Hi Reddit, my name is James Altucher. I’m an entrepreneur and writer. I’ve founded 20 companies, ranging from hedge funds to dating websites, most of which have failed. A few have made million dollar exits. I blew that on expensive toys, trips, and bad ideas, and saw my account go from $15 million to $143 in a matter of months. I lost my house, my friends, my sanity and considered killing myself. BusinessWeek called me “Wall Street’s keeper of pain”.

After a few months of depression and heartache, I started a blog to bleed out some of my ideas and lessons I was going through (to give you an idea, popular posts include “I Want My Kids to Be Drug Addicts”, “How I Screwed Yasser Arafat Out of $2 Million, and Lost $100 million”, and “I Want To Die”). I started more businesses, wrote more books. Now the blog receives millions of visitors a year, I made most my money back through new investments, and just published my new book: Choose Yourself

Choose Yourself is the result of everything I’ve gone through in the past. You can’t wait on anyone to give you the life you want. Nobody is coming to hire you, invest in your company, to sign you, to pick you. College isn’t going to help, neither are your parents, or friends. You have to choose yourself. There are more ways than ever to make a million dollars, create art, and change the world, without “help.” If you want to read it, I’ll even pay you to do so

So, AMA you’d like. I'm excited to be here

Update Thank you guys so much! This was great. I have to go now, but may be back in to answer a few more later

Comments: 3136 • Responses: 74  • Date: 

shae2k1035 karma

Mr. Altucher, no big questions, I just wanted to say that you saved my life a couple of years back when you took the time to email me while I was going through a very hard time in my life.

I changed my life, in small part, due to the advice you took the time to give me. It was a pivotal time for me. I thank you sincerely.

jamesaltucher752 karma

Shae, thanks so much. I'm glad things are going better now.

LyingPervert757 karma

Does money actually get you a lot of girls?

jamesaltucher1472 karma

I hate to say it: but yes it does.

noshunintended372 karma

You said you blew all your money on "expensive toys, trips, and bad ideas" What was the WORST idea?

jamesaltucher598 karma

1) Buying a house. People always forget: a.) a house is an illiquid investment so you cant get your money back when you need it most b) there's millions of hidden costs when you buy a house c) the bank owns your house. not you. When you sell your soul to a bank, you reap what you sow. d) "choosing yourself" requires freedom. the white picket fence becomes a prison bar.

2) I put $2mm into a wireless device company that didn't work out. But in general I kept doubling down everywhere because it wasn't any one bad investment but a psychology that I needed MORE to be happy. Choosing Yourself requires a philosophy that LESS actually creates abundance in life.

mozerdozer357 karma

If you have 15 million can't you just buy the entire house instead of taking out a mortgage, thus making so the bank doesn't own it?

jamesaltucher359 karma

Sure. That's a different story. Thats less than 1% of people. But even then, you can rent fantastic places then, keep most of your cash, and be able to move whenever you want. I choose freedom!

Besselheim_Plate48 karma

What about "expensive toys"? Tell me about a dope car or a sweet helicopter or something.

jamesaltucher171 karma

I have never really been one to buy material posessions. But I did buy a huge penthouse loft and redo it from scratch and then jump on a helicopter and 45 minutes later playing no-limit in AC. So I guess that's material.

BUT, my biggest mistake was thinking $10 mm wasn't enough to make me happy. That I NEEDED $100mm.

You know what I wanted to do with that money? Nothing. I wanted to buy a super bowl ad that was just me walking around saying nothing.

BUt then I lost all my money investing $10mm to make $100mm.

Hooligan_Hardguy46 karma

With that Rationale, we should all rent? I mean, what about the Equity gained when buying a home? What about people that own their home outright?

jamesaltucher95 karma

The equity is very minimal. The average american flips their house every five years. And you are forgetting all the property taxes and maintenance that eat away at that equity.

If you believe in housing as an investment, buy a diversified REIT on the stock market.

