We survived Irma. And by that I mean Mother Nature took it easy on us. Here is a short video we made to remember the experience.
Shoutout to Chris Brown for letting me crash his bunker.
- Video excerpt from the Hobbit
- Video excerpt from Evan Almighty
- Song is the instrumental version of G-eazy Some Kind of Drug.
This month we sit down with Alison Foxall of Gobble Logic to talk about the importance of the WordPress community.
A short video that explores the idea that in the near future, we may no longer have to teach our children how to drive.
Explore my videos and get an inside look at our software startups, advice for how to build your own digital business, and random rants about life.
Learn more about the Sarasota Underground and how we are empowering local creative entrepreneurs.
WordPress Wednesday is sponsored by zoing.ly
The interview explores his personal WordPress journey, and is filled with insights on how to run a successful WordPress based business.
Valet.io works with brands like Etsy, TimeInc, Nvidia, Harvard University, Mixergy, and more, and is well respected in the WordPress community for top tier development and support services.
If you are looking to start a WordPress business, or want to learn more about how to grow and scale your WordPress business then this might be a good place to start.
If you are in Sarasota, you can attend these MeetUps in person. Learn more on our MeetUp page.
1:45 – Starting out as a freelancer
We start out by talking about the path from freelancer to entrepreneur.
4:15 – Picking WordPress as a platform
I asked Mason how he decided to pick WordPress as the platform for him to build his online business.
6:10 – Getting involved in the WordPress community
Mason and I dive into the importance of the WordPress community, and talk about how people can get involved in the WordPress community, and why it is such a large part of WordPress success.
13:30 – Breaking the freelancer gap
I asked Mason how he made the jump from freelancer to full fledge business owner. We dive into how he landed his first clients, how he hired his first employees and more.
15:30 – Getting your first customer
We dive deeper into prospecting, networking and getting started as a small business owner.
17:25 – Biting off more than you can chew
Sometimes you have to get a little ambitious when you are trying to build your own business, but that can definitely backfire on you in the online world. Get advice on staying within your core competencies, and how to learn as you grow.
20:18 – To pick a niche or not
Some people swear by the idea that you have to specialize in order to be successful, so I wanted to know what Mason thought about being a generalist, or picking a specific niche.
20:54 – The main goal of any website
If there is one part of this interview which you should listen to, it is this section. In it Mason goes over his process for assessing websites, and outlines the order in which they approach website optimization.
24:29 – I hire people to do the things I suck at
Mason explains how he hires employees, and more specifically, how he hired his first employee. He also dives into his philosophy on how he hires people, and how he vets candidates.
28:48 – Internet freeing people to become their own boss
Mason and I discuss the power of the internet, and how it is empowering more people than ever to go out and become their own boss.
30:07 – You have to fail a lot
It wouldn’t be a proper interview if we didn’t spend some time talking about failure. Listen as Mason explains why failure is such an important part of starting and running a successful business.
34:49 – Creative processes deserve their own brain cycles
Towards the end of the interview, we dive into the creative side of running the business, and talk about the importance of spending time creating quality content, and connecting with a social audience in order to grow your online business.
44:55 – Quantifying the value and getting the money
We end the show by talking about how to stand up for what you are worth, how to set your rates, and discuss how to make sure people understand the value you are providing.
Is America about to get the president it deserves?
After blowing the first Unhireable Podcast, I’ve decided to release the individual segments as separate videos.
This first one is a deep dive into what people think it means to be Unhireable.
To get a diverse range of opinions, we went out to the Mall at UTC (and promptly got kicked out), stopped by the HuB to ask some entrepreneurs, sat down with the founder of Sarasota Day, and even interviewed a few randoms out on the street. All with the specific intent of finding out what people think it meant to be unhireable.
It’s part of a long term project we are working on here at Raymmar.com, and is an idea we will be exploring further in our future videos.
Were you surprised by any of the answers?
