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Principled Money Posts #21: ‘the holidays are over’ edition

We are back in Manchester and life is slowly settling into familiar routines. Well, almost! Tomorrow is the day when I am planning to officially end my long holiday (at least part time since I did work on The Money Principle) and get back to the relentless rhythm of writing, preparing for the new academic year, travelling for my ‘day job’, giving presentation and teaching executive courses. All good fun and I am surprised by the difference that a good, long break and a clearing out of my head makes – I don’t dread the hard work ahead; quite the reverse, I am looking forward to it and am eagerly welcoming any challenge that no doubt will come my way.

No more reading silly novels, though; which is a pity since this is my favourite way to relax and clear my head. May be I should have a go at writing one of those – something that is both accomplished and sells. Well, who knows!

Today, however, is just another Sunday – the day when I write about blog articles that made me think.

Until couple of days ago, whenever somebody told me that blogging is hard work I wanted to scream ‘Yeah! Try working in a supermarket; or picking strawberries nine hours a day.’. Lately, however, I have identified an aspect of blogging that can be rather unsettling – the fact that to be a good blogger one has to become a ‘seeker’ and becoming a seeker inevitably makes us question many things that we have accepted as given. I, for one, have started questioning my assumption that I am a fairly open minded person. Fortuitously, Leo Babauta published an article setting out the conditions of being open minded; and though I am not sure I fared very well if these are used as a check list at least now I know what to develop and what to watch for. If you wish to do the same go read the article – well worth it.

You all know that I am almost half way through my marathon training? And that is one of the main things I did whilst in Bulgaria – I ran; I ran on the beach, up and down hills, I ran long, fast and hard. All part of the ‘run like a cheetah and look like Venus’ programme that Chris Clark (my trainer) has provided for me. Sometimes it is fun. But exercise and life are very similar in one thing: when they become easy it is not worth it because you are not developing. Apparently Chris Guillebeau is training for a marathon as well and last week he published an account of a hard run – and, Chris, I do agree that, tempting as it may be, it is not OK to quit. One has to have the courage and determination to run through the pain threshold – this is what makes an endurance runner in races or life.

We are just back from slightly over four weeks away – Britain has been rather gloomy this summer so all this time is sunny and hot Bulgaria was a blessing that will serve us well in the winter. This didn’t cost much – even including a week at the sea our time away cost us as much as a week package holiday. Of course, we are very lucky to have bought an apartment in Sofia and use it as a base for other adventures. Jay at the Sterling Effort published an article about holidaying on the cheap – have a look even if camping and country side is not your cup of tea. Some really lovely pictures!

Karen at Help me To Save, published an article that not only made me think – about services, business models and what not – but also made laugh at the audacity of some organisations; and, of course, the blatant bad writing and clichés. Recently, Santander’s intention to start charging for bank accounts was announced by the BBC. And Karen, who is one of the ‘lucky customers’, received a letter telling her that the bank’s ‘…aim is to build the bank we know our customers want’. How ridiculous! What a way to tell people that instead only playing with peoples’ money they will have to start paying you for the privilege.

I always knew that love, loving and money are related. You want to know how? Go on the Monevator and learn How talking about money is like French kissing. Splendid piece!

And finally, I think that we all worry about money at least some of the time. But if you want to know why read Why do we worry about money. Very thought provoking article by one of my favourite bloggers.

Finally, it is time for some great news. Last November I started the Yakezie challenge – this involves consistent blogging (which I was already doing) and achieving an Alexa rank of below 200K in six months. My Alexa went below 200K on January 1, but I had not done my six months in time for the previous intake of full members. Have a look at my Yakezie badge! I just got a message that I am a full Yakezie member. So, I am off to write my member article!

This is it for now! Speak soon.

12 thoughts on “Principled Money Posts #21: ‘the holidays are over’ edition”

    • @Karen: Yeah, I saw the news as well. What I found amusing in a not very ‘ha-ha’ kind of way was the text of the letter you received. I do find it interesting that any un-popular measure – be it in politics or finance – is disguised as this great good for ‘the people’ or ‘the customer’.

