On June 27, 2011 I mentioned my pessimistic outlook for the future. In the short term, I was concerned about how the debt ceiling debate was to end. About a week ago before that, China’s Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. had downgraded the U.S. credit rating. This was generally met with skepticism, but this would not have occurred without some cause. Now that S&P has followed suit, reality has set in. Gold prices shot up by about $100 an ounce as a result.
But that is all short term. In the long term, I am even more pessimistic. I am expecting an economic collapse even worse than that of the late 2000s. I believe it would be wise to convert cash and other paper assets into tangible assets such as silver and gold.
I am badly out of touch with potentially profitable product ideas. Several weeks ago there was a Shark Tank episode in which an inventor demonstrated seat belt safety product that alerts the driver if the seat belt is not in use. After turning down all of the sharks’ offers, a recent episode revealed that he was able to find distribution through some car dealerships and was making a healthy profit.
During the initial presentation of the product, I immediately thought it was not particularly useful for several reasons.
- I assumed that everyone uses their seat belts. A car is a massive hulk of metal moving at high speeds. There is a risk of injury and even death in the event of an accident. A seat belt has a decent chance of decreasing the risk of harm, therefore putting on a seat belt before hitting the roads would be reflexive.
- It is excessive and prevents the driver from having control over the vehicle. A seat belt is already a safety feature, and this product tacks on another level of safety over the first level. If this was the ignition for an ICBM a few extra precautionary measures would be great, but it just seems silly for something as mundane as a seat belt.
There’s nothing quite as horrifying as seeing a $200 loss within a day, especially when that money was eked out at near minimum wage. Once you see that level of spending for the first time, logic flies out the window and emotions take over. I have a bit more experience now, but it’s uninspiring. After so much effort, at the end of a good day you will be left with profit, but not much else to show for your efforts aside from a good campaign. Obviously the next step would be to diversify to leave the field, but when looking at just internet marketing, it’s the kind of pursuit that can be called dull. It’s the kind of pursuit that, if I were on my deathbed, I would look back and think, “I wasted all that effort with nothing to show for it but money. No real knowledge gained. No inspiring product created. I wasted so much time pushing leads for dating websites, insurance companies, and toolbar downloads.” The optimizing aspect is interesting, but aside from that there is not much else that is interesting.
The passing of time seems to be accelerating. Years ago, the minutes would pass so slowly. Now time has slapped me across the face since it’s already February 2010. So cruel and unusual.
Windows Mobile will likely be dead soon. I can’t imagine what Windows Mobile 7 could possibly offer to regain lost market share. Internet Explorer is also as good as dead. It’s painfully slow, has security problems and I can’t think of any redeeming features. The Zune HD is actually an impressive offering, but an app store is pretty much critical with that kind of hardware, because without one it’s just a glorified MP3 player. Bing is innovative, but in the end it still comes down to the quality of search results, a front on which Bing fails to deliver. Its only real uses are the interesting homepage photos and its cache, which is around longer than those of other search engines due to its slow crawler. Windows 7 and Office 14 are the only bright spots.
Prices are significantly lower than I had anticipated. What I thought would cost $10,000 to get designed costs at most only $5,000. That’s definitely a good thing for me. I’m going to throw all of the money I’ve earned into a game of pitch and toss into the web application concept. If all else fails I’m fairly confident I can still sell that for break even or profit.
That said, if the first one is successful, then I’ll probably get the next concept coded. I don’t care much for this one, so I don’t care if the concept is taken.
Basically it will be like Hot Or Not, except it will be slightly more “scientific”. There will only be head shot photos, and even those must be arranged onto a grid by the user. Because it eliminates all the other variables like clothing, posture, etc. it won’t skew the attractiveness results, and places the focus squarely on the face. I’m not sure what type of ranking system to use yet either, but that will come. But the experiment has to pay for itself at least, so it’ll also have dating website functionality.
So tired. So incredibly tired. Head’s hurting and I’m feeling short of breath. I hope I’m not coming down with the flu. This would be an awful time. Organic chemistry test, web application to design and get coded, money that doesn’t make its way into my pocket by itself. With the hope that one day, I’ll have a day where (I can be fairly young 22?) and sit in my backyard without a care in the world. That would be great.
I was checking the ranking of one of my other websites on the SERPs, and out of nowhere my website hit the first page for a phrase I was targeting. True, it is the last result on the first page, but this is unbelievable. I had hardly done any off page search engine optimization at all, and there were only few few sprinkles of my key phrase. It’s the first time I’ve learned about SEO, and I can’t believe I’m ranked. Sure the excitement will die down in a while, and it probably won’t last since Google is always fiddling with their crazy algorithm, but this is the first time I aimed to be ranked for a term and it actually happened, so it’s pretty exciting.
I’ve been thinking about online businesses recently, but as of now most of my plans have been imitations of existing business models. But numerous real world business models have not been “ported” to the net yet, and doing so would probably create a very successful business.
An online business would be great due to the lack of limitations such as distance, location, and time. Physical businesses need to hire workers, can only be open certain times of day to maintain profits, and must pay money for the store and countless other things. Online stores are free from all of these limitations and are thus much easier to maintain.
A great business model is the franchise. This is probably one of these best business models because people essentially ask you to make you money, and it is likely to be easier for the franchisee to set up shop due to the establishment of the brand name. Not only that, but expansion and brand recognition is much faster than with nonfranchises. There is also the added benefit of making your business look like an evil empire due to the numerous locations (Starbucks, McDonald’s, College Prep type businesses).
Some online stores are in fact online franchises of sorts. Cafepress is similar in that sellers set up shop under the Cafepress name, and create their own products, while a (massive) portion of profits is paid to Cafepress (making it impossible to sell thus making it useless). In fact, it is probably easier to hand print shirts and set up your own store. Basically, it’s better to print your own shirts instead of using Cafepress. But to make some money, forget setting up a Cafepress shop. Set up your own net franchise. The basic pattern seems to be create some template product (Cafepress uses mugs, shirts, underwear, etc.), allow franchisee (user) customization, reap your (the franchiser’s) profits. There are some disadvantages to franchises, but these are all real world limitations that exist due to distance. With the internet, everything is under control because distance simply does not exist, making this the perfect online model. Here is also a list of some other business models.