with 'money' tag

bill gross no longer has my money

i don’t know if it is at all related to my blogging about how bill gross has my money last october, but not only does bill gross have less of my money, now he doesn’t have any of it. idealab made a tender offer to its stockholders, mostly to clear out the small ones like me, and i opted to sell my shares. it wasn’t a lot of money, but it is nice to have it liquid again.

bill gross has less of my money

i wrote before about how i had idealab stock with no real prospects of seeing value from it. i don’t know what prompted it, but the brainiacs at idealab decided to pay out a dividend after the internet brands initial public offering.

for a very minor shareholder like me, it is an absolute pittance, but it is nice to start getting some of my money back on this investment.

bill gross has my money

tim o’reilly blogged about how bill gross is into atoms now, or how idealab has shifted the focus from web businesses into businesses that make physical goods. which is all well and good, but the part that annoys me about idealab at this point is that the shares i have now held for the better part of a decade seem to have little chance of being tradable on the open market any time soon, or otherwise turning into money in my pocket in any foreseeable way.

back in the dotcom days when i worked for a second-generation geocities knock-off called homepage.com, there was a time when altavista agreed to buy us, but the board of directors (led by bill gross) shot it down. as a sort of consolation prize to employees that had been around for a while, they allowed us to convert some of our homepage.com options into idealab shares, which required exercising the options. the certificate for that has been in my drawer ever since.

why do i have the feeling that when the internet brands initial public offering is done, bill gross will have shares that he can then turn around and sell, and all i’ll get out of it is that idealab will be able to spin off some more of bill’s ideas?

everybody gets cake!

it’s been a little over a month since it launched, so i guess a report on blog-la-sphere is appropriate: 1,049 visits, about 15 average daily visitors, $1.47 in google adsense revenue. i’ve added about 150 new blogs since the launch, and posted a dozen times.

the new york times covers an interesting aspect of some startup funding — “when capital goes to the founders, not the company.”

there’s a certain mythology around the value of stock options to employees at startups, and i’m just jaded enough to know that unless you’re management, you’re not going to see much from stock options. it’s certainly hard to justify a reduced salary on the promise of future riches.

a little bit crazy

the national institute of mental health (the ones with the rats) put out a study that says a quarter of all americans met the criteria for having a mental illness in the last twelve months.

recently i filled up the very large (three liter?) wine bottle in which i’ve been collecting pennies, nickels, and dimes. so i’ve dumped it all out, sorted it out by type, and am putting it into piles of ten.

dimes are pretty amazingly space-efficient. there was over $90 in dimes in the bottle.

but all this counting is for naught, really. i will probably take the coins with me to a coinstar location tomorrow and donate it all to the world wildlife fund.

and i’ve already started refilling the bottle with new coins.

paypal now has a all-in-one payment processing interface, which means you can handle credit cards without even bouncing to the paypal website. i’m amazed this didn’t happen ten years ago — the existing schemes with distinct merchant accounts and gateways has always been dodgy.

you do have to use their express checkout thing (which does bounce to them, and lets users use their paypal account directly) in order to use the direct payment api. it’s $20/month and 2.2-2.9% + 30¢ per credit card transaction or 1.9% + 30¢ per paypal payment.

the best part may be that paypal is a company that seems to know where its towel is. what i’ve often heard from people working with existing providers is that they’re either morons or crooks. (or in the case of verisign, both.)

the wealthy blogger is new blog about money-management issues by my coworker mike hillyer, and non-coworker jeremy c. wright. a couple of canadians talking aboot money, eh.

on a similar note, i ran across liquid ledger today, which looks like nice money management software for mac os x. the current version doesn’t do any portfolio tracking, but it is promised for the next major version.

price vs. personality

i’ve finally gotten through the first wave of emails from people interested in blo.gs.

one of the reason i kept blo.gs going as long as i have is that i’ve liked having it out there as an independent service. it’s always been a neutral ground as far as the various vendors of blog publishing software, or blog search engines.

there’s one other crowd of people interested that i have very mixed feelings about: the “search engine optimization” folks.

there’s four components to the site that has people interested:

  1. the database of users
  2. the database of blogs
  3. the ping.blo.gs endpoint
  4. the service

my impression of each interested party is strongly colored by the interest they demonstrate in each component.

fortunately, it appears that there is enough serious interest from people and companies that i would be happy selling out to that i won’t really have to wrestle with this issue too seriously.

and here’s one thought that i passed along to a couple of people: united airlines lost $326 million last year, so perhaps your lowball offer “because you’ve lost so much already” (paraphrasing) would be even more attractive to them.

on losing money

one of the dumb things i did on the initial page about the blo.gs sale is just put the overall expense and income figures for the site, without listing the monthly net income (which is there now). i know better than to throw out numbers like that, and it has certainly influenced the numbers that people have thrown back at me. (one somewhat remarkable thing is how many people have picked the same number.)

i have a hard time writing and talking about this because the notion of not talking about money is so deeply ingrained in me. this came up in conversation with my parents last weekend, when my mom was talking about a neighbor who was very free with how much their kids made. i’m pretty sure my parents haven’t known how much i make since i graduated from college.

in any case, it should be pretty apparent that “losing” money is not a big deal for me. there are people in the world who put the accumulation of money at or near the center of their life’s agenda. i’m not one of those people. (and somehow i keep falling ass-backwards into it. go figure.)

i did the math the other day, and over the span of my netflix membership (since june 2000!), it has cost me a little around $4.50 per rental. it’s the last year that has really driven up my per-rental cost, between the temporarily increased rates and my slowdown in watching movies.

doing this sort of monetary math can be entertaining. here’s another one: if i assume that the car i owned for about 11 years cost about $9000 new, that means it cost just about $2.25 per day. just to own it: that doesn’t include gas, maintenance, or insurance. that’s more than i would have expected for a car that was pretty modest, and i had for a relatively long time.

i really should take another pass at doing a breakdown of how i’m spending my money. it’s been a few years since i last did it. all i have right now is this vague knowledge that i have a positive cash flow. (the biggest expenses are pretty easy: taxes, rent, and charity. those three alone soak up 60% of my paycheck. actually less, since my withholding was too high for most of the year.)