Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Working Capital Robot.

How do we know where we stand in life financially? Do we navigate by net worth? By cash or by some other measure?

I think we should adopt a new approach. Once we understand the working capital of our life then everything becomes simple. One way or another the benefits are for life.

The problem with measuring our progress through net worth is that it includes items that we cannot spend (such as our home) and it includes inputs that are not of our own doing. If our home rises in value we appear to be doing well but this is an illusion and we may in fact be stagnating or going backwards.

If we restrict ourselves to the cash in our current account we are also misled. Most of the money there has already been committed to bills that will arise during the month and so the money is not truly ours. If we use cash as our measure we will always be in the red at the end of the month.

A compromise is working capital- this is money that is available in a deposit account but that is not committed to a specific purpose. This is the money available to invest and is the only truly useful measure.

I will post my working capital to the right of the website.


Monday, 12 June 2017

The Virtue Signalling robot.

Virtue signalling is a deadly trap that transforms our natural desire to have others think well of us into a meaningless ritual of tacky plastic wristbands and Facebook posts of sad faces.

The answer is not to become entirely self serving but to develop activities that actually do some good while at the same time expressing our true values.

We may argue that this remains a form of virtue signalling but of a more honest and more useful kind.

The first step is to sit alone with a piece of paper in front of us and work out what our true values are. This cannot be done with any other person as they must be our own values and not the values that others approve of.

Take as long as is needed. The benefits of this exercise last a lifetime.

Once we have discovered our own true values we may work out practical ways to advance them. This generally amounts to more than posting teardrop emoji on our Facebook accounts. We are looking for practical real world solutions to real problems.

Once we have done this we are free to post what we do to Facebook- these activities have become an interesting part of our life. The main difference is in the motivation. We do good because we wish to do good- not because we wish others to think us good.

Friday, 9 June 2017

The useful Instagram robot.

Instagram is fun, addictive and popular. Unfortunately it is entirely useless to the vast majority of its users.

This is because it is a visual network and the accounts that do well offer well targeted but rather 'samey' images directed at a narrow demographic. Women with attractive bottoms and cute kittens are both popular.

No doubt these pictures fulfill a particular need but they leave the user no wiser than before.

I decided I would try to change all this.

I have two accounts. Life.robots aims to give practical financial help in a visual way.
This picture illustrates the way in which a paperclip may do the job of a bookmark and yet will not fall out. This sort of thing will never make us rich but makes life easier.

My other account is under the name richard ford. This is closely related to my other blog and contains information on hidden places not to be found it the tourist guide books.  The Instagram account is useful because each of my photographs contains a geo-link that can lead the reader to the exact spot the photo was taken.

I recognize that making my accounts objectively useful will not make them popular- we need about 100,000 followers to make money from an account- but at least I know I am offering my followers something they can use.

Follow me! I follow back.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Waitrose robot.

We may have ten loyalty schemes running simultaneously and yet profit from them not at all. This is because a thousand points in each scheme is unlikely to amount to anything useful whereas the same number of points in a smaller number of schemes is likely to yield something useful.

This is not an absolute rule. We can keep a number of schemes on the back burner but not actively pursue them much. If the points fall into our lap, all well and good but we should not care very much about the matter.

Loyalty schemes may not involve points at all. One of my favourites is a supermarket that allows me to buy a sandwich for £1.10 and have a coffee as a free perk. This is in a street where a coffee alone can cost twice this. Every purchase, no matter how small gets the same perk. One man bought an individual mushroom for a penny but I think I would be embarrassed to do this.

The supermarket (Waitrose) is expensive but not overpriced when all things are considered. I will use it as my top up location and will buy cakes, newspapers and emergency items. There is always something it is possible to buy if one must.

Once we have decided a scheme is unlikely to work for us then we should utilise or transfer the points and leave it as a shell. Be brutal and back the winner!

N.B You may be confused that I did not mention Waitrose in my previous article. This is because I was discussing which schemes have worked for me in the past. Waitrose is part of the future.