Hi, I'm Breck Yunits. Welcome to my new homepage.
- If you need to contact me, you can probably find my email address on Facebook. Or you can send an email to breck7 at google's mail service.
- If you are interested in saving money, check out our site Coupon Dynasty for great promo and sources codes for stores like GoDaddy.com.
- If you are interested in learning about a new way to travel the world, check out airbnb.com.
- If you want to view my previous rambling blog(generally only enteraining for Google bots etc.), I moved it to Posterous, which is a much easier way to create and maintain a blog.
- I went through my blog and the only posts I really like are: listen
to the market, cure the
is falling, weather on google maps, daily
gas use, analyzing
hackernews users, this post
where I make tons of bad predictions(stock market will go up, hillary will be president, and deficit will improve), earthquake
in MA--less than 2 years later I would experience my first earthquake
- If you are a programmer or entrepreneur and aren't reading Hacker News yet, you should.
- Thanks. Thanks to people whose software I love: dropbox.com, cygwin, notepad++, navicat, phpdesigner, filezilla, skype, google voice, gmail, facebook, search.twitter.com, firefox, chrome, opera, office 2007, photoshop.
If you want to find out what my worldview is and hopefully learn a thing or two, keep reading.
The ideas on this site aren't mine, but are ideas I've stolen from others that seem to describe the data I've seen in my own life and I believe are useful for describing the future.
A better use of your time than reading my site would be to read from the writings of my favorite authors. They are: Warren Buffett, Nicolas Taleb, Dale Carnegie, Ben Graham, Paul Graham. Books that I would recommend that have influenced me a lot: Fooled by Randomness, How to Win Friends and Influence People, How to Read a Book, The Intelligent Investor, Snowball(a bio of Buffett, together with his actual speeches and writings), Never Eat Alone, Influence, Blackswan, Mastering Regular Expressions(okay now maybe this list is getting too specific, I'll move on).
The objective of this site is to put my big ideas out there and maybe enlighten a person or two. If one person is helped by this website, I'll be happy. I also hope to get feedback, even if it is just in the form of Google Analytics statistics. I'm probably wrong about most things on this site, so maybe some people will correct the errors in my thinking.
This site is one page which I edit infrequently in vim. I type fast and often make silly mistakes. As a rule, I care more about content than presentation.
If you want to build a popular website...
Don't build the site people should use
. Build the site people can't stop using. Appeal to one of the 7 deadly sins. Source.
Two Big Mistakes You Can Make in Business
A big mistake you can make in business is being too confident in your ability to predict what the market will want. One of the worst mistakes you can make is building something you don't want.
Creating Value vs Earning Money
Warren Buffett says when buying a business "price is what you pay, value is what you get". I think this is brilliant, and becomes even more brilliant when you change the words a bit and apply it to starting or running or working at a business: "money is what you earn, value is what you create".
There are likely waitresses in Iowa that create a lot more value than hundreds of brokers on Wall Street yet who are paid much less than the brokers. Likewise, there are internet entrepreneurs who create tons of value(open source developers come to mind), and don't capture enormous paychecks, while there are others who have huge paychecks but create little value.
I would argue, however, that rarely will you find people that create a lot of value that don't make decent incomes. It make take time, but in the long run value creation is a smart strategy.
To make money, do not try to make money. Try to create value and the money will eventually come. It took me a LONG time to figure this out. I think our media portrays this pretty backwards. We focus on the revenue numbers and personal wealth of entrepreneurs. Instead, we should talk about the value created by the entrepreneurs and measure them by that. I think we should say Larry and Sergey are great entrepreneurs not because of how rich they got off Google, but because of how much value they have created.
Value is Subjective
So what is value? Unfortunately I think value is completely subjective. I believe each person has their own belief about what's valuable and what's not. When you look in the mirror you and only you know whether or not you are creating value. Probably the best objective measure of value is whether or not you are creating something people what. But there are a lot of things people want that you can create that may not be valuable from your worldview, so I think value is largely a subjective thing. For me, and maybe most people, you don't know if you're creating value unless you see it in other people's eyes when you help them. I think this is an evolutionary thing. Thus, if you make a ton of money sitting behind a computer crunching numbers all day, I could see how you could easily look in the mirror and not think you are creating value.
Things I've done in my life that created value
In 2008-2009, after moving to California, three things dawned on me: 1) I actually need much less money than I thought to be happy--moving to San Francisco and being surrounded by the great outdoors, fellow programmers/entrepreneurs/great friends, and having great weather are priceless to me. 2) Creating value is more fun. As great as it was to wake up and have already made a few hundred dollars from Adwords arbitrage or some other online marketing strategy, it's better to help people out and solve their problems 3) If you create a ton of value, and capture a tiny bit of it, that can often times be a lot of money.
