General Badassery Episode 29

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This week's podcast is all about the BULL SHIT LIFE we all lead.

The basic idea is pretty simple: if you do nothing, you'll end up with a BULL SHIT LIFE, because that's what gets handed to you by default. It's the same thing with most stuff; if you just do nothing, you end up with complete garbage because that's what you get for doing nothing.

But there's an insidious little trap there, which is that you can't just do anything. You have to deliberately select things that are going to get you somewhere, and if they're not getting you where you want to go, you have to do something else.

Tony Robbins likes to say "are you willing to do what you need to do to get where you want to go?" - and that's a great place to start. The real question is what you need to do.

Most of us aren't really born knowing that, so we have to learn - bit by bit - where it is that we want to go, before we can even begin to worry about what we need to do. And once you know the destination, you can chart a course in a series of steps.

Then comes the big question: are you willing to do that?

I did that with MLM. I knew where I wanted to go with it; I wanted those big cheques with huge dollar amounts on them. And I knew what I needed to do - I've gone over that before, in Facebook posts, and it comes down to selling training to build a successful downline of high-performers that follow you from one program to another while you play hopscotch with the latest and greatest offerings.

But I wasn't willing to do that, because it's what I call an "arms race" - you're always looking for the next step, and you never get to sit down and relax. You always have to watch your downline for the top performers, and watch the industry for the next Big Thing, and drag the top people from one to the next to the next. Forever.

That's basically my idea of hell in business form.

I found a similar thing with CPA marketing, and with affiliate marketing, and that's why I don't do those. It's not the kind of business I want to be in.

They're still perfectly good businesses to be in, I just don't want to do that. Any more than I wanted to be in SEO, which is an arms race with competition: the search engines actively want everything you do not to work.

I didn't want to bet against Google and Bing, especially since a bunch of my Microsoft friends worked on Bing (as did I) and I didn't want them to become the enemy.

Loyalties run deep, you know.

But the whole thing about those industries is that everyone feeds you a load of BULL, where this is the best way for you to build your business, and if you don't do that you will be a dork and not make any money.

What I did like was the training model, where I would study the hell out of things and figure out how they worked... then sell training on them.

And I didn't want them to be things that would go out of date or need constant updates, or we're back to the arms race again.

So I concentrated on people and culture and economics, because those things don't change much. That got me out of the "keep up with the field" race where everything had to be checked and rechecked over and over again in case someone else changed things on me.

Now I just study deeper and deeper stuff, and make better and better training. I iterate actoss my products, and make sure they have the best information I know, but I don't need to do that constantly because the information in them is always good and will stay that way.

There are lots of things like that. How to play guitar. How to sing. How to get rid of an accent. How to speak in public. How to write well. How to persuade. How to interact with people. How to get dates. How to get laid. These things don't change. What they are today is what they'll be in fifty years.

That's a major key to getting out of the BULL SHIT LIFE - figuring out what life is not going to be bullshit, and going after it.

I cover that in more detail in this week's newsletter, which goes out to customers of the SLOT Machines report. It's $10 to start and then $20 a month after that. If you're a subscriber, you probably already have it in your inbox.

General Badassery Episode 28

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Okay, so let's talk about economics some more.

And there was much rejoicing. (Yayyyy)

Specificallly, how money is intellectual property.

Now, as mentioned briefly in the podcast, United States currency is a fiat currency, which is to say that it's not backed by any physical commodity. So let's talk a little more about how money backed by a physical commodity works.

Imagine that you have fifty tonnes of gold and each tonne of it is worth $16 million. (Sixteen ounces times two thousand pounds times five hundred dollars an ounce. I pulled this out of my arse to make the math easy.) That means you have $800 million. Now you can print eight hundred million one-dollar bills and everything is fine.

But now what?

If you want to print more money, you have to get more gold. But there is only so much gold in the world, so sooner or later there simply isn't any more to get.

Now think of an employee who makes $25 an hour. Every day that employee comes to work, she works eight hours and you owe her $200.

But she has not created any more gold by coming to work., She can't. The amount of gold is finite - much more so than your employee's ability to come to work.

This creates what we call a deflationary currency. There's only $800 million. Everyone using that currency has to share that $800 million. When it's gone, it's gone. Which means the price of labour - indeed, of everything - constantly goes down.

If you do the math, a single full-time employee works 2,000 hours annually. At $25 an hour, that's $50,000. A thousand of those are $50 million. And in sixteen years, that's the whole $800 million.

That's a thousand jobs for sixteen years and then there's no more money. What seemed like an astronomical amount of money to start with is now gone. And we have over a hundred million people in the United States workforce - for a total of five trillion dollars annually, at an average $25 an hour.

