Rich, Safe and Comfortable


This is a follow up on the idea that everyone wants to be rich but most people don’t prioritize it and don’t achieve it. I touched on this in yesterdays post titled Financial Independence that discusses a life transition I am starting.

The order of priority is important. Robert Keyosaki wrote in his book Rich Dad Poor Dad that we all want to be rich but not everyone achieves it. Most people put comfort and security ahead of being rich. Most people underestimate the potential upside of choosing rich heavy actions and overestimate the risks associated with those actions.

It costs money to be safe and comfortable. You end up trading opportunity in time, options, learning and raw capital that could be used on investments that return a higher rate. My suggestion is to sacrifice comfort and security in the beginning of your investment timeline. This will hopefully allow you to make higher returns with most of your resources then buy back your comfort later and be way ahead of those other guys who paid for comfort from the get go.
A lot of people worry about what would happen if the don’t have the safety of a regular job or guaranteed and stable returns from low risk investments. Most people don’t want to deviate from the investment strategy their friends, colleges and family use typically stocks and bonds invested through a fund at a local bank.
If you were to go against the advice of your peers and fail you may not only lose your investment but potentially feel foolish. But that’s actually in reality not such a bad thing. The idea of going to maximum growth up front means that if your strategy fails you can try again and again a few times learning as you go and you still have the opportunity when you are older to invest with time to save for retirement when you need it.
Iterations on ideas, strategies and investment types.
The more times you do something the better you get at it. There is a saying, when a man with money meets a man with experience, the man with experience ends up with the money and the man with the money ends up with the experience. Cheeky but the point is that while you may fail at your investment plan at first as long as you keep trying you will improve and overtake the vast majority of people who passively invest in the market.
Because of compounding most investments really pay off at the end so it doesn’t really make sense in my opinion to sit on investments without high potential when you are starting out or have a base net worth of zero.
Having a risky asset class or a risky allocation of only a few asset classes carries lower inherent risk when carrying a lower net worth. So the benefit of diversification or the type of investment you choose plays a smaller role than most people assume. For example if you are investing your first one thousand dollars and decide to buy Bitcoin rather than a stock index fund and plan on saving two million dollars for retirement, exactly what is the difference in the long run between those two options? The stock market could double or triple in thirty years, Bitcoin could go up five or ten times. Nobody knows but as you continue to invest you will have the opportunity to keep adding to each of these different asset classes and give yourself the most amount of time exposed to the highest gains you can anticipate.
Risk weighted against opportunity.
A lot of people look at risk factors in isolation but what should matter more is the ratio of risk relative to estimated gain.
Investing to be rich rather than safe can look like investing in an asset you think will return the highest after ten years rather than a good investment that will return a fixed consistent amount each year. The ten year play may sit at a loss for nine years and only pay off when its ready. This is where the price of comfort and safety is paid by you. If you need the money unexpectedly or want the reassurance of steady growth you will have to make do without or make other arrangements. But when the long term plays pay off you can usually buy 10x the safe consistent investments you would have otherwise because your investment capital would be smaller and spread out.
The method.
If there are fundamentals in an asset class or patterns that repeat the buying into undervalued assets and selling or reallocating overvalued assets is a good option.
When starting out in a wealth accumulation phase rather than a safe wealth preservation phase, I would invest in asset classes I think will have the highest risk weighted return. Currently in my opinion some precious metals like silver and cryptocurrencies fit into this bucket. I will explain in another post the some factors that could affect these asset classes both negatively and positively.
My personal strategy:
Buy assets with strong estimated future fundamentals. I.e. things people need that are rare or becoming more rare. Buy when the price is historically low and going up, Sell when the price is high relative to historical trends and starting to go down. Use the money to buy other assets that are undervalued. Use a ten to twenty year price history if available. Trade small amounts over time relative to the rate the price rises and falls in the past and based on your target allocation.
Some Random Asset Categories:
Realestate: REITS, Investment properties. In Canada the housing market is at a 100% fifteen year bull run.
stocks: Index Funds. Markets in the US and Canada are also in a ten year all time high.
bonds: National both foreign and domestic. Interest rates are low so these pay out low interest.
Structured Notes: Banks offer options for gains with some investment protection.
Private Quity: Business opportunities sold as Investment Bonds,  TFSA and RRSP eligible.
Precious Metals: PMs used in industry are at a ten year price low and could potentially become rare in the future.
Crypto: Bitcoin, and alternatives. Seeing increased user adoption and upward trending.
90% High
0% med
10% safe
30% high
30% med
40% safe
These allocations illustrate a possible interpretation of investing for gain vs. safety.

Financial Independence


Its been a while since I last posted and a lot has changed for me in the past couple of years. Going forward I am thinking about starting a YouTube channel for interactive dialog, both solo and with others, as it relates to some projects I am working on and in order to share progress and to create more fun experiences.

