Monthly Archives: September 2011

Want to buy a watch? Patronage, scarcity and souvenirs

An excellent piece from Seth Godin

A hundred years ago, if you wanted to know what time it was, you had to make a significant investment–in a watch.

Twenty years ago, Timex made it clear that if you merely wanted the time (not jewelry) it would be about $15.

And five years ago, every kid with a cell phone got the time as a free bonus.

And yet there are still watchmakers. Still Rolex and Patek and the rest. Some of them are having great years.

Clearly, they don’t sell the time. They sell jewelry. Exclusivity. A souvenir.

One reason to buy a watch (or a book) is because you want to possess it, show it off, give it to your grandchildren. Holding a book is a luxury, one for which you pay a premium. There are few books that contain information unavailable anywhere else, and fewer still that can’t be bought more cheaply and easily as an ebook.

In the non-fiction category, the reasons to buy a book are smaller still. With a novel or a significant work of non-fiction research, the book itself might be part of what you’re paying for. In a busy universe, though, if all you want is information, you can probably find it faster and cheaper without the book part coming along for the ride.

And so 90% of the people who read my blog don’t buy my books, figuring that they can get the information (or at least enough information) for free. This is as big a change as the time-keeping change that rocked the watch world. You no longer have to pay a book toll to get information.

Sam Harris is worried that this means the end of authors. At some level he’s correct: the lack of a barrier means the number of authors is skyrocketing, yet the sales per author are going down. eBook distribution means that everyone can be everywhere, but it also means that more choice generates less income for each writer.

It’s as if the watch business had 100,000 competitors in it.

Patronage is one answer. The way it makes you feel to put a dollar in the busker’s guitar case, or to buy a CD even though you know how to listen for free. I get pleasure out of buying books, I like supporting the genre (even though the vast majority of the money I spend goes nowhere near the person who took the creative risks). Patronage, though, doesn’t make an industry work.

No, the future of books lies in amateur authors, together with the few superstars with a big enough tribe or a big enough reputation to earn significant advances and royalties. (And yes, a ‘middle class’ of authors with a big enough tribe to make a living, but nowhere near what it takes to make it big.) The big middle, though, the writers who earned enough on tolls–those guys are in big trouble long term. As Esther Dyson predicted fifteen years ago, they are going to have to become troubadors again, traveling, selling live events, doing speeches, etc.

You don’t have to like it but that’s how it’s sorting out.  Anyone know what time it is?

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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in think


The Uncomfortable Awkwardness of Mark Zuckerbergs Keynote – Disruptive Conversations

I cringed a lot yesterday. It was a bit painful at times to watch Mark Zuckerbergs keynote presentation at Facebooks F8 conference yesterday.

via The Uncomfortable Awkwardness of Mark Zuckerbergs Keynote – Disruptive Conversations.

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Posted by on September 28, 2011 in trends


100 Top Freelancing Blogs


Bizzia As it was once The Golden Pencil, Bizzia has an entire archive for freelancers, as well as how-to’s like this gem: “How to Find Photos for Your Writing.”

The Renegade Writer A blog of freelance best-practices from the authors of the book by the same name. The must read post? “The Freelance Writer’s Bill of Rights.”

Freelance Zone Editors Joe Wallace and Catherine Tilly share freelance writing advice on this blog, such as “The 5 Freelance Writing Mistakes That Will Make You Look Like a Noob.”

The Urban Muse Freelance writing tidbits from Susan Johnston have been on this blog since 2006. One of the latest nuggest is one of the best. It’s about how to be frugal as you freelance. (Writing White Papers named it one of the Top 10 Blogs for Writers last year.)

Get Paid to Write Online Freelance writer Sharon Hurley Hall’s blog shares how she built her successful career, with a few necessary rants along the way, like this one.

via 100 Top Freelancing Blogs |

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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in think, trends


I need a miracle: rogue trader Kweku Adoboli who lost UBS £1.3bn – Telegraph

The Ghanaian-born banker, a graduate of Nottingham University, works as a “market maker”, advising clients on the prices at which they should buy and sell shares or other assets.

Exactly how he is alleged to have racked up such huge losses is unclear. The bank’s £1.3 billion loss compares with £827 million lost by Nick Leeson in 1995, which caused the collapse of Barings Bank.

Mr Adoboli’s father John, a retired United Nations employee, said from his home in Tema, Ghana, that his son had made “a mistake or wrongful judgment”.

via I need a miracle: rogue trader Kweku Adoboli who lost UBS £1.3bn – Telegraph.

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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in economy


interesting books about investing…

I will be updating this post in future, my goal is to have top 10 best investing books of all time.

I am more focused on investing philosophy, then particular investing techniques and technical indicators etc.

The Little Book That Still Beats the Market (Little Books. Big Profits)

Trend Following (Updated Edition): Learn to Make Millions in Up or Down Markets

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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in investing, think


5 Themes for Warren Buffett’s Annual Meeting – Deal Journal – WSJ

This weekend, Warren Buffett’s half-century track record as an investing guru and paragon of ethical business behavior will be put to the test.

At the annual pilgrimage of shareholders of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, roughly 40,000 people will hear Buffett’s take on the conduct of one of his former top lieutenants, David Sokol. He resigned in late March around the time it became known that he bought shares of Lubrizol Corp., a company Sokol later encouraged Buffett to buy. When Berkshire reached a deal last month to buy Lubrizol for $9 billion, Mr. Sokol’s personal stock rose in value by roughly $3 million.

via 5 Themes for Warren Buffett’s Annual Meeting – Deal Journal – WSJ.

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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in business, money


Privacy.. what to say to cops…

Say nothing… nothing!

To cops, ever.

Anything you say can and will be held against you. Remember that?

You ought to.

Even if you haven’t been formally arrested (merely “detained,” as in the case of a traffic stop) it does you no good and very possibly much harm to give any information to the cop beyond the simple minimums of name and perhaps address, as required by law. Nothing more, because anything more will simply give the cop information – information he can and will use against you, both at curbside and later on, in court.

via Sgt. Schultz Says… by Eric Peters.

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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

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