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I like taking a problem and coming up with a solution so extreme that I end up happy I had the problem in the first place. Taking showers in the RV is acceptable at best, and on cool winter days is a bit of a chore. I solved that problem by joining a spa in San Francisco, where every day I now take a shower, sit in the steam room while eating an apple, sit in the hot pool, and then take another shower. I may actually be one of the cleanest people in San Francisco.
Another problem I had was that my RV was hard to clean. The whole thing was carpeted, including the kitchen area, which added an element of danger to cooking. One slip up and my rug catches a permanent splotch of goulash.
I thought about putting down linoleum floors, but I wasn't crazy about the idea of my home on wheels looking like a middle school cafeteria. I whipped out my tape measure and measured the actual exposed floor space. Thirty-two square feet. That's so little that I may as well get any flooring I like.
The police lined us up in the pitch black tunnel. Their headlamps flicked around as they gave their orders in French. We were getting searched.
They went up the line searching my friends. First they were patted down, and then their bags were sifted through. Nothing to worry about, as they had nothing to hide.
I was next. I did have something to worry about. Inside my bag, right near the top, were human bones.
Beginning now, Sett is going into maintenance mode. Todd won't be working on it anymore, except to help me fix the occasional bug on parts he built, and I will work on it as a side project, mostly fixing bugs.
Before I talk about some of the upsides of this decision, I want to acknowledge unequivocally that we have failed. More specifically, I think that our failures were those of strategy, particularly early on, and I take responsibility for those personally.
We had hoped that Sett would become a major blogging platform and would have either made enough money to sustain itself, or that it would be purchased by a larger company and that we could work with their resources to make it even better. We also hoped that we'd be successful in converting many big bloggers to it. In the end we failed at all of those things.
We knew that we could build a better blogging platform, at least for many bloggers, but we completely underestimated what it takes to get people to switch. For most bloggers to switch, it has to be exponentially better, because the hassle, or perceived hassle, of switching is huge. For most people we aren't exponentially better, and even for those we are, we have failed to communicate that effectively.
A couple days ago, during a rest period of a workout, Leo asked me if I was different now than I was ten years ago. My gut reaction was to say that, no, I was pretty much exactly the same, but even a quick scan of changes in that time made me realize that I bear little resemblance to who I was. I asked him the same, and he's changed even more than I have in the past ten years.
The two big themes I noticed in the changes I went through were first that they would have been pretty much impossible to predict, and second that they were all good surprises. Of course, I'm a happy person and I'm certainly biased, so I would probably think the changes were positive no matter what.
Even knowing that we would have been incapable of predicting the changes that happened over the past ten years, we couldn't resist trying to make predictions for the next ten. That's how we spent the remainder of the rest periods of our workout. I decided I'd make my predictions public so that we can marvel at how prescient I was, or, more likely, laugh about how I was dead wrong.
At the end of each section I'm going to give some odds for each outcome. That way we can see how accurate my predictions and confidences were, and I can make longshot predictions without messing up the record.
First, the results. Since the World Series of Poker last year, I've played 174 hours of poker. I play limit hold'em, with almost all of my play at the $10/20 or $15/30 level. In that time I've made $7594, which is $43.70 per hour.
I say that I'm a semi-professional, because obviously 5 hours of "work" per week isn't really playing at a professional level. Statistically speaking, it's also somewhat possible that I've just gotten lucky over this time. Considering my level of understanding of the game, including knowing what I don't know, honest evaluation of the competition, and a general comfort level with the game, I can objectively say that I don't think luck plays a large part in my results.
Anyway, I say all that to let you judge for yourself my playing level, rather than having to take my word for it. Real professionals might disagree with some of my advice, but I'm offering it because I think that it's difficult to find the correct path towards becoming a winning poker player, and I've now discovered one such path.
Now it's time for the one post that everyone's been waiting for. The 2010 Gear Post.
For a quick background: my method is to have very few items, all of which are as small as possible and as awesome as possible. The goal is to have a tiny bag but be prepared for absolutely everything. This year I've gotten closer to that ideal than ever before. You can see my 2009 packing list here to compare.
The Bag: Ortlieb Flight 22
As I've mentioned, I'm not an authority on making money in general, but I do make a livable income through my two books, Make Her Chase You and Life Nomadic. I won't claim to be an expert on writing books, but I definitely have enough experience that I can probably offer a good starting point for anyone interested in doing the same. In this article I'm going to focus on how to actually write the thing, as I've come up with a pretty cool system, and then in the next I'll talk about how to actually publish it and make money.
After leaving Smiley Media, the only real job I've ever had, a friend of mine asked me why I'd never written a book about pickup. I didn't have a good answer, so I went home and decided I'd write the thing. Forty eight hours later the rough draft was completed, and a month later I was selling copies of it. Point is-- writing a book is actually a lot easier than you might expect. If you take my advice, you could easily have most of the hard work done in the next couple days, week, or month. So here's the system:
Step One: Chaotic Outline
Our most popular Life Nomadic article last year was our complete packing list. Since then we've learned a lot, made a lot of changes, and managed to pack a lot more into the same tiny amount of space.
There are a few areas where slight improvement could be made, which you'll hear me talk about in the video, but overall this collection of stuff represents everything a traveler needs to travel through just about anywhere on the planet, live comfortably, and keep connected.
I've consolidated most of the stuff I pack into an Amazon store, which you can access here: Life Nomadic Store. If you use that link, or the Amazon links below, I get a commission. Other good places to buy this sort of gear are ebay and outdoor shops like REI and MEC, although neither store carries most of the gear.
Now that I'm #1 on Google for my name, I've been getting more people to the site searching for that. Many of them share my name, which is awesome.
My parents chose the name out of a name book randomly. They wanted me to have a name that had no previous associations with anyone else. It's Irish, although I'm not Irish at all.
The dark side of having a unique name is that I missed out on a whole side of consumerism. I never had a little license plate or keychain with my name on it. Those were reserved for people with more common names.
Isn't it convenient that humans all need the same amount of schooling? Four years of high school, four years of college, and then we're prepared.
Isn't it convenient that driving a car is the exact maximum risk that 90% of Americans are comfortable with? No one thinks cars are too dangerous, but very few are willing to take greater risks.
Isn't it convenient that the standard American diet is the optimal balance between nutrition, taste, and health?
Isn't it convenient that TV is the perfect entertainment medium for all of us?