Money For Nothin’ and Chicks For Free (Wouldn’t that be nice?)

Now look at them yo-yos; that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain’t workin’; that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and chicks for free
Now that aint workin’; that’s the way you do it
Lemme tell ya, them guys ain’t dumb
Maybe get a blister on your little finger
Maybe get a blister on your thumb

We gotta install microwave ovens
Custom kitchen deliveries
We gotta move these refrigerators
We gotta move these color TVs

Nobody gets to be a Rock Star, except for Rock Stars—arguably a human creation that will never be equalled in terms of audacity.

…Having recently created the “Money & Finance” category in pursuit of expanding the blog from a narrow focus on health, diet and fitness to one of the wide scope-accounting of the human animal condition in all relevant areas, this serves as an initial entry.

I’ll be blogging more about money. What is it, really!? How do you use it and healthfully think about it? For now, though, money is not really a value, per se—or at least, absolutely. To prove that to yourself, imagine being on a desert island with a million in cash sitting right there. You can’t eat it, drink it, have sex with it (well….), talk to it, or play with it (you know what I mean). You already know this (“can’t take it with you” being the bromide of choice). Now, for you Gold Standard folks, switch it out with a heavy metal; after explaining why it didn’t sink in the shipwreck, tell me there’s any difference in your survival predicament. By contrast, you don’t seem to have Grocked the similar underlying principles.

The last half of that paragraph is the prime reason I’ve never been wholly in league with libertarians who conflate an abstraction (what money is) with the force-backed state (that will fuck you in spite of “sound money”). I don’t think any of them understand money very well in a social context, even up to and including some economists—which is perhaps why they were economists and not entrepreneurs, but I digress. Perhaps it’s just me. But, we’ll see, over the course of time as I post more about it (and, especially, how debt is money—the most valuable money—and how only humans can do it).

We’re social animals. Given. What is money, then? Well, I just gave you a clue…

Money is merely a social abstraction whereby, everyone in the social sphere agrees upon it (money) as a medium of exchange (everyone accepts it in trade). Could be anything. Chimpanzees use fruit, last I heard (takes work to get: rule #1). They trade it for sex with females and I’m sure, to keep some young males at bay from challenging alpha status—for a while. So, in the chimpanzee world, they know what money is, and they don’t know, but would judge your paper and gold—or diamonds and platinum—to be worthless to them. Why? Because that doesn’t buy them anything. …But, way more importantly, what is it that they seek to buy; what values do they seek to gain and/or keep?

Social values. For a simple chimpanzee existence in the forest: status and sex. …How wildly things have changed in the last 4 million years…

Actually… They. Have. Changed. The trappings have; not so much in terms of essentials, which might give a human animal a bit of pause.

Erect a concrete jungle around that chimp, put him in a suit, give him a means of transportation, a cubicle, phone…and all with a computer and Internet connection—and while you’re at it, train him to go through the motions to trade everything he hates for a measure of what he really loves. Because, that’s what you’ll have to do to get him to do it (give him fruit—chimp money). …And then you’ll begin to understand how easily modern humans trade away huge portions of what they love for a hand-hold on the modern social, collectivist, authoritarian, top-down, hierarchical “lifeboat” that they’re just lazy enough to hate, but love just a little more.

The chimp in the forrest trades for what he can have now. Teenagers trade in a proto-human way that mirrors chips more than adult humans—at least in my world of discovery. They trade for status, sex, pleasure, excitement, suspense, surprise, discovery, etc. Then they get married, have a coupla kids, and they trade for increased status based on experience and maturity, along with a measure of security to keep doing what they’re dong (trading for status quo). Then they retire and it’s a combination of cashing in and trading for absolute guaranteed security—“I’m done with this life struggle gig,” ….except for recouping just a bit of what I really love, that I traded all away for days upon weeks upon months upon years and decades of what I hated—so I could get a few years of what I really love, in the end.

