Episode-2323- Expert Council Q&A for 11-2-18 — 17 Comments

  1. The audio link in the blog is not working. It plays an Alice Cooper song.

  2. The download button for the episode on the blog page is not working.  It takes you to a YouTube video of Alice Cooper singing today’s song of the day.

  3. Heck yeah, I’m all for having a brief cryptocurrency/blockchain news segment!  I kind of see this lull in price (and popular interest) as an opportunity to take time to delve down into the new projects and developments to find good areas to position oneself in before things get frothy and crazy again.  So I’d find a lot of value in such a segment (even if just once every week or two). Hopefully I wouldn’t be the only one.

  4. Saw a tech company based in San Francisco who hires remote, they even have a delocate package.  They will pay up to $10k in moving expenses if you move away from the area.  Probably not the only one who will do so.

    Crazy when the starting pay for new college graduate moving to the Austin area is enough to save up and buy a condo or small house.  But the combined income of a couple with graduate degrees in the engineering field in the San Francisco area, with years experience, is not enough to qualify for purchasing anything bigger than a studio apartment.

    • This comment is so profound I shared it on FB on my personal page, the official TSP Page and the TSP FB Group.  In 10 years that is the first time I ever did that.

  5. The USD Coin was developed as a joint project between Coinbase and Circle (who purchased the poloniex exchange) as more of a utility coin. The purpose being to move your USD around anywhere that supports USD Coin without doing wire transfers. The plus side of that is it helps to take the government, at least a little, out of the equation.

    It is an interesting idea. It can allow you to arbitrage amongst exchanges with your USD. Also leads to a different trading pair to trade against. Also over the 200+ exchanges around they can now allow you to use USD without needing to deal with us regulation.

    The question at this point why use USD Coin over bitcoin. There are really 2 key reasons I can see.

    1) Comfort of institutional investors, the big money. Right now there is a push to get several trillion dollars of private institutional investors into bitcoin. With a lot of the fund managers not really familiar with Crypto this is a way to ease them into it. They are more comfortable with USD over cyrpto to crypto exchanges.

    2) USD Coin is also backed directly by USD. You don’t get a token unless there is legit USD backing it this helps guarantee that when yo go to get USD back for your USD Coin then you can get it. This is also great for institutions because they know they can get there USD back out quickly if need be.

  6. I would vote for a regular crypto update from Ben. The space moves quickly and unless it’s your main focus, it’s hard to keep up.

  7. As for the gardening with wood chips – there are a few good Youtube channels that cover this. My favorite is James Prigioni’s. He’s been converting his property to a food forest in stages using wood chips.

    Jack Mace goes to the extreme with a 3′ deep wood chip bed in AZ. The last 2 vid links cover what he’s done. However, he’s since sold his property and moved to Spain but seeing what can be done is amazing.


    The Gardening Channel With James Prigioni (gardening in N.J. using wood chips)

    Handeeman does a tour of Jake Mace’s garden

    Jake Mace (he’s since sold his property and moved out of the US)

  8. Revitalizing a small town economy:

    Considering it’s a small population, you can go with some good old fashioned Ghetto-Marketing. You’ve probably seen this before. Go to the bank and get $1000 in singles. Record the Serial Numbers in a spreadsheet, and then print a logo on the bill using an ink-jet printer. Come up with a generic brand “Home Town Cash” or something like that, and a URL / QR code that leads to your website.

    Now post a sign in your diner: “Pay your bill with a Home Town Buck, get 5% off the meal price”. Stock your register with them and give them out as change.

    Why do this?
    You want money to stay local. By using a local currency which has greater value in your town than it might elsewhere, you incentivize that.

    You also create an incentive for cash payment (which in your line of work is essential for many obvious reasons).

    You get advertising, but unlike printing fliers, these won’t end up in the trash, you’re not paying for the paper, and they’ll be recirculated around town for you, changing hands many times and making many more impressions than a flyer or newspaper ad could ever hope to.

    You can track authentic bills via the serial number so nobody will just be printing your logo on their bills (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing anyway, depending on what promotions you run).

