Josh Miller

This doesn’t quite qualify as ‘Breaking-News,’ but within the last year Facebook acquired Josh Miller and his startup Branch. Media reports at the time indicated the social media giant dished out somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 million for the pair.

Josh Miller

Miller, 23, dropped out of his senior year at Princeton University to start Branch, a ‘social conversation platform’ that enables the members of a group to anonymously discuss anything they wish. The platform apparently possessed other modes of communication as well, with anonymous mode the crowd favorite.

Since joining Facebook, Miller has overseen the development of new products for the company. Recent news hinted Facebook may have had an ulterior motive in obtaining the startup and it’s founder. Rumor has it an anonymous messaging app is in the works with Miller at the helm. Not much is known about functionality other than the ability to post and browse anonymously.

You can check out his blog here, but the lack of content would lead me to believe Facebook has him on lock.


Great Minds Think Like Sean Parker

Below is an exact copy of what I once believed was my best idea yet. I honestly thought I had found a winner. Keep in mind that I generally spend only 30 minutes to an hour outlining an idea like this. I could first check online for a pre-existing service, but where’s the fun in that?

I try to allow time for developing an idea before attempting to immediately crush it. Interestingly enough, this little gem was created long ago by a man whose name I hope at least rings a bell. Sean Parker, the brain behind Napster and more recently a cofounder of Facebook, launched Causes in 2007 as one of the 10 original Facebook apps. You’d think I’d have heard of it by 2014…

Nevertheless, the company has quite an impressive website. I was surprisingly able to find some similarities between and my idea. Some of the extra features I jotted down even wound up being present in the real thing.

This is not just one of my better ideas, but proof that I just might possess the ability to create something incredible. While I’m certainly disappointed that Sean Parker founded Causes seven years before I had a similar idea, I can’t help but take it as a compliment. If you’ve never heard of Sean Parker or (I clearly hadn’t) I encourage you do to some light research.

Without further ado, this is copied word for word from my Notes:


A website to collectively solve the worlds most imminent problems. Solved by the everyday people who live with them. Open forum. Anyone can post any idea.

A new network. Not social or business. But creative.
Link with Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn

A creative network where one goes to make an impact on the causes that mean the most to them.
One can display his/her affiliated causes.
Be it charities, research foundations, cancer, literally ANYthing people can support.
Show what YOU personally have done to benefit your cause.


Center page: Search bar “What do you care about?”

New and popular causes displayed on the homepage, with a few random comments attached.
(I envision a homepage, with different causes floating around on the screen. Mousing over a cause prompts a small graphical expansion that displays a few comments (random, top, famous contributor) connected by lines)

Creating New causes:

Must be a way to organize comments and material in a hierarchical fashion. It must be organized and easy to interpret. Meaning, at any point one can view a particular cause and know within minutes exactly where the  cause stands.
This way, people can immediately build upon the current information.
The random, gut ideas that first pop into our heads are the ones  we want. Not some idea that you’ve cultivated for days, a genuinely unique thought.
The goal is to constantly build upon what we already know.

How do we process all this new input?
Good ideas need immediate recognition. If not, there is a system that essential “tops” the idea to make it visible to all those viewing/working on the cause.
Would LOVE to get professionals involved. Use other social networks as incentives.

MAYBE: have two segments. One with established causes, the other with upcoming. The process of becoming established varies (members, progress, awareness) but that way one can either browse new or established causes.

Guide for creating a cause:
When new, a cause works it way through the stages of becoming established.
Members can visually track the cause from conception to awareness.
For example: when the cause reaches a particular stage, it’s time to create a web presence. Give the community the choice of how they want to do it, while providing a place and the resources necessary.
Could be an app, website, other medium.
Actually guide them through it, provide resources on web development, or whatever the next stage of development is.
Should be easy for a community to build a cause from the ground up.
Once large enough: provide resources for TV advertising, magazines, news paper, etc..

IDEALLY: business that provide these resources (i.e. websites, advertising, etc..) should be involved. A cause is then able to work directly with a list of potential companies. Said companies have their own “profile”. Thus, cause and business can work together seamlessly. Allows a cause to more easily develop global awareness.

If there is incentive for businesses then they will participate. The incentive would generally be money and customers. Being a member would open the business to new markets. COULD BE HUGE HELP FOR SMALL LOCAL BUSINESSES. Like web startups.