What do you think it means to be Unhireable?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
- NSFW – Language & other things your boss won’t want you to see while you’re at work.
- Skip to 1:16 to get past the blue disclaimer screen of death.
- Skip to 4:23 to get into the meat of the opening. (It’s actually a pretty good podcast once you get past the technical miscues.)
Tonight we tried to run our first live podcast. It didn’t go so well.
It’s kind of ironic actually. We pre-produced a funny intro video that showed us screwing up the live stream, and then actually screwed up the live stream. We thought it would be a funny way to open up our new live segment, but it turns out the joke was on us.
At the end of the day, we did run into some technical difficulties, but the truth is that we should have been more prepared.
In typical Raymmar fashion, I wanted to go all in, without really knowing the depth of the water I was jumping into. But don’t worry, I’m a good swimmer. Over time, I know this will all get better, and even though we screwed up, we did a lot of things right.
To be completely honest, my biggest concern was letting all of you down. Those of you who wanted to watch, but couldn’t. Those who set aside time to be there and then found a blank screen when you showed up. I want to personally apologize for that. This is all part of a learning process, and I appreciate your patience as we figure it all out.
And even though we did not “succeed,” we did learn a few lessons from fucking up our first live stream.
1: Test Everything… Twice
We thought we double checked everything, but in the end, it was something simple that did us in.
We tested the ability to broadcast live before the show and it worked perfectly. Then, in an effort to optimize the production process, I decided to use the auto broadcast feature on the encoding software we are using. Whoops.
After realizing that the broadcast had not begun on time, we tried again a few times manually, finally getting it to start streaming, but inadvertently starting the stream in a new feed instead of sending it to the previously scheduled event on YouTube. This created a new URL for our broadcast, which meant we actually did broadcast live last night, but unfortunately not many people saw it.
2: Give Yourself Twice the Time
If this is your first time trying to produce a show live, you should plan on spending twice the amount of time you think it is going to take you, if not more. There are all sorts of hidden hurdles that will jump out to derail you so make sure you give yourself enough time to navigate all of the obstacles that are bound to pop up.
Tyler and I worked our assess off in the weeks leading up to this live stream, trying to produce a few of the segments ahead of the show, but timing them up, cutting them just right, and packaging everything up for the live broadcast was more time consuming that we initially expected. And although we messed up big time, we did get a few things right, and I look forward to learning more on the way towards the bigger vision.
3: Keep It Simple Stupid!
We tried to complicate the show in an attempt to tell a better story. But at the end of the day, those complications cost us the quality we were looking for. Moving forward we will simplify the entire process to eliminate some of the moving parts.
Additionally, I feel like as I am typing these “lessons,” I am just repeating things to myself that I knew before we started. I guess I just thought we could pull it off, and to be honest, we almost did. Unfortunately, in the world of live broadcasts, “almost” is about as good as not-at-all.
4: Keep it Short
In retrospect, trying to do a full hour for our first live stream might have been a little too ambitious. We may need to take some time to build our audience before too many people devote an hour of their day to tune in live.
We definitely should have spent more time working on shorter segments, producing them ahead of time, and then getting a feel for how to string them all together over time. Instead we tried to cram a months worth of work into a week and a half. This leaves the podcast feeling a little scatter brained. Not to mention, the fact that I am the talent and the producer, which made it hard for me to direct my focus completely in one place.
Moving forward, we will stick to telling short stories, and then we will start a recap show where we talk about all of the content we have created since our last recap. Maybe we start this once a month, and slowly move towards a more regular show schedule.
5: Practice Practice Practice
We were under the gun to get all of the content produced ahead of time, and at the cost of doing one thing right, we did it all wrong. We left ourselves no time for a dry run, or dress rehearsal. We should have failed inside of test run, not on live airtime.
At the end of the day, I think we were just a little too ambitious here, and I think we learned some valuable lessons, even if we did screw some things up.
