An Ode to Truck Drivers

As I was getting out of Florida ahead of Hurricane Irma, I couldn’t help but think about all the commercial trucks and their drivers that I saw. I’ve been thinking about the problem of truck drivers for years. Because they are doomed as a profession. Just as the car wiped out buggy drivers, the true autopilot truck is going to wipe out truck drivers. And it’s not some far-off sci-fi scenario. This is happening right now and will be complete probably within the next decade. The unions and politicos will try to fight it, but eventually they will cave to the extraordinary market forces that autopilot trucking brings. Imagine for a second that you are a trucking company owner. How would you like to have a fleet of trucks that is driving on the road for 23 out of 24 hours a day, stopping only at weigh stations and refueling ports? Imagine the trucks optimized gas mileage, lowering operating costs and maintenance costs. Imagine fleet that is several times safer and causing in lower insurance costs. What’s not to love about that? And in the long run, those lower costs will be reflected in more affordable goods to the consumer,  who is the ultimate king in any market economy. The only fly in this technological ointment is the drivers themselves. Truck driving is one of the most common professions for men in America. There is a huge segment of the population that will be obliterated. So what to do if you are one of these truck drivers? The good news is you do have options and a little bit of time. Option 1, security One thing the trucks will still need is an on-board crew to prevent hijackings. If these rolling treasure troves were to go without security, they’d be knocked over in a heartbeat. So each rolling cargo container will need at least 1 guard, possibly more depending on the route and duration of the trip. So start getting in shape. Truck driving is an extremely sedentary job, and drivers aren’t known for their muscles. Time to hit the gym and look more like a bodyguard, less like a pile of mashed potatoes. Take some security certifications. Learn the state of the art when it comes to defense and security. Get trained in weapons and certified so you can prove you know what you are doing. Option 2, a different line of work Let’s say you knew you had 7 years to find a new job. Could you do it? College only lasts 4 years. Even with professional or graduate schools, you are usually looking at around 7 years total.  Granted, that is full time work on a subject, but you aren’t starting from scratch like an  18 year old.  You have a lifetime of experience and skills already. If you weren’t driving trucks, what would you want to do with your time? How would you get paid in that field? What do you need to know to get […]

So I just ordered 30 new websites for our website publishing business for $570. That does not include the cost of the domains or hosting. I’m wondering if it is worth buying a new hosting package for these sites specifically. The domains will cost about $360, so we are looking at $930 minimum to get started which works out to $31 per site to have the basic niche selection, site setup, and first two articles written. That’s not too bad. If I add a new hosting package, it comes out to about $42 for the first full year. The expected return per site is about $15 in the first year as-is, which works out to 48% if we use our existing hosting resources or 35% if we get new hosting. The overall plan will be to get the sites up and running, and then do some semantic keyword research to flesh out the sites quite a bit. That will increase costs, but should provide a more substantial return.

The E-Myth Revisited and Opportunity Cost

One of my favorite podcasters, Jake Desyllas of The Voluntary Life, tweeted this today: E Myth Revisited by @MichaelEGerber is one of the books every small business entrepreneur should read. My review: — Jake Desyllas (@thevoluntary) June 10, 2014 To which I responded that one of the big issues that Gerber doesn’t address is opportunity cost. Let’s do a little recap. In E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber talks about creating an extremely systematized business that can be replicated and run by the least skilled workers possible. In order to get to that optimal set of processes, the business owner has to experiment a lot. In the book he talks about Sarah’s pie shop, and the trials she goes through to make her business successful. But I always thought the discussion in the book was fairly limited. Even something that looks fairly simple like a pie shop can have infinite permutations. Sarah talks about learning to bake pies with her grandmother or aunt (I don’t remember which off the top of my head), and I always thought that the experience she describes could make a business model. What if customers came into the shop and instead of finding the usual counter and glass cases they entered grandma’s kitchen? The customer could become part of the experience of making pies the way Sarah developed her love for this baking. The customer could have the option of baking with Sarah and her staff to create a custom, ultimately personalized product that would create a bond between the customer and the store or, in a more conventional manner, buy a pie off the shelves lining the walls. Would this work? Would the pie shop be more profitable this way than as a regular pie shop? I have no idea, and that’s the point. These things need to be tested in order to be known. But with testing, comes costs. In this example, there would be a very large outlay of cash to move the store around to different configurations and different moods. And then, as Bastiat said, there is the unseen. How much profit is given up by doing this test? For a small operation, if you guess wrongly you can go broke very quickly. That’s what I mean when I say Gerber doesn’t address this issue. How is the entrepreneur to know which way to go? In the end, I guess it just comes down to the vision of the entrepreneur. Some will be successful and some will fail. You may be able to increase your profitability following Gerber’s techniques, but if your basic vision is wrong nothing will fix that except you.