A big goal for most of my life has been to become financially independent so that I can spend all of my time growing personally, leaning what I really want and the skills I need to more effectively get there.
We are very fortunate to live in this time with so many other like minded people and also unlike contrasting ideas. We all make our own choices based on our desires and our understanding of what we want to achieve.
I have been thinking about this idea of effectiveness. Everyone has their own idea of what a fulfilled life looks like but not everyone can get there. While being happy or not is a matter of perspective in that a homeless person can live a life of ecstacey,
Eckhart Tolle comes to mind, and others with riches can feel perpetually empty, the take away is that we have lots of examples of others achieving different results from varied mindsets and actions.
One fascinating idea to me is that some people can make an obscene amount of money with very limited but targeted action. Being a software developer i’m familiar with a few other entrepreneurs starting successful online business that make a lot of money but primarily I think of Internet marketers who made staggering amounts of money buying ads to affiliate products. The market is always changing and these people rarely do it for long periods of time but the amount of money would set them for life.
Contrast that with someone who works a nine to five job from the time they finish school to retirement earning just enough to live, raise a family pay for all of the things most people buy like a nice house or condo, a car, a TV they spend every day watching, two weeks vacation per year, etc. In the social circle that I grew up in that is what almost everyone does and tells you to do. Go to school get a good job with benefits and work until you retire. Not bad but I can’t get excited about that. So what would it take for those few people who don’t go to work a nine to five every day and instead do something that makes them millions of dollars? Well they have to believe that they can find a way to make the money so they must spend their time learning about others that have different key pieces of information that they use in a plan and commit to it.
Someone always makes the comment, oh they were just lucky, implying the outcome they received just fell on their lap. This is the most tragic loss in my opinion. It reminds me of an anecdote I heard about an elementary school class experiment. They separated the students into two groups ordered my grade. Half of the top performing students on one side and the underperforming on the other. Each group was asked why they thought the successful students were able to perform so well. The students with the low score predominantly said they students with high grades were just born that way. The students with high scores predominantly said they received high grades because they work really hard. Thats the key, we all spend similar amounts of time awake living learning, trying, failing, changing, improving. By dismissing important pieces of information that especially pertain to skills or network opportunities is only to your detriment.
Everyone wants the same things, they just put them in a different order or importance. Do you want to be rich? Live in an ocean front mansion, traveling the world? Probably yeah. Do you want to feel safe and comfortable? Rely on a consist set of resources and routine? Have food and shelter? Probably yeah if I can put words in your mouth. But the ones that put being rich above security and comfort tend to get all of them to a much higher degree.
The Pareto principal applies so only certain actions result in your target goal. You can, and many do, spend their entire life working on things that fill a nine to five and never push them forward from their current more. Congruent beliefs with success are also required, If you don’t believe you can achieve your ultimate life changing goal why would you look for the opportunity and dive into the fear of actually committing to achieve it.
As for how this relates to me personally, I have made some investment gains over the past few years. It’s still early in my plan but so far I have paid off my living accommodations and in several scenarios have achieved financial independence. I have some investment diversification to do this year to reduce my exposure in some areas but if I was to lose my job tomorrow I would not likely have to find another one ever. My plan is to work for another year, make some planned investments then start a few ventures that I will document here in later posts.
Going forward I am approaching a life transition. Up until now I have been focused on my job but that has meant that my time is committed and my opportunity to pursure projects and experiences has been limited. So now instead of focusing on my particular job skills I will be expanding my social circle, committing time to new businesses outside the scope of my past work and leaning to have more fun.
I will be documenting these new business projects and the pieces that you can use as well as the investment opinions i hold and how I used them to achieve financial independence all coming soon.

Letting Go and Embracing Change


Changing directions in life can be difficult. If you’re like me you can spend years working on a career path, a business venture, a personal or business relationship or an investment strategy.

These activities require a certain level of commitment. You can’t just put them down and pick them back up again and generally have to focus your energy, time or money to the exclusion of others.

At some point if what you are doing isn’t working out you will probably start to feel the uncomfortable sensation that something is wrong. You might recognize that you have to change but that would mean forfeiting money or abandoning progress towards your goal and starting over from scratch. There is also going to be uncertainty about finding a replacement and what that might look like in your life.


It’s easy to personally identify with a routine that we spend years with.  

In the past I have spent many years at a job that wasn’t right for me before finally leaving. I didn’t want to quit because I worried that I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills if I couldn’t find another and that if I did it would be another bad fit. In hindsight staying was a bad decision. I wasn’t satisfied, I was working harder to fit mismatched needs/skills and my employer didn’t know that they should be looking for a better fit for them.

I have also spent many years on several failed business ventures both individually and in partnerships. The moment when you realize that it won’t be viable can be challenging. All of the time and energy spent on something that will never pay off or meet expectations can be a let down.

The same applies to personal relationships. Over time our needs and expectations can change. Sometimes this means that once compatible matches become incompatible.

It’s interesting to think about what other ramifications in your life are caused by pushing through when you could always just go around.


If what you are doing has become a familiar routine and acts as a your go to plan to achieve your goals it can be hard to let go. If you had to give it up right now then you’re back at square one and have to start from the beginning. If you know your path is not viable the worst thing you could do is just keep plugging away. This is known as the sunk cost fallacy. When you rationalize that you can’t quit now because you have invested so much already. Even if logically starting over is the better option. Its easy to see as an outsider but not so much as it applies to yourself.

Even if there is no obvious replacement the best thing to do is accept that what you’re doing isn’t working. Give yourself the full resources of time and mental faculty to work on finding a new better direction. Let go of what you don’t want to make room for what you do.

On the occasions where I pulled the plug on multi year projects, relationships, jobs and investments it was personally challenging each in a unique way. What helped me in these times is to refocus on my end goals and imagine what it will be like to achieve them instead of focusing on this gap between where I was and where I wanted to be. I formalized my new objectives to give them a place in my mind. I bought notebooks just for writing notes on each goal and carried them with me or kept them by my bedside table. Every time I think of an idea, I write it down. I cleaned up any loose ends with customers, contracts and other obligations so that I wouldn’t have to spend any more time on them. I also bought a pack of post it notes to write ideas and stuck them to a wall in my home. I would constantly add or remove and sort the ideas by best fit for me, practicality and other factors. Figuring out what I needed to do was the highest priority for me and I changed my living environment to reflect that. The post its on a wall are always easily accessible and act as a reminder to take action.    

There is an old joke about smokers saying they aren’t quitters as if to imply that quitting is bad. If follow through is holding you back then perseverance will serve you but there is no point going down the wrong road. Being clear about the difference between those two extremes is the key. Pushing though or letting go, thats up to you.

Dating 101

Young couple holding hands with sun-flare.

Finding and maintaining a fulfilling relationship partner requires the same set of skills as it does to achieve success in any other area of life.

The core ideas are to constantly improve your social skills, the way you present yourself to others, and cultivate a supportive network of friends. Don’t dwell on negativity, take action and reflect on your sticking points to improve on them. Learn skills that provide value to yourself as well as others. Compatible partner matches will enjoy the things you do. Learning skills that bring you happiness also add value to your relationships.

