The Risk in Collecting

The definition of fair market value is based on a relatively simple concept. It is the selling/buying price for an item to which the buyer and seller can both agree. If Todd McFarlane is willing to pay $3 million for the 70th home run that Mark McGwire hit, than that ball’s fair market value was $3 million.

Buyers are typically going to try to lower the asking price that is set by a seller, and often, it is because the seller is trying to charge more than the market value of the product. The market value is simply the amount for which something can be sold on a given market, but desperate individuals have a tendency to try to increase prices based on the fabricated prices set by others.

Many people use eBay to try to value their products. They will search eBay for the item that they are selling and convince themselves that it is worth what someone else is asking for it. They fail to see when that item last sold and how much it sold for. They fail to take the condition of the item into consideration.

Craigslist is full of pranksters and jokers, so it is hard to say if this listing was made by someone incredibly desperate or someone incredibly stupid/bored. Either way, research will show that the Peace Bear Beanie Baby can be purchased for as little at $5 online. The Peace Bear was always unique, since no two bears have the same color pattern, but that doesn’t mean the $30,000 asking prices have been justified.

Garcia, the same bear without the peace sign on the chest, was actually far more valuable when Beanie Babies had a significant value. Investing and collecting are all about staying on top of trends and knowing when to buy and sell. At this point, almost every Beanie Baby is worth little more than the material, or original asking price of $5. Accepting that you’ve missed a buying or selling window is just a part of the risk associated with collecting anything.


Should I Buy Season Tickets?

If you’re looking at this question and asking yourself, would I enjoy going to the games myself, you’re completely missing the point already. When we try to entertain and justify any purchase, whether it is a physical good or service, our goal is to find enough value in that product. Is value for an experience strictly based on how much you would personally enjoy that experience?

How many times have you done something or gone somewhere to make someone else happy? If one other person’s happiness wasn’t the reason, you may have felt obligated to attend an event based on some responsibility you felt. I, personally, have almost never attended a funeral for my own pleasure.

Taking that notion into consideration, how would you be able to find more value in season tickets, for example. Well, growing up with a father who worked in an industry that was very competitive, his “clients” would often have to find ways to entice him to choose their services over their competition. When they couldn’t afford to drop their rates any further to gain his business, they worked to earn his loyalty.

More often than not, their efforts were based around offering experiences and not physical goods to achieve this. Whether it was a day on their fishing boat, a meal at their restaurant, or their season tickets for a game, the approach worked. Plain and simple, it was extremely effective. 

While you might not necessarily be on their multi-million-dollar business level yet, you shouldn’t shy away from tactics that work. There is no issue with operating on a much smaller scale, as the gesture you make could easily lead to a significant return on your investment. 

Our most recent season ticket purchase was a strategic move, in that we did not spend too much and we also chose a sport that we enjoy watching. This provided us with many options; whether it was attending a game together, giving both tickets away, or having one of us bring someone to the game.

The personal and professionals benefits were unquestionable and the investment paid off, but before you make the purchase, there are a few things to take into consideration. If you’re trying to follow a strict budget for your business and you plan on writing the expenses off, consider what you’ll pay for parking and other travel costs.

Also, make sure you have a way to get rid of the tickets, last-minute or in case of an emergency. Whether that means having a friend that will take them off your hands or having a way of reselling them, there is no greater waste of resources than not using them, or letting them expire.

Think outside the box; they don’t have to be season tickets to a sporting team or venue. Just remember, there are so many ways to seal the deal with a potential client, and this approach is used all over the world. It is extremely popular because it is fun and effective, so don’t shy away from something new. Control your purchase so the reward outweighs the risk.

Becoming More Efficient

Nowadays, time is the most precious resource. While it’s nearly impossible to know what was going through people’s heads thousands (and even hundreds) of years ago, we know one fact. People live longer now than they did in the past. This increase in lifespan has only made (many people) want to live even longer and make the most out of their lives.


Whether making the most means more money, more property, more fame or more experiences, more is more. The only way to accomplish more with less… efficiency. I want to look at an industry that is always forced to maximize their efficiency in order to stay profitable. The food industry, specifically eateries that serve fresh food, have grand challenges that need to be overcome.

One model that has helped turn new chains into billion dollar businesses has leaked into mom and pop shops. We recently saw this model being used at Fresh Pita, a family owned and operated Mediterranean/Middle Eastern eatery in Los Angeles. Even though the food is certainly fresh, they prepare everything similar to Chipotle and Subway so that they can quickly assemble custom orders.


Here, they’re willing to sacrifice their need to combine flavor profiles to create signature dishes in order to increase their rate of turning out dishes and also give the customer what they want. It might back fire to a certain degree because the uncertain customers take longer to decide what they want, but the effort and desire to be more efficient in many ways is there.

