Selling Wine – Almost Like Blogging

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This past holiday weekend my wife, my dog, and I headed down to the wine country of Paso Robles, California. Each year a group of 17 vineyards called the Far Out Wineries get together to host a wine tasting event. For a price of $35 you can spend 4 days visiting any of the wineries and taste their wine for free. To make it even a better deal the money goes to charity (tax deduction!) and you can win some prizes as long as you go to at least 8 of them. It's a brilliant marketing plan to get people down there and buying their wine.

This was our third trip down to Paso in the last two and half years. One thing we noticed this time is that there are a number of new wineries popping up. I don't know if it's the economy picking up, but it seems like the wineries have doubled in number. When we got to Carmody McKnight I had to ask, "With all these wineries popping up, can I expect this annual wine tasting event to expand from 17 to 30 and go on for a week?" I feel like I should have known the answer...

The sommelier explained that the 17 wineries that participate are good friends and that they've been doing the event for nearly 30 years. It's an exclusive club. Though the newer wineries are quite good, it's not practical to let everyone in the club. As you start adding more people the value of being in the club actually goes down. It would be difficult to coordinate events like the annual one around Presidents Day and probably lead to the whole group collapsing under its own weight. The sommelier also pointed out that there is a delicate balance to strike. For instance the new wineries could get together to form their own network and compete with their own program.

It struck me that this is very much like blogging networks. I'm part of The Money Writers which is a group of ten bloggers. We have the same issue of newer bloggers asking to be part of our network. We feel we are a good size and adding new people would increase the complexity. And often other bloggers will go out and join other networks. The only difference is that I encourage bloggers to join networks and don't view it as competition in the same way that the wineries do.

Can you think of some other area where this concept of a limited network enters your life? (Outside of blogging, I couldn't think of any.) Let me know in the comments below...

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Posted on February 19, 2010.

Random Thoughts (Some Even Financially Related)

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Financially, I feel I couldn't me less organized right now. I haven't done my net worth in a few months. Haven't asked the wife to do hers in much longer. I also need to look over the cash flow of my web-based business (this website being a sizable component of that), which I haven't done in the last 2-3 months. I'm hoping that after the long weekend, I can start to finish that up.

Also on the to-do list is to set up an SEP-IRA for last year (I'm looking at you Fidelity). It will be interesting to look at more traditional investments for the first time in a while as I've been doing more investing in my businesses. I know I'm going to go with index mutual funds or exchange traded funds to broadly diversify with minimal expenses, but for fun, I will at least look at some blue chips. I don't know why, but I love to tempt myself.

With that quick financial update out-of-the-way, here are some of the non-financial thoughts I've had lately.

  • I've been spending more time on my MonaVie Scam website. With the help of a few other dedicated people, more and more reasons why it's a scam keep popping up.
  • I didn't mind the Super Bowl halftime show as much as most people. Yes, The Who is old, and yes they've lost a lot on their fastball. However, when I hear the song, my brain kind of fills in the gap between what they are now and what they were. Also, I heard some radio station saying that most people can't even name a song The Who sing. If you can't name at least 5 songs The Who sing, I can never talk music with you. And if one of those songs is "Teenage Wasteland..." *sigh*
  • I realize that the Super Bowl is being really, really careful not to invite people who might have wardrobe malfunctions, but they are probably going to be running out of artists soon. You'd probably think that the wardrobe malfunction is the most amazing thing to happen on live television during a halftime of the Patriots game, but Joe Namath's drunken "I wanna kiss you" interview with Suzy Kolber is up there. Those are the only two times I can recall literally fell out of my seat in my life.
  • While on the topic of football, I've already anointed Janell Wheeler as the winner of American Idol this season. I think they should just cut everyone else on the next show and just name her the winner. Perhaps they can give everyone else a parting gift and invite them back next year. How is Ms. Wheeler related to football? Google her and you'll find she's linked to Florida star Tim Tebow.
  • In the last two weeks, I've become much more portable. I bought an extended battery the Aspire One that I got pre-Black Friday sale. The new battery set me back $40, but it also seems to give me 9-10 hours of juice (though I haven't put it to the full-test yet). I also bought an extended battery for my Palm Pre. It cost around $20, but lasts twice as long as the battery that came with the phone. I can get very close two days on a full charge now. Thank you Ebay.
  • While on the topic the Palm Pre, I can't figure out why more people don't buy one. Sprint has really cheap plans. Looks like the only competition should be the Nexus One on T-mobile. I realize it was limited to Sprint which might not work for everyone due to coverage. For those people, Verizon may have better coverage.
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Posted on February 11, 2010.

A Small Tribute to George Carlin…

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For those of you who have missed the news, famous comedian George Carlin died last night. I'm still in shock. I suppose I shouldn't be, but he seemed to be the type the guy who live to be 120, giving every disease an obscene gesture that's not appropriate for mention on this site.

I've spent much of day trying to decide if I should post something about it. It almost feels like if I didn't, he could still come back tomorrow and we'd find that it was a big mistake. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was praising him for realizing how stupid it is to get a McMansion back in the 1980s.

