Tag Archives: money

Is Charging for Information Right or Wrong?

Recently, Google+ has been the topic of conversation – ya know, part of that same conversation people have claimed was on Twitter (yet, impossible to follow due to Twitter not having a UX to support conversations).

I’ve been having a blast with my Plus profile – interspersing fun and functional, day in and day out. It’s insanely addictive, reminiscent of so many other social platforms in their nascent stages. We’ve been posting a flurry of helpful Google+ articles on LockerGnome over the past week or so. Why? Because people are looking for help.

My friend Chris Brogan is taking flak for wanting to teach people how to effectively use Google Plus. The arguments seem to be of one of two types: (1) It’s too early, don’t waste your money on something that could change, or the traditional blogger argument that (2) Information should be free, and Chris is a “douchebag” for charging anything for what could be given for free.

Apparently, his two-hour webinar is $47. You probably spend more on a large popcorn at a 3D movie with a date than you would on this two-hour discussion, so it’s not that a lack of money would be an issue. When you consider the lost opportunity of not being on the platform early, getting a foothold in the community could be huge if this thing is as big as everyone thinks it will be. And if Google+ flops, it would have been $47 spent – the cost of treating your family to see “Cars 2” in theaters today (which may prove to be an even bigger waste of two hours and money).

As to the charging for his intelligence? Of course he is going to charge! If you give stuff away for free, people don’t put ANY value on it. Information is power, and the power doesn’t come cheap. If you aren’t wanting to invest in yourself or your business by leveraging someone else’s known experience, then this isn’t the seminar for you. If so, quit raining on everyone else’s parade.

And when people look for help, you can provide it – or not. You can even charge for that help – or not. And it’s the former decision, not the latter, which has seemingly given rise to a situation. Chris Brogan is under attack for planning a paid webinar around his intelligence – and his gathered intelligence, at this stage, is likely no more deep than any other Google+ user.

The platform is too new to understand it completely – but that doesn’t mean that you should wait before you NEED to begin to understand its current promise and potential. Don’t you wish you had been in early on Twitter so that you could have been on the Suggested Lists? And so that you would have built community there when the followers were high quality and the spam ratio was low?

Either way, Chris is under attack by extremely smart people who make money online by other means. This is where I’m a bit lost. What right do I have, as anybody, to tell someone what they can and cannot do with their time? What right do I have, as a person who needs to make money SOME way to pay the bills, to tell someone else how much their own time and intelligence are worth?

It’s just… rude.

I faced this type of insolence every single year I was involved in the production of the Gnomedex conference. Despite bending over backwards to create a VIP-level event for a peanut-butter price point, I had a slew of people tell me that I was doing it wrong. And Chris Brogan, by the way, was a Gnomedex attendee long before he became the person people know him as today – supportive, intelligent, and savvy.

My business organized a meetup a few weeks back with several dozen registrants, both free and paid. Interesting statistic: over 90% of the people who didn’t pay anything for a ticket didn’t bother to show up, whereas 100% of the people who purchased a pass actually attended. It was only ~$20, largely to cover their parking and a drinking ticket – there was no real profit made, and (honestly) LockerGnome probably lost money on the meetup due to the time we spent on putting it together. Thus marked the last time I ever do anything for people for free. This week’s meetup is about Google+ in Seattle (of all things).

Put up, or shut up.

If you don’t think your time is worth anything, that’s fine – it’s your time. But you can’t sit there and claim that someone else’s time is worth nothing – especially when that someone has gone to great lengths to share so much intelligence *without* charging for it!

I probably know just about as much about Google+ at this point as anybody does, but that doesn’t mean that EVERYBODY understands why this is likely to become increasingly relevant. Still, I have half a mind to pay for Chris’s webinar because I support what he’s doing for people who don’t quite understand

NEWS FLASH: Companies make an obscene amount of money by doing what you do for your personal account for free. Like, to the tune of several THOUSAND dollars to manage a Twitter and Facebook account. I’m not kidding. I’m not even close to kidding. And here’s the thing: those businesses are NOT overpaying for such services.

Here’s the thing: Chris isn’t promising an all-out guide to would-be or active Google+ users. He’s offering guidance. There’s a gigantic difference.

I wound up “plussing” what was going to be a longer piece on my Google+ profile a few minutes back, but decided to keep the update succinct: “Is it because Google+ is ‘too young,’ or because people believe that just because THEY get social media without paying for it that everybody should get social media without paying for it?”