It should be pretty easy to see that something is very wrong here, and we can't sustain a society on that. There's just not enough money. The GDP of the United States is almost eighteen trillion dollars, at this writing.

That's what we produce. But it's not gold. And if we could only exchange it via certificates for gold, we'd run out of gold.

There are two ways to resolve this. First, you can print more currency, like another $800 million. Now each dollar is worth half as much gold. Nobody likes this, because where your $50,000 used to entitle you to a hundred ounces of gold, it now entitles you to only fifty ounces. The price of gold doubles.

And this is why, on the gold standard, gold was always a safe investment: its price could only go up. Currency could suddenly become less valuable, but gold would only become more valuable.

So we switched from the gold standard to a fiat currency. And the difference is this.

Your dollar is still exchangeable for a dollar's worth of SOME commodity. But it could be anything. It doesn't have to be gold. It could be silver. Or corn. Or pork bellies. Or anything at all.

This opened the way for currency to be backed by renewable resources, so currency itself became renewable. So long as the government continued to generate and retain assets of any sort, it could continue generating and distributing money.

This took us one step farther from the mining-based economy and into the manufacturing economy. Services and refinement started to matter. An ounce of gold could be made into more valuable jewelry, and hence generate money.

It didn't stop there. A pound of steel could be made into gears, a pound of copper into pipes, a block of marble into a statue. And because the commodity was not fixed, all of these could now back currency.

And then we made the next, massive change... which altered everything forever. Digital information. You could already take a book and print it on paper, increasing the value on the paper. But with digital information... thanks to copyright... that book didn't need the paper anymore.

You didn't have to grow and chop and process trees to put a book into someone's hands anymore. You could distribute it as a digital file. And the actual cost of doing so dropped to near-zero.

But the value of the information in the book stayed the same. As did the information in a song, or in a poem, or in a painting. We all became publishers. The internet made this possible.

And with more and more value inherent in the digital realm, free of physical constraints - renewable or otherwise - the economy was unbound. And the owners of copyrights profited outrageously.

The overwhelmingly vast majority of value in the American economy is not in commodities or manufacturing. It now rests almost exclusively with intellectual property - software, media, art.

The implications of this are explored more fully in the $10 SLOT Machines report and accompanying $20 monthly newsletter. You can subscribe here. I recommend you do, even if the sales copy is kind of shit.


General Badassery Episode 27

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Okay, so here's the thing about making your work into a game.

There are about five major things you have to kind of integrate into your life, and the first one is that as you go through your day to day business, you should automatically turn your experiences into information. Like when you go to the grocery store, you should see things that are related - or could relate - to whatever it is you do.

The next thing you have to develop is some sort of process where that information turns into content that can be read by others. Sitting in your head, it's no good to anyone. You need to share it.

Once you've developed and shared that content, the next thing you need s a method of turning that content into products. Collect it, categorise it, bundle it into neat little packages.

Next you need to work out how to turn products into money, which is simple enough on the face of it - you just ask for it. Just sell it to people.

And finally, you need a way to turn that money into more. Not necessarily more money, but more something you can drop into the machine again. You can use it to support a new experience, or to have some older information turned into new content, or to have someone else go through your content and make products.

Find a way to roll some of the profits back into your efforts, so the machine feeds itself.

When you get ths running well, and admittedly I have still got my struggles making all this happen, your life turns into yourr work and you just go through your day watching the cool shit you want to do... just naturally fall out of your day to day life.

It's a hell of a dream. And I'm doing pretty good on the first half of it.

General Badassery Episode 26

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Further notes on complexity...

A lot of things that seem complicated are not, because if you have a problem, chances are someone else has had that same problem and solved it.

It doesn't matter how hard it is to write an email autoresponder and run a server to host it, because dozens of people will do that for you at $20 a month.

Even if you want to run your own server for some reason, you can buy software to do it for a couple hundred bucks. (Sendy is $60. I'm not sure how good it is though.) So the complexity is still reduced.

A lot of people get "not invented here"(NIH) syndrome for no good reason. They want the reputation of doing everything themselves from scratch because...


Because they're dumb, I guess?

Don Lapre - the "tiny classified ads" guy - taught me a tremendously important lesson in that course.

Never do anything yourself when someone else will do it for five bucks an hour. 

That extends to all kinds of other things: why would I invest a year and a half of my life building membership software, when I can just go buy that software from someone who already wrote it?

I can understand that if it's not what i need. I find that a lot - I want a given feature, but nothing has it. But it's much easier to build that functionality as a plugin than it is to construct the whole thing from scratch.

So when you're putting stuff together to run your business, look to what other people have done and how they did it before you start from scratch. It saves a lot of time and money.