Samurai’s Alexa Ranking Challenge Update: Progress Through Adversity

Financial SamuraiIt’s been just over a month since the Samurai Alexa Ranking Challenge was announced, and I’m pleased to report we’ve made tremendous progress!  With 35+ members strong, we are actively helping each other achieve our respective goals.  I’d like to use this opportunity to recognize several Yakezie members for their achievements and initiatives in helping the team.

* Daniel-San from Sweating The Big Stuff took the initiative to compile the list and keep track.  His efforts have in turn created a home for us members to visit once a week and get pumped.

* @Elle_CM from Couple Money has been amazingly selfless in retweeting my posts and many other posts.  She is exactly the type of member the Yakezie Group seeks.  @FinEngr created a Yakezie Twitter Group to keep track of us and follow.  Pls follow so the group can follow you back.

* Monevator, The Amateur Financier, Evolution Of Wealth created weekly wraps to specifically highlight posts from the Yakezie Group.  Meanwhile, Money Funk wrote a derivative post on how to increase your Alexa ranking.

* Eliminate The Muda and Planting Dollars have busted through their 200,000 goal and should obviously now shoot for top 100,000!

THE RULES HAVE CHANGED AND WE WILL ADAPT

The Katana: Where Experiences Matters More Than Things

$1,780 is what it cost to book two last minute tickets to Lost Island.  I let the web page sit for a while, hesitant to click away a nice chunk of savings.  But what’s the use of money if it’s not spent?  We can save and save and save until we have some magical number we call “enough.”  Or, we can live for experiences that will last until our memories gray.

Why is it that some of us have spending paralysis over good times, but spend so easily on material things?  My fear was due to the impermanence of the experience, and the permanent loss of money.  That was some time ago when I had little savings.  It’s different now.  Memories are always what makes me smile the most.  It’s as if good memories blossom with time.

Readers, what are your thoughts on impulse spending for experiences?  Can spending on experiences be considered less imbecilic than spending on things?  If so, why should there be a difference?

The Samurai Fund: +2.1% YTD vs. -0.53 S&P 500.  I’m making room for a couple new picks to replace a couple existing picks due to inactivity and performance.  Shoot me an e-mail if interested and please read the guidelines first.

Yakezie Alexa Challenge: Stay tuned for a large update this Wed, Feb 24.  We’ll discuss what happens when the rules change on us, how to deal and flourish!  I will introduce a new initiative which should be able to help more members.  Keep on promoting others Yakezies!

HIGHLIGHT POSTS OF THE WEEK

Creating Powerful Friends: Samurai’s Alexa Ranking Challenge

Financial Samurai - Samurai Alexa Ranking ChallengeThere’s a fun hypothesis saying that you are the average of the closest five people around you.  I believe this to be true, do you?  What’s interesting about the blogosphere community is that anybody with enough intention can start a website.  Some are interesting, some are not, but regardless we can all compete with the ProBloggers and the Huffington Posts of the web in our own niche way!

Alexa is a dynamic website ranking and information company owned by Amazon, which has over 40 million users world wide.  The tool bar is free, and easy to download. The Yakezie Alexa Ranking Challenge is straight forward. If you’re outside of the top 200,000, get in the top 200,000 within 6 months. I can’t even name 100 sites, let alone 199,999 sites. Can you?  If you’re already in the top 200,000, get in the top 100,000.  And if you’re already in the top 100,000, get in the top 50,000.

There are some who poo poo the Alexa ranking system, and I recognize their two main arguments:  1) The system only tracks visitors who have the Alexa Toolbar installed, and 2) There are cases where some websites with bazillions of users have a worse ranking than sites with less users.  We don’t know why, because we don’t fully know what goes into the calculations. It may be because readers don’t visit and just read off their RSS. That said, the Alexa ranking system continues to grow, and is the best system we got. At least 40 million webmasters around the world think so, and there has to be something to it if Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube are ranked #1, #2, #3, and #4, respectively.