Most people don’t treat their relationships the same way they do as other important things in their life such as graduating from school or finding a good job. Relationships are much more personal and it’s easy to think of them without much reflection. If this is you and has worked out, great, but if not you will have to bring your skills and abilities up to a level that gets results. Without making a plan and constantly improving you are like a leaf floating down a river destined to end up where the water takes you, not necessarily where you want to be. Analyse what you are doing well and not so well to improve with each interaction.

Also you may not be sure of the specific type of relationship you want until you meet a variety of people and try experimenting with different activities.

Finding a partner:

  • Communication skills including conversation and body language are a big part of first impressions. Watch for bad habits like nervous ticks, unnecessary words, and bad posture. This can help with introductions when meeting new people. Often a first impression will stick with you and be hard to change. Meeting new friends is a great way to advertise the kind of relationship you’re looking for. Most people like to play matchmaker if they know someone they think would be compatible with you.
  • Confidence in at least some core areas of your life means that others will see you as someone that can be trusted and relied on to make decisions and function independently which is a great quality. Not being needy or dependent on others signals that relationships will be about fun and sharing not hard work and commitment like a job.
  • Clothing that looks good and fits well signals to others that you are aware of how others see you and are competent in at least that area of your life. If you are unsure about your wardrobe asking others for honest opinions is a good way to get another perspective.
  • Physical fitness is an attractive quality and making even little improvements will make you feel better and live longer. This makes it easier to enjoy life and relationships. Demonstrating control over your body also reflects positively on the way you treat other important areas of your life. Having standards for yourself can demonstrate to others that you have standards for them as well and in turn improve the strength of your connections.
  • Hygiene, It’s an easy thing everyone should be aware of and makes a big difference.


A lot of people believe that they are not worthy of a rewarding relationship because of personal attributes that can’t be changed. If you are self conscious about the way you look, or how much money you have first start developing skills and personal qualities that will bring more interested people to you.

If it’s hard to imagine yourself being successful in relationships it can be easier to start by seeing in others the qualities that make them attractive. It could be a positive attitude, social likeability, humor, style, posture, etc. Once you can see qualities you like in others it can become easier to imagine yourself improving in those areas.

Don’t worry about the things you don’t like about yourself that can’t be changed. They are often likable attributes to the right people. Fear can be paralyzing and prevent you from acting when you otherwise could.

A lot of people think certain qualities are universally attractive or unattractive. In almost every instance the qualities that most people find attractive change over time and immediately in the face of something different they haven’t seen before. Some people don’t work on improving their attractive qualities because they say they are ugly when in fact they could become a perfect match for someone and end up missing out. Unfortunately for most people they have to see it in order to believe it. From my personal experience the people I am most attracted to and would rate the highest are very different from what others would consider.


Starting relationships are all about finding the people that are compatible with you. Relative to our historical past there is basically an unlimited number of resources for meeting people. Just to name a few: Social activities, online dating, meetup groups, Facebook, etc. Hosting and entertaining is a great opportunity to share time with friends and meet new people.

When working on improving yourself remember to find things you will enjoy doing. Inspiration is what will give you the energy to follow through. A good partner will be interested in the things you like so don’t focus on learning things you think other people want.

Avoid negativity because it sucks the energy from an interaction. Relationships and meeting new people are strengthened by positive high energy.

If you are not comfortable in a situation, date or meeting new people you are not enjoying yourself by definition but the other person will pick up on the discomfort and have a negative reaction. It’s a double whammy. When stepping out of a comfort zone and trying new things it is okay to be bad at it at first. That’s the best way to learn and is far better than staying where you are and never progressing. Once you can become comfortable in new situations that’s when the synergy kicks in and you will see real results.


If you are in a relationship there are a few keys to keep it healthy. Over time people change what they like and don’t like. If you give up the things in your life to suit others then you will be happy and if the relationship doesn’t work out your skills will have atrophied.

Build equity in yourself and regardless of what happens to any other person you can be happy and moving forward.

Maintaining a fulfilling relationship:

  • Maintain the things in your life that were important to you before your relationship. This includes time with friends and hobbies. Trading one form of happiness for another won’t make you fulfilled.
  • Stay healthy and active. Making time in the short term will pay off in the long term.
  • Try new things. If you become complacent and settle into a routine it can become boring. Over time our interests and needs change and it is important to explore new activities to discover and satisfy ourselves.


Be honest with yourself about what you really want. If you don’t know what you want or what you have to offer a partner you will find it hard to find someone or know it’s right for you when you do. This may involve reflection and acceptance of qualities you currently don’t like about yourself.
Take action with Incremental steps. It can be hard to make big changes in the way we approach relationships. Small steps help acclimate you to big ones by getting comfortable with individual parts as you build on them. Also take time to reflect and appreciate progress that you make along the way.

Subliminal Goal Achievement


Your environment is almost certainly affecting your mood and productivity. You can make big improvements and achieve new successes by making simple changes to your work and living spaces. The idea is to choose specific objects, words, imagery, smells and music that you have a positive association to and place them in the areas you live. The intention is to create subliminal triggers that subconsciously influence you to act and improve on goals. These could include working on business ventures, doing chores, thinking more positively, getting more exercice, generating a million dollars or eliminating bad behaviours. It’s a good way to start something new or improve on what your currently doing.

The process starts by choosing some goals and laying out reminders for yourself. For each of your goals come up with related written words and phrases, images or objects and place them in your work and home spaces to guide action. Make them part of your daily experience. The reminders you choose should be associated with a feeling you want to foster but can include itemized todo lists. This means using words and pictures that you would experience with the successful completion of your goals.

The magic of this exercise is that the mind absorbs your experiences and influences your thoughts and actions without you even being aware of it. The semantic meaning of written words and images doesn’t even have to be fully comprehended each time you look at them. You just have to be exposed to the reminders and your reaction will be subconscious.

This process will also help you remove blocks to a more productive day. If you find yourself deliberating on decisions then adding more positive influences will encourage action. 

