"God Bless the Dream, the Dreamer and the Result." 

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How to Make $96K as a Travel Blogger

Matt Kepnes is a 28-year-old Bostonian who's turned his passion for travel into a blogging gig that earns him up to $8,000 a month. He explains how in a New York Times interview. (Good publicity helps: His site, NomadicMatt.com, is down temporarily because of a traffic surge from the interview.) Some highlights:

Who pays him: "It’s a combination of Google AdSense, affiliate sales (insurance, backpacks, guidebooks), private advertising people coming to me. ('Hey, we want to put ads up on this site.')" The site itself earns about $3,000 a month, and he also now has a book for beginners.
Traffic: "Probably close to 800 to 1,000 visitors a day would get you enough traffic to generate a good-size income."
Getting started: He paid $250 for his domain name and a computer at a hosting company. Friends showed him how to use HTML to create his site. He began about a year and a half ago, with traffic increasing gradually.
Epiphany: "About a year ago, when I had gotten big enough that some advertisers started asking to put ads on my site, and I thought, 'Hey, this isn’t too bad—I just made $1,000!' And then another advertiser came and I made a little bit more money." This has been his full-time job since April.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Temp Hiring Is on the Rise

With the economy on an upswing, employers are feeling a tad more confident—enough to bring on more temporary workers, who can easily be let go if things go south again. Temp hiring has risen for 4 months—longer than the aftermath of previous recessions, when employers started hiring permanent workers after just 2 or 3 months, the New York Times reports.

Though temp workers don’t receive many of the benefits of permanent employment, the government considers them wage-earning workers, helping to bring down the unemployment rate in 36 states last month. “I’ve never seen the job market this horrible,” said one new temp who lost his job 14 months ago. He now makes $25 an hour—“a long way down from the $135,000 a year I once made," he notes.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dreamliner's Upgrades Good for Passengers, Too

There’s plenty for airlines to like about Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner (it goes farther, faster, on less fuel), but you might not have heard about the upgrades it holds for passengers. Via the Christian Science Monitor:

Windows aren’t just 65% larger, but passengers can adjust the tint from transparent to opaque rather than pulling a shade.
Larger overhead bins.
Better air-filtration system.
Composite fuselage allows not only for the cabin to be pressurized at a more comfortable level, but also at higher humidity.
The wings on the 787—of which 840 have been ordered, by55 airlines—can respond to turbulence, meaning a smoother flight.
With less noise from the engine, exhaust and ventilation, Boeing says the cabin will be quieter, and less subject to vibration.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Help Wanted: No Madoffs Need Apply

Add his former employees to the list of of Bernard Madoff's victims—and that includes his sons. Wherever it appears, the Madoff name on a résumé is toxic for those trying to continue to work in finance, experts say. Mark Madoff, who worked for his father for 20 years, is reportedly trying to find a job in trading. Fat chance, one employer tells the Wall Street Journal: “He's untouchable in any firm that deals with the public.”

Family members aren’t the only ones touched by the noxious name. “I'll never get a job in finance,” says a former Madoff secretary and budding hairdresser. Still, she has perspective. “I'm one of the lucky ones.” Case in point: Another former employee is trying to recover $200,000 she invested with Madoff, but the hurdles are higher for insiders. And she’s job-hunting. “I need someone who doesn't care about Madoff,” she says. Good luck.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How to Revive American Innovation

Pessimism about America's future role in the world economy is spreading even as the economy stabilizes, but there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful, writes David Brooks in the New York Times. America's economy still has incredible potential, Brooks writes, and the government can revive innovation and stay competitive through a few steps that both parties should be able to agree on:

Push through President Obama's education reforms and improve America's human capital.
Raise federal research spending and boost overall R&D spending back to the 3% of GDP it received in the '60s.
Rebuild the nation's infrastructure, with spending decisions being made by National Infrastructure Bank instead of "pork-seeking politicians."
Rein in the deficit by having a commission create a roadmap back to fiscal responibility and letting Congress vote on it.
Use diplomacy to correct global imbalances such as China's artificially weak currency.
Loosen visa quotas and allow more skilled immigrants in.
Encourage innovation hotspots, rather than at a national level.
Lower corporate tax to international standards
Finally, "don't be stupid," by doing things like picking trade fights with other countries or getting carried away with gimmicks like research taxes.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Obama Summit Tackles Jobs

The Obama administration will hold a much-hyped jobs summit today, bringing 130 guests—including labor leaders and a host of big-name CEOs—to brainstorm ideas for tackling unemployment. The event also just happens to coincide with the release of November’s unemployment figures, which aren’t expected to be pretty—ADP estimates that 169,000 jobs were lost last month.

With federal deficits dizzyingly high, Obama’s hoping for ideas that require minimal government outlays—like giving homeowners incentives to retrofit their homes for greater energy efficiency or tax credits for businesses that hire new employees. That hasn’t stopped labor leaders from dreaming big—the AFL-CIO is coming with a wide-ranging $400 billion to $500 billion proposal, the Wall Street Journal reports. Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, is hosting a competing summit that will advocate cutting back on regulations, taxes, and the deficit.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rare Pink Diamond Scores Dazzling $2.2M a Carat

A pricey pink diamond smashed records today in Hong Kong when it sold for a glittery $2.2 million a carat—and $10.8 million overall. The 5-carat “vivid pink” wonder, which is near-perfect but not flawless, trumps the sale 15 years ago of a 19.66 carat specimen that went for a measly $7.4 million. “No stone has ever been sold for $2 million a carat,” a Christie’s exec says. Yet, it’s “probably one of the rarest stones I’ve ever seen.”