If you want real equity that can go up in value, take the downpaymenbt you would've made, rent a house, and start a business. Opportunity profit is much better and you will build real equity.

flounder1937 karma

On the flip side what is the best thing you used your money to buy and the most fun thing?

jamesaltucher314 karma

The best thing I ever did with my money was just keep it in cash. Cash in the bank lets me know i can watch the river in the morning and not worry about money. Money doesn't solve all your problems but it solves your money problems.

More important to buy memories than materials.

tauntology227 karma

What is your advice for someone who is a successful consultant but isn't bringing in the big money?

jamesaltucher714 karma

Your best new customers are your current customers.

Get a waiters paid.

Go to a cafe with the pad.

At the top of each page put the name of a current customer. Write down 10 - 15 ideas of additional services you can provide each customer. Even if it has nothing to do with your current biz.

Then offer those services. Be more and more indispensable. This will generate more loyaly, more money, and word of mouth will get you new customers.

agelessnvegas170 karma

Crap, all the answers you're giving on this Reddit is a book in itself.

jamesaltucher109 karma

Haha. Thanks!

Hellothereman143 karma

James - how do I get rid of jealousy and envy in my life?

I feel like such a loser sometimes that I can't sleep. I sit up and think about all the time I wasted going to parties or worrying, and not reading or working.

I can't force myself to learn how to code - it doesn't interest me at all - but I feel like a low life for not getting my shit together and just learning it... But it's like pulling teeth. I hate it.

jamesaltucher300 karma

Yes, it is very hard and I am sorry you are going through that. it is a daily battlke for many people. for me also.

I will tell you how I do it. It may work for you or not:

  • i sleep 8 hours a day
  • i dont drink
  • i dont eat junk food. junk food has jealousy in it, as weird as that sounds.
  • i NEVER gossip
  • i read books. I write down ten ideas a day
  • i am always grateful for everything in my life.

I have lots of fun adventures.

If you do these things, what i call "the simple daily practice" in my book, then you wont have room for jealousy and envy. Another thing is to note (NOTE!) when these feelings arise and try to replace them with gratitude.

GeorgieCaseyUnbanned151 karma

i dont eat junk food. junk food has jealousy in it, as weird as that sounds.

what the hell does this mean?

jamesaltucher145 karma

Try this experiment. Eat a bag of Doritos RIGHT NOW. Then go to the gym. Take notes on what you are feeling. Then report back here.

FourCounters14 karma

Would you give an example of what ten ideas should look like to me.

Thank you for your time,

jamesaltucher131 karma

Ok, ten ideas for a business right now off the top of my head: A) set up your local businesses with FB fan pages and campaigns on how ot use them. Charge a small monthly fee. B) Write a $1000 course on how to get rid of all your student loan debt C) Make a job site for local temp staffing. Nobody has done this D) Use twitter data for predictions like box office revs and charge the movie companies, record labels, etc. Or political data. You can find twitter data that correlates with election results. E) the smart toilet - the toilet collects your urine, analyzes it using licensed tests, and sends you an SMS with the results (good for cancer analysis, diabetes, etc) F) take the top 100 public domain books and add "with Vampires" at the end. Slightly rewrite them all. Republish them on Amazon G) create a search engine of all shared economy sites. H) make an uber for private jets I) make a stock exchange for books. bestselling authors IPO the books they are working on so you can get a piece of the royalties and they can get more cash up front J) smart refrigerator: knows when you are running low on critical items (eggs) and orders them automatically to be delivered.

Some of the above are bad. Some maybe ok. Who knows. The key is to exercise the idea muscle until your brain sweats. Every day.

SanguiaDeOrgia110 karma

What was your biggest failure? Success?

jamesaltucher252 karma

I've had many failures. The biggest. Was probably losing $1mm a week one summer CASH, in the stock market and other investments and spending. Until I was dead broke, begging for money from my parents, losing my house, my family, everything. I had to make it back from scratch.

My biggest success was finally figuring out what got me back each time I failed. Having a philosophy of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health which I am happy to explain further. I was on the floor putting craigslists ads up for simple human contact while I felt the whole world was against me. Getting up off the floor and not killing myself was my biggest success.

