do not like spam. If all you do is post articles from your site (within a very short time), it may be considered spam and some sites like StumbleUpon may blacklist your site. It is a social network site, so you are expected to socialize. No one likes any relationship that is one sided.

Some sites are longer term compared to others. Links submitted to StumbleUpon and Digg will stay around longer while links to submitted to GooglePlus, Facebook and Twitter do not .

Forums

If there are forums that are related to the subjects you write on your site, you can post links from your site. However, be sure to only post the link if it is related to the questions you are answering, otherwise it will be considered spam. Better still, if your article is a reply to the question asked on the forum.

Closing

Now you know how, start letting others know your writing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Accident but Still a Blessing

Recently we took our children for a day of fun and games in at Berjaya Theme Park. Everything seems perfect. The drive to the Berjaya Time Square was smooth with minimal traffic and we did not have any trouble finding the place (unlike the last time where we had to stop to ask for direction and drive around different blocks to find the entrance).

This time we decided to park at a nearby open car park (which only charges a flat rate) instead of the covered parking inside Berjaya Time Square). We arrived at the entrance of the indoor Theme Park before it was open but already there were a few others in front of us.

Both children were excited with the trip because they planned to go on the roller coaster with a 360 degree loop for the first time. Even though they have been to the theme park multiple times, they have never had the courage to go on the roller coaster. They went from one ride to another while I joined them in a few of the rides. We got into one of the rides known as the “DNA Mixer”. On this ride, you were turned upside down several times. At this point, both decided against going for the roller coaster.

Late afternoon, we received a call from my sister advising us to leave early to avoid the jam. By that time it had already started raining. We went shopping in the shops within the building and had to wait an hour for one of our purchases. So we returned to the theme park and managed to convince my daughter to join us on the roller coaster. This was a record, we managed to get on two scary rides within one day.

Finally, it was time for us the leave the building. It was only light rain so we decided to walk to the car in the rain. I went first while my wife and children followed. I grabbed a pillar on the slope at the entrance to the building. The next thing I knew, I fell head first towards the pavement. My wife rushed forward to me and collected three objects which appear like seeds from the floor. It was then I realized that three of my front teeth had detached themselves from my mouth. My mouth was all bloody.







Due to this accident, we decided to cut shot the holiday and head home. My children had earlier planned on visiting many more places in Kuala Lumpur. On reflection of the incident, things could be a lot worst. I could have fallen on my glasses and sustain face or even eye injury. The teeth could have lodged itself to my mouth instead of falling off. Even though I miss my teeth, I believe it is a blessing that the injury minor considering the alternative outcomes.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

How to Make up Bedtime Stories

It is fun to make up your own bedtime stories and it provides a great opportunity to spend time with your children. I managed to tell stories I created for seven months before I ran out of ideas and my children lost interest.


Face Bug
© Jan Teunis (Belgium)


Topic

The first step in making a story come up with a topic. Ways of coming up with a topic include:

  1. Think of something your children are interested in.
  2. Ask your children for a topic.
  3. Think of something lesson you want to teach your children.

Use Words that Your Children can Relate to

To engage children, it is important to provide them with things that are familiar with or can associate with. It will make it easier for them to visualize the story.

For example, in the Moths and Butterflies story, I started with fairies. Children know fairies can fly and to them butterflies and moths look like worms, hence the story.

I used a similar approach in Dinosaurs. Dinosaurs look like scaly and mutated version of animals we know today. Diseases and germs were used to explain the scaly skins and mutation. It is also used as a way to explain why we do not see dinosaurs anymore.

It Cannot be too Long or too Exciting

Even though it is fun to create stories, we have to remember the objectives of the stories.

  1. To spend time with our children.
  2. Getting them to sleep.

If the story is too exciting, it will get the children too worked out and they might not be able to sleep after the story.

Have Fun

Children love animals, so they are great subject for stories. I used animals in many of my stories. One thing important when making up the stories and to remind your children that your stories are just for fun and not real.