A few notable comments have come from this…

Tim Czerwinski:

I don’t see anything wrong with what he is doing. He doesn’t appear to be misleading anyone about the product he is selling. He does not appear to be making unsupportable claims. This is in line with what he does for a living. If the knowledge he is selling is worth the price, people will pursue it. if not, it will go away. that is what markets are for. There is a huge industry built around facebook. Why would Google+ be different?

Ravarius Castor:

Well I definitely think it’s a little foolish to offer ‘expert’ device about a service that isnt’t even close to fully realized, but as already said as well I think this is a case of supply and demand. He feels he can supply guidance worth paying for, and it’s credibility and value falls on the consumers and their demand for what he is offering.

Tim Goebel:

If Mr. Brogan offers a service that others find worth exchanging their money with him to receive, I have no idea why that would be of interest to anyone else? No one is forced to do business with him, as far as I understand the situation, and if his clients feel that they receive value for their money, what can anyone outside of the transaction possibly be objecting to?

Dunno. I’m largely in the camp of “Let Chris Do What Chris Wants to Do” – which intersects with the “Do What You Want to Do but Don’t Piss in Someone’s Cheerios” camp. I’m not here to claim that what Chris has to share is anything more than Chris’s insights on Google’s new social network, but… hey, how much is two hours of your time worth? If it’s nowhere near $47, maybe you should spend less time bitching and more time moving your hourly rate north.

Can Money Buy Hard Drive Happiness?

Over on Lockergnome, there’s a popular discussion going on about the things money can’t buy. Several people have talked about how all of the gold in the world cannot purchase happiness or love. We already know this, right? It cannot fix broken hearts. It can’t guarantee you will grow old. The fun part of the discussion, though, comes in when people start bringing up the technology they only wish they could get their hot little hands on.

Tim is sad that all of the greenbacks in banks everywhere is still not enough to buy him the Intel 48 core CPU. Sadly, it isn’t available for purchase. This particular piece of technology is only for use in scientific and educational settings.

What do you wish money could buy for you?

Great news! Money can buy the best software and apps available… and it doesn’t even take a lot of green when you visit out software center.

How to Detect Counterfeit Money

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There’s no real easy way of knowing whether the money you have is legal. If you hold the bills up to the light, you should see some ‘invisible’ marking that is only seen that way. What you really need, though, is a blacklight.

You can pick up a handy little kit like I did. The Dry-Mark pens are so simple to use, it’s better than taking candy from your kid brother. Make a mark on a bill. If the amber mark turns black or dark brown, the bill is suspect.

There’s also a neat little guide that explains to you exactly where the ‘invisible’ strip should be on each piece of US paper currency. For instance, on the $100.00 bill, the strip is just to the left of center.

You never know when someone could accidentally pass you counterfeit money, especially in today’s economy. Actually, would it even be an accident? Know for sure, and check your money.

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Five Ways to Earn $100

Geek!This is Jacob Jordan’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Mom, can I borrow $100 please?

How many times has your son or daughter asked you this question? Or, are you the person that has posed this question to your parents? Either way if this sounds at all familiar to you, then the resulting answer is usually a disappointing “no”. If you are a technology geek like me and have ever been in this situation, then you know what it is like to want the newest technology and not have the money to pay for it. Whether your wish list consists of a flash drive, or a new Mac Pro, somehow, someway, you have to be creative in ways to earn the extra money to pay for it. Below I have created a list of suggestions that might help you make your wishes of being an up-to-date technology geek come true.


Yard sales are a great way for making a little extra money. One summer I had a yard sale and made around $500 bucks. Also, it gave me the opportunity to get rid of a lot of junk in my house. I noticed that movies, speakers, clothes, office chairs, (in good condition) printers, and PC monitors go fast. Let’s face it, most of us have an old CRT monitor from the 90’s laying around.


Most of us don’t realize how easy it is to upgrade a computer. It’s a simple and fun way to make some quick money. For example, you can go on Ebay and spend $100 on an iMac G3 with a one gigahertz processor, half a gigabyte of ram, and a twenty gigabyte hard drive. Spend an additional $80 on another half gigabyte of ram and an eighty gigabyte hard drive. All together, you have now spent around one $180. You could then turn around and sell this system for around $350 for a profit of $270!


Make sure that family, friends, and neighbors are aware of your technical skills. When most people have a problem with their computer such as a virus, they usually call a professional company such as Geek Squad. Companies like Geek Squad charge a lot of money for their services. You could provide the same service for a fraction of the cost.