Financially I've sold companies for 8 digit figures but I don't consider those successes but a natural outcome of being internally healthy. It happens so fast its like magic.

hestonkent192 karma

To be going from millions to begging your parents for cash is pretty damn low. Fuck.

jamesaltucher587 karma

Then they refused to lend it to me. So I hung up and didn't speak to them. Then six months later I still hadn't spoken to them. My dad had a stroke and died. That didn't feel too good to me.

alecdibble55 karma

How did you come to terms with that?

jamesaltucher258 karma

I never came to terms with it. When I wake up, i dont think about it. I think: what can I do to help people today. Yesterday is over.

Tutts36 karma

that's rough. I hope you eventually come to terms with it. How about your mom? How's your relationship with her?

As a parent you've given me lots to think about, like letting my kids know that my disciplining them or refusing them something doesn't mean I cut them out and they're always welcomed back. Also, will be teaching them to pull their own weight.

jamesaltucher78 karma

I think thats key. To let your kids know that disciplining is just about setting boundaries. Not about love or hate.

One thing I listened to a few weeks ago was a talk by Jim Sheils about scheduling "board meetings" with your kids. Google him. It was very valuable info to me.

maxell3355 karma

Can you explain, in a nutshell, how to go about becoming internally healthy? I feel I'm on the bottom right now and really want to get out.

jamesaltucher497 karma

yes. i call it "the daily practice" but really its my practice. What works for you might be different. In the book I also describe a "simple daily practice" to ease into it.

  • I eat well
  • i sleep well. I used to never sleep. Sleeping is the key to ALL health
  • i dont drink. Drinking is a depressant and has a lot of sugar.
  • i only engage with positive people. Even on this AMA i don't engage with people trying to bring me down. NEVER.
  • i read every day. 2 hours. Books. not web.
  • i write 10 ideas a day. Doesn't matter what kind of ideas. The key is to get the idea muscle going.
  • I am every day grateful. if i start to slip into thinking about scarcity, i change to think about abundance. It is such a pleasure to do this.

Do all of the above for six months. I guarantee its like magic what happens then. Please try it. I dont care if you buy my book or not. Try the above.

pulintz47 karma

Remarkably similar to what a tibetan yogi told me one time. Except he added yoga to the list.

jamesaltucher150 karma

Yoga is good. Worth noting that in "the yoga sutras" which is the main text for yoga, the physical part of yoga takes up only 1.5% of the entire text. The other 98.5% of the yoga sutras is about how to clean out all aspects of your life, not just the stretching of muscles.

hytrah90 karma

Do you have any tips for someone going into the business world? What type of degrees would be nice, what colleges in the country are nice, etc? I heard the business world was tough but very rewarding. Please share how early life was for you when you were starting up.

jamesaltucher444 karma

Forget everything in your question. Forget these words: "business world" , "degrees", "colleges", "tough".

Here's what you do: every day try to figure out ten ideas that will create value for people. You need to build the idea muscle or it atrophies like any other muscle. School doesn't do that. School atrophies your brain.

Don't expect your ideas to be good. After about six months they will start ot be good. Become an idea machine. help people. Eventually charge people to help them. Now you are in business. Take a fulltime job so you can get paid while you are building your idea muscle.

introduce 2-10 people a day to each other who you think can help each other. Build out your network this way. Deliver value.

That is your schooling. Nothing else will ever work.

rum_rum374 karma

I hate people and generally want to set them on fire. Otherwise, this seems like valuable advice.

jamesaltucher261 karma

Fair enough. But find the people you don't hate and figure out what they need. I hate a lot of people also. So here's what I do: i never see them. They dont exist for me.

Lowestprimate77 karma

What is one thing kids in this country need to know and to learn?

jamesaltucher331 karma

how to fail. We reward kids who get As in school. This is horrible. Kids need to know how to get a C- and what it means and how to learn from it.

Second, most kids have no clue how to sell an idea. How to communicate. Creativity is not nourished.

cheftlp122160 karma

How do you come back from the failure? When you have $143 how did you get traction and financing for the next company?

jamesaltucher173 karma

Coming back means "delivering so much value for others that they pay me or deliver value back to me in some way".

