More on Personal Growth
2 months ago
Two Key Money Principles You Should Understand But Were Never Taught
Prudence is advised. Be debt-free. Be frugal. Spend less.
This advice sounds nice, but it rarely works.
Most people never learn these two money rules. Both approaches will impact how you see personal finance.
It may safeguard you from inflation or the inability to preserve money.
Let’s dive in.
#1: Making long-term debt your ally
High-interest debt hurts consumers. Many credit cards carry 25% yearly interest (or more), so always pay on time. Otherwise, you’re losing money.
Some low-interest debt is good. Especially when buying an appreciating asset with borrowed money.
Inflation helps you.
If you borrow $800,000 at 3% interest and invest it at 7%, you'll make $32,000 (4%).
As money loses value, fixed payments get cheaper. Your assets' value and cash flow rise.
The never-in-debt crowd doesn't know this. They lose money paying off mortgages and low-interest loans early when they could have bought assets instead.
#2: How To Buy Or Build Assets To Make Inflation Irrelevant
Dozens of studies demonstrate actual wage growth is static; $2.50 in 1964 was equivalent to $22.65 now.
These reports never give solutions unless they're selling gold.
But there is one.
Assets beat inflation.
$100 invested into the S&P 500 would have an inflation-adjusted return of 17,739.30%.
Likewise, you can build assets from nothing. Doing is easy and quick. The returns can boost your income by 10% or more.
The people who obsess over inflation inadvertently make the problem worse for themselves. They wait for The Big Crash to buy assets. Or they moan about debt clocks and spending bills instead of seeking a solution.
Being ultra-prudent is like playing golf with a putter to avoid hitting the ball into the water. Sure, you might not slice a drive into the pond. But, you aren’t going to play well either. Or have very much fun.
Money has rules.
Avoiding debt or investment risks will limit your rewards. Long-term, being too cautious hurts your finances.
Disclaimer: This article is for entertainment purposes only. It is not financial advice, always do your own research.
3 months ago
7 ways to improve public speaking
How to overcome public speaking fear and give a killer presentation
"Public speaking is people's biggest fear, according to studies. Death's second. The average person is better off in the casket than delivering the eulogy." — American comedian, actor, writer, and producer Jerry Seinfeld
People fear public speaking, according to research. Public speaking can be intimidating.
Most professions require public speaking, whether to 5, 50, 500, or 5,000 people. Your career will require many presentations. In a small meeting, company update, or industry conference.
You can improve your public speaking skills. You can reduce your anxiety, improve your performance, and feel more comfortable speaking in public.
“If I returned to college, I'd focus on writing and public speaking. Effective communication is everything.” — 38th president Gerald R. Ford
You can deliver a great presentation despite your fear of public speaking. There are ways to stay calm while speaking and become a more effective public speaker.
Seven tips to improve your public speaking today. Let's help you overcome your fear (no pun intended).
Know your audience.
"You're not being judged; the audience is." — Entrepreneur, author, and speaker Seth Godin
Understand your audience before speaking publicly. Before preparing a presentation, know your audience. Learn what they care about and find useful.
Your presentation may depend on where you're speaking. A classroom is different from a company meeting.
Determine your audience before developing your main messages. Learn everything about them. Knowing your audience helps you choose the right words, information (thought leadership vs. technical), and motivational message.
2. Be Observant
Observe others' speeches to improve your own. Watching free TED Talks on education, business, science, technology, and creativity can teach you a lot about public speaking.
What worked and what didn't?
What would you change?
How interesting or dull was the topic?
Note their techniques to learn more. Studying the best public speakers will amaze you.
Learn how their stage presence helped them communicate and captivated their audience. Please note their pauses, humor, and pacing.
"A speaker should prepare based on what he wants to learn, not say." — Author, speaker, and pastor Tod Stocker
Practice makes perfect when it comes to public speaking. By repeating your presentation, you can find your comfort zone.