As we all know, the holidays are right around the corner, which means gifts!!! When family and friends ask what you want, say that you are saving for a certain piece of equipment. Let them know what you are saving for and what your goals are. If they know what your goals are and what type of equipment you are saving for, then they may be more inclined to give you that little bit of extra money in your stocking. I know from personal experience that when this tactic was deployed, I accumulated over $500. Also, don’t forget to ask for donations towards your goals on birthdays as well.


If all of the above suggestions fail, you could always take the adolescent route by throwing a temper tantrum. This may seem pointless and juvenile at first but it can be a very effective tool. First, start out very calm when asking your parents for money to spend at Best Buy. When the obvious answer of no comes, follow the next few steps. First, fall to the floor in a dramatic fashion. Next, open the flood gates and let the tears flow like a river. While on the floor and crying, spin around in a circle, preferably clock-wise. Repeat, spinning counter-clock wise. Warning! Don’t go over board with this process. If you go too far, this could actually result in pissing your parents off to the point that they take what little bit of technology that you do own now away from you. Trust me, this result is no fun. I speak from experience.

What Ways are You Saving Money Today?

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We all like saving money, right? In today’s World, with the economy floundering, it’s not so easy to do. Commodore256 sent the following top five list to me, full of money-saving tips and tricks.

  • Reward yourself for being healthy. – Do you smoke? If your answerer is “no”, then you’re in luck. You can save the money that you would have spent on cigarettes (roughly $5.50 per pack) and in one year, you would have saved $2,000. ($5.50 x 365 days = $2,007.50) You could save that for a rainy day, or just buy a excellent computer or go on a vacation. If you saved this money over ten years, that could pay for a brand new car.
  • Avoid shady business dealings. – Stay away from Get-Rich-Quick Schemes, Pyramid Schemes, Multi-Level Marketing and Ponzi Schemes. If you ever get caught up in one of these scams, get some legal help.
  • Set up an “Unplanned Emergency Fund”. – You’ll never know when a negative financial event will happen. When that time comes, you’ll need money fast. Examples of a negative financial event would include losing your job, childbirth, sudden illness or even an injury. I believe everyone should have an Emergency Fund.
  • Use Credit Cards wisely. – When you get a Credit Card, only charge stuff on your Card if you can afford to pay it all off in one single payment. This will give you great credit, and you won’t have to pay any interest. If you’re already in debt, there are some non-profit organizations that can assist.
  • Enjoy Cheap and Free stuff. – There are plenty of cheap and free alternatives to have fun. Examples: You could buy used instead of new, you could go to the Library instead of buying Books or Magazine subscriptions, or rent movies instead of going to a theater. You could also save $150 dollars by not buying Microsoft Office. Download and install the free (open source) Open Office instead.

What tips do you have to share with everyone that you use to help save you money?


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What Will you do with Your Tax Refund?

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My Uncle Sam just called. The day this video was recorded was April 15th… Tax Day here in America. Let’s say after I paid in taxes I deserved a refund! What am I going to spend that money on? What are you going to spend yours on? Here are some ideas I put together that I think are pretty good.

  • Hardware Upgrades Why not buy that new RAM you’ve been waiting for? What about a new Hard Drive? It’s always a good time to buy new hardware, but there’s no better time than when you have that check in your hand. You could then donate your old hardware somewhere, and use it as a tax writeoff next year. Or, sell it online and make a bit more money!
  • Invest it! Why not throw your money into a six month CD at your local bank, and leave it in there for a year! This is just an example. You may want to find something with a higher interest rate. Then next year when you get your next refund, withdraw this year’s money… leave the interest… and invest the new tax check.
  • Buy a subscription Buy some kind of subscription that will last a whole year. It could be a software subscription, music, magazines… just something that will happen for a year, and remind you on a regular basis what you spent your money on.
  • Register a piece of software Let’s say there’s a demo on your computer that you have used all the time and enjoy. Why not register it finally? Or what if it’s Freeware and you use it a lot? Why not donate some money to the tool’s creator?
  • Stick cash in your Car Why would you do this? You never know when you’ll need it. Hide it somewhere in the trunk, or under a seat. What if you’re stuck somewhere that actually doesn’t take credit or debit cards? You’ll be thankful to know you always have money in the car. Also, you can hide small amounts of cash in your home. This can be an “emergency” cash stash. You never know when you might need cash, and the bank just isn’t open.

So what are you doing with your tax check this year? Leave me a comment follow-up to this video, or send an email to me at [email protected]


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How Do You Save Money?

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Recently, I did a video with tips on saving money for gadgets… especially when you’re a teenager who can’t get a ‘regular’ job. This time, I’m going to give you some tips sent in by a community member for saving money in general.

