Monthly Archives: September 2012

Unlocking the Secrets of the World’s Most Powerful Tool

ExcelOK, I’ll admit it: I’m a business geek.

It started at an early age.

Growing up the son of a marketing-exec father and CPA mom, I heard a lot of business talk around the dinner table. I didn’t understand much of it, but it all seeped in anyway. A few years down the road, in Accounting 101, the teacher introduced accounts receivables and payables. While the rest of the class fought off sleep, my reaction was intensely emotional–“So that’s what they were talking about!

Today my passion centers around the creative elements of business–building cool products and marketing them well, assembling great teams, forging a distinctive culture. But I love the numbers too. Because they tell the unvarnished truth about what’s really happening–out there, where the rubber meets the road. They reveal … is the sales campaign working? Is the new product finding traction? Are we achieving? or failing?

So in contemplating ideas for building passive income, I’m drawn to the idea of writing about Excel. Of helping people harness it’s extreme potential.

I have worked in Excel for years and I am continually amazed at it’s depth, it’s breadth. It might well be the most powerful tool the world has ever seen. I’m open to feedback on this, but I can’t think of any other tool, software or physical, that has had such an impact on the world we live in today.

Can you?

So while I consider myself more Excel admirer than expert, I know that’s a great place to start. I get excited at the idea of digging in and learning more about this amazing tool.

For years, I’ve had a “philosophy of Excel” that has served me well: spending 30 minutes once to learn how to save five minutes over-and-over is time well spent.

So in contemplating product ideas, I plan to focus on a new angle. Not just a how-to approach, but a why approach. Maybe even a little, “finding love, happiness and personal fulfillment with Excel.”

Is that promising too much? I guess we’ll find out.

Building Passive Income

falling moneyPersonal development blogger Steve Pavlina is writing a series of articles on generating passive income.

I originally saw the first article announcing the series but didn’t check back for a couple of months. I looked the other day and WOW — there are now more than 20 articles on the topic. For my own benefit, I gathered them into an ebook, which you can download if you’d like.

This is a topic I’ve been interested in for a while. When we launched Dealhack in 2005, the first month’s earnings were just $21. In 2010, when we sold the site, monthly earnings were several orders of magnitude greater. So, I have direct experience with the concept that big things can come of side projects that start small.

Steve points out that there is great value in committing publicly to a goal. It’s a way of creating consequences for failure, of staying focused to do the work. “If there’s no negative consequence for quitting, it will be easy to quit … Quite often people will find the avoidance of the negative consequences more motivating than the positive benefits they’ll achieve.”

So, in the spirit of Steve’s suggestion, I’m stating my own goal for creating passive income:

I have achieved passive income of $100 per month by November 1, 2012; this source will last 5 years.

Roughly speaking, this gives me a month to conceive of an idea, and a month to implement. Plenty of time!

Stay tuned–I’ll keep you posted as I progress.