In that particular instance (the #143) instance I had to basically sell all my posessions to get a little bit of money. Then I wrote software to model the stock market. Then I used my software to write articles that I got paid for by financial sites and other hedge fund managers wanted me (my software) to manage their money and they paid me for it and it worked out well.

But it took a good six months or more of no drinking, eating well, sleeping well, ELIMINATE all negative people. (I'm going to say that again: ELIMINATE all negative people from your life. Do not engage with them at all while you are trying to survive), building your idea muscle, and being grateful for the abundance that is always huge in your life.

Then expect to build. I tell people if you do the above your life changes in six months. It does. Its magic what happens but jump on every opportunity.

Jeemdee236 karma

ELIMINATE all negative people. I'm going to say that again: ELIMINATE all negative people

Well, that escalated dramatically..

jamesaltucher96 karma

by "Eliminate" I simply mean, "Don't engage". They will always try to engage you. And your brain will want to engage back. It's fun. It's sport. But don't do it.

Btw, its not the neighbor across town. its the colleage, the family menber, the "friend", etc. that could be the most negative in your life.

2nd_class_citizen43 karma

I read (most of) "How to the Luckiest Person Alive" and it had really great advice. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a company and has ideas but can't decide which one to go with?

Also, what's your opinion regarding B2B vs. B2C businesses? I've heard that B2B startups have a higher success rate and higher average exit valuation compared to B2C startups. But figuring out what other businesses need or have problems with is harder than coming up with consumer ideas. Thanks!

jamesaltucher70 karma

B2B has higher success rate because you can actually get customers who will pay you right out the gate. Focus on that. B2C is a crap shoot. Note the great example of Mark Cuban. First he sold a B2B software co for $10mm. THEN he started a B2C site he sold for billions.

Give yourself runway first. Build a B2B SERVICE business and sell that. Productize if you can but its not necessary.

Also, if you can't pick an idea, generate more ideas. It tells me there's some other blockage in your health. Are you around positive people only? Are you grateful? Are you healthy phsyically? Are you sleeping well? etc.

2nd_class_citizen13 karma

Do you have any suggestions for how to contact people within companies who can give you an idea of what problems/issues they're facing that could be opportunities for a startup?

One of my friends recently attended a trade show and that seems to be a good way to network within an industry.

As for the health thing - I'm not around enough positive people honestly (being in grad school). Physically I'm OK but mainly confused about what direction to take after graduation.

jamesaltucher43 karma

dont be confused about the future. Today keep trying to improve these different areas of your health. Again, physical, emotional, mental, spritual. You say you do't always hang around positive people. This will kill you. This will make you confused. This will stifle the idea muscle. All of these things are connected.

LinkedIn is a good way to network. And go to LinkedIn networking meetups. Even throw networking meetups. Lewis Howes is a great example of someone who went from scratch to using linkedin to become a networking master. check out his stuff.

mikiskool43 karma

How long do you spend in front of your computer per day / week?

jamesaltucher105 karma

I wake up and read for 2 hours. Then write for 2-3 hours. Then that's it. I don't surf the web. Sometimes I play chess online.

maple_sizzurp39 karma

I'm 24 and I don't know what to do with my life. I'm finishing my undergraduate but I'm not particularly interested in any field because I don't suck at certain things and excel at others. For the most part, I can do everything fairly well, but I'm not going to be the top tier either. Nothing really stands out for me. I have a certain amount of money I want to make in the next 3 years and I don't know how to make it. The reason for that amount is to give back to my parents. I want to let them retire, travel the world with me to places they haven't been and have less financial worries.

I want to be passionate about something and make lots of money from doing it. Any advice to help me find my way?

jamesaltucher68 karma

Don't worry. Between the age of 24 and 45 I changed careers about a dozen times. If you don[t know what you want to do then stop what you are doing and focus first on how you can be a bit healthier today.

And by healthy I am not just referring to physical but to ALl of your bodies: emotional, mental, spiritual also.

