10 Questions with Jim.

Jim is the Blueprint for Financial Prosperity is a personal finance blog where he discussed matters of shopping, insurance, investing, retirement, loans, credit cards, mortgages, bargain hunting and other issues related to personal finance.
guy responsible for all the stuff you read on

[1] Paul: First, describe to us Jim in 5 words.
Paul: Impatient, driven, responsible, loyal, fierce.

[2] Paul: What is your full name? Tell us more about yourself? E.g. Education, etc.
Paul: Jim Wang - I have a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University. I also have an M.S. in Information Technology – Software Engineering from CMU and I’m currently pursuing an M.B.A. at Johns Hopkins University. I'm originally from New York but now live in Maryland.

[3] Paul: You created the Homebuying Blueprint, what made you created such a blue print? Is it really any useful to us?
Paul: The homebuying blueprint just follows my journey in buying a house and it'd be useful if you've never bought a house before. It's written from the perspective of a total novice so anyone can read it and understand it.

[4] Paul: How did you manage to find all those bargains in your website?
Paul: I look on other bargain sites but a lot of the deals are emailed to me by the vendors themselves.

[5] Paul: Where did you get all those information you have there in your websites? It’s all very informative.
Paul: I read main stream news stories and I do research on the questions that appear in my head or are asked of me by my friends.

[6] Paul: Has running this website and writing all these articles been useful in your life?
Paul: It's helped me understand a lot of new idea and concepts while improving my ability to write. I've also met a lot of very interesting and engaging bloggers, it has opened up a whole new world for me.

[7] Paul: If we ask you to give one advice to our readers out there, what would it be? Why?
Paul: There is no blueprint or instruction manual to life. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want, and you shouldn't be afraid to break the mold.

[8] Paul: Now that your website is worth $ 62,663.94, any plans to sell it? =p
Paul: If someone offered $62k for it, they'd be the proud new owner of a website. In fact, the little applet thing values it at $72k or something like that now – but I'd take $62k.

[9] Paul: We were reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad the other day, we were quite impressed with the content, you reckoned the advices listed will be useful for us?
Paul: It depends on your point of view. The power of Rich Dad, Poor Dad is that it educates you on a new way of thinking about your possessions and your money. I didn't find it useful because it didn't teach me anything new but for many people it's an eye-opener. The books I find useful are those that teach investing strategies because I know very little about it.

[10] Paul: Last question, anything exciting we can expect from you in the coming months?
Paul: I don't have anything planned for the next few months but every so often I get ideas sent to me that pique my interest. I'm always open to hearing new things.


10 Questions with Stuart McHenry.

[1] Paul: Care to give a short introduction about yourself? Stuart: Well, I've been involved with the Internet since late 2003. We had a medical supply website that was very popular. We sold that off in 2005 when we went into a new direction, mostly selling advertising. This is when I created Site Sift Media, Inc., the first of two companies I own. In 2006 we started McKremie, LLC and began doing more client work, design, programming, internet marketing and hosting.

[2] Paul: Thank your for the short intro, now tell us 3 things no one know about you. We like to be first to know. :P
Stuart: I have my own personal blog, but hate to blog. Two, my highest monthly income from online was $107,000 (one month, profit) and three, I'm a die hard 49ers fan ever since I can remember.

[3] Paul: Alright, so what have you been up to recently?
Stuart: Our big focus the past year was increasing value for our customers. One way we are doing this is with the expansion of McKremie, LLC into the web hosting business. We have hosted some clients website for some time now and decided to ramp up for better service and support. The web hosting business is all about support and that is the heart of our focus.

[4] Paul: Alright, any exciting new projects we can expect from you in the coming months?
Stuart: We are going to continue our focus on the hosting business. We will be finishing up some important steps to better serve our customers for 2008.

[5] Paul: Alright, something different now. Paris Hilton, Angelina Jolie and Gisele Bundchen who do you like best? Why?
Stuart: Angelina Jolie, I use to think she was just OK, I guess I didn't care for her look in Gone in 60 Seconds but she has caught my eye lately. Plus, she can act not like the other two.

[6] Paul: I'm a Mac. So are you a Mac or a PC? Ever consider switching to a Mac?
Stuart: Both, I'm more of a PC than a Mac but I'm slowly shifting to Mac. We have three PC's in the office and one Mac. As I learn more and more about the Mac, I become more of a fan.

[7] Paul: Finally, anything last words you want to announce or shout to our readers?
Stuart: I would like to offer your readers a special discount that gives them the first month of web hosting through http://www.mckremie.com/ for free. Just enter the coupon code 'onefree' at checkout to receive your first month for free.

[8] Paul: What advice can you give some of our users on web hosting?
Stuart: Go with a company that offers 24x7 support and don't go with the cheapest company out there. You never know when your website might be down and it's important to be able to contact the web host to resolve the issue.

[9] Paul: You mentioned that you made more than $100k per month before, our question is just how do you do it!
Stuart: Affiliate marketing, there is some great money to be made promoting other people's products and services. We had a website that happen to rank # 2 in a very popular industry and it made us some great money while it lasted.