Cause in process:

Stages of a cause:
Cause moves through stages.
Each stage provides relevant resources to push the cause forward.
So, at an infant stage, the cause would focus on idea development. At toddler stage: learning to walk (aka website, app).
At teen stage: Spreading awareness (selling merchandise, social media, commercials).
At adult: endorsements, foundations, scholarships.
At global level: events, sponsorships, etc..
Idea is that as a cause grows, influential people will begin to contribute. Eventually, a cause transitions from community driven to almost entirely professionally run.

Badges (AKA medals, etc):

A cause displays a badge, denoting its stage in the development process. Ranges from (infant) to (global awareness)
People have badges that display current and previous causes.
Could also display ideas.
Display if you joined a cause that reached a global level

Side note: Joining a cause should require contribution of some form

Causes are not segregated (i.e. cannot be filtered by location, religion, race)
The point is that IT’s the entire world’s problem, not just one demographic.

This could work similarly to Kickstarter. Inventions could potentially make their way, but they would be open sourced and crowd funded. Unlike Kickstarter

By the general lack of organization of my outline one can see that I’m still learning how to best develop an idea past conception. I focus far more on transferring my thoughts to paper versus what needs to go where. There’s no doubt that I barely scratched the surface of features, functionality, and even the idea itself.

Making Cents of Ideas

One of my reasons for coming back was to share some of the ideas I come up with on a daily basis. I’ve been steadily filling the Notes app on my mac with every decent idea that comes to me. Maintaining a record of all my ideas is not only enjoyable, but essential to cultivating ideas in general. I’ve seen both the quality and frequency of new ideas increase since I started keeping a record.

Before I dive in, let me clarify what I mean by an idea. In most every context I use the word to mean a PLAN, rather than a CONCEPT or THOUGHT. While all three meanings are indeed similar, I tend to view them as having separate levels of complexity. In this sense the term is best suited for describing a goal, vision, or plan of action.

My ideas are essentially crude business plans that possess the potential for profit by attempting to capitalize on an opportunity in a new or original way.

The key word in the last sentence was ‘attempting.’ Welcome to the life of  my life as an entrepreneur. We all face the same grueling uncertainty day-in and day-out: “Is an idea worth the time, effort, and resources necessary to make it a reality?”

I consider myself an entrepreneur because hell, who doesn’t? It’s  THE go-to career choice for every unemployed, single man in the United States.

For a young entrepreneur like myself, the answer is found in the followup question: “Does it exist?” Determining whether a thought pre-existed elsewhere prior to its conception in one’s own mind is the most decisive test there is. A simple Google search is usually enough to kill even the best of them. Unfortunately, as I’ve yet to have an idea make it past this stage I have no further experience.

I’m no closer to the “big one” than an unborn child to its first steps. Fortunately, an awareness of the “big picture” ensures I remain grounded and focused on the task at hand. Better yet, I grasp that the success of an idea lies in its execution and far less in the idea itself.

Therefore I avoid investing too much into any one avenue of thought. I keep an open mind. I’m confident that an idea worth the risk will make quite an entrance when it finally arrives.


Featured Image: penny-wise Photo By [K.L.]

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Rich Dad Poor DadIf you do one thing today purchase and read Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. Praised as “the #1 Personal Finance book of all time,” it has single-handedly been the most influential book I’ve ever picked up. I generally tell people if you plan to start reading it free up the rest of your day because you more than likely won’t stop.

It’s worth far more than the $5 Amazon wants for it. Be prepared for some education-bashing, job-quitting, good ol’ fashioned inspiration.

Simple Stress Relief

Last year I enrolled in a stress management class that ended up being one of the most rewarding college courses I’ve ever taken. The best part was that nearly everything we learned had a useful, real-world application. There’s no doubt that I experienced a reduction in overall stress during the semester itself, but most of the lessons quickly faded with the arrival of summer.

Three deep breaths.

That’s the secret. You just learned the easiest and most effective way to handle stress under ANY situation. A quick explanation:

Stress affects every human being on the Earth to some degree. The worst part is that 99% of modern stressors are social in nature and didn’t exist before the rise of civilization. Even more interesting is that despite our modern stress response being triggered differently from that of our ancestors (think running for life from a saber tooth cat vs. nervous for a job interview), the stress response itself has remained unchanged after 10,000 years.