And if I am being completely honest, I think this makes for a way more interesting start up story.
For those who made it all the way down to this part of the article, then you might want to bounce around the first show below. We’re not going to make a big stink about it, but I am going to leave it up as a reminder of where we started.
We also think it might be a good faith gesture to our audience, to show that this is all part of a learning curve, and that we are planning on sharing everything on this journey with you. Even the shitty parts.
So stay tuned, I promise this will all get better as we go.
Until then, thanks for your patience.
Skip to the 11:29 mark to start the meeting, and to the 20 min mark to skip the introductions.
This was our first live broadcast of WordPress Wednesday, and things will get more efficient and on point as we move forward with this show concept. Thanks for all who showed up and participated in the live audience.
We will start the conversation with a compelling story about how WordPress has helped me reinvent my career, and then open the discussion up to the audience in order to get stories and feedback from others about how WordPress has had an impact on their lives.
Learn more about WordPress Wednesday
If you are in Sarasota, join our MeetUp Group
The next species of human – A Ted talk by Juan Enriquez
I like to talk about a lot of different things here on Raymmar.com and everyone loves a good Ted Talk. Juan Enriquez opens briefly with some of the monetary perils we face and then dives into some really interesting new sciences about the human body, evolution and the progression of our species.
He talks about engineering bacteria to act as a kidney, taking the part of wine (resveratrol) that is good for you, and mixing it into beer and adding an extra wing to a chicken. Grow extra teeth, Learn more about regenerative cells that can rebuild ears and bladders for themselves, and learn about cells that can create things from nothing and build other human parts.
Pretty wild ride and some great food for thought.
Some more crazy ideas you can find in this video:
- Mechanical ears
- Mechanical eyes
- Seeing in infrared
- Robotic advancement
- Overlapping human species
- Insert DNA and have it boot up as a different species
- Radio Shack of DNA and other molecular structures
Share your thoughts about the video in the comments below.
I think it’s safe to assume that YouTube is here to stay as a major player in the world of new-media. They are already giving the major cable TV networks a run for their money when it comes to advertising revenue. And over the next few years, they will continue to disrupt a market that for so long has been the sole domain of big money production studios.
With more than 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute and the growing ease by which anyone can produce high quality video, it’s hard to think that the current TV model will survive for much longer. Many people (myself included) are moving away from the traditional TV experience (at least in the concept of scheduled television). And in my humble opinion, TV as we know it is going to evolve dramatically over the next 5-10 years.
That being said, YouTube is still new to most people (at least as a TV surrogate) and with so many still writing it off as simply “a place for stupid videos” I wanted to show you how I get value out of it as an educational resource. I wanted to share some of the YouTube channels that have helped shape and influence the way I see the world. And share with you some of the places where I spend hours of my life, learning, watching and otherwise being entertained.
#1 – Vsauce
I found Michael more than a year ago, and he has been blowing my mind ever since. Whether he’s explaining how much a shadow weighs or explaining once and for all, why the chicken actually crossed the road, he has a way of boiling science, history and current events down to their core components and presenting them inside of one beautifully succinct question.
He asks questions such as What if everyone jumped at once and What if the earth stopped spinning? He explains The science of the friend zone as well as why we have two nostrils, while keeping the viewer in a weird, scientific trance of awesomeness that will surely leave you coming back for more.
#2 – Veritasium
Veritasium is similar in style to Vsauce but has a little heavier emphasis on the hard science of the concepts they explain. Most of these videos also start with an interesting question, like What is not random and Will this go faster than light? I like this channel because they dive deep into the world of theoretical physics while also explaining some real life concepts about how the world actually works.
#3 – ASAP Science
Starting to see a trend here? I love science and I love to explore how the world works. I love learning about science as much as I love to learn about social issues, politics or anything else. The problem is that I have a short attention span so the science has to be interesting and easily digestible.