Since my children know that my story is just for fun, I am able to make up stories like How Zebra Got Their Stripes or How Elephants Got Their Tusk.

My story collection is found here. Start making up your bedtime stories and spend some quality time with your children.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ideas on How to Find Topics for Earning Online

One struggle for new bloggers is to find a topic. This is especially true for those who want to write and submit articles to blog to earn money. Here are some suggestions to help address this challenge.


Money


image © Adrian van Leen for openphoto.net CC:PublicDomain

Movies

Have you seen a movie lately? If you have, why not write a review about the movie? Discuss the story line, what was good about the movie, what was bad about the movie? Did you go to the movie with your children or friends, if you did then share their comments or reactions to the movie? Was there anything memorable about the movie? Maybe there were some questions that others might be interested in such as did the movie contains nudity. Some of the movie reviews were on movies I recently watched such as Ted, Looper (a movie with Bruce Willis) and Skyfall (the latest Bond movie).

Instead of movies, you could also write about television series, especially new series that has just been released like Last Resort or The Legend of Korra.

Sometimes instead of reviewing a movie, a television series or even a mini series, write about the trends in the movies as you see it. It can be something that you are not happy about like the trend of having to wait at least a year to see the conclusion of the story because movies are now broken into many parts with years between releases. You could also share your observation of two movies that are released but have a lot of similarities such as Dinosaurs and HandCam. For this particular article, I was caught by surprise the amount of interest, I achieved more than 1000 views on that one article alone.

Restaurant Review

Did you just go to a new restaurant? Did you like what you saw or had in the restaurant? Write a review about the restaurant. You could either recommend the place or warn others about the place. There are readers who are interested in the restaurant and would like to read about the experience before they go there. I wrote my experience about a nice cozy cafe in just visited.

Ideas from Forum

When you participate in the various social networking sites and forums, you may come across questions that are asked by others on the site. I saw a question on MyLot on how to start his own website. I knew that my answer would be too long to write directly in the forum, I wrote an article instead and posted the link on the site.

These are some ideas to get you started. Stay tuned for more ideas.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Optimizing on my Credit Cards

I previously reviewed the different credit cards that are available in Malaysia and ways to get money back from these cards. A lot has changed since my last review. I have not really gone back to do an in depth analysis. The baseline at the moment for value based on either cash back or prize redemption is 0.5%. The service tax by the Malaysian government adds an additional RM50 per principal card and RM25 per supplementary card.each year.


Money
image © Adrian van Leen for openphoto.net CC:PublicDomain 

Due to the competition in the market, most annual fees are waived. The only exception I found is the Citibank Cashback card. When you first sign up for the card, the annual fee for the first two years are waived. However, when I asked for a waiver, they refused. Instead of approving a waiver, they offered a different card. The other option from them was to sign up for an additional service from them for another year waiver. I refused either option and was billed RM625. I cancelled the card since that fee was much more than the amount of cash back I could earn in a year.


The most generous card in the market now is the OCBC Titanium Mastercard. With the card you get five percent cash back on petrol, dining, groceries, utility bills. For any other items that do not fall within the five percent cash back category, you get one percent cash back instead. This is even higher than the cash back from Citibank cash back card. As an additional incentive to use the card, if you spend more than RM10000 per year, you will be given a bonus of RM50 to offset the government service tax. However, be aware of some restrictions.
  1. Some grocery stores are not included in the five percent cash back. You will enjoy the five percent cash back only when you shop in supermarkets like Tesco, Giant, Sunshine and Carrefour enjoy the five person . Strangely enough, Jaya Jusco is not included.
  2. The maximum cash back you can enjoy per month is RM50. This applies for both principle and supplement expenses (so there is no reason to get a supplementary card).
  3. To get an annual fee waiver, it is necessary to use the card at least 12 times a year.