Henry Ford didn't create the assembly line until I think he was 65. You have a lot of time. Good luck.

Jaydi27 karma

I too made a million by 25 doing internet marketing. I lost it all on a bad project with a partner that went wrong. After paying taxes and fees are funds are tied up and I might night even see any of it. This happened in the past 4 years. I'm 30 living with my parents just getting back going again. Reading your post gives me hope.

jamesaltucher17 karma

I'm glad Jaydi.

upreddit26 karma

Hi James, can you give a quick tl;dr about how you started your most successful business (capital requirement, type of business, length of business) and what are the most important things you've learned business wise since finding all the other 19 companies?

what worked, what failed, etc.....

jamesaltucher102 karma

yes: my 2 most successful businesses I will tell you the common attributes:

A) I never raised a dime B) I had a customer from the first day C) I never put the company in jeopardy D) I was always willing to sell the business. I was never foolish enough to think I could be a billion dollar company. 99.99% of successful companies sell eventually.

that's it. Oh, and also, if you arent getting customers and revenues, shut down the biz immediately or turn it around quickly.

OoTheNigerian20 karma

I have never really heard you talk much about travel or having fun.

What countries have you visited, which are your favorites and why?

What are your hobbies asides chess?

jamesaltucher100 karma

I've been all over Europe, India, Argentina, all over the US, Canada, Mexico, Iceland, etc. It's all good but I like being home also. I live right by a river. I like looking at the river at 5 in the morning. That's fun for me.

I like to read and write and play games. Thinking about it - i like to do the same things I liked to do when I was six years old. Except when I was six I didn't like sex as much as I do now.

2Fux4Bela19 karma

What's the best piece of advice in getting initial (angel) investment?

jamesaltucher92 karma

Get a customer first. Your cheapest money is revenues.

mcthibbs16 karma

You said one of your best skills is reaching out to people (sometimes ones you've never met before). What's your best tactic on cold calling and your best intro?

jamesaltucher61 karma

I can't cold call very well. But what I can do is one of two things:

A) idea networking. Introduce a person to ten good ideas they can use to improve their business. Give the ideas totally for free and in great detail.

B) permission networking. Think of two people who can help each other and why. Get their permission to introduce each other. Then introduce.

Just cold calling rarely works. You have to give. Or as Gary Vaynerchuk likes to say, "you have to give give give".

chewdak13 karma

What does the future look like?

jamesaltucher84 karma

lots of old people.

DCA2SFO8 karma

What's the best advice you could give to a recent college grad (marketing major) wanting to move to Silicon Valley from the east coast to land a position at a tech company?

jamesaltucher39 karma

Go to Angel.co. Look for every company that just got funded. They are all hiring marketing people.

FairEnough5 karma

Hey James - I'm halfway through Choose Yourself and it's really hitting home in a lot of ways. So thanks.

My question - You talked about all the different businesses you started and how much they varied by type. Knowing how difficult and time-consuming it is to try and become an "expert" in that many topics before diving in, how would you recommend learning and researching a new businesses idea before starting?

jamesaltucher24 karma

When Bobby Fischer was 14 years old he took a year off from playing chess. This was around 1955 I think. He studied all the games played in the 1800s. The 1800s! And he came up on improvements. Then when he came back to playing in tournaments he was playing all these weird openings from the 1800s but totally destroying everyone.

Study the history, in every detail, of the industry you want to be in. That's the first requirement.

Second, get a customer before you start. I always ahd a customer before I started a business that was successful.

urbangentlman4 karma

Hi Mr. Alutcher

over this last weekend I found a solid plan to fund a project. This project is in a very saturated market with the biggest market shareholder pulling down a billion in sales annually. What advice do you have for someone entering a market and playing against the big stick swingers?

thank you for your time

jamesaltucher3 karma

Find an initial customer who thinks your product has an advantage over the market leader. If it doesn't, then find a new business.

Bootsza3 karma

Do you think the world today is better off than it was 20 years ago?

jamesaltucher4 karma

Yes, the world is better off. For instance, I can write a book and publish it without having a publisher.