Ding. Enter ASAP Science. As the name states, these short science videos get right to the point but do not skimp on information. Take their recent video on the science of depression or this one where they ask how much sleep any of us actually needs. Rarely longer than 4 minutes these videos are all done using simple whiteboard animations and voice overs. They also have a great sense of humor, and answer questions like does size really matter and should you hover or cover the toilet seat? Before you know it, you will have spent hours watching these short, interesting videos about all aspects of science and life.
#4 – MinutePhysics
If you thought ASAP Science was hard hitting then brace for impact because MinutePhysics is going to speed things up a bit. As the name implies, most of these videos are around a minute or two long and they typically focus in – like a laser beam – on one one basic physics concept.
Want to debate evolution vs creationism in two minutes and forty nine seconds? Click here. Want to know how the modern light bulb works, or why the solar system is flat? No problem. Want to know why the moon looks better in the winter, or maybe you want to understand how microwaves work in less than ten seconds. They got that too. Seriously, it’s all there. Just keep an eye on the clock because for now, time travel is not possible. Or is it?
#5 – How Stuff Works
I just found this channel recently and I was instantly wrapped up in their “Stuff they don’t want you to know series.” Seeing as how I spent 2 hours watching their 4-6 minute long videos, I had to include it on the list.
I learned about China’s infiltration of Africa, the war on drugs, historical revision and the Vatican archives. And that was just to get started. Then I went on to learn about giants, Washington D.C., and finally, an interesting video about Facebook and their data gathering practices.
I wanted more about most of their topics, and like most of these videos, they just skim the surface of the issue but to me that’s part of the fun. It’s part of my quest to explore everything. A journey that often takes me across the battlefield of ideas and pushes me to question my understanding of everything.
#6 – Smarter Every Day
Destin is a lovable guy with southern charm that will definitely help you get smarter every time you watch one of his videos. He will show you what it looks like to shoot an AK-47 underwater, – in slow motion – explains how Houdini probably died, and will even show you what it looks like to get tattooed in slow motion. He often includes his kids in his video and you can tell he brings a lot of passion to what he does. Throw that in with some serious knowledge and you will be an instant fan.
#7 – vlogBrothers
Hank and John are the vlogBrothers and they bring some fast paced back and forth, as they video blog their discussions on real world issues to one another. Want to know what is going on in Hong Kong with a young and relevant flare? Click here. Care to know more about the net neutrality argument? Click here. Looking for something a little less heady? Then check out this video that runs through 53 of the most terrible jokes you’ve ever heard. With a great mix of substance and style, it is easy to get wrapped up in their playful banter and like the rest of these channels, you run the risk of losing lots of hours watching these videos.
#8 – zefrank1
As the executive vice president of video at BuzzFeed and vlogging pioneer, Zefrank drives home his point with substance and style. His video on why trust is worth it will move you emotionally and this video about being inside of a shell might inspire you to step out of your comfort zone, but he also drops real world facts about things like the octopus, the armadillo, and my personal favorite, the CuttleFish. Because that is how Zefrank do!
#9 – Andrei Oprinca
I no longer watch many of his videos but I had to include his channel on this list. His videos brought me back up to speed with Photoshop and taught me to become the plastic surgeon of pixels that I am today. Seriously, if you want to learn how to get better at anything Photoshop then click here.
#10 – Casey Neistat
This is a guilty pleasure channel for me. Sure he has done videos for Nike about making it count and has traveled all over the world. But more than anything I have learned to love the simplicity of his videos and the style in which he edits his work. His studio is wildly functional and the guy literally snowboarded the streets of NYC. Neistat has a way of stringing images, video and sounds into these beautiful compositions that will inspire every part of your creative desires. If you are looking for creative inspiration and how to tackle big projects with small budgets then this is the channel for you.
#11 – CGP Grey
If you only watch one of his videos, the above one should be it. This is my favorite CGP Grey video so far and it explains some of the problems we face as a society due to the proliferation of technology and how that is affecting the job market.