I have no idea whether it’s the Victorian era, the American Dream (is it killing you?), or religion. I wish to tell you that this life may be the only shot you have. …That you’ll never be a Victorian, likely won’t realize the American dream; and chances are, gold-paved streets in your name and a mansion in heaven is probably most likely a fantasy someone taught you, to give you comfort and a sense of certainty—chimps only have status and sex—so out in the cold and hard by human standards. So are you really, really working for status & sex, or are you working for a mansion with a gold-paved street in your name? Here. And. Now. What is it that YOU’re really working for?

What is it that YOU, want? Out. Of. Your. Life?

I got an email.

When I was a kid, my dad made a weekly paycheck (daily pay was the norm before that). When I started working, a few places offered weekly pay, but most were moving to twice-a-month, or every two weeks. Today, as my oldest daughters are starting to work part-time jobs, I’ve noticed that even fast-food joints are doing automatic deposit on a bi-monthly or even monthly basis.

The idea has occurred to me that while pay periods have become stretched and automated over time for cost-savings reasons…it may also be having an affect on the “wage-slave” mentality.

At a time when you did a day’s labor for a day’s pay, you knew you were selling yourself and your time. When you got a physical paycheck, you got the same message, the same reminder, although a bit less frequently. You could tear into it see your wage multiplied by hours and see what you were selling yourself for.

These days, even the stubs are emailed and the workforce is moving toward salary. There is no time-equation. Is the expectation that we are always on the clock? Are we forgetting to plan and intentionally build a successful and happy private life? Is it a huge no-no to try to earn money on the side by starting your own web business?

I have an automatic, visceral, negative reaction to the term “wage slave.”

But then I chewed on it and understood. It’s not slave to the man, but to the wage. Ah-ha! And so we come full circle.

It’s a love/hate thing.

I shoulda learned to play the guitar
I shoulda learned to play them drums
Look at that mama, she got it stickin’ in the camera
Man, we could have some fun
And he’s up there, whats that? hawaiian noises?
Bangin’ on the bongoes like a chimpanzee
That aint workin’; thats the way you do it
Get your money for nothin’ get your chicks for free

In the end, you read my blog because you’re smart and you care. I…we, all,…trade daily a whole lot of what we hate for a small measure of what we love. The essential message? What we love is all sorts of fucking awesome and it’s a shame that we do it that way. That we are willing to endure so much of our lives doing what we hate—convincing ourselves in myriad ways how and why we “love it”—only for slivers of time in the warmth in the love, is more a lesson about how much humans love their fundamental nature.

You don’t want to upset your apple cart anymore than I do, because what you love is so very important. So take measurable, incremental steps, as I am, to  gradually trade less and less of what you hate, for more and more of what you love.

Love isn’t all you need, but I’d rather try to eat that than cash or gold.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. ladysadie1 on February 20, 2013 at 15:36

    Richard, this is a great post! I can’t stay to make any thoughtful comments because I am trying to get to a place where I have access to adequate transportation so I can go earn some fruit…. Yay!

  2. Rich7252 on February 20, 2013 at 16:04

    I just wanted to say, I like the direction you are going here. I will stay tuned in to see where you go with it. Yea, what is money? I also find economic theory really interesting. I will make comments at times, if I can make them intelligent. Keep up the good work.

  3. Lute Nikoley on February 20, 2013 at 17:06

    For me it’s simple, I trade my time for a fee of what I think my time is worth. It’s worked for 48 years.

  4. jon w on February 20, 2013 at 17:09

    This reminds me of Viktor Frankl. He found “meaning” to be something that could not be taken away from a person even in the depths of a concentration camp. In fact adversity often leads to more meaningfulness, even as happiness is reduced. Even if I have no money (be it paper, metal or electronic) and nobody in my circle who owes me favors, and starving, cold and unhappy, I still can treasure the things I accomplished, value I created, how well I measured up to some goal or ideal that is important to me, and look forward to a future of continuing the same. People who chose this attitude survived the camps at a much higher rate. Nobody can create meaning for you – as Greg Swann said, we are all in this alone.