[10] Paul: Give us 3-5 of your favourite websites right now?
Stuart: I enjoy reading blogs so here are my favorite's
http://shoemoney.com/ - http://mashable.com/ - http://stuff4restaurants.com/blog2


10 Questions with Jeremy Johnson.

The guy behind jeremyjohnsononline and the famous pixelimpact! He’s really into the whole information architecture and usability stuff.

[1] Paul: Care to give our readers a short introduction about yourself?
Jeremy Johnson: Sure, I’ve been in the Design business for around 7 years - working on a range of different projects from video editing to user experience. I’m currently working for geniant here in Dallas, TX as a Information Architect, but I also play a User Experience and Interaction Designer role.

[2] Paul: You have quite a number of websites, care to give us a brief intro to each of them?
Jeremy Johnson: Since the web is also a hobby of mine, I spend some (most?) of my free time blogging and designing just for fun. I’m currently running:

www.pixelimpact.com - where I blog about creative photography on the web (part of the 9rules network)
www.jeremyjohnsononline.com - my professional blog where I write about user experience and design
www.metrolifestyle.com - my photoblog - I also have a passion for photography (part of the 9rules network)
www.23hd.com - my personal blog where i’ll go off-topic on whatever is on my mind
www.digitalbauhaus.com - my visual portfolio (somewhat updated.)

[3] Paul: First… from your jeremyjohnsononline.com blog, we see you are really into User Experience and Information Architecture, does it really matter? Do you think User Experience can sometimes be more important than the actual application itself?
Jeremy Johnson: User Experience is the whole solution and encompasses IA, Design, etc… When you focus on User Experience you are making sure the full process is usable and useful as well as engaging. In the past we’ve seen a disconnect between the different areas that make up User Experience, as an example a site may of been designed well visually, but had poor interactions. We want to make sure the full experience is enjoyable.

[4] Paul: We really like your previous article on Web UI. It gives us a sneak preview of what we can expect from web application and websites to come. Do you think there’s a UI template which work best for web application? Why yes? Why not?
Jeremy Johnson: I don’t really see a template, but there are best practices - like the Yahoo UI library for example. Web applications will become more like desktop applications as browsers and other technologies progress, but there is still room for innovation in interaction design, which I believe will be a good topic for the next few years.

[5] Paul: pixelimpact; is another blog we love, but too bad it’s not posted too often. Hhttp://beta.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifow did you manage to get to know of all these photos?
Jeremy Johnson: You just called me out! :-) I know I’ve been slow to update pixelimpact, but running four blogs, working full time, and having a two year old around the house is time consuming. I’m trying to speed up posting, but it also has to do with what’s going on online. I have a huge amount of feeds I read, and I also keep up on photographic trends and news - this is where I come across most of the posts for pixelimpact.

[6] Paul: You have quite a lot of photos on the Italian CarFest in Grapevine;, TX, a lot of fast cars too. So what’s your ride? Lamborghni?
Jeremy Johnson: I wish! No I drive a very economical car, I have a long commute to work (need to save on gas these days). I love taking photos of cars, especially the details the designers put into them. The curves, door handles, air intakes, etc. The smaller the detail the better.

[7] Paul: Any exciting new projects we can expect from you in the coming weeks?
Jeremy Johnson: At geniant I work on a range of projects, most of them I can’t talk about per NDA’s or they are internal systems. One new thing everyone should be seeing in the next couple of weeks is a re-branded geniant. We’ve been working on a new identity and should be revealing it shortly. Personally I have a couple of new ideas in the works. If I can expand my blog network to six blogs in the next year I’ll be happy.

[8] Paul: Tell us 3 things we never know about you.
Jeremy Johnson: One… I currently live in Dallas, TX - but I’m originally from Indiana. Two… I’m a huge fan of video games and can’t wait for the Wii. Three… I’m a die hard mac user, but you already probably already knew that ;-)

[9] Paul: Anything you want to announce or shout to our readers.
Jeremy Johnson: I’d like to send a shout out to my co-worker and fellow Designer Jared (you need to interview him next, he’s a much better writer then me!)

[10] Paul: Any favorite websites you recommend us visit.
Jeremy Johnson: The “interenets” are huge! But how about a plug for my co-workers here at geniant:


10 Questions with Martin Ralya.

Treasure Tables who is ran by Martin Ralya brings together a community of intelligent, passionate GMs who are interested in reading about and discussing a wide range of game mastering topics.

[1] Paul: Care to give our readers a short introduction about yourself and what you do?
Martin Ralya: I’m a general manager for a national parking company, and I do freelance writing in my spare time. I was born in France, grew up in NYC, went to college in Michigan and now live in Utah with my fiance, Alysia, and our Beagle, Charlie. Alysia and I are getting married in less than two weeks.

[2] Paul: What 5 words best describe you? Why these 5 words?
Martin Ralya: Man, I’m terrible with this kind of question. Can I slide by with A, And, The, This and But? Seriously, though, I’ll go with: Laid-back, Friendly, Smart, Stubborn and Tall. All of them are things you’d notice about me within a few minutes - except for Stubborn, which might come as a surprise later on down the road.