This channel also does a great job explaining complex issues in a concise way. Topics you didn’t even know were up for debate get put into perspective like how many countries are there, what is a continent and discussing whether or not Texas can secede from the union? What about the difference between England and Great Britain? Want to know about the European Union or more about Vatican City no problem? No topic too big or two small for them to simplify. This is seriously one of the smartest channels on YouTube.
#12 – The Journey of Purpose
I have to be in the right kind of mood to tune into this channel for too long but if you are looking for some deep thinking, heavy philosophy or other inspirational videos then this is a good place to start. Alan Watts is a regular voice over and you can get lost in the ideas themselves so make sure you bring your thinking cap when you flip these guys on.
#13 – Of course, yours truly
I couldn’t publish a list about YouTube channels and not mention my own. Although young and lacking in the depth of some of these other channels, we have had some early success with videos about racism and trying to explain the debt limit. I also dabble in poetry and inspirational videos and video is definitely in the plan for our overall web strategy.If you are a regular reader of the Raymmar.com blog, then you should just click subscribe and help a brother out.
Facebook is constantly throttling my posts, restricting my content and otherwise censoring my posts. I just wanted to start documenting it and pointing out every time that it happens. Feel free to share your comments or experiences below and if you want to upload and share a screen capture I will be happy to add it to the list of videos that will eventually make up the rest of this blog post.
I stumbled onto the CommonGround website and spent some time reading and listening to what they had to say. They are a non partisan group promoting a peaceful but aware revolution. One that starts with ideas but is backed by the understanding of power and the use of force if necessary.
From their website:
Very few would disagree with the assertion that our current system has us headed for a disaster. However not everyone agrees on what that disaster will look like, and it’s virtually impossible to get people to agree on the solution. As a result forming a unified front to face these challenges has been next to impossible.
The Common Ground is an approach designed to deal with this issue.
Their core philosophy can be found here, but the main premise is that they understand that there is no way we are going to be able to agree on everything (ideologically that is) so we should break our process down into its core components, agree on at least a few of those and then move forward from there.
Their three main tenants:
- No more wars of aggression.
- End the surveillance state, and the militarization of the police.
- Hold the corrupt political and financial systems accountable.
Those were all things I thought I could get behind so i wanted to explore more.
If you click their Get Involved link you are directed to another video which mentions some strategy on how to get organized as well as some suggested reading. There is no official organizational structure (at least that’s what they claim in the video) and their message revolves around the idea that the leaders of the movement will present themselves as leaders by actually leading. Anther philosophy I can get behind.
I often talk about the Raymmar Revolution and part of my initial goal with this website, is to make it a resource for people who are ready to look at the world from a different perspective. I want to provide links, resources and other pertinent information that you can then use to form your own ideas and opinions about what is going on all around us.
My desire is not to get people to think like I do, it is simply to get people to understand why they thing the things they think. I want people to think for themselves and be firm in their findings. I want you to know what you stand for and why you stand for it.
I am not endorsing the Common Ground organization by any means and advise you to consider all of the information they present for yourself and come to your own conclusion. I just thought it was in line with what we talk about on this website and I wanted to share it with you.
Download the book they mention in the second video
I also grabbed a few other books on Amazon that I thought were relevant to the topic.
- The Crowd; Study of The Popular Mind – Gustave Le Bon
- Propaganda – Edward Bernays
- From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation – Gene Sharp
The power of mind over matter.
This is a short video about hard work and the illusions that we sometimes imagine when we see others succeeding or doing something we think we cannot do.
For so long I have pretended to be able to solve a Rubik’s Cube when in reality, all I was doing was looking for a specific set of patterns and then executing a memorized sequence of moves in order to make the cube whole again.
A skill that anyone could learn to do if they if they put their mind to it. However, any time I did this in public, it would appear that I was solving one of the most difficult puzzles known to man.
