As the tech companies of Silicone Valley are doing everything in their power to engineer addicting products, I propose a tax. If cigarettes are addicting and taxed, we should impose a tax on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc because they are addicting. As I see some of the insidious things the tech companies are doing to my children (snapchat streaks) and how Facebook is using everything about our data to mine for evil purposes, I think we should have some benefits as a society. It’s time for the Tech companies to do some good in the world. How nice does a “Social Media Tax” sound? I would love it. Get to work representatives! Looks like Marc Benioff agrees (link)
I’m getting concerned with the move in home values the last two years. Yes, the economy is doing well yes unemployment is low, but I have an eerie feeling that we’re back in speculative mode as a country. It feels similar to the year before the Bear Stearns hedge funds blew up. The bitcoin runup and the stock market runup are all starting to defy logic. It’s probably way too early, but things are starting to feel as if they are going up too fast for no particular reason(other than speculation!). Maybe I’m just getting old and conservative, but I think some sort of correction is coming around the corner. The scary part is that it is never what is forecast, it’s almost always out of left field. There are a few things of concern right now:
- The yield curve is getting really close to being inverted which has always resulted in a recession
- The S&P 500 has been positive the last 9 years in a row
- Real estate has gone up the last 5-6 years in a row depending on the market which is typically the average numbers of years in a cycle
- Bitcoin and FANG are getting really crowded.
There’s been a lot of scandal swirling around Facebook lately. People are outraged at Cambrige Analytica’s work regarding Donald Trump’s
presidential campaign. It’s definitely creepy as are all the other web companies too. Here is a good quote:
“By analyzing only your Facebook “Likes,” your data can be manipulated to predict your fundamental qualities, including your intelligence,
personality type, satisfaction with life, gender, age, sexual preference, interests, religion, political views, and relationship status.”I don’t think we are as helpless in online data tracking as everyone(or the news) thinks. Here is what I propose to fix these problems.
- Delete Facebook and Twitter off of your phone right now. Simple! While you are are at it, lower your phone’s data plan and save some money.
- Go into your Facebook account and have some fun! Change your profile, like off the wall stuff and completely change your identity. If enough people make Facebook’s data worthless, we solve the privacy issues. Who cares if Cambridge Analytica thinks you are into cults and potted plants?! Also this has a bonus effect as clever, targeted marketing will be selling you based on bogus information and likes, removing the temptation to buy stuff. Win! Win! Win!
My wonderful wife and I thought it would be a fun project to visit the places Jerry Seinfeld went with his guest on the show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. First one checked off the list is House of Pies in Los Angeles with Kristen Wiig. The apple pie was the best I’ve ever tasted and the place was located in a very hip neighborhood near Los Feliz. Thank you Jerry!
If you work for a company and have a 401k account you have a fantastic learning tool at your disposal for financial markets education. Because you typically contribute to the markets twice a month there is little risk in learning how the markets behave. Specifically, you are able to move funds from equity to bond funds, have a market outlook and direct new money to where you see the best performance. As your funds accumulate there is a universal truth you will discover: “Your money is capable of working much harder than you are.” Make some trades in your 401k account, adjust the asset allocation and learn from it. There are big dips in financial markets fairly often and buying at the lower price or contributing more when things are down can really improve your returns. The biggest benefit is the education provided so when you retire you won’t be scared when the market dips 5-10%; you’ll be educated over a number of years and market cycles. I shudder to think of people retiring 2005-2007 with a large 401k account, freaking out in 2009-2010 selling it all and washing their hands of the stock market.
On my lunch break I took the EMB to Rustic Canyon golf course which is about a mile away from my work. There is a fantastic dirt
path that goes deep into the canyon. My front tire was low on air when I started, so I was a bit nervous as I went close to five
miles deep in the canyon. The ride is very sandy at points and the electric motor just dominates the sand. I should upgrade my tires to some with more bite and puncture resistance. The tires held up and the weather was just perfect, nice
and cool with some killer clouds. I’ll probably ride this on Thursday with an additional tube and air just in case. It would be fun
to see how far the road goes back.
Sunday February 11th I went to Malibu Creek for EMB ride five. Weather was georgeous and with electricity I was able to go to the M.A.S.H. site and well beyond. I finished the ride through Paramount Ranch at extreme high speeds. To say this was fun is a huge understatement. I climbed a 9% grade hill with ease laughing the entire time. After the ride I had my Dad try my EMB. He loved it. I’m on a mission to get everyone into electric bikes.