    I can’t put my finger on how your post led me to that, except that “the American dream” is about happiness, using money to buy it, and using money as a way to keep score and feel secure. I having food-sex-comfort-status, plus the guarantee that you will have them every day for the rest of your life, is a powerful inducement to neglect meaningfulness. (Also from Greg Swann – a human is the only animal who can choose meaning over happiness.) As a substitute for meaning based on internal and small-group social value, most of us find a fair amount in competence and accomplishments at work… is that dangerous?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 20, 2013 at 17:22

      “As a substitute for meaning based on internal and small-group social value, most of us find a fair amount in competence and accomplishments at work… is that dangerous?”

      Neither. It’s a step up. Start a company and write paychecks.

      I’m going to try to not be condescending in all of this but here’s one thing I will absolutely guarantee you: I never have and never will receive the slightest criticism over anything I have ever done, do, or will do from a guy who signs paychecks for employees. I did it myself for 4-5 years, 200-300K per month.

      It changes your perspective on things, like who creates values and who feeds on values. Well, we all feed on values, but there are those few who pretend they don’t, while they devote their lives to tearing down everything that keeps them from starvation.

      But to answer your question specifically, no, not dangerous and quite to the contrary. When I did the video recording I have on the sidebar it was in the office of my publisher, a VC startup in and incubator facility where the guys basically live there (lots of dead soldier bottles around to prove it). Clearly, they have skin in the game, stock in the deal, and I LOVE that.

      When I eventually left, after a shot of vodka with them, a part of me wanted to stay.

      I get it.

      • jon w on February 20, 2013 at 17:40

        “traded away decades of what I hated… to get what I really love in the end” I took that to describe somebody slaving at a job they hated, in order to accumulate enough pile of cash to spend a few years not slaving. Is that what you meant?

        My respect to anybody who’s actually doing something useful. But to answer my own question, it can be dangerous – if you’re taking pride being a cog in the evil machine. Competent driver of a warship that’s supporting a dictator? Competent designer of marketing lunchables and gogurts to kids? Competent secretary at the IRS? I honestly don’t know if it’s better to hate the job as a necessary evil, or just go all out and do the best you can, or live in the gray area. Of course you could always quit and do something else… but then you’re stepping out of the lifeboat aren’t you.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 20, 2013 at 18:52

        Jon w

        A friend of mine once said, “everyone has their own level of outrage.”

        This is true. We cannot calculate for a second what might cause, for instance, a Sophie who had the luxury of choosing whether to put herself and kids at risk to not speak out against obvious assaults on conscience. Or, a father, responsible for brining home some form of edible or traedable value for his Sophie and her kids.

        ….I recognize fully and completely that Americans are largely diehard socialists now. The level of outrage attained by only 13% in 1776 was enough to change a world. Now, it would take orders of magnitude more outrage and at least 35% of the population. Most human beings are and will always be follower do-nothing’s, which is why I hate pretty much everyone, present company excluded, of course.

  5. Raymond J Raupers Jr on February 20, 2013 at 18:43

    I’m not a wage slave. I’m not a story (ego). I am noTHING. True self arises as ego dies. True freedom exists when a majority of one is still a majority. As civilization stereotypically corrupts the meaning of freedom and unalienable rights, a conscious person realizes anarchy is not a campaign. Money is nothing; those chicks are free.

    Woodchuck Pirate
    aka Raymond J Raupers Jr USA

    • Richard Nikoley on February 20, 2013 at 20:24


      1st, have you seen my Anarchy Begins at Home series? I ask because I sense we both have a different take. Perhaps I’m mistaken.

      Money is no more nothing than a meal is nothing. Context, however, is everything.