Preparation is critical to success. Because we are purposefully trying to encourage automatic behaviours we need to make sure those behaviours are chosen thoughtfully ahead of time. The reminders placed in your environment will also form habits and allow your subconscious to anticipate and plan moment to moment what to do next. This creates a calming effect on your overall state.

We have an emotional budget of decision making power available to us each day. If we exceed our limit we hit burnout and start making bad decisions. When you’re running low on energy you slow down and loose focus. Optimize your day by dedicating time once a week to choose tasks for goals. I.e. if you want to start going to the gym every day but find it difficult remove some unnecessary steps. Keeping all of the things you need in a bag by your front door so all you have to do is grab it and your ready. Then when you decide to go everything you need is in that bad and there is no time for deliberation and hesitation.

You can support new actions with rewards while transitioning to new behaviours. This can include tasty prepared food items, music you enjoy and planned activities that have pleasant experiences like walking through a park.

Here are some specific ideas for implementing reminders:

  • Use post -it notes, a chalk or white board or custom paper/card stock to hang reminder words on the walls. You could also create artwork with pictures and large print words to serve both artistic and influential roles.
  • Set up your computer to cycle through motivational desktop pictures.
  • If you share a space with others and don’t want to disrupt the feel you can change the medium and format to fit. This might mean todo lists on notepads in an office and framed word art work at home.
  • Create a board and place on it all of the associated images and text goals that you are working towards.
  • The size of text you prepare can also be used to influence the priority you have attached to it. Place multiple reminders to reinforce the message.
  • When using descriptive words or todo lists include words you associate with positive feelings. This way you will think of the feelings along with action goal based words. Your subconscious is not logical like your conscious mint and thinks more in terms of feelings.
  • Smell and scents can act as powerful reminder.

Use location to your advantage so that the objects you choose support the type of behaviour you want for each areas.

  • Work – At work you may want to create a mood of alertness, concentration and low distraction. Some starting ideas: Supplement low light levels with a lamp. Ambient non vocal music or flowing water feature. Light energy rich foods. Organization folders.
  • Bedroom – In your bedroom you may want to create a restful calming mood. Some starting ideas: Add a dimmer light. Use words like Relax, Calm Rest. Add smells with plants or scents. 
  • Living Areas – In your living spaces you may want to create a mood for brainstorming, health or long term planning. Some starting ideas: Use words, photos that support income/achievement goals or activity planning. Prepare a gym bag or healthy snack food next to written words or other objects.

When using written words choose the ones that inspire and make you feel good as well as words that describe your goals. Identify specific goals that you would like to achieve and select the words and images for each. Imagine yourself having achieved the goal and choose words that describe that state.

Ideas for working options:

  • $ 10 K / mo
  • Millionaire
  • Enjoying Physical Fitness
  • 4 Dates Out Each Month

The reverse of positive reminders also applies to negative influences in your life. Try removing things from your environment that negatively affect your actions. This may be clutter, excess furniture, excessive noise, unhealthy foods, TV, destructive relationships etc.

Optimize for results. Every once in a while review how you feel about the spaces you have created. Try changing the wording and placement over time. Some things may not work for you so try new things and experiment.

I have found this exercise very useful for goal achievement after just starting recently and noticed a few things. It’s good to have lots of reminders everywhere so that a lot of your time is spent around them. I don’t pay attention to them often I just let them be. Most of the reminders are subtle and just appear to be decoration by others. The build quality of words and pictures on any wall make a big difference. When using post-it notes or low quality card stock I notice it feels like clutter after a while so i’m switching to using  frames and other materials.

Let me know if you try any of these and any improvements you notice.

How to make Mobile Apps for Fun and Profit

It is a lot easier to make mobile apps now than it has ever been. There are more online resources and developers available to help build apps than ever before. At the same time there is a much larger mobile user base of potential customers. Everyone seems to have a smartphone or tablet now.

However the market is very saturated and the platforms are limited in terms of what your applications are allowed to do. This means that if you have a great idea for an app it’s likely the case that there are others out there already and even a great app will need to be paired with smart ongoing marketing to get users. It is possible to make a good income from mobile apps today if you can make apps that people enjoy, be efficient with your time, iterate on new ideas, constantly review user feedback and usage stats and are active with marketing.

A friend of mine introduced me to the idea of building my own mobile apps for iOS early after Apple opened their developer program. As far as I know that was the first time anyone could write an application for a consumer phone and earn money from it. My friend made several apps one of them being a date countdown list. Users would enter in events like a spouse’s birthday, upcoming vacation, or anything else and it would display the number of days before each event. He was earning three thousand dollars per month and spent about a month developing it in the evenings. There was very little active work on the app after it was released. For a student it was a pretty sweet deal.

That kind of result won’t happen any more. In the early days mobile apps were totally new, everyone was interested in getting them and there were very few  available. It was a gold rush for a while.

At the time it was common for an iOS developer to charge one hundred fifty dollars per hour and many commercial apps developed for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now you can buy working app templates with more features than you would want for twenty dollars and modify them to your needs. Also developers with skills and lots of experience developing for iOS and Android are plentiful and can cost reasonable amounts similar to any other web development project.

I have made about ten mobile apps for iOS. The most profitable being encyclopedia like references. I wrote scripts that would grab images and text from wikipedia and index them so users could read about dogs, cats, cars, jets etc and search or sort by different metrics. Each time I made a new app it took less time because I could streamline the process. For a few years I was earning between three and four hundred dollars per month from one or two top apps. The Christmas season was always better than the summer. I also made some utility apps and games. The utilities didn’t do well and they took the most time and effort. I also made some games that didn’t earn very much but I enjoyed it and am happy I made them.

If you want to make mobile apps for fun or to express creativity you can be more self directed but if you want to make money from mobile apps there are some strategies you should follow.

It’s quite common for businesses to develop a mobile app that assists customers to user their existing services and give the app away for free. A mobile app is a good way to get people to come back as a repeat customer because it’s always available on their phone. Providing apps to existing customers also avoids the challenge of finding new users which is not easy and often costs more than the amount you can monetize from them.