My cost per unit of electricity I use is much less.

My choice of food in the store is much greater

Lifespans are longer

Infant deaths are down

Is everything better? I don't know. There are more opportunities than ever. You and I can talk through continents without even knowing each other's names. I love this.

But...it has a downside. The opportunities are for individuals to take advantage of. Don't let the corporations take advantage of you. If you don't write your own rules, someone else will write them for you. And that won't be fun.

its20123 karma

Hey James, I'm a huge fan of you and your writing. I read your blog regularly.

  • What is your single biggest regret?

  • If you could go back to any point in time and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be and why?

  • Who are your favorite entrepreneurs/who do you look up to?

  • What are your thoughts on Bitcoin?

Thanks for taking the time to do this.

jamesaltucher12 karma

  • I have no regrets. I used to regret losing money. BUt that only means you will keep losing money. I am really grateful every single day for everything that has happened to me and the adventures I constantly have as a result. Thats how you create abundance.

  • I wouldn't tell my younger self anything. But I would tell any other young person: don't worry about purpose, goal, passion, etc. Think about helping people. But you can't help people until you help yourself. Be a beacon of light. The way you do that is through physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health every single day. Without this, your beacon becomes foggy. Ships will crash. People will die.

jamesaltucher9 karma

Oh, bitcoin: I forgot to answer.

The philosophy behind bitcoin is very important. It's currency 2.0 meets contract law. Please study it. There are many businesses to be built around it. Bitcoin might not be the winner but there will be a digital currency winner in the next 20 years.

gilgohn3 karma

You've written about working with Jim Cramer of "Mad Money." What is he like on set? Would you still listening to his investment advice?

jamesaltucher2 karma

Jim Cramer is incredibly intelligent at media and entertainment and branding. I would listen to anything he says on those topics.

On the topic of investing, I only listen to myself.

SnookSnook3 karma

Is there an idea that, while it didn't work out the first time around, you'd be willing to bank on now?

jamesaltucher3 karma

Yeah, a couple. If you google "Altucher" and "junglesmash" you'll find my post about that business.

Also, I had an idea for a fund business where you simply piggyback all the stocks held by the best investors: Buffett, Icahn, Soros, etc. That idea would work.

chip1003 karma

Hey James, love the blog, its definitely changed my perspective on quite a few things in life. Thanks for all the advice you’ve offered. My question is what is your opinion on American corporatism? Are corporations becoming too powerful and hindering capitalism by phasing out small business owners and the individual entrepreneur? Will new technological efficiencies continue to destroy the work force as operations people are replaced by computers? And if so, how do we fix it?

jamesaltucher12 karma

I am glad you have separated out the words "Corporatism" from "capitalism". Capitalism has created innovation in every aspect of our lives. Corporatism tries to enslave us.

Capitalism is ultimately stronger. Corporatism doesn't need any help to die. It's already dying a very natural death. Underemployment is skyrocketing because technology and globalization and govt regulation has hindered (and helped) corportations form hiring people.

Eventually the entire middle management (anyone who shuffles papers and sits in a cubicle) will be outsourced. Everyone will either become a temp staffer or an entrepreneur. Make sure you pick the right choice.

The word force wont be destroyed but the above choice will have to be made by everyone.

rum_rum1 karma

This always gets me. If the working class kept the advantages that came with technology and globalization, we'd we working ten hours weeks or outsourcing our OWN jobs to India.

In the past people used to wonder what we'd do with all our leisure time. Apparently "being homeless and scavenging garbage dumps" never occurred to them.

jamesaltucher2 karma

Note: we have more leisure time than ever. A century ago the avg work week was 60+ hours. Now its 33 hours.

BUT, underemployment is high. So we have to make our own opportunities now or the corporations will own us.

pulintz3 karma

Do you believe the following? "All happiness comes from helping others".

jamesaltucher2 karma

No. I think helping others is a great thing but it comes second.