    Once you’ve saturated the local market with these bills and driven up some awareness, you can open the platform to other local businesses. It should be easy to onboard them, you’re just adding a page on the associated website where they can post their specials using these special notes, and giving them access to the list of validated serial numbers (a google spreadsheet is fine for this). It’s an extremely low-cost way for them to offer a promotion.

    So perhaps you get a local pizza place to sign on with your initiative. They post the daily “Lucky” serial number on the site. The customer who pays with that specific bill gets their pizza for $1. That raises awareness of the program, plus any takers for that prize would have been brought to your website and been exposed to the pizza shop’s ads, daily specials etc. Odds are for every “winner”, they get a hundred visits to their site and can push addons which will more than compensate for the cost of the prize.

    The more businesses who participate, the more effective the marketing is.

    Creating a cash-incentive is huge for a small town. Many small businesses depend on cash payment. That $1 bill isn’t going to end up at a bank any time soon, nobody is depositing it, it’ll be in people’s wallets or retained for a local business’s cash register till (unlike larger notes that get picked up by armored cars and shipped away). People won’t be spending that $1 bill on crap from Amazon, they won’t be paying their bills with it. Lower denominations of cash tend to recirculate in a local economy for a long time. The more cash there is in the town, the better. It moves very differently than digital money and will more readily consolidate in a location (especially if it holds more value in that location), rather than balancing out to an equilibrium with neighboring communities.

    This gives you the advantage of a “local currency” (which is the ideal model), but avoids those pesky laws (and overhead) you deal with when minting your own currency. You’re using US dollars, and merely adding value to them, not competing with them. And as long as you don’t attempt to change the denomination or obscure security markings, it doesn’t constitute defacement, so there’s no legal issue there.

    Any partner businesses who join your consortium and offer promotions based on these dollars will agree to retain them locally in exchange for access to your site. You might even be able to charge a small listing fee if you get enough momentum behind it.

    You can draw consumer attention to the program using a variety of methods. • Maybe a unique “fortune-cookie” style saying printed on each bill.
    • Maybe print a playing card value on each one, and run a promotion “Pay with a pair Jacks or better =  a coupon for free coffee on your next visit, a full house = coupon for 20% off your bill”.
    • If there’s a local highschool or college campus, maybe print sports player’s photos in a corner with their name, and it becomes a trading card of sorts. People might actually seek out a specific one.
    • Print a non-trademarked cartoon character on each one to appeal to kids, and they can redeem it for a $1 desert item which normally costs more. Parents get their change and give the kid a $1. The kid won’t be spending it 200 miles away.
    • Maybe let people take out a classified in a special run of the bills… a 1″ x 1″ photo and 3 words. A wedding announcement for example, or congratulations on your new baby, or graduation. When someone scans that bill to the website, they hit a custom sub-page with more info on the announcement. So your late neighbor Teddy’s Bowling team wants to memorialize him, and for $20 they get the next batch of 100 bills printed with his photo, “RIP Teddy” and a QR code that goes to a sub-page of your site they can customize.
    • Maybe you put a small note about the town’s history on each bill.

    These things get people engaged draw them to the site, where they see you and your partner’s specials. Tailor the style to your community.
    Once aware of what’s happeining with these dollars, they stick that dollar in their wallet and earmark it for use in your home town to maximize it’s value to them.

    All in all, you’re into it for $100 in web hosting, domain registration and printer ink. The dollars, you have anyway, and you’re dispensing them as change, so you’re not losing anything on them. If it doesn’t catch on, you really haven’t lost anything. You couldn’t print customer loyalty punch cards for that, and these work in any business that agrees to sign on.

    The biggest benefit however is cultivating a local economy where everyone has $20 cash in their wallet and doesn’t immediately reach for their credit cards. As insignificant an amount as that may seem, that will do more for your town than you can imagine. You’re letting the money circulate while still locking it down by geography. The advertising is just a bonus.

    Running a diner, you’re perfectly positioned to spearhead this. The only challenge is raising people’s awareness of the program. When your server brings back the customer’s change, they count it out for them and on the last single they count say “and this one is you hometown dollar, spend that with us on your next visit and get 5% off”. Getting the word out is easy for you.