When you've practiced your presentation many times, you'll feel natural and confident giving it. Preparation helps overcome fear and anxiety. Review notes and important messages.
When you know the material well, you can explain it better. Your presentation preparation starts before you go on stage.
Keep a notebook or journal of ideas, quotes, and examples. More content means better audience-targeting.
Videotape your speeches. Check yourself. Body language, hands, pacing, and vocabulary should be reviewed.
Best public speakers evaluate their performance to improve.
Write down what you did best, what you could improve and what you should stop doing after watching a recording of yourself. Seeing yourself can be unsettling. This is how you improve.
5. Remove text from slides
"Humans can't read and comprehend screen text while listening to a speaker. Therefore, lots of text and long, complete sentences are bad, bad, bad.” —Communications expert Garr Reynolds
Presentation slides shouldn't have too much text. 100-slide presentations bore the audience. Your slides should preview what you'll say to the audience.
Use slides to emphasize your main point visually.
If you add text, use at least 40-point font. Your slides shouldn't require squinting to read. You want people to watch you, not your slides.
6. Body language
"Body language is powerful." We had body language before speech, and 80% of a conversation is read through the body, not the words." — Dancer, writer, and broadcaster Deborah Bull
Nonverbal communication dominates. Our bodies speak louder than words. Don't fidget, rock, lean, or pace.
Relax your body to communicate clearly and without distraction through nonverbal cues. Public speaking anxiety can cause tense body language.
Maintain posture and eye contact. Don’t put your hand in your pockets, cross your arms, or stare at your notes. Make purposeful hand gestures that match what you're saying.
7. Beginning/ending Strong
Beginning and end are memorable. Your presentation must start strong and end strongly. To engage your audience, don't sound robotic.
Begin with a story, stat, or quote. Conclude with a summary of key points. Focus on how you will start and end your speech.
You should memorize your presentation's opening and closing. Memorize something naturally. Excellent presentations start and end strong because people won't remember the middle.
Bringing It All Together
Seven simple yet powerful ways to improve public speaking. Know your audience, study others, prepare and rehearse, record yourself, remove as much text as possible from slides, and start and end strong.
Follow these tips to improve your speaking and audience communication. Prepare, practice, and learn from great speakers to reduce your fear of public speaking.
"Speaking to one person or a thousand is public speaking." — Vocal coach Roger Love
4 months ago
After 240 articles and 2.5M views on Medium, 9 Raw Writing Tips
Late in 2018, I published my first Medium article, but I didn't start writing seriously until 2019. Since then, I've written more than 240 articles, earned over $50,000 through Medium's Partner Program, and had over 2.5 million page views.
Write A Lot
Most people don't have the patience and persistence for this simple writing secret:
Write + Write + Write = possible success
Writing more improves your skills.
The more articles you publish, the more likely one will go viral.
If you only publish once a month, you have no views. If you publish 10 or 20 articles a month, your success odds increase 10- or 20-fold.
Tim Denning, Ayodeji Awosika, Megan Holstein, and Zulie Rane. Medium is their jam. How are these authors alike? They're productive and consistent. They're prolific.
80% is publishable
Many writers battle perfectionism.
To succeed as a writer, you must publish often. You'll never publish if you aim for perfection.
Adopt the 80 percent-is-good-enough mindset to publish more. It sounds terrible, but it'll boost your writing success.
Your work won't be perfect. Always improve. Waiting for perfection before publishing will take a long time.
Second, readers are your true critics, not you. What you consider "not perfect" may be life-changing for the reader. Don't let perfectionism hinder the reader.
Don't let perfectionism hinder the reader. ou don't want to publish mediocre articles. When the article is 80% done, publish it. Don't spend hours editing. Realize it. Get feedback. Only this will work.
Make Your Headline Irresistible
We all judge books by their covers, despite the saying. And headlines. Readers, including yourself, judge articles by their titles. We use it to decide if an article is worth reading.