Another great card to optimize my expense is the UOB OneCard. This card duplicates.the cash back rates offered by Citibank Cashback Card and added GSC cinema to the list. This card is to gain extra cash back when I fill up my car (petrol expenses) and for watching movies in the cinema. If I use this card in BHP stations, I will get five percent cash back, additional one percent UOB$ (which I can redeem in GSC cinema) and also points from BHP eCard. 550 ePoints redeems RM5 of petrol. This brings a total rebate of seven percent. As for movies, I will get five percent cash back and another five percent UOB$. With the UOB$ I accumulated, I get to watch some movies for free. However, there are certain conditions that you should watch out for.

  1. To get the annual fee waiver for the card as a principle card holder, you need to use the card at least 60 times a year.
  2. The annual fee for a supplementary card is RM30 which cannot be waived.
  3. The petrol purchases that qualify for cashback limited to RM600 per month (means you can only get a maximum of RM30 rebate for petrol).

If you want to provide supplementary card to your loved ones, AmBank Carz card is the way to go. You can get up to three supplementary cards without annual fee. Unfortunately, the government tax cannot be avoided. The Carz card offers one percent cash back on petrol expenses, everything else follow our baseline of 0.5% (either to offset the tax or redeem for cash but only when you reach 30000 points).

Two things that is necessary for this plan to work.

  1. The credit card bills are paid in full each month so that late fees will not affect the value of the cash back.
  2. No additional purchases are made because of the credit card.

In optimizing on cash back, I lose out on things like

  1. exclusive discount offers that are frequently available for Citibank and HSBC.
  2. exclusive items that can be found in the card catalogs which are not available elsewhere.

This option is available in Malaysia. I wonder how it works in other countries. Feel free to share by commenting below.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Just Do It, Get Practical

Have you ever thought of doing something but did not really know where to start or how to start? There is a simple solution, just go ahead and do it. The result really does not matter, what matters is that you get your practical experience.


Sailing

image © Jasenka Petanjek for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike 

Start a little experiment - a proof of concept. This is done daily in companies all over the world so why not do it in our personal lives? The key factor about proof of concept to do it on a small scale with minimal risk. Before you start your proof of concept, you should have some idea about what it is you want to find out. The preparations can be something as simple as reading what other have done in that area.

For example, you are thinking of starting a blog. Read about your options, there are free hosting sites and there are sites that require payment. There are some articles which talk about the essential steps to starting a blog. Just to experience it you might just go to one of the free hosting sites and just register and start a blog. This allows you to get a taste of what it means to own one.

Most initial ventures usually end in failure so do not worry about failing, what is important for the first venture is to gain experience and learn from it. There is no better teacher than practical experience.

Another important thing to remember is there is no shame in starting over. For those in the IT field, we usually avoid the first release of anything. We know that the first release of any product is full of bugs and issues which will only be fixed in later release. If this is true of multi million dollar companies why should our own personal ventures be any different.

So remember, do not over analyze and fall into the trap of analysis paralysis, just do it. Get your experience and move on.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Obtaining RSS feed from the writing websites and its uses

When it comes to providing feed into this site for my other writing sites, a rss feed is required. The same applies if you want to automatically publish your articles on Facebook (via NetworkedBlogs).

motherboard

image © Michael Jastremski for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike


Some sites make it easy for you. The following are the rss for the sites I write for.

Note that in each case, strovek is my username, if you need it for your own user name, just replace it strovek with your username for the site.

 
Triond        http://www.triond.com/feed/user/pen_name/strovek
ExpertsPages    http://expertspages.com/author/strovek/feed
Bukisa   http://www.bukisa.com/rss/author/Strovek
Wikinut   http://www.wikinut.com/arss~sohnm/Strovek/rss.xml 
Blogger
(using this site
as a sample)
  http://interloperview.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss  
  or
  http://interloperview.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

I was not able to find the url to obtain the rss feed for ExpertsColumn. From what I can tell, the site uses Drupal as its platform and there is an option to generate the rss feed but only if you are an admin.

As for Squidoo, the rss feed can be generated using SquidUtils. I successfully used it to generate the following rss feed http://www.squidoo.com/xml/syndicate_lensmaster/StoveM

Uses of RSS feed

RSS feed can be used as a sitemap which you can submit to search engines if you are starting a new site that has never been indexed by the search engines. That was what I did when I first started this blog and all my other blogs.