  • First, and most important, put your money in that bank. Lets say its Christmas, and you receive $400.00 from your family. The next day, you have all that money in your wallet and go to Wal-Mart… only to see a really nice Xbox 360 on sale for $450.00. You buy it, and hardly play it. You’re out the Christmas money, and you are also negative another $50.00. Putting your money in the bank is one of the most important things to do when it comes to trying to save. Making an account where you are only allowed to take out $25.00 at a time will sound like a bad idea, but really be positive one in the long run. This is also a good idea because not a lot of stores will take Debit cards or will have a Debit machine.
  • Buying clothes is something that everyone has to do at some point in the year. But do you really need that $70.00 American Eagle shirt and those $100.00 pants? The answer is no. When buying clothes, especially when you are growing, it is best to go to a say, Wal-Mart. The American Eagle logo is on the belt area of their pants where no one can even see it. I have seen pants at Wal-Mart that look very similar and feel the same for $19.00.
  • Do you need whatever it is you’re buying? Sometimes you may be at an electronics store, and might have just received some money from work in cash. You see something that you “think” you want. When you buy it, you love it for the first month or two… but what happens to it after that? It’s going to be sitting on the shelf or in a drawer collecting dust, and if it’s anything but a Mac it’s not going to have a high resale value on eBay. Ways to prevent yourself from the temptation of buying it is to leave the money in the car or at home. Bring only as much as you would like to spend. If you know that you are going to be tempted to buy an electronic device then stay out of that store or aisle.
  • Buying food is another necessity of life. If you are like me, then you love food. Food can be costly when you have to buy everything once or twice a week. Ways to save money when you are buying food are easy. Look for coupons for like .50$ off of an item, or buy one get one free. Another thing that is really good to do is to buy in bulk. This is something that I will do often when I got to Costco. Buy your food from no-frills or other non-profit food-markets. You will still get your FrootLoops, but for almost 2$ cheaper.
  • Wait until Boxing Day. Waiting until after Christmas is one of the best things you can do. Boxing day is a really busy day, but you will save lots of Green. When I was looking for a Computer to buy, I noticed this HP computer for about 900$. I looked at the boxing day sale from BestBuy, and noticed that the price on the computer lowered by around $200, and came with a free printer. Waiting is the key to getting what you want. Also, wait for new things to come out like Chris did with his Mac Pro (Big Mac). Chris did the smart thing an waited. He could of gotten the older model for around the same price, but instead got a better one for the same amount.


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How to Save Money for Gadgets

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A community member writes: “Being 14, I find that 99.99% of the time, no one will help me buy my geeky gadgets.I have created a list from my experiences on how to save money for your tech-related stuff.”

  • If you are short on cash, start a small business. Since I am only 14 and cannot get a ‘normal’ job yet, I sell computer parts on eBay. I have my own eBay store where I make a little over $100 a week, just from selling RAM and Hard Drives. The point is that on some websites, you can make money on the side with little effort. All you need to do is post a blog with AdSense or try to put up an EBay listing. These are very efficient ways to make money without much time or effort.
  • Don’t spend your money on stuff you don’t need. You don’t need to go to the movies 3 times a week. You can spend a little money once in a while, but put it towards the things you really want. Also, don’t buy a new notebook instead of paying your rent. Priorities come over tech items. How are you going to play XBox Live if you forgot to pay the electric bill? If you casually watch your money, you will notice quickly that buying your gadgets is not such a difficult task. Buying the store-brand items is not that much of a difference, other than the brand name items. Speaking of this, software is very similar. There is almost always a Freeware or Open-Source alternative. A very good example is GIMP or Seashore compared to a very expensive Photoshop.
  • Put a little money away. Instead of buying a fancy $60 meal, put $5-20 away a week. This adds up quickly. You won’t believe how quickly you will have money to buy the latest video game or something similar. Putting the money in the bank is also a good idea as you cannot touch it as easily as it would be if you had it in your wallet.
  • Look for good retailers, and discounts. As I know Chris has some really amazing coupons for software and things like that. Newegg is an amazing electronics retailer. I buy almost all of my electronics from them. It is like the Costco for Geeks. I have bought my Hard Drive, RAM, external Hard Drive and more from them. I highly recommend buying from retailers that sell the same product, but at a more affordable price. Just look around, before you pay an extra $100 for an item.
  • Most geeks have a bunch of Tech items that we don’t need, but others want. I bought an iPhone a few months ago, so why would I need a 5th gen iPod Classic? Sell the unneeded items on eBay or Craigslist to “save” money on another gadget. This works very well with video games, as EB games. They buy your old games for cheap prices, and you can use that money to buy a new game. Sell your old Hard Drive… get rid of the RAM you just upgraded from… you get the idea. If you don’t need something don’t throw it away… sell it.