Make your headlines irresistible. Want more article views? Then, whether you like it or not, write an attractive article title.
Many high-quality articles are collecting dust because of dull, vague headlines. It didn't make the reader click.
As a writer, you must do more than produce quality content. You must also make people click on your article. This is a writer's job. How to create irresistible headlines:
Curiosity makes readers click. Here's a tempting example...
Example: What Women Actually Look For in a Guy, According to a Huge Study by Luba Sigaud
Use Numbers: Click-bait lists. I mean, which article would you click first? ‘Some ways to improve your productivity’ or ’17 ways to improve your productivity.’ Which would I click?
Example: 9 Uncomfortable Truths You Should Accept Early in Life by Sinem Günel
Most headlines are dull. If you want clicks, get 'sexy'. Buzzword-ify. Invoke emotion. Trendy words.
Example: 20 Realistic Micro-Habits To Live Better Every Day by Amardeep Parmar
Our culture lacks focus. If your headline gets a click, keep paragraphs short to keep readers' attention.
Some writers use 6–8 lines per paragraph, but I prefer 3–4. Longer paragraphs lose readers' interest.
A writer should help the reader finish an article, in my opinion. I consider it a job requirement. You can't force readers to finish an article, but you can make it 'snackable'
Help readers finish an article with concise paragraphs, interesting subheadings, exciting images, clever formatting, or bold attention grabbers.
Work And Move On
I've learned over the years not to get too attached to my articles. Many writers report a strange phenomenon:
The articles you're most excited about usually bomb, while the ones you're not tend to do well.
This isn't always true, but I've noticed it in my own writing. My hopes for an article usually make it worse. The more objective I am, the better an article does.
Let go of a finished article. 40 or 40,000 views, whatever. Now let the article do its job. Onward. Next story. Start another project.
Online content creators will encounter haters, whether on YouTube, Instagram, or Medium. More views equal more haters. Fun, right?
As a web content creator, I learned:
Don't debate haters. Never.
It's a mistake I've made several times. It's tempting to prove haters wrong, but they'll always find a way to be 'right'. Your response is their fuel.
I smile and ignore hateful comments. I'm indifferent. I won't enter a negative environment. I have goals, money, and a life to build. "I'm not paid to argue," Drake once said.
Grammarly saves me as a non-native English speaker. You know Grammarly. It shows writing errors and makes article suggestions.
As a writer, you need Grammarly. I have a paid plan, but their free version works. It improved my writing greatly.
Put The Reader First, Not Yourself
Many writers write for themselves. They focus on themselves rather than the reader.
This article teaches what? How can they be entertained or educated?
Personal examples and experiences improve writing quality. Don't focus on yourself.
It's not about you, the content creator. Reader-focused. Putting the reader first will change things.
Extreme ownership: Stop blaming others
I remember writing a lot on Medium but not getting many views. I blamed Medium first. Poor algorithm. Poor publishing. All sucked.
Instead of looking at what I could do better, I blamed others.
When you blame others, you lose power. Owning your results gives you power.
As a content creator, you must take full responsibility. Extreme ownership means 100% responsibility for work and results.
You don’t blame others. You don't blame the economy, president, platform, founders, or audience. Instead, you look for ways to improve. Few people can do this.
Blaming is useless. Zero. Taking ownership of your work and results will help you progress. It makes you smarter, better, and stronger.
Instead of blaming others, you'll learn writing, marketing, copywriting, content creation, productivity, and other skills. Game-changer.
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1 month ago
My 3 biggest errors as a co-founder and CEO
Reflections on the closed company Hola! Dating app
I'll discuss my fuckups as an entrepreneur and CEO. All of them refer to the dating app Hola!, which I co-founded and starred in.
Spring 2021 was when we started. Two techies and two non-techies created a dating app. Pokemon Go and Tinder were combined.
Online dating is a business, and it takes two weeks from a like to a date. We questioned online dating app users if they met anyone offline last year.