I learned a lot from watching him. Besides a lot of new four letter words, I learned how language can be one of the best tools that we humans possess. It can be used in so many ways and it's one of the reasons I'm a writer today. It can make us laugh. It can make us cry. Today a lot of people cried including this one.

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Posted on June 23, 2008.

Emptying the Recycle Bin of my Mind…

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When I was growing up I read Dan Shaughnessy, a famous Boston Globe sports writer, whenever I could. Since I've gotten older, I've found that I often disagree with what his writings. However, I remember he would occasionally put together some sundry sports thoughts under the headline of "Clearing out the desk drawer of my mind..." I'm bring that concept into the 2000s.

  • It will take me a couple of days to run the voting for the contest.
  • I spent about an hour tonight trying to Simpsonize myself only to find the site extremely buggy. A couple of times it said my picture was not a high enough resolution (not true). Eventually it accepted that it was above their resolution limits only to error and say the something like "the thingy-magigy got stuck in thw whatza-housy." That had to be the worst error message ever. A few tries and it produced a creature (certainly not a person) with a nose, eye, and ear stacked on top of each other.
  • I'd like to give thanks to the sites that sent me traffic. In order of the most traffic to the least...
    1. The Simple Dollar
    2. Gen X Finance
    3. My Money Blog
    4. The Digerati Life
    5. Free Money Finance
    6. Blogging Away Debt
    7. Money Matters and More Musings
    8. Binary Dollar
    9. Five Cent Nickel
    10. Mighty Bargain Hunter
    I want to especially single out Blogging Away Debt as her readers viewed the most amount of pages on my site.
  • When I started this site, I thought I'd share more technology tips - at least 5% of my writing. I'm probably at only 1% now. Well for those of you who aren't familiar with RSS feeds they can make your reading a lot easier. I've been using Mozilla Thunderbird for my RSS feeds for quite some time. However last night I gave Google Reader a shot for the first time since it came out. It's a very nice piece of software, well worth using. Why not start by subscribing to my RSS feed. I only wish I could delete posts after I read them to "get them out of my way." However, I can't seem to find that option.
  • Is it just me or is Andy Samberg going to join Jim Carrey in the "pigeon-holed comedians to make it big?" I wish I could by stock in Andy.

Come back this weekend for my favorite financial articles of the week.

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Posted on July 27, 2007.

Grab a Grass Skirt, I’m Going on a Trip to Hawaii

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Grass SkirtThis weekend I'll be going on my first vacation in about a year.  Last year, this blog didn't exist, so I didn't have to think about how I'm going to keep things fresh while I'm gone.  I've decided that I'll be recycling some of my favorite posts from the early days of Lazy Man and Money.  I believe there were some quality ideas back then, but since my readership was a lot smaller, they have remained hidden.

It's not going to be a total Lazy Man and Money clip show though.  I'll have my laptop with me and I'll be contributing about my trip.  I would expect a lot of posts about how expensive things are.  It can't be cheap to import everything to the islands.  In the end, I'll probably have more posts than usual.

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Posted on November 6, 2006.

Random Thoughts on Various Articles

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I thought I'd try something new and comment on a few articles in one post. The common thread in all this is that I feel a lot of people can learn from them.

JLP asks Who Pays $300 for a purse. From a financial decision, I can't really see it making a lot of sense. However, I realize that to some people $300 is like 30 cents - they just have that much money. One person mentioned that a designer purse is really no different than a $1000 TV or jet ski. My argument is that a $1000 TV typically functions better or has additional features than a $250. Also there's not a $30 jet ski version, unlike the designer purse.

Free Money Finance says that moving can make you rich. I wouldn't argue that point and his math is solid. However, I found that moving to a place with a higher cost of living is making me rich. San Mateo County in CA is supposed more expensive than the Boston suburb I used to live in, but I've found it to not be the case for me. My fiancee's and my salary is significantly more to make up for the cost of living and we have found ways to keep the costs of living the same.

The Frugal Duchess tells us why she doesn't order pasta when she goes out to eat. I can see the logic of not ordering the cheap food and helping out the restaurants high margins. However, she says she likes the experience of being served at a restaurant. Couldn't she enjoy eating out twice as much if she did get the pasta instead of worrying about the restaurant? I'm not so sure that a restaurant really wants you to order the pasta after all. They want to get the most money out of everyone that walks in the door. I think they'll be happy to sell you on a steak that costs them $5 if they can get $10 from you.

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Last updated on October 27, 2006.

Lazily Laying out the Link Love

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1) Have you linked to me? While I enjoy spreading the love, I also like to know I am loved in return. So placing a link to me on your blog is a necessary first step.

2) How long has your blog been around? If less than three months it is unlikely I will link to you. Sorry, but you need to have enough posts for me to read through to get a feel for your content. Also, a large number of blogs are abandoned within the first three months. So if you have been blogging for less than three months you are unlikely to get a link.

3) Lastly, how's your content? If your blog is just a jumble of key words or advertisements I won't be linking to you. Ads are all well and good (we all have bills to pay), but original content still needs to be the main ingredient of your site.

If I haven't scared you away by now, send an e-mail to: [email protected]

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Last updated on October 28, 2006.

 
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