By having nearly everything set up ahead of time and not meddling with beverages by having pre-packaged options, they can give better customer service and also hand-pack their falafel with every order.


What do you do in your every day life to be more efficient? Being prepared can make a huge difference and save you tons of time, clearly.

Building Responsibility by… Fostering Kittens

Taking care yourself is one thing, but taking care of someone else is a completely different situation. We’ve all gone through a long school or work day without eating. We forget about it. Far too often we think that our health is not nearly as important as a deadline for a paper or a work assignment. That’s not the case when you’re taking care of someone else. When they say “feed me” you respond in a different way.

Now, what if you made the choice to take care of that living creature, and what if there were many of them? Also, think about their ability to survive without your help. Finally, taking all of that into consideration, visualize doing it all for a bunch of kittens. It’s a lot of work, but it is rewarding.

Rewarding in what way? In many ways. You’ll feel great about the work you’ve done, but you’ll also develop new skill sets. Organization, cleanliness and time management are probably the abilities that you’ll build the most, in a short amount of time, but also attention to detail and perception. You’ll constantly be looking out for everything that might be going wrong because their health is your top priority.

Depending on the situation, you might need to be extra careful around them based on their health, and if they’re sick, you might even be responsible for providing them medication. You’ll develop some cooking and scientific ability in that, having to use syringes and mix different combinations of food and supplements. If they’re young and without a mother, you’re going to have to bottle feed them.

Kittens are everywhere and plenty live on the street, needing a good home. I’m not telling you to go out there and find some just to build some new skills, but consider fostering kittens to really give yourself a taste of being an adult. If you can take care of kittens from 2 weeks old to 10 weeks old and find them a home in the process, you have a bright future. Your responsibility level will be through the roof if you do it right.

Best Ways to Learn About Responsibility

The Best Ways to Learn About Responsibility series is a way for you to consider how to help individuals develop one of the most important skill sets in the world. Responsibility is a core value that nearly every person and society understands and appreciates. It helps you at home, in school, at work and in public. Being responsible is not genetically passed down from generation to generation; it is acquire through certain experience.

While these would be effective for any individual, this series is catered towards teenagers. Why? They’re at an important intersection in their life where decisions now will make a significant impact on their future. Once you’re officially an adult, many would argue that you’re judged less based on your actions since your timeline is more open. As a teen, there are expectations of when to get a job, when to graduate high school and when to go to college.

Unfortunately, if you lack responsibility, it could throw that timeline off and lead to consequences down the road. And, with that being said, if we know one thing, it’s that time is the most valuable resource in the universe and as of right now, there’s no way to turn back the clock or freeze time. We have to use it while we have it.

Keep an eye out for the first entry in the series where we’ll tackle a very interesting topic, or approach to becoming responsible. It’s outside of the box, but the level of accountability is extremely high so it’s very effective. Stay tuned scholars!

The Problem with Fame

ESPN just released their World Fame 100 list and… something feels wrong about it. Seeing Lebron James at number seemed… so wrong. Don’t get me wrong, Lebron James is an incredibly successful man, who works hard and should be recognized for over a decade of excellence. The problem is, I don’t think he is.

I think list is nearly a perfect mixture of what ESPN’s list and what the real list would look like. But this is the problem with fame and fortune; it’s a lot more about perception than anything else. One would hope that the people on the list and their egos aren’t inflated or deflated as a result of their placement, but I’m sure that’s not the case for all of them.

This isn’t about breaking down this list and making claims that international athletes like Federer, Nadal, Bolt and Messi need to be in the top 5. This isn’t about saying certain sports are more important than others, comparing ethnicities or even gender equality. This is about perception; it’s about the perception of others and how you allow that to impact how you perceive yourself… and others.

You can use something like this to work harder and improve, but remember, the best way to measure that growth isn’t necessarily by seeing if you’ve moved up on someone else’s list. Focus on yourself. But yes, for what it’s worth, my list would be very different from this list.

If you want it… take it

Here’s some quick motivation. Life is extremely short and if you really want something, you should always be somewhat strategic in your approach of how to attain it, but you need to be reckless enough to put in serious effort. 99% of the time you’re going to have to put in more effort… way more effort than you think in order to be successful.

I thought of this when I saw that one of the most innovative billionaires on the planet, who is completely self-made, dropped over $100 million on a painting… my a modern/abstract American artist. The billionaire happens to be Japanese, and this whole scenario just shows you how certain people want a certain something, and although you might not be able to relate to that specific case, you need know exactly what it feels like.

If you’re into a certain something, don’t worry about what anyone else has to say as long as you have your situation under control. You really can achieve anything, but you need to be true to yourself and dedicated to your effort. What that effort is… well that’s entirely up to you and what you spend your earnings on… that again is completely your choice.