[3] Paul: You do quite abit of freelance writing… How did you get starting in the whole writing thingy? Is it a full time job?
Martin Ralya: No, very definitely part-time. I’m more of a hobbylancer — my goal is to pay for my annual trip to GenCon by freelancing, not to make a living. By comparison to other areas - like journalism, or writing articles for magazines - the pay rates in the RPG industry are so low that I can’t imagine trying to make a living at it. I got started back in 2004, when I reviewed a small press RPG product and was asked to help write the next book in that line. From there, I answered open calls from different companies, gaining experience whilegetting a chance to work on a range of products. There are more efficient ways to build up a list of published RPG credits, but I’ve had fun with this approach.

[4] Paul: Did you learn writing from someone or school?
Martin Ralya: I grew up without a TV, so I’ve always been an avid reader. That plus a knack for writing got me started, and three great English teachers — plus several excellent teachers in other writing-oriented classes, mainly in college — got me to where I am today. I’ve never taken any formal classes in writing.

[5] Paul: Any advices or lessons you want to share with us about writing?
Martin Ralya: Reading a lot will improve your writing — any author, any genre, as long as it’s not crap. The crap can be pretty instructive, too, but the older I get the less time I have to waste on it. ;)

I learn something from nearly every freelance project that I take on, which is part of what I enjoy about writing — there’s always room to improve. Recently, I’ve read a few very good books about writing, and learned quite a bit from them as well. They were: Bird by Bird, The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop, On Writing and Robert’s Rules of Writing.

As far as freelance writing for RPGs goes, the single most important thing you can do is meet your deadlines. Do that, and you’ll be bucking an unfortunate trend that (understandably!) drives editors frothing mad. Self-editing is also a good idea — not just spellchecking, but reading the whole thing several times and cleaning it up before sending it in. The less work your editor has to do, the better — and the more likely they are to get in touch with you again.

[6] Paul: Any exciting new projects or writing we can expect from you in the coming weeks?
Martin Ralya: I wrote 11,000 words of The Mother of All Treasure Tables, which comes out this month. I wrote my chunk as a freelancer for Tabletop Adventures, one of my favorite RPG companies to work with, and I’m really looking forward to seeing it in print. I’ve got a couple of other very small projects in the pipeline, none of which have been announced yet. I'm also involved in a new endeavor that’s quite different from anything I’ve done in the past, but unfortunately that’s all I can say about it at the moment. Ooooh, mysterious.

[7] Paul: We are not going ask too much about TT or GM, that’s probably covered your previous interview. Has your favourite game changed since the last interview?
Martin Ralya: Nope, D&D and Call of Cthulhu are still my favorites. They’ve been my favorites for years, and while I like to play different RPGs, I don’t expect them to change anytime soon.

[8] Paul: Any games you would like to recommend our readers? Game we must play this lifetime.
Martin Ralya: I have a raging nerd-crush on Burning Empires, which came out a few weeks ago at GenCon. I just finished reading it, and it’s awesome - a fight-for-your-planet sci-fi RPG that’s all about character drama, high-pressure situations and tough choices. It’s written by Luke Crane, who created the Burning Wheel RPG, and based on the Iron Empires comic books by Chris Moeller. The setting is mix of original material and shades of Dune, Stargate SG-1, Battlestar Galactica (the new one) and Warhammer 40,000. It’s a brilliant book - well-written, gorgeous, satisfying and I haven't actually played it yet, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t rock on toast. It’s number one with a bullet on my list of games to play, and probably will be until I can talk my group into it.

[9] Paul: 3d6 is another blog of yours? What’s it about? Another websites you got but we dun know?
Martin Ralya: Yep, 3d6.org is one of my sites. It used to be my only site, and back then it was mainly a gaming site. Once I started Treasure Tables, I revamped 3d6.org to be all about my photos, although there’s a bit of gaming material on there as well. It’s strictly a personal site now, and there’s not much on it that I think would interest anyone outside of my family and friends. I also have one other small site, Utah BSG, which is dedicated to building the Battlestar Galactica CCG community in Utah. So far, it hasn’t been very successful.

[10] Paul: Finally, anything last words you want to announce or shout to our readers?
Martin Ralya: Thanks for having me here, Paul - I had fun with this interview!

10 Questions with Lim Zhi Xin.

Have you heard of Odds&Ends? Well, Odds&Ends is one of the runners-up in the 2005 Photobloggies Award in 4 distinct categories: Best South East Asian / Indian Photoblog, Best Writing of a Photoblog, Best Kept Secret Photoblog and Best Photoblog Design.

[1] Paul: Care to give our readers a short introduction about yourself and what you do?
Lim Zhi Xin: I am Zhixin Lim; student and photographer by day and your friendly neighbourhood Sleepyman by night.

[2] Paul: What 5 words best describe you?
Lim Zhi Xin: Smart, charming, funny, witty and delusional.

[3] Paul: You are in right doing your Actuarial Science studies in City University? Er… what’s Actuarial Science really?
Lim Zhi Xin: The official blurb for Actuarial Science is that it makes financial sense of the future. An actuary evaluate the probability that an event would occur and devise ways to minimise the ensuing undesireable financial impact. Some actuaries are so good, they’re almost clairvoyant.