75% replied yes, 50% sometimes, 25% usually.
Offline dating is popular, yet people have concerns.
Men are reluctant to make mistakes in front of others.
Women are curious about the background of everyone who approaches them.
We designed unique mechanics that let people date after a match. No endless chitchat. Women would be safe while men felt like cowboys.
I wish to emphasize three faults that lead to founders' estrangement.
This detachment ultimately led to us shutting down the company.
The wrong technology stack
Instead of generating a faster MVP and designing an app in a universal stack for iOS and Android, I argued we should pilot the app separately for iOS and Android. Technical founders' expertise made this possible.
Mistaken strategy. We lost time and resources developing two apps at once. We chose iOS since it's more profitable. Apple took us out after the release, citing Guideline 4.3 Spam. After 4 months, we had nothing. We had a long way to go to get the app on Android and the Store.
I suggested creating a uniform platform for the company's growth. This makes parallel product development easier. The strategist's lack of experience and knowledge made it a piece of crap.
What would I have changed if I could?
We should have designed an Android universal stack. I expected Apple to have issues with a dating app.
Our approach should have been to launch something and subsequently improve it, but prejudice won.
Discuss the IT stack with your CTO. It saves time and money. Choose the easiest MVP method.
2. A tardy search for investments
Though the universe and other founders encouraged me to locate investors first, I started pitching when we almost had an app.
When angels arrived, it was time to close. The app was banned, war broke out, I left the country, and the other co-founders stayed. We had no savings.
I loved interviewing users. I'm proud of having done 1,000 interviews. I wanted to understand people's pain points and improve the product.
Interview results no longer affected the product. I was terrified to start pitching. I filled out accelerator applications and redid my presentation. You must go through that so you won't be terrified later.
What would I have changed if I could?
Get an external or internal mentor to help me with my first pitch as soon as possible. I'd be supported if criticized. He'd cheer with me if there was enthusiasm.
In 99% of cases, I'm comfortable jumping into the unknown, but there are exceptions. The mentor's encouragement would have prompted me to act sooner.
Begin fundraising immediately. Months may pass. Show investors your pre-MVP project. Draw inferences from feedback.
3. Role ambiguity
My technical co-founders were also part-time lead developers, which produced communication issues. As co-founders, we communicated well and recognized the problems. Stakes, vesting, target markets, and approach were agreed upon.
We were behind schedule. Technical debt and strategic gap grew.
Bi-daily and weekly reviews didn't help. Each time, there were explanations. Inside, I was freaking out.
I am a fairly easy person to talk to. I always try to stick to agreements; otherwise, my head gets stuffed with unnecessary information, interpretations, and emotions.
Sit down -> talk -> decide -> do -> evaluate the results. Repeat it.
If I don't get detailed comments, I start ruining everyone's mood. If there's a systematic violation of agreements without a good justification, I won't join the project or I'll end the collaboration.
What would I have done otherwise?
This is where it’s scariest to draw conclusions. Probably the most logical thing would have been not to start the project as we started it. But that was already a completely different project. So I would not have done anything differently and would have failed again.
But I drew conclusions for the future.
First-time founders should find an adviser or team coach for a strategic session. It helps split the roles and responsibilities.
1 month ago
10 Crazy Useful Free Websites No One Told You About But You Needed
The internet is a massive information resource. With so much stuff, it's easy to forget about useful websites. Here are five essential websites you may not have known about.
Companies.tools are what successful startups employ. This website offers a curated selection of design, research, coding, support, and feedback resources. Ct has the latest app development platform and greatest client feedback method.
2. Excel Formula Bot
Excel Formula Bot can help if you forget a formula. Formula Bot uses AI to convert text instructions into Excel formulas, so you don't have to remember them.
Just tell the Bot what to do, and it will do it. Excel Formula Bot can calculate sales tax and vacation days. When you're stuck, let the Bot help.