A beacon in the water doesn't guide ships if the lights are out. You have to make sure your light is shining as brightly as possible. I always write about "the daily practice" which helped me to do that. In my book I tell of stories of other people it's helped. Btw, i'm not trying to promote the book but the message. if you see in the first page of the book: I offer to pay people back who can prove to me they read the book.

chiefer_of_reefer2 karma

Out of your 20 companies which one was the one you thought had the most potential but didn't make it?

jamesaltucher3 karma

One idea: crowdsourced ad campaigns. Search my blog for "junglesmash". It was a good idea and Procter & Gamble and other companies were contacting me about it. But I got depressed and let it drift and just never executed on it. Its still a good idea.

Another idea: a dating site on top of twitter. At first I thought it was good and then I thought it was VERY bad and shut it down and returned the money I raised.

langer442 karma

Whats it like going from having it all to having almost nothing at all?

jamesaltucher1 karma

Well, I felt like i was going to kill myself. I felt like my children were going to be miserable unless I killed myself and let them collect on my 4mm life insurance policy. Thats how stupid I was.

Eventually, I got out of that mindset and started paying attention to the different aspects of my health. And being grateful for ABUNDANCE that was always mine.

Datastream112 karma

What are your thoughts on WDDD as the next VRNG

jamesaltucher1 karma


sayshitoladies2 karma

I actually wanted to email what I was feeling to you earlier but I never got to typing out my feelings. I'll use this AMA to hold a conversation with you that I ever so wanted to have for quite some time now.

From most of the posts I have read on your blog, I get the feeling that you are introverted (and I believe I am too but I am not particularly sure if I am just a shy extrovert or just introverted. Or maybe a mix of both and this paranthesis just got far longer than I expected it to be) and I can spend hours together reading all those blog posts without bothering about the time passing by.

Your writing style reminds me of how cluttered and easily distracted my mind is. I read the title 'I Want My Daughters to Be Lesbians' and then I go on to read the entire post. By the time I finish the whole thing, I scroll back to read the title again and see how much of the content written down is actually about it. Not much and I am not really mad either. Because that's exactly how I seem to work mentally.

I think about camels in desert and then the Arabs riding on it and how Prophet Muhammad realized if not for the religion Islam, these people will be really barbaric and yet Islam hasn't been too successful at keeping people's emotions at check. And then I think about how Bush sucked when he was the American President and start imagining what it would be for me to become the Prime Minister of India (if you are wondering, I am Indian). I then start hating on the red tapes and bureaucracy and how much it hampers relatively simple procedures.

For me, it is very easy to get distracted when occupied at thoughts and the only difference between us is you are penning it down and I let mine wander away. In that sense, I feel we are meant to be friends. And I am waiting for myself to open that communication channel between you and me and suddenly, we both realize we have a lot of things common with ourselves.

I stopped wanting to be a conformist and started giving contrarian beliefs a try. I think everyone would be a nihilist if not for all the societal pressure over them. I gave up on regretting my past and that had its own problems.

Honestly speaking, I feel so comfortable saying random nonsense about my life and other things targetted at you. There is maybe a 5% chance of you reading everything I wrote about and I am happy for having this outlet to share whatever I wanted to email you. So yeah, I said Hi!

Asking a question to respect your AMA: How much do you enjoy reading emails from random strangers from around the world? I know you are pretty uncomfortable with being fake and I don't mind a honest answer, whatever its content be.

I had most of the text prepared already, if you are wondering.

jamesaltucher5 karma

I am glad you asked. I love reading emails from people. I read every email I get. My email address is [email protected].

I don't always respond only because the first thing I like to do is write something that I know everyone can read (an article or blog post or book, for instance) but i try to respond.

But hearing what people are thinking and what people are going through always contributes to what i am writing and I am very grateful when people write me.

And I did read your whole comment. Your analysis of blog title to blog is very much how my thought process works. It's all connected, but in the mind of an introvert.

Here's how you don't let your thoughts wander away. Get a waiter's pad. Write down your thoughts. Every day all day. Get used to being an idea machine. And, I'm sure you've read on my blog, follow the other advice for the "daily practice" or "simple daily practice" that I advise in my book "Choose Yourself".


jlew24asu2 karma

do you actively trade stocks and/or manage your own investments today? (I'm a trader by profession, would love to know how you feel about the markets today).

what positions did you hedge fund take? how did that play out? how do you feel about global monetary easing?

jamesaltucher5 karma

  • my hedge fund always did well. Every year.