  1. Hey Maria, welcome back to the UK! 🙂 Congrats on your progress, and I really mean that, but it’s much healthier to focus on your Google Analytics. The Yakezie challenge is a massive joke. Yakezie itself is useful to the community, but the challenge is about large scale manipulation of Alexa data, which I believe is unfair to advertisers. Let me assure you, I have and have had access to the statistics to enough websites to know that you do not own an Alexa 200k site. I own another site that serves up 45,000 pages per day to 7,500 people. Its Alexa rank? 240K. Gah, the whole thing makes me so mad, I wish I’d offered to do a talk on it at the Write On conference! Anyway, you know I’ve been following you so well done with your progress!

    p.s. This lack of trust is also present in our blog ranking algorithm. You can’t really get into the top spots without a decent Compete ranking because you can’t scam Compete like you can scam Alexa. When Compete realises the level of traffic you’re getting, you’ll jump right up the ranks! 🙂

    • @Ash: Great to hear from you again – I like lively comments. Ash, I look from time to time at Google analytics (this is going rather well for us as well as it happens) but refuse to get too taken by any of this. I have published academic articles on the distorions that any metrics introduce (because people will always try to manipulate them; and yes some of these ways are more acceptable than others but at the end it all leaves bad taste) – these are about universities and higher education but similar principles apply.

      The Yakezie challenge for me was not about the Alexa rank – it is about publishing to a schedule and sticking with it ‘never mind what’. Which can be done without a supportive and supporting group but I much appreciated the friendly pressure of the network. And will continue to enjoy it, I hope.

      Are you coming to Leeds?

      • I know, sorry! Been very busy lately getting things ready for quitting my job! I’ve felt very guilty about my level of participation around here. Your papers sound interesting. Is there a way I can check them out? Feel free to email me details if so. I miss having access to journals 🙁

        You’re right about the support. It’s always great to be accountable – that’s why I do my little income reports. The comments from you and the others really make me feel that I need to progress or at least not fall behind because I at least have a few eyes watching!

        Yup, both Jay and I will be going along. Will you and John be there? I’m just sad that I can’t really afford FinCon right now. Haha can you believe that in about 24 hours time Sterling Effort will be losing an award?! 😀

        • @Ash: Just e-mailed an article called Rank and File. Yes, John and I are going to Leeds and will see you there (I am a panelist but Karen is yet to tell me what to do about it).

          As to the Plutus – it is an honour to take part. When I got to the finals of the PF Olympics, I had no chance of winning (TMP is too small still) – but it was great to be up there. So enjoy! (and who knows…:)).

  2. I have NOT trained for any races but have been doing a lot of exercising lately (cardiokickboxing and weight lifting). It would be easy to quit, but I would certainly regret it. It is NOT okay to quit working out entirely (although you can change things up and redirect… etc).
    I’m happy to be included amongst suck esteemed articles 🙂
    Welcome back 🙂

    • @Roshawn: You know, there is a great children’s story called ‘Giraffes can’t dance’. The message is that they can – when they find their music. So, I agree with you that it doesn’t matter what the exercise is: we shouldn’t quit.

  3. I used to envy people who could take off 4 weeks at a time until I became a teacher.  Now I have a summer break of at least 8 weeks, 1 week in the Spring and 3 weeks at winter break.  Time off has to used well or it goes too quickly and you feel it was a waste.

    • @Krant: This time I did find it was necessary. I needed to rest and re-gain some of my creativity because of pushing so hard on many things during the last 11 months or so. Being away for so long didn’t mean I did nothing – I just did much less than normally and trained.

    • @AverageJoe: Thanks! And I wish I were coming to FinCon as well – for running and much more. Have you thought about doing Loch Ness marathon in 2013 (I am very serious about this one).


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