[4] Paul: In your photoblog you stated that you are looking for freelance or part time a job as event photographer. What’s your rate like? They always say if you dun tell me how much it’s going to cost me, we might not never buy it from you.
Lim Zhi Xin: My first gig was for a 2-day holiday camp for a group of kindergarten kids (here’s one of the shots from the event). As it was done on my aunt’s request, I was paid pretty much next to nothing. I’ve wised up; I’m open to any offer as long as it’s in the region of 500 to 1000 pounds. Nah, just kidding. The rate would have to depend on the amount of work involved and the availability of free food and booze.

[5] Paul: How did you get started in the whole Photography stuff? Any advice for upcoming photographers out there who wish to to learn the trade of photography?
Lim Zhi Xin: I kind of knew instintively since young that I would take an interest in photography later on in life. It probably has something to do with the fact that my dad used to be an avid photographer and having seen his collection of photos (I have vivid memory of seeing his experimental long exposure shots), I thought it would be a cool thing to do. I started with a “prosumer”-level camera with shutter and aperture priority and have since moved on to a dSLR. If you’re a photography enthusiast, you’ve got to have a dSLR in your arsenal; it doesn’t translate to better photos (subjectively) but on the technical level, your Canon IXUS just can’t beat the high-end optics and the lack of shutter lag of a dSLR. If you’re just starting out, here’s a great site on the basics of digital photography.

[6] Paul: You are quite a gal person with Cammie and Nikki around you all the time. Meet anyone new recently?
Lim Zhi Xin: A gal person? I wish! Am still waiting to meet Alexis Bledel.

[7] Paul: Has Odds&Ends won more any awards recently? What’s your plan for the future? Full time photography maybe?
Lim Zhi Xin: Nope, but I would like to think I’m awarded everytime someone responds to my posts. In the immediate future, I hope I could get the all-important summer internship in the insurance industry. In the long term, my passion is in movies and film-making and I see photography as a stepping stone to that end.

[8] Paul: Any exciting new projects we can expect from you?
Lim Zhi Xin: Not at the moment as I forsee a busy term ahead. Plus, I’m experiencing my longest creative dry spell to date.

[9] Paul: We really like some of your pictures, how can we get our hands on them? Do you sell them? How?
Lim Zhi Xin: I hope to get a photobook out one of these days. I was supposed to work on it during the summer but it didn’t quite work out. It might turn out to be a blessing as at the moment, I don’t have enough shots fit for a book.

[10] Paul: Finally give us some websites you really really like.
Lim Zhi Xin: I love my daily dose of imagery and my Rocketboom fixes and most of the sites on my links page.


10 Questions with Jeremy Prasatik.

Jeremy Prasatik is a project manager/creative director by day for norwal InterChange, Inc., a communications based development company in Addison, Texas, and by night is a freelance designer working under the persona jp33. Jeremy has worked on a wide range of projects for companies such as Cadillac, Hummer, Saturn, Chevrolet, JC Penney, Infinium Labs, Wharton School of Management, Relevant Media, Josh Gracin, Trace Adkins, Split, Emerica and Etnies to name a few.

[1] Paul: Describe to us Jeremy Prasatik in 5 words.
Jeremy: God-fearing, sports-loving, designer.

[2] Paul: You did some pretty neat illustrations, how you get started?
Jeremy: Well, it all started off out of boredom in college. I was an MIS major and didn't do anything design related in school. I really hadn't done anything design related at all up to that point... not anything more than drawing as a young child. But in college I took a few classes that had some basic HTML and web programming in them, and one of our assignments was to make a simple web page. As I started getting into the project a little more, something just seemed to stick with me...it became a challenge to make the site as 'cool' as I possibly could.

It ended up being one of the ugliest sites (complete with a tiled flame/fire background and full mp3 soundtrack bumping Tupac) I've seen to date, but it was my first stab in the web field and I was pretty happy with the results. From then on, I just kinda stuck with it, and 4 later, here I am =)

[3] Paul: We love some of the tshirts you did for Soapbox, any ideas where we can get our hands on some of these or other tees design you came up with?
Jeremy: That's a good question as I'm still waiting on the samples I was promised! No, honestly, I'm not sure. Most of the Soapbox designs were for music artists and I was told that they were merch. for concert tours and such, and not sure where exactly they'll be sold after the artists tour is over.

I actually get a good amount of emails from people asking the same thing 'where can I get some of those shirts?' so I'll try and find out.

[4] Paul: I personally love your illustration works for J.Christianson. Care to share with me how did you come with such excellent illustrations.
Jeremy: Shear luck my friend, shear luck. No, really it's just a trial and error type deal. What I'll do is come up with a concept and start playing around in a blank Illustrator or Photoshop canvas. Normally, you'd take the focal point of the piece and start working around it. Draw a swirly thing here, move it over there, copy and paste, move, delete, move.... etc. Sometimes the results are identical to what I originally saw in my head, and other times there are almost no similarities.

There are also a ton of factors that play into the J.Christianson pieces, as well. Since it's a clothing line, time of year plays a big role, and you've also got to keep things in line with their current marketing schemes. That's why you'll see a pretty big variance in some of the posters I've done for them.

[5] Paul: Any exciting projects we can expect from you in the future?
Jeremy: Nothing too exciting really. I'm doing a website and a few more shirt designs for TreFive clothing. They're a startup based out of Laguna Beach, California and it looks like they might make it one day. They've got a good backing so watch out for them.