    On a larger scale:
    A group of local business owners and investors could also look into establishing a fairgrounds in the town to bring in outside cash. The overhead is pretty low, you’re just buying acreage from a degraded farm that’s already leveled for you (ideally well draining as much of it will be used for parking). You have the taxes and insurance, the occasional cleaning crew, and you’ll need restrooms on site. But really, it’s fairly cheap as side-businesses go. You then rent it out for local events. A farmers market during the week. Maybe a charity carnival for a local school or fire department. You take a flat rate to cover cleanup and a portion of the gate fee. You might even consider a vintage drive-in movie screen, or opening it to paintball (but not both, for hopefully obvious reasons). There are lots of ways you could capitalize on that when you’re not booking an event.

    This alone isn’t going to generate a ton of revenue. But the motel does well when the farm equipment expo is in town and 15 sales reps need lodging for a week. The carnival brings in people from the surrounding area who will fuel up at gas stations and eat at local diners. You won’t get rich doing this as a business, but you can probably get the town to eat some of the associated costs, or perhaps get some grant money for it to help boost the local economy.

    You can probably even find cheap/free labor. Let the local ROTC group host the drill competition there and that place will be spotless before anyone from out of town shows up. Let a local scouting troop clean it up as a community service in exchange for the businesses doing a fundraiser for them. Quite a few communities use police recruits in training to do bitch-work for crowd security.

    You’re into it for the cost of a worthless vacant lot, which when improved with utilities can be sold to a developer if the project becomes too much of a hassle or doesn’t generate enough revenue to sustain itself. With the stated objective of drawing in people (and their money) to the local economy, you’ll likely find support in the chamber of commerce, local police and fire (who always need a venue for their fundraisers), and if the location is away from people’s houses, you’ll generally have community support as well. Sponsoring businesses can promote the events there. It won’t create a boom town, but it can provide a nice boost to local business revenues and should be able to pay for itself. There’s a high probability you can get others to throw money at it for you, especially local government who loves the idea of “more revenue” and doesn’t give a shit how they’re spending the revenue they’re already administrating, because it’s other people’s money and they need to spend every cent of it to justify the same level of state funding the next year.

    Just a couple of ideas. I’m sure this audience can come up with a million more.

    • Great comment Joe. Really got me thinking.

      As a technologist, went straight to local alt-coins without thinking about much simpler and more robust solutions like the ones you’re proposing.

      Thanks for the post!

      • Grandma and Uncle Joe won’t use bitcoin, but they will spend a stamped dollar. Yea hit me between the eyes too.

  9. WOW what a great episode and I almost didn’t get to listen to it.

    I am Dennis, the guy with the cafe in Jack’s segment and really got some amazing ideas on to help improve my little town. Pages of notes and ideas to help in my town and business. What more can you expect from a Podcast about survival? I’ll tell you this that the years I’ve been a listener and usually a MSB member, I have grown more and have become a better stronger man.  This, I believe, gives me a huge leg up in my ability to survive.

    I have been lightly promoting my cafe as a work station for locals to come and use the free wifi and printer.  I have a few people who come into the space for that but now with Jacks idea I think I can go bigger than just come in and work at the cafe.

    I was also thinking of some kind of coffee of the month program and had Nicole “Awesome” Sauce explained how to go about doing that. Thanks Nicole and I may be contacting you for a IngleBlend from Holler Roast 😉

    Also thank you Joseph Miller! That was a million dollars worth of great marketing ideas.  I have been thinking about starting a local “Millheim Money” but your idea with the $1 is a better idea. Glad you didn’t assume I knew about the $1 trick because I never saw of heard about doing that.  I am working on that right after this!  

    Again I want to thank Jack and all the other members of this community who have helped me go from a corporate NYC sales zombie to an off grid homesteader who is taking control of his god dam life!

    I need to fill my dash!!!

    Thanks again

    Dennis Alan the City Boy Homesteader       my homesteading       my cafe         my music venue       to use with the Millheim Money idea

    • Dude a listener wrote in with another amazing suggestion, tune in to today’s show to hear it. Stupid simple and will cost almost nothing but if you got 10 businesses doing it, wow, just wow.