“They would never know my secret and the illusion of intellect is a powerful sword to swing.”
So often in life we give up on ourselves because we automatically presume that we are not smart enough, fast enough, tall enough or strong enough.Whatever the self imposed hurdle might be, it is usually set by we.
The individual has become weak and it is about time we started believing in ourselves again. It is about time we admit that we are usually the biggest reason for why we cant get anything done in life and then start doing something about that.
After making that realization, we can actually start to move past ourselves and towards success.
I wrote the script for this video a while back and now that I bought my own camera you will start seeing a lot more content like this. Please share this with a friend and leave your comments below.
This is my Rubiks cube…
I’ve had this Rubik’s Cube for more than 15 years.
Some people think that you can solve it by pulling off the stickers, but it doesn’t take too long to figure out that swapping the stickers isn’t a real solution.
When I got my first Rubik’s cube, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to solve it legitimately but then I discovered a little trick.
I realized that I could take the cube apart and reassemble it in the right order.
There! Good as new. No one would ever know the difference, that is, as long as I was alone when I did it.
So much for that little trick.
I was determined to find a way to solve the cube in plain site. I wanted to be able to stand in front of anyone and do something that no one else they knew could do.
So I went back to work.I spent hours trying to solve that damn puzzle, but I still couldn’t figure it out… until, I did.
I was searching for instructions online when I learned that there are a number of patterns that you can recognize, along with a series of moves that you can memorize, in order to solve the cube from any position.
I learned that there were turns and twists that would allow me to move a piece from one side of the cube to the other without disrupting the rest of my progress.
After a few months of practice I had it down cold, and for more than a decade I have let the world think I could solve a rubiks cube in under 5 minutes.
But why does any of that even matter? Who cares whether or not I can solve a rubiks cube legitimately.
What difference does it make when I am standing right in front of you solving it?
All that matters in that moment is that I can do it, and unless I’ve told you this story or you’ve watched this video, you’d simply think that I was solving one of the most difficult puzzles know to man.
So the next time you see someone doing something you think is amazing, something you think you could never actually do, I want you to stop and think about this story.
I want you to ask yourself whether they’re actually doing something amazing, something you are simply incapable of doing, or whether they’re just doing something that you are not willing to do?
Text on screen to close video
How hard are you trying to do the things you think you can’t do?
An adventure in digital currencies.
Please excuse the vertical video and sound quality. This was an impromptu video that I grabbed quickly at the end of the day.
Why write this?
I recently spent the day in a high security, anti-static, temperature-controlled data center where I watched one of my clients set up the beginning of their commercial Bitcoin mining operation.
Watch the short video and then read on to learn more about Bitcoin.
The basics of Bitcoin
About 4 months ago I started talking to a company that needed help building an online presence for their Bitcoin start-up. They wanted to build a commercial Bitcoin mining operation and to be completely honest, I was totally clueless about Bitcoin.
I had heard of Bitcoin, but I really had no idea what it was. I had a rudimentary understanding of cryptocurrencies and considering my stance on limited government, found myself leery about the thought of a digital currency going main-stream in America.
Being the good capitalist that I am, I went out and dove head first into understand this new technology called Bitcoin. I was interested in not only landing a new client, but in learning more about this thing that has so many people taking sides on the future of money right now. I wanted to learn more about the technology that could revolutionize the world of finance, and forever change the internet as we know it.
I figured that since I regularly mention Bitcoin in my podcasts, and miscellaneously on this website, I should also try and help you better understand Bitcoin. I thought I would take this as an opportunity to give you a look at the new frontier that is digital currency. I ‘ll do so by pointing you towards the resources I used while getting my Bitcoin learn on and then breaking it down in a little more detail.
Listen to this
This is hands down, the best resource I have come across for understanding Bitcoin in one single sitting.
If you are serious about understanding Bitcoin, then this is a great first step.