That creates quite a problem. Ideally, the stress response activated by fleeing for your life should differ from the one triggered by an upcoming job interview. Since that’s not the case, you’re left with the emotional response of a life threatening situation while sitting in a waiting room. Further explanation is unnecessary as we’ve all experienced the sort of problems that result.

Luckily, taking three deep breaths is the most effective and immediate way to reduce stress and clear the mind. It works because the stress response causes the left side of the brain to take control and the right side to shut down. The left brain houses all the functions necessary for survival where the right brain controls creativity and rational thought.

And while the left brain is great at saving your life, it’s awful at creating an accurate perception of reality. It’s the side that lights up when you’re angry or thinking negative thoughts. For whatever reason, the left brain causes even the most outlandish scenarios to appear true in the heat of the moment. This is why it’s so easy to make assumptions when your mad at someone. Essentially, we would like to prevent our left brain from taking control during any situation in which our life is not in immediate danger.

Enough background. So how does three deep breaths do anything to combat the stress response?

First, these aren’t the same deep breaths you take for the doctor during a visit. There’s a bit of a technique to it, but nothing remotely difficult.

  1. Exhale completely. You want to ensure that your next breath will make use of your entire lung capacity.
  2. Inhale through the nose until you feel the upper chest expanding. Since you don’t normally inhale to this extent it should feel noticeably different from normal. 
  3. Hold it in for a second, literally just one. You should feel the sensation of being ‘full’ with air.
  4. Exhale through the mouth with a giant sigh. The goal is to evacuate the air from your lungs both rapidly and completely.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 two additional times.

*Note: It’s highly recommended that you stop this exercise promptly after three breaths. Additional breaths are shown to cause light-headedness and the practice is discouraged by medical professionals. Too much oxygen to the brain can potentially be dangerous. *

Each breath causes a change in the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels of the brain. When in equilibrium, the two gases are present at the perfect amount. (Remember, when stressed the left side is active and the right is shut down.) Performing a deep breath delivers a high dose of oxygen to the brain and raises the total oxygen content above the normal level. A subsequent decrease in carbon dioxide prompts the brain to shift back towards equilibrium (the brain wants to be in equilibrium). It just so happens that  when in equilibrium both sides of the brain are equally utilized. After three consecutive breaths the brain will return to near perfect equilibrium and both sides will again be active.

(Note that during the stress response the brain is unable to restore equilibrium on its own. This is why you must directly alter its chemical composition and force it to return to normal.)

At this point rational thought is restored and the ability to think clearly returns. The stressful situation should suddenly appear far less severe than it was just 60 seconds ago. You may recognize important facts that you previously ignored or even discover the perfect solution to a problem. The effects are immediate and quite noticeable.

If you haven’t already, try it now or the next time you feel yourself stressing out. If you’d rather not try it in public, perform the exercise tonight while lying in bed.

Featured Image: buddha Photo By [neonow]

Call it “The Spark”

I’m ready to jump into the present, but since my first real change in thinking occurred last summer, I can’t resist. Last semester left me flat broke. So I decided to focus my summer on replenishing my bank account.

I took the same job I worked the previous summer. It paid slightly more than minimum wage. I wanted higher pay, but the job was incredibly easy and it didn’t require any time spent job searching. So easy in fact, that within the first week I had convinced myself that a second source of income was not only feasible, but necessary to make up for what little I was earning.

I didn’t look too extensively into alternative sources of income before I found a winner. It happened that I had a good deal of experience with Craigslist. Enough to the point that I could sniff out a rotten ad after exchanging just a few texts. The real jewel though, was my ability to find profitable posts. More specifically, I’ve come to assume I have above average ability to detect a good deal.

What made a “good deal” was simple: someone selling a quality item for considerably less than it was worth.

Yes it does sound simple, but it is quite involved. To start, I focused solely on areas in which I possessed knowledge to some point of expertise. In my case, cell phones, computers, and electronics in general. Focusing on just the areas I was knowledgeable in gave me a solid leg up over the seller.

I find it easy to compare a good deal to a “perfect storm.” Every element of the deal must come together just right to produce a potential for profit. In most cases this meant finding an item that was either “like-new,” or only slightly damaged. I preferred the former for several reasons, the foremost being that near perfect items are always easier to sell than their counterpart.

