April, 2009

Book Review: “So Sue Me!” by Arnold S. Goldstein, Ph.D

April 30th, 2009

We always look for ways to make money but, strangely, we ignore the equally-important part about keeping the money. Author Arnold S. Goldstein, Ph.D is perhaps America’s top asset protection attorney. You know, it’s crazy we don’t spend more time protecting what we earn, since we can potentially lose it faster and easier than we can earn it. In his best-selling book, So Sue Me! How to Protect Your Assets from the Lawsuit Explosion, Goldstein has some sobering statistics:  In America, “There’s a one in five chance that you will be sued next year. (One in three if you are a doctor or business owner.)” America has 90% of the world’s litigation. And keep this in mind: “You don’t have to do anything wrong to get sued and to lose.”  And you can lose everything, unless you protect yourself — and the time to set up asset protection is now and not when you get sued.

Goldstein’s book is a fast, easy, no B.S. read. This reviewer did it on a 3-hour plane trip. There are, essentially, three ways to protect your assets 1) Owning exempt assets; 2) Titling your assets in one or more protective entities/firewalls (LLCs, for example, instead of sole proprietorships); and 3) Encumber or equity-strip assets to make them less valuable to creditors. The author goes over each of these in good detail. And it’s not just for the rich. If your net worth is $25,000, you need to protect that $25,000.

Goldstein discusses offshore asset protection strategies as well. The thing to remember here is that the goal is NOT to avoid taxes. The goal is to use legal means to increase your protection.

(reviewed by http://www.richdogmillionaire.com/)

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Wired: “Mad Magazine Mocks Google”

April 25th, 2009

Wired.com has the scoop on Google getting the Mad magazine treatment. The Mad issue hits the stands on April 28th.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Craigslist Under “Scrutiny” — Again

April 25th, 2009

Once again, Craigslist is under attack — or as this press report says, under “scrutiny” — following the murder of a woman who advertised erotic services on Craigslist in Boston. As Reuters reports, “Legal experts say growing scrutiny of Craigslist by authorities could lead to big changes at the 14-year-old online bazaar that generates more than 20 billion page views per month in 50 countries with a staff of just 28 people.”

Reuters continues: “Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who led a probe into (AIG’s) controversial $165 million in bonuses, this week called on Craigslist to block ads for escort services that promote prostitution.”

Julissa Brisman, a 26-year-old masseuse, “was bashed in the head and shot three times… A Boston University medical student who answered her Craigslist ad, is charged with the murder.

Meanwhile, some authorities, including Mr. Blumenthal above, is suggesting some of the blame lies with Craigslist. We say this: 99.99999999999% of those who have used Craigslist do not commit crimes. The murderer in this case must be punished to the full extent of the law. But, once again, certain segments of society want to assign some blame to others. By Mr Blumenthal’s logic, we should also blame the car company who made the car that the murderer used to get to the murder scene. Maybe we should blame the hotel for providing the scene. Who else can we blame?

We get worried whenever anybody wants to restrict or censor  the internet. We do not need a nanny-state prohibiting us from going down a dark alley, or telling us we’ve had too many cookies. Also, Blumenthal, like others before him, are using this opportunity to legislate “the oldest profession.” He will fail, like the others before him. We just wish he would separate the crime of murder from basic freedoms, and the existence of the internet.

(review by www.richdogmillionaire.com)

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

More Yahoo Cuts; Cutting GeoCities — And Why Yahoo Has Lost

April 23rd, 2009

As you probably know now, Yahoo announced its third round of layoffs. Additionally, Yahoo is shutting down several services, including Geocities. Remember when Yahoo was at the top? Before Google. There was Yahoo and also AOL. What happened to them?

Jeff Jarvis, in his book, What Would Google Do?, sums it up pretty well: He calls Yahoo and AOL “has beens,” stuck operating under “old rules… They control content and distribution and think they can own customers, relationships, and attention.” Google beat these guys simply by recognizing the nature of the  internet: “Google, ” Jarvis says, “sees its home page as the way to get you to where you want to go. And when you get there, there’s a good chance you’ll find a Google ad or application. That is where Google wants to be: where you are.” Meanwhile, Yahoo and AOL wanted you to come to where they were, and stay there. That is not how the internet works.

And this is why Yahoo has lost the game.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , ,

MySpace Shakeup — CEO Steps Down

April 23rd, 2009

As Bloomberg reports: “MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe will step down as chief executive officer of the social-networking Web site, after falling behind rival Facebook Inc. ” Rumors are than Owen Van Natta, Facebook’s former COO, might replace DeWolfe.