The second approach to building an app business is to aim for lots of hit apps and earn millions of dollars. To do this you will need to follow a few steps.

Research top performing and popular apps in each app store category for platforms you would like to develop for. This will give you a sense of what people are downloading and paying money for.

Get yourself a mobile device and download apps that interest you. Pay attention to how you feel about the app when you see it’s icon, description and screenshots so that you can keep that in mind when you have to make your own. Open and use the apps to see how developers organize interfaces and design interactions. Read comments and user feedback as well as product reviews online. Also read accounts from people who have developed a mobile apps to hear what they learned in the process so you can avoid repeating common mistakes.

Choose an app that you want to build. Brainstorm ideas over time, add to a list and sort by the best ones for you. Consider that your first app should be fairly simple and not overly complex. Focus on finding an idea that is fun or useful and something that you would download. Leverage personal interests, hobbies or domain experience with ideas that take advantage of any unique skills you have. The idea should embody the most useful or entertaining thing you can think of. Don’t skimp on the app selection process. Building an app takes a lot of time and it can be easy jump the gun by getting caught up in the excitement of a new idea.

Once you have an idea you need to design it in detail. Draw out each screen and write down in point form what happens in detail when the user clicks on buttons or swipes on each screen. Be sure to cover all interaction cases. It’s a good idea to add a contact form for users to reach you with questions. This will give you feedback on what people actually use in your app and reduce the number of dissatisfied customers and poor ratings that will hurt your app store traffic.

Validate that the app is a great idea and people will use it. Before going any further you must confirm for yourself that the app you want to build is something that people want and would download or pay for. Ask people you know if they would use your app or have any feedback on your plan. Describe the features and experiment with how you sell them on it to improve your marketing material. A lot of app developers fall into the trap of thinking that other people will steal their idea so they keep all of the details secret. It’s funny because it happens so often and after doing so they always regret it. The biggest risk you face is not getting feedback now and adjusting your design and approach. Development will cost money and if you talk to people and get feedback early you can save yourself a lot of wasted effort. What if someone copies your app and ends up with a big hit? The chances of that are small, I have never heard of it happening. If the people you share the idea with were to copy the idea you could always just compete with them and both get rich. What’s the difference between competing with one thousand other anonymous app developers or that and one that you know. After you release the app and start marketing it thousands of people will see exactly what you are working on. Most business succeed or fail based on a long term steady increase in customer value not a clever idea alone. Obviously there are trade secrets that you don’t have to broadcast but in general people better able to communicate with others and get feedback will do far better by large margins.

Budget funds to have the app developed. If you will not be doing the graphic design or development on your own you will have to budget for that. The larger in scope your app is the higher the price tag will be. You can get price estimates from contract developers and designers to estimate your project.

Graphic design is really important for making a good first impression with users. It sets their expectations for quality and anticipated enjoyment. If you don’t have graphic design skills you will want to find one that will do work for you on a contract basis. You can find leads on sites like, and It is really important that you communicate exactly what you want from the designer before committing to paying for work. Unless you want to pay for design options it is a good idea to provide a sketch to the designer they will just polish without designing from scratch. To reduce the risk that the designer will not be able to deliver what you need split the project work into pieces and have them do only one part. If the results are good you can give them the rest.

If you are not a programmer you will want to hire a contractor to do the development work. You may be able to find one locally or online from services like Freelancer, ODesk, Elance, or others. Generally it is better to pay by the hour rather than with a set price for a completed deliverable. The reason for this is that it doesn’t limit changes you may want to make after development starts. It also means not having the developer spend time estimating and trying to plan over a set period of time when instead they could be focused just on building your app.

Provide requirements to the developer in point form. Each point should describe only one feature and it should be in simple language and very clear and easy to understand. Make it clear that the deliverable will be judged to be complete when each line is checked. When requirements are in any way vague or interpretable in multiple ways, bad things happen to the budget. Also ask for access to intermediate stages and regular but informal communication on progress and issues that arise. Unexpected development issues are most likely the cause of budget overshoot so don’t have the developer build things you don’t need and make sure that they understand in detail what they will deliver so that they don’t have to redo work.

Finding a developer that can deliver within your budget can be tricky. Break your project into multiple stages and have a developer do just one small part first. If they deliver you can have them do the next stage. When selecting a developer write a description of your project and ask for an estimate of cost, the timeframe they can deliver it, a list of similar apps they have developed you can try and a description of how they would go about implementing your app. You can choose developers that have a good balance between rate cost and previous work history that you are comfortable with. The description of how they would go about the project serves two purposes, firstly it gives you a sense of how they think and what they will be working on but is also lets you know that they read your description and understand it. Many contractors will just spam you with low ball offers after barely reviewing the requirements and charge you more after going over budget or bailing entirely. If applicants don’t write a description of approach and you like their sample work you can always just ask them individually and they will usually be happy to knowing that they are on a short list.

If a developer isn’t delivering stages that meet your specific requirements act quickly to communicate the problem with them and if they can’t address the issue politely end development and pay them out up to the current state and start looking for another developer. It is also a good idea to tip good developers so that they are likely to make time for you with bug fixes and new features later on.

To save on developer budget split the project into many pieces so that you can do as much of the work as possible just using the developer skill set for the pieces you can’t implement. You can have a developer build a base platform so that you can then write labels, and layout elements. You can also have the developer take what you have done and finish any remaining pieces that you were not able to do. If you do this be sure that you don’t allow too much time to pass or they may move onto another project.

It is a good idea to have a development environment setup on your computer so that you can test each of the deliverables the developer gives you before starting. It is also important to keep a list of the contractors that did a good job for you so that you can call on them again.

Monetization of your app can be done in several ways. The most common types are a sale purchase price, upsells through in app purchases of extra features and in app advertising through one of many mobile ad networks. The options you choose will depend on your app because some will make sense and others won’t. Having a purchase price can deter people from trying your app that might otherwise be willing to pay though an in app upgrade. Releasing a free app with in app purchases allows you to get a user that is interested and demonstrate the value of your app over time working your way up to a sale. In app advertising is easy to set up but the revenues are typically lower than from purchase sales and depend on apps that users run for long periods of time.