So I concluded that creating value is a nobrainer.
If I look back at my life, the things that I feel the best about are the ones that created the most value. In most cases, I made decent money from them. Nothing spectacular, but it is much easier to make money when you are solving real problems for people than to think about how to make money first. Of the websites and software I've written, the ones that do the best always are the ones that create the most value and put monetization second. I've done many types of other jobs like waitering, construction, paperboy, pro shop employee, banker, programmer, and many more. I think I always focused too much on making money and not enough on how I could create a lot more value. Had I done the latter, I probably would have made more money and felt better about it.
At my most recent company, creating value is one of our core values and philosophies. I think we have the potential to create a lot of value. We'll see how it goes.
Loyalty to ideas is bad
Sticking with an idea that you don't know for sure is a solid idea is a terrible idea. People will tell you that not quitting and persevering is an important trait. It is. However, ideas should change. You should always be ready and willing to switch 100%--even make a 180 degree turn--when you have evidence that an idea you were following was wrong and another idea--no matter how far removed--is better. The ability to change and iterate fast based on data is a trait I think is very important to success. The only ideas it may be good to stick with are general things like "team is important"/stick with a good team, "market size is important"/pick a good market, "money is important"/spend frugally, etc. The goal is always general: create value, make money. The rest can change dramatically.
Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want
So many times in my life I have failed or not gotten what I wanted. But even when you lose a lot or gain what seems like nothing, you always get experience. Experience, if used wisely, is incredibly valuable.To be successful in life you either get lucky, or you figure out how the world works and turn the odds in your favor. While getting lucky is fun, it is not sustainable in the long run and a much better strategy to maximize your success in life is to accumulate experiences and learn from them. The proverb, "give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for life", applies here. Life is a lot more complex than fishing, but nonetheless there are patterns and figuring out as many patterns as you can will help you and make you more secure in life as it will help your fishing.
Evolution and statistics are the two most underrated subjects
If a comet hit earth tomorrow and drastically made our planet a more hostile place to live, I think one change in society we would make would be to shorten the amount of time students spend in school. It's laughable how the average American isn't done with schooling until age 22. The teaching industry has done a hell of a job at expanding their business. I thoroughly enjoyed college and think being in school until 22 is great fun, but I do question the necessity of it. We are forced to study and memorize so much randomness and noise in school(art, history, economics, etc), when in reality we could just learn fundamentals like evolution and statistics and be set loose on the world.
The Media May be Harmful to Your Health
As a species, we are omnivores of information. The trouble is we consume more noise than signal. This is probably harmful to our health.
Relationships are the most important thing in life
No one ever got anywhere alone. Being generous to other people without keeping score is one of the most important lessons anyone can learn. I can't speak on this subject more eloquently than Dale Carnegie or Keith Ferrazzi, but I would highly urge you to read How to Win Friends and Influence People and Never Eat Alone.
It is better to be disliked than to be unknown
You should always be yourself, be bold, and not be afraid to put yourself out there. Some people won't like you for many random reasons. Do not let it bother you. Some people will say bad things about you, especially when you start to have success. Don't let it bother you. You should probably know that the people that get ahead in life generally are the ones that say nice things about people and create value for others, and the converse applies. Being negative is a bad long term strategy. It, in my opinion, does not create value--even if there is always a willing audience to hear and pay for slander and gossip. When you go into a conference or dinner or bar, be confident no matter what. Make an impression. Maybe it will be a bad one or you'll make a fool out of yourself. So what? You'll have hundreds of thousands of more chances in the future.
Scientific Research is Flawed Because It Doesn't Account for Human Nature
Humans are motivated by incentives in everything, including publishing, and so the research that gets disseminated is flawed. Ignore any published experiment that uses p-values. Say, for example, I conduct an experiment to test whether Coca Cola drinkers are more likely to have cancer. My null hypothesis is that it they are not; that the odds of them having cancer are the same as the general population. I collect a sample and it turns out from my observations I get a p-value of 0.10. Not a significant value, so I have no evidence of a link and call it a day, right? Nope. I forgot to mention in my hypothetical example I work for Pepsi. So I conduct 20 more trials, and finally get one where I get a p-value of .02. Now I have a study where I can reject the null hypothesis that drinking Coke is uncorrelated with cancer. Unfortunately, the source of information always must be considered when considering information. We need a source of better truth, but one doesn't exist yet.
Probability and Statistics Are Greatly Underutilized by our Healthcare system
I believe thinking out of the box and using prob/stat + the internet could drastically reduce our spending on healthcare.
This is draft number: 0.4 Last updated: 11/23/2009.