December 2011
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Business as an Investment

I finished my reading of Mike Maloney’s Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver, partially to get an idea of how he got started in the business of bullion. He’s actually had several businesses throughout his life, including one where he designed “stereo amplification electronics were selected as one of five permanent exhibits at the royal Victoria & Albert Museum in London”[WealthCycles]. The last chapter contained what I was looking for. Starting with a goal to accumulate high-cash-flow apartments, he decided (based on research) to invest in the gold and silver cycle as it was building momentum (~2001). He also realized that further leverage could be obtained in the gold and sliver mining company stocks, and in starting a business that would do well during the cycle. Promoting the book, and joining Robert Kiyosaki’s team are icing on the cake.

Clearly, he didn’t position himself without some self-education. He had good reasons (stock market was languishing) to uncover information about the next cycle. As a practiced entrepreneur he knew both how to form and promote the new business: it was really only a question of figuring out which business would be the most profitable. He’s now quite passionate about the data he’s collected, and in helping others to profit from the information.

But you don’t achieve that kind of success without some up-front costs and research, together with the tenacity to carry through on the plan.

Recently, I’ve been trying to figure out what is the best manner in which I can use my existing capital (education about programming, dedication to reading/learning more, and passion for clearly explaining it to others) to build myself a stable future. On the one hand I could get a regular job either as a programmer at a large tech company (producing more for them that I receive in salary) or as an instructor a college/university (collecting considerably less in salary). But neither of these options gives me the autonomy I desire. Besides which, I think that Kahn Academy, has shown us that a revolution in education is afoot.

So, my current plan is to find a way of effectively educating people about programming: to provide them with the skills that allow them to join the class of highly compensated professional programmers. If I can uncover a mechanism that scales, so that revenues are less a function of the time I spend talking and more a function of the skills instilled in others: then I think I can build a stable, reliable income. The mechanism that scales well seems to be short self-contained videos about language features and design patterns accompanied by an XP workshop to build the interpersonal skills and practice.

What I learned from Mike: Building a business on the boom cycle leverages your gains.

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