Since starting this site, I’ve been rejected as a guest poster, didn’t even get responded to, let alone make it as one of the 7 finalists for one site’s staff writer tryouts, denied admission to a personal finance blog network, and even got my first carnival submission rejected. But through all the rejections, I took comfort in my friend, Alexa, who is always by my side motivating me to keep going.  I’m sure many of you have been rejected as well. Here’s your chance to create our own network of powerful friends by joining in on the challenge!

BENEFITS OF BEING IN THE TOP 200,000

An Ambulance Screams By, Do You Feel Happy Or Sad?

There was once a time I felt very sad every time an ambulance zoomed by with sirens blazing.  I knew someone was suffering, and sorrow would fill my heart not only for the injured, but also for the person’s family and friends.  Nothing is permanent, and the ambulance reminds me of this fact every time I hear one.

Over lunch, I was sharing my feelings with a friend, and she changed my mindset.  She mentioned, instead of feeling sad, feel happy. Be happy the ambulance is out there saving someone’s life.  Feel emboldened help is on its way!

My friend was right.  I chose to feel sad about an unchangeable past rather than focus on the good act of trying to make things better.  It was this simple epiphany 12 years ago that changed the way I looked at everything, forever.

Rather than sulk about those personal finances on life-support, why not change the way you see your outlook?  Instead, look at your massive debt, or your crummy income as an opportunity to recover.  The worse you are, the more upside you have!

Keiju,

Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

The Katana: Randy Pausch and Basketballs 12/21

Basketballs For Chinatown Rec Center!

Randy Pausch made a difference.  He was a Computer Science Professor at Carnegie Mellon who died of liver cancer at 48.  Before he died, Randy left a heartfelt video full of inspiration for us all to appreciate.  More importantly, however, was his message to his wife and three kids.

The most memorable quote from the video is when people ask Randy what’s his secret to obtaining tenure so early.  Randy responds, “Call my office at 10 o’clock on a Friday night and I’ll tell you.”

Why more young folks don’t come in first and leave last I don’t understand. If you’re not showing your work ethic and inquisitive spirit from the get-go, you aren’t going places.  Unless you know everything, work longer than everybody else, work harder than everybody else, succeed like nobody else!

Thanks to reader suggestions, we’re spending the $500 on more kids, rather than less, and in piece-meal amounts.  Our local recreation director mentioned they just got a $1,000 grant and suggested we look at a higher traffic center such as the one in Chinatown, so we did.  $200 down, $300 to go!

FAVORITE RANDY QUOTES & POSTS OF THE WEEK

The Katana 12/14: What’s Your ONE Word Definition of Happiness?

katanaProgress comes to mind.  Not the words money, health, success or even family, just the word progress.  You can have a wonderful loving family, but what if you have poor health?  Are you still happy?  The cancer patient who successfully conquers his disease is probably happier than any healthy person will ever be, at least for that moment in time.  That’s progress.

The problem with progress is that it gets harder and harder to move forward with each progression.  If you’re a publisher, take your Alexa ranking for example.  When you first start off, each monthly improvement may be by 1 million.  The next month’s jump slows to 100,000.  Finally, your rate of improvement is only 1,000 until you start losing interest.  Your ranking may not mean much, but it’s fun to track and it will keep you motivated when you first start out.

Another example is work.  The guy in the mail room who gets promoted to the front lines that week is happier than the woman who’s been head of the office for the last 10 years.  For the next 10 years, I’ll take the junior guy’s work happiness over the established woman’s work happiness any day.

So what do we do once we hit a wall? In Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture, he says,

“Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people.”

I’m determined to scale that damn brick wall and find out what’s on the other side.  Are you?

Keiju,

Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Follow me on Twitter @FinancialSamura and subscribe to our RSS feed.

