Everything is a gamble – including life in North Korea

MONDAY, 8 OCTOBER 2007

I recently had the insight that it is very difficult to make money if you a) do not have a target list of prospective clients, b) if you do not have any partners, c) if you do not have a product of your own that you can market with the help of affiliates, and d) if you do not invest at least some money in pay-per-click ads or other paid advertising. The idea that you just can fill a space on the Internet with text and a few affiliate links that say “Click here for more information” is nice but completely unrealistic.

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Besides so-called Internet marketing, I have developed an interest in sports betting as a way to make money. How do I justify risking precious time and financial resources on activities to which I have had almost no exposure until recently? The way I see it, everything is a gamble.

A so-called permanent job is a risk you take: You place a bet against any large-scale layoffs in the near future, and you place a bet on how profitable the company is, how well the company is doing in the stock market, how well the company is managed, and other factors that are totally beyond the control of you and the company. You also take a chance with your own business, like a series of pottery products or a coffee shop. Marketing other people’s products on the Internet is also a risk that you take: You place a bet that enough people will visit your website, then click on a link, and then buy something while the piece of code on their computer that will give you credit for the fact that they bought something is still active.

You put time and money on the table, and you hope for the best. In the case of a full-time job, you are influenced by social convention that says, “Everyone gets a job, and then you get a salary, and after five years a promotion and everything works out fine.” In the case of Internet marketing, you base your risk on the advice of some expert (real or not) who says do this or do that, or go to this site or work with that platform and then your dividend will be this much per day or per week or per month or per year.

Every way you try to make money is a gamble, and every industry has its so-called experts. Sports betting, horse racing and other such activities are simply gambling stripped of the thin layer that makes other things look a little less like gambling.

Every person has to decide at the end of the day where the best bet lies for him or her, how much they are willing to risk, and how much they are willing to lose.

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I recently watched two documentaries about North Korea. A few remarks: North Koreans work with the reality with which they were born. They cannot function as if they were, for example, Americans who were born in Chicago, because it simply would not be conducive to the continuance of their daily existence. They speak Korean, they recite their oaths of loyalty to the Dear Leader; they work, eat, sleep, participate in mass performances, marry, have children, laugh, cry, suffer; they enjoy the small things in life, and the fellowship of friends and family; they avoid criticising the government or the authorities, or the Dear Leader’s height or weight or hairstyle; and then they die.

WEDNESDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2007

From the Complete Memoirs of Jacques Casanova: “If you have not done anything worthy of being recorded, at least write something worthy of being read.”

SUNDAY, 28 OCTOBER 2007

If 60% of my results are bad, I accept it, and I am happy with the 40% that is good.

If 60% of my results are good, I complain about the 40% that is bad, believing that the bad part spoils the good part.

I better work on that, fast.

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