      • Raymond J Raupers Jr on February 21, 2013 at 09:24

        Hello Richard Nikoley,

        If my memory serves me well, your “Anarchy Begins At Home” series was the the element of your craft that introduced me to your blog. If you retrace my participation in posting replies to your blog, you may find my initial post stating I am not motivated by fear or greed; I am only motivated toward truth. I do not embrace collective action period, because the answer is found only at at the individual level. The answer is always “consciousness”. The alternative is always “freedom vs statism”.

        Anarchy is already here, it just isn’t what people thought it would look like. The mixed economy model exists solely to farm up corruption fertilized with moral hazard. The mixed economy model is not capitalism, it is socialism. The only economic model that has ever existed at any time in history (including today) is the mixed economy model. Collectivists (those who embrace collective action ie collective ego) initiate force against individuals and excuse their betrayal of reason as “dutiful pragmatism”, sanctioned by their collective story (ego) which manifests from semi-conscious behavior at best, which is slave to the context of “money”.

        Money is an artform, of the manifested realm, which is not real, but rather is a reflection or simulation of the unmanifested realm. The unmanifested realm is infinite. Truth is infinite. A conscious person does not misidentify their true self as “form”. Ego misidentification in the context of “money” does not alter reality. Reality is not vulnerable to interpretation. Money is not real, it is an artform to manipulate the semi-consciousness (gratuitous exaggeration here) of mankind. I’ve seen it written that “the history of mankind analyzed as if it were a single individual’s behavior would garner the diagnosis of clinical psychosis with brief moments of lucidity”. In even my finest moments moving closer to enlightenment, I could find no error in that diagnosis. Why should I try?

        Every evil on earth is attributable to the mixed economy model. Why does an insane civilization practice the insanity of repeating history ad nauseum? There’s your answer in context, “money”. No amount of faith and denial can make it real. Civilization is not based in reality. Civilization is not sustainable. A conscious person seeks to minimize exposure to civilization, money becomes more problematic to hold as an artform compared to durable assets (more suitable artforms). No valid philosophy can’t be practiced to the nth degree. However perfection is not found in form, it is found in enlightenment. Knowing others is wisdom, but knowing yourself is enlightenment.

        As truth is infinite, words are never exact substitutes for “truth”. I have seen it written that “all writers are propagandists even those that write dictionairies”. The words “truth, life, reality,” I can offer in “context”, however dialogue is defined as the “flow of meaning”. What is the flow of meaning at present between nations? I would say there is no flow of anything except money, in kind with the global slavery of mankind. However, every individual has the equal opportunity to choose to wake up in the present moment, and withdraw their participation in being ushered off to the slaughter houses. The alternative is to choose the comfort zone of suffering offered by semi-consciousness and entitlement mentality to initiate force against individuals in order to fund their so-called noble deeds with “money”. If it begets nothing in truth, then it is truly nothing.

        On page 46 of Susan Nieman’s book “Evil In Modern Thought ( an alternative history of philosophy) are the following words:

        “The noble savage knows who he is and what he needs without ever considering the needs of others. The civilized person doesn’t even see themselves unless reflected in others’ eyes.”

        May we live in interesting times.

        Raymond J Raupers Jr
        aka Woodchuck Pirate USA

  6. Ash Simmonds on February 20, 2013 at 19:25

    It took me until recently – my mid 30’s – to properly understand money as a concept, at least understand it just as much as necessary to not slave for it. The main thing I’ve learned? Don’t owe anything significant. If you owe someone more than you can repay in a “season” (3 months), then you have this constant background noise that you have to do stuff you don’t want to in order to pay off other people – usually for something you never needed to begin with.

    After ~20 years of doing the “wage slave” thing and knowing somehow deep down that this isn’t what we’re meant to be doing (summed up nicely in Office Space: ), I had a little win, got rid of nearly everything (“Things you own, end up owning you.”), bought a sports car (I need to get around, why not in style and fun? ), moved to a semi-country beach, and have given myself six months “off” – to figger out what I *want* to do next.