POST UPDATE Tom wrote in after this was posted, to offer his method of saving for gadgets to us all!

I wanted to follow up that post by sharing one of my own little methods of saving money for gadgets. I use a simple spreadsheet to track what I have saved, and what I would like to buy. It tracks all the contributions I’ve made to my gadget fund, and tells me how much more I would need to save in order to buy each desired gadget. I primarily use this to save up for photographic equipment, which can be quite expensive. It’s not a very advanced spreadsheet, but it’s not supposed to be… it’s meant to be more of a psychological tool to encourage responsible spending. Sure, I could just grab the money from my short-term savings and pay it back later, but impulse spending is entirely too destructive in the long term. Instead, I prefer to put away small amounts of money over a reasonable amount of time. In the end, it’s much more fulfilling, not to mention responsible.


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Jobs for Teenagers

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A 14 year old community member sent in this top five list. He’ll go a long way, with a determination and work ethic this strong already. Hopefully, his tips will help the rest of you who are looking for ways to make money, but are too young still for “traditional” jobs.

  • Use your talents. Everyone has something they’re good at, and those skills/talents can be used in a productive way. If you’re an excellent guitarist, what better way than to look around for gigs at a local bar? If you’re an excellent writer, why not look at sending in some articles to a local newspaper for cash? There’s always something productive you can do with your talents.
  • Don’t shy away from hard work. Raking someone’s leaves isn’t fun, especially when it’s cold outside and you feel like you’re barely making a dent. Don’t give up. Get your hands dirty, it builds character. Sure, spending a day indoors may be a bit more comfortable, but you can’t hope to make money if you’re not willing to work.
  • Volunteer for everything. Teenagers have plenty of free time, I can attest to that. Umpire at the Little League Field, wash your neighbor’s car. If there’s a job to be done, there’s money to be made. Chances are, you have plenty of time to do it. Like I said previously, don’t shy away from anything. If you’re serious about making money, then get out there and do any odd job you can possibly find. Adults are more than willing to pay you.
  • Ask around. It can be casual. If you see an adult you know at the grocery store, very casually ask if there are any leaves they need raked or snow they need shoveled. Ask them if they need their dogs walked, or their house watched while they’re on vacation. It can’t hurt to ask, and eventually, adults are going to realize that you’re a good kid and you’re willing to do work. Eventually, they’ll have a job they need done and they’ll think of you.
  • Get the word out. This is easily the most important tip. If no one knows that that you’re willing to work and available for tasks, no one’s going to ask. It can be as simple as telling your mother to put in a good word for you at the den mother’s meeting by telling the other mothers that you’re willing to rake leaves or shovel snow. It can be as simple as posting an ad on the bulletin board at town hall. Heck, it can be as simple as going door-to-door in your neighborhood and letting your neighbors know that you’re available.


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Track Your Finances Online for Free (without Software)

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In this day and age of investment opportunities available, how do you manage to keep track of everything? Did you know you can track all of your finances online… without software? The caller for this video said he is ready to make a switch to OS X, but is hesitant due to not being sure if there is something he can use to track his finances without being able to use Microsoft Money.

If you’ve watched my show for any length of time, you’ll have heard me say many times that the future of software is online. A couple of friends have recommended a website that you can consider for the future of your financial tracking… Mint. Mint’s tagline is “Refreshing Money Management”.

Mint does NOT store your usernames, passwords or account numbers. Mint partners with Yodlee, the leading provider of online banking services to major banks for more than 10 years, to ensure a secure connection to your personal financial information. Mint protects your information using bank-level data security and 128 bit-encryption, verified by Verisign and HackerSafe. Mint is TRUSTe certified to provide industry-leading privacy protection and partners with RSA to provide anti-phishing protection.

Eliminate the need to manage multiple Web sites to get a comprehensive view of your personal finances. Mint.com connects securely with more than 5,000 US financial institutions. By adding your bank, credit card and investment accounts to Mint.com, you get a complete perspective of your finances in one, easy to use location. Planning your personal budget just got a lot easier.

Once your accounts are added, Mint.com retrieves new transactions and balances from your bank, credit card and investment accounts automatically, every day. This means you’re on top of your money, with no budgeting spreadsheets, expensive desktop software or manual labor required. Mint.com automatically keeps your personal finances up to date for you so you can save more money and focus on living.


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