Wednesday, August 24, 2005

$1M a year in Google Adsense

$1M a year in Google Adsense (or why 2,739 is my favorite number)

From the article:
    If back in September when we started playing with Google Adsense someone told me it would turn into a $1M a year business I would have laughed. A million bucks without a sales person? Give me a break!

    However, yesterday we broke our $2,100 record with a $2,335 day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005 stats

Let's you see what people are shopping for: stats

Simple content can drive traffic

Look at how simple this page is:

Strange Things You Likely Didn't Know

However, it is an interesting page when you read it. It got picked up by and sent a lot of traffic to the site. You can see the spike if you look it up in Alexa.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Looking at other web sites

As discussed in Creating a custom web site, there is a lot to be learned by looking at other web sites for ideas. I found this site interesting:

Welcome to The World

It is a totally Flash site, which I would not recommend as a general rule because of indexing problems and (in many cases) cost issues. However, it has an unusual but helpful navigation tool that may be useful in other projects, and the look of the site is very clean.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Site ideas

Look at these sites for ideas on the "look" of your site:

css thesis

Starting a blog

A nice set of tips to keep in mind if you are starting a blog:

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Promoting an idea on the Web

Let's say that you have a new idea that you would like to promote. You want to introduce people to your idea, get comments and see how much the idea spreads. It could be something totally normal (a new way to save the whales) or totally outlandish (a new way to create a perpetual motion machine). If so, then one way to promote the idea is to use the Web.

One of the best examples of a idea-promoting web site that I've seen is this one:

The site has been around for several years now. Even a few years after its creation, it is still a gorgeous site. When first released it won awards and got a lot of exposure.

Along the same lines but not nearly so involved is this PDF file:

A permanent settlement on Mars: The architecture of the Mars Homestead Project

It has no animation or interactive features, but it gets its idea across.

Here's a site that is promoting a new way to think about space travel:


Whatever your web site does, it expresses some sort of idea and functionality. Is it possible to create a compelling explanation of that idea that gets people excited when they see it? We see this kind of stuff all the time and we often take it for granted and ignore it. However, it can sometimes make a big difference. Click, for example, on the flash animation available on this home page entitled "Flywheels and Frequency Regulation". Is that a sexy topic? No. But the explanation offered in the flash animation is very clear. Here is another example -- and let me warn you that it is very incorrect politically -- Pee dude.

What we are talking about here is sometimes called "viral content" -- content that is so weird/interesting/funny/compelling/whatever that people actually will send it to their friends. In some cases it is specialty content intended to be passed around. In other cases it is simply a compelling explanation.

Think about different ways to explain your site or product. Then consider the possibility of creating an explanation so compelling that it causes people to sit up and notice it (or better yet to email it to a friend).

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Fun, interesting idea for a web site:


Monday, August 08, 2005

'Penguins' film is resonant

There was the post several weeks ago entitled Creating a billion dollar idea. It asked the question, "Is there a new franchise that you could start and publish on the Web?" This article shows that one possible answer to that question is penguins:

'Penguins' film poised to be No. 2 U.S. documentary

From the article: "Warner Independent Pictures on Friday more than doubled the number of theaters playing its nature movie 'March of the Penguins,' boosting the film's chance at becoming the No. 2 documentary of all time at U.S. box offices.

The move puts the Antarctic adventure 'Penguins' in 1,867 theaters in the United States and Canada this weekend, up from 778 one week ago, according to, which monitors box-office earnings.

The film, which follows a pack of Emperor Penguins during an arduous mating season, had grossed $18.4 million through Wednesday and was poised to surpass the $21.6 million for Michael Moore's anti-gun documentary 'Bowling For Columbine.'"

See also this post on resonance.

The mind of a millionaire

This started with one of those uncomfortable airport "experiences", where you end up spending 12 hours on the ground because the airport system is not working. In this case, the problem was a huge line of thunderstorms that stood between where I was and where I was heading.

So I was trapped in the airport, and fortunately it had a used book store. One of the books on the shelf was "The Millionaire Mind" by Thomas Stanley. Stanley is best known as the author of "The Millionaire Next Door."

The jacket cover says, "In the 1996 best-seller The Millionaire Next Door, written by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley, one of contemporary America's most firmly held beliefs was shattered. According to Dr. Stanley, wealthy individuals do not all belong to an elite group of highly educated and exceedingly lucky people who often inherit their money and spend it on lavish purchases and pampered lifestyles. The Millionaire Next Door showed us that a significant number of America's wealthy are far more likely to work hard, save diligently, and live well below their means."

"The Millionaire Mind" is a book that tries to understand how these millionaires think. Stanley was trying to find "people who were actually wealthy, as opposed to those who had big homes with big mortgages but low net worth." He took a nationwide sampling of people like this, sent them questionnaires, and then compiled the trends in his book.

I am not yet done with the book, but even in chapter 1, some of the trends he explores are fascinating. Here, in no particular order, are some of those trends:
  • "The typical member of our group has never spent more than $41,000 for an automobile or $4,500 for an engagement ring. Neither our spouses nor we have ever spent more than $38 (including tip) for a haircut."

  • 61 percent received nothing by way of inheritance, financial gifts, trust income, etc.

  • 97 percent are homeowners. Median home price was $435,000 at the time of purchase. But only 10 percent bought "new" homes -- homes built in the last ten years. The vast majority are living in "older homes" in long-established neighborhoods.

  • 32 percent are business owners. 16 percent are corporate executives. 10 percent are attorneys. 9 percent are physicians. The rest are accountants, sales professionals, engineers, professors, etc. "A disproportionately high percentage of millionaires, multimillionaires, and decamillionaires are self employed business owners and entrepreneurs or self-employed professionals." See How to make a million dollars for a perspective on that.

  • Most of these millionaires "have been told by some authority figure or by the results of standardized test scores that we were not intellectually gifted, of law school caliber, medical school material, qualified to pursue a medical degree or smart enough to succeed." Average GPA in college is 2.92.

  • This was fascinating to me: "Not one millionaire that I interviewed had anything nice to say about gambling." I have been to Las Vegas many times for various business trips and conventions, but I have never spent a dime gambling. I have never even stuck a quarter in a slot machine. I always thought I was somehow "weird" because of that. Now I find out I am normal.

  • Finally, "What are the top five factors most often mentioned by millionaires as being very important in explaining their economic success? After you read them below, take out a card or a sheet of paper and write down these five elements of financial success. Keep a copy in your wallet or purse and paste a copy on your television...
    1. Integrity - being honest with all people
    2. Dsicipline - applying self control
    3. Social skills - getting along with people
    4. A supportive spouse
    5. Hard work - more than most people"
It's an interesting book with LOTS of tidbits like that.

I think that one of the key messages that you might carry away from the book, if you are striving to be a millionaire, is this: if you find that you are a hard-working, non-gambling, generally frugal person who does not need a flashy car/house/haircut, and so on, you may be onto something. You are headed, generally, down a path that many millionaires have followed. Simply be persistent. Read books like this one and The Millionaire Next Door, study them for lessons you can apply to your own life, and look at the world around you for opportunities. How to make a million dollars is one good starting point.