The Samurai Mask: An Interview With The CEO of BULLDOG Gin

 

A Brazen Breed of Gin

A Brazen Breed of Gin

I’m pleased to highlight a new series of articles focused on understanding the thoughts of successful entrepreneurs.   For our inaugural series, entitled, “The Samurai Mask,” I speak with the CEO and Founder of BULLDOG Gin, Mr. Anshuman Vohra, 31.  “Shu” was once a JP Morgan Banker who gave up his lucrative career to start BULLDOG Gin three years ago.  I was very inspired after watching his story about overcoming rejection on Donny Deutsche’s “The Big Idea” and I’m pleased he’s here with us today.  This is his story about finding entrepreneurial success, and going against the odds.

INTRODUCTION

FS: Shu, thanks for taking the time to speak.  First of all, tell us about Bulldog Gin, and why it is such a hot product?

Shu: It’s good to speak to you and it’s an honor to be the inaugural interviewee for your new series.  BULLDOG Gin is a quadruple distilled, ultra premium gin with dragon eye and other distinctive botanicals.  This is not your old folks gin, but a younger, brazen breed of  gin that you can imagine Steve McQueen and James Bond drinking.

You’re Rejected! How I Use Rejection To Motivate Me Every Single Day

Unless you’re perfect, there will be times when things don’t go your way.  You’re last to be picked in PE class, Yale says, “thank you, but no thank you”, and your girlfriend/boyfriend dumps you for another man/woman.  Do you start sulking?  Or do you get up, get angry, and prove to yourself you’re worth it?

Some people are so afraid of rejection, they never put themselves out there.  They reject themselves before even giving others a chance!

Lame Excuses:

“Why would this school accept me?”

“Why would she want to talk to me?”

“I don’t deserve a raise so I’ll never ask.”

“I’m not good enough to work for this firm, so I won’t bother applying.”

“What if everybody thinks what I say is stupid?”

“My writing is horrible, why would anybody want to read anything of mine?”

These types of thoughts crush dreams, lead to low-self esteem and mediocrity. 

Change the way you view rejection with these 5 strategies:

You’re Rich And I’m Rich, OK! You’re Still Rich And I’m Not As Rich, Not OK!

FreedomSign-1One of the points I write in “Party Like It’s 1999 – 10 Takeaways From This Recession” is that people have short memories.  Back in the first quarter of 2009, there was massive populist outrage over Wall St. bonuses.  Who could blame the people, when folks such as Andrew J. Hall collected $100 million despite Citigroup taking tens of billions in assistance from the government and is now 1/3 owned by us.

The Wall Street Journal reported that 2009 Wall Street compensation will breach 2007 levels, and Goldman Sach’s average compensation per employee will reach $734,000 vs. “only” $364,000 last year and 12% higher than 2007 peak!  WOW!  Sign me up!  I almost spit out my Honey Nut Cheerios when I read the news.  Yet, after scanning over 200 blogs yesterday not one decided to highlight this story.  Meanwhile, take a quick search of posts 10 months ago and you can see the outrage that populated the media.

Financial Samurai Guest Posts For Wise Bread!

My Victory Sign

My Victory Sign

One of the main reasons why I returned my Macbook was because I failed to get published on Wise Bread before my return policy ran out.  I figured why not have this goal in order to justify spending such a large some of money?  After all, a writer needs his tools!  Well, I’m excited to announce that my guest article on Wise Bread is now live!  Better late than never.

Please enjoy reading: “Knowing When To Walk Away – Financial Planning For An Unknown Ending”

A snippet: “People have a notion that they must amass a certain amount of money, no matter how long it takes, before they can retire. But what if it took you 40 years of work to reach $1 million, and the very next year you died?”

A special thanks to Senior Writer Linsey Knerl at Wise Bread for accepting my guest post submission and taking the time to edit.  Linsey was always so responsive, even in the wee hours of night when I was pounding away and asking her questions.  Thanks for the support Linsey.  You rock!

Please follow me and Oprah over at Twitter @FinancialSamurai.  It’s getting addicting!

Keigu,

Financial Samurai

“Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”