    To the topic at hand – I still don’t know exactly how I’m going to be making an income yet, but you can be sure I’ll be leaning toward some form of money for nothin’. (and no paying for chicks)

    • Raymond J Raupers Jr on February 20, 2013 at 20:16

      Hello Ash Simmonds,

      I enjoyed reading your post for the common ground it reveals, especially the “deep down” remembrance of who you are. Your post alludes to simple-living strategies of living more richly with less. Unfortunately civilization is largely insane as the only acceptable scenario to sustain it is the ever-expanding consumptive economy.

      The wage-slave pathology emerges by default per ego-misidentification which is the root cause of all mankind’s suffering. Within the self-inflicted suffering of humans striving to be more through “things”, is lost the realization that they can align what they do with their divine purpose. That alignment process is explained by Eckhart Tolle in three modalities as acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm. None of this requires ego (story). “Things” are accumulated mostly through story-building which is destructive as ego is always dysfunctional.

      Collectivism is enhanced dysfunction as it manifests initiation of force against individuals, which is the base sin that libertarianism seeks to avoid. Where libertarianism is practiced as a political collective (thereby defined as collective ego) it follows same paths of dysfunction and immorality as all collective egos in behavior. This stems from the reality that ego is the diametrical opposition of consciousness.

      Ego is never real, it is just story. However unconscious behavior has real consequences in the real world. Money is the vehicle (artform) by which sheep are manipulated, and as history reveals a nation of sheep breeds a government of wolves. Good riddance to sheep and wolves alike. There is no separateness, however love does not imply pacifism.

      I stopped being a wage-slave at the age of 49 in 2008. My wife and I have zero debt. We own a small farm property in rural upstate NY where we grow our food. We also own a small village home approximately 12 miles from the farm, which represents a durable asset held instead of cash assets (money). This past October we purchased 36 acres off-the-grid land in Arizona high country. This represents an expansion of our alignment of what we do with our divine purpose. We are very enthusiastic about sustainability and self-reliance. We collect zero entitlements and never will. All our property is owned free and clear. Leverage is avoided entirely. Our motto is use it up, wear it out or go without.

      I wish you the best in grasping what you’ve always known, but might have forgotten. Life is existence.

      Raymond J Raupers Jr

      For clarity, I’ll disclose that my past employment included 5 years as series 7 licensed stockbroker from 1995-2000. However born under punches, I left home at the age of 17 and worked nights as a janitor to afford an apartment and stay in high school, successfully graduating in 1977. I paid my way through college earning dual degrees in electrical technology and business/marketing. I met my wife at age 15 in 1974 and have been with her ever since. We have two children, the first born in 1979 and the second in 1983. Each of them paid their own way through college and are independent.

  7. Todd on February 20, 2013 at 21:13

    If this post is a taste for the direction you intend to take this blog, I’m excited. I really liked this post, Richard.

    In the past year or so I’ve grown increasingly interested in being self-dependent and functioning in a sustainable way. The idea of permaculture/sustainability is extremely attractive. Not just for the caring for the land and people part, but that you share the wealth and it’s a throwback to using resources as potential currency (i.e. I’ll give you x for y). You seem to write about this, too, that humans don’t need anything other than humans… man is the measure afterall, right?

    • Richard Nikoley on February 20, 2013 at 23:49

      ” man is the measure afterall, right?”

      Literally everything we do is for others, probably especially what we do for ourselves.

  8. anand srivastava on February 20, 2013 at 22:18

    Great Richard. This is the topic that has been consuming me for the last year.

    What is Money? Money is a substitute when wants do not coincide. Which happens all the time.

    So you sell something (to somebody) and get money (whatever it is that you don’t care about per se, but believe somebody else will for the same reason), and use that money to buy what you want from that somebody else.

    Currency is a money that is under govt control.

    Gold standard puts gold under govt control. It is completely not for the benefit of the masses.