Seriously, listen to the whole show. They talk about how Bitcoin could disrupt the entire economy while fundamentally changing the way the world thinks about money.
“The combined computing power of all Bitcoin mining operations has exceeded that of the top several hundred super-computers on earth combined.”
– Andreas Antonopulos
How to get involved in Bitcoin
There are a few different ways to get involved in the Bitcoin community.
As A Developer:
Since Bitcoin is an open network of peer-to-peer computing power, there is an opportunity for growth in the form of third-party software applications that will allow you to interact with and use Bitcoin inside the daily life of the average person. You will soon start to see cryptocurrencies and digital dollars being used more and more throughout our favorite apps, as well as being integrated into the payment portals that we are all already used to.
Bitcoin is open source, just like many other online projects,which means that anyone can get into the back end and look at the code, make modifications and otherwise try to improve on the system. This is not to say that you could just go in and change the whole Bitcoin network architecture, but you can definitely find ways to innovate with this new technology.
Much like social media was an evolution of communication and the internet, Bitcoin is the evolution of money and information exchange. We will see software and online applications that allow us to creatively use the technology behind Bitcoin to do everything from eliminating identity theft & simplifying accounting to allowing for a secure form of digital voting.
These concepts might be a little difficult for you to wrap your head around if you are new to Bitcoin and I wont take it too far since this is an entry level article but you should know that Bitcoin is as much an invention as it is anything else. It is an invention of information and is just the first of many digital inventions revolving around the exchange of information that we will see emerge in the next 50 years.
As A Miner:
At this point in time, it would be pretty difficult for you to make it rich as an individual miner of Bitcoin. The main reason is the ever increasing network difficulty but the price barrier to mining on your own is pretty steep too. Bitcoin mining computers are highly specialized machines that are expensive and go obsolete faster than your average computer, typically lasting less than six months. The speed and pace at which people are building these mining computers is overwhelming and it is hard to think that the manufacturers are not the ones who are laughing all the way to the bank right now.
The high price point makes it difficult for anyone without access to substantial financial resources to get involved in mining Bitcoin with any real effectiveness.
This was not always the case though. It’s really the main reasons I find Bitcoin to be so interesting. There are so many people who have made millions in Bitcoin while it was still young that it is truly a new frontier for entrepreneurs trying to find a way in a world of digital currency. However, those days are pretty much over.
What we are seeing is the emergence of large scale commercial Bitcoin mining operations sprouting up all over the world. You even have manufacturers of Bitcoin machines who will mine with their own machines for anywhere from 24 hours to a few months before shipping the units off to their clients to install in their data centers.
It has become next to impossible for an individual to compete with the hashing power of these large commercial operations or the against any number of large Bitcoin mining pools around the internet.
If you still want to get involved as an individual then you can join a Bitcoin pool, or invest in an online mining contract but this is a high stakes game.
The volatility of the market and large fluctuations in the value of Bitcoin make this a very risky investment. Any investment in Bitcoin should be done so with the full understanding that you could lose your entire investment overnight.
As A Consumer:
This is probably the safest and most likely place for the average person to get involved. Don’t believe me?
An excerpt from this article on Mashable – BitPay Now Top-Funded Bitcoin Startup After Raising $30 Million
Those investors included some impressive names. BitPay raised funds from Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang, Founders Fund, a VC firm started by PayPal cofounder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel.
So basically, the big boys have noticed. The IRS recently ruled on Bitcoin which gives the currency some level of credibility and now we have some big money players getting into the game.
The next step will be when a major financial institution announces that it is working on a Bitcoin integration strategy and then you will know that this is not a test. It really is just a matter of time before transferring money digitally is as common as sending a text. Whether you want to pay attention or not this “Bitcoin thing” is making a substantial impact on digital commerce and will find a way into our lives moving forward.
Talking with a Bitcoin miner manufacturer
One of the most interesting parts of my day at the data center yesterday was getting to meet Yoshi.