TypeLit helps you improve your typing abilities while reading great literature.
TypeLit.io lets you type any book or dozens of preset classics. TypeLit provides real-time feedback on accuracy and speed.
Goals and progress can be tracked. Why not improve your typing and learn great literature with TypeLit?
4. Calm Schedule
Finding a meeting time that works for everyone is difficult. Personal and business calendars might be difficult to coordinate.
Synchronize your two calendars to save time and avoid problems. You may avoid searching through many calendars for conflicts and keep your personal information secret. Having one source of truth for personal and work occasions will help you never miss another appointment.
myNoise makes the outside world quieter. myNoise is the right noise for a noisy office or busy street.
If you can't locate the right noise, make it. MyNoise unlocks the world. Shut out distractions. Thank your ears.
Professional videos require directors, filmmakers, editors, and animators. Now, thanks to AI, you can generate high-quality videos without video editing experience.
AI avatars are crucial. You can design a personalized avatar using a web-based software like synthesia.io. Our avatars can lip-sync in over 60 languages, so you can make worldwide videos. There's an AI avatar for every video goal.
Not free. Amazing service, though.
Have you shot a wonderful photo just to notice something in the background? You may have a beautiful headshot but wish to erase an imperfection.
Cleanup.pictures removes undesirable objects from photos. Our algorithms will eliminate the selected object.
Cleanup.pictures can help you obtain the ideal shot every time. Next time you take images, let Cleanup.pictures fix any flaws.
8. PDF24 Tools
Editing a PDF can be a pain. Most of us don't know Adobe Acrobat's functionalities. Why buy something you'll rarely use? Better options exist.
PDF24 is an online PDF editor that's free and subscription-free. Rotate, merge, split, compress, and convert PDFs in your browser. PDF24 makes document signing easy.
Upload your document, sign it (or generate a digital signature), and download it. It's easy and free. PDF24 is a free alternative to pricey PDF editing software.
9. Class Central
Finding online classes is much easier. Class Central has classes from Harvard, Stanford, Coursera, Udemy, and Google, Amazon, etc. in one spot.
Whether you want to acquire a new skill or increase your knowledge, you'll find something. New courses bring variety.
Foreign travel offers countless transport alternatives. How do you get from A to B? It’s easy!
Rome2rio will show you the best method to get there, including which mode of transport is ideal.
Do you know any free, useful websites?
6 months ago
The latest “bubble indicator” readings.
As you know, I like to turn my intuition into decision rules (principles) that can be back-tested and automated to create a portfolio of alpha bets. I use one for bubbles. Having seen many bubbles in my 50+ years of investing, I described what makes a bubble and how to identify them in markets—not just stocks.
A bubble market has a high degree of the following:
- High prices compared to traditional values (e.g., by taking the present value of their cash flows for the duration of the asset and comparing it with their interest rates).
- Conditons incompatible with long-term growth (e.g., extrapolating past revenue and earnings growth rates late in the cycle).
- Many new and inexperienced buyers were drawn in by the perceived hot market.
- Broad bullish sentiment.
- Debt financing a large portion of purchases.
- Lots of forward and speculative purchases to profit from price rises (e.g., inventories that are more than needed, contracted forward purchases, etc.).
I use these criteria to assess all markets for bubbles. I have periodically shown you these for stocks and the stock market.
What Was Shown in January Versus Now
I will first describe the picture in words, then show it in charts, and compare it to the last update in January.
As of January, the bubble indicator showed that a) the US equity market was in a moderate bubble, but not an extreme one (ie., 70 percent of way toward the highest bubble, which occurred in the late 1990s and late 1920s), and b) the emerging tech companies (ie. As well, the unprecedented flood of liquidity post-COVID financed other bubbly behavior (e.g. SPACs, IPO boom, big pickup in options activity), making things bubbly. I showed which stocks were in bubbles and created an index of those stocks, which I call “bubble stocks.”