I was selected to do an 'art lamp' design for Moody Buddha, so that should be pretty fun.

I also MIGHT be doing a couple of posters for 2 of my favorite bands, but that's still in the works so I won't name the bands just yet. Other than that nothing major really. Various web stuff always seems to pop-up and I've been getting a lot of inquires for shirt designs as well. But really, I'm trying to keep things low-key so it doesn't take away from my flag-football battles with friends =)

[6] Paul: Any websites out there that really really inspires you?
Jeremy: Man, there's so much good stuff going on out there. I'm inspired by it all really. The Mikes at WWFT have always been a big influence and Scott Hansen at ISO50 is another. I'd have to say Josh from Hydro74 and Brain from Agency26 have been the biggest influences as well as great friends to me. They've both opened up a lot of doors for myself, so I gotta give them some major props.

[7] Paul: On a lighter note, we manage to find this article, you really can play basketball? Any plans to join the NBA? =p
Jeremy: Oh wow, you did some digging didn't you! As a high school player I had dreams of playing in the NBA, but those dreams never did come true, ha. I was ranked 69th in the state of Texas my senior year, but broke my ankle and had to have surgery right before the season started. I ended up missing a handful of games and then rushed back to early. The whole season was a disappointment, as I never really got back into the swing of things like I needed to. I ended up losing out of some great scholarship opportunities because of the lackluster season and decided to go to UT Dallas, which was just a D3 school (for those of you who know college sports). Things never really worked out as UT Dallas, I didn't like the coach very much (or the players for that matter) and I decided to hang the high-tops up about 20 games into the season. It was the first time I had ever quit anything in my life, but I felt basketball just wasn't what I was supposed to be doing anymore. I think I made the right decision, haha.

I still play ball for fun and will take any and all challenges that may be out there!

[8] Paul: That's you! And that's must be Mrs Jeremy Prasatik. How did you meet your wife? =p
Jeremy: Wow, more digging!! Yes, that's me and there are a few pics of my wife. I met her the first day of class my freshman year at UT Dallas. Well, we didn't actually meet, but I do remember checking her out for a month or so before I could build up enough courage to actually ask her out, hehe. I wouldn't say it was love at first site, but I did think she was really hot! I mean, that's the most important thing, right?

Really though, after our first date we were almost inseparable and she hasn't been able to get rid of me since. We got married after school, and it's been a wonderful 2 years now...loving every minute of it!

[9] Paul: Tell us two things we do not know about you.
Jeremy: I'm 6'4... tall for a designer? I was home schooled from 8th - 12th grade

[10] Paul: Last question, I'm hopeless at designing tees, have you done any designs at threadless?
Jeremy: Actually, no, I've never submitted a design to Threadless. I'm not sure why, I need to get around to that one of these days, but with all the great designs they have it might be tough to sneak one through. Plus, it seems like the style of shirts they print up has changed. I'm not sure if my style would even go over well with the voters there. I think winners get a pretty good cut though, maybe I should look into it more =)


10 Questions with Andrew Kaufmann.

Andrew Kaufmann have been mucking around in web development ever since getting on the Internet around 1994. He was a staff member on the Unofficial Squaresoft Homepage (a website devoted to video games from the company Square), and a founding member of the site the Unofficial Squaresoft Homepage evolved into (it focused on role-playing video games). After leaving RPGamer, he co-founded the Gaming Intelligence Agency (now defunct) in 1998. Another video game site, the GIA was a Web 2.0 type company (a blog before there were things called "blogs") before the advent of Google Adsense to help monetize sites. The site was a critical success and a success as far as pure traffic numbers, but ad sales struggled. They ended up shutting down the site due to burnout in 2002. He then founded GameForms, another videogame site, which didn't have the success of its predecessors, and is also now defunct, which take fully responsibility of the sloppy leadership in the lack of success there.

During the run of those sites, he did freelance writing at magazines The Official Dreamcast Magazine and Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM). He also did freelance writing online at the Imagine Games Network (IGN). During that, he was also studying computer science and English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Now a contractor at Texas Instruments in corporate communications, doing marketing, market research, and web development, while also having a small start-up online media thing getting rolling on the side. At night, you can see him try to get crowds riled up at Dallas Mavericks NBA home games, he's the guy throwing all those tshirts!

[1] Paul: First, describe to us Andrew Kaufmann in 5 words.
Andrew: Innovation and creation meets nerd. At least, that's the way I like to look at myself; whether or not I'm successful at any of the above is up for debate. I look at things optimistically -- each experience helps build toward success at the next opportunity.

[2] Paul: We read reading this story at NPR you have to tell us the truth! Are you an Army major recently returned from Iraq?
Andrew: I'm afraid that's not me! Though that is an interesting story, eh? I do have the utmost respect for the soldiers overseas, however. I consider adventure a day at the gym playing basketbal, though.

[3] Paul: We managed to a certain Andrew Kaufmann at Biomedware is he a twin brother? =p
Andrew: Another case of mistaken identity... sorry! Making this interview tough, eh?

[4] Paul: What make you finally decided to cut your hair?
Andrew: I went to a Texas Rangers basebal game, in the middle of the day on a 100+ degree Texas summer day. You try sitting in the sun for 3 hours under a giant black mop that collects heat, and you'd cut it, too!