Just know that there’s something very special about doing what this man did and will most likely continue to do. His art collection is growing, but he works hard to make sure he can afford that very expensive hobby. He probably had 1,000 obstacles that jumped in his way, so don’t accept failure and don’t make excuses. Be accountable.

Efficient Ways to Finish Chores

You might have already discovered your trick to maximize your productivity when it comes to daily or weekly tasks such as chores. Whether it’s a reminder or to-do app on your phone, you’re hard-wired from years of repetition, or you have another trick up your sleeve, you’ve mastered what needs to get done.

There are, however, many others who have not yet figured out how to finish these tasks as quickly as possible. More importantly, there are many others who simply leave the house and forget to get certain things done.

One method that we use is by using the lights in each room. Before we leave for work, we want to make sure the dishes are clean, the litter is clean, all doors are closed, electronics are off, and things are put away.

In order to make sure nothing is neglected, we turn the lights on in every room where an action item is required. As we complete all the chores in that room, we turn the lights off. When you walk through the house before leaving and see all the lights off, you know that all tasks are complete.

In the featured picture the litter needed to be scooped. In the kitchen picture, it’s typically a matter of leaving clean dishes and an empty sink. The dining room has the animal’s water bowl in it, which needs to be filled with fresh water.

Try using this system if you struggle to keep the house clean and organized. Let us know if it solves any of your problems because coming home from work to a house like this allows you to either maximize productivity later at night, or allows you to relax.

Avoid Getting Lost in Translation

Translation might not be the best word for this situation, but it sure does sound cool… or even appropriate. What situation am I talking about? One that creates so many opportunities for failure and disappointment.

Twenty years ago, you only had to worry about communicating with people in a few ways. You’d either talk to them in person, speak over the phone, or send a written letter. If you didn’t take care of business right then and there, you’d only have three different places to look for what you have to do.

Fast forward to today, and someone like myself, who has few apps compared to others, has a much larger list of places where people need to be answered in order to get work done, or even, if not anything else, avoid having people made at you.

Multiple email addresses, text messages, voice messages, Linked In messages, Facebook messenger, Instagram direct messages, Twitter, LetGo, OfferUp, Yelp, and YouTube are all places on my personal cell alone that leave me vulnerable to the situation, or trap, described above.

Here’s the big question… how do I avoid falling into the trap? How do I maximize my opportunities and minimize my risk here? Well, there are plenty of different strategies, but here’s mine. Delete, delete, delete. Screenshot, screenshot, screenshot. Email.

My email addresses and the cloud are my central nervous system. Whenever I’m dealing on another platform, as soon as I’ve done my part and am now waiting for a response, I delete the conversation. If there is some form of agreement that needs to be upheld, I take a screenshot and email it to myself for record-keeping.

If it’s a big deal, as in a possible major opportunity, I’ll either leave it or screenshot and save it to my photos in my phone, since I always keep less than 100 total to avoid clutter. I never want to leave the ball in my court so I always respond as soon as possible and avoid allowing things getting lost in translation by clearing the court.

That’s one strategy to increase your organization in order to improve your communication. What do you do?

Fun Ways to Find Funds

Know your audience. While it might be nice to think that you have an idea that is targeting the whole world, it’s highly unlikely. Why? Because someone else has probably tried it but when it comes to smaller audiences, you have a better chance of being original.

Know your audience. Know why they’re coming to you and know what’s going to get them excited. Want a good example? Here’s one.

Eduardo Serio, founder of BlackJaguarWhiteTiger, is one of the most engaging individuals on Instagram. Over the past few years, over 6 million followers have watched his journey to save over 250 big cats, which also include lions… big lions.

Eddie, as his fans more affectionately call him, knows exactly what those 6 million people want to see every day… his babies. So, that’s exactly what he has given them… thousands of posts of his cats, and some dogs as well!

In an effort to raise more money for his rescue, Eddie decided to auction off his iconic vest that has been worn in most of those videos. While the idea of winning such an item isn’t initially too exciting, since it might not fit and has patches from companies that you might not care much for… he has an x-factor.

The vest itself is covered in the bite and claw marks of lions, tigers, jaguars, and other exotic animals. For a donation, you receive an entry into a drawing to win the vest and in an effort to maximize contributions, Eddie decided to announce this about a month before the drawing.

I’m sure Eddie would love to hold onto his treasured vest, but he understands how to get what he needs, in addition to what he wants. This mindset and the ability to make sacrifices pays dividends, and I’d love to see how many entries are purchased.

I’m sure the odds of winning will be similar to the lottery, but I didn’t purchase the entries expecting to win. I purchased the entries expecting to help save more cats and Eddie’s ability to engage with his audience has created this culture.

Learn from it!