    When you think that the system is in a bad shape, the govt is printing too much and is bent on decimating the currency, you want to get rid of the currency. But what do you buy with it, if there is nothing that you need immediately.

    There are things that are considered wealth. Things that have no other use except storing value. Antiques, rare pieces of jewelry, rare diamonds and other precious stones, rare works of art, and gold.

    Of these gold is the only one that can be obtained by the masses. All of the rest of the things are only really for the uber rich. Gold can be split into very small pieces, and there is very little storage costs.

    Actually if you think of it, Gold is the thing that has the lowest storage costs, and is fungible. Most of the above things have lower storage costs but are not for the common man. Gold can be bought in very small pieces. Silver completely loses out, and will lose out in the long run.

    This in a nutshell is the freegold paradigm, which will happen when people understand the above. We think that the move towards freegold is inevitable, as the next evolution of financial system for our Superorganism.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2013 at 09:43

      I’ll blog more about this in the future, perhaps every week or so (as well as the other main categories on the blog and likely a bit more on health/fitness).

      Gold is convenient as a tangible asset. Everybody agrees on its value (the mutual agreement is what gives it the value, not anything intrinsic) and it takes significant effort to get so it’s rare. However, I really don’t care what the money is, or whether it’s backed by anything. My only problem is with state fiat. You could have totally privately issued competing currencies and the field of competition between private issuing banks is their trustworthiness and conservative business/banking practices.

      Above all, debt is the most powerful currency of all. but its power is a double edged sword, as we saw in the financial meltdown where longstanding sound business, banking, lending practices were ignored. There’s nothing inherently wrong with creating currency out of thin air backed only by the promise of a borrower to repay with interest. It simply has to be done very conservatively (i.e., the majority of lending being asset based—secured loans like mortgages, cars, business lines backed by accounts receivable, etc.) and with a sound credit reporting system such that bankers have good information about the trustworthiness of borrowers.

      But more on all that later.

      • anand srivastava on February 21, 2013 at 21:22

        “My only problem is with state fiat. You could have totally privately issued competing currencies and the field of competition between private issuing banks is their trustworthiness and conservative business/banking practices.”

        I don’t think the problem is with the state fiat. The problem is with the ease with which they can create deficit. If you take away their ability to create a deficit, and sell bonds to balance that deficit. State fiat will become trustworthy.

        The only reason why they can issue bonds, is because the banks are willing to buy them.

        The banks are willing to buy them because they have surplus money.

        The banks have surplus money because WE save in them.

        Yes saving of OUR money in the BANKS is the root of all this evil :-).

        Its not the state, because they will do whatever they will be able to do. Important thing is to take away their ability.

        And it is in our hands. Invest in whatever you want, buy whatever you want. If you want to save for the future, save in gold. Banks already provide safe boxes, use them. But don’t leave money in banks. They will misuse it.

      • anand srivastava on February 21, 2013 at 21:29

        “However, I really don’t care what the money is, or whether it’s backed by anything. ”

        Yes, we shouldn’t care what the money is, but we should care whether it is backed by anything. Because the thing that is used to back the money, ends up being in their control. We want that thing for our security, not for the security of the state fiat.

        Actually an unbacked fiat is much better than a backed fiat :-).

      • anand srivastava on February 21, 2013 at 21:38

        “Above all, debt is the most powerful currency of all. but its power is a double edged sword, as we saw in the financial meltdown where longstanding sound business, banking, lending practices were ignored. There’s nothing inherently wrong with creating currency out of thin air backed only by the promise of a borrower to repay with interest. It simply has to be done very conservatively (i.e., the majority of lending being asset based—secured loans like mortgages, cars, business lines backed by accounts receivable, etc.) and with a sound credit reporting system such that bankers have good information about the trustworthiness of borrowers.”