[5] Paul: Any favorite site or hang-outs?
Andrew: Too many to list! Lately, I've been all into the ABC show Lost. I float from Lost web forum to Lost web forum, reading every cockamamie theory out there. More regularly, I love reading Mark Cuban's blog -- even though I don't always agree with him. D Magazine has a great blog for Dallas residents, I also love Dave Barry, and he's one of my favorite authors -- so I always read his blog. I like browsing various sites at www.9rules.com, and am enjoying Scott Adams' new blog. I'm just finished reading "Fluke -- Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings" and am currently reading "Lamb -- the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" both by Christopher Moore. And I'm wasting far too much time playing
Civilization IV.

[6] Paul: What are you working as in Texas Instruments? It must be some top position, especially when you are guarded by a lady assassin at your front desk. Tell us a little more.
Andrew: Absolutely! About a year ago, I missed a few days of work to get a tooth removed that I broke playing basketbal. During those few days, the stock price dropped. Coincidence? I don't think so.

I'm essentially a jack of all trades in the worldwide communication services department. I do a little bit of everything, since I'm a young buck -- web development, a little writing, some marketing and market research, and a little project management. Essentially, whatever is overflowing on someone else's desk, I go after it.

Leslie is a very nice lady at the desk, you'd never guess she was a ninja. But you should see her pounce when someone tries to get into the building without their security badge.

[7] Paul: You are 26 years old and already have bachelors degrees in English (with a specialization in creative writing) and Computer Science from Southern Methodist University. Why not be a writer? Did you get both degrees at the same time at Southern Methodist University?
Andrew: I did get both degrees at the same time, doing some summer school along the way to stay on schedule. I do fancy myself a writer, and I've done magazine writing in the past, as well as being a columnist at SMU's school newspaper. Right now, I'm focusing mostly on web design and development, and watching this whole revitalization of the web page as a viable business prospect. I do plan on doing some more writing at some point in the future, I'm just not sure in what capacity. The novel interests me, but my first attempt during college was a bit of a flop. I've had more success with the shroter essay that's more suited for magazines and newspapers, and I hope to get back into that as a freelancer in the near future.

[8] Paul: Why lunar adventures? It's kinda of an interesting name.
Andrew: Thanks! I thought long and hard for 10 minutes on it. (Though I am struggling with coming up with a new for my web design / web media project... any suggestions out there?) My name is Andrew Kaufmann, my friends call me Andy. Andy Kaufman is the "Man on the Moon" -- the song about him written by REM, and the movie about him named that as well. REM is also my favorite band. So the whole "moon" theme fits. The site is me talking about my adventures through life, which mostly consists of deciding what type of dressing to get on my sandwich from Subway, but
makes for a cool title anyway.

[9] Paul: What makes you join the Mavericks Dr Pepper Hoop Troop? We gathered that you really love the Dallas Mavericks.
Andrew: I do indeed love the Mavericks! The opportunity came up to join the Hoop Troop, a group of glorified male cheerleaders, and I jumped on it. I love the idea of unity behind a sports team, and I've always wanted to be a part of that (I let a few opportunities slip in high school and college).

The Hoop Troop gives me that opportunity. It's not every day you get the chance to goof off and be silly in front of 20,000 people. I love watching the crowd get into a frenzy over the game, over the tshirts we might throw to them, over the dancers, whatever. It's a real thrill to be a part of the Mavericks team. I can't be a player, since I'm short and not that good at basketball. But I've been given the opportunity to be a part of the team in a different way, and it's been a marvelous experience so far. Except when people get upset that I didn't throw them
personally a tshirt. But it's still all good.

[10] Paul: Last question, you got to share with a short lesson on creative writing, we haven't had too many of these writers around.
Andrew: Any writer will tell you the only way to get better is to write, write, and write. The more, the better. And don't just write, but also read your writing a bit after you've written it -- wait long enough that you can look at the work objectively, and critique yourself. I always look back at things I wrote and think about how I could have improved it -- once it's published, you can't change it, but you can make your next work better.

I see creative works as having essentially 3 main facets -- the plot, the descriptions, and the characters. Good works of fiction have a balance between the three. A work with bad characters? Boring. Bad plot? Boring. Scenes you can't imagine because of weak descriptions? Boring. You have to have all three to have a successful work -- no matter what your medium. The novel, the short story, the play, the screenplay -- they're all different in their specializations and their implementation, but at the core, it all comes down to the same three basic facets. Shakespearean plays never had fancy descriptions of the environs, but characters left clues in their speech that brought their world alive to the viewer.

The next time you get bored while reading a book, try to identify where its shortcoming is, to you. Too much description, leading to a boring plot? A story that's all plot plot plot and cardboard characters? That can help you identify where your own shortcomings might be. For example, I get bored when I read books with what I deem is too much description. At the same time, description is the weakest part of my writing -- I'm better at plot than character. My personal sensibility gives description less weight as I write, but that doesn't mean I can ignore it.

Thanks so much for for the interview! Just want to add a Thanks to my parents for paying for the crazy tuition costs when I was at Southern Methodist University.


10 Questions with Flexo.

Flexo is a 29-year-old musician and thinker behind the Consumerism Commentary website.