Some users prefer to use rss reader to read the articles and can subscribe to your blog that way. However, Adsense for feed is going away, so if your reader uses rss feed, you will not earn anything from his/her view..   

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Personal experience on how I got involved with writing online

There are different reasons for writing online. When I started writing online it was to share my knowledge and experience with my team. I was a programmer managing a group of other programmers.

focusing on the computer

image © Michael Jastremski for openphoto.net CC:Attribution-ShareAlike

The blog served a couple of purposes:
  1. share some of the tricks I used on some of my projects.
  2. set up a standard (comments, error handling guide).
  3. a place for me to bookmark solutions or tips I found previously.
After that I found that it was earn some spare change by writing and created a few other blogs. The challenge I found in was to get the word out about my writing. My early success was to participate in forums. One such entry garnered 1000 over hits but it only lasted one day and dropped as fast.

I have since started participating in other article directory sites like
It is much easier to earn money with these sites since the traffic (from all the other writers) ensures a higher CPM. The existing community will also provide you the views provided you get to know the other writers on the site. Most writers will reciprocate when you read their articles. Another benefit from theses sites are the passive income, I still earn from articles I published many years ago.

However, the more successful writers have a large following on the social sites like Facebook, Redgage, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and GooglePlus. The key thing about these social networking sites are getting involved.

The problem though is some sites like Facebook tend to make it more difficult to get to know strangers (people who you want to meet but do not know previously). One way around this problem is to play games. Games will provide you excuse to connect with others. However, the ones you meet through games may not read any posting on the wall.

It is easier to connect with others in GooglePlus and Twitter. By connecting to a lot of people, you have the law of averages working for you, chances of meeting people who like your articles. The side effect is also finding ideas and wondrous discovery.

I just started on this journey and have a lot of things to learn.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cranky Old Men

This was shared with me in Google Plus.  Very touching.

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.
One nurse took her copy to Melbourne .. The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.
And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet.


Cranky Old Man.....
What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you're looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . ... . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . ... lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. ...Babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future ... . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I've known.
I'm now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It's jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. .... . ME!!


Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within ... . . .
we will all, one day, be there, too!
PLEASE SHARE THIS POEM,
The best and most beautiful things of this world can't be seen or touched.
They must be felt by the heart.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

8 Quotes from Steve Jobs

1. “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” – In other words, don’t settle for anything less than amazing work for yourself and for others. When people see that you expect greatness, they will give you what you expect. The same goes for investing, you will never go wrong with buying excellent companies.

2. “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” – When you are wrong, stop what you are doing, admit your mistakes, cut your losses short, and move on. This will prove to be valuable in investing as well as in life and in business.

3. “Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.” – Simply put, no one can say no to great. If you want to live a life that matters, do great work. If you want a portfolio that kicks ass, put in your research and buy great companies. Yes, it’s that simple.

4. “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” – Never underestimate the value of people, especially the power of teams. If you want to come up with excellent work, choose excellent peers.

5. “The problem with the Internet startup craze isn’t that too many people are starting companies; it’s that too many people aren’t sticking with it.” – Success comes from hardwork, commitment, true grit, and passion. Steve was so passionate with his work that he used to cry when things don’t turn out the way he intended.

6. “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” – This was Steve’s closing note on his commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005. In this speech, he advised the graduating students not to live according to other people’s thinking, and to have the courage to follow their hearts and intuition. Staying hungry and foolish means never becoming complacent, to strive and work for what you truly believe in, and to be “foolish” enough not to listen to so-called experts and authorities when it comes to what can and can’t be done.

7. “That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Simple is better. The less clutter in your life (and in investing) the more focus you have on what’s truly important. And naturally, the more focus you have, the more impact you make in your life and in others’.