        Excellent. Yes boom and burst are part and parcel of an economy. The Central Bank should prevent booms to become uncontrolled by squeezing money, and creating money when a burst is in progress to prevent an uncontrolled collapse. They should not be making a boom get bigger, because that will make the burst much bigger. And now we are in the end game of the last 100 years of currency experimentation where a sovereign currency was made the reserve currency of the world. Yes it will take some time to unwind, before the final collapse, and it will be really bad for a large part of the unprepared population.

  9. Austin on February 20, 2013 at 23:23

    It’s interesting that I was reading the article linked below before coming over and reading this post. I really like how this blog has been evolving as of late. Great job and thought provoking as always Richard.

  10. brighteye on February 21, 2013 at 02:21

    Thanks Richard, that was what I needed to hear! I was beginning to feel like I am the crazy one, because I am not willing to accept trading my life-time doing things that I hate. Everyone else around me seems either to be oblivious or has simply given in. What I haven’t accomplished yet is to figure out a “meaning” for me.

  11. Joshua on February 21, 2013 at 06:13

    I gotta say that a dessert isle sounds awfully nice right now. Yum!

    (I know. I’m an asshole. :) )

  12. Bill Strahan on February 21, 2013 at 07:43

    “Love isn’t all you need, but I’d rather try to eat that than cash or gold.”

    Did anyone else imagine a particular sex act upon reading this sentence, or am I just way to sexually minded?

    Is there such a thing?


  13. A.B. Dada on February 21, 2013 at 08:21

    In an article I wrote a few years back, I list the 4 anchors of serfdom that are common among those who receive wages.

    I have really started to see wage employment as anti-masculine for so many guys I know. There’s no risk involved. There’s no real competition involved. The primary human need of “successful aggression” is basically removed entirely from the wage employee.

    For me, I get paid in two fashions: up front before a service is rendered or a product is provided, or “on credit”. I prefer NET30 customers to prepaying customers because the NET30 folks generally pay more per hour for the privilege of getting to pay well after the job is done.

    For me, the first job for a customer who is NET30 is a “gimme”. I don’t expect to get paid. If my customer sees a profit because of the work I’ve done, they’ll come back for a second gig. When they pay for the first one (NET30), I consider it a prepayment for the next job I’ll do. Since I charge significantly more for NET30 clients, it’s a prepayment AND an overpayment.

    With my retail establishments, I have now slowly moved to a similar structure. I give away the first job, but I label it with “NET30” or “Pay me when you sell this product.” Some of those first customers never come back. Similar to consulting. Some of those customers come back with a vengeance, tripling their first order. I attribute their first payment as a prepayment for the next job. I charge more for the product, but they’re ahead in terms of profit because they got it “for free” and don’t have to pay me until they’re paid and have banked the profit themselves.

    I can not imagine having a wage paid job. There is no real connection between the work produced and the payment rendered. It’s a flat fee, so where is the incentive to actually compete and be better than others?

    If my businesses collapsed tomorrow, I would go out and find a job with zero salary and all commission, paid on the back end. There is no way I would want to emasculate myself by looking forward to a regular paycheck. I can feel the testosterone flood out of me just at the thought.

  14. Mark on February 21, 2013 at 08:29

    One of your best posts Richard.

    Question though. Did you feel you were trading something you hated while you were working on your own business, or was it different because you were building something yourself?

    “If you’re not working on your own dreams, you’re surely working on someone else’s.”


    • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2013 at 11:12

      I’ve been pretty lucky in not having to do too much of what I hate and when I have (like working in a burger joint, a couple of department stores) it was to get through college (which was great, back in the early 80s—I’d probably hate it now).

      Navy was a blast. Where else could a 23-yr-old guy live abroad for 8 years, travel the world and get paid for it? Plus, I love the pure ethic of being at sea and out of touch. Worked tech support at Sun Micro for about 6 months before I began my company in ’93, and pretty much hated that. But yea, working on my own company for my own self and sake was da bomb!

    • Mark on February 23, 2013 at 15:33

      Side note: Which burger joints did you work at in college? I’m from Corvallis myself (didn’t really grow up there but spent a lot of time there as a lot of family is still there).

