Money vs. happiness

It’s been said many times that you can’t buy happiness with money.  The Washington Post runs the article about the research that begs to differ:

Not only did the extra income appear to lower the instance of behavioral and emotional disorders among the children, but, perhaps even more important, it also boosted two key personality traits that tend to go hand in hand with long-term positive life outcomes.

The first is conscientiousness. People who lack it tend to lie, break rules and have trouble paying attention. The second is agreeableness, which leads to a comfort around people and aptness for teamwork. And both are strongly correlated with various forms of later life success and happiness.

Bitcoin is a money platform with many APIs

Bitcoin is a money platform with many APIs

Bitcoin is much more than just a digital currency. It is a protocol, a network, a currency and a transaction language. Most of all, though, it is an application programming interface (API) for money. Nowadays, bathroom scales and fridges have APIs, so why not money?

Traditional money does have APIs, but they are closed. You can program the merchant API of the VISA network if you are a trusted merchant. You can send and receive FIX messages if you are a stockbroker or exchange. Regular people, however, don’t even have APIs into their bank accounts, let alone the broader economy. Bitcoin changes all that by not only offering an API for accounts (wallets) and transactions, but also making that API available to everyone.

Gittip – inspiring generosity

Gittip – inspiring generosity


Gittip is a way to give small weekly cash gifts to people you love and are inspired by.

Gifts are weekly. The intention is for people to depend on money received through Gittip in order to pay their bills, and bills are recurring.

Gifts come with no strings attached. You don’t know exactly where your gifts come from, and the maximum gift from one person to another is $24.

Gifts are public. The total amount you give and the total amount you receive is public. Participants on both sides of the equation are rewarded publicly for their participation. (You can opt out of publicly displaying your total giving.)

What does it feel like to lose a lot of money (quickly)?

Here is a Quora question that I got in the personalized weekly newsletter.  I never had anything close to a lot of money, but I’m pretty sure that if a miracle happens and one day I do, I’ll lose them all pretty quickly.  Thus, I was vaguely interested in the answers.  However, the answer by James Altucher (most voted) was way more than I expected.

Then Internet stocks started to go down. This is ridiculous, I thought. The Internet is here to stay. I knew nothing about stocks or valuations or anything resembling rational thought. I doubled down. Then quadrupled down. Then 8-upled down.

From June 2000 until September, 2001 I probably lost $1 million a month. When anyone says, “this is ridiculous”, that’s code for, “I’m about to lose a lot of money”.

I couldn’t stop. I was an addict. I wanted to get back up to the peak.

I wanted to be loved. I wanted to have $100 million so people would love me.

I was the worst idiot. Writing this now I feel like slitting my wrists and stomach. I had 2 kids.

I felt like I was going to die. That zero equals death. I couldn’t believe how stupid I had been. I had lost all my friends. Nobody returned calls. I would go to the ATM machine and feel my blood going through my whole body when I saw how much was left. I was going to zero and nothing could stop it. There were no jobs,  there was nothing.

Read the whole thing.  It’s fascinating and impressive.

Monetizing the blog with paid links

Long-time readers of this blog know that once in a while I attempt to monetize this blog. I haven’t built this site to earn me money, but, on the other hand, I’ve spent thousands of hours on building, updating, maintaining, designing, and programming this over the years. It’s nice to get some money out of it once in a while.

So far, I’ve tried the following:

  • Google AdSense. Which is still here and which I tweak from time to time. This is the easiest way to cover my hosting fees. However it does just about that.
  • Banner ads. This is are much more profitable, but it’s hard to find advertisers and the whole thing with following up on payments, banner placements, statistics, etc is just too much overhead for me.
  • Consulting. As well as other side services. The money are good, but there is no constant stream of work. And anyway it is somewhat disconnected from the site itself. The blog is merely a point of contact, nothing more.
  • Donations. These are still here, but they don’t work too well either. I’ve received only a couple of those.

Today (or, in fact, yesterday), I decided to try something else. Every week I am bombarded with the offers to place a text link relevant to the content into one of my older posts. I’ve never thought about it seriously before. But something changed recently. Maybe the offers went up, maybe the links got better. Doesn’t matter. I decided to give it a try.

Of course, this being my personal website, carrying my own name, I am going to be careful with what I accept and what terms. I will check the links before agreeing. And I will be checking them periodically afterwards as well. No SPAM, and only content-relevant links. I will also add a tag ‘paid link‘ to any post that contains the link for which I was paid.

So far, I have two posts with paid links and considering the money, I think these should work pretty good. Let me know what you think in the comments or directly.

The balance of life

Today morning Olga got a call from insurance, saying that there is a pending check for us.  I, for one, have totally forgotten about that.  Obviously, it’s always nice to get some unexpected money in.  On the way to the insurance company, Olga got stopped by the police, who reminded me of something else that I have totally forgotten.  Road tax and MOT haven’t been paid for this year.  The fine should work as a reminder.  Hopefully the check from insurance is for more money than the fine…

Update:  Apparently, missing road tax and MOT is not a fine land.  We’ll have to go to court.

The end of currency

TechChrunch has a nice post covering the developments and ideas in the area of digital money.  Even though most of the discussed is far from being practical today, the ideas and the progress are still fascinating.

Virtual currencies are in the news again with all the discussion aroundBitcoins, which is limited in supply and can be exchanged anonymously. Our own long experience with another digital currency, Ven, has made us think about the logical conclusion of these activities, and what it means for money at large.  And what it means is the end of money as we know it.