8. “That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.” – Always remember that the RIGHT PEOPLE are a company’s greatest asset. Whether you’re starting a venture or investing in a company, make sure that the right people are involved. A lone person can only do so much, but a great team can literally move mountains in terms of results.

The following quotes were obtained from this url.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Power of Money, By Adam Khoo

 A friend shared this with me more than a year ago, I thought I would place it here to share it with others.

Inspirational ! SHARE IT WITH CHILDREN
Power of Money, By Adam Khoo
( Singapore 's youngest millionaire at 26 yrs.)

Some of you may already know that I travel around the region pretty frequently, having to visit and conduct seminars at my offices in Malaysia , Indonesia , Thailand and Suzhou ( China ). I am in the airport almost every other week so I get to bump into many people who have attended my seminars or have read my books.

Recently, someone came up to me on a plane to KL and looked rather shocked.He asked, 'How come a millionaire like you is traveling economy?' My reply was, 'That's why I am a millionaire. ' He still looked pretty confused.

This again confirms that greatest lie ever told about wealth(which I wrote about in my latest book 'Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires' ). Many people have been brainwashed to think that millionaires have to wear Gucci, Hugo Boss, Rolex, and sit on first class in air travel. This is why so many people never become rich because the moment that they earn moremoney, they think that it is only natural that they spend more, putting them back to square one.

The truth is that most self-made millionaires are frugal and only spend on what is necessary and of value. That is why they are able to accumulate and multiply their wealth so much faster.

Over the last 7 years, I have saved about 80% of my income while today I save only about 60% (because I have my wife, mother in law, 2 maids, 2 kids, etc. to support). Still, it is way above most people who save 10% of their income (if they are lucky).


I refuse to buy a first class ticket or to buy a $300 shirt because I think that it is a complete waste of money. However, I happily pay $1,300 to send my 2-year old daughter to Julia Gabriel Speech and Drama without thinking twice.
When I joined the YEO (Young Entrepreneur' s Orgn)a few years back (YEO) is an exclusive club open to those who are under 40 and make over $1m a year in their own business) I discovered that those who were self-made thought like me. Many of them with net worth well over $5m,travelled economy class and some even drove Toyota 's and Nissans,not Audis, Mercs, BMWs.


I noticed that it was only those who never had to work hard to build their own wealth (there were also a few ministers' and tycoons' sons in the club) who spent like there was no tomorrow. Somehow, when you did not have to build everything from scratch, you do not really value money. This is precisely the reason why a family's wealth (no matter how much) rarely lasts past the third generation

Thank God my rich dad foresaw this terrible possibility and refused to give me a cent to start my business.

Then some people ask me, 'What is the point in making so much money if you don't enjoy it?' The thing is that I don't really find happiness in buying branded clothes, jewellery or sitting first class. Even if buying something makes me happy it is only for a while, it does not last.

Material happiness never lasts, it just give you a quick fix. After a while you feel lousy again and have to buy the next thing which you think will make you happy. I always think that if you need material things to make you happy, then you live a pretty sad and unfulfilled life..

Instead, what makes me happy is when I see my children laughing and playing and learning so fast. What makes me happy is when I see my companies and trainers reaching more and more people every year in so many more countries.
What makes me really happy is when I read all the emails about how my books and seminars have touched and inspired someone's life.

What makes me really happy is reading all your wonderful posts about how this blog is inspiring you. This happiness makes me feel really good for a long time, much much more than what a Rolex would do for me.

I think the point I want to put across is that happiness must come from doing your life's work (be it teaching, building homes, designing,trading, winning tournaments etc.) and the money that comes is only a by-product. If you hate what you are doing and rely on the money you earn to make you happy by buying stuff, then I think that you are living a life of meaninglessness.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Presentation Tips from Steve Jobs