I couldn’t consider whether an item was worth the time, risk, and effort involved until I could confidently assume it’s market value. Market value is difficult to determine if you lack resources outside the internet. Luckily, the internet is all the novice entrepreneur needs. eBay and Amazon came forward as the most efficient avenues for gauging market value. eBay excelled in one area Amazon did not, and that was in the ability to view the final selling price of all ended auctions for a particular item.

Hopefully it was obvious, but I’m not planning on reselling my purchases on Craigslist. eBay was the clear choice. The ability to know exactly how much an item will sell for by checking previously sold items of the same condition was truly priceless.

With market value now in consideration, all that’s left is to approximate the “selling” fees eBay and PayPal charge on each auction. Collectively they take 13% of your profit, 10% and 3% respectively. Subtract 13%  from the approximated profit margin to arrive at a highly educated guess of net profit.

Good deals were few and far between. Most people can follow almost the same process to determine how much they should sell an item for. It ultimately came down to needing a dedicated Craigslist app that would notify each time an item was posted to a category of my choosing. It required almost constant attention, not to mention the need to cross-check everything on eBay. I aimed to make at least 50% profit on any item to consider it worth the time and effort. An average investment of $100 – $200 could yield upwards of $100 profit if everything went perfect. My average profit on any sale was around $70, with my most impressive being $230.

Unfortunately, finding items that will earn a high profit is like finding a needle in a haystack. They generally disappear quick and rarely live up to initial expectations. It took a little over a month before I quit completely. The biggest issue being customer service. Creating customer satisfaction is by far the most difficult aspect. Selling items whose histories are generally unknown makes standing behind your work even harder (thus, my emphasis on ‘like-new’).

Overall, I sold roughly 20 items in just over a month. $2,500 worth of merchandise passed through my hands in that time. Cell phones, particularly iPhones, and laptops were by far the easiest to turnover. Of that amount, only $684 wound up in my pocket. eBay will show a total profit in the thousands, when in reality it’s almost entirely your initial investment. Look at it this way, you pay eBay and PayPal 13% of the initial buying price in addition to 13% of additional profit. This made more expensive items a double-edged sword. While there was more profit to be made, there were more fees to pay in return. For this reason alone it’s incredibly important to aim for a percentage of the initial investment rather than a dollar figure.

On a side note, I lost nearly $300 in profit to unfortunate circumstances. Had everything went smoothly I may have pocketed close to $1,000.

eBay, while a short stint, proved a real eye-opener. Sure I knew that there was money to be made selling items on eBay, I hope you do too. What eBay helped me discover was my ability to find a creative way to make a sizable return on my investment of time and money. In this instance, the time investment was relatively minor. I worked 45+ hours a week yet spent only five collectively on the side venture. For someone in my position, the return on time invested was astounding. $700/month for ~20 hours of work.. that’s in the ballpark of $35/hr.

Over 4X my full-time pay rate.

Nevertheless, I still gave it up. It’s not the ideal job, but it opened the door to a whole new way of thinking.  I recognized that technology is an incredible tool that allows anyone to create a source of income. Whether you use a pre-existing service, or develop your own source, technology makes earning money both faster and easier.

I could just peek through the door into the land of opportunity and all I needed to do was find a way to get inside.

Living In The Promiseland Photo By [Álfheiður Magnúsdóttir]

Living In The Promiseland Photo By [Álfheiður Magnúsdóttir

Featured Image: Sparks 2 Photo By [Jonas Maaløe Jespersen]

The Mission

My goal here is three things:

  1. Connect with young adults who recognize the faults in higher education.
  2. Connect with driven individuals who confidently possess the capacity to actualize their dreams and control their future.
  3. Contribute every piece of beneficial information I have and will come across in my path to success.

I’m surrounded by people who, at 20-21 years old, are entirely convinced that earning a degree and nabbing an entry-level job at a decent corporation, only to spend the next five decades working towards a middle to upper-middle management position is it. And by ‘it’ I mean life.

The past decade proved that technology will only continue to make climbing the “personal” ladder to success preferable to a corporate one.  We live in a world where elementary ideas spawn multi-million dollar corporations.

Ultimately, I want to communicate with those who share a similar perception on life. Communicating with like-minded people is essential to following one’s passions. Stick around if you agree or stick around if you don’t because inspiration is contagious.

Featured Image: Hawai’i 1997 Photo By [Patrik M. Loeff]