[1] Paul: Describe to us Flexo in 5 words.
Paul: Creative, intelligent, emotional, musical, optimistic.

[2] Paul: By the way, what is your real name? Care to share more about yourself with us?
Paul: I would rather not share my real name explicitly, but these days it can be easily found through Consumerism Commentary for those who care to look. I'm a little protective of my identity as I'd rather not have people I know in real life discover the intimate details of my finances, as they are plastered throughout the website.

I'm a single guy almost 30, living in a rented apartment with my cat near Princeton, New Jersey. I enjoy traveling but I often find excuses to stay put; however, some of my family moved out to the west coast, and I try to visit them several times a year.

I've lived in this area of New Jersey for most of my life. Since I was very young I've had an interest in computers. Before the Internet became easily accessible by millions of people, I ran a bulletin board system (BBS) that many people from New Jersey would access by dialing with a modem connected to their own computer. That is when I discovered I enjoyed creating online communities.I shut the BBS down when I left for college, the University of Delaware, to study music education.

[3] Paul: You actually studied music education while an undergraduate in college? For real? What instruments can you really play?
Paul: For real. I play clarinet, saxophones, piano/keyboard, guitar, trumpet, other brass instruments, percussion, and samplers. I teach music and instruct different high school musical groups on occasion.

[4] Paul: Now we are abit confused, where and what do you actually work as in real life?
Paul: My day job is at a large financial company headquartered in Newark, NJ. That should be enough for the most astute readers to determine the company with a little research. I am currently an accounting associate in the corporate division.

[5] Paul: You actually been to Princeton when I was about 12? Tell us more about it.
Paul: My mother was a researcher working for the cognitive psychology department at the time. She got to work with some amazing people, like George A. Miller who is famous for his book, The Magic Number: Seven Plus or Minus Two. When she was assisting PhD students with their dissertation research, they often needed subjects to participate in cognition experiments. They always made a big deal about how I performed better than most of the undergrads they usually used for the experiments. :> Plus, they paid me $10 each time.

[6] Paul: What's with the Balance Sheet and Income Statement?
Paul: Well, simply, the balance sheet and income statement are two tools organizations use to evaluate their financial situation. Every individual needs to be aware of his or her situation as well, and this is a perfect way to do that. By posting my financial information online, I'm holding myself accountable to myself as well as my readers and fans. It's similar to how a public company must file its financial statements – the S.E.C. holds companies accountable.

[7] Paul: You have a long term retirement goal of a whopping $10 million? Why so much?
Paul: Why not? Actually, the $10 million goal was sort of a stab in the dark. But look at it this way: $10 million in future dollars will have the spending power of $2 to $3 million in 2005 dollars, due to expected inflation. If I were retiring right now and planning to live another 25-35 years, I would need that much money in order to maintain a certain (low) level of lifestyle for the remainder of my life. The estimate is probably pretty accurate for the time I'd like to retire.

[8] Paul: You are still abit off from your target of $50k by FY06. Now wat?
Paul: Well, I still have more than a year until the end of 2006. I think $50,000 is a reasonable goal. I may exceed the amount if I'm able to put in place some projects to generate additional passive income.

[9] Paul: Hm... If you are to give 3 advice to other out there on money matters, what would you tell us?
Paul: My first piece of advice is to seek a financial advisor for financial advice and not to trust bloggers - not even me. There are a lot of great blogs on the internet, and some are written by qualified financial planners and advisors, while some or not, though they pretend to be. People everywhere are looking to make money. If you look around the internet room and you don't see the sucker, chances are you're the sucker.

The second piece of advice for those who are serious about getting their personal finances in order is to start tracking all spending with software like Intuit Quicken or Microsoft Money. Both products have their shortcomings, but are still both better than anything else out there. Just getting into the habit of looking at your finances will make you aware of your own situation and you'll start to be able to pick things to improve easily.

Lastly, remember that money isn't the be-all, end-all to life. Rather than worshipping capitalism and materials, worship yourself, your friends and family, and whatever deeper beliefs you might have.

[10] Paul: Last question, any must read websites you can recommend to our readers?
Paul: Besides my own, of course, I would suggest several personal finance related blogs run by some of the great people I have met online, including MyMoneyBlog, Frugal For Life, savvy saver, and Blueprint for Financial Prosperity. There are so many others and I wish I could name them all. Beyond blogs, I suggest CNN/Money and The Kiplinger. Outside the world of personal finance, I would suggest BoingBoing, and MetaFilter.


10 Questions with Jeremy Wright.

Jeremy Wright is a serial entrepreneur, some have even said a blogpreneur for his focus on communications-oriented ventures. He has been involved in IT, programming and the business side of IT for nearly a decade. Jeremy is the President of b5media, a prominent blog network. He is the author of Blog Marketing, a business book on blogging and writes Ensight, a popular business and technology blog. Jeremy consults on blogging, communication, IT and time management. He is the father of two boys, Evan and Alex, and a semi decent husband to Shannon.

[1] Paul: First, describe to us Jeremy Wright in 5 words.
Jeremy : Blogger, author, consultant, father, drummer.