That said, I think daytrading is a myth. I have interviewed and met thousands of daytraders. Maybe two to three were actually good enough to make a profit. The only people who make money consistently on wall street are people who hold forever (Buffett) or people who hold for a trillionth of a second (high frequency traders) or people who scam the markets (insider trades, manipulation, etc).

So I invest in private companies. I invest in myself.

jlew24asu1 karma

I agree with you that day trading is a myth. no one wins. (I trade with a group, we trade options vol). If your hedge fund did well, why did you shut it down? what positions did your fund hold?

jamesaltucher1 karma

I went from a hedge fund, to starting a fund of hedge funds (i invested in other funds since I knew the industry very well). Then I switched from that to stockpickr.com which I sold to thestreet.com for ten million.

I still do deals with the hedge funds i invested in.

pike1012 karma

What tips would you give to someone ready to start a new business for their first time?

About me: 30 yrs old - current Engineering Technician (Transducer work) - former Air Force Veteran (Radio Technician) - Currently designing a toy idea I've had for awhile and putting together my business model/plan.

jamesaltucher9 karma

Find a customer. Find someone who would actually like to buy your product.

Make sure you have six months worth of expenses set aside or work full time while you build.

Dont be afraid to bootstrap. If you raise money too early then you become OWNED. This is about choosing yourself, which sometimes takes longer but is more lucrative and more fun.

noxstreak2 karma

Will you invest in bitcoins and bitcoin companies?

jamesaltucher3 karma

Yes. But they have to do two things:

A) not just be a bitcoin broker or miner. Thats a loser business B) they need to build merchant tools. Merchants ultimately will create demand. Not traders. C) they need to be open to other cryptocurrencies than just bitcoin.

polyfonik1 karma

You are bootstrapping it, but a website guy would make things so much easier.

Where do you find him? How do you pay him?

jamesaltucher1 karma

I have someone help me with my website. Dominic Rivera.

djcr4211 karma

Why didn't you quit at any point?

jamesaltucher2 karma

i quit many times. Quit and folded and folded in half. Then in quarters. Then on the ground.

But then you have to get up. You hvae to live. But I had to figure out what "living" meant after I had messed up so many times. Not just my life but the lives of everyone around me.

cleopatrudo1 karma

Hi, right now I'm 28 years old and I have a decent job (been here 8 years) I'm not making big money but I'm comfortable enough to travel enough, buy decent things ,etc. My problem is that I feel too comfortable. I quit my job right now and want to start my own company. Obviously money is going to be really tight right now but I think it's time I take this chance. Any advice?

jamesaltucher1 karma

Yes. write down 10 ideas a day. Its that simple. Then think of everyone at your old company: write down ten ideas a day for your old company. Do that for a few months. One of those ideas (out of hundreds or thousands) will be a great idea.

With every idea, write down: what is the one action I can do today to move this idea forward. Then after you write your ten ideas, see which action you want to do. If none, no problem - there is always tomorrow.

Riresurmort1 karma

Whats the best place to start when it comes to investing? Say you have 5 grand, where would you invest it?

jamesaltucher1 karma

dont invest it. put it in the bank. use the time that buys you to read and study industries that you think you can improve. Find things you like to do, see what you can improve. See who you can help.

When I invest in myself, the returns are in the thousands of percent. Thats much better than any regular investment.

ChrisHernandez1 karma

What is your opinion on the U.S. government throughout history using the "rich" to bail out the nation with higher taxes?

jamesaltucher4 karma

My personal opinion:

We just need a sales tax.

Get rid of the IRS. People say a sales tax would effect the poor.

It's not true. It's the people with money who buy things. And they wouold be happy to pay taxes on it (well, for the most part). Don't forget: its the middle class that pays income tax. The rich don't have income so dont pay taxes right now.