A few thing presentation ideas from Steve Jobs:
  1. He hardly ever looks back at the presentation.
  2. There are hardly any words on the slides, leave alone lengthy bullet points.
  3. Even when he's sharing the financial results of the company (in the beginning), he makes them fun to listen to.
  4. He is driving the presentation, not the other way around. He's delivering the message, and the slides are giving the added impact to his message. 
  5. His words are in absolute sync with the slides.
  6. There are no useless headers, footers or logos on every slide, that we often use on ours. It gives that extra space, flexibility and freshness to every slide.
  7. You can hardly notice the remote controller in his hand. There are no other visible gadgeteries on him, distracting the audience. 
  8. He's so relaxed and calm, and that makes the audience comfortable and receptive to his message.
  9. He's so focused on the message. Not even once did he stray from the topic.
  10. He's unbelievably well familiar with the content on the slides. In the entire presentation, you won't see him going back on any slide even once. He did not fumble on a single word. Rehearsal, skills or simply the magic of a master craftsman? Perfection.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Prescription for Guaranteed Misery in Life

This is an interesting article on how to ensure misery in Life.   In case you wonder why I bother to bookmark this page, it is because it is funny and by one of the greatest investor of our time - Charlie Munger.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quotes and book recommendation by Charlie Munger

These quotes were taken from the following site.

“We both (Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett) insist on a lot of time being available almost every day to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. We read and think.” 
 Charles T. Munger

“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.” 
 Charles T. Munger

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn't read all the time -- none, zero. You'd be amazed at how much Warren(Buffett) reads -- at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I'm a book with a couple of legs sticking out".” 
 Charles T. Munger, Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger


The following is taken from another source:

“SOME OF THE MOST ADMIRED PEOPLE IN FINANCE—INCLUDING 
ALAN GREENSPAN—ARGUED THAT DERIVATIVES TRADING, SUBSTITUTING FOR
THE OLD BUCKET SHOP, WAS A GREAT CONTRIBUTION 
TO MODERN ECONOMIC CIVILIZATION. THERE’S ANOTHER WORD 
FOR THIS: BONKERS.”   CHARLES T. MUNGER 




The following quotes were taken from this site.

On the importance of scepticism
How do you avoid being part of the majority that’s going crazy and be in the minority that stays sane? Well, that’s a very good question. Personally, I think it’s a lot like golf. You have to practice the right swing in golf. I think in the rest of life, you have to practice the right decision-making process. You have to be sceptical in many cases of conventional wisdom. And you have to be able to do what Kipling recommended—which is to keep your head when all about you are losing theirs. And that’s a wonderfulquality for an investor or a corporate executive to develop…
For instance, academics taught that diversification was the secret of success. Well, diversification may be a way of avoiding disaster for some people, but it’s not the way to success. And if all you have is a way of avoiding disaster, you’re not much of a teacher in a world that wants a fair amount of success. That’s why some people who think the way I do don’t call if diversification —they call it di-worse-ification. Certainly, Berkshire and its subsidiaries have generally owned fewer things that we’ve known more about and just accepted a little more volatility.
On how to make money with small amounts of capital
I think I’d be looking in the small-cap world, of course. But I’d be looking anywherewhere there were inefficiencies that I could exploit. I would be looking for  a place where I could figure out something very useful that other people didn’t know—and that’s going to be hard to do if you’re trying to judge, say, Dupont and Dow… So I certainly wouldn’t go into the big places where the big boys have to be. I wouldn’t try to figure out whether the drug pipeline at Merck was better or worse than the drug pipeline at Pfizer—because (A) that’s very hard to do, and (B) a lot of smart people are already trying to do it.
So I’d go where there were market inefficiencies, where you could figure out something that will give you an advantage over other people who were trading in the stock and where by use of your own talent and work you would know important things that other people don’t.
That could be in a lot of different places. However, the basic idea is that if you want to succeed in life in a capitalistic world, go where the competition is low. That’s all I’m telling you to do.
On the importance of different mental models
At a Berkshire meeting of directors one management team came in and said "We've gotten very successful because we follow the 80/20 rule—80% of the profits come from 20% of the business and, therefore, we concentrate on the 20% that creates most of the profits". And sure enough, their figures showed that policy had worked wonderfully for them.
The next man came in and he had an even more profitable division. And he said, "I try to figure out the worst 20% in my business—the activities that nobody else would want—and I specialise only in that. And because everybody else wants to get rid of it, and I have figured out a way to correct the miseries, I've created this wonderful business."
And, of course, both presentations were totally correct.
So I need both models in my head in order to function - because if I had only the 80/20 rule, I would miss the merits of the second business.
On accumulating wisdom
In the end, you’re dead—and they take all the money away. “How much did old Charlie leave? I believe he left it all.” That’s the rule. And, of course, the wisdom goes away too. But I would say that wisdom acquisition is a moral duty if you have the capacity to get it. If you have the capacity to get wisdom and don’t use that capacity, I regard that as a moral failure. You can see why I like the Chinese—because that’s a pretty Confucian though. I literally believe that wisdom acquisition is a moral duty.