[2] Paul: We first read about you auctioning your blogging services at eBay, but the rest of your intro on 'being controversial on the Google IPO' and 'being accosted by US border guards' we did not manage to hear about it, care to share with us more about it?
Jeremy : Haha. It's funny. I find that people know me for one or two things, but very few folk (besides friends and blog readers) know about all of my misadventures. Some might say I'm blessed, others might say cursed, in that I've been involved in a number of controversies that have garnered various degrees of media attention.

About a year before the Google happened, back when it was still very much a rumor, I wrote a post which basically said that the current downturn would be violently turned around by the Google IPO. To such an extent that new mergers and acquisitions would happen at a dramatic pace, new venture finances would go into small and silly businesses and effectively we'd have a new bubble all over again.

While I was technically right, so far the bubble hasn't been all that negative - it's largely remained fairly healthy. However, for about 6 months, about half of the newspaper stories that ran a bit about the Google IPO included a byline that I was firmly against it happening due to fears of a new bubble.

The US border guards story isn't one I talk about much anymore (in fact, I should remove it from the sidebar). The long and short of it was that there was a major misunderstanding at the US border, where I was threatened and treated unfairly. It's over now, but it got more press than anything I'd done until then or anything I've done since.

[3] Paul: You even wrote a book 'Blog Marketing', what got you started on this?
Jeremy : In May of 2004, I (off the cuff) said that there needed to be a book for businesses on why blogging mattered. At the time, everyone thought it was a stupid idea. 6 months later, though, the entire climate had changed. I'd become more prominent, and many more bloggers began to realize that businesses could in fact use blogs in really great ways.

I pitched the book, with my agent, got a deal with McGraw-Hill and the book is coming out December 1st, at booksellers across North America.

The book is really about helping businesses understand blogging, helping them get into the right mindset and helping them develop an effect strategy for using blogs.

[4] Paul: You are the President of b5media, for those who are not familiar with b5media, want to tell us more about what b5media does?
Jeremy : b5media is a blogging network. In many ways it's similar to the large networks like Weblogs, Inc. and Gawker Media. However, where those networks focus on creating massive amounts of content, we prefer to focus on empowering our bloggers to express their passions. We don't really set out to start blogs, we just set out to find great bloggers with lots of passion who want a solid platform to talk to a larger audience.

We launched in September with 15 blogs, merged with About Weblogs in October and we now have about 60 blogs under the b5media banner, with the intent of growing to between 80-100 blogs by the end of the year.

[5] Paul: You have quite a number of weblogs under your name, which are the most famous few?
Jeremy : Beyond a doubt, Ensight is the most famous, because it's the one referred to in most stories. I also received a fair amount of press this summer when I sold WealthyBlogger. And earlier in 2005 when I started InsideBlogging, the world's first blog consulting company. I've also been involved in a number of other projects from b5media to running a hosting company to helping numerous tech companies get off the ground... I try and stay busy!

[6] Paul: For those of us, who wants to start a blogging network, any advice you would give to them?
Jeremy : My best advice is to reconsider. Doing a blogging network is a crazy amount of work. More than I imagined, and more than any of the 5 founders of b5 imagined. Even with all of us working our butts off, there is still too much to do.

But, if you're really set on doing a blogging network, make it niche. Very niche. The more the better. And produce the best content in blogging on your subject matter - don't just repost other people's stuff.

Beyond that, be passionate, care about people, don't be afraid to make mistakes (or admit to them when you make them) and be in it for the long haul. Blogging networks aren't get-rich-quick schemes, nor are they for the lazy.

[7] Paul: We haven't really been a President of any company before, do you mind sharing with us a day in the life of a President? =p
Jeremy : I get up later than I want, because the alarm clock isn't anywhere near annoying enough. I catch up on emails, any outstanding b5media issues (all the partners are in Australia, while I'm in Canada, so early morning and late evening are the only times we connect), read blogs and have breakfast. Then I 'get ready for work' and I typically start my real work at about 10am (having been up for 2-3 hours).

My morning is typically filled with doing whatever work the Aussies couldn't take care of, while my afternoon is spent talking, talking and talking. I talk to new bloggers, I talk to the press, I talk to advertisers and I talk to myself (when nobody else wants to talk to me).

I swear my jaw is the only part of my body burning any real calories.

I'll also go to conferences, talk to a variety of current and potential partners, spend time evaluating the network, be talking (there I go again!) to current bloggers about issues, thoughts they have, help they need, etc.

It isn't very glorious, but it fits my personality and experience!

[8] Paul: Any exciting projects we can expect from you in the coming months?
Jeremy : Besides Blog Marketing, b5media and another book? Maybe, but maybe not. If b5media continues to grow, I'll likely begin devoting myself to it full-time, which could be very interesting.

[9] Paul: On a lighter note, we read about ProBlogger bought a house from money made from blogging, what have you got yourself?
Jeremy : A puppy. Truth be told, blogging pays all my bills. So blogging has bought me and my family our livelihood. Oh, and our car.

[10] Paul: Last question, any favourite websites you particular like? Why?
Jeremy : Oooh. http://tech.memeorandum.com, because anything my feeds don't catch it does and http://www.scobleizer.com, because Robert's a good friend that I enjoy telling off.

Beyond that, I read about 200 blogs a day, some of which I'm sure I enjoy more than others (like the comics). I'm not sure I visit many other 'websites', that don't show up in my feeds, very often.