Releasing the app will require some descriptive text that pitches your app to potential users. You may want to review what other apps say and make note of the things you communicate to your users. You will also need nice screenshots that highlight your app in a good way. If it’s your first app release you should throw a launch party and invite your friends too just for fun because that’s allowed.

The revenue distribution for mobile apps is skewed so that most of the money is made by a relatively small set of developers. Eighty eight percent of all developers together earn eleven percent of all app revenues with apps that generate less than ten thousand dollars per month. Nine percent of all developers earn thirty five percent of revenues with apps that generate less than one hundred thousand dollars per month. Two percent of all developers earn fifty four percent of all revenues with apps generating up to half a million each month. Its important as an app developer that you keep improving and moving yourself up the ladder where all of the revenue is.

Follow through after initial release is critical. Most of your success will come from updates made over time as you make your app better and build a customer base. All successful app developers make this a priority. Provide good support to your users and make them happy. Negative reviews hurt your rating and in turn app store traffic. Constantly fix bugs and add new features. Do more of the things that work and drop the things that don’t. Releasing regular updates is also a good way to retain users you have because they will be prompted for the update and reminded of your app.

Use analytics to track stats. Collecting even minimal information about how many people use your application on a regular basis and which features they use can help you decide what to improve or change. You should also add new features and observe the results to see if people use them. It’s a good idea to remove outdated and unused features because overly complex options will confuse people and reduce their enjoyment. App usage will naturally decline so you want to find the things people want to make your revenue sustainable.

Marketing your app can make a big difference to your overall success. Each interaction your apps have with users are valuable so you don’t want to waste them. Make a website and collect email addresses of people who express interest. Add links to social networks in your app so users can invite their friends to download it. Add a list of other apps somewhere in your application. Have it pull the list from a server so that you can update it as you make new ones. Have your app prompt people to review it if they like it. It’s a good idea to ask people if they like the app and only ask for a review if they do. Go viral by designing the app to use interaction with other people through social networks like Facebook. Users will invite their friends to interact with and they in turn will download the app so the cycle continues.

Advertising can bring you new users. Because the app ecosystem is large with a huge number of apps competing for users it is almost impossible to acquire new users through advertising at a lower cost than the value you can monetize from those users. Advertising for a launch can be a great idea though because new app releases are usually featured in the app store new releases section resulting in a burst of users. If you can supplement that burst of users with advertising you might be able to gain more exposure by becoming a trending app that are often showcased in app stores. With planning, timing and luck you can work your way up to top downloaded or selling apps and stay there for a long time gaining a large amount of users.

Make new apps with the experience gained from your last one. Use existing resources from past projects to reduce costs. Compare app results against each other to pick future options that will have the best result. If a certain type of app doesn’t work then pick something new or branch off from the more successful ones. Find the developers and graphic designers that you like and work well with and drop the ones that don’t.
Now go and be wildly successful.

The Red Pill – a Mindset


Thoughts both positive and negative affect our expectations, choices, actions and ultimately our results.

At the very least, when you are thinking negatively about something you are not thinking about solutions or planning for success. But more likely is the case that negative thoughts lead to a spiral of other negative thoughts. You may not even recognize them as negative because they are only marginally unpleasant and don’t cause a strong reaction for you.

Any thought that makes you feel bad can be considered negative. Some that jump to mind include fear, threat, exclusion, nervousness, apprehension, sadness, being misunderstood, confusion, timidness, jealousy, inadequacy, self doubt, denial, hatred, dishonesty, boredom etc.


What if you could take a pill that would cause an alarm bell to ring in your head every time you formulate a negative thought? It would allow you to recognize when you have negative thoughts and stop them instinctively. You would likely change the things you spend your time thinking about and ultimately guide yourself to more productive actions and achieve better results.

Obviously this pill doesn’t really exist but as a thought experiment you can imagine that it does and as you go through your day, every time you feel unpleasant, ring an alarm in your head as loud as you can. I have been holding this idea for a few days and noticed that it has stuck with me and has some measurable results so far. You should give it a try too.

This will do several things for you:

  • Firstly it will stop you from continuing to draw out negative thoughts preventing you from spending your time on them.
  • It will also show you the situations, places and activities in your life that are triggers for negativity and you could recognize when they happen and make changes to your environment to avoid them.
  • Most significantly it will force you to shift your life direction towards getting the things, people and experiences in your life that would be completely fulfilling. Can you imagine what those things would be and what that would feel like? If you’re not already there now It should feel exhilarating and possibly uncomfortable if it’s far outside of your comfort zone and you can visualize it with enough detail.

Now Imagine that this pill is real and you just took two. Try visualizing it working for you and every time you have a thought that is negative, fear, boredom, sadness, futility, jealousy, discomfort, pain, ring the bell and focus on changing your thoughts. For the next seven days this pill will ring after each negative thought.

Use the prospect of a much more fulfilling life inspire you to put in the extra energy it takes to be consistent with this thought experiment over one week. If it can become something that you want to have in your life then thinking about the outcome you want to achieve will give you the motivation to follow through. If you can’t hold the idea one hundred percent of the time thats ok just pick it back up when you remember. Make post-it notes or make a reminder with pen on your hand where you will see it.


How would you rate the things in your life? Use a scale of one to ten, where ten is the maximum happiness you can feel about something and one is the worst imaginable. Some categories to think about: health and physical well being, career satisfaction, wealth and finances, relationships and friendships, contributions, experiences etc. If you rate anything less than ten think about what would have to change and how it would feel to actually have those things in your life that you would rate tens.

After visualizing this pill affecting your life for a few days you might notice that as you imagine experiencing the things you initially rated as ten are actually not the best that you can achieve. Though the repeated process of seeing a new goal and achieving it often a new even better goal for you will appear. If you fully applied this to your life you could end up stepping outside of your current comfort zone. You might find yourself quitting your job, starting a business, moving to a new city, finding new friends and enjoy new relationships. You could end up living a completely new and totally different life.