Yoshi was here from China and was helping Digital Mining Investments set up their Ant Miner computers. The stories he told me about fraud in the Bitcoin business and the competitive nature among the manufacturers of Bitcoin mining hardware in China should be enough to scare anyone away from Bitcoin. There are plenty of companies out there trying to do it right but there are always those who want to take advantage of new trends.
He is the one that told me about the manufacturers who run their machines for a month before sending them out to their clients and he also told me about the diminishing return and exponential difficulty of becoming a Bitcoin miner. Since the machines are only good for a few months, the manufacturers of mining equipment are actually manipulating the market by controlling the total available flow of Bitcoin miners.
This is a baby currency but where there is money there is manipulation and Bitcoin is no different. At this point the manufacturers are at a basic level controlling the money supply in Bitcoin and reselling their machines to unscrupulous miners who really have no recourse since most of these manufacturers are based in China.
Yoshi laid it out in plain term that soon the shift would be away from directly mining for new coins (what happens when all Bitcoin are mined?) and then the play would be for institutional control of the Bitcoin network. Instead of mining they would be validating transactions and collectiong the transaction fees. Something that (as we explained earlier in the article) the individual miner would not be able to maintain due to the overhead involved and constant maintenance. The larger organizations can scale the operation and that is what you might see some of the larger hashing operations convert to after that point but that is a lot of speculation in a market that fluctuates so wildly each day.
Yoshi told me that the manufacturers would begin to buy up market share for processing capabilities. Think of Visa’s digital infrastructure. How are all of those transactions handled across a global network? They need infrastructure right? Even after all 21million bitcoin are mined the Bitcoin network will still have to validate all of the transactions that are happening on the system so it will actually be necessary for someone to step in and continue to bear the cost of running these massive computers.
Couple this with the fact that returns are harder and harder to come by for an individual and you can easily see how Bitcoin could become institutionalized and evolve into another household name.
But what about the fraud
Much like any major societal shift, the transition to digital currency is going to take us a while to figure out.
Think about the scams that happened when people first started selling products online.
Think about the phishing scams that were so prevalent when email first came around and how hesitant you were to put your credit card on the internet.
That was all just a few years ago and now we are checking balances online, sending money via text and depositing checks with the flash of a camera.
The American Dollar is used for a large amount of fraud across the globe and some might argue that banks are legally defrauding all of us anyway. Why would there not be fraud in the evolution of a digital currency.
We still deal with counterfeit dollars and people who want to steal and manipulate real paper currency on a large scale so why wouldn’t someone want to do it with Bitcoin as well.
Fraud is fraud, people are people and that is not going to change. Whether we are dealing with cash or a digital currency.
The cool thing about Bitcoin is that it gives us some unique tools to deal with fraud and theft, but those are for another article.
Should you get involved in Bitcoin?
This is a decision you will need to make on your own. Me? I think digital currencies or cryptocurrencies will be a big part of our future whether we like it or not.
As technology evolves and becomes more ingrained into our lives and daily routines, it’s hard to think that we won’t eventually relinquish our grip on a paper currency that is backed by a corrupted government. It’s not like a lot of people trust the dollar right now anyway.
It might not be Bitcoin itself but some form of digital currency will find its way into our lives in the immediate future. I still have my reservations about all of it and I will continue to approach the issue with a healthy dose of skepticism but that skepticism is quickly fading as I learn more and more about the inner workings of what might end up being the most influential inventions of my generation.
Got some thoughts about Bitcoin? Want to ask a question about Bitcoin? Leave it in the comments below and I will do my best to find the answer and get back with an answer.
A satirical take on our national debt and the recurring theme of increased government spending. Read more
This video spawned from a poem that I wrote one night after dealing with some personal issues with someone who I thought was a friend of mine. It is not necessarily directed at any individual but more of a combined message to everyone and everything that has ever held me back in life.