When I wake up my brain has a plan for me. Today the most important item is to plan my mountain bike ride Sunday. I’m going to Malibu Creek state park and the logistical issue needing planning is…is it too far to ride with my EMB range of approximately 27 miles. So I hop over to Google maps and it is 12 miles each way! Success! By taking the time and planning this ride, I know to go easy on the battery for the first five miles. Luckily it’s almost all downhill, so I’ll stay off electricity until I get to the dirt. After planning this, my brain is very happy and I have an amazing bike ride to look forward to on Sunday. The point is if I allowed distractions to shape my day, I would be focused on something my brain doesn’t want to focus on. Further, if I started my day with news or social media, I’d probably be angry about something that my brain doesn’t care about. What a waste! This is why especially in the morning I limit my distractions to music only. I think music has a positive day shaping quality so I’m almost always rockin’ out! Here’s to the most important thing!
I’ve been giving blood for few years now. I do it because it lowers my blood pressure and the fantastic feeling I receive by helping others. I can literally feel the additional energy the next day and into the next week. I highly recommend giving blood as blood leaving your body makes you feel appreciation for life. Life is a gift and this is a unique way to enjoy it. So get out there and give some blood!
Because electric mountain bike is a bit long, it will now be known as EMB. Sunday’s ride was hot, but when you have the ability to 20 MPH quickly air conditioning is readily available. I rode on Deerhill trail and went the uphill route. It was the first time I heard some EMB trash talk,
a runner and mountain bike rider were talking on the trail:
Runner “Wow, he came up that hill fast.”
Mountain Biker “yeah, whatever his bike is electric.”
If other people are jealous, I know I’m doing something worthwile. Imagine the first time an automobile owner passed a horse rider the horse rider must have said “Big deal, why would you want to get places quicker when you have a perfectly good horse.” The main point of an EMB is going fast up hills. I’m not sure this feeling of going 20 MPH uphill over rocks and rough terrain ever gets old. You have the new ability to get through a ride much, much faster with a lot less strain on your body. Looking forward to the next ride.
I’m a big fan of electronic music. Imagine a church bus with really loud electronic music and people screaming
to a destination workout. With the right crowd the energy would be unstoppable. It could be a weekly Saturday or Sunday event.
A crazy host who whips everyone up into a frenzy on the way to the mountains would be required. The contrast of high energy vs.
the serenity of the mountains would fuel amazing workouts. It could feature runs in the mountains, or outdoor weightlifting like
Arnold Schwarzenegger in his early days. If this exists, please let me know, otherwise I’m going to create it.
P.S. I’d be the host
I’ve been reducing my book count lately. It’s a hard excercise because I have so many amazing books. The goal is ten top books. Ten books that will dazzle and delight my guests and friends. Some of the front runners are:
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Cool Tools by Kevin Kelly
- Win Bigly by Scott Adams
- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams
- The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
- A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
- Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman
I was watching Comedians in Cars getting Coffee and the other night and Jay Leno was the guest Jerry Seinfeld was interviewing.
Jay Leno has a net worth of 200 million and 200 cars worth approximately 50 million and one thing really jumped out at me.
Jay Leno has a flip phone! And this got me thinking, Jay Leno comedian extrodianaire, classic car collector and incredibly hard worker managing
to get by with just a flip phone. Maybe, just maybe it’s the lack of smartphone keeping him sharp and working hard. Limit the distraction, improve your life?
Maybe, it’s time to be different?
I’ve been thinking alot about my gmail account. I’ve given Google permission to search all of my data in order to market to me.
This is a huge invasion of privacy I’ve blindly agreed to. To remedy this I’ve deleted all emails from my gmail account. It took approximately a week, but there were many emails with my personal information! Driver’s license, W2’s all kinds of things very easy to steal. Now I have a clean slate and a whole new philosophy on email. Email is for short communications, not storage. Storage will be searched and marketed to. Also, if(when) there is a data hack, I’ll be clean vs. the millions of people who store their personal information on email. What a great exercise to do every year to find things you might need to follow up on.
Wow, what a blast, ride three is in the books! Dropping just two gears allows you to climb anything. The feeling of jamming up a fire road at 20 MPH is incredible. Passing serious road bikers on the streets has it’s own laugh factor too. Next up is to bring the bike to work, go deep into a trail by the golf course and see how far I can get in my hour and a half scheduled lunch!
I’ve added a 750 watt Bafang motor to a Diamond Back old school mountain bike I got for free, and shocks and a front disk brake. I’ve ridden it twice and both times have reached over 30 MPH! Both times I was laughing like a crazy person, it’s really fun. Climbing in the dirt is a new and insane experience. 20 MPH uphill is addictive. I’m hoping to put in 2-3 rides per week and learn the ins and outs of the electric motor and battery. It’s been a really fun project so far and I plan on adding video on long off road rides. I can go much, much farther because of the superpower electric motor. Now a 30 mile bike ride is a breeze. I’ve had technical difficulties on each ride so hopefully I’ll get in the groove soon. Stay tuned!
