Writing Again

I’ve decided to start being a bit more active here. I am guessing there are exactly zero people who read this site regularly, but as I start up a new business venture (more on that in future posts), I’m hoping that I will have some valuable thoughts to share.

More importantly, I’ve found that writing helps me to sort through my own thoughts and ideas, and distill what is really useful.

So I thought I’d highlight three books I’ve read over the last year that I found inspiring and insightful:

  1. Quiet: Taught me about natural inclinations towards introversion, including the natural advantages and disadvantages.
  2. Essentialism: Taught me about the power of focus, saying no, and simplifying.
  3. The Power of Habit: Goes nicely with the above, outlining simple ways to be more effective (we’ll see how well this writing habit sticks)

While I’m at it, here’s a list of various things I’ve come across that I’ve been inspired by / found really useful / just enjoyed. In no particular order:

  • Non-Professional Books: I loved The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. Equal parts sad and inspiring.
  • Podcasts: I’m still a daily consumer of the Adam Carolla Show, and also have become addicted to The Moth (the live shows are great as well).
  • Recipes: One of my resolutions for 2015 is to cook for my wife and I semi-regularly. The successes so far have been walnut lasagna and bean kale stew (both are high protein vegetarian meals).
  • Shows: Transparent is so good. I’m also (finally) watching The Wire while running on elliptical.
  • Movies: Really enjoyed Boyhood (as did a lot of people) and Alive Inside (streaming on Netflix now).
  • Productivity: The “Focus” playlists on Spotify are fantastic.

30 Day Challenge Update

Last month I took on a pretty ambitious challenge: for 30 days, I would use my iPhone only as a phone. Basic call and text functionality was allowed, but no email, maps, checking scores, etc.

This was very difficult for the first couple days. But after that, it got much easier. Around day 15, I realized around 5pm that I left my phone at home that morning. I made it through the 30 days with only a couple small cheats–testing the mobile compatibility of a web site (work-related), taking a few pictures, and helping a tourist downtown get directions to their hotel. I didn’t use it to check email or a score once.

Anyways, here’s what I learned:

  • The forced time to sit and think made me very productive. With the time to and from work to think, I found myself coming up with creative solutions to challenges encountered during the day (as well as coming up with some good ideas for new projects / tasks). I thought I would be bored out of my mind, so it was nice to discover that I’m able to keep myself occupied 🙂
  • I read a lot (primarily on the bus ride home). It was nice to be reminded how enjoyable a good book is.
  • I found myself using a phone as a phone more often. I almost never call anyone. It was nice to connect with family members and friends with whom I don’t do a very good job of keeping in touch.
  • What I missed most of all: podcasts. I had taken for granted how helpful these are in getting me going in the morning. I was like a kid at Christmas on day 31.
  • Most interesting observation: my wife had no idea I was doing this until I told her on Day 29 🙂

Since this ended, I’ve gone back to checking email, etc. on the phone. It is pretty damn convenient. But I’m now much better about putting it away when I get home and leaving it at home when I’m going out with my wife or friends. And I don’t automatically put in the headphones and fire up a podcast if I’m running out for lunch; a lot of times, I use the “nothing time” to just think.

I’d highly recommend this challenge. The first few days are tough, but if you make it through you’ll be amazed at how little you miss it.

Announcing TraderHQ.com!

I’ve been working away behind the scenes at Mitre Media for a while now on a new project that is finally launching: TraderHQ.com.

The site will cater towards a new audience for me: active, sophisticated investors / traders (to some people, there’s a big difference).

We’ll be ramping up the content over the next few weeks, including some pretty awesome in-depth trading guides. Oh, and we’ll also try to have some fun along the way.

The Best Content I’ve Ever Created

I was reflecting the other day on the number of words that I’ve written since I started online several years ago. I didn’t come up with even a rough guess–but it’s a lot.

I wanted to put together a collection of some of the pieces I’m most proud of. After a lot of thought, I came up with:

  1. 101 Lessons Every Financial Advisor Should Learn (ETFdb)
  2. The Complete History of Warren Buffett (Dividend.com)
  3. Visual History of the S&P 500 (ETFdb)
  4. Unofficial Dividend.com Guide to Being An Investor (Dividend)
  5. 101 Ways to Make More Money With AdSense (MonetizePros)

To be fair, a lot of the articles above (in fact, most of them) weren’t done by me alone but were a team effort.

We have some great pieces of content in the works right now; I’m hoping this list will look a bit different in a few months 🙂

MonetizePros.com Update: Full Speed Ahead

MonetizePros.com has been on a roll in the first few months of 2014. Traffic continues to grow along with user engagement. It’s great to see all the positive feedback so far – that reinforces our belief that this is an underserved niche.

Some of the highlights so far include:

  • Launching 101 Ways to Make More Money with AdSense. This was a massive undertaking, and the end result is an awesome piece with specific, actionable ideas for improving display ad monetization.
  • Publishing our AdSense Optimization Checklist. Continuing on the theme above, this tool gives specific suggestions for boosting earnings through AdSense. It’s a great starting point.

That’s all for now! I’ll post a new update in a few months!