If the pill was real It might have such a drastic effect on your life that if you were to look at your future self you might feel discomfort or shock. If you had an outside source pushing you to overcome blocks in all areas of your life twenty four seven, you might feel like you’re riding the top of a rocket ship going faster than you can handle. You might end up giving up the things in your life you currently consider important and have an attachment to. These things may not be a part of the life of the version of you that is fully satisfied. You might lose some of your friends, your job, your relationship partner and find yourself in a completely different city, have a different career or life purpose. It’s good to put this into perspective and balance it with with the alternative of going with your current course and continuing to get what you have now.

With this pill would you continue to plug away at a job you don’t love all the while an alarm is going off in your head? What if instead you thought about getting a new job that makes you fully happy or transforming the one you have now into something new. Can you imagine what it would feel like to be completely satisfied in every area of your life? The idea is something I hadn’t ever fully imagined in vivid detail up to this point. What realistically is stopping you from making that life real?


What would your life look like in a week, month or a year from now. You might have to work through it slowly because it’s hard to anticipate how changes now will affect your decisions later on.

What interactions in your relationships now are not congruent with complete fulfilment? What would it look like if you made decisions that were motivated by positivity and excitement rather than fear or compromise.

Would you work to become more financially independent and secure for your future.

Would you start public speaking, or performances at work or for fun?

Do you have a fear of speaking in public? What if all of the thoughts in your life that lead you to the decisions that keep you from being more bold and free in front of large groups could be turned off?

Would you change your living conditions by moving to a new home? Would it be cleaner, or have a new colour, furniture, lights or artwork?

Would you pick up new hobbies like sky diving, base jumping, motorcycle racing?

Would you spend more time in nature, walking or other recreational activities. Or would you travel the world to see new sights and experiencing other cultures?


Self sabotage can prevent us from fully realizing the changes we work towards. I recall a few personal experiences of involuntary discomfort when good things have happened to me. They were totally irrational responses and not at all what I would have expected my reaction to be.

Many years ago on a Christmas morning my girlfriend at the time gave me a freaking iMac computer. She knew I wanted one to start a small business. The business was my big passion and the old computer I had at the time wasn’t cutting it. When I opened the box and saw the computer I literally felt a surge of panic and adrenaline, in that order. That thing was expensive and money was tight, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I thought to myself I really have to make this business work to return the favor. It was nice to know someone trusted in me enough to make that investment though. I recall reflecting on my reaction and appreciating that if I was to achieve every other goal in my life then I would probably feel very different about it in reality from how I imagine it.

The second instance was when I was younger, a very beautiful girl passing on the street smiled and waved at me. I was so taken back that I couldn’t even respond. Now that I think back on it I can say to myself as it smack my forehead: stupid, stupid, stupid. I want relationships with new people and I realized that there are mental blocks in social situations that jump up unless I work through them.

What I find interesting about these two situations is that my reaction was something I wouldn’t have expected, it was involuntary and occurred in a split second. These types of reactions are based on a large set of collective memories, beliefs and habits. While the reaction was only momentary I recognize that the reasons for it occurring are also affecting my thoughts and decisions through the day all of the time. Subconsciously they affect what I think about, and decide to pursue at a very low level.

Become comfortable with the idea of living a congruent life with positive thoughts. This will help prevent situations where split second reactions work against you and allow you to seize the moment. Become comfortable holding the mindset you imagine the most successful version of yourself would have.

This will help in many situations. Maybe it’s a business relationship and your natural reactions give other parties confidence in you. Maybe it’s a social setting and the only way you meet an important new connection is by recognizing the opportunity and acting before it’s gone.


In some situations we can find ourselves stuck in negative behaviour because of bad habits. Habits can be tricky to change but there are some strategies that can make it easier.

Change things up and make automatic actions require conscious control so you can more easily evaluate if you want to continue. Smokers quitting will do this by using the opposite hand. All of the automatic motions of pulling out a cigarette, lighting, holding it now require conscious effort because it’s an uncommon set of motions like writing a letter with your non dormant hand. While that is happening you have the opportunity to say to yourself, do I really want to be smoking this?

You may need to remove certain actors from your environment. If it’s tv you can move it to another room or get rid of it entirely. If it’s a person you may need to set up boundaries. If it’s your living environment you may need to rearrange furniture or paint to make it feel different.

Another approach is to use overwhelming force far beyond what you expect is reasonable. Then even if you fall short there is enough leftover effort to still get the job done.


After holding onto this thought experiment for the past few days I found that it actually had a surprising effect. Because it’s not a real pill I missed a lot of negative thoughts and my behaviour isn’t always one hundred percent affected by this. The excitement from the possibility that everything in my life could be changed if I had the courage to act makes it easy to retain the experiment. The first tangible result is this blog. I have been thinking about writing it for years but only now have I started.

If you spend your life thinking and feeling negatively it doesn’t really matter how many goals you achieve, great friends you have or millions of dollars you have in a bank account. None of that can change the enjoyment of your life. The only way to do that is to decide in each moment what thoughts you want to hold.

Personal Development Blog Introduction


The purpose of this blog is to share some of the life lessons that I have learned over the years as well as those of others that I found useful. I will be writing new entries as I work through personal goals.

One of the more interesting subjects for me in personal development is finding the things, ideas and lifestyle traits that bring the most happiness. I see in others and myself blocks or bad habits that keep us from having a better life. It can be easy to get lost in routine and forget what truly makes us fulfilled but when you see a glimpse of it you know there is no substitute.

The direction you take in life makes just as much difference to where you end up as how hard you work at it. If you achieve all of your goals only to discover afterwards that you would actually have been happier doing something else, then I would like to know that now instead of later. So this is what I’m interested in, learning new skills that move me closer to my goals, faster and also becoming more clear about who I am and where I want to go.