Technorati Tags: , ,

“Internet Has Only Just Begun, Say Founders”

April 23rd, 2009

The founders of the internet say the web has really just started and hasn’t reached its potential: ” Just 23 percent of the globe’s population currently uses the Internet…” That a lot of potential.  Right now only five percent of Africans surf the web. Access is expected to grow substantially with the increase of mobile access, as people will no longer need a computer to get to the internet.

Robert Cailliau, who developed the internet  in 1989 with Tim Berners-Lee, said he is surprised that search engines can still sort through all the data. But, of course, that is what makes the WWW so powerful — it’s the opportunity Google saw and ran with.

Once again, facts and current events like this make us think: What opportunities are out there? If only 23% of the world population is on the internet, what businesses can be built based on the needs of the other 77%, once they get online? Is their an angle here?

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

How to Become a Rock Star in These (Internet) Times

April 22nd, 2009

In the old days, a musician’s dream was to get signed by a major music label, which was the path to the “topper most of the popper most,” as Johnny and the boys might say. U2 has (or is it have) a new album; they, as the industry wags have been discussing, might be the last of a great rock bands — or at least the last of the successful big label bands. Ultimately that remains to been seen. But it is true these days that the A&R man — the label guy who could bless you with a chance — is no longer the single gateway. Part of the story is how technology has turned a hits business into a niche business. But a more specific example is this: At the end of his book, Click (reviewed here), Bill Tancer told the story of the Arctic Monkeys:

In 2003, The Arctic Monkeys, a “post punk revival” band in England started handing out demo CDs at their shows. They “unwittingly created a new music distribution system.” Fans started file-swapping the music online. The distribution exploded on MySpace and other sites, where “super-connectors” like Tila Tequila passed the song around and around. Tancer also charts the band, Fall Out Boy, as he saw their internet activity precede their climb to the top of the charts in February 2007.

This isn’t just a fundamental change in the music industry; it’s happening just about everythere, from publishing to e-commerce of all kinds of product and services. The corporate middle-man is obsolete. Of course, we expect that such folks will throw obstacles in the way whenever they can. (It wasn’t that long ago when a few of the telecom giants were trying to get legislation defining different grades of internet traffic. Remember that? Commercial traffic was  to have priority over non-commercial/private traffic, or some crap like that). Anyway, we still have our free internet, and all the opportunities it brings.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,

Internet “Pirate Bay” Founders Sentenced to Jail (Update)

April 20th, 2009

The founders of Pirate Bay, a file-swapping site are headed for jail, in what could be the beginning of increased prosecutions: “Lawyers believe that the sentencing of Peter Sunde, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundström to a year in jail for breaching Swedish copyright law could lead to a flurry of similar lawsuits as Hollywood and  the music industry battles to regain the upper hand in the war against file sharing.” These prosecutions are going after those who provide the channel for others who are swapping copyrighted material.

UPDATE: The lawyer for the defendants is demanding a retrial after it was revealed the judge in the case belongs to Swedish “copyright groups.”

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Zappos.com: $1 Billion in Sales

April 18th, 2009

This week The Economist magazine has an interesting article on Zappos.com, the online shoe store that is branching out into other products. Computer Science graduate Tony Hsieh started the company in 1999 and last year it rang up sales of $1 billion. Zappos is distinctly different from many online stores in that it is decidedly not so automatic (as opposed to the Amazon model). Hsieh once described Zappos as a “A service company that just happens to sell shoes.” Job interviewees are asked who their favorite superhero is. New employees are given an option to quit for $2,000. All this to weed out those who are not committed to the wow-service culture of Zappos.

Again, this is an example about finding the edge and the niche. While most internet wags harp about the greatness of automation and working as least as possible (Rich Dog Millionaire is guilty as charged here), other guys are going out and making a billion dollars by essentially doing the opposite. Hsieh is building a brand that he can expand into other areas, not unlike Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Mathematics of Internet Gurus

April 16th, 2009

As you know, we have purchased and reviewed many internet business ebooks and related materials. Naturally, we are on a lot of email lists. It’s a good way to stay up on what’s being hawked out there, even if it floods our inbox. But as we get these emails, with their clever (or irritating) subject matters, we are always reminded of the mathematics involved. To wit, if you — or your “good buddy” — really are making $25,786 per month with your “fantastic, unbelievable product,” why the hell are you telling us about it? Why don’t you take your great idea for yourself and multiply it? Eh??  Or is it possible — could we perhaps assume — that you are making most of your money telling us about it — selling it to us. Forgive us if we hesitate to send you our $99 even “If this deal won’t last!”

To be sure, there is some valuable material out there, as we have written about. But even with some of the good stuff we wish: If only this guy had spent as much time writing the actual material as he did with the sales pitch for it.

(original content by www.richdogmillionaire.com)

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,