A list of books recommended by Charlie Munger can be found in the following page.



Academic Economics: Strengths and Faults After Considering Interdisciplinary Needs - a speech by Charles T Munger


It is a pretty interesting speech by Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.   The text of the speech can be found here.

The table of content is as follow:

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
Introduction by Rajnish Mehra ...................................................................................................... 1
Munger’s Opening Remarks:......................................................................................................... 1
Non-use of Efficient Market Theory at Berkshire ............................................................. 2
Personal Multidisciplinary Education................................................................................ 3
The Obvious Strengths of Academic Economics .............................................................. 4
What’s Wrong with Economics......................................................................................... 5
1) Fatal Unconnectedness, Leading To “Man With A Hammer
Syndrome,” Often Causing Overweighing What Can Be Counted ........... 5
2)  Failure To Follow The Fundamental Full Attribution Ethos of Hard
Science ....................................................................................................... 6
3) Physics Envy.............................................................................................. 7
Washington Post case study....................................................................... 7
Einstein and Sharon Stone ......................................................................... 7
4)  Too Much Emphasis on Macroeconomics................................................. 8
Case study:  Nebraska Furniture Mart’s new store in Kansas City ........... 8
Case study:  Les Schwab Tires.................................................................. 9
Causes of problem-solving success ........................................................... 9 
5)  Too Little Synthesis in Economics.......................................................... 10
6)  Extreme and Counterproductive Psychological Ignorance...................... 13
7)  Too Little Attention to Second and Higher Order Effects....................... 14
Mispredicting Medicare costs.................................................................. 14
Investing in textile looms......................................................................... 14
Workman’s comp madness...................................................................... 15
Niederhoffering the curriculum ............................................................... 15
8)  Not Enough Attention to the Concept of Febezzlement .......................... 17
9)  Not Enough Attention to Virtue and Vice Effects................................... 18
Religion.................................................................................................... 18
Pay for directors and judges..................................................................... 18
Not a vice that some systems are deliberately made unfair..................... 19
Contributions of vice to bubbles.............................................................. 19
Paradoxical good contributions from vice; the irremovability of
paradox......................................................................................... 19
Conclusion ....................................................................................................................... 20
Clinging to failed ideas – a horror story .................................................. 20
Repeating the big lesson .......................................................................... 21


Some quotes from the speech:

But you shouldn’t accept all my notions because you’ll risk becoming unemployable.  You shouldn’t take my notions unless you’re willing to risk being unemployable by all but a few.


Keynes said “It’s not bringing in the new ideas that’s so hard.  It’s
getting rid of the old ones.”  And Einstein said it better, attributing his mental success to
“curiosity, concentration, perseverance and self-criticism.”  By self-criticism he meant becoming  good at destroying your own best-loved and hardest-won ideas.  If you can get really good at
destroying your own wrong ideas, that is a great gift.




Monday, June 18, 2012

Cardio Doesn't work because...

The article, published in Obesity Reviews (Vol. 13 Issue 6),
explained that cardio doesn't work for FOUR reasons:

a) Some people eat more when they start a cardio program
b) Calorie burning at rest often decreases with cardio
c) Calorie-burning lean tissue is often lost
d) Cardio programs cause you to do less activity over the day