I’m contemplating picking up a project car for motivation. Some ideas I’m kicking around are:
- 1996-2001 Jeep Cherokee 4 door with some decent tires and a lift kit
- 2005 or newer Chevy cargo van with a full bed in the back and insulated.
- Chevy police interceptor cop car
- A big beautiful Ford Country Squire station wagon 1975-1980
Car buying steps:
- Log on to Craigslist and select “cars+trucks” in the for sale section
- Select “by owner”
- On the left hand side check “bundle duplicates”
- Enter the model you are looking for
- Enter a price minimum of $1200 or $1500 on the price minimum to weed out people who put $1 as the price.
- For mileage put 10,000 as the minimum and your target top mileage for the maximum to weed out people who put 1 or 270 for mileage (really meaning 270k!)
- If your search yields sufficient results then copy the craigslist link
- Head over to IFTTT and copy the link to this Applet: Craigslist email
- This should generate a few emails each day with new posts fitting the criterea specified
- Contact the sellers generated from this search
- Arrange for a test drive
- Before meeting the seller log on to: Kelley Blue Book
- Enter in the details of the car
- When you meet the seller have two prices written down, the “trade-in” value and the good condition private party value
- If you like the car after the test drive offer somewhere between “trade-in” and good condition private party value
- Continue this process until you find a willing seller.
- Make sure to have cash and offer immediately after the test drive
- Keep going until you strike a deal with a willing seller
I’ve been pondering the total value of cars’ depreciation since the inception of the automobile. For example, how much value have cars destroyed in aggregate since the beginning of automobile manufacturing. A great example of this is the Bentley Arnage which retailed for over 200k new in 2000, now it can be purchased on Craigslist for 20k. Where does the 180k go? Another great example is a 2000 Mercedes S430 which cost over 75k new. On Craigslist you can find them for 1500-5000. What happened to the 70k? Popular Mechanics does a great job with this article: Popular Mechanics It would be interesting to get a number on electronics companies and how much value they have destroyed as well. Total cell phones purchased minus depreciation would be a very interesting number. Depreciation might not be the accurate description, as most people don’t hold on to old phones. It is almost always an entire loss.
As a crowdfunder investor, what type of access do you have to the founders of your investment? Can you use the same ideas Jason Calacanis recommended to gain access to founders through non-accredited methods? If so, this is a big deal and could be a great way to develop Angel investing.
It’s crazy to think I can be in Denver 1000 miles from California by this evening with little discomfort. In fact, I’ll be served little airplane cocktails and get to enjoy the latest by Jason Calacanis “Angel”. What a great era we live in!
Heard Jason Calacanis speak last night at ToolBoxLa. He was very honest and had excellent advice for the three people who pitched him new ideas. I recommend seeing him speak if you ever get the chance. Also, I’m very excited to get started on his new book angelthebook.com
Excited to see Clayton Kershaw one last time this year as a family. We have this tradition where I give each daughter $20 at Trader Joe’s and they buy whatever they want. Ruby bought a whole loaf of bread last time!!
I’m getting married! Really excited to start my journey with Tatiana! Should be a blast. We’ve been together for 5 years and I’m extremely happy. Here’s to November 4th!
I’ve stuck with the program and had one of the best runs of my life. I was able to run 2.4 miles without walking! I’ve never even come close to that before. Also I am starting to understand why people run and the mental benefits of it. Ryan Holiday has a great article below:
I’ve decided to run a 10k this year. Running is difficult for me and I”m looking forward to this challenge. This is the first run of the year for me. I’ll track the progress on my blog. Click the post for the times and how far I ran.
One big item I learned in 2016 was to schedule my trips in advance. I definitely didn’t do this last year and went nowhere! I subscribe to Tim Ferriss’s advice of 90% of the benefit of planning trips ahead is the anticipation. I’m looking forward to Launch festival April 6th and 7th in San Francisco, a Cal Poly reunion trip May 5-7th, and need to plan a biking and road trip for the summer. Excited. Some other fun stuff is in the works too..
The Federal Reserve is finishing up its two day meeting today and is widely expected to raise the discount rate by .25%.
The bigger implications are where rates are going after the announcement. The 10 year treasury in the United States is up .57% since the election which is an huge move.
I have a feeling the trades have already been made ahead of time and barring some crazy Fed language we’ll see yields calm down a bit.
I have a hard time believing Donald Trump is so “inflationary” and it seems more like a trade is being made.
The short interest in the 10 year has hit it’s high for the year and I imagine some traders might get caught today. It’ll be interesting to see.
I am enjoying this way to blog using Jekyll. It is interesting and I need a bit of work to get the structure and organization down. Once that is figured out, I’m loving the speed and simplicity of static websites!
I’m riding my road bike twice a week, diving deep into audio books and podcasts, and originating loans. Also, I enjoy coding in my spare time. **Update** Created a new mountain bike, less audio books and podcasts, still doing loans!