Those bubble stocks have popped. They fell by a third last year, while the S&P 500 remained flat. In light of these and other market developments, it is not necessarily true that now is a good time to buy emerging tech stocks.
The fact that they aren't at a bubble extreme doesn't mean they are safe or that it's a good time to get long. Our metrics still show that US stocks are overvalued. Once popped, bubbles tend to overcorrect to the downside rather than settle at “normal” prices.
The following charts paint the picture. The first shows the US equity market bubble gauge/indicator going back to 1900, currently at the 40% percentile. The charts also zoom in on the gauge in recent years, as well as the late 1920s and late 1990s bubbles (during both of these cases the gauge reached 100 percent ).
The chart below depicts the average bubble gauge for the most bubbly companies in 2020. Those readings are down significantly.
The charts below compare the performance of a basket of emerging tech bubble stocks to the S&P 500. Prices have fallen noticeably, giving up most of their post-COVID gains.
The following charts show the price action of the bubble slice today and in the 1920s and 1990s. These charts show the same market dynamics and two key indicators. These are just two examples of how a lot of debt financing stock ownership coupled with a tightening typically leads to a bubble popping.
Everything driving the bubbles in this market segment is classic—the same drivers that drove the 1920s bubble and the 1990s bubble. For instance, in the last couple months, it was how tightening can act to prick the bubble. Review this case study of the 1920s stock bubble (starting on page 49) from my book Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises to grasp these dynamics.
The following charts show the components of the US stock market bubble gauge. Since this is a proprietary indicator, I will only show you some of the sub-aggregate readings and some indicators.
Each of these six influences is measured using a number of stats. This is how I approach the stock market. These gauges are combined into aggregate indices by security and then for the market as a whole. The table below shows the current readings of these US equity market indicators. It compares current conditions for US equities to historical conditions. These readings suggest that we’re out of a bubble.
1. How High Are Prices Relatively?
This price gauge for US equities is currently around the 50th percentile.
2. Is price reduction unsustainable?
This measure calculates the earnings growth rate required to outperform bonds. This is calculated by adding up the readings of individual securities. This indicator is currently near the 60th percentile for the overall market, higher than some of our other readings. Profit growth discounted in stocks remains high.
Even more so in the US software sector. Analysts' earnings growth expectations for this sector have slowed, but remain high historically. P/Es have reversed COVID gains but remain high historical.
3. How many new buyers (i.e., non-existing buyers) entered the market?
Expansion of new entrants is often indicative of a bubble. According to historical accounts, this was true in the 1990s equity bubble and the 1929 bubble (though our data for this and other gauges doesn't go back that far). A flood of new retail investors into popular stocks, which by other measures appeared to be in a bubble, pushed this gauge above the 90% mark in 2020. The pace of retail activity in the markets has recently slowed to pre-COVID levels.
4. How Broadly Bullish Is Sentiment?
The more people who have invested, the less resources they have to keep investing, and the more likely they are to sell. Market sentiment is now significantly negative.
5. Are Purchases Being Financed by High Leverage?
Leveraged purchases weaken the buying foundation and expose it to forced selling in a downturn. The leverage gauge, which considers option positions as a form of leverage, is now around the 50% mark.
6. To What Extent Have Buyers Made Exceptionally Extended Forward Purchases?
Looking at future purchases can help assess whether expectations have become overly optimistic. This indicator is particularly useful in commodity and real estate markets, where forward purchases are most obvious. In the equity markets, I look at indicators like capital expenditure, or how much businesses (and governments) invest in infrastructure, factories, etc. It reflects whether businesses are projecting future demand growth. Like other gauges, this one is at the 40th percentile.
What one does with it is a tactical choice. While the reversal has been significant, future earnings discounting remains high historically. In either case, bubbles tend to overcorrect (sell off more than the fundamentals suggest) rather than simply deflate. But I wanted to share these updated readings with you in light of recent market activity.