    • Richard Nikoley on February 23, 2013 at 16:33

      None there. I only worked at one burger joint and that was Dairy Queen in Chattanooga, TN, 1st year of college.

      Is Campus Hero still around? I knew the guy, a student around the same time at OSU who started it. I was a regular. He wanted to do his own bread but the ovens he bought had power requirements that could not be served in his initial location downtown there. He found a woman to make his bread. Heard from a mutual friend a couple of years back that he franchised the thing. In other news, the guy who started Nvidia was on the 4th floor of Finley Hall a few dors down. Wish I’d gotten to know him a bit better. :)

    • Lute Nikoley on February 23, 2013 at 16:51

      Wow, Nvidia. I estimated that project in Santa Clara years ago.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 23, 2013 at 16:59

      Painting or drywall?

    • Lute Nikoley on February 23, 2013 at 17:18

      Painting for A&B.

  15. Jesrad on February 22, 2013 at 22:21

    Maybe the problem’s in the form of money…

    Money is a tangible representation of social utility. Pretend money thus is but a pretension of social utility… and the social ties break with it.

    I know I could never take those colorful cuts of wrinkly paper seriously. Give me dense bright coins, jewels, heck even logs of wood, over this crap. Else why should I take my job seriously ?

  16. Baby Girl on February 23, 2013 at 23:51

    Hi Richard, long time no see. I read an article just now on the UK’s Daily Mail about naked vegan chefs and it made me think of you so I clicked over to see what you were up to these days.

  17. ATM on February 25, 2013 at 13:10

    Yup, give the plebs enough porn, pills and popcorn and they’ll be happy little chimps as they swing from one distraction to another completely oblivious to the cages that confine them.

    It’s bad enough being a (wage) slave, worse still is not even knowing you’re a slave. Worst of all is blindly and defiantly defending a system designed to keep you enslaved. ‘Love it or leave it’ drool legions of brainwashed, brain dead, binary thinking, flag waving zombies.

    In addition to finding something to do for a living that you genuinely enjoy, it seems to me that living life at the highest possible level in this urban jungle we call ‘western civilization’ includes;

    1. Psychologically isolating yourself from the masses, most of whom are morons, settlers and dream killers; embarrassments to their own potential who will only keep you from realizing yours.

    2. Recognizing that we are not just wage slaves, but slaves to materialism, mediocrity, public opinion and disempowering thoughts.

    3. Having the courage and commitment to break those chains and set yourself free. As Maya Angelou said, ‘If you want to fly, you’ve got to give up the shit that weighs you down.’

    Two more of my favorite quotes that apply to this post:

    Being rich is having money, being wealthy is having time.
    Margaret Bonnano

    It is better to risk starving to death than surrender. If you give up on your dreams, what’s left?
    Jim Carrey

  18. ATM on February 25, 2013 at 13:55

    I almost forgot…

    ‘So take measurable, incremental steps, as I am, to gradually trade less and less of what you hate, for more and more of what you love.’

    I agree that, often, major life changes require such a patient approach but for everything else, I say go scorched earth and cut all the crap out of your life TODAY. Once you’re done with the stuff you hate, move on to cutting out all the shit you like but don’t love;

    Energy draining or disrespectful ‘friends’ or lovers? See ya.
    Too many people making too many demands on your time? Fuck off.
    TV shows you like but don’t love? Find something better to watch or do.

    Suggestion: Ruthlessly delete all songs off your ipod that you like but don’t love and see how much more you enjoy and listen to your music. Life is too short for mediocrity.

    The good is the enemy of the great.
    Jim Collins

    • Richard Nikoley on February 25, 2013 at 14:06

      Yea, exactly ATM.

      Go full experimentation. For me, that happened by accident. I found myself living in Japan in 1984, well before cell or Internet.

      When you go many months without a single contact with anyone you knew or grew up with, including family, you reconnect with the human animal.

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