What Really Matters

August 7, 2010

But Will It Make You Happy?

A two-bedroom apartment. Two cars. Enough wedding china to serve two dozen people.

Yet Tammy Strobel wasn’t happy. Working as a project manager with an investment management firm in Davis, Calif., and making about $40,000 a year, she was, as she put it, caught in the “work-spend treadmill.”

So one day she stepped off.

Inspired by books and blog entries about living simply, Ms. Strobel and her husband, Logan Smith, both 31, began donating some of their belongings to charity. As the months passed, out went stacks of sweaters, shoes, books, pots and pans, even the television after a trial separation during which it was relegated to a closet. Eventually, they got rid of their cars, too. Emboldened by a Web site that challenges consumers to live with just 100 personal items, Ms. Strobel winnowed down her wardrobe and toiletries to precisely that number.

This ties in neatly with both my interest in wee houses as well as the minimalism (both in size and price) that eBooks offer versus printed books.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, even Sony, should start marketing eBook readers to those seeking simplicity, savings — and escape.

As usual, the English were ahead of everyone:

Click through to YouTube to see the two other parts.


August 7, 2010

Price Misperceptions: eBook Readers Versus iPod

August 7, 2010

I just read a post somewhere that again brought up the issue of an eBook reader’s price, stating that even $139 for the Kindle WiFi is “too high.”

And yet, when the iPod was finally made available to PC users (with USB syncing) in 2002, it cost a whopping $299!

Compact Discs were anywhere from $7-$10 or so back then (for pop rock). Less expensive than hardcover books.

Sure, people had collections they could rip, but if they wanted new, they’d have to pay that price for a physical platter or spend 99-cents at the iTunes Music Store (as it was then called) for each song (which could duplicate the $7-$10 platter price if compiling an album via iTMS).

So why was spending $299.00 on a device where the “software” was $7-$10 not expensive?

Why is spending $139 on a device where the “software” (printed books) is anywhere from $7-$35 seen as “too high”?

The iPod basically kept music at the same price.

eBook readers have led to a dramatic reduction in a book’s price. I can buy a new Stieg Larsson book in eBook form for $9.99 — it costs $27.95 in printed form! That’s a $17.96 discount!

Somehow the word needs to get out that buying an eBook reader can pay for itself in less than ten new eBook purchases (high-end $17 discount times a little over eight).

eBook readers allow people to read more for less.

Unless someone is engaging in widespread music piracy, that’s just not true for the iPod (especially with some tracks now $1.29)!

August 7, 2010

One night I was sitting on the bed in my hotel room on Bunker Hill, down in the very middle of Los Angeles. It was an important night in my life, because I had to make a decision about the hotel. Either I paid up or I got out: that was what the note said, the note the landlady had put under my door. A great problem, deserving acute attention. I solved it by turning out the lights and going to bed.

From Ask the Dust by John Fante. Kindle Store seems to have all his books. I am soooo doomed.

August 7, 2010

When knowledge is dispersed, you are less likely to find what you want via a formal search. You may not even know what you are looking for. But you are more likely than you were in the past to discover something useful through a chance encounter. That is why, the authors argue, people need to organise their lives in ways that increase their chances of unexpectedly bumping into someone who can tell them something useful.

Schumpeter: In search of serendipity | The Economist

August 7, 2010

Executive Leaves Apple After iPhone Antenna Troubles – NYTimes.com

August 7, 2010

Berkshire’s $1.4 billion decline in the market value of its derivatives bets on stock market indexes and other financial instruments followed a gain of $1.5 billion a year ago.

While CEO Warren Buffett has famously criticized derivatives as “financial weapons of mass destruction,” he has lately expressed opposition to Wall Street regulation designed to make derivative trading safer.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway posts 40% drop in profit – Aug. 6, 2010