If we are capable of achieving happiness then why not just do that? Of course it’s not easy. When it is easy it’s great but there is always a part of ourselves that wants to explore new uncharted areas. Making big changes requires a big step outside of our comfort zone.

Some of the topics that I will write about include work and a fulfilling way to earn an income, relationships with friends partners and meeting new people, hobbies/recreation and enjoying life just to start this list.

A big influence on me has been the work of a guy named Steve Pavlina, who has a blog at Steve’s blog has a huge collection of free articles and in one of them talks about this idea of subjective reality as a perspective on life. This article had such a big impact on me that I named this site based on it.

Steve explains that it is important to understand the nature of reality accurately because it allows us to achieve better results with increased happiness and less wasted effort. If we have false beliefs about the way the world works we could unknowingly walk into conflict or counteract our own efforts without even knowing it. A lot of the beliefs we hold are layered on top of others and affect us subconsciously so they can be pervasive and difficult to identify.

In a quest to understand reality accurately we have to evaluate everything and consider that what we think we know might not actually be so. What can we say we know about reality for certain? Starting with the basics I know for certain that I am aware and conscious. Some people might say that the universe is deterministic and what you think of as free will is just an illusion and everything happens because of predestined causality of physics and brain chemistry. You will have to make up your own mind but even if that were the case you still have the experience of being a conscious thinking being and the experience itself is what I am referring to.

Now that I have established that consciousness is real what can we say about all of the physical things on this planet including the ground we walk on, our bodies that get us around, other people we meet, the food we eat and everything else we have ever touched, tasted, smelled or seen? That all must exist as a physical reality right? after all it’s always been there. But what if it’s not. What if all physical objects only exist when you’re experiencing them and disappear when you’re not. How would you know. You can’t possibly, without stepping outside of your own consciousness, something that doesn’t even make sense as a concept.

A common perspective of an objective reality is that things exist independently of you and will continue to exist with or without you. But that is an assumption I can’t accept as a given if I have to be honest with myself.

Subjective reality can be summarized by the idea that only consciousness exists, that you who is reading this are that consciousness and that everything you experience is a reflection of your thoughts.

If you can entertain the idea that this might be a more accurate way of describing how the world works, then you can open up your receptivity to new results and experiment with life with curiosity and wonder.

When was the last time you experienced something you believed to be impossible. Never? Is that because impossible things never happen or is it because the mechanism that forms the fundamental nature of reality only shows you what you believe.

What if someone told you that the way you think about the world changes the way you experience it in a physical way. Would you dismiss them because you think that can’t be possible or would you say to yourself the only way to find out is to try it for yourself and experience it from the inside out.

Subjective reality is a perspective, it doesn’t necessarily mean that objects don’t exist but it does make you take a hard look at everything in your life and rationally evaluate things will all available information. It also allows you to explore new areas of your life based on results outside of any boundaries of social convention.

I will be writing later on about some experiences that I have had relating to this. The world is an amazing place without any obvious limits to its variety and detail. It can be very good and very bad and that entirely depends on how you think.

The way I found Steve Pavlina and a particular article on his ideas of subjective reality was meaningful to me because it marked a major transition point in my life. After starting on a journey of learning and exploring new ideas my goals and motivations changed and I experienced many new things I couldn’t possibly have imagined were possible before.

I was driving to work about a decade ago and thinking to myself that I want to know the truth about the universe first and foremost regardless of how unpleasant the result might make me feel. For example what happens when we die? does our consciousness cease to exist or does something else happen? There are many stories and explanations for one or the other but at this moment in my car I remember a distinct focus putting top priority on finding truth first and accepting the result.

If you feel uncomfortable about the possible results of something you are investigating it can subtly or overtly alter the way you approach and commit. If the thought of an afterlife is ridiculous to you how thoroughly are you going to research accounts of it? If the idea of life ending with your body makes you uncomfortable how likely are you to research the works of scientists that study the brain? Afterlife is just an example to illustrate how the fear of an outcome alters our actions, choices and interests.

I remember feeling a little bit uncomfortable with the idea but I put a lot of energy into it as if to say to myself that I am going to follow through and make a commitment to searching and accepting what I found not knowing if I would ever find anything. Later that day on lunch break I was surfing the internet and came across Steve’s blog and it blew me away. I really liked his thinking and the ideas he described because they were practical, common sense but non traditional, seemed to be effective and I could see how I would apply it to my life. I couldn’t get enough and read everything I could from his site.

Synchronicity hits. The next day I was driving into work with a coworker and as I entered the building I was ready to walk over to a security panel to enter my code and disable the alarm. Each employee had a unique code to arm and disarm the system. Before I get within five meters of the alarm it beeps to signal it’s not armed after being triggered by the front door closing. Later the bosses came in and I said casually that the way the alarm wasn’t set last night because it wasn’t armed. The boss left and came back into the room five minutes later to say the log shows my code was used to disarm the system at the time I did in fact arrive. My co-worker is my witness that I never touched that panel and I did check the space to confirm that I was the first one in that day. Impossible, I took that as the universe saying hello. The fact that it was a secured door had some symbolism to me and that marked the beginning of some experiences on a journey to date that have been amazing.

You may be thinking, thats retarded, you’re wrong, it was a glitch, or you should get your head checked. That is why I described this subjective reality idea thingy earlier. How do you know it didn’t happen? In the end all anyone has is their experience of reality. The only thing that exists is your awareness, so play with the universe and see what happens. Some people may be familiar with the concept of synchronicity. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea and think it’s wrong I have a challenge and an accompanying prize for you. Can you prove the universe is objective or subjective? Nope, so instead of saying that synchronicity can’t happen the best you could possibly do is say maybe it happens? If you say it’s impossible without proving it that is the same in my mind as saying it definitely works because of magical fairy dust without proving it. If you can prove to me that synchronicity doesn’t exist or that the universe is objective, i.e. things exist independently of you then I will give you a prize.
Obviously this is meant in jest and no one believing in an objective reality would want to prove such a thing. It is just meant to make you think about things in a different way. That being said if you